Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A few weeks ago I was walking the meat aisle aka the freezer section since I am a vegetarian, and was so excited to see a NEW product! Don't get me wrong, I love my staples but it's always a treat to try a new meatfree product! Even better when it tastes GREAT! The product I am speaking of are by Gardein. Initially I picked up the beefless tips. I made these on the stovetop and cooked them plain. In my opinion they do not even need a sauce! I served these with homemade curry rice and zucchini. This combo was so good, I made it again this week! Mike was on board too!

Tonight we tried the buffalo wings. Mike made a sandwich out of his. I ate my alone, with brown rice and a salad. These were super tasty as well. I really hope my Jewel adds more Gardein products to their offering. These are some of the best meatfree products I have had in a long time! Give em a try!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The high and the lows

Last week was a long one, I worked over 60 hours and was stressed to my limit! A few big things happened, after much thought I decided to transition into a part time position with my company. I could still very well be working a 40 hour work week, but I am saying good by to the last minute travel. It was taking a toll on me physically and emotionally, let's face it, I am no spring chicken, and that is a tough lifestyle to live! It was not an easy decision, but it is where I am at.

April 23 my mom and my dog had birthdays! I will not share my mother's age, but my little baby turned 4! Dixie has been having a very tough time lately. So, sorry mom, she gets the slideshow this year. Dixie was recently diagnosed with canine epilepsy. We found out one night on a trip to the emergency vet after she had 2 horrible seizures in a row. The Dr. told us if she had more than one a month we would need to look into seizure management options.

I am sad to report my little girl had one last Wednesday and on her birthday Friday. Saturday we made the dreaded appointment to take the plunge into drugs. After additional bloodwork and much conversing our little baby was given a prescription for phenobarbital. It really saddens me that she has to get on medication for life at such a young age but I am grateful this is something we can hopefully control and she can live a long and happy life.

I opted not to put her on the drugs right away and see if, just maybe, they would go away. I gave it one more shot but she had another small seizure this morning. The seizures are really hard to watch and cause brain damage each time, so it is time for me to but my personal feelings aside and do what is best for little Dixie.

In honor of her birthday and what this little dog means to me, I created a slideshow. I even made it from Dixie's perspective(maybe just a little crazy) This little dog has taught me so much. She showed me a lot of love through some tough years and continues to stand by my side (literally all the time)

Here is my homage to my little Dixie, doodlebug, angel butt, booga boo, boogie, muffin head, angel muffin head, angel muffin butt, dixie wixie am I missing any?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Revolution Brewing Co

Last night Mike and I hit up a new brewery in Chicago called Revolution Brewing Company. We took a beer class a few years ago where we made our own beer and since then we've kinda been beer snobs, which is a beautiful thing, trust me!

When we arrived we were told it would be about a 2 hour wait, it was already 8ish but we thought, eh, we'll get some beers and hang out. I started off with the Working Woman Brown. I chose this for two reasons, first, it sounded great and second, I myself and a Working Woman Brown, so how could I go wrong? This beer is currently not listed on the website so I can't give you a detailed description but it was dark, but not heavy, I think it was an ale, and I would definitely order it again! Mike started with the Iron Fist Pale Ale. We both tried each others and liked what we ordered for ourselves the best. Next up we went for the Samadhi Double IPA. These were fantastic and served in a snifter vs a pint glass which I love.

We were seated shortly after ordering our second beers, only 45 minutes later, SWEET! We were hungry but full of beer so we decided to skip on the apps, which was unfortunate because they looked delicious, and went straight for entrees. I ordered the Smoked and Grilled Tofu sandwich with blue cheese potato salad. Mike ordered a monster burger, the Smokehouse Burger which has pepperjack cheese AND South Carolina style pulled pork. He had his with fries and apparently has no worries when it comes to his waistline!

The food was good, the beers were GREAT! Next time we go I think I will do beer and apps. Just so I can drink more beer without getting full and try more items on the menu!

