my new city

pizzeria uno specialThis past week, I spent a week in Chicago and have come to love it in the short time I was there. There I found some great food and some great people, and more importantly, great beers.

My first culinary adventure was Pizzeria Uno where I tried Chicago style pizza for the first time. Sitting outside on the street corner patio under an old timey street light was very romantic although lonely as I was by myself. There was still plenty of entertainment: a drunk businessman spilled beer all over his shirt and pants, the same businessman stole some stuff like the checkbook (with the money in it) a beer mug and some other stuff, our waiter chased him down the blog, and I also met some nice women who were trying to get the waiter to come home with them. For a night alone I laughed a lot!

Later in the week came great Mexican food, fantastic garlic fries, and of\"ed\" course, two trips to the Goose Island Brewery for some great micro-brews. The beer that knocked my socks off was a special reserve called “Ed.” I could not find it on their website but this is a beer that has an incredible smokey flavour. I knew it was coming, but that first sip surprised me! The smokey malt flavour was powerful but balanced with a subtle sweetness and slight hoppyness. Served in a brandy snifter, it took me all afternoon to finish the little treasure and at 9% it stayed with me the rest of the day!

One week (and the money I brought) did not seem like enough time to explore this great culinary city. I can’t wait to go on my next trip…Portland, Oregon! Any suggestions for where to eat?pad thai in the park


trip to chicago

I am spending a week in Chicago, a city I have only seen through the eyes of this seasons Top Chef. I need your help on where to go and more importantly, where to eat and drink in Chicago.

Where are the good…

  • Chicago style pizza places
  • famous street foods of Chicago
  • Breweries
  • farmers markets
  • Any other native Chicago eatery/pub worthwhile.

If anyone has had the pleasure of visiting or living in Chicago, I would love to hear your suggestions on the “must see/must eat” gems that know of.


how it turned out

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While this is not the same recipe as I started with in my last baking post, this is my Red River Cereal bread that resulted in another late night baking session. I use organic cereals from my local farmers market. I am very pleased with how this loaf turned out.

Sorry for the picture quality, I do not have a digital camera and used my computer to take the picture (which is why you see my sofa in the back).

Red River Cereal bread (makes 2 large loaves)

1 cup Red River Cereal

3 cups boiling water

3 tbsp honey

2 tbsp lard

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp salt

2 packages of instant yeast or 2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

2 cups whole wheat flour

up to 4 cups all purpose flour

Combine cereal with boiling water and let sit until cereal has soften and temperature reduces to slightly above room temperature.

Add honey, lard, molasses into cooling mixture and let melt. Stir well.

In a mixer or large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, salt, yeast, and 3 cups all purpose flour and mix thoroughly. Reserve the last cup of flour to add gradually to adjust the dough.

Add cereal mix to the flour and mix dough until it comes together adding extra flour if needed. Let rest in the bowl covered for 20 minutes before kneading further. After 20 minutes of rest, turn dough onto a floured surface and knead shortly, for about 4 – 5 minutes.

Let dough rise covered in an oiled bowl until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Gently punch down and let rest for 20 minutes, covered.

Divide dough into two equal portions and shape into loaves. Place in large loaf pans and let rise, covered until doubled in volume about 45min – 1 hour.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks. Brush tops with butter.


late night bakery

***I found this post in the edit section but not published. So the info is way out of date***

Last night my house was filled with the smell of fresh bread. For me, there is nothing so comforting as the smell of fresh bread. Last night, I baked out of joy and more importantly out of necessity. Currently I am on a wealth diet and am looking for ways to stretch my $6 a day.

I made a oatmeal bread found in my “More with Less” cookbook, and it cost just pennies to make and if that was not enough to make me happy, the smells, textures, and movement involved in baking bread are a part of my wellbeing. I try and think positive things about and for the people who will receive the bread, (even if it is me) which also makes for inexpensive therapy! I find that a little kiss helps the dough ball rise well.

Below is a picture of last nights baby just before the kiss. By the way, the cutting board that she is resting on is named Esther.

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meal planning

When your living expenses are limited to $6 a day, food becomes a daily concern/obsession. With out planning, it is difficult to get a good meal in as most of my meals need to be prepared from scratch as prepared and pre-made indregients do not fit into this budget. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are gone. So whats to eat the rest of the week? Any suggestions for eating great (which also means healthy and balanced) for the rest of the week? I still have a few great things left in my house: fresh bread, celery, eggs, carrots, jams, butter, farmers sausage, various dried beans, fresh cilantro, fresh dill, fresh, dill, tortillas, and a little cheese.

Here are my ideas:

Thrusday:

Friday: Lasagna (I have one that I made and froze a few days ago).

Saturday:

Sunday:

As you can see, I am drawing several blanks.


how hard can it be?

This past Wednesday marks the start of Lent. So the challenge? Living on $6 a day for 40 days (that $6 is not just for food, but living expenses). How hard can it be? Check out some of the “how” and “why” for the next few weeks.

So this is going to impact my eating habits, how and when I can get to a grocery store, and what will be for dinner.sushi in TO supermarket

Things I already miss:

  • Starbucks coffee
  • Sushi
  • Beer/alcohol

So I will keep you posted on stuff that fits in to this tiny budget. For tomorrow, breakfast = oatmeal, lunch=left over cauliflower soup, supper=baked beans with homemade bread and tossed salad, snacks=dried fruits and nuts. Not a bad start. I susspect that when the food runs out of my fridge, I will by singing a different tune.


choxie for the canadian

article_thumbnail_choxie.jpgOn a recent trip to the US of A, I made it a priority to pick up a line of chocolates I had heard good things about by a few other blogs. “Choxie” is a line of gourmet chocolates offered only from Target, that are marketed as “artisan chocolate,” and “only for the serious chocolate lover.” I bought the chocolate truffle tiles to get a small sample of many flavours like “champagne,” “strawberry balsamic” and “fiery pineapple.” How can you go wrong with a lineup like that? (sense the foreshadowing?)

The labels of the chocolate were misleading. Fiery Pineapple really tasted like sugar with a hint (emphasis on hint) or pineapple flavour but no heat. The Latte tile was a combination of waxy white chocolate with a dark chocolate center but no flavour resembling espresso. All of the tile failed to deliver the promised flavour profile.

Added to this problem, the overall characteristic of the chocolate was very waxy and did not even carry with it a strong sense of cocoa flavour. When reading the label, the percentage of cocoa was nowhere to be found. Anyone else with a bad Choxie experience? Is it all Choxie or just the chocolate tiles.


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