||| summer in chicago | taste of randolph |||

okay, i’m a little behind… but still had to share. how could i not with all of these amazing restaurants? below are our top pics from the taste of randolph this past weekend: thyme & oregano kettle corn from the tasting room, chips & and a hefty helping of quac from de cero, spinach arancini from marcello’s , tacos from belly q & a gorgeous view on the patio of city winery.
Taste of Randolph Chicago collage

||| summer has arrived! | strawberry balsamic goat cheese crostini |||

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Goat Cheese Crostini Plate

summer has arrived and we are so happy to see it! nothing spurs creativity like a good craving. with strawberries in season, i couldn’t resist picking a basket up from the farmer’s market! these simple, yet elegant crostinis will be the perfect addition to this weekend’s gatherings.

Sliced Bread Loaf for Strawberry Crostini

these are so simple to make, it’s almost embarrassing. slice up an italian loaf into pieces about a half inch thick. spread oil on the bread and toast at 425° for about 5 min. while cooking, slice strawberries (i chunked & sliced these for added dimension). let cool and spread goat cheese (i used plain flavor). arrange  strawberries and add fresh torn basil, salt & pepper. drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top and voila! these’ll be the talk of the party monday!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Goat Cheese Crostini

||| have a lovely weekend! rachel |||

||| scrumptious summer salad |||

I love summer. Veggies and fruits everywhere, what could be better? Combining them into a salad, that’s what.


Fresh tomatoes, asparagus and watermelon sprinkled with feta, balsamic vinegar and basil. Yum.

Charming Summer Bun

As a girl with silky/thin hair, I usually find updos impossible… until now. This adorable runway-inspired bun, via So Much to Smile About is super easy and can be completed (successfully) in a matter of minutes!

Buns can be a lot of fun.

Simple Steps:


1. Split your hair into thirds, and place the middle section into a low pony to one side.

2. Braid the ponytail (not too tight!).

3. Wrap the braid into a bun and pin it in place.

4. Take each side and wrap around the bun, again pinning into place.

Spray a bit of hairspray for added security, and you’re ready to conquer the world (with great hair, obviously)!

First Dessert of Summer

It finally feels like summer!  What better to do on a hot summer night than create the perfect dessert for the next day?

The following is a rendition of Sweetapolita‘s  Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart


- This process from start to finish is an overnight deal (but worth it)!  If you're in need of
 an emergency chocolate fix, check out our dessert recipes on Pinterest
- The caramel filling requires a slow cooker and takes 8 hours to cook.  

– You’ll need two room temperature eggs and 10 tablespoons of softened butter, so set them out!

Click here for a printable shopping list and recipe!

Shopping List

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

10 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or 2 oz. unsweetened + 2 tablespoons sugar)



1. Whisk flour (1 1/2 c.), cocoa powder (5 tbsp.) and salt (1/4 tsp.) in a bowl.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

3. Mix in egg yolks (2, room temperature) and vanilla (1/2 tsp.).  Add in dry ingredients from step 1.  

4. Place dough in a 9″ quiche pan and press evenly throughout bottom and sides of pan.  

5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 6. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Caramel Filling

1. Place one can (14 oz.) of condensed milk in a slow cooker after the label is removed from the can. 

2. Fill cooker insert with water until the top of the can is covered.

3. Heat on low for 8 hours.

4. Open can (SLOWLY) and you’ll find delicious caramel!  Spread it across the crust, as seen below.

Ganache 1. Bring heavy cream (1/2 c.) almost to a boil over medium heat.  

2. Place chopped chocolate (4 oz.) into a medium bowl and pour hot cream over chocolate.

3. After a minute, stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth.  

4. Pour ganache evenly over tart and garnish with sea salt.

Buon Appetito!