Fly-by Summer

Happy Sunday Funday, everyone!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this summer is flying by.  It’s August 1st already…WHAT?!?!  Maybe it’s because I’m a Chicagoan and summer (also known as road construction season) lasts only 3 months and then it’s back to cold wind and snow up to your eyeballs, but I am trying to squeeze in as much during the warm months as possible.

Yesterday, that meant All-Star Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast

Oh, good gracious.  To be fair, there’s nothing technically “all-star” about this dish, but it played my tastebuds like Michael Jordan played basketball.

Let’s rewind to the beginning of this creation, shall we?

After a morning meeting with Heather at Healthy In Chicago, I visited the Lincoln Park farmers market:

I know what you’re thinking and no, the farmers market isn’t actually on a farm- but the petting zoo is directly across the street.  I decided to get a quick workout in, so I ran (sprinted, actually) all the way there.  Part of why I love where I live in Chicago is that it’s within walking distance of so many things- the zoo and farmers market included.  At the fast pace I was going, it only took me about 5 minutes to get there.  I ran a bit further and then circled back.

As I perused the vendors’ tents, I came upon a boulanger (ie, baker) that had some amazing bread.

I chose a sesame semolina loaf, as per the recommendation by the girl working the tent.

Now, we all know that I can’t control myself and I needed to break into this bread as soon as I got home (let’s be honest, I’m lucky I didn’t break into it on the walk home).

It was so good!  After debating what I should do with it, I settled on French toast.  It sounded like a strange idea at first because of the sesame seeds, but it ended up being some of the best French toast I’ve made.  The doughiness of the bread really soaked up the egg mixture and the seeds added a really nice heartiness.  I didn’t have any maple syrup (I’m not really a huge fan of maple syrup.  Gasp, I know.) so I decided to make a sauce to go on top.

For the egg mixture:

1 egg, beaten

1 T. skim milk

generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon

1/2 t. vanilla extract

Mix all of those in a shallow dish and then soak the bread slices in it while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:

1 1/2 T. strawberry preserves

2 T. cream cheese at room temperature

splash skim milk

1/2 t. vanilla extract

Mix all of these ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Cook the bread in a bit of butter (I used about 1/2 teaspoon) in a skillet, flipping occasionally until golden brown.  Top with the sauce.

This was such a great Saturday morning meal.  The fresh bread worked perfectly as a base for the French toast and the sauce tasted like strawberry cheesecake.

Way to get the day started off on the right foot, Megan. 🙂  After that, my day was filled with friends, good food and street festivals.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer Saturday.

What’s on your list of things to do before summer ends?

Holy Street Fest, Batman

One reason why I love Chicago is that this city throws some rockin’ street festivals.

One of my personal favorites is Old St. Pats (yes, it’s a church.  Those Catholics suuuure know how to throw a party!)  Over the years, I’ve seen Pat Monahan  (from Train), The Barenaked Ladies and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.  Am I the only one that has sweet, sweet memories of their hit “Bittersweet”??

AAAAAHHHH!!!! Chicago is on fire….AGAIN!!!  Stupid cow!!

I keed, I keed…that was just a really weird/scary/beautiful cloud formation.  🙂

There were lots of great bands and people watching, and of course- some rockin’ porta-potties.  My favorite!!

There weren’t many healthy food options (I’ll be straight with you- I wasn’t really looking all that hard for healthy options.  The pizza was calling my name!  Can you hear it?  “Megaaan, I’m deeeelicious…” How could I resist?)

And when you start your Saturday off with some of this, how can you go wrong?

Ridiculous French toast.  It was inappropriately good.

Unfortunately, the weekend had to come to an end.

All together now:  sigghhhh.

I started my week off on a good foot- I went for a 3.5 mile run along the lake front.  Reason #852 why I love my new apartment:  I’m only about .5 mile from the lake and the awesome lakefront running/biking path. It was a tough run because I was feeling kind of tired, but I got ‘er done.

My (unpictured) breakfast was a 0% plain Greek yogurt and some watermelon chunks.

Mid-morning snack:

For some reason I am incapable of photographing my Ezekial bread before I start eating it.  Every. time.  What is that all about??  I can’t control myself, I tell you!!

I had a light lunch of salad and some shrimp cocktail.  (Compliments of Costco.  I heart you, Costco.)

I was hungry again 2 hours later, naturally.  I am like an infant that needs a feeding every few hours or else I kick and scream and cry.  It’s really awkward at the office.

