Best of the Good Food Festival 2016

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

Escape Winter with UpLIFTing Retreat

Join the LIFT (Leading India’s Future Today) Associate Board’s young professionals for a morning of yoga and meditation that will be good for your mind, body, and soul.

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Yoga, led by instructor, Maria Miles, will stretch and strengthen our bodies. Guided meditation, led by long time LIFT volunteer Deb Wilson, is sure to relax the mind and warm the soul.
Come out and focus on inner peace while supporting the students of LIFT!*

All are welcome, no previous yoga or meditation experience necessary. Please wear comfortable clothing and bring your water bottle. Light refreshments will be provided.

Saturday February 20th
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
711 W. Monroe Chicago, IL, Room ABC 123

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*Leading India’s Future Today (LIFT) is dedicated to developing leadership excellence in motivated and talented youth in Tamil Nadu, India. LIFT provides quality education and a home environment for youth with high potential who would typically be denied schooling due to limited access to resources.  LIFT students and staff are committed to transforming their society from within to help combat poverty, unemployment, and disease.  Learn more about LIFT, Chicago’s non-profit organization http://lift-foundation.org/our-programs/

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas: Organic Body Souffle

Winter is truly encroaching on our soft hands game.  As much as we would loveee to get a mani and pedi every week, our pocket books shiver at the thought.  There are other ways, however, that you can pamper your pretty toes and fingers (men too, don’t be afraid to feel pretty).  Inner Sanctum + Wellness, a local small business in Oak Park, reached out to us to try a sample of their Organic Whipped Body Souffle and give an honest review.

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Regina Thomas Dillard, owner, was inspired to create her natural beauty line due to her holistic upbringing.  Her maternal grandmother and mother collected herbs and roots to heal the body and for topical skin treatments and Regina observed carefully.

After her baby daughter was born with an acute case of eczema, Regina turned to researching her mother and grandmother’s remedies and found curative results.  She later became a teacher at the Oak Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, facilitating workshops like “Cooking with Herbs.”  Regina delved deeper exploring more natural remedies for the skin.

Regina muses about the care she takes in creating her products: “When I select oils, I try at best to find purveyors in the countries where the oils are sourced.  For instance, I currently purchase my lavender oils from a supplier in the Southern region of France and my tea tree oil from a supplier in Auckland, Australia. While oils vary greatly, as many claim to be the best on the market, I’m always on the lookout for essential oils which are high in quality, but cost-effective in order maintain a competitive price point”.

First thoughts:

Monica doesn’t utilize lotion that much and Kate is picky with her scents sooo we got some dry snaky skin over here, no lie.  Body butters can be a turn off too when they are too greasy and you find your skin sticking to your couch.

The Body Butta’ Breakdown

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Our Body Souffle: Ritual

Ingredients:

Vitamin E for healthy skin, almond and avocado oils, with mango butter, swirled with essential oils.

Appearance:

All of Inner Sanctum + Wellness Body Souffles are Whhhhippped (like Stewie Griffin says) to perfection.   Kate kept joking that she was going to take a sample taste (note: don’t do this…it isn’t edible) as it looks like whipped butter or light fluffy whipped cream.

Texture:

Luxurious with a soft and creamy feel.  The body butter was non-greasy and massaged into the skin quite easily.

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Scent:

Monica and Kate’s husband battled over who would keep the body butter because of its woodsy winter scent.  Ritual blends frankincense and myrrh for a delicate aroma that stays lightly on the skin.  Kate is more of fruity person so she snatched the mini lavender eucalyptus scent and breathed in deeply to destress and decongest.

Other Available Products:

Inner Sanctum + Wellness carries bath and body oils, exfoliators, milk baths, and even home products like (YAY) yoga mat sprays.

Final thoughts?

Ready to slather yourself in butter?  Sexy body butter that is…just in time for Valentine’s dayyy (cue the Barry White music).  Inner Sanctum + Wellness products can be found at events around Chicagoland and on Etsy or shop directly at http://www.shop-isw.com/ and signup for updates.

