Ok, so incredibly long story short, I offered to make my dear friends Elizabeth and Bryan's wedding cake for their wedding last Sunday. Lucky for me, I have the most amazing friends, and so my awesome friend offered to be my co-conspirator on the operation. The operation that became #operationweddingcake.
Leigh has an extremely wonderful lifestyle blog called Fun Things to Do While You're Waiting (which you should check out), and she blogged about the wedding cake in a way better manner than I ever could HERE.
So--after 5 hours of baking, here was the finished product!
In the marathon info booklet, we had learned that there was going to be letter markers at the post-race party to meet up with your family and friends. I said early on that we would meet at Q. So all weekend we talked about meeting at Q. When Fuzzy finished, it wasn't hard to find him, cause I was right there, and so was he. So when we were walking around to get our free beer, etc etc, Fuzzy suddenly said "Oh! There is Q!"
So we looked for each other at Q.
But couldn't find the other.
Turns out, we were on opposite sides. We eventually found each other.
Marathon Super Hero!
After a shower, we met up with Chad and Elizabeth, who met us down there for the day! Happy fun times! They are the ultimate foodies and drinkies, so they introduced us to some amazing new restaurants and bars.
Oh! But first, I saw this cat IN a table at a cafe!
Elizabeth models the classy "I'm what happened on Bourbon Street in New Orleans" baby onesie.
I'll start with an obvious statement: Coffee is very important to me.
So recently, Fuzzy sent me this link to making iced coffee concentrate to dilute with milk. I've been making it the last 2 weeks, and it is amazing, delicious, and beautiful. However, I like a LOT of coffee, so it is hard to not drink 40 grams of espresso in one sitting. But it is not a good idea to do that. Learn from my mistakes.
Another obvious statement: I love mason jars. We've started using them for a lot of kitchen storage, and we use them for all sorts of beverages. So then Fuzzy found the Cuppow, which I think is just about the best invention in the history of the world.
Look at this perfection! My life is forever changed.
A few months ago, at KOKO brunch, I made some cinnamon rolls from scratch. The recipe makes way too many, so I put some in our freezer to save for later. Our yeast, however, was questionable, but I we thought--what the heck. Most of them came out good that day, so I was sure they would keep. When I uncovered them this morning, they were shriveled and gross looking, but I cooked them anyway. Here's how they turned out:
A translucent, gooey gross mess. Inedible.
Yesterday, I tried to make some iced coffee based on this recipe. However, I misread the instructions and didn't use enough coffee. The resulting coffee was bitter and undrinkable. I poured it out.
Last week, Fuzzy surprised me with a copy of Big Easy Express (which I've watched twice in one week). I like to make espresso at night so it can chill in the fridge overnight. That night, I got so caught up in the movie, I forgot about the coffee, and it boiled in the pot for a really long time, melting the rubber ring and making the kitchen smell like burning. I used the pot a few days later, and it didn't work. I tried it again this morning, and...it didn't work.
So I finally got another pot of coffee going (luckily, Team Gerdes has 1000 ways to make coffee in our house), and I opted for an English Muffin while Fuzzy wanted cinnamon raisin toast. I told him I would watch the toast. Guess what happened:
Forever ago, Claire and I decided to celebrate our birthdays at Lillie's Q, a new(ish) BBQ place in Wicker Park. Claire had been a few times before, but I was new to it (ok, maybe a few weeks ago we got some carry out food the night we met Jodi's baby). We put a date on the calendar and anxiously counted down the months and days till today. What a glorious evening!
Take a minute to look at this menu. I'll be here when you get back.
I know, right? And did you see the magical thing on there? SMOKED FRIED CHICKEN. Damn.
We decided to order a shit-ton of food--it's our BIRTHDAYS afterall--and then we would take whatever leftovers we had back home to our husbands.
We ordered: Fried Pickles (appetizer) Smoked Fried Chicken (it comes with a crock of honey) Taste of LQ (sampling of 3 meats): Hot link (my fave), Tri-tip, and baby back ribs Side of Baked Beans Side of Green Beans (I also had a bourbon and a beer. They were both served in Mason Jars. Heaven.)
WE EFFING WENT FOR IT.
Look at how happy Claire is:
And we ate every last drop. It was amazing. Even the waiter was impressed.
dessert, we split a scoop of "grasshopper ice cream", with mint ice
cream and Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. DAMN it was good. AND it came in a tiny cast iron skillet! I wish I had gotten a better pic of the skillet. Trust me that it was cute. The perfect end to our meal.
