Monthly Archives: January 2015

Eggs Benedict and Best Friends

January 11, 2015


Eggs Benedict & Best Friends

So my best friend, since forever, just left to go back home to Italy. (Sad face) She’s not Italian, she’s from Chicago originally, but now lives in Rome…after living in Washington DC…and Sri Lanka…and Singapore, she decided to settle herself in Rome. I know, right?  (I got married in Rome, so personally, I am thrilled to know someone who lives there.  It’s a perfect excuse to go visit my favorite city in the world…wink, wink, if you are reading this Sandra. And yet another good reason to learn more Italian.)

We went to parochial school together through junior high. And though we went to different all-girl catholic high schools, we still hung out every weekend at the mall, at Musicland, buying cassette tapes (we were hip, before hipsters).   We were also college roommates during the time of plaid flannel and ripped jeans.  I’m not sure we knew how to dress ourselves when we got to college. We lived our whole lives in plaid school uniforms. You would have thought we would have given up the plaid in college. But why mess with a good thing?  Plaid forever!

a&k origFunny side story: In grade school we used to pass notes to each other on Hello Kitty or Little Twin Stars stationary (remember Little Twin Stars?) and she would always sign her notes “Sandy Stajamzyson“. No, Stajamzyson was not her last name, but an amalgamation of 4 celebrities our pre-teen selves thought were hot at the time. We loved Stallone because of Rocky IV and Rambo II.   I would actually sit there and do the math in my head to figure out if my 12-year-old self was too young to marry him when I grew up. True story. Ha!

Sandy was obsessed with John James, the actor that played Jack Colby on Dynasty.  Me, not so much, I don’t like suits.  But we watched Dynasty and the Colby’s spin-off religiously. Where are you now Joan Collins?  I remember I wanted Fallon’s hair.

And then there was Patrick Swayze. Most people loved him because of Dirty Dancing…but we were in love with him way before anyone tried to put Baby in a corner. We were the biggest fans of the “North and South” mini-series and we swooned over Orry Main because, southern gentleman.

Finally, Don Jonson from Miami Vice. What? What’s wrong with white suits? I know, I know. All together, Sandy combined their last names and renamed herself “Sandy Stajamzyson”. If she is reading this right now, I am sure she is giggling silently to herself probably doubled over from laughing so hard but no sound is coming out? Yeah, that’s her right now.

Who were your pre-teen crushes?

But we grew up. I stayed local and she got this super cool awesome job that took her abroad. I have been traveling vicariously through her Facebook posts and pictures. And I love hearing all about her adventures when she comes back home. She really has been everywhere! Even places no one wants to really go to. She has the most exotic exciting life, has seen the most amazing things and tried the most amazing foods.

And what happens when she comes back stateside? All she wants are eggs Benedict.  Eggs Benedict!!!  America has exported blue jeans and rock and roll.  How have eggs Benedict escaped export?  Are we the only ones who know about this?  How can this be?  Yay for America! Yay for eggs Benedict? But didn’t the French create le sauce Hollandaise? Le sigh…

So here we go…

eggs benedict overheadEggs Benedict for Sandy Stajamzyson (serves 4, or 2 very hungry people)

4 eggs

4 slices Canadian bacon

2 large slices good crusty bread cut in half (no English muffins here …these are American eggs)

butter (for the bread)

Le Sauce Hollandaise (made in a food processor, yes! it’s true)

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Habanero & Mango Aioli (or mustard plus a dash of tabasco)

1 & 1/4 sticks butter (I know, I know)


Begin by toasting your crusty bread.  While the bread is toasting, fry up the Canadian bacon until browned and bring a pan of water (1 & 1/2 inches deep) to a simmer.  I know there is a lot going on at the same time.  Whoa!

The water should reach a simmer at 190 degrees before starting to poach your eggs.  When the water has reached 190 degrees, crack your egg in a small ramekin and then slowly add your eggs one at a time into the water and  turn off the heat.  Let poach for 5 minutes for perfectly runny yolks.  Alton Brown’s egg poaching video  should help.

