The Big Freeze

photo 4-17 degrees Fahrenheit is no fun! For only the second time in the almost 15 years that I’ve lived in Chicago, the city has shut down and people are barricading themselves at home. Chicago’s a tough city, but this is ridiculous. Yet somehow, I look out my window and there are still folks walking nonchalantly down the street and waiting at bus stops for buses that surely are not coming as the street is no longer visible. There are children happily holding hands with their daddies as they get dropped off at the daycare across the street, while Asher meanwhile kicks and screams as we wrap him in a blanket like a burrito and strong daddy has to carry him the one block distance which feels like a mile and he screams at the top of his lungs that he doesn’t want mommy’s scarf. People are posting videos all over Facebook of what it looks like to toss a cup of boiling water into the air as it turns to hot mist. I get it people, you’re not deterred by this weather. But you know what? I prefer to stay indoors. Tent forts have been our preoccupation this weekend for Everett, and Asher’s exploratory nature has taken him throughout the house pulling out old toys and making collections of like objects. Our heaters have been bumped up high enough that Asher came into our room last night at 1:00am asking for a cup of water because his room was hot. I don’t care!

photo 2photo 3Gearing up for the Big Freeze of 2014 naturally took us Costco. Last Saturday, Asher adamantly pushed the over sized shopping cart through the television aisle dazing at the large screens proclaiming that this is where the eggs are kept, and then happily declared “They have couches here too!!!” We busied ourselves in the cafe with pizza and churros, and then spent nearly $200 on nothing. Yes, I have enough toilet paper, paper towels, and coffee creamer to get us through this Apocalypse. But somehow we got home and I felt like I didn’t buy anything of substance or nutrition. Well, I did get a pineapple.

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Christmas Kale Salad

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Merry Christmas and Mazel Tov on spending quality time with your families! Yesterday we hosted an impromptu Christmas Eve complete with homemade hot cocoa and a Costco-sized Bulleit bourbon (thanks Mark Zar!) and I finally got to try out a new recipe that I’ve been meaning to make since our flop of a Thanksgiving. I had heard rave reviews about Costco’s 7 Superfoods salad in a bag concoction and let me tell you this rivals it tenfold! This raw kale and brussel sprout salad does best marinating in the dressing a few hours before serving. I also threw in some sliced red pepper for a festive theme and have thus dubbed it it’s aptly named title.

CHRISTMAS KALE SALAD
1 bunch black kale, sliced thinly
12 oz brussel sprouts, finely grated
1 cup slivered almonds toasted in a pan for 3-4 minutes on medium heat
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan or Asiago cheese
2 red peppers, julienned

DRESSING
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Use a hand blender to purée the salad dressing. Toss all ingredients with dressing in a large bowl and let sit in refrigerator at least one hour before serving. I used a food processor with the grater attachment for the brussel sprouts.

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