Have you ever been to a bar that has no menu? Sounds absurd, right? Well, last week I visited a bar with no menus and for someone who is incredibly indecisive, this was really nice for a change.
A good friend said she wanted to have a swanky Friday night and try somewhere new, and luckily, there are always new restaurants and bars in Nashville, so I'm typically down for the adventure. I asked her where she wanted to go and she suggested Attaboy over in East Nashville.
Attaboy originally hails from New York City so you know it's going to be good. When we arrived, we saw a line forming at the door, but then a waiter would come and grab a few people at a time. This had me kind of scratching my head in confusion. Then I realized Attaboy is a speakeasy. If you've never been to a speakeasy, it has this underground "hush hush" feel to it. You knock gently when your group gets to the door and they only take a few people in at a time. Places like this make me so happy because I feel like I'm invited to experience something fun and unique.
The line moved surprisingly fast and before we knew it we were seated in a cute little room that was dimly lit with candles. Our waitress came in and announced that there was no menu and she would be putting drinks together based on of our likes and dislikes. YES! I LOVE this. Every drink is a flat rate (about $14) which, in my opinion, is not too shabby for the service and drinks you receive. Also, this is the typical cost of a cocktail in Nashville. We each went around and shared what our favorite spirit is and the flavors we prefer. I typically like a Manhattan so the waitress made a cocktail that was a spin off and it was delicious!
The ambience was perfect, the drinks were smooth and the service was incredible. I will happily go back!
I'm so glad that Nashville is getting more speakeasy type bars because they are my fav! So, if you are ever in the area be sure to check it out! Dress up, think about what your favorite flavors are and enjoy what they come up with for you!
Check them out here!
Do you ever think about where the food you're served at a restaurant comes from? Do you know where they source their produce and meats? Farm to table restaurants are my favorite and when I find one, I'm a regular. The food is fresher, you're supporting local farms, and it just tastes better!
So I was excited for another chance to visit The Old School restaurant. Their made from scratch menu is seasonal and relies on the availability of fresh ingredients that are procured daily. The restaurant sits on a 9 acre site that is also home to The Old School Farm, a beer garden, an event barn, a music room, and a dance floor and all just a few minutes from downtown Nashville in Bells Bend.
The farm is a "unique non-profit dedicated to producing quality farm-to-table food while providing employment for individuals of all abilities. Old School Farm was founded in 2013 on the belief that creating a sustainable farm can also produce sustainable jobs while giving back to the community at large."
Everything about this place just soothes the soul! Plus, it's an amazing venue for events. My company used their outdoor event center to host our Vision Day for 2018 and it was awesome. I wish I had had my rehearsal dinner here! Everyone is so nice, the cocktails are great and the food...nutritious and delicious.
We took our best friends along for dinner on Friday night and we loved it. One of my favorite things was that we were no sooner seated than they had a tray of light snacks - mini breadsticks, maple pecans, nuts and fruit - available for us. It was perfect to snack on before our cocktails came!
My cocktail was perfect. It was a spin off of an Old Fashioned, just a little sweeter. We also ordered their Cheese Board which was full of, again, local cheeses and meat. The jam (pictured on the left below) was unlike anything I've ever tasted. Again, so light and so fresh, not too sweet, it was just right!
For our entrees, we each tried something different. The guys ordered the burger and the roast, my friend, Rachel (not my sister), ordered the chicken and I ordered the Vegetable Bolognese. Everyone raved about their choice, but I'm convinced mine was the BEST. It tasted just like a bolognese sauce, but even better.
This place is a must if you are in the Middle Tennessee area. We love it and have never been disappointed. The best thing to me will always be how fresh everything is and supporting local businesses and all of the farmers that partner with this company is a bonus. What are your favorite farm to table restaurants?
Are there ever enough hours in the day?! Between work, time at the gym, laundry, errands, making dinner, preparing for the next day and whatever else is on your to-do list, there's often too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Meal prepping for the week is one of the ways I gain a little extra time each evening. It's also a great way to stick to those healthy eating resolutions we all made just a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it takes a little planning, time and effort, but it's so worth it when lunches for the week are all packed up and neatly stacked in the fridge! An hour or two invested today, saves lots of time during the week - that's a win for me!
Here's my quick and easy lunches for the week- salad, sweet & spicy sweet potatoes, hard boiled eggs and jasmine rice. I also throw in some apple sauce and a lara bar.
