In-spire (verb used with a subject) to produce or arouse (a feeling or emotion, etc.) to influence   I am frequently asked what inspires me when I cook.  The two definitions above help me answer this question. First, I find preparing food to be a very arousing, emotional experience.  Aroused, you ask?  Yep, that is the word for it.  (No, I’m not going to talk about anything freaky here.  Get your mind out of the gutter.) I use the word aroused to point to all of my senses.  I love to see the gorgeous colors of fresh picked produce.  The smell emitted by a handfulRead More →

I was very excited last week because one of my favorite stores had roasting chickens on sale.  The thought of cooking this chicken was so thrilling that I had to call one of my friends about my bird.  Her response was “what do you do with a roasting chicken?”  (She is one of my prettiest friends.)  My response was “Um, roast it?”  She claimed that she had never roasted a bird before…EVER!  How is that possible?  How do your parents let you leave the coop without teaching you the easiest cooking techniques? I always thought it was one of those common meals in households onRead More →

August is my favorite month to go to farmer’s markets.  I just seem to find more food treasures during this time of the year.  Our stands seem to have everything from berries to tomatoes to beans.  (Sometimes they have nice young farmhands too but I’m not allowed to bring any of them home.) On my last trip to the “market”, I was asked if I was interested in some squash that they were offering as a special for that afternoon.  To my surprise, I was handed a small bag of these freaky looking flying saucers posing as squash!  (I always have a heads up inRead More →

There is something that comes along with a marriage.  You may like it, you may not.  You may want to be part of it all the time or maybe just on special occasions.  There may be days you will feign a headache just to get away from it.  Any married person would know that I am talking about time with your in-laws! When I married my husband, I didn’t know that he came with his own cast of characters.  I sort of knew his immediate family and the nuts that fell from that family tree but I had no clue what was on the otherRead More →

*I have deleted my original post and hope you will like my substitution. Who doesn’t like lasagna?  When you mention the dish; a person is likely to tell you about how their family made it.  Everyone’s family recipe is “the best” and people tend to lean toward the flavors they grew up eating. After I wrote this blog, I heard quite a few opinions about lasagna and family recipes.  I was right that people are really, really  passionate about their sauce and recipe.  I completely accept that sentiment and hope that people realize that I am just writing down my thoughts, memories of my Chicagoland (anotherRead More →

It is an honor just to be nominated???  Nope, I want to win!!!!  I have the joy of being nominated as one of the BEST (tooting my horn) blogs in Chicagoland! So now, I need your votes to win!! Please vote (click here) for me every day!!!  I would appreciate your support.  Read More →

One thing that has kept my marriage of almost 13 years strong is Date Night.  To most people that probably means going out to dinner, maybe dancing or a movie.  For us, it means a night to eat dates!  (Just kidding, we aren’t that lame.) I had never had a date before I met my husband.  (I’m talking fruit not social life!)  We were on a date night at a tapas restaurant and ordered a dish of dates stuffed with goat cheese. I was a little scared when the plate came to the table.  The dates looked like an overgrown raisin crammed with cheese.  BeingRead More →

One of my favorite parts of summertime is the abundance of fresh tomatoes.   I would love to say I have a green thumb and grow them all myself but I didn’t inherit that gene from my mother.  I am fortunate to live near some wonderful gardeners who always share their bounty.  (They don’t grow anything illegal so please don’t ask.) I went to a neighborhood barbeque and wanted one of my dishes to be something easy to make and yet scrumptious.  My immediate thought was bruschetta.  I hadn’t made it since last summer so I started searching for recipes. I couldn’t believe all of theRead More →

Every summer I have one conversation with my friends that seems to last at least two months.  You would think it would be about the hot weather but it’s not.  We talk about blueberries!  (Oh no, another post about blueberries.) Apparently when there is an option to go out and pick blueberries everyone feels the need to do it.  It helps that there seems to be a plethora of “U-Picks” in the area and we live in a small town so it has a certain entertainment factor. While I agree picking your own ingredients is fun, there needs to be some self-control.   Everyone starts thinkingRead More →