Best Fall Recipes

Celebrate the changing of the seasons with the scrumptious desserts and treats, savory dishes, and sweet refreshments!

Best Fall Recipes - Archadeck of Chiacgoland


SCRUMPTIOUS DESSERTS & TREATS

  Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

These soft and fluffy pumpkin cookies won’t last long, a double batch might be in order!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Cider Bread

Treat your taste buds to the warm, sweet Autumn flavors.

Apple Cider Bread Recipe

Apple Pie Fudge

Decadent fudge + Sweet apple pie = Flavorful explosions!

Apple Pie Fudge Recipe

Healthy Orange Jack-O-Lantern Cups

Delicious and healthy Halloween treat the kids are sure to love!

orange-jack-o-lantern-fruit-bowls

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream

Spiced buttercream tops off this sweet and savory blend of pumpkin and ginger.

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream Recipe

Spooky Boo Brownies

These adorable little ghosts are too sweet to be scary!

Spooky Boo Brownies Recipe


SAVORY DISHES

 Butternut Squash Risotto

Switch up the flavor of your risotto by adding tasty seasonal flavors!

Butternut-Squash-Risotto

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Fire up the grill for these juicy and delicious pork chops!

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

A Fall favorite recipe – savory and sweet

roasted-acorn-squash-brown-sugar

Easy Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Healthy and delicious, this recipe will quickly become a family favorite!

Easy Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes


SWEET REFRESHMENTS

Apple Cider Sangria

Crisp and delicious, this drink is the perfect refreshment for a beautiful Fall evening.

Apple cider sangira

Pumpkin Spice Latte

These warm and tasty drinks usher in the new season.  Skip the line at the coffee shop and make your own!

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte-at-Home

Hocus Pocus Fizz

Bubbly fizz, colored sugar, floating cranberries….what more could you want in a tasty Halloween beverage?

Hocus Pocus Fizz Drink Recipe

Grilled Salmon

Looking for easy and delicious?  This flavorful marinade, with hints of lemon and garlic, preps and cooks in a pinch.  Serve up scrumptious, smoky salmon for dinner tonight!

Grilled Salmon Recipe

Grilled Salmon
Yield: 6 servings    Prep Time: 15 min    Cook Time: 16 min    Marinade Time:  2 hours 
Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets

lemon pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

salt to taste

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

1.  Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

2.  In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3.  Preheat grill for medium heat.

4.  Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Memorial Day: 10 Ways To Show Your Gratitude

Our soldiers and veterans have sacrificed greatly for our country.  While we should always show our gratitude for their service, Memorial Day is a great time to do something a little extra special for our brave and faithful soldiers.

1.  Reach out to a military family in your community  

Invite them over for dinner or bring them a meal.  Something as simple as running an errand, taking a walk with them, or watching children for a few hours can mean so much to a family who has a deployed spouse.

2.  Visit an older or wounded veteran

A happy visit can brighten a day and help a veteran to know they are not forgotten.  Contact your local nursing home or VA hospital for guidance on who you may visit.  Need some inspiration?  The Walter Reed National Military Center provides plenty of creative ideas on their Facebook page.

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3.  Make patriotic cookies

A thoughtful treat and a heartfelt “Thank You” goes a long way.  You can pick a local veteran or speak to your local nursing home about passing them out to the veterans in their care.

Memorial Day Cookies

4.  Offer to do yard work or home repairs

Having a spouse or parent deployed overseas is stressful for families.  If the children are young, this time can be especially difficult for the parent at home.  Mowing their lawn, repainting a fence, helping out with home maintenance, or planting flowers will not only help the family tremendously, but can also give the deployed solider peace of mind that their family is being cared for.

5.  Volunteer to place flags on grave sites

Contact your local American Legion or VFW organization to volunteer your time.

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6.  Send a letter

AMillionThanks.org will help match you with a soldier.  Even a gesture as simple as a letter expressing your gratitude and support can brighten a soldier’s day.

7.  Grant a wish

WoundedSoldiersWish.org gives you the opportunity to help grant the wish of a wounded soldier.

8.  Fund a scholar

The Armed Forces Children’s Education Fund is a non-profit corporation that financially assists the educational needs of the surviving children of the U.S. Military men and women who lost their lives.

9.  Adopt a soldier

Why only show your gratitude on Memorial Day?  Adopt a soldier and show your support during his or her deployment.  SoldiersAngels.org will match you up with a soldier that would love your support.

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10.  Never Forget

We often view Memorial Day Weekend as a kick-off to our summer.  Beach trips, camping, and backyard barbeques will soon fill our warm summer days.  However, the real reason behind this holiday weekend is to honor, remember, and show gratitude to America’s fallen heroes.  We must never allow ourselves to forget!

