Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When life gives you lemons, make a lemon buttermilk cake

My work has been incredibly busy lately - we are currently in the middle of a campaign, in addition to fundraising for our annual fund. In this economic climate, it's been certainly interesting. My organization - a conservation nonprofit - is also currently undergoing a strategic planning process, which adds yet another layer of work. And did I mention my development staff consists of me, 1 full-time person and 1 part-time person?

My respite is my baking. This weekend, I made Cooking Light's Glazed Lemon Buttermilk Cake. It's a fairly simple recipe and always gets big wows.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Give and get?

This has been an interesting week - really busy and things not exactly going my way. As I left work today, it was starting to rain lightly.

Waiting for the light to change at State and Washington, I reached into my wallet and handed a dollar to the homeless man asking for change. He said, "thank you," and I nodded. It made me feel a little better, so I handed out two more dollars out on my way to the el.

I picked up my son from my friend's house, where we share a nanny. As Little Man and I crawled home in Chicago's rush hour on the Kennedy. I caught flashing lights in my rearview mirror. Oh rats, did a cop catch me looking at my phone for messages? But then all of sudden, I saw more and more flashing lights - the cops were ordering cars over to the side of the expressway. Then I remembered - President Obama was in town for a fundraiser. Sure enough, the motorcade passed us - what a sight - 50 vehicles or more, emergency vehicles, lights flashing, sirens blaring. Big black SUVs - one surely carrying the President - passed. It was pouring by now - but I had the windows open for Little Man and me to see the action. Little Man was unimpressed, but I was so excited at this thrilling interruption in an otherwise okay week. What a cool gift to receive...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thought my husband might propose all over again

Mr. J has a thing for blueberries - it's his one and only favorite kind of pie, and he can eat them by the handful. With local blueberries on the horizon here in the Midwest, I tried this blueberries and cream ice cream recipe. It was fairly simple and it was hands-down the best thing to come out of my ice cream maker. Mr. J swooned, and Little Man actually used his "pleeze" when asking for seconds.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Little Man saves the day

My first post that does not involve food...Little Man woke up at 6 a.m. this fine Saturday morning. I am motivated to lose the last 10 pounds of baby love (and Little Man is 20 months old!), so I suited him and me up, threw him in the stroller and we went for a jog/walk while Mr. J snoozed. We ended up at the park, and I reasoned that running after a toddler on the playground is certainly exercise.

A 15 month old boy and his mom joined us on the swings. Little Man was curious, and the two did their toddler dance around one another and soon were darting after one another. The little one took off running and promptly fell. As his lip began to quiver, the little one looked at my Little Man, who ran over beside him and "fell" as well.

Are we born with empathy? Is it learned? As early as 20 months?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Curry in a hurry

Mr. J and I work full-time, so we are always look for fast weeknight dinners. This is not very kid-friendly, unless you ate a lot of Indian food while you were pregnant and your kid loves all kinds of spices: curry turkey burgers. We ate our burgers with an Asian slaw, recipe courtesy of my old roommate's mom:

Asian Slaw
For the dressing, whisk together:
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. white vinegar
a few drops of dark sesame oil
the seasoning packet from original ramen noodles

Combine dressing with one package of coleslaw mix and toasted slivered almonds. Break up ramen noodles and sprinkle on top.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Makes my toes curl

Yes, I'm talking about food...after a long day yesterday of crazy 2nd birthday fun at my friend's house, Mr. J, Little Man and I were "those guests" who wouldn't leave. We stuck around for dinner, and our friends introduced us to Cafe Orchid in Wrigleyville. Succulent, fresh, delicious...oh yogurt chicken, please be mine. I love that there are probably a million places like this tucked away in Chicago...little secrets yet to be discovered...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dinner with friends in high chairs

Tonight we had our family friends over for an early dinner. Their son is the same age as Little Man. Giada's Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs was a nice, light summer dinner when you're not in the mood to fire up the grill and is extremely kid-friendly - even for picky toddlers. Paired with a greens salad (from our friends' backyard garden), ciabatta bread and some white wine - perfect!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

About Me

I'm a thirty-something city dweller who is married to my best friend (Mr. J) and mommy to a feisty toddler (Little Man), who are the lights of my life.

As I proclaimed to my mom at the tender age of six, I love people. I'm a messy cook who loves entertaining friends and family, and I'm a professional fundraiser who thrives on connecting people with their passions. With Chicago as the backdrop, this blog chronicles the jelling of the stickiness of daily life with the sweetness of relationships.