One of my favorite salads is a semi copycat version of the oh-so-delicious Grilled Market Salad from Chick-fil-A.
GRILLED MARKET SALAD:
Avocado Ranch Dressing
My mom actually introduced me to this one. She likes to add some blue cheese crumbles and chopped nuts too.
SWEET & SPICY SWEET POTATOES
I've shared this recipe before (here).
I absolutely love it! We have this very often in our home.
Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
Red Crushed Pepper
This week I made two Grilled Market Salads and two Taco Ranch Chicken salads. Two of my favorites. Yum!
Some people can eat the same thing every day and never get bored. I am not one of those people. I have to change it up just a bit. So for my Thursday and Friday meals this week, its more of a Mexican salad.
Lots of veggies topped with an easy peasy Taco Ranch Chicken that's made in the crockpot and is super simple.
TACO RANCH CHICKEN
1.5 lb Chicken Breast
1 cup salsa
1 packet Ranch Seasoning
1 packet taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1. Place all ingredients in the crockpot.
2. Set on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
3. Shred chicken and place back in the crockpot for 30 minutes.
Voila! Easy at that.
TACO RANCH SALAD
Red Bell Peppers
Shredded Taco Ranch Chicken
Spicy Ranch Dressing
Lunches are now ready to grab and go each morning. This is a big time saver for me and if you give it a try, you might just find it is for you too.
Also, be sure to make meals you will enjoy eating and I suggest mixing it up from time to time. Be creative, try to copy your favorite restaurant meals, and have fun trying new combinations. Most of the time, the meals I make don't come from a cookbook. I just try a little of this and a little of that - Pinterest ideas, some family favorites, and others that just seem like they might be tasty. If it's great, awesome! If it stinks, oh well, better luck next time.
If you meal prep, please share your go to favorites. I'm always looking for good ideas!
Year after year my husband and I faced the same dilemma and would spend hours racking our brains for what to get his mom for Christmas. She'd tell us she has every thing she needs and really what makes her heart happy is quality time together. So we try to give her that when we can. This year was extra special!
She knew we were driving in from Tennessee to be with extended family for Christmas, but we convinced her that when we arrived in Texas we wouldn't be able to connect before she was scheduled to head out of town for the holiday. But my hubs loves planning surprises (I've been blessed many times by his sweet surprises, but that's a story for another time) and we came up with a plan to arrive extra early by driving thru the the night.
I don't know if it was more fun for my MIL to be surprised by our unexpected early arrival or for me, my husband and FIL to plan the surprise. Either way, we were thrilled to be able to spend a few hours together and so we did what we do best - we talked, we laughed, we drank and we enjoyed beautiful Christmas decor all while indulging in a terrific meal at one of her favorite restaurants, Shoal Creek Tavern. It was delicious and a great spot in the DFW area.
The lunch menu has a wide variety of amazing choices and, I noticed, their weekend brunch menu offers a variety of unique items as well. The atmosphere is great and the enclosed patio area was very comfortable even though the temps outside weren’t.
The soup and salad combo was perfect and just the right size for me. The lobster bisque is absolutely to die for! The salad was light and refreshing with the tastiest croutons. Of course, we always order mimosas any time we are out for lunch with Momma Santschi. They're her favorite and these were delicious!
The men each ordered Kobe Steak Burgers and cleaned their plates! They gave it 5 stars and, I'm not gonna lie, I was a little jealous watching them eat those yummy burgers!
Momma Santschi decided to go with the Vaquero Tenderloin Salad. It was the perfect size and the tenderloin was incredibly juicy and cooked to perfection.
I love that my in-laws appreciate the gift of quality time - giving it and receiving it - and knowing that this little bit of extra time together blessed Momma Santschi's heart in a big way, made driving thru the night worth it. Surprising her was pure joy! I'm incredibly blessed and truly enjoy spending time with my mother-in-law.
If you are ever in the DFW area, check out Shoal Creek Tavern and make some special memories of your own. They have a beautiful fire place, several big screens to catch the latest game, a gorgeous bar area and, of course, delicious food!
Oh, the crockpot! It is easily one of my favorite appliances in the kitchen. It makes preparing meals so simple, just set it and forget it. I especially love using it in the winter when soups and stews are often what’s for dinner. Plus I really love walking in the house to the aroma of good food, hot and ready to eat. So yummy!
