Giardiniera Extraordinaire

Giardiniera Extraordinaire

If you are from Chicago you know giardiniera. We put it on Italian beef sandwiches, brats, sausages, French dips, pastas, pizzas and use it to spice up fish. I even put it in our eggs in the morning. It is the one stop, spicy shop condiment. If you don’t live in Chicago you may have been missing out… until now that is.

We usually buy our giard from Fiore’s Deli in our neighborhood. The giardiniera is really inexpensive to buy there, I am mildly obsessed with it. Their pepper and egg sandwich is also drool worthy and the employees are fantastic and funny. I heart this place BIG TIME, if you can’t tell.  Still, we wanted to try to make our own giard at home, fully aware that if it turned out bad we would be stuck consuming jar upon jar of this stuff for months. Thankfully it turned out great!

I cannot tell you how many servings this makes because that depends on you and how much you use. I will tell you that this made about 5 (12-16oz) jars. I reused old jam and spaghetti sauce jars plus a couple of mason jars that were previously from Fiore’s giardinera.

Final Giardiniera


Here is the recipe we used: 

Note: We like it spicy so we added extra peppers. YUM!
  • 2 large green bell peppers, diced

  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced

  • fresh jalapeño peppers, sliced

  • 8 serrano peppers, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced* 
  • 1 medium carrot, diced

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup fresh cauliflower florets* 

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • water to cover

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped**

  • 1  1/4 cup olive oil***
  • 1  1/4 cup white vinegar***
*We added an extra celery stalk and an additional 1/2 cup of cauliflower. I love my veggies!
**Instead of chopping the garlic we smashed whole, small cloves and placed one in the bottom of each of the jars.
***We added an extra 1/2 cup olive oil and vinegar to our giard because we use the spicy oil mixture for other recipes daily.  I told you we love this stuff.




  1. Place into a bowl the green and red peppers, jalapeños, celery, carrots, onion, and cauliflower. Stir in salt, and fill with enough cold water to cover. Place plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the bowl, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, drain salty water, and rinse vegetables. In a bowl, mix together garlic (if you decide to follow the original recipe), oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Pour in vinegar and olive oil, and mix well. Combine with vegetable mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days before canning and using.


How did we remove labels and sterilize the jars for the canning process?

To remove the labels I placed the old jars into a large pot of cold water and brought this to a boil. I let it bowl for about ten minutes. I turned off the heat and let it sit just enough until I was able to handle the jars. One by one I took them out and the labels just slid right off. I used dish soap to remove the “gunk” left on some of them.


To sterilize we placed the jars, standing up on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. I did the same with the lids, making sure that the top of the lids were face down on the cookie sheet.

TA DA! All done and delicious! Now let’s eat!!!

The More You Know:

Did you know that you can regrow food from your scraps? You can! Place the root of celery, lettuce, green onion in water and place near sunlight. Pictured is our “window foods”. We have regrown that onion three times now from the same bulbs. As you can see this batch did not get as much sun. Sad onions, but look at that lettuce go! Give it a try.

…I Love You More

…I Love You More


In the wise words of Roger Murtaugh, “I’m too old for this shit!”.

(I originally wrote this in 2013 and unfortunately, it is still true today.)

We are too old to be bitter, jealous, backstabbing and cruel to our fellow females. This is coming from someone who went as far as tattooing, “true friends stab you in the front” along the back of her shoulders. A permanent statement I was making to a friend almost seven years ago. A statement that I still thank Oscar Wilde for daily.  Women are born with a skill for competitiveness and cruelty towards other women. I don’t know why this is but I have had enough! It is really easy to be a great girlfriend. Really, I swear it is. Friendships are relationships and sometimes they require time, patience, some nurturing, and a good sense of humor. Sometimes they also require a box of tissues, waterproof mascara, ten minutes of hugging it out and a dump truck of apologies followed by a sickening amount of  “I love you. I love you more”.

Here is my view on how to be a good girlfriend:

Step 1: Be happy for her when she is happy. Your bestie got a promotion? How awesome is that!!! Be proud of her and her mad skills doing whatever it is she does. She worked hard for it and deserves it. (Even if you have no idea what her job really is) Whether she published a book, made a baby, got hitched, or finally figured out how to draw her eyebrows on straight. We all have different accomplishments in our lives and those big events for them should also be big events for us.

