Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

happy monday!

My sister visiting us for Thanksgiving and drinking Gluhwein at the KindlMarket makes me happy!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

sunday supper: thanksgiving leftovers

If you woke up feeling like I felt this morning, like a stuffed turkey, then you probably aren't thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. And, just like me, you probably have a refrigerator full of leftovers that you don't know what to do with. The best day after Thanksgiving meal that's a tradition in my family is to make turkey flautas. Seriously, it's the best thing to do with all that leftover turkey. But, since we stayed in Chicago this year for Thanksgiving, the first time Ebert and I have spent Thanksgiving with his family, there were no turkey flautas for us. However, we do have some yummy turkey soup that Ebert's mom made with the turkey she cooked.


So, if you're not sure what to do with all of your Thanksgiving leftovers, here are a few recipes to inspire some creative cooking.

Turkey: Turkey Flautas

Mashed Potatoes: Garlic Mashed Potato Pancakes

Stuffing: Stuffing Meatballs

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes: these are so good, you should really just reheat them and enjoy!

Cranberry Sauce: Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins or Cranberry Salsa - this salsa would be amazing with turkey flautas!

What are some your traditions for Thanksgiving leftovers?

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

cooking & eating

In preparation for Thanksgiving I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and eating. If this keeps up I'll need to spend a few weeks at the gym. I'm starting to feel like the Pillsbury Dough Boy or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But, I'm trying to ignore the mass amounts of calories I've been consuming and just enjoy the fun I'm having with Ebert and my sister trying new recipes and cooking and eating. It's all about the quality time, right?

Saturday, November 20thIMG_4141.JPG

Monday, November 23rdIMG_4173.JPG

Wednesday, November 24thIMG_4180.JPG
cranberry apple french toast with rosemary potatoes, fruit salad and turkey bacon

Thursday, November 25thIMG_4191.JPG
my mom's cranberry sauce


Pomegranate Feta Salad with Raspberry and Lemon Vinaigrette
* I combined these two recipes to make one perfect salad dressing

Friday, November 26thIMG_4246.JPG
Before: Chicken Posole from XOCO

After: Chicken Posole from XOCO

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday has been filled with gratitude and lots of deliciousness!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

happy monday!

Harry Potter makes me happy!

Ebert and I were invited by our friends Eric and Ivory to see an early screening of The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. I wasn't sure if Ebert was going to make it in time, but luckily his flight from Milan arrived early on Thursday. After I picked Ebert up from the airport we had about an hour to kill before we met up with Eric and Ivory- just enough time to enjoy a glass of wine while he showed me his Italy pictures, which were amazing, of course! When we arrived at the theater we only had to wait in line for about 10 minutes and since there weren't a lot of people there yet we had really great seats. Well, except for the little kids seated in our aisle who kept getting up and the noisy people behind us with their crinkling of cellophane and non-stop crunching sounds. So, except for those two things our seats were great! The other annoying thing that happened was when the projector went all wonky during the scene at the Malfoy's house and we missed Dobby saving everyone. When the screen started to flicker, I gasped! We were compensated with free small popcorn coupons, but that hardly makes up for missing one of the best scenes in the movie, so Ebert asked for free tickets. That was a much better compensation, especially since we'll be seeing the movie again when my sister is here for Thanksgiving.

We celebrated the evening with Harry Potter treats too! Ivory had goodie bags filled with gummy snakes and insects, and I made licorice wands.


As far as the movie goes, I really enjoyed it! Of course, the books will always be better. But, I never expect the movies to capture all the amazing details that J.K. Rowling has so brilliantly written. I understand that there are aspects of the story that the filmmakers have to leave out or change in order to make the story work cinematically. Now, I don't always agree with the choices of the screenwriter or the director, and I certainly had gripes about Part 1, but every time I watch one of the movies (and of course I own all of them) I'm always taken on a magical journey.

