Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cook Book!!

One of my resolutions was to make a cook book.  Yep, a cook book.  I am putting my recipes and photos together on http://www.tastebook.com/.  I will keep up my cooking madness until I am done making this wonderful masterpiece.  I usually try a new recipe a week.  Gotta change up the menu, so you don't get bored!!  Some of my "prize" recipes will be in this cookbook.  I was thinking about selling them and giving profits to a charity like the Wounded Warrior Foundation.  Any thoughts?  Or recipes for me to try?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

One thing I love to do on Friday night is go through my DVR to see what I missed that week.  I go to school, work pretty late (sometimes), and just don't feel like sitting in front of a tv, when I could walk the pup, go for a run, or have a much needed date night with the bf. 

My top 5 shows in my DVR are:

1. NCIS..who doesn't love Mark Harmon? 
2. NCIS LA..more hot guys.
3. Grey's Anatomy ..can't get enough Seattle Grace drama.
4. Blue Bloods..Tom Sellek and a Wahlberg.  Yup.
5. Chicago Code..the city I love and the cops I love.  Oh my. 

I guess most of these shows all have a few themes in common...the Navy..cops.. :)  I will have to start buying the dvds when I go back to sea and miss a season, or two..

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Restaurant Week 2011 Part 2

I don't think I could only go to 1 place for Restaurant week, so my bf and I went to Japonais last night.  He had never been there, and one of our favorite things to do is get sushi together.  Usually the BYOB place a few blocks from my house.

I had been to Japonais before, and wanted to try their special menu this week.  I ordered "The Rock" for both of us.  One of the best appetizers I have ever had.  I also ordered some rolls for him, and the crab, sashimi, cake for me. ($33 menu)  Oh my was it all amazing!  I hate sashimi.  Something about the tiny piece of chewy fish on rice, no thanks.  Last nights meal changed my view on that!  The sashimi I ordered is called the Tuna Tuna Salmon.  Highly recommend it!

My oldest brother moved from Japan back to the US almost a year ago.  I can't wait to take him to Japonais, I know he will love it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Semi Homemade

I don't always have a lot of time to cook a homemade meal every night.  So enter Trader Joes/Whole Foods.  I love going there to buy a few go to items to make my life easier.

I went to Whole Foods to get some fish and came home with some coconut crusted mahi. I baked it for 15 minutes at 350.  Oh my goodness.  This was amazing.  I paired it with some cold orzo salad and steamed corn. 15-20 mintues for all of this.  Sign me up. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Restaurant Week 2011

Saturday night was girls night out, and we had reservations at Osteria via Stato.   We tried their restaurant week menu, which as the waitress said, we would not leave hungry.  She was right!  At $33 a person, we couldn't go wrong for all the food we were about to be served..

For the antipasti, we had giardinara, chicken soup, meatballs, arugula and pear salad.  I had the Chicken Mario for the main dish along with sides of baked brussel sprouts and potatoes.  Finally, we had a chocolate tarte for dessert.  The meal was amazing, and there was plenty of food to go around. 

I definitely want to come back and try their Italian Dinner Menu!

Banana Bread

Who doesn't love a fresh baked loaf of banana bread?  I know I do.  I made this recipe last week, and added a few bakers chocolate chunks for some added flavor.  It was Valentines Day..had to spice it up:)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cups of mashed ripe bananas (this is about 4-5 bananas)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil, melted butter, or margarine
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts

-Prehead oven to 350.  Grease a 9x5x3 baking pan, set aside.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Set aside.

-Combine eggs, banana, sugar, oil ina nother bowl.  Add it to the flour mixture.  Stir until moistened.  Add walnuts.  Spoon batter in greased 9x5x3 baking pan.

-Bake for 55-60 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy!!

Finished product.  Yum!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

I have already covered my favorite bars/seafood joints in Norfolk, now onto my other favorite places.

1. Francos.  Awesome Italian food.  Shout out to Mikey for taking us here!
2. Charlies.  Best breakfast place ever!  Steps from where I used to live, and loved going there.  Plus they serve beer.  Just saying.
3. Baker's Crust.  Great place for lunch with the girls.
4. No Frill Grill.  I went here for dinner every time I came back from deployment.  Crab cakes and beer. Yum.
5. Freemason Abbey.  Classic nice dinner spot.  Always a good choice!

