Archive of ‘Eats & Treats’ category

Roasted Veggies: The Easiest (and Most Colorful) Side Dish EVER

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, friendsgiving, and potlucks. Lots and lots of potlucks. Every year, it seems that the number of potluck events increase. I’m not complaining because it gives me a great excuse to catch up with friends and co-workers. However, I always get a little anxiety while deciding what to make for these events. I’m usually up against some really talented cooks and I want my dish to be able to hold its own. Not that it’s a competition or anything 😉

Yesterday, my co-workers planned a pre-Thanksgiving celebration and I decided to bring roasted veggies. Guys, this might be the easiest side dish of all times and it is delicious. For my recipe, I used broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, red onions, and red bell peppers. Below are the super easy steps for pulling it all together.

1. Wash and cut vegetables before placing in a large bowl.

So many colors!

2. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and Montreal Steak seasoning. (Thanks to The Pioneer Woman for the heads up!)

Veggies after a little oil and seasoning

Veggies after a little oil and seasoning

3. Place the veggies in a single layer on a thin baking pan. Broil on a high setting for 15-20 minutes. (Tip: Watch the broccoli to make sure it doesn’t brown too fast).

One of the pans that I used

One of the pans that I used

4. Remove the veggies and transfer into a serving dish.

Fresh out of the oven. Suh-woon.

Fresh out of the oven. Suh-woon.

Voila. Done and done!

Isn’t that easy? Aside from potlucks, this is also a great dish to make for community service projects, like preparing meals at a soup kitchen or for families at the Ronald McDonald House. Just remember to buy enough veggies!

If you are not crazy about vegetables, I’ve rounded up some other great recipes that I have tried (and loved) that you can take to your next event.

Sweet Honey & Jalapeño Corn Muffins

Charred Skillet Corn with Bacon

Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles

Salted Caramel Rice Krispies Squares

Cheesy Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

I am always looking for new recipes to master, so please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments. What’s your favorite go-to dish for potlucks and get togethers?


TONIGHT: Dining Out for Life

Dining Out for Life is one of my favorite occasions because it gives me a reason to try new restaurants (or visit old standbys) and support HIV education and fundraising. Each year for the past couple of years, a group of friends has always planned a dinner at one of the supporting restaurants in town and tonight’s no different. My (play) brother is celebrating his birthday so we’re all getting together at one of my favorite pizza places for grub, laughter, and awareness. Also, each of us is contributing $10 to Edge Alliance, the organization that the Chicago Dine Out supports.  It’s definitely going to be a FUN time.

If you’re looking for a place to do dinner tonight, check out for a list of participating restaurants in your city.


Cookies Too Cute to Eat!

As a late twenty-something, I’m creeping into the age range where weddings, baby showers, and children’s birthday parties are becoming more and more common. Bleh. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I do not like attending these occasions. I mean, I go…but that’s more about showing support for my friends over enjoying the actual event.

BUT…I guarantee that if any of my friends were to provide cookies like these from Lala’s Cookie Jar, I’d probably sing a different tune. Amazingly decorated sugar cookies have become my newest obsession.



These cookies are almost too cute to eat but trust me, I definitely would. To all of my friends (current and future) who are planning to get married and/or have children soon, please think about offering these cookies at your shower…I would do the same for you!

Click here for more deliciously decorated treats!


A Great Reason to Host a Pink Ladies’ Brunch

I love browsing websites and blogs for inspiration and ideas, especially of the visual variety. I’ve been spending time on 3 Kids and Us admiring the various pink dessert recipes labeled “Cook for the Cure.” Today, I finally decided to find out what “Cook for the Cure” actually was and I found a great reason to host a girls’ brunch at my place.

Cook for the Cure Logo

According to the dedicated page on KitchenAid’s website, Cook for the Cure® is a program “that gives people with a passion for cooking a way to support the fight against breast cancer.” From July 15-July 24, KitchenAid is encouraging people to get involved in “1,000 Cooks for the Cure” by hosting a fundraising party anchored by a desire to fight breast cancer and enjoy some delicious treats. When I checked the website, there were only 49 parties listed. That means WE need to get 951 more parties on the books.

I have this great deck that I suppose should be used for entertaining and I think that this program is the push that I need to finally host something. Right? I’m already thinking of some menu and decor ideas to get me in the mood. I’ve bookmarked the below photo for inspiration…I found it on one of my favorite sites, Celebrations at Home.

Photo: Jennifer Sando Photography

To learn more about Cook for the Cure and/or to sign up for your own party, visit the website. Hope you can join in and support this fun event!


Get Your Sushi Kick for Charity

Sushi and charity…One of my favorite charitable combinations! Starting on Sunday, May 29, on of my favorite sushi outposts, RA Sushi, kicks off “Nicky’s Week,” a fundraiser in support of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

100% of the proceeds from select menu items will benefit the amazing work being done by this hospital that never charges patients regardless of their ability to pay. Nicky’s Week was developed in memory of St. Jude patient Nicholas “Nicky” Mailliard, the nephew of one of RA’s founder, who lost a long battle with brain cancer in February 2005 at the age of 13. The Nicky’s Week fundraiser has raised over $750,000 for St. Jude since 2005, and they hope to keep that number going and growing this year! The fundraiser goes until Saturday, June 4th, so find your nearest RA location and get your sushi on!


P.S. In support of “Nicky’s Week,” RA Sushi is giving five people the opportunity to win free sushi for a year. Follow them on Twitter to learn more!

Sweet Charity…Literally

Cupcakes and cookies for charity, oh my! Chicago-based Sweet Miss Giving’s has been serving up that combination since being founded in October 2008 by Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House, the first provider of AIDS housing in the Midwest. Rev. Sloan’s vision was to create a pathway to jobs for the homeless – while also helping to fund Chicago House’s support services.

