THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Celebrating October & All It Has to Offer!

Welcome to October with its cooler temps, its beautiful autumn colors as the change of season occurs, some rain thrown in for good measure, and an abundance of Oktoberfests and Fall festivities for your weekend enjoyment! Here’s what’s in store for you this first weekend of October:

Even though the Chicago Pride Parade won’t be taking place again this year, the Chicago Pride Fest is still moving forward this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) at Northalsted (Halsted St. from Addison to Grace).  This annual fest is a legendary street festival celebrating LGBTQ+ life, culture, and community.  Swing by for 3 stages of live music performed by headline artists as well as local favorites, DJs and dancing, drag shows, food and drink, over 100 arts/crafts vendors, sponsor activations, games, giveaways and more! Plus, Sunday at Noon starting from the North Stage will be the Pet Pride Parade with the winners’ presentation (gift card prizes) being held at the Addison Street stage at 1:00 p.m.  It’s always a great time at this love-filled celebration!

The St. Benedict’s Oktoberfest is being held this Saturday (1 p.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.-7 p.m.) at 2215 W Irving Park Road in the North Center neighborhood. Returning this year is great food provided by Himmel’s German Restaurant, pretzels and desserts from Schlegl’s Bakery, a variety of beer and wine and live entertainment. New for 2021 are carnival rides provided by Fantasy Amusements, kids’ food and drink served from the concession stand in the gym along with a hooligan dice game (a Benfest favorite), and kids’ entertainment in the gym as well.  Plus, laser tag and bubble soccer are being held in the Ackerman Center provided by WickedBall! It’s a free family-friendly party but you’ll need to buy tickets for the food, beer, and carnival rides!

Usher in Fall at the Lincoln Square/Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s 34th annual Apple Fest this Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) on Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Wilson. Shop autumnal goods at the fest’s marketplace of 50+ vendors to stock up on your Fall essentials. Check out this year’s menu of ciders and apple inspired dishes from local restaurants. Enjoy live music performances from local musicians and bring the kids for seasonal activities all weekend long! Have yourself one apple-filled weekend!

Join the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce for the return of their 15th annual Andersonville Wine Walk this Sunday (3 p.m.-6 p.m.). Enjoy a Sunday afternoon of sipping, strolling, and shopping through Andersonville’s beautiful northside historic district.  Participants may choose from two routes: Cork or Bottle. Plus, all attendees receive a commemorative wine tasting glass and a route card to help direct you on your self-guided stroll! And several stops also include delicious food pairings!

Returning for its third edition at a fantastic new West Loop venue, Revel Fulton Market (1215 W. Fulton Market), The Other Art Fair Chicago is being held Saturday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.). Available for purchase to suit every budget will be a curated selection of over 120 of the city’s best independent artists under one roof. In addition, there will be interactive art exhibits, murals by Chicago artists, food trucks in the outdoor seating areas, outdoor bars and lounge, and much more! Plus, discover hundreds more artists from across the globe in their Other Live Online Studios editions!

Finally, the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions this Sunday (12:00 p.m.) at Soldier Field in the South Loop.  After last week’s performance in Cleveland, they need their fans’ support!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS- Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Chicago Loop

October is the month of pumpkin and apple paradise, of harvests and festivals throughout the city. There is no better time to take advantage of cooler temperatures and Halloween looming to get outside and celebrate autumnal wonder!

The Pride is back! Chicago Pride Fest returns Friday, October 1- Sunday, October 3, on Halsted between Addison and Grace Streets. The festival features live music by headline artists Debbie Gibson, Mya and Crystal Waters and local music favorites, including American Idol’s Katy Kadan, 16 Candles, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus on three stages, along with food and drink, 100+ arts/crafts vendors, DJ’s and dancing, drag shows, pet parade, games, giveaways and more. A $15 suggested donation helps pay LP performers and festival workers, and funds community programs.

Specially curated wineries join with live entertainment over an all-day, all-night vino experience during the Official Chicago Wine Fest: Fall Edition, at Lincoln Park Zoo, from noon-10pm at the North Gate,  Regenstein African Journey, 2400 W. Cannon Drive. At this 21+ event, you’ll sip premium wine to your heart’s content while live entertainment keeps the party going! Tickets are $35 – $60.

