March 9, 2011

Golden Ticket.

Felt this would be funny to share. I love Vosges Chocolate more than life. Therefore, it would only make sense to have it at my wedding as a treat for my guests.


Brett,

I was given your contact information from one of my favorite co-workers, Randy. After sitting next to me in the office for over a year, Randy knows first-hand of my passion for Chocolate!

That having been said, I but jumped at the opportunity to reach out to you after discovering Randy rode the train with someone at my favorite Chocolate company (of all time), Vosges. For an extremely healthy eater, it’s ironic that I consider the Vosges products to be part of my diet (my favorites being the Barcelona Bar, Black Pearl Dark Chocolate Truffle, Peppermint Candy Cane, and Blood Orange Caramel). I am absolutely your biggest brand ambassador!

I may also reach out to you via phone in case that is more convenient for you, but wanted to inquire about the possibility of including Vosges within my October 22, 2011 wedding (at the Modern Wing in Chicago). I have given these products away as gifts for years, and it would only be fitting.

I’d love to discuss what options may be available from a pricing standpoint and would be honored to have 2 minutes of your time! I hope to connect with you soon.

Thank you in advance!
Michelle Goldstein

March 6, 2011

Florentine

Not sure if anyone has seen the movie Spanglish. It's one of those movies that you either love or you hate. I love it (Doug feels otherwise). The pronunciation of the main characters name in the film, Flor (played by beauty Paz Venga),  is impossible for Tea Leoni to pronounce as the movie opens. Very funny to me at least. I was reminded of that scene when we went to Florentine (at the JW Marriott) last week for a business lunch with one of our clients because the hostess at the restaurant rolled her "r" when she welcomed us (done correctly unlike lovely Leoni).

The JW Marriott is absolutely gorgeous.  I was very impressed. It looked like Titanic when I walked in with white marble floors and long banisters. I'm not a huge fan of Italian food, but this restaurant was pretty basic and offered some simple dishes including goat cheese pizza with leeks and arugula hazelnut salad. It looks like a nice place to head to after work, since there is a nice bar right when you walk in. I don't understand people who can do pasta for lunch, but those that ordered that at our table seemed to enjoy it. Give it a whirl. But let me  warn you that if you venture there during lunch not in business casuals you'll be under dressed (after all, it is financial district during lunch hours!).

Lunch Menu Here
Dinner Menu Here


HAPPY EATING!

February 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup (FAST)

No not "Keep in Touch" like you used to sign in your yearbook, nor "HAGS" (Have a Great Summer). I'm talking about pre-cut and pre-seasoned Butternut Squash Soup Kit from Whole Foods. I found this in the same section of the store in a $5.00 clear container near the pre-sliced fruit (that are typically way overpriced since their price tags reflect their fruit, so other than watermelon, it's pretty much a rip off). Back to the point, head to that section & look for these kits or ask about them. They are awesome and very cost effective because you don't have to snoop around for all those tiny yet expensive ingredients and spices if you don't already have them in the kitchen. I love these and will continue to purchase them. This was the fastest soup I have ever made. I used my hang blender that Molly got me from my engagement party (best gift ever) and I was done with hardly any mess. I love it. Directions below. Pretty self explanatory. Perfect thing to make if in a tight time frame, or especially if you have vegetables already cut up that you'd like to blend together.

Pre-heat oven to 425
Spread out the chunks of squash & a little Olive Oil or Olive Oil Spray
Bake for 25 minutes or until soft 
Place into a bowl, along with 2 1/2 to 3 (depending on the thickness you like) cups of vegetable broth 
Blend for a few minutes, add in a pinch of salt, pinch of sugar (I use the calorie free non-artificial stuff from Whole Foods), and a few more pinches of cinnamon 

REHEAT & ENJOY

So easy!

February 27, 2011

Trattoria Number 1,234

I swear that there are over 1,000 "Trattoria's" in Chicago. We went to one of them last night with our close friends Christopher and Beth. They are an amazing couple that Doug and I have learned a great deal from (Doug works with Christopher now and has for years at his previous advertising agency). Beth is about to graduate as a doctor shortly, and is one of those people that has more unique and elaborate stories than anyone I know. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Italian food, when this couple asks you to go to dinner with them, (similar to Doug's "Aunt" Christie) you JUST GO. 

Trattoria No 10 is actually where we ended up on Saturday night. It's in the West Loop and is a restaurant which sits below street level, very old school Italian. Darker inside with mixed tile and floral carpeted floors. To be honest, I enjoyed the wine and the company more than the food...but don't get me wrong, the food wasn't that bad! I just am not a big pasta eater and getting very simply prepared fish at restaurants is only fun when you haven't been at a work trip all week choosing the seafood option at Italian restaurants.

I ordered some mahi with walnuts, butternut squash puree, and also some green beans. Prior to that, in addition to the Cabernet, I also split a prosciutto plate with Doug. Both were just "good" nothing was amongst the most amazing prosciutto or fish I'd ever had, but at least I had dark chocolate in my purse to hold me over before we went to Sepia for after drink drinks and dessert. 

Doug ordered a tomato based pasta dish with muscles, and Beth and Christopher ordered pork ravioli and a risotto dish. Both were good, but actually not what Beth had a craving for (thus our escape to the familiar and wonderful confines of the Sepia bar scene with our charming Aussie vest wearing bartender). 

{@ SEPIA, so therefore, the photo needed to be in Sepia tone, yes?}
I'd just say, that if you are craving Italian, just go to Rose Angelis on Wrightwood. You won't be let down. I included the photo of us when we were out, rather than any of our food. Nor did I want to include what we ordered at Sepia, since it would completely outshine everything we ordered at Trattoria. 

