How to throw the best (and easiest) Friendsgiving with Tony’s Fresh Market

It’s that time of the year! My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, but Friendsgiving is a close second. I love having my friends in our home, catching up and spending time together before the craziness of the holidays. But in reality, our home isn’t huge, specifically the kitchen. After years of hosting this annual tradition, my husband and I have somewhat gotten this hosting thing kind of figured out. I wanted to share some easy recipes and tips we have learned along the way, with some help with all the ingredients from Tony’s Fresh Market. They have some specials on turkeys, their produce is some of the best and I even got some of the table decor there. Best part of it all? You are just having your friends over, so it doesn’t need to be perfect! Some time spent together is really what it’s about.

I am sharing 10 tips along with our brunch Friendsgiving menu below. Welcome to cooking with the Good Life!

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Why you need a Galena Escape at Eagle Ridge Resort

As we are winding down to the arrival of our baby girl, my husband and I knew we needed a quick weekend getaway from Chicago. A little time away before the lack of sleep and the craziness begins, right?! Galena, Illinois seemed like the perfect location. Being 150 miles west of Chicago, with rolling hills, a town filled with art galleries, restaurants and history, it was the perfect setting.

I had a few things I was looking for in my search for a hotel. I wanted a spa, several dining options, and a beautiful, quiet setting. This lead me to the discovery of Eagle Ridge Resort, located in The Galena Territory, just six miles from downtown Galena. We would be able to enjoy the amenities of the resort like the pool, spa and dining, but also head to town when we wanted. With a toddler at home, it was the ideal distance away from home while feeling a world away.

Eagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful viewsEagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful viewsEagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful viewsEagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful views

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Meal Planning for a Family of 3 with Tony’s Fresh Market

I hate to admit it, but I love grocery shopping and meal planning. I don’t know what it is, maybe it just sets the tone for the week and helps us stay organized? Whatever it is, I do it weekly. Sometimes even on a Saturday night by myself? It’s like a night out right? Hah.

I will make a list of the meals first Monday through Friday and then list out all the ingredients needed for each meal. We have our weekly usual meals, but I try to add in a meatless monday meal, a meat focused one and usually ending with pizza on Friday nights.

One thing that helps meal planning go smoothly is grocery shopping, Some things I look for in a grocery store are:  Continue reading

Chicago Gourmet 2018 Recap

Chicago Gourmet weekend is now over and I have to say, it was perfect. The weather was amazing (last year was over 95 degrees) and being sober, I was really on the hunt for good food.

Chicago Gourmet is a foodie and wine event that Bon Appetit magazine sponsors every year at Millennium Park. It brings together renowned chefs, restaurants, wine and spirits. There are tastings, book signings, cooking demos, and wine and cocktail seminars throughout the event. It is truly a “foodie” experience.

This year extra special because I got invited to a pre-party with COUNTRY Financial with a demo from Chef Tony Priolo from Piccolo Sogno, which is literally my top 5 favorite restaurants in Chicago. They sponsored the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ tent, which was one of the best parts. Live music, BBQ, cocktails, and lot’s of photo opportunities.

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Chicago Gourmet 2018 Country Financial tent

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Stroller Strides Review: A fitness class for moms

Ever since staying at home with Noah, finding time to workout was difficult. I missed that ‘me’ time. I also like to fill our days with lots of activities and keep busy, so when Fit4Mom reached out about Stroller Strides, I thought it would be a great chance to get out of the house with him, all while getting my workout in.

I didn’t know much about what Stroller Strides was or how it worked. What I did know was that Noah had to sit in the stroller for a 60 minute class while I exercised. Excited to start, I was a little hesitant that he wouldn’t be able to stay in the stroller for that long while I had “mommy time”. He really didn’t like to be in the stroller much these days.

Stroller Strides with fit4mom in Chicago

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One month without a car in Chicago

Like many Chicagoland residents, the traffic in the summer is outrageous. With all the increase in Ubers and Lyfts, I felt like these past few months have been even worse. For example, I was heading to the Western Suburbs this past July and my normal 45-50 minute commute turned into a 2 hour nightmare (I almost ran out of gas, but that’s a whole other story…). Traffic, parking, construction, and so on was driving me crazy.

I also was becoming too reliant on our car. We have so many forms of public transportation within steps of our home, why did I keep driving everywhere? I was spending so much money on parking and gas, but why? When Lyft asked me to join their #ditchwithlyft campaign, it was perfect timing. I knew it was time to ditch our car for the month and take more public transportation.

ditching our car for one month and taking public transportationditching our car for one month and taking public transportation Continue reading

The “All American Family” Portrait with HP

When HP reached out looking for our aspect on what the American Family was, I felt two things. One, I was like, YES! I would love to share our family, our values and so on. What a cool experience right?! Family is one of the most important things in my life, in the world really. I couldn’t pass that up. And two, HP is an amazing company. It’s actually the computer I do all my blogging on. I got rid of my Mac a few years ago and have only been using this HP Envy Computer and just love it.

After a few rounds of interviews, a video submission and questionnaire, we made it in. I didn’t really know what to expect from the video shoot except I knew it was going to be a long day of filming with other families from the Chicagoland area. HP American Family campaignHP American Family campaign Continue reading

Where I would make dinner reservations in Chicago

(Updated October 2018)

Let me first say that we don’t get out too much these days, but when we do decide to get out for a date night, we try to make it nice (who got that Housewife Dorinda reference?!). We get all dolled up, hit the town, and home by 9pm :). These restaurants below not only have incredible food, but the atmosphere make great date night spots or perfect of towners. So here we go 🙂

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Hey Chicago People! Win Tickets to Sangria Festival *Giveaway Closed*

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Although I might not be drinking much of Sangria these days, I have teamed up with the Sangria Festival on August 18th and 19th to giveaway two tickets! Fun right?!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Subscribe to my blog here. It’s really that easy!  I send out weekly emails on Wednesday’s of all sorts of stuff going on in the CGL, new posts, giveaways, reviews, etc. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you and it’s once a week.
  2. Follow Sangria Festival
  3. Follow Me! 

That’s it!

(must be over 21 years of age, live in the US to enter and giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram or WordPress).

The winner will be emailed tickets on Wednesday, August 1st.

Until next time,

Christine

July Update: My Chicago Summer Bucketlist

Chicago Summer Bucketlist

Summer is flying by. I really can’t believe 4th of July is already over, it needs to slow down! I wanted to update my Chicago Summer Bucketlist (you can see the original post here.) and share some things we have been up to around the city. We’ve done a few things, but we have so, so much more to do! Many of the things listed are family friendly and a few for the adults only.

Summer in the Windy City is the absolute best and I know there are an endless amount of things to do. If there are any festivals or places I am missing, add them in the comments below and I will include them! Summertime Chi is like no other, so enjoy every moment.

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