Delicious Food in Chicago

As you probably know, I live in a small southern Illinois town, but over the holidays, I visited a few friends in Chicago and we explored some of the city’s fine restaurants. Now that’s quite a challenge, not because there aren’t any good restaurants, but because the city is literally FULL of top places to eat! So our problem was choice (but with a little help from my friends and a newspaper, we managed to make a fine selection).

Chicago, Illinois, is one of the busiest city in the United States. Chicago is also a place for gourmets or any culinary enthusiasts as I’ve said before. Most of the top-rated restaurants in the Chicago area are expensive for some people but out there in the Chicago, you still can eat well in the all budget level of yours. From USAToday.com, here is a list of restaurants that will not disappoint you. Loosen your belt, and prepare to gorge the delicious foods served there.

ALINEA

Applying science, molecular gastronomy for example, in the cooking and culinary will make nonsense to some people. But chef Grant Achatz combines it with a creative design and a wild imagination in seasonal, multi-course menus. Next, the chef’s follow up restaurant changes concept three or four times per year. Both of them sell pre-paid tickets (or dinners) well in advance. My stay in Chicago, and especially here in Alinea, will definitely be helpful for completing my Master in Organic Nutrition Master’s degree.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

We love a good taco. And especially now with Christmas approaching and living in a neighborhood that has a huge immigrant population, we are lucky enough to try foods from all over Latin America. But we always come back to the humble taco even now I’m almost done attaining my Master’s in Nutrition degree!

Not the Americanized, ground-beef, cheese-covered, crunchy shell kind of taco either. These babies are stuffed with tender chicken, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, hot sauce and fresh cilantro all nestled inside a warm, soft corn tortilla. Oh my. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Okay, now comes the not fun part. As part of our new 2019 budget, we’re slashing our restaurant spending even further. That means, our beloved tacos (which we treated ourselves way more frequently than we care to admit) are going to have to become a rare treat. So, we decided to try and re-create them ourselves. Here goes:

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

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Frugal Backpacker – Some Tips

When travel is your passion, you may consider backpacker travel to diverse regions around the world. Backpackers don’t use a travel agent to direct them to certain destination places. Life is already expensive enough so this post includes some tips for the frugal backpacker. The following video explains pretty well what you should bring and what not:

Every backpacker realizes that excursion is the passion. Hence, they count on their personal confidence to enjoy the many attractions offered by a country. It seems interesting to find new places, people, customs, and traditions. Most backpackers believe that a journey should be accomplished in different steps and ways.

There can be different sites which backpackers love to visit. These may include mountains, wildlife, rainforests, caves, and other natural attractions. When you want to try a different way of traveling, backpacking is a great option. At the moment I’m working toward my Masters in Nutrition but I remember very well the days I was roaming around so much that I had to quit my high school education.

Fortunately, with the help of some great online GED practice tests, I managed to earn my GED fast and I made it to college. I guess I’m clever enough as my Bachelors didn’t pose any real obstacles. Just a lot of studying! Well, like so many other students, I need to make ends meet so let’s see what the frugal backpacker needs to do.

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The History Of Honey

Man’s love for honey travels back to the beginning of recorded history. Cave drawings of early cliff dwellers harvesting honey have been discovered dating from 6000 B.C. Stone Age man probably enjoyed his honey from wild bees, as opposed to the domesticated varieties of today.

Drawings of bees on the Egyptian pharaoh’s tombs date back to the Old Kingdom, some 4000 years ago. Mummies in these tombs were often interned with large urns of honey and honey breads. Surprisingly, honey from the Egyptian tombs, although crystallized, still contained all of the vitamins and properties of fresh honey today.

Aristotle, in 334 B.C., and Virgil, in 40 B.C., both recorded detailed observations of honeycomb and bees in their recorded texts. The Bible mentions “The Land of Milk and Honey,” in several places, as well as honeycomb, being the first food that Jesus ate when exiting his tomb.

Honey rapidly became a luxury for only the wealthy to enjoy. Egyptian writings mention honey bees being carried in baskets made out of straw. Cleopatra used a formula of honey and milk to keep her skin soft and beautiful. The use of honey as a commercial trading item took the place of money in early biblical days, where taxes to Rome were sometimes paid in honey.

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Tales of Food and Urban Beekeeping

Susan Brackney has about 150,000 friends living in her backyard in Bloomington, Indiana. She’s a beekeeper. And she wrote the book for anyone interested in getting started in the hobby, or just learning about who’s who and what’s what in the hive.

Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet is part of the new movement toward food self-sufficiency that also has a positive impact on the environment. In the introduction to “Plan Bee,” Brackney says she could just as easily have started raising chickens in her backyard, except that at the time, the city did not allow DIY poultry.

