Big Blog News!

March 3, 2011

I started this blog over 2 years ago. Since then so much has changed in my life. I’ve moved to a new city/state and started down a new career path. To celebrate all this ‘new-ness’ I’ve really been wanting to start a new blog. I want to continue to journal my culinary adventures and food philosophy while also documenting my life and inspirations. So this will be my final post on Foodiephotog. Its been a lot of fun but I am ready to move on. And I invite you to move with me.

My new blog on blogger is titled Lavender for Lemon

I hope you move with me over to Lavender for Lemon and keep reading.



February 23, 2011

I think most will agree that last week’s sunshine and warmer weather was a tease. Yesterday I had to make Chili to warm up. I had a slice of Trader Joe’s sprouted whole grain bread on the side. This is my favorite wheat bread so far. I’ve become a little obsessed with Trader Joe’s lately.

I am doing some serious day dreaming about spring and summer. Going to the beach, wine on the rooftop, farmer’s market, outdoor concerts, bike rides on lakeshore, fresh pineapple…I could go on and on! Hopefully spring really does come early.



Friday Night Dinner

February 22, 2011

I’ve talked before about how crazy our work schedules are right now. So I’ve been trying to make the weekend evenings extra special so we can reconnect and enjoy each other’s company and not get caught up in the stress of being apart so often. I have also resolved to try a new recipe each week. These goals collided in a very wonderful way friday night. I made Fondue, Basil-Walnut Pesto over Pasta, and Strawberry Bellinis. We ate slowly while talking and listening to Florence and the Machine. The only word I can use to describe the evening is “lovely”.

My new recipe was Bellinis from Giada’s Family Dinners Cookbook. They were SO good. The perfect way to unwind from a long week.

I used my new, fabulous food chopper to puree the strawberries to perfection. The organic sparkling wine was from Trader Joe’s for only $5. I LOVE Trader Joe’s!

The meal was fantastic. We will certainly be having this again.

Currently reading: My Life in France by Julia Child

(I’ve started and stopped this book several times but this time I will finish!)


February 15, 2011

Hi everyone. I hope you had a warm and loving Valentine’s day. I really dislike it when people say that Valentine’s day means nothing but a holiday for greeting cards. To me its a day to bring our focus to the present and allow us to take stock of whats most important. I spent a lot of the day thinking about how much I love my friends, family, and all the little animals in my life. It’s easy to forget that love does not require money or things. And if it does than maybe that’s not love at all. This year Trent and I agreed no gifts. We didn’t even do cards (which is rare because I’m kind of a card fanatic). We considered Saturday to be our V-day celebration since Trent works late during the week. He met me at the train when I got off work and we walked to a restaurant in our neighborhood. It was low-key, burgers (mine veggie of course) and beer. It was fantastic. We gobbled it up before I even thought to take a photo. After dinner we really wanted to see Blue Valentine. I’ve been waiting to see that film for over a year. But it was sold out so we ended up going to a book store, walked around talking about all the books on our to-read list, and bought a gift for our nephew’s upcoming birthday. It was such a simple, quiet night just how we like it.

Although we said no gifts and we officially celebrated love day on saturday, Trent surprised me with these beautiful flowers and my favorite wine.

I wanted to surprise him with something special so after reading this post on one of my favorite blogs Secret Pocket I decided to make Trent homemade peanut butter cups from a recipe I had been wanting to try for a while. They were not easy to make and certainly not the prettiest things but still really good and rich. Trent’s reaction: “WOW, how will I ever eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup again?!”

I got the sweetest surprise in the mail yesterday. There was a card with no return address in a bright pink envelope. I opened it up and it was a funny, sweet card signed ‘Menard’ (our cat). Of course I can spot my mom’s handwriting from a mile away so I knew she had addressed and sent it but I was a little surprised because she doesn’t really get into cards. So after a little investigative work she confessed that it was actually picked out and purchased my step-dad. My family knows how much I adore my cat. I thought it was so thoughtful to pick out such a card but I wasnt too surprised because my step-dad Ted happens to be one of the most thoughtful, wonderful men you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. Officially he is my step father but in my heart he is my dad. Because I am me, I had to have Menard pose with the card for a quick photo. Poor cat!

