The wisdom of Whipper-Doodle, the value of friendships, and more… as I slide into the starting gates for 2017.

Includes Main Course Recipe / January 2, 2017

Ron and I spent the holidays in Chesterton, IN and Libertyville, ILL, reacquainting ourselves with family and enjoying the easy peace of friends. Almost two weeks was our tenure of sharing, and luckily they’re the kind of people with whom time simply deepens our bonds. It’s relaxing to just laugh until we snort, retell stories until the teenagers become completely irritated and leave the room, and dance around the kitchen piled high with pretzels, hams, nuts, rolls and quiches without worrying who is looking.

In addition to cooking, sipping and baking we also created some new words. You do that when you get old and can’t quite get the term to go from your head to your tongue. Enter the realm of Whipper-Doodle. The term we created to save us from embarrasment. the word for anything you can’t quite recall without feeling like you’re descending into early Alzheimers. The word I plan to use ALL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

“Hey, what’s the thing that we used to love, when we’d go to that place I can’t recall?” Whipper-Doodle!

“What did I buy that year that we loved so much and everyone shared it?” Whipper-Doodle!

“What is it I asked you to buy yesterday that we need for the green-bean casserole?” Whipper-Doodle!!!

You can see how handy this term becomes.

It is an awesome segue to this series of food photos that are too numerous for me to find a collective theme. It’s a quick review of the perfect midwest holiday, and a way to mitigate the horror I will feel when I try to get back into my skinny jeans, or realize that I have two months before I can wear my flip flops.

Oh, what the heck. Let’s just Whipper-Doodle our way into this new year, shall we?

A juxtaposition of tastes and textures. Beautiful Wahoo Ceviche at Nobuki in Chicago is set against the sheer sugary doughyness of a classes Polish chrusciki. 
Top left we model our matching Christmas PJ’s. Bottom left is Momma Sakich’s classic Swedish Meatballs for Christmas Eve. And then on the right is an amazing Shrimp salad at Dish in Valparaiso, IN that was a respite from the rich food of Christmas.

Ron and one of his littlest cousins during a reunion with his Mom’s side of the family. Will is smarter than all of us I surmise. Two smart guys, alright!

Bottom left are my Fluffy Weekend Pancakes that started our New Years Day right! And bottom right we’re buying up goodies and learning our wardrobe is spot-on at the Harry and David Store, Lighthouse Outlets in Michigan City, IN.

I’m STILL digesting this Polish dinner, brought to us by Brother Shawn from Marquette Catholic High School. Don’t make me spell everything we had. On the left, the Polish Beer I tried to drink along with the food. Hmmm.
I have only one word. Forty.  (I think that’s the number I ate of these delicious ​Kolackzkis!!!)
Christmas Eve Above and Below. Endless hugs, food and love! Then a view of our Christmas Day feast and two days later our Turkey Veggie Chili.
Balsamic and Tuscan Herb Roasted Root Vegetables. And of course, the classic Deviled Eggs that never made it to the buffet because we ate them pronto.

I end this post with the classic Chicago style dog that was our meal at O’Hare before leaving town. Immortalized in a photo for all of 3 seconds before I devoured it.

​Wishing you all the whipper-doodle you need, desire and can conjure up! Happy New Year!

Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables

Makes 10 Servings


3 medium red beets, scrubbed and trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
4 large carrots cleaned and cut into large chunks
2 large turnips cleaned and cut into large chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
Handful of fresh oregano
Handful of fresh thyme
1/8 C sweet balsamic like fig or cranberry
1/8 C light, high quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dash of good poultry seasoning
½ t of dried fennel
1 t dried onion flakes
4 large cloves of garlic sliced thickly


  • the veggies with everything except the herbs and spread out onto a large sheet pan. Nest the thyme andoregano on top of the veggies and roast in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until soft and caramelized.

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