Cheers, 
Mish

February 26, 2011

Sunda!!

After a tiring week in New York for work, Doug's "aunt" (not real aunt, but he calls her aunt Christie) was in town. I love this woman. She is incredible. Therefore, when she's in town, there is not a question in my mind that I'd choose to participate (or not) at a dinner she organizes when in Chicago. I just go (even if I've been heavily drinking, not sleeping, staying in a hotel for multiple days in a row, and chowing on waist thickening Italian restaurants for the past few days). We went to SUNDA. Once you go Sunda you don't go back. I want to live in this restaurant, purchase all the furniture, and could probably eat everything on the menu for all my snacks and meals for multiple days in a row. This place is a HIT, let me tell you. 

Although hard to find, at its address at 110 W Illinois, it's on the North side of the street if you are walking west from, in my case, the Ivy Room, where Doug and I are most likely planning to hold our rehearsal dinner. There is blue tile outside of the restaurant, which in no way prepares you for the interior which rests ahead. Walk inside the front door, and you're taken to a modern vintage Asian American escape of multi-layered long communal tables, a bar area, and a sushi bar with an elaborately textured straw hanging art collection dripping down the wall. Very cool. 

We ordered a bunch of things (thanks to Katie, my future sister in law's knowledge of the 1/2 price appetizers until 7:00pm with a 4-square deal) from the appetizer menu including a mushroom and green bean saute dish, Oxtail pot stickers, and edamame, followed by multiple sushi rolls, the Ocean Garden Salad, and delicious red wine. 

I'd highly recommend this place. Check out the website and have a visit for yourself! Just be careful of the restrooms in the basement--I'm sure the long stairway gets harder to treck down after a few of the luscious cocktails on the menu! 

WEBSITE 

Cheers, 
Mish 

February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day at Mrs Dunn's

{Look at this little nugget! So cute!}
{He named all his strawberries "Jerry, Terry, Larry"}

{I continued to crack up}

If anyone knows me in the least, it's apparent that I like chubby babies. Little kids I find adorable, I call nuggets. No I don't want one, but I love fat fingers on little kids. I know it sounds creepy, but just move past that fact for me. I want to share my experience doing community outreach with our partner charter school at work. We fund their first grade class programs, and go and spend time with the cuties each year a few times on specific holidays (this time was Valentine's Day in particular). I had the best time ever. I had a dance party, some stimulating conversation with the cutest little chubby boy in the room, and have been happy about it all week. Some photos of our strawberry making festivities are included.
{Dance party continues}
{Woo! Hoo! Maybe corporate America isn't for me?}

February 15, 2011

Best of February List

Hello Friends, 

Just some loose ends that I had to point out before I forgot. 


Best Film of the Month: Cedar Rapids 
Ed Helms plays Tim Lippe, a nerdy tidy whitey wearing Insurance Agent, who find that he has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual convention. What happens at the convention stays at the convention. Dry humor finished off with witty writing and fantastic characters including John C. Reilly {Chicago native!}. A MUST SEE. I'm excited to purchase this. I don't even buy movie's anymore, that's just how good this one is. 

Best Health Product: Thin Thin Dark Chocolate 100 Calorie Bites
If you have had Think Thin, you know how great these protein bars are. Plus, this is a new flavor. I'm personally very excited about their putting this on shelves. Get these at Whole Foods.

Best Make-Up Product: Benefit Erase Paste  
According to Sephora Online, "Benefit Erase Paste is a concentrated, creamy, blendable concealer that instantly brightens and camouflages all-in-one. It has an innovative formula which makes sure signs of stress and fatigue are a thing of the past. These three brightening neutral shades give every gal correction perfection." I learned about this product when getting my make-up done for my engagement party. I thought it would be a fun thing to do. This was the best product I bought last weekend. 
Sephora Website to Purchase  

Best Song to Run To: You! Me! Dancing! {Los Campesinos}
This is the best song ever. You'll recognize it from a Bud Beer commercial. No, I didn't find this song by myself. I found it via Doug, my hub to all good music. I may regret admitting that, but it's true. I like 80's music and don't really know anything past that other than what he recommends. Get on Groove Shark and listen to this immediately. If you aren't in a dance party within 5 minutes, call me and I'll owe you something. Plus, I suck at lyrics to songs. This chorus has like .001 items to remember "YOU! ME! DANCING!" I can do that. 


Enjoy the rest of the month! 

Cheers, 
Mish

Valentines Day My Way

On Valentine's Day, Doug and I ventured to Hot Chocolate for BRUNCH. We have yet to eat brunch there & let me tell you, it was spectacular. For those of you who don't know about our tradition, it involves eating brunch on or the day before Valentine's Day as close to dinner time as possible. "Brinner" (breakfast for dinner) is my favorite, but unless cooked at home, it's pretty hard to pull off at a restaurant because their menu schedule (unless you are choosing to eat at a diner, which we did do one year, and it was actually excellent--who can beat pancakes and milkshakes for 14 dollars total?). I hate Valentine's Day. It's a made up holiday. The only reason I like it, is because of the flowers. Sorry for partying.

I ordered the smoked fish plate (trout and salmon with cucumbers, capers, and tomatoes, and noodle kuggle on the side!), along with a fresh seasonal fruit plate and Grey Goose Bloody Mary. I was thinking off the joke that Steve Martin tells in "My Blue Heaven" (worst movie ever that the Goldstein family LOVES) when he tells a bartender he "wants the drink from the night that Mary was killed, call the Bloody Mary." Doug ordered a potato pancake dish with Pork Belly and sunny side up eggs. 

