I had mentioned in my last post that I had purchased my first home back in April. Since moving, I’ve slowly been re-decorating/decorating. I have been moving, first from Ohio then to Chicago, with the same bookcase I have had since college. It didn’t fit into the space I had put it in when I moved to the new house but I had put it on the back burner to update because it still was doing its intended job.
Now, I am the first person to say that visually I just can not picture how things will look or go together. Interior design is definitely not my specialty. What I do like to do though is scroll through hundreds of sites and Pinterest articles (yes, I get sucked in, ha) to look at what other people have done and get ideas. After cleaning up the living room one day, and purposely skipping over the eye sore in the corner, I was ready to upgrade.
I first measured the width and depth of the space so I knew where to start, but I still wasn’t sure if I wanted a full size bookcase to replace the one I currently had or if I wanted to keep it open with floating shelves. I also looked at different accent cabinets and shelving units. I ended up liking two different accent cabinets, one from http://target.com and the other from http://wayfair.com.
The one from Wayfair was 33% off, but was still a little over what I wanted to spend at $210. The one from Target wasn’t on sale at $170. I had decided to talk it over and wait to see if either would drop at all in price. I was nervous though because the one from Wayfair was already on sale and at 33% off, so I thought if I were to wait it wouldn’t go lower but higher in price.
The following week Target dropped on sale with 15% off all furniture, so I ended up snagging the cabinet for $150. Plus with my Target RedCard, I got free shipping plus an extra 5% off. I ordered it on Sunday and it arrived by Wednesday. It did need assembled but the assembly wasn’t too bad at all.
It fits absolutely perfect in the space and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase! It definitely opened up a spot in the living room that we never used! (Also fun fact; the cabinet from Wayfair dropped in price this week to 34% off!) But I am still happy that I went with the one from Target. I have a teal accent color that I use in the living room with paintings, candles, pillows and blankets so again this teal accent cabinet couldn’t be better!
To all the Do-It-Yourselfers out there, I salute you ~ Mallory Mae
Last weekend, my sister Melissa who lives in Washington D.C., came to visit! One of the many things that I love about people visiting me is the fact that I get to be a tourist in my own city! We didn’t have anything specific planned for this weekend, but I knew it was going to be a good time!
She was originally going to fly in on Thursday night, but because of a work meeting that got scheduled on Friday morning, she rearranged her flight to come in Friday night instead. Well, Chicago’s wind and negative degree weather later, her Friday night flight was cancelled and rebooked to Saturday morning. So Saturday morning I went to Midway airport to pick her up around 1:00PM.
From the airport we drove back to my townhouse, which we bought back in April (yay to first time home buying)! This was the first time that my sister has seen our new home so I was excited to show her! After we got home and I showed her the house, we were ready for lunch.
In the mood for a really good sandwich and a crunchy pickle, I knew there was only one place to go, Manny’s. Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen open since 1942, I am telling you, I have never had such great homemade, down to earth, comfort food! You will not go wrong with ANYTHING you order there, but if you want my recommendation, you got to get the pastrami on rye. I ordered it with a side of their thousand island sauce, coleslaw and well of course pickles! https://www.mannysdeli.com/
After Manny’s we made a Binny’s run and ran some errands. With the weather still being really cold we stayed in on Saturday night and watched movies. So for dinner we ordered out to one of the best in the South Loops Mexican restaurants, La Cantina. My favorite item to order there is the chimichangas. Delicious! http://lacantinagrill.com/
Sunday morning, I did make a reservation at RL Restaurant (Ralph Lauren Restaurant) on Michigan Ave. because I knew my sister has always wanted to go, we just never had gotten around to it any other time she has visited. At 11:00AM, we stopped in for Brunch. The service was immaculate and I loved all the little details they put into making it such an experience to eat there. The dining room was very luxurious, dark navy blue with framed artwork covering the walls. They brought us sweet rolls with a homemade strawberry cream cheese butter and jam. We ordered coffees, the Quiche and Belgium Waffle. https://www.ralphlauren.com/rl-restaurant/global-restaurants-rlrestaurant.html
After brunch, we took advantage of Michigan Ave. and did some window shopping, we also brought a few returns we had and visited The Water Tower Place and then took a nice little walk down the Magnificent Mile to the Chicago river. After seeing the river, we went home to rest and relax.
We had been discussing where to eat for dinner that day and had decided that we were going to try the famous Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders restaurant. I had tried the Lou Malnatis, the Giordanos, the Ginos Easts, Peaquods, etc., all the famous Chicago Pizza restaurants in the three years I have lived here, but I had yet to try Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders. My sister also, having seen this restaurant on the Food Networks, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, had been wanting to try this restaurant.
Calling before we left to go there, I knew there was at least a two hour wait, so we went there to put our name on the waitlist and headed over to RJ Grunts for an appetizer and to watch the football game. I had never been to RJ Grunts, but I have ordered take out from there multiple times. I absolutely LOVE the California Chicken Wrap that they serve. I wasn’t at all disappointed eating in the restaurant and was pleasantly surprised to see the awesome salad bar that they have, I had no idea! Definitly will be going back to eat in there soon. We had ordered the deep fried pickles, ha, go figure, but they were great and so was the atmosphere. http://rjgruntschicago.com/
Two hours later, we went back to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders to, yup you guessed it…wait! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too much longer and got seated. The menu is very small, really three basic items to order. Salads, Pizza and Grinders (subs). Going off of our servers recommendation and Yelp reviews, we ordered a family size of the Chef (dinner) Salad and each ordered our own individual 6″ pot pies. These “pot pies” are what makes this restaurant so famous and what we came here for. http://chicagopizzaandovengrinder.com/
The salad came out larger than my face, my absolute favorite part was the dressing sauces that came out with it. A delicious sour cream garlic, sweet and sour poppy seed and homemade Italian dressing, you can also buy bottles of their dressing here to take home. They also serve at the table this homemade Italian seasoning and you literally can see the chunks of dried garlic in the shaker bottle.
