October 2012 | chicago foodie girl

10.29.2012

Monday Foodie Porn

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. As with many of you, Mario and I spent our weekend engulfed in Halloween excitement. It was a fun, but super exhausting weekend - actually, I think that's a great way to describe most of the month of October. The month was filled with some of my favorite parts of fall (bonfires, apple festivals, pumpkin carving, zombie burlesque, multiple birthday celebrations), but it has been a nonstop whirlwind. On top of the fun stuff, I've also been buried in piles of papers and fighting multiple respiratory infections (new job = new germs to battle). I'm looking forward to the beginning of November simply for a week or two of downtime before the Thanksgiving/Christmas madness ensues!

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10.23.2012

Tuesday LTP: Halloween Candy

As I mentioned earlier this month, I love Halloween: the decor is completely awesome (glittery skulls and pumpkins everywhere!), scary movies are in abundance (although I am opposed to the ones featuring creepy/freaky kids), It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is played on repeat, and all of the nerdy kids (myself included) have the perfect excuse to tap into their creative sides and whip together the coolest costumes. Really, Halloween is all about having fun no matter what your age... and who doesn't love fun wrapped in a layer of candy?!


While I still maintain that Easter has the best candy selection, I must admit that I'm always happy to see the return of all things candy corn during the Halloween season. I know many people think it's totally disgusting, but I am all about those pointy, sugary little nuggets, especially the caramel and chocolate versions. Possibly even better than straight up candy corn is White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms. Oh yes. These babies are crunchy little pieces of honey-coated heaven. The insides are buttery smooth (almost frosting-like) and extremely sweet - just like candy corn (but better!). And yes, they are totally addictive!

On the other end of the spectrum is the nasty candy that leaves every treat-or-treater (or officemate) cursing your name and wondering if they can get away with egging your house. Candy on this list includes anything involving raisins (raisin boxes are the absolute worst & Raisinets aren't far behind); anything involving licorice (boxes of Good & Plenty, licorice ropes); Necco Wafers (flavorless discs of chalk); and Mary Janes (sticky chunks of cardboard coated in fake peanut butter). Yuck.

Today's Lunchtime Poll: What is your favorite Halloween candy? Is there any Halloween candy that you really hate? Does anyone out there actually like Mary Janes?!

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10.17.2012

Look And Cook: Spaghetti Squash

*Guest post by chicago foodie girl contributor, Diana

Hi folks.  I've been cooking so much lately that I got a little inspired to start a "look and cook" series on this very blog. Fingers crossed that I stick to it, because as my sister constantly tells me, "You have the attention span of a gnat."

She's right. :)

So here we go, first installment of Diana's Look And Cook Series...today's topic is spaghetti squash.  Next to butternut squash, spaghetti squash is a big favorite of mine, so I'm always looking forward to fall so I can make my favorite recipe!

The other day I was at Trader Joe's (btw, I will be doing a separate post soon on my love of Trader Joe's) and saw a cornucopia of squash and pumpkins, and as soon as I saw spaghetti squash, I knew I had to have one so I could cook my favorite recipe with it.

Mind you, there are TONS of ways to cook/serve spaghetti squash, but this is by far my favorite. It's a hybrid of something I learned in a cooking class and something I had as a side dish in a restaurant. It's kind of a take on your standard spaghetti and meat sauce dish, but instead of pasta, you use squash! 

First things first. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Then wash the outside of the squash, under warm water, rubbing the outside with your hands.  I've been told that produce is clean when you run it under warm water, manipulating it with your hands, while you recite the alphabet, then you dry it with clean paper towels.  I don't ALWAYS do that, but there you go.

Next up, you cut the squash in half. I don't have a picture, but you get the gist. Make sure you're using a cutting board and a sharp knife. I'm sure I don't have to lecture you on knife safety, but I will if you want me to. :) Or I can tell you about the time I stabbed myself in the hand while cutting into an avocado. 

Yeah, let's not go there, because it wasn't pretty.

Once you cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the guts with a sturdy spoon.  They kind of look like this.


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10.11.2012

Birthday!

Goodbye, 30-something.
Hello, 30-something + 1 (a big move into new age category box - sigh).

Showing off my waving skills in my stylin' BK crown 
It's that time of the year again... oh yes, it's the day in which we all celebrate the fabulousness that is ME!

As far as birthdays go, my awesome number birthday (10.11.12) isn't looking too exciting, as the entire day will be packed with paper grading, midterms, and meetings. However, the rest of the month will be filled with various celebrations with many of my favorite people (starting with a dinner at Geja's tomorrow), so I guess I can't complain too much, right?

Also, a very happy birthday to my teenage crush, Luke Perry... and happy National Sausage Pizza Day to all! :-)

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10.08.2012

A Little Cooking Inspiration

*Guest post by chicago foodie girl contributor, Diana

Now that life in general has settled down a bit, I've found my cooking mojo again and have been a little cooking crazy lately. Here are things I've made recently, I hope to write about some of these soon:

- an attempt at my Mom's Spanish rice
- Cuban picadillo (cheater version, hee!)
- Citrus dill salmon
- Spaghetti squash with marinara
- Oatmeal cherry chocolate chip cookies
- Tom's family recipe for Applesauce Cake
- Pumpkin cherry muffins
- Breakfast burritos
- Chocolate dipped dried pineapple
- Chocolate cups with pistachios and dried cranberries
- Tuna pasta salad

Wow, I didn't realize how much I've accomplished in just a few weeks! It definitely keeps an anxious mind occupied on the positive and I'm glad that I've gotten my jones for cooking back again. :)

Anyway, here's a little inspiration for foodies and wannabe chefs like me (and maybe those afraid to try but have always wanted to):

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10.02.2012

Tuesday LTP: Autumn!

2012 Harvest Bonfire at
Wagner Farm
I say it every year, but I think it's always worth repeating: I ♥♥♥ fall! I especially love October, as it is filled with so many of my favorite things. Many people consider spring to be their season of personal renewal; they feel revived and ready to take on the world. That's how I feel about autumn. It just feels damn good to be alive!
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