• Favorite Things,  Food

    Make This Pie Recipe And Your Family Will Love You Even More.

    I posted a picture of what was happening in my kitchen on Instagram this morning. The caption: There are very few holiday traditions I care about, but on Thanksgiving I make pumpkin pie for everyone else and my mother-in-law’s pineapple cream cheese pie for myself. (Okay, I share a little.) This pie is to die for. My mother-in-law has made it for Thanksgiving far longer than I’ve been married to Jim, and on the rare Thanksgivings when we aren’t all together, I make sure to get my butt into the kitchen to bake one. It’s my favorite homemade pie. I got her permission to share the recipe (yay for YOU!),…

  • Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut and Sometimes You Need to Learn How to Share.

    I received some devastating news on Saturday*: my twenty one-year-old son said that he enjoys an Almond Joy candy bar now and then. DEVASTATING*. I thought I was the only one in the family who consumed Almond Joy bars. I mean, I have enjoyed the heck out of grabbing the fun-sized Almond Joys out of the boys’ trick-or-treat bags after they spent Halloween night ringing doorbells for sweets, because they ranked Almond Joy down there with Circus Peanuts and Whoppers. I’ve loved buying the occasional Almond Joy and leaving it on the counter where it would stay untouched until I was ready to eat it. Making sure that Almond Joys…

  • Food,  My Sister Has Mad Skillz,  Pretty Pictures

    Fruitastic Salad 2.0

    Knowing what you know about me regarding my control freak tendencies, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I am tremendously more comfortable following recipes to the letter than I am experimenting with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I’m certain that’s why I enjoy baking more than cooking elaborate meals that leave lots of room for improvisation. My sister, while definitely knowing what she wants, when and how she wants it, is more laid-back than I. She is not only an excellent baker but also a tremendous cook when it comes to all dishes. A few years ago she brought what she called “Fruitastic Salad”…

  • Food,  Friends,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    New Food Swap Book! (Get it.)

    Local food swaps have become a thing. What are they? Well, they’re all a little different but the basic idea is that a bunch of people from one community come together to trade homegrown or homemade items. After everyone arrives, time is spent walking around, checking out what everyone brought (and sometimes sampling), and then when it’s time to swap there’s a negotiating frenzy. Typically everyone goes home with a bag (or box) full of goodies, extremely happy about trying some new things. My friends Emily Paster and Vanessa Druckman created the Chicago Food Swap a few years ago; the first one was held in December 2011. I was able…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Food,  Friends,  Travels

    That Voodoo That You Do (or, Big Bucket of Donuts)

    I’m currently in Austin, Texas for work (we’re here to do a site visit for #BlogHerFood16, which happens in October and have you registered yet because Earlybird pricing ends 3/31!). It’s a whirlwind trip and sadly, I had to tell several friends and two relatives that I just couldn’t make any plans to meet up this time (argghhhhh). Liz and Brandi (my social media team partner, or PARDNER as they say in Texas…don’t they?) and I arrived at the Austin airport within minutes of each other, which was a pretty cool thing considering we were coming from New Jersey, California, and Illinois. We took a cab to the hotel, checked…

  • Family Fun,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Travels

    Like Food, Drinks, Fun, and Shopping? Go To Rosemont!

    If you know me at all, you know that I don’t hesitate when offered a chance to travel somewhere and spend a night in a hotel room, even if it’s close to my house. That’s why, when the Village of Rosemont in conjunction with the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, recently invited me to do just that, I responded within seconds of reading the email. Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary accommodations, food, and drink during our overnighter. I’m sharing my own experience here, and all opinions and photos are mine. Rosemont, which is only 2.5 square miles in size, is located about twenty-five minutes away from my house (and thirty…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Food,  Friends

    Candy Girl

    Over the weekend while at a candy store I came across some Spree candy in a bulk container and paused for a moment. I hadn’t enjoyed Sprees in years, as in “I can’t REMEMBER the last time I enjoyed Sprees but I think it may have been the early eighties”. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember what they tasted like other than my childhood. After standing there for a moment staring at the colorful disks, I reached for the scoop to put some in one of those “fill-your-own” buckets. When I was six or seven, I attended the birthday party of my cousin, who’s just a year older. My aunt came…

  • Family Fun,  Food,  Jew Stuff

    It’s Like Groundhog Day, But On Christmas.

    Same thing, different year! The Wells family will continue our Christmas tradition of going to see a movie and dinner prepared by Jim. (We’re having Green Curry Chicken, which is Thai and not Chinese, but still Asian. Close enough.) Our movie? The new “Star Wars” flick. FINALLY. Thank YOU, internet, for not posting any spoilers. This has to be a new record because I totally expected to know what I was getting into more than a week ago. I can’t wait to see this movie, spoiler-free! Besides that? Well, you know: Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating!

  • Childhood Memories,  Food,  I'm Apparently Old.,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    Jell-O Times Two.

    Until the last six months or so since my mom started trying to minimize, we have always known that if we’re looking for something from our growing-up years, she’s likely got it. It’s for that reason that when we come for a visit, we usually find long-forgotten things either by accident or, if mom finds something she wants us to take home, left on the dresser of the room in which we sleep. I was tickled on this visit to find a short stack of old report cards, a program from an elementary school play, and a collaborative recipe book made by my kindergarten class on that dresser. The recipe…

  • Confessions,  Food

    Food Coma.

    It’s Thanksgiving, and my title says it all. I’ll be back tomorrow; I’m taking a Free Pass today for NaBloPoMo because I don’t think I can stay awake long enough to