The Secret of a Clean Kitchen

5 hours of cooking, 5 min of eating and 5 days of cleaning the kitchen.  Yep, that explains why for so many cooking is just an unenjoyable chore. BUT…. cooking in the kitchen doesn’t need to involve complicated meals and a big kitchen mess. Staying out of the kitchen is not the secret to keeping it clean, but rather it’s learning how to make less mess when in the kitchen.  I’m here to say, kitchen living is worth the effort. Once you try some of these cleaning hacks, you will see why the kitchen is the heart of your home.

TIP #1 – Start with a Clean Kitchen. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to add a cooking mess on a kitchen that is already in disarray. Start off cooking with a clean kitchen. Two of my favorite clean supplies are Mrs. Meyer's Basil and Young Living Thieves’ smells like fresh lemon.

TIP #2 – Buy Yourself a LARGE Cutting Board. Last week I made a soup and was able to cut/prep carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and parsley all on one board. Sorted on board by produce, I then used the bench scraper to put each item into the pot – saving me from cleaning several prep bowls. I must confess, I do love the mise en place of prep bowls like that on TV cooking shows, but it comes with extra clean-up and I’m guessing you don’t have staff that will be cleaning all those bowls like they do on TV!

TIP #3 – Line Your Baking Sheets! Whenever possible use parchment paper, aluminum foil or a silicone mat. It makes for easy pan clean-ups. My brie rosemary potato pan would take so much longer to clean if not for the parchment paper and don’t even get me going on how long it takes to clean a non-lined bacon sheet. Parchment paper is also great to use for cake pans too. When you take the time to line your tray, you ‘ll see just how easy clean-up can be. 

TIP #4 – Scrap Bag/Bowl Whenever I am prepping, I remove scraps as I go. While a simple bowl does the trick, it becomes one more bowl to clean so I go with the plastic grocery bag. I will peel my produce into this plastic bag, (over a garbage can works too) which helps keep counter tops clean and it is super-fast and easy to toss in garbage.

TIP #5 – Immersion Blender I think every kitchen needs this tool. To say I am obsessed with mine is an understatement. I like this tool because it is easy to use, it eliminates having to pour hot liquid into a food processor and it saves me from having to clean up that contraption and all its many parts. An immersion blender is so much quicker to clean then then a food processor/blender.

TIP #6 – Think Twice Before pulling out all your measuring cups, bowls, spoons etc. look at your recipe and the serving size. I can tell you I’ve had to clean a number of extra dishes in the mistake of grabbing too big or too small a pan/bowl.

TIP #7 – Simple Meals I will go into more details including recipes and meal ideas in an upcoming blog post but for now, simple meals like a sheet pan dinner or a pressure cooker dinner will certainly make for less mess and easier clean-up.

TIP #8 – Clean as You Go. While I know this is basic common sense, it is easily forgotten as you get into your cooking game. At minimum, rinse dishes as you go so that you don’t come back to fiercely scrubbing a bowl. And while I speak of rinsing dishes – teach this to your family members. It is so much easier cleaning a rinsed bowl of oatmeal than one that was left to harden in the sink. (Am I right son??)

TIP #9 – Clutter Must Go!!! The less on the countertops the easier the clean-up. I eliminate the look of clutter from my countertops with some organization methods. Several of my appliances, I store on a designated metal shelf (container store) in my basement, bringing them up on an as needed basis. About that pretty baby blue Artisan Stand Mixer on my counter - yeah that is what I call décor 😉

My other kitchen clutter free tip is having a couple organized drawers in my kitchen for keys, mail etc. so that doesn’t end up on a counter. Lots of shelf organizers can be found at container store.  I also avoid a countertop of cookbooks by either using my iPad for recipes as well as designating a shelf in my glass cabinet for cookbook display.

TIP #10 – Basic Kitchen Rule I cook you clean! That sounds fair and if that is the case, you can make the kitchen a great BIG mess.

Less Mess Kitchen Supplies


Dr. Stephanie Skopek

Stephanie's friends know her as an ‘obnoxiously’ Canadian that has lived in the US for over 25 years. Stephanie practices General Dentistry in North Barrington where she share office space with her husband Bob who is an orthodontist.  Stephanie enjoys drinking coffee on her patio, cooking, reading, learning, golfing and gardening but is always up for a fun adventure, especially if traveling is involved. "I am passionate about the community where I live and supporting local businesses as well as mentoring and promoting women in business."

When in the Office


COFFEE OR TEA? Coffee and Tea

FAVORITE LUNCH?  A big salad

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Intraoral digital scanner

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Bring a lunch

FAVORITE SPACE? My operatory with a patient

COMMUTE TIME?   10 - 15 minutes 

NEWS SOURCE?  As many as possible for accuracy but Go-To is  the BBC and CBC

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? Depends on the time of day. Always organized at the beginning and end of day.

