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MickyN

New Year’s resolution #2: Revamp the kitchen? My BlueStar cooking demo experience

Delicious charcuterie board at BlueStar cooking demo

Anyone else in the mood for a kitchen remodel? I can hear the chorus of “No’s” (lol), and I don’t blame you. The previous time we did a remodel was right after we’d bought this house, and we were feeling brave enough, young enough, and enthusiastic enough. It was one of those “it’s now or never” situations – we decided to go ahead with the remodel while we were still young and had no kids. Fast forward to 2020, and we have 2 energetic children and 2 demanding jobs – and a kitchen remodel suddenly doesn’t seem that appealing. And yet, I can dream, can’t I? πŸ™‚

I’ve always wanted to buy a professional gas range, but until now I have kept postponing. That may not sound like a fully-fledged kitchen remodel – and yet, it would still mean the world to me. If we do decide to go ahead and buy a new gas range this year, we’ll begin by checking out the place we bought all of our household appliances from: Abt in Glenview. They host a variety of well-known brands, including the famous and much-coveted BlueStar. As a matter of fact, Abt has recently redesigned a section of their store to accommodate a BlueStar range of appliances, and I was invited to the official inauguration. Keep Reading

New Year’s resolution #1: Eat more sustainable fish! That’s easy, thanks to Sitka Salmon Shares

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I usually don’t, but as I was going through the blog posts currently in the works, I realized I might be on my way to doing just that. All my upcoming write ups reflect wishes I have set for myself and my family for the current year. I might as well call them resolutions, right? 😉

Resolution #1 is simple enough: Eat more fish – and not just any kind of fish, but sustainable fish. As our family has expanded, I have become aware of the need for us to go the extra mile to consume quality fish. With scary reports of non degradable chemicals found in some of the supermarket seafood out there, who would like to take any chances? Not us, that’s for sure.

I admit that fish quality was of no concern to me and my family while I was growing up. I have vivid memories of shopping at the local fish market with my dad, facing knuckle-busting shoppers, rude fishmongers – and, most importantly, mountains of odd looking, off-putting, stinky fish. Keep Reading

Cooking with the Greatest Tomatoes from Europe: canned tomatoes – tasting fresher than ever!

Have you ever eaten a tomato fresh off the vine? I have – and I can tell you it’s an incredible experience! As a child, I would often spend my summer vacations in the countryside, at my aunt and uncle’s house. The latter (a WWII survivor who had endured terrible times of hunger and deprivation) had a deep respect for nature and an appreciation of its treasures, and he was pretty much obsessed with gardening. Having played all morning in the sand with my niece, I would take refuge in my uncle’s garden, with dirty nails and coarse sand still fresh in my mouth and hair, and I would feast at random – and what a feast that was! Moist apricots just fallen off the tree, sugar sweet, their pulp melting in my mouth; red currants delicate and slightly pungent, with crisp leaves hiding clusters of ruby goodness; last but not least, tomatoes – meaty, slightly fuzzy, with a herbaceous smell and a delicious natural sweetness. I would sink my teeth into a tomato and the juice would start dripping on my chin, utterly thirst-quenching and refreshing, like nature’s perfect elixir. Keep Reading

Nielsen Massey review: ‘Tis the season for a holiday giveaway – and vegan pastries!

Every year around the holiday season, the same question pops up: What should I bake? There’s so much to do and so little time – and as much as I’d love to spend days trying, tasting, and perfecting new recipes in the kitchen, that really isn’t possible. Unavoidably, I revert to a few foolproof family recipes, and I build my menu around them for certainty and peace of mind. I do love some peace of mind in the midst of the holiday shopping/cooking craziness, lol

How do I reinvent my family recipes, and step them up a notch? The answer is simple: I work on their spice content, fine-tuning it until my family (aka testers 😉) approve of it. And when it comes to spices, there’s no better ally in the kitchen than Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and their wonderful range of products.Β  Keep Reading

2019 holiday gift guide: spices, wines, books, coffee!

Happy holidays, everyone! Another year has nearly passed – a year of eating, drinking, creating, enjoying. Now is the time to put my feet up for once, lol – but not until I finish my holiday shopping 😉

Are you excited about shopping for gifts for friends and family? I love spending hours in small shops, looking for the next big artisan foodie discovery – but sometimes time just passes me by, or I’m way too tired, or I just have to be somewhere else. This is why I have found gift guides to be of great help, and the perfect time-saver. Having experienced their usefulness first-hand, I have decided to put together my own gift guide, in an effort to streamline information on excellent products I’ve come across this past year, and to help passionate foodies in need of gift giving advice.

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2019 Chicago Gourmet: Lights, Camera, Napkin – and delicious food galore!

Fall just isn’t complete in Chicago without the usual great food extravaganza that is Chicago Gourmet. The sun may come and go, the theme of the fest may be funny or pensive, and the participating restaurants may change – and yet, year after year, the magic remains. Where else can you find a plethora of America’s most talented and most diverse chefs gathered in one place, sharing their talent and their time with an unashamedly food-obsessed audience? I dare you to give me a counterexample 😉

This was the third time I attended Chicago Gourmet (you can read my reviews of previous editions here and here), and my experience this year was on par with what I have come to expect from one of Chicago’s most popular annual celebrations of excellence in food, held at Millennium Park. This year’s theme – Lights, Camera, Napkin! – highlighted the connections between food and entertainment through a series of super fun cooking demonstrations. Keep Reading