Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paint + Broccoli + Creativity = Lots of Fun

I wrote a story for the October issue of Chicago Parent about painting with produce. Next time you clean out your fruit and vegetable drawer, turn your past-it's-prime produce into art supplies.

You'll be surprised at how much fun you can have with a head of broccoli and a halved potato.

Want to know more? Read my article here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Chicagoans, bring your little ones to Blogapalooza tomorrow evening! This is an event sponsored by ChicagoNow and the 900 N. Michigan Shops.

And I promise it isn't some weird blogging event. It is more like a free cocktail hour for the adults. You can attend a wine tasting, get a shoe shine, take part in a yoga demonstration, eat yummy food, introduce yourself to Miss Illinois or just walk around a have a cocktail.

And as for the kiddos, I will be on the 5th floor with face painting, a scavenger hunt, chances to win free passes to Day Frog and . . . cookies!

Read about all of the fantastic details on Wee Windy City.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sweetie Pie

This is our first apple pie of the season.

I am only going to make a few of these because really, how much pie can one family eat?

My real plan is to make and freeze apple pie filling so we can have pie whenever we want over the next year. Seems like a good way to use up those apples, right?

I'm not using an exact recipe but this is generally how I've been making my filling.

Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add 3 cups or so of peeled, cored and sliced apples. Sprinkle with sugar (I have been using a combination of granulated white sugar and brown sugar). Add cinnamon, nutmeg and salt based on your own preference for these things. I also add a very little bit of apple cider. Cook until the apples are tender and then freeze in individual batches.

I have to confess that I use Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts (the purists among you cringe, no doubt). I am a big fan of these easy-to-use and tasty crusts (plus I don't even have time to shower on a regular basis these days so learning to make homemade crust is not high on my list of priorities).

Next: turnovers and maybe a strudel.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This and That

Just a few random things all thrown together in one post. Here we go.

I have a post up on the Chicago Moms Blog today lamenting the fact that Colin has started biting me when he nurses (ouch).

Over at Wee Windy City, I am singing the praises of a new family-friendly coffee shop in Lakeview called Family Grounds. They have a great play space and hazelnut lattes. Pure genius, I tell you.

And finally, if your farmer's market still has raspberries, you should buy some and make these amazing raspberry bars from Smitten Kitchen (thanks to Marketing Mommy for the heads up on these). They are spectacular.

I'll be back tomorrow with a post on . . . . you guessed it . . . more things you can make when you have a billion apples in your backyard.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Apple Sauce

Start by letting your baby select the best apples from the basket.

Then let the fun begin.

Prep your apples. This is an item that no household should be without. It peels. It cores. It cuts apples into fun slinky shapes. It delights and amazes children.

After boiling the apples, put them through a food mill to achieve the perfect apple sauce texture.

Stir in brown sugar to taste and plenty of cinnamon.

Store in glass jars with beautiful, handmade labels to proudly display your backyard applesauce.

Thanks to Brendan and Finn for making a ton of applesauce with me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One Tomato. Two Tomato. Three Tomato. Four.

About a week's worth of tomatoes from our garden.

I posted earlier this summer about the fact that I had planted a few too many tomatoes. Here is the problem -- the only person in my house who likes to eat raw tomatoes is me. And even I can't eat that many caprese salads.

At the same time, I am not about to let the fruits of my little garden just go to waste. That would be so sad.

The other dilemma is that our Roma tomatoes aren't all that great. They are fine for cooking and I have made a few yummy sauces with them. But they aren't so great for just plain eating.

So what's a girl to do? I am oven drying them.

I slice my little beauties up and put them on a baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil and good salt. Then pop them in a 200 degree oven and let them cook for about six or seven hours. Once most of the moisture is gone -- but before they become little hockey pucks, I take them out and store them in my freezer.

But wait there is more.

I use my oven-dried tomatoes to make a delicious tomato pesto. Here's how. I put the over-dried tomatoes, a little bit of olive oil, salt, pine nuts, a clove of roasted garlic and basil into a food processor. Whirrrl.

I have been serving the tomato pesto on crostini with melted smoked mozzeralla on top. I can think of no better use for my little tomatoes. Delish.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wicker Women

I had an opportunity to be photographed by local photographer Jennifer Bisbing as part of her Wicker Women project.

Jennifer is photographing women who live or work in the Wicker Park neighborhood in exchange for a $5 sitting fee -- all of which she is donating to CAWC: Connections for Abused Women and their Children.

Jennifer's photos are lovely. She is delightful.

There is a gallery opening scheduled for October 10 from 6-9 p.m where you can learn more about this project. Jennifer will be collecting donations for CAWC. Visit the Wicker Women website for more information.

My photo is here, if you'd like to have a look.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wee Ones at Wrigley

Julie, who writes the wildly popular blog A League of Her Own, asked me to write a guest post with tips on bringing kids to Wrigley.

This was a timely request. We brought Ellie and Brendan two weeks ago -- and made it through the whole game. Yippee!

On Thursday, we are all going to see the Cubbies take on the White Sox. It will be Colin's first game. Wish us luck.

For more on my tips, have a look here.

Our Preschooler

Brendan also got off to a great start today --- not a tear was shed.
And doesn't everything about this outfit say "confident, handsome preschool kid?"
Love him (and now just waiting nervously for pick up time, hoping that everyone is doing well).