Grilled Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers with Creamy Harissa

morningstar farms chickpea burgers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GrillWithATwist #CollectiveBias With the Fourth of July around the corner, many of us are planning a backyard barbecue to celebrate this favorite summer holiday with family and friends. These days, planning a party can mean taking into ...

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Jam-Filled Hand Pies

how to make hand pies

I recently spoke at one of my favorite conferences for food bloggers, Eat Write Retreat. The topic of my session, naturally, was food swapping. Zuzu helped me put together my first-ever Keynote presentation -- that's like Power Point for Macs -- with a lot of photos and jazzy effects. Maybe a few too many jazzy effects, but that is the risk you ...

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Southwestern Tuna with Rice, Corn and Black Beans

rice salad with tuna

My love for tuna is well-documented. And when I think tuna, of course I think Bumble Bee, the brand that was always in the pantry when I was growing up. While I adore a tuna salad sandwich for lunch as much as anyone, I also know that this healthy, lean source of protein is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can star in all kinds of dishes, ...

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June 2015 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

The Chicago Food Swap had its June event on the 14th and if you needed proof that summer was here, the fresh and delicious swap offerings would have convinced you. Not were there plenty of fresh herbs and even some healthy-looking plants on display, but one swapper brought homemade strawberry buttermilk ice cream.  It tasted like summer in a ...

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Skirt Steak Soft Tacos with Chipotle Crema

skirt steak marinade

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingOfFlavor #CollectiveBias Is there anything better than a summer weekend? My family just wrapped a perfect summer weekend of baseball, swimming, and a cookout with friends. Of course, it was also Father's Day, so I had to make a ...

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Cold Strawberry Soup

cold strawberry soup recipe

Did you happen to catch me on Fox-32's morning program, "Good Day Chicago," discussing ways to preserve the strawberry harvest? You will recognize many of the projects I mentioned from last week's strawberry posts. It was such a fun segment to film and I always love talking about the Chicago Food Swap. I have one last strawberry recipe to give ...

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Rhubarb Syrup

rhubarb recipes

I've been cheating on my favorite spring fruit, rhubarb, with all these strawberry posts. Sure, it is easy to love sweet, juicy, photogenic strawberries. No one looks at a quart of strawberries at the farmers' market and thinks: "But what will I do with them?" You know exactly what to do with them: eat them out of hand. Slice them on your cereal. ...

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How to Use a Flat of Strawberries: Strawberry Mango Fruit Leather

how to make fruit leather

Another day, another strawberry post. I'm still working off that same flat of strawberries I bought at the farmers' market last week.  Today's project is homemade strawberry fruit leather. You may recall that I tried my hand at mango fruit leather a few months ago. That project was fun and easy and everyone enjoyed the results. So when faced with ...

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How to Use a Flat of Strawberries: Strawberry Vanilla Syrup

homemade strawberry milk

This is my second post in a series on how to use a flat of strawberries in five days. Every year at this time I remind you guys that at many farmers’ markets the price for a flat of strawberries, which is eight quarts, is the same as the price for six individual quarts. That is a great deal, but only if you actually use all the berries before ...

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How to Use a Flat of Strawberries: Strawberry Maple Granola

diy granola

  It is time for my annual post on how to use a flat of strawberries in five days or less. Every year I remind you that at many farmers' markets the price for a flat of strawberries, which is eight quarts, is the same as the price for six individual quarts. That's like getting two free quarts! But buying a flat of strawberries is only a ...

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Rhubarb Buttermilk Mini Bundt Cakes

rhubarb bundt cake

Maybe I should start calling this blog West of the Rhubarb. I'm clearly obsessed with this old-fashioned fruit-that-is-really-a-vegetable. It's tart! It's pink! It's versatile! Rhubarb is bae. (My eleven year old me that I couldn't write that. So naturally I did.) The other week, I arrived at the farmers' market late, something that I hate to ...

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Cucumber Salad with Yogurt and Mint


With summer comes the desire to eat cool, crunchy salads. My interest in Middle Eastern cuisine has give me a new appreciation for humble cucumber. So often cucumber is relegated to the side: an afterthought thrown in to provide a hint of green or an element of crunch. Here in a refreshing, herbaceous salad, this unassuming summer vegetable is ...

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A Weekend in Nashville (with Kid)

pied piper in nashville

My family took a whirlwind trip to Nashville this past weekend. It was like one of those New York Times travel articles, "36 Hours in Nashville." As soon as we landed, we unloaded my daughter who was to spend the weekend with her best friend who moved to Nashville a year ago. So me, my husband and eight-year-old JR were free to indulge our inner ...

