Getting Cheesy: National Cheese Lover’s Day Party

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cheese? It is one of my favorite things to eat and create some really fun dishes with. Since cheese is always such a hit, I decided to throw a cheese party for my friends (and for my son because it’s his absolute favorite). And why not a MAC N’ CHEESE BAR?! I have a few vegetarian friends and this would be perfect. Everyone can customize their own mac n’ cheese bowls and we can celebrate National¬†Cheese Lover’s Day!

Setup

Since the holidays, I have been kind of entertained out. Over doing the dishes, the clean up, etc. I also have a toddler running around, so something fast and easy is preferred. I decided to minimize the dishes and use Solo Cup Products to make my clean up easy and less complicated. They are completely disposable, recyclable and really durable. I knew this would be the best option, but still keeping my party looking right.

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They have write on cups¬†that are perfect to label all the toppings. It looks clean and organized in your setup. Everyone can make their own mac n’ cheese¬†bowls with lids Whatever they don’t finish, the bowls serve as to-go plates. Lastly, the¬†paper plates¬†serve for meat and cheese platters. It’s perfect and fuss-free.

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

Mac n’ Cheese Bar

And for the best part: the MAC N’ CHEESE. Honestly, you could make it from scratch or get a pre-made box. Whatever makes your life easier. From scratch, I like recipes like¬†this.¬†But you can grab a box and totally add in your own ingredients. I took a box of mac n’ cheese, added mild cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and baked it at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It turned out DELICIOUS!

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

Toppings

Cheese is so versatile. It can be paired with so much. Here are the toppings I used:

  • hot dogs
  • salumi
  • bacon bits
  • cheeze its
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • jalapenos
  • green onion
  • cubed cheese

National cheese lover's day party using solo products

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

Extras

The more cheese the better right? For an appetizer, I made a meat and cheese plate with salami, cheddar and pepper jack cheese with pita crackers. Really, anything would work; spinach artichoke dip, cheese dip, etc.

National Cheese Lover's Day Party

For the drinks, the best wine to pair with macaroni and cheese all depends on how fancy and cheesy your mac and cheese is. With a regular, old-fashioned recipe, you might just want a simple glass of white wine. An unoaked Chardonnay might be your best bet for an original recipe or even a dry Riesling. If you got a little fancy and added truffles to your recipe, champagne pairs perfectly. No wine drinkers? Cider pairs well with cheese too.

A party that will please everyone with an easy clean up? To go cups already set!

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Doesn’t get better than that!

Until next time,

Christine

This post was sponsored by SOLO cup however all opinions and experiences are my own!

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My January Reboot

Like everyone else, I completely overindulged in December. Being a food blogger in Chicago, there is food everywhere! It is kind of hard not to try different foods and restaurants. But this January, I have decided to do a complete “reboot” of my life. My mind, body, home, and LIFE. It isn’t just about losing weight and setting unrealistic goals, but hitting the refresh button in all areas of my life.

Me in 2015. I was focused on working out and eating healthy

This was me 2015. I was focused on working out and eating healthy. My goal is make this a priority again.

I want to start the year strong by developing really great habits and so far, I have been really proud. I am taking it day by day, but not without any help. Below are some of the tools I am using. Whether it is at home workouts, barre classes, or recipes, they are all helping reboot my life in January.

Workouts

  1. The Barre Code– This gym offers cardio, strength and restoration classes. Right now, they are having a special for two weeks for $60 at any of their 10 studios in Illinois and beyond.
  2. I started these online workout classes when I couldn’t make it to a class or the gym. It’s perfect when Noah is asleep and he has even joined me sometimes. They range from 15-35 minutes, which is perfect for a busy day.

3. Just get out! Even though it may not seem like enough, you would be surprised how many steps I get in walking around Target ūüôā

Mind

This is one that is often forgotten, but so important to have your mind clear and stress free when trying accomplish anything. For me, my workouts are TERRIBLE when I don’t have a clear mind. Below are some things I have done.¬†I know I don’t do this enough and it is a real goal for me this year.

  1. Chill Chicago– This is a completely designated space to just CHILL. I made an CHILL Chicago is a place to meditate and relaxappointment for myself this Saturday and CANNOT WAIT to meditate and relax. The¬†classes range from 30 ‚Äď 60 min with a focus on breath, insight, rest or yoga and meditation.
  2. Meditation App (FREE)– This is a FREE download on Amazon. This is great to help settle the mind before sleep if you are having one of those day.
  3. Count to 10- Don’t underestimate the power of taking a moment for yourself. I know when Noah is amidst a toddler moment, I am learning to breath and step back (although very difficult). I find creating space for myself can be very beneficial.

