Taco Salad

Chris and I are great cooking partners. Our individual cooking skills and preferences complement each other pretty well. For example, he’s way better at chopping onions: He does it very precisely versus my free-for-all, cut it any which way the knife lands method. And I typically have more fresh produce on hand than he does. However, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we’re taking shelter in his apartment because he has a massive stockpile of canned and boxed goods.

For the most part, we like to cook and eat together. Chris’s specialty taco salad, however, is an exception. I like to think I’m letting him do his thing in the kitchen since he does it so well already, but really I just don’t want to get in the way and mess it up (I believe he appreciates this).

Either way, it’s nice to have a good meal waiting for me when I get home!

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Man, can the guy cook! That chili on top is perfect for cold, blustery days like we had today. And, c’mon, we all know that the best way to a Tina’s heart is through her stomach…



Salmon, Potatoes, and Zucchini

CJ hates it when people take pictures of their food and post them to Facebook.

“But I like looking at pictures of people’s food!” I always claim.

“That’s why you read food blogs.”


When I was making dinner last night, CJ actually tried to remind me, “Remember to take a picture for your blog!”

Here’s my picture.

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There’s really no recipe for this. I marinated salmon filets with a little soy sauce and sprinkled them with steak seasoning. Yes, you got that right. Steak seasoning. I baked them at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes. I realized the oven wasn’t hot enough, so I upped it to 400 degrees and baked for another 5-7 minutes.

Then I sauteed some chopped zucchini with garlic and more soy sauce. I also stir-fried potatoes with vegetable oil and salt and pepper.

Ta da.

~ Tia

Chicago Restaurant Week 2014 – Filini

Every January/February in Chicago, a variety of restaurants will participate in “Restaurant Week,” featuring special prix fixe menus.

Typically, the menus consist of an appetizer, entree, and dessert for either $22 for lunch or $33/$44 for dinner.

It’s a cool way to sample the fare of restaurants you wouldn’t normally go to. Since 2011, Tina, our college friends, and I have dined together at one of the participating restaurants during Restaurant Week. Unfortunately, we don’t have any plans this year, but I was able to slip out during my lunch hour today to try Filini with my old coworker, Michaela.

It was 2 degrees outside, and we considered canceling our reservation, but we ultimately decided to trek the 0.6 mile, and I’m really glad we went.

Wild Mushroom Soup, Salmon, and Wild Berry Sorbet

Wild Mushroom Soup, Salmon, and Wild Berry Sorbet

~ Tia


1st Birchbox!

I didn’t join Tina, Chris, Meghan, and Grant for ice skating over the weekend because I’m a huge wuss when it comes to the cold. (Why do I live in Chicago? Why?) As much as I enjoy ice skating and spending time with my friends, I just couldn’t do it. Instead, CJ and I went to pedway (indoor) bar crawl with his coworkers.

In my defense, it was a high of -8 degrees today, and it wasn’t that much warmer during the weekend. This weather has really been drying out my skin and hair, which is a strange concept for me since I’ve always had to use products for oily skin/hair.

Luckily for me, my first Birchbox arrived!

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It included Gilchrist & Soames Shampoo and Conditioner, Fruit Pigmented Mascara, Juicy Couture perfume, and a Dry Deodorant Wipe.

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I’m thinking I should save the travel sized products to use during my trip to Jamaica…but I’m impatient so I might try them out tonight.

I’ll check-in later with a product review!

~ Tia

Weekend Adventures

It was a jam-packed, fun-filled weekend up in herrrre….

Friday night started with our friends Meg and Grant, who got engaged over the holidays! Chris and I headed out to the skating rink where it all happened, got them to reenact the big proposal, and then demonstrated our mad skills on the ice. I would post the video of the triple axel that I nailed, but I don’t want to make you all feel bad, so I’ll skip to how we ended the evening:

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…with massive mason jars filled with beer at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar, where we were entertained by a live country band and 2 guys who got into a fight and were dramatically arrested. ‘Murica.

Onto Saturday, which I spent in good ol’ Chinatown, preparing for the Chinese New Year coming up on the 31st. While it was just as crowded as ever, even almost a full week before the big day, I managed to snag the prized items I get every Chinese New Year. Spoiler alert: It’s MEATS.

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Today was icing on the cake of this busy weekend – The WEDDING cake, that is (See what I did there?). Tia and I gathered up our pal Meg again and headed to a bridal expo.

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Why yes, that is an awesome wedding entourage sticker I got to wear all day! The expo was filled with excited brides-to-be and their friends & family. The main event was an elaborate fashion show of both wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses. I believe the group favorite was a very dramatic, BLACK tulle ballgown that was described by the emcee as a great choice for a bride looking for something “traditional.” At any rate, Meg definitely got some good ideas for her big day, and we all got lots of free cake samples, so everybody wins!

Here’s hoping this was a lead-in to a great week as well! If you are in warmer climates, please enjoy the weather on all of Chicago’s behalf. The high tomorrow is supposed to be -8   😦


Tia’s Birthday Recap

I feel like I’ve been celebrating my birthday forever!

My 26th birthday was last weekend. On Friday, my best friends took me to none other than Flat Top Grill for dinner. SO good. I was a happy gal. AND then surprised me with a Birchbox subscription! I’m so excited to receive my first package in the mail.


If you look closely at my birthday card, you will see none other than “Justin Beaver.”

For the record, I don’t hate Justin Bieber. I just don’t care for his existence. I feel way less mean saying that now that he’s been arrested.

The “Tia looooooves Justin Bieber” joke started in college. When my friends and I would point out cute guys, the ones I pointed out happened to be a year below us. For the record, this really only happened maybe two times, but it turned into “Tia likes younger guys –> Tia is a cradle robber–> Tia likes Justin Bieber.” Pretty far-fetched if you ask me 😛

I would like to point out that CJ is a whopping 1.5 year older than me. HA. Not a cradle robber.

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On Sunday, CJ took me to dinner at Belly Q, a Korean BBQ inspired restaurant. I had the Wagyu Short-Ribs…very yummy. Once we got back, we had red velvet cake…and for my birthday present…we are going to JAMAICA!

My coworkers took me out to lunch today and then we’ll be celebrating again in Montego Bay, Jamaica in February!

Like I said, this birthday is lasting forever, but hey, you only turn 26 once. Unless you’re Edward Cullen and “die” when you’re 17. Then you’re 17 forever. That’s stupid.

~ Tia

Slow Cooker Chicken, Kale, Mushroom and White Bean Stew

The slow cooker might very well be the best invention ever.

This meal was born because I have been too busy and too lazy to cook. Also because it is currently 6 degrees in Chicago (feels like -12 degrees).

Last night, I coated the bottom of the the slower cooker with a good drizzle of olive oil and then topped it with:

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 container of white button mushrooms (the grocery store is always out of baby bella mushrooms lately!)
  • 1 15 oz can of white beans (I used Great Northern beans)
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 32 oz container of chicken stock

Cook on low for 6 hours.

I was meaning to put in a scoop of wild rice to thicken things up, but I completely forgot. Oops. The beauty of creating your own recipe is that you can’t technically screw up if it stills tastes good 🙂

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…So good in fact that I don’t have an “after” picture because CJ had already eaten a bowl by the time I got back.

~ Tia