January 2016 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

Between my two-week vacation and my early January move, I was not prepared for the first Chicago Food Swap event of 2016. In fact, I had been quite lax about promoting the swap and, as a result, it looked like we were going to have quite a low turnout. But then, a whole bunch of last-minute registrations came in, and a few people even showed ...

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Red Velvet Whoopie Pies for Valentine’s Day

red velvet whoopie pies

My Valentine, I love you. I really do. And to prove it, I have made you these red velvet whoopie pies. Chocolate cakes filled with a marshmallow buttercream and decorated with Valentine's sprinkles. A perfectly contained little delight to slip into your beloved's hand with an affectionate squeeze. Is there a better way to someone's heart? If so, ...

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Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Cake

homemade ice cream cake

When you think of ice cream cake, do you think of a layer of cake topped with a layer of ice cream? Or do you think about a cake-shaped confection made entirely of ice cream? My darling son recently turned nine. While his Star Wars-themed sleepover party with five of his best pals will have to wait until the dust settles from our move, we did ...

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Peru with Kids

traveling to peru with kids

Ever since we returned, I have been raving about the family trip we took to Peru over the holidays. To everyone who inquires, especially other parents, I enthusiastically recommend visiting this fascinating and friendly country. And so it occurred to me that I could use this forum to explain to a larger audience why I think Peru is such a ...

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Stonefire Naan Breadsticks with Tandoori Yogurt Dip

naan breadsticks dip

Today's post is sponsored by Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads. As always, all opinions expressed herein are entirely my own. Are you gearing up for the big game? I am all set to host a football-watching party at my new house. We are the proud owners of a new 55" high-definition television in our finished basement. Too bad our sectional hasn't ...

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The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Round-Up


Can you believe that Valentine's Day is right around the corner? Although I am still recovering from the holidays, and the fact that we moved two weeks ago, January is almost over and that means that February 14 is only two weeks away. Valentine's Day is a holiday that has something for everyone: love, romance, presents, candy. Whether you are ...

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Squash Farrotto with Swiss Chard

how to make farro risotto

I am a little obsessed with farro, an ancient form of wheat that is once again trendy. There is some confusion about what farro is exactly because it sometimes goes by other names, including spelt and einkorn. Grains of farro are about the size and shape of rice, but pale brown in color. With twice the fiber and protein of modern wheat, ...

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Meyer Lemon Recipe Round-Up

meyer lemons

It's specialty citrus season! Exotic varieties of citrus are one of the few culinary highlights in the otherwise bleak Chicago winter. Like an antidote to the winter doldrums, a new kind of citrus fruit arrives in the stores every week during the winter months. Pomelos, tangelos, blood oranges, Key limes and Meyer lemons are just some of the ...

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A Visit to Lima’s Surquillo Market

lima surquillo market

My family just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru. We visited Machu Picchu and other Inca ruins, the Andean city of Cusco and Peru's capital, Lima. We were astonished by the complex buildings of the Incas, touched by the warmth of the Peruvian people and delighted by the delicious food we ate. It was one of the best trips of my ...

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Gravlax for New Year’s Eve

gravlax recipe

Are you looking for the perfect appetizer to wow your guests this New Year's? I have just the thing: gravlax. This Scandinavian cured salmon is part of my family's holiday celebration every year and every year we ask ourselves: why don't we make this more often? Goodness knows it is not hard. The catch? You have to plan in advance -- three days in ...

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Iced Gingersnaps

iced gingersnaps

Every year at this time of year, my mother bakes dozens and dozens of Swedish gingersnaps, called pepparkakor, to give to family and friends. The recipe came from my grandmother, whose parents were Swedish, and it calls for chopped slivered almonds in the dense, spicy dough. I grew up eating these cookies by the pound as a child and they are a ...

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Edible Gift Ideas

edible gift ideas

Christmas is in less than a week and you are out of ideas. Or money. Or both. But you still have a long list of people who need gifts, from the day care teacher who likes your kid the best to the UPS guy who never tells your husband about all the packages from Zappos. So, get in the kitchen and start making some edible gifts! Edible gifts have ...

