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Sometimes you just have to admit when you’re wrong, and for years I’ve been dead wrong about biscotti. You see, I previously thought I did not like it at all – who wants to eat an explosion-of-crumbs, dry cookie-stick? I know I didn’t. And then, as sometimes happens when you’re a tremendously famous food blogger, I got sent two boxes of Nonni’s biscotti, and was suggested to try them with coffee. So I did, AND MY WORLD HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!

Nonni's Biscotti

You guys! Biscotti and coffee is SO GOOD. It’s SO good. When you dunk the biscotti into the coffee, the chocolate on the bottom gets a bit melty, the cookie stick gets soft, and there are no crumbs. And it tastes amazing. Biscotti without coffee is like trying to eat an Oreo without milk. So much better together.


So now I’ve got these boxes of biscotti on my desk at work, and I basically can’t stop thinking “Is it time for a biscotti?”, “Should I eat a biscotti now, or should I eat a biscotti later?”, and “This biscotti only has 110 calories, that’s hardly anything, I’m going to eat a biscotti.”

I sampled two flavors, the Cioccolati and the (LIFE CHANGING) Salted Caramel. Unfortunately, my photo shoot with the Salted Caramel was a complete disaster, but since you’ve been good and you  promise not to tell anyone, I’ll share some of those horrible shots with you for a laugh. 

Ok, so there’s this one – arguably not completely horrid, but that mug…while very cute IRL, is just not all that great in a photo. It looks…crazy. It’s got crazy eyes.

Biscotti on mug

But then, oh boy, there’s THIS ONE:


Hahahahaha. Literally laughing out loud at that. Alright, I’m gonna go eat some biscotti. 

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One of my goals for summer 2013 is to get back into blogging. Stay tuned…

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Just wanted to thank the person who came to my site through the search term “I found something in my Stouffer’s meal.”

So good.

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Day 4…

Blogging from the iPad is not ideal. But it seems our generous, unsecured wifi router “Postelnek” has disappeared, leaving me blogging the past 2 days using a combination of the WordPress app, Safari and 3Gs. The good news is that I think I’ve finally mastered how to copy/paste on an iPad (yes, I’m slow); the bad news is that typing any thing longer than a few sentences is just somewhat awful. I’ve asked both of our next door neighbors if they would want to share their Internet with us, but so far, neither has jumped at that opportunity. To be fair to Postelnek, we’d only been using the connection for a few weeks since our old upstairs neighbors (who we shared Internet with) moved. Looks like we’ll be adding another utility bill just in time for the holidays!

Onward and upward! This small story was shared with you as a demonstration to how committed I am to this recipe of the day effort, and today I bring you Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls from Kokocooks. I’ve been doing some interesting things lately with pumpkin and apples, but I’ve never actually tried pumpkin in pasta. It looks totally delicious, and if I make this, I’ll let you know how it turns out.


Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls

6 lasagna noodles

Pumpkin filling:
15 oz solid packed pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Cheese filling:
15 oz. carton of part-skim ricotta cheese
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage
½ tsp salt

Bechamel Sauce:
2 c. whole milk
2 T butter
2 T flour
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp fresh lemon zest

¼ c fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil on a stove. Drop in lasagna noodles and simmer until pliable, 9-10 minutes. Place noodles to cool over the lip of a large mixing bowl, draping one portion of the noodle on the outside of the bowl and one on the inside.

In a bowl, combine the ingredients of the pumpkin filling. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients of the cheese filling.

In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour and cook combination a few minutes until golden. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Cook 7-8 minutes until thickened. Add nutmeg and lemon zest, and set aside.

Assemble rolls by laying noodles out and spreading pumpkin mixture along the length of the noodle, leaving the end of the pasta furthest from you bare. Dollop ricotta mixture down the pumpkin layer, then gently smooth over the pumpkin. Roll lasagna ending with the bare noodle end, and place seamside down in a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Pour sauce over lasagna rolls.

Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls from Kokocooks.

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I really meant to post my take on Lillie’s Q a lot earlier – as in May, after we ate there for my birthday. But, naturally I didn’t – partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I was really trying to forget my friend quite literally drinking the extra ranch dressing that came with the fried pickles. Trying to forget not because I was disgusted; no, trying to forget because I was mad I didn’t think of it first.

