On Shallots and Only What Matters

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Did I ever tell you about the time I cried while cutting a shallot?

I took a cooking class in the Latin Quarter of Paris last September (Le Foodist, highly recommend it) and in group classes like that, everyone has a multiple jobs. I stirred the custard for the homemade French vanilla bean ice cream every 4 minutes, balled turnips, diced herbs and, among other things, I cut the shallots.

Chef Fred demonstrated the proper technique and I got to work. I took a breath and could smell the sweet soft scent of this onion-like bulb with every pass of my knife. Methodical, sensory, cut, slide, smell, feel. I felt myself tear up and be on the verge of a legit cry. I was in a kitchen in a foreign land, cutting a shallot, preparing a meal with strangers, learning new things and I realized it was the first time in too long that I let myself feel something just for the sake of feeling it. I was inspired and deep in my gut happy, ready to cry in public.

That day in that Parisian kitchen was on to something.

I don’t think I need to actually cry in public (all that frequently at least) but there’s something to zeroing in on all of the things that matter, the goals at hand and releasing everything else that I want to remember about that day.

To carrying with me only what matters.

I love this photo because a gorilla could have been strangling me and I would still have been stirring and smiling and drinking wine- absolutely nothing was going to phase me that day. My intention is that 2016 being more of that kind of joyful, present, grounded, inspired living.

To only what matters.


National Donut Day

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I think we’re all pretty clear here on my great love for donuts, right? Well, it’s National Donut Day tomorrow so I thought it was important to give you the heads up so you could plan accordingly.

Here is a list of national chains doing special deals (free donut with coffee at Dunkin’!).

Here, again, is the list of Best Donuts in America. If you’re in one of these cities, make it happen and report back (I’m looking at you, Minneapolis and Brooklyn).

I don’t know of any specials in Chicago but Do-Rite Donuts and Dinkel’s are my current favs.

Fun fact: the first Donut Day was in Chicago in 1938 as a fundraiser to help people suffering during the Great Depression.

And as my Dad and I always say, “You know what’s better than going to get a donut? Going and getting a box of donuts.”

My work here is done.

(Image taken at Dandee Donuts in Fort Lauderdale, FL- the first stop after my parents pick me up from the airport)

On Cake Tasting

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Why, why, why when people talked about wedding planning, no one talks about cake tasting? After a few rounds of mixing and matching carrot, coconut and vanilla bean cake with salted caramel, raspberry, Kahlua and cream cheese butter cream and chocolate ganache, it’s all I am going to talk about.

Oh, you’re getting married?

I went cake tasting!

When is the big day??

Cake tasting! Let me tell you!

We’re only one session into our pre-marital counseling but I bet session 2 is all about how cake tasting is the single best thing you can do for your marriage. Because, well, cake.

It was such a fun way to spend some time. And to have my parents there to partake in the aforementioned sugary glory, in the most darling cake themed place ever? Best. Day. Ever.

This message was brought to you by the opposite of clean eating and GP’s cookbook…all about balance, folks.


Perfect Saturday

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It’s mid-October and 70 degrees outside today. Chicagoans, now is the time to spend all day outside- go for walks, run on the lake, maybe do some day drinking in a beer garden- and tuck this day away in the memory bank to bring out when it’s frigid in February. Winter is coming but it ain’t here today. Today is perfect.

Happy Saturday, friends.