Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Cookout

Kyle and I had our friends Sage and Sarah over for a little summertime meal this weekend. I have been loving eating soup and wintry things but the "cookout" was awesome! Totally needed this time of year. Sage and Sarah brought over some barbecued seitan ribs. We also had red pepper black bean burgers, cilantro-lime cabbage, and roasted potato crisps with paprika. For dessert we had strawberries with nutella! So delicious!

Today we went to the new location of Filter (a much needed addition to Wicker Park). While walking there we found an area of Bucktown we had never really explored. We made plans to go back to Jane's for dinner and it was great! The restaurant was really beautiful inside--rustic wood beam ceiling, exposed brick walls, and really tiny. We shared corn chowder, Kyle had their garden burger and I had an angel hair pasta with spinach and chipotle pesto. Our meal was perfect and we both are excited to bring some friends back and share it with them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I never make brownies. Instead it is always cookies...and sometimes cupcakes. While looking at Kate Miss' blog (she makes these amazing necklaces), I found a brownie recipe she linked to. I realized I had everything I needed in my fridge and decided it was brownie time.

Here is the slightly altered brownie recipe from (Inside A Black Apple)

You need: mixing bowl, microwave proof dish, parchment, and an 8" sq. baking dish

1/2 cup butter (I used Earth Balance, so my friend Betsy with dairy allergies can eat them, too!)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup White Sugar (I used Evaporated cane juice)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
Pinch salt
Tbsp Vanilla (I really like vanilla so I totally eyeballed this one)
Also--I added a small handful of dark chocolate chips...maybe half a cup? And about 1/4 cup of unsweetned shredded coconut. I have a reaaally hard time not tampering with recipes!

1. Preheat Oven to 390 (I have never baked anything at such a strange temperature--I set my oven on 375 and we will see what happens!)
2. Melt butter in microwave
3. Pour melted butter into mixing bowl, then add sugars. Mix well.
4. Add eggs, flour, cocoa, salt, and generous tablespoon-splash of vanilla, and mix well.
5. Line a glass baking dish with parchment, pour in batter, and pop in oven.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, test with a toothpick in the center to see if they are done.
7. Cool until you can't stand it any longer. Let out a little wimper when you realize you should have baked brownies last week when you still had Jeni's salty carmel ice cream.

So now I remember that I don't make brownies because a) I love to lick the bowl b) they are delicious and I have no self control.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vegetable Stock

I had the day off today so, I set out to make vegetable stock. We have been using a lot of stock to make soups this winter--I have no doubt homemade stock will make homemade soup taste even better!

Fresh thyme, basil, and parsley

I coarsely chopped onions, garlic, shallot, carrots, and celery. To give the stock a little more depth of flavor, I sauteed the veggies in olive oil before covering completely with filtered water. Then, I just let it all simmer for about an hour and a half.

After the stock cooled for awhile I filtered it through cheese cloth and packaged it pint containers so I will have portions in the freezer. I think they should last 3 months or so?

While the stock was simmering, I decided to make some muffins. The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook has a simple muffin recipe that gives measurements to add whatever fruits or nuts you want. I decided to combine to delicious classics and make Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed muffins. I also added a little bit of flax seed meal just because it's good for you! The last batch I decided to top with a dollop of blueberry jam. I wish I would have though of it sooner; the muffins with the jam look so beautiful!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Something about our bedroom just looked so soft and pretty today, so I decided to take photos. The bedroom is definitely the most feminine room in the house. This is the first real "grown-up" bedroom I have had. I mean that growing up, and even in college, I literally had all of my possessions in my room because it was my only domain. I love not having a bunch of buzzing and glowing electronics (computer, TV, stereo...), it makes the room so much more peaceful. One of my favorite things to dig for at thrift store is vintage floral bedding, so our bed is full of it. I would love to find some old, super soft pin-striped sheets some day.

Friday, January 1, 2010


My friend's mom was in town this week so we all went to a Swedish breakfast place up north. It took us almost an hour to get there but it was so worth it. Tre Kronor was small and cheery and really delicous. Sometimes the classic breakfast of eggs, toast, and potatoes can be really slopped-up and greasy but theirs was perfect. I also shared a plate of pancakes, which were really more like crepes and were served with lingonberry jam--my favorite!! Next door this is great shop full of beautiful Scandinavian housewares.

Today, Kyle and I both have the day off, so we went out to brunch at Flo (their website really doesn't do the place justice). I should have taken a photo of the restaurant; everything was great. I had the polenta hash with sauteed veggies and poached eggs that were literally swimming in poblano sauce. To drink I had a super spicy homemade bloody mary. Kyle had a breakfast with black beans, scrabbled eggs, pico de gallo, and lots of cheese.

We were both stuffed but when I saw Hoosier Mama Pie Company I couldn't just pass by. Being a sucker for sweets, I ordered a house coffee and a huge slice of chocolate cream pie. Their store is tiny, but really perfect. The atmosphere is very 1950's kitchen in the most charming way. Also, I had a really hard time leaving the precious little mug I drank out of.