It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

WINTER IS ALMOST OVER. I can’t really complain, since we’ve barely had winter in the Chicago area. I’ve done quite a bit of cooking in the past few months and I’ve seen lots of family. One of my most awesome Christmas presents (from my awesome sister) was a seal-a-meal foodsaver. When we stocked up on meat in January, Matt and I used that sucker until it almost overheated. You start out with a ton of meat (TL), pick one to start separating into meal sized servings (TR), weigh it to make sure it’s even (CR), seal it up (BR), and stick it in the freezer with the date frozen and the weight written on the bag. You don’t want to forget what you have or when you got it, or you’ll end up with awful freezer burned meat that you find in a year.

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I’ve also spent quite a bit of time cooking (as usual). I made a copy-cat Pequod‘s recipe, but used a mixture of canned crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce seasoned up instead of the one in the recipe. Pequod’s Pizza is a Chicago based restaurant that intentionally caramelizes the cheese along the crust. AMAZING. The copy-cat (TL) turned out pretty freaking great! I made copy-cat Pizza Hut bread sticks too (TR) (I love many of the brown-eyed baker recipes). I made healthy(?) banana bread (no sugar, just honey)(CR). This easy crusty french bread, which I’ve now made twice and has turned out awesome (BL)! I definitely recommend the dutch oven method of bread making mentioned in the recipe. I made steak with very tasty Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Cranberries (BC). And I ate (didn’t make) this freaking awesome Superbowl Pie with friends from Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits (BR).

image2The last thing I made was Paczki. Better this year than last! Here are photos of Brown Eyed Baker’s step by step. I’ve added Spiritus which really brought them up a notch:

Paczki 2.2017

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We celebrated Mardi Gras with the Paczki (bottom) and Jambalaya (TR) made by Matt. We then celebrated on Fat Tuesday at Empirical (our favorite neighborhood place). They are opening a BrewPub in Rogers Park and had the chef of the new place cook up a crawfish boil (TL)! It was my first time eating them and it was such a fun time.

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See? I told you I’ve been eating a ton this winter. Luckily, I balanced it out by completing a 28 day yoga challenge (I upped it from 21 days) through Yogadownload.com, which meant I did a yoga practice everyday in February. I felt great and hit some poses I didn’t think I’d get. I also went to a 15 hour continuing education training on trauma informed yoga, which was great. This is the only training I’ve ever been to where lounging about comfortably and coloring was encouraged.

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I went to support my mom at JJC’s production of Hair, which was so good! My mom is seriously one of the most talented ladies. Her  set design, in particular, was very cool.

Hair 3.4.17.1

Mom, Sarah and I went and saw Sweeney Todd at the Paramount with our season tickets. That was such a well done show. I LOVED IT. Really great casting. I’m so excited for Jesus Christ Superstar in May. The other cool thing about this theater (which I’ve talked about in previous posts) is that they do themed beverages with each show. This one was blood red and fun.

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We celebrated Dante and Marlin’s wedding at the beginning of January (cousins of Matt).

Dante and Marlen Wedding 1.7.17

We celebrated Nola and Kenzie’s 3rd birthdays, Jill’s 11th birthday, and Emma’s first birthday.

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I celebrated Emily’s birthday when we went to get pedis and brunch:

Emily's Birthday 3.2017

I spent time with these awesome chicks and Kaelie:

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I exercised my right to protest with one of my good friends, Annette, at the women’s march on Chicago in January. Because I care about basic human rights in this country.

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I felt so rejuvenated to see so much support surrounding these issues at the march!

Oh right, and then Matt and I got engaged. 🙂 He was planning on proposing on the day of the march, but decided against it since I was out to “smash the patriarchy” as he called it.

image9Instead, we took a lovely walk at the West Ridge Forest Preserve (mentioned in my last post) the day after the march. We took a break at a gorgeous space in the preserve and he asked me to marry him. I, of course, laughed for an inappropriate amount of time but eventually said yes. We are getting married in September! So excited. AND all of my bridesmaids and flower girls said yes to standing up in our wedding (even though I mailed them all just about the most embarrassing pictures of us that I could find). I’m so excited to start this next step of life’s journey with my partner. I love you so much, Matt.

Happy spring,

Amanda

 

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