Spring Blooms and Muffins

Last year we moved back to Chicago in August. You might remember we worked really hard and taming the "wild flower garden" in our backyard and creating a respectable area with some grass for our doggies. Well this spring we've had our fair share of surprises popping up. Tulips, daffodils, come really pretty purple flowers and a bunch of others. We've moved things around and made sense of the yard again and I have to say it's looking pretty good! One thing we missed out of last year was this awesome tree in our front yard! When we moved in it appeared to be just a run of this mill small tree. I took a few snapshots today, how pretty!

I wonder what it is!

Spring has also inspired me to try some new muffin flavors. I had a bag of frozen strawberries in my freezer so I did a little recipe search and came up Strawberry Muffin recipe. I have made these two weekends in a row and both times tweaked the recipe significantly so I am now claiming these gems as my own. These are really tasty and it it rare for me to make the same muffins back to back but I just couldn't help myself with these. I'll call this my Summertime Strawberry Muffins, only because I think these will be even better with fresh strawberries when they are in season. You can tweak this recipe yourself if you prefer to use real eggs and real sugar.

1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of egg whites
1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup of splenda baking sugar
2 tablespoons of splenda brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of chopped strawberries

Heat oven to 375

Whisk first four ingredients and set aside, unless you use a real egg instead of the white stirring works just as well.

Next mix dry ingredients, then stir in chopped strawberries. Pour in milk mixture and stir all together.

I make my muffins as big as I can and get about 9 out of this.

Bake for 25 minutes, cool on wire rack.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Today I learned that one of my favorite singers from the band Type O Negative passed away last night at the age of 48 from heart failure. I really fell in love with this bands hard edge and romantic goth style when I was in college. One of my best memories of the band was driving from Western Illinois, where I went to college, to Chicago on a Tuesday night with Julie. We parked in the McDonald's parking lot because we didn't know any better, managed to not get towed and saw them play at the Metro. It was truly and amazing experience despite driving there and back in one night and not getting back to Western till 5 am.

I saw them a few times after I moved to Chicago as well, and one of my favorite things to do around Halloween is watch the old classic Nosferatu, a silent vampire movie from 1929. In 1998 they took the original movie and applied Type O Negative music to narrate. It was genius, so amazing to see two great things old and new come together so beautifully and illustrates that true beauty can be found in darkness.

I have been saddened by this news all day. I can't believe I will never see Pete Steele on stage along side his bottle of red wine. One of Pete's songs is titled "Everything Dies" and such is true, but not everyone leaves behind timeless masterpieces as did he.

2 outta 3 aint bad!

This week I make a real effort to bring some new dinners to our table. Maybe it's the change of seasons but I've been a little burnt out on dinners lately. Sunday afternoon, before heading to the grocery store, I decided to peruse Just my luck they had a link highlighting 20 meat free entrees. I quickly opened an account, saved a few in my recipes and the best part, printed my grocery list right there based on the recipes I selected!

I have to admit, I started to hand write the typed list I printed out because I felt a little nerdy going to the grocery store with it, god forbid I look THAT organized, but then Mike told me I was silly so I took the list as is.

The first night I made and entree and a side I found on the website. First was the
Grilled Portobello Goat Cheese Pitas

The side dish I chose to go with was Yellow Squash Ribbons with Red Onion and Parmeson.Both were delicious! I love goat cheese, and topped with the fresh basil made for a nice. light, summery dish!

The side dish was very tasty! I really try not to have carb based entrees or sides which eliminates a lot of easy options. Since I had used the pita, I wanted to make sure the side was super low carb. This is a great option if you are looking t omix things up a bit!

