Who You Callin’ Chicken?

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a good weekend and is looking forward to a short week this week 🙂

Chris has had a bottle of red wine vinegar sitting in his fridge for forever, so we try using it up whenever we can. It’s very potent, though, so a little goes a long way. We may need more recipe ideas soon, but one way we used it was in a chicken marinade last week.

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I mixed soy sauce, olive oil, minced garlic, red wine vinegar, and chopped onion, and poured it over 2 well-seasoned (salt & pepper) chicken breasts. Also added some dried parsley from my spice rack to make it look fancier than it is. I threw it in the oven at 450F for about 40 minutes and then chowed down.

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The chicken breasts I used were pretty hefty. In hindsight, I’d butterfly them or use smaller pieces of chicken to absorb more of the marinade flavor. Very yummy, though. If I make this a few dozen more times, maybe we’ll finally get through that bottle of red wine vinegar.

Do you guys ever need to get creative to use up your leftover ingredients? If you’re interested in exact measurements for the above recipe, let me know!

~Tina

Four Years

Last week, Chris and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary! That’s as long as a presidential term!

For the past 3 years, we’ve always ended up going to a comedy event of some sort. We’ve seen Second City, Aziz Ansari, and Russell Brand so far. We can’t find anything that looks good yet (mostly due to the unfortunate hiatus of Just for Laughs, which usually rolls through Chicago this time of year), and in the interest of keeping the streak alive, we’re going to celebrate in 2 parts this year 🙂

Part 1: Food!

We took it back to Seasons 52, which we both really enjoyed during Restaurant Week. And it did not disappoint again!

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Filet mignon for the gentleman and Alaskan salmon with sweet corn risotto for myself. We also finished the evening off with these bad boys:

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Seasons 52’s famous “mini-indulgences”! We got a s’mores and almond amaretto – Delicious!

I also want to give a shout out to the Chicago location we went to. When we first arrived, there was a networking event finishing up in the bar area, so we had to wait a few minutes for a table. As guests from that event were leaving, the hostesses were giving them $25 gift cards. Good-naturedly, I joked to Chris that we should pretend like we were at that event so we could get a gift card, too. Anyway, I think one of the hostesses overheard me, because as we were leaving, she recognized us and pulled me over to give me a gift card (with a wink)! Great customer service, haha!

Seriously, though, it was a really nice, totally unexpected gesture and we will definitely be going back again soon (we would have even without a gift card!).

Anyone experience any random acts of kindness lately?

~Tina

Hot Chocolate 15K

So pretty much out of the blue today, I signed up to run a 15K.

It went like this.

Michaela: i might do this  http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/chicago/
Tia: i would do 15K
Michaela: lets do it!!!

Yeah.

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Wish me luck…I’ve barely run since my failed attempt at the Chase Corporate Challenge right before Memorial Day Weekend.

Ever sign up for a challenging race (or other activity) in a fleeting moment of grandiosity?

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~Tia

Books & Bubbly at City Winery + Karyn’s on Green

On Sunday, Tina and attended Books & Bubbly at City Winery. I was interested in going because Sarah Jio was on the panel of authors. Tina and I used to read her blog on Glamour.com, and I’ve read a few of her books.

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We sipped champagne and listened to the authors talk about topics such as coming up with with ideas for their books,  dealing with jealousy from other authors, and procrastinating. My goal is to write and publish a novel one day, so this was all so interesting and fun to hear!

After the panel, Tina and I stopped at Karyn’s on Green, a vegan establishment, for a late lunch.

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Lemonade and a “Happy Ginger” mocktail.

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“Buffalo Chicken” wrap (made with soy) and kale, quinoa and roasted corn salad with avocado dressing.

I realized when we got the bill that I didn’t have my wallet! Thank goodness Tina was there to cover for me. Has that ever happened to you guys?

~Tia

Lillie’s Q Barbecue

As Tina said, we went to Lillie’s Q in Wicker Park when Joyce was visiting.

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My plan was to buy some of their BBQ sauce at the French Market where they have a booth, but I found out that Mariano’s, the nearby grocery store carried it!

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I made chicken in the slow cooker.

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Sauteed kale and microwave-mashed potatoes.

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Annie’s Mac & Cheese.

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Do you make or buy your own BBQ sauce? Any favorite recipes or brand?

~Tia

A Friendly Visit

Tia and I, and the rest of our NU crew, were so excited when our friend Joyce announced her upcoming visit to Chicago from Florida. We knew the weekend would be full of good company and, of course, good eats.

We started out at Caffe Oliva, a cute, outdoor, beach-side restaurant. We got some drinks and apps, served by a questionably chipper waiter – like, I’m fairly certain he was under the influence of a little sumpin’ sumpin’, if ya know what I mean, haha. Or maybe he was just super relaxed, who knows? Anyway, it turned out to be gorgeous and warm that day, so it was hard to get us down when we could finally enjoy the outdoors in the Chi.

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Next stop was second lunch at my apartment building’s annual resident (and guest) party! Chris and I have been out of town the past 2 years for this, so we were psyched we could finally attend (we’re big fans of free food). Can’t say no to a good cookout.

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Then we decided to stop eating…haha, just kidding. We headed over to the Taste of Randolph for some more grub, including this bad boy from the Publican booth:

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Delish. Some of our group were not so lucky to find food they wanted, so we grabbed some other options on-the-go, and ended our night with some rousing games.

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On Sunday, we wanted to see if we were sick of BBQ yet, so we got the whole gang together at Lillie’s Q.

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Uh, yum. Wouldn’t kick that out of bed.

I know this post was all about food, but it was so great catching up with Joyce and having her as a pseudo roommate over the weekend 🙂 It was awesome having her unique personality back in our lives again (maybe one day you’ll find out about her crazy food scale!)…

Who else uses hosting visitors as an opportunity to eat a ton? It’s like a bonus to getting to hang out with your pals!

~Tina

Miso-Ginger Cod with Spinach, Tomato, and Mushroom Quinoa

I have to start off by saying, forgot the cod, this was the best quinoa I’ve EVER had.

Since my mouth is still kind of sore, I decided to make a dinner consisting of soft and easy to chew foods.

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I cooked the cod with miso-ginger dressing and lemon pepper seasoning.

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I cooked the quinoa in the microwave with mushroom stock for more flavor.

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I sauteed the Campari tomatoes with minced garlic and spinach.

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I added some soy sauce before stirring in the cooked quinoa.

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I also ended up serving this with avocado for extra-staying power. CJ is always hungry, and it’s difficult for me to snack with Invisalign.

Do you like quinoa? What’s your favorite quinoa recipe?

~Tia