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

- Albus Dumbledore

Needless to say, I cannot wait until Part 2. And since it opens on my birthday, July 15th, I'm going to have a Harry Potter themed birthday party. This will be the first time in years that I'm actually looking forward to turning a year older.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

sunday supper: spicy parmesan green beans & kale

I found this recipe on Giada de Laurentiis's website. I had a huge craving for pasta when Ebert was in Milan, so I cooked some brown rice pasta and topped it with this green beans and kale mixture - it was so delicious! As I've mentioned before kale is a super food, but sometimes just steaming it can be a bit boring so I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that incorporate this highly nutritious leafy green vegetable. This is one that I think you will enjoy! If you don't want the pasta, it would be good over rice or as a side dish to any meal.


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion

¼ pound cremini mushrooms – trimmed and quartered

1 ½ pounds green beans – trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup dry white wine - I used Gaetano D'Aquino Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe's

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bunch of kale (1/2 pound) - rinsed, stemmed and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

harry potter

I'm excited today for two very important reasons!

#1 - Ebert comes back from Italy.

#2 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

mid-century style

If was going to label my ideal "style" I think it would be vintage modern, at least according to some online survey I once took. I love the mid-century style. And not because I'm a Mad Men fan. I've actually never seen the show, but if I did have cable I would probably swoon over Don Draper.

I'm proud to say that I've been able to decorate our Chicago apartment with mostly Craigslist finds. I don't know much about furniture style or decorating, but I think I've created a lovely home with a good mixture of vintage and modern elements. If anything, I've been eco-friendly by buying second hand and economical by always looking for good deals. One of these days, if I can plan by blogging ahead of time, I'll show pictures of our apartment and share my tips on being a successful Craigslister. Whether you're selling or buying, it's important to know what to do and what to expect so you have the best possible Craigslist experience. Believe me, I know.

Now, if you don't want to spend hours and hours perusing Craigslist like I have, here are some places in Chicago where you can find some lovely mid-century, vintage furniture.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

the train of thought

Some days my thoughts feel like a train wreck, like they’ve gone off the track of what I want my life to be. But just like The Little Engine That Could I keep telling myself “I think I can, I think I can” even when sometimes I think I can’t.

On Saturday, November 6th I was lucky to be part of another Amy K.R. mission. It was during ‘The Train of Thought’ mission when I realized that my life resembles a train ride. I especially took notice of this similarity when the train we were riding made its first stop and our group made a mad dash to switch cars so that we could all sit together. I think I do that a lot with my train, I don’t ride it as much as I should, I spend more time on the platform waiting, waiting to switch trains or for the right train to come along, essentially waiting for my life to begin, not realizing that this is my life. Right now. This moment.

“We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real.” - Tom Hennen (from The Life of A Day)

So, if that’s all true, if my life is happening right now, why do I keep waiting for the next? There was a moment on the train when I was looking out the window and all of a sudden this incredible feeling of excitement came over me. It was a feeling of how exciting my life is, not only in this moment, but in the moments to come. I want to always remember that- me sitting on a train….going nowhere. Maybe that’s why it was so exciting, because I was going nowhere and just enjoying the ride. Or it could be the twinkle I saw in Amy K.R.’s eyes as she shared her inspiration with us. Because I swear to you they twinkle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

sunday supper: cucina milanese

Ebert's in Milan this week for business. As in Milan, Italy not to be confused with Milan, Michigan or Milan, Indiana or Milan, New York. I'm sure those are fine places to visit, but maybe not worth a blog post about. Yes, I will admit that I am mildly jealous - my husband is in Italy without me! I know, I know it's for business, but still. Truth be told, I am more excited for him than I am sad for me. All his hard work is paying off, there are so many exciting opportunities coming his way and since he's pretty much the most amazing person I know he deserves all the greatness in the world.

Milan, Italy

To honor Ebert's adventure in Milan, I thought it would be fun to share some traditional Cucina Milanese. But first, here's a mouth-watering article that will give you some history on the types of food eaten in this region of Italy and another article on where to eat in Milan.

