Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2011

creative dinners and 5 ingredient cookies.

Sten and I are out of money for the month. Dave Ramsey would not be proud. Our envelopes are dry and it is my goal to not to go to the grocery store until April 1st. I have been very creative with dinners this week-- using up things in the pantry and the rest of my produce, and lots of things in the back of the freezer... Even my baking goods are low, but I found a great recipe using things I had. It is the easiest thing in the world and only requires 5 ing. and tastes GREAT! I found it on joy the baker blog and I want to share it with my readers!Here it is:
Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook makes about 32 small cookies1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter1 cup sugar1 egg1 teaspoon baking sodaabout 1/4 cup any fruit preserves you fancyPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and m…

Chicago Eats.

Not the best picture, but can you see the BYOB sign in the back? This was a great night with Jessica and Sten and La Ciudad I'm really looking forward to tonight. I get to go on a date with my main squeeze. We have started a little tradition of finding some great BYOB's in the city and have had much success thus far- We have been to: I Monelli-- favorite so far, best pizza crust in the world La Gondola-- so so Due Lire-- Valentine's dinner- really great app Cafe Maribella-- tapas with K and P! Tango Sur-- WOW La Ciudad-- Really great Mahi mahi. and tonight we are going to Caro Mio! A cheap bottle of wine and some great company. Thats all you need to have a great night. I spend so much of my time researching great places to go, but I have come to the conclusion that if the company is good. The food is good and the night is perfecto.
If you know any great BYOB's let me know, or if you want to try one I will be more than happy to accompany you.
cheers to great Chicago eats!

a quiet evening

Estes Park Colorado. A perfect spot to really feel quiet. content. thankful.
It is 7:22pm and it is not dark outside yet. I love Spring.I am listening to our "Filter mix" and thinking over my day. Sten is fishing with some friends for the night and I have the little apartment to myself. It truly is a quiet evening. I am in a very contemplative mood. I don't know why. I am usually not like this. I think I can attribute it largely to feeling really content right now. I like my life. While talking over Cold Tangerines with some friends last week we all came to the conclusion that we have been waiting our whole lives-- waiting to go to college, to turn 21, to graduate, to get married, to find a great job, and now we have all those things and we are still waiting... tonight I am sick of waiting. I need to look at the wonders all around me and be thankful.
quiet. content. thankful.


This picture is from when I studied in Florence. The yellowish building on the left was my very favorite and whenever I look at this picture it brings back such wonderful memories
today was a good Monday:
When I got home from work I went for an 8 mile training run. Running the 2.91 miles down Foster ave. to Lake Shore Drive you put your life in your hands, but as soon as you reach LSD it's all worth it. You see other people running, biking - rollerblading!.... It's such a good feeling.
When I got home I made some delicious cookies as well as a salad for dinner. Sten will only eat salad for dinner if it is loaded with stuff- so I added chicken, corn, black beans, green onions, carrots, mozzarella cheese, and croutons. He approved and I was overjoyed. Its so great to get that much protein and vitamins from a simple dinner.
To stretch out my tired muscles I went to yoga-Pilate's. I love that class more than words can describe. At the end the instructor (Jen) lets us lie there f…

Spring + Jessica

Spring has sprung in Chicago and it makes me so joyful.Sten did a little spring cleaning on the bikes and got them ready for the season. It may have been a little pre-mature, but we seized the day!
Jessica's here and life is so good. I love my sister so. Here are some reason's why: - She knows me too well and loves me just the same. - She laughs at my jokes unless they're really bad then she lets me know not to share that with anyone else. - She's always up for a good day of exploration. - She cares about me and Sten - She knows what to order at restaurants ALWAYS. I usually get the exact same thing because she just knows whats going to be the best. - She has the most beautiful voice. - She's not afraid to be herself. I love her confidence. - She's going to be the best mom someday. I can't wait to talk to her about baby food and strollers and nursery designs. - She knows just what to say when I need a little boost in life. - She's so generous with her time, money …

life lately.