A-Haunting we will go! Navy Pier transforms into an experiential fall spectacle during their colorful, haunting Pier Pumpkin Lights. Starting Friday, October 1, nearly 1,000 festive pumpkins and lights will decorate historic Navy Pier, 600 W. Grand Ave., for the entire month of October. Lots more haunting festivities to come throughout the month, as guests explore a variety of pumpkin pop-ups and enjoy Pier-wide deals and other Halloween festivities throughout the month. Free admission.

Celebrate fall’s bountiful harvest at the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s 34th Annual Apple Fest! The festivities start Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3 from 9am – 6pm Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Wilson. Apple Fest is a long-standing tradition in Lincoln Square, bringing community together to celebrate the beginning of autumn. Shop autumnal goods at the festival’s marketplace, munch on apple-stuffed grilled cheese and apple doughnuts from local restaurants, sip cider and apple-flavored beer, catch live music performances and bring the kids for seasonal activities! Apple Fest’s 10th Annual Pooch Costume Contest gets underway on Saturday, October 2, at 10am. Prizes will be awarded for the Scariest, Most Adorable, Most Creative, Best Dog/Parent Combo, and Best Costume Grand Prize. Free admission. 

After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the citywide annual DESTINOS: Chicago International Latino Theater Festival is back! As told by Latino artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S. and Latin America, audiences will experience a rich, diverse array of Latino centric performances at marquee venues downtown, neighborhood theaters and cultural institutions. Now through October 24, the Goodman’s Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., is presenting ‘American Mariachi.’ Set in the 1970’s, the story centers around a young woman determined to create an all-female mariachi band. Check the website for ticket information.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Gather

Gather opened in Lincoln Square in December 2012. Nine years later, friends and family still gather to celebrate everyday occasions, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and “an approachable wine list.”

Families and friends can start with GATHER + SHARE plates such as Steak Tartare, a combination of wagyu beef, egg emulsion, cucumber, caper, and brioche, or Whipped Ricotta-house made ricotta, clover honey, balsamic, toasted baguette. Asian influences are alive in the Bok Choy Fried Rice with soy glaze, sesame, kimchi, chili-garlic oil, Furikake rice seasoning, egg, crispy rice chips, and pickled daikon. Italian GATHER + SHARE Gnocchi pairs fresh cherry tomato, garlic cream sauce, basil pesto, parmigiano shavings, and sunflower crunch. The chefs created a Gathering Board with house-made charcuterie, artisan cheese, honeycomb, Marcona almond, seasonal jam, apple mustard, and pickled vegetable.

Appetizers include a fresh Honeycrisp Apple Salad, with shaved honey crisp apples, roasted brussels sprouts, aged cheddar, roasted pecan butter, toasted pecans, pomegranate seed, and apple cider vinaigrette, and a Smashed Cucumber-pairing a marinated cucumber with sticky rice, roasted peanut, Sichuan chili sauce, fresh cilantro, and sesame seed.

Entrees are simple, fresh dishes done elegantly, and include a Pan Roasted Salmon-with brown butter, celery root purée, poached pear relish, Manchego creamed spinach, and black garlic purée. Or try the Half Chicken-a seared breast, southern fried chicken leg, trumpet mushroom, creamy polenta, and chicken jus. Mafaldine Pasta pairs fava beans, lamb meatballs, garlic + parmigiano cream, fava purée, caramelized leeks, and lemon zest. For a Grilled Steak you cannot find elsewhere in Chicago, Gather’s combination includes a mojo marinated flank steak, chimichurri aioli, grilled ramps, salsa criolla, sweet potato gratin, and salt + vinegar plantains.

For dessert, try an Earl Grey Custard, made of strawberry + rhubarb compote, coconut shortbread, balsamic pearls, and fresh basil, or a Dark Chocolate Banana Brownie-chocolate ganache with a peanut butter crunch, grape puree, caramelized banana, and sea salt.

Over the weekend, Gather takes the Sunday dinner concept one better, offering a reservations-only, family-style menu to encourage a festive and celebratory dining experience. Guests choose three items from a special menu, which are prepared to order, then portioned and served to share with the entire group. The owners hope to encourage an “interactive and social dining experience that all will enjoy.”

