Thursday, September 30, 2010

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Ode to Ghareeb Nawaz

One day Betsy and I were on Devon street, looking for some good Indian food.

“I want to find the cheapest food on Devon. I want some cheap Indian food!” I said to Betsy.

One of the first places that caught my eye was at the east end of the Indian area of Devon. It was a small, simple looking place that seemed like “hole in the wall” joint, if you know what I mean. It looked really cheap! But it also looked super busy--and it seemed like most of the people in the restaurant were actually Indian/Pakastani. A good sign.

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Anyway, we continued to go all the way down Devon but found nothing looked quite as intriguing as this first little restaurant.

So we decided to be a bit adventurous and checked out Ghareeb Nawaz! Boy, what a treat we were in for! We found one of the gems of Chicago.

This place is amazing. Everything is super cheap, homemade, with huge portions. Betsy’s favorite, Gyros Paratha (an Indian style Gyro), is only $2.50. And it is huge! And AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! The curries and rice dishes run about $3.50 - $6.00. Naan is $0.50 for a huge piece. And the menu is very large. At the main counter there is a sign with every item they serve and a picture of the item. It is a bit daunting, especially if you are not that familiar with real Indian food!



Despite the price, the food is simply delicious, and tastes very authentic. Granted, I have never been to India or Pakistan, but the food just seems to have the non-American, full, exotic taste. And judging by how busy the place is, I am guessing it must be pretty close to the real thing.

That said, it probably would be a good idea to have somewhat of an idea of what you want to get before you go. We love the Gyros Paratha, and I have tried one of the curry dishes, which was amazing. Last time we went there, I was a bit adventurous randomly picked something from the menu. I ended up ordering the Shami Kabab. I think my brain was more adventurous than my tastebuds, because I wasn’t able to make it through these minced meat patties. Part of the reason was that I didn’t even know what I was eating at the time! Luckily, my lovely Betsy rescued me by sharing her Gyros with me! That being said, I am eager to try some of the suggestions found at this review site:

And the address:

2032 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(between Seeley Ave & Hoyne Ave)

Give it a try!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So, we are going crazy with the water and can’t enough of it. Yesterday we went sailing!

view of downtown Chicago:








Captain Jake was kind enough to let us on his boat. Many thanks!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

What’s for dinner?

So I know lots of people like to joke around that they married certain people for their cooking abilities. Well, I’m starting to think that there is way more truth to that then we’d maybe like to admit.

Well, seriously now. I have an amazing husband. Because of….many things. But more specifically, on any given night he can make me this:


Thas right. Pad Thai.

The recipe will come to you on his own time (he has been more and more excited about posting recipes, I think) so for now just drool over the picture.

Yay! But what’s for dessert? Well don’t think I won’t leave our meal alone without some sort of reciprocation. In honor of my old roommate Gretchen (who recently became engaged…Gretchen wherever you are I hope you know your work on my wedding cake is legendary…someday I will be brave and venture your gateau basque…) And in honor of the beautiful fall harvest, (??) I made one of my favorite desserts:


(Please, click on the picture and admire the work I put into photoshopping it to perfection. Ok, I’m not a pro at photoshop, but the torte was delicious!)

Bavarian Apple Torte!

1/2 cup soft butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla OR
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour

Mix and pat in bottom of greased 9 inch round pan.

8 ounces soft cream cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip and spread over crust.

Top with:

3-4 cups grated or thinly sliced apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes,  then turn heat down to 400, take off foil, and cook for another 25 minutes.  Guys! This is super easy! You don’t have to arrange the apples like I did. It will blow your mind with how delicious it is!

As you can imagine, this is enough food for more than just two of us. We really need to be better about inviting out friends for dinner.  I suppose having too much food is hardly a dilemma. However, we hate throwing food away. And this happens sometimes. So, who wants to come over?

Friday, September 24, 2010


Last Saturday Micah and I decided to go kayaking on the Chicago River.












I belong in the city.

At the end of this video, I was approaching a pipe that was letting out water with such great force that I got soaked. Micah did not therefore stop the video in time. Miraculously, I have no hard feelings against him. Haha.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Buckingham Fountain.


Took me long enough to post these pictures!! We went with Bryn, Ann, and Caleb to the Jazz festival first weekend of September. It was the most beautiful day. I LOVE FALL in Chicago.





Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

BORSCH (off the top of my head)

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Well today I planned on making Borsch. I walked all the way out to the produce market to get all the ingredients, collected them all, and went to checkout. It was then that I realized I didn’t have my wallet. Basically, my life is a giant irony. It’s been a sad day overall.

Still, I want to share with you all the magic of this soup. Let me first say that everyone in Ukraine has their own way of making borsch. There is no one method of making it. But for those of you who have enjoyed my soup, then read on and try it out! It’s absolutely delicious, good for you, and cheap to make. It’s the best food you could possibly eat!

Let’s start with the ingredients:

1 cup stew meat or chicken

3-4 quarts beef or chicken stock

2 large beets or 4 small ones (tennis ball sized)

1 large onion (or again, two small ones)

1 large carrot (or again…two small ones)

1 teaspoon Citric Acid (I know this might be hard to find, so you can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead.)

1/3 head of cabbage shredded thinly

3 medium potatoes cut into small fingers

1 tomato, smashed (or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste – some people even use ketchup or spaghetti sauce…)

fresh parsley



garlic powder

bay leaf


onion powder


Sour cream, for serving



First, start boiling chicken or beef stock. Add the bay leaf. If you want it to be more of a liquidy soup (or if you have to feed more people) you can add more broth or stock.