Dessert...Doumars!  Home of the ice cream cone. 

I miss Norfolk..and can't wait to visit this summer!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Running

So I have decided as some motivation to get me running more, that I would sign up for a few races this year.

I have signed up for the Run to Remember.  It is a 5k to honor the CPD fallen and their families. 

I also signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. In Virginia Beach.  Ah..Labor Day weekend in VA Beach..yup:) 

Anyone want to run with me?!?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dinner and the Opera

When my mister and I were going from the Church back to the hotel after my friends wedding, we talked about how we both wanted to go to the opera.  Not even three weeks later, I found some discounted opera tickets.  Yay!  Date night!  They were for the Girl of the Golden West at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  I wanted to go to a nice dinner before the opera, so I asked my concierge for some recommendations.  He told me about a new steakhouse, called the Chicago Cut.  Great food!  I had a 1 inch filet, and we shared mushrooms, scalloped potatoes, and sauteed spinach.  The wine was great, and the wine list is on an Ipad.  I am pretty partial to Wildfire for steak, but this is my new favorite.  Oh, and did I mention they came out with a giant piece of chocolate cake for dessert?  And the amazing view?  It is right on the Chicago river.  I am partial to places with a good view, since the architecture of this city is just...well..awesome. 

We went to the Lyric Opera House after dinner, had a drink and walked around looking at all the beauty that the opera house had to offer.  We had amazing seats, main floor, about 10th row.  The opera was wonderful, and it was probably one of the best date nights we have ever had.  We just kept cracking each other up, and great food, and even better company:)

We didn't do anything for "valentines day" but I did make him a nice dinner Friday (Wellington, rice pilaf, steamed green beans with toasted almonds and pie).  I also got him a massage, since I know he needs one after all the hard days he has had at work lately.  Monday was a rough day at work, so I came home, worked on a final, and had some wine.  I had a dozen roses waiting for me when I got home, and it definitely made my day.  Love him!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Minestrone Soup

Many recipes seem pretty intimidating to me until I try it.  This is super simple, and a great soup!  Paired it up with some bake at home french bread..yum!

Ingredients:
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
2 stalks diced celery
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried basil
1 28 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
6 cups low sodium broth
1 15 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed
1/2  cub elbo pasta

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add celery and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes.  Stir in oregano and basil.

2. Add diced and crushed tomatoes and broth to pot and boil.  Reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in kidney beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and veggies are tender (about 10 minutes).

Top with fresh cut basil/shredded parm.  This takes about 45 minutes from start to finish.  Tastes like it came from my favorite Italian restaurant as a kid, Barones!  Makes about 6 servings.  Enjoy!!

All you need is love 8


Day 8
Whether in love or out, 
on Valentine's Day I LOVE to..
Play with this pup.  I took her home on Valentines day 2 years ago

Her first day with me!  I love Bella!

Looking out the window this past summer.  Who doesn't love this face?!?
I normally like to drink a glass of wine, eat a nice meal, relax, and or hang with my girls.  Tonight I have to finish a final for grad school..but will be celebrating with my guy tomorrow! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All you need is love..7




I {LOVE} when I feel beautiful/sexy/pretty! This happens when I...

  • Get a new, fresh hair cut.  I have crazy, thick unruly hair,so it is impossible for me to ever style it the way I would like.
  • Go to the spa.  I feel great after a facial or a good massage. 
  • Have the bf tell me I look beautiful!
  • When I dress up for a special occassion...like New Years..

NYE 2010.  Meg and Brian's Wedding!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Resolutions...

Most people have ditched their resolutions by now.  Not me..for once!

You can read about my resolutions here

I need to start my cookbook, but I have been varying my recipes so much lately, that I know I will have it started soon! 

I have been having people over more often for dinner..and bringing in some healthy goodies to work.  Baking banana bread and cupcakes tomorrow for my co-workers.  I am also making homemade minestrone soup tonight!

I have been working out a lot lately.  After I had my appendix out, it was extremely difficult to do much of anything, but I have been slowly getting back into a routine.  Lost 7 pounds so far since New Years.  Gotta keep that up!  Told the bf I will be bikini hot by June.  Yup.  I am also convincing him to run a 5K with me. 