Another adventure Gather offers is to ‘Dine at the Kitchen Counter,’ where you and a small, reservations-only group get an up-close view of the inner workings of a professional kitchen while interacting with Chef Ken Carter and the entire Gather culinary team as they prepare dinner. 

Gather Chicago is located at 4539 N. Lincoln Ave, and is open Wednesday-Thursday at 5pm, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:30pm. The restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Improving Your Pantry’s Shelf Life!

Last week we talked about reducing food waste – now let’s dig into how to get the best out of what’s already in your pantry! What most of us don’t realize is that many items we regularly stock in our homes are still edible even if it is beyond the manufacturer’s “use by” date. Believe it or not, the dates on food are often arbitrary. Some are government mandated, while other dates tell us the time they will guarantee best quality.

At the end of the day, it’s always wise to have your pantry full of staples that can be put together for a quick meal in a pinch. Pro Tip: regularly check and rotate your stock so the oldest food is up front!

Here is a short list of foods that are shelf stable and will keep for a year in your pantry:

  • Applesauce and other high acid items like canned fruit, juices, pickles, tomato soup and sauerkraut can last up to 18 months.
  • Bouillon, cubed or loose
  • Dried beans – but be advised: these tend to take long longer to cook!
  • Cake mixes
  • Instant coffee
  • Condiments
  • Flour – if wrapped properly, you can actually freeze unopened flour for an even longer shelf life.
  • Dried fruit
  • Evaporated milk
  • Dried fruit and vegetables
  • Jarred nuts
  • Unopened spices 
  • Jellies and jams
  • Jarred spaghetti sauce
  • Oats
  • Unopened olive oil (Opened oil should be used in 6 months for best quality)

These items can last up to two years or more if kept relatively cool and out of the light:

  • Canned food items that are low in acid are safe to eat even well past the “best by” date as long as the cans are free of dents, rust or swelling! That includes vegetables like corn, peas, potatoes, and carrots,  along with meat, fish, gravy and stew. 
  • Dry pasta
  • Non dairy sauce mixes 
  • White or wild rice, brown rice lasts only a year.
  • Soy protein (textured)
  • Shelf stable vegetable juice 
  • Unopened vegetable oil, (Opened oil should be used within the year for best quality) 
  • Nonstick cooking sprays
  • Unopened peanut butter
  • Sugar and sugar substitutes
  • Tea bags
  • Vinegar

But of course, there are certain products you should never use beyond their date, such as baby food and formula. Other pantry items simply lose their effectiveness or nutritional value beyond a certain date. Items like yeast, baking soda and baking powder perform chemical reactions in baked goods so it’s best to use these items within 6 months if you can!

These lists are not comprehensive, and doing your own research on food sustainability could save you a lot of time, money and energy in the future. You can find more helpful information at Happy eating!

Top Tips For Staging Your Home

A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors® revealed that 77 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home makes it easier for potential buyers to visual it as their own. That’s why staging is not to be overlooked! Here are some top tips.

Dress up your yard. First impressions count, and the first one your home gives comes from the exterior. Mow the lawn, clean up shrubbery, rake any leaves, clean the walkway and driveway, plant in-season flowers, and pull up any unsightly weeds.

Reduce personal items. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal photos and knick-knacks from shelves, walls, and counters. Instead replace them with clean, simple décor, such as abstract paintings, nature images, vases, plants, and more.

Organize your storage areas. Storage is a huge selling point. Tidy up and clear out the accessible closets and cupboards in the home and make sure to point them out during an open house or showing.

Appeal to the senses. Consider ways you can appeal to potential homebuyers’ other senses. During a viewing or open house, bake some fresh cookies or burn delicious smelling candles and play light, relaxing music in the background.

Consider turning to an expert. With their knowledge of current trends and great eye for design, professionally certified stagers can transform a home in a variety of ways and have a keen sense of what homebuyers want and expect in a home. Investing in hiring a pro may pay off in dividends.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Welcome to Autumn 2021!

