Thursday, March 31, 2016

Still Saturday...Russian Tea Room!!

We left the Art Institute and took a short walk to the Russian Tea Room. Even though they are booked for months in advance, Mary Fons knows people
It was a beautiful day in Chicago.  And we were SO THRILLED to be going to High Tea!!
Fresh flowers right inside the door...
We were seated at a lovely table in a corner...and enjoyed a nice visit...
Lilly ordered berry tea...and we got out our Bananagrams game
We ran out of time, but Mary was clearly going to win!!
SO IMPRESSIVE, EH?? Ah, the sweets, the savories...all delicious
Especially the warm scones with creme and jam...
This was Lilly's first time for High Tea. I had it once, at the Empress Hotel on Victoria Island...
But -- really -- nothing will ever top this.

Saturday has already been JAM-PACKED, right?   You might think it was almost over....but you would be wrong...our next activity was perhaps my personal favorite of the entire weekend.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Splendid Sampler™

The Splendid Sampler™ Wednesday
 (...skip this part if you're not new here...)

The Splendid Sampler™ is an internet sew-a-long created by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. It is an EPIC sew along...
  • 83 fabric designers have created specific blocks that feature different quilting techniques. (paper piecing, fused applique, etc.).
  • The blocks will be released each week, and are FREE to participants until March 2017. (at that time, they'll use the designs to publish a book).
  • You can use whatever fabric you like.
  • There will be pictures on their Facebook page, etc.
The new block designs come out twice a week....on Sunday morning and Thursday morning.


Block #10, designed by Sherri McConnell, is called IOWA!!
Block #11 is called Crocheted Thoughts
Of course, Sandy did BOTH BLOCKS.
And that's very impressive, right?? To do TWO new blocks the same week the designs came out?? yes, Sandy -- VERY IMPRESSIVE...
Who did these two very different versions of IOWA?
And then, two different versions of Crocheted Thoughts??
Yes, our over-achiever, Linda P...!!
GOOD JOB, GIRLS. But, alas, for some of us -- this wasn't the week for quilting. I had a little girl to take to Chicago...and LK had a book to read.
On this day -- LK and I were quite happy to toast the success and creativity of our sister sewists.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Chicago Saturday: The Art Institute

So, after our ride on the City Bus -- we arrived at The Art Institute. Because of the Van Gogh exhibit, there were hundreds of people in line on this beautiful Saturday...that long line was TWO BLOCKS LONG...
Lilly took some pictures.
Then, I took some pictures...
We only waited for five or ten minutes -- because Mary IS A we got to pass up the long lines!!
And Mary knew EXACTLY what exhibits Lilly would enjoy.
At some point, they swapped outfits!!
Then we went to the Miniatures room.
Every little room is like a miniature of Downton Abbey
Lilly, messing with my camera.
She took some pictures of the Chagall window...and
She zeroed in on the Statue of Liberty (which I did not even SEE!)
Mary explained that she usually gives money to street performers.  (these two guys were drumming on 5 gallon pickle buckets)
Then, we took a short walk to our NEXT DESTINATION...

Monday, March 28, 2016

In The Kitchen with David Venable

Here's the thing about having Ross living here. I watch things on television that I WOULD HAVE NEVER watched. Thanks to him, I became a fan of Man Men, Sons of Anarchy, and Entourage. All series with GREAT writing, wonderful characters.

On the other hand, he also brought an obsession with The Bachelor -- and In The Kitchen with David Venable on QVC...
I NEVER would have thought I'd learn anything about cooking from a shopping channel??!!

Honestly, without Ross -- I never would have known anything about these television shows. I will spare you our Bachelor observations (even though, every Monday night, I am rolling on the floor with laughter...)

But, last week, on In The Kitchen with David Venable, I learned about a Panade. AND I REALLY MUST SHARE THIS TREASURE!!

An internet picture of a Panade!!
Here's the amazing thing about food. THERE IS ALWAYS SOME NEW DELIGHTFUL TREAT...just around the corner!! You've gotta love it, right?? I am completely amazed that I lived for all this time, and never even heard the word, much less ATE this amazing, cheesy deliciousness...!! It is THAT good...