BRIEFCASE OR HANDBAG? Tote bag….been searching for the ideal Briefcase for years 

Mac or PC? Mac

BREAK TIME?  No set break time…ideally 12:30-1



SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? My friend and colleague Jeff Bonk


BUSINESS ADVICE? Never stop being curious and learning

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Anything Athleta 



MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Is a coffee pot a gadget?



HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?   I’m not usually driving around.  


SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?   Teresa for 22 years. She’s part of the family!

PURSE OR WRISTLET?  Daytime purse, evening out wristlet

TV OR NETFLIX? TV cooking shows. Netflix when someone gives me a good recommendation




SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?  My friend Rebecca Darr, executive director of WINGS

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? Jigsaw puzzle that is always in progress on my dining room table

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Set one day (or 2 half days) only, for chores so you can relax and enjoy the moments with your family. 

My Favorite Recipe

Stephanie refers to this favorite recipe as a breakfast crowd pleaser when you have company staying for the weekend.

Fasting from Snacking

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This past week we entered into the season of Lent. For many Catholics and Christians alike, fasting is something associated with Lent. Many times you will hear the question what are giving up for Lent? And then comes the internal question of what can I really be successful at giving up for 40 days … cause trust me the catholic guilt is real when you mess up!! 

One of my favorite things I enjoy is food (no surprise there!) I often catch myself snacking on food throughout the day  So for me, food fasting is something I rather not take on.  But this persistent internal voice was trying really hard to convince me to give up snacking and eventually that voice won. 

So how do you just stop snacking?

Here are a few tips I put together for myself to make sure I get through the next 40 days snack-free!

While fasting is most often associated with food it can also be associated with giving up something that you enjoy, something that is perhaps not serving you well.

Regardless your religious stance I think fasting is a discipline that we should all practice from time to time. While no discipline is enjoyable at the moment, in the long term it really does nourish the body, mind and soul. 


In celebration of father's day weekend I bring to you Dad-hood recipes, featuring some of One Life Kitchen (OLK) guests and staff who happen to also be really awesome dads. Creating a connection to the kitchen, I thought it be cool to not only share some of their dad moments/advice through a recipe format but also find out from the OLK "dad team" what their favorite food and drink recipe recommendation would be this Father's Day.



IN THE KITCHEN: Your perfect dinner would include what ingredient(s)? My wife and kids with a simple recipe

IN THE OFFICE: What is a key ingredient you believe is necessary to building a successful career? Be willing to work hard for what you want 

IN THE HOME: What is the one ingredient (aka) character trait you hope your kids see in you, that you would want them to also live out in their own life? Be firm, but fair


IN THE KITCHEN: The heart of the home is the kitchen – what makes you enjoy spending time in yours? The people in the family

IN THE OFFICE:  The time of the day you tend to be most productive? No question the early morning hours 

IN THE HOME: Share with us one of the ways in which you enjoy spending time with your child(ren).  Coaching their sports teams, traveling, nerf battles


Mixing Kitchen, Office and Home together, share one belief or truth that has enabled you to really live out your best One LifeWork hard, be nice, laugh a lot

MEET DR. DAVID CROSSON: Dr. David Crosson, or Dr. Dave as patients call him, is one of the expert chiropractors at ChiroFit who provides care to people of all ages in Barrington, Illinois. He strives to improve the well-being of everyone he has a chance to meet. 

Dr. Crosson contributes his time and chiropractic knowledge to humanitarian efforts in places as far away as Vietnam. He’s also involved with local charitable foundations, including the Northern Illinois Food Bank. He volunteers his time by providing risk assessment and functional movement screening for local fire, police, and city workers, and speaks to local high school students about health care and preventive wellness.

An avid golfer, Dr. Dave is married with two children and lives in Barrington, IL.



IN THE KITCHEN: Your perfect dinner would include what ingredient(s)? Conversation, laughing and sharing. After a long day apart at work or school, this is the time to come back together as a family and be in each other's lives.

IN THE OFFICE: What is a key ingredient you believe is necessary to building a successful career? Perseverance; nothing worthwhile is given to you so you have to work hard and when you hit a wall, it is critical that you NEVER give up. 

IN THE HOME: What is the one ingredient (aka) character trait you hope your daughter sees in you, that you would want her to also live out in her own life? Honor: be honest and always do what is right, even if it is hard.  Results matter more when they are achieved with the right means. 


IN THE KITCHEN: The heart of the home is the kitchen – what makes you enjoy spending time in yours? Being there with loved ones, whether it is preparing a meal or sharing in a conversation over milk and cookies. 

IN THE OFFICE:  The time of the day you tend to be most productive? Before standard business hours begin or after they end, as I can focus on tasks rather than replying to emails/calls and other inquiries from my customers.  