Recently, I posted about this meal on my Instagram and had a number of people reach out asking for the recipe. So here it is - an easy, healthy, simple recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.
I've perused Pinterest for the best recipe and have combined a few of them to make it my own. Feel free to do the same! This recipe, to me, is super easy, and tastes wonderful.
14.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth
14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15.25 oz can corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Place the chicken breasts in crockpot and pour chicken broth and diced tomatoes on top. Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir, cover with lid and cook on low heat 6 hours or high heat for 4 hours.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from crockpot and shred. It should be tender enough to pull apart using two forks.
Place chicken back in the crockpot and add black beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice. Stir and cook for at least another 30 minutes.
I like to top this soup with avocado, tortilla strips, more cilantro, and shredded cheese when serving.
Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend indulging in some of your favorite things! Since getting back from Europe, my husband and I have been on a pasta kick. However, it’s not easy finding authentic Italian food that tastes just like it was prepared in Italy. We have had to search and search and a few weeks ago we came somewhat close! For this pasta lover, I'll take close!
Pastaria recently opened its doors and has been packed every night since. They do not take reservations, so if you don't want to wait, make sure you get there by at least 5:30 to beat the crowd.
We arrived for dinner between 5:30 and 6:00 on a Sunday night. We always like to order a glass of wine or a cocktail with our dinner, and bonus, they have a great happy hour! We ordered a carafe of wine (about 4 glasses) for $13. In Nashville, TN that’s a steal!
We decided it was a must to try the crispy risotto balls and they were incredible! They come with a marinara sauce and herb aioli. I surprisingly preferred the aioli with mine.
After our appetizer, the hubs ordered the classic Spaghetti Bolognese and I ordered the Pistachio Ravioli. They were both absolutely delicious! Blake is a major Bolognese fan and I typically go with creamier pasta, so I was really excited to try something different. The Pistachio Ravioli has a brown butter sauce that is melt in your mouth good. It has a hint of lemon which adds a nice zest. My leftovers were even better the next day!
They also have a carving station for bread that is fresh out of the oven. I could have been happy just indulging in the bread and olive oil. The smell filled the air and I was drooling from the moment we walked in the door.
Did I mention that the restaurant is also aesthetically pleasing? They have a beautiful open kitchen where you can watch the staff prepare the breads, pizzas and pastas. The lighting is just right and decor is unique. I would be happy to just sit in their dining room munching on bread and sipping on wine while reading a good book.
So with that being said, if you find yourself in the mood for some pasta and a great happy hour, check out Pastaria! I think your tastebuds will be pleasantly surprised!
Hope everyone had a great holiday! This past weekend my husband and I hosted the entire Santschi family right here in Kansas City for Thanksgiving and it was a blast! We gave them the full tour of the city; attending a Chiefs game, seeing the Plaza lights and taking a ride on the streetcar to a jazz lounge.
The favorite stop for everyone though was Chicken N Pickle, located just north of River Market, where we played a few rounds of pickleball. If you haven't tried pickleball yet, you need to schedule a court today!
At first I wasn’t sure my family would be thrilled about getting up early to break a sweat the day after our big Thanksgiving feast, but turned out that we had so much fun the first hour, we decided to stay and play for another hour!
I would describe pickleball as similar to tennis, ping-pong and badminton. Everybody quickly picked it up after just a couple of practice rounds. The rules are unique, but not complicated. Here are the rules directly from Chicken N Pickle's website.
They also host beginner clinics to teach the basics of the game and starting in 2018, they will be held the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from 9-10 a.m. Private lessons, semi-private or group lessons, and 3 or 4 and a pro play lessons are also available.
Chicken N Pickle has both indoor and outdoor courts for year round play. Of course, at the end of November, we expected it to be too cold to play on the outdoor courts, but we were pleasantly surprised when Mother Nature provided a gorgeous day for us to do both!
In addition to pickleball, Chicken N Pickle also has a beer garden and plenty of backyard games to choose from. They have giant Jenga, giant Battleship, hula hoops, corn hole, and much more. It's the perfect place to spend the day for all ages. Plus, it's also canine friendly, so feel free to bring your pup along too.
You’ll also find plenty of TV's around, making it a great spot to catch a game. There's also a rooftop bar for grabbing a drink or hosting a private event.
Oh and did I mention the food?! YUM!
