Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pizza Party!

Mere is back in town!!!! What better way to celebrate than with homemade pizza and wine?
Jo, Mer, and Mel - Thanksgiving cooking reunion!
Jo proving that pizza making is always better with baked goods in hand!
Delicious! I am sure my professoressa di pizza would be proud!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Another great Christmas spent snowmobiling with my family in the Northwoods of Wisconsin!The trails were perfect - 8+ inches had fallen earlier in the week, trails had been groomed, and not too many people were up yet!
Check out the new rear view hand mirror I got from Santa!!!
The day after Christmas, Mom went skiing while Dad, Kel and I were off for a 97mile ride - yikes! We started out with a great speedway down the railroad bed - super fun soaring down the trail at 55mph!
Then into the woods for a very scenic but very bumpy and windy ride...along with a few obstacles.Kel and Dad checking the maps....
Finally we arrived at our destination! The Birches and with 5 minutes to spare before kickoff of the Bears game!
Dad made friends with the rest of the bar...all of whom came flocking in with their own Bears attire.
Then we were off to meet Mom for lunch...and we saw a HUGE, GORGEOUS bald is in the middle of the ice patch in the middle of the creek. It was absolutely majestic flying through the air. I guess Dan was right...the Northwoods just might be the lower 48's equivalent of Alaska, we also saw the Northern Lights that night!
We capped off the night with Brad Emmanual (a great local band!) at Otto's (best bar in the Northwoods!). I didn't take any pictures there - was too busy raising my glass for sociables! - so instead here is a picture of my fantastic new mug - LOVE IT!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love

And wonders of His love

And wonders, wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love

And wonders, wonders of His love

The wonders of Your love

The wonders of Your love

Click HERE for my favorite version by Casting Crowns!

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, 
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, Oh night when Christ was born;

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Oh praise His name forever!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

O night divine, Oh night when Christ was born;
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, Oh night when Christ was Born;
O night divine, Oh night, O night divine;
O night divine

Click HERE for my favorite version by Third Day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Catching Up

Jill and I were finally able to get together....shame on us for living within miles of each other and not getting together more often because it is always a great time! First I headed over to visit with Teddy (sadly, super sadly b/c this kid is adorable) I forgot to break out the camera. But it was great to see him for a little bit before Fitz whisked him away for bath time - I'll be back with my camera soon!

Fitz had the great suggestion of Caro Mio....a family favorite!
Kel said "Get.The.Beans." - she was very right!
Despite the fuzzy picture, I think you can see we had a great night catching up!
Merry Christmas Jill, Fitz, and Teddy - see you in 2011!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grand Finale!!

I just can't get enough NeedtoBreathe! Melissa, Neill, Mike and I headed down to Indianapolis for the night - definitely worth the 2am arrival on Monday morning! This time we refrained from having Mike give us the Outsiders circle, though it was tempting!
The Daylights opened and they were just as good as when we went to House of Blues last month. Since this was the last night of the tour, there were a lot of pranks played. NTB asked that we turn our backs for the first song of the Daylights - they were pretty quick though, when we turned around they had their backs to us!
The floor at the Egyptian Room was hard, so Melissa and I took a little break in between acts!
I've been to 4 NTB concerts this year and Melissa has been to 6 - we both agreed this was the best!
These guys are so fun in concert - Bo always hamming it up, Bear with his amazing vocals, the harmonies, and rocking out on the guitars - love it!
Next up they are going on tour with Taylor Swift - big time for them! Good luck boys!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Quite a whirlwind night after a very low key morning (well, low key after my bootcamp followed by yoga start!). Daron and I went out to Barrington to meet my Mom for the Willow Creek Christmas Service - absolutely amazing!
Then it was off to Mercandito to meet Kelly and Dan. Love this place, one of my favs for sure.
We started with the guacamole pick three - traditional, mango, and pomegranate.
3 great restaurants in 1 short week - Nice!
Then we shared some of the special steak tacos - AMAZING!
Daron's meal was the most interesting meal - make your own tacos - arriba!
Great night - Christmas Service + "Mexican" = Feliz Navidad!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Girl and the Goat!

In continuation of trying out hot restaurants in Chicago - Kelly and I headed to Girl and the Goat. This time we took Daron (just in from Honduras) and Anisha A to guide us through this amazing menu.
I love this "About Us" posted on Girl and the Goat -
The Girl & The Goat was born in the summer of 2010. Her doors are open to anybody with an open mind, an empty stomach, or a thirst for crafted beers and cocktails. She opens early and doesn’t close til late. Her menu consists of 30 items: 10 vegetarian, 10 meat, and 10 fish, as she likes to appeal to all tastes and gastronomical creeds. She makes sausages every day and has 4 to choose from.

Executive chef Stephanie Izard was the first Top Chef winner - adding to the buzz about this great restaurant. Stephanie was very visible at the open kitchen, we could see her plating items and acting as line chief.
A very satisfied group...but let's get to the small plates!
Ants on a Log (a must get for Kel who was obsessed the the celery/pb/raisin version)
Sauteed Beans - a favorite of all of ours!
Calamari stuffed with Lamb Sausage - delicious!
Chickpea fritters
Shaved Kohlrabi salad - one of my top two
Hamachi Crudo
Goat Masala Pizza - excellent
Kabocha Squash Ravioli - my other fav - the fried capers on top were amazing.
Seared Scallops and our Pinot Noir for the night.
Though we were more than full, still had to try the Bourbon Apples and Blood Orange Sorbet - both incredible!
The combinations of flavors were excellent - fine dining at very reasonable prices. I highly recommend Girl and the Goat - but book early, extremely popular and always full!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Kelly and I headed to Takashi tonight to celebrate a great 2010! Why Takashi? Of course because it was made famous by illustrious restaurant reviewer Anisha A on Chicago's very own Check Please! (Chicago readers stay tuned for the "official" tv debut on Feb 11).
We had prepared by eating light all day so do not be alarmed by the copious amount of small plates consumed.

Sadly this out of focus picture does not do the pork belly snack justice - to die for!Shashimi Tuna SaladSteamed Shumai - delicious!
Ebi Harumaki
Duck fat fried chicken...we didn't order it at first but they saw it at the table next to us and were too jealous not to taste...AMAZING!
Sundays are a special menu day with noodle soups as the feature main dish. Kel had a ramen and I had a udon noodle with tempura - delicious!
No meal complete without dessert! Soy coconut panna catta for me!
And green tea gingerbread with mango sorbet for Kelly.
Excellent night and I think we just made trying out fun new restaurants a monthly event :-)