Step 2: Fake it. Women are really good at faking it. It’s true, I hear about this all the time. Oh but I am sure it wasn’t with you. Uhhhhh. Any way, sometimes you aren’t stoked about something that your friend is really happy about. Perhaps a pregnancy? If you aren’t elated at the idea and whelling up with tears at the thought of your friend as a mom, fake it. Fake it until you mean it.

Step 3: It’s not you, it’s me. The truth is that the reason you had to fake it in the above scenario probably had more to do with you then your friend. Bitches be jealous, judgey, bitchy and selfish. Jealous-You thought you would get prego first. Maybe you only mildly hate that she already has a great job, husband and home and now a baby!!!! How does she do it? Judgey-She can’t even take care of her cat. What the hell is she going to do with a kid?! Bitchy-insert eye roll here. Selfish: You already have a hard enough time fitting in a girl’s night. If she has a baby you will never see her again!!!! This could mean the end of your Law & Order and wine marathons together. This is the part where you have your pity party of one. Now get over it.

Step 4: She can’t even take care of her cat! If you have reasons to be concerned for her about choices she is making, voice them. Try not to sound like you spiking the baby ball right in her face. If she is happy about it then obviously it is something she wants and has thought it through. You should feel honored to be someone whose opinion she respects, she listens to you, maybe she is your “sister from another mister”.  Use a little finesse and a lot of love and understanding when you dive into this ocean. After all when she is happy, you are happy!

Step 5: Go ahead and get all Anne of Green Gables on her. When you met her you thought she was amazing, enchanting, funny, gorgeous, talented and you just knew you would be friends forever. Maybe she is your version of a “kindred spirit”. Remember that it was those things that made you love her and love being around her. Why would you use those exact things as reasons to treat her poorly? Cut it out! Sure she is bat-shit crazy and it’s awesome!!!!

Step 6: Oh you don’t think bat-shit crazy is awesome? Well someone else does and rather than be a crappy, backstabbing, shit talking friend just cut her loose for both of your sakes. Otherwise just take her for who she is and all of her fabulous flaws. Eh hem. You have quite a few of those as well.

Step 7: Is she lost in relationship land? Good for her! You did the exact same thing when you had a special someone and if you didn’t disappear for bedroom marathons I feel sorry for you. You haven’t been replaced because no one could ever replace you. Relationship land is also college land, family land, work land or candy land. The point is that life happens and you don’t need to see your friend every day to have the bond that you do. I haven’t seen my friend Gena in person in almost ten years and I would still chop my right arm off for her if she decided to become a cannibal. You are friends because of the times you shared, good and bad, hysterically almost peeing in your pants and sobbing so hard that snot drips in your mouth. You are friends because she is awesome and you are awesome and life is awesome when you are together. Nothing will change that. When you are together life will still be awesome, even if it isn’t every weekend anymore.

Step 8: There is no limit on someones pain. Death and break ups are the worst. You don’t know how to console them. You want to take away the pain. While a death is completely different from a break up it expects the same attention. “You don’t die from a broken heart” but damn does it feel like it. Maybe she was married, maybe it was only a few months. Whatever it was you will never fully feel her heartbreak. Give her the time she needs not only the time you want to give her.

Step 9: Let go. Your biggest friendship hang up is yourself. Sometimes a friend doesn’t live up to your expectations. They are yours though and that means you can change them because you would never want to change your friends. Right? Don’t expect the world of someone, unless you intend to give it back in return. We are all wonderful imperfectly perfect human beings and that’s what makes us great. Perfect is so boring.

So enough with the bad mouthing, backstabbing cattiness. The only one it makes look bad, is you.

If you realize that you have a sucky friend and think it is time to dump her please read my bestie, Emily Miller’s blog on how to break up with your friend. Also, you should subscribe to Drinkers With Writing Problems because she is hilarious!

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk

Coffee is my life source. I am an empty, personality-less skin suit without my morning coffee. I will never belittle your relationship with coffee. I am merely here to help you regulate the amount of waste that comes with that deep, deep love.

Keurig Talk: In 2014 there were enough K-Cups sold to encircle the globe at least 10.5 times. INSANE! John Sylvan, the Keurig inventor looks back on his creation and has said “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it”.  A huge issue is that the cups are made of #7 plastic which most plants will not recycle. Plus, #7 plastic contains BPA, but don’t all plastics? The cups also have a foil lid that consumers need to remove in order to be recycled and that more than likely never happens.

