What I ate in Chicago

I just recently came back from a fantastic trip in Chicago. It was my first time there, so obviously I had to try some deep dish pizza! I tried two different places while there and definitely favored one over the other. Here is everything I ate while in Chicago!

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The most delicious Thai iced tea to go with my Thai food dinner on my first night in Chicago

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NOMZ

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A quick breakfast before a full day of walking in Downtown Chicago

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A cocktail with this view? Yes, please!

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This is me being “healthy”, balancing out my day before a night of delicious pizza!

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Deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s, this pizza is called The Malnati Chicago Classic

So Lou Malnati’s was my first deep dish pizza stop! Something I learned about Chicago is that it’s all about the crust. My pizza (pictured above) was a butter crust, complete with sausage, sauce, and plenty of cheese. The butter crust was both soft and crispy and did not disappoint! It wasn’t until I tried the second pizza place that I realized that the crust can be prepared differently (more on that below). My pizza was a “personal pizza” size. There was also a small, medium, and large option. The personal pizza size is made to be enough for one, the small for two, and so on. I have to be honest though and say that after eating my pizza, I was still hungry! I finished it, and immediately wished I had ordered the “small”. I had been walking for hours all day throughout the city and was REALLY ready for this meal when I arrived at the restaurant! I left happy, but still a little hungry and made sure to remember to be more aware of the pizza size options at the restaurant I tried the next day.

Fast forward to the next day, I was excited to try Gino’s East. I opted to have an appetizer while waiting for my pizza since it takes about 45 minutes to an hour for deep dish pizza to be prepared, not matter where you go.

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Crispy, caramelized Brussels sprouts

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Deep dish pizza a la Gino’s East and my personal fave. This pizza is called the Gino’s Supreme. THE REAL DEAL RIGHT HERE

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Cheesy, saucy goodness!

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Gino’s East really hit it out of the ballpark for me! The crust is made from a corn meal crust, something my server told me about. I was intrigued by this as I had never heard of anything like it, but let me just say, this was one of the best pizzas I had ever eaten! The corn meal crust was flaky, cooked to perfection, and complemented so well with the rest of the pizza! My pizza had pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. Also, the sauce is put on top of the pizza, so the cheese doesn’t burn! The cheese was melted perfectly under the sauce and the sauce itself was delicious. Every bite was better than the last. I was a happy camper.As you can see from the above picture, the pizza was more than enough for me! It was a size small, as there was only small, medium, and large on the menu. No personal pizza size. It was way bigger than the previous night’s personal pizza. The perfect amount for this hungry girl. Still, I definitely couldn’t eat the whole thing and thought to myself that I would have probably been able to eat the entire thing the night before!

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Pizza, you have defeated me!

All in all, an amazing deep dish pizza experience. I’m happy that I got to experience two different styles of deep dish pizza since I had no idea what I was getting myself into from the start! I hope you enjoyed the photos! To finish off, below is my final meal I had in Chicago the next day before heading off to the airport to go back to New York.

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Banana Nutella Crepe

Chicago, thanks for a good time!=]

Chocolate peanut butter protein cookies

When it comes to cookies, cake, and ice cream, I usually have a hard time saying no! That’s not to say you CAN’T have any, you can, obviously! However, I love trying new things and healthy alternatives to dessert recipes. When I say healthy alternative, I mean a little more nutrient dense than the original may be. Today, I decided to try peanut butter chocolate cookies…protein edition! This recipe is inspired by Tone It Up, who came out with the recipe for a 3-ingredient peanut butter cookie. Perfect for a busy girl like me! The only thing I switched out was the protein powder (I used my own chocolate protein powder I already have), and their recipe calls for vanilla protein powder. They actually use their Perfect Fit Vanilla Protein Powder which I need to order because it’s delicious! Since there’s a switch in protein flavor, I plan on making this again using vanilla instead of chocolate and seeing which I like better. But for now, here is the extremely easy recipe along with a few photos I took during the process. Enjoy!=]

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops chocolate or vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • 1 cup peanut butter

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After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, mix all the ingredients together

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Roll the dough into about 2 tablespoons balls. Then, flatten each ball with a fork (across each side) to create the shape of the cookie!

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Bake for 10 minutes, and then you are done!! I made 12 cookies out of it

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Eat and enjoy! Delicious with coffee in the morning, or after working out. Yum!

Thanks for the recipe Tone It Up!

Rise up

It’s no surprise that breakfast being the most important meal of the day continues to stand true! I’m a firm believer that starting your day on the right foot means starting your day with a delicious, filling breakfast. Coffee not optional. Okay kidding, you don’t need to have coffee. However, your body performs many functions throughout the day and in order for it to function properly, it needs proper fuel!

We all live different lives, but the main thing I find to be really important is that we eat breakfast. If we don’t, we end being more hungry later on in the day and overeating to compensate for our hunger. That is just a recipe for disaster. So get up, have a kick-ass day, and eat breakfast! It doesn’t matter if you have an hour to sit and enjoy breakfast over your morning newspaper, on your way out the door, or over coffee with your co-workers.

Some of my faves:

  • A bowl of cereal (currently: Raisin Bran- I add bananas)
  • Scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, and sliced avocado (avocados=love)
  • A KIND bar and maybe a yogurt on the side (if I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to sit). The bar is easy to eat on the go and the yogurt I can just have when I get to wherever I am going.
  • Protein smoothie (usually after working out, but I enjoying making smoothies since they are so filling anyway)

Those are all breakfasts I enjoy and eat on a regular basis. Sunday morning, however, you can find me lined up outside a bagel shop, deciding between scallion lox or strawberry. Decisions, decisions. I LOVE a good bagel, and will gladly enjoy one, once every week or two. You may like different things, but the point is…eat breakfast! It will set up your day well and give you the energy you need to have a fantastic day. The most important meal of the day just happens to be my favorite meal of the day. Cheers!

Let’s talk about food, baby!

Food is fun. Food is delicious. It’s part of our everyday lives. It nourishes our bodies, keeps us going, and connects us with other people. I love that. It connects us with other people! What do we love about the holidays and festivities that happen in December every year? Some would say holiday music, lights, presents, traditions. I would say all the delicious food! Seasonal desserts, pastries, dinners, feasts, you get the idea. Dinner brings families together at the dinner table every night. We love to brunch with our friends on the weekends. We have favorite meals. Me? Breakfast is #1. Make me pancakes and scrambled eggs any day and I’m the happiest girl in the world!

Food is an integral part of our day, and rightfully so. What we put into our bodies is just as important as our daily routines. It fuels us through our busy days. Food is so good, that it affects the way we feel. For example, when I am celebrating a family member’s birthday with cake, I feel joy and happiness just from the moment itself. If the cake is realllllly good, even better.

With all the delicious food options out there, it can sometimes be overwhelming to feel like you are balancing enough between nutritious foods and yummy treats. That is why I believe in doing our best to make nutritious choices whenever we can so that when we want to indulge, we can without worry! Food is pretty simple. Eat good, feel good. Eat cake? Savor the moment and enjoy! It’s true we can say that certain foods are healthier than others. But just because you like donuts doesn’t mean you are making unhealthy food choices. If you are happy with your choice and it satisfies you and you have decided that yes, I damn worked for this…. then you have a healthy relationship with food. End of story. #relationshipgoals

With that in mind, food can be both nutritious and delicious at the same time. I think it’s important to still be mindful of what we eat, as there are many wonderful benefits that food provides us. So here is where I will share my passion for good food, thoughts, insights, and all the rest. This is my relationship with food!:p

-Vanessa