Fun and Fabulous Friday!

Today was a fantastic end to a very long week. I had far too many days where I was up too late and got up too early, and with the full moon on Tuesday, my students were INSANE!

I left work today at 2:15 and made a 45-mile drive southeast to my old stomping grounds to pick up Jenn and another blog reader for my first-ever Blogger meet up! I was SO EXCITED! I spent most of my drive out there antsy and nervous… what if they don’t like me?! What if I’m overdressed? What if they laugh at my food? Then, I met them, and PHEW! They were SO very nice and normal! We headed down to the Chicago Loop to Thai Spoon and Sushi and met up with Rose. She too was so nice and fun! It was really nice to hang with a group of girls.

Let me tell you, there was a LOT of tofu on our table! I got sushi (of course) and my Friday night treat of a Diet Coke.

Yup, Friday Night Sushi!

Yup, Friday Night Sushi!

Also on the table was age-dashi tofu (a Japanese fried tofu dish), fried tofu sticks with peanut sauce, and 2 types of pad thai, one with tofu! The sushi was great, and the conversation was even better!

After dinner, our reader friend took a pic of the 3 bloggers:

EatingBender, OnALobsterPlacemat, imadedinner (thats me!)

EatingBender, OnALobsterPlacemat, imadedinner (thats me!)

After dinner, we dropped Rose off at another restaurant to meet up with her friends, and we headed back to the suburbs. On the way home, I stopped at a childhood favorite (ok, its still a favorite) restaurant to get carry out for Adam. This place is one of my favorites for an exceptionally inexpensive dinner out, and it’s fantastic Mediterranean food. If you’re ever in the Chicagoland area, you MUST go to Pita Inn! (Don’t forget your promise, Jenn!) ANYWAY, I got Adam his food, and got a small babagannouj (roasted egplant dip) for me.

There was warm pita bread too!

There was warm pita bread too!

Then Adam and I split the cupcake that Jenn so generously got for me, and I’ll be hopped up on the sugar for a while!

HOW freaking cute is that?!

HOW freaking cute is that?! Thanks Jenn!

ALSO, there was a package for me when I got home from my mom! She’s on a short vacation visiting her husband’s family, but still managed to send me a Valentine’s present! There was a bright green ProFlowers box on the counter, and when I opened it, there was the most GORGEOUS bouquet of pink, red, and white tulips! Thanks Axor 🙂

dscn2060

Now, some blogger business!

  • Are you having a hard time coming up with BSI recipes? Check here for some inspiration! Don’t forget to get your BSI entries in by SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15!!!!
  • I’ll be picking the winner for my 100th Post Giveaway TOMORROW evening at 9 p.m. CDT, and the winner will be announced Sunday morning, so get those entries in!!! I know you want to win the cutest scarf in the world 🙂

Thanks for such a fun night ladies, I had a seriously great time. It was worth every minute of time and every ounce of gas!!!

My 100th Post Giveaway!

Ok, it’s really my 102nd, but who’s counting??

You’ve seen over the last 3 months (Has it really been that long?) that I have a HUGE obsession with all things sushi. My fiance and I go for sushi as often as we can afford, heck, we even got engaged over sushi! I’ll even go to the grocery store and get sushi for breakfast sometimes! I love the detail that goes into making sushi, and all the thought that goes into the flavors in the different rolls we get. I love the ritual of making it, the skill… ok, and the cute little table things that the sushi comes served on, the chopsticks, the tiny little dishes that the soy sauce goes into… get it? I freaking love sushi.

I also love my other random hobby (besides cooking and blogging), crocheting. I love zoning out with a hook and some yarn and just going nuts. Heck, I even crocheted a hat for my Secret Cupid! I decided a while back (just ask Beadie) that for my first giveaway, I would somehow combine my two hobbies.

What?? Crocheting and SUSHI?!

So I decided to make this scarf for you all to attempt to win (rules below).

100% handmade!

100% handmade!

It’s a nice long scarf, perfect for the coldest of days, or for those of you in warmer climates, I know you like to ski, or visit colder climates occasionally, so you’ll still want to enter.

BUT WAIT!

This scarf has a secret. When it’s rolled up, it successfully combines 2 of my favorite things:

IT'S SUSHI!!!

IT'S SUSHI!!!