The restaurant serves up fresh, made-to-order specialties - sandwiches, wood-fired rotisserie chicken and sides, including the typical tots and fries, and some healthy options too – salads, brussels sprouts and beets. The variety is spectacular and it all tastes fantastic.
Below, on the right, is the Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich with pickles, hot sauce and spicy slaw with a side of tots. Delicious!
All to say, with plenty of food, drinks and games, it is always a fun time at Chicken N Pickle. My family loved the experience and my brother said it was his favorite part of the trip!
It was a great workout, a fun time and fit for all ages and skill levels. I highly recommend stopping in to check this place out the next time you’re entertaining friends or family or just looking for something to do.
POST AUTHOR: RACHEL
Pumpkin pie is of course a staple at Thanksgiving, but this recipe may challenge that tradition. One of my all-time favorite desserts is my mom's famous Pudding Cake. It is so delicious that it's addicting. It never lasts very long in our house, because it's everybody's first choice for dessert. It's super easy to make, even your kiddos can lend a hand in the kitchen. You only need five ingredients and it takes about ten minutes to whip together. Plus, I found a way to make this recipe for those with dairy or gluten allergies/sensitivities, without loosing any of the flavor!
1 tub of Cool Whip (8oz)
4 cups milk
2 boxes white chocolate instant pudding
1 box chocolate graham crackers
1 can chocolate frosting
INGREDIENTS FOR DAIRY & GLUTEN FREE
1 tup of SO Delicious Cool Whip
2 cups almond milk
2 boxes white chocolate instant pudding mix
1 box gluten free chocolate (or regular) graham crackers
1 can Simple Mills chocolate frosting
If chocolate isn't your thing - don't write this off just yet. My husband doesn't like chocolate, but the Cool Whip and the pudding make the graham crackers just melt in your mouth and he absolutely loves it. It is truly a family favorite! We make it anytime we're all together and it always goes so fast.
Let me know if you try it! You won't regret it.
Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen? I do and I’m constantly on the hunt for new recipes. I peruse Pinterest regularly for dinner ideas, especially for creative ways to use chicken. It’s a staple at my house! Recently, I discovered this delicious Cheesy Ranch Chicken recipe and, the best part, it's super easy - just 5 ingredients and about 30 minutes.
Note – use what you have available, variety is the spice of life! I don’t normally have breadcrumbs on hand, so I crushed up some Ritz crackers instead. Breadcrumbs, crackers, panko, etc. - it all works! Also, instead of using the whole egg, you could use egg whites.
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl, crack the egg and stir. Dip each chicken breast into the egg and then dredge through the breadcrumb mixture. I try to get as much of the breadcrumb mixture on the chicken as possible and then place in pan.
The first time I made this, I lined the pan with aluminum foil. The chicken wasn’t as crisp as I’d like it and the yummy breadcrumbs started falling off when I went to serve it. The next time I made it, I pretreated the pan using no-stick cooking spray, ditched the foil and spread a small portion of olive oil under each chicken breast. Walla! The chicken didn’t stick, it served up beautifully and it was just the right amount of crispy too.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, carefully flip it over and bake for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
This is some of the best chicken I've ever had and it was so simple. It has great flavor and can even be chopped up and put into a salad for later in the week. My husband loved it and devours it every time. That’s a winner in my book! Below is the full recipe and instructions. Enjoy!
I don't know about you, but my husband and I are always looking for local hangout spots. So naturally, when some of our friends mentioned how awesome Mill Creek Brewing Co was, we knew we had to try it out! Mill Creek Brewing Co is off of Nolensville Road, which is super close to where Blake and I live. They brew everything in house and are open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Best part about it? They host a trivia night in their brewhouse every Thursday at 6pm!
The trivia night is so fun and laid back. You don't have to play trivia if you go, in fact, they supply a variety of board games! The weather has been fairly nice lately so they have all of the garage doors open. Your kids can run around outside while you and your team dive into trivia!
The major bonus for me was the Chago's Cantina food truck. They have amazing queso, tacos and nachos. It's the perfect addition to your draft beer. I happen to love Mill Creek's Woodshed IPA! Pair that with Chago's chips and queso and you are good to go! Everything is super affordable, which is an added bonus.
So if you find yourself in Nolensville, TN on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, go try out Mill Creek Brewing Co! Let me know what you think!