IN THE HOME: Share with us one of the ways in which you enjoy spending time with your daughter.  Playing games whether it is board games or card games.  It provides both a venue for conversation as well as a challenge for the mind.  Our new favorite game is "Sequence", strongly recommend it.  


Mixing Kitchen, Office and Home together- share one belief or truth that has enabled you to really live out your best One Life.  Live in the moment; don't worry about what happened in the past nor concern yourself with what may happen in the future.  Be present today for today's sake. 

MEET STEVE:  Steve lives in Barrington and is a single parent to his seven-year-old daughter, Savannah.  Professionally, Steve is a director of finance for the 10th largest not-for-profit health care system in the United States.  In his free time, Steve is on the Barrington 220 Board of Education, Co-Leader for Girl Scout Troop 310, a Room Parent at Countryside Elementary School, on the Notre Dame Club of Lake County Board of Directors and volunteers for a variety of causes.  


"PERFECT" Manhattan


It’s truly perfect!

Ken Kuhn enjoys spending some of his free time serving up drinks here at One Life Kitchen. Ken is married to Carol and they have two adult children - Steve and Rachel.

Chef Sean's Favorite Summer Meal

Rosticciana - Tuscan Grilled Ribs



Chef Sean McGuire learned this recipe three years ago while traveling in Italy. It's one of his favorite summer meals to make. Pair it with a ceasar salad and a slightly chilled glass of wine. 

ABOUT CHEF SEAN MCGUIRE: Sean spent many years cooking in San Francisco and California wine country. Sean is a chef and teaching instructor at One Life Kitchen and serves as a private chef in the Barrington area. Sean is married to Shauna and they have two little boys.

Simple Ways to Show Hospitaltiy

Hospitality … to some that is a very exhausting word and yet to others it is exhilarating word. Hospitality for some is an instinct. It is almost like a natural born gift and yet for others it takes a serious amount of effort.

One might suggest that being hospitable has to do with your personality. However, just because someone is an extrovert and loves being around others, doesn’t necessarily imply they love hosting people. In the same way an introvert may find joy in hosting others. 

Hospitality isn't just about hosting a social engagement. It represents a reflection of love as it involves serving. It extends to being a space that welcomes gatherings. Having the opportunity to show hospitality to someone is a gift that will long be remembered. As the late Maya Angelou said, “people will never forget how you made them feel.” With that in mind I want to share some simple hospitable tips that will make any guest feel welcome in your presence.

Hospitality should not be stressful. There are no set requirements to qualify for being a good hostess other than having the heart of serving others. The showstopper of a home vibe and the skill of being an incredible cook is nothing, if you lack the heart of joyfully serving your guests. My wish for you is this, that you may experience the joy that comes in serving others and when your guests leave your gatherings, may they know they were nourished in their body and soul through your hospitality



Annu Khot is an Attorney turned Entrepreneur, Proud Mom, South Asian and A lifelong Learner.

Over the past 14 years, my career has done a complete 180°. I went from a life of dry legal jargon (yes, I’m a recovering attorney) to the unpredictable—but incredibly fulfilling—world of entrepreneurship. I’m now the Managing Partner of Rely Services, a professional services firm that provides outsourcing solutions to commercial and governmental firms. We have 250+ employees, and our commitment to excellence has enabled rapid growth. In addition, I’m an angel investor—and recently made investments in the healthcare and cannabis industries. I’m perpetually on the hunt for my next investment! I’m an industry-agnostic investor—as long as there’s a strong business case, I’m in.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE? Something always sophisticated, chic, and classy. Structured bags, tailored pieces, solid colors. When in doubt I always go with White. Very minimalistic when it comes to accessories although belts are my weaknesses. Red lips are a must. 

COFFEE OR TEA? Dairy free Indian Chai with fresh Mint & Ginger in the morning sets my day right & a warm cup of Nespresso in the afternoon for that pick me up. 

FAVORITE LUNCH?  A Bibimbap from Bibibop Asian Grill in Schaumburg. A meal in a bowl concept serving a flavorful mix of rice, protein, and fresh veggies. The nutrition is all portioned out on top of the bowl so at the end of the day you know you are having a balanced meal. 

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Apple 12 Pro Max – Apart from emails and instantaneous work updates through various chat systems, it is now my bank, wallet, GPS system, digital camera, flashlight, voice recorder, home automation controller. With the plethora of software and services available on my smartphone, it is by far the most important digital screen in my life.

I am not sure Steve Jobs entirely understood the impact of the iPhone when he introduced it, but he did understand that it would be a platform for innovation and indeed that is what it has become.

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Actually both I would say but mostly eat out! 

FAVORITE SPACE? My office – it is styled to my liking. Bright, white with Gold accents. A place where I go to be creative. 

COMMUTE TIME? 20 minutes from the office to home

NEWS SOURCE?  Espresso & Pocket are my go-to apps

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? Organized. Makes for easy business! 


