This past weekend we went to the Good Food Festival for the third year in a row. Click here to read one of our first blog posts about our first Good Food Festival three years ago. Yesss, we are celebrating the three year … Continue reading
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Meatless Monday Review: Marley Spoon Recipe Box
Looking for some Meatless Monday Inspiration but short on time, ideas, cooking skills? Switch it up with a recipe/meal delivery service, Marley Spoon! We received 2 free recipe boxes from Marley Spoon to review for all you organic peeps out there. Marley Spoon actually has a wide delivery area including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia and ‘Murica (that’s layman for America).
We Galentine’s Day-ed it up a little early and decided to have a cooking date night to try two recipes: Quinoa Burgers and Broccoli Coconut Soup.
Here’s how the service works:
It is a subscription service but you can pause the service when you like. Your order is delivered on either a Tuesday or Friday in a cooler box so it keeps cook ready. A variety of 7 chef created recipes are available each week catering to different culinary preferences (meaty, veggie, global inspired, vegan, dino..ok no dino but we are checking how closely you are reading).
You have a choice of a 2 person box or a family box to feed a small crowd with pricing that ranges between $48 (2x meals a week) to $139 for 4 family meals per week. We actually spend more on groceries ourselves sometimes so the pricing seems pretty reasonable for the time you save.
What Rises to the Occasion:
Delivery: Delivery was on point and our boxes were waiting when we arrived. Everything is pre-packaged so no need to measure.
Recipes: Recipes come with gorgeous color photos of each step and outline exactly what you need to have on hand on your own (small staples like salt and olive oil). Portions are more than what we would expect for 2 people. For example, our Quinoa Burger recipe yielded 5 burgers and we had plenty extra couscous and soup from the Broccoli Soup recipe. Depending on your appetite, you may be able to get 2 full meals for 2 out of each recipe (hooray leftovers!).
Appearance: Both recipes looked like what was on the recipes cards when completed. We felt like fancy french chefs.
Taste: The kale chips were crunchy and addictive…possibly the easiest part of the recipe box. Our veggie burgers were hearty and filling. The soup had a bi-partisan reaction…more on that below.
What Should Be on the Chopping Block:
Souper Spicy?: With cooking, there is always room to grow! With both of us being a level up from amateur kitchen goers, we think a few things could be improved. The broccoli soup recipe was extra spicy for some reason and didn’t have the creamy consistency that appears in the picture. We would have liked more of a coconut flavor and would have modified that spice to flavor ratio for some more depth. It was possibly the green curry with ginger that could have been baby spiced to improve the other flavors in the soup.
Time: It took us 2 hours to make everything. For a busy person, this might not serve. One suggestion would be for Marley Spoon to provide pre-chopped or diced ingredients but we aren’t sure how this would affect the freshness of produce.
Final Course Thoughts?:
Taste your dishes throughout the cooking process and modify them if you like! We added paprika and chili powder to our kale chips and were pleased with the results. Don’t be afraid to be a kitchen rebel if you know how to cook to season items to your liking.
Bonding: We had a super fab time cooking together. We could see this as a intimate date night, girls night out or bachelorette type experience, or just a way to liven up the ho hum experience of weekly cooking.
Overall, we loved the experience of learning to cook new recipes and spending time in the kitchen together. Ingredients are local sourced and grass fed animules, making you feel a bit at ease for what you are consuming. Food waste is cut own bu the pre-packaged format as well. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure with less effort, we suggest giving Marley Spoon a try! Use the Promo Code CHIORGANIC for $35 off your first box.
Halos Mandarins Giveaway
Why HALOOOOOO there! We love giving away love to our readers but even better is a giveaway with pocket sized healthy treats, just in time for Valentine’s Day. So have you ever tried Wonderful Halos mandarins? At 50 calories each, these little orange fruits pack a punch of vitamin C without the seeds. We were given a bag to try but we’ve been buying these bebes in bulk since winter citrus became the rage again (or in season as the laymen say). You can just throw them in your lunch bag, peel them without ruining your manicure, and with minimal desk mess.
But let’s veer off the beaten grove path. You can also cook some sunny recipes with Halos to brighten up your day.
One gloomy Sunday, we went bananas for mandarins with our brunch.
