recipe: rhubarb crisps

March 29th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

It’s spring I think!  It’s lighter out longer, the sun seems to be shining a bit more, and temps are in the 40’s… so I’m thinking it’s spring.  When I think of Spring I think of Rhubarb in any dessert.  I saw the gorgeous red stalks and I had to make something.  So I decided to clean it and slice it, toss sugar, flour, and cinnamon on it, then fill some ramekins.  I was out of oatmeal in bulk but I did have packs of instant oatmeal so I used the 3 maple flavored oatmeal packs, ¼ stick of butter, ¾ cup of flour, and 1/3 cup of brown sugar to make my crisp.  I mixed those ingredients together and pressed them on top of the rhubarb.  I baked them for ½ hour at 350º (remember to preheat your oven).   Place them on a lined cookie sheet as the delicious fruit does boil over.  I would add rhubarb to bread or just sauté it and use over ice cream or yogurt.

If you see it at the store pick some up and get creative.



recipe: crepes

March 28th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I’m a crepe fan… if you are from Chicago and remember the restaurant “Magic Pan”; it was one of my favorites.  I used to meet my husband there once a week for a savory crepe, but really always wanting the sweet dessert crepes.  I haven’t made crepes in a along time maybe because its not easy forming those perfect crepes in my own magic pan.  I found this “White Toque” brand Organic Crepes already made and decided to revisit an old favorite.

They are delicious and easy, I suggest you try them and have fun making up your own filling!



• 1 lb sliced mushrooms white or cremini
• ½ lb sliced shiitake mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 shallots, minced
• Kosher salt & pepper
• ½ cup white wine
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream

• Melt butter in a heavy sauté pan add mushrooms, garlic, and shallots. Sauté till mushrooms are cooked. Add Salt & pepper to taste.

• Add wine and sauté for another 2-3 minutes to reduce, then add cream and heat through.  Your filling is ready, set aside and make crepes filling with mixture and spoon on top.


This brand “white toque authentic organic French crepes” is a great choice if you don’t have time to make your own.  They’re easy and delicious.

I also add sautéed chicken or beef to the mushroom mixture for a heartier meal. Dessert crepes are another option just adding fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar!




table dressing: spring

March 25th, 2013 | Posted by admin in TABLE DRESSING - (0 Comments)

Is spring here?  Let’s hope so!  Bright colors and fun objects to dress our tables for a season of casual entertaining.





pantry staple: french press

March 20th, 2013 | Posted by admin in PANTRY STAPLES - (0 Comments)

This is a must have in your kitchen.  I will be honest; I had a French Press in my pantry collecting dust for several years.  I was served coffee at a small coffee house and they used a French Press.  I loved it and of course brought mine out of the pantry to sit permanently on the counter.  I put my “huge” Keurig away and the new space was great.  I now make my morning coffee in this wonderful way and it makes my morning special.  When I had a large group over the other night I still used this method and everyone appreciated the coffee… it really is delicious.


• Put your freshly ground coffee into the bottom of the pot (2 scoops /cup).

• Turn on your tea kettle to boil water.

• When ready pour over coffee in the pot.

• You can put the top with plunger over the top of the coffee pot, but wait 3-4 minutes so the coffee can steep, then press plunger down very slowly and steadily.

• Allow another minute for the coffee sediment to settle to the bottom.

• Hold the French press up to the sun before serving, if there is any hint of sunlight shining through the coffee, pour it out and start all over again.  I have never had this happen!  Enjoy!!!


A great brand is the Bodum “Chambord” French Press and it’s affordable.



family dinner

March 20th, 2013 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (1 Comments)

There is nothing better than having family over for dinner especially family you don’t get to see often.  How lucky were we to have my nephew Jared and his lovely wife Marisa in town from California.  Then the added gift of having Elizabeth and Sam… who call me Aunt Pam, also joining us.  Their parents, Doug and Sue (my sister’s brother-in-law and wife), drove up from Champaign, and we were a group of ten with my two boys Zach and Josh.  Garry and I were thrilled and it was such a wonderful evening.

We served the brick chicken, rice pilaf, grilled vegetables, and a large kale & bib lettuce mixed salad.  Sue brought a delicious recipe of Tabouli salad made with cooked Quinoa, a great alternative to bulgar, to keep the recipe gluten free.  We had a tub of delicious hummus and pitas.  Dessert was an “All Butter Cream Cheese” pound cake, pecan brownies, fresh berries, raspberry sauce, and whipped cream.  Then of course I served three flavors of gelato… a small tablespoon just made dessert perfect!  Sunset, a grocery store here in the Chicago area, carries a brand called “Maples Gelato”.  I picked up the flavors Raspberries & Cream, Sea Salt Carmel Almond, and Cardamom Ginger… this is a must try!

I have not mentioned that they all brought wine… wonderful reds and whites to compliment the evening.  I started this blog talking about how food brings us together and what a gift it is when we have guests to share our table with.  This is why we cook, why we have a dining room table and why we say yes, please come to dinner!



places to go: eleven city diner

March 11th, 2013 | Posted by admin in PLACES TO GO - (0 Comments)

I spent a sunny Sunday morning at the Dog Show in Chicago.  I am a sucker for an adorable pooch, there are three at my house.  I went with my son and his roommate who suggested we stop at “Eleven” for lunch/brunch.  Of course I am never one to turn down a meal.  This is a busy place a buzz of patrons… an eclectic mix making people watching fun!  The decor kept us busy just looking around while waiting for our table.  The wall by our area was filled with portraits of Rabbi’s.  We had so many things we wanted to order… the pancakes looked fluffy and amazing.  But of course we all ordered the “Singer” sandwich, a double-decker pastrami and corned beef sandwich, a bowl of matzo ball soup.

The soup was delicious and the matzo ball fluffy.  The sandwich was luscious, the pastrami perfect but I like my corned beef a little more lean.  The portions are large so splitting a sandwich is a good option.  There were so many things we wanted to try, I’ll definitely come back to “Eleven”.



I shop at Trader Joe’s for many things but this is a must have item.  I love mustard and have many options in my fridge but this has all my favorite flavors in one.  I like a Dijon, I love garlic, and the creamy aioli makes it perfect for everything!  I use it on sandwiches, sauces for fish, chicken, and pork.  I use it in my egg salad recipe and my salad dressings.  I could go on and on so just pick up a jar and let me know what recipes you come up with.