This is a blog written by a 20-something PR professional in the Second City. Follow along as I chronicle my outfits, DIY projects, social events and more. Thanks for stopping by!
Category Archives: Recipe
This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #ServeWithACoke #Jewel #CollectiveBias
I talk a lot about Steve’s and my relationship and how it’s changed since our wedding, but one thing I haven’t mentioned are how we cook for each other as a married couple. Frankly, because weeknight dinner isn’t together. Whenever I tell friends this they’re shocked. How could we live together and not make dinners for each other?! The fact of the matter is that Steve is a verrrry picky eater. I won’t go into his specific meal routine in this post (but I will definitely share it at a later time – it’s almost comical). All you need to know is that Steve eats the same thing every.single.night. And it’s always a single-serving chicken breast. So typically the only way for me to get him to switch up his meal and enjoy dinner with me is when we can compromise, and that usually still involves chicken. Thankfully, our apartment building is actually attached to a Jewel-Osco and we found a quick and delicious meal that we both agree on. Even better – no one has to do the cooking!
I’ve turned Steve on to the deliciousness of rotisserie chickens through Jewel signature meal deals. We both agree on the main course (chicken), and then can split the options of sides as well as pick out a beverage to pair with it. Now that it’s summer, I love to serve the meal with a refreshing glass of Gold Peak® Diet Tea. It’s like a sweet tea but without all of the added sugar. Eating our rotisserie chicken together reminds me of dinners I used to have with my family when we just needed something on the table that was quick, and inexpensive. Best of all, it can usually stretch to be a few meals and repurposed into other recipes, one of which I share at the end of this post.
As soon as Steve and I started putting together our wedding registry I began dreaming about all of the new kitchen utensils and appliances I could add. I used to be a big cook (in fact it’s my goal for age 30 to get back into the hobby), and there are kitchen items I always felt like I was missing. One being a cast iron skillet. Never mind that I could only think of a few cast iron skillet recipes to try, I just assumed owning a cast iron skillet would open a world of possibilities. And oh, how it has. (more…)
You might have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet out in blog land. With my wedding nearly just two weeks away (!!!!) I’ve taken a break from creating new content so I focus on the Big Day. But I couldn’t let today pass by without sharing photos from a Cinco de Mayo party Sarah recently threw to enjoy some good food and drinks she and her fiance like to bring back from Mexico. It definitely was the perfect thing to brighten up what was an otherwise dreary week.
Sarah held a tequila vs. mezcal taste-off. I already knew I liked tequila and figured that’d come out on top. I was right! Have you ever had mezcal? I don’t think I could get used to the smoked taste. Maya, Randi, Katie and Jess were also there and they all agree. Even with the syrup mixture Sarah made for a mezcal mixed drink, it was still too strong for me. Want to know more about the two spirits and how you can incorporate them into your summer drinks? Visit Sarah’s blog. She also has a really good ice cube hack on there.
Continue reading for more colorful photos (They make me so happy – thanks Maya and Randi for snapping!) as well as a word of thanks to everyone who provided something for the party, including these adorable flower crowns. I’ve decided it just simply isn’t a party without one. 🙂 Have a great Friday! (more…)
I don’t often talk about my professional life, but I figured today could be a time to let you into that side of things. As I allude to on some of my social media accounts, I work at a communications agency where my responsibilities include public relations and digital strategies. My roles at work often bleed into what I do with my blog, and vice versa. This can be great from a professional development angle, but also extremely tough to balance everything. My coworkers often ask me how I do it all, and to be honest some weeks I just don’t know, or I just can’t! For those weeks when I do need to do it all, I’ve learned what I need and where I need to make sacrifices. Keep reading to learn more.
One of the reasons Steve and I like living where we do is because of the amenities. We’re in a great building that has plenty of bonus features, including a hot tub and community grills. (These amenities do come at a cost, though. The two of us are sharing a junior one bedroom.) Despite us saying we’re here for the amenities, it’s easy to take them for granted. I rarely relax in the hot tub, even when it looks so appealing. I tell myself that I don’t have time, that I can do it the next night.
The same goes for the community grills. Sometimes when dinner rolls around I’ll suggest grilling out, but our hunger leads us to say “Let’s not go to the grocery store tonight. We can do that this weekend.” Of course, the grills are always forgotten by the time it’s the weekend. I was determined to change that, though, for last weekend’s girls’ night in. After a quick Pinterest search, I found an easy, delicious foil dinner recipe. I marched over to the grocery store to get the ingredients.
I chose a foil dinner because it reminded me of Girl Scout camp. We made foil dinners over campfires and I remember them being delicious. If I could master cooking on a fire as a 10 year old, the grill couldn’t be much harder. Right? I chose a very simple and quick recipe that didn’t call for any marinating. Within 15 minutes of chopping and slicing, I had placed everything in the foil packets. All that was left to do was drink champagne as we waited for the food to cook.
I was happy to see that the food turned out delicious. And not just for my guests, but for me, too! I made quite a bit for leftovers so I could enjoy the smoked taste without needing to light up the grill again. Sarah and I brainstormed other foil recipes, which I’m excited to try next. It seems like the perfect thing to share with Steve on our next date night.
Foil dinner recipe
I used a foil dinner recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. While it seems as if anything would have been delicious cooked in a foil dinner, I think her seasoning made the meal. Check it out to make your own summer dinner.
