Welcome to Illinois Axe Murderer Dinner

Our Tivo friends Jami and David prepared a dinner in our honor to welcome us to Illinois. It was originally going to be our first dinner there…until we ended up going last-minute to one of their previous dinners. As usual, everything was DIVINE…and we came home with leftovers once again. :)

I wanted to try my infamous selfie shot but we went the easy route since the kids were with us—Owen was our group photographer.

The Menu

Searing the sous vide prime rib.

Checking on the kids who were being amazing in the living room. They had their iPad, Netflix, and pizza…the kid trifecta.

Part of the aftermath.

I hate when they get off their sleep schedule but I have good memories of sleeping in the car on the way home from family events (and being carried into the house by my dad) that I feel it’s only fair they get to experience it, too. 💗 Katie was out within five minutes; Owen took about 10.

Internet axe murderer friends are the very best.

We have some foodie friends who always make the most incredible-looking meals and we are always jealous when we see the pics on Facebook. But tonight our wishes came true and we were invited to a dinner! (It was last-minute as fill-ins but we didn’t care—if Jami and David ever invite you to dinner, you do whatever you need to do to make it happen!! In our case it was get a last-minute sitter to pick up the kids from Parents Night Out at the rec center and take them home and put them to bed.)

Holy shitballs was that an amazing multi-course meal. Here are just a few pics…and yes, I missed a few courses because wine. We might not need to eat at all tomorrow, though the leftovers will be tempting. Totally worth the 2.5 hours of drive time. Internet axe murderer friends are the very best. 💗

Sesame butter and radish chive tea sandwiches. Aged Gouda. Chorizo foam and goat cheese chantilly with bread sticks. Prosciutto-wrapped artichokes.

The first bottle of delicious wine…

Sous vide pork belly on smoked gouda mac and cheese

Sous vide potatoes and filet mignon (missing bearnaise in the pic)

We then ended the evening with a super fun game and were on the road home by 9:30. A great time was had by all…and we can’t wait to do it again!

My first Instant Pot lasagna.

I just did a quick taco lasagna with taco meat (from the freezer), ricotta and Mexican cheese blend, and some enchilada sauce at the last minute because I had no “sauce” in my layers (just meat). It cooked for 20 minutes, did a 10-minute natural release, and then I didn’t let it sit any longer because we were hungry, so it started to slide apart. But it was yummy. Owen even wanted seconds. Of course Katie didn’t like it at all.

It’s time to relax.

The craziness of the craft show is over so it was time to relax. The kids were at the rec center for another Parents Night Out so we went out for a fancy steakhouse dinner at The Tavern.

—Our Menu—

BAD KITTY (for me) and BEER (for Tom)









Happy 45th Tom!

Tom got a half day off work so we celebrated his birthday in style at our first local Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurant: The Shanty. I started with Pineapple Sangria…

Then we tried one of the dishes they showcased on the show: Whiskey Shrimp. It was delish.


And another dish they profiled in DD&D: Blackened Conch Filet. Super yummy.


And a free birthday dessert!


Then we went to check out the Costco in Wisconsin—just a few miles away! 

Facebook, friends, and scallops—oh my!

I had a major kitchen crisis (nothing fits anywhere and I was losing my mind) and jokingly asked on Facebook if anyone wanted to come help me figure it out…

And Jami volunteered! And then was serious! (She lives about 1:30 away so it wasn’t completely insane.)

She’s an amaaaaazing cook and has bragged about her perfect scallops so, since I LOVE SCALLOPS, she brought them to teach me how to do it! So I learned how to make perfect scallops with a saffron wine sauce on fresh spinach Fettuccini. It was divine!! Of course, she also brought snacks and wine…and a cast iron pan and avocado cooking oil and cream because my kitchen isn’t up to par yet.

They were so beautiful they really deserve a full-size shot:

She had brought cookies to Owen and Katie. When she handed them out, age called them by name. Katie asked how she knew her name and I said she knew her from the day she was born. (I had told the kids previously that Jami was from the same group of friends as Uncle Eddy, Aunt Sheryl, Miss Nancy, and the whole group of people that came to our house a few times). 

Owen waited on his cookie, but Katie was all in. 

Owen being silly after tasting other desserts.

Then we played with makeup a bit, did an unplanned Facebook Live video, she bought two new lip colors and a blush, and we drank wine.

I had to get creative since we forgot to keep it chilled. Yes, that plastic ice cube is from a boo-boo bunny. 

Oh yes, we did also get some kitchen stuff figured out (also with Linda’s help).