Recipes

I have mapped out the recipes I will be making this month. I list 14 recipes of my own and other favorites from Tasty to Delish to Cooking Light.

1. Recipe: Easy Beef and Broccoli Easy recipes: Beef and broccoli meal

2. Spiced turkey meatballs butternut tomato stew- http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/spiced-meatball-butternut-tomato-stew

3. Chickpea tacos- https://tasty.co/recipe/chipotle-chickpea-tacos

4. Spicy turkey tacos- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50920/spicy-turkey-tacos-recipe/

5. Lettuce wraps- https://damndelicious.net/2014/05/30/pf-changs-chicken-lettuce-wraps/

6. Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea salad- http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/brown-rice-chickpea-salad

FacetuneMy video here.

7. Turkey squash bowls- https://www.skinnytaste.com/turkey-taco-spaghetti-squash-boats/

8. Quinoa Soup- https://cookieandkate.com/2017/mexican-quinoa-stew-recipe/

9. Recipe: Egg Muffins with Turkey Bacon and Kale

easy egg recipes

10. Crockpot turkey chili- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55200/easy-turkey-slow-cooker-chili-recipe/

11. Crockpot chicken noodle soup- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55661/easy-crockpot-chicken-noodle-soup-recipe/

12. Chicken stir fry- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a8866/chicken-vegetable-stir-fry-recipe-campbells-1109/

13. Panko crumb chicken fingers- https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/oven-fried-chicken-tenders/46a69e4d-4c31-485b-9d43-67d40b353f2e

14. Recipe: Skinny Pumpkin Bars

skinny pumpkin bar recipe

If you one of man that are counting calories this month (sigh, yes I am), this Calorie Counter is an affordable, reliable option. I wouldn’t say it is like an Apple Watch (we can only dream right?!), but it gives you somewhat of a range.

I hope some of this will help you this new year! Every day is a fresh start and it will never be perfect, but all we can do it try.

Until next time,

xoxo

Christine

 

 

 

 

NutMeg’s Spreads the LOVE

NutMeg Spread's peanut, almond and cashew butter. They donate profits to a charity in Kenya.

This past summer, Megan from NutMeg’s Spreads reached out to set up a meeting with her and her husband Billy to try their peanut butter line. I knew nothing about it, so I was like sure, why not? I love peanut butter.

But little did I know that not only is their NutMeg Spread line amazing (my favorite is the cashew butter), but 50% of their sales goes towards a really great charity in Kenya, Freely in Hope.  This charity is deeply invested to improve the education of women and empower them (especially after a women has experienced trauma). Freely in Hope works with women who have experienced sexual violence and provide holistic healing through education, advocacy skills, and leadership development.FIH- WeExisttoEndTheCycleofSexualViolence.jpg

When I was talking and learning more about Megan and Billy, they are so passionate about this cause and really wanted to start a social business. They initially got their start at the farmers markets in Minneapolis and have recently moved to Chicago. They are now in the process of relaunching NutMeg’s Spreads and are in the middle of a Crowdfunder¬†through Indiegogo (it’s like Kickstarter) that ends¬†December 30th.¬†You can find the link¬†here¬†and learn a little bit more about them.

NutMeg Spread's peanut, almond and cashew butter. They donate profits to a charity in Kenya.

They are currently not producing due to being in the stages of becoming licensed in Illinois, but will be cooking out of Lakeview Kitchen and Market and will be selling at local farmers markets. It includes: Almond, Cashew, and Peanut Butter with all natural ingredients. Just nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, pink salt, and olive oil (except no olive oil in peanut).

NutMeg Spread's peanut, almond and cashew butter. They donate profits to a charity in Kenya.

The line is delicious, but the mission of Megan and Billy is even better. #spreadthelove

Until next time…
Christine

5 Foodie T’s You Will Need This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there is lots to do. But let’s make your life a little easier by helping you decide what to wear for the special day.¬†I rounded out my favorite Thanksgiving shirts any foodie would appreciate. They also might bring a little laughter to your dinner table. Everything is on Amazon Prime, $20 and under. So if you order today, it should arrive by this weekend. Available for men, women and in a few in youth sizes, there‚Äôs a little something for everyone ūüôā

1.¬†Talk Turkey to Me¬†71iMJblVhKL._UL1500_2.¬†Let’s Get Basted41UgCsrJXVL._SX342_3.¬†Nope, It’s Just a Food Baby

Tshirt for thanksgiving from Amazon4. Leftovers are for Quitters 

funny thanksgiving tshirt on Amazon5. Pour Some Gravy on Me

Funny Thanksgiving shirt from Amazon

I would love to see photos of you in these shirts, so definitely tag me. But tag me anyways, because I’d love to see whats on your table this Thanksgiving. Have the best holiday from my family to yours!

