Every spring, just as we’re starting to get a few days above thirty degrees, I have the same dream. It’s starts out quite boring – it’s one of those dreams that seems like just an extension of your regular day. I’m going about my business walking the dog or coming home from work and all of a sudden I really start looking at my surroundings and there are morels everywhere. The more I look the more I see! There’s a patch growing next to my peonies! There’s a large yellow one growing next to my fence. I sometimes even spot a tip popping out of a snow bank just waiting for me to pluck it. I don’t think I have dreams where I am as happy as I am in my morel mushroom dreams. Sadly I wake up to reality. It’s still March and we’re a long way off from morel season. Even when they are in season I never have luck like that. Have you ever been morel hunting? When I was younger and had more time we would spend hours on end traipsing around the woods looking for morels. Of the countless times we went I only found them once and when I did I found like 4. Regardless I was ecstatic! Foraging for your own food can be magical. (more…)
It is no secret that I love beer. I am one of those people (I can feel Sheila rolling her eyes already) who will sit and chat with my server about their selection of draft beers ad nauseum. What type of hops? How long was it barrel-aged? Would you classify it as sessionable? Is there more of a malt finish? And so on and so on – some real hipster shit. I am spoiled with the craft beer scene in Chicago. I feel like there’s always a new brewery I haven’t heard of or a must-try collaboration for the upcoming season. If you drop by my house I’ll have a few six packs of local stuff but what I always have on hand by the case load is Tecate. Some people sneer when I tell them about my affinity for the Mexican lager but it is my go-to beer all summer long. I don’t recommend drinking it straight but just add a generous squeeze of lime and you’re good to go. It’s everything I want in a summer beer. It’s light and not too high on the ABV making it quite sessionable. I can drink it when I’m just hanging out grilling in the backyard or I can drink it when I’ve come home from work and about to take care of business in the studio. (more…)
I was harshly reminded this past month that there are no guarantees. We go through our lives assuming we have almost endless tomorrows but the sad fact is that we don’t. Our lives can change in an instant and we may have less time than we would have ever imagined.
There were some health scares recently that brought this to the forefront of my mind, both for me personally and for my family. It’s hard to know what to do when your loved ones are in crisis; especially when you’re not physically there. The only thing I could think of was to cook because when you cook for people they feel cared for and I wanted so badly to let my family know that I care for them. (more…)
As someone of Irish descent who thoroughly enjoys drinking, St Patrick’s Day is a day filled with joy. When I was younger it was a great excuse to get hammered in the morning, wear puke green sweaters and woo a lot. I’d look forward to kegs full of green beer and the chance to be overly prideful of my Irish heritage. It was a huge deal and I made an ass out of myself each and every year. (more…)
There are places around town where I am simply known as the hummus girl. Like, Hey! So glad to see you! You’ve got the hummus right?! It’s quite an odd thing to be known for and you’d swear with the feverish way people ask about it that it would actually be code for marijuana. It’s really not though – it’s just that the hummus I sell at these pop up markets is that good! (more…)
I’m not the best when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It always seems to sneak up on me even though the stores are filled with giant teddy bears and colorful balloons-on-sticks at the start of the New Year. I’m not anti Valentine’s Day I just never give myself enough time to pull off something grand. Even if I don’t plan an overly romantic night out, I do love this holiday because you take time to appreciate your relationship and show how much you care for your love. I am a sap when it comes to romance so you better believe our first Valentine’s Day as married peeps is going to be a good one.
Back when I lived in Old Irving Park I used to pick up orders at a small Polish bakery on my way to work. Delightful Pastries was in Jefferson Park so it was a straight shot for me on my way to Niles. Delightful Pastries makes some seriously good treats! It’s run by a mother daughter team but really the whole family seems to be involved. Dobra & Stasia focus on using local, natural ingredients in all of their baked goods and the quality of the finished product definitely reflects this.
I would come in to pick up orders and there was always donuts, croissants or danishes waiting for me with the order. Often times the sunflower rye bread would be just finished baking and need to cool before being sliced so they would sit me down with some milk and a pastry while I waited. I took that time to peruse all of their different offerings and people watch all of the ladies coming into the bakery to order their morning treats. They would speak Polish and it would remind me of my childhood as my best friend growing up was Polish. I was always fascinated when I would hear her mother speaking Polish to relatives over the phone. We never spoke different languages to any of our relatives (they’re Irish Catholics through and through) so I found the Polish language wonderfully exotic and romantic. I no longer pick up from Delightful Pastries. We get deliveries from Dobra’s father once a week now but I occasionally find myself missing this simple morning ritual. (more…)
It’s official! We’re going to have an early Spring! I heard just this morning that Punxsutawney Phil saw no shadow so winter is over or soon to be over. (It was then also independently verified by our own Woodstock Willie.) I’m not quite sure how any of this works but regardless I’ve got a good feeling about February. January was relatively mild in Chicago which is a welcome change from the past couple of years (I’m looking at you January 2014) but I still found myself having a hard time being motivated to make a healthy & tasty dinner at the end of the day. This is where the Grain Bowl really shines! It comes together quickly and can be adjusted based on what you’ve got on hand. No runs to the store required.
Here’s how I envision January during the holidays: There I am in the not too distant future – only eating healthy, detoxifying foods and running 10 miles a week all while organizing my home, being mindful of the moments and creating reaching yet attainable goals for the year ahead! I only use social media for good and wash my face twice a day!!! I am my highest functioning self and am incredibly jazzed about it! (more…)
Holidays on Ice was the first David Sedaris book I read and of all the stories in the book Santaland Diaries was my obvious favorite. We still read it aloud every few years to get in the snarky Christmas Spirit! There’s just something so heart warming and genuine about Krumpet’s misadventures around the Magic Tree. If you’re in the Chicago area I highly recommend going to Santaland Diaries at the Wit. You get to see it preformed in all of its elfin glory while sipping on a cocktail or two – the perfect holiday tradition!