Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beer Under Glass

Some of our food & beer relaxing on the lawn
 I love craft beer. 
I love Chicago's Craft Beer Week. I love tasting new beers while enjoying delicious food samples and looking at beautiful plants. That basically sums up the event Chris & I attended last week!
Beer Under Glass (held at the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory, is the annual kick off to Chicago's Craft Beer Week and is just a blast!
Delicious beer- beautiful flower
 We tried a ton of great beer, our favorite (or at least my favorite) was from Haymarket Brewery ( Their Mathias Imperial IPA is a total mouth full & packs a punch at 10% alcohol by volume! They represented with delicious food too- kielbasa & bratwurst pictured above are both from Haymarket.
Even cacti like beer
The food competes with the beer for my attention every time we attend a tasting.....I guess I just really like to eat! City Provisions ( informed me in a facebook post that they were pulling 45 pounds of pork for the amazing sliders they provided. It made me so happy to know what they were bringing- because everything I've had from their deli has been great. The sliders were my favorite food at the event! A dill pickle slice, cole slaw & perfectly prepared pulled pork on a soft roll. They are not included in the photo above - Chris & I both ate them standing up immediately after we got them!

If you want more info about Chicago Craft Beer Week (still going's actually so awesome it stretches into a week & a half!) visit There are so many fun events with outstanding beers - how am I supposed to find the time to do it all?!?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I love salted caramel anything as of late.
I was wandering around Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and came across a recipe for Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars and I knew I needed to try it! You can find the recipe here;

I baked these for the first time while visiting my in laws in the Philadelphia area and they were a big hit!

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

My only 2 issues with my effort on this recipe were: 1. I didn't use a coarse enough sea salt- so there wasn't that chunky salt feeling when I ate the bars (which clearly I ate my fair share!). I personally love the chunky salt feeling when eating anything with salted caramel. The 2nd problem I had was that the bars were SO goopy after cooling for a couple of hours. They were still delicious, but messy and required a plate & fork. Good to know: they were PERFECT the next morning.

I love anything you can make ahead- it makes life so much easier. This is a perfect "make ahead" dessert, because is was way better after it had 12+ hours to cool.
My sister made the recipe too, she added oats & said it turned out really well- so it is also clearly a recipe you can get creative with..............which I think makes it even better.

Let me know if you try this recipe - for your in laws- or anyone else!

Spring Pasta... with a side of relaxation!

I love to try new recipes.
I found this totally easy one on Food & Wine's website; After a jam packed weekend, all I wanted to do was head home & cook a meal for the two of us!
We have been so busy with travel, throwing parties in our home, and special events that I have not cooked us a "real" meal just for us in over 2 weeks. That is WAY too long!! (All of those things probably also contribute to my lack of blog posts!)

This recipe is perfect for a spring dinner although I did make a few changes:
I added chicken (to make the meal more substantial)
I substituted dried sage for the fresh (because I didn't have fresh :)
I omitted the butter (because I didn't think it needed it with the richness of the half & half)
I substituted half & half for the cream (because it is what I had in the fridge)
I substituted roasted garlic infused olive oil for the fresh garlic (because I didn't have any garlic in the house!)
Even with those adjustments it turned out really well.

Chris loved it- he is pretty darn complimentary of whatever I cook though- so maybe I should take his compliments with a grain of salt :) ? Even if I deem a dish a failure, Chris will typically thank me for making it & eat it anyway. Often he ends up telling me he thinks my failures are good! I sure do love that about him.

Cooking for the two of us is all about slowing down the pace of our lives. I like to be busy, to have a full plate, to plan & attend parties, etc- but I do love the aftermath- that blissful moment when you realize you have a few hours ahead of you with nothing you need to do and no where you need to go. Except to make dinner and enjoy it  at home with your husband.

I hope you have a chance to try this recipe out- or do what I did & take your own riff on it! Let me know in the comments if you try it!