Monday, September 24, 2012

Swiss Chard Potstickers


I've been really into Swiss chard lately. It's so pretty, it's easy to maintain, and it keeps on growing - just pick the larger outer leaves by ripping of the stem from about 1/2" from the ground and the smaller leaves in the center will continue to grow for you to pick later. We've been enjoying it in salad, stir-fry, and in these amazing Swiss Chard Potstickers from Whole Living Magazine.

They take a little time to put together, but they are so good, it's worth a little extra work! Follow the link above to find the recipe.

Note: I didn't have enough chard to pick at the time, so I added some basil as well which I think worked out really well. I also cut down on some of the time by not making the dipping sauce - I had a bottle of already opened Gyoza dipping sauce from Trader Joe's in the fridge that we needed to use.

Look at that bite - Swiss chard, mushroom, green onion - what could be better?!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday Month

I know a lot of people with birthdays in September. That includes myself and my husband. And also my nephew who is celebrating his third birthday today! I want to share with you what I made to give to my sweet nephew, Isaac. It's a pencil case. This choice was inspired by the fact that I knew my mother-in-law was giving him colored pencils. So something to store them in seemed like a good idea. Here it is:

The 'I' stands for Isaac. And the fabric choice was influenced by the fact that Isaac is obsessed with Toy Story. So obsessed that I can almost guarantee that "Toy Story" will be the first words out of his mouth when he opens it since it looks kind of like Woody's bandana. Luckily, the zipper I already had on hand (along with both fabrics actually) since my Grandma passed down her stash to me. That stash includes about 40 zippers of all lengths and colors. I am a very lucky girl.

I found the tutorial for this very simple pencil case here. And before I wrapped it, I stuck inside some stickers and an index card that said "fill me with PENCILS!" just to be sure he knew what to do with it.

What are some of your ideas for handmade gifts for the little kiddos in your life?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Places to Visit: Chicago

Saturday, Tim and I ventured downtown Chicago to dance in the park. All summer in Grant Park, they have free dance lessons. A few nights a week, a different type of dance is taught - Saturday was supposed to be Samba dancing. I was really looking forward to it! And I wish I could tell you all about it, but, I can't believe I'm admitting this, we couldn't find it. There was a wine festival going on in Grant Park, but no dancing to be seen or Samba music to be heard. We did see two people in Brazil jerseys who also looked confused - maybe they were hoping to dance too?

Instead, we went over to Millennium Park to listen to the Lyric Opera perform - another great option. We listened for a little, but, unlike everyone else, we did not bring a picnic, and we were hungry. So, naturally, we went to Magnolia Bakery for a piece of cake. Although it had been on my list of places to visit for a while, it was our first time there. We decided to try a piece of pistachio cake. The cake itself was really good! The frosting was a bit oily tasting, not horrible, but not my favorite. The shop was also a little too big to be cute, in my mind. But the cupcakes and cakes all looked amazing! Next on my list to try: caramel, red velvet, hummingbird... maybe everything!

Once dessert was finished, we walked over to XOCO to grab some dinner. It's one of a few restaurants in Chicago by Rick Bayless. Have you ever seen his show? - quirky but great, I'm a fan. I like that he cares about where the food he uses in his restaurants comes from and how it was grown. If you go, I highly recommend trying the Coctel Rojo- shrimp and avocado goodness!

So, even though we found no one dancing in the park, which I'm still a little sad about, we had a great night in Chicago! What a great place!

What do you like to do in Chicago? Any suggestions for our next trip downtown?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Savoring the Summer

Did you all have a nice Labor Day weekend? We spent our last unofficial weekend of summer in Michigan - a great place to spend the last moments of summer, in my opinion. The picture above was taken in South Haven. We stopped on our way home from visiting family to swim one last time in Lake Michigan. I used to love to stop at Captain Nemo's for a pineapple shake, but, this time, we decided to grab dinner at Joe's Bar and Grill. We enjoyed our burgers and they had Oberon on draft, which was nice. Great outdoor seating, but not the best service.

We also went to the farmer's market in Holland on Saturday. If you're ever in the area, I would highly recommend it. It was fun to wander around, looking at all of the fresh produce and flowers. We picked up some corn, coffee, and goat cheese - would have loved to get more but everything would have had to sit in our warm car.

Now that the weekend is over, it feels like summer is over. Even though I love fall, I'm never quite ready to say goodbye to summer. I want to swim a little bit more and have picnics at the beach and pick more berries and eat more peaches and wander around summer festivals and farmer's markets. So not all of those things end with the summer - and there's plenty that I'm looking forward to doing in the fall - I guess I'm just mourning the fact that before I get to enjoy another summer, I have to endure another long winter...

How are you savoring the last moments of summer?