Chicken Noodle Soup

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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…)

Sparkling Persimmon Margaritas

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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!sparkling-persimmon-margarita-12sparkling-persimmon-margarita-4
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Braun Derby | A Brown Derby with a German Twist

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Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart
Anymore

Right now, in my house, Adele is everything.

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Roasted Romanesco with Smoked Garlic Chive Sauce

 

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I had just moved to Chicago with Sheila and my friend Erika with absolutely no job prospects. I had committed to a lease that was higher than I had ever paid and had very little money saved. I needed a job fast. It was December of 2008 – the recession was hitting hard. You could see it in the empty store-fronts and the boarded up foreclosures but worst of all you could see it in the faces of your family and friends. Times were hard. People were losing their jobs, their homes. It was a hell of a time to be a recent college graduate. I had been working as a CNA in a nursing home and in home healthcare settings since I had graduated in 2007. It was truly humbling to take care of people’s most basic of needs, day in and day out. The work was hard but there were moments when you’d connect with the people you were helping and it would be undeniably rewarding. Even during the good times though I wanted something different so when I moved to Chicago I figured now was as good a time as any to try something new. It was by chance one morning I was able to connect to a neighbor’s wifi and peruse craigslist for job postings. I must have applied to 20 jobs, none that actually stood out. I just wanted to be in an office, working with other people. Using my education and my creativity would be great but I really just wanted to be challenged to complete tasks and projects or hell, even just organize files. I was done feeding, cleaning, bathing, dressing. (more…)

Sheila’s Dirty Shirley

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As a woman in her late 20’s (OK well I guess I’m officially 30 as of the solstice) I attend quite a few weddings throughout the summer. The invitations have been slowing recently as a majority of my close friends are now married but there’s usually at least a couple tucked into my summer schedule. If the bartenders are willing, my go to wedding cocktail is an old fashioned. Simple but strong enough to get the job done. Sheila’s go to wedding cocktail is a little different – it’s the Dirty Shirley. Not familiar with it? It’s a Shirley Temple with vodka. It’s quite tasty but it often raises a few eyebrows. Typically I’m the one getting drinks for the two of us and without a doubt I get carded every time I order a Dirty Shirley, every time. (more…)

Tequila Lime Salad

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There used to be a little family owned Mexican spot on St. Charles Road called Tierra Grill that was the best Mexican food in the area hands down. Like seriously good, authentic food made fresh to order. I heard they also had the best margaritas but sadly they lost their liquor license before I had a chance to try them. Obviously I would order tacos, enchiladas and elotes on the regular but I often had the hardest time choosing between these classics and their tequila salad. I know, I know. Salad? Over enchiladas and elotes? But seriously there was something magical about the tequila dressing that made it the most addictive and satisfying salad I’ve ever eaten. They’ve been closed well over 5 years now but the thing I still find myself missing is the tequila salad. (more…)

Gin and Jam | Strawberry Rhubarb Cocktail

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Strawberry Rhubarb is my jam! No, but really it is actually my jam. The local strawberry season is usually just getting starting around my birthday and rhubarb is almost always aplenty so naturally strawberry rhubarb has been the go to flavor profile for my birthday desserts.  I’ve come to anticipate the classic combo as my birthday draws near but am totally burned out on strawberry rhubarb crisp and pie. Since the solstice is a time of celebration what better way to incorporate my love for these early summer favorites than with a tasty cocktail. (more…)

Baba Ganoush

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Baba Ganoush is one of my favorite dips! It’s creamy, rich and smoky which makes it feel indulgent even though it’s really not. Charred roasted eggplants give it a touch of richness and the tahini makes it extra smooth and creamy. It’s the prefect dip to bring to a party because it is Vegan and Gluten-Free so you know everyone can enjoy it. It’s actually best to make it the day before as it develops more flavor as it sits in the fridge over night allowing you precious time before the party to choose the perfect beer to bring.baba-ganoush-3

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Roasted Apricot Yogurt Bowl

Roasted Apricot Yogurt Bowl | The Solstice Table

Roasted Apricot Yogurt Bowl | The Solstice Table
I can be pretty impatient when it comes to local produce. My Instagram feed doesn’t help the situation at all. All of you amazing food bloggers living on the west coast posting your market pics of fresh stone fruit, berries and heirloom tomatoes in May (seriously?!) makes me somewhat delusional. I start expecting to see local strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb and peas just a few weeks after a soul-sucking cold spell. If you live in the Midwest you have to have a short memory – it’s required. You quickly forget how unforgivably cold winter is and wholeheartedly believe that long lazy summer days will never end. I really shouldn’t be so delusional. I know better – I really do, but every spring I find myself puzzled as to how crops need actual time and light to grow. (more…)

Smoked Cheddar Egg Sandwich with Bacon Jam

Smoked Cheddar Egg Sandwich with Bacon Jam

Smoked Cheddar Egg Sandwich with Bacon Jam

Smoked Cheddar Egg Sandwich with Bacon Jam
Sunday mornings are my favorite part of the week. Regardless of what we’ve got going on we always make time for a fantastic breakfast. Typically it will include some sort of pancake, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee – copious amounts of coffee. I was feeling a little burnt out on pancakes and wanted something savory but equally as decadent. Our thick cut bacon was not making the cut for a Sunday Level breakfast so I decided to make it into a sweet and savory bacon jam! Slathered over english muffins with apple smoked cheddar, peppery arugula and farm fresh eggs, the bacon jam totally made these sammies Sunday worthy. (more…)