Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BBQ Chicken Flatbread

It's been a busy start of the month for me. Work at the corporate pharmacy has been extremely busy, requiring me to work long longs and dealing without any work/life balance at the moment. It's also impacted how much time I have to update this site with new, tasty things to share. But I've managed to squeeze in a few minutes to share this recipe for BBQ Chicken Flatbread. Tender, flavorful chicken tops a savory flatbread dough which is held together with a blend of cheeses, BBQ sauce, corn, red onion and a sprinkle of cilantro. It's a bold combo of sweet and savory that is extremely easy to prepare!...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Eco Egg Dying for Easter

Every year, a tradition Patrick's family has is dying eggs for Easter. This year is no exception and I know we're excited to get together tomorrow and show off our creative side. If you're into colorful eggs as well, how about skipping the chemical dyes and create DIY dyes that are kid-friendly and eco-friendly?! Learn how easy it is to make your own colorful eco-eggs with the info below, compliments of Door to Door Organics!: #easteregg #crafts #easter #doortodoororganics #joydelivered.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Brunch: Prairie Grass Cafe


When looking for a restaurant to celebrate Easter, you want to make sure that there's something offered for the entire family to enjoy. Look no further than Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd, Northbrook, IL 60062; 847-205-4433) in Northbrook. Prairie Grass Cafe Brunch 300Chefs Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris have created a buffet experience with something for everyone to enjoy.

Prairie Grass Cafe is known for its sustainable, local and a deliciously healthy focus. Their reasonably priced brunch buffet, at $48 for adults and $18 for children 10 and under, won't disappoint. Guests will enjoy a wide variety of selections, from Prairie Grass Cafe's signature "PGC Benedict" with Poached Egg and Spinach and Roasted Tomato Hollandaise, to an array of salads, savories, creative side dishes, and desserts.  Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Easter Sunday, April 5. Prairie Grass Cafe also will be open for dinner on EasterSunday, offering its regular menu along with specials,
Roasted Lamb Shank with Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Sauteed Fennel ($34), Sauteed Wild Fluke with Seasonal Sides ($32) and Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting ($7.50).
Easter Brunch Menu: April 5th 2015
10 - 2pm    
$48 Adult / $18 Children 10 and under

Every guests starts with our Signature "PGC Benedict" Poached Egg with Spinach, and Roasted Tomato Hollandaise

•    Pasta Salad with Watercress Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
•    Marinated Beets with "Capriole Farm" Goat Cheese and Sliced Pears
•    Chopped Greek Salad with Peppers, Cucumbers, Onions, Olives, Feta and Red Wine Oregano Vinaigrette
•    Deviled Farm Eggs
•    Smoked Sturgeon with Cream Cheese, Chives and Candied Red Onions
•    Warm Baked Feta Topped with Thin Slices of Banana Peppers
•    Our Signature Moussaka - Layers of Eggplant, Potato and Braised Lamb topped with Bechamel Sauce
•    Panko and Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauces
•    Sauteed Tilapia with Grapefruit and Capers
•    Fresh "Peekytoe" Crab Cakes over Roasted Tomato Chutney;  Lemon Butter Sauce
•    Crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes with Spicy Aioli Sauce ( Boiled & Fried)
•    Roasted Tri-Color Cauliflower with Spicy Sauce and Bread Crumbs
•    Fennel Raisin Bread, French Baguettes, Multigrain Loaves,
•    Warm Raisin Buns, Cheese and Jam Danish, Chocolate Croissants
•    Applewood Smoked Maple Creek Farm Bacon / Ancho Breakfast Sausage
•    Carved-to-Order Bone-In Glazed Ham
•    Ancho Marinated Skirt Steak
•     "Made to order" Omelet Station
•    Hot Fresh Waffle Station with Maple Syrup

Dessert Buffet
•    Fresh Sliced Ripe Fruit
•    Platter of Berries
•    Crepe Station: Chocolate and Whipped Cream,  Raspberry Jam with Powdered Sugar
•    Double Chocolate Cup Cakes
•    Mom's Homemade Banana Cream Pie
•    Warm Cherry Crumble with Toasted Oat Topping

About Prairie Grass Cafe
Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd.; Northbrook, IL) supports Chicago's Green City Market and local sustainable farms, selecting the freshest ingredients to reflect the season. Prairie Grass Cafe currently serves lunch Monday - Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Sunday through Thursday from5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Prairie Grass Cafe also serves breakfast Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 9:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Light fare is available in the bar Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (847) 205-4433 or visit prairiegrasscafe.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Sunday Brunch: Shaw's Crabhouse

This Easter Sunday, April 5th, 2015, Shaw's Crab House in Schaumburg is offering both a brunch and dinner buffet that are not to be missed! Priced at $59 for adults and free for kids 12 and younger (limit 2 children per adult), the brunch buffet will feature many Shaw's favorites including a Grand Hot Buffet with Eggs Benedict, Mini Crab Cakes, and Seasonal Fish; a Build-Your-Own Omelet Station; hot delicacies like Golden King Crab, Shucked Oysters, and an EasterSpiral Ham; and the famous Shaw's Sweets Table with an amazing assortment of cookies, cupcakes, and other mini desserts.

