Saturday, May 29, 2010

my treasure

As mentioned in my previous post, last weekend Mike and I went to Volo Antique Mall with a guy Mike works with and his wife. We spent a few hours going through 4 of the 5 buildings just filled with antiques. It was quit a treat!

My lovely mother in law sent me some birthday money so I had a little bit to play with all in the name of a gift for yours truly. Towards the end of the day, in the last building, I saw a print that caught my eye. I am constantly on the lookout for new art work and rarely find things that I love but at first glance, I loved this print!

Mike ended up making a "deal" and we got 10% off the asking price, despite the fact that the owner had just put it on the floor that morning. Nicely done sweetie!

I came home and googled my treasure and after some searching I found it!

What I purchased was a Deco Courcelles Print Lady and the Fish Bowl c. 1920-1930 by a French Artist.

Description: We offer a wonderful Deco print from the hand of Courcelles. It shows a reddish haired woman gazing at a fish bowl in her diaphanous robe. It is entitled "Meditations". A stunning larger item that is beautifully done. Please excuse glass reflections.

My print came framed in a pretty cool looking old frame, but eventually I will probably have it redone. I have to say I was quite happy with my purchase! I waited for buyers remorse to kick in but it didn't! After learning the value I was please that we paid only a fraction of what it is listed at here. Score!

take a hike

This mornings recipe was inspired by a trip to Bleeding Heart Bakery last weekend. Bleeding Heart is pretty close to us and I'd wanted to hit it up for a while. We decided to stop on our way to Volo Antique mall for some coffee and muffins.

I was intrigued by the Take A Hike scone as I read somewhere that is was their specialty. Mike ordered the blueberry scone. I obviously like mine because I tried to take a stab at recreating it myself this morning, plus I've never made scones and it sounded fun.

The recipe is as follows:

8 oz Earth Balance buttery stick vege oil spread or other vegan margarine (do not use shortening)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup organic light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup dried fruit, cut into small dice (any combinations: cranberries, apples, apricots, or other fruit)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp flaxseeds
3/4 cup plain soy milk

Cut the buttery sticks or margarine into chunks and freeze for a minimum of 1 hr.

In the bowl of a electric mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Mix in the oats. Using the dough hook attachment on med-low speed, cut frozen margarine into dry ingredients until pea size chunks are left, 2-3 min. Scrap down the ingredients as needed as they creep up the sides of bowl.

Briefly mix in the dried fruits, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds. Add soymilk (mixture will look soggy, but keep mixing until it reaches a thick, oatmeal-like consistency and isn't runny, about 1-2 min).

Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface; with hands, pull the dough together and roll to a thickness of 1 1/2 inches. Cut out scones with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper and bake for 25-28 min at 375 degrees. Scones will puff up and crack on the top. Cool completely. (makes 9 or 10)

I tweaked this a little. These are meant to be vegan but I used 4 oz of butter instead and added an egg yolk. I just couldn't bring myself to but in two sticks of butter. So I guess you could say mine were a slightly less fat version. I also used dried apples and cherries.

I had to improvise a but on the mixing since I don't have a pastry mixer or dough hook attachment. I think I just about killed my mixer, but in the end all was mixed.

I also realized I don't have a circle cookie cutter, so I busted out the christmas cookie cutters and used the roundest shape I could find, a bell.

This recipe made a ton! Granted they are on the smaller side, nowhere near as big as the ones from Bleeding Heart but they are so hearty one is all I needed.

BTW, the cupcake flavors at Bleeding Heart looked phenomenal. Next time I want to indulge I will be hitting them up! They also do breakfast baskets and what not so if you come visit me you can try them for yourself!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A day to remember

Aside from Gary Coleman(RIP) and the 20th year anniversary celebration on E!, not really, but summer is approaching and aren't days more memorable in the summer? Whenever I find myself reminincing it's always some sort of memory that took place in the summer, sigh. Well it seems as though summer is here. We had a bit of a scare earlier this week, temps in the 90's AC cranked, maybe a bit too much summer, but now windows are open, people are out an about and snow boots are in the closet for good! Time to enjoy some good weather FINALLY!

This week has been a good one. I am settling into my new routine at work and Mike started his summer classes. We had a great laugh this morning as we were waking up at 8:45 for the 5th day in a row. I mean, how lucky are we! I wake up at 8:45, let the dogs out and am working by 9. Mike gets up, brews the coffee, gets ready and is off to work or class by 9:15. We feel so lucky to have this schedule right now. I am not an early bird so staying up till 12am and still catching a good 8 hours of sleep suits me just fine!

