Hakka Bakka Kati Rolls Giveaway

It’s not often that you learn the origins of a specialty food when you’re checking out a new restaurant but Kati Rolls, although newer to Chicago, have a true history.  Conceptualized originally in Kolkata, India, the kati (meaning stick) roll … Continue reading

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Pure Barre Lincoln Park: Fit Review

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10 brave women made it out in the cold after a appetizer, sides, and pie holiday to get their fitness on this past Sunday at our first ever private Chiorganic Girls class at Pure Barre Lincoln Park, an admirable feet given the tendency to want to sleep off the lingering food coma.  We were grateful for our motivation to attend as we got a kick a*@ workout that toned and tightened to reset the good habits and prepare us for the back to work grind.

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Lincoln Park Pure Barre is a brand new workout hot spot that just opened November 4th.  Ashley Gertz, owner of the newly opened Pure Barre in Lincoln Park, opened the location because of her personal love of barre classes and keen business sense.  She welcomed our group with a tour and an overview of what Pure Barre has to offer.  Ashley, a former marathoner and avid runner, found that cardio didn’t promote toning and strength so she joined the River North Pure Barre and was hooked.

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Marguerite, our teacher, gave us the overview of common moves of Pure Barre and then we got cracking with an immediate plank set (WHYYY??).  Bubbly pop music as well as giggles from class participants offset the strenuousness of the miniscule muscle movements.  We rolled through abs, arms, legs and ended with (sigh*) more abs and a bridge set to tense up the tush.

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After class, we took our shaky legs to the lobby area for complimentary Kashi and Luna snack bars as well as raffle for 2 lucky participants.

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And now, we are sore…very pleasantly “can’t walk up the stairs so well” sore, evidence of a real workout.  Wanna check it out?  Pure Barre Lincoln Park offers new students a very affordable unlimited month of classes for $99.  If you join now, you can also compete in the Jingle Tuck challenge (15 classes in 30 days) for prizes and the ultimate win, a retreat at a spa in Arizona.

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Free Workout Class at Pure Barre to trim those turkey thighs!!

Usually the idea of wiggling into a pair of hot pink leggings on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to go workout may not be so tempting but when it’s for FREE!?  We’re so excited…and we just can’t hide it!  On November 30 at 5 pm, we would like to invite you, dear reader, to don your sticky bottomed socks and long pants to tuck and trim your tush at a private class at Pure Barre, Lincoln Park!

GO US!!

Hmmm…but what are you committing to with this “Pure Barre” class?  

During this 55 minute class, you will experience a full body low impact workout including strength based movements alternating with stretching.  Most moves involve using your own body weight with tiny movements to change the shape and length of your muscles.  The class incorporates the ballet barre, small 2 to 3 pound weights and a rubber workout ball.  The goal is the lengthen the muscles to create a lean (not bulky) look…and yes, you will do some planks.

And what do you have to do to join us?

Send us 1,000 dollars worth of unmarked bills in a nondescript envelope to secure your spot. JK follow the instructions below.

What: Private Chiorganic Girls Holiday Trim Those Turkey Thighs Class

Where: Pure Barre, 2058 N. Halsted, Lincoln Park, IL

When: 5 pm, Sunday, 11/30/2014

Who: You lovelies!

Dress Code: Long workout pants or capris, socks (no shoes needed)…oh and of course, wear a top please

Sign Up?  RSVP here with you and any guests names.  Please let us know, as well, if you decide to cancel. There are 23 spots available.

 

Now you can feel good about stuffing yourself (in moderation) with your family.  Meet us at the BARRE!

Riding Spinners and They Don’t Stop: Our First Spinning Class

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Equinox cycling class

Mid February, right around V-day, we spent a little time giving love to ourselves by trying a new workout.  Kate has always been a little hesitant about indoor cycling, a.k.a spinning, while Monica was fascinated with this high-energy fitness style. We picked the perfect opportunity to jump in and test the spin cycle when Cheeky Chicago planned a Valentine’s studio cycling event with Equinox Lincoln Park.  We made it to class just in time to get on our bikes and chose the back row to avoid the front row spotlight.

