Saturday, August 31, 2013

Diner en Blanc White Picnic hits Chicago September 19



Got this press week last week for this end-of-the-summer event that sounds so elegant and fun, a French tradition where everyone wears white, uses white utensils and linens. Registration is required and in high demand.


Dîner en Blanc® Returns To Chicago For A Summer Finale With Its Signature White Picnic On Thursday, September 19, 2013 At 6:30pm
The most anticipated “secret” event of the summer, Dîner en Blanc Chicago, returns to celebrate the city with an extraordinary evening picnic of elegance and beauty in one of Chicago’s landmark locations. 

Chicago, IL - AUGUST 22, 2013   Celebrating its 25th anniversary, and now spanning over 40 cities across 5 continents, Dîner en Blanc (DeB) returns to Chicago for an unforgettable summer finale on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 6:30pm. One of the most sought after “secret” events, DeB Chicago allows hundreds of participants to join together as a community to celebrate an extraordinary evening in an outdoor Chicago venue, while enjoying friends, food, wine, culture, music and fashion.
In its 2012 Chicago inaugural debut, the hosts of Dîner en Blanc Chicago held their secret pop-up picnic in the urban oasis of the South Garden of the Art Institute of Chicago, an intimate garden setting with gravel paths and a cover of trees resembling a Paris garden. For its second year, event hosts have worked to organize the event at another public location in the city that will celebrate the spirit of not only the cultural event, but of the city of Chicago itself.
“It was amazing to see people from all over Chicago and the Chicago suburbs come together last year and feel a sense of community for the city of Chicago and for the vibrant food scene. I have participated in this event in Paris and other cities around the world, and no matter where you are, when a city comes together to share a meal in a beautiful space with old friends and meet new ones amid music and moonlight dancing, it always is and will be a memorable evening.” 
         - Director of Dîner en Blanc Chicago, Roger Hobby
Staying true to Dîner en Blanc’s original pop-up picnic 25 years ago, all participants in Chicago are asked to wear all white and bring the makings of an elegant picnic dinner with them - chairs, white linens, food and drink. Dîner en Blanc does serve alcohol and therefore all attendees must be 21 years old to participate.
For busy Chicagoans, the DeB Chicago team is busy preparing options for pre-made picnic baskets with wine pairings that may be purchased online prior to the event. Details will be posted on our website and all social media shortly. 
Interested in Attending?
Registration for this event will be limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Formal invitations will be sent to registered members who participated in the 2012 Chicago event shortly. Other interested parties can secure a spot on the waiting list atwww.chicago.dinerenblanc.info/register  for an opportunity to attend this magical event.
Those interested in attending or participating as a group leader should like Dîner en Blanc Chicago on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/DinerEnBlanc.Chicago ), follow on Twitter (@ChiDinerEnBlanc) and register for the waitlist on the official website at www.chicago.dinerenblanc.info/register .
Those who have registered will be emailed additional information regarding times, procedures, dress, what to bring, and how to make the most out of Dîner en Blanc Chicago. For help with fashion, recipes and more, find us on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/chidinerenblanc/ ) and Instagram www.instagram.com/dinerenblancchicago ).
 About Dîner en Blanc International
The worldwide phenomenon known as Dîner en Blanc celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.  Launched by François Pasquier and a handful of friends in 1988, the Paris Dîner en Blanc now attracts more than 10,000 people each year. What began as a “friends and word-of-mouth only” event has grown into an international epicurean phenomenon on five continents. While the technology behind the event may have changed over the years, the principles fuelling this fantastic event have not: diners continue to gather at a secret location for the sole purpose of sharing a high-quality meal with good friends in one of their city’s most beautiful locations. Dîner en Blanc International, based in Montreal, is responsible for developing this secret picnic in over 40 cities by the end of 2013. Each event is headed by passionate local organizers who fell in love with the concept and wanted to bring it to their city, giving this rendezvous a local flair. For more information, visit: dinerenblanc.info

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Cafe at Fair Oaks Farms

On a recent trip to Fair Oaks Farms to check out the new Pig Adventure with hubby and the boys, we stopped in the cafe for lunch. Not only do they have great milk and cheese and ice cream, but the sandwiches are out of this world. Naturally, the sandwiches are cheese heavy, which is a wonderful thing.

