Friday, June 25, 2010

Our day off

Joe and I had a lot of fun today taking the Chicago Film Tour. We were able to see all sorts of famous movie landmarks and other not-so-famous movie landmarks that were just as interesting. We saw clips of many movie scenes while on the tour that I had no idea took place in Chicago or I had forgotten the specifics. We also saw Hugh Hefner's original Playboy mansion and I particularly enjoyed the drive by Oz Park - I must get back there sometime! And while we were out and about, we also saw film crews set up to shoot scenes for Vince Vaughn's new movie. I would recommend this tour for any movie buff.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can't stop laughing

I asked Joe what he thought my sister should name her baby and here is the response I got over email:

  • Kingsley
  • Amos
  • Jefferson
  • Beowulf
  • Blanket
  • Hot Jazz
  • Anne

P.S. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Who knew?

I gave Joe a bonsai for his MBA graduation gift. Since then we have probably not given it all the TLC it has deserved aside from watering it every couple of days. Tuesday, I finally found a cute little table for it to sit on outside (it's the outdoors-type) and by Wednesday we noticed many of it's little green needles were turning brown. Yesterday I went out in a downpour to a local greenhouse to buy plant food. They guy who owned the greenhouse seemed dumbfounded about giving me bonsai advice but he offered me a handful of food for our tree. I went home and sprinkled some on the top of the soil and then watered it again. I have no idea if I was helping the bonsai or really just leading it to an early death. Today even more brown needles. I called the arboretum to see if I could bring it in to their plant clinic (which should have been my first plan of action) and they told me they don't do bonsai's but there is a bonsai society in our area. Some more research and I found out the society meets monthly where Joe works...and now he has sent out calls for help. I am not sure if anything can help our little, tiny three year old bonsai. For now, I am just holding my breath.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Company is calling!

I have had little opportunity to cook lately so when I found out our friend, Alex was going to be in town, I decided the best place for dinner was our place. I turned to the Barefoot Contessa for some help and found a recipe for chicken with morels. This French dinner was a nice departure from what we usually eat during the week - frozen pizza. Below is the recipe.

1 ounce dried morels, soaked for 30 min in 3 cups of very hot water (I made the mistake of grabbing the package without looking at the price...afterall, how expensive can an ounce of mushrooms really be? Gasp!)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup clarified butter
1/3 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup creme fraiche
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid. Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off excess. Heat half the clarified butter in a large saute pan and cook the chicken in 2 batches over medium-low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof dish.

Add the rest of the clarified butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring constantly. Pour the madeira into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the creme fraiche, cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday love

This marks the first weekend in a month where Joe and I have both been at home with nothing to do and nowhere to be - I love it! I also love that Joe has Fridays off during the summer which makes for even more fun around here (never mind that he is usually working anyway). I am currently working on cleaning the house and doing laundry but before that we have had a very leisurely weekend. We have gone to a movie, out to lunch a couple times, biked at one of the beautiful forest preserves in the area, taken several walks with the dogs, done some shopping, enjoyed a wonderful church service and I have made some amazing Rick Bayless guacamole and enchiladas. (Yes, I even made my own sauce!) Despite all the rain, it's been a great weekend! Happy Father's Day to all the dads, including my own.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wedding bliss

Joe and I went to St. Louis over the weekend to celebrate with Dorian and Eddie at their wedding and reception. It was truly a beautiful event and we had a wonderful time seeing old friends and getting to know new ones.

P.S. If you have never eaten chicken modiga you really should; I am still daydreaming about it.

Dorian and Eddie enjoying their first dance together.
Monica, Dorian and Amy

Bridesmaid Revisited

I sort of consider myself an unofficial wedding expert. Aside from having had my own wedding and having attended numerous weddings as a guest, I have also had lots of wedding "jobs" (flower girl, reader, guest book attendant, reception attendant, etc) and I have also been a bridesmaid many times. So I thought in honor of Dorian's wedding, I would take a trip down memory lane...ala evolution of a bridesmaid.

As I looked through these old pictures, I was reminded of many different things. The dresses, the hairstyles, the bachelorette parties and showers, the receptions, the toasts, the celebrating...but most of all, the friendships.

That's me in the middle. I was just 20 years old in this picture. My big, curly updo rocked.

I remember having a horrible cold the day of this wedding and have a bright red nose in some of the pictures to prove it.
I am not so good with dates but I think I was 25 or 26 here.

My sister's wedding...I lost weight right before the wedding and had to have my dress made over again. We also didn't have any more of the original fabric so we had to hunt for it...oops.

I picked out my own dress a couple weeks before the wedding (and actually wore it a second time for an event a few weeks later!) and fixed my own hair (I'm telling you so you can be impressed). It was a beautiful outdoor wedding!

 The bride and I were both engaged and planning our own weddings at the same time which was so much fun.

P.S. Do you know how almost impossible it was for me to even find these pictures? I have moved at least six times since some of them were taken and let's just say I know there are probably many more in boxes I can't even locate.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Soon-to-be big sister

My niece Adyson will have a new baby sister next month so last night she went to the hospital for a siblings class. She got to visit the hospital and had her very own "baby" to take care of while she was there. Apparently, she was more interested in the doll than the real babies.

Paid off

I will try not to make a habit out of this but I have had several people ask how I did on my paper that I was chained to over Memorial Day weekend. Well I got my grades today and I received an A in the class! (And an A in the other class which means my other paper/group project also must have went well.) What a relief!! Guess it makes the time I put into it all worthwhile. Sigh.

Monday, June 07, 2010


My husband is a self-proclaimed "theatre guy." His mother had him listening to all the great sounds of Broadway from a young age. So when I heard Liza Minnelli was coming to town on Sunday night, I knew immediately it would be a must-see show for us. The funny thing is that when Joe told people he was going to the show, some people started offering their condolences and telling him what a great husband he was and I how I really owed him big-time. Um, this show? These tickets? All for Joe. :)

Now here's my confession - I only knew a couple of her songs last night. While Joe knew everything she sang, my biggest point of reference for Liza is that she had a regular role in one of my favorite television shows - Arrested Development. Nevertheless, I did enjoy her star quality and the chance to sing-a-long to the songs I did know. And for all you Sex and the City fans - no, she didn't sing "Single Ladies."


Kamilah, Amy & Monica

Saturday Kamilah and I drove about two and a half hours to Indiana for a celebration of sorts. It was Trinity's birthday, Monica & Trinity's engagement party and Monica & Trinity's going away party before they move to Atlanta where Monica will start her reproductive endocrinology fellowship and Trinity will start law school. We celebrated at Trinity's dad's lake house and had so much fun boating and reminicing.

Busy schedules haven't allowed Monica and I to spend a ton of time together since I have moved here but it has been such a comfort from day 1 to know that I had a close friend just a few miles away. I am really going to miss her but am so very proud of her and all of her accomplishments. Knock 'em dead in ATL, Monica!

designed by