Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cooking Club...Adventures continue 1 1/2 years later!

Over a year ago six friends and I started an adventure of a lifetime--a culinary one that is!  After finding some inspiration we formed a group to begin our cooking adventure and try new things.  Beginning with a theme each month, we cook foods centered around that theme.  Each one of us learn new recipes and really begin to stretch our culinary experience.

People ask me all the time--which one was your favorite?  I have too many to really choose.  I do have to say sushi making made me appreciate eating sushi out and now I'm willing to pay for it prepared :).  Our Mardi Gras theme was fun because a lot of that food I've never had before!  Each of them is so unique that I've really liked all of them. 

The other question I get asked is how did you come up with the theme?  Well we think of them as a group; we usually use a holiday as inspiration or something that someone read about!  We are always looking for new creative ideas and sometimes it's easier to think about than others. 

People also ask me how did you find this idea to join a group of girls together and create a cooking club--well sorry to say it wasn't my original idea.  I actually adopted the idea from  Rebecca, the mom of the two cutest boys I babysit for.  Her and her friends published a recipe book ( and I was so inspired by it I decided to try it!  We've changed and tweeked a few things that fit my group.  We've had a few leave and move, which is always sad but such a part of life...

So friends--if you have some close girlfriends and are looking for a meal once a month, think about starting a cooking club--it's such a fun time!!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Merry Christmas from Chicago!
The snow, hustle bustle on the street, the decorations, and all the Christmas music always gets me in the spirit!  Chicago has so many things to offer in the city to do this time of year:  From the Christkringel market and the Magnificent Mile lights parade, from the 12 bars of Christmas (TBox) to caroling under the bean and ice skating at Millenium Park.  There is no reason not to be excited for Christmas this time of the year!  There's plenty of Christmas parties whether they are work related or a time to gather family and friends.  I had a great time wearing my ugly Christmas sweater a few weeks in a row ;)

There's plenty to do in Chicago so bundle up and enjoy what the city has to offer!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Volunteering...The Greatest feeling in the world

Volunteering and participating--two words my parents definitely taught me all my life!  After graduating from school, I wanted to get involved not just volunteer for random events, but something to really put my blood sweat and tears into.  That's when I found Big Shoulders Fund (  Big Shoulders Fund was formed by Cardinal George and some business CEOs as a way to raise scholarships so inner city children could receive a Catholic and good education. 

I have been an auxillary member now for over a year and an active participant for over two years!  I'm on the membership committee now and getting active as a school board member!  The Big Shoulders Auxillary Board hosts great fun opportunities like Happy Hours, Give Back Days, mentoring programs, and the best one of all--the annual Auxillary Fund Ball!  Diana and I have went for the past two years and it was a great time!  I night of drinking, dressing up, and dancing--who could ask for a better time!

So Chicago when you're looking for an organization to become a part of, join the Big Shoulders Fund Auxillary Board--you're in for a Big Give Back time!

I just need a good belly aching laugh!

"I really need a good belly aching laugh!" I was in one of those moods the other night so I had to try to find something to do!  Thank god with the help of google and a little inspiration, I found iO Comedy Club.  We went and got some good laughs.  For an hour and a half of free improv comedy I would definitely go back again!  With a full bar and lots of changes, how can you not have fun!  It was a great date place and a place I'll definitely go back to again :) 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crossing something off my bucket list...

I have a bucket list of things to do in Chicago that I want crossed off.  I finally got the changce to cross something off--eating at Hot Dougs (  For all the food lovers out there as well as hot dog lovers this place is for you.  My friend and I ventured there at 10am on Saturday to wait in line!  Everyone was in a great mood and the weather was beautiful.  Hot Doug's opened at 10:30 and the wait was totally worth it!  Doug actually took our order and greated us at the door!  I had the "buffalo" meat and bleu cheese hot dog with duck fat fries.  The hot doug melted in my mouth and with the crunchy onions and "special" mustard sauce, it was really delectable!  It was the blending of perfection!  The duck fat fries were light and airy and had a great taste to them. 

Hot Dougs is worth the adventure when you have some time to spare!  I was definitely happy to go there and cross it off my list.  I'm ready to go back and expose other people to this hidden gem! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Apples, Pumpkins, and Corn Maze...OH MY!

Welcome to fall everyone!  I embraced fall this past weekend by heading to nearby Indiana to partake in fall festivities!  I had never been to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch in my life.  With my mom coming to visit, what a perfect time to get out of the city, enjoy the fall colors and get in the autumn spirit :).  All the apples were picked already but I did find my special pumpkin that will make great pumpkin seeds and maybe even some homemade plachenta! I tried a few variety of apples as well, which were very crunchy and made great apple crisp the next day!  Chicago is a place of skyscrapers and the bustling city life, but an hour away is a great apple orchard that I got to experience...another thing crossed off my bucket list!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HELLO FALL goodbye alfresco dining...

Alfresco dining is one of my great loves of Chicago!  I'm always excited for the first nice day of spring walking down the streets of Chicago and seeing people out enjoying wine, sangria, or a nice cold draft!  I feel like the city always feels alive with alfresco dining and now that fall is here it's feeling sad again.  I've managed to maximize my alfresco dining this summer including some of my regular spots like Quartino and Feast and trying places I had never been like Nia, El Barco, Market, and Butterfly Sushi. 

Definitely the hightlight of my summer and early fall was dining at the most romantic patio in the city at Piccolo Signo  I've always wanted to go there and I finally got to go!  The night was amazing, the ambience to die for, food that was scrumptous, and company that was splendid! Squash filled ravioli, grilled vegetables and proscuitto, what could be better!  The trees and surrounding area in the patio, created a feeling of being outside the city and really in Italy.  It's definitely a place I'll recommend to anyone and was happy to have waited as long as I did because it was magical!   

Any chance to enjoy a good glass of wine, the sunset on the city, and great company is always up for grabs for me!  We'll see where alfresco dining will take me next season!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The End of Summer...

As dusk appears sooner each night and waking up to the crisp feeling of fall, I know my summer is coming to an end.  As I start to reflect on my summer, I realize I've done some pretty amazing things!  From concerts and movies in the park, to relaxing on my rooftop, enjoying a Sox or Cubs game or entertaining visitors, I've done it all!  One highlight of my summer is that I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Chicago Yacht Club race committee!!  It provided me with an opportunity to learn about sailing and be on Lake Michigan in the summer!!  Though I got sea sick once, I'm looking forward to a few more races this fall before retiring until next year!  Sailing was probably the highlight of my summer!!  My friend and I went on a chartered sailboat through Chicago Sailboat Charters for an evening on Lake Michigan!  The city is breathtaking at sunset and with the full moon, it was a sight I will never forget!  We made great friends on the boat as well, which made for a fun night.  I definitely have enjoyed my summer outside this year!!

Chicago has so much to offer and I'm discovering new events to do each day like Jazzin' at the Shedd, Family Feud Trivia, watching the fireworks and mini golfing!  I'm sad summer is getting ready to come to an end, but fall is my favorite time of year, and I'm sure many adventures are in store!!