white bean soup





One of my favorite dishes to enjoy during the cold months is a bowl of hot soup. Thankfully, Chicago offers so many delicious soup cafes and restaurants. And sometimes I enjoy making a large pot of soup at home! Enjoy!

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can white beans
1 cup pasta (chifferi)
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
3 cups baby spinach, cleaned and trimmed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 dash crushed red pepper flakes

– sauté shallots and garlic in EVOO
– add vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, rosemary, black pepper and red pepper flakes. bring to a boil.
– add pasta and cook approximately 13 minutes (al dente)
– add spinach and simmer until wilted
– garnish with fresh parmesan cheese

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the best veggie pot pie!








Sometimes you just need a great pot pie. It’s such a delicious comfort food for this time of year. My husband and I have been working on perfecting this recipe, and this is it! It’s a balanced blend of veggies, herbs, time and ambrosia. I recommend a glass of sauvignon blanc as a crisp and refreshing pairing.

Makes 2 large pot pies. Takes approximately 2 hours from prep to table.

veggie pot pie: 

1c potatoes (diced)
1c yellow onion (diced)
1c celery (diced)
1c carrots (diced)
1c peas
1c fennel bulb (diced)
1c cremini mushrooms (sliced)
1/4c flat leaf parsley (chopped)
1/4c chives
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tbs fennel fronds chopped
1/2 c flour
1/3c irish butter
2c veggie broth (better than bouillon veggie)
1c 2% milk
1/2c low sodium mushroom broth
1/4c of dry white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tbs thyme
1/2 tbs rosemary
dash of marjoram
pinch of nutmeg
– sauté celery, onion, carrot, potato & fennel in butter for 10min
– add flour to sautéed mixture, string well, cook 1min while stirring constantly.
– combine mushroom broth, veggie broth and milk
– gradually stir into vegetable mixture
– cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly
– while mixture cooks, sauté the garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Cook until the mushrooms sweat, but don’t
burn the garlic
– deglaze the pan with some dry sherry or white wine. After the alcohol cooks down, pour the garlic, mushroom and juices into the filling.
– stir in herbs
– stir in the parsley, fennel fronds and add the peas
– pour into crusts*
– cut slits to allow steam to escape
– bake for 40-50 min or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through
* for the crusts you can either make your own puff pastry dough, or a store bought pie crust than can be rolled out thin to cover the bottom of the bowl as well as the top.
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green juice






There are many health benefits to drinking fresh juice. Juicing is a great way to get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and helps to maintain a healthy body. I make fresh juice most mornings and sometimes have another serving in the afternoon for a dose of energy. Here is an easy green juice recipe to try this weekend. Don’t feel limited to these fruits and vegetables. I am always trying new combinations and finding different flavors to enjoy. Other combinations that I like include: 1: grapefruit, spinach, granny smith apples, and kale. 2: pineapple, kale, blueberries, and granny smith apples. 3: peaches, kale, spinach, and green seedless grapes

Fruits & vegetables:

3 granny smith apples
2 d’anjou pears
6+ kale leaves
1 large bunch of black seedless grapes

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baked potato




A baked potato is a great comfort food. The perfect warm indulgence on a crisp fall day. I recommend this balanced and light-bodied sangiovese wine as a nice pairing. It’s a great find at Trader Joe’s for $4.00!

Step 1: 
Preheat oven to 375°. Pierce each russet potato with a sharp knife about 10 times in approximately 1-inch intervals.

Step 2: 
Rub the outside of the (clean) potato with extra virgin olive oil, or butter. Then, roll the potato in coarse sea salt before baking. This adds a great savory flavor to the skin.

Step 3: 
Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour. If you have a convection oven, use it. Or, rotate potatoes after 30 minutes.

Step 4:
When the potatoes have finished baking, carefully slice and add all of your favorite toppings. Mine include: butter, sour cream, chives, bacon*, sharp cheddar cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

* I generally adhere to a pescatarian diet; however, bacon is a meat I enjoy every once in a while. I recommend the Black Forest Bacon from Whole Foods Market. 

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veggie tacos




Tacos are one of my most favorite foods! Chicago is a wonderful city for hunting down “the best” taco. And sometimes I find a delicious taco at home. Enjoy!

Veggie tacos: 

Step 1:
Prep peppers and onions for the grill: red, yellow, orange, green, poblano and jalapeño if you like  a bit of spice.

Step 2:
Coat the peppers with extra virgin olive oil, then Ottoman spice* and Trader Joe’s South African Smoke seasoning.

Step 3: 
Place peppers and onion slices on the grill, skin side down for 6-8 minutes or until peppers and onions begin to char. Flip and cook for another 6-8 minutes.

Remove the peppers and onions from the grill and set aside to cool. Slice into thin pieces.

Step 5: 
Warm corn tortillas or flour tortillas in the microwave for 20 seconds. Garnish with cilantro, coleslaw (Whole Foods carries my favorite) lettuce, sliced avocado, refried beans, spicy mayo** and salsa.

**Spicy mayo:

5 tbsp veganaise or mayo
3.5 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp sriracha

Add additional sweet chili sauce and sriracha to taste.

*Ottoman Spice is from Ucuzcular, a spice market found in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. Please click here to purchase this amazing spice blend. Or, Old Bay Seasoning is an appropriate alternative.

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roasted brussels sprouts





Brussels sprouts are a healthy side or main course that can can be served either hot or chilled. But roasted brussels and onions are my favorite. When in season, I have been known to make them multiple times in a week!


Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(makes 2-4 servings)

1 lb brussels sprouts
1 medium onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp Ottoman Spice*
1/2 tbsp Trader Joe’s South African Smoke

*Ottoman Spice is from Ucuzcular, a spice market found in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. Please click here to purchase this amazing spice blend. Or, Old Bay Seasoning is an appropriate alternative.

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350°. Trim off bottom of sprouts and cut larger sprouts into halves. Chop onion and mince garlic.

Step 2:
Add spices and EVOO, mix well in an iron skillet.

Step 3:
Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, mix once.

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french 75.5 and macarons







The French 75 cocktail is typically made from gin, lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne. I switched the recipe up a bit by trying it with grapefruit juice and a simple syrup. The grapefruit juice provides an extra tart flavor, making it a little more refreshing. Rather than using granulated sugar, a simple syrup is smoother and blends evenly throughout the cocktail. Macarons are a perfect pairing to this refreshing bubbly. These beautiful French pastries are from Vanille Patisserie.

simple syrup:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat, allow the syrup to completely cool.

*Makes approximately 10 cocktails.

French 75.5:

1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Champagne or dry sparkling white wine
grapefruit twist, to garnish

Combine gin, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and pour into Champagne flute.
Top with Champagne or dry sparkling white wine and garnish with grapefruit twist.

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