Another whirlwind weekend in the books!  While I loved the sunshine, I would have liked it to be about 10 degrees warmer, but as long as it is sunny, I am a happy camper.  It makes me wonder why I don’t live in California!  On that’s right, I don’t think I’d be able to have a house on an acre lot and only have a $371 mortgage payment 😛

Let’s rewind to Friday, shall we?  I bring you Week Two of Food Fun Friday with my twin sister Jennifer.  Early Society was our pick of the week, just a couple blocks from my office on the corner of Wacker and Clark.  We passed by it earlier on one of our lunch time walks and pretty much instantly made a reservation.

PicMonkey Collage - early

You all know how much I love a good burger, and decided to give this one a try.  Holy balls, I am so glad I did.  Perfectly seasoned beef patty, cheddar cheese, toasted soft bun, AND they cooked it medium rare just the way I like it.  We spent $1 to upgrade our fries to Parmesan fries, so yummy.  We chose to get teh sauces on the side, and I am glad I did – that white one is a seasoned mayo, which probably would have added 1o points to the burger.  We split a small appetizer of guacamole with wonton chips, each ate half our burgers and probably 1/3 of our fries and called lunch 20 points. We tracked it, had no guilt, and moved on.  Such a fun way to spend a Friday lunch!  We haven’t decided where we will go this Friday yet.  To offset the burger I had for lunch, I ate a salad for dinner Friday night, chopping up two ounces of leftover pizza as croutons to the top.

I woke up Saturday happy to be going to my happy place – The Chopping Block.   The outdoor grill patio at Lincoln Square officially opened and we had a Big Green Egg extravaganza to kick off the season.  Grilled pizza, pork, ham, turkey, vegetables – it was so much fun!  Great to see all my friends again, I felt like Norm from Cheers when I walked in – everyone looked up and said “Biz!”

I totally wanted to buy this cow – but even with my discount it would have been $15.  But here is a quick lesson on choosing beef – the meat around the most muscle is going to be the cuts of beef you want to cook low and slow – the chuck and round portion.  The brisket also needs a bit of love, while the sirloin, tenderloin, short loan is super tender, doesn’t have a lot of connective tissue and can be cooked quick and will be very tender.

PicMonkey Collage - TCB

Got to work with my buddy Nick – he and I pretty much hit it off personality wise within the first 5 minutes we met last August.  He’s also insulin diabetic, swears like a truck driver and is just fun to be around with.  I’ll have to have him and his wife out for a BBQ sometime.  I wasn’t happy to be back at The Chopping Block at all.

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I got home Saturday night and Hannah and I hung out for a bit before she and Jacob watched a movie.  Shelley, I don’t think you’ll mind this snap chat filter – not sure what the filter is, but can it be on my face all day long?

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Sunday morning I did some chores around the house before I met my Mom up for our CROP walk.  I raised $280!   – thanks to Lori, Lisa, Josh, my MIL Bonnie, Carrie and Rob, Debby, Paula, Lynne and Anonymous for helping me reach my goal!  

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We did the shorter route (2.6 miles) because my Mom had an event to go to at 3:30.  It was beautiful out and it was nice to spend time with my Momma.  

I hadn’t done a meal plan, but stopped by the store and did a quick grocery shop on the way home.  I did remember that I pinned a recipe from Skinnytaste –  I follow a local Chicago girl Lean Lassie on Instagram, and saw this recipe through her.  Gina’s recipe called for putting the pork in the crock pot, but since you know I love to grill, decided to make a grilled version.  I followed her recipe below for the pork and pickled veggies.  I just marinated the pork for an hour in that mixture below:  1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. ground pepper, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar – the only thing I did different was that I grated a whole jalapeno into the marinade, because I love it spicy.

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In case you didn’t know, pork can now be cooked to a pink center.  I think if my sister were to cook pork, she would cook it until it was well done.  Jenn, do you even use pork??  Anywho, cook pork to 145 – let it rest – perfect pink perfection.  I love how the brown sugar caremalized the meat on the crust.  So good!

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Gina’s recipe added sliced cucumbers and red cabbage to the bowl, but since I had the grill going, decided to grill up radicchio and zucchini.  I just tossed the veggies in a bit of grape seed oil, salt and pepper.  If you haven’t been using grape seed oil, you should try it.  Especially for sauteing veggies and the grill.  It has a way higher smoke point than using olive oil, and it literally has no flavor at all.  Save your good olive oil for finishing, like vinaigrettes.

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The finished dish: 1/2 cup of cooked white rice mixed with cilantro (3), 4 ounces of pork (3), pickled veggies, the grilled zucchini and raddichio.  I added 1 point for the grapeseed oil for the veggies, and 1 point for the pickling liquid for the veggies, making this an 8 point bowl of goodness.

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This, was basically amazing.  The pork was spicy, with a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar in the marinade, the pickled veggies, the delicate radicchio and grilled zucchini?  Swoon.  I am so happy this made a lot so I am having the same thing for lunch today.  You may be seeing this dish once a week this summer!  My store routinely sells pork tenderloin for $1.49 a pound, making this super economical.


I have a confession to make.  Tony would be a bit embarrassed about our yard.  While someone may see these as weeds, I see them as wishes!

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The lawn service is coming Wednesday for the first time, so only a few more days before my lawn becomes the eye sore of the block.  I know I should care more, but the yard was Tony’s deal – and even though this is my third summer without him, still haven’t grasped the whole lawn maintenance yet.

Roman was my grilling buddy yesterday.  While I like to think he is out there to be with me, I really know he was just hoping I’d drop some meat off the grill:

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Happy Monday – what was the hightlight of your weekend?  Any new recipes on the menu this week?

Make it a great day!!