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It’s no secret that I love shopping at Mariano’s! It’s unlike any other grocery shopping experience I have ever had with departments and foods not available at any stores near me. I can wander there for hours whenever I go, browsing through all of the departments to see what new things await me. I have noticed that Mariano’s makes people want to let the foodie in them have a free reign to eat and create. It should definitely be awarded the title Top Grocery Store Chicago for how different it is from the other big chains. There is so much there to inspire you to be creative with food and now even if you are looking for more inspiration and ideas they have the Mariano’s Tastemakers series on their website.
The Mariano’s Tastemakers series has top Chicago chefs and gourmands helping you to make the most of your shopping and cooking with Mariano’s. There are a ton of videos and recipes for you to view. My favorite was pastry chef Sarah Jordan. Being a baker I was just drawn to her and I remembered her from an article I had read about her last year. She likes to blend savory and sweet together. I like that and have done that myself a few times but I still like to see and try other ideas. I like taking the whole concept of pairing things together that normally don’t get matched with each other or taking something and using it in an unsuspecting way.
- Swap out a liquid (e.g. milk, water, etc.) or part of a liquid in a recipe with something that will add another flavor to your cooking or baking. Use chicken broth in place of water. Use juices or fruit purees in place of water. The fresh squeezed juices in the produce section are perfect here.
- Don’t be afraid to try different, non-standard flavor pairings. Many people may not know this but bacon and chocolate are phenomenal together. Stop in the baking aisle but remember you can find other things throughout the store that may take those cookies or cakes to a whole new place.
- Mariano’s staff is very friendly and helpful. They are always willing to answer questions you may have. If you are in the spice house and aren’t sure about something just ask. I bought some new tea and they gave me tea bags and everything to use for it.
- Go to Mariano’s hungry. You will eat there so just head there ready to eat and enjoy all they have to offer.
- The other thing I learned from Sarah Jordan’s video is that you can get meats you buy grilled for you. So while I love baking, cooking is a job function as mom. I like that I can grab different meats for everyone and get them grilled. That means the kids can have burgers, the hubby a steak and I can get some chicken. At home this would not be an option. I’m not going to cook that many different meals in one night. This is great for families with picky eaters.
Sarah Jordan, Mariano’s Tastemaker inspired me to combine happy hour and dessert into one event. Her inspiration of thinking outside the food box is a great message. Many people bake and cook with alcohol but the heat cooks out the kick and makes it safe for anyone to eat as it is only then a flavor.
I wanted to take an alcohol and make it into a no-bake dessert so you still had the kick of the drink but with the sweetness of the dessert. My alcohol of choice was Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys, which I used to make a Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie.
This pie tastes like boozy, French toast in pie form. So, oh yeah, it’s good! Like crazy good!
- 1 graham cracker pie crust
- 1 5.1 oz box of instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 c. Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Irish Cream
- 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 c. whipped topping
- Whisk together the pudding mix, Baileys and whipping cream for two minutes. Whisk in the cinnamon. It should be soft set. Refrigerate until set and then fold in the whipped topping. Evenly spread into the pie crust and then refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with additional whipped topping.
- This does contain alcohol so do not serve to children.
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