Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Wednesdays have been quiet for too long. So I'm bringing in some fresh blood. A woman with unparalleled hostessing skills, the palate of a restaurant critic, and a wardrobe full of envy-inducing scores from TJ Maxx. She was there for most of the best moments of my life, from the time we did the Cupid Shuffle after Thanksgiving dinner to the birth of my son. She ripped the heads off my Barbies and taught me how to curl my hair. Yes, it is none other than my fabulous sister, Kate.

Today she answers a few questions...

Erin: How the heck are ya?!

Kate: Well if I was our mother I would say “Just Dandy!” … However, as much as I see myself slowly becoming more like her, I'll say I'm lovely … but cold … and currently with wet feet because I’ve been refusing to admit I live in Chicago and have been wearing five inch heels to trudge through the snow to my car in the morning!  

Erin: Wet feet, huh? While you are the more fashionable sister, at least I'm the warmer one. I don't think I've worn anything but Uggs since November. Moving on. What does "Hot Dinner Happy Home" mean to you?

Kate: It means to feel cozy, warm and taken care of. In a happy home you can be completely yourself and comfortable … be silly or crazy or in need of comfort. Growing up, and even now, home has been “what do you need in this instant … because we can make it happen.” And suddenly all feels right in the world. Even still whether my mom is visiting or I head home to Buffalo, she asks if she can get me anything and then covers me with a fleece blanket. If that’s not a hot-dinner-happy-home, I don’t know what is.

Erin: The image of a cozy fleece blanket is very "happy home." I like it. So, what can we look forward to hearing about in your posts?

Kate: Hmmm… I'm a single girl working 8-5 and living in the Chicago suburbs. I hope to incorporate some of my favorite things about cooking … relatively quick meals with simple ingredients. Often they are meals that can be eaten on the couch in front of Netflix or Hulu Plus. Also I love … no seriously LOVE going out to eat! And thank goodness Chicago has no shortage of fun, delicious restaurants!!! So I will definitely bring some of my favorite food destinations to the inter-web!

Erin: You always have the best restaurant recommendations. You've even been to cool places in Milwaukee before I have! Two-in-one: Name your favorite meal and cooking inspiration. Go!

Kate: Man this is tough!!! When I was little, it was chocolate chip pancakes and orange pop. While I feel like I can’t pick a favorite current meal, I would definitely say my inspiration has been PINTEREST! I am completely addicted, and it’s how I choose so many things I make (and even what to wear to work in the morning). Seriously, if you aren’t on it … JOIN NOW! And since it is real people, so many of the recipes are easy to make with ingredients you have!

Erin: Oh, Pinterest! You and I are both addicts. (Everyone should follow Kate on Pinterest, by the way. Her "Fashion" board makes me want to change out of my sweatpants.) I've already mentioned that you throw killer parties. Wanna share any of your hostess-with-the-mostess secrets?

Kate: Ok … I love love love hosting get togethers … from cooking a meal with one friend, to girls’ nights, to FULL-ON BASHES! There is no better feeling than people leaving your home satisfied with an event. (The ultimate success is when they have to leave the next morning… ha!) But what I’ve found that brings the most success is always having more food and more drinks than you think. People never want to go hungry or thirsty! Always keep things restocked … I feel like I’m constantly making sure bowls are refilled and glasses are topped off, and people definitely appreciate that extra mile. Also, I think good music is key! It is the perfect way to set the mood. And I am partial to party accessories. They make things fun and different. From necklaces to party hats to reindeer antler headbands to piƱatas, it just throws a fun twist!

Erin: Plus you really look cute in your antlers! Anything else we should know about you?

Kate: Geez I feel like I have already shared so much (can you tell I have a tendency to be verbose??)! I come from an amazing family (did I mention I have a fabulous sister who always has a delish recipe whenever I need help in the kitchen and killer Wii Just Dance skills ... yep that’s you happy homemaker!) and incredible friends. What seems to be central to so many of my good memories is food … whether in or out of the home. There is just something that makes you feel special and loved when you gather together. I love taking care of people and making them happy and providing a good time … it’s what life should be all about … making someone’s day better when they leave than when they came. Oh … and I also have a slight Bravo addiction. That’s it! Happy dining, everyone!

Erin: Welcome to the shenanigans, sister!

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