Fear not my caffeine addict friends, there is a company that produces bio-degradable coffee pods for your Keurig, Cuisinart, Bunn and Breville machine. Word on the street is that OneCup is just as good at giving you that tasty morning high.

Mike Hachey, head of Egg Studios created a Cloverfield-esque short about the wastefulness K Cups.

Pot Talk: Are you like me, one of those pot drinkers? Get your head out of the gutter! We go through two 10 cup pots of coffee a day in our apartment. Paper filters can add up, one a day or 3 a day, it is just a waste. Why repeatedly buy paper filters when you can purchase a reusable coffee filter basket just once for under $6? Here, I will even include a link to an Amazon page full of them… CLICK HERE TO SAVE MONEY AND STOP MAKING MORE GARBAGE!


Grounds Talk: So you drank your coffee and you are walking on sunshine. What should you do with all that energy and left over coffee grounds???

Need MORE coffee grounds for all of the fun uses I have posted? Did you know that almost all of the coffee shops around Chicago will gladly give you theirs? They will, gladly, just stop on by and ask and those are some quality grounds!


Can Talk: Woah! Did you know that you can make bread in a 1 lb. metal coffee can? I repeat, METAL coffee can. It is called steamed bread and you make it on your stove top. I swear, this is a real thing and is apparently delicious.

  • Duh! Store those old coffee grounds.
  • Reuse your old coffee can for food scrap compost (keep those ants at bay this summer).
  • Store those out of control grocery bags under your kitchen sink.
  • Use the tin coffee cans for lanterns outdoors.
  • An indoor firefly lamp for the kids.
  • Organize screws, nails, etc in the garage.
  • Keep your homemade laundry soap in one. (DIY Laundry soap recipes to come)
  • Storage. Storage. Storage.


Storage CaddyAnimal Print UpdateHerb PlanterCute Storage


“Drinking coffee can lower the risk of melanoma by 20 percent, according to a new study.”

The more you know (insert rainbow of knowledge and shooting star with chimey music here)

Floral Flair

Floral Flair

From the trash can to the centerpiece…A spaghetti jar, an old candle container and discarded vase are given new life with a little paint, a bit of glitter and some cheap broken earrings. Pour a little paint into the jars and rolled it around to cover the inside. Once the paint dried I applied Mod Podge to the top edge of the jars. Immediately after I rolling each jar in glitter then left to dry. Ending with a final coat with Mod Podge to seal the glitter in. I picked up a couple succulents and flowers out from Sprout Home  to plant. I think they turned out a little bad ass and a little beautiful.

Planter 1     planter 2     studs

planter 5     planter 6     planter 4

planter 3

Good Luck

Good Luck

Adventures in basement hunting. I love our creepy old basement because I always find something awesome down there. Our landlord is in poor health and so she has not been inside our building in over ten years, if things need fixing we just do it ourselves. When I moved in over three years ago I found a hoarders dream of probably 20+ years of renters crap in the basement. If you read my last post you know that my inner weirdo could not tend to my laundry and not try to clean up while I was down there. I finally called the landlord and asked her if I had her permission to clean it all out for her. Since she did not know about the mess she was grateful for my help. While I did find a couple gems to keep like a shelving unit and a projector screen the rest was craigslist worthy or headed to the alley for pickers. There were a couple items I left alone because they weren’t in the way and they were pretty self-contained. An old rusty filing cabinet was one of them. The drawers were so hard to open that I just didn’t bother…until yesterday that is. I couldn’t help myself, I just had to know what was in there after all of these years. I found a 1930’s bird lice treatment container, some old plumbing parts, fridge bins and racks and horseshoes. Horseshoes? What luck! No really, they are supposed to be lucky if you hang them above your door.

The tradition of putting a horseshoe over the door to bring good luck and keep the devil away has long been tradition. The story behind this tradition has many variations. This is one of them: Once upon a time, a wise old blacksmith was hard at work making horseshoes. The sound of the anvil attracted the attention of the devil. He saw that the smith was making horseshoes, and he thought it would be a good idea to get his own hoofs shod. So the devil made a deal with the smith and stood to be shod. The wise blacksmith saw with whom he was dealing, and so he nailed on a red-hot shoe, driving the nails square into the center of the devil’s hoof. The devil then paid him and left; but the honest blacksmith threw the money into the forge fire, knowing it would bring him bad luck. Meanwhile, the devil walked some distance and began to suffer the greatest torture from the new shoes. The more he danced and pranced and kicked and swore, the more they hurt him. finally, after he had gone through the most fearful agony, he tore them off and threw them away. From that time to this, whenever the devil sees a horseshoe he turns and runs–anxious to keep out of the way of those torturous devices. (Dr. Doug Butler’s book, The Principles of Horseshoeing)

