I like to think if you add any type of egg to tacos, no matter what the filling, you can call them breakfast tacos.  Yesterday morning I chopped up 1.5 ounces of my leftover Nashville Hot Chicken and 1/2 ounce of fries leftover from Heaven on Seven.  Tossed in some chopped broccoli slaw and egg whites and scrambled that and tossed it into 3 corn tortillas and pan fried those puppies up for a delicious 10 smart point breakfast.  I didn’t even use cheese!

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It was a crappy day out, so I was happy that my schedule worked so that I could take the train to work.  Even though it isn’t an express train during the day, I don’t mind the hour and twenty minute commute.  They have plugs on the train so I don’t use up my phone battery and just chill out on Netflix and youtube – goes by in the blink of an eye.  When I got off the train it had stopped raining, but it was chilly – the temps were only in the low 50’s, but it was windy so it felt much colder than that.

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I had planned on walking to Xoco – Rick Bayless’s casual lunch spot, but it was too crappy outside, so I went to the food court on the second floor of the Merchandise Mart.   I have never been to the food court before.

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I decided on Protein Bar because I didn’t have a whole lot of time to look around.  My friend Jacky told me that next time I need to try the falafel at Mezza Grill.   I got the buffalo protein bowl – chicken, celery, cucumber, carrots, blue cheese and chicken.  290 calories, 4 grams saturated fat, 5 grams sugar and 31 grams protein, so it was 7 smart points and I have to say very filling!

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Then it was time for work!  JeanMarie Brownson was the guest chef for a private book signing event.  She is a lovely woman, very down to earth, and I loved hearing her stories about her love of food.  Before we got there we set up the family style dining table.

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We started up in the retail space where the guests ate her prosciutto parmesan puffs (which I never got a picture of!) and sipped on a complimentary glass of champagne.  While we prepared the puffs ahead of time for the guests to eat, JeanMarie demonstrated how easy they were to make.

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She brought a few of her favorite kitchen items and shared a story with each.  A giant rolling pin that her husband of 30+ years gave her on their first wedding anniversary, that has since been the focal point of her and her families Christmas cookie baking extravaganza every year since.  She said that they have whittled their cookie making down to 29 varieties this year!  She mentioned a copper pot that was part of a set purchased on her and her husband’s fifth wedding anniversary while in France.  The dollar to franc ratio was very generous back then, and they purchased a whole set of copper pots.  Only one tiny problem, the store that they purchased the pots was the first stop of the day, so they had to pack all the pots in their backpacks and her husband had to carry most of the pots around the whole day!

Her message was simple.  Even if she only has 20 minutes for dinner, she always sits at a table, with a plate and silverware.  That was one of the reasons she started her whole column in the Chicago Tribune was because while her children knew how to cook, they didn’t actually know how to put a whole dinner together when they were teens.   Now in their 20’s, she’s quite confident of their abilities in their own kitchens.

“The Chicago native shares with Good Eating readers the recipes she develops at home to feed her family and friends. Brownson has long experience in food; she was the test kitchen director for the Chicago Tribune from 1980 until 1996. She left the Tribune to start Frontera Foods with partners Rick Bayless and Manny Valdes. She is now culinary director of that Mexican foods company and also serves as culinary director for Frontera Media Productions, which produces the PBS TV show “Mexico — One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless.” She has co-authored three cookbooks with Bayless and wife Deann, including “Mexico — One Plate at a Time,” winner of the James Beard Foundation’s International Cookbook Award.” – Chicago Tribune

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And for the record, I tried beets again, and still don’t like them.  The only time I’ve eaten them and liked them were when they are pickled.  If I ever need a great dessert, these latte brownies were very good – very coffee tasting with the espresso powder.

Everyone had a great time, the pace was well throughout the night, and before I knew I, it was time to head home.  Love Chicago at night!

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I am working a tapas party tonight at Lincoln Square, but don’t start until 5:00, so had a nice morning hanging out with Hannah this morning sipping coffee outside before she went to work, which is why this post is going up later than usual.  That’s one of the things I love about my job at The Chopping Block is that each day is a bit different, and I feel like I have so much time to do other stuff during the day before work. 

I plan on getting my walking shoes before the rain starts later today.  It’s breezy and 64 degrees – perfect! 

Make it a great day!