Smuggling pumpkins

It's an impossibly beautiful, crisp and sunny Chicago fall, my uterus is now the size of a pumpkin (how festive!), and the cooking strike in Casa DiCosola continues. Dinners these days consist of cinnamon toast crunch, apples and peanut butter, fun-size snickers, english muffins and string cheese (yes, all in one night; no, not necessarily in that order). Good thing I have this little fall-themed gem of a post in my ...

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Gourmet game day

The best thing about game-day parties is the excuse to stuff your face and guzzle beer with zero guilt. Don't show up to your Super Bowl party empty-handed. Seriously, don't be that guy/gal. I've even taken you half of the way there, with this handy-dandy Super Bowl recipe list: You can thank me in free game-day betting squares. Dips Jalapeno popper dip Greek 7-layer dip Loaded bake potato dip Hot spinach dip White queso dip Sliders and sammies Spicy whiskey ...

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Beef at its best

A couple of Saturdays ago, I dragged my cooking club ladies down the paleo rabbit hole---with quite astonishing results. We gorged ourselves on shepherd's pie, shrimp cakes, lettuce wraps, bacon-wrapped dates, meatballs, key lime pie, chocolate banana pie and last but not least, insanely rich, beef short ribs---bursting with flavor and piled high atop rosemary and bacon-studded sweet potatoes. Dave eyed the feast from afar, then dove in for the kill as the ...

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New year, new binges

Happy 2013! In honor of another year gone by, I thought I'd share my top five most popular 2012 posts---so you can relive all the buttery deliciousness. Personally, it pains me to lay eyes on this carb-laden smorgasbord, as I have willingly subjected myself to 30 days of torture---in the form of the Paleo diet. We have my hubby to thank for that one. But seriously though, I'm already making some ...

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“Stuffing” our faces

As always, Thanksgiving in Tucson was full of friends, family, fun and food comas---lots of them. While I'm the last person to let dietary restrictions rain on my pig-out parade, I felt inclined to make a gluten-free dish for my dear nana (A thinly veiled attempt to become the favorite grandchild? Maybe). The resulting creation was a sweet potato "stuffing" inspired by a work potluck dish a la creative director ...

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A haunting in Roscoe Village

I like horror---maybe a little too much, judging by my Netflix queue. Many a night, Dave flings the bedroom door open to find me in the glow of some weird B-grade horror movie. What can I say, I love things that are a little sick and twisted. Which is why I say, screw the cutesy Halloween decor---give me fake bugs and terrifying zombie props. Scouring Pinterest, I found some equally spooky ...

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Happy birthday boof

Today is Merle's (aka Boof, Boofie, Nugget Face) first birthday---and the perfect excuse to dress him in a humiliating but painfully adorable little cone-shaped hat and feed him lots of T-R-E-A-T-S (my fellow dog-owners catch my drift). In honor of our spoiled little piggy, I whipped up a cake with puppy-tested, mom-approved ingredients---and the results were drool-worthy (at least for the canine set).   Pumpkin-peanut-butter puppy cake You'll need: 1 cup flour 1 egg 1/3 cup ...

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Luck of the Chi-rish

There's nothing quite like St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. Starting at the crack of dawn, the city is a blur of green beer, irish whiskey and way more Flogging Molly music than should be legal. Our tradition is to wake up early, gather at someone's house, eat green eggs, get a good buzz on and head for the bars. This year, I'm bringing a special pre-party treat that should have everyone ...

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‘Tis the season …

... for lots and lots of butter. That's right. Even more than usual. I'm talking pounds of it. Restaurant-size vats. Because it's time for my famous saltine cracker toffee. A quartet of the most nutritionally devoid---yet dangerously irresistible---ingredients on the planet: chocolate, refined carbs, sugar and BUTTAH. This is a combination more addictive than crack, and as a holiday present, it beats the hell out of scented shower gel and Christmas-shaped ...

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