That’s right, kids. Lillie’s Q is so delicious it will having you contemplating drinking the extra ranch and slurping up their delicious variety of sauces on the meat of your choice…especially after you’ve had a few of their moonshine cocktails, and have an innate problem with self restraint around bbq (or food in general, booze, etc…)

This particular trip to Lillie’s Q occurred yesterday (I know, I’m as shocked as you are with the timely follow-through) after a particularly grueling 7 mile run. As I told you last time, in between finding new roommates, perfecting my tan and stuffing my face with bbq, I’m training for a 7 mile race. So, on Saturday morning I was up early, trotting down the mean streets of the city, getting passed by everyone, including the very young and the elderly, panting, sweating, praying for an early death, etc…but the important part is that I finished it. And as we all know, there is no better reward for the slowest endurance run ever than a gigantic plate of pulled meat. So I met my friend Trevor at Lillie’s Q to collect my prize.

We started off the meal with a frosty beer. Now, one of the best parts of Lillie’s Q is the feeling of being transported to a quaint southern kitchen (the chef was inspired by old family recipes), with Mason jars as the choice of glass, and flour sack dishtowels for napkins.

Lillie's Q, Chicago, IL

The quaint southern theme is perfectly executed in the small touches and, of course, in the menu choices. Diners can pick their choice of many southern-style appetizers to start, including the fried pickles (drink try the ranch!), hush puppies, boiled peanuts and even the staple of the south: pimento cheese. We didn’t have an appetizer this time, opting to go right for the meat and delicious sides.

Making a decision in the main course is tough – pulled pork, pulled chicken, hot links, ribs, bbq chicken and tri-tip all grace the menu. But if you know nothing else about me, know this – I’m a sucker for pulled pork. I opted for the 1/2 pound of pork, and Trevor chose the southern style pulled pork sandwich (coleslaw on top is what makes it southern). We went back and forth debating which sides to get (no sides are included), but we finally settled on the baked beans and cornbread.

As the lunch hour went on, the busier it got. While we were able to have our pick of tables when we got there, be advised that this place fills up, especially on weekend nights, so be prepared for a wait. They will take your number and call you when your table’s ready, so continue on with your tour of the south and pop on over to The Southern for a drink while you wait.

Besides the Mason jars and napkins, the main courses are served on metal trays covered with brown paper and the sides are served in miniature cast irons. Adorable!

Lillie's Q Pulled Pork

And the very best part:

Lillie's Q BBQ sauces

The sauces! Ivory, Carolina, Carolina Gold, Smoky and Hot Smoky – there’s a sauce for everyone. The first time we ate there, the general consensus was that everyone really was digging the Carolina Gold, which is more of a mustard-based sauce. I think it’s ok, but prefer the mustard-based sauce at Honky Tonk to Lillie’s. I really like the Smoky – it’s a little bit sweet, and despite its name, isn’t overwhelming with smoke flavor.

The sauces really complemented my giant tray of meat (awesome!!):

Lillie's Q Pulled Pork

Trevor’s sandwich looked pretty great, too:

Lillie's Q Pulled Pork Sandwich

And let’s talk about the sides:

Lillie's Q baked beans

That white stuff in the jar – it’s butter. Delicious, delicious honey butter for the cornbread. The cornbread was good – nothing too special, but the giant jar of butter more than made up for it. At one point, I was buttering my meat (which is so good it doesn’t need anything, but try the sauces – not the butter – first). That might be as bad, if not worse, than drinking the ranch dressing…I’m not sure. The baked beans are a must try – trust me.

If you haven’t been to Lillie’s Q yet, put it on your list of restaurants to try soon. The bbq is truly delicious and the ambiance is unique. They have a full bar with many craft beers, but if you’re looking for a mixed drink, try one of the moonshine cocktails.

Lillie’s Q is located in Bucktown/Wicker Park at 1856 W. North Avenue in Chicago, IL.

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I realize I’ve been MIA with the recipe posts lately. Lots of stuff going on for the holidays. Don’t worry, loyal readers, I plan to get back on track very soon! Look for some make up recipes this weekend :)

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