July 20th, 2014

Simply, easy, and one I want to remember.

This goes in the “quick and easy” category. I won’t oversell this recipe as anything overly special or interesting. But, I want to remember this simple dinner idea when I am trolling my own blog looking for inspiration in my repertoire. Lately, I hesitate so often before taking a photo or sharing things on this blog that don’t seem worthy. There are SO many amazing food blogs these days, gorgeous visual search engines, Pinterest… seemingly endless places to find fantastic ideas or just surf food porn. We are living in an age of communication abundance and faced with my own inability to keep up with it all, I am hesitant to add more music to the noise.

CATEGORIES: Main Dish | Link to this post

June 19th, 2014

During our visit to Greece, I am stuffing myself daily with as many fresh apricots plucked from the trees as I can.


It has been 3 years since we have been to Corfu, Greece where my father-in-law was born and raised. My in-laws have retired to their island home. With our kids now 3 and 6 years old,  the long voyage seemed manageable again so we traveled to Greece for a family vacation. The sights, flavors and smells are so different and such a welcome reprieve from our everyday. Our girls have quickly become accustomed to village life, running around in their tank tops, playing with their cousins who live a stone’s throw away and plucking fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden as daily snacks.

Last time we were here in July and the nectarine tree ripened offering us dozens of the best stone fruits I’d ever had. In past years, we have enjoyed figs and kumquats. This year, we are treated to two mature trees full of apricots. As we walked around the winding streets of our village, Alepou, I saw dozens of overly ripe apricots littering the way. What horror for a Chicagoan to see perfect stone fruit wasting from the trees – I vowed to not let a single apricot from our yard go uneaten!

CATEGORIES: Breads & Breakfast, Sides & Snacks | Link to this post

June 6th, 2014

And, recipes for a Thai Ginger Cooler and Ginger Lychee Martini. Perfect summer sipping.

Please VOTE! I’m a finalist. You can vote for my infusion on the Prairie Organics Facebook page by clicking like on the post about my creation here

I’ve always been intrigued by infusions. Though the concept is simple, it feels a bit magical that you can put something delicious in liquid and even if removed, its essence or flavor is forever imparted. From my experience with chocolate, I have marveled at spice-infused cream that creates intoxicating chocolate truffles. Fresh herbs can completely alter oils while berries bring aromatic sweetness to vinegar.  What feels like a patient, delicate process brings about such powerful flavor transformation.

CATEGORIES: Drinks & Appetizers | Link to this post
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May 5th, 2014

A fresh attempt to get more veggies down my kid’s hatch.

I am certainly not the first mom to sneak veggies into sweet breads or muffins and try to convince herself that she won a point in the epic battle of getting her kid to eat more green stuff. My younger  (3 year old) daughter gleefully munches on kale chips, steals green beans from others’ plates and chooses the fruit cup over french fries at restaurants. Her older sister has a very limited repertoire of “edible” veggies.

The other night, when forced to eat just one green bean, I saw her give it her all and fight back gag reflexes as she tried to choke it down. She wasn’t even trying to be dramatic (this time.) I decided to look for other ideas and spent the evening making these muffins. I substituted some whole wheat flour for white, added milk in place of oil, reduced the sugar, added extra zucchini… with each step I convinced myself that I was making great strides toward crafting a healthy, veggie snack.

CATEGORIES: Breads & Breakfast | Link to this post

May 2nd, 2014

This weekend, Chicago’s Green City Market opens outside! Make the pilgrimage to this food mecca – you will not be disappointed.

In the recent past, I have had less time and energy to devote to blogging. Over the years, it seems that every time my resolve to keep it up wanes, I am offered an opportunity, I make a connection, or I enjoy an experience that reminds me why the food blogging community is such an important part of my life.

Some weeks ago, I was invited to visit the Green City Market in Chicago along with a few notable chefs to shop for fresh ingredients and then join them as they cook a few recipes from the new Green City Market cookbook. I excitedly agreed and when the day arrived I drove towards Lincoln Park with anticipation – cash in my pockets and my empty canvas market bag slung over my shoulder.

CATEGORIES: Food Experiences, Food Finds by City | Link to this post

April 17th, 2014

I want one of these SO badly, but first we have to make sure they get made.