Not only has the autumn season arrived but it also brought the fall temps with it! For some it’s a welcome relief yet for others it’s not.  But this first fall weekend in Chicago is all set to bring plenty of warm sunshine and the beginning of fall festival season to please everyone!

The Andersonville Midsommarfest may have been canceled earlier this year, but Andersonville Homecoming is taking its place this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) on Clark Street between Catalpa and Summerdale Avenues.  This new festival will feature local artisans and merchants, food and drink vendors, free kids’ activities, live music on two stages and more! Music highlights include Sixteen Candles, Justice Hill & Nighttime Love, Renee Goust, Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute Tribute Band and more!

Celebrate Humboldt Park’s vibrant Puerto Rican culture and history at their annual Puerto Rican Festival of Chicago returning to a new location of Humboldt Park this Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.). This year’s festival will feature live music, an artisan market, a health fair, an education area, community workshops and resources, sports clinics, films and more with this year’s theme being “Home.”  Grab a blanket or two and head out for some daily fun with the whole family!

Start your Saturday with a full belly at the last day of Breakfast with the Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo (Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Pkwy.) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Besides eating a delicious breakfast alongside some spectacular animals, guests will also be able to have private chats with Zookeepers at various exhibits to learn exciting facts, hear anecdotes and find out what their animal friends might eat to start their own day!  Plus, the star of the menu will be pancakes with Nutella along with fruit, coffee, juices, and more!

You know it’s autumn when asked to pull out your lederhosen! Below are two events requiring just that:

One of Chicago’s most popular fall celebrations and all things Bavarian, Oktoberfest Chicago, returns for its 19th year to St. Alphonsus Church (1429 W. Wellington Ave.) in the Lakeview neighborhood this Saturday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.). This fest features food (homemade bratwurst and pretzels), a variety of Sam Adams beers on tap (including fall favorite Oktoberfest), two stages of live music (bunch of cover bands and Sgt. Saukraut’s Polka Band and the Polkaholics), the family friendly KinderFest, and more! Plus, Sunday keeps the party going with the airing of the Chicago Bears game in the church parking lot at Noon against the Browns in Cleveland!

Oktoberfest at Brookfield Zoo (8400 W. 31st St.) takes place this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) on the East Mall of the zoo.  Enjoy live polka music at the Beer Garden plus a seasonal menu of bratwurst, sausages, pretzels with beer cheese, and more. Also available for purchase will be Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest beer! And, if you happen to spot the Leinie’s mobile pedi-cab, and you’re over 21, you just may receive some complimentary memorabilia!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News-Chicago Loop, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park

The first weekend of Fall brings cooler temperatures and many opportunities to enjoy the autumnal splendor of the season!

There’s a big weekend happening as Chicago Gourmet kicks off on the Harris Theater Rooftop, 205 E. Randolph St. at Millennium Park.  Renowned Chicago Chef Rick Bayless hosts ‘Tacos & Tequila on Thursday, September 23. On Friday, September 24, the Hamburger Hop, hosted by Chef Stephanie Izard! Cold beer, wine & spirits, and skyline views on the Harris Theater rooftop at Millennium Park. ‘Just Cru It’ Grand Cru takes place on Saturday, September 25. The exclusive affair will showcase the world’s finest wines curated by the nation’s leading wine experts, also an enhanced focus on artisanal craft spirits in a newly added Artisanal Cocktail Lounge, and unforgettable cuisine prepared by Chicago’s award-winning chefs. All events are individually priced; see website for details!

Pull out your lederhosen and dancing shoes! One of Chicago’s most popular celebrations of fall and all things Bavarian- Oktoberfest Chicago at St. Alphonsus, at 1429 W. Wellington Ave., in Lakeview returns for its 19th year of seasonal revelry Friday, September 24 to Sunday, September 26. Come enjoy in and outside the iconic church located in Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood. Two entertainment stages feature diverse entertainment such as The School of Rock and Sgt. Sauerkraut’s Polka Band. Hours are 5pm-10pm Friday and Saturday, and 11am-7pm on Sunday. Admission is $10 Friday and Saturday, and $5 on Sunday. Free admission to those with a military ID. Gemutlichkeit!