{I love capers}
Hot Chocolate on Damen was FULL to the brim when we walked in. To our pleasant surprise, we only waiting about 30 minutes (walked up and down Damen store fronts for 20 minutes then came back and I talked about the cute babies in the restaurant...before we knew it, our table was ready). Doug also surprised me with flowers at my desk at work. So sweet that he knows I only like white flowers. Good boy for listening, Doug! Well done.


{Flowers from Doug on my desk at work}
I also appreciate funny cards to also be included in my Valentine's Day celebrations. I don't think the holiday should be made any worse with tacky cards. I got a Happy Valentine's Day Hot Tamale Card created by this quirky fun print shop in town that hand makes their cards, and additionally gives a good deal of money to helping homeless animals in the city of Chicago {awesome}. Plus I love tamales, not to mention that this card shows the "Tamale Man" that makes his way from Chicago bar to bar with a cooler of home made tamales. Best idea ever.

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day and that it involved minimal amount of red roses & Italian food. That's just way to expected in my opinion! 

By the way, here are some resources: 
La Familia Green Card Collection Website
Hot Chocolate Restaurant Website

xoxo,
Mish

February 12, 2011

Orange Crush


Since moving to Wicker Park, I have become obsessed with Olivia's Market on Wabansia and Damen. It is the cutest neighborhood shop with charming orange awnings and floral arrangements in the windows. This is my "go to" place to swing by right after going to Dailey Method. That's exactly the routine that I performed today. Leave Dailey Method, walk to Olivia's, and then walk out in 10 minutes containing a dark chocolate Vosges bar (today I choose a Red Fire Bar with chipotle chillies and cinnamon flavored dark chocolate), a floral arrangement of some sort (I choose fresh white Spider Mums) and some snacks and cheese. I fulfilled all of my requirements for the day, passing up the wine section since I knew my parents were coming down to give Doug and I the gifts that some people had brought us last weekend for our engagement party (some of which included wine). I love cute shops like this that keep the neighborhood charm in tact, sorry, Jewel-Osco on the corner of Milwaukee, but you loose in this category. I love the strip of Damen stores and the shops around the corners, like Olivia's. They make me love where I live more and more. Today during my visit, the lady at the register told me the new dark chocolate in stock. I actually found that flattering that she remembered me! I'd advise you stop on into this market and take a few minutes to browse the unique treats that line the shelves. You'll find something special that you love. Plus, how many shops in town offer flowers AND wine and chocolates? It's like my MECCA!

Check out their website.

Enjoy your Saturday,
Mish

February 10, 2011

Be Mine


How adorable is Kate Spade. Seriously, I'm obsessed with her new valentines. I don't really like Valentine's Day, but I think that if it's done in a way that is quirky and different, it can be quite charming and fun. I was watching Modern Family last night when Jay (Ed O'Neil) tries to trick his wife, not only does it not work, but she sniffed out his whole plan, and flipped his trick on himself sealing the deal with "I WIN!" I love it. That's something I'd say. Doug and I don't, by any means, do elaborate things for Valentine's Day, but we do have our own tradition of breakfast for dinner and a HUGE bouquet of white flowers to my desk at work {wink wink}. No I'm kidding, I don't care about flowers as much as good food {if you know me at all, this is not surprising}. Speaking of which, our tradition offers excellent meals at a lower price usually. feel free to share our tradition. I had to share these Kate Spade e-Valentines. They are fun. I have the perfect friend (bridesmaid Kim to be exact) who would particularly like the "More than Coffee" Valentine. Ironically, it's her boyfriend that may need the "Bacon to My Eggs" card, given previous Halloween costumes! I love it (they were bacon & eggs). Cheers!

xoxo
Mish

February 9, 2011

Eggplant Sandwiches




I have had eggplants sitting in my fridge for about 1 1/2 weeks now, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when I leave good healthy ingredients in the fridge, so I had to use them. I was so excited to cook when I was on the bus home with Molly. Per our usual routine, we sprinted our asses off from the 56 bus to the 70 bus that was sitting at a red light. I was cooking my experimental eggplant sandwiches while waiting for my friend Liz to stop by with her husband Mark. This turned out to be hearty, delicious, and actually very healthy.

a few slices whole wheat bread (seeduction bread from Whole Foods is best)
1 tomato, sliced into disks
A few slices of mozzarella cheese (or whatever cheese you have in your fridge)
1 eggplant
4 tablespoons of tomatillo salsa verde (or basically anything you'd like to spread on the sandwich, just cilantro is fine, but I wanted to use some of this that Doug had made for the Superbowl party we attended on Sunday) MIXED with Greek yogurt (about 2 tablespoons) to make a thick paste
salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the eggplant into thin disks & cover with PAM or with EVOO, salt & pepper. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, take out the disks, flip them onto the other side, and then stick them back in the oven for another 10 or 15 minutes. They will be brown and totally delicious. Layer the eggplant onto the sandwich with slices of tomato, and the special sauce. I threw the sandwich in the oven because it hadn't cooled down yet (microwave could work too). Doug even liked it even though he "isn't a huge eggplant person." That makes me happy. Enjoy!

