Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Cocktail - Pimm's Cup for Wimbledon

Traditional Pimm's Cup
I am probably the only American who is from Chicago who is doing a post about our British friends across the pond as we head into the Fourth of July and on the heels of a Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory.  Guess what, I just mentioned both, so we can now get our English drink on to celebrate Wimbledon.

So, if you are going to Wimbledon, or if like me you are wishing you were at Wimbledon, you will want to mix up a Pimm's Cup and break out the cucumber sandwiches and strawberries and cream.  England's food can be hit or miss but there are a few things they do really well such as tea, scones, clotted cream and a Pimm's Cup.  Although, be warned, this is a drink that will knock you out if you are not careful. It is refreshing, tastes of summer fruit and icy cold.  Before you know it, you've downed a few of these and don't know your own name.    

Pimm's Cup
Yield: 1 Tall Cocktail

2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
4 oz. sparkling/carbonated lemonade (you can also use 7-Up, Ginger Ale or lemon-lime soda)
Mint sprigs, cucumber slices, orange slices and sliced strawberries

1.  Add lots of ice to a tall, chilled glass
2.  Add the soda and Pimm's and stir
3.  Garnish with orange, strawberries, mint and cucumbers 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley, Title IX and a Half Marathon

If you happen to get into the head of a runner, you will most likely find one of two if not both things; they love to eat or there is something eating at them, be it a demanding or stressful job, trying to come to terms with a difficult childhood, trying to comes to terms with their own child, a divorce or something of that life altering variety that necessitates many hours pounding the pavement.  There is almost nothing that I have not been able to balance in my head during a run and it has proven more therapeutic, much less expensive and far more healthy than therapy, food or shopping.  Bonus; according to the New York Times, running is also an excellent appetite suppressant.
My Mom and Me
This past Sunday, I ran in a Women's Half Marathon and it was a hot and humid slog.  I have run in half-marathons before but this one was particularly important because it was the anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the 1972 law that allowed women to participate in high school and college sports.
I remember asking my Mom once when I was much younger, what sports she did when she was in school.  She said, "Girls didn't participate in sports when I was your age."  I was dumbfounded.  When you think about how far we have come from that being the norm or from the fact that Kathrine Switzer was nearly tackled (see above) while running the Boston Marathon in 1967 by an official screaming at her to get out of his race, makes me thankful for the women who made it possible for me to run in races let alone an entire race dedicated to women.  Pretty incredible.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Cocktail - Dark and Stormy, Bermuda and Tennis

Dark and Stormy

I am not sure I could possibly be any happier to be home or that it is Friday.  Even though I returned from the land where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the kids are above average", says Garrison Keillor, coming back from any trip makes everything from the smell of my car to my beat up couch blissful.  That's the great thing about business travel; you appreciate home more when you return.

So, I am sure the nagging question you are asking right now is, "What's with the photo of the drink with the tennis racquet?"  Well, what seems like long ago, I took a little trip to Bermuda with my college tennis team.  If there is one thing that Bermuda is known for it would be the Dark and Stormy...that and their pink buses.  So, was I playing tennis or was I drinking Dark and Stormy's the whole time?  Um, both?  See, that is the advantage of playing Division III sports, you can have your spring training in Bermuda and drink your Dark and Stormy too.  Good times.

Dark and Stormy
Yield:  1 Cocktail

2 ounces dark rum
3 ounces ginger beer
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (I honestly don't remember lime juice in the Dark and Stormy's in Bermuda but a few recipes I looked at included it.  I liked the taste so the lime stays, at least in my recipe.)

Combine the rum, ginger beer and lime juice in a tall glass with plenty of ice cubes.  Give it a stir and drink several after playing a good game of tennis.


Monday, June 17, 2013


I never had a Buckeye before I went to college in Ohio and when I tasted them for the first time, I realized I had definitely been missing out.  Then again, I had never tasted Mac n' Cheese or Tater Tots before college so clearly I was a sheltered child.  Perhaps a little too sheltered because I promptly gained not 15 but about 20 pounds freshmen year.  College: a time to gain copious amounts of knowledge with a big side of weight at an exorbitant cost.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Cocktail - Sidecar, Mirror Images and Father's Day

First, Happy Father's Day to my Dad and my Grandfather.  Below are two generations of Dad's and one up and comer.  My little guy and I are fortunate to have my Dad who has boundless energy and will practice baseball whenever the mood strikes, is a master of water fun at the pool, is the MacGyver of making up games from scratch, will take a kid sledding until frostbite sets in and has an infectious laugh that reaches highest pitch when watching the late/great George Carlin.  He's a tough act to follow and that makes me one lucky daughter.    

