Plants + Food = Joy

The FB group I started for the local garden club has been wildly successful, up to almost 2000 happy members in just a few years. So, y’know, I decided to try starting a sister cooking club. Plants + food = joy.


This group was started as a sister group to the Garden Club of Oak Park-River Forest; all lovers of cooking are welcome to join, including neighbors from Chicago and nearby suburbs. Beginners welcome, and you don’t need to have be a good cook to join us!

Some of the things you could use this group for: recipe recommendations, requests for cooking advice, sharing a dish you’re proud of, asking where to find specialty ingredients, loaning out / borrowing specialty cookware, recommending good podcasts or TV shows about cooking….etc!

NOTE: This is an open public group, and will remain so, which means people outside the group can view your posts.

NOTE 2: If you have an ad for a cooking-related business, please post no more than once / month; we recommend on the 15th. Thanks!

Join us here:

Birthday Lunch Crepes

Birthday lunch crepes! In addition to the chicken filling and the apple filling, we put out lemons and sugar, plus Nutella. I would’ve sliced some bananas to go with the Nutella, but we didn’t have those on hand. Oh well!

I was very happy with first a chicken-and-Emmenthaler crepe, then apples-and-Emmenthaler, then finishing with a perfect lemon-sugar. Kevin and Kavi did similarly, but Anand — oh, Anand is our experimental cook. He did one crepe with Nutella and apples and Emmenthaler (he LOVES cheese), which is reasonable enough. But then he did one with Nutella and sautéed chicken and Emmenthaler.

I mean, a chocolate molé sauce is great on chicken, so he’s not SO far off adding Nutella, I guess? But I don’t think I’d do it. Anand did conclude that he would’ve liked that one better without the chicken. 

We Went with Crepes

For Kavi’s birthday trip-to-France-themed lunch, we went with crepes. I love a crepe selection, personally, and when we did it for Sunday dinner, the kids had a lot of fun deciding what they wanted in their crepes. Normally I’d do a spinach-feta filling (sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add chopped spinach (thawed from frozen works great, if you squeeze out the extra moisture), salt and pepper, stir in the feta), but we were out of spinach AND feta. Oh well. 

I did a chicken filling instead. Sauté 1 chopped onion in a few T butter, stirring ’til golden, add bite-size pieces of chicken thighs, 5-6 thighs (I could have cut it a little smaller, but was in a bit of a rush, and this worked fine), 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper. Sauté until chicken is browned and cooked through, then add 1/4 c. heavy cream and simmer until well-blended and the cream has thickened into a sauce. Mmm…

Kevin diced up some apples and we sautéed those in butter too (separate pan), adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Both of those go well with Swiss cheese, if you feel like adding that — we used Emmenthaler, because we had some on hand, and it was delicious.


All About Food Around Here

It’s all about the food around here. For Kavi’s birthday party-day dinner, we went with unicorns — Annie’s mac-and-cheese unicorn-themed pasta. Not the fanciest dinner, but she was delighted, and we were pretty tired, so grateful for an easy meal. (I had leftover rice and curry myself.)

I set up the dining table for her actual birthday, clearing off all the sewing stuff. I used the checkered tablecloth (symbol of France, but will also hopefully be useful for picnics in the park / woods once the weather gets a little less wet, so I bought a good quality one for us to use, and I quite like it — it’s twice this size, I have it doubled up in the pic), and managed to salvage enough of the flowers despite their use as a balloon swatting device to make a cute little vase.


Kavi went for her standard cereal for breakfast — if I’d been more organized, I’d have had a few chocolate croissants on hand, but she seemed happy enough with this. And mid-morning, I cut up two mangoes for the kids, because cutting fruit for people = love.


Mother’s Day Request

My main request for Mother’s Day was that I not have to think about feeding anyone. The kids took care of breakfast, I had seeni sambol buns for lunch and have no idea what the rest of them ate, and Kevin made us this lovely Sunday dinner. I particularly liked the chard with cherries — YUM. I’d give you a recipe, but I have no idea what he did.

The first two photos are Kavi not in a mood to be photographed and hiding behind her brother. She was willing later, though, as she practiced carving the roast. 

Weekend Cook-a-longs for Feast

So, I attended Pooja Makhijani‘s bake-a-long last weekend for the star bread, and it was fun and helpful. I think I know how to structure doing one now — would people like it if I started doing weekend cook-a-longs for recipes from Feast? The basic idea:

– I post that I’m doing it (with date / time / recipe)

– the first 20 people who commit to joining get in

– I send them a Zoom invite

– we cook together with me talking through the recipe, answering questions

Thoughts? Requests for recipes to do early? (Hoppers would be on the list, but probably I’d want to do a few before trying that one.)

There Will Be Dragons

Packed up the first of the local Mother’s Day treat packages — lily-of-the-valley soap and bath salts, baked goodies and confections. And locals get a little potted lily-of-the-valley too. Supplies limited — I think I can do 4 more before I run out of cookies. I’m done with baking for a bit…need to get back to writing. 

(Treat boxes will return in June — we’ll open up ordering for them next week. I think the theme will be dragons.)

Details here:

Packing for Mother’s Day

Spent the morning packing up and setting out Mother’s Day treat packages for shipment. It was a bit of a squeeze, getting them all done in time, and I had to enlist Kevin into cookie-dough making because I was running short on time and getting physically tired, but in the end, we made it. Whew.

I’m still taking orders on the Shopify site, but can no longer guarantee shipping by Mother’s Day. Locals, if you’d like a little potted lily-of-the-valley (traditional Mother’s Day flower) to go with your order, I’d be happy to include that. (I’m slowly digging mine up and replacing with native ground cover, so I have plenty to spare…)

Mask orders are open on the site too, but please note that I’m at LEAST 3 weeks out on sewing masks now. So only order if you are feeling very patient.