So Fresh and So Clean Clean

I have been feeling like I'm eating like a trucker the past few days and was compelled to open up my "Power Foods" book that I read about from Whole Living (Martha Stewart's healthy step child-that woman is a genius for the various facets of topics that she dabbles in, including weddings, eating healthy & unhealthy for that matter, crafts, pets, you name it). I enjoyed a fresh papaya endive crab salad with a ginger lime dressing. I love shopping for new veggies and ingredients at Whole Foods. I love grocery stores. I always have. Ingredients are below. Give this a whirl. I know it sounds like a strange mixture of ingredients, but don't be shy. It's very fresh tasting! I made this along with the second run at the risotto style barley (which came out twice as good as the first time when I left the cauliflower in the oven 5 minutes longer and also toasted the barley for 5 minutes longer before cooking it).

3 radishes sliced thinly
2 endives pitted and sliced in thin strips
1/2 a papaya, insides scooped out and sliced into chunks
1 can white crab
salt & pepper
2 limes
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 tiny pinch truvia
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Squeeze limes into a bowl. Add in oil and sugar. Whisk. Add in ginger. Then add in all sliced ingredients and toss, mixing in the crab. ENJOY!

February 6, 2011

Engagement Party

{the Goldstein + Malcolm families}

{Cindy, Gary, Jon, Michelle}

{My Wedding Party: Kate, Katie, Annie, Michelle, Jolyn, Kim}

Date: Saturday, February 5
Location: Hub 51 Green Room
Attendees: family, bridesmaids & some close friends.

Menu:
Miso Glazed Salmon Rolls
Garden Beet Roll
Tuna and Thai Basil Roll
Hummus
Almond Dip
Pork Mini Tacos
Fish Tacos with Baja Rub
Crab Cakes with Mustard Sauce
Mongolian Style Lamb Chops
Duck Burgers with Spicy Mustard
Vegetarian Burger
Carrot Mini Cakes
Chocolate Brownies with Cream
Butterscotch Pudding Minis

This past weekend, my parents came down to hang out, meet Doug's parents (which went really well!). We went to Sepia for dinner and then Hub 51 Green Room for the engagement party. It was a drunken time with some of the most fantastic people that I know. Thank you everyone, for coming.

Mish

Snowtorious BIG


I barely remember a snow day when I was younger, certainly don't remember having a snow day since I have worked in the city, so this past is definitely one to remember. Tuesday night of this past week, we experienced THUNDERSNOW, which was pretty amusing to me (but nothing compared to Doug or mostly any male figure that I know, who found this pretty awesome for an unknown reason) and blizzard like conditions. On top of the storm, I was sick last week and no food sounded good except for cookies, I made pumpkin cookies (they are barely cookies because they are so healthy) for munch on last night and while I worked from home Wednesday and Thursday in bunny slippers like Val Kilmer from Real Genius. Recipe below. Enjoy and stay warm!

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar (I used Whole Foods sugar with zero calories)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup Greek yogurt, non fat
3 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the pumpkin, sugar and applesauce. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, then add to the pumpkin, mixing well. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until done.


Merci Beaucoup


I'm starting from current time, and then working my way back to the events from this past week. At this moment, I'm still drunk and sitting on my couch eating Almond Butter and Rice Cakes. I am planning to head back to bed after the engagement party success last night. What a great time with fantastic people. First order of business at 7:30am, is to rush order personalized stationery/thank you cards. I created ours from TinyPrints. What a cute site. I want them to arrive as soon as possible since, despite my efforts to disallow it, my friends are all so nice that many brought gifts last night. So thoughtful & most wine or chocolate. I started eating some of the chocolate while at my party. Classy.

{I feel very lucky to have such nice people in my life.}

I think it's important to always have a had written note for gifts. So I'm going to do my best to get thank yous out this week if at all possible. Our cards are simple, fresh and non-corny (exactly what I was going for). Also, I couldn't really do a monogram of any sort, as I am not a Malcolm yet. I was considering hand making them, but sadly enough, would rather pay someone else to do it at this point. I looked on a bunch of sites, and TinyPrints seemed to have the best prices. Despite the Martha Stewart Wedding "Idea of the Day" email I received this morning for my daily wedding related suggestion, I'm in no mood to carve out my own fricking rubber stamp with my family initials on it to complete DIY invitations. Sorry for partying Martha. I love you still but just don't have the time for that.

Cheers & THANK YOU for those who joined last night at HUB. You are the BEST.
MISH


February 5, 2011

brb


Sorry. The end of this week has gotten away from me. We had a snow day, followed by my sick day, followed by a day where I had forgotten all my files at home I was working on (during the snow day) at HOME so left work and came back to Wicker Park.

Last night, Doug's parents met my parents for the first time at Sepia, and our engagement party is tonight. I have a bunch of things to share on my blog including those and some very healthy pumpkin cookies and my new favorite seasoning for tilapia. It's all coming soon I promise. For now I have to go to Dailey Method and clean the house. Until my next post, have a GREAT weekend!

Mish

February 1, 2011

Cafe 28

Cafe 28 is 28 minutes from my house. Straight down Damen on the 50 bus. Plus, I sprinted down Irving Park Road when I got off the bus that was 10 minutes late, while wearing my new jeggings and boots. The boots are comfortable enough to run, by the way. That was a nice pleasant surprise--that my running places was not held back by my new shoes (unlike my patent leather pumps that tore my feet to pulp the first time I wore them to Takashi).

We went to Cafe 28 on Friday night. It was a good find. Super cozy, good service, and one of those places that you know that your hair will basically smell like Cuban pork sauce after you leave (in a good way). Café 28 is a family-owned restaurant established in 1995. Their restaurant specializes in Cuban and Mexican style with an eclectic Latin twist. An interesting combination that you certainly don't seem to see in that neck of the woods on Irving Park road. When we arrived, the place was bustling. Without a reservation, we sat at the bar for 8 minutes and then were seated. I love places that can do that, where you aren't screwed if you don't have a reservation already (aheeeem, Girl and the Goat, I'm looking at you!).