As for the cocktail, I am having a Sidecar.  This is a pre-prohibition, Gatsby era drink that thankfully survived the cocktail brain drain the Eighteenth Amendment invited.  Gold in color with a balance of sweet and sour makes it perfect to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. 
My Grandfather
My Son
My Dad and My Grandfather

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad

Foodies will probably keep on moving when they see a Jell-O salad post.  Of course, if I need to find someone of that ilk, I need not look any further than a mirror.  Yes, that's right, I was formerly a Jell-O salad snob.  My apologies but everything I have tasted of this salad variety has usually been bland and those pre-packaged Jell-O salads from the grocery store are outright disgusting.  
My thoughts on this flavor combination have been turned on their head with this recipe.  A creamy, cream cheese filling with the salty pretzels and sugary sweet Jell-O balance each other quite well.  This is one of those desserts you need to make for a crowd.  If you don't, you will end up like me and eating half the pan yourself.  Yes, I really did that and still feeling the shame.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sox Game, Running and Pesto

Parade at The Cell
I started the weekend out by taking my little guy to the Sox game at which he got to parade around the field before the game with his T-Ball team.  The only thing more fun than a baseball game is getting to see your son this excited to be on the baseball field.
Foster Ave. Beach - Run Start Point
As if the baseball game wasn't awesome enough; my run this weekend was much better than last weekend's painful slog.  The weather was perfect, I hydrated and took in GU along the trail which made the difference between being able to function and being a hot mess, like last weekend.
Hot Pink Roses
Then a friend stood in a very long line to get me the Farmers Market Doughnuts, met me back at my place and, wait for it...the doughnuts were warm and they came with gorgeous roses.
Basil for Munch Pesto
Finally, a challenge.  I ate at Munch, a vegetarian restaurant in Oak Park and I ordered the special which was pesto pasta.  The pesto was vegan and I absolutely loved it; so much so that I tried to sweet talk the recipe out of the waitress.  Apparently the recipe came from the owner's Grandmother and it would not be revealed.  In fact, the waitress kept looking nervously over her shoulder like she was divulging C.I.A secrets as I tried to gently coax the ingredients out of her.  I was able to get a few tips on how the pesto was made before she ran off claiming she needed to help another customer.  I will be attempting to replicate that recipe and taste in the coming days.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Cocktail, Spiced Nuts, Goat Cheese with Honey and a Long Run

Happy Friday, Folks.  A cocktail will be in order this evening after a hectic work week.  I would have more than one if I could but I have 12 miles to knock out tomorrow morning.  Since last weekend my run had shades of the Bataan Death March, I am hoping to make it through this one with toenails intact, knees in place, nausea kept at bay and sustained energy levels so the last two miles are not of me practically walking, like last weekend.  I had a Christopher McCandless moment before I headed out for said run and did not bring any fluids or food/ gels/ sports beans with me.  P.S. My iPod ran out of juice right around mile 7.  So, poster child of prepared I was not.
So what got me to the end of that run?  Food, of course.  Specifically, thoughts of the Oak Park Farmers Market Doughnuts that are served, usually warm, until 1pm every Saturday through the summer and early fall.  I have a deep infatuation with those doughnuts and they were going to be my prize for finishing strong.  Unfortunately, they never even made it to my lips since I was in the doughnut line for all of three minutes before, out of nowhere, I started sweating profusely, my head started spinning and I felt like I was going to dry heave since there was absolutely nothing in my stomach.  I bent over, put my hands on my knees and tried to look normal.  Unfortunately, I looked like some rookie college kid who spent the last night drinking and just happened by the doughnut stand on the walk of shame.  I realized that if I did not get out of that line, the scene would go from bad to scenes out of "The Hangover".

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rainy Weekend in Chicagolandia with Rhubarb and Strawberries

Chicagolandia was pretty wet this past weekend and our temperatures dropped quite a bit on Sunday to 60 degrees.  Good news is that I have not had to water my plants for over two weeks and I just recently found out that thunderstorms are good for your garden because of the nitrogen in the lightening.  For those gardeners out there who are rolling eyes and saying, "DUH" right now, I am sorry.  I didn't know this and I was all, "Who knew?"  Bad news is that my dog freaks out with thunder and lightening, as most dogs do, and I have been comforting her like a traumatized baby over the past couple weeks.