It’s fat-free, salt-free, wheat-free, rice-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, completely and utterly wearable SUSHI! And the best part my lovelies? I made it. I can’t make edible sushi to save my life, but I can certainly make wearable sushi!

You want this scarf? Just leave a comment below!! If you have a blog and want to link back to this post, you can, but it’s not a requirement.

I’ll use random.org to pick a random number on Saturday, February 14! As much as I love my Canadian and other international readers, I’m a teacher and can’t afford the shipping to countries other than the U.S, so this is open to U.S. readers only.

Oh, and by the way, we had pizza for dinner.

Thin crust with mushrooms, green peppers, and sausage. YUM!

Thin crust with mushrooms, green peppers, and sausage. YUM!

Don’t forget to get those BSI entries coming!



Holy TGIF, Batman!

What a long week!! I managed to develop a cold last night… (darn students! Always blame the students!) Anyway, I got home early and all I could think about was how much I wanted some spicy sushi to help clear my head congestion. Adam and I re-visited a favorite place, and got some old favorites, as well as a new roll that is sure to become a favorite! Since everything we got (literally, everything) was spicy, we decided to get SOMETHING that wasn’t spicy and decided on something called an American Eagle roll. It was freshwater eel, avocado, and cream cheese, rolled up in a rice-free roll, and then the whole thing was tempura-ed. NOT your healthfood item, but also FANTASTIC! (Doesn’t that suck sometimes?)

After a light-eating day complete with leftover pinto bean burgers shared with my friend Heidi (HI HEIDI!), I probably over-did it a bit at dinner, but what’s that old saying? Feed a cold? Yep, that’s what I’ll do.

We tooled around Best Buy after dinner, then came home to find the cutest thing ever. So, on this freezing cold Friday night, I leave you with:

they really are the best of friends

they really are the best of friends

Please make sure to check out Meghann’s Team in Training page to help her earn money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! She’s training for a race that I’m certain I could NEVER do… so the least we can do is help her out!

Happy Weekend!

The Return of Sushi Friday!

After quite a hiatus, Adam and I finally returned to a tradition: Sushi Friday! We went back to our favorite place, Daruma, and ordered a beautiful spread of our favorites. We started with a non-photographed (mostly because I forgot I had my camera!) beef katsu. It was quite a different kind of appetizer, almost like breaded and sauteed slices of meatloaf. It came with a barbecue-like dipping sauce and hot mustard.

We continued with this, the most beautiful plate of sushi:

So. Very. Delicious.

So. Very. Delicious.

Wondering what all this stuff is? Of course you are! A description:

  • Top row: Philly Roll (salmon, avocado, cream cheese), Haru Maki (Tuna, cucumber, masago, wasabi mayo, red chili mayo), Crazy Roll (Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, masago, red chili mayo)
  • Bottom Row: Tamago (Thick cooked egg), Yellowtail, Shrimp, Unagi (freshwater eel)

It was such fun to go back to “our” place. While much of the staff had changed in the last 2 months, the sushi chefs, host, and a couple servers were the same, and the asked where we’d been. It’s like our very own, seafood-instead-of-beer Cheers.

We did decide to head to the mall so I could get my very favorite dessert, Yogen Früz! I got it topped with fresh strawberries and chocolate chips. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!! (Even though it appears so in the picture, there are not legs growing out of my frozen yogurt.)

Gotta love the Früz!

Gotta love the Früz!

I’m beyond happy it’s the weekend, so I’ll leave you with some sparkles and fairy dust for a fantastic weekend!

WOOHOO!!

WOOHOO!!

We Got “Tank”ed!!

No no, Adam and I did not drink ourselves silly tonight! After a lovely acupuncuture session, given to us by my dad for Hanukah, Adam and I went for a fantastic sushi dinner at a relatively new restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. Tank Sushi was discovered by my mom over the summer and she highly recommended that we go there. She took me there about a month and a half ago, and I was absolutely blown away by the imaginative rolls and dishes they offered! I couldn’t wait to bring Adam there!