We had ceviche, baked goat cheese, then the table ordered duck and pork. I tasted the duck, which was actually pretty delicious. The ceviche wasn't anything special, but I feel like I'm pretty judgmental of my ceviche, so I'll let that one slide. It just seemed a tad "ketchup-ish" to me. Everything else was good including a tasty side dish of Sweet Potatoes that I ordered. Rich flavors, large portions, and good sauces. Plus, as expected, the Malbec was TASTY as hell. I love tasty wine. I drank the crap out of that. By the way, this venue is also BYOB but there is a corking fee of $10.00 per bottle. I think that's kind of a rip off personally, and read that on the site prior to vising sans my own wine, because the bottles there aren't too expensive (and it ends up not saving much money unless you have a specific bottle of wine you'd like to drink, I'd just recommend going with something they have on their menu). I recommend this place! Do it! Plus it's by a ton of public transportation including the Brown Line.


Here are the specials of this week from the Cafe 28 Website:

Starter: Fried Artichoke hearts with a Cilantro aioli

Salad : Fennel, Cabbage, Cranberry, Romaine and walnuts.

Soup: Fabada ( a classic Spanish white bean soup)

Entree: Risotto style Paella

January 31, 2011

Calf Acceptance

I am so excited and I just can't hide it! I just bought jeggings and boots and I think I like it! So what if I'm bursting in early 90's music. I just bought my first pair of boots that covered my calves. I'm not kidding. I guess that years of running, and modern & jazz dancing equals I am not comfortable with the size of my calves! Seriously after years of being ashamed that none of the tall skinny boots fit me, I finally found a pair I liked! No nothing crazy extravagant nor crazy expensive, but I landed on Steve Madden boots (photo above). I couldn't just stop there, of course I had to purchase the pants I was always fearing as well. I did a fist pump dance in the dressing room of Urban Outfitters when I could actually slip on these pants and not look like a walking quad muscle. Booooya! I was so happy with my purchase that I ended up texting a few friends, and also...wait for it...apparently my first boyfriend as well. I got a response back from from him about 5 minutes later "hey Mish, happy new year, thanks for the text about the boots, not sure what that was about but seems like you are in style these days!" Oh dear. Nice work Mish. I felt like Ron Burgundy "I just want to shout it from the roof top!" Whatever makes you happy! For me apparently it's wearing boots like normal people.

January 30, 2011

Feeling Crabby

I made crab cakes for the first time! Woo! They were absolutely delicious, and actually whole grain, not greasy, and low in fat. Crab cakes and football. That's what Maryland DOES! Sorry I know that was a lame Wedding Crashers quote. I had to go for it.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup green onions chopped up into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 large egg whites salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup wheat germ (just call me Cindy Goldstein the dietitian that I grew up with, I know) 1 pound lump crab meat (I got mine from Costco, and it rocked. One pound is about one can of them.)

Place bread in food processor; process until coarse crumbs. It should be about 1 cup roughly if you eye ball it, I added in wheat germ to make about 1 1/2 cups total. Combine breadcrumbs with the next ingredients (all of them). Keep pulsing away. If it's looking too dry or too damp, react accordingly by adding in more breadcrumbs or more Greek Yogurt. Divide crab mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1-inch-thick patty. Wrap these patties in tin foil. They need to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour before they go onto the frying pan. That's imperative or else they will most likely fall apart.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The original recipe said to brown them on the sauce pan first and then bake them. I think that's not necessary, and Doug and I just got finished eating them from the skillet and they tasted wonderful. They take a little longer than I'd thought to cook. Probably between 12 and 14 minutes per each 2 or 3 I had on the pan. Be patient with them so that the top gets crusty.

For Breakfast: I also added crab into an egg dish with cheese and scallions. It came out pretty nice. I'm also thinking Doug will make a leftover crab cake with egg whites tomorrow morning. I'll survey and see how it went!

Girl and the Goat Part 2

We went back to G & G with two friends of ours. They are a hilarious couple. We ordered similar items to the first time we visited this spot including the browned cauliflower dish, the sweet potato blue cheese gratin, and the chickpea fritters along with the sausage stuffed calamari. This place rocks. It's always full, it's always bustling (which makes me feel like I want to stay there for prolonged amounts of time) and the menu is so versatile, that it's nearly impossible not to find at least 3 dishes you could eat the crap out of regardless of the audience you are with. The service is always excellent (minus the fact that our waitress was crazy LOUD and talked so much that we were laughing every time she came over because it stressed me out a bit...I'm going to hell I know--in 2011 I need to work on my patience). I like lighter dishes and less red meat. Doug wanted to try the pig face with the fried egg on top (no it didn't look like a pig face) and thoroughly enjoyed it. {Needless to say, the entire time we ate, we kept repeating "IN THE FACE" Eddie Murphy style from Coming to America, one of the greater films of all time, obviously.}

Make a reservation ASAP. Even if it's 3 months in advance like those that I've made. Next reservation will probably be the front table which is an extension of the bar...for my chlorate party weekend extravaganza! Woo!

