Cookie Exchange: Key Lime Meltaways

key lime cookies

I'm just back from our annual Thanksgiving jaunt to Florida, and of course, now that my beloved Oak Park Farmers Market is closed for the season, the only farmers market that I get to visit is the Saturday morning Third Street South Farmers Market in downtown Naples. My favorite stall at the Naples Farmers Market sells unusual varieties of citrus … [Read more...]

Apple Caramel Tart for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving apple caramel tart

Today's post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce, a Michigan grower and distributor of twenty-four delicious varieties of apples. Look for Riveridge apples, including Macintosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Empire, Rome and Honeycrisp, for your Thanksgiving table in fine grocery stores, such as Publix, Meijer, Mariano's, Copps, Pick 'n Save and HEB. In … [Read more...]

Homemade Cranberry Sauce for National Cranberry Day

how to make cranberry sauce

Did you know that November 23 is National Cranberry Day? I suppose it makes sense, being so close to Thanksgiving, which is cranberries time to shine. But I love to cook and bake with cranberries all winter long. In fact, I stock up on cranberries during the last few weeks of the Oak Park Farmers Market because these babies freeze like a dream. I … [Read more...]

November Chicago Food Swap Recap

kombucha at the chicago food swap

The final meeting for 2014 of the Chicago Food Swap took place this past Sunday at Peterson Garden Project's Fearless Food Kitchen in the Broadway Armory Field House. Despite freezing temperatures, snow flurries and parking woes, the event was a tremendous success. Everyone left laden down with delicious homemade and homegrown food and a warm … [Read more...]

Fennel, Orange and Red Onion Salad with Bulgar

fennel salad ideas

They say never to make a new recipe for company. They should also say: never make a new recipe for a soup that is normally served as a first course as a main course for company. Because if you do, you may find yourself with not quite enough soup for dinner.  Serves six as a first course should be enough for four for a main course, right? … [Read more...]

Perfect Cornbread Dressing

cornbread stuffing recipe

When life gives you leftover cornbread, make cornbread dressing. That is exactly what I did last week. In anticipation of a busy day, I had made turkey chili in my slow cooker in the morning. When I got home, less than an hour before dinner time, I decided that the chili wasn't quite enough for the hearty dinner that we needed after a busy fall … [Read more...]

Baking for Dorie Greenspan

dorie greenspan event

Revered American expert on French cooking, Dorie Greenspan, is on tour at the moment promoting her latest cookbook, entitled Baking Chez Moi. She stopped in Chicago over the weekend of November 8 and 9th and I was fortunate enough to hear her speak at an event with the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Several volunteers, me included, had baked … [Read more...]

Soy-Lime Tuna Salad on Gold Emblem Abound Baked Rice Thins

tuna salad recipe

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy for the Gold Emblem Abound Snackurday campaign. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at or with the appropriate manufacturers. I am more than slightly obsessed with … [Read more...]

Gala Apple Orchard Salad

salad with apples and craisins

November is upon us. As soon as the Halloween decorations have been cleared away, I begin to think about Thanksgiving. I bet you are starting to think about it as well. Are you hosting this year? Traveling to see friends and family? As always, my mother and I are hosting Thanksgiving for friends at her house in Florida. My children are eagerly … [Read more...]

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle

pumpkin seed recipes

Another Halloween has come and gone. As JR said to me on November 1: "Only 364 days 'til next Halloween!" Our house is full of Snickers, KitKat, and Twix, but I thought that what we really needed was some homemade candy. Okay, no. The last thing we need actually is more candy of any kind, but I had some free time and an itch to try something new. … [Read more...]

Your Best Apple Pie

flaky pie crust

Are you finzlizing your Thanksgiving menu? Will you make the same foods as last year or will you try to mix it up? My mother and I love to host Thanksgiving together and we have pretty much honed our menu over past the few decades so that it is just how we want it. I did revolutionize the way we cooked the turkey about 7 years ago. (See this … [Read more...]

Snack Healthy with CVS Gold Emblem Abound

gold emblem abound

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy for the Gold Emblem Abound Snackurday campaign. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at or with the appropriate manufacturers. How often do you run into CVS for … [Read more...]

