October 20th, 2014

I’ve got your Saturday morning all figured out for you.

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There are recipes to keep on hand for when you notice brown specs on your bananas and don’t want to waste them. And, there is a different category of recipes for which you plan ahead, buy bananas, and put them in a paper bag to ripen in order to satisfy your ingredient requirements. These pancakes were invented for the first category and have graduated immediately to the second. BUY BANANAS now so you can eat these banana bread pancakes on Saturday morning.

Almost always, my over ripe bananas are used to make this banana bread recipe. I go for this whole wheat version when I am planning to use them for school lunches or feel the need to be a bit healthier. Most of the time when I veer from my standby recipe, I am sorry. It is so easy and so foolproof, I’ve found that it can’t be trumped.
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CATEGORIES: Breads & Breakfast | Link to this post
COMMENTS: No Comments

October 6th, 2014

Two cans, a little chop, a touch of zest, a drizzle and a sprinkle. That’s all it takes to create a healthy, easy lunch.

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For those of us with kids, we are well into the school routine, which for us includes packing two kid-friendlly lunches each morning. It took us awhile to get that juggling act down and to even consider packing healthy adult lunches too.

I’m constantly on a mission to eat healthier foods (mostly as a counterbalance to my passion for baked goods.) Years ago, I remember that one of the most surprisingly popular posts on the blog Orangette was a simple doctoring up of a can of chick peas. I often remembered that when I haven’t been shopping and find a lonely can of legumes in my pantry.
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CATEGORIES: Main Dish, Salads, Sides & Snacks, Vegetarian | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 3

September 15th, 2014

A little slab of bacon on hand = a whole lot of flavor waiting to be unleashed in new places.

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I bought this little piece of uncut bacon the other day. I had no plans for it but it seemed like a good thing to have in my refrigerator as the weather cools and comfort foods start calling. We all tend to fall into food and cooking habits. As someone who loves cooking and experimenting, the daily grind requires some no-brainers. Many of us probably buy over half of the same groceries ever week. I try new recipes and buy the required ingredients but rarely do pantry staples and my go-to weekly meals change.
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CATEGORIES: Discussions & Ideas, New Ingredients | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 3

September 8th, 2014

Watch a cooking demonstration, get an autographed sneak preview copy of Martha’s book and hang out together! Who’s in?
Martha Stewart copy

I have been impressed with Martha Stewart’s ability to transform living spaces, create delicious meals, and even craft useful items out of everyday things lying around, like a female MacGyver with a perfect bouffant. But I am most impressed and in awe of Martha Stewart’s business savvy. There are a lot of talented women who can garden, craft and cook but there are very few who can build and oversee an empire for decades.
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CATEGORIES: Book Reviews, Chicago Finds & Favorites | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 1

August 26th, 2014

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This past spring I visited Green City Market in Chicago where a farmer introduced me to dry cobs of corn. He explained how I could put them in a paper bag and pop the corn in the microwave, no oil needed. I bought them mostly out of disbelief and as a fun experiment to try with the kids.
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CATEGORIES: Uncategorized | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 5

August 19th, 2014

Read on to learn how you can win this beautiful book, which includes recipes but also reads as a cultural culinary adventure.

charcuteria Though I dream of a life where I have the time to gather obscure ingredients, purchase new equipment and design a space in my basement to cure freshly crafted sausages, this book is most likely to live on my coffee table. And, it is worthy of such placement. Jeffrey Weiss has written a notably unique book for the American readership; Charcutería is a detailed exploration of the traditional meat-curing and butchering techniques from the Iberian peninsula.
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CATEGORIES: Book Reviews | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 16

August 12th, 2014

A few things that I’m excited about this summer.

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Once again, I have been a delinquent blogger. Well, I have been too busy enjoying summer. And, dealing with my daughters broken arm, a sewage flood in the basement and a change of employees at my office. But, I don’t mean to complain because none of the hardships this summer have been of a critical nature and I’ve been enjoying many wonderful discoveries along the way. Some of which, I would like to share with you….

1. Steigl Radler

This grapefruit-scented beer is taking the summer of 2014 by storm. I discovered this beer by accident while watching the World Cup finals. Knowing it might be a long afternoon at the bar followed by a requirement to return home and responsibly take care of my children all evening, I scanned the extensive draft beer list at O’Shaugnessey’s and chose Steigl Radler for its low alcohol percentage. When the tall glass arrived, the bright scent of grapefruit wafted off the foam. My first sip was an eyebrow raising, eureka moment. Since then, I’ve been ordering Radler wherever I can find it and bringing cans home to have on hand. Steigl Radler is my idea of summer sipping heaven. And, for those of you who are disheartened by the under 3% alcohol content, I’ve been told many times that a shot of gin poured in the glass is what the cool kids are doing. 
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CATEGORIES: Book Reviews, Chicago Finds & Favorites | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 2

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.
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CATEGORIES: Main Dish | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 4

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.

apricot-yogurt

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!
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CATEGORIES: Breads & Breakfast, Sides & Snacks | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 4

June 6th, 2014

And, recipes for a Thai Ginger Cooler and Ginger Lychee Martini. Perfect summer sipping.
lychee-ginger-prairie-Organic-vodka

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.
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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.
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CATEGORIES: Breads & Breakfast | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 2

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.
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CATEGORIES: Food Experiences, Food Finds by City | Link to this post
COMMENTS: 2

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