happy paczki day!

i am half polish therefore i know all about paczki and i sadly know about how many calories are in one…. but these are for our pittie:
yes doggy paczki, strawberry-banana, sweet potato and peanut butter, from the happy dog barkery! she of course went nuts over them!

for good measure. here is a human one too:

where are the best paczki?

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whole wheat blueberry waffles

when we were registering for our wedding shower, i was on the fence about getting a waffle iron. those products that really only do one thing can some times be a waste of space, money or just gets shoved in the basement to never be found again. my husband wanted one and i decided lets put one one the registry and if we get one then it was meant to me. we are pancake eaters we have pancakes about once a week. we sometimes even have them for dinner. so i don’t think it was a total stretch for us when we ended up getting it.

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we picked out this one. i liked that it makes the big, thick, fluffy waffles, and that it flipped for cooking the sides evenly. and amazon reviewer gave it great reviews. we are so happy with it and use it 3-5 times a month.

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as you can see i have not mastered the amount of batter to put in, but i make less of a mess every time, so i’m hopeful.

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i used a pretty basic whole wheat waffle recipe:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries

i combined all ingredients into a bowl and mixed, poured batter into waffle maker then added blueberries. then enjoyed with syrup. made about 4 waffles in my maker, probably one more if i hadn’t gotten the batter everywhere.

fun fact: our first dance song was banana pancakes by jack johnson

sweet saturday: my bad

i love bakerella, not just for the cake pop craze but she has some real good looking sweets. and many of them are on my must make list. so when i wanted to make cupcakes i went right to bakerella’s Bourbon Sweet Potato Cupcakes. I have had them before and they were to die for so i dove right in.

here comes the my bad part: i made a few mistakes pretty much ruining these cupcakes. the first being me not wanting to waste the sweet potatoes and used more like 2 cups instead of the 1 the recipe called for, next i bought cheap bourbon… stupid stupid stupid…i really should have splurged and bought the good stuff. Lastly i was lazy and mixed the glaze and glaze frosting concoction… once again stupid, stupid, stupid.

one thing i did right was the candied pecans, i didn’t feel like dragging the deep fryer out, so i found a recipe that baked the pecans. i once again didn’t completely follow the recipe, i sort of threw all the ingredients in a bowl, mixed and baked. result was heaven, i could have eaten my weight plus my husbands weight in the pecans. my house smelled so wonderful for the next few hours, i wish that never ended.

lesson learned, when bakerella tells you how to make something… make it her way and don’t try to change it, she knows what she’s talking about. my cupcakes were a chewy weird consistency, the glaze was eh, it would have been much better with better bourbon. now i know better.

we’re joining a csa

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i have been married for 3 months now, and there have been lots of conversations about our future. kids. our home. money. etc. something i’ve been thinking about is our health and how we eat. i think over all we’re pretty average, we eat out a few nights a week and i cook the rest. i like to cook fresh all from scratch but sometimes it just has to be something frozen i throw fresh veggies or meat into to.  i would ultimately like to move away from eating processed meals (i’m saying meals and not foods, sorry there are just some processed foods i do like, this is moving away from the meals being entirely processed). i’m not going to tell you we’re not going to eat process anything because we will, sorry but it happens. i am just a normal average, slightly nerdy human who is from chicago and will never give up hot dogs.

a few things first, i like to eat, i like to try new things, i like to cook and i like to cook new things. so i am trying to view this as a challenge taking me outside of my comfort zone. i also love sugar… some food bloggers are taking this healthy eating to the extreme, but really i want to enjoy my food and find the best ways to have a good and healthy balance. one of my biggest concerns is the cost of this healthy eating, my husband and i make a decent and comfortable living, but in no way could i afford to do all my shopping at whole foods. i do have a weekly budget of what we spend of food, it’s sometime a looser or tighter budget. but i try to stay around it.

some of the food bloggers i follow always talk about buying local and csa. i never really thought to look more into this, i mean i live in the suburbs of chicago, what can i get beside corn and soybeans? i decided we need to start researching more and just commit.  hence my csa search began. in the summers i would always try and get to the farmers markets and get fruits and veggies (often causing me to go over budget, but i felt it was worth it). so i started looking up farms i knew were at my local farmers markets. that really didn’t lead me anywhere. so i googled csa in il, and there was a ton of information out there, how had i not known any of this. there are farm fresh veggies and fruits available straight through local farmers… um WHAT??? you can pick up, get it delivered, even with some choose which veggies you want. also you can get meat and eggs. after reading and reading and reading most of the information. i narrowed our choices down to two places, triple a farms and genesis growers. emails filled with questions went out right away to their contacts. in no way am i endorsing either one, this is just my own personal experience.