In the spirit of the day, let me get mushy here and say thank you to all of my readers. I am always surprised when people comment or I read the stats and see that more and more people are reading. Thank you!

In other news, we survived the Chicago Blizzard of 2011. And yes that deserves capital letters. We are now experiencing a warm up and melt down. Its beautiful and soggy. I am getting closer and closer to returning to the beach and I could not be happier.

I took this photo last Wednesday. It’s the building across the alley from us and I was shocked at the size of this icicle.

Remarkably this monster is now gone. A sure sign that we are warming up for spring.

Did you watch the Grammy’s? I am still elated that Arcade Fire won. Their album “The Suburbs” has been in heavy rotation on my iPod and I am so happy that their brilliance was rewarded and recognized.

Have a good week!


February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s day baby. I love you.

“Let me be your everlasting light, sun when there is none, I’m a shepard for you and I’ll guide you through, let me be your everlasting light”


Olive Mountain

January 24, 2011

Lately Trent and I havent had a lot of time together. He’s in busy season at his job working long hours during the week and I work all weekend at the museum so we don’t see each other that much. We’ve designated saturday night as ‘date night’. Even if we just watch a movie at home we make that time just for us. Last saturday we drove to Evanston (a city we love about 15 minutes from us) for dinner. We ate at this amazing little place called Olive Mountain that serves delicious Middle Eastern fare. It was small, warm, and comforting. We really enjoyed it. The tables were squeezed together and it was loud with the voices of people laughing and talking, connecting over food. And it was so inexpensive! We got homemade hummus, stuffed grape leaves, 3 huge pitas stuffed full and it was only $20. We were so happy and full when we left that we didn’t mind the walk back to our car in the freezing cold.

Stuffed Grape Leaves and Hummos

Me posing with my pita stuffed full with Falafel and Jerusalem Salad.

This was the first time I had ever had Falafel and it was SOOOO good! I  cant wait to recreate it at home.


Fried Rice

January 13, 2011

Recently I’ve added Fried Rice into our supper rotation. It is absolutely delicious. I don’t know why I didn’t try this years ago. It’s so easy and flavorful with a fantastic texture. Start with cold rice (leftovers from the night before). Saute a cup of mixed frozen veg (thawed in the fridge) and garlic in a Tbl of Veg or Canola oil for a few minutes. Add the rice and a generous drizzle of soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar. I also add a teeny tiny bit of spicy chili sauce (totally optional). Start with a little bit of soy sauce and add more to taste. I pair it with natural baked veg spring rolls. I also steam broccoli and throw it on top because we LOVE broccoli! This is just SO good and easy.

Stay safe and warm in this winter weather.


Listening to: Slate’s Political Gabfest Podcast

Pb pancakes

January 11, 2011

Hi friends. Wow so December is gone and January is in full swing. Crazy. So I have been absent for a while. (sorry) We had a seriously busy month. Every week we had visitors or we were out of town. All my free time was devoted to work and sewing Christmas gifts. It was busy, stressful and absolutely wonderful! I love this time of year. I know that some people think New Year’s resolutions are silly. But I love them! I love that people feel a sence of renewal and hope. Even if they don’t make it out of January they still had that blank canvas-anything is possible feeling. I have big dreams and many goals and I’m excited to see what 2011 will hold.

It’s that very cold time of year where I want to hibernate and eat comforting, warm food. While at work Sunday we got on the topic of pancakes. (we talk about food often) I got a serious craving. So when I made it home that night I got creative and came up with these very delicious Peanut Butter Pancakes.

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Yields: about 9

1 1/2 Cups Flour

3 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 Tbl Honey or Agave

1 1/4 Cups Milk

1 Egg

3 Tbl melted Butter

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Tbl Peanut Butter

Sift dry ingredients together. Make a well in the middle and add all wet ingredients. Mix until just blended. Cook on hot, greased skillet. Enjoy with butter and syrup or honey.