But the best part about the meal? The company. Awwwwwwwwww.
I love days like today. I had the week off from therapy this week, so I took today as my day off in the week to get ready for a baby shower that I am co-throwing tomorrow for my awesome and amazing friends Jodi and Eliot*. I have a distinct menu, and everything on it is super delicious and easy to make. I am all for no fuss all fun! I started the day with some hearty procrastination, but then was a rockstar and washed all the dishes that had been piling up this week. I knew my trip to the grocery store was going to be EPIC, so although we live only a block from the Dominicks, I drove to the store. There's only so much I could carry!
I'm a huge To Do list maker--I have to see at all times everything that I need to do and that needs to get done. I'm also an obsessive calendar looker. I was using a Gmail draft email as a to do list recently, and complaining about how it didn't save from my iPhone to my web gmail, etc etc, so Fuzzy did some research and got me Clear, a new and awesome to do list system. I love it, and I am hooked. I use it for my daily to do list, and I also used it today as a grocery list! It was so handy! Instead of carrying around a pen and crossing things off a paper list (making it all sloppy), I just checked it off my phone and was rewarded with a happy little flourish sound.
My list was an amalgam of both what I was planning on making and what I needed to buy.
Sidenote--Tim Gunn would be horrified, but I don't care what I look like when I go to the store. Today I went in my pajamas with a coat and a hat and no makeup on**. I think the best thing about Chicago winters is that you can run errands and go places without a bra on and no one will ever know cause you am wearing a big ole coat. So when you see me out and about in the winter, there's a good chance I am freeboobing.
Anyways, the list was crucial for my trip today, as I forgot a lot of things here and there and had to make trips all over the store.
I was tasked with getting a case of a certain type of champagne, and I was really happy to see that my Dominicks had it. However, they only had 6 bottles. I've gotten more comfortable with asking employees what they have in the back (it got me an awesome pork shoulder recently when none was in the meat section), so an employee went to the back and returned moments later with both of his arms full of 7 bottles--some looked liked they were going to fall! I ran through people and displays with my cart over to meet him, and yelled "SUPER MARKET SWEEP!" really loudly, but the guy didn't even break a smile. Yes, I really yelled that in the store.
Because of the shape of the champagne bottles, they don't really fit in those wine 6 pack carrying cases. I had one bottle precariously balanced at the top of the cart, and I had a premonition it was going to fall and shatter. 1 minute later, the bottle was careening to the floor, and I winced in horror. When it hit the floor, it...just laid there. NO BREAKAGE! I was so relieved that I didn't have a "clean up on aisle 10" emergency, especially cause I was going to have to ask the nice man to go back and get my another bottle of Korbel Brut.
When I got home, I became a cooking machine! Everything was fun and easy to make, and I washed all the dishes as I went. I AM SO EFFICIENT. Other than accidentally dropping something on the top of my beautiful lemon squares, messing up my lovely powdered sugar topping, everything went well.
2 Chocolate Chess Pies
2 Key Lime Pies (seen here without makeup/whipped cream)
1 Pan of Lemon Bars (from my old tried and true church cookbook)
I also pre-wrapped some bacon wrapped dates that I will cook tomorrow. And I am making pulled pork that will cook overnight--God bless the slow cooker.
While the oven was on, I went ahead and made some kale chips--I think these are the best I've ever made (I'm trying to save some for Fuzzy, but it is damn hard.)
I'm also planning a kickass dinner tonight-- filet mignon and caprese salad with grainy bread. HELL YEAH!
Also, I think I say this every week, but I think this week's Drunk Monkeys is my favorite one yet. Don't forget to look for us in iTunes!
* I've been blogging a lot lately about my amazing and wonderful friends. I can't tell you how lucky I am--I have the best friends in the world, and I love you all!
** I "didn't have my face on" as we say in the South. I have a hard time leaving the house without mascara and some sort of lipstick--those are my cosmetics of choice. I feel it is important to share that last night I went to dinner with 3 of my also amazing and wonderful friends, and I wasn't wearing a speck of makeup. My plan was to go swimming yesterday***, and I didn't want to end up all raccoony, so I didn't put any on before work. But then I skipped swimming, cause I was so damn sore, and decided that I if I put some one before dinner, I was just going to have to take it off. That is really rare for me. I am most impressed that I didn't even call it out to the ladies last night. Cause you know me, I love pointing out my flaws.
*** Dammit, I just realized I didn't ride my bike today. And I'm still plugging away on my to-do list. Maybe I can get to it before Fuzzy gets home.