October 2014 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

The Chicago Food Swap had its October event this past weekend. It was our second event in our new home, the Peterson Garden Project's Fearless Food Kitchen. As is so often the case, the offerings reflected the best of the season, from the tail end of backyard garden produce to Halloween-themed treats. The October swap was smaller than the … [Read more...]

Door to Door Organics Review and Giveaway


Today's post is sponsored by Door to Door Organics, a new grocery delivery service in Chicago, in my capacity as a Brand Ambassador. As many of you know, I am very busy these days working on the manuscript for my first book. The manuscript is due in March but that is not as far away as you think! Working hard on a fast-approaching cookbook … [Read more...]

Chive and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

how to make biscuits

Sometimes what I have made for dinner doesn't feel like it is quite enough. Maybe I made a big pot of delicious soup but something seems to be missing. Maybe we are having an omelet and green salad - one of my favorite desperation dinners -- but I'm still craving carbs. That is when I turn to biscuits. Homemade bread may take hours of preparation, … [Read more...]

How to Make Kreplach

how to make kreplach

If you think the matzo ball is the ultimate Jewish soup dumpling, let me quickly disabuse you of that notion. As much as I love a fluffy matzo ball, my heart truly belongs to kreplach, the meat-filled pasta known affectionately as Jewish tortellini and served during the High Holidays. Never heard of kreplach? You are not alone. While matzo ball … [Read more...]

September Chicago Food Swap Recap

Chicago food swap

Sunday marked the return of the Chicago Food Swap after a two-month break. The September swap was the first event in the Chicago Food Swap's new, permanent home, the Fearless Food Kitchen in the Broadway Armory field house. This roomy, light-filled teaching kitchen, operated by the community gardening nonprofit Peterson Garden Project, makes a … [Read more...]

Where to Eat at Pike Place Market

where to eat at pike place market

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference last weekend in Seattle. One of the best things about the conference was, of course, its location. Food lovers flock to Seattle for its abundant local ingredients, its world-renowned chefs and for the sprawling, chaotic Pike Place Market. The Pike Place Market … [Read more...]

How to Buy the Right Cut of Meat – Part 2

breaking down a side of beef

This is the continuation of a . While I was at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle last week, I attended an informative session put on by the consumer education organization Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. I am sharing what I learned at that session with you in the hope that you can approach the meat counter with … [Read more...]

How to Buy the Right Cut of Meat – Part 1

how to save money on meat

I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Seattle this past weekend. It was a whirlwind of friends, food and great sessions. Later this week, I hope to post some of the pretty pictures I took at the revered Pike Place Market and tell you all about the unique and delicious food I sampled there. (Piroshkies! Crumpets!) But … [Read more...]

What to Do with Fresh Figs

chocolate dipped figs

Dip them in chocolate ganache, of course! Why? What do you do with fresh figs? It is definitely fig season and if you only know figs from the dried kind -- or even worse, Newtons -- you are in for a treat. Fresh figs are sweet, juicy and altogether luscious. Lending themselves to both sweet and savory preparations, fresh figs are the fruit you … [Read more...]

What to Do with Hatch Chiles

hatch green chiles

"Is it salsa time," asked the man in the produce section, gesturing toward my bulging bag of green Hatch chiles. "You know you can freeze them," I replied. "Really?" "Sure. You roast them, peel them and then freeze them in bags. That way you have them all year long." "Huh," said the man thinking this over. "Good to know." That exchange happened in … [Read more...]

Two Tropical Drink Recipes

passion fruit liqueur

After spending one of the afternoons of our tropical, Costa Rican vacation in a wine-tasting class -- albeit a wine-tasting class in a open lobby overlooking the beach -- you might think we were done with improving ourselves. But no! As soon as my sister-in-law and I heard that our resort also offered a Mixology class, we immediately signed up … [Read more...]

Wine Tasting in Paradise

how to taste wine

My family is on vacation in Costa Rica this week with my mother and my brother and his family. I have traveled to some of the great cities of Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean and I can safely say that Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been. And the Costa Rican people that we have met have been, to a person, … [Read more...]

Back to School with Door-to-Door Organics (and a Giveaway!)

healthy after school snacks

Today's post is sponsored by Door-to-Door Organics, an online grocer specializing in organic produce and natural groceries delivering throughout the Chicago area.  Today is when I break the seal on talking about back-to-school. Yes, it is time to start thinking about school supplies, packing lunches and, of course, after-school snacks. I … [Read more...]