It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame, as the old song says. This is the final weekend of Chicago Cubs home baseball, 1060 W. Addison, in Wrigleyville, for this season, and you can’t close out a home stand any better than with their centuries-old rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals! Beginning Friday, September 24 and ending on Sunday, September 26, the rivalry, which began in 1892, starts hot and fierce with a Friday day/night doubleheader starting at 1:20pm and 7:05pm in the Friendly Confines, followed by afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices vary. 

Come out early to Lincoln Park Zoo on Saturday September 25 and have ‘Breakfast with the Animals!’ from 9-11 am. This ongoing series pairs a delicious pancake breakfast with exclusive access to information about animals. This month, learn all about Jamaican iguanas and Hoffman’s two-toed sloths as you enjoy fresh fruit and pastries, coffee, juices and more, hosted by Dan Boehm, Curator of Small Mammals.  Tickets are $50 per person, $45 for Zoo members.

For a spectacular event on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront, Chicago’s Water Lantern Festival is coming up on Saturday, September 25, at the South Lagoon in Lincoln Park, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West, from 4pm-8:30pm. The Water Lantern Festival is a floating lantern event that is all about connections. Magical nights in cities across the U.S. include food, games, activities, vendors, music and the beauty of thousands of lanterns adorned with letters of love, hope and dreams reflected upon the water. A festival of community, music and food makes it a special evening. All adult ticket holders will receive an eco-friendly lantern, commemorative drawstring bag, and marker.  Tickets are $25-$55. 

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

Our intention with Bloom is to focus on bringing flavorful, healthy, and affordable vegetarian food to the everyday family, while also being desirable and appealing to even the non-vegetarian. This way we can all do our part by being better to the planet and be healthier.”

The Owners of Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen began its life last year as a ghost vegetarian pop-up kitchen inside Amaru, a popular Latin restaurant in Wicker Park. The concept proved so popular, chef/owner Rodolfo Cuadros looked for its own space, finding it in the former Links Taproom. Since its opening in July, Bloom has earned perfect five-star ratings on Google nearly 30 times. That’s rare, especially for a new restaurant.

This kitchen specializes in unique vegetarian/vegan combinations, mixing Latin, Indian, and other international flavors that please the eye and the palate, and is staffed by knowledgeable servers. The airy, bright decor draws attention to a shelf where they grow their own microgreens. 

Most importantly, Bloom accomplishes what it sets out to do- serving vegetarian food that can appeal to a non-vegetarian audience. “We are not vegetarian or vegan,” wrote one Google reviewer. “But plenty of delicious dishes here to satisfy anyone and walk away full!” Another reviewer noted, “Most other vegan spots in Chicago are comfort food with meat substitutes. Bloom has very creative dishes like coffee carrots!”

Bloom’s coffee carrots are far from the only creative dish on their menu. All menu items are 100% vegan and gluten-free. Plates are served tapas-style and meant for sharing. Many reviewers raved about Bloom’s Cultured Cheese Board, festooned with almond goat cheese, aged truffle cheese, spirulina blue cheese, seasonal marmalade, flax seed crackers, and house pickles. ‘Quick Bites’ include Baja Tacos, made with banana blossom tempura, hemp seed tortilla, fermented cabbage, smoked chili oil, and cilantro. Beet Dumplings pairs a beet-coconut wrap with sunflower spinach filling, tahini, coconut ginger foam, and garlic chips. Or the flavorful Lottery Peppers, a combination of shishito peppers, lentil piquillo hummus, ginger tamari glaze, and mixed seeds.

Other enticing selections include a Thai Papaya Salad, a fruity, nutty mix of green papaya, cucumber, carrot, mint, serrano chili, sesame ginger coconut aminos, toasted sesame, and cashew. ‘Big Boys’ entrees include a Tamal Coloradito (trans., ‘infused with color,’) with ancho adobo banana blossom, macha beans, salsa verde, and mole coloradito. Bloom’s Lasagna has a pumpkin seed bolognese, sundried tomato marinara, celery root, heirloom tomatoes, and basil cashew béchamel. Other ‘don’t miss’ items under the ‘Del Horno’ (trans., ‘from the oven’) selections include Heirloom Tomato Flat Bread, with basil, crispy shallots, thyme, tamarind saba, white bean, and sprouts, or the Shroom & Chorizo Flat Bread. Chorizo? Isn’t that a sausage? Not when it’s made from sunflowers, served with San Marzano marinara, coconut mozzarella, and arugula!

