Monthly Ladies Cooking Night- Pantry Edition

I love coming up with themes for our monthly ladies cooking night! So far we’ve cooked asian cuisine, roasted an entire chicken, made pizza, learned to BBQ ribs and other amazing things. I love learning new cooking skills and making new foods. For this month’s cooking night, we decided to keep it simple- let’s clean out our pantries/fridges/freezers and combine everything to make a mix of various foods. Our panties/kitchens had the following:

  • Spices from Spice House
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Canned salmon
  • Pasta
  • Canned chipotle salsa
  • Cornmeal
  • Canned corn
  • Shrimp
  • Flour
  • Acorn squash
  • Barely
  • Rhubarb




So we made a very diverse and interesting mix of food! We made Johnnycakes from the cornmeal, corn, flour and almond milk to have as our appetizers. We improvised haha.


We also cooked squash and barley as our side dish. Our main dish was pasta with chickpeas and salmon.


We finished off the meal with rhubarb pie! We had Coney Island hard ginger ale to round out our meal 🙂


I was pretty obsessed with the Johnnycakes haha 🙂




And………of course some lovely rhubarb pie 🙂


Another lovely and relaxing evening with these two 🙂




Delightful Cookies at By The Park

By The Park is an interesting and tasty little culinary gem at 2342 N Clark. They serve tasty made in house cookies, bars and biscotti! I sat down with owner Isabel to chat about her lovely business 🙂

Tell me a little bit more about yourself Isabel


– I’m a cookie lover, baker and also a health food lover. I’m a former investment banker. My background is in finance. I like to cook, work out and I love trying new things. I just love exploring new restaurants and cuisines.

How did you get the the idea for BTP?

-I teach Barre. I fell in love with baking and wanted to put a spin on cookies. I brought these in to the people at Barre and they liked them. We live by the park and I liked how it sounded. I created this park theme. I had that empty space and wanted to put in a mini playground. I have friends who are mommies and they can relax there.

What is your favorite cookie?

– That’s like asking which one is your favorite kid! I would say the Lincoln Park. I make my own chocolate chips from scratch and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s also our best seller because no one has seen anything like it anywhere else.


Where do you source your ingredients and what kinds of vendor relationships do you have? 

-Everything is made from scratch in house. I carry Stumptown coffee and I really believe in the brand.

Which direction do you see BTP going?

– I want to become a household name. I want people to know about BTP. I want to build a community, while also building a brand. I want to grow into other shops and create a place for families to spend time together or friends to catch up while enjoying treats. Now we have regulars who come here to talk to us, catch up or spend time in the play center before work.




I see that you list Thu coloring for kids. Many places now have started having something similar for adults. Would you ever consider something similar for adults? Perhaps BYOB? 🙂

-We have a couple of events. We have story time and coloring every week. We have a yoga event in Spring and mom event like bubbles and bites. I get a lot of inquiries about adult coloring.

Below is my favorite peanut butter cookie 🙂


Cardamon Kitchen Devon Avenue Food Tour


Great video from Susan Pachikara.

I recently took the Cardamon Kitchen Devon Avenue food tour, led by Susan Pachikara. She is a chef, cooking teacher and owner of Cardamon Kitchen.

Our group met up at 10 am on a rainy, chilly Saturday on a quest to learn more about Indian food and cooking.

We started off at Patel Brothers, where we learned about various chillis, cardamon and other spices. Susan kindly included her favorite family recipes for everyone to try out later.  🙂 Mmmm I will be trying out the fish curry.


We continued our journey by heading over to Sukhadias Sweets and Snacks for some bites. We feasted on masala chai and samosas. Nothing like warm chai on a chilly Chicago “Spring” day! The chutney and sauces were delicious.Susan explained how North Indian cuisine focuses uses dairy and  South Indian cuisine is more coconut focused.



We headed over to World Fresh Market to check out various produce. Did you know there are over 400 types of bananas? I am planning on trying some bitter melon 🙂

We headed over to an accessory shop where you can buy various trinkets and cooking supplies! Check out these lunch boxes!


Susan wrapped up our evening by taking us to Resham’s, where they had beautiful pillows, hand embroidered bedspreads and other exquisite things.


The tour was very informational, interesting and delicious!