Mac or PC? PC 

BREAK TIME? I don’t have many breaks during the day, but when I do, I get a nice cup of coffee, and strategize the rest of my day.

 My dedicated break time is when I sit down in my home in the morning when it is nice and quiet – with my tea, and I strategize my day.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOURS OF THE WORKDAY? Noon-4 seems to be the most productive. I get done a lot with my teams between this window. By then they have all their reports and updates ready and its more productive mutually. 

FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK? The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy. Taught me the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small seemingly insignificant actions daily. 

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? All the 22 trailblazing women who have scaled their companies to successful IPOs.

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORKDAY? Hard stop around 6:30-7:00PM. Take a note of what’s need to be done the next day. Have dinner with family. Exchange how our day was. Some Me time later, where I catch up with my family and friends in India. Skin care and 30 minutes of reading. I’m still working on no gadgets before bedtime. 

BUSINESS ADVICE? (1) Most successful founders are not anything special. The difference is they tried, and you did not. (2) Passion, Purpose and Profit can co-exist.  – Whitney Wolfe

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE? Loungewear and Athleisure beats hands down. Cozy and comfort over anything.  

WINE OR COCKTAIL? Why not both? White Wine – Moscato.

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? Make a mean lasagna! My family loves it.

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Classic Dutch Oven. I love how the goat or chicken curry turns out to be. 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? Cook out all the way

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? The family dining room. All decisions are made there, from what’s for breakfast to where to invest. 

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND? I don’t do that on a daily basis.    

MUSIC OR PODCAST? (1) Jenny and Liz Kaplan’s Encyclopedia Womannica to fill in the gaps where women are historically underrepresented. Each episode is a five-minute lesson on a brilliant woman you may not know, but most likely should. (2) Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. (3) Big Fan of Michelle Obama’s



TV OR NETFLIX? Neither – don’t watch a whole lot of TV. I watch movies occasionally.  

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK? It usually takes around three months before I need a vacation. Even if I don’t travel far, it’s important to change your scenery. 


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ? Becoming by Michelle Obama  


HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? Family time is a big part of it. Getting to know how everyone’s day was, planning out meals for the next day & planning out my son’s day and make sure everything is ready to go. I also read, meditate, and isolate. This helps unplug from the world and helps me shut down at night.  

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Running a house requires a lot of planning and prepping ahead of time. Its both a gift and a curse. Lower your expectations, embrace interruptions and give yourself grace. 

Recipe Favorite 

Chicken Tikka Nachos

When I immigrated to America, I was hooked on Zesty Nachos. I frantically started looking for fusion recipes that would satisfy my South Asian palate. This recipe is taken from “That Spicy Chick’s” Blog. 

Chicken Tikka Nachos – an Indian spin on everyone’s favorite classic Mexican appetizer! They are made with delicious, shredded Chicken Tikka, plenty of cheese, pico de gallo, creamy cooling yogurt sauce, and a spicy red chili sauce! 

author: LAVINA prep time: 1 HOUR cook time: 30 MINUTES total time: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES yield: 6–8

For the Chicken Tikka:

For the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce:

For the Pico de Gallo:

For Assembling the Chicken Tikka Nachos:

Optional Toppings: Pico de Gallo, Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce (recipes included below), 3-4 TBLS Mykonos Red Chili Sauce (or any of your favorite hot sauces!), sour cream, guacamole, salsa, olives, etc.


For the Chicken Tikka:

Combine all the ingredients except the unsalted butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix and make sure the chicken breasts are fully submerged in the marinade. Cover with cling wrap and allow for the chicken to marinate for 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator for best results.

When ready to cook, heat the unsalted butter and Olive Oil in a medium sized sauté/fry pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated Chicken Tikka breasts and the remaining marinade in the bowl to the pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken has cooked through and longer pink on the inside. Transfer the Chicken Tikka breasts and shred with two forks. Set aside.

For the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl (or measuring cup) and mix to combine. Transfer to an easy squeeze condiment bottle and store in the refrigerator until needed.

For the Pico de Gallo:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and toss until combined.

For Assembling the Chicken Tikka Nachos:

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in a large cast iron skillet, round cake pan, 9×13 baking dish, or directly on a baking tray/sheet pan. Top evenly with half of the shredded Chicken Tikka, half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and half of the Colby Jack cheese pieces. Repeat with the remainder tortilla chips, Chicken Tikka, shredded cheddar cheese, and Colby Jack cheese pieces.

Bake until the cheese has melted – about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with the Creamy Cooling Cucumber Sauce and Mykonos Red Chili Sauce (if using) or your favorite hot sauce! Spoon the Pico de Gallo evenly on top and garnish with the chopped coriander. Serve immediately!