Here's a look at what our family had - and yes, I tried a bite of everything. ;)

Grilled cheese

Rueben


Hot dog on pretzel bun

Cheese quesadilla

 Chicken Caesar Salad





Thursday, August 29, 2013

St. Roger Abbey French Style Gourmet Patisserie


As I strolled the booths at the Chesterton European Market, I did a double take when I saw a nun behind a table. We walked over and in front of us were some of the most beautiful desserts I've ever seen. It turns out they are made by the St Roger Abbey nuns. They are also sold at the Westfield Hawthorn Mall, 628 Hawthorn Center in Vernon Hills. Oh, and they are also available online.

I grabbed a loaf of old country bread and the last time I had bread that good was when we were traveling through Amish Country and pulled over at a little farm where there were fresh veggies for sale and warm, right-out-of-the-oven baked goods. If you are at the market and spot the nuns...don't pass them up! The bread is amazing. I wish I'd bought some of the other items, too!







Wednesday, August 28, 2013

T-fal giveaway starts soon

In just a few days, I'll be doing a giveaway in cooperation with Cooking Planit, an app and website that  is like a virtual cooking assistant. It helps you coordinate full meals, prepare shopping lists and takes you step by step through the recipes, which I love. I can set up my iPad in the kitchen and it will show me (and talk me) through the steps, allowing me to pause if I need to. Click here to read about the Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon I made recently using Cooking Planit. It could not have been easier and turned out so good.

Now Cooking Planit has supplied me with a T-fal 12-piece set that includes a Covered Dutch oven, sauce pans, sauté pans and stainless tools. It's a stainless steel and non-stick premium set that I'm excited to try out and you'll have a chance to win the same set, too. My giveaway will start on September 6, so be sure to come back and enter. However, you don't have to wait that long for a chance to win and to read about what some other bloggers have cooked up using Cooking Planit. There are a total of 50 bloggers taking part in this project, so there are other contests already in the works. Here's a list with links to those sites.


COOKING PLANIT T-FAL COOKWARE GIVEAWAY

StartEndBlogBlog
8/19/138/25/13Baby BoomsterMrs. Schwartz’s Kitchen
8/20/138/26/13CopyKat RecipesDaily Dish Recipes
8/21/138/27/13Lisa CookingLark’s Country Heart
8/22/138/28/13ME RedoneHot Eats and Cool Reads
8/23/138/29/13Mother Would KnowThe Two Bite Club
8/24/138/30/13SophistisheCitron Limette
8/25/138/31/13Kitchen ConcoctionsCupcakes and Kale Chips
8/26/139/1/13I Can Cook ThatLeave a Happy Plate
8/27/139/2/13Peaches & Cakei love my disorganized life
8/28/139/3/13Diddles & DumplingsYates Yummies
8/29/139/4/13basilmommaCooking With Libby
8/30/139/5/13Persnickety PlatesCreole Contessa
8/31/139/6/13Ancestral ChefBite Sized Blog
9/1/139/7/13The Staten Island FamilyMamal Diane
9/2/139/8/13Food FashRecipes For My Boys
9/3/139/9/13The Wicked NoodleHungry Little Girl
9/4/139/10/13Unorganized Mommy of 3The Tasty Fork
9/5/139/11/13Yi ReservationDixie Chik Cooks
9/6/139/12/13Chicago Foodie SistersThe Fountain Avenue Kitchen
9/7/139/13/13Cooking from a SAHMFoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe
9/8/139/14/13Bobbi’s Kozy KitchenRants from My Crazy Kitchen
9/9/139/15/13What Jew Wanna EatSumptuous Spoonfuls
9/10/139/16/13The Mama ReportBusy Mom of Two
9/11/139/17/13CulicuriousHuppie Mama
9/12/139/18/13Three Diets. One Dinner.Spice’s Bites

