Since I didn’t start work until 5:00 on Friday, I decided to beat the traffic and head downtown earlier in the day and hit up the YMCA before work, which is just three miles from my work.  That was kind of a great decision.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

My Y membership lets me go to any YMCA in the Chicagoland area.  It was quite a big building.


It wasn’t until I walked in and saw all the mail slots that I realized this was an “actual” YMCA where people live.  I looked it up later and they have 212 guest rooms with rates starting at $378 a month up to $470 a month to have your own bathroom in your room.  Of course, it’s a Men’s only facility.  While the work out room was up to date, the locker rooms were a bit dated.

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And the showers were kind of spooky and the ceiling had tons of paint that was chipping off and looked like it could drop on the ground at any moment.  I got a good hour work in though, so that was good.  I felt that giving myself 30 minutes to drive 3 miles to work would be plenty and at 4:30 I was showered, dressed for work and ready to go.  And guess what?  It took me exactly 30 minutes to get to work – duh.  Because it was still rush hour.  I clocked in at 5:01 – whew!

It was a Chef demonstration, which is the first time I’ve worked that kind of event.  The guests could ask any questions they wanted, sip wine and then eat at the end of the night.  I got to make a chocolate tart with chocolate and raspberries and I got to grill the pork chops.  It was a lot of fun.

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Saturday night was a couples night in Paris with all Parisian food.   The Chef I worked with that night actually spent several years in Paris working in restaurants and we had a very engaging group of people.  I was able to put a Chef app together and decided to make a potato and grilled onion flat bread with brie.  After I put this together, I wished I would have added the brie when it came out of the oven, but it still tasted really good.  I know, can you believe I actively chose to make onions?!

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I just made my no rise pizza dough (one of my first blog posts from September 2008!), but let it rise for about 30 minutes because I had time while the onions and potatoes cooked in a cast iron skillet.  Then baked the flat bread (or pizza basically) for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

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The star of the night though was this Coq au Vin.  I have actually never made this dish before, but it’s going on my dinner menu next week.   This is a great weekend dinner to make, or for company as well.   It seems like a lot of ingredients but this came together rather quickly.   And while this recipe states it’s for four people, this is a whole chicken, so I easily think this could stretch for 8 people.

7. Knead together the butter and flour to form a paste. This paste is called a beurre manié.   After the dark and white meat is cooked, remove it from the pan. Whisk the beurre manié into the sauce and simmer until thickened. Taste and correct seasonings, return the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with parsley and serve. 

Note: The best way to peel pearl onions is to quickly blanch them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, drain and let the peeling begin. Tip: Use a paring knife to get the job done.

Everyone gave this dish rave reviews, and I was able to taste the pan sauce and it’s outstanding.  The brandy added just a touch of sweetness to the sauce and the chicken was cooked to perfection.  The recipe is courtesy of The Chopping Block.

I covered a shift early Sunday morning and since I was working late on Saturday night, my Mom let me stay at her house so I wouldn’t have to drive so much and get five hours of sleep vs. four if I had driven all the way home.  I felt bad because I wasn’t actually going to see her – I got to her house at 11:45 and was out the door at 5:15 a.m.  When I got to “my” room, and I say “my” room because I am the one who uses her guest bedroom the most, I found this note on my bed.

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And I remembered to turn off the porch light when I got in. Open-mouthed smile

She was available for lunch yesterday though, so after she sang the National Anthem at the Chicago Bears game yesterday with her choir, I met her back at her house and we headed to LaGrange for lunch.  I was super hungry.  There was a lot of junk food at the inventory at work, and one of the managers made scrambled eggs and bacon, but there were huge chunks of onions in the eggs, so I took a pass.  I did have a homemade baked donut one of the retail guys made, and a couple pieces of bacon and a handful of nuts during my shift.

I had a taste for a burger, and we saw this place:  Back Alley Burger

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You would think that if “burger” is in the name of your restaurant that your burger would be really good.  Sadly, it was just okay at best.  I got a 1/3 pound burger and it really had no flavor at all.  Although I did pass by a woman who got a 1/2 pound burger and if I got back, I may ask for that and see if they could cook it medium rare, oh, and maybe put some salt and pepper on it.  The sweet potato fries and slaw were amazeballs though!  I did eat almost everything because I was hungry though!

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We ate so late in the afternoon that I never ate anything for dinner and was in bed by 10:30 last night.  I didn’t wake up until 9:30 this morning!  I guess I caught up on my sleep.  I am off today, and Hannah didn’t leave for work until 11:30 so we hung out and caught up with each other before she left for work since I’ve barely talked to her since Thursday, which is why this post is so late.  I am in desperate need of a hair cut, so hopefully I can get that done today.   And the normal laundry and housework that needs to get done on a day off.  Although Hannah had her cleaning pants on yesterday, so there isn’t much left for me to do – thanks Hannah!

And here is how happy my Momma looks after spending time with me.  Is it no wonder I am her favorite?!

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Love you Momma!