Until next time…

Christine

 

 

Back to the Basics: Grassroots Eatery

There are several places to eat on Southport Corridor in Chicago. But there isn’t one that can truly claim they are farm-to-table. And to be honest, that terms gets thrown around so much now. But what does it actually mean? At¬†Grassroots Eatery¬†at¬†3747 N Southport Ave, they are a neighborhood eatery serving American contemporary farm-to-table dishes. Everything is sourced from local and Southwest Michigan Farms. All the produce and protein is hand selected by the owner at places like¬†Kaminski Farm in Three Oaks, Michigan and produce from¬†Frank Farms in Berrien, Michigan. Additionally, they grow their own herbs, tomatoes, and kale. There is nothing more farm-to-table than that.

Some stand out dishes on the dinner menu is the pork chop. It is a 10 oz organic, Iowa raised pork chop served with roasted sweet potatoes and pickled Red Haven peaches.

Pork Chop at Grassroots Eatery on Southport

Pork Chop

Or the cheeseburger from Kaminki Farm that is 14 day dry aged house ground beef with a tomato jam and apple smoked bacon. One of my personal favorites is the buffalo cauliflower and house-made mac & cheese with an option to add mushrooms, bacon or lobster. Absolutely fantastic.

Mac & Cheese at Grassroots Eatery on Southport

Mac & Cheese

Buffalo Caullflower from Grassroots Eatery on Southport in Chicago

Buffalo Cauliflower

They also serve several local beer, spirits and wine. The Pinot Noir from Dablon Winery (learn more about this winery here.) is delicious and the Smoke & Spice cocktail with mescal and jalapeno was perfect.

Smoke & Spice Cocktail from Grassroots Eatery on Southport

Smoke & Spice Cocktail

What I also like about¬†Grassroots is the kids menu. Too many times have we dined with Noah and the only options are either cheese pizza or chicken nuggets. Not nutritious for him at all. What’s unique is they are offer the same organic and free range food like the regular menu. Even the cheeseburger on the kids menu is a 14 day aged ground beef patty. Best part, all kids meals are $6 dollars.

They serve weekend brunch that includes $15 dollar bottomless mimosas and $5 dollar bloody mary’s. Other specials during the week are 1/2 price bottles on wine on Wednesdays and a daily 3 course pre-fix menu for $27 dollars.

Avocado Toast- Brunch Menu at Grassroots eatery

Avocado Toast- Brunch Menu

Chicken and Waffles- Brunch Menu at Grassroots Eatery on Southport

Chicken and Waffles- Brunch Menu

It is definitely a place you can take your family, head to brunch with friends or out on a date night (a great location because it is attached to Mercury Theater and next to the Music Box). Try getting back to the basics and enjoy a true farm-to-table meal at the approachable Grassroots Eatery.

Let me know what you think.

Until next time,

Christine

Making a Turkey this Thanksgiving? I have something for you

My husband and I have had been cooking a turkey for years.  Either for Thanksgiving or with our friends for Friendsgiving. We have tried several turkey brines and made our own seasoning, but this Gournet Turkey Brine Kit from Urban Accents is our favorite.

Image of Turkey Brine Kit from Urban Accents. This kit includes everything you will need to make a delicious turkey on Thanksgiving!

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Photo from urbanaccents.com

It makes our life a little easier too. It comes with everything you need like all the spices, the bag and step by step instructions. You can still roast, deep fry or grill your turkey and this brine tastes great. Best part?  Urban Accents  is a company right here in Chicago. You can order it on Amazon for $12.95 or find it at Whole Foods.  Makes your Thanksgiving that much easier!

Enjoy!

