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!




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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.





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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.



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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!



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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”.



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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.



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This past weekend I went to Hausermann’s Orchid Show.  It is worth the visit out to Villa Park if you appreciate these amazing plants.  I went to buy Orchids for customers and will probably have to go back next weekend to buy for my own home.  The variety of orchids is what makes this show so exciting.  You will see so many types you never find at a retail flower shop.

I am including a few of my favorites and I may have more pictures if I go out again next weekend.  The show ends March 3rd.  It’s a great activity for this weekend.



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recipe: egg salad

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Meals | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

My husband loves egg salad and always has a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the fridge. So this recipe is his favorite.


• 8-10 hard boiled eggs
• ¾ cup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
• 1-½ tsp of Worcestershire sauce
• 1/3 cup of mini pickles (cornichons), chopped fine
• Salt & pepper to taste


• Chop eggs and put into a large bowl.

• Mix the rest of the ingredients together, then mix in with the eggs.

• This is great on a sandwich, with crackers, or just scooped onto a mixed green salad.




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recipe: chocolate dipped brickle cookies

February 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts - (0 Comments)

Here is the recipe for the  cookies I made on the trip up north with the girls.  They travel well and are delicious!


• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs
• 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• 1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle™ Toffee Bits
• 1-½ cups Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Mini Kisses
• 2 Tablespoons Shortening


• Heat oven to 350˚F.  Lightly grease cookie sheet.

• Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until blended.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and cream or tartar; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in toffee bits.

• Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool slightly; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.

• Put the Mini Kisses and shortening into a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.

• Mix well and dip 1/3 of each cooked cookie in the chocolate mixture.

• Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and put in fridge so chocolate hardens.

• Store in cool airtight container.  Enjoy!



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girl’s trip up north

February 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (0 Comments)

This week I am spending a few days with a great group of women for yoga, cross country skiing, cooking, movies, wine, and conversation.  I am forever grateful to our hostess Karen, as she has the amazing home we are so lucky to stay at and makes us all feel so welcome.

Culvers was our stop to eat on the 6 hr trip up to this winter wonderland.  We arrive and settle into our rooms and the kitchen.  This group cooks!

Whatever we bring, it’s easy and delicious… always a treat.  The first night’s dinner was Nancy’s salmon, sautéed Swiss chard, and brown basmati rice… delicious!  Then movie night and off to bed.  We packed lunch for the next day, wonderful tuna fish sandwiches, Minneolas, apples, and a mix of dried nuts and fruit.  It was the perfect mix to keep our energy up.

After yoga and skiing, a quick grocery stop for wine, cheese, veggies, and crackers.  We listened to music, read, and relaxed.  Then it was my turn to cook dinner.  I made easy brick chicken with an apricot, honey, mustard, and wine glaze.  I also prepared the lemon asparagus risotto recipe that is already posted.  The girls made a salad and we were again toasting with wine, and enjoying the gift of friendship.  Of course I added chocolate dipped brickle cookies for dessert.

Today we headed out to a very cool shop “Northfield Cabinetry” to meet some talented craftsmen.  Then off to another ski trail.  Let me explain I love to ski, but I am not an athlete or someone who does cardio on a regular basis… though of course I should!  So I ski for about an hour and stay back while the others ski for another hour.  I am blogging and setting up for our indoor picnic lunch.  Tonight it’s Barb’s meatball and sauce with salad and garlic bread.  This group never goes hungry.





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