Oils from Good To Go by Lucrezia

Whenever I'm at a farmer's market I gravitate toward the booths that sell flavored olive oils. I stopped over at this table at the Chesterton European Market that had so many choices I was a bit overwhelmed. The girl behind the table recommended the Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil. She said it is what is served with bread as you wait for your meal to be served at Lucrezia, which is a little Italian spot in Chesterton. I brought home a bottle and had it with a couple slices of a loaf of old country bread I'd bought at the market from the St. Roger Abbey French Style Gourmet Patisserie.





Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dress up and pull out your china for Chicago's All-White Pop-Up Picnic

Well, in the foodie world, it seems white is the new black. This fun event is in its third year and sounds like an awesome time! Tickets go on sale tomorrow and it sounds like you better be quick as tickets are expected to sell out quickly. Last year's guest are given priority on ticket sales. Read more in the press release below. Has anyone attended this event in the past? We'd love to hear about it.


CHICAGO'S ORIGINAL ALL-WHITE POP-UP PICNIC IS BACK FOR 2013
Chicago, IL 8/27/13 - Last August, 1,600 people clad in all-white garb descended on Merchandise Mart to form Chicago in White, an elegant, locally-organized version of the worldwide "white picnic" trend.

"Our 2012 and 2011 events were both a rousing success and the feedback we received is of the highest praise," said co-founder Kelly McCoy Williams. "Chicago in White is an elegant yet whimsical event that appeals to Chicagoans from all walks of life. We have college students sitting next to stay-at-home moms sitting next to lawyers sitting next to DJs. It's truly an egalitarian evening."

On the evening of Sunday, September 22nd, attendees of this "refined foodie flash mob" will meet at Harmonization Points throughout the city, where the event's secret location will be revealed. Guests will converge on the location with their own white china, white napkins, silverware and glasses, plus food, in tow.

"This year, we're delighted to provide tables, chairs, and tablecloths for all of our guests," says co-founder Jennifer Dunham Luby. "When we asked our guests what could be improved, over and over we heard how nice it would be not to have to carry furniture on the El."

Wine, picnic baskets, and floral arrangements will also be available for advance purchase and on-site pickup. Tickets are $55, and will go on sale to the general public on August 28th, 2013 at www.ChicagoinWhite.com. 2012 ticket buyers and wait-listed guests will be granted an access code via email, which will hold a ticket in their name for a limited amount of time. This year's Chicago in White is a 21 and over event. 

For more information, visit Chicago in White at www.facebook.com/ChicagoInWhite andwww.ChicagoinWhite.com.

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop


While in Indianapolis for a media visit, I took a little walk downtown after checking into the hotel and stumbled across this cute place called Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop. It's actually a franchise with several locations across the country that began in California. However, there are no Illinois locations yet.

Anyway, it is a very cool place with a retro vibe. You'll find all the classic candies we bought as kids. Pop Rocks. Ice Cubes. And lots more. There are shelves loaded with sodas from around the world. And the walls are lined with cool concert photos.

I was also happy to see imported goodies, like the Pocky Sticks I love from Japan that my sister's foreign exchange student introduced me to and the Crunchie candy bars from the UK.










The Rolling Stonebaker

As I was strolling through the Chesterton European Market, I didn't stop at this booth, but just wanted to snap a couple pictures of the Rolling Stonebaker to share and say that if you ever it spot it at a festival or market in NW Indiana or SW Michigan, give it a try.

A couple years ago, I got a pizza from the truck that has a pizza oven built in with pizzas cooked right on site in this vintage Studebaker. It was wonderful. And it isn't your basic cheese pizza...some great local veggies can be found as ingredient options.



Monday, August 26, 2013

T-fal cookware giveaway coming up!


Hi, Foodie Friends. Wanted to give you a heads-up on a fabulous giveaway coming up from Cooking Planit. Some of you may have heard about Cooking Planit a few months ago when I worked with them on a sponsored spice set giveaway.