Shaw's Schaumburg will continue Easter dining with a spectacular dinner buffet that is not to be missed! The Easter Dinner Buffet includes a Cold Seafood & Salad Bar with Oysters, Shrimp Cocktail, Sushi, and three kinds of salad; Grand Hot Buffet and Chef's Table selections like Lobster Bisque, Beef Tenderloin, Easter Spiral Ham, and delicious vegetable and pasta sides; and, of course, a Sweets Table to round out the meal.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 847.517.2722.

Shaw's Crab House, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, features a 1940s-style take on the seafood dining experience, with retro leather banquets, polished wood floors, and Art Deco touches. The Oyster Bar provides a more casual setting for diners and serves up live music five nights a week at the Chicago location. Shaw's- The King of Crab! For more info, call 312.527.2722 (Chicago) or 847.517.2722 (Schaumburg), visit the website at www.shawscrabhouse.com, tweet with The Shaw's Mermaid at www.twitter.com/shellyfromshaws,or keep up on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shawcrabhouse and www.facebook.com/ShawsCrabHouseSchaumburg.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Sunday Brunch: Carnivale



Carnivale, Latin-fusion restaurant located in the West Loop neighborhood, continues to be one of Chicago's most popular destinations for celebratory occasions including Easter and Mother's Day. In honor of these brunch fueled holidays, signature brunch items will continue into the dinner service, including:

  • Bacon Wrapped Dates - Marcona almond stuffed date, red endive, Fuji apple, romaine
    lettuce, lavender honey vinaigrette, blue cheese sauce 
  • Catalan Deviled Eggs - Aji Amarillo, capers, pine nuts, apple saba 
  • Key Lime French Toast - Key lime stuffed French toast, fresh whipped cream, brown butter, pineapple syrup berries 
  • Huevos Rancheros - Corn tostada, beans, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, chipotle salsa, cilantro, farm fresh eggs 
  • Spain's Benedict - Serrano ham, farm fresh poached eggs, pimento hollandaise, papas bravas, English muffin 
  • Fried Egg Sandwich - Two farm fresh fried eggs, homemade smoked bacon, sliced tomatoes, romaine, aged cheddar, toasted sourdough bread, served with tater tots
  • House Tater Tots 
  • Homemade Candied Bacon 
  • Homemade Pork Sausage 
"Brunch is such a tradition for Easter and Mother's Day.  People want something familiar, but something special too.  Our guests come back every year for these holidays because they know that Carnivale all about creating a memorable celebration, from our menu to our decor," said executive chef Rodolfo Cuadros.

 Carnivale can accommodate large parties. Reservations are recommended by calling (312) 850-5005 or www.carnivalechicago.com/reservations.  
About Carnivale:
Carnivale is located at 702 W. Fulton Market in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. Carnivale's Latin-fusion cuisine explores dishes from Central and South America, Cuba, Spain and the Caribbean. Featuring energetic colors, glamour, photography and wild design, Carnivale engages all of the senses with global flavors, Latin music and luxurious comfort. The restaurant boasts private event space perfect for large parties, weddings and special events. Carnivale is open every day from 11:30AM to midnight for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit www.carnivalechicago.com, become a fan on Facebook, and follower on Twitter@Carnivale312

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Sunday Brunch: Roy's Restaurant

On Easter Sunday, Roy’s Restaurant is offering a spectacular, family-friendly two-course brunch menu at the Chicago location and other Roy's Restaurant locations nationwide. Highlights of the menu include:
Complimentary Housemade Brioche Sticky Bun
Choice of appetizer
Delicious entrée

Full menu details are below. The specialty menu is just $39.95 per person and diners will receive a $20 dining card for use during an upcoming visit to Roy’s.





Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Fun Foodie & Spring Finds!

March was a great month to come across some delicious new items as well as things perfect to have just in time for spring break! Here are some fun finds I'm highlighting this month, in hopes you may be intrigued to check them out yourself too!

