When you get up in the morning, do you ever think to yourself….Have I made a difference in anyone’s life? It doesn’t matter if you are the teacher of young minds, a doctor who heals, the barista with the perfect cappuccino or the housewife who greets everyone with a smile….you want to make a difference. I am a firm believer that we are all small pebbles capable of making ripples of waves in other’s lives….we just might not realize it sometimes. I woke up this morning thinking about this because I wanted to wish The Chopping Block in Chicago a Happy 20th anniversary. (The celebrationRead More →

I have a confession. I cheated on Felt Like a Foodie this week. Part of me feels kind of dirty but I also have gotten a rush out of it. Don’t worry, I did it safely….I did spell check, grammar check and didn’t do it for a check. (I’m not that kind of blogger!)  I didn’t do anything that bad….I just wrote my first guest blog. My favorite place for cooking classes (The Chopping Block in Chicago) asked if I would share one of my recent experiences (the ramen workshop) with their readers.  For me it was part of my celebration of 4 years of writingRead More →

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I have always loved that saying. Every now and then, you get handed things that may not be what you currently desire but you just have to make the most of it. Lately, my plate has been full (and not in the fun fill my tummy kind of way.) It isn’t that I’m in a sour mood, I just feel a little overwhelmed and that I’ve lost some of my zest. (Ooooo, clever lemon-esque wordplay for your reading enjoyment.) My mind started to think how can I make lemonade out of my current exhaustion and then I rememberedRead More →

I’m sad. Monday was the last day of Cooking Lab at The Chopping Block. I can’t tell you how much I loved this series. Oh wait, you are my captive audience so I CAN tell you!! I have always prided myself on being a good cook. I could look at recipe, get the ingredients and come up with a decent plate of food. I learned in this series cooking really is so much more that that. It is understanding your cookware and tools. It is figuring out how to balance the flavor because not EVERY piece of protein or vegetable is going to taste theRead More →

Of all the classes I read about in The Chopping Block’s Cooking Lab, I knew I was going to be “fond” of class number 3.   It was all about developing flavors and understanding the roles emulsifiers, thickeners and starches play in some of my favorite things like sauces, soups and vinaigrettes. I knew this was going to be fascinating because I am literally fond of fond (the brown yummy stuff that sticks to your pan). Have you ever just scooped up a spoonful and popped it in your mouth? It is the essence of all the good things that can come out of your meal.Read More →

Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle?  Do you look at the picture on the box, study the design and think about the pieces?  Or do you just dump the box on the table, find the edges and think of the picture components as you go along? I have always been a box dumper and realized that has also been my approach to cooking in the past. I dump my ingredients on the counter, look at my recipe and just go along.  But I think I need to start looking at the whole picture and thinking about my pieces. Monday I went to my secondRead More →

I have lost count of how many classes I have taken at The Chopping Block over the years.  Usually the class has a distinct theme (Thai, Julia Child, Pasta) and an exciting experience of cooking and eating fills my evening. Last night, I went to my first of four Cooking Lab Classes and I knew I was in for an entirely different experience.  With warm welcomes from owner, Shelley Young, and the one of my favorite chefstructors, Mario, I was perplexed at the table set up. The food was a mix between a 6 year old’s birthday party and a bad case of the munchies. Read More →

Is there something called “Cooking Contests Annonymous?”  If there is such a meeting group, I think I need to join it.  Not because I enter a lot of contests, it is because of my behavior once I am in those contests. A perfect example would be my recent experience at The Chopping Block (222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL).  They innocently held a contest on their Facebook page for their first annual Chili Cook-Off.  Contestants would submit their recipes and the readers voted on them.  The finalists were chosen either by popular vote or The Chopping Block’s Choice. I was thrilled and honored whenRead More →