Italian flavors and culinary traditions at their best: my review of the Truly Italian food expo

I can still remember the first time I came across Italian food: it was a few years after the fall of communism, when my cousin made pizza and cannelloni. She has always been very adventurous in the kitchen, and she took my family by surprise when she made these two dishes, for the first time ever. We didn’t even know how to pronounce their names – I remember we called them “piza” and “chameleon,” lol

As I ventured out of my parents’ home and into the big wide world, my appreciation of Italian cuisine has gone stronger, and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way since that first pizza I tried in my cousin’s kitchen. To me, Italian cuisine is very much a work in progress. I constantly try to find out more information about its history and phenomenal worldwide impact, and I’m always after new and exciting recipes to try. My husband and I are big fans of Italian food – in fact, as I’m writing this, I have cannelloni and pizza baking in the oven, both of which will be ready just in time for dinner. 🙂

Since I am so passionate about Italian cuisine, I was very happy to be invited to the opening of the Truly Italian food expo, held in Chicago earlier this week. What does true Italian food mean? What does it taste like? These are some of the challenging questions I wanted to explore at the event. Keep Reading

Celebrating Chicago Craft Beer Week at Gino’s East: from Witte Chicks to Killarney Connection… and back!

I just love spring in Chicago! Now that the school semester is finally over and the days are longer and warmer, I want to put all the stress behind me and to enjoy life, as we all should. I want to get out of the house and be gone for hours, to wander the streets downtown in search for the next big culinary discovery, and to enjoy the refreshing beauty of Chicago, the city of my heart. What a great city, what a blessed life 🙂

Of course, no culinary adventure is complete without an appropriate drink pairing – which brings me to the trendiest subject to write about these days: Chicago Craft Beer Week, which started today. A must-do for anyone who loves quality beer and late spring in Chicago, Craft Beer Week is celebrated in hundreds of restaurants across Chicagoland, which mark the occasion by offering quality pints at promotional prices. Gino’s East is one of the Craft Beer Week participating restaurants, and last week I was invited along with other local food bloggers to get a taste of some of their signature beers which are on offer during Craft Beer Week.

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I came, I sampled, I learned: my review of the 2016 Healthy & Natural Show

What’s in the picture above? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a bunch of mangosteens 🙂 This is one of the fruits I tried, for the first time ever, at the Healthy and Natural Show, which recently took place at Chicago’s Navy Pier. After weeks and weeks of eating poorly and drinking way too much coffee, I was looking forward to this event, which coincided with the end of the spring school term. I really need help to get back on the healthy eating track. I need wholesome fruits and veggies, inspiration, and new discoveries – so when I heard about this new show held in Chicago, I knew this was the place for me to be. 🙂 Keep Reading

The Bona PowerPlus giveaway winner!

Thank you all for taking part in the Bona PowerPlus giveaway. The winner is Jill Hanson, who wrote, “I use baking soda for cleaning tub & sinks.”

The winner has been notified. Stay tuned for more exciting giveaways! 🙂

CLOSED Clean floors are the best :-) My review of Bona PowerPlus cleaning products – and a giveaway!

*Disclaimer: Bona sent me a pack of Bona PowerPlus products free of charge for me to review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Before our baby girl was born I used to follow a well-established “cleaning schedule:” Once a week, preferably on Fridays, I would get all my tools out and perform a thorough cleaning of the house, from top to bottom. Yes, it was time-consuming, but it also felt very rewarding. I’ll admit to being a bit of a “cleaning freak:” I just hate to see dust around me, and this is why I like to keep things clean and tidy as much as I can. Dirt and clutter? These are big no-nos to me! 🙂

My cleaning schedule has simply gone out of the window since the arrival of our daughter. Now, I clean the house whenever I can, and sadly this does not happen very often. Thankfully, my husband has come to the rescue, and lately he has been in charge of most of the cleaning. I still like to vacuum, however I no longer have the time and/or the dedication to follow up with the thorough cleaning I used to do back in the day. I am so thankful to hubby for taking over the cleaning responsibilities, and I like to keep the tools well-stocked and to invest in time-saving cleaning solutions to make his mission easier. For all of these reasons I was very excited when Bona contacted me and asked me to review their latest range of cleaning products. Keep Reading

Back in the land of tender chicken, grilled to perfection: my review of Nando’s PERi-PERi restaurant in Naperville

We used to love going to Nando’s when we lived in the UK 🙂 Back in those days we would get in the car and drive downtown to have lunch every weekend. There were many good restaurants in our area, and picking one was always tough. Still, every 4 weeks or so, we would choose Nando’s for one obvious reason: their PERi-PERi chicken! Marinated for 24 hours and basted to our preferred flavor and spice, Nando’s chicken was out of this world. We also enjoyed their “appeteasers,” such as the hummus with warm pitta bread (one of my husband’s favorites) and the spicy mixed olives. The casual feel of the restaurant added to the overall dining experience: The servers were “cool” and attentive to our needs, and the atmosphere was relaxed.

When I left the UK I assumed I left Nando’s behind for good. So glad I was wrong! Nando’s PERi-PERi made its US debut in 2008 and has been expanding constantly ever since. At the moment, it operates 29 restaurants in and around Chicago, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Last weekend I was invited to the opening of the latest addition to the Nando’s US family, in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. Keep Reading