Sizzling Grilled Chicken Fajita Recipe

Fire up the grill and give your taste buds a little “south-of-the-border” flavor!

Cihcken Fajitas

Sizzling Grilled Chicken Fajitas

6 servings (serving size: 1 cup chicken mixture, 2 tablespoons salsa, 2 tablespoons sour cream, and 1 tortilla)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup green bell pepper strips (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 6 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup bottled salsa
  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
Preparation
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients; reserve 1/4 cup marinade. Combine remaining marinade and chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 3 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and cover and grill 10 minutes on each side or until done.
  4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and onion; sprinkle with seasoned salt. Sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add reserved 1/4 cup marinade, and cook 2 minutes. Cut chicken into thin slices; add to vegetable mixture.
  5. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, upside down, over high heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Turn pan over, and add chicken mixture. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Serve chicken mixture immediately with warm tortillas, salsa, and sour cream.

 

Courtesy of myrecipes.com

Chicagoland Event Calendar: March – April

Sunshine, warm weather, fresh-cut grass, and hamburgers on the grill are on their way.  Don’t miss all the fun!  Jump into spring with Archadeck’s Chicagoland Spring Event Calendar!

Chicagoland Spring Event Calendar

Fairs & Festivals

Chicago Flower & Garden Show Navy Pier Mar 18 – Mar 23
Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention Rosemont Mar 21 – Mar 23
Northwest Celtic Fest Hoffman Estates Mar 22
Chicago Beer Festival Chicago Mar 22
Spring Festival: An Arts & Crafts Affair Villa Park Apr 11 – Apr 13
Handmade Market Chicago Chicago Apr 12
7th Annual Pinot Days Navy Pier Apr 26
18th Annual Art in the Park Elmhurst May 3 – May 4

Fundraisers

Small Heroes of Hope Gala Kildeer Mar 29
Taste Takes Flight Hoffman Estates Apr 3
Foodie 5K Run/Walk Wheaton Apr 12
11th Annual Cuisine for a Cause Lisle Apr 26
3rd Annual Soaring to Success Benefit Gala Chicago May 1
Derby for a Cause Chicago May 3
Walk MS Lake in the Hills May 4
MS Walk 2014 St. Charles May 4
First Midwest Half Marathon & 10K Palos Heights May 4

Kids & Family

Breakfast with Bunny Niles Apr 5
Bunny Bash Schaumburg Apr 12
Easter Egg Hunt Geneva Apr 12
Spring Egg Scramble Niles Apr 12
Underwater EGGstravaganza Schaumburg Apr 17
Easter Egg Hunt Berwyn Apr 18
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny Wheaton Apr 19
Egg Hunt Wheaton Apr 19
Sunday Family Fundays: Spring into Action Lincoln Park Zoo Apr 27

Shopping

Indoor Farmer & Artisan Food Market Evanston Mar 22 – Apr 26
Naperville Home & Garden Expo Naperville Mar 22 – Mar 23
Spring Craft & Vendor Show Darien Apr 5
Wedding Walk Downers Grove Apr 6
Crystal Lake Home & Garden Expo Crystal Lake Apr 12 – Apr 13
Wheaton French Market Wheaton Apr 19 -Ongoing
Annual Plant Sale Morton Arboretum Apr 26 –Apr 27

Comedy & Theater

Bill Bellamy Schaumburg Mar 20 –Mar 23
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Evanston Mar 21 – May 3
Blue Man Group Chicago Mar 21 – Ongoing
Les Miserables Oak Brook Mar 29 – Jun 8
Bill Cosby Naperville Mar 29
Cinderella (Ballet) Naperville May 2

Dining

West of West Wine Festival Chicago Apr 9
Easter Brunch at the Abbington Glen Ellyn Apr 20
Easter at Bin 36 Chicago Apr 20

Celebrating 10 Years!

I am one lucky man.  Outdoor living is my passion, and outdoor living is what we do.  It is a wonderful feeling to wake up each day knowing we are doing something we’re passionate about.  Designing outdoor spaces has long been my idea of fun.  Playing in our garden, designing our patio, and taking design classes at the Morton Arboretum were once hobbies for me.  I had built a good career for myself, but I was missing that passion I wanted to feel on a daily basis. So, I went on a search for a way to combine my career with my passion. This is when I discovered the Archadeck franchise.

Ten years ago, Integrity Enterprises Inc. dba Archadeck of Chicagoland was born.  On February 19th, we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.  It has been fantastic to go to work every day knowing we are sharing our passion with Chicagoland families.  We are creating beautiful spaces for families and friends to gather and enjoy the great outdoors.

Over that past 10 years, we have seen a lot of changes and faced a number of challenges.  We not only survived the worst economy since the great depression; we actually flourished.  Projects we build have evolved from decks, screen porches, sunrooms, and pergolas to include paver patios, front porches, and open porches.  Our team has grown and enhanced our capabilities, and our company now covers all of the Chicagoland suburbs.

Screen rooms, pergolas, decks, patios, sunrooms

When we first started building our franchise, we began in the northern counties of Lake and McHenry.  As opportunities opened up, we expanded to the west and south.  Today we service all of the Chicago suburbs.  In 2012, we moved our office and growing team out of our basement and into our current showroom close to Woodfield Mall.

Of course, this move coincided with one of our original goals.  My wife, Kristen, joined me in the business and became a Design Consultant.  We met at work 20 years ago and have since dreamed of working together again.  I know many people may think it would be difficult to work with a spouse, but we love it!  She has excelled, helping to push our company forward.  Our children often come in to hang out in my office while we meet with clients and prepare designs, giving them the opportunity to see firsthand what it means to own your own business.  Archadeck of Chicagoland is truly a family operation.

As we’ve grown, we have carefully selected great team members to add to our family.  Our very foundation is built on dedicated, hardworking, and talented carpenters and crews.  Without our crew leads like John, Chris, Sonny, and Manuel, our designs would never come to life.  Of course, our office team is no less important.  Wendy, Sarah, and Margo work hard behind the scenes to keep the operation running smoothly.  Alex, our newest Design Consultant, is creative and talented. Tim, our Construction Manager, ensures the building process runs smoothly each and every time.  Our team members are key to our ability to continue to create the stunning outdoor living spaces Chicagoland has come to expect from us.

Archadeck Team - Fun

One constant over the years has been our great clients!  The number of clients we design for has increased significantly over the last 10 years, and we have been blessed with really great people to work with.  They have allowed us to learn about their family’s outdoor plans so that we may offer our recommendations and ultimately build their new outdoor spaces.  We work hard to make sure the end result of each project is a happy client.  Consistent customer service awards and ‘A’ ratings on Angie’s List, as well as the Better Business Bureau, reinforce that we are getting good results.  Of course, the best feedback comes when our clients introduce us to their friends so we may build their new outdoor space.  We would like to express our gratitude for sharing us so often with your friends and neighbors.

Thank you for allowing us to design and build your backyard getaway for the last 10 years.  We can’t wait to create your next outdoor living space!

Chicagoland Event Calendar: February – March

Are you experiencing a little cabin fever during this cold, cold Chicago winter?  Chicagoland is always full of new and exciting things to get you out of the house and keep you busy.  Check out our event calendar for local shows, events, and fundraisers.  Enjoy the winter activities while you can, Spring will be here before you know it!

Chicago Event Calendar

Macbeth Chicago – Lincoln Park Feb 14 – Mar 2
Blue Man Group Chicago – Lake View Feb 14 – Ongoing
Phantom of The Opera Chicago – The Loop Feb 14 – Mar 2
Trapped in a Room With a Zombie Chicago Feb 14 – Ongoing
Aquatic Show Chicago Feb 14 – Ongoing
Indoor Farmer & Artisan Food Market Evanston Feb 15 – Apr 26
Late Nite Catechism Chicago – Lincoln Park Feb 15 – Ongoing
Chicago’s Original Brewery Tour Chicago – Lincoln Park Feb 15 – Ongoing
Chef Fest Oak Brook Terrace Feb 20
Daddy Daughter Dance Plainfield Feb 21
Girls Nite Out Elmhurst Feb 21
Mighty Con Comic Book Show DuPage County Fairgrounds Feb 22
Wedding Expo West Chicago Feb 23
The Rocky Horror Picture Show St. Charles Feb 28
Ramsey Lewis & John Pizzarelli Naperville Feb 28
Breaking Free – Kinetic Dance Company Naperville Mar 1
An Evening w/the Stars Oscar Night Gala Benefiting Autism Speaks Rosemont Mar 2
First Friday Gallery Night Crystal Lake Mar 7
Pink Droyd:  A Tribute to Pink Floyd Crystal Lake Mar 8
Healthy Children Conference & Expo Rosemont Mar 8 – Mar 9
Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade Elmhurst Mar 8
Handmade Market Chicago Chicago – Ukranian Village Mar 8 – Apr 12
Reptile Rampage Lake Forest Mar 9
Imagine Dragons Allstate Arena Mar 13
New Shanghai Circus Crystal Lake Mar 14
Comedian Bill Bellamy Schaumburg Mar 20 – Mar 23
Northwest Celtic Fest Hoffman Estates Mar 22
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Glen Ellyn Mar 22
Chicago Beer Festival Chicago – West Loop Mar 22
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live Chicago – Gold Coast Mar 26 – Mar 30
Bill Cosby Naperville Mar 29

Smoky Beef and Bacon Chili

I’ve always loved anything to do with the great outdoors and outdoor living.  As a result, you will often find me standing over the grill, cooking for my family.  I often enjoy sharing grilling recipes, but given this brutal Chicago winter, I imagine none of you are thinking about firing up the grill.  So here is a recipe that will keep you toasty warm during these cold winter months.  With bacon, fire-roasted tomatoes, and smoky paprika, what’s not to love?  Enjoy!