Sweet Miss Giving’s creates delicious treats while operating under two key principles: Be “Unquestionably Kind” and “Unreasonably Good.” More than 50 percent of all profits go to Chicago House, a non-profit organization that helps formerly homeless men, women and children who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

All of Sweet Miss Giving’s bakery treats are all natural and preservative-free, and made fresh daily. When you check out the website, you’ll see that the social enterprise sells everything from biscotti to brownies to hot chocolate mix. Perfect for a cozy night in or a great gift for family/friends. If you’re in Chicago, you can purchase the goods at the storefront location in Chicago’s French Market. Outside the Windy City? Don’t worry! The business also ships nationwide. For a complete menu or more ideas, please visit!

Photos: Sweet Miss Giving’s

Chicago Stands Up for Haiti

Photo: Getty Images (

Photo: Getty Images (

Last week on Twitter, I talked about how I represented Haiti superhard in college. I’m not Haitian, but I was an aspiring French minor and wanted all of my classmates to know about the tiny country of freed slaves who had a beautiful culture and spoke French. I had a flag in my bedroom, and even tried to teach myself Kreyol. I never learned, but when I graduated, I had a greater sense of appreciation for the people and history of Haiti.

Fast forward to today, and I think that I’m still absorbing the effect of the devasting earthquake on the country. But, I am encouraged and inspired by the way that the world has responded by donating funds, supplies, attention, and prayers. Here in Chicago, there are plenty of businesses that made donations last week, and many more who are continuing their efforts this week. Here is a roundup of some upcoming events:

1/18-1/24: Wake of the Quake Restaurant Event

Local restaurants will give guests the opportunity to add $1 or more to their checks. All funds collected with be donated to Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit that has set up an emergency fund to aid survivors.

1/18-1/24: AKIRA Shoe Drive

AKIRA Chicago will be collecting used shoes and socks to send to Haiti. You are asked to donate work boots, sport shoes, children’s shoes, and rain boots. The stores hope to collect 1000 pairs of shoes!

1/20: Sushi Samba Meet ‘n Tweet

Sushi Samba locations nationwide will host Meet ‘n Tweets with discounted food and drink specials. 100% of sales of the special TwitteROLL will benefit Haiti relief efforts.

1/21: Wake of the Quake Benefit and Afterparty

In addition to the weeklong restaurant drive, there will also be an event held at English Chicago (444 N. LaSalle) from 6-9p. For a suggested $20 donation, guests will a complimentary drink and hors d’oeuvres. There will be an afterparty at Sushi Samba (504 N. Wells) and sales from a specialty roll and signature drink will be donated to Heartland Alliance.

1/30: Fundraiser at Duffy’s Tavern

Come out to Lincoln Park bar, Duffy’s Tavern (420 W. Diversey), and enjoy a drink package and raffles for Blackhawks/Bulls tickets, all while raising funds for the Red Cross. Tickets are $30.

1/30: Hope for Port-au-Prince, Haiti at Yehia & Co Hair Salons

One of my favorite Chicago salons, Yehia & Co., will be donating all salon services to the Red Cross on January 30th. That’s right. Come out and get your hair styled, and they will donate what you pay to Haiti aid. The stores will also collect food, water, and clothing. There are four locations and you can participate at any one of them.

As always you can donate by texting “Yele” to 501501 ($5 donation to Yele) or texting “Haiti” to 90999 ($10 donation to the Red Cross).

If you know of more events happening across the city, please feel free to add them to the comments or @ me on Twitter (@thefabgiver). As long as we continue to do what we can and keep the country in our prayers, then it will get better. Not overnight, but it will definitely happen.


Dining and Donating

Eating is such a fun activity, especially when the establishment/cooks are just THAT good! Mmm…now combine that with a chance to give back, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. Here are two opportunities for you to chow and support some great organizations.

The Local Tourist Restaurant Week

For almost a week, diners have stopped by participating restaurants to enjoy three course meals for only $25/lunch and $35/dinner. Ten percent of each meal goes to Endure To Cure, which is raising money for pediatric cancer research, treatment and care! Restaurant Week goes until this Friday, January 15th, so you still have time to participate! Feature restaurants include Wave, Nacional 27, and C-House. Be sure to ask about “The Local Tourist” menu!

Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Challenge

The Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, formerly the Cooking & Hospitlaity Institute, is hosting a “Bleu Ribbon” cooking challenge across the country on Thursday, January 14th. Three teams, consisting of local chefs, celebrities, and students will prepare their take on a traditional chicken with herbs dish. Attendees (meaning YOU) will get to taste the dishes and select the winner! Tickets are $25 and a portion of sales will benefit the local Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Chicago event which will have participants such as Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard is already sold out, but if you’re in another city then you may still be in luck! Click this link to find a city near you. Happy judging!


Disclaimer: LCB is a Client of my PR firm. I was not asked to blog about the event, but did so as it fits into the theme of TFG.

Dining Out for Life 2009

On Thursday, April 30th, various restaurants across the country will participate in Dining Out for Life, an event designed to raise money for AIDS organizations. Here in Chicago, approximately 30 restaurants will help raise funds for AIDSCare Chicago, an organization which has dedicated itself to improving the quality of life for Chicagoans with HIV/AIDS since 1992. AIDSCare offers support service, housing assistance, and much more.

You can find a list of participating restaurants and cities by visiting!



Kit Kat Lounge (

Kit Kat Lounge (

Over at The Red Pump Project, we are inviting our Chicago supporters to join us for group dinner outing on this night. Luvvie and I are still deciding which place to attend, but I already have my Top Two choices (Carnivale or The Kit Kat Lounge). If you would like to join us, then shoot an email over to and we’ll get back to you with the details! 🙂