I’m a working woman who’s constantly on the go and in need of a healthy go-to snack that will satisfy my chocolate craving and curb my appetite. This is one of the best choices I've found and a great solution for a sweet and delicious, protein-packed goodie. Bonus – it’s a scrumptious quick and easy to make recipe that requires no baking!
1. Mix all ingredients into a medium bowl and stir until thoroughly blended.
2. With your hands, roll the mixture into small balls and place on wax paper.
3. Place in fridge to set. After half an hour, enjoy!
Store in fridge in an air tight container.
These make a great snack and give me just the boost of energy I need, especially late in the afternoon, and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying them! Hope you like them as much as I do.
Pizza is definitely one of my favorite splurge meals. It is just so delicious! Recently, the hubby and I tried il Lazzarone Pizza in the City Market and we’ve already returned several times. We had heard rave reviews and knew we had to give this authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in the heart of Kansas City a try.
il Lazzarone prides itself on using premium ingredients and serving true Neapolitan pizza. Their dough is made from just four ingredients - water, flour, yeast and salt and is rolled by hand. For the sauce, they use San Marzano tomatoes, a very rare tomato native to Italy.
True Neapolitan pizzas are cooked in less than 90 seconds using a large wood-fired brick oven that holds a temperature of over 800 degrees! According to their website their “ovens are Acunto Marios, made on the main street of Naples, Italy by a fifth generation oven builder. The mouth of the oven and the oven dome height must all be constructed within specific ratios to achieve a true pizza Napoletana. Our oven is constructed of all hand laid brick made from the soils of the Campania region of Italy." Isn’t that incredible? And, the first one imported to America is used at their St. Joseph location.
I will say though, since the oven is constantly burning, it can feel very warm in the restaurant too! I suggest sitting on the patio or near the door to catch a breeze.
That aside, everything we’ve eaten here has been fantastic! My mouth is watering just thinking about their delicious menu choices. This is a great place to grab drinks and an appetizer or sit and enjoy a few pizzas. We've done plenty of both.
For an appetizer, I love the charcuterie plate because it comes with a lot of different options and there's plenty to share with a small group (approx. 4 adults). The menu describes it as "flatbread, burrata, Parmigiano Reggiano, gorgonzola, coppa, cappicola, proscuitto, apple, grapes, olives, capers, walnuts, balsamic glaze, House made basil pesto."
For pizza, the menu is split between pizza made with red sauce and white sauce. I enjoy the Supremo, Crepa, Pizze Caprese or the classic Pepperoni. The Crepa is by far my favorite one. It has mozzarella, applewood smoked bacon, balsamic glaze, basil, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. Oh, so tasty! That wood-fired oven also makes the crust just the right amount of crispy with some charring on the edges.
Also, be prepared to eat your pizza with a fork because “a delicious pool of flavor forms in the middle of a Neapolitan pie during its short time in the oven making it what one might call wet or soupy." It’s impossible to eat it any other way.
If you aren't feeling a pizza, or want to start with something lighter, they also have some great salad choices. I've tried the Foglie, which has mixed greens, red onion, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese crumbles (my favorite!), aged balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil and sea salt. I added some salami to the salad as well, for a small additional charge, and it was so yummy.
Overall, you can't go wrong with anything you order here. It is all appetizing and so savory! One pizza is plenty to share or enough to have some leftovers for later.
il Lazzarone Kansas City is located on Delaware St., right in front of the streetcar stop at River Market West.
Let me know when you get a chance to check this place out and which pizza is your favorite! Enjoy!
It’s my favorite time of year -- FALL! Here in Kansas City, the leaves are just starting to turn from green to red, yellow and orange. The temperature is dropping and yesterday it was in the 40's (that's chilly weather for this Texas girl)! I've already pulled out my sweaters, grabbed a pumpkin spice latte and unpacked my fall decorations. I just love this time of year!
During the fall season, there is no escaping pumpkin flavored or scented everything. There's pancakes, candles, muffins, beer, butter, pie...just the other day I saw pumpkin spice flavored cough drops. What?!
My job has me up in the middle of the night - literally - so I make everything the day before for a quick grab and go when it's early and still dark out. My coffee maker is on a timer, my lunch is made and my clothes are laid out and ready to go. I waste no time in the mornings getting out the door and that’s why this recipe is perfect for me.