Another lore is that if you hang the horseshoe above the door it was god luck. Legs up meant it is good luck for all who live within, if you face it downward it was believed your luck would run out. However others did/do believed that if you hang it legs down that good luck will pour down over all who enter. In most of Europe, the Middle-East, and Spanish-colonial Latin America protective horseshoes are placed in a downward facing position. Americans of English and Irish descent prefer to display horseshoes upward; those of German, Austrian, Italian, Spanish, and Balkan descent generally hang them downward. 

So I guess you can hang it however you want. “What IS important is that the horseshoe was actually used — worn and discarded by a horse — that it was found in the road or in a field, not purchased, and that the person who enters the door can touch it.” What I want to know is if it decreases its lucky power if I glitter the crap out of it. Lucky for me I found two horseshoes(insert sly wink here).

IMG_2136                IMG_2141








So Cheap I Want It Free

So Cheap I Want It Free

With three people living in our apartment space is an issue. Scratch that. I am the issue. I am an organized clutter minimalist, if that even makes sense. Sure I may own a lot of things, but not really. Our apartment seems cluttered even though it looks rather empty. Don’t get me wrong I love the gifts my friends gave me, the art we have collected and a homey feel but it needs to be put away somewhere.  I don’t like things left laying on the coffee table, not even remotes. Which baffles my boyfriend as to what I think it’s supposed to be used for then. Well now I just sound like a weirdo. I truly believe that a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. I like the bright and spacious look of a clean and empty-ish looking apartment. So while space is a problem for storing our stuff it is also equally important how it is stored.

We only have one closet for three people’s plethora of towels, bed linens and dining linens. Yes, we own dining linens. Also, I am so cheap, I want it free. Yes, I also said free. I decided to take this storage issue to the basement. Insert creaking stairs and eerie noises here. I found some seriously old, rusty cans of paint and a little bit of leftover shelf liner paper. I snagged some old shipping boxes, a Miller High Life, threw on some Law & Order Season 1 and went to town.  After painting the boxes white to cover up the USPS red and blue motif I added dots. I traced mugs, cups and shot glasses onto the shelf liner paper. I felt so fancy sipping my champagne of beers while cutting tedious circles. Oh Jack McCoy, your court banter is so witty. I could listen to you object all day. An episode and a half later and I was done. I threw sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths into the boxes, in an organized fashion of course and tied them closed with black ribbon. TADA!

Of couse I had the perfect place to put them out of the way in our circus tent of a diningroom. So you can spend twenty bucks on a storage bin from the store or spend zero dollars and make them yourself.  The Miller High Life was even free. I found it in the back of the fridge. SCORE!

Full Shot 2

Full Shot 1        Close Up Materials    Boxes Step 1

Boxes Final    Close Up 2    Boxes Final Close Up    Full Shot 2

For The Love Of Prince!

For The Love Of Prince!

I was doing some spring cleaning in my apartment and found myself losing hours going through old boxes of keepsakes. I came across my Whole Woods name badge from when I was 18. I thought I was funny using another name, Danny on my badge and no on ever questioned it. With it was a Suburbia inspired patch my co-worker Matty (Matthew) made us.  He had silkscreened them himself and I started to wonder what he was up to these days. Well, it turns out that he is back at it again after recently ending his career as a hairstylist.


Now Matthew has an Etsy shop full of things I MUST HAVE! The name of his shop is called Gingersnap Press and be prepared to become instantly obsessed with his pot holders. I sent him a message asking him how Matty got his groove back. Sorry for the bad movie reference.

IMG_0825[1]  IMG_0749[1]  IMG_0737[1]  frenchbulldogetsy


IMG_0878[1]  IMG_0880[1]