Baked Orange French Toast from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
We kept close to the recipe but shaved off the zest of a Halos mandarin and subbed cinnamon for nutmeg. Make sure you butter the pan or use PAM spray as our forgetfully blissful selves missed this step and our french toast had separation anxiety from the baking pan. Taste overrides appearance, however, and this orangey french toast didn’t disappoint. We tossed some mandarin pieces on top with a drizzle of pure maple syrup for pure deliciousness.
Blueberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins from Damn Delicious
This tasty and healthy recipe from home cook and blogger, Chungah An, features greek yogurt, fresh blueberries and orange zest. These little muffins were simple to make, moist, fluffy and fruity!
Looking for more Wonderful mandarin Halos ideas? Wonderful Halos has a cool creative blog with more than just recipes. Just in time for Valentine’s day, you can find sweet crafts and snacks to delight kids and adults alike.
Orange you glad we shared these recipes (hehehehe)? Now for the giveaway details so you can make your own holiday halo-ful:
Your Wonderful Halos Gift Basket giveaway includes a juicy bunch of Wonderful Halos mandarins,a Wonderful Halos branded lunch box, backpack, water bottle, chapstick (mandarin flavored), sunglasses and stress ball shaped like a mandarin.
Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway and happy halo-ing!
Bake 425º Pizza Review
For once the suburbs beat Chicago to something yummy. New local business, Bake 425°, promises Farm-to-Crust Bake at Home pizza and operates in Highland Park, Hinsdale, Evanston, Glencoe, Winnetka and Lake Forest. Bake 425° took over the hole left by HomeMade Pizza Kitchen but with a modified format. Owner, Bill Borneman, decided to keep the ease of the pre-made ready to cook pizza but shift to locally sourced, small batch and organic ingredients. Specialty diets are honored with gluten free crust and vegetarian pizza options. For traditionalists, classic cheese, Margherita and “pick your own topping” choices begin the menu. Adventurous pizza monsters (like us) will be pleased, however, by the unique menu items like Poblano and Chicken Sausage pizza or the Earth Lover pizza with truffle oil, Yukon Potatoes, Portabello mushrooms and Béchamel.
Bake 425° gave us one pizza, one salad and a cookie to sample and review. We chose the Go Green vegetarian pizza, Sunshine salad and chocolate chip cookie.
What we liked:
Pizza: The Go Green pizza comes with pistachio pesto sauce, brussel sprouts, quartered cherry tomatoes, garlic oil and mozzarella. Pesto sauce on pizza is a total thumbs up and the brussel sprouts were (thankfully) roasted and crisp. Crust is whole grain so some consumers may not be used to the dough’s heartier taste compared to white flour.
Salad: The Sunshine salad was filled with spicy arugula greens, roasted butternut squash, pine nuts and shaved mozzarella. Lemon oil dressing complimented the mix with a tart and bright flavor. The salad did need a little bit of salt and pepper to balance the sour lemon.
Ease of Cooking: Bake 425° gives you everything you need to cook your ‘za, except an oven of course. Instructions are clear and you are provided with parchment paper for cooking, eliminating the need for any pans or clean up!
Serving Sizes: We fed three people, which averaged about $10 dollars a person…not bad for a quality take home meal.
What we would change:
The Chocolate Chip Cookie: Nothing really against the taste of the cookie but after eating a pizza, maybe the gelato that Bake 425° offers would balance out the meal better than ending with more dough. We were so stuffed from the pizza, we barely touched the chocolatey dude.
Why would you try it?
When you are having one of those “I wanna stay in my blankey and bake on my couch” kind of nights, Bake 425° can simplify your night without compromising your taste buds.
Seasons 52 New Winter Menu
Chicago had it’s first snow fall Saturday-officially pushing our glorious fall weather onto a slippery patch of ice and out the door. As the nights become darker earlier, we find ourselves seeking toasty dishes to fulfill our need for warmth … Continue reading
Rooftop & Food Clicks: Cuisine for Cancer Review
A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending an awesome 1st: the 1st Annual Cuisine for Cancer event presented by Imerman Angels and Sleefood, founder of ChariPick. Should you consider attending this event next year? The answer’s a resounding YAY!
First, location location location!
Morgan Manufacturing sports a gorgeous rooftop, 360 views and cool street art lingering below. With semi private cozy couches and ample space, we couldn’t get enough roof time. We were also floored at the end of the evening when we realized the venue was 3x the size than we originally thought as we stumbled into a huge dance area and dessert nook.
Second, cuisine and charity!
