New Year’s Resolution #1 – Get Organized!





I’ve got organization on the brain. Right now it seems like there are things everywhere in our house. On the counter, on the floor, on the dining room table – everywhere. We need a little organization for the tiny things – legos, paints, paper, crayons, barbie clothes, googlie eyes, glue sticks and pom poms.

I love these colorful containers from Land of Nod. They look great in every room on every workspace – for kids and adults. Can’t wait to get Christmas put away and everything in it’s spot when 2013 arrives in a few days.



Cheesy Wild Rice Soup


I was inspired to try making this soup from a few friends, two of whom are from Minnesota.  I didn’t know this before, but Minnesota is quite the mecca for wild rice.   Honestly, I am so glad for the inspiration because this soup is good… sinfully good!  The creaminess of the soup and the smoky bacon make for an incredible spoonful.  This soup would be perfect to serve on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day for a group – I think even the kids will be happy.  We had ours with some warm croissants, but I think that it would be great served with any bread and a green salad.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Wild Rice Recipe:

1/2 c. wild rice, uncooked
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (or water)
1/2 lb. bacon
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of potato soup, diluted with 1 can milk (or cream of mushroom/chicken)
4 c. grated Cheddar cheese (or may use any of your favorite cheeses)
1 qt. milk (or light cream)


Combine rice and water in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Drain and set aside. Fry bacon; drain on paper towel. Crumble into small pieces. Saute onions until softened. Stir ingredients together in large saucepan. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Serves 8.




Lesley Bootie – Michael Kors

Love these Lesly booties from Michael Kors. I’ve never had low boots before but my cute Mom got these for me for Christmas. It’s fun to have boots that you don’t have to struggle to get on and off. They are super comfy too believe it or not. Love them in this brown but they also come in black and charcoal suede.


Christmas Dinner Menu – Thank you, Ina Garten



For those of you who are still mulling over their Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Menu  – here is one of our favorites!  Best thing is that you can make the meat and sauce ahead of time and the vegetables are a cinch to make which frees you up for the most important thing during the holidays – time with your loved ones!

Recipe for Beef:


  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) fillet of beef, trimmed and tied
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the beef on a sheet pan and pat the outside dry with a paper towel. Spread the butter on with your hands. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for exactly 22 minutes for rare and 25 minutes for medium-rare.

Remove the beef from the oven, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the strings and slice the fillet thickly.

Note: Be sure your oven is very clean or the high temperature will cause it to smoke.


Recipe for Gorgonzola Sauce:  (Can be drizzled over meat and vegetables)


  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 ounces crumbly Gorgonzola (not creamy or “dolce”)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Bring the heavy cream to a full boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes, until thickened like a white sauce, stirring occasionally.

Off the heat, add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm. If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.

Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes ( adapted from Ina Garten):


  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • 1 tub of Cherry tomatoes
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they’re thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer, either roast tomatoes in a separate sheet or add to asparagus and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp.



Nutella Breakfast Buns – Saveur



I know we all have our traditional breakfast fare for Christmas Morning.  Menus that were set years ago and have been passed down from generation to generation.  Recipes perfected and looked forward to all year.  But, we are thinking that this year you may want to break some traditions and consider including these Nutella Buns.  We think that these would be perfect to serve your family Christmas morning, or at least consider adding these breakfast beauties to the menu!   These are sure to be a hit with kids and adult alike.  Merry Christmas!

ps.  For the favorite foodie in your life, you may want to consider a subscription to Saveur Magazine.


Nutella Buns (a Saveur Recipe)


1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
¼ cup, plus 1 tsp. sugar
½ cup milk
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
¾ cup brown sugar
⅔ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1½ cups Nutella
1 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. Combine yeast, 1 tsp. sugar and ½ cup warm water in a bowl until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a 1-qt saucepan over medium heat; set aside for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, and salt and stir to yeast mixture with vanilla, 2 eggs, and flour just until combined. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap; let sit until dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Melt remaining butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, stir until smooth, and pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; sprinkle with pecans.

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll dough into a 15″ x 20″ rectangle. Spread Nutella evenly over dough, leaving a ½” border on one long side. Beat remaining egg in a bowl and brush the clean border of the dough. Roll dough into a log towards the end brushed with egg; trim ends and cut log into 12 rounds. Transfer rounds cut side up to the  baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve inverted onto plates and drizzle with syrup and nuts from the bottom of the baking dish.



Gift List for the Favorite Gals in Your Life

With Christmas around the corner, we have compiled a list of our favorite Christmas gift list for the favorite gals in your life!  We hope we find some of these under the tree this year, don’t you?  Merry Christmas!

Kage Handbag:



P.Jamas at April’s Linens:


Maggie Meiner’s Silhouettes

Maggie Silhouette

KEP Bracelet:


Realfit Membership:


Charm and Chain Monogram ID Cuff:


Get Organized with Vivid Organizing:

vivid pic1

Dailey Method Membership:


iRetro Phone Dock:

iRetrofone 2

Throw Pillows from Throw and Co.

throw 7

Arcona Skin Care:

ARCONA - Brightening Grommage 100ml Comp

Tod’s Shoes:


Vitamix Blender:



Lulu’s Frozen Delights Frozen Yogurt – 10% off for a limited time!


We love Lulu’s Frozen Delights – the new Yogurt Shop located in downtown Lake Bluff’s Village Common on Scranton Ave.  LuLu’s is a self-service frozen yogurt shop that offers 18 flavors of low-fat, non-fat, dairy-free and tart yogurt along with up to 24 different toppings. Customers are able to swirl any of the yogurt flavors into cups and then sprinkle toppings such as fresh fruit, nuts, candy and candy bars for .48 cents per ounce.  Lulu’s is owned by longtime village residents Reggie and Tammy Ash who named the store after their youngest daughter, Elizabeth.

In addition to yogurt, Lulu’s also carries the best fresh donuts and coffee every morning.  Honestly, the donuts are not to be missed!  The donuts come from CJ’s Donuts in Zion, which is owned by Lake Forest resident Chuck Johnson, and they’re delivered to Lulu’s before it opens at 5 a.m. each day. There are at least 10 varieties, including various combinations of chocolate, vanilla, sprinkles, cinnamon in various shapes, from round to Long John, that help get the morning going.

The coffee served at Lulu’s comes from a roaster in North Chicago called Coffee Fresh, which is owned by Paul & Carrie Masek of Lake Bluff.

Thank you to Lulu’s for generously extending to our readers a 10% off purchase at Lulu’s until next Friday, December 21, 2012!  Just let them know you heard about this special offer from MarketSquareMusings.com.