Brown the stew meat or the chicken in an oiled pan with some salt and pepper and set aside. Make sure not to overcook or it will be rubbery.

Grate the beet and carrot, and dice the onion. There should be about 1 1/2 cups of each. But I like a LOT of beet (the beet gives the distinct color and flavor) so I go for about 3 cups of that. Go with your gut. If there is a vegetable you don’t like so much, don’t put so much of it in.

Put the onion, beet and carrot in a frying pan and fry until tender in an oiled pan. Be careful not to burn the beet. Add citric acid and maybe a few tablespoons of water to help tenderize it and keep it from burning.

Put your potatoes in the boiling broth to start cooking them. After about 10 minutes I put in the cabbage, because if they are shredded thinly enough, they take less time to cook. Then after about 5 minutes I add the meat, and the fried vegetables, and the smashed tomato.

Now for the seasoning. Taste your borsch to see where it’s at. If it needs salt, add more. If not, don’t go crazy. Go with what seasonings you like. A handful of fresh parsley at the very end of the cooking is wonderful. To be perfectly honest with you, I often depend on this little packet of stuff that I got from Ukraine to season my borshch:


So if your Borsch turns out horribly DON’T BLAME ME!! I’ve had a few pots of the stuff that just didn’t taste right (usually because I used too much water or too much salt) so don’t be afraid. If you are tasting along the way yours should turn out fine.  If you are able to procure some sunflower oil, that’s AWESOME! Fry your ingredients with that! But I just use vegetable oil.

Good luck!! Serve it with some nice black rye (and of course, a dollop of sour cream)! Let me know if you have any questions.

EDIT: Some of you have come to me with concerns about the proportions of seasonings. I would start off with a teaspoon of each. From there, just go with what you like best. Sorry I can’t be more specific, since I haven’t really measured it all while cooking yet.  You can even put some MSG (flavor enhancer) which is what is in my ukrainian seasoning packets.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baby Walk

Here’s our little nephew walking around town (Buckingham Fountain). He was so cute! Everyone loved him!



And after Photoshop gets rid of all the pesky people!


Sweet and Sour





1/2 can pineapple chunks, drained (juice reserved)
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces 
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 drop orange food color


1-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper 
1 egg
1 cup water
2 cups vegetable oil for frying


1. In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, and orange food coloring. Heat to boiling. Turn off heat. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoon water; slowly stir into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture thickens.

2. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoons cornstarch, salt, pepper, and egg. Add 1  cup water gradually to make a thick batter. Stir to blend thoroughly. Add chicken pieces, and stir until chicken is well coated.

3. Heat oil in skillet or wok to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C). Fry chicken pieces in hot oil until golden. Remove chicken, and drain on paper towels.

4. When ready to serve, layer green peppers, pineapple chunks, and cooked chicken pieces on a platter. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over top.



(We actually could have done with more of the sweet and sour sauce!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joy in cooking.

Heyo ya’ll. Just thought I should post some recipes today. First off, is maple mustard glazed pork loin!!



Look at the beautiful roses!! <3 <3 <3

YUm yum yum yum yum yum yum! This is serious sunday dinner fare. Also it makes great leftovers. The recipe is from, but here it is for your convenience.

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Stir together the maple syrup, mustard vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place pork roast in a shallow roasting pan. Spread glaze evenly over pork roast.
  3. Roast pork in the preheated oven uncovered, until internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), about 1 hour. Remove from oven, and let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Micah likes to put the meat in a slow cooker and cooks it all day while we are at church. It is AMAZING this way (when you are like me and like you meat as tender as butter) but no huge difference. We also had a pork loin that was pre-brined with salt, so that might have also helped with the flavor. Try it served with homemade apple-sauce!

I should be posting a recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something I made a few years back


If you are like me and are getting tired of doing all the dishes by hand, you can can put this up in your kitchen to inspire you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Something you should know about us.

Both Micah and I are huge huge fans of Paul Simon. Today it is raining and I am listening to:


My thoughts are scattered and they’re cloudy.

Anyways, just thought I would let you know that if you hear about any kind of concert of event with Paul Simon I would be ecstatic to hear about it.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Sometimes I fail to realize that the internet is a big big place.

Meaning, that all the crazy incriminating videos I post of Micah are available for all to see.

Interestingly, Micah has no problem with this. Guys. Did I luck out, or WHAT???

I suppose since I am the main author of this blog I am free to post whatever I want. But to many visiting for the first time I cannot give them a warning about how weird I really am and provide some kind of disclaimer that all the content of this blog is basically whatever is in my head at the moment. And whatever is in our camera’s memory card at the moment.

The funny thing about Micah (hope this isn’t awkward… it is since I just acknowledged it as such) is that I can post all the silly things he does in broad daylight with no problem, but if I were to actually point out all the amazing things he accomplishes in med school and work, there might be some grief. It’s been this way since I’ve known him, actually. At first he appeared like a rather weird, somewhat dim-witted person. (HAH, he really doesn’t appear that way at all, I was going through a very judgmental phase in my life) But it turned out that he was a genius. So let that be a lesson you you kids. 

But here’s what I am getting at. I don’t (and won’t) want to be specific about  what Micah succeeds at because I respect the fact that he is trying to be less self-promoting. Right now I think he is struggling to do that for his applications for residency. :0) So I’ll be good and promise not to brag, alright??

Three cheers for Micah, RAH! RAH! RAhhhh…..ok I’m done now.