January 29, 2011

Chariots of Fire



I'm seriously pumped. I can actually run more than 5 miles outdoors. This has never really happened to me. I'm so glad that I chose to partake in the Fleet Feet morning run. No, not because I actually ran with them, but to basically make me understand that I am able to run for longer than I think, without music, and even in the cold. Molly picked me up in front of my apartment at 7:25am, which, after a night of heavy red wine drinking, was kind of struggle. I think I was drunk when we first started. I wore my regular socks in addition to my menorah socks. It's fine. My feet get cold in the winter. We ran 3 miles to Fleet Feet in Lincoln Park. After that, came the intimidating chat from the people really training for legitimate marathons--they were super intense and super skinny, and were chatting about bathroom stops for miles 10 and 11. Wow. Not there yet. I ran for about 1.5 miles with the team, then split off from them, turned around, and ran from Mon Ami Gabi to Whole Foods on North Avenue. I'm assuming that was about another mile or so. All in all, I think I did about 6 miles, or a little over that. I just checked it via Gmaps Pedometer. Coolest Site ever. Look how cool the city looked from crossing over the bridge near Old Navy (Clybourn/North area). Also, for proof, is the group I ran a little with. I think I could legitimately train for some type of race in the future. Woo! I'll keep you posted if I can walk tomorrow.

By the way, extra credit goes to Doug who picked me up from Whole Foods after. Produce shopping and an almond milk coffee is the way to go.

January 26, 2011

Mandy is Sweet


We are certainly loving the cake tastings for our wedding. Yesterday, Doug and I ventured to Sweet Mandy B's for our second (and final) tasting. As expected, we came to the conclusion that Sweet Mandy B's has not only the brightest color furniture and wall paint colors, but also has the best physical CAKE in the city of Chicago. True story. It was moist (I hate that word, I know it's sick, but it was true), yet light, and fluffy. DELISH!

We ended up purchasing our cake. Sorry Bittersweet! We're going another direction. We purchased a 3 tier ALMOND cake with VANILLA buttercream frosting. Yum. On the side, we are going to have yellow cake sheet cake with vanilla buttercream frosting as well.

I was doing hip hop dance moves when we got home, followed by jumping jacks and leg twitches due to sugar overload. Doug and I were hyper and had a great time together at the tasting. Above is the photo that I tinted to save your eyes from being blinded by the purple pastel walls at the bakery. I'll share more about the cake designs I'm looking for after I find them all. They are going to be simple, elegant, classic, and all white! Man do I love cake. If I don't get any at the wedding I'll be disappointed big time.

January 25, 2011

Call-E-Flower


I made a really good risotto style barley dish last night. Mine looked almost like this but without the parsley and instead of the pretty background, is my ugly work cube. Ew. Recipe below. Enjoy! This is really tasty!

1 medium head cauliflower, cored
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pearl barley
3 1/2
cups reduced-sodium chicken
1 1/2 cups water
4
garlic cloves cut with garlic press
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese (I used 3/4 cup b/c I cut out the butter)
1/4 cup almond or soy milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in upper third.
Cut cauliflower into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with 2 Tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Spread in 1 layer in a large 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

While cauliflower roasts, toast barley in a dry 4-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl alone. Trust me this step helps. I know it sounds ridiculous but it adds texture. Spray the sauce pan with PAM first.

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan that you used for the barley a moment ago. Add garlic from a garlic press. Let that cook for a minute or two. Next, add in the barley along with a 1/2 cup hot broth and briskly simmer, stirring, until absorbed. Keep the heat on pretty high the whole time. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until barley is just tender and creamy-looking, about 20 minutes (you may have broth left over).I switched off adding in broth, water, and the last time I added in liquid, added in milk. Stir in cauliflower, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

I was inspired to make this recipe by Gourmet Magazine, one that I haven't ever heard of believe it or not!

Link to Magazine

January 24, 2011

Back in Black.


Thank you to my bridesmaids who accept that J Crew is my mecca, and for agreeing to sport the Lorelei Strapless Dress in black, on October 22, 2011. I'm personally very excited for the contrast of these dresses with the lighter coloring of the flowers. I think this will look simple, classy, and elegant, while being flattering to the figure and easy on the eye. Plus, they have POCKETS, best part.

Mish

January 23, 2011

(the) Bear(s) (are) Down.


Ick. Terrible. Frustrated & exhausted. Sitting on my couch right now while Doug snores on my lap and I try to type over his head, after watching the Bears game today at Mahoney's on Ogden. I know that bar sounds like it's in the middle of nowhere, but it was actually a great location of a pub not too far from my apartment (ahh, the joys of catching a cab when I'm in a rush, it never happens the way I want it to and I end up standing on the curb by myself talking to myself literally swearing under my breath until a cab comes my way). I went to the pub after a very productive (yet hungover) morning consisting of cleaning, Whole Foods shopping, run outdoors, and a trip to the steam room in my home that I've started to use this weekend. I really don't want to get sick & that's been helping me clear out my sinuses. I know you all care so much about that, so I'll just spare you the details of the type of facial mask I wore in the heat, etc. I felt better that I had gone grocery shopping so was able to have healthy food in my purse. I did the same thing the weekend prior (lovely photo above) when I was at Mickey's on Clark. I would rather not spend $50.00 to $70.00 on unhealthy food to throw away my workout! I know, I sound nuts to you I'm sure. I just like being healthy and not spending money on things I don't want to (like an unhealthy pizza or sandwich) when I could just spend a little more time to buy fresh produce at Whole Foods. I'm slightly depressed that someone stole that helmet (which I stole from a frat house at University of Illinois, of course, but that's hardly the point! I want it back!).