All you need is love 5 and 6..


I didn't put up 5 yesterday because I was swamped with work.  Fridays can tend to be hectic and a bit of groundhog day all in one.

5..What I love about my friends is..

They are there for me.
They visit me, and I visit them..for some of the best girls weekend ever!
They make my heart happy.
Even though they may live all over the US/World, we can pick up right where we left off!


Me and Kim out and about on Michigan Ave.  Goofing off as always!

Me and Ellen before one of many Chicago Cubs games we have been to!

Erin, Jim, Me in California!

Allison, Mel, Dawn, Me, Erin.  California Dreaming..

Meghan and Megan.  We love baseball and beer. 


Colleen, Me, Jen.  Chicago!

Me and Liz.  Shopping in Chicago!


Laura and I enjoying some good food and beer after I sat in 3 hours of HR Traffic.  Love this girl!

Mindie, Dave, Me.  Norfolk!

The gang outside the Union League Club of Chicago.  Oh what a night!

Nikki's going away dinner.  Summer 2010 Chicago

Tara and Me at the Hawks game!

Me, Sarah, and Josh.  Go ILLINI!!
These are only a few photos of me and my friends from May 2009 to now.  Shows how often we love to travel, enjoy each other's company, sports, and beer!!!

6.  What I love about blogging is..

I can post recipes, pictures, and share life with my friends and family!  I am moving all over for the Navy pretty soon, and I will leave my wonderful hometown of Chicago once again.  I also learn so much and get inspired from all the other blogs I follow!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

I lived in Norfolk for 4 years..and have a top 5 favorite bars/sea food places that I absolutely love. 

1. Greenies.  Hands Down Awesome.  This is one of those places that isn't just one "group" of people.  You have Navy guys, bikers, surfers, etc.  Great beer, decent food, awesome location and atmosphere. 
2. Hells Kitchen.  Favorite Bar.  Can pretty much find me here if I am in town visiting.  Purgatory is the best drink.  Ever.
3. Scottie Quixx.  Who doesn't love a bar with caipirinhas.  And the occasional poser.
4. Harpoon Larry's.  Schlitz, Rum Runners, and awesome seafood.  I used to go here almost every day.
5. O'Sullivan's Wharf.  Great Norfolk Gem!

I will have to make another post for my other favorite restaurants in Norfolk, but these are my fav bars/seafood joints. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Leaving Chicago..Part 2

So I thought I was finding out where I was going sooner than I have..but I finally know!  You can read about it here.

I will be moving 3 times this year...yikes!  I have to spend some time in Virginia, Rhode Island, and then my final destination...Florida!  All of these moves are for training for my job. 

Pretty excited to go somewhere warm..can you blame me?!  But I will miss Chicago.  It is only for 3 years..so no worries to my Chicago friends.  Plus, I will have at least a two bedroom apt for visitors.

I hope she likes the warm weather!

All you need is love..

For Valentine's Day I love to bake/cook...post your recipes!!!
 
I found this recipe a few years ago.  It is really gooey, so it is served best in a dish with fresh cut strawberries and whipped topping!
 
Gooey Mocha Pudding Cake
 
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
7 tbsp powdered cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup softened butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups of coffee (preferably flavored or Godiva coffee)
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, 3 tbsp cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Blend in milk, butter, and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Pour batter into a 9inch square pan.  In small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 4 tbsp cocoa and brown sugar; sprinkle over batter.  Pour coffee over top.  DO NOT STIR. Bake 35-40 minutes.  Let cool, serves 9.
 
 
Thinking about making this recipe this weekend.  Along with my famous peanut butter pie for the bf..

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All you need is love...


So I am a bit late joining up this challenge..but I saw today's post and I had to join!  After it snowed last Tuesday and Wednesday, and the snow is still here...ugh...I immediately thought of where I spent Christmas in 2006.

Today's challenge?  "If I could travel anywhere this snowy February, I would go to..."

Hawaii!

I really did take this picture.  December 2006.

My oldest brother lived here at the time, and I made sure after I got back from deployment that December, I had to take a vacation.  Is there a better place than Hawaii?  Waikiki on Christmas day...heaven!

