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For a super indulgent post-weekend treat wake up a half hour early Monday to prepare this tasty breakfast!

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By Lydia Krupinski

If you’re anything like me you’ve procrastinated with writing your New Year’s Resolutions for 2011. Seeing that we’re still in the first few days of the year I think there is no shame in getting them in a tad late. Perhaps this can be a resolution in and of itself!

To help you come up with at least one eco-minded goal for the New Year we’ve compiled the following suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

By Lydia Krupinski

Fall is here and with it dipping temperatures that make my already dry as a bone skin suffer with dehydration. Having worked in the cosmetic industry in the not-so-distant past I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs with skin care products. There was the heavenly but expensive creams by LUSH, the wha-wha inefficacy of La Mer, my biannual addiction to Philosophy, and the remaining smattering of products which included Aveeno, Burt’s Bees, Dr. Hauschka and more.

Since I am fearless when it comes to trying new products I’ve decided to go on a hunt for an eco and health friendly affordable moisturizer that will hydrate me through the fall and winter and last until the end of spring. Criteria that I have in place: It must be a cream. Nearing 30 I’ve tried and tested lotions and they just don’t cut it with my psoriasis eczema prone skin. I want something rich – not quite like butter but not as thin as yogurt. The other consideration is smell. I can’t stand any over-fragranced body care – no matter how organic – if it smells like roses you can bet I’ll be chucking it. Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski

I have finally gotten around to reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” I’m just about half-way through and already have been deeply moved by this piece. I’ve been through all of Michael Pollan’s books and read “Fast Food Nation” when it first hit the shelves, but there’s something unique about “Animal…,” something beyond description. As I pour through the pages I am left feeling inspired and empowered…knowing that I too can support local agriculture and grow my own food.

On this note I can’t tell you how eager I am to finish the book and even more eager to start my 2010 urban garden.  In anticipation of the coming Spring I have started a list of last year’s successful crops, new planting endeavors, and a wishlist for our urban farming future. In 2009 David and I successfully grew basil, green onions, chives, mint, chamomile, lettuce, and parsley. This year we’re setting our sights on spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, sweet potatoes, beans, and broccoli. A mighty list indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Upcycled Mustache Crayons by Chase Dreams

Cardboard Design Rocket from Green Genes

Ready, Set, Grow! at the Garfield Conservatory

Ready Set Robot Lunch Bag by Julie Meyer

Indoor Gardening Kit by Green Toys Inc.

Recycled Christmas Dress by Little Overcoat

Organic Seahorse Bib by Kunkle Baby

Wooden Acorn Teether by Imagination Kids

WaWa Wool Shoes by LaLa Shoes

Birch Yo Yo by Suddenly It's Real

Organic Fleece Blanket from Little Merry Fellows

DIY Eco Bird Feeder Project from Green Living

My Heart Bleeds for Baked Goods!
Cupcakes make me salivate. My eyes lighten up with even the suggestion of a hand-sized moist cake topped with swirled butter frosting. In recent years, I noticed quite a few cupcake shops, some good and some bad, sprouting up around Chicago. All try hard to create a special flavor of their own, and while some aren’t worth shaking a tongue at, a few have surpassed even my sugary desires. One such bakery, a Chicago staple that has not only mastered the great cupcake, but does it with organic and often local ingredients, is the fabulous Bleeding Heart Bakery.
I first happened upon their cupcakes at a farmer’s market in the south loop. It was the charity cupcake of the month, the Veruca Salt. As I walked away from the stand, I unwrapped the paper cup and bit down on my tasty treat. Sweet. Wait…salty. No, buttery… then, oh yes, caramel! I was not ready for this. Each flavor swam in my mouth separately from the another. Not fighting for attention, but like dancers in a hoe down, circling left, promenading right. Each ingredient in perfect harmony!
When you make the trip out to the actual location off Belmont (no train takes you there, but it’s just a short bus or a bike ride from the Red Line), you’ll be greeted by a beautiful storefront. Their colorfully playful sign behind the old metal bakery sign boldly juts out from the building. The inside is charming. Colorful walls decorated with locally made art, two couches to lounge on, and tables shaped and painted to look like… wait for it… cupcakes! The glass counters were filled with a nice array of pastries; Colorfully iced sugar cookies, brownies of all types, muffins, quiche, cake balls, mini-pies, and an assortment of specialty cupcakes, all tempting me from under the soft glow of florescent lights. I came with Lydia. When you face a gang of desserts such as this, you need backup. You need someone to share the experience and the calories you are about to consume. We came prepared, ready for the glee and the gluttony we were about to partake in together.
We shared four cupcakes. Veruca Salt, their charity cupcake, was once again delicious with it’s salted caramel vanilla icing. Red Velvet, the top cut off and sitting atop a mound of cream cheese icing. It melted in our mouths! A sweet rosewater with champagne ganache on a vanilla bean cupcake, and a dark chocolate, beer cupcake topped with pretzels that was hearty and rich! After catching our breath, we tried their frosted cake balls. The vanilla ball, covered in nuts, tasted as though it was drenched in white chocolate! Finally we experienced their Tres Leche desert and it was glorious!
As we savored our edible sins, we looked about Bleeding Heart, feeling it out and soaking in the atmosphere. We felt comfortable and relaxed without any screaming children to disturb our stay. Even the music… “What was that band again? I really need to get this album.” Real music. These were real people listening to real music, and that makes a real difference to me. You can see it in the staff. They were friendly and genuine.
Overall, a wonderful experience. Bleeding Heart Bakery is a wonderful local business to support with frequent visits.. I look forward to stopping by there again, and who knows, maybe I’ll see you there.
To catch me in a cupcake coma visit Bleeding Heart Bakery at:
1955 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60657
You can also visit their website at: http://www.thebleedingheartbakery.com