What lame-o doesn’t love tacos? And why doesn’t the taco emoji exist yet, we must know. The Latin cuisine theme birthed 20+ unique tacos from famous Chicago restaurants like Mercadito and Carnivale.
At almost every taco stop, guests got a chance to enter to win gift cards or goodies from the restaurant. Each restaurant was also paired with a cancer charity. We loved that each charity was represented by volunteers and you could learn more about each org at every taco detour.
*Only suggestion, more vegetarian tacos would be a nice touch. Monica munched on too many a lettuce and salsa taco while Kate had a taco tub full of options.
We are super excited for the return of this event next year and hope you come too! Stay taco tuned for the future date.
Get Sauced with Chicago’s Underground Culinary Culture
Two mysterious events this week entice those strong of heart and sound of mind. Darling, will you wander down dark hallways to weave your culinary wants?
Tonight! The Sauced Night Market makes its way to Emporium Logan Square. This night market takes place once a month on a Tuesday and hops from hip spot to hip spot (how hop hip). Meander through aisles of local vittles like Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits while you sip on a apertif (a·pe·ri·tif noun an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite) from Chicago Distillery. Get sassy (or saucy) to DJ beats and peruse the fine elixirs of Windy City Beard Co (works for your mustaches too ladies and gents!).
Do you dare to join us!?
Sauced Night Market
Tuesday April 21st
6 pm – 11 pm
Emporium Logan Square
1366 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Wait, you don’t dare? You prefer to prep for an impending apocalypse? Build your emergency fridge ideas with Sauce and Bread Kitchen’s event: The Stew Survivalist Supper. After all, if your last moments on earth are filled with culinary delights perhaps you can eat away the memories of those zombie attacks. Sauce and Bread Kitchen outlines it best
“Cooks Anne Kostroski (Crumb Chicago, SBK) and Mike Bancroft (Co-op Sauce, SBK) are digging back into this freeze dried genre after a 5 year hiatus with wide mole eyes. They will wow you with a multi-course menu that without advance warning, one would never know could have come from canned, foraged, dried, or fermented foods. If you are going to survive the apocalypse the least you can do is rock it in style”. And rock it, you shall. Hunker down and bunker up.
The Stew Survivalist Supper
Wednesday April 22nd
7 pm – 10 pm
Sauce and Bread Kitchen
6338 N. Clark Street
Cooked: Your Best Veggie Pre-Cooked Meal Delivery Service
We have ambitions of getting in touch with our inner culinary geniuses every week when we head to the grocery store…and then we end up passed out on the couch with a half eaten Morning Star Burger falling out of our hands after work. Like it or not (who really likes it), American culture is one of the most overworked cultures in the world. We need a break! Don’t you often muse about have your own personal chef? Chicagoans, rejoice! There is a pretty fantastic option for you to get your personal chef wishes fulfilled, even without a genie!
We were so excited when Erin Winston Silva, the co-founder of Cooked, reached out to us to sample their pre-cooked meal delivery options. Cooked promises “Nourishing Meals for Busy Folks” and we are 2 very busy ladies so we jumped on the opportunity. We were particularly intrigued as Cooked seemed to have more veggie options than many delivery services that we’ve seen. We also love the values of the organization. Chef Jona Silva’s own health journey inspired him to create local and nutritionally rich (not calorie rich) foods to promote wellness in others. One can tell from menu offers, which change weekly, as well as Silva’s transparency in where ingredients come from. The focus is local partnerships and he is also sensitive to food allergies like gluten or dietary preferences like vegan, vegetarian and T-Rexian. Ok, enough blabbing, we know you wanna know what you get to eat!
For $76 (tax and delivery included) dollars, we got ALL the foods below!! Delivery was timely and Erin was available throughout to deal with a multitude of blogger questions like: “What about Monica’s chickpea allergy” and “Can you change our delivery date? We forgot, we won’t be home!”.
Freshly Pressed Juice: Pineapple Cooler
Loved it! It was refreshing and green-licious with kale, romaine, spinach, coconut water and a sweet touch of pineapple.
Lunch Bowl #2: Organic POWER grains with black beans and salsa ranchera
We split this, yet there was enough for a full lunch for both of us. This puppy is only $5 and is rich in superfoods like quinoa, amaranth and other ancient grains with mysterious origins. The salsa added a nice kick to the mix.
Lunch: Kale, Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad
Again, the portion was plentiful. We enjoyed the sweet touch of cranberry and the kale and rice mix was tender and garlicky with a rich balsamic dressing.
