Almond and Berry Pancakes

CJ has always been in charge of making pancakes, but I decided to try my hand at ’em this morning, and I think they turned out well!

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I used a pancake mix, but swapped the water for almond milk. I also added a splash of almond extract.

My mom sent me a Magic Bullet blender last month, so I had some frozen berries on hand for making smoothies. I mixed the defrosted the berries with honey and orange juice to make a syrup.

Do you make pancakes from scratch or did you use a pancake mix?

Enjoy your weekend!



Vincenzo’s Pizzeria

Can you tell I’m on an Italian/pizza kick?

Recently, I’ve made pizza and pasta and even spaghetti sauce.

And CJ and I also went out for pizza. We’ve been meaning try some nearby restaurants we always walk by, but have never eaten at.

On the list? Vincenzo’s Pizzeria.

The verdict? It was average. We ordered a Margherita pizza and the “Four Seasons” which had roasted peppers, artichokes, prosciutto and mushrooms. CJ also ordered a mini BBQ chicken calzone  –  I wish I could tell you how it was, because we were served the pepperoni calzone instead 😛

We were the only people there for a while, before a large group of drunk friends of the waitress walked in and proceeded to yell at the top of their lungs the entire time they were there.

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We probably won’t be going back!

Go to any restaurants lately that fell short? Any that exceeded your expectations?


Super Simple Spaghetti Sauce

A while back I was reading A Cup of Jo, and came across what she deemed “the best spaghetti sauce you’ll ever have.” I don’t know if it’s as good as anyone’s Nonna’s, but it was pretty darn good. CJ immediately asked “what’s in this sauce??!” (Then he asked me to write down the recipe so I won’t forget it).

Picture from A Cup of Jo

Picture from A Cup of Jo

Basically, the premise is, you mix red sauce with ricotta cheese. The recipe called for mixing canned tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, and basil, and then stirring in a few scoops of ricotta when it’s done. I made a few swaps and additions.

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I used a jar of Prego’s traditional pasta sauce, and added some chopped basil and garlic before stirring in the ricotta cheese. I also poured a little red wine in the empty sauce jar, swished it around, and poured the mixture into the pan. For extra protein, I also cooked Italian seasoned chicken breasts to serve with the pasta. (Over the weekend, Tina grilled up some Cajun seasoned chicken and it was delish – I got the idea from her to buy pre-seasoned chicken).

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I also tossed some spinach in the mix for some veggies.

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Try it!

What’s your favorite pasta sauce?


20+ Mile Bike Ride

Hi All – Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!

Mine actually started on Thursday – instead of work, we had a team outing at Arlington Heights Racetrack. I’m not really the betting type, but the food/drinks/company were good! Traffic was terrible though, so I missed the Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile run. Tina ran it though.

In addition to eating/drinking on Friday, we also went to CJ’s coworkers’ BBQ where we had hotdogs, chicken, and steak, so on Sunday, we went on a 20+ mile bike ride. (22-26?)


Chicago Skyline!

Do you bike for fun? For transportation? I’m scared to ride my bike on the street – we saw a girl on her bike get hit by a car over the weekend 😦 Hope she was ok.


Kickstarting the Weekend

Hooray for long weekends! I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely needed one 🙂

My office was awesome enough to let us out at noon yesterday, and then Tia and I proceeded to get a jump on weekend festivities with food, drink, and movies.

We started the evening off at Bellwether Meeting House & Eatery, where they have a half-off hot appetizers before 6pm deal. We got lots of different types of tacos (Fun fact: Tia LOVES fish tacos!!!!), plus chicken skewers and calamari. Chris and I also got some beers.

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From there, we headed over to the theater to watch X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was super entertaining, with solid action, dialogue, and a few cameos – Chris made me stop slow-clapping after young Charles Xavier said his line that keeps getting played in the commercials and trailers: “I DON’T WANT YOUR FUTURE!!!” I embarrass him a lot 😉  Anyway, I liked how they made this movie to combine the original trilogy with the “First Class” reboot. Very creative. Good job, movie execs! Here’s my money!

After the movie, upon CJ’s suggestion, we made a quick stop at D4 for a nightcap. We had a lot more X-Men things to discuss…

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For the rest of the weekend, we’ve got some BBQ’s and other fun things in store – Can’t wait!

Who else loves grilling season? So many meats to eat…


Reusing Ingredients

Last Saturday, I made pizza using the below as toppings.

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Obviously, I didn’t use up all the ingredients, but wasn’t planning on making pizza immediately again.

Don’t let leftover ingredients you buy for one recipe go to waste! Omelettes and pasta are both great dishes for using up your leftovers.

Since Saturday, I’ve made an egg scrambler with leftover arugula (from the salad I served with pizza), prosciutto, mozzarella, and mushrooms.

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Then, I made pasta with leftover basil, prosciutto, garlic, red onion, red wine, and mozzarella.

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Both were delicious!

What do you do with your leftover ingredients from recipes? Remake the recipe? Incorporate them into other recipes? Freeze them?


Under $3, Under 10 Minute, Healthy Meal for Two

When I don’t feel like cooking, we often end up ordering sushi, which isn’t exactly cheap. It’ll usually be about $35 for both of us.

Yesterday, I made a tofu stir-fry.

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Frozen veggie mix – $1.20

Tofu – $1.50

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I bought a large bag of rice a while back for a few dollars, so the cost is probably only a matter of cents.

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The vegetables were actually pretty good – tender and crisp! No chopping necessary!

I usually stick to fresh vegetables, but I was impressed with the quality and taste of the frozen vegetables. And you can’t beat the price and ease.

Do you usually cook with frozen or fresh veggies? What’s your favorite healthy, cheap, and quick meal?