This time I will be working with the meal-planning, video-guided cooking app and website on a giveaway for a set of Stainless Steel & Non-Stick Premium T-fal cookware. As with the spice giveaway, this contest has a total of 50 bloggers included, so you have plenty of opportunities to win. Here's a look at all the participating blogs. You can enter on each one, increasing your chances. Our contest kicks off on September 6, so look for more details in the coming days!

COOKING PLANIT T-FAL COOKWARE GIVEAWAY

StartEndBlogBlog
8/19/138/25/13Baby BoomsterMrs. Schwartz’s Kitchen
8/20/138/26/13CopyKat RecipesDaily Dish Recipes
8/21/138/27/13Lisa CookingLark’s Country Heart
8/22/138/28/13ME RedoneHot Eats and Cool Reads
8/23/138/29/13Mother Would KnowThe Two Bite Club
8/24/138/30/13SophistisheCitron Limette
8/25/138/31/13Kitchen ConcoctionsCupcakes and Kale Chips
8/26/139/1/13I Can Cook ThatLeave a Happy Plate
8/27/139/2/13Peaches & Cakei love my disorganized life
8/28/139/3/13Diddles & DumplingsYates Yummies
8/29/139/4/13basilmommaCooking With Libby
8/30/139/5/13Persnickety PlatesCreole Contessa
8/31/139/6/13Ancestral ChefBite Sized Blog
9/1/139/7/13The Staten Island FamilyMamal Diane
9/2/139/8/13Food FashRecipes For My Boys
9/3/139/9/13The Wicked NoodleHungry Little Girl
9/4/139/10/13Unorganized Mommy of 3The Tasty Fork
9/5/139/11/13Yi ReservationDixie Chik Cooks
9/6/139/12/13Chicago Foodie SistersThe Fountain Avenue Kitchen
9/7/139/13/13Cooking from a SAHMFoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe
9/8/139/14/13Bobbi’s Kozy KitchenRants from My Crazy Kitchen
9/9/139/15/13What Jew Wanna EatSumptuous Spoonfuls
9/10/139/16/13The Mama ReportBusy Mom of Two
9/11/139/17/13CulicuriousHuppie Mama
9/12/139/18/13Three Diets. One Dinner.Spice’s Bites





Timbrook Kitchens

I'm going through my photos from the Chesterton European Market. This is another vendor that had some tasty looking treats. I didn't try them, but they look fantastic. Look for them if you're out at the market - Timbrook Kitchens.



Ublee Soda

At the Chesterton European Market,  I saw someone walk by with this lovely looking beverage and I had to ask where they'd gotten it from. I found out that the folks from Uptown Cafe in Valparaiso make their own fruit soda from fresh fruits - Ublee Soda. The flavors available depend on what's in season as much of it is from local sources.

I sampled the blueberry lemon and strawberry-orange, which were so refreshing. I chose the slightly sweeter latter option...and I have been craving it ever since!

You can find the sodas at Uptown Cafe and on Saturdays at the market.




Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kris's Kountry Kitchen

While at the Chesterton European Market, I came across a table full of fabulous cookies. I couldn't resist. I picked up two packs - peanut butter blossoms and chocolate crinkles. Fabulous!

If you're out at the market, give them a try. They're booth #18. They also have a bakery in South Bend at 2212 Miami Street.





Saturday, August 24, 2013

Strawberry Bread from What's Cookin'

Recently, I took a road trip with my dad to Charleston, Illinois, the town where he and my mom grew up and met. We met two of my cousins and one of their wives for lunch and he suggested a restaurant just off the town square called What's Cookin'. It was a good recommendation. Lunch was very good and it was a cute place. On the way out, we noticed their homemade strawberry bread. Dad bought a loaf and shared with us.

