• Blessings,  Food

    Enjoying the Ritual

    One of the things I’m known for is the ability to be highly productive. I may procrastinate like nobody’s business, but typically I don’t let most people see me sweat. I’m excellent with deadlines and lists, and I like to think I multi-task fairly well, even though the truth is that nobody really multi-tasks well. It’s been about a year and a half since I worked full time (plus more, with the Listen To Your Mother show). I’m freelancing right now and contracted with a hospital in Ohio on a very part-time basis. Oddly enough, my productivity has suffered. Actually, it’s not odd to me: I have known the truth…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Pretty Pictures

    Let Me Be Frank.

    Yesterday I wrote about how more isn’t always better and how, although I miss Chicago immensely, I really do have everything I need in Knoxville. Then we took my parents to Portillo’s for lunch today because there was NO FREAKING WAY that I was going to be in the area for two full days and not go to Portillo’s, Thanksgiving or not. I decided that the answer to the question with which I ended yesterday’s post, “Who could ask for more?” is “Me, and I’d like a Knoxville Portillo’s, please.” THEN I’ll have everything I need.  

  • Food,  Fun in Knoxville,  Travels

    Getting To Know Knoxville With East TN Tours

    I generally have a very easy time making friends. I love meeting new people and can strike up a conversation with just about anybody. That said, I was a little concerned, before we made the move from the Chicago suburbs to Knoxville, about making new friends. I have a couple of old high school friends here and several of my blogging friends hooked me up with a fantastic person who used to blog (but doesn’t anymore). Beyond that, I wondered how I’d do. The boys are grown and out of the house so I don’t have the benefit of meeting people via being a room mom or scouts. I work…

  • Food,  Friends

    Let’s Make a #HousefulOfCookies!

    Today I’m participating in the #HousefulOfCookies blog hop, hosted by my friend Natasha of Houseful of Nicholes. You can follow the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to find the recipes that have been posted so far, or if you like to make your life a little easier you can just go to Natasha’s post that lists everyone’s cookies and links. Today I am delighted to share one of my favorite holiday cookies (both to make and to eat), Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Drops. The recipe is by Nestlé. I started making these cookies more than twenty years ago and their biggest fan in our family is my older son, Dylan.…

  • 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!),…

  • 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…

  • Childhood Memories,  Food,  How To

    Easy Dinner Idea: Petros! (You’re Welcome.)

    When I was a teenager, I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for a few years. The reason we moved there was so my dad could manage a Holiday Inn just up the hill (literally) from the University of Tennessee campus and a nice walk from the 1982 World’s Fair site. This was the same hotel where my sister and I were friendly enough with the guy who came in weekly to collect the quarters from the video games in the arcade that he would set up the machines with hours worth of free play for us. We got season’s passes to the World’s Fair that summer and often rode in to…

  • Food

    The $250 Neiman Marcus Mrs. Fields Cookie Recipe

    I have a thing for chocolate chips. It’s a big joke around here that I get nervous when I discover that I’ve run out of them. Actually, it’s no joke. My go-to recipes when I feel like baking are chocolate chip banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. I was raised on chocolate chip pancakes, and I raised my kids on chocolate chip pancakes. Homemade chocolate chip ice cream? Yum. Adding chocolate chips to store-bought vanilla ice cream? Nearly as good because chocolate chips. After dinner I’ll occasionally grab a little handful of chocolate chips to satisfy a sweet tooth. One of my favorite episodes of “Friends”? The one where Monica…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Travels

    Chef’s Tasting at Rural Society: So Decadent!

    The last time I visited the new-ish Loews Chicago hotel in the Streeterville neighborhood, I was with Liz and her middle daughter and we were too busy with the sightseeing to enjoy a meal at Rural Society, their Argentinian steakhouse. It was a bummer but I made a promise to myself that I’d get back there as soon as I could, to try it out. As it turned out, it happened even sooner than I thought it would! The kind people at Loews Chicago wanted me to come back too, so they offered to treat Jim and me to a Chef’s Tasting. Naturally I said yes. (You would, too!) I…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Food

    Create Your Taste At McDonald’s!

    If you’ve been reading Suburban Scrawl for a while, you may recall that I have a special place in my heart for the McDonald’s brand. My first job was at McDonald’s and for two years I worked at the brand new location just steps away from my high school, with many of my friends. We had a BLAST. One of the benefits of working there was the food, obviously. Break time was easy because the food was RIGHT THERE. I have always loved the traditional menu but back then we would create our own custom creations, too, to mix things up. We would make sloppy joes with chopped up burger…