A Gal & Her Galette

For my entire life I’ve been a chocolate cake kind of person; however, the recent Instagram frenzy over rustic pies, known as galettes, piqued my interest in experimenting with baking something of the fruit-filled variety.

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After scoring the internet for a recipe that would result in the perfect crust, flakey, toothy but not too buttery, I settled on a wholewheat crust from Food52, one of my most favorite online hot spots for the epicurious. Their recipe contains apple cider vinegar which actually pairs nicely with the creaminess from the butter and results in a hearty crust that could be used for sweet OR savory pies.

The recipe from Food52 calls for plums, but I opted for their furry friend, the peach. It happened to be the end of stone fruit season, and I was determined to make the most of it.  I made the treck to the west side with a single thought in my mind, I must pick up the last of the peach harvest at the Logan Square Farmers Market. My mission was a success! In no time I was happily arranging peaches to my heart’s content.

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Because the peach galette was such a hit, I ended up making a savory pie with the same crust recipe and filling it with heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, goat cheese and prusciutto. And, by the grace of some higher power, both times I used this crust recipe I experienced very little spilling out of ingredients and splooging over the edges. Can I get an amen?

Check out the recipe here and make your own galette.

La Vie de Joe, a Behind the Scenes Look

If there’s ever a month to feel Romantic, it’s February. As a previous naysayer towards this time of year, I have become a recent advocate. Maybe it’s just life’s timing, but I am beginning to feel a growing affection towards the second most wonderful time of the year.

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This isn’t the first time I’ve said it, but my love language is definitely coffee. If you follow along on my Instagram, you would know that I am well versed in all things coffee and coffee shop culture. One sunny February weekend, my S/O (who also expresses a similar enthusiasm for liquid gold) and I decided to collaborate on our favorite drink via stop motion.

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Go Nuts for Christmas

The holiday season can get a little nutty with the retelling of embarrassing stories, last minute manic shopping and the 24-7 sugar high, which is why, this year, I decided to do my out of town family a favor by loading them up with lots of treats full of ingredients to fuel them through this crazy time. What’s the secret ingredient? Nuts, and lots of them!

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Let me preface this by saying that just because these cookies are healthy is not a reason to discount their tastiness. Through extensive research, and some prior experimentation, I gathered a collection of yummy and nourishing cookies to share with friends and family.

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The Cheeseball Situation

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Have you ever been to a party where said cheese ball was promised, only to be met with disappointment and deflated expectations? You know what kind of ball I’m talking about. It’s florescent orange and speckled with questionable red flecks and symbolic slivered almonds. Ya, I’m not so convinced either. Enter the cheese ball situation…

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#blessed

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The year is not quite over, but November has me prematurely reflecting on all that 2015 has brought into my life. I will admit that I am quick to look at things from a glass half empty perspective, the Thanksgiving season has me abandoning my wayward thinking and has me realizing that in reality, my glass is overflowing with blessings and things to be thankful for. As a matter of fact,  at the end of the day, I’ve been left feeling pretty thankful and #blessed.

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Fall Treats

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The recent dip in temperature can only mean one thing: PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.  I will admit, I’m not the first person to order a pumpkin spice latte (or even the last), but I am a huge advocate of any sort of pumpkin baked good. And what better to celebrate the season than freshly baked fall inspired cookies? If you’re the sharing type, your roommates are guaranteed to love you for this treat!

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Taking Inventory: 10 Things to Smile About

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If the arrival of spring is for cleaning, fall’s impending return calls for taking inventory.  After a summer filled with old and new friends, amazing food and opportunities with work and blogging, there is so much to be happy about. But before I can swear off good vibes till the next year’s Chicago summer, I took a meditative moment to list out all the little things in life that make me smile in the hopes that when I am bundled five inches deep in my parka, I can melt the permafrost scowl with the top 10 things that make me supremely happy.

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Internship 101: The Five things you Need to Know

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You survived your summer internship and landed the fall internship of your dreams. Now what? First off, give yourself a huge pat on the back. With so many talented young people out there, the internship pool is getting more competitive by the millisecond! If you prove yourself, your internship could end up in a full time offer. It’s time to prepare yourself to enter the real world. Sounds scary, but I promise it’s a cake walk, well more like donut walk since it’s a guarantee Dunkin Donuts will now be a highly used buzzword around your office.

From the day to to essentials to navigating the lunchroom of life, here are my top five tips for thriving at your fall internship.

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Antique Taco

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I consider myself lucky to live in a city with a plethora of taco shops. However, with a new taco eatery opening up every week, it can be hard to decipher the winners from the losers. On a recent trip Wicker Park, a neighborhood notorious for taco digs, I stopped into one of my favorites, Antique Taco. Before getting into the knitty gritty of guac and margaritas, I feel obligated to disclaim that I have dined at other unnamed taco joints in the area: Antique Taco takes the blue ribbon for creativity and incredible flavors (not to mention overwhelmingly delicious drink menu!) every time.

