Celebrity Sighting of the Week Wednesday

So something happened today that blows all of the possibly good cheap wine we've had this week out of the water. We were going out to dinner tonight to celebrate our friends Seth getting into the MFA Ceramics program at SAIC (congrats Seth!!) And since that coincided with restaurant week here in Chicago, where you can go to some great restaurants and have a prix fixe menu for only $32, we decided to go out to a great otherwise-unaffordable restaurant with Seth and his wife Shauna.

Seth's choice was One Sixty Blue, one of the restaurants here in town a certain celebrity sports player in town owns. The food was supposed to be great (and it was). And we were having a great time bringing up random facts about this celebrity at our table when, guess who walks in the door? THE OWNER HIMSELF... MICHAEL JORDAN!!!!

Cheap Wine of the Week Wednesday - Sorta

It's Wednesday! Cheap wine of the week day always brings a smile to my face. Though this week it's cheap beer of the week day. As I've mentioned, we're not drinking as much wine nowadays, so my options for this are being limited. Luckily, when Jake and Nicole were in town we went to Goose Island Brewery with them here in Wrigleyville and got to do a beer tasting. They do four tastes for $6, so between the four of us we tasted every beer they offered, with a couple doubles. It's quite fun to support our local brewery, and it's an added bonus that they make some really good beers.

Now, I'm still somewhat of a beer wimp. I like hefeweizens and wheat beers, though I can appreciate a more full-bodied beer, I just couldn't drink a whole glass of one. But we have so many friends who really like beer and who are really into it, so I want to expand my horizons. And Brad's getting to the point where he's really enjoying beer as well, so this was a great thing for us.

I can't remember the name of my favorite beer of the night, so I'll share with you Brad's favorite of the night. We present: Goose Island Nut Brown Ale.

It's a little too chocolate-y for my taste, but Brad (and Nicole) liked the little coffee flavor and some of that chocolate-ness. One of my favorites was the Sahti, and the Honker's Ale is always good. So, if you happen to be in town, you should 1) let us know, and 2) go visit Goose Island... preferably with us.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hey friends, Happy Celebration of Love Day! Just for today, some lovely little ranunculus to enjoy

For this week's recipe wrap-up, just a couple good things to share.

Apparently It Snows Here

Let me lead you on a little tour of our neighborhood from a couple days back...

You step out our door and this is what greets you on the hallway windowsill... striations of snow layers

Cheap Wine of the Week Wednesday

Except it's Thursday. Oh well. I was a little busy last night going to a switched-day small group and then eating one of the best dinners of my life. I think that deserves an extra day's worth of time on the blog. (As far as dinner goes, we ate at avec, a really amazing restaurant here... it was incredible. I ate pureed fava bean crostini, and amazing cheeses, and figs. I also ate salami and pork and ham. Taste sensations. I'm beginning to rethink my life-long no red meat eating. Morally, as long as the meat is grass-fed or sustainably farmed, I think I'm turning my mind around toward it. We'll see...)

Anyway, to the cheap wine of the week. Brad and I have cut back considerably in the last couple weeks so we're not trying as many wines anymore. But luckily, the one red we did try this week happened to be cheap and good. So it wins.

Actually, it was really good. We both very much enjoyed it and it was on sale for $7.99! The Red Diamond 2007 Cabernet.

Dessert Recipe Wrap-Up

So I still haven't been doing much cooking this week. I'm going to cop the resting-up-from-the-crazy-week excuse, even though it's true. But I did manage to bake some desserts this week.

One was a really yummy chocolate chip banana bread. I found the recipe on this blog, which took some searching. (PS, this blogger knows her stuff about food, but is a little crude/harsh/over-sharer, just fyi) I thought chocolate chip banana bread was common thing. But most of the recipes I found either added nuts, which is not my favorite way to do banana bread, or didn't add buttermilk, which I think is a key component. But this one worked out really well, albeit with an extra 10 minutes of baking. (Note, I was inspired by my sisters-in-law who baked really good banana bread over Christmas and I've been craving it ever since.) This was delicious, and as an added bonus it got rid of like half of the black bananas in my freezer!

The Growth of the Paperwhites

Look! I haven't killed them yet! (Though I have killed my CF card on my good camera, so you're stuck with these not-so-great pictures for now).

Day 9, getting bigger!

Catch-up Day

So I made no food last week and we drank no good cheap wine this week. Our week was full of friends and wedding adventures instead!

One of Brad's best friends got married over the weekend in Pittsburgh. Brad's known Ryan since elementary school and he's one of a great close group of friends from San Diego. Ryan met his wife (!) Vera working with a ministry in Pittsburgh called Earthen Vessels Outreach. It's involved in the urban city with kids ministries and Ryan's working with them restoring this really old church to be their new sanctuary. It's really cool. Brad got to be the best man in the wedding so we were there a few days early and helped set up everything. Our friend Nicole was also in the wedding and it was great to hang out a lot with her. And a bunch of other friends came out as well. My camera is having flash card problems so I don't have any pictures to show you yet, but I hope to have some up soon. Congratulations Ryan and Vera! We love you and we were so glad to be a part of the wedding!