Chocolate-Covered Blueberry Bread Pudding

bread pudding recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias You know how kids ask, as soon as they have finished eating: "Can I have dessert?" At least my kids do that. The truth is, I feel much the same myself. Forty years on this earth have not diminished my sweet … [Read more...]

How to Make Hamantaschen

hamantaschen recipe

In the interest of keeping it real, I will confess that I tried very hard this week to create a recipe for salted caramel Hamantaschen. Doesn't that sound amazing? Well, don't get too attached because I never managed to make it work. First, the caramel leaked out. Then my attempt to make empty Hamantaschen shells that I could fill with caramel … [Read more...]

Hamantaschen Galette

purim dessert

Wednesday at sundown, the Jewish festival of Purim begins. Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from an evil government minister, named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish community in ancient Persia. In essence, Purim is the Jewish “carnival” holiday — every culture has one — where people are encouraged to dress in costume, … [Read more...]

Dominique Ansel’s Banana Bread (Sort Of)

best ever banana bread recipe

When I saw that the inventor of the Cronut had created a banana bread recipe, I expected that recipe to make the best banana bread I had ever tasted. I probably expected it to be fattening. (Not as fattening as it turned out to be.) I did not expect that recipe for banana bread to be even easier than the fairly straightforward recipe that I was … [Read more...]

DIY Pokemon Cupcakes

how to make pokemon cupcakes

As the deadline for my book manuscript approaches, I find more and more ways to procrastinate. This week, the project that was more compelling than my work was making cupcakes for JR's eighth birthday party. Confession: I do not usually bake for my children's birthday parties. Some years ago, I found a baker in my area who makes amazing custom … [Read more...]

February 2015 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

Last Sunday, February 15, was the February meeting of the Chicago Food Swap As I trudged through the snow, wind howling around me, on my way to the Fearless Food Kitchen in the Broadway Armory Field House, I suddenly remembered that the 2014 February Chicago Food Swap took place in similarly bad weather. Note to self: perhaps skip February next … [Read more...]

Apple & Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

apple and bleu cheese stuffed chicken breast

Today’s post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce, a Michigan grower and distributor of twenty-four delicious varieties of apples. Look for Jonagold Apples from Riveridge Produce at a special price of only $.68 per pound in Mariano's stores all over Chicago from February 19-25. Did you know that it is still apple season? It is! Many varieties … [Read more...]

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust

chicken pot pie recipe

Chicken pot pie must be such a great way to use up leftover chicken and vegetables. How often do you have leftover chicken and vegetables though? It's not a common occurrence around here. If I waited until I was stuck on how to use all this leftover chicken to make chicken pot pie, I would be waiting a long time. And my family is not that … [Read more...]

Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Nightwood

chicago restaurant week

My third and final 2015 Restaurant Week meal was lunch at Nightwood,  the Pilsen restaurant owned and operated by the Lula Cafe team. Located on an out-of-the-way corner -- hey, at least there's street parking -- Nightwood is a pleasant spot with exposed brick walls, a windowed front wall and deeply 70's leather chairs. I gather the outdoor patio … [Read more...]

Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: GT Fish & Oyster

gt fish and oyster

Another day, another Restaurant Week meal. This time, my $22, pre-fixe lunch came courtesy of GT Fish & Oyster. This was my third visit to this nationally recognized, East Coast style seafood restaurant and once again, I was reminded why I love it. GT Fish & Oyster is one of the restaurants that does not condescend to its Restaurant … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Cheesecake Brownies

valentine's day desserts

In my view, the best reason to make brownies from scratch is so that you can add cheesecake to them. I’d turn down the chocolatiest, fudgiest brownie any day for a swirly, marbleized cream cheese brownie. The slight tanginess of the cream cheese is the perfect foil for the richness of the chocolate. Better than either cheesecake or a plain brownie, … [Read more...]

Better than Take-Out Vegetable Biryani

indian food at home

Sometimes the tail wags the dog around here. I had a big batch of cucumber and mint raita sitting in the refrigerator -- a recipe that I had developed for my upcoming cookbook on food swapping -- and needed to come up with a way to use it. I have always enjoyed heaping cool, refreshing raita on biryani, the spicy South Asian mixed rice dish, when … [Read more...]

Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Blackbird

chicago restaurant week

Did you know that Chicago Restaurant Week is happening right now? From January 30-February 12, over two hundred and fifty restaurants in the city and suburbs — including some three and four-star restaurants — are offering special pre-fixe menus of three and four courses for $22 a person at lunch and $33 or $44 a person at dinner. (Tax, tip and … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

valentine's day treats

Did you catch me on WCIU's "You & Me This Morning" talking about homemade Valentine's Day gift ideas from the Chicago Food Swap? What a fun segment that was! If you would like the recipes for the projects that I demonstrated, you will find them all on the Chicago Food Swap website. I am posting the recipe for the Valentine's Day … [Read more...]

Cheddar Apple Pigs in a Blanket

super bowl party recipes

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. Are you hosting a party, attending one or just watching with your family? Whatever your plans are, you will need a killer game-time snack. Enter, my Cheddar Apple Chicken Sausage Bites. I originally posted this recipe last year at this time, but it is still a winner. So I am posting it again for all you … [Read more...]

Weeknight Dinner: Turkey Sloppy Joes

sloppy joe recipe

  A high school classmate of mine recently referred to family dinner as a "nightly condom commercial." That's pretty grim. My kids are older than his, so my feelings about family dinner may be slightly less bleak. But family dinner is not the most relaxing twenty minutes -- because that is how long my kids will sit at the table -- of my day. … [Read more...]

Healthy Snack Idea: Homemade Plum Almond Granola Bars

homemade granola bars

It's okay to snack. Really. Snacks are part of a healthy diet. No one should be expected to go from lunch until dinner without some fuel. What do you think will happen when you sit down to dinner utterly famished? That's exactly how overeating happens. In fact, smart snacking may be the key to that new year's resolution to eat healthy that you made … [Read more...]

Duck Fat Roasted Root Vegetables

roasted root vegetables in duck fat

When I was growing up, my mother typically made dinners that had a protein, a starch and a vegetable. Dinner was always followed by a green salad. I realized recently that I almost never cook like that. Most of my dinners tend to be one-pot meals, like soups, stews, braises and casseroles. Perhaps I will serve bread or salad on the side. But I … [Read more...]

Game Day Recipes from Stephanie Izard

macy's culinary council

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. In the pantheon of Chicago celebrity chefs, Stephanie Izard ranks among my favorites. Not only was Stephanie the first woman to win on "Top Chef," my favorite television show, she is … [Read more...]

January 2015 Chicago Food Swap Recap

cinnamon syrup

The Chicago Food Swap started its fourth year off with a bang at the January food swap. A few timely mentions in the local press, such as the Chicago Reader and the Check Please Planner, brought a wave of new swappers who mixed right in with the returning veterans. And there was plenty of delicious food all around. One of the highlights of … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolution Dinner: Nicoise Salad

main course salads

Salad for dinner? In the middle of January? I know that it is comfort food season, but it is also the time of year when we atone for our sins during the holiday season and eat healthier. The goal of this recipe is to show you that eating light and healthy can still satisfy your soul, even in the dead of winter. Packed with protein from BumbleBee … [Read more...]

Drunken Shepherd’s Pie with Potato-Parsnip Crust

shepherd's pie recipe

Lamb is an underused ingredient in America. In Europe, in the Middle East and even in the Antipodes, lamb is extremely popular. But here it's an afterthought. Why is that? I know many people claim not to like the taste of lamb, and it does have a distinctive taste. But my belief is that Americans do not like the taste of lamb because they are so … [Read more...]

Earl Grey Shortbread with Truvia and Bigelow Tea

earl grey shortbread

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetWarmUp #CollectiveBias Have you tried baking with the natural sweetener Truvia? I enjoy Truvia as a sweetener in my morning Bigelow tea but had not tried baking with it until recently. Truvia Baking Blend bakes like sugar but with … [Read more...]

Healthy Snacking with Pistachios

yogurt parfait recipe

Are you looking to eat healthier in the new year? I certainly am. With several weeks of holiday parties and meals behind me, I am resolving to cut back on treats and start the new year off right with healthy, nutritious foods that satisfy. I have recently discovered a new ally in the fight to eat right: in-shell pistachios.   Pistachios, a top … [Read more...]

Cocoa Chicken Chili


We returned from almost two weeks in Florida to find snow on the ground in Chicago. Our spirits sank as we contemplated the return to school and work and the several months of winter ahead. The only thing to do was to hole up in the warm house and cook some serious comfort food while the blizzard came down outside. For my family, comfort food … [Read more...]