Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Restaurant Review: FLAME Grill--Bar, Carbondale, Il.

My husband and I were looking for a  place to enjoy a nice dinner in celebration of our 36th wedding anniversary. We live in southern Illinois which has many places to choose from, but we tend to go to the same places every year and chose instead to try a place we had yet to visit.

I put out a request for suggestions from locals on my EVERYTHING IN MODERATION facebook page as well as my husband's personal page, and we found many great reviews/suggestions on many places we have yet to try.

So, I decided to begin reviewing some new places as well as places we already love.

I'm starting with our dining experience at Flame.

Flame Grill-Bar  located  at 501 E. Walnut St. in Carbondale, Il., opened in 2012 and has quickly become one of the most popular fine dining places in our area. It is easy to find and there is plenty of parking.

*Photo from Trip Advisor

Upon entrance, we were greeted by our server who led us to a comfortable booth in an artsy, eclectic, yet classy dining room. Dim lighting and light music playing in the background created the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner.

The dining area was very clean, and patrons were dressed nicely, but casually.

*Photo from Trip Advisor

Our server wasn't the friendliest- not very engaging- but was efficient. I do try to keep in mind that servers are individuals with unique personalities and also I have no idea what they are going through personally at the time we chose to come and dine, so with that in mind, our service was fine. She promptly took our orders and returned routinely for refills and to meet any other needs we had.

We did not have to wait long for any courses of our meal.

Our appetizer choice was the Classic Bruschetta and it was just delicious! The presentation was beautiful and unique. The price was $7.99 and there was plenty for both of us to enjoy.

*Photo from Trip Advisor

The perfect blend of flavors-- tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to spoon onto the warm, crusty bread.

The entrees we chose were both steaks, but prepared differently. I  ordered the 12 oz. Grand Steer Top Sirloin.

 It was perfectly grilled with a crunchy outer sear while remaining tender and juicy inside--medium rare, just the way I  like it. I enjoyed the salty, but delicious seasoning and a generous serving size. My entree came with choice of potato and choice of salad or soup. I chose a Caesar Salad which was very good. Homemade croutons were a nice addition. The dressing was tasty and bold, so little was needed. I chose mashed potatoes as my side and was surprisingly disappointed. I LOVE mashed potatoes and just assumed they would also be great. I only ate a few bites of them. Something was off. Something more butter or salt couldn't remedy. My husband felt the same about his. I would recommend ordering the baked potato instead. My entree was $20.99 which included my steak, potatoes, and salad. It would have also included bread/butter (which I hear is delicious) but you must ask for it on the side-- no extra charge.

My husband ordered the Sirloin and Shrimp Asiago Steak. It was a 12 oz. grilled steak topped with grilled shrimp covered in a creamy Asiago cream sauce with grated Parmesan. He did not care for it. But I think it is just a taste preference, and no reflection on the chef. He took a chance on an unfamiliar combination of Asiago and seafood, and it so happened he didn't like that combo. He felt the cheese overpowered the dish. But again, just his preference, someone else may love that combination. His entree was $27.99 and also included a salad and potatoes. Bread would have also been included.

We were both too full for dessert and drank water and tea, so I can't review desserts or drink choices.

We visited on a Tuesday evening and it was busy enough for a weeknight. Reservations are not required, but I would suggest making them on a weekend or with larger parties. There is ample seating, however, always best to be prepared.

Dress was casual. You could come dressed up or casually dressed and would fit in nicely. This is a nice place to dine for a special occasion. Hours of operation are 11am-9pm Monday-Thursday. Friday and Saturday hours are 11am-10 pm. Closed on Sundays.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Atmosphere and bruschetta are worth a re-visit. Great steak. Good menu selections. Also different specials throughout the week.

Check out their website, or find them on facebook here.

Enjoy! ~Everything in Moderation.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chicago-Style Hotdogs for Father's Day

This is another simple recipe that the kids can help put together for Dad--especially if he is a baseball fan. This little lunch consisted of the hotdogs, and peanuts (needed to get some Cracker Jacks), some chips, POWERADE for the beverage and a baseball cupcake and Baby Ruth candybar for dessert. I purchased the little picnic set at Wal-Mart, complete with condiment dispenser, hotdog basket and liners.

