Texas Chunky Chili

Neighbors.  Love them or hate them, they are part of your life.  I am VERY fortunate to be surrounded by one of the best groups of neighbors a gal could ever ask for.  (This is the part that I am buttering them up because I am posting one of their recipes.) We are a multifaceted group brought together by one single decision we all made and that was to live on this particular block.  (Okay, my husband grew up here so I wasn’t a huge part of the decision process but I do really like where we landed.) Last year, the neighbors  (only the reallyRead More →

My earliest memory of making homemade bread can go back to my teen years.  (Technically, when Beauty and the Beast was released I was no longer a teen.   I was a late bloomer so my creative license is allowed.)   We (my mom and sisters.) went to Disney World and ate at a restaurant called The Land Grille Room.  It was a cool revolving restaurant in the Land Pavilion at Epcot Center.  My family was  lucky enough to be seated at one of their expansive booths that gave us the best view of the exhibit as the restaurant rotated.  (It is now called the GardenRead More →

A little dream.   Whether you want to grow up to be a teacher, a veterinarian or a truck driver, your dreams are what steer you on the highway called life.  (Yes, I wanted to be a truck driver.) Tony Priolo’s dream was to have an authentic Italian restaurant that got to the heart and soul of Italian cooking.  The eight-year-old Tony started to learn about the rustic, clean flavors at his grandmother’s apron strings in the Northwest side of Chicago. His culinary skills with Italian cuisine were mastered as he worked his way up the culinary ladder as a student, prep cook, and as aRead More →

Stir-Fry Udon Noodles

To continue on with some of my previous discussions about comfort food, I have to talk about noodles today….Asian noodles. A meal in one bowl (and you have to eat them in a bowl), Asian noodles offer a versatile option for dinner (or lunch or snack.)  You can get all of your protein, veggies and carbs in one simple dish.  My only issue with Asian noodles is that I don’t have a quickly place to grab a bowl when I don’t feel well and REALLY need the comfort. My sweet husband always will ask what he can do to make me feel better and IRead More →

Living in a small town, one of my challenges is learning about food and flavors popular in other countries.  I have learned by opening my mind (and mouth), I am limitless. With that said, I knew NOTHING about Spanish food until I started reading Iron Chef, Jose Garces book, Latin Evolution.  It is a fabulous book that could be considered a primer for learning Spanish cuisine.  From the recipes to the pictures, I was transported to Spain. Being a fan of the book, I was excited to learn that Chef Garces also has a restaurant in Chicago called Mercat a la planxa.  Conveniently located onRead More →

So, last year I did it.  I made my husband happy.  What I gave him was close to perfection, very hot and made him take a nap instantly.  He isn’t going to be so lucky this year.  I’m just not in the mood….to make the traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I didn’t want to disappoint the guy completely so I decided to make him the infamous sandwich that goes along with this time of the year, the Ruby. Um Barb, don’t you mean the Reuben?  Nope, I think it is time to talk about St. Patrick’s younger little sister.  She has been in his shadowRead More →

In the year 1970, there were quite a few momentous events that took place in this world.   The first Earth Day was recognized.  (Hooray!)  The Beatles had their last number one song, The Long and Winding Road.  (Boo!)  I was born!  (Oh crud, now you all know my age!)  And the Shamrock Shake was invented! The Shamrock Shake?  Yep, the classic green shake that McDonald’s promotes only for a few months to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  (Pretty clever how I diverted your attention from doing the math to figure out my age.) Now the original name was the Liquefied Leprechaun but that did not doRead More →

I have a secret.  It is something that surprises people when they hear it from me but has become part of me that I just can’t hide anymore.  I think my husband finds it an attractive quality in me and even tells his friends about it.  (I have your minds just twirling right now, don’t I?) Yep, my secret is….I love NCAA March Madness!!!  Since the first time I filled out a bracket in 1997 (and won!), I have loved this annual sporting event.  I read sports pages, commentaries and watch ESPN for the entirety of the tournament. There is a part of this tournamentRead More →

Roasted Tomato soup

Comfort.  By the time March rolls around in the Midwest, I am looking for comfort from the cold in everything.  I want a big fleecy woobie (blanket made from fleece with a colorful pattern) around me at all times. My weekend wardrobe consists of something with elastic around the waist and fuzzy material.  (Yes, I wear pajama pants around the house but ONLY the house.)  And all of my meals must be HOT and give me comfort from the cold! A comfort food is defined as a food which invokes a positive emotion in your brain. You don’t consciously remember when you first ate thisRead More →

GT Fish & Oyster Sign

On February 29, 2016, I am going to look at the calendar and remember THIS leap year for a couple reasons.  First, it was unusually warm for Chicagoland (in the 60’s) and very windy!  The other thing I will remember is the lunch AND dinner I ate at GT Fish & Oyster on 531 N. Wells Street.  (Okay, I didn’t eat BOTH meals on one day but my old memory won’t be sure of that.) I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Giuseppe Tentori at the Food and Wine Magazine event I went this past winter.  Besides enjoying his fabulous food, I genuinely liked the guy.   LittleRead More →