Christine

 

 

When I dip, you dip, we dip

Sunday, November 5th, I threw a party with my friends April from¬†The Tipsy Housewife¬†and Alex @Sassyconfetti. Not just any kind of party. It was a dip party with 30 plus food bloggers. When I mean dip, like the appetizer. Which who doesn’t love? Can you just imagine how good the dips actually were from these bloggers?! DELICIOUS. We compiled the recipes for the 30 amazing dips that were entered into Sunday’s First Annual¬†#TipsySassyGoodlife¬†Dip Contest. These recipes are definitely perfect for the holidays coming up.

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

But first, how did we even come up with this whole idea. To be honest, we just met a few months ago through the Instagram world and hit it off. At the J.W. Marriott one night, we spent the night discussing our love of food, wine, our families, and Chicago with a few glasses of wine (maybe more…) and the Dip Party was created!

AngelaGarbotPhotography.Wedding.ChicagoCubs.AngelaGarbotPhotography.Chicago.Event.TipsySassyGoodLife.102-IG.jpg

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

In just one month, we invited 40 of our favorite bloggers and had 8 sponsors to provide with some seriously awesome swag. We work fast.

It was so amazing to see how much creativity and dedication went into each dip. We were totally blown away. I hope you get a chance to check out some of these bloggers and even try some of their recipes.

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

Sponsors: 

1.¬†SOLO¬†(yes, we played dip bong. Don’t judge us. And has great Holiday plates and bowls this season)
2. Goose Island (1800 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago) (tasty beer that goes down sooooo smooth)
3. Salonv Aveda (best salon in the city. Seriously. If you need a place to prepare for the holidays, go! My whole family has been going for years)
4. Revolution Brewing (Christmas Ale is second to none!),
5. Goddess and Grocer (Chardonnay paired well with so many of the cheese dips)
6. Crazy Beautiful Wines (Loca Linda might be my favorite rose now)
7.¬†KOVAL Distillery¬†(alone or with bloody mary’s is a perfect combo)
8. SuckerPunch Gourmet (best bloody mary mix and spicy garlic pickle combo).

And special thanks to Angie Garbot photography for snapping these beautiful photos.

Chicago Cubs | Pumpkin Party at Park at Wrigley

Tipsy Sassy Good Life Fall Dip Recipes 2017

Now for the dipsters and their Instagram Accounts: 

@bahcallmemaybe¬†‚Äď Cannoli Dip

@afoodiegoescleanish¬†‚Äď Poor Man‚Äôs Caviar

@lookatlindz¬†‚Äď Savory Pumpkin Hummus

@marymangia¬†‚Äď Hot Sausage Beer Cheese Dip

@suckerpunchgourmet- SuckerPunch Gourmet Garlic Original Pickle and Green Tomato Salsa Dip

@treatjazself¬†‚Äď Chocopumpdough

@alyssazeet_¬†‚Äď Cranberry Salsa

@appetite_4_adventure¬†‚Äď Trio of Fall Dips: Hot Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprouts Dip, Warm Butternut Squash and Cheddar Dip, and Ooey Gooey Cheesy Cranberry Dip

@pantrygrubs¬†‚Äď Pomegrante & Pecan Brie Dip

@angelagarbot¬†‚Äď Sweet Potato Spread

@miyahara_eats¬†‚Äď 10-Minute Kabocha Dip

@foodandbevylover¬†‚Äď Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Dip

@katie_carrico¬†‚Äď Turkey Dressing Dip

@roxypopzchicago¬†‚ÄstBeet dip with Delicata squash chips

@thesavvygourmand¬†‚Äď The Holiday Pineapple

@sadiehill¬†‚Äď Sweet Potato Pico De Gallo

@thejollyhostess¬†‚Äď Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa

@kykyeats¬†‚Äď Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

@westloopsoul¬†‚Äď Butternut Squash Hummus

@chicagofooddork¬†‚Äď Cranberry Cheesecake Dip with Candied Pecans

@chieats¬†‚Äď BLT Dip

@msnataliejane¬†‚Äď Bacon Beer Dip

@lbell414¬†‚Äď Caramel Apple Dip

@flos_favorites¬†‚Äď Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

@feyginphoto¬†‚Äď The Feygin Guac

@andreasculinarypassport¬†‚Äď Trio of Tapenades

@thedomesticdivamd¬†‚Äď Cheesy Squash Dip

@jacksonsdecree¬†‚Äď Underseasoned Guacamole

@tefo921¬†‚Äď White Cheddar, Pumpkin and Sage Dip

@sharbear06¬†‚Äď Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Fundido

If you like the dip recipes and you’re on Instagram, make sure you check out and follow all their accounts. They are seriously the best.

Until next time (or next party!).

Christine