Smoky Beef Bacon Chili

Smoky Beef and Bacon Chili

Recipe Time:  1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón dulce – Find at well-stocked grocery stores and from spanishtable.com.)

1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

About 1 tsp. salt

1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes or regular crushed tomatoes

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 cup flavorful, medium-bodied beer, such as Anchor Steam

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained

Sour cream, sliced green onions, and/or coarsely shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Directions

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring until it just begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion, lower heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 7 minutes. Uncover pan, stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute.

Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef; break it up with a wooden spoon and stir gently until it loses its raw color, 7 minutes. Stir in spices and 1 tsp. salt and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and cook 30 minutes.

Add beans and cook 10 minutes, uncovered. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm, with toppings on the side.

Nutrition

Amount per serving:

Calories: 465
Calories from fat: 62%
Protein: 26g
Fat: 32g
Saturated fat: 12g
Carbohydrate: 19g
Fiber: 4.3g
Sodium: 1078mg
Cholesterol: 94mg

Recipe courtesy of myrecipes.com

 

Outdoor Living Gift Ideas

Rain or shine, cold or warm, we at Archadeck enjoy helping you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.  Whether it’s a patio, deck, pergola, or even fun ideas for the great outdoors; we want to help you create the perfect backyard experience.  With Christmas right around the corner, here are a few gift ideas any outdoor living lover will enjoy using all year round!

Christmas Gifts for the Outdoor Living Lover

Top 10 Fun Ideas For The Thanksgiving Season

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we are reminded to be thankful for the good around us.  We needn’t wait for a holiday to celebrate the things we’re thankful for.  Gratitude is good for you, so surround yourselves with your loved ones and start celebrating!  What can you do?  Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.

RAK jarCreate a RAK Jar (Random Acts of Kindness)

Every day, randomly do something kind for someone else.  Write it on a strip of paper and place it in a jar.  By the time Thanksgiving arrives, your family will be brimming with happiness.  Bring the jar out on Thanksgiving day and read the random acts of kindness together.   If you really enjoyed this, try it for a full year.  It’s amazing how much happiness you’ll find when you’re actively being kind or helpful to others.

 

bake memoriesBake Up Memories in the Kitchen

Make a little party or play date out of it.  Everyone brings their favorite Holiday cookie recipe and you make a day of baking, laughing, and loving.  Everyone goes home with a plate of delicious holiday cookies.

 

 

Toasty FireGet Toasty by the Fire

Do you have a fire pit on your patio?  Curl up in warm blankets in front of the fire, sip on hot apple cider or hot chocolate, and roast marshmallows.  Enjoy the last bits of autumn outside.  Too chilly?  Enjoy the fireplace inside!

 

 

Thanksgiving TableclothThanksgiving Celebration Tablecloth

Want a great way to record what you’re thankful for each year?  Buy a plain tablecloth and provide fabric markers for your guests to write what they’re thankful for.  Ask that they sign and date each message.  Use this tablecloth year after year as a family tradition.

 

 

Thank a heroShow Your Gratitude to an Unsung Hero

Get together with your family and decide on a person or a group in your community who could use an extra pat on the back, ie. firefighters, soldiers, police officers, volunteers. Put together a special plate of goodies and deliver it (or pack it up for shipping) as a family.

 

 

Famer marketVisit the Craft Shows, Farmers Markets, and Parades

Plenty of family fun can be had locally.  You can find a list of many events in the Chicagoland area on our Event Calendar.

 

 

VolunteerVolunteer

Spending a holiday with people who are less fortunate tends to remind us to be grateful for all that we have. It’s truly rewarding to help others in need.  HandsOn Suburban Chicago is a great site that helps match those that want to volunteer with opportunities to serve their community.

 

 

Gratitude JournalKeep A Family Gratitude Journal Throughout the Year

Each night, a family member can share something that they are thankful for. Share the highlights of this family tradition at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.

 

 

GobbleStart an Exchange with Your Friends, In Your Neighborhood, or at Work

Who doesn’t like a little surprise?  You’ve Been Gobbled! is a fun little exchange where you secretly leave a treat on the doorstep of a neighbor along with the Gobble, Gobble poem that gives simple instructions to keep the game going.

 

 

Thanksgiving GamesPlay a Game

Enjoy a little laughter with your friends and family by playing a fun game.  Turkey Feathers is a fun game the adults and children can enjoy together.  Need more?  Here’s a great list to get you started