It's almost Wednesday.Here's some high points lately: - Sten and I went to a BULLS game on Friday- so what that we were sitting in the highest seat! It was SO fun! - We went to the ULTIMATE breakfast spot Tre Kronor. And laughed, drank lots of coffee and caught up after a busy week of work and midterms. - We cleaned on Saturday and it was great. - Went to church on Sunday and put our faith into action! As we left church Sunday night everyone got $2. We were encouraged to get into groups and find a place to spend it. You could buy items for a local school, buy items for a shelter, buy dinner for someone, groceries... Sten and I decided to tackle the shelter items. We went to Walgreens and started loading our cart with tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, shampoo.... On the way out we gave our $4 to a homeless man along with some Mike and Ikes. We were almost to our car when another homeless man approached us and asked if we had any food. We went back into Walgreens and bought him a s…

Baking with Maria. Photo's by Liz Ahlem.

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Butterfinger Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Banana CakeRecipe note: below is the directions to bake as cupcakes. But, this would also be a fabulous bundt cake!You will need:
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup ripe banana (about 1 banana)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamonPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until incorporated. Mixture will still be a little lumpy because of the nature of the banana, but whisk out as many large lumps as you can. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in banana mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix).Pour …

Ash Wednesday.

Today I struggled all day with whether or not I should give something up for Lent. We didn't do this growing up, so it was totally foreign to me until I went to college and all my friends were asking "what are you giving up for Lent??" I didn't want to be the odd one out so I always did something- no sweets, no chips, or adding something like- go to the gym everyday, or pray more. I never really understood why a goal to better your physical health was somehow related to Lent...Last night Sten read me this email he got from a woman he knows from Portage Lake:
Lent. Great time to remember that Jesus was totally a guy like you (and totally God, but he didn't use that part ...)
and the last 40 days of his life he KNEW what was coming. Seriously, I'm daring you guys to just think about that
once each day from now until Easter. If it helps you to give up something to help you remember, try it. But Lent isn't about us giving stuff up ... it's about us car…


Today I didn't have the best day at work. I came home to find Sten waiting for me with a big hug. We just have so much fun together. This afternoon we laughed about little things we both say and by the time 4:15 rolled around I was back to my old self, work day behind me. It's because of these little things and more that I love Sten and want to do nice things for him. I love making him dinner and taking care of little things around the apartment, but sometimes you just want to do a little more. I have a surprise planned for Friday for him because I love him so much. The 'Total Woman' in me can't wait till he finds out what I have up my sleeve (And I will share with all of you on Friday too- I don't know if Sten reads my blog).
It's almost the weekend. 2. more. days.

Tollhouse Layer Cake.

I had a great weekend. On Friday night I went with The Kate's to Tango Sur. It's a BYOB on Southport and I ate this:
It was delicious and so fun to hang out on a rainy night in the city.
On Saturday I worked in the morning and then took the Metra to Geneva for a Birthday celebration. I made the cake. I decided I needed to share my favorite Birthday cake with everyone so this post is dedicated to the cake my mom has been making me for years- Tollhouse Layer Cake:
CAKE: 1 cup butter, softened 1cup firmly packed brown sugar 2/3 cups sugar 2 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp salt 4 eggs 2 cups flour 1 pkg semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (use 1 cup in cake, and 1 cup in frosting)
FROSTING: 3/4 cup butter, softened 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar 2 tsp vanilla
CAKE: Preheat oen to 350 degrees. Grease 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" baking pan. Line with waxed paper and spray paper with PAM. In bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add fl…
I want to be this girl. I am going to try to attain this look asap.

Happy Saturday :)

MN pictures.

Made the family take a picture. I know they won't regret it in 10 years.
This was dad's idea
Emily- fellow baker, runner, and friendGrandma Kay!
The BEST Birthday cake in the WHOLE world.
Dad put on the candles and was pretty proud!
I think I only blew out half. oops!

A new era

The other day Sten informed me that our 'state of the art' Chefmate $6.99 toaster was dead. I think deep down it was a sad moment for both of us. He had that toaster since college and we just liked it! It even had a Pop tarts dial so you could make the perfect pop tart. When I got home from babysitting last night Sten was so excited to show me the new toaster he got. We upgraded to Sunbeam $14.99 and I don't think we are going to be disappointed! I thought you would want to see it too.

I made some toast tonight to check it out.... butter and cinnamon sugar- mmmm.