Menard loves to watch it snow!

Currently listening to: Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs


December 3, 2010

I’ve always tried to mix it up. I try to avoid getting into ruts of eating the same foods everyday, keep myself from getting bored. When it comes to supper, I’m successful. But during the day I usually end up eating the same things.  As long as I’m enjoying it, I’ll give myself a pass. About a month ago I threw together a healthy granola to eat with my morning yogurt. I truly mean ‘threw’ together. I just put whatever granola like products I had in a bowel and baked it. I love this combination! Its oil-free, fiber filled, goodness with minimal sweetness. I’ve been eathing it almost everyday since it’s creation! I made a mental note of how I did it and recreated the recipe this morning. I thought I would share here. A note to granola lovers: This is not very sweet. If you like it sweet add more honey or brown sugar. Because there is no oil it never gets really crunchy. But I think the crisp, soft texture is quite nice over yogurt.

The goods: 3 Cups Oats, 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds, 1/4 Cup chopped Almonds, 1/4 Cup honey or agave, 4 oz. Unsweetened All Natural Applesauce, 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract, 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt plus any other nuts or spices you wish to throw in. This recipe is certainly open to interpretation. I like to buy raw, unsalted seeds and nuts. They are just as good with the added bonus of being healthier. I also suggest adding ground flax seeds after it comes out of the oven. Flax seeds are little health miracles offering a heavy dose of Omega-3 Fatty acids and good fiber!

Mix together and spread evenly on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 mins. at 350. Carefully mix it up, re-spread and bake for another 5 mins. Let it cool completely. Store tightly in fridge. My last batch stayed good for 3 weeks.

Plain Whole Soy is a perfect match in my eyes but I’m sure it would be great with any yogurt and some fruit to top it off. I use 1/2 cup yogurt & a heaping 1/2 cup granola.


Oh yeah…my birthday

December 2, 2010

My birthday was at the beginning of November. I can’t believe it’s already been a month. Does time go faster as you age? I had intended to blog about the special day because it was indeed special but time just got away from me. Plus I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t end up taking that many photos. My best friends/former band mates drove 4 hours to our apartment and surprised me at 1am on my actual birthday. I was in shock! I felt so honored that they would go to such trouble. We stayed up until early morning talking, laughing, reconnecting. We got up and went to the Institute of Art for hours. Amazing. Upon leaving, we got stuck in freezing rain and wind. So we went home, ordered take out and relaxed. It was the best birthday ever!! They got me two fabulous cookbooks and a vintage recipe box with many of their favorite recipes written out. Beyond thoughtful. These two people are amazing! I love you guys!

One of the cookbooks was Indian cuisine (my favorite). I made a recipe from that book last night: Spicy Cauliflower and Potatoes. Lots of work but totally worth it. Spicy and delicious.

My best advice when cooking things with many ingredients is to have everything chopped, measured, and ready to go. It saves a lot of time and stress.

Indian food has a remarkable depth of flavor because each recipe has thoughtful use of many spices. This can be expensive if buying the bottles of spices at the store. I suggest going somewhere like a Whole Foods or local health food store and get your spices in bulk. This recipe called for 8 spices. I got a couple teaspoons of each at Whole Foods and only spent about $1 total. I cannot stress enough how useful bulk bins can be when you want to eat healthy on a tight budget.

The end result. Seriously my stomach is growling just looking at this photo.

I’m excited about this winter beanie. I have a big head. Its true. It is really difficult for me to find hats that fit properly. In search of gloves for Trent, we stumbled upon these men’s hats for $3. I was so excited because I really needed something warm to cover my ears. It fits my head and its kinda cute. Another tip when living on a tight budget is looking for things in unlikely places.

As I am sitting here looking out the window I see snowflakes falling. Winter has arrived. Stay warm everyone!

I started reading Dewey by Vicki Myron. So far I have cried my way through 3 chapters. I think I will do a proper post on this book when I finish.