after tallying up the pros and cons we decided to go with genesis growners. Vicki (the farmer) even put me in touch of someone actively involved in their csa program, so i got some insider info which was a big help. no one i know has ever done this before. we decided on a medium share being shared between us and my mom. genesis offers a grow chart of what’s in season and when, so we kind of know what to expect, also we get a weekly email about what’s going on at the farm and about the crops we will see in our box. with this csa we do get some fruits, not local but from still from partnered regional farms. all in all this seems to us like a good idea, we’re supporting local farms, we’re getting fresh off the vine/stalk/whatever veggies (mostly organic), i think the price is reasonable and there is a pick up point on my way home from work.

this is a new journey and experience for us. i hope you follow along. anyone else thinking of doing csa or have done or currently doing one? any advice? i can’t wait to get our first box!

i wanna wednesday

i wanna eat (something other then brunch) at bistro campagne. a few mother’s days ago my brother and i took my mom to the chopping block in lincoln square for the knife skills class. after we left with our giant bag-o-veggies we were hungry. we walked lincoln ave to see where could stop in for a bite to eat, places like ForkCafe SelmarieBrauhaus and etc. were packed. so we kept walking and came across a small sort of hidden, hole in the wall kind of place, we opened the doors to a cute, cozy restaurant, perfect for mother’s day brunch, i had a special of eggs florentine. it was glorious, it has to be in the top ten meals i’ve ever eaten. it was the most perfectly poached egg i have ever tasted, you could tell the ingredients were fresh, perfectly seasoned and you could tell there was real passion in the kitchen.

images from bistro campagne website

i’d love to try some more menu items here. actually i have plans to take a friend there soon because i keep talking about it, sad part is i already know my order, gratin de macaroni or socca provençale, and must have pretty much anything off the dessert menu too.

any recommendations of what the must have items are here?

juicy-o: i had a groupon

one way i like to try restaurants is using groupon/you swoop/amazon deals. i’m on a budget and eating out is not cheap. so these deals give me the push i need to try out these restaurants i may never try otherwise. so when i saw the juicy-o groupon up i purchased it right away. it’s been in the burbs for awhile, just opening a new location pretty close to my home.

i apologize for the bad cell phone pictures, i’m not used to hauling my camera around yet, i have to build my confidence on that. their menu is pretty large, offering classic breakfast and lunch items. um and hello they bring you fresh made doughnuts right away. they have one of those awesome little doughnut makers just plugging away.  i always have a tough time passing up breakfast so i went with pops breakfast. 2 eggs over, on crispy european toast, fresh basil sauce, bacon & jimmy’s potatoes. also with a name like juicy-o they make their own juice. the orange was something i wish i could have pumped into my house, and i also tried the cranberry, which was also awesome.

over all it was good, the eggs were cooked well, the bacon was crispy, and the potatoes were tasty. i would have preferred more of the basil sauce over the eggs then the eggs cooked in it. but over all i think this is a place i would go to again to try some other menu items.

the decor consisted of all these sarcastic and jokey posters covering the walls, wide open spaces and lots of friendly staff.

if hungry for lunch or breakfast and nearby, i suggest giving it a try.

i wanna wednesday

i wanna eat at graham elliot! i first saw graham elliot on top chef masters, and noticed he had a chicago restaurant. sweet so going to check it out.

but so far it hasn’t been in the stars, i have been there twice, once to find it closed and the other to look at the menu and the group i was with didn’t want to spend that much money on food they didn’t understand. so we ended up at cafe iberico. but one day i would so love to eat there. i need to start saving my pennies though…

images from graham elliot website

BUT… when i was on the website today to get the correct address, i saw this. so now i totally wan to eat there. way more affordable and i don’t think i’ll feel like i stick out like a sore thumb in  jeans and a tee.

anyone try any of graham elliot’s places? thoughts? suggestions??

and i think i need the g’wich popcorn and vanilla bean ice cream like now! oh and an orange ginger soda too! i think this list will get longer if i keep looking at the menu.

i wanna wednesday

i wanna eat at jam, i keep hearing about it and seeing peoples pictures on fb and it looks and sounds amazing! i drool over a perfectly cooked egg, i’ve always over cooked my eggs not on purpose i just didn’t know any better. everything from the interior, plates and logo look to be designed with care and detail of a master.

images from jam website

for now i will just drool over these pictures and vow to make it there soon. any recommendations on what to order? or the best time to go?