Make Ahead: You can make the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce and Pico de Gallo a day in advance. For the Chicken Tikka, I recommend marinating it 2 days in advance, and then cooking/shredding it a day in advance of serving. This way, all there is left to do on the day of serving is assemble the Chicken Tikka Nachos and bake it!

Storing: You will most likely have leftover Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce and Pico de Gallo. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 1-2 days. If you have leftover shredded Chicken Tikka, store in the refrigerator in an airtight contain



Kat Liggins is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lake Zurich, IL. Mom to Jaxon, and our newest member of the family, a goldendoodle puppy, Charlotte! My time outside the office is spent with my son, practicing pilates, cooking great food, traveling! Success to me means having fun, loving what I do, not being a workaholic. It means having meaningful conversations about what’s most important to you. It’s my true passion to help every woman feel totally capable of managing their financial affairs and show you the value of having someone in your corner. 

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE?  Jeans, suit jacket, heels 

COFFEE OR TEA?  Chemex pour over

FAVORITE LUNCH?  I’ll take sushi any day! 


BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Intermittent fasting has been life changing for my energy levels and on a perfect day I break my fast around 1 or 2 with a shake

FAVORITE SPACE? Outside on my patio or taking a walk, catching up with family or friends on the phone 

COMMUTE TIME?   5 minute drive to the office 

NEWS SOURCE?  Quick daily updates come from NPR and WSJ podcasts. I get theSkimm delivered to my inbox too. 



Mac or PC? MAC

BREAK TIME? My 2 colleagues and I are always finding a few minutes throughout the day to laugh and catch up. We have way too much fun! Its my daily reminder to not take work TOO seriously



SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY?  Penny Pennington, she is Edward Jones first female managing partner. She’s also the first ever woman to take the helm of a major U.S. brokerage firm. This represents a huge leap forward for workplace gender equality, everywhere

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? I pick my son up from school everyday at 3:30 and officially switch into “mom” mode 

BUSINESS ADVICE? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Success rarely happens overnight. Just keep doing the things you can control and good things will come to you. And always be human, authentic. 

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Jeans, tank and sneakers 

WINE OR COCKTAIL? My go to is tequila, soda, lime and jalapeño

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? Salmon burgers with mexican street corn 

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Vitamix. I use it for everything.. salsas, puréed soups, even pulsing pie crust dough 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? A little bit of both. I’m all for easy and little clean up during the week. 

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? Family room. I’ve always got music playing in the evening and there’s usually a spontaneous dance party with my little guy 🙂 

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?  Nah. On average less than 30 minutes a day 

MUSIC OR PODCAST?  It changes every week but lately I’ve been loving the Mamma Mia soundtracks - thanks to my 15 year old niece introducing me! 

SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?  I love cleaning. Its therapeutic and an instant sense of accomplishment


TV OR NETFLIX?  I’m a BRAVO junkie 

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK?  We look forward to our annual getaway to Sanibel FL every winter.  My son and I are both homebodies tho and find ways to sneak in staycations throughout the year


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ?  Love Autobiographies! Especially from people in Hollywood. I can read Audrey Hepburn’s over and over

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?   A dear friend I’ve known for about 15 years. They’ve made such a positive impact in my life, personally and professionally. It’s nearly impossible to put it in words

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY?  Dim lighting, peppermint tea, diffuse calming EO, a good book or show. 

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Energy is everything. Home should be our sanctuary and our emotional safe haven. Everyone is expected to contribute to that thru actions and words

And a practical tip- start a habit of doing one small load of laundry every single day when you wake up. You’ll never have the dreaded pile! 

Salmon Burgers and Mexican Street Corn

Makes 4

Divide the salmon into two portions. Roughly chop one portion and put aside. Cut the rest into chunks and transfer to a food processor along with the mustard, mayo, lemon juice and cayenne. Pulse to a puree. Add the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with remaining chopped salmon. Add shallots, 2 T panko, 1/2 salt and pepper. Gently mix until combined.

Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt.

Preheat oven to a broil. Trim the corn off the husk and transfer to a baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil and chili powder. Broil the corn for 3-4 minutes, until kernels begin to brown and look charred. Watch it closely! Stir it as necessary to help it evenly broil. Remove and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Passover Dinner Celebration

This week Jewish and Christians throughout the world, commemorate the most significant event in their religion. Christians celebrate Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, and throughout this week the Jewish people celebrate Passover. The traditional Jewish rituals of passover found in The Old Testament direclty link to my Christian religious beliefs. This link made me curious as to what made this such a significant event of celebration for the Jewish people. I reached out to my friend Jacey Silverberg, who graciously took the time to help understand the significance of passover. On today's blog I share not only what makes this such a holy week for Jacey and her family but also what type of food is prepared and served at a passover dinner along with one of Jacey Favorite Passover Recipe's.

