Chicago Trip, Day 1

So, I just got back from a 3 day trip to Chicago. I ate so much food on vacation! This might be multi-part posting for the week! I’ll just start from day one. I’m not going to really talk about what we did, just what we ate since this is a food blog.

Breakfast: Just regular ole Honey Nut Cheerios and a banana

Snack 1: Ghirardelli Brownie Fudge Sundae – This was a large Ghirardelli brownie loaded with warm Ghirardelli fudge and 2 scoops of ice cream! I had to split this sucker with a friend because it was so intense. But it would definitely fill your sweet tooth! SO good!

Lunch: Hot dog w/ ketchup, mustard, and onions from Wrigley Field (that’s right, I went to a Cub’s game) – This was good, but I don’t think it was a true Chicago-style hot dog. I think I missed out on that one. Looks like I need to go back though! 🙂

Snack 2: McDonald’s Mocha Latte – We went to a 2-story McDonald’s that even had an escalator in it! The upstairs was a coffee/gelato shop. The mocha was priced pretty cheap (especially for Chicago), so I thought it would taste horrible, but I was sincerely impressed with it! Very smooth and full of flavor. Not bitter or burnt-tasting either.

Supper: Chicago-style, Deep-dish Mushroom and Cheese Pizza from Gino’s East – The service sucked, but the pizza made up for the experience! I learned that the sauce is always on top on a true Chicago-style pizza. I think because there is either too much sauce or too much cheese. Either way, it was delicious! I do think there could have been more mushrooms, but that might be because I’m a mushroom freak. I did enjoy the vast amounts of sauce and cheese though. The crust was something I wasn’t used to, however. I didn’t like the edges of the crust. Needless to say, it gets my stamp of approval (the pizza, not the restaurant). We split 2 deep-dish pizzas between 7 ladies. I think we had 1/2 a slice left. It was very filling. No dessert needed! 🙂

I’ll continue with Day 2 tomorrow!

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White Chocolate Blackberry Scones

I just want to brag right now. I had breakfast with my dear friend Annie this morning and she made the most amazing scones ever! I had one with coffee this morning. She sent another one home with me. I just ate it after my lunch. I couldn’t make it last! 🙂

I’m trying to get the recipe from her. We’ll see if she’ll give it to me. I’m heaven right now!

That is all. You can comment about how jealous you are!

Going Green with Kraft Foods

I’m not a “green” person, but I do like to cut back on wasting things and saving money! I’m absolutely in love with http://www.kraftfoods.com and I found a link from their page about their new promotion for those “Green” lovers. It could just be a gimmick to get me to buy their water bottle, but I need a new one anyway. And it comes with free drink mixes (your choice of Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, or Countrytime Lemonade) and a coupon for a Brita water filter. I’m all for saving money… and the world!

Stuffed Tomatoes

This post is for my friend Carmen! She sent me a recipe about some grilled tomatoes, and together, we made up our own recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes. She came over one evening and we brainstormed. She’s made them several times trying to tweak them some more. It’s just missing something to us. They’re not bad though. If you have any suggestions, please post!

3-4 whole, ripe tomatoes
1 large can of Tuna (or 1 cup of your favorite meat) (Carmen used chicken)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
Salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic (all to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse tomatoes well. Slice off the top and remove any visible core and throw those away. In a medium size mixing bowl, scoop out the insides of the tomato (make sure you don’t mess with the wall of the tomato, it needs to be able to stand on its own), set aside. To the mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, your choice of meat, onion, and any of the spices you want to create the filling. Mix well. Now, carefully scoop the filling back into the hallowed tomatoes. Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Place on a baking pan (I used my Pampered Chef stone wear) and bake for 15-20 minutes. The tomatoes will be slightly mushy to the touch.

Serve as a side or as a main dish.

I wonder how it would taste if you added Stove Top Stuffing, bread crumbs, or oatmeal… Maybe I will have to experiment! Happy baking!

No weapons here…

On Saturday, I made my Friendship bread again! I had 2 bags leftover from my last escapade, so I just doubled everything. That made 4 loaves of the yummy cinnamon bread and 8 more bags of starters. I heard that you could freeze the starter bags if you don’t/can’t make them at the time. I might try that because I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow and won’t be able to mush my bags! I have handed out 6 of the 8 new bags already. I know who I’m giving my last one to tonight. And I gave out a loaf to Nate’s family and brought one to work. I think I’m going to take my last loaf to Chicago with me. It’ll probably pass through security. No weapons here!

And kudos to Tisa for her excellent assistance on the bread!

New Pantry Item: Bagel-fuls

Okay, I’m all about making my own stuff from scratch, but Kraft Bagel-fuls are my new obsession today! A lady brought them to work today and let me try one. The Bagel-fuls have a bagel-like outer shell with Kraft’s own Philadelphia cream cheese filling.  She microwaved hers and I stuffed mine into our small toaster (it calls for a wide toaster to put them in). You can even just eat them straight out of the pack too. I highly enjoyed mine toasted! It made the outside slightly crisp and the inside was still cold! When my coworker warmed hers up in the microwave, the cream cheese was also warmed. I didn’t like that, but she did. So there are various ways to eat them.

They come in five varieties of bagels and flavors including Original (plain bagel and cream cheese), Cinnamon (cinnamon bagel with cinnamon and sugar cream cheese), Whole Grain (whole grain bagel with plain cream cheese), Strawberry (plain bagel with strawberry cream cheese), and even Chive (plain bagel with chive cream cheese). I believe the price for a box of 4 cream cheese filled bagels runs for about $3-4. Not bad if you’re on the run a lot, but it’s probably cheaper to fix a bagel and cream cheese yourself.

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

I have come to realize that I need to branch out on what I cook. Most of the things I’ve posted here have been about chicken. And this post is no different. I just discovered ground chicken about a month ago, so of course I’m going to try it with everything!

1 lb. ground chicken
1 lg. can Veg-all (I used 1 jar of home-canned veggies my dad gave me)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 med. onion, diced
1 sm. can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 T olive oil
Garlic salt, table salt, pepper, random spices you find in your cabinet (I like to experiment with the flavors. Just add a dash of anything but I pretty much put Garlic Salt on everything…)

In a medium skillet, heat oil and add ground chicken and onions. Cook until golden brown; drain. In a large pot, mix all ingredients together, including the chicken and onions and cook on med. heat until it boils; reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm and enjoy!

You may serve with corn chips, cheese, sour cream, or whatever floats your little soup boat!