Chicago Pt. 2

I usually try to post every Tuesday. I missed last week because the kids have been sick. First Emory had Bronchiolitis, then Lucy got the flu, then Emory caught the flu from Lucy. Its been real fun, or not.

I have actually made some decent things, meals and baked goods, but didn’t take any pictures or anything, so here is some pictures from our trip to Chicago last month.

This was taken at the Chicago art museum. Alec and I were both yelled at by museum guards, and I was legitimately worried they were going to kick us out. Apparently taking a sip of water is completely unacceptable.


Lucy with Uncle Peter and Kim. They swung her around a good share of Chicago like this.



Kim took us to Chinatown. We had Dim Sum, got bubble tea, and went to an awesome candy store.


AND most exciting, once we were back at Peter’s apartment, Emory rolled over for the first time. Here is a picture of the monumental event!


Sewing and Wontons

In a constant attempt to procrastinate on my comprehensive exam readings, I have picked up my sewing hobby again. In all seriousness though, my friend Sashila asked me to make her a bag which was the real reason I got back to it.

I asked her what colors she would like and went shopping at my favorite fabric store, Crafty Planet. The fabric there isn’t cheap, but it is all beautiful and unique. She requested browns and greens, so this is the fabrics I found:



Here is the bag coming together–the outside and the lining here:

bag 1


And finally here is my friend enjoying her new bag!



I have also been making some hipster bibs, here is one I made for our new niece Wrenley. I plan on sending it out once this snowstorm ends…


And here is Emory wearing one I made out of an old t-shirt. It ended up being a little big, so I made the next ones a bit smaller.


On another topic, I made some pork wontons yesterday. While I was frying like my fifth batch of them I said I would never make them again, but boy they ended up being good.



So this is how I made them:

1.5 pounds of ground pork

about 4-5 mushrooms chopped

1/4 onion chopped

Cook that until the meat is no longer pink. Add in:

about 1 teaspoon of grated ginger

2 cloves garlic chopped fine

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon oil

a handful of chopped cilantro

Add this to the pan until fragrant. Pull off the heat and wait until cool enough to handle. Fill the store bought wonton wrappers, fold them into the normal wonton shape, and fry them in oil. I used vegetable oil. Peanut oil would probably really good, but I didn’t have any. The oil temp should be about 350 degrees. I couldn’t find my thermometer so I just let the oil heat for a while at a little above medium heat and then tested to make sure the wonton started to fry (makes the sizzling sound) once I put it in. I know, real specific instructions.

Obviously this recipe is flexible. You could use shrimp, bamboo shoots, anything really, but this combo did taste REALLY good.

Girl & the Goat


A few months ago we watched an episode of the Movable Feast on PBS about the restaurant Girl & the Goat. I forgot about it until I was looking for a place to eat in Chicago for a belated Valentine’s outing with Alec. I made reservations only a couple weeks in advance which is why the only time available was at 9pm on a Thursday night. After a long drive to Chicago, we weren’t terribly excited about heading out that night, but we went, and I am so glad we did.

The food was fantastic. The atmosphere was great. The service was phenomenal.

They serve small plates that are meant to be shared. We ordered 4 small plates and one bread. You are supposed to order everything at once, and your server will bring your dishes in the order that will most compliment each other.


Don’t Curry, Be Happy bread

seared diver scallops , "hotpot" broth, bamboo shoots, braised peanuts

seared diver scallops , “hotpot” broth, bamboo shoots, braised peanuts

crispy beef short ribs with avocado and grapefruit.

crispy beef short ribs with avocado and grapefruit.



We also had some ham frites (Alec liked them, I thought they were okay) and wood grilled broccoli with blue cheese. I can safely say it was the best broccoli I have ever had.


If you look close, there is a table of Mennonites sitting behind Alec.

If you look close, there is a table of Mennonites sitting behind Alec.

The meal was great. The price was reasonable for such good quality and creative dishes. If you find yourself in Chicago and want to go out for a nice meal, check it out. I highly recommend it.

I will have more on my trip to Chicago in future posts.

Valentine’s Day

valentine I


Valentine’s Day is substantially less exciting when you are married. In fact, the images above and below demonstrate this well (they are from the Valentine’s Card I bought Alec).

Valentine II


We spent Valentine’s weekend taking Lucy to a birthday party, fixing a drain, and doing things around the house. Perhaps next year we should try to act like we are dating and actually do something! In all fairness to our ourselves, we are going to Chicago (with the kids), and have reservations for the restaurant the Girl and the Goat (without the kids), which is supposed to be fabulous. Its a bit of a belated Valentine’s Day outing.

However, in honor or Valentine’s Day, I would like to tell you about the new love in my life. No it isn’t a person; it’s coffee. A strange thing happened while I was pregnant. Well a lot of strange things happened; pregnancy is like a bizarre nightmare where you can’t believe things like this are happening to your body (unless you are planning on having a baby soon–pregnancy is great!). But this particular strange occurrence is how my tastes changed. It isn’t an unusual thing to happen to women; it is considered a normal symptom of pregnancy, but it is weird and unpleasant nonetheless. Foods tasted different to me, most notably was lettuce which tasted like dirt and tea which also tasted like dirt. Needless to say, I couldn’t stomach tea. It didn’t get better right after I had Emory either. And while I couldn’t stomach tea, I began to like coffee (don’t worry I drank half-caf or decaf). I always enjoyed a latte but for the first time, I liked coffee. We even bought a coffee maker:

mr. cafe

His name is  Monsieur Café.  He was $29. And this picture is a bit deceptive because I do not drink my coffee black. I prefer it with a little Splenda and half and half. If you notice, my kettle is there on the side. I can drink tea again. It took a couple months, but I was able to start enjoying tea again. Though strangely I still can’t drink my favorite kinds from before. They still taste off. AND maybe the strangest of all, I drink herbal tea in the evening now (which I never enjoyed herbal tea). Maybe I’m old now. I could have a glass of wine but prefer a hot cup of herbal tea before bed.

Belated Happy Valentine’s Day!



Many things have happened while I have been gone. I let my domain name expire and stopped Emory and Lucyblogging for a couple of years, but I missed it; so I am back. The biggest news is my new baby Emory, born September 25, 2014. He is a delight. I had no idea babies could be this easy. Lucy has grown a ton. She is in preschool and loving being the big sister around here.

After four years of living in South, we moved to Northeast last summer. We have a great 1950s house that happens to be an obnoxious shade of yellow—we swear we will get around to painting it someday!

I am in the third year of my doctoral program, which means comprehensive exams. I have tons of books I am supposed to be reading right now. I am also working on a journal as the editorial fellow. I have no free time. None.

oatmealI have had to spend less time baking and more time inventing healthy food Lucy might actually eat. Flax seed crepes, pumpkin pancakes, and purple oatmeal are just some examples of my breakfast attempts.

This blog has gotten a bit of a makeover.  I figured a re-launch needed to be exactly that.  I freshened it up, and the content will be slightly different this time around.  The strawberries on the header is a reminder it won’t always be the dead of winter here in good old Minnesota.




Healthy-ish Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

I love a good fruit crisp recipe.  Yesterday I sat down and tried to make a lower calorie version of the beloved classic.  The following recipe is about 1400 calories for a 8″ square pan.  So about 230 calories a serving (estimating 1/6 of a pan as a serving, and honestly that is a pretty big serving).  To make this healthier version I basically cut down on sugar, butter, and flour.  I increased oatmeal and added almonds, which added some nice crunch and worked well with the strawberry filling.  


A cup or so of rhubarb, cut up

About a cup of stawberries, sliced 

3 T. cornstarch 

1/2 c. sugar

Lemon zest 

About a half cup water, add more if needed

Bring to a boil on the stove until the fruit is soft and the liquid is thick.  Pour into a 8″ baking dish. 


Crisp Topping: 

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. flour

4 tablespoons butter (half a stick) 

1/2-3/4 cup oatmeal

2 tablespoons almonds 

Put the butter, sugar, and flour into a food processor and pulse until the butter is blended.  Add in the flour and almonds.  Pulse a few times until everything is combined, but don’t over do it.  You want the oatmeal and almonds to maintain their shape.  Evenly drop the topping over the fruit filling.  

Bake in a 400 degree oven until the top is crispy and brown.  Around a half an hour.  

Beet Tartar



If you have seen me lately, you probably heard about how much I loved my dinner at the Bachelor Farmer.  My favorite dish was the appetizer, Beet Tartar.  No that is not a typo, it is made from beets, not beef.  Granted it is an all-around different experience from beef tartar, but for anyone who doesn’t love eating raw beef, that is probably a good thing.  I could have worked a little harder on the presentation in the above picture, but you get the idea.  This dish is actually really easy to do, but it is a little time consumer because there are quite a few steps.

The Beets:

I wanted the beets to resemble actual ground beef.  So first I boiled them, peeled them, then chopped them up.  (Note on the beets: you can boil them, bake them, microwave or steam them.  I boiled them because I think it is the easiest and yields good results.  Just put them in a pot of boiling water and leave them alone until they are tender–probably about 45 minutes)





I then tossed them into the food processor and pulsed it a few times until the beets resembled ground beef.



That is all there is to the beets–see easy.

The Extras: 

The beets are served in a Nordic fashion: surrounded by dill, horseradish, shallots, cheese, mustard, and capers.  The Bachelor Farmer served it all with toast, I served it with a thinly sliced baguette.  Both were good.

The Dill:  buy it fresh and chop it up.

The Horseradish:  I bought horseradish root and grated it.  I found the root at Whole Foods.  I am sure any coop or nicer grocery store would have it as well. It is reasonably priced, about $6/pound.



Shallots: mince them.  I wouldn’t substitute onions here.

The Cheese:  The Bachelor Farmer served this dish with a watery cow’s milk cheese.  I chose to do goat cheese instead for a couple of reasons.  I like it better, and the other ingredients are all very strong flavors, and I felt they needed a stronger flavored cheese to accompany them.

Mustard: Use a brown mustard of some sorts.  One with course mustard seeds would be ideal, but just use what you like.

Capers: I rinsed them off so they were a little less salty.  Then I chopped them up just a little.

For the presentation at the Bachelor Farmer, everything was on one plate, with the beets in the middle.  Since I was hosting a dinner for six people I decided to put everything into its own little dish for ease of passing.

As for eating, just add bits of everything to your bread and enjoy.  The flavors work great together.

Easter Prep

Coloring Easter Eggs and Making Hot Cross Buns…

This is the first time Lucy has decorated eggs.  It was very cute, and very very messy…

IMG_2130 IMG_2131 IMG_2132



Now we get to the Hot Cross Buns.  I love these, but rarely can you get good ones.  I came across this recipe and had to try it:

The recipe is British so if you want to try it, you will need a food scale.  Otherwise, just to save you a google search, sultanas are raisins.  Maybe you knew that, I certainly didn’t.  But this is a great recipe, the only change I made was making the crosses on the buns from a powdered sugar glaze instead of flour.  I put that on after they had cooled a bit.

Try to eat these guys while they are still warm, but 10 seconds in the microwave works too.  The recipe is quite labor intensive as a warning.  Also this method of making candied citrus peel works fabulous.



IMG_2133 IMG_2134

Third Anniversary

Yesterday was our third anniversary.  We had a lovely evening at the Bachelor Farmer.  It was a wonderful restaurant!  I had been wanting to go there for probably a year.  I made reservations three weeks in advance for a Wednesday night, and I still didn’t get my first choice of time.  All that being said, the food was amazing.  The wine was delicious.  The decor is so Minnesota, it is hilarious but still classy.  It isn’t a cheap date, but well worth it.

I am going to try and recreate their beet (yes beet) tartar on Easter.  I will post pictures if it is successful.



Long time no see…

So it has been about a year since I last posted.  I no longer have any readership; however, I am going to try my best to start blogging again.  A lot has changed in the last year.  I am a doctoral student at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.  Lucy is big now.  Seriously, I can’t believe how big she has gotten.

I still love baking, but I have had to cut down on it for a number of reasons: I am in school; eating cakes all the time is not good for one’s figure, the list could go on and on.  I will be back to posting recipes though.  I am on a health kick at the moment, so there will be more meals with lentils and whole grains than ever before!

In addition to recipes, I plan to do book reviews, posts about life as a doctoral student, posts about history, and whatever else I feel like I suppose.

My goal is two posts a week.  Wish me luck!