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Entries in food (91)


Summer Guide 2013: Farmer's Markets in Chicago Western Suburbs

Fruit. Flowers. Veggies. Honey. Eggs straight from the farm. Here's our 2013 Guide to Farmers Markets in Chicago's far western suburbs. If you know of one that should be added to this list, please put it in the comments section. To market, to market you go!


* The Aurora Farmers Market West is being held on Wednesdays, starting July 10. It runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will close for the season Sept. 11. 

* The Aurora Farmers Market East is being held on Thursdays, starting July 11. It runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will close for the season Aug. 29.

Photo by ianmalcm on Flickr.

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Best-Kept Secret: Pie Boss in Aurora

First, I should make clear that I've never been a big fan of pot pies. Maybe because my earliest memory of one is the frozen Swanson's variety. Honestly, I actually don't like pie crust that much. When it comes to a dessert pie, I'm much more interested in the filling.

But it all changed for me when I discovered Pie Boss, which bills itself as a "new pie experience."

Pie Boss is located in Aurora at 1649 Montgomery Road, about two miles east of Phillips Park and about four miles east of downtown Aurora. Pie Boss creates individually-sized savory pies, with varieties including pepper steak, spicy chicken, cheeseburger pie, spicy chicken and two vegetarian options: Spicy mixed vegetable and spinach and feta.

They are amazing: The rich filling, the flaky crust. Consider me a convert!

The Pepper Steak Pie at Pie Boss in Aurora. Photo by Tara Burghart.

Pie Boss is owned by Tyreal Naidoo, who is originally from Durban, South Africa, although his family's roots are in India. He says the types of pies he makes are common in South Africa -- you'd see them as many of them in a mall food court as you would hamburgers. (That's probably related to the British influence in South Africa -- the Brits love their savory pies!)

You can tell Naidoo takes a lot of pride in his work. Everything is made from scratch and on the premises, which are bright and immaculately clean. The restaurant opened less than a year ago. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Naidoo says he's had customers drive out from Chicago and leave with a stack of pies for their freezers.

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Clutter to Calm: Meal Planning and a Recipe Binder

If there is anything busy parents need, it’s a “go-to” recipe for dinner every night. Ever since we started meal planning, and compiling a binder of our favorite recipes, it has made dinner time enjoyable.

The nice thing about having meals planned for the next seven days is that even if Monday is “Spaghetti Bake with Garlic Bread” and you don’t have a taste for that after a long day at work, you have six other meals to choose from AND you know you have all the ingredients on hand.

So every Sunday, I sit down with our recipe binder and take a look at new recipes, something we haven’t had in a while. I then take a very unofficial poll of the family members and ask “What do you have a taste for?”

I list out the days and note anything special going on each night and any nights that we might be eating out or going out with friends or having family over. Next step is to write the meals along with any ingredients we need. These are added to the shopping list. 

I’m not a huge coupon clipper, but I know many people are. Planning meals around what’s on sale is one way to save money. I will look at ads (if I remember), and every once in a while if I see something on sale at the store, I will adjust the menu.

Something that makes menu planning SO much easier is that I have a binder of tried and true recipes to refer to. I know many people are digital and keep recipes on their computer/iPad, but I don’t trust myself when it comes to cracking eggs and sifting flour and having expensive technology close by!

The clipboard with this week's recipes hangs on the left. The pink binder is family favorite recipes, next to other cookbooks. Photo by Andrea Lukas.

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In the Nourish Kitchen: The Can Opener (and a Recipe With Which to Use It)

I am a vintage girl. As a kid I would rise way too early on a Sunday morning to hit the flea market with my mom -- rain, shine or bitter cold. Especially unorthodox for a teenager, I kept going because I loved it. My taste has morphed over the years, but the nostalgia of the items I've bought still tugs at my heart strings. My tastes have ranged from primitive to mid-century, but my collections and passion have remained consistent.

A paint-by-number winter scene in a hobbled together handmade frame makes me smile after the Christmas festivities have passed. Vintage farm photos welcome spring, aqua pottery cools the summer heat and brilliant orange bowls warm the house as days become shorter and winds cool. These small things bring comfort and stories (though from my own imagination) I never tire of. When I begin to think it’s time to replace the carpet or tear down a wall, these new-to-me old things cheer me. This, I am sure, is why Doug never begrudges me a day at a flea market, time in antique store or unplanned stop at an estate sale. A hand-stitched apron with rick-rack trim costs only a couple bucks and doesn’t necessitate drop cloths or power tools.

One of the author's prized possessions, with a story all its own.

Estate sales are my favorite. A peak into someone’s life and the things with which they lived is an honor. I carry memories of people I never knew: The owner of a small turquoise egg cup in a southern-style cottage with a low-slung porch, an organized housewife with a bamboo desk organizer. Amongst stacks of photographs in a simple 1960s ranch I found a photo of a 1940s housewife posing proudly in her kitchen; she has become the face of Nourish

At these sales, the kitchen is the room I gravitate to first in search of a mixing bowl or un-paired creamer in need of a good home. Sometimes I marvel at why a rusted Granny fork or chipped tea cup made the cut for so many years. Then I remember my can opener.

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Weeknight Dinners: Easy and Savory Chicken Soup

Thanks to Tamara Hickman for sharing an easy recipe for savory chicken soup. If you have a dinner recipe you'd like to share, please send it this way to editor(at)gowestyoungmom.com -- Tara

I love to cook, but I don't cook enough. So I thought I'd share the easiest chicken soup recipe I've ever seen. For this recipe, you can't beat a $5 roasted chicken from Sam's Club or Costco. The flavor of the roasted chicken gives this soup a savory taste. Recipe is from Allrecipes.com.
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 store-bought roast chicken
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, cut into medium dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half rounds, depending on size
  • 2 large stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Bring broth and water to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Meanwhile, separate chicken meat from skin and bones; reserve meat. Add skin and bones to the simmering broth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until bones release their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Strain broth through a colander into a large container; reserve broth and discard skin and bones. Return kettle to burner set on medium-high.
  • Add oil, then onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Return to a simmer before adding the extras of your choice.