David was showing off the QVC Le Creuset dutch ovens with a fabulous Panade. It starts like french onion soup -- sauteing and stewing a bunch of onions until they are golden and delicious, then layer the dish -- onions, stale bread, cheese, broth...repeat. Bake in the oven until it all comes together - like a delicious cheesy onion soup souffle, with bits of crispy, crunchy bread and melted cheese.


Here's a link to the recipe I used: Panade Recipe I love any excuse to get out my Dutch Oven...and I made some modifications. I left out the Swiss Chard, and I added a lot more cheese. Also, I added about 8 oz. of cooked spicy hot sausage to the beef broth...which gave it a nice kick.

We ate it so fast, I didn't get a chance to take a picture. But it really did look kinda like this...
I got lucky my first time out -- because it was DELICIOUS. I really had no clue how much broth to add in relation to the bread I used. The bread absorbs the broth, and really puffs up. I wanted it to serve like a casserole rather than a stew...and IT WAS PERFECT.

I made a huge pot, and the good news is that the leftovers were also delicious!!  (just a quick nuke, and the cheese got all pully again...YUMMO...)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Afternoon

Lilly and I enjoyed our walk along the Magnificent Mile Saturday morning. We had to be back at the hotel by Noon to meet a mystery guest...(only a mystery to Lilly, of course)...
We weren't hungry enough for lunch -- but I wanted to take the edge off. So we opened some of our Trader Joe snacks. Along with a yogurt from our breakfast, and a banana...we were ready to go again!!

Lilly was looking out the window, waiting for our Chicago tour one point, she said, "I THINK I SEE HER. YES...SHE'S COMING INTO THE HOTEL..."
And, sure enough -- two minutes later, there was a knock on our door and IT WAS MARY FONS..!!!
The first thing she did was walk us across the street into this most delightful little coffee shop...
Mary says if you ever get this choice -- Julius Meinl vs. Starbucks...PICK JULIUS MEINL...!!
As soon as we had our coffees, lattes, hot chocolate, etc. -- Mary said WE NEEDED TO START WALKING...
First Up:  ride on a city bus.  You could not wipe the smile off Lilly's face. 
With our Meinl drinks, we rode across town as Mary pointed out the city sights.
Our first afternoon destination -- the Art Institute!!  Can you see the line of people wrapped around the block??
There is a Van Gogh exhibit in town -- and the lines are two hours long...
But, not to worry -- WE KNOW PEOPLE...!!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lilly in Chicago: Saturday Morning!!

It was 10:00 Friday night when we left the Shedd we got to bed late. All the excitement of the first day, the train ride, the Shedd event...we were tired. (I was, anyway).

We fell asleep quickly and had a WONDERFUL night's sleep. I woke Lilly up at 8:00 so we could get our Saturday started. Our only FULL DAY in the city, I had a lot planned, and THE DAY'S A'WASTIN'!!
Although she is not a morning girl, she LOVES BREAKFAST FOOD. Scrambled eggs, sausage, waffle...they had every kind of muffin, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, cereal....then apples, bananas, and cantaloupe. WE WERE hungry!!
Back to the room to change clothes and get ready for our BIG DAY in the city. Lilly has always picked out her own clothes.
We had the whole morning to explore this beautiful city.  We went out the door and STARTED WALKING...
One block over to Michigan Avenue...and the Magnificent Mile.
It was a beautiful early spring day. Cool and breezy. I love this picture of our reflection in the Burberry building
Crossing the street.
Inside the lobby of the James Hotel (Marion -- remember this art installation?)
Lilly was seeing so many things for the first time.
We saw a TRADER JOES...and decided to buy our souvenirs for the family!!
With a budget of $3 for every person, we got:  Train cookies for Warren, Brie cheese for her Mom, peanut butter stuffed pretzels for her Dad, a big loaf of Italian bread for Grandpa, and dried cranberries for Uncle Ross...
Years ago, when my sisters and I went to Ireland, we wanted to buy souvenirs for our families , and I remember the joy I felt when we found an Irish grocery store. SOUVENIRS TO EAT are simply the very best idea. Because nobody really wants a snow globe or a t-shirt...but everybody enjoys a pot pie in a tin can, a different potato chip or snack cakes from a foreign country...