Imagine next Easter peeling back the shell of your hunted eggs and finding a real GOLDEN egg inside! It is within the realm of possibility. What makes golden eggs? Duh…  The Golden Goose.

CATEGORIES: Discussions & Ideas | Link to this post

April 15th, 2014

Don’t worry kale, I am not a fair weather fan. I’m here to stay.

I’ve read a number of reports that have claimed that the kale trend is past its peak. It is time to move on to cauliflower in all forms and preparations. In the past year or two, the tough, leafy green has risen from anonymity to find its way onto a majority of notable restaurant menus and into the kitchens that line Main Street. And now its over? Not for me.

CATEGORIES: Salads, Vegetarian | Link to this post

March 31st, 2014

It’s hard to believe… we made it through the winter.

Today was over 60 degrees. It felt like heaven. The spring bulbs were NOT killed by the polar vortex! Their stems are already a few inches out of the ground. I can see my backyard! Only a few small patches of ice remain. Sure, there is an ungodly amount of dog poo speckling the parkway and the kids are tracking mud through the house but I DON’T CARE – SPRING IS HERE!

CATEGORIES: Discussions & Ideas | Link to this post

February 17th, 2014

Seeking colorful, flavorful food to break the blasé mid winter blues.

I’ve never run a marathon. But, I bet that this time of year in Chicago is a lot like mile 18. You’ve run a long, long way. You are tired, perhaps even painfully tired. But, the finish line is not really in sight. It’s during this phase of the race that you have to dig deep and find some extra “oomph” inside to keep going.

It takes a lot of energy to keep warm, shovel cars out of a foot of snow, and help kids in and out of winter gear a number of times a day. The pace of work doesn’t slow down and little is left for creative thinking in the kitchen. I’ve been falling back on many of my easy, “go to” standbys. Last week, I had the urge to dust off my initiative and bring some interesting and uplifting flavor back to our dinner repertoire.

CATEGORIES: Soups | Link to this post

February 13th, 2014

Thank you to those of you who entered the Rum Giveaway. Jane R. is the lucky winner. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized | Link to this post
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February 10th, 2014

This Valentine’s Day, consider serving a luscious, sip-able dessert.

Most of the United States has experienced extreme weather this winter. Born and raised in Michigan, I have never minded snow and cold. But, I must admit that this Chicago winter is testing my coping skills. I recently heard on the radio that last year at this time, we’d had 9 inches of snow. This year, we have already had over 60 inches. Our entrance way is a constantly slopped with snow sludge and boots, snow pants and mittens are strewn across the floor. Ice cycles the size of my toddler are hanging off the gutters of our old house and the furnace is having trouble keeping up.

When I received an email from the folks at Blue Chair Bay Rum with descriptors of the island lifestyle and a promise of tropical flavors, my nostalgia for warmth insisted that I pay attention. They offered me an opportunity to try their rum and create a new cocktail for Valentine’s Day. I was further intrigued to learn that Blue Chair Bay Rum was inspired by Kenney Chesney. Though I am not familiar with his music and don’t listen to much country, the whole project piqued my interest because it was such a departure from my day-to-day reality.  I decided to play along with the hopes of a momentary, gustatory reprieve from this icy winter.

CATEGORIES: Desserts & Sweets, Drinks & Appetizers | Link to this post

January 27th, 2014

Just imagine the aroma of a freshly cooked waffles wafting out of the internal air pockets with every fluffy bite you take.

Sometimes my 5-year old has great ideas. Last Saturday, she requested homemade waffles for breakfast. We didn’t have any buttermilk so she had to settle for oatmeal. Instead of whining about her loss (a habit we are trying hard to break), she suggested that since we were going to the grocery store, we could pick up some buttermilk and enjoy waffles for dinner.

Eating decadent breakfast foods for dinner never ceases to excite me. A carb-centered, syrup soaked meal in the evening feels like breaking a rule and getting away with it. So, we had a Saturday evening family date giggling like 4-giddy kids as we enjoyed a weekend waffle dinner.

CATEGORIES: Breads & Breakfast, Buttermilk Love | Link to this post

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