5-Ingredient Crockpot BBQ Ribs

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I am a huge rib fan. Okay, I'm just a huge BBQ fan, period. Wisconsin isn't too well known for its BBQ joints, so those seeking melt-in-your-mouth, slow-cooked ribs are going to have to road trip down to Illinois or get crafty at home. Luckily, Team Hess graced the internet with their very simple and very easy recipe for Crockpot BBQ ribs. There is literally only 5 ingredients needed. Bless you, Team Hess! Check out the recipe below.

Thai Lettuce Wraps + Steak

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With this hot and muggy weather that's been steaming up the city lately, we were in no mood to cook! Luckily, through Pinterest, we were able to find a light, refreshing dinner idea. Thai lettuce wraps with marinated steak, and a homemade tangy peanut sauce. 

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How COOL is this? The different densities of all the sauce ingredients made me feel like I was in Science class! 

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Once it's blended all up; much smoother. 

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I divided the mixture in half. One half was used to marinate the steak. The other half was kept in the blender to make the tangy dipping sauce. All we did was add two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and blend again until thickened.

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Next all we had to do was slice up one cucumber and one onion, rinsed some leafy lettuce, and we were ready to eat! I really wanted to add vermicelli noodles to this dish, but we ultimately decided to omit them. (Carrots would be a great addition to this dish, too!)

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Sweet and Sour sauce and our Tangy Peanut Sauce.

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  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic (or 2 garlic cloves)
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 lb steak (flank, skirt, sirloin)
  • Leafy lettuce or lettuce cups
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce (Mae Ploy brand)

  1. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, honey, sesame oil, red chili pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic in a blender or food processor then blend until smooth. Remove half of the liquid, then add almond butter to blender and blend again until smooth. Add reserved half of marinade to the steak in a plastic bag or container then marinate on the counter for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat then grill marinated steak until medium rare. Remove to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes then slice very thinly against the grain. Lay out lettuce then top with sliced steak, cucumber & onions and then drizzle with the tangy peanut sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
- Happy Eating!

Mitsuwa Market

On Sunday, we visited Mitsuwa Market. Mitsuwa is one of the largest Japanese supermarkets in the US, located about 10 minutes away from O'Hare Airport in Chicago. A lot of my friends have always recommended I should check it out. Frequented by locals, they carry all authentic Japanese foods, groceries, appliances, books, cosmetics, candies, and so many more items. I didn't know what to expect but I was excited! My good friend, Brian, offered to take us and show us around. I trust Brian completely as he's been to Japan several times for months at a time. Brian told us that Mitsuwa is the closest he gets to actually visiting Japan. He also told us that we would be exploring the grocery store, the book store, the liquor store, as well as the food court and bakery.

"This place must be huge!" I thought. Surely, I would get lost. I mean, sometimes I lose Chhally inside Target. But once we entered, we were immediately hit by the sights, sounds, smells, and air conditioning!

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We browsed the grocery store first. Finding so many varieties of different things. When I visit my local Vietnamese grocery store in Milwaukee, I am usually familiar with a lot of what is being sold. Here at Mitsuwa, there's a plethora of things I had neither seen nor heard of!

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Then we hit the food court. The food court reminded me of a mall's, there were about 6 or 7 different place you could order food from. Most are authentic Japanese, one was Chinese, and another sold Korean food.

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You can see Brian at the bottom right! He was getting some water. I thought it was neat that they had free ice cold water available at every corner of the food court. We also ordered our first meal from this shop.

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Brian ordered the beef combo. Thinly sliced beef cooked with onions.

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Chhally ordered the Udon noodles. Delicious! He said they were the best he's had.

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I went classic with the Tonkatsu. A pork cutlet that's battered and fried in Panko. Everything was SO good.

After eating we went and shopped. We all stocked up on tons of Japanese chocolates and candy! I even found the ever-so-rare Green Tea Kit Kats! Later, I found out that I was in the right place at the right time. As the Green Tea Kit Kats are so rare and hard to find, they usually sell out within a couple hours to maybe a day of stocking the shelf. In all honestly, it tastes like a sugar cookie. 