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Floriole

It’s true. I have a new object of affection.

It all began in January at one of my favorite coffee shops in Chicago. I know what you’re thinking. Such a cute girl meets boy story… in a perfect world, people! I’m talking about girl meets scone. It was here in this coffee shop that I took my first bite of the most perfect buckwheat and blackberry scone. The kind of scone that ticks off all the boxes on the list. Ever since, I have been on the hunt for it’s origins.

This is the point where Floriole came into my life.

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Presidio: A Brunch of Champions

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It’s no secret that I am an avid brunch goer with an enthusiasm for egg yolks. I like to keep an eye out and an ear open for all the latest in Chicago brunch spots. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz over the brunch at Presidio. They started as a dinner and cocktail lounge with an emphasis on farm to table fresh ingredients, and after stellar reviews, added a weekend brunch.

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When my brunch partner in crime, Addie, author of Chickpea In The City, invited me as her plus one to brunch, I instantaneously said yes . Little did I know, I was about to undertake one of the most exquisite meals in Chicago. In fact, I’m not one to skip meals, but I passed on dinner the night before to emotionally and physically prepare myself for this transcendent experience.

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Pie that Takes the Cake

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“promises and pie-crust are made to be broken” 

-Jonathan Swift 

I’d like to begin this post by thanking my dear mother. From a very young age, she instilled in me a deep appreciation for all types of pies. Savory or sweet, I don’t discriminate, and have a place in my heart for each. That being said, I jumped (more like leapt) at the opportunity to visit Chicago’s pie sensation, Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits.

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Sunday Crafternoon

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For some, the weekend is their time to put their feet up and sedate themselves with sports, reality TV or my personal favorite, Netflix. Whatever your poison may be, next time you feel a gravitational pull towards the TV, take a minute and ask yourself, “what can I accomplish from several hours three feet deep in a duvet?” Nothing. You can accomplish nothing, and I am so guilty of this. Having just started a 9 to 5 job that takes up most of my time during the week, I want nothing more than to bury myself in my bed and inundate my mind with Mad Men. It may be good for the soul on certain occasions, but I’ve found my new anti-drug to be DIY projects and  apartment improvement shopping sprees. Ok, maybe that makes me sound a little old, but I did just have a birthday, so it’s warranted. Maybe?

Passing of time and binge watching aside, you have got to make my latest, most ADORABLE, DIY for yourself. It’s incredibly easy, and did I mention, there’s peanut butter involved?

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An Abundance of Brunch

I usually reserve one day a weekend to go to brunch. Not only is it a good time to catch up with a friend, but it keeps me on track with my weekly hash brown and poached egg quota. Seriously, learning to make poached eggs is going on my summer bucket list! While visiting Cincinnati for Memorial Day weekend, I was invited to not one brunch, but two! Elated, I said yes to both, and put on my brunch pants Saturday and Sunday.

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Why have one brunch when you can have two?

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Seven Sips: Chicago’s Best Coffee Shops

IMG_5817 For the past few months I have been scouting out all the best spots in Chicago for a sip. The time and money spent on this endeavor have not been wasted. In the name of research, I present you with the seven best coffee shops in Chicago:

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Pink Picks

There was a time in my life where almost everything I owned was pink. Whenever my sister asked people at our school if they knew me she would say, “does ballet…wears a lot of pink,” to which they would respond, “Yes! That girl.” I was that girl, pink glory and all. I will spare you the embarrassing pictures of me sporting a pink Juicy hoody.

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The things I wish I could tell my 12-year-old self now… It will get better, and there won’t be so much pink involved.

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PARLOUR

It’s that time of year again. Time for freshly cut flowers, and time for freshly cut locks. The crazy elements of last season and my intimate relationship with my flat iron had my hair looking a little tired. It was ready for a trim…or possibly more.

I get a little crazy when it comes to hair cuts: researching different colors styles, lengths. I always want to make sure I choose the best do from me. I had been considering cutting it short, but kept changing my mind. Finally I got real with myself. Hair is hair, and it grows back. Life is too short, pun intended, not to experiment.

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new hair calls for a photoshoot

 

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Hot Cross Buns: A Lesson in Bread Baking

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Bread baking is something I have always wanted to try my hand at. The problem is, I am by no means a master pastry chef. Think of me of more as a follow the directions and throw it in the bowl food enthusiast. Baking, on the other hand, requires a lot more skill than just following and throwing. Needless to say, I was daunted.

The weeks leading up to Easter, my Instagram and YouTube feeds were jammed with a wealth of variations on hot cross buns. I remember one Easter when I was a kid my mom bought hot cross buns for our brunch. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The two meek streaks of icing and chunks of candied fruit did not live up to the splendor that my mom had described the buns to be. However, this year’s inundation of recipes for these traditional Easter rolls had me, the daunted bread maker, intrigued.