Soup: Kabocha Squash and Apple Soup
Admittedly, we had to google what the heck a kabocha was. Turns out it’s an Asian winter squash! Last week’s weather was considerably still miserable so this warm rich soup hit the spot. It reminded us of a sweet potato bisque with light creamy touches of spices and cinnamon.
Sesame Crusted Tofu
The 2 tofu cutlets came with zuccini noodles and vibrant red and yellow peppers, dressed with a light a soy sauce.
Cauliflower Tacos with Roasted Poblano Salsa
Cauliflower is a vegetarian delight as it has a chunky texture. The taco mix also included cilantro, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds with a side of fresh salsa.
Walnut loaf with Roasted Squash and Broccolini
The squash and broccolini looked ultra fresh and colorful with bright orange and green hues and they were both cooked to perfection. The walnut loaf was a gray meat like color and was hearty for those of you who are familiar with the texture of meatloaf. We really liked the dressing that was provided and it seemed like it had a tahini base.
The meals are supposed to stay fresh for 3 days but we stretched them out until Thursday and basically had enough deliciousness to stave off any grocery shopping for 2 people for the work week. It was like a cooking vacay! We highly recommend Cooked. Meals change weekly to provide variety. This week features a tantalizing coconut dal (aka lentils) and chickpea zuccini fritters. Ready to order? All Chi Organic Girl readers can get 10% off their first order with the promo code: chiorganicgirls so skip the shopping this week and eat cooked!
*We were not compensated for our opinions but were provided with a gift card to try Cooked meals.
Eat Local: Burger Point Restaurant Review
Do you ever wonder where your McDonald’s cheeseburger meat came from? Unless you’re subjected to some kind of food coma induced nightmare, you probably have avoided being “in the know” on fast food meat origins. “But burgers are so delicious”, you say. Yeah we get you, (well the dabbling meat eater one of us, aka Kate, does and the veggie burger fiend one of us, aka Monica, may have an inkling too). Burgers, in all their glorious forms, are special sammiches. But as we are grown people, we like grown and sexy sammiches with ingredients we can name…and we LOVE food that’s locally sourced and not only tastes fresh but is fresh.
Recently, we visited the South Loop to try a locally owned burger slinging business, Burger Point (with no creepy clowns, bonus!). Owners, co-founders and couple, Asha Mathew and David Esterline, pride themselves in providing consumers with grass fed beef as well as organic chicken, turkey and veggie burgers. Asha and David started Burger Point about 3 years ago and used to gaze at the space across from their condo and dream of opening their own business. They often craved a juicy organic burger a ala North side DMK burger so they snatched up the corner spot on State and Archer and started their own burger revolution. Local sourcing is their priority and many produce items come from David’s produce shop. 95% of the menu is house made. Meat is ground, formed into fresh patties in the restaurant and meals are made to order (take that, Burger King!)
The menu hosts 17 specialty burgers, wangs (or wings as some might call them) with house made sassy sauces, and side options like house cut sweet potato fries. We started our culinary experience with hearty samples of the vegetarian chili. A toasty bowl of chili is definitely the thing for a Chicago arctic winter. It had a healthy amount of cooked “just right” beans, a perfectly thick consistency and a nice kick of spice. We liked the bits of tofu floating around in the mix as it added to the filling nature of the chili. This dish could make your meal and Burger Point gives you free toppings like cheese, sour cream, olives and onions to boost it’s fill factor.
For the main event, Kate got a little meaty and tried the #7 hamburger, called the Dirty South, with aged cheddar cheese, double smoked crisp bacon and BBQ sauce on a homemade pretzel roll. The flavor of the bacon and burger was juicy, not greasy, and Kate noticed a markedly higher meat quality than chain restaurants. Kate’s fave part was the PRETZEL BUN!! “I know me and gluten are iffy but this was a homemade pretzel bun”
Monica tried the #14 with the moniker the Best Damn Veggie Burger Ever, which sports a homemade veggie patty with chipotle aioli, havarti cheese and avocado on a sesame seed bun. She liked the balance of beans and rice, simplicity combined, but needed more kick from the chipotle aioli to counterbalance.