Chicken Wrap

I made this awesome wrap yesterday for lunch.  Made it today too!

Chicken Wrap (what I used)

1 spinach tortilla (low carb)
Tomato Basil Pesto
Fresh Spinach
Bell Peppers
Yellow Squash
Grilled Chicken

Super simple, but really good:)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hearty Barley Soup

So when I went to Seattle to visit for Christmas, my SIL made this soup.  I asked her to give me the recipe, and I got this one, and many others!

I thought since it is a bit cold out, and we got an epic amount of snow this week, that some hearty soup was a great idea for Sunday dinner..and left overs for the week!

Ingredients:

2 stalks celery thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 small onion, chopped
1 16 oz can petite diced cut tomatoes
1 1.5 oz package of McCormick Sloppy Joe Mix
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Barley (I used Quaker Medium barley (slow cook, not instant)
Sour Cream (optional but sooooo soo good)

Saute celery, carrot, onion and ham in oil for a few minutes.  Add 1/2 tomatoes from the can and all the juice.  Add Sloppy Joe Mix, Chicken Broth, Barley, and simmer for an hour.  Serve with Sour Cream.

This is a dinner that costs about $10, a little more if you add some Pillsbury French Bread to the mix. 

Ingredients..forgot the ham for the photo..

Finished Product. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A day at the Cell...in February!

This past Friday, I was invited to a re-enlistment for one of the top Petty Officers at RTC..actually, the #1 Petty Officer.  He just won the RTC SOY competition, the NTSC SOY, and now the NETC SOY.  Hope he wins the rest!!!

Me in the Jim Beam/Home Plate Club.  Holy $350 a set per game. 

About to start the ceremony..

Reciting the Oath of Enlistment


The Crew after our private tour of the Cell..

Friday, February 4, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

My favorite clothing stores.   I say my style and taste have changed greatly since 1. I graduated college and 2. I started earning a steady paycheck.  I wouldn't say I spend a lot on clothes, but I am pretty conservative and preppy.

1. JCrew.  I love how preppy it is and how well the clothes fit.  Having an outlet close to my job doesn't hurt, either.
2. The Gap  Dangerous.  There is a Gap literally about 1 block away from my house.  And I get coupons all the time from them.  But hey, I got $500 of clothes for $150 this past fall.  Win win.
3. Boden  Just discovered this gem recently.  Love their clothes.  I hate catalogue shopping, but I can't resist this place!  Just bought some more stuff from them this week..
4. Anthropologie  Dangerous X2.  Especially if I go there with my good friend Ellen.  I always tend to buy a ton of stuff, but love it all!
5. Club Monaco  Best going out clothes and all around chic look.  I have bought a few shirts, and a nice, long winter jacket here.
6. Francescas So easy to shop here.  Just bought some cute shirts there before my last trip out East. 

Glad it is February so I can take myself out of "no shopping" exile.  Maybe an outfit from Francescas is what I need:)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow-ma-geddon Part II

video
I took this video today on the lake, east of LSD in Lincoln Park. 

Snow-ma-geddon!!

So usually there is a lot of "hype" around snow storms in Chicago.  This storm was no joke.  I was a junior in high school during the storm of 99, and I remember shoveling all that snow.  That, and taking 7 hours to drive home on the Edens back in 2008 made me realize, "go home early..and take the train!!!".  I got home on the bus around 4pm, and it was white out conditions and wind gusts from 50-70mph. 

I took out Bella, and saw a woman get blown down the street.  Then another woman..and another. 

Then LSD, just east of my apt, got shut down.  You can read about it here

LSD last night via Chicago Tribune
I will probably take some of my own pictures once the drama outside dies down.  The wind is so bad I just go out to take the pup out to do her thing, and go right back in.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

30 for 30..Success!!

So I didn't realize how difficult the 30 in 30 challenge would be until I actually did it.  It is so easy to just accumulate a ton of clothes, and never wear them! 

Not only can I slim down my closet now, but I am also doing less laundry, and wearing stuff more often..especially my JCrew collection :)

As a reward, I bought myself some stuff from Boden today.  Love that catalogue...Here are two of my purchases..

via Boden

via Boden

And I went to DSW last night to prepare for Snowmageddon...and bought these boots.