The Silverberg Family - Seder Meal 2021

LAUREN: What is the significance of Passover?

JACEY: Passover celebrates the freedom of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. Moses asked King Pharaoh to "Let my people go." 

Each time, Pharaoh promised to free the Israelites but reverses his decision when the plague is lifted — until the last one. The plagues are water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the killing of first-born children.

To protect their first-born children, the Israelites marked their doors with lamb's blood so the angel of death would pass over them. Thus, the name Passover, which is "Pesach" in Hebrew.

LAUREN: How does your family celebrate the Passover tradition?

JACEY: Every year our family gets together for a Seder. A Seder is a ritual performed on the first two nights of Passover, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. Each item on a seder plate has meaning, including a roasted egg to represent springtime and renewal.

Jacey's Seder Plate

LAUREN: What type of food do you serve at your Passover dinner?

JACEY: Our favorite Passover meal includes family recipes, including brisket, potato kugel, roasted spring vegetables, and of course, Matzoh ball soup. 

LAUREN: What symbolism is connected to the food you serve? Passover foods are highly symbolic. To represent the haste in which the Israelites escaped Egypt, we don't eat bread or other leavened grains. We always serve Matzoh with butter, horseradish, or charoset (see recipe below).  

JACEY: During our seder, we also drink four cups of wine - The Four Cups represent the four expressions of deliverance promised by God Exodus 6:6–7: "I will bring out," "I will deliver," "I will redeem," and "I will take."

LAUREN: A fond Passover memory...

JACEY: Growing up, Charlie and I have fond memories of mile-long Passover tables with mismatched dinnerware and multiple generations in the kitchen sharing laughs and recipes. We've continued this distanced over Zoom for the last two years.

Favorite Passover Recipe - Charoset

Charoset (pronounced har-o-set) a sweet fruit relish that can spread on Matzoh and can easily add some sweetness to your Easter table. Charoset reminds us of the mortar Hebrew slaves used to build clay bricks.



In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients—store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve.

Office Vs Home


A real estate professional since 2002, Sam Powell is a transplant to Chicago by way of Rochester, NY where she went to school at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Delaware where she grew up. Sam lives in the West Loop and simply LOVES it. Sam is passionate about technology both personally and professionally, her family - Jen her partner/wife together since 1992 and their 2 doggies - chocolate lab, AFIS (named after the fingerprint database) and black lab CODIS (named after the DNA database). Her family has an addiction in volunteering and giving back. Commonly in real estate, clients leave items behind in their property so she actively works to put useful items in the hands of people who can use them, from furniture to guitars to blenders and clothes, together her and her partner fill a 24 foot truck of donations each year with their very successful building drive. She continues to try and HACK the live/work balance by being a TRULY MOBILE and PAPERLESS Agent.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE?  Shorts / Flops & a Baseball Cap, cause you are not hiring me for the BRAND I am wearing. I like to say "You don't have to WEAR PRADA to sell Million Dollar Homes"... you are hiring me for my talents and experience that I bring to the table & my tattoo's are always on display. Follow Me:


FAVORITE LUNCH?  Soft Boiled Eggs and Fresh Crunchy Bread with Butter & Salt for dipping

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Ipad Pro with Keyboard and Pen - state of the art awesomeness! And all things/apps about efficiency - for example -  is one of the coolest ways to get options to anyone to connect with you - totally customizable... 

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  I love to mix it up, create experiences with food... 

FAVORITE SPACE?  Seriously - I like to be MOBILE - out and about, exploring decks, and balcony's, and sexy indoor/outdoor spaces. Mobile Office addict over here... explore the city, and enjoy working cause it feels less like work. 

COMMUTE TIME?  Home Office is steps away...  

NEWS SOURCE?  I like an app called SMART NEWS

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? I can't work till I've RESET my office... must be clean and neat... 

BRIEFCASE OR HANDBAG? I have a backpack & bag addiction... Most fav is a 1 of a kind custom bag made in Russia for me... Steampunk in style, all leather...  

MAC or PC? APPLE TO THE CORE.. I personally own 15+ apple devices "find my phone" feature tells me where all my little babies are at all times. 

BREAK TIME? I'm all for down time, self care, and chill... we work too hard and too long - it's over rated! 1 life is all we've got.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOURS OF THE WORKDAY?  Late morning, early afternoon.


SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? Truly there are SO many... I'd have to say Tommy Choi and Eddie Garcia are two that I really admire what they do on and off the court [as it were] 

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? I set alarms for important apts for the next day... I don't like being late, so alarms for every phone call and zoom call and presentation... I have to delete alarms weekly cause they grow so quickly in the alarm settings... 

BUSINESS ADVICE? As soon as there is something about your career that you no longer like/love - time to find a solution to take it off your plate, whether it's an app solution, or an assistant or someone you can pay to do that piece - it's a game changer, and you can re-love your career again! 

