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MickyN

Cooking nights made easy: serve breakfast for dinner once a week, with help from Krusteaz

Looking for ways to make dinner exciting? Fear not, I’m in the same boat 🙂 Putting dinner on the table every night can be stressful and time consuming. In my case, I leave home early and get back late most days, and when I do come home I don’t have the energy to accomplish even the most basic kitchen-related tasks. I would love to be able to cook lavish dinners for my family every night, but this is unrealistic. So, what can I do to change things?

Thankfully, recently I discovered a clever way to sort out my cooking dilemmas: serve breakfast for dinner every once in a while! A study carried out in 2015 has concluded that America loves breakfast for dinner and that Breakfast Night is now a weekly occurrence for 30% of families. Eating pancakes for dinner is a lot of fun and a great time-saver, and adequate preparation can turn dinnertime into an authentic feast. Being a big fan of pancakes – and dinner! – I was very excited when I was contacted by Krusteaz to review their recently launched Breakfast Night campaign and to develop recipes using some of their pancake and waffle mixes. Keep Reading

Valentine’s Day restaurant menu roundup: Eat, drink, and be merry with your loved one!

Forget the snow storm, the cold and the impossible commute, and think positive thoughts about the week ahead: Valentine’s Day is coming up, and that’s a great reason for celebration! In a city that’s home to some of the world’s best restaurants, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to spending Valentine’s Day in high culinary style. DH and I will have to work late next Wednesday, which means we will postpone the celebration until Saturday. We don’t know where we’ll be going, but the good thing is there are plenty of choices, all mentioned below. Read on – and plan your magical moments with your loved one 🙂

A famous romantic spot on the Chicago dining scene, Geja’s Cafe is planning the most elaborate Valentine’s celebration in its 53-year history.

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Call it zacusca, ajvar, relish, dip, or any other way you like: Its real name is delicious!

Looking for a recipe to make on Game Day? Look no further, I have what you need! This is an appetizer I ate a lot as a child, and I love eating it today with my family. We call it zacusca, but you will find it in other Eastern European cuisines under the name of ajvar. This light, low calorie dish is a bit time-consuming, yet also unbelievably easy to make: it’s a a delicious concoction of open-fire roasted eggplant and bell peppers and oven-roasted tomatoes, with extra helpings of crushed tomatoes. It’s aromatic, wholesome, and truly addictive in its simplicity. My daughter loves to eat zacusca on fresh bread, and her hands and smiling face smeared with this colorful spread are truly a vision of happiness 🙂 Make this at home instead of buying it from the grocery store, and you will not be disappointed! Keep Reading

National Today holiday website review: Make every day a celebration!

The ice cream I served last July, when we celebrated National Ice Cream Day

How often do you take the time to celebrate those little things that make your life more comfortable, or pleasant, or downright delicious? A bowl of ice cream, a slice of pizza, a cup of coffee – these are among life’s simplest pleasures, yet we savor them in a rush, in-between meetings, plane flights, and daycare pick ups. As a foodie, I know I should consciously appreciate everyday flavors and textures more often, but “real life” always gets in the way. My family and I look forward to the big celebrations like Mother’s Day, 4th of July and Christmas, but there are many other holidays on the calendar just begging to be commemorated, and quite a few are food-related – and most of the time, I forget all about them. How to keep up with the celebrations and how to make every one of our busy days special?

Enter National Today, a viral holiday website whose founders believe that nothing beats a day of celebration – except 365 of them! Their goal is to gather special holidays and moments from around the world and to help everyone celebrate with events, helpful tips, discounts, deals, and plenty of fun. As someone who has commemorated many holidays featured on the National Today website, I was very excited when I was contacted by National Today and was asked to partner up in sharing the ultimate 2018 holidays celebration calendar 😉 Keep Reading

Three mushroom & watercress sandwich: a super-nutritious vegetarian option for the cold winter months

Now that the holidays are over, we are back to our usual routine in the kitchen. No more batches of cookies baked in excessive numbers, no more turkeys or steaks served alongside generous portions of creamy, buttery carb-laden goodness. It’s a new year and time to eat lighter – and since it’s winter, it’s also time to eat as nutritiously as possible 😉

The sandwich below is perfect this season because it has key ingredients to build up energy and to replenish lost vitamins and minerals. It’s vegetarian and protein-packed, with proteins coming from several kinds of mushrooms: cremini, portobello (mature cremini mushrooms), and shiitake. It also has watercress, which should come as no surprise to you if you’ve been following this blog for awhile and have read my previous posts about watercress and my love for this rather underutilized veggie. Packed full of nutrients and easy to digest, watercress has a slightly peppery taste, which makes it the ideal partner to the robust mushroom flavor. Add a few sprigs of young asparagus, and you have the perfect light lunch or dinner option – all homemade and delicious!

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Nielsen-Massey & McCrea’s Candies giveaway: We have a winner!

Thank you all for entering my Nielsen-Massey & McCrea’s Candies giveaway and letting us know your foodie gift ideas. The winner is Donna DePaolo, who wrote, “As an event coordinator, I get to attend a variety of food events in my local area and sample the latest “hot” items. I give my foodie friends a sampling of what I’ve found to be the latest “hot” food as their Christmas present. Your giveaway basket would be a hit!”

The winner has been notified and has 72 hours to respond to the winner notification email. Congratulations! 🙂

My review of the new Colectivo Coffee location in Logan Square: in every coffee there’s a story!

Have you ever wondered who grows the coffee you enjoy every morning? The liquid gold that wakes us up and caresses our senses with tons of fresh aromas has a story – and oftentimes we forget all about it. Thankