Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dinner - MAJOR FLOP and beautiful flowers - what a combo!

Ok...I tried something different.  I feel like I am cooking in a rut....if you have read this blog you see how I don't like that.  Also - when everyone is running around and need to eat at different times, dinners get tougher and tougher.  So, I tried something new....

Nacho night.  Sounds good right...NOOOOOO!  Partly because I feel like I need to make things healthy, so I use baked chips. BIG NOOOO in nacho world.  I tried not to use minimal cheese to keep things healthy.  Another BIG NOOOOO in nacho world.  UGHHHHHH.....

Going right to left on the extra stuff....guac, black beans (plain), salsa, sour cream (fat free), and queso sauce (fat free).  Oh well....again, I tried.  Cross another idea off the list.

To bring something good to the blog - here is a picture of some gorgeous daffodils I got from the education director at our temple.  I tell you...interesting things have been happening at temple.  We have this new education director and with that is coming a new and fresher culture.  Some people handle that well, some people don't.  And those that don't, aren't grateful for even the attempt to help their children.  All they want to do is yell and complain.  Why complain if you don't try to change things?!?!  Step up if you don't like something.  Complaining only adds negativity to the world and goodness knows there is enough of that in the world. So look at these flowers and remember the good that is out there and the good you can do......

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Restaurant review - Asian Noodle House Hoffman Estates, IL

On Man vs. Food (on the Travel Channel) there was a guy who finished a bowl of 5 pounds of pho in 10 minutes. Have you ever watched this show?  You see all these people finishing HUGE amounts of food in CRAZY short periods of time.  Don't ask me why we were watching it.  We happened upon it once and got hooked.  One of the few shows that whole family watches without someone stomping out of the room angry. Oh family...can't live with it, can't live without it.

Anyways, it got me stoked up for eating noodles.  I looked on Yelp (one of my favorite sites for finding places to eat) and found this place.  Great website = had to go there. Off we went, kids in tow to find the Asian Noodle House in Hoffman Estates, IL.

We got there around 6p which was just in time.  This place fills up!  When we got there, we were the only caucacians - always a good sign when going to a ethnic restaurant.  The interior and exterior are nothing to write home about.  Plain, kind of run down.  The kids were a bit put off by this, but we kept encouraging them to hang in there and don't make decisions until you eat the food.  Luckily - we were right.

We ordered some hot tea.  It was brought to us in the same thick plastic cups that the water was served in.  Made it a bit tricky to drink it right away - too hot to handle.  Oh's more about the food.....

We ordered spring rolls and egg rolls to start with.  The egg rolls were ok, not worthy of a picture...but the spring rolls were very good.  They had thin rice noodles, lettuce, carrots and shrimp in them.  Cute presentation, but this picture doesn't how the chips and discolorations of the "boat".
I had braised noodles with BBQ pork and shrimp dumplings.  The dumplings were so nice and light. I love when the wrappers are almost paper thin. The noodle dish was delicious, though there was a slight seafood/fishy flavor to the noodles.  Not enough to go yuck, enough to go hummmm.  It went well with the sweet BBQ pork.  Everything was served on the thick plastic blue and white dishware. Fine....
One of our daughters had chicken fried rice - no vegis (this is her favorite go to dish).  She didn't like it because the chicken was dark meat.  We all ate it instead.  I thought it was good.  My husband had a soup that was just like my dish, but in a broth.  He said it was good....not full of flavor like he had had at other noodle places.

My husband ordered shrimp udon for our other daughter.  WOW....great thick, chewy noodles!!  See good. And the flavor rocked!!  HUGE portion too....had left over - yeah!
Our son had chicken with thick noodles.  It wasn't on the menu - all that was on there was beef and thick noodles, but they did it with chicken when we asked.  His was delicious too!  Thick rice noodles.  Again huge portions with left overs.

We will be going back here.  The prices were VERY affordable.  The service was excellent - we never will leave with an empty water glass - a fancy place like Flemings (see restaurant review) can learn from a small place like this.

Monday, March 5, 2012


This is a great event for foodies.  The food and drinks are abundant with a wonderful variety from different restaurants and vendors.  I have gone for the past few years and I look forward to this event every year.  I have had everything from steak to sushi to cookies to sliders to cheesecake to shrimp to gumbo...bloody mary's, blueberry martinis, watermelon mojitoes....everything.  And not to even mention that the money goes to a very special organization.  Come on is a fun night for all!!!

You can order tickets online through

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Dinner - Greek pork chops and Girl and the Goat Magic Beans

I saw Stephanie Izard on TV making her famous Magic Beans.  She is the only female Top Chef winner.  She has a restaurant in Chicago called Girl and the Goat.  We have been there, but we weren't crazy about it....I think we need to try it again.  Maybe we were there too early from when they opened, or maybe we were just there on an off night.  I am willing to try it again.  Anyways, she has making her green beans on the show and they looked so good, I went to her website.  She has a bunch of recipes there.  I will definitely be making other recipes from her website, but tonight I made her Magic Beans.

Here is her recipe - I find it a bit confusing the way it is written.  I will make notes on her recipe if I think it may help to clarify it....

green beans (2 lbs)
4 fl oz. oil
shallots (I realized I forgot to buy these, so I had some dried minced onion in my pantry.  I hydrated it in some warm water and used it instead of the shallots)
green bean dressing
cashews (or another nut if you prefer a different one - I didn't use any but I think it would have been great)

green bean dressing
yields 2 cups

4 oz. lemon juice (I used 2 lemons, but that didn't equal 4 oz of juice - need at least 4 lemons)
5 oz. fish sauce (in the oriental cooking area of your grocery store)
2 ½ oz. soy
1 tablespoon dijon
3/4 teaspoon sriracha (usually in the oriental cooking section of your grocery store - great pantry keeper)
1/3 oz cloves garlic (I used 4 gloves of garlic)

combine lemon juice, fish sauce, soy, dijon and sriracha. transfer to blender, add garlic and emulsify with oil.  (It never really go creamy like a aioli...but it was a thicker sauce)
yield: 1 cup

1/3 cup green bean dressing (from above)
1 cup mayonnaise
whisk together (I did this, but don't really see a need to add this step....just adds fat)


1. heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan.
2. add green beans and some sliced shallots for flavor.
3. add enough vinaigrette to coat the green beans. let steam.
4. add a handful or two of cashews for flavor. season with salt.
5. transfer to serving dish & drizzle with aioli (I would just drizzle some more vinegarette on it).
6. serve hot.

My whole family liked is spicy and salty with the crunch of the green bean. I think the cashews would have added a nice texture, but my husband can't eat nuts, so I didn't add them.  I think it would have made it a even better.  A vegetable dish that all the kids will eat is amazing!  I will for sure be making these again.

I also made greek pork chops that I got at Dorfler's (butcher near the house).  My grill outside was out of commission (the crazy winds we have had lately blew over my bbq....not kidding!!!  Blew it off the deck (about 8 feet distance) and onto the ground), so I browned them on the grill pan on the stove and then put them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  They are quite this whole meal was quite salty....but yummy and great together - and with a glass of Riesling wine...great supper!!