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Barefoot, tank top, baseball cap on backwards 

WINE OR COCKTAIL? I like a ton of stuff, used to love strong craft beers, but have moved on to Whiskey's and Bourbon's... also enjoy a good Crown and Soda or Vodka Soda.... I'll try anything a bunch of times... ha ha ha

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? My wife's family Pierogi's... [Plum is the fam fav, followed by Cheese and then Sauerkraut]

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Instapot brand Instapot & Multi Air Fryer! 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? We enjoy cooking as well as being spoiled by the talents of others. I'm 50/50.

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? Our condo has a combo Kitchen / Living / Dining / Office open plan.. huge square.. it's where I am unless I am sleeping.

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?  I'm pretty spoiled with my Team, I focus on the Listings, so my drive time is minimal, more driving to travel to Speaking Engagements and visiting with family.

MUSIC OR PODCAST?  Music - honestly more like binge listening to TV shows while I am working/playing.

SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?  We would give up CABLE and EATING OUT before we would give up our Cleaning Service.

PURSE OR WRISTLET?  HA HA HA - now that's funny... I'm going with POCKET SHORTS/PANTS

TV OR NETFLIX?  ALL ABOUT THE APPS Amazon Prime Video / Apple Tv / Hulu / Netflix / Discovery+

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK?  I used to be able to go and go - and then my body and spirt said - more breaks please, life is short. Enjoy more of the moments by creating them, and get away from WORK more.

MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?  NIGHT - Super night owl family.

FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ?  Truly Not much of a Reader - love listening to Podcasts like "My Favorite Murder" and "Family Secrets"

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?   Joanna Simms, my high school Photography Teacher

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY?  Adult beverage on the ROCK, Micro-dosing for anxiety, pain management and CHILL

HOME FRONT ADVICE?  Reset / Clean your Kitchen and Office daily so it does not get overwhelming, clean as you go while you cook, and take LONG HOT baths, drain and refill the tub if you need to, watch a movie, relax, bring your cocktail with you.

Recipe Favorite


Dough: On the stove, bring 1TB Crisco, 1Tsp Salt, 2 Egg Yolks & 1 Cup of Milk to boil.
On the counter in a large bowl: Add 2 egg Yolks, mix in the mixture above, and add flour until the dough is just sticky enough to not stick to your fingers anymore.. it can be a little sticky... 

Filling: you can use canned plums - they are sweet, strain and pit them, split them in 1/2's for easier filling the dough pockets.
OR - you can buy fresh plum's, and pit them and replace the pit with a sugar cube, and freeze till needed

Once the dough rests for an hour in the fridge in cling wrap. Roll out small sections of dough. We hand roll, hand fill, and hand twist the dough. I like to put the dough on the table, and with my fingers press into it across the top first and then all the way down the dough, looks a bit like a waffle with my finger indentations in it. Then I will place it in my hand and gently stretch, the finger press points have added a little stability to the dough that you can be a little rough with it. Add enough pieces of plum to fill the dough, fold it over, and begin to twist the edge into itself over and over again until you get to the other side. Our family LOVES the little ball of extra dough that sits at the final twisted end... 

Once the pierogi's are made, bring a large pot of water to boil and boil each pierogi until it floats, or for a few minutes. Lay the boiled pierogi onto parchment paper, and after it air drys on that side, flip it to air dry on the other side. About an hour a side. Then lay them in a single layer in gallon zip log freezer bags and stack in your freezer. Once frozen you can re-package into a single zip lock per flavor depending on how many different pierogi's you have made.

To Serve, defrost the pierogis to room temp. In a large saucepan melt some salted butter and cook the pierogi's on each side until golden brown. Melt salted butter for the table. We encourage cutting the pierogi into pieces and then drizzling butter on top... and ENJOY. I've been hand making these with my wife's family now for 29 years [come this Nov 2021]

The Guest List for a Good Life

Long before the food is bought, and dinner guests arrive, the most necessary component of a party takes place – creating a guest list.

As a host/hostess selecting your guests is a big deal. You get to decide who you want to come to the event. The hostess creates the energy for the evening by whom he/she chooses to put on a guest list.

Who to invite? 

Just like a dinner invitation, YOU choose who to invite into your life. I am going to share with you, who I believe are some of the best guests to not only invite to a dinner party but also invite into your personal and business world. 

The Traveler Invite someone into your life who has seen the world. When you travel your perspective changes. The traveler can share first hand experiences of the different cultures and people. I personally believe the traveler has some of the best stories to share. Through travel this person knows how truly majestic the really world is At the end of the day this person provides us with a touch of humbleness in knowing we are just a small part of a much grander universe. 