After devouring the salad, our pot pies came to the table. The pizza is made with a Wisconsin cheese as the base, three button mushrooms nuzzled inside, drenched with a homemade meat sauce and then topped with a homemade pie like crust dough. Baked upside down and then flipped over in front of you at the table, we were not disappointed. The pot pies were definitely delicious but it is so different from the normal Chicago deep dish pizza that it is hard to compare. Would I go back again? Absolutely. I would probably just not rush to go back just because the wait was so long. Do I recommend you got there? Yes! I never had a Pizza Pot Pie like it!
Stuffed, once we were able to move, we went back home and watched the three night Jodi Arias special on Investigation Discovery, I am obsessed and have an ID problem. Monday morning was Martin Luther King Jr. Day so my sisters flight home wasn’t until that evening. We woke up, I made us a buffet of breakfast and we mostly sat around the house relaxing. My sister was working on her thank you cards from her wedding back in November. I was working on my laptop, the snow outside was coming down pretty strong but it made for a nice snow day in.
Before my sister left for her flight, she had brought with her jackets she was getting rid of. Me, a lover of all things hand-me-downs (blog post one day about thrifting to come), was in heaven. I was able to snag two new winter jackets! So I helped her go through her bag and then we made a donation pile for anything she or I didn’t want to keep. She left in an Uber around 5PM to catch her flight back home from Midway around 7ish. I was full of love and stuffed from eating and I wouldn’t have had a better weekend any other way! Thanks Melissa for coming to visit! I hope you had as much fun as I did!
I say this is not my mama’s homemade wedding soup, not because it can’t compare (although growing up with an Italian mother, I will say her food can’t be beat). Its because this is definitely a healthy, easier version to create at home, especially if you don’t have to feed an army of family. My mothers wedding soup is made with garlicy greens, homemade sausage and beef meatballs, homemade Italian parmesan croutons and lots and lots of salt. Mine homemade, differs slightly with homemade turkey meatballs, kale, homemade parmesan crisps and a pinch of salt. My mothers could feed a football team, with enough frozen Tupperware in the freezer to last you until next year and my recipe is good for about 3-4 people, ha! I hope you find my recipe super tasty and great for a chilly winter day!
For my recipe you will need:
Head of Kale
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 oz. Ground Pork or Turkey – Short Cut Tip!
Salt & Pepper
Pasta (of your choice)
One Shallot (or Onion) – Short Cut Tip!
Baguette -Short Cut Tip!
Chicken Broth – Short Cut Tip!
First Step ~ Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut your baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Place onto a baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Short Cut: Buy pre-made croutons from the grocery store!
Second Step ~Combine ground meat, 1/2 cup of parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning. Form mixture into 8 (ping-pong size) meatballs or 12 (dime size meatballs).
Short Cut: Buy frozen mini meatballs in the freezer section at the grocery store!
Third Step ~ In a medium size pot, brown the outside of the meatballs, 2-3 minutes per side, with some extra virgin olive oil. Remove the meatballs and add in the shallot, diced. Stir for about 3-5 minutes, keep your eye on it so that is doesn’t burn.
Short Cut: Don’t have a shallot? A shallot and an onion are very much the same. A shallot will give you a sweeter flavor than an onion will but a diced onion will work just as well.
Fourth Step ~ Add in 4-5 cups of chicken broth (I like more broth than filling, he), 1 tsp. Italian seasoning and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Short Cut: Buy chicken bouillon cubes next time you are at the grocery store to store in your pantry. Throw 2 cubes in with 4-5 cups water instead. Never have to waste a can of unused expired chicken broth again!
Step Five ~ Add your favorite pasta, coarsely chopped kale, pre-cooked meatballs and a pinch of salt and pepper to soup. Simmer soup for at least 8-10 minutes. Plate your dish in a big soup bowl, garnished with your parmesan crotons and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!
I must have been a good girl this year because Santa spoiled me with the Breville Expresso machine I have always wanted but never thought I would actually ever get!
I didn’t start to enjoy drinking coffee until I was in college, and even then it was very sugary iced blended drinks with a mountain of whipped cream on top, so I am not sure how much you can call that being a coffee drinker. I now however, absolutely love coffee and usually the less sweet the better.
I love the art of coffee. Each drink a new form of art or talent needed to create the masterpiece. A pour over coffee, so much more than a brewing a pot. The difference between a latte and a macchiato or a cappuccino and a shot of espresso. I am very excited to learn how to use this machine and be a little bit of an artist every morning.
So this is my first post on my blog. This blog is a New Years resolution to myself to write once a week. Week 1 is complete, check, although week 1 was way more than just writing; I had to actually make a blog, which for the non-tech savvy isn’t just a walk in the park. Anyway, more on that to come. I would love to share the blogger I used to help me start this adventure, she is beyond all knowing and super helpful. As well as share more about the Breville Expresso machine (as I get more practice using it of course, ha).