Last weekend's win was a tease, as the game today was terrible. It was a mess. We went through 3 quarterbacks, the first two barely seemed to play. I will refrain from talking smack about the two of them, but will just say that I think I'd like to see a little more "heart" from players of their caliber, rather than someone who just gives up. That's all. I'd like to discuss Caleb Hanie. What a cool kid. Third back up quarterback, Colorado State player (which I learned today), and seemed to be someone completely hands on and positive. He was exactly what we needed at the end of the game. Sad that our third backup would be better than our first string quarterback. Enough said. Hanie rocked. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to win, which was a huge disappointment of course. I was really stressed out at the end of the game. Just went I thought it to be closer of a game, the Packers intercepted the ball. It was pretty miserable, not going to lie.

Luckily, we went to Big Star after the game was over, and had a hilarious cab drive (after waiting 25 minutes in the numbing cold without a hat on--excellent) there including seeing a man standing on the off ramp from the highway next to a cab with its blinkers on, while he threw up on the side of the road. Of course we shouted "go BEARS" out the window for good measure.

Big Star was the perfect end to the night. It made me remember the struggles of being a Chicago sports fan. It's never easy!

I'm watching the Steelers game right now, and they are playing the Jets. I really want the Steelers to win, given my background as a Pittsburgh girl!

Maybe next year, Bears!

Mish



January 21, 2011

Saying "I Do" to the Shoe.



I've been snooping around trying to find something sparkly and fun for my wedding as far as my feet are concerned. I am not a huge "shoe person" in the least, as I would probably choose to get married in Reef Flip Flops if I could. They are certainly the most comfortable and easiest NOT to sprain my ankle while dancing in (my specialty). The first shoe that I have looked at is a cocktail party inspired item with some shine and playfulness on the toe. I like the nude color, and plan to wear a champagne colored dress for my rehearsal dinner. The second is a fantastic pair of sequin pumps from Kate Spade as well that I just die every time I look at. For those of you who don't know me nor my language choices, "I die" is an expression that I'm pretty sure I got from a co-worker of mine, but it's a good thing. When I say "I DIE" it can translate to "these are the coolest shoes in the world and they overwhelm me to the point I cannot breath." I think I'm going to keep these two pairs of shoes at the top of my list & hope for either a sale or coupons for Kate Spade soon. I'm also going down to the outlets soon and maybe I'll encounter a miracle and find the gold sequin & red wedding day pumps I want for less. Either way, I figure I'd wear them more than I think because they are amazeballs. Hopefully the outlets will also have a ton of flip flops that I can purchase to put into baskets on the dance floor, since I expect that everyone will really be breaking it down big time (to Lionel Richie of course).

Cheers!
mish

January 19, 2011

Kings Speech

Doug and I saw the Kings Speech on Monday. It was seriously incredible. King George VI of England was an interesting character in his time. Although only kind for about 6 years, he certainly stepped up to the plate when he was needed. Not even expected to take the throne, he came to the rescue when his brother decided against this role (given his desire to marry a, from what the film portrayed, totally unattractive twice married socialite). I don't really understand why anyone would give up that power for a twice divorced woman like Wallis Simpson, but what grounds do I have to judge. I looked up her photograph and she did look more attractive than in the movie, after all. I guess I would really think hard before giving up the privilege to have a strong political role in my country for a relationship. I'm honestly not sure what I would do in that situation. I loved this film. It was powerful and moving, yet quirky and hysterical. Well written, well acted, and brilliantly cast. Above is the photo of George VI. I can't even think about stammering because he's so good looking (not different from Colin Firth!). I love stories about the underdog! It makes me think of being 4 foot 8 in high school and actually having friends, haha, sad.....

Scottie Pippen.

Last week I did two things that I normally don't do-I went to a Bulls game (thank you Christian's employers) and I also went to see Wicked (thank you, Katie, future sister in law, what a great Christmas gift!) two days later. Both places I went, Scottie Pippen was a member of the audience. What are the odds?

Before the Bulls game, we went to West End. I had one of the better turkey burgers in a long time. This was an all white meat burger with BRIE on it. Totally made the difference & tasted delicious with the Raisinetes that I had in my purse. Hah. My bridesmaid and co-worker, Kate, and I can boil down our basketball watching experience to one favorite thing-the Jr. Luvabulls. These adorable little 10 year old nuggets were jamming out on the court. I died. It was seriously precious. Doug won't stop asking me to audition for the regular Luvabulls because that is how I frequently spazz dance around the kitchen, but I wouldn't ever be caught dead in spandex on a basketball court with a sequined v-neck on. Sorry for partying.

Two days later, Scottie was spotted again, this time at the Cadillac Theater while Katie and I made our way to watch the musical "Wicked." Prior to that, we went to Hub 51. I ordered something I haven't ever ordered--the Brussels Sprouts with Manchengo Cheese. Man was it good, I highly recommend it. I always seem to find something new at Hub! I'm more excited each time that I visit there to have my engagement party in the Green Room on the first floor. I'm nervous for my parents to meet Doug's parents but excited about the venue, so that's all that matters, right? Hah. Back to "Wicked." This was the most hilarious play I have ever seen. Literally. Hilarious Plus the main character was a blonde Jew. YAY. Best. I was impressed by the sarcastic writing & characters developed in the play, and the experience was topped off by the chocolates we purchased at CVS and snuck into the theater!

Funny that Scottie was in both places. Who would have thought he liked musicals? We saw a limo after the show, it was probably his!