Desserts are equally creative, featuring Avocado Key Lime- not a pie, but made with avocado key lime ice cream, almond ginger crumbles, cashew caramel, coconut texture. Coffee Break combines chocolate coffee mousse, aerated chocolate, toasted hazelnut, and a cashew caramel.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen is located at 1559 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 5pm–9pm; Friday and Saturday, 5pm–9pm; and Sunday, 5pm-8pm. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays. For more information, click here

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – How To Cut Down On Food Waste!

No one intends to waste food, but unfortunately we all do it! Whether we buy more than we need, or things go out of date annually, each family in America throws out almost $2,000 worth of food every year. Wasting money is bad enough, but we often fail to consider the impact on the environment! The energy, labor, and water used to produce our food is totally wasted because of a lack of awareness. Let’s find out how each of us can cut down on our food waste by forming better habits in the kitchen!

First, try making a food plan for the week and refer to it when shopping. Studies show that individuals who attempt to adopt a healthier lifestyle are often the ones discarding the most food. Why? Purchasing too much fresh food, without the knowledge of how to keep it from going bad quickly, leads to a lot of waste (and disappointment)! Planning meals around Farmer’s Market finds or sales in the grocery store can help to cut down on this waste because you won’t overbuy! Then, finding out how to store your fresh food is just a quick google search away. Tomatoes can be frozen, whole or in sauce. Other vegetables like beans freeze well with a quick blanch. Bread and bakery items also freeze well. I personally buy a two-pound loaf of rye bread at my local Polish Market. Since it contains no preservatives, I freeze it in freezer bags of 4 slices. It only takes a few minutes to thaw, and the bread is just as delicious!

Second, find new ways to use your leftovers and marked down food. Make soup or pot pies with leftover chicken and vegetables. Ground meat on sale? Make chili and freeze it in portion sized containers! Overripe fruit can be made into smoothies or sauce for ice cream. Old bananas are great in banana bread. Look online for ways to repurpose food and use items we commonly toss aside, like cheese rinds! 

Third, consider composting your food waste. You can purchase a compost bin for as little as $20. Fresh vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells can all be composted, which is much better than sending to the landfill (the environment thanks you). Getting started is easier than you think, and now you’ll have a beautiful nutrient rich compost in your garden!

There is tons more you can do to improve your food waste; you can even go through your own pantry to find items that are close to the expiration date and donate them (peanut butter, canned soup and vegetables are welcome at most pantries). Next week, we’ll discuss creative ways to use perfectly good food that may seem past its prime!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Fixing Common Gas Grill Problems

Summer may be officially winding down, however there are still many BBQs ahead, so you need your grill in tip top shape. Here are some of the most common gas grill problems and how to fix them!

Excess Smoke: If your grill is releasing an unusual amount of smoke when you turn it on, there may be an accumulation of grease at the bottom that needs to be cleaned. Use a strong grill brush to give it a proper cleaning and make sure to preheat it for fifteen minutes before using it again.

Ignition Problems: If your igniters aren’t producing any flames, there could be a variety of problems. If your ignition is independent of the body of the grill, then you may have a malfunctioning button or faulty wiring and the parts will have to be replaced. Otherwise, check to see if the igniter is clogged or has any blockages. The wiring and switches may have to be replaced if all else fails.

Uneven Heat: Grills with uneven heating can cause poorly cooked meals and annoyance. Make sure the holes along your burners are free from any residue. A good scrub with a grill brush should do the trick.

Orange-Yellow Flames: If you are seeing orange-yellow flames coming from your grill, there may be a problem with the control valves or venturi tubes. To fix this, locate the adjustment screw and turn your grill to low. Then, loosen the screw until the flame has a bluish tint. Afterwards, make sure to turn off the gas and tighten the venturi tube screw.

Low Flame, Low Temperature: When your grill isn’t reaching high enough temperatures, there could be a problem with the fuel line regulator. Fixing the regulator involves disconnecting the gas line and turning all control valves to high for one minute.