It's been a bit since I've blogged so here are a few picture highlights!

I have two new friends in my back yard, and while doing yard work snappped a pic of one.

We spent some time last weekend exploring a beautiful, historic cemetary in Chicago that I haven't been to in probably 6 or 7 years

I have also been making some delicious salads for dinner inspired by then newest Kraft Food and Family magazine! YUMMMMmmm

I'm off to enjoy the holiday weekend! I hope to have some fun adventures to report back on and a few new recipes too, including "Take a Hike Scones"!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Birthday #2

Saturday my parents decided to FINALLY come to Chicago for a visit and to celebrate my birthday! It had been a long time coming so I was pretty excited for them to finally make the 3 hour drive.

They arrived around 1-ish and we had a light lunch at home. Well, light until my mom busted out the cupcakes.

We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to burn a bit of those cupcakes off before we headed out to do a little shopping. We hit up West Elm, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, I don't think any of us bought anything but it was still fun.

We had a 7:00 dinner reservation at Fiddlehead in Lincoln Square. I agonized over this decision for a week. I wanted something that had interesting food and a good wine selection. After checking out their menu online it seemed like the perfect place. Some unique entrees, a great wine list that even offered flights, excellent beer selection AND a cheese menu! It seemed to have everything!

First we ended up ordering flights and a cheese plate. The cheese was amazing and the wine was good, except for one glass that my mom had to choke down. Mike ordered the sangria and really enjoyed it.

After we finished our cheese we ordered our entrees. I decided to go with the pan roasted salmon with artichoke hearts, peas, asparagus, fava beans with romesco sauce, other entrees ordered were the house smoked brisket, organic half roast chicken and special of the day white fish. I really enjoyed my salmon and veggies, I think everyone else enjoyed theirs as well.

The next morning I made omelets and muffins and we watched New Moon, great for me and Mom, not so exciting for Mike and Dad, lol. O well, we were still celebrating
Mother's Day and my birthday, they can pick next time!

It was a fun visit, hopefully they come back again soon!

Karyn's On Green

Friday night I turned the big 32, I know this is hard for most of you to believe since I don't look a day past 25, lol. I wanted to have dinner with a few of my best girlfriends and my hubs and was looking for something new and different for the group. I did a roll call, and let's see, I had one vegetarian, one gluten free, one flexitarian and two carnivores. Karyn's On Green made sense to me!

I'd been wanting to try this self proclaimed "sexy vegan" restaurant a for a while and was thrilled to learn that no one else coming had been there yet! Upon our arrival, I was already impressed with the open, airy,modern atmosphere. There were some very contemporary, gorgeous light fixtures above us and an excellent view of the Willis Tower from where we were sitting.

The menu was very innovative and interesting, I wanted to try everything! It was a little confusing because the menu lists meat items, but there is NO meat in anything served, beautiful!

I have to admit, when I checked out the menu online before deciding, the amazing drink list sealed the deal for me. First things first, we ordered some cocktails. There were a few takers of the Upper East Side Manhattan, it was all white, how clever. I went for the Chicago River Run which was Beefeater, Aperol, St. Germain, fresh lime, orange bitters and flamed orange, it was mightly tasty with a nice kick. Also tried was the Southside and a Caiprinha.

Once we all had a little buzz on our appetizers arrived, we tried the raw cheese plate and the hummus and olives. Both were great and very different. I really enjoyed all the varieties of cheese and their individual complexities.

After taking a look at the entrees I knew I had to go for the meatiest non meat item I could find. It's not everyday a vegetarian can order meatloaf off the menu, so that's what I did. It was so delicious and very filling, in fact, I didn't even finish it and I always finish my food!

I also snapped a few quick pics!

Last, it was time for dessert, the waiter literally had to twist my arm and entice me with dessert for my birthday, I can't believe I was THAT full! I ended up ordering and luckily, by the time it came, I was not so stuffed. I ordered the Ice Cream Cookies, it was phenomenal and vegan. I ate every last bite! My favorite was the almond icecream, the chocolate and banana were very good as well.

Erin went with the Banana's Foster, Mike the Tiramisu and Trish the Raspberry Panna Cotta.