 Except for the cooking of the hotdog, the kids could help put this all together for Dad...and a great gift idea would be to throw in some tickets for a ballgame or purchase a t-shirt of his favorite team as I did. GO CARDINALS!

 I'm really not a hotdog lover, mainly because they are not healthy at all, so again, enjoy  in MODERATION. But trust me--you'll never eat a hotdog any other way again, once you taste this one!

The secret begins in the hotdog itself. DON'T be tempted to save a little $$ and buy the cheapest ones out there...BIG MISTAKE! Also, ALL-BEEF wieners are the way to go.  My favorite brand is this one:

Costs a bit more, but so worth it!

Boil water and then reduce heat and place dogs in to cook for 5 minutes, until done and remove.
Or go ahead and grill em up!

You begin building  with a poppyseed bun (for the traditional recipe--but I could not get my hands on a bag, here, so I had to go with the plain)

Add 1 T. yellow mustard.
1 T. sweet green relish (the brighter green , the better)
1 T. chopped onion
4 Tomato wedges
1 dill pickle spear
2 sport peppers *I didn't add them for my Dad
1 dash celery salt

You'll notice that no ketchup is on this won't miss it!



Happy Father's Day treat! Double Your Pleasure: A&W Root Beer Float & Root Beer Float cake

I put this together for one of my cooking segments I did on our local morning news shows last year.

I shared simple ideas that kids could make for Father's Day. I found the free printable tags online (sorry, I no longer have the link), but I think kids could make it themselves.

I added a previous post about root beer.....that includes a ROOT BEER FLOAT CAKE.

 If Dad loves root beer, this would be a great treat for him!  ENJOY!

Unlike the majority of society, I'm neither a Coke or Pepsi girl. I prefer Sprite or Root Beer. But actually, I prefer a Root Beer Float if I'm gonna' bother drinking soda!

For many decades in my small town, we've had an A&W drive-up restaurant, complete with car hops. Mike's Drive-In is a southern illinois landmark, located in West Frankfort, Il. They still serve the beloved A&W Root Beer and the RB Floats in a frosty mug! People travel for miles to enjoy this treat that takes us all back to a simpler time.

Several years ag my husband and I went for a little getaway to celebrate our  anniversary and part of our trip included "Antiquing" In Historic Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I found an old A&W mug to serve my float and I couldn't wait to bring it home, wash it up and enjoy my float in a frosty mug-all proper-like.

I made it, took the photo, and then before I could lick my lips, Big AL took it and woofed it all down!

His response when he laid the empty mug back on the counter? "Man, that was good!"

For the root beer lover in your family, especially DAD on Father's Day, double his pleasure with the cake and a frosty mugged-float!

(You'll be the favorite child ;) )

All you need is:

1 A&W mug (yeah, it makes ALL the difference)
2 scoops FRENCH VANILLA Ice Cream (I used Blue Bunny)
And enough A&W Root Beer to spill over the top of the mug so you can lick it off the side when no one is watching!

Rinse mug and freeze till frosted!
Put in ice cream.
Pour on Root Beer.
Serve with a spoon and a straw.
Hide it in another room till you're ready to share!

And now for the cake:

Root Beer Float Cake

You will need:

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1-3/4 cups cold root beer, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 envelope whipped topping mix


In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, 1-1/4 cups root beer, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 minutes. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, combine the whipped topping mix and remaining root beer. Beat until soft peaks form. Frost cake. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.

*I found this recipe in my Taste of Home Cookbook.

*This cake has a mild root beer flavor, not at all overwhelming.
You can also use your own icing recipe and add a little root beer to it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chocolate Chip Bananas Foster Cheesecake Triple- Layer Cake

SO today my co-workers and I were able to enjoy this delicious concoction that Mr. Wright, my boss/co-worker/friend asked me to make after he found the recipe online on TASTY's facebook page.

It was a bit challenging, time-consuming and rather expensive, but he purchased the ingredients so I was up for the challenge.

The ingredient list was filled with a few of my favorite things that all put together basically made a cheesecake, banana cake and bananas foster altogether in one dessert. How can you go wrong with that?

I made the recipe exactly as written so I will link to the site for the instructions. My only suggestions would be to cut thinner slices (it is rich!) so rather than serving 8, it could serve at least 10-12.