Michael Keller, the founder and owner of Calolea is one of California’s early harvest pioneers.  Through experimentation Michael discovered how special it can be to experience the flavors of the early harvest olive oil. The later harvest olives yield a greater quantity of oil that is milder in flavor which invites the infusion of fresh ingredients such as Meyer Lemon, Blood Orange, Garlic and Habanero. I used this oil for a couple dishes, including a seafood paella I made recently. It was perfect for cooking and it also added a nice body as a finishing oil!

This imported smoked paprika is from the famous La Vera region of Spain. Following a century old recipe, hand-harvested peppers are smoked dried over holm oak for a minimum of 14 days . This gives the paprika its unique rich flavor. It's also only made in small batches to ensure optimum aroma, color and flavor. I found this paprika to be especially good in recipes as it adds flavor and depth to rice, meat, seafood, stews, soups, eggs, vegetables, etc. The sweet smoked paprika has a deep, rich flavor with a slightly sweet undertone; whereas the hot smoked paprika has a deep, rich, slightly spicy flavor. The company that provides this paprika is Kiva. At Kiva, they strive to provide innovative food from around the world that is great tasting, healthy and of the highest quality. They are committed to using only ingredients that are sourced directly from local farmers that practice sustainable and eco-friendly methods. I used this to make a Hungarian Goulash recipe I've been testing and it came out amazing! I cannot wait to order more since the flavor really stood out, compared to other brands I've tried.

Just add beer, mix and bake to make delicious Boardwalk Food Company beer bread. Entertaining not only got easier, but tastier and more fun! Made in America, Boardwalk mixes are available in four flavors. Any 12oz beverage will work offering a multiple variety of scrumptious options. Part of the fun is deciding what lager, ale, pilsener or stout to use. With craft brews popularity, and microbreweries popping up in more and more places, the list of choices are endless! For St. Patrick's day, I used Guinness to make a Guinness loaf which was delicious and so easy to prepare. You could even use any beer or if you're not into beer, I've also found carbonated beverages will work too! I look forward to trying out the other flavors they have available including Lemon Poppy Seed, Rosemary Sea Salt and Cornbread... In fact, if you want to try a package of their Beer Bread yourself, leave a comment and a winner will be chosen on April 4th who will receive a set compliments of Boardwalk Food Co!

Now these are some muffin tops I can enjoy! I love my set of 6 Mr Muffin - "Muffin Top" Bake Cups. These are extremely cute and the novelty blue jeans shaped cups make it even funnier as your favorite muffin batter bakes up and spills over the waistband cupcake holder lol. Joel especially liked these and made our weekend morning muffins even more fun to eat! If you need some recipe ideas to make and bake up using these baking cups, I've got quite a few to choose from. In fact, if you want a set of your own, leave a comment and a winner will be chosen on April 4th who will receive a set compliments of Mr. Muffin!

I can never have too making silicone baking mats in my kitchen. They are the perfect liner to baking sheets, baking pans and even roasting pans. These mats from Baking Wizard are of a premium quality and there are two mats included in the set. They fit perfectly for half sized baking trays (18 x 13 inches). My favorite part of these baking mats is that it makes cleaning so much easier and my baking pans have a longer life because of them! Aside from lining my trays and pans, they are also great for preparing pasta and bread doughs. I love the versatility of these! 

With spring break happening, now's the perfect time to pick up some good travel items. I love Dot to Dot products since they've made packing easy and organized for me. This 18" Packing Folder holds up to 8 to 12 shirts or pants. I simply fold and stack the items neatly in the center of the organizer, then fold over the flaps to create a packaged envelope. There's even a folding board with folding instructions included! This makes it easy to separate my items by outfit or type of clothing without having to rummage through my suitcase.

Just as I mentioned above, this packing organizer is exactly the same, only a few inches smaller for smaller articles of clothing. I won't pack anything without them!

Also from Dot to Dot are these travel bottles. After spending more money that I needed on those travel sized toiletries, I opted for these travel bottles which allows me to use toiletries I already have on hand. These travel bottles will not leak during airline travel, are TSA approved and approved for carry-on. They're the perfect size and are absolutely safe for travel. Aside from toiletries, they make good containers for food too, such as condiments for a small picnic since they are FDA approved and 100%BPA Free! These are made with a soft but sturdy silicone body, making it easy to squeeze out contents to the last drop...
Lastly, I recently purchased a Fuji Film Instax camera to use at our wedding and other occasions. I came across these mini frame stickers by Sticky Shoot which adds a bit of fun and pizzaz to pictures we take. This package includes 80 colorfully designed stickers that compliment your pictures. They are easy to use as well with only three steps! Aside from framing pictures, they can also be used for occasional notes and messages. 
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