I started messing around with photoshop and made things I thought were funny or that I simply just liked. People actually started buying it and I thought oh cool, I can maybe make an extra 30 bucks a month or so. It was when I was making a sale a week that I remembered my  “Hardcore” days of whole foods and making those TxRx patches(lol remember those?).  I thought “Oh maybe I should start silk screening again”. Not sure how the idea to do pot holders came about and I was stumped on what the hell to put on them, especially those damn purple ones!  Then a little buzzed on one too many PBR I was like OMG PRINCE!!! So in my creepy ass basement, I got to work!  (creepy basement photos included below)
IMG_0922[1]  IMG_0904[1]  IMG_0900[1]  IMG_0899[1]
I began instragramming, pinning and tweeting them, And Taking this “Etsy Thing” a tad more serious, and was even more shocked when people started buying the pot holders and when a store in Cleveland messgaed me about buying in wholesale from me (which I politely declined). So I thought shit, what else can I “put a MOZ on” hence the tea towels and light switch plates. So I just kept adding more random things to my Etsy and I went from 763 views in July to 3667 views in August and over $300 in sales this month.
Eventually I want to do T shirts, working my way towards it.  I’m not too comfortable doing made to order items yet lol. 
It was great catching up with Matthew after all these years and finding out he is still being creative.
Now I MUST have some Gingersnap Press products in my life asap!!!
Stay Crafty!
Here Comes the Judge

Here Comes the Judge

WEDDING SEASON IS HERE! IT’S HERE! RIGHT NOW!!! AREN’T YOU SUPER EXCITED?!?!?! YES, your answer should always be yes. I am going to show you a few of my favorite engagement, wedding, bridal shower, personalized gifts, what have you. I lump those all together because I am 34, have been to over 20 weddings in the couple years and yet can’t figure out the damn gift etiquette. (Oh yes, I think have heard of Gogle. oh it’s pronounced Google? Yea, well hmmmm, I’ll have to check that out later.) Of course it would be easier for us to just grab a ________ gift card and throw it in an envelope. Unfortunately for all of you getting married, I am one of those annoying people who prefers not to shop off the registry. TA DA! Yup, I may be the reason you didn’t get the full towel set or that fourth hand mixer (thank goodness). Guys! If you thought Etsy was a “chick thing”, think again. There are some epic gifts for dudes getting hitched as well. Strap yourselves in, here we go! Oh and remember a lot of these come in variety of colors so can customize it for the happy couple.

  1. Early Bird Ink
  2. Of Life and Lemons
  3. Up Up
  4. A New History
  5. Harvey Grey
  6. Spoiled Royal Studio
  7. Define Design 11
  8. Personal Posters 4 U
  9. Words Work Prints
  10. Print Me Prettiful
  11. Studio Jones 1
  12. Karimachal
  13. Good Old Days 1
  14. Artylicious
  15. Always Sparkle Art
  16. Spoiled Royal Studio
  17. Frilly Chili Design
  18. Apple Blossom Print
  19. Encore Prints
  20. Ink of Me
  21. Hello Sprout
  22. Personal Posters 4 U
  23. Mapity
  24. Apple Blossom Print
  25. Textured Ink
  26. Peachwik
  27. Flutterbye Notes
  28. Good Old Days 1


I’m Going Cuckoo

I’m Going Cuckoo

I think we all get the flutter of nostalgia when we see things from our childhood. For me there are three things that warm me with great emotion. One item is small Irmi lamp fitted with a retro orange lightbulb.  It was on the nightstand at my grandparents house in the room that my brother and I shared while visiting. I had spent many a night falling asleep staring into the orange glow. The other is a Black Forest cuckoo clock from my grandparents basement, just at the bottom of the stairs. I had always loved it even though even as a kid I remembered thinking it was kind of old fashioned looking. The third isn’t a visual but a taste, a smell…Jack Daniels. This was not my grandpa’s favorite whisky nor can I even remember it ever being stocked in their bar. Still, whenever I drink that specific brand it takes me back. You see, for me it tastes like how the dusty records in my grandparent’s basement smell. I know it sounds weird but it’s true.

While Irmi lamps are a vintage collectable now, the cuckoo clock has been given new life with the help of a lot of color and sometimes a lack thereof. It’s not often I say I MUST have something but these bad boys have me squealing with excitement at their sight.

Stephan Strumbel-Hello Petie-Gallavanting Girls-Plain Fancy Emporium-Marisol Spoon Makery-Carl Gruettert-Betty Octopus-Pedro Meahla-Decoy Lab-Dolan Geiman

Sometimes fashion over function actually makes sense. Especially when it comes to this batch of cuckoo clock art work.

Fantastic Toys-Pronounced You-Bright Barnaby-Jamie Zeff-Tiny Modernist-Purdey and Blue-All Cut Up by DG-Annie Poon-Rosie Plus the Boys

And sometimes fashion is just awesome.

Daliee Dose-Mini Blings-Crafty Cuts Laser





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