Risotto alla milanese - risotto made with saffron and bone marrow

Ossobuco - veal shanks

Costolette alla milanese - breaded veal chops

Minestrone alla milanese - minestrone soup milanese style

Risotto al salto - leftover risotto cakes

Cassoeula - pork and cabbage stew

Ceci con la tempia di maiale - chickpeas and pork temple

I really want to learn more about different Italian cuisines now. The Cucina Milanese uses more veal and pork then I would ever eat, seeing how I've never eaten either of those foods, but I do love risotto and gorgonzola and panettone. Oh, Milano!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the life of a day

A prose poem by Tom Hennen from his book Crawling out the Window, which is sadly out of print.
Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

all rights reserved

wanderings via catherine just

some things never get old via shutter sisters

Monday, November 8, 2010

happy monday!

Inspirational Stories make me happy!

The Task via Paulo Coehlo

Alice the Magnificent via Amy K.R.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

sunday supper: spicy kale, chorizo & squash soup

It's been chilly in Chicago this week. I don't feel at all ready for this kind of weather, but I do love that it's the perfect time of year for delicious bowls of hearty soups. And ever since the week of cabbage soup I've been really good about how many calories I consume. This is partly due to the mass amounts of calories I know I will be consuming during the Thanksgiving holiday. My sister will be in town and we're already planning what we're going to cook and bake and eat while she's here. It's going to be a calorie explosion of deliciousness.

In the meantime, I'm trying to be eat as healthy as possible, which is why I love this recipe. It contains two power foods: kale and butternut squash. Not only is this soup "soup-er" healthy, but it's also really easy to make.

Instead of chorizo, I used Trader Joe's Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage. It gave the soup an extra spicy kick. I used butternut squash because it's my favorite. I think Trader Joe's even sells cubes of butternut squash if you don't want to go through the trouble of peeling, deseeding, and cutting up a whole squash. I wish you could get all of the soup ingredients at Trader Joe's, how nice would that be during the busy holiday season, but unfortunately Trader Joe's does not sell kale- for this bundle of green goodness you have go to Whole Foods or your local grocery store.

Ebert and I did not eat crusty bread with this soup the first night, as much as we wanted to we decided to be good. But, when we had it for leftovers the next night we couldn't help ourselves and indulged in a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, our favorite. It was delicious and worth all the calories!


Friday, November 5, 2010

if you want to...

Whatever it is that your heart wants to do, do it. I was inspired this morning by that thought when I read the blog oh happy day - she's moving to France with her family for an entire year. And when she shared the happy news with her readers she wrote this,
"It is so strange to me that all you have to do to move to France is to do it."
And isn't it like that with everything in life? you just have to do it. So...
"If you want to sing out sing out.
And if you want to be free be free.
'Cause there's a million things to be."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

in the kitchen

Tonight, while I was making dinner, I had a sudden and unexplainable desire to sing and dance. My heart was so full of gratitude that I wanted to cry from sheer happiness. Now, this feeling of utter joy could have been because I was drinking wine or because of the music I was listening to, but I'd like to think of it as a perfect snapshot of my life and all the amazingness that I have to be grateful for.




Wednesday, November 3, 2010

secrets of greatness

Whenever I feel a bit discouraged, when I don't think that I can muster up the energy to keep it at, when I just want to give up, I read this article.

It's a great reminder that I will never achieve anything, let alone greatness, by half-assing it or by not putting in the work. Yes, there are some days when I have to force myself to sit in front of my computer to write or do anything creative. And, yes, there will be days when I won't want to do anything, when it will be harder than I ever thought possible and I will just want to give up, live a mediocre life. But, I have to be diligent, put the time in, show up every day and create my practice. If I want the life that I want, then I have to keep at it...no matter what.

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."

- John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

happy monday!

Bike riding with my husband makes me happy!