In the meantime, begin your hollandaise sauce.  Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  In a food processor place the 3 egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and aioli or mustard and blend well (yes! I promise you don’t have to stress yourself out whisking over a double broiler).  Once your butter is melted, very slowly drizzle the butter into the food processor while mixing on high.  It will begin to emulsify into a perfect hollandaise sauce.  Adjust with a little more salt or lemon juice per your taste preferences and…


Butter your toasted bread, place a slice of Canadian Bacon on top, then a perfectly poached egg and top with a generous spoonful of hollandaise sauce.  Now break that yolk!


– Kallie

yolk ooze

New Year, New Blog…

January 4, 2015


A New Blog for the New Year

Today, it’s snowing in Chicago.  The first snow of the season actually.  A perfect day to put on your heavy winter coat, hat, gloves and boots and march over to a cozy cafe to hang out with some friends, read a book or start a new blog over a cappucino or two…or three.  My plan is to start blogging at least once every week and right now seems to be as good a time as any to start this practice.  However, please take note:


I never liked making new year’s resolutions.  They were always a set up for disappointment because they are too easy to break.  Plus, resolutions are never really original ideas are they?  Isn’t it annoying to go to the gym and find out that hundreds of others had the same resolution as you did, to work out in the new year?  I say skip the resolutions and show up to the gym in mid-February.  Most people will have given up and the gym will be all yours again.

Instead, I say spend the first weeks of January making a list of things or practices that you would like add to your life throughout the year to enhance it and bring you joy.  You might start on the first day of the year with both feet on the ground running.  But what if you started a couple weeks later?  So what?  I say resolve to sit down and make your plan and figure out how to tackle it logically.

Do you want to learn to take better photos with a DSLR camera?  Learn to paint or draw?  Now is the time to research and sign up for a class that will get you there over time.  Do you want to work out more?  Instead of pounding yourself at the gym every day on the treadmill or lifting weights (which is great if that’s your thing), why not commit to a yoga or zumba class once or twice a week.  Small steps are less offensive, more flexible and you are more likely to keep up.  Why burn out by the end of January?  Success comes from having a plan and being consistent.  Also, it comes from not beating yourself up when you miss a workout, or ate something you didn’t plan on.  Accept that you are not perfect and know that tomorrow is a brand new day.

RESET!  Now go!

So, what kind of things should be on your list?  It can be anything, but there is only one rule:  IT SHOULD BRING YOU JOY.  =)  If it doesn’t bring you happiness or make your life better, why do it?

Here are a few things I would like to tackle in the 2015:

1. Learning Italian – I have already taken about a  year’s worth of Italian classes and made some really good friends in class, but now the hard part begins.  The grammar is getting more complicated.  The rules are getting more rigid, and the exceptions to the rules are plentiful.  But I LOVE IT.  It’s always good to keep your mind busy, and learn new things.  It’s how to stay young.  My classes start January 17th on Saturday afternoons.  It will be 4 hours of Italian immersion.  What a great way to escape every day life once a week.

2. Build a Capsule Wardrobe – I saw this concept on Un-fancy and let me tell you, it had my name written all over it.  What a great idea!  How many of us have a closet full of clothes that “will fit in 10 lbs”?  Or a closet full of trends, that are no longer?  Or you just feel like “I have nothing to wear?”  The capsule wardrobe is about minimalism.  It allows you to have about 30-40 pieces of clothes (tops, pants, dresses, jackets and shoes) that you LOVE for every season, with some overlap.  You should be able to mix and match these items and always feel put together and stylish.  I started purging my closet on Friday.  I already feel better.

3. Quitting Sugar – I tried Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” program last year and LOVED it.  I lost 12 lbs with hardly any effort.  When has that ever happened?  More importantly, it made me feel good and in control of what I was eating.  It was orderly, well planned and delicious.   I never had to worry about what I was going to eat for breakfast or stress about lunch or dinner, there was already a plan in place.  Eating this way takes out the guess work and reduces the likelihood of making poor choices.  I’m starting the new 8 week program on January 22nd!

So, let’s all have a great New Year and I hope that you will enjoy reading about me as I start on my blogging adventures.  I promise to keep you posted on my 2015 list.  I would love to hear about yours.

Wishing everyone the best for a 2015, full of love, adventure, health and happiness.

– Kallie