My Heart Bleeds for Baked Goods!

By David Paul Downs

SANY3108

Photos by David Paul Downs & Lydia Krupinski

Cupcakes make me salivate. My eyes lighten up with even the suggestion of a hand-sized moist cake topped with swirled butter frosting. In recent years, I noticed quite a few cupcake shops, some good and some bad, sprouting up around Chicago. All try hard to create a special flavor of their own, and while some aren’t worth shaking a tongue at, a few have surpassed even my sugary desires. One such bakery, a Chicago staple that has not only mastered the great cupcake, but does it with organic and often local ingredients, is the fabulous Bleeding Heart Bakery.

SANY3107I first happened upon their cupcakes at a farmer’s market in the south loop. It was the charity cupcake of the month, the Veruca Salt. As I walked away from the stand, I unwrapped the paper cup and bit down on my tasty treat. Sweet. Wait…salty. No, buttery… then, oh yes, caramel! I was not ready for this. Each flavor swam in my mouth separately from the another. Not fighting for attention, but like dancers in a hoe down, circling left, promenading right. Each ingredient in perfect harmony!

When you make the trip out to the actual location off Belmont (no train takes you there, but it’s just a short bus or a bike ride from the Red Line), you’ll be greeted by a beautiful storefront. Their colorfully playful sign behind the old metal bakery sign boldly juts out from the building.

SANY3101The inside is charming. Colorful walls decorated with locally made art, two couches to lounge on, and tables shaped and painted to look like… wait for it… cupcakes! The glass counters were filled with a nice array of pastries; Colorfully iced sugar cookies, brownies of all types, muffins, quiche, cake balls, mini-pies, and an assortment of specialty cupcakes, all tempting me from under the soft glow of florescent lights. I came with Lydia. When you face a gang of desserts such as this, you need backup. You need someone to share the experience and the calories you are about to consume. We came prepared, ready for the glee and the gluttony we were about to partake in together.

SANY3096We shared four cupcakes. Veruca Salt, their charity cupcake, was once again delicious with it’s salted caramel vanilla icing. Red Velvet, the top cut off and sitting atop a mound of cream cheese icing. It melted in our mouths! A sweet rosewater with champagne ganache on a vanilla bean cupcake, and a dark chocolate, beer cupcake topped with pretzels that was hearty and rich! After catching our breath, we tried their frosted cake balls. The vanilla ball, covered in nuts, tasted as though it was drenched in white chocolate! Finally we experienced their Tres Leche desert and it was glorious!

As we savored our edible sins, we looked about Bleeding Heart, feeling it out and soaking in the atmosphere. We felt comfortable and relaxed without any screaming children to disturb our stay. Even the music… “What was that band again? I really need to get this album.” Real music. These were real people listening to real music, and that makes a real difference to me. You can see it in the staff. They were friendly and genuine.

Overall, a wonderful experience. Bleeding Heart Bakery is a wonderful local business to support with frequent visits.. I look forward to stopping by there again, and who knows, maybe I’ll see you there.

To catch me in a cupcake coma visit Bleeding Heart Bakery at:

1955 W. Belmont Ave.

Chicago, Illinois 60657

You can also visit their website at: http://www.thebleedingheartbakery.com

SANY3102

_

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