take heart

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Desserts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on October 30, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (2)
The holidays will be here before you know it. Now’s the time to start filling your freezer with sweet and savory treats that you can pull out in a moment’s notice. A couple months out I tackle some of my more time-consuming recipes. When our kitchen table and bedrooms begin to fill, I’m always glad I did. Gingerbread cookies are always a favorite.
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magnificent milestones

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Desserts, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on July 10, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
A first-rate finale to our litany of houseguests. An exceptional weekend in every way, my dad came to Chicago to celebrate some very big birthdays. He and his best friend had just turned 90, and on our first night together my mom’s dearest friend had a very special birthday of her own. To kick off the festivities we dined at Mon Ami Gabi, the i
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how the cookie crumbles

food detective
Categories: Desserts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Posted on December 21, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
You know when you see people on social media, and they seem like they have it all together? I have to confess I was feeling a little high on my holiday horse and thought I’d flaunt my newly acquired baking skills for my next post. I was inspired earlier this month by the NYT’s interactive article on the 24 Days of Cookies. Being a crunchy salty
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end on a high note

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Desserts, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on September 13, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
I take joy in setting a beautiful table. I love my bone china, sterling and crystal. Creating a place for my guests to sit infused with grace is a simple pleasure.  Many keep their finest tucked away and out of reach. I believe our beautiful things are there to be enjoyed. And with the exception of my silver, I put almost all of it in the
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weigh in

food detective
Categories: Desserts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Sources, Well Equipped, Posted on January 30, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
How about something sweet?  I’ll confess I’m not much of a baker. My birthday cakes are endearingly lopsided and zucchini bread eternally crestfallen. What I’ve come to realize is that cooks and bakers are wired differently.  Bakers tend to follow recipes to the law and measure precisely. Us in the cook-camp like to add a pinch of this and bit of
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put yourself at the table

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Desserts, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on September 21, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Isn’t it fun going to those upscale gourmet grocers and walking past their cases filled with amazing prepared fare? While tempting, picking up an entire dinner party that way can cost a small fortune. So, what should you do when you want the convenience of having everything made well in advance but you either want to showcase your own cooking and
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first fête

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Appetizers, Desserts, Cocktail Party, Breakfast/Brunch, Setting the Stage, Fête Fact, Posted on June 9, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
So excited for my first Chicago party. My youngest, who is in business school at Northwestern, wanted to invite some of her classmates over to meet me and see the apartment before they took off for their summer internships. With my husband and I driving back across the country the week before, time was going to be too tight to pull off a proper
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a fool for you

making it for two
Categories: Desserts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on July 9, 2018 by Sandy Bergsten
How often do you find a great recipe only to discover it’s scaled for a crowd? In this next series entitled “making it for two” I am going to pare down not only the ingredients but also the prep time so that cooking for two won’t take an eternity. Leaving you more time to spend time with the one you love. My sweet husband has an incredible sweet
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life is sweet

food detective
Categories: Desserts, Dinner for Two, Dinner Party, Lunch, Breakfast/Brunch, Well Equipped, Posted on June 9, 2018 by Sandy Bergsten
Many of you will be reading this on June 13th, the day my bi-monthly email blast goes out and wonder what the heck is she doing making cheesecake when her daughter is getting married in three days! I assure you I didn’t wake up at 5 AM to make these little bites. I made them the week before. Experimenting in the kitchen is one of the ways I unwind
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april (snow) showers

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Desserts, Posted on April 17, 2018 by Sandy Bergsten
It’s April 17th and I woke to my flower beds covered in a blanket of snow. As I put on my boots and hat and mittens to take my dog Willie out, we were greeted with frigid winds and pelting hail. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a weather change. And while we can’t do a thing to influence Mother Nature, here's a way to bring a little
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