Tag Archives: food

Tailgate Season

7 Sep

…makes me so insanely excited! Happy Friday! Today I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise and one of those put on a fuzzy sweater, grab a cup of coffee and sing your heart out on your way to work kinda day. The first song that came on the radio when I turned my car on was Kenny Chesney’s Boys of Fall too. So, therefore, it was meant to be. Then, once I got into work and started my morning (looked at my email and Pinterest) I saw all of these great tailgate recipes from other blogs that were “recommended” to me. Well done, Pinterest, well done. So- in order to spread the urge to drool over all of this goodness, I wanted to share them with you!

From How Sweet It Is- 135 Recipes for Football Season

  • I seriously don’t even know where to start with this list- it all looks soooo amazing. I will definitely be trying one (or ten) from this list asap.

From Cooking Classy- Carmel Cheesecake Apple Dip

  • How easy and delicious does that look! And with apples? It’s practically healthy : )

From Simple Provisions- Homesick Toast


  • Avocado- sold! Would be very perfect for tailgating on smaller bread or crackers as well! And- it’s pretty too : )

Now I just have to get busy cooking! Going to need the energy to cheer on my MSU Spartans (GO GREEN! Beat them Chips!) and my Detroit Lions! Maybe a little more energy for the Lions than the Spartans, but who could complain when you have great food and a cold beer in front of you? Not this girl.


Random: Can NOT stop thinking about the coaches speech in Grease the movie today. It’s making me laugh out loud at random times which makes me look like a crazy person. Good thing I only work with family. Safe : )


Homemade Salsa

28 Aug

On the cooking trend this week (a huge part of living at home since my mom loves playing in the kitchen), I’ll share a quick homemade salsa recipe that is another great option for an appetizer over Labor Day! We made this as a topping to chicken and used jalapeños because we like it spicccyyyy (SNL reference- love Stefon), but you can make it smoother to use with chips as well. If you have the opportunity to use fresh ingredients then that’s always best but since we were making this recipe in a short timeframe we used store bought and it still turned out great! Enjoy : )

You will need:

3 tbsp onion

1 large clove of garlic

3-4 large tomatoes

peppers of your choice

3 tbsp cilantro

1/2 lime

1tbsp vinegar (not pictured)

salt and pepper to taste (not pictured)

Prep work: Remove the seeds from your tomatoes and chop them, along with your onion into small pieces. Mince your garlic, cilantro, and peppers (quantity and type determined by your preference for mild/medium/hot!).

1. Place onion and garlic in strainer and pour about 4 cups of boiling water over them, let sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.

2. For chunky salsa that’s great for use on chicken or sandwiches, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and squeeze the lime over the top. For a smoother salsa for chips or other snacks, mix all of the ingredients including the lime juice and separate into two bowls. Using a food processor, mix the ingredients from one of the bowls together until they reach your desired consistency. Then, add the two portions together and you’re done!

Store your finished salsa in your refrigerator in an air tight container for a few hours in order to blend the flavors, and serve!

Farmers Market

27 Aug

Living in the boonies of Michigan, we’re lucky enough to have a farmers market nearby our home that I got to check out with my mom a week ago! The veggies are absolutely unbeatable, store bought cannot even compare, and there’s homemade crafts and jewelry for sale that got us into trouble as well : )

These sunflowers were so cheerful that I had to take a picture to share.

Then of course there were tons of veggies, including a load of sweet corn out of the back of a pickup truck with an attractive farmer sitting in the bed watching over his spot. Hot-dang. So, I bought some… Well played cowboy, well played.

We also found a veggie we didn’t even know existed- purple peppers that are in the picture above! They were sweeter and softer than ordinary peppers, but were great on a fresh salad!

There was also a booth for Michigan cactus? I didn’t know Michigan was known for their cacti, but we thought it was entertaining and snapped a picture as well.

One of the booths sold organic meats and eggs as well as honey. I thought these honey sticks that were available in all sorts of flavors for your tea were fun!


We spent about half of the time looking through all of the fruits and veggies, and the other half of the time sucked in at a jewelry booth. She had the cutest displays and little magnets with sayings on them! I bought a few things as gifts for certain peoples birthdays that are coming up : )

At the end of the day, we ended up with quite a few purchases! We’ve been enjoying them all week and I’m definitely excited to make a few more visits before the summer is over.


Next year I’m going to convince my mom to start a little garden of our own. We have the land and the sunshine, now we just need to get my step dad to make us a raised bed! I do have to give her mad props though- she’s tried planting herbs for years. And. Always. Fails. They just die on her. She’s tried what seems like everything and then gave up the past few years. But, drumroll please, check out her basil this year! I think it deserves a trophy after her years of struggles. Cheers to the mama, her basil and summer farmers markets!



The Root

11 Jul

Last time I was back in Michigan, my mom, sister and I had a girls day and went thrift store shopping for some tables, and then out to eat at this amazing little restaurant called The Root. My family is on a big buy local kick right now and this restaurant buys almost everything from Michigan, even making most of their drink mixes and sauces from scratch with the local ingredients. Since this was our first time, everything looked new to us already, but they do change up their menu often based on the seasons to keep it fresh and fun. Coincidentally, they’re also big on wines. Score. The food turned out to be amazingggg and we all walked away with very very full bellies. Good thing we weren’t clothes shopping!

We started off with a sparking white wine also from Michigan, I wish I remembered the name of it, but it was delicious!