Upcoming Events featuring Inner Sanctum and Wellness:

JANUARY
23 An Evening of Giving Back Event (7pm-1am)
One-Stop Productions, Chicago, IL

FEBRUARY
11 Sweets For the Sweetie Valentine’s Event (6-10pm)
Normandy Banquets, Elmhurst, IL

13 Married Couples Cross-Fit Event (8am-3pm)
Oak Brook Hills Resort, Oak Brook, IL

 

 

Farmhouse Chicago: A ChiOrganic Girls Review

Whaaa…we found a place that embodies our blog namesake.  River North is hiding a gem of a restaurant, Farmhouse Chicago, right underneath our CTA riding noses, literally.  Farmhouse partners with local Midwestern farms in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin to provide us city slickers with farmtastic vittles.  We were treated to a VIP 5 course tasting event recently to check out new menu creations and learn about Farmhouse’s holistic approach to restaurateur-ing.  The first thing we noticed about Farmhouse was the rustic and cozy decor.  Co-owners, Ferdia Doherty and TJ Callahan, explained that even the furnishings promote local moods with reclaimed art touches from retired Chicago bars and restaurants and salvaged furniture from the south side.

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Chef, Eric Mansavage, detailed each course’s farm connection and ingredient alchemy as we nibbled our way through the Midwest.

Note* No Monicas were hurt during this dinner.  Her vegetarian ideals remained intact as Kate took one for team meat!  Rest assured, Farmhouse has plenty of farmiliar vegetarian options on their everyday menu.

Course 1: Ellis Farms Green Grapes and Ham Market Amuse

First, don’t act like you know what an amuse is…unless you’re a foodie.  Just in case, an amuse is bite-sized hors d’œuvre.  We were amused by this fancy PBJ with on a crostini.  Tasting notes: Crunchy, yummy, grapey, give us moree than bite sized, please!

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Course 2: Green Acres Farm Chilled Melon Soup, Summer Bread Salad, Spiced Yogurt, Crispy Njuda, Mint

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This is like a food dictionary lesson!  Njuda is a spicy spreadable pork sausage, like pig pate, hahaha.  Although we weren’t big fans of the chilled cantaloupe soup (maybe too sweet?), the summer bread salad with crisp radish and tart yogurt tickled the tongue.

Course 3: Grilled Rushing Waters Rainbow Trout, Black Garlic Roasted Tomatillos, Black Bean Relish, Swan Creek Bacon Lardon

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So, normally, seafood fans we are not (as Yoda would say) but hey, the force was strong with this fish.  The skin was on but, shocker, it was actually smoky and delicious with a flavor reminiscent of bacon.  The fish was not “fishy” but freshy.  It was mild with a melty texture.  The black bean relish on its own would have been a crowd pleaser as well.

Course 4: BBQ Short Ribs, Butter Poached Indiana Shrimp, Hazzard Free Farms Pimento Cheese Popcorn Grits, Sweet Corn

Chef, Eric Mansavage, described this cornucopia (aha!) as Farmhouse’s version of surf and turf.  Full disclosure, not a shrimp fan, but the short ribs were tender and surrounded by a delicate moat of popcorn grits.  It’s like going to the movies and bringing a rib in your popcorn box.

Course 5: Peaches and Cream Ice Cream Sandwich, Mick Klug Farm Michigan Marmalade, Milk Jam and Ice Cream, Vanilla Bean Shortcake20150901_193928

If you know the Peaches and Cream song sing along….peaches and creaaam.  Juicy Michigan peaches, peach marmalade that was almost like carmamel-ade, and sweet cream ice cream nestled between 2 pillowy cookies.  Ob-vs we love dessert.  Even Monica could chow down on this soon to be farmous goodie.

Farmhouse owners are expanding their acres with the new Farmbar in Lincoln Park, set to open in October.  They can also subsidize your love of cider as they own Brown Dog Farm and its filled to the bushel with apple, pear, peach and cherry trees.  Can we get a Yum Yum?  We love their down to (the) earth mentality and will definitely root our way back to try their veggie options.

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Are you a Farmhouse Fan?  Tell us your favorite dish!

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.

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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.

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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.

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We are super excited for the return of this event next year and hope you come too!  Stay taco tuned for the future date.