Their bakery is so adorable. It's Hippo themed and aptly named, "Pastry House Hippo." I absolutely thought I'd never see the day my favorite animal would be the theme inside a bakery! My two favorite things in the world! I could not contain my excitement. 
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Afterwards, Brian wanted to buy some alcohol from their liquor store. The selection of Asian beers is immense! And fairly priced. Chhally and I browsed the bookstore, where I scoped out the Japanese car scene through their tuner magazines. Chhally was giddy by the sheer amount of manga comic books they were selling for $1 each. They even sold crafty items like origami sets and calligraphy brushes. Eventually after hours of shopping and browsing, we went back to the food court so the guys could order more food. I wasn't too hungry so I had a bite of a Japanese burger called the Gabutto Burger from one of my friends. I immediately got up to order one for myself. It was THAT good! The sauce on this burger was indescribable.

They have a great selection of pre-packaged sushi. Unfortunately, we were so full we didn't try any. They all looked fresh and well-made. Next time, I will make it my mission to get some sushi!

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I also bought a ton of Japanese beauty masks!

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Chhally also bought a small canister of Japanese hair styling gel called Gatsby Moving Rubber. We are excited to try these products since Japanese culture is really in-tune with their beauty stuff. I'll be posting our reviews on these products later! :)

Mitsuwa Market
100 E Algonquin Rd
(between Arlington Heights Rd & Tonne Dr) 
Arlington HeightsIL 60005
(847) 956-6699
Mitsuwa is open daily from 9am to 8pm.
**Food court is cash only!**
**Liquor store will card everyone in group even if only one is purchasing alcohol**

Honey Sriracha Wings

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Regular chicken wings are getting old. You've got your mild wings, BBQ wings, spicy wings. Nothing's cuttin' it for us anymore. Plus the fact that most wing joints deep fry them; nooooo! I want to eat wings without going over my unhealthy limits! Thus, we've discovered and tested these Honey-Sriracha wings. They're baked, not fried. As for the Honey-Sriracha sauce, I'm just going to let that speak for itself.

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Exciting Announcements!

Notice anything new on the blog? I'm excited to announce that we...

...are officially www.sugarjunkieblog.com! Hopefully, the new domain will be easier to remember but if you already have the old url (thesugarjunkie.blogspot.com) memorized, it will still work! I was hoping to score www.thesugarjunkie.com, but it was unavailable. No worries, I love the new URL and I'm excited that this small commitment means taking this blog to a whole 'nother level. We are still tweaking and adjusting because, as of right now, the url will not work without the "www" in front of it. 

There is also a snazzy new e-mail available, info@sugarjunkieblog.com! We will be using this e-mail for future giveaways, business inquiries, and all things sugarjunkieblog related. 

I'd also like to point out these new links on the bottom of each post. We now have small thumbnails of other related entries for you to check out, as well as these awesome sharing links. You can now share the recipes and photos from the posts you read on here to your Facebook, Twitter, pin to your Pinterest boards, e-mail them, or recommend on Google +.

I also would like to thank a number of my readers and friends who have Facebooked me or e-mailed me to tell me that this blog is something they read almost everyday (despite my lack of updating during busy times of the year). This blog really wouldn't be anything without you! Also recently brought to my attention is that comments cannot be left on any blog posts unless you have an account. This has been fixed! So anyone may comment, without having to sign up for any accounts. Just simply use the "Name/Url" option!

A URL is not required to post. All you need is your name! :)

Again, thanks to everyone who has supported this blog. Either by reading, sharing my posts on Pinterest, trying out my recipes, or just looking at the photos! You are very much appreciated.

- Happy Reading!

TGIF #14

My weekly TGIF post consists of all my favorite things I've found around the internet during the week. Enjoy!

Favorite Art Piece of the Week: Anything Disney related is something I will automatically love. Can you recognize all of the princesses?

Favorite Beauty Idea of the Week: Using Baby Oil Gel as shaving cream. It's supposed to leave skin very smooth. Can't wait to try it!

Favorite Drool-Worthy Dessert of the Week: Cookies & Creme Popcorn. Love anything with Cookies& Creme, this is brilliant!

Favorite Photography Idea of the Week: 
Vintage themed senior photos by KaterinaPhotoDesign

Favorite Kitchen Gadget of the Week: 
T-FAL ActiFry. This baby supposedly deep-fries your food with just one tablespoon of oil.

Favorite Food Remix of the Week:  Cinnamon Roll Waffles. Can we please?

Favorite Vacation Destination of the Week: 
I don't know where this is, but I NEED to find out.

Favorite Cheat Sheet of the Week: Tattoo Discomfort Cheat Sheet. Badass!

Favorite DIY Project of the Week:  
Cutting your own high waisted shorts. By Yours Truly.

 Favorite Dream Home of the Week:  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. It's an island that doubles as a super comfy breakfast nook.

Favorite Giggle of the Week: 

Happy Friday!

Easy Salmon Tacos

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When I think of fish tacos, I think of the ones that are deep fried with cheese and hot sauce dripping from one end! Until I made this recipe, I never thought to myself that light and healthy fish tacos can exist. Albeit, this recipe still has sauce dripping from the end of your taco. You won't care because the flavors are so good! (and good for you!)

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  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small Yellow Onion, finely diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded, membranes removed and finely diced
  • 2 ripe Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 lb Salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 8 Flour or Corn Tortillas (5-inch)
  • 2 ripe Avocados, sliced
  • Lime wedges and Cilantro for garnish
  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until translucent. 
  2. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add jalapenos, tomatoes, and lime juice. Cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the fish and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, gently break up the fish into 1-inch chunks. After a few minutes the salmon should be cooked through and the liquid in the skillet should be mostly reduced. 
  5. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. 
  6. Stir in Cilantro. Careful not to over-stir the salmon.
  7. Heat the tortillas over a gas burner or in a dry skillet for a few minutes on each side. Scoop salmon mixture onto tortillas and top with avocado.  
Chhally likes his tacos with corn tortillas and, although I try to like the corn ones because they are a bit better for you, I really like the flour tortillas. We had our tacos with rice and beans, and lots of avocados. It was really good! Fills you up without making you feel like crap. The salmon can always be swapped out for other types of fish. I think diced chicken breast would really be good in this recipe as well!

- Happy Eating!

Bastille Days 2013

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Bastille Days is one of my favorite festivals here in our city. My family has a percentage of French roots and I have always been a fan of French food. We didn't really get to try real French cuisine on this day but it was fun to try what we saw nonetheless. We arrived a little after 6pm, parking was difficult. We had to park in a structure for $10, but it was a short walk. 

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Hue's stand caught our eyes first! We've eaten here before (read about it here) and loved their food. Our group ordered the Deep Fried Frog Legs, Spicy Crab Rangoon, and BBQ Short ribs. All were awesome. 

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Chhally loved the Deep Fried Frog Legs!

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The Asian slaw that it came with was a great complement, the frog legs were cooked perfectly and fairly meaty. We thought we'd be disappointed since the prices were $8 per plate but it was worth it. 

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After visiting the Hue stand, a friend of a friend stated that Burke's Irish Castle had the best food around the whole festival. We headed over to read the menu and really couldn't decide. They even had each dish laid out on a table for viewing. Made it that much harder to decide! Chhally and I ordered the Lobster and Shrimp BLT with Tarragon Aioli and the Frachos (waffle fries, Cheddar Ale Sauce, smoked Pico, and corned beef). 
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The Lobster and Shrimp BLT was mind blowing! Huge chunks of seafood, fresh mixed greens. Bacon was also cooked perfectly. I want to personally thank whoever figured out that seafood and bacon needed to be in the same sandwich.

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The Frachos were just as mindblowing. I'm not a fan of Beer Cheeses but this sauce was perfect! There were pieces of diced tomatoes in the sauce and the large chunks of corned beef were plentiful. For festival nachos, this dish was prepared quite well. 

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After grubbing on savories, we were ready for sweets. 
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We visited the CedarPoint Ice cream stand so Chhally could get a cone. He saw Pirates Booty flavored and wondered, "WTH?" Turns out it was caramel flavored ice cream with Oreos and M&M candies mixed in. He immediately ordered a scoop.

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I found some long lines nearby and it was for Crepes! I ordered a strawberry crepe with vanilla ice cream.
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As the sun started to set we did some browsing.

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We visited the "Eiffel tower" one last time before we left.

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And this guy was underneath it! 

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Amazing chalk artist who was in the midst of drawing a very beautiful lady.

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Had such an amazing time at Bastille Days. We literally spent over $50 on parking and food but it was all worth it. The weather was perfect and the food was better than previous years. Definitely will attend again next year!

-Happy Eating!

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