Cheers,
Mish

January 17, 2011

Delivering Happiness


On the way to Colorado, I picked up my typical 45 magazines and books in the airport because I am seriously unable to sleep on airplanes and get ADD within 5 minutes of getting onto the plane. I purchased a nice collection of food magazines (my favorites to read when I'm on airplanes & tear out the recipes I like to make when I return from my trip) and a book named Delivering Happiness about the creation of Zappos.com. It is by far the most inspirational book that I have read in a long time. Tony Hsieh is brilliant at imagining an idea and exceuting that idea until the end. My flight to the Denver International Airport flew by, as I read the trials and tribulations of the road to success for this young executive. He's also someone that's full of personality and warmth. An entrepreneur from the start, Tony was always chasing creative solutions to aspirations. I only wish that I had an ounce of his gusty risk-taking personality. Sure, I can chat up a room of people I don't know, and public speak, but it made me think about how rare it is to create something on your own. My dad has done it (he had great success with his own computer programming company) and another of my good friends started her own wine business called Bottlenotes. It's a wine website that is unique and bringing the wine world together one internet user at a time. What a cool idea. These people amaze me & I'd love to start something of my own one day. I always wanted to have an entertaining business of some sort. I'll just have to keep everyone posted on what I land on. Thanks Tony for writing this book that brought your company to life. I loved it!

January 13, 2011

Choppin Broccoli.


No not the SNL song by Dana Carvey. I made a nice hearty yet low calorie broccoli soup. It was seriously delicious. I was surprised that it was so hearty tasting, but the ingredients were so light. It's one of the soups from the Whole Living Magazine January 2011 issue. It was pretty good with cheese as well. I just ate it with Brie and it was absolutely delicious. I've been eating tons of dark chocolate lately, so this was a really nice break.

1 head broccoli (1 pound), cut into florets, stems thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves put into a garlic press
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained (white ones)
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 ounce shaved Parmesan, for serving

Steam broccoli florets and stems until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup florets for garnish.
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add beans and stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and add broccoli; puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish and enjoy but don't spill on your pants like I did.

Enjoy,
Mish

January 11, 2011

Bridal Clutch, CHECK.


Super excited about a bridal clutch that I just got at an excellent price on the J Crew Sale. This adorable nugget above ended up being $24.00. Wanted to share it. Also got a pewter gray/white strapless dress at a bargain price to match with a white necklace for any future bridal events or showers in the summer! Figured it wouldn't go to waste. Thanks for J Crew Aficionada for letting me know the code. Enter MUSTHAVE {30% off sale (no min) & free shipping ($150+); expires 1.16.11}

Green Corner


Ah! I just bought my first cleanse at a new place that opened up right by my house. Exciting stuff! I have almost little to no control over the quantity of food that I eat, so this should certainly be interesting. Green Corner is located right around the corner from my apartment, and they have offered the best deal that I've seen yet as far as a cleanse is concerned. Sorry Blue Print Cleanse, until I'm walking down the aisle, your smoothies are just way too overpriced for me, although I love your branding! I'm super excited to see how this goes. It's only 3 days long and is $107.00 from Gilt Groupe today. Offer expires on January 18th. Very reasonably priced. Description below from the site. Cheers to a healthy start to 2011. By the way, I've made it a WHOLE week and 2 days without drinking (seems like it's been 5 months already because I love wine so much, but hey, I'm only human). I'll let you know how I feel after I'm done with this. I think I'll end up doing it during the last few days of January before the engagement party with my parents. Store is located at 1800 N Damen, and I can't seem to find if they have a site up yet. Looks like a great place though.

"The blends, mostly veggie-based, are designed to deliver all the nutrients you need without adding any unnecessary sugars, fats or other roadblocks to your shape-up plans. They’re also straight up satisfying, mixing in crowd pleasers like ginger and apple to get your taste buds tingling."

January 9, 2011

Ski Bunny.

Two nights before my trip to Breckenridge to meet up with the future mother and father in law, plus the (fine I'll use this word) fiance and sister in law, the whole couch fiasco happened. The fuse also blew, and nothing was turning on, including the internet. The night before my flight took off, I went to 3 different parties and was pretty wasted when I got home. So I was trying to use an envelope to write down my flight information so I wouldn't forget it, since I, of course, didn't have the chance to print anything out the day before at work because I was too concerned with getting to the first holiday party on time with the bowl my fantastic co-worker (slash full time entertainer/cook) had lent me for my September housewarming party. Phew. What a mess. I made my flight on time & checked in at the airport. Not my style, but it worked.

Thursday and Friday before NYE, I skied. It was -8F without wind chill factor (-30F with the wind chill). You've got to be kidding me. Of course I prefer a beach and a tequila beverage, but I didn't want to be a huge weenie so I just bit the bullet, ignored my snow pants that made my hips look approximately 10 inches wider than they are normally, slapped on a toe warmer pad (lovely photo below of my foot) and did a ski school course & then went out on the slopes with the family. I did just fine. Only two falls in a few days (I've still got bruises to prove it). I was not told that no blue runs existed on the first set of slopes I did on Friday with the Malcolm family! Oh well. Nothing like being told "Mish, we lied to you. There are no blues here, only BLACK DIAMONDS." Oh boy. At least that seemed to be the push I needed to get my skiing groove back. I actually think that I'll like it more in the future than I ever have before. Maybe I'll just stick to spring skiing! Plus, I unfortunately didn't get to wear the barf colored tie die awesome one piece that I intended on wearing, since it was just too cold to fit the necessary layers underneath it. We did the typical "sit in the hot tub in a snow storm" act for a while a few days in a row as well. My toes were completely frozen, so it hurt at first when I sat down! All in all, a great trip.