Next up wasn't a complete failure but it was just boring and bland. I made a Tofu Curry I actually make Tofu Curry quite often, but it is my own rendition combined with Trader Joes red or yellow curry sauce. I learned here not to mess with a good thing, I should have known by the way the recipe instructed to cook the tofu, that way never works for me! I always press out the water in my tofu by wrapping it is paper towels, cube it, then cook it in the oven for about 20 minutes on 400 before adding it to a stir fry or dish. The pics look pretty so I'll still post them, but it was overall just bland.

Last but not least, actually the best, was a pasta dish I made tonight, Pasta with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese. Now, I made this on Friday because, even though it is fairly healthy, I consider it a splurge. For me, anything with pasta is a treat and a splurge especially when I'm not using whole grain pasta. This dish was fun to make, easy and I even got to use my food processer! You could not make this successfully without one.

This was my favorite out of the three and goes great with a hearty red wine! And, little Dixie loved it too!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can you believe this is fake?

I have blogged about the Chicago Diner a few times on here and yet again, we dined there this past Saturday. We were starving and wanted something great to eat but also healthy. We hit up the vegetarian places in Chicago quite a bit but this time Mike suggested the Diner! I was so happy!

As always, our dinners were fantastic. We each had Peak Organic IPA's to drink and shared the vegan potato skins appetizer. For dinner I had to get the radical reuben, it is a true fav of mine, Tender seitan roast ‘beef’ with grilled peppers & onions, sauerkraut, melted soy or swiss cheese and our homemade vegan dressing, on toasted marbled rye. I opt for the soy cheese versus the swiss. This was served with a side salad that was equally amazing! I love their sprouts! I took half home since I knew we were going out "dancing" after and snapped a picture the next day when I was eating it for lunch. Can you believe that it is fake meat!

Mike had the Dagwood sandwich with a side of mac and cheese, Seitan roast & corned “beef”, “bacon” & cheeze, with lettuce, tomato, onion, pepperoncini & spicy sauce on a hoagie. He was a happy camper.

Again, because of the dancing, we opted to skip dessert. But next time that peanut butter puck, neopolitan cheesecake or chocolate chip cookie dough looking cake is mine!

a picture is worth a thousand words

It's times like these I am REALLY glad I carry my camera around with me. Since I've been so busy it is a great reminder of the things that happened this past week. This past Thursday Mike got a random text from a cousin. His cousin Casey was in Chicago for work and had a few hours to get together! Mike and Casey hadn't seen each other in maybe 10 years or so, so when she showed up at our apartment, as I controlled the dogs, I could hear them both a little shocked to see their adult selves face to face! After a little bit of catching up and some introductions to Finn, Dixie, Kira and me, we headed off to show Casey Chicago. It was already 9:00 so we drove down the block to Wrigley, then headed to one of our fav neighborhood bars, Black Rock. We had some drinks, Casey and Mike caught up and it was a great time. We parted ways and Casey headed back to her hotel to catch a 7am flight back to Florida, yikes!


Phew, it's been a while since my last confession, oops, I mean blog! Truth is, I have been swamped. Between a trip to Iowa last weekend, being swamped at work and some hush hush circumstances I have been having a hard time, well, finding time! It appears as though things are not slowing down either but I decided to take a break tonight and spend some time with my blog.

As I mentioned Mike and I spent Easter weekend in Iowa. We finally made it to the neighborhood wine bar, it was great! I can't believe we never went the year we lived there. I really enjoyed the flight I had. My favorite was the syrah and not the malbec this time, big shocker as I am a malbec lover!

On Sunday we celebrated the start of spring and easter at The Lodge. I am also a lover of The Lodge, I believe I said "I just love the Lodge, no matter what you come for you know you are going to have a good time" The brunch was good, and so was my mimosa. We ate in the banquet area rather than the restaurant which was kind of a bummer as the ambiance wasn't as great but good times were had by all, and man do they do an unbelievable amount of business on easter!

After brunch the easter bunny made a visit to the casa. We all found our gifts, including my parents this time, we turned the tables and hid something for them too!

And last but not least, Easter Doodle!