Becoming a Burger Point Superfan can have perks. Customers can use the delivery ease of Grubhub or Ordersnap to ensure no leaving of one’s bed is necessary, crumbs be damned. If you do choose to wear pants and leave the house, Burger Point is located on the quiet corner of Archer and State. Frequent Feeders can join a rewards endeavor called the 5 Star Program. Every $5 spent gives the user a point which can eventually lead to free point earned foods. One customer even racked up so many points that there is a burger named after him, the #17 Saigon Johnny, featuring fresh ground chicken, sliced cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro with sriracha aioli and soy sauce. The couple and their manager, Ryan, like to let their minds run wild with new monthly recipes. Their salmon burger is very popular for the Lenten season and now they are working on the aptly named Heart Attack consist of 5 different types of bacons. We are guessing it features pork, beef, turkey, chicken and tempeh bacon (haha we actually have no idea. Is there such a thing as chicken bacon? Chicky bake for short?)
The South Loop neighborhood is close to popular Chicago locales like Soldier Field, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium in addition to public transportation making it an accessible choice for tourists and locals alike. If you want a relatively quick and tasty meal that doesn’t challenge your moral meat values, leave those golden arches behind and taste Burger Point!
Help Bring the Herb-N-Juice Truck to life in Chicago!
One of the highlights of living in our great city is the bevy of food trucks we have. What we don’t have, however, is an eco-friendly juice and smoothie truck! Imagine your summer yoga sesh in Millennium Park and walking out to find a delicious organic juice blend waiting for you in the Chicago heat. Herb-N-Juice is a startup company created by Joe Wehrli. Wehrli, originally a Midwesterner, moved to California for a bit and was inspired by the holistic juicing culture. His focus is on organic, local produce, and homemade vegan protein blends, delivered in a green juice truck (a cool tech-ed up golf cart). Wehrli intends to expand to a store front eventually and will include healthy bowls, cold pressed juice and smoothies.
We had the pleasure of trying the goods this past Saturday at a Chicago Food Bloggers Tasting Party alongside Wehrli’s amiable family and friends. We were treated to 4 different juices, 2 smoothies and 1 bowl. Here’s all the juicy details!
Orange, apple, carrot, celery, ginger
The color was a vibrant tangerine with a sweet carrot smell. Wehrli intends this to be his morning blend to give you a quick jump in the morning as a substitute for your morning caffeine fix. The taste was a good balance with no overpowering fruit or veggie flavors. It has a clean finish with a sweet aftertaste.
Beet, Apple, Pomegranate, Lemon, Cucumber, Carrot
This is the detox heavy hitter of the bunch. Kate’s not a huge fan of beets and found the juice to be palatable and less earthy (thankfully) compared to other beet blends. Monica loved the bright rosey color (contributed by the pomegranate) and loved the light texture.
Granny smith apple, celery, kale, cucumber, lemon, pineapple, pomegranate
This green blend is surprising with it’s limey color and balanced flavor. It is neither too tangy nor too sugary.
Chocolate almond milk, organic peanut butter, banana, homemade vegan protein powder, greek yogurt
We both loved the smoothie which is surprising as Monica detests all things banana. The protein powder (Wehrli’s own mix of hemp seeds, chia seeds, lucuma, maca and a few other vegan high protein sources from a natural provider, Nuts.com) is mild and doesn’t detract from the flavor of the chocolate and peanut butter.
Coconut-almond milk, acai puree, banana, mango, strawberry
This tropical blend is delicate and bright. Both of us enjoyed the frozen purple milk-shakey texture and the coconut touch.
Wehrli also served up a diabetic friendly juice with green apple, mint, parsley and other greens. Although it is not as fruit filled, it is pleasant and maybe even preferable for veggie lovers with it’s alkaline nature.
By now, we’re sure you’re begging to find out where the truck is waiting to grab some easy nutrients. Well, that’s where help is needed. Wehrli’s truck is still in process as it is electric, has solar panels AND, unlike most food trucks, the juices and smoothies are made on site. Many food trucks make their product at a stationary location and then bring it out, pre-cooked, into the world. This emission free concept has run into some financial snags as Wehrli is attempting to be green with every aspect of his business. Wehrli will also utilize plant made cups that are fully compostable. So what are you waiting for?! If you can, help get Herb-N-Juice on the road by donating to their kickstarter campaign. Depending on your donation, you may get a rad Herb-N-Juice Tshirt or every hipster’s fave (including our own), a mason jar with the cute Herb-N-Juice logo.
Juice up! Winter will be over soon and your swimmy suit is waiting in the wings. 🙂