Also, the recipe did not clarify that one of the layers of banana cake should go into a SPRINGFORM 9" pan because one will  have a cheesecake baked on top.

My only other note would be to say that the chocolate chips are not  necessary. They are good but almost competed with the banana and cheesecake flavors which in my opinion,  those flavors should keep the spotlight. I didn't think I would EVER say this but, next time I make it, I will omit the chocolate chips. (gasp!)

Also, this takes a LONG time from start to finish, so bake the day before you plan to serve it, or REALLY early the day of.

Here's my pics of the finished product (which were taken by Mr. Wright and another co-worker, Abbey.)

Enjoy~Everything in Moderation


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Raspberry (Shortcut) Shortcake

 This is a re-post from many years back. A very simple dessert.

This recipe saves a few steps by using BISQUICK. Still delicious, just without much fuss.

You will need:
1 container raspberries
3 T. white sugar
2 1/3 cup Bisquick +3 T. sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 T. melted butter
Whipped cream (or Cool Whip)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse/drain a container of raspberries and sprinkle with about 3 T. of white sugar and let sit  for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Combine Bisquick, 3 T. sugar. Add milk and butter. Stir with a fork till soft dough forms. Stir vigorously 20 strokes. Spread into a greased 8" round pan. Bake 15-17 minutes or until done. Cut into individual wedges and split in half. Place berries on bottom half and replace top and add whipped cream over it.

Best served warm.

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation

30- minute Valentine's Day Meal: Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Chicken

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~Luciano Pavarotti

I can put an entire meal on the table is less than 30 minutes! You can do it too, and even for Valentine's Day!

Here's my Italian Cuisine menu:

Appetizer:Toasted Ravioli with sauce
Entree:Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Chicken
Side Dish:Buttered peas
Salad:Italian Salad
Bread:Garlic bread
Dessert: Angel Food Cake drizzled with Strawberry Sauce

Hungry yet?

Here we go!

Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Chicken

*1 pkg. skinless, boneless chicken strips
*1 bag Bow-tie Pasta
*3 T. butter
*1 tsp. minced garlic (you can buy it already minced in a small jar)
*1 jar vodka Sauce
*grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to pkg. directions.
While it boils...

Saute meat in butter and garlic till all pink is gone and meat is just a bit golden. Set aside.
When pasta is done, drain and add cooked chicken . Pour jar of sauce over and stir so heat from pasta warms the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan!


There's your main course. Now, the other dishes are what I call "cheater dishes".

Toasted Ravioli

Purchase a box of frozen ravioli and cook according to pkg. directions.
Serve with a jar of PIZZA sauce for dipping .(I like it better than Marinara for these.)

Sweet Peas with Butter

Drain 1 can sweet peas, put 1/4 stick butter on top and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir.

Garlic Bread
Purchase frozen garlic Texas toast. Add your own grated mozzarella if you like. Bake according to pkg. directions.

Purchase a bag of pre-made Italian salad. Add chopped black olives from the can, drained, add a few cherry tomatoes,add some sliced pepperoni and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Angel Food Cake with strawberry Sauce

1 store-bought angel food cake.
1 container frozen strawberries, thawed.

Add sugar to taste to the berries, then drizzle over top of cake. The longer the berries in sauce sit on the cake, you'll get the effect like mine in this pic.

There you have it!

A delicious "optical illusion" of a nice dinner that didn't knock you out, but will knock the socks off your guests when they realize it only took a few minutes to prepare.

If they ask for the recipe, just tell them it's a secret. Then make your family swear to secrecy!

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Special Chicken Piccata DInner

Chicken Piccata is a classic Italian recipe that is both elegant and very simple at the same time.
The tangy sauce over the chicken is just the right balance of flavors to tantalize your taste buds without overwhelming your belly as there is nothing heavy about this delicious dish.

It takes under 30 minutes to prepare, but has such impressive results, that it is worthy of serving for special occasions or a very romantic dinner for just the two of you.

It is one of my husband's favoritse, and he's more of a beef guy, so I take it as a great compliment.

This particular recipe is from GIADA De LAURENTIS from the Food Network.


2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley and a lemon slice.

Delicious served with steamed broccoli, tomato bruschetta and a Ceasar salad.

Have you made this dish before? What were the reactions to those you served it to?