It didn't have a real strong flavor of strawberry, just a hint. My son said it tasted like zucchini bread. It got gobbled up pretty quickly! And it is nice to look at the list of ingredients and see only items that you have in your own kitchen - not ones that were concocted in a lab.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

A few days left to try Build Your Own Pancakes at Denny's

Yesterday morning, after all the kids were back for their first day of school, hubby and I made our way over to Denny's in Calumet City for breakfast. The folks at Denny's invited me to come by and check out the Build Your Own Pancake menu, which is available through next Monday. How could I pass that up? Who doesn't love pancakes?

The menu allows you to customize your order by making four selections. First, you choose buttermilk or hearty wheat pancakes. Next comes your mix in, which can be glazed pecans, diced bacon, blueberries, chocolate chips or white chocolate chips (you choose one with the regular order, but can add additional mix-ins for 50 cents each.) Then you select your toppings: fresh strawberries, fresh banana slices, caramel sauce, hot fudge or peanut butter sauce. Lastly, you decide yea or nay to the whipped cream.

A short stack of two very generously-sized pancakes is $5.99. The tall stack is three for $6.79. Each meal comes with two eggs cooked to your liking, two pieces of bacon or sausage (or our server offered us one of each) and a choice of hash browns, red-skinned potatoes or grits. You can also order without the sides, which starts at $3.99.

If you're having trouble deciding or need some inspiration to make a decision, you can look at the five pre-built dishes, which include Bananaberry Pancakes Breakfast, Sweet Pecana 'Nana Pancakes Breakfast, Blueberry Muffin Pancakes Breakfast and Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes Breakfast. There's also the option of a Red, White and Blue Pancakes Breakfast with blueberries, strawberries and a special cream cheese icing (that isn't one of the topping options for the Build Your Own.)


So, I decided on white chocolate chips and glazed pecans in buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. After I ordered, I realized that the hot fudge topping would be a pretty good accompaniment, so I asked our very attentive and friendly server, Antwoine, for some hot fudge on the side. I was right. That made it even better.




Hubby's was a rich plate of chocolate chip and glazed pecan buttermilk pancakes with fresh banana topping and peanut butter sauce and whipped cream. Oh. my. gosh. They were really, really delish. Reminded me of the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich I had when visiting Graceland. These pancakes would make Elvis proud. :)

Oh, and I did try a bite of them with a little hot fudge topping, too. So good.



And...funny coincidence. We are sitting there eating and who do I see walk through the door? My dad. He was there picking up an order to go - the sausage gravy and biscuits. I didn't realize Dad was a regular there. He stops in at least a couple mornings a week. When I told him I was there trying out the pancake menu to write a blog post about it, he said to also tell my readers that the sausage gravy is fantastic. 

The Build Your Own Pancake menu is only available through Monday, August 26, so get in while you can to design your own breakfast. A new custom menu begins on Tuesday and I'll fill you in on it after our next visit.


** I did receive a complimentary meal for the purpose of a review. I did not receive any compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.


Green Eggs and Ham

I know I posted some pictures of this dish recently, but it was so good I've made it a few more times. I call it Green Eggs and Ham. It is scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and broccoli. I love broccoli and it goes great with scrambled eggs. I found that frozen broccoli works great for this. Let it thaw a bit before cooking. It won't dry out like fresh broccoli tends to.

You have to try this...and then if Sam I Am ever happens to ask you if you like Green Eggs and Ham you can tell him, "Yes. Yes, I do. And how about you?"





Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pulled pork and veggie salad

Salads are a frequent meal around here. I often pack up a big salad for my husband to have for lunch or dinner on his long shifts at the firehouse. I'll sometimes make a chef salad with generous amounts of ham and cheese and boiled eggs. Sometimes the salad contains cooked chicken and maybe a bit of bleu cheese. It gets combined with whatever veggies I have on hand.

When I was packing up a lunch for hubby recently, I realized I didn't have any ham or chicken, but I did have some pulled pork. So, here's what he ended up with for that meal:

Handful of green leaf lettuce
Handful of arugula
1/2 sliced green pepper
Handful of baby portabello mushrooms
One garden fresh tomato
About 3 ounces of shredded barbecue pork