Friday, December 28, 2012

O' Christmas Tree

The tree in the famous Walnut Room at Macy's.
This is the fifth year I've lived in Chicagoland during Christmastime and the first year I've been able to dine in the Walnut Room at Macy's. 2012 marks the 105th year that Macy's, formerly Marshall Fields, has had a tree in the Walnut Room. People flock here at this time of year to dine and, hopefully, get seated under the tree.

I've been here before to see the 45 foot tree, its 1,200 ornamaments and 25,000 lights but the long dining wait has always eluded me from staying - but today we planned ahead. Joe and I had tickets to see War Horse (amazing show!) so we came early and waited at Macy's to dine. To give you an idea, we showed up at 11:15 am and our seating time was for 12:30. Then at 12:30 we were able to get in another line for 15-20 minutes before actually getting a table.

I may not have the patience to do this every year but it is a Chicago tradition that you should experience at least once.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Joe and I spent a couple days in Missouri to celebrate Christmas with my family.

I think part of being an aunt is buying all the girly stuff you really wish you had.

Aunt Amy & Uncle Joe also bought the girls new suitcases. Brylea was obsessed with pulling hers around the house and putting all of her valuables inside - like her sippy cup.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


We have very few holiday traditions (okay, almost none, unless you count putting up our Christmas tree) but I've always wanted us to spend an evening driving around looking at lights. Unfortunately, I know very few "must see" places in the area but thank goodness for the internet. With a little searching, we found a few destination spots and set out tonight to find them. We found two houses that had their lights blinking in tune to music. Just pull up, find the radio station and watch the show. My favorite house was featured here in the Wall Street Journal - amazing! And then we also found a house that had what seemed like, approximately, 300 yard ornaments - wow! So wrong but so fun to see. I'm hoping this can be a new tradition for us.

One of the many houses we saw on our "Christmas light" drive.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Our weekend

After spending three weekends in a row out of town, I was so glad to have this weekend at home and free to just catch, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry. But despite our "to do" list we still managed to fit in some other fun plans, too, like a concert, a movie (Lincoln) and lunch at a favorite restaurant. And, while I still maintain that it doesn't seem like Christmastime (Global warming, anyone? I'm driving with my windows down and wearing short sleeves today.) I have still managed to finish almost all of my Christmas shopping with just a few minor things left. Last night I wrapped gifts, today we decorated our tree and I just finished addressing the last of my Christmas cards. Yes, it doesn't "seem" like Christmastime but I know it is...and I'm ready!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Lentil soup

I have had my eye on a lentil soup recipe for awhile and, finally, made it this weekend. It took a trip to the bulk bins at Whole Foods to find some of the ingredients but I'm not complaining. I will gladly accept any excuse (or recipe) that takes me to Whole Foods.

Lentil Soup

1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, diced fine
1 large carrot, diced
1 1/2 cups lentils, washed
56 oz veggie stock
2-14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (fire roasted)
Olive oil
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup amaranth
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup quinoa
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried ground marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Heat stock pot on medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrot to post, cooking until onion is soft but not brown, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the balsamic vinegar) to the pot and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and simmer on stove for 1 hour. When the soup is finished add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, stir and serve.

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