Let me introduce you to an incredible flavorful breakfast option to kick off your fall mornings in style – pumpkin pie overnight oats! Whip it together the day before and it's ready and waiting the next morning.
This is such a quick and easy recipe, plus it tastes delicious. It’s scrumptious and will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.
Fellow winos - listen up because this is an event you won't want to miss!
Uncorked Wine Festivals is a chance to try a some delicious wines, dance the night away with live music or a DJ, snap a pic at the photo booth and chow down at a scrumptious food truck. Plus, they host these events all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, New York, and more.
Recently, they had an event in Kansas City so my husband and I had to check it out. We attended the afternoon session on a Saturday from 1-5pm. Yes, four hours of tasting wine.
The event was at Union Station in downtown Kansas City. I love this venue because it is so historic and the Grand Hall is just gorgeous. Union Station was built in 1914 and was of course, a train station, accommodating thousands of passengers a day. It was then renovated in 1999 and is a staple of our city's skyline.
At Uncorked: KC there were over 100 wines from across the globe all with a rating of 90 points or higher. It was great to have the opportunity to taste a lot of different wines and find some of our favorites. We spoke with the vendors of each company and they explained the wine's history, the taste and the best foods to pair with it. It was a nice chance to try wines we'd never heard of before and explore different regions.
Most of the wines available were between $15 - $30, so if we wanted to purchase our favorites afterwards they were very affordable. However, I was hoping to indulge in some more expensive wines that I don't normally buy - i.e. Silver Oak or Duck Horn that are in the $60 - $80 range. But we were impressed with the selection and happy to try some wines we will now buy often.
From 1-2pm was the VIP session so we had the chance to try some specialty wines and then 2-5pm was general admission. Some of our favorites were...
- Vina Robles - $24
- Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon - $22
- Niner - $40
- Thomas Goss - $15
- Summers - $34
After trying A LOT of wine, over a four hour period, we had to stop by one of the many food trucks right outside and grab some grub. There were plenty of options lining the street and it all smelled fantastic. We got some chicken fried rice and it definitely hit the spot!
Overall, I would highly recommend this event. We tried some fabulous wines, met some new friends and had a wonderful afternoon!
Post Author: Rachel
I'm sure you can agree - life is always busy. With my crazy TV schedule, I’m always on the run, and combined with my hubby’s all over the map NFL schedule, it is a rarity for us to get a long weekend together. So when we do, we are out and about exploring something somewhere.
For Labor Day weekend, we snagged an inexpensive Southwest flight, some friends and headed out to the Windy City!
With so much to see and do, Chicago is a great place to spend a weekend. Plus, their transit system is affordable and super easy to navigate through the city. Once we landed, we hopped on the "L" and headed downtown. Luckily for us, my cousin and his wife live in Chicago and they graciously opened their home to us for the weekend. They live right in the heart of the city and you couldn’t ask for a more spectacular view!
I love how the city lights up and shows off it's beauty at night too. Stunning!
Entertainment, festivals and sports are never in short supply in Chicago. Being the sports enthusiasts that we are, there was no question we had to catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field – and not just once but twice! We scored some unbelievable tickets and rooted for the home team all weekend.
And of course, a ballpark experience isn't complete without a hot dog and a cold one. So first things first, we hopped in line and ordered a Chicago dog. YUM! I got a few pickles on the side and loaded it with ketchup, mustard, tomatoes and a strange colored relish. Initially, I was a bit concerned about this lime green relish, but quickly found out it is a staple at this ballpark and a must on your dog. And, it’s surprisingly delicious. Now, I know it's not the Chicagoan way to put ketchup on your dog, but I love ketchup. I think it's great on just about anything.
On our first day, after the Cubs won and we all sang "Go! Cubs! Go!," we headed down Clark Street, which is lined with bars and restaurants. Two great stops we discovered are Sluggers World Class Sports Bar and Old Crow Smokehouse. Both had fantastic atmospheres, drink specials and great food.
The next morning we grabbed some coffee and walked to Grant Park. We enjoyed seeing the spectacular water show at Buckingham Fountain and walking along the water front admiring the many sailboats that line Lake Michigan. Helpful hint – mornings can be a little chilly near the water, so don’t forget to bring a light jacket.