The Philosopher– This guest turns your mind from auto pilot into super charge by offering you the experience of wonder. This person asks questions and is seeking answers. This guest would be a great invite because there is no small talk when in conversation with this person. This person isn’t interested in talking weather, sport or safe subjects. Their more interested in engaging in conversations that include questions or ideas that may stir in you a self-awakening.

The Leader–Inviting a leader provides a dynamic sense of accomplishment to your life.  Through their knowledge and often their confidence, a leader offers insight and direction. This guest has the gift that enables others to respond to the call of action. Now I know what you are thinking, “shouldn’t I be my own leader? Yes! Yes! Absolutely you should. So, let me explain why a leader is beneficial to invite. You become like those you associate. By inviting a leader into your life, you will better yourself. You will learn from their experiences. A leader tends to be objective and more often than not, surrounding yourself with the leader provides you with a motivational drive. Having a leader as a guest is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign that I want to learn from the best, so I can continue to grow to be the best.  

The Fan –The invite of a fan is an easy invite for they think the world of you. The fan is the one loudly cheering as you throw the winning touchdown and thy are the same person encouraging you to get back on the field when you throw an interception.  In business the fan is absolutely your very best word of mouth advertisement. They speak your praise. They enjoy introducing others to you and your business. The fan believes in you and cheers you on. The fan is proud of you and is forever in your corner. This person is believing in you even when you are struggling to do that yourself. What truly make this guest so remarkable is they are a fan simply because you are you! While ultimately, we should be our biggest fan, there are times we simply need a fan. Inviting the fan makes life so much sweeter. 

The Musician –Invite someone who loves music, for music is nourishment to the soul. A musician provides your life with every possible emotion. A musician is the one person who has the magical power to take you back in a moment of time and yet this same person has also the strong ability to keep you ever in the present moment as you sing and dance alongside to the lyrics of their voice. A musician wakens you up to the present and also allows you to reflect on the past. The musician gifts you all the necessary emotions to respond to situations that create your life. 

The Philanthropist– This invitation is a precious because this individual tends to be the giver and not the receiver. This guest has a heart and kindness for the world. Their goal is to leave a legacy beyond themselves. Inviting this guest into your life provides an opportunity for the pay it forward movement to manifest BIG.  This guest has the potential to inspire you to think about the ways you could impact the world for the better.  

The Crush– This invitation is for that someone you know exists but have never been formally introduced to. This person is someone you be interest in knowing on a more personal level. This invitation’s a bit scary to send out because it could be potentially ignored or worse yet come back with a response of NO. So why this person? First, this person has unintentionally stimulated courage within you by the simple act of inviting - so that alone is a good reason. Other reasons why I think this person makes the invitation list is because they could be the potential link for both personal and business networking. This person could also turn out to become your new closet friend. A couple years back, I sent out an invite to some incredible women in my hometown, many of which I really didn’t know personally and now I get to do life alongside this awesome tribe of women. Just remember every friend you had was once a stranger. So make this connection happen.

The Facebook Friend– Let’s admit we all have a handful of friends that we interact with in the world of social media, but we don’t interact in life.  Invite that Facebook guest because interacting live in person is so much better than a ha-ha wink on a post. You will learn so much more about each other though in-person interactions then you ever will through a phone screen. If you are looking for a genuinely deeper friendship with a Facebook friend, add them to your guest list. 

The Opposite– This guest invitation is most risky. Why invite someone who’s my opposite? The stress that comes from this person would be too much. Why even hang with this person?! What could I possibly have in common? The opposite guest provides for you the opportunity to think about something in a “new” way. Perhaps you never thought this new idea would be what changes up your business or personal life for the better? Perhaps in hearing a view point that differs you might develop empathy or understanding as to how someone came to believe what it is they believe. Besides, you never know, it could turn out where your view becomes embraced by the opposite. Life is boring hanging out with a carbon copy of yourself. Life is not created to just live with only like-minded people. 

One of the best examples that touches on this invitation is found in the bible. The parable starts off with an invitation for an elaborate dinner banquet. The invitation was sent out to all these “important” people. The who is who in that day. Certain to be the grandest talked about party with no detail overlooked something crazy happens. The night of the banquet no one shows!!! While I’m sure most had what we consider a valid excuse, there was no party guests.  The master not pleased, gathered his servants and resends them back out onto the street inviting all those whom he would never associate himself with, and it turned into the grandest dinner banquet. 

Invite different people into your life and watch how you can develop into a more inclusive, tolerate person that respects others despite their differences. Invite those who are unable to reciprocate, and you’ll experience a gratitude like you have never known.

You are the host/hostess in your life. 

You get to decide whose name is on the guest list. It is fair to say, with 7 billion people in the world the invitation list isn’t open to everyone. Be wise in who you let in your party. There are good guests and there are some guests that are just better suited for another host/hostess party.  Lastly, remember this, when you’re on someone else's guest list, be a good guest. Show up to the party as your real you and have fun – after all, that is why you were invited.