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Have your Breakfast, and Drink it Too

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Most mornings I want to get out the door as soon as possible. This means taking my breakfast on the road, or train tracks shall I say. I can’t remember the last time I skipped breakfast, but I do know hanger was definitely involved! To keep hanger at bay, I always make sure to have quick and easy meals that will keep me full and my claws in check. However, the frigid winter made it difficult to grab something quick like a smoothie, but now that the weather is beginning to warm up (hopefully, maybe??) I am reaching for smoothies almost every morning.

Sometimes I even make a little extra and pack it for a fast snack later in the day!

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Sunday Fun-day

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It was the weekend, and another blogger’s brunch was called for. Today we hit up Hub 51, a swank spot in river north. I ordered the root vegetable hash and my brunch date got the breakfast tacos. Bruncher’s remorse is a real thing guys, because I was drooling over my friends plate. My root vegetables and poached eggs were good, but the self assembly tacos looked divine! They even came with all the essentials to build the perfect taco: pico, black beans, scrambled eggs, and guac.  

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Dessert for Breakfast

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Beets seem to be taking center stage as of late, but let us not forget about the almighty chia seed! The poppy-seed like granules are always making their way into my food. It’s hard not to include them in recipes when every time I open my pantry, I am stared down by a Costco sized bag of them.

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Bloggers who Brunch


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After my Saturday morning ritual, ballet at Joffrey followed by a latte at intelligentsia, I had a little afternoon rendezvous with a fellow blogger friend and classmate. However, this was no ordinary brunch date: this was our very first bloggers’ brunch! I met up with my friend Addie, AKA Chickpea In The City, at a cute little spot she suggested called Range. I snuck a peak at the menu ahead of time, and knew I was going to have a difficult time deciding! 

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Salazar and Sentiments

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Whenever I am visiting Cincinnati, I always like to try out new places to eat. With a city that is progressing as quickly as Cincinnati is, new restaurants are easy to find. My time spent in my home town is always a little limited, which makes it difficult to hit up all the latest hot spots. I was a little tardy to the party when it came to today’s lunch selection. Better late than never, because Salazar on Republic in Cincinnati’s beloved Over the Rhine was stellar. Everything about the place was thoughtfully curated, right down to the charming waiters in tailored chambray button downs. Needless to say, I was not complaining.

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100% Vegan, 100% Delicious

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There is nothing more decidedly worse than a rainy day during Spring Break. Not that I would rather it snow than rain at this point, but a little green would be nice some time soon. I was unusually cheerful despite the tireless rain. So, I decided to put my good vibes to good use by spending a little time in the kitchen.

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Some Say Old-Fashioned, I Say Classic

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s had me screaming YES, YES, YES every morning for the past week. No, it’s definitely not what you are thinking. It’s steel cut oats, and they have been rocking my world ever since my first bite. There is something about the soft kernel that gives way to a slightly toothy center and the creamy consistency that would have any dairy enthusiast fooled.

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Strawberry-Mint Green Tea Chia Elixir

One of my favorite spots in Chicago, Beatrix, serves up a colorful array of juices on their brunch menu. If you haven’t been yet, you really need to check it out! Fortunatly for them, I am a real sucker for anything freshly squeezed or speckled with chia seeds. Their cherry chia cooler has long been the object of my affection.

If I could, I would go every weekend, but for the sake of my wallet, I recreated a similar drink at home. Behold my Strawberry Mint Green Tea Chia Elixir. The name is a mouthful, but it is incredibly simple to make and all you need is a blender and a strainer.

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Flake Fighting Arsenal

As the deep freeze has settled into Chicago, so has the dreaded winter dry skin. Every year before winter begins I prep myself for what I know is the inevitable. There are so many miracle products out there that promise silky smooth skin free of the lovely scales and bumps the winter wind is so kind to grace us with. Let me tell you something, no matter how much you slather on, you can’t beat it. Winter skin is just something we have to deal with, but through my past three winters in Chicago I have curated an arsenal of products that will help make the remainder of the season a little more bearable.

KORRES Beurre Pour Les Lèvres

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 Lips are the first thing you don’t want to forget about when it comes to protection from the winter wind. Bundled up in a parka, hat, and scarf, lips take harshest beating. I’m sure most of us have our boring chapstick tubes religiously tucked into all of our pockets, but there is no need to reside ourselves to lackluster lips just because it’s cold out. KORRES lip butter is hands down my favorite lip product year round, but I love it during the winter especially because it adds color and moisture to my beauty routine.

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Off-Duty Chicagoan

Living in such a big city, the word tourist can at times be a huge turn off. It’s a word often muttered with scorn while trying to cross the street or while freeing yourself from a crowded train on a Saturday afternoon. However, being a tourist in your own city takes the stress off of navigating and allows you to see things from a fresh new perspective.

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