Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

To all my friends and family, I good everyone has a happy, safe and very full thanksgiving!!!

I'll see you all at the checkout line tomorrow morning!!!!
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Thursday, November 18, 2010


I've been to Prasino a handful of time now and I absolutely love it.  The name of the cafe is the Greek word for "green" which is at the heart of the cafe's mission - "to provide healthy food at an affordable price in a modern, environmentally conscious setting."

The commitment to sustainability goes beyond just the food; it is incorporated in Prasino's design. The light fixtures are crafted from recycled wine bottles and cardboard boxes. The tabletops incorporate wood rescued from the demolition of Sportsman's Park Race Track and floors are reclaimed oak planks salvaged from a barn. Even the cafe's location near the commuter train  line and bus line gives patrons the option of reducing their carbon footprint.
The Prasino philosophy is to supporting local growers, artisanal food producers, and organic agriculture whenever possible.
They offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options in their menu, which makes them all-around accessible to everyone's food needs and tastes.

They have two locations.  The first is in LaGrange, IL.  That location is the only one I've been to so far as I have not had enough time to visit their newest, second location in St.Charles, IL.

I strongly recommend heading over to one of these two fabulous restaurants.  The food is fresh and full of flavor, the smoothies are delicious and healthy, the atmosphere is chic and inviting.

Here's a peak at some of the menu items we've tried:

 Cucumber Avocado smoothie- this was delicious in every sense of the word.  I wanted to order more to go for when I left...
 Prasino Blend-Avocado, pear, apple, lemon, non-fat
yogurt, agave nectar (I had mine with out the agave nectar, but it was still really sweet, I don't like super sweet drinks, but the rest of my table loved it!)
 Raspberry decaf iced tea
  This was how they brought you your water.  I wanted to steal the pitcher!!!

Smoked Sockeye Salmon - Spinach, apples, pecans, red onions,
bleu cheese and raspberry vinaigrette
 Niman Ranch® Beef Burger - Bibb lettuce, tomato, onion,
brioche bun with a side of wedge potatoes- Chipotle aioli, Prasino spice- this was what my yiayia ordered.  She loves her burgers.  But it was absolutely divine! Perfectly cooked, juicy, full of flavor!
 Grilled Chicken Caprese - Tomato, bibb lettuce, buffalo mozarella,
tomato basil focaccia, balsamic aioli, although my mother substituted multigrain bread.  The chicken was very juicy and the buffalo mozzarella was delicious
I also ordered it at one point, but on the foccacia and I added avocado.  That day, the salad of the day was a tomato cucumber salad.  It had a pretty strong olive flavor, which I didn't care for, so my bf ate it  :)

Southwest Black Bean Burger - Mashed avocado, pepper jack
cheese, multigrain bun, cilantro poblano cream.  I got the avocago cream on the side so I could dip my fries into it as well.  Yummmm 
 This was a special that night.  A tomato vodka penne with chicken.  Delicious and not heavy at all!

 Chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache fillings, caramel sauce, vanilla bean ice cream and fresh fruit....   YUUUUUUMMMMM.
This was absolutely decadent!  I'm so glad I have someone to share it with! 
 Strawberry cheesecake, this was so light and airy, so tart and sweet.  It was the perfect fruity finish.
 I definitely recommend heading out to one of these locations, asap!  They are absolutely fantastic, everything about them makes me happy.  I can't wait to go back again!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Gosh, I cannot believe how long it's taken me to post these!  I made these for my last day at my old job this past June.  I loved them.  They were ADDICTING.  You couldn't just put one in your mouth and be done.  Thankfully, I cut them into small triangles so they were little pieces! 
They were simple and just perfect.  They took no time at all to put together and bake and they were buttery, crumbly, and caramel-y, just like shortbread should be. 
According to the blog I found these on, you can make them chewy or crunchy.  I opted for chewy, but they did still have that crumbly crunchy edge to them. I ony included the directions for the chewy, but if you are interested in the crunchy, check out Night Baking's blog.

Brown Sugar Shortbread
Makes 2- 8" pans

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour

Heat the oven to 325F.

Beat the butter, sugar, and salt until creamy, about two minutes. Do not over mix. Gradually beat in the flour. You may need to work in the last half-cup with your hands. The dough will be stiff.

Divide the dough in half. 
Grease two 8" pans (round or square- I used square), line with parchment, and spray the parchment as well. Press half of the dough into one pan and the rest into the other pan. Smooth the top with the bottom of a buttered measuring cup. Prick the dough with the fork in a decorative concentric circle pattern. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly brown along the edges. Remove and cool for about 5 minutes. You need to slice the shortbread while still warm. If they cool completely, they will crumble. For the chewy bars, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cookies, then invert the pan; slice into wedges. For the crispy bars, transfer them to a cutting board so you don't cut through the silpat, and then cut all the way through the scored marks. Transfer warm cookies to a rack and cool completely.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy National Bundt Day!!

So it's National Bundt Cake Day!

Here is a delicious Bundt cake from The Food Librarian's "I Like Big Bundts" celebration last year. 
There are some seriously delicious cakes there, so go check her out!  Plus, she'll have her 2010 celebration of bundt cakes done today too, so go check out the new cakes she made this year!

The recipe itself actual came from here but funny, our cakes all look different colored!

Pumpkin-Apple Spiced Bundt Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
10 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of diced Granny Smith apples


1. Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each completely. Add the pumpkin and blend well. Add vanilla and blend well. Stir dry ingredients into wet, a third at a time, stirring as little as possible to blend completely. Fold in the apple chunks.
4. Spray Bundt pan generously with nonstick cooking spray. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cake starts to turn golden brown and whole kitchen smells good. Removed from oven and let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Invert onto a plate and allow to cool completely.
 Very moist and soft inside...
 Served with my cousin's homemade apple pie
 And doused with hot caramel.  YUUUUUMMMMMM.  I could so drink that stuff!

Have a happy and filling National Bundt Day!!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My computer issues and a cake

Today, I am going nuts b/c my computer won't read my memory cards form my camera.  And I'm beginning to question whether it is the computer or the cards, which is really concerning me...  If it is just the computer, I can download the info onto another computer.  If it is the card, well, there goes a lot of memories.  And I will tell you right now, I will have a damn near heart attack if that happens.  My godsister's wedding, my new godson, my KY trip, my best friend's baby shower....  Hundreds of pictures, of memories, lost. 
And I'll be honest with you, if they are lost forever, I may just about lose my mind.

So on that note, I would LOVE it if someone who is pretty smart when it comes to all things technical and who understands the need to preserve these images can please speak up and help me!!!!  I can offer you cake!!!

Or maybe at least a few recipes of cakes? 

Like this one. 

Let me start of by telling you all I had a bit of a problem in the past.  I would print recipes, and forget where they came from.  I should have just printed them from the website alone, but then you get like thousands of pages printed that you don't need.  Or I'd write it down if it's short and sweet. This was before I started blogging.  I never thought I would need to know where it came from, as long as I had it to bake it.  Of course now that I blog, it's kinda hard to not share these recipes with you all b/c they are good...  but I can't give credit where credit is due.

This recipe was sitting in my stack of copied recipes from a long long time ago.  I went apple picking w/ a friend long before I knew what a blog was and copied like a bazillion apple recipes, and only used 5. 

Well I resurrected this one to make not too long ago (note I haven't had time to blog, let alone bake much lately, so some of these were not only printed long time ago, they were also made at least a couple months ago now...  I really need a personal assistant!!!).
It's a great cake, very moist and cinnamon-y.  The apples had the perfect texture, although next time, I would make the slices into chunks.  The slices made it hard to stick your fork into it and just pull out a clean bite.  You'd get the slices pulled right out too...


3 cups AP flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
4 large apples, peeled, cored, sliced and halved (I used Granny Smith, as always)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss 1/4 cup of the sugar and all of the cinnamon with the apple slices until well coated.
In your mixing bowl, mix the flour and sugar, along with all of the baking powder, salt, eggs, oil, butter, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium-low speed for about two minutes or so, until the mixture is smooth.
Pour half of the batter in the greased angel food cake pan.  Spread the batter with a spoon to make sure it is an even layer.  Top this with half of the sliced apples. Try not to let the apples touch the sides of the pan or the tube. Then spread the other half of the batter over the apples evenly. On top of this, place the rest of the apples. Again, take care to keep them from touching the sides of the pan or the tube.

Bake the cake for one hour, until a toothpick inserted deeply in the center comes out with little pieces of the cake sticking to it (check after 50 mins, depending on your oven). If the top of the cake is browning too quickly, lightly cover it with foil about halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 30 mins.  Use a butter knife to loosen the edges from the cake pan.

Let it cool completely, then serve!

Off to try and figure out my computer and camera...  Wish me luck!