We started off with some scallops, which went down so quickly that I wasn’t able to snap a picture, but just imagine the best scallops ever, and those are them.

Next, we shared some gazpacho made from green tomatoes and cucumbers. This was definitely my favorite- so tasty and refreshing! I’m going to try to make some myself it was that good : )

We then had a side salad with apples, blue cheese, the most amazing bacon I’ve ever eaten in my life, almonds, and our main dish, the pork served over seared grits. Yum. Both were absolutely delicious and were gone literally 3-5 minutes after they were put on our tables. I think the waiter was impressed at our inhailing-food-skills. Never underestimate 3 hungry ladies.

Surprisingly, we ran out of wine before our main course even came. We’re also very skilled in that department. Just so many talents. Lastly, we decided to order dessert! We had one scoop of Spicers Cider gelato (a local apple orchard), and one scoop of Raspberry Chipotle sorbet. I would go back soley for the sorbet. It was that good.

All in all, this restaurant was definitely amazing, from the food to the decor, and I look forward to going back! It was a great little afternoon out on a patio with my gal pals and I would definitely recommend it : )

Patriotic Flag Toothpicks

3 Jul

Happy Tuesday, happy last day of work for the week for me, happy my best friend is coming to town today and happy tomorrow I get to see fireworks with friends and family day! All good things : )

With all of the excitement and visitors, that means I have to cook and clean. So, of course I’ve put off both so far, and in order to make some simple finger foods I have in mind look fancy and festive, I’ve put together some flag toothpicks for the holiday!

This is a very easy project that uses simple materials that you may already have on hand! Gather up some toothpicks, festive scrap paper, clear packing tape, glue and scissors.

Start off by folding one side of your scrapbook page over, and cutting small triangles making sure one of the 3 sides of the triangle is the folded edge (if you were to open the triangle it would make a diamond). This will make it easier to attach to your toothpicks.

Next, attach your folded triangles to your toothpick using your choice of glue. In order to make the pieces a little more durable I’ve used clear packing tape as a makeshift laminator. Simply lay your flag on the tape with the bottom of the flag lined up with the  edge of the tape, and roll it over so that the tape covers both sides of the flag.

Cut the taped flag off of the roll and you will be left with flags that look like this.

Lastly, cut off the excess tape and you’re done! You have cute little flags at a low to zero cost that add a little decorative touch to your appetizers or snack foods. Enjoy and go America!

Crock-Pot: Mac N Cheese

12 Jun

I. Love. Mac. And. Cheese. So much so that it’s a problem. I eat way more than I’d like to admit. I thought it would stop after I was out of college, but, the addiction has continued on strong. So, instead of my usual Kraft, why not make homemade mac? Makes it seem a little more mature. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.

After my last BBQ chicken adventure with my crock-pot, I started searching the good ol’ world wide web for a good recipe and found so many good options! I ended up taking a few things from different recipes and combining them to make my own, and it turned out great! This isn’t necessarily a turn-it-on-and-walk-away recipe, but it’s still very easy to make and provides you with tons of great food! Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Make the sauce. In a large pot, heat three cups of water, two cans of skim or 2% evaporated milk, and two cans of cream of cheddar soup over medium/medium low heat. Make sure to stir it as needed so that it never reaches its boiling point. Once hot, slowly stir in two bags (about two cups per bag) of shredded cheese until it melts into the sauce. I chose cheddar and colby jack. If you’d like to add salt or pepper to taste, this is the time to add that as well!

Step 2: Carefully pour your sauce into the crock-pot. Then, add about 16 oz. of whole wheat pasta into your mixture. I’d recommend a smaller pasta, such as elbows, shells, rotini or penne.

Step 3: Cover and turn your crock-pot on high. Cook for about 1 1/2-2 hours, making sure to stir your pasta about half way through to prevent burning.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy!

This recipe makes a LOT of food- I’ve gotten about 5 servings of lunch and 4 servings of dinner out of it which is great when you’re on the go a lot! To reheat- add a tablespoon of water and stir once heated. Since the main ingredient is cheese (YUM), the noodles may harden up a bit, but a little bit of water and you’re good to go!

I’m not sure I can look at Kraft the same way after trying this recipe, and I’m definitely looking forward to experimenting with my crock-pot more : ) Cheers!

Shopping List:

2 Cans of Evaporated Milk (Skim or 2%)

2 Cans of Cream of Cheddar Soup

2 Bags (About 4 cups) of Shredded Cheese

16 Oz. of Pasta

Festival Season

7 Jun

It’s here! One great thing about Chicago summers is all of the festivals that the city, neighborhoods and charities put on. This past weekend I rode the L up to Lincoln Square to experience Maifest and had a blast! Maifest is a German festival that features beer (of course), traditional German food, long shared tables covered in traditional patterned coverings, festival games for the kiddies, and a lively Oom-Pa-Pa German band to polka to.

I enjoyed two, larger than life Hofbrauhaus Original beers, and later went to sit at a rooftop bar to sample two kinds of sausage, sauerkraut and bread. Needless to say, I ate/drank two days worth of calories in one afternoon and then took a longggg nap. But, I worked out before I went, so they equal each other out, right? Most likely not, but it sounds good to me.

Germany also happens to be the only place I’ve visited in Europe and I absolutely loved it! Festivals like these always bring back those fun memories and let you experience different cultures and traditions. Being out in the sun on a nice Saturday with friends and great beer doesn’t hurt either : )

I’m definitely looking forward to many more festivals this summer and can’t wait to make it a routine thing!