For lunch, our taste buds were craving some made from scratch deep dish pizza. We have already had Giordano's once before, so we wanted to try something new and strolled on over to Lou Malnati's. It typically takes about 30-35 minutes for them to prepare a pizza and there is always a long line to get a table … about 45 minutes the day we visited. Let me assure you though, it’s well worth the wait! Fortunately, they also have a great system in place where customers are able to place orders at the counter while waiting for a table. The timing is just about perfect too – when your table is ready, so is your pizza. They have a nice little patio area, so after ordering, we grabbed a drink and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.
We ordered "The Lou," which the menu describes as "A pizza so good we gave it his name! Spinach mix, mushrooms and sliced roma tomatoes covered with blend of mozzarella, romano and cheddar cheese on garlic Buttercrust." It was amazing!
With deep dish pizza, all the ingredients are placed on backwards from a regular thin crust pizza. So even though the pizza looks like it's just cheese and tomatoes, the inside holds all the delicious veggies and meats. And the garlic buttercrust - phenomenal.
When traveling, I always love learning about the city, and Chicago is rich with history and boasts some incredible architecture. Luckily, this city also has some amazing tours to offer. We booked an early morning tour on Chicago's First Lady and hopped on a double decker boat for 90 minutes on a fun and educational river cruise. It was fascinating and our guide was friendly and full of insightful stories about the architecture and the design of the many buildings. I would highly recommend this!
Now, back to food. After Chicago dogs and deep dish pizza, next up - Italian Beef. Walking into Portillo's feels like going back in time to the 1960's when the restaurant was founded. It is a charming atmosphere and the food, or course, does not disappoint. The Big Beef with extra gravy and oven-roasted sweet and spicy peppers ...WOW! Safe to say, we split this huge gravy covered meat sandwich and then wanted to take a nap.
No time for sleep though, it was off to round two of watching the 2016 World Series Champs at Wrigley! We met up with a friend who now works for the team and got a sneak peek into the Cubbies offices and they are pretty impressive (photos in slideshow below).
Before leaving, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to stop by and say hello to the Commissioner's Trophy, an absolute must-see and located right next to the stadium inside of Jostens Jewelry store.
It was a quick, but wonderful trip to Chicago and with so much to do and see and not enough time, we’ll definitely be returning to the Windy City for more food and fun!
Mmmmmmm, sweet potatoes! They are super delicious and always a guaranteed winning side dish at my house. As a bonus, there’s a multitude of ways to prepare them - baking, roasting, steaming – dress them up, eat them plain, or make them into fries.
Apparently though, not everyone is as convinced as I am that these orange spuds are worth the love … my husband was one of those. My mission – make a sweet tater lover out of him, and, lo and behold, I have with these two super fantastic recipes! If you aren't convinced about sweet potatoes or you need a great recipe for your next potluck, you’ve got to try these. They are scrumptious.
In the comments below, please let me know which is your favorite and if you have a recipe to share!
Caramelized Sweet Potato
First up, the sweet sweet potato.
Normally, with all potatoes, it takes forever to cook them in the oven. This recipe - just 35 minutes. I originally found this recipe on Pinterest and absolutely loved it. So, here are the step-by-step instructions and video form the original post by Kristin Marr.
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Drizzle the potatoes with the oil, and then rub the oil on the flesh of each potato. Sprinkle each potato with just a pinch of salt.
4. Flip the potatoes over, flesh-side down on the baking sheet. Some oil will spill over on the sheet pan--that's normal and okay.
5. Bake the sweet potatoes, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until the skins begin to look shriveled and soft. Remove the potatoes from the oven.
6. The baked sweet potatoes should be slightly brown and caramelized on the top of the flesh and soft throughout the potato. Enjoy the potatoes warm, or place them in an air-tight container in the fridge to enjoy later in the week.
These are so delicious and the olive oil caramelizes the top of the potato making it even sweeter.
Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
Okay, now let's talk about the spicy sweet potato.
These are absolutely addicting and make my mouth water just thinking about them! I've made these a million times it seems -- for family, friends or to take along to a cookout. They are always a crowd pleaser.
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Peel two or three sweet potatoes, and then cut into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl.
3. Drizzle 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and mix.
4. Add chopped onions (I use about half of an onion), 1 tablespoon each of chili powder, garlic powder and southwest chipotle seasoning.
5. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. If you want to add a little more zing, throw in some crushed red pepper as well.