Now Bloomington has joined towns across the nation in permitting homeowners to keep a limited number of hens on the premises. The relaxed regulations extend to beehives as well, with New York City lifting its ban in 2010.

“It used to be that most people … kept hives of honeybees right alongside the vegetable patch or the home orchard,” Brackney writes. “Partly to pay homage to that more self-sufficient time, I thought I might try beekeeping myself someday.”

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My Money Saving Meal

And it is dinner time again!  Now that D will eat chicken (though only free range) I am trying to cook it more.  Last week, when he first consumed chicken after many years, I was unprepared, having made dinner for myself as he was in class.

Once I knew chicken was a possibility, I knew exactly what recipe to make:  Sandra Lee’s Guava and Rosemary Glazed Chicken!  I found this recipe in one of her cookbooks that I had taken out of the library.  When D was at a conference late last year, I made it for myself and my mother.

My mother, I might add, who is not a huge chicken fan.  She couldn’t get enough of it.  And actually asked for seconds!  My father was shocked!  (My father is an incredibly picky eater so I had to make him a hot dog.)

So tonight I told D I knew exactly what I was making for dinner and he agreed!  On Sunday when we went grocery shopping, the free-range chicken was buy one package, get a second package free!  So naturally, I purchased two.  If we act as though we are on an episode of Money Saving Meals, that means my package of chicken’s total cost was $3!

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Fueling your body for success

Nutrition has recently been a topic of conversation at our house.  And the more people you talk to, the more it seems that everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a healthy diet.


One person says that all carbs are bad; others say to avoid fat and sugar, while others still say that meat (especially red varieties) should be avoided.

The only thing that seems consistent across the board is that vegetables are good for you—but even at that, there are discrepancies as to which vegetables are the best.

The gist is simple:  Eat predominately whole foods, eat a variety of foods, and eat enough to fuel your body. Two weeks ago, one of our triathlon coaches gave a talk on nutrition.  And I just have to say, it was a breath of fresh air!  Her words of wisdom were very reminiscent of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules.”

Eat Predominately whole foods

If you can grow it or raise it, then you’re good to go.  If your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, think twice.  The fact of the matter is that as American’s we have created a highly-processed diet, and consume foods that are high in flavor, but also high in sugar, salt, calories, fat—basically high in most everything but nutritional value.  If you read the label and don’t recognize or can’t pronounce the first three ingredients, that should tell you something.

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Sowing the Future

EVERY SEED TELLS a story. The tale of ‘Flashy Butter Oak’ intertwines with Frank Morton’s life like a spiraling strand of DNA. Morton grew up in West Virginia, the son of a coal-mine president who raised award-winning delphiniums.

At 5, Morton poked watermelon seeds into the dirt because he wanted more watermelon than his mom would ever buy. Nothing sprouted except an idea. “You could grow some of what you ate,” Morton says. “You didn’t have to buy everything that brought you pleasure.”

He took that thought to college, majoring in biology until it came time to dissect living worms; watching them suffer made him anxious. After graduating from Lewis and Clark College with a degree in child psychology, he set out with a girlfriend to work the land.

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Every Seed Tells A Story

THE DAY MONSANTO, the world’s largest agricultural-biotechnology giant, announced it was acquiring Seminis, the world’s largest vegetable seed company, Frank Morton was cleaning seeds using some of the world’s most primitive tools.


He was in the Seed Drying Facility, a funky shed he and Karen put up in one day 10 years ago using $40 worth of plastic pipe, plastic sheeting, and black tape. He screened out leaves and sticks, then poured the seeds from one Rubbermaid container into another.

Usually, the wind blows away dust and dried insect bodies, a seed-cleaning technique that farmers have been using for 10,000 years.

If there’s no wind, or it’s raining, Morton uses a window fan and a homemade tunnel of cardboard and duct tape. Sometimes, for seeds that are ball-bearing round, he’ll race them down the Roundy Round, a steep spiral ramp that uses centripetal force to sort out grass, dirt and any seeds that aren’t perfect orbs. The whirling seeds sound exactly like an aboriginal rainstick.

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The Queen of All Cakes

I’m not a big cake person but I just LOVE wedding cakes. They are so much more than just flour, sugar and butter (and whatever else goes into making a cake…I’m SO baking challenged).

They are the Queen of all cakes! They are regal towers of joy, fun, and hope. So grand are their stature that it takes several people just to carry them, like Egyptian royalty, into a room. And then they are placed in the center of one of the most precious (well, hopefully, one of the most precious…) days of our lives.

All the guests “ohhh” and “ahhh” over them and don’t dare leave the celebration until they are ceremoniously cut, shared and devoured. The cutting ritual is one of the highlights of the event with the guests forming a tight love circle around the cake as the couple jointly brings up the chosen first piece.

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