*A quick side note: Adam and I had “Sushi Friday” every week for about 3 years… we got engaged at our regular place in a sit-on-the-floor tea room, and we are quite the sushi snobs!*

Tank Sushi did not disappoint! We met one of Adam’s friends there, so there was a LOT of food!  Unfortunately, the lighting was very “ambient” so taking pictures was not happening…but trust me, I tried! In my favorite bulleted list format, we started with:

  • I started with a “Princess Peach Cosmopolitan”, ordered for the peachiness, and the Nintendo reference. YUM!
  • Mixed-green salad with a creamy (tofu based) ponzu dressing with cucumber matchsticks
  • tempura fried goat cheese atop mixed greens with a spicy chili-lime viniagrette.
  • Edamame-crusted scallops atop a corn/mushroom/tomato mixture

Our meal came, and we had a great variety of rolls. It looks like a ton of food, but since each of the rolls had minimal or no rice, and lots of vegetables, it wasn’t an enormous quantity at all. I’ll copy and paste the names and descriptions of our rolls from the Tank Sushi website, of course in bulleted form:

  • Samurai Roll: tuna, yellow tail, apple & spring mix lettuce with spicy mayo topped with masago (fish eggs)
  • Lava Maki: tempura battered spicy shrimp, cream cheese, avocado maki topped with marinated crab, tobiko, sweet soy, chives and cilantro
  • Smokey Bear: unagi, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber and sesame seeds topped with Smoked salmon, sweet soy & wasabi mayo
  • Tempura Spicy Tuna: Tuna, masago, cream cheese, tempura battered and fried

THEN came dessert. We got two things. One was called a “banana dragon”. It was simple and refreshing, just a banana wrapped in a crispy eggroll wrapper. The second one… oh man… This was quite possibly one of the most delicious and decadent desserts I’ve had in a very long time. Luckily, there were two pieces of it, and two of us, because if there had been more, we would’ve eaten however much there was. This dessert was, without further adieu, a

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH EGGROLL

Quite literally, it was a chunk of cookie dough, wrapped in an eggroll wrapper, fried, and then served with the freshest strawberry dipping sauce I’ve ever had! I could eat this for dessert EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

*sigh*

We are back home now, basking in the satisfaction that can only come from great sushi, and for those of you that are locals, here’s Tank Sushi’s information:

Tank Sushi

Tank Sushi

Tank Sushi

4514 N. Lincoln Avenue

Chicago, IL 60625

Tomorrow is a big day!!! I’m going wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my “aunt”!!!!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!

Only One Word…

Yep. One word to describe tonight’s dinner.

That word?

SUSHI!

I was so excited when Adam told me that we were meeting a couple friends for a sushi dinner, mostly because it’s been a good month since we last had sushi, and we used to get it EVERY WEEK! The place we went, Hanabi, is a small place that I happened upon accidentally about a year and a half ago. My friend and I were driving around, killing time before a meeting, and decided we really wanted sushi. Like a beacon, this sign appeared in front of us (ok, not really), and we tried it. We’ve been regulars ever since! This is our second regular place, as our first regular place is where we got engaged!

We got a yummy appetizer called “karokke”, which were pretty much panko-battered mashed potato cakes. We dipped them in a barbecue-like sauce. Then came the sushi which we shared…

  • L.A. Roll: a riceless roll with spicy tuna, real crab, avocado, and cucumber
  • Dragon roll: a shrimp tempura and avocado roll topped with eel, avocado, and tempura crunchies
  • 2 pieces “kani nigiri”, a bed of rice topped with shredded real crab, wrapped in seaweed
  • 2 rice bowls, a literal 2″ in diameter bowl made of rice filled with a spicy shrimp salad.

We finished the meal with mochi balls, which come for free at the end of the meal. They were cut into 4 pieces each, and we each got 2 bites…perfect!

On the way home, we decided to stop for hot cocoa at Starbucks as a treat. Perfect end to a perfect day…

Blogger note: I can’t promise that I’ll have a new entry tomorrow, as we’re going to be traveling to northwest Indiana for the day, but I promise a great post with lots of cooking on Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for all of you!

I did not make dinner!

Last night, Adam and I went out for sushi at the place where we got engaged. We’ve only been back a few times since the actual engagement, and its so much fun! The whole staff knows us, and they were dressed up as the head sushi chef for Halloween.

I’m regretting the choice to go for sushi though, because all the sodium in the soy sauce and appetizers made both Adam and I retain water, and we were both up in weight at our WW weigh ins today. Oh well, its not real weight! (I just gotta keep telling myself that…)

More cooking to come soon!