My fiancé and I are both big fans of brunch, but in different ways. When we started dating he always wanted to make our dates at brunch time, but I preferred to make something for myself at home. Eggs, toast, etc. are so easy and cheap that I like to cook them at home to enjoy the morning in my pjs in front of the TV. Steve still loves to go out for brunch (here’s our favorite spot) but I have converted him to making our own meals some mornings, especially now that we’re branching out in what we cook. Recently, we’ve been making homemade quiche. Quiche is so easy to make but feels so fancy it elevates an at-home brunch.
We use this Martha Stewart homemade quiche recipe with slight modifications. Steve doesn’t like any form of onions, so leeks are out. We also use whole milk instead of cream to be a little healthier. It still turns out delicious and fluffy! If you are going to make a homemade quiche, be prepared to wait to eat. It takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare and then another 50 to bake. You could also always make the dish the night before and then reheat slices in the morning for yourself!
If a whole quiche seems like more food than you need, make individual crustless quiche in muffin tins. You can save the extra homemade quiche for breakfast throughout the week. Enjoy!
Even though I had the most relaxing weekend, it was still tough to get out of bed this morning, so I thought it only fitting to kick off the week with a post about coffee. Hope you’ve all had your daily cup, because no talkie before coffee, right? I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Big Shoulders Coffee roastery in the West Loop and was enthralled by the process. Seriously, I don’t think I or the other bloggers in attendance ever knew coffee and the roasting process could be so interesting! We really quizzed owner and founder Tim Coonan about the process and came out with a new appreciation of what it takes to make our morning cup o’ joe.
One of the most interesting tidbits I learned is that coffee comes from a fruit. Does that surprise you? The bean is actually the pit of a plant that grows on trees all over the world. The roasting process helps change the flavor of these beans. Big Shoulders Coffee has their own roasting process which we got to witness on our tour. You can taste the outcome of their small roasted batches at their café on Chicago Street or by purchasing Big Shoulders Coffee at a local grocery store like Mariano’s. And you might want to buy a lot of bags. I personally enjoy one or two cups of coffee a day, but Tim told us that he was recently on a talk show with a medical expert who suggested people drink four to six cups a day to enjoy health benefits for the liver and to prevent adult onset diabetes. I don’t know about you, but I’d be shaking with that much caffeine!
I also learned that making a great cup of coffee at home takes more work than just buying good beans or grounds. Here are tips from Big Shoulders Coffee owner Tim Coonan on how to brew a great cup of coffee:
- Keep your equipment clean.
- Use fresh coffee, visit Big Shoulders weekly! Or pick up a bag of Big Shoulders beans at your local Mariano’s or Whole Foods stores.
- Match the grind to the brewing method and use a burr grinder. (A common mistake is grinding too fine.)
- Use a scale and a ratio of 1 part coffee to 15 parts water as a starting point and play with this mix based on brewing method and your flavor preference. An example is 33 grams of coffee to 500 grams of water.
- Use filtered water heated to 204 degrees.
- Bloom the coffee by pouring just enough to moisten the grounds but not actually brew, allowing the water and coffee to get to know each other and not have just a fleeting romance.
- Allow 1 minute after the bloom before you start to actually brew.
Auto Drip Brewing Method:
- Repeat steps 1 & 2 from above.
- A basic formula for home auto-brewing is two tablespoons of freshly ground Big Shoulders coffee per cup of coffee. It is a very common mistake to under-dose the coffee. By following the above, you will make your morning coffee an extravagant and very affordable luxury.
Thank you so much to Big Shoulders Coffee for having me out to your roasting facility. It was a great way to kick off a Saturday morning and expand my knowledge of something so ingrained in our everyday life!
Visit Big Shoulders Coffee’s website to learn more about how to visit them and their different brews.
I know I am so late to this baking trend, but I recently made sea salt cookies and just had to share the recipe with you! I got the idea after many years of loving on Trader Joe’s sea salt brownies, and then wondering what else I could incorporate sea salt into to create even tastier desserts. Googling it, I realized a lot! I picked up a bottle of sea salt in the seasoning aisle and went to work.
I googled “sea salt cookies” and simply went with one of the top recipes to pop up in my search. The recipe I chose is shared by Valerie Bertinelli on the Food Network site. It calls for chocolate chips and caramels, but I only had butterscotch and chocolate chips in my cabinet. The cookies were still sinfully delicious! I even saved some batter to make a second batch for visitors, and have had to hold myself back from eating too much cookie dough!
If you’re like me and behind in baking trends I’d suggest picking up sea salt for your supplies. It took the cookies to another level! And try this Caramel Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies recipe, with whatever sweets you have around.
Being that it’s Leap Day, my head is kind of in the clouds. Does anyone else think this extra 24 hours should be a holiday? Sadly, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t daydream about the Galentine’s Day party I recently held. It’s a tradition to have all of my girlfriends over for brunch and just catch up with gals from all parts of my life. Now, many of them have met year after year or at other gatherings so it’s even more fun for us to get together and catch up!
Continue reading for details about the Galentine’s Day party and some tips on how to entertain no matter how small your space or budget. (more…)
One of my favorite – and most tempting – sweets to make around the holidays is candied nuts. I try to trick myself into thinking they’re healthier than cookies and chocolates, and maybe they are with less artificial sugars and butter, but it sure it hard to stop at the serving size. Have you ever tried a candied nut recipe? Then you know what I’m talking about.
Despite the danger to my waistline, I typically make these every holiday when I’m required to bring a passing dish or when I need simple gift to show my appreciation for someone. Barring no nut allergies, they’re usually well-received and any leftovers I have make for an amazing salad topping.
This year I tried this candied nut recipe which only calls for whipped egg whites and a few spices. Although most recipes call for just one type of nut, I like to combine pecans and cashews, two of my favorites. And trust me, no one complains when I deviate from the recipe.