Appropriately, I ate a Clif Z Bar.  They are intended for children. 🙂

Not my favorite flavor of all time, but pretty good!

I came home from a busy day at work with a hankerin’ for some good old fashioned home cooked food!

I made vegetable pad thai.  I didn’t use a recipe but here’s what I did:

  • Julienne vegetables of your choice.  I used about 1/4 of a huge red bell pepper, 1 big carrot, about 1/4 of an onion, some scallions.  I also minced a honkin’ clove of garlic.  I also threw in a handful of edamame for protein (and deliciousness).
  • Boil water and add a serving of rice noodles.  Salt the water and cook until they are soft (about 5 minutes).  Drain.
  • Make a quick sauce of equal parts (just a tablespoon or two) soy sauce, fish sauce and light colored vinegar.  Add as much chili paste as you can stand (I like it spicy!).
  • Put a little vegetable oil (or another oil with a high smoke point) in a pan and heat on high.  Add the vegetables and sautée for a minute or two.  Add the sauce and noodles and stir fry until combined.  Ta da!!

This is what I came up with:

It was all kinds of good.  I made a salad to go with it:

Mmmmm, I’m a good cook!!  Right, Mom?? 😉

What’s your favorite thing going on in your city this summer?

New shoes!

I took the day off of work and am really glad that I did- I’ve gotten a ton of things done!

I started out my day by hanging some of my art on the walls.  For some reason I’m always really good about unpacking my stuff when I move into a new place but get stuck when I start trying to decorate.  Maybe I’m afraid of the commitment- I pains me to put nails through the wall.  It’s weird, I’m aware.  Moving on.

I then headed out for a sweaty run.  I tried to get myself out the door early enough so that I’d miss the heat but that was  a big fail- I didn’t leave until it was almost 9!  I still managed to run about 5 1/4 miles in about 50 minutes.  I’ll take it.

I ate some of this to refuel:

And then I realized that I was being incredibly lazy so I picked up a knife and turned that watermelon into this:

Muuuch more civilized.  I also ate one of these:

Because no matter how old I get, string cheese never ceases to entertain me.  I like to see how many perfect “strands” of cheese I can get out of the stick (for the record, a “perfect” strand is one that doesn’t taper off toward the end but stays nice and even from top to bottom).  Does anyone else do this?  Am I alone?  Should I stop talking about string cheese??

I then went for a professional running shoe fitting at Fleet Feet.  I love this store!  When you walk in, you pull a number (“like a deli”, as I overheard an employee say to a customer who looked somewhat befuddled) and when it’s your turn, one of the associates sits down with you and discusses what kind of runner you are (recreational, triathlete, marathoner) and pulls a “test shoe” for you to try on.  Then they put you on a treadmill and watch you run for a few seconds to check out your gait and whether you pronate/supinate, etc.  Once they have sussed out your style they pull a bunch of shoes and you can run/walk some more and choose your favorite!  They also fitted me with some inserts for my flattt feet.  And the best part is that the fitting is free!  This is the pair I walked away with:

Saucony Progrid Guide 3.  They’re fairly lightweight and flexible, but sturdy enough to give me some stability.  I heart them.

After running a few errands, I ate this:

There was actually a whole piece of bread when I started.  That’s sesame Ezekial bread with Trader Joe’s Valencia peanut butter (Kath is a fan).

This plate cracks me up.  It’s my French “calorie plate”.  It lists a whole bunch of foods and how many calories they contain.  It also says at the top (I’m translating here, bear with me): “when you’ve had too much to eat, your collar will be tight”.  Umm, apparently the author of my plate is under the impression that our stomachs are in our necks.  Someone should really set the record straight for him.  Maybe he reads my blog, so…

Dear Sir,

Your stomach is not in your neck.  It is significantly farther down.

Yours truly,


There’s a slight chance that I’ve translated this wrong, but I’m pretty confident (given that I majored in French).

It also says this:

(Pardon my crumbs).

That top part in the small type says (roughly translated):  “for a weight loss plan: no more than 1000 calories per day.  400 in the morning, 300 in the afternoon, 300 in the evening”.  Yeeeeaahhh, about that…

Maybe at the time this plate was printed there were different measurements for calories, but 1000 calories/day sounds like Bad News Bears to me.

Ah well, I’m off to do some more errands before Old St. Pat’s– one of my all-time favorite street festivals!  I can’t wait to see the Barenaked Ladies perform (yes, Dad, it’s a hilarious name for a band…very punny).

What is your least favorite part about unpacking?  Do you get stuck on decorating like I do?