Bake the sweet potatoes, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip potatoes by mixing them around and place back in oven for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
I prefer to cut bigger chunks and I like them crispy, so I bake for a total of 40 minutes, but you can remove them earlier if prefer a softer potato.
How do you like your sweet potatoes? Share in comments below!
In every city I visit, I always want to explore their local eats and discover more about the culture and atmosphere of the community. Often times, I think we forget to explore our own city, even something as simple as stopping by a new restaurant around the corner. We get distracted with our jobs, our routine, and the daily to-do list and we don't think about being tourists in our own neighborhood.
When I got married a few months ago, my husband and I realized we’ve hit the Kansas City sports scene hard, but there are so many attractions, eateries, and local exhibits we’ve never tapped into. So we set a goal – visit a new place right here at home at least twice a month -- a museum, a park, a restaurant, etc. You’ll likely find us out and about somewhere in the city on the weekend, but instead of hitting up the ol’ familiar places we’ve been to a dozen times before, we’re going to intentionally discover new, or maybe just new to us, places that make KC such a great place live and visit.
This last weekend, we tried Kansas City Taco Company in the River Market. It is a quaint restaurant with a hipster vibe and stellar bar. One of my favorites things about this place...they have patio seating, which is a must in this gorgeous 70 degree Kansas City weather!
We started off with some Modelo's and the Smoked Egg Rolls. This item caught my eye because it is so different! It's essentially a southwest style egg roll covered in pico and a sriracha aioli. Yum!
For an entree, they are best known for their mix and match street tacos. Of course, you have to try the house specialty when testing a new place! We ordered the Mojo Chicken, Baja Wild Cod, Thai-Chili Shrimp and Bulgogi Pork Korean.
OH MY GOSH. The Thai-Chili Shrimp was by far the best of the four! It had incredible flavor and great spice. Highly recommend it. The next time we stop by, I'll be ordering four of those. The other tacos were delicious, but didn't hold a candle to the shrimp. The Mojo Chicken didn't have enough flavor to satisfy my taste buds, the Baja Wild Cod was great and the Bulgogi Pork Korean had a nice spicy kick.
I've also heard the Ahi Poke Tuna taco is phenomenal, so that's on the list for next time!
So if you make your way to the River Market one weekend, let me know what your favorite dish is at Kansas City Taco Company!
Location: Kansas City
In 2012, I moved to Kansas City to begin my career in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs. For three seasons, I worked for the Chiefs as their sideline reporter, hosted shows, wrote for the website and covered all of the team's events. In 2015, I moved to San Antonio to work in the NBA for the Spurs and Fox Sports Southwest. I was a part of the pre/post game show, emceed events, and produced videos for the website and in-arena. After two seasons, I came back to Kansas City to work for an ABC station as a morning anchor and reporter.
My husband and I tied the knot in Nashville, TN in April 2017! We met while we were both working in the NFL. He still works for the Chiefs, so I continue to be connected to the team and of course, I'm at Arrowhead Stadium quite often during the season.
We absolutely love living in Kansas City! There's some amazing BBQ spots, great live jazz music, plenty of farmers markets, beautiful shops on the Plaza, plus, for a big city it has a small town feel.
In a nutshell, I'm a Texas transplant, University of Oklahoma graduate, former OU Rower, sports fanatic, avid quoter of The Office, book lover and wine aficionado.
Location: Nashville, TN
I moved to Nashville, TN from Dallas, TX in 2014 shortly after graduating college and marrying my high school sweetheart. We were originally only going to stay in Nashville for a year, but decided we couldn't leave just yet. If you've ever been to Nashville, then you understand why.
Nashville is known for its southern food, views, and of course country music. However, it's so much more than that. It's one of the greatest places to be for fashion. It's an up and coming musician playing for free at your local coffee shop. It's a melting pot of different cultures of people from all over. It is the perfect mix of southern hospitality and city life.
I am currently the Director of Business Development at Scout Nashville, which is a residential real estate company that exists to make the client experience simple, stress-free, and enjoyable.
In my free time you will find me trying new foods, researching fashion trends, hiking through the beautiful parks of Nashville, traveling, and now blogging with my sister-in-law!
We are two twenty-something year old Texas girls at heart who love exploring life in our new cities. We will be sharing our experiences and adventures, while reflecting on life lessons we've learned before 30. We'll also be talking about a number of different topics - travel, sports, fashion, beauty, and delicious hot spots around town. Hope you come along for the ride!
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