Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Tribune Building

Statue of American revolutionary Nathan Hale

I can not believe that I have passed by this landmark building countless times (located on Michigan Avenue near Wacker!!!) and never noticed anything! And even when I learned about the important of this building I still forgot to stop and look!!!

Prior to the building of the Tribune Tower, correspondents for the Chicago Tribune brought back rocks and bricks from a variety of historically important sites throughout the world at the request of Colonel McCormick. Many of these reliefs have been incorporated into the lowest levels of the building and are labeled with their location of origin. Stones included in the wall are from the Great Wall of China, the World Trade Center and the Taj Mahal. Walk around the building and be amazed at the reliefs!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bean and Pasta Soup


My husband and I were both sick, so we weren't going anywhere.  Instead of the grocery,  I headed to the pantry.  So this is what I grabbed and it turned our really well!  And the best part was it was simple and easy!

1 can northern beans
1 can white beans
1 32 ounce Swanson broth
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup rotini pasta ( I used this because I had nothing smaller)
Garnish with fresh parmesan

That was it!  No additional spices.  I was very surprised that it was flavorful.  I attribute that to the fire roasted tomatoes.


Add all the ingredient to a boil except pasta , then add pasta and simmer for 10 minute.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Big Ed's Cajun Soup

I knew I would like this recipe just by looking at the ingredients.  It was simple to make and tasty.  The only problem I had was that the rice absorbed the broth of this soup.  So MY TIP:  make the rice separate from the soup and add right before serving.

1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 clove garlic
3 cups V 8 juice
1 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
3/4 pound shrimp
hot sauce to taste

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute green bell pepper, onions, and garlic until tender. Stir in vegetable juice, clam juice, and water. Season with thyme, basil, red pepper, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil, and stir in rice. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer 15 minutes, until rice is tender.
  2. Stir in shrimp, and cook 5 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Remove the bay leaf, and season with hot sauce

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Happy 2016!!

If I am going to reach my New Year's resolution of blogging at least once a month, I better get going!

But before, I get into my 2016 resolutions, it's time to look back and be accountable!

I am actually quite surprised at all the house projects that got done especially with planning my daughter's wedding.

I found a new landscaper!  One who actually showed up did a beautiful job putting in pavers in my front, and back yard along with mulching, trimming the bushes, edging, planting a tree, etc.  I was so impressed with the "extra" things he did, because he "wanted to be proud of the job", I ended up hiring him for the weekly mowing.  And true to his word, he showed up each week and did a wonderful job.  My husband who usually mows the lawn, while I do the rest of the yard work, kept thanking me for hiring him!

I hired someone to power wash my house, the deck, the dock, driveway and sidewalks.
I also hired someone to paint my living room and outside atrium doors.

I wanted to carpet the lower level and the stairs, but instead decided to replace all my carpeting.  The smartest thing I did was pay the extra money for the men to move my large pieces of furniture and beds!  Definitely money well spend and my husband agreed!

And as far as the master bath, I decided to hold off on that since I am not sure what I want to do.

As far as my health goals, having the fit bit was great!  It kept me accountable and I hit my 10,000 steps every day.

My husband and I also stumbled upon a new sport called pickleball.  We had never heard of pickleball. So here is the backstory:  My husband and I are trying to build a park in our community.  As we got more into the project, we quickly realized that there was way to much learning curve to try to build a park ourselves, that we hired a firm that specialized in building parks to help us develop a conceptual plan. We gave him our ideas and had mentioned we wanted space for "court" activities.  We were thinking maybe basketball, boccie, corn hole.  He came back with a plan and put in "pickleball courts" and proceeded to tell us it's one the fastest growing sports.  We ended up having a public meeting to see if there was support for a park. There were a couple of pickleball supporters who mentioned they were thrilled to see potential courts in our community and invited us to come and play.  We got instantly hooked!  So for the past few months, we have been playing  3-4 times a week!  It is so much fun and very social, that you don't feel like you have been exercising for two hours at a time!  Plus it's good cardio!

Lastly, I wanted to find a way to serve more.  I was fortunate to be apart of  some great volunteer projects.  The first two matched groups of volunteers to non-profits for a half day of service.  We had hundreds of members of the the community donated their time!  The third was a food drop that had 1500 volunteers show up, pack semis and deliver food to 6,600 families in need.

As for 2016:
I plan to blog once a month.  I plan to continue exercising though walking, biking and playing pickleball. I plan to continue serving others by using my organizational and fundraising skills. And as for house projects, I would like to paint the trim on my house.  I would also like to possibly remodel my kitchen.  I worked with a company and they came back with an estimate of 77,569 dollars.  Yes, you read that correctly over seventy seven thousand dollars!  This is not a joke!  Instead a major disappointment.  I know I have a very,very large kitchen but honestly, that is just beyond ridiculous. What's even more ridiculous is that I was keeping my appliances and not doing anything to my hardwood floors.  Okay enough venting!  Here's to a happy and healthy 2016!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blue Cheese Crostini with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes

I love roasted vegetables!  Roastings brings out a nice sweet flavor. So when I saw this recipe in the February edition of Southern Living that included roasting a fruit, I was intrigued.  The roasting along with the balsamic vinegar makes a slight syrup and the grapes sweetness is enhanced.  The sweet grapes on top of the pungent blue cheese really compliments each other. This is a simple yet different take on your typical crostini.

Blue Cheese Crostini with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes

2 cups halved seedless red grapes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot (I’ve made with and without, omitted here)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
French bread baguette, cut into slices
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese, softened
Chopped toasted pecans
Garnish: chopped fresh thyme

Combine the first 6 ingredients and roast at 425 for 15 minutes.
 Mix butter and blue cheese and spread on bread slices.
 Bake at 350 until cheese melts. 
Top with grapes, pecans and thyme.