Thanks again to my lovely friends who celebrated with me! I will definitely be going back to Karyn's On Green again, the sooner the better!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things have been busy for me lately, but in a good way! Mike finished up his semester at Loyola last weekend and I've had a partner in crime again! It's been weird to have him around in the evenings, I mean, usually he is here just off in studying lala land. We've been indulging in some good dinner, good drinks and more good drinks.

Last week we went to Handlebar again,I have blogged about this place many times before, it is one of my fav vegetarian places. I tried something new this time. I believe it was called the green meanie sandwich. It was so, so good and fresh! It had a goat cheese spread and avocado, two of my favs and these amazing, huge sprouts. I have to figure out what these are because they are not your average sprouts. I also ordered it with a fantastic side salad!

Another thing that comes with the season is beer! It never fails, spring comes and I just crave beer. Mike and I have become very fond of Stone Brewery out of Cali lately. Mike and I were at Long Room, one of our fav local bars, the first week they had Stone available, we tried the IPA and loved it. The next time we went back we had, what I now say is my favorite beer of all time, Sublimely Self Rightous Ale. The beer is so delicious, and I have been back several times to indulge since!

Beer Advocate gave it an A-, not too shabby!

Poured from bomber into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours almost a stout like black with one finger of fluffy tan head that settles after a bit.

Smell: Citrus and piney hops, smokey malt and some chocolate notes.

Taste: Bitterness from the hops hit at first, followed by burnt malt, coffee and a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, well carbonated and slightly hot.

Drinkability: A very enjoyable beer from Stone. I had this when it was the Anniversary beer and loved it then. Extremely glad they brought this back, at $6 a bomber, this is a great deal.

Serving type: bottle

Last, but not least, we recently made out way back to the Killer Margarita. These strawberry banana babies speak for themselves!! Ahhhh, summer!

and some love from the bug

Saturday, May 8, 2010


...walking into your house after being gone for just about 20 minutes. The oven door is open, toaster on its side, fridge magnents and papers on the floor. This is what I walked into on Thursday and I immediatly knew the culprit.

We have some medicated pups in our house lately. Finn is taking steriods and allergy pills to overcome a horrible bout with some sort of seasonal allergy he decided to partake in this year. He also frequents the xanax train now that storm season is amongst us. OY! Steroids and xanax make for one weird dog.

And little Dixie, well she officially started her phenobarbital this past Wednesday after, yet another, seizure. I had to face my fear,bite the bullet and tell myself that she is better off.

All these meds don't come without their side effects. Dixie is drinking and eating so much, which in turn means she has to go out A LOT. The meds have also made her much more excitable, she doesn't settle as easily and she is, believe it or not, a little bit more of a barker. Hopefully these symptoms subside after the levels of meds stabalize.

Now Finn, he is just a walking mess. He is very thirsy all the time, hungry like a monster and, well, this hunger apparantly makes him act CRAZY! The scene that I walked into? Well, he was trying to get the pill pockets. He succeddded in getting one bag, even ate the bag! I had left his three pills on the counter to remind myself to give them to him when I got home and the little bastard didn't eat those of course.

No Finn fiasco would be complete without a suicide attempt. He managed to get ahold of Dixie's phenobarbitals. 57 of them in fact, thank god the medication was in a child proof container and I wasn't gone long enough for him to chew it open or we would have had another exciting night at the emergency vet.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Absinthe Minded

Last night me and two girlfriends met up at In Fine Spirits, a wine bar in Chicago, specifically Andersonville. I am a HUGE fan of wine bars, they are great to go to with friends and great for a date. They usually serve smalls plates which means you can taste many different items and even get a little romantic if you are with your sweetie!

Now, I know this is a wine bar, but they are also known for their amazing cocktails. I decided to start with a cocktail and work my way into wine. I ordered up a Chrysanthemum, not the flower, the drink. I mostly ordered this because it had Absinthe in it, but unfortunately I did not hallucinate. It was still a mighty fine drink!

We decided to order a cheese plate that featured 5 different varieties, olives and a bubbling crock of something really good! I tried a Malbec from Washington that was delicious and a Syrah that had words like "lurking", "forest", and "floor" in the description which made me think odds were pretty high it might taste like a basement. If you've read my previous blogs you know I love a red wine that tastes like grandma's basement!

During our last round of drinks I took some pictures of course! Note, I am not in any of them because too much stress, salt and stress has not been kind to me lately.

Even better I was hangover free today! Always a beautiful thing!