Big tip: If it’s your first time, flag the instructor down to help you adjust your bike and show you the how to work the darn thing.  Bike seats and handles are adjustable and move up/down, forward/back….very helpful for the vertically gifted or challenged.  Kate’s bike seat was not quite locked and took a dip midway through cycling which was very unexpected and uncomfortable  indeed.  

The tools that you use throughout your ride include a red knob to up or lower the resistance of your bike and increase intensity in addition to a screen to track your rpm and mileage.  And the one thing we were wondering throughout about cycling…is it possible to get a more comfy plushy seat?

The instructor started us off with a warm up of moderate pedaling and then led the class in an interval format as bubbly pop music played in the background.  She was unashamed to throw Beiber and Usher in the mix to get us moving.  After we were slightly sweaty, the resistance was added and we worked in a hill format.  We both popped up off the bike seats and pedaled while standing, making it a killer quad and glute experience.

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After pedaling full steam ahead for 45 minutes, we were treated to KIND bars and Juice Rx Gingerade (lemon, ginger and Vermont maple syrup) as other guests learned foam rolling tips from Equinox trainers. We also scored one week passes to Equinox for ourselves and our readers. Comment below to receive a one week pass!

Lincoln Park Equinox has creative variations of Studio Cycling, Barre classes, Tabata and not to be missed Yoga with Allison English!  For the March schedule, click here.

Feel like spinning your wheels a little more for a good cause?

Get your spin on to help stop violence in Chicago. Ride Spin to Break the Cycle on March 8th at the House of Blues for 1, 2, or 3 hours!

 

A Very Veg Thanksgiving: Baked French Onion Soup and Mushroom Gravy

Here’s Part 2 of delicious side dishes from my cooking adventure, French Onion Soup and Mushroom Gravy taught at Whole Foods Market Cooking School in Lincoln Park.  Thanks to Google+ Local Chicago for hosting this culinary experience!

When you see the food pics below, you’ll know why the whole class was clamoring to get a close view of the finished product.

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French Onion Soup

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 large sweet onions, thinly sliced with the grain
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, recommend cabernet sauvignon
  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 small baguette
  • 1/2 pound Swiss, Gruyere, or Emmenthaler cheese, shredded
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Emmenthaler Swiss Cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Dry heat a large soup pot or dutch oven for 2 minutes.  Add to hot pot the sliced onions.  Sprinkle salt and drizzle olive oil over onions.  With a large spoon or tongs, constantly turn the onions so they do not stick to the bottom.  Continue stirring and flipping for 5-10 minutes.  The onions will start to shrink and caramelized beautifully.  Add the thyme and stir once more.  Place a lid on the pot and continue this 30 minutes, stirring every so often.  This is where the base of the flavor comes from.  The longer you caramelize, the deeper the flavor.
  • Slice baguette to fit your bowls, either on a diagonal or in circles.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until bread is completely dried out.
  • Add red wine and balsamic vinegar.  This will help deglaze the pan and pick up more flavor.  Let cook another 10 minutes with no lid.  This will concentrate the liquid a bit to help deepen the flavor.  Add bay leaves and water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to simmer, place lid on pot and allow to cook another 15-30 minutes.

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  • Ladle into bowls, place bread over soup and sprinkle on cheese.  Place under broiler for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes.  Be aware of the time as the broiler can burn food very quickly.  Enjoy!

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Mushroom Gravy

Whole Foods Market recipe adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or almond flour for gluten free
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2tsp thyme
  • salt and peper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Directions

  • In a large bowl, mix 2 cups vegetable broth with flour.  Whisk until there are no lumps.  Add remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth and set aside.
  • Heat a large sauce pan.  Add oil and shallots.  Saute about 5 minutes until shallots are limp.
  • Add garlic, mushrooms, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir until well combined.  Saute about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked.

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  • Add wine and bring to a boil for 3 minutes, letting the liquid reduce.  Stir often.
  • Add broth mixture and nutritional yeast to the pot.  Let cook 10-15 minutes until gravy thickens.

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So this is my first experience with mushroom gravy as a born vegetarian!  Use on whatever dish you want….cover your greens, your mashed potatoes or slather it on the Whole Foods “meat” loaf recipe from part 1.

Craving more variety for your veggie-giving?  Check out the following veg/vegan recipes as a Thanksgiving side dish or fall treat and have a healthy happy holiday tomorrow!

