Oscars preview, Irish soda bread recipe, free plants at Flossmoor and more at Windy City Weekend

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CHICAGO (WLS) – This week during Windy City Weekend, we start the show with a preview of the Oscars! Film critic, Richard Roeper, gives his potential winners for five of the biggest prizes!

Best Picture – “The Power of the Dog”

Actor – Will Smith, “King Richard”

Actress – Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”

Supporting Actor – Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

Supporting Actress – Judi Dench, “Belfast”

IRISH SODA BREAD RECIPE WITH ALESSI

We are back in the kitchen! Home chef Chris McDonagh gives us a taste of his home country of Ireland. Using Alessi products, McDonagh shows us how to make Irish Soda Bread with an Italian twist!

Ingredients
3.5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cups buttermilk
1 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1 cup black olives (sliced)
cup of sun-dried tomatoes (Julien)
1 tablespoon of fresh basil
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto

Method
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Mix basil, pesto, buttermilk and half the olives until smooth.
3. Add flour, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl.
4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture, remaining olives, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. Mix well until homogeneous. The mixture should be sticky but not wet.
5. Pour the mixture into a baking dish or on a plate, shape a loaf.
6. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 400F for 25 minutes.
7. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes (very important step!)

VISIT FORT MYERS

Of course, we don’t live in Chicago for the weather and sometimes we have all four seasons in one day. So why not take a trip somewhere warm!

Miriam Dotson, Fort Myers Island, Beach and Neighborhood Communications Manager, tells us about the great weather, beaches and outdoor activities Fort Myers, Florida has to offer.

Located in southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers and the surrounding area is a vacationer’s dream. This laid-back community features more than 100 islands, over 80 km of natural white-sand beaches, and serene natural environments (like mangrove forests and quiet waterways). As soon as visitors arrive, they feel a shoulder-to-shoulder sensation that makes every day here a good day. It might mess them up, but that’s exactly the point.

Across the islands, beaches and neighborhoods of Fort Myers, any day can be a good day.

To start planning your trip today, visit https://www.visitfortmyers.com/

HERB FREE PLANTS AND BURBS

TJ Johnson is a hairstylist based in the Chicago suburb of Flossmoor. The mother-of-three says once the pandemic hit her hair salon, she had to find a new source of income.

“I was already a plant nut and thought of a way to make some extra cash,” Johnson said. “So I started a website, and then it kind of morphed into what we have here today.”

Now Johnson owns Herbs and the Burbs, a herbal store in the southern suburbs of Chicago.

“Herbs and the Burbs is a community, Herbs and the Burbs is my passion project. Herbs and the Burbs is my own small contribution to helping people’s mental health,” Johnson said.

Every weekend, Johnson hosts “Free Plant Saturday,” an event where she hands out free plants and teaches her customers how to care for those herbs. The entrepreneur says this has significantly increased his customer base.

“I have several regular factory customers, repeat customers. They go from customer to customer, to family,” Johnson said.

RYAN STROKE VAL’S SON

This is the race we’ve all been waiting for! Ryan enters the track in a friendly competition against Val’s son, Max, who happens to be the fastest 8th grader in the nation over 300 meters!

All you have to do is watch to see who wins!

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