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Cookie Dough Truffles

cookie dough truffles

This is a story about what it is like to be the child of a food blogger. The other day, at the grocery store, Zuzu spied a jar of edible cookie dough from The Cookie Dough Cafe in the dairy aisle. She begged me to buy it because she had heard about this company's products from some of her favorite You Tube stars. I, on the other hand, had never ...

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Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb

boneless leg of lamb recipe

For the last night of Hanukkah this year, we celebrated with a special family dinner. I made potato latkes, of course, and the main course was a delicious, marinated leg of lamb. If you are looking for an impressive entrée for your upcoming holiday feast, you could not do much better than a boneless leg of lamb. Because it has been so ...

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Christmas Mince Pies

mince pies christmas

Aren't these individual mince pies adorable? I'm pretty taken with them myself. Wouldn't they look so festive at a holiday party, cookie exchange or even as the end to a jolly Christmas dinner? I couldn't just give you a recipe for sweet, spicy apple mincemeat, tell you that it makes an absolutely smashing pie filling -- yes, I'm feeling rather ...

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Apple Cranberry Mincemeat

how to make mincemeat

Today’s recipe post is sponsored by Sun-Maid in conjunction with my work as part of Kitchen-PLAY‘s  #TeamFreshSummit. As always, all opinions are entirely my own. Doesn't the word "mincemeat" make you think of Christmas in Victorian novels? I'm sure there was a mincemeat pie at Bob Cratchit's family Christmas or at least at the Christmas ...

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Sweet Potato Latkes with Harissa Yogurt

sweet potato latkes recipe

This week, Jewish families around the world will gather together to celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a small group of Jews, the Maccabees, over the army of the Greek King Antiochus in the second century BCE. After the Jews drove the Greeks out of Judea, they attempted to restore their temple, which ...

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December Chicago Food Swap

pickles in weck jar

The Chicago Food Swap celebrated its fourth anniversary on December 6 with an outstanding swap. There were new faces, old friends, delicious food and prizes. Yes, prizes! To mark the occasion, we had two culinary-themed door prizes at the December swap: the new KitchenAid Precision Press French press, which I gather is the gift for the at-home ...

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Cookie Recipe Round-Up for National Cookie Day

cut-out sugar cookie recipe

Friday is National Cookie Day! And why not? It's the time of year when everyone is pulling out their favorite cookie recipes, creaming sugar and butter, chilling dough, cutting out shapes, piping icing, drizzling chocolate and filling tins. Even people who rarely bake have a favorite cookie without which their holidays would not be complete. If ...

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Homemade Stuffed Shells to Feed a Crowd

stuffed shells

Thanksgiving is barely over and Hanukkah is right around the corner. Many of us are still recovering from one holiday and another is upon us. And right in the midst of all the celebrations and obligations that this time of year brings, a friend of mine lost her mother. She came home from the funeral, looked up and it was Thanksgiving. I barely ...

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Holiday Recipes with Stephanie Izard and Nancy Silverton

chef nancy silverton

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 ...

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Mashed Potato (Boxty) Bread

recipes for leftover mashed potato

Come Friday, you will have leftover mashed potatoes sitting in your fridge. Don't try to deny it. I am sure that those mashed potatoes will be absolutely delicious at your Thanksgiving dinner. I hope that your guests will smother them in gravy and mix them with turkey and stuffing to get all that deliciousness in one insanely good bite. But come ...

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The Best (and Easiest) Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

thanksgiving turkey recipe easy

In 2006, I arrived at my parents' house for Thanksgiving brandishing an article from the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. The article claimed that the editors had tried every conceivable way to roast a Thanksgiving turkey: brined, basted, slow-cooked, high heat, low heat, everything. The conclusion? It turned out that the easiest way to roast a ...

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Potato-Parsnip Puree with Brown Butter

potato parsnip puree

Today's post is sponsored by Door to Door Organics, an organic grocery delivery service in Chicago. Keep reading to learn how you can get $10 off your first order and win a $50 gift certificate from Door to Door Organics.  Along with stuffing, I am constantly tinkering with the recipe for my Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. I've tried garlic ...

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Chipotle, Pecan, and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

cornbread stuffing

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias Some dishes on our Thanksgiving menu never change. Some are different every year. My mother and I have cooked our turkey the same way for a decade. We never tinker with the pumpkin pie or the Balsamic-glazed ...

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