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Rhubarb Jam Bars

rhubarb recipes

I made these delicious bars last year at this time as a dessert to bring to the Swim Team Potluck. Guess what event is this Sunday? That's right: the Swim Team Potluck. I think it's time to trot out this recipe again.  It absolutely kills me that my husband doesn’t like rhubarb. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE? Rhubarb is tart — not cloyingly sweet like ...

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Green Garlic Chimichurri

how to make chimichurri

I almost hesitate to call this sauce chimichurri because it deviates in a few key ways from the traditional Argentinian recipe. You know how the food police can be! But then again, any condiment with this much parsley and garlic and that goes as well as this one does with grilled meat deserves to be called a chimichurri. Chimichurri is simply a ...

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Rhubarb Eton Mess

rhubarb sauce

It's rhubarb season and I am tickled pink. (Get it?) I adore this old-fashioned early spring fruit that always cooks up in a brilliant shade of hot pink. I love to preserve it, bake with it and create rhubarb-flavored versions of classic desserts. With spring and farmers' market season upon us, you may be bringing home a lot of fresh, seasonal ...

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Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup with Spring Onion

asian chicken soup

It's spring, spring, spring! Really and truly spring. Chicago had its soul-crushing, hibernation-inducing winter. Then it had March and April which count as spring elsewhere but not here. Now it is finally May and gray has turned to green. We have traded parkas for trips to the park. Citrus and root vegetables have given way to strawberries, ...

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Three C’s Granola (Coconut, Cherry, Cacao)

nut free granola recipes

I curdled a Hollandaise sauce tonight. Looking at that oily, grainy mess was like a dagger to the heart. The stakes might have seemed low to an outside observer. It was only a family dinner. No one in my family cared about the split Hollandaise. Hell, no one in my family was even planning to eat the Hollandaise except for me. My husband and ...

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Cranberry Ginger Granola (Nut-Free)

homemade granola

For years I have struggled to find a packed lunch that JR would eat. More often than not, sandwiches came home with only a few bites missing. I tried to pack his favorite dish, macaroni and cheese, in a thermos but even that came back half-empty at best. When I asked him why, he answered that it wasn't very good at room temperature -- something I ...

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Roasted Garlic Hummus for National Hummus Day

roasted garlic hummus

Did you know that May 13 was National Hummus Day? I for one did not. But why not celebrate this made-up holiday with everyone's favorite chick pea spread? After all, hummus is delicious, healthy, and a great source of vegetable-based protein. It works well as a dip with veggies or as a sandwich spread. Yes, hummus is a kitchen ...

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Cabot Creamery Cookbook and Gift Box Giveaway

cabot creamery cookbook

Two of my great loves, cheese and cookbooks, together at last! Earlier this year, my friends at Cabot Creamery released their first-ever cookbook, The Cabot Creamery Cookbook. This stunning book features recipes for every meal of the day that are filled with all kinds of dairy goodness. The dozens of recipes, for baked goods, soups, salads, dips, ...

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Cold Asparagus Soup


It is definitely asparagus season and although I won't be seeing any local asparagus for a few more weeks, if you live somewhere south of me, you may already have them at your farmers' market. Lucky. Meanwhile, I will content myself with fat, prosperous-looking, organic asparagus flown in from California. I gravitate towards thicker asparagus ...

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Food-Obsessed Moms


A Mother's Day present is best when it is something indulgent. Something that a woman would absolutely love to have, but that she would never buy for herself -- because it is too expensive, or frivolous or impractical. Some women dream about gardening; some about music. Some dream about decorating and others about fashion. Me, I dream about ...

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Mother’s Day Brunch Idea: Cinnamon Babka

mother's day recipes

I hope you guys are ready for a project. Because babka, a rich, yeast-risen bread swirled with a sweet filling, is definitely a project. However, it is a very worthy project, especially for a special occasion such as -- I don't know -- Mother's Day, which is right around the corner. Don't know how to tell Mom how much she means to you? Babka will ...

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Chicken Escabeche Tostadas for Cinco de Mayo

authentic mexican tostadas

Chicago knows its Latin food. With a large and thriving Mexican population and some of the country’s best Mexican restaurants — need I mention Rick Bayless? — Chicagoans understand that the cuisine of Mexico is one of the finest in the world and extends far beyond tacos and enchiladas. With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, it is a great time ...

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