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread by Post Punk Kitchen 

Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger and Vanilla by Post Punk Kitchen

Candied Yams by Earth Balance Made Just Right

Buttery Apple Cider Carrots by Earth Balance Made Just Right

Vegan Pumpkin Pie by Whole Foods Market

Meatless Monday “Meat” Loaf

Are you reaaaaaady…to learn how to make delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes just in time for Thanksgiving?  Are you prepared to make plant based entrées fit for even the most carnivorous foodie?  You won’t even miss the meat!

On my beauteous bday, I attended Whole Foods Market Cooking School in Lincoln Park to learn about preparing meatless meals thanks to Google+ Local Chicago.

“Meat” Loaf

  • 2 cups cooked brown or green lentils such as Melissa’s Steamed Lentils (all natural, no preservatives, non-GMO)
  • 2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup rolled oats, blended such as Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tbsp sage
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ketchup to spread on loaf

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a blender, place rolled oats and blend into powder
  • In a saute pan, add oil.  Italian seasoning and sage.  Allow to cook until oil absorbs spices and aroma fills the air.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute until onions are translucent and soft.
  • In a large bowl, add cooked lentils, cooked rice, blended oats, sauted onion and garlic mixture, crushed tomatoes and BBQ sauce.  Mix thoroughly.

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  • Pour loaf mixture into a well-greased bread pan and pat down.  Add ketchup to the top and with the back of spoon, spread to coat the exposed loaf.

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  • Bake for 1 hour.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and enjoy!!

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Kate has been bugging me to demonstrate my new culinary skills for the holiday.  She may have to wait for Part 2, French Onion Soup and Mushroom Gravy, coming soon!  Don’t drool like her while you’re waiting. 😉

**Recipe from Whole Foods Cooking School, Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park for Thrifty Types

Although Lincoln Park has that uppercrusty feel, there a hidden diamonds for anyone, including those with empty pockets, to enjoy.  Soooo come and check out some of the LP hood spots for fitness, food, and good times.

Where to tone

Lululemon on Halsted: Join the Lulu staff for a free one hour yoga class every Sunday at 10am at their Sunday Salutations series. Different instructors from various LP studios are featured each month.  All levels are welcome and they share their mats.

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Flirty Girl Fitness: The most recent addition to the Flirty Girl family is still just as pink and flirty. Even if you aren’t the pink purse dog carrying type, Flirty Girl offers not only pole dancing but hardcore strength workouts, Zumba and stretch classes.

i.d. gym: We desperately want to go back and try Fly Yoga with Brent Holten again.  The freeing feeling of being wrapped in a stretchy hammock while you practice your asanas a few feet above the ground can’t be replicated anywhere else.

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Where to taste

Peeled: Take a short jaunt down the sunny streets of LP after your downward facing dogs and try a freshly pressed juice or smoothie.  Try a seasonal smoothie flavor, like Girl and the Fig, while you can. Our recent rave was raw organic truffles! We keep dreaming about the smooth cocoa dusted flavors.

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Dawali Kitchen: is Kate’s go to for fresh creamy hummus (Mon is sadly allergic to the chickpea) and crispy falafels.  Their falafels are one of the best in Chicago area!  Non chickpea offerings include shwarma, spinach and feta pies, and other middle eastern inspired dishes.

All that working out makes us hungry anddd you probably noticed we like sweets (in moderation, of course).

Molly’s Cupcakes: lies in a people watching and shopping strip on Clark street.  Molly’s distinguishes itself with filled cupcakes (how about a Chocolate Lava Cupcake with a dark rich pudding center), aptly named cupcakes (Ron Bennington anyone?) and whimsical swings at the front counter.

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Molly’s Cupcakes Peanut Butter Nutella and Mixed Berry

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Where to explore

With the Lakefront as LP’s backyard, you couldn’t ask for a better location.  A bevy of fitness enthusiasts head to the lakefront path daily for biking, running, skating and relaxed meandering.  Bike rental options abound with a Divvy station right by the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Bike and Roll at North Ave Beach and Lakeshore bikes further north on the path.  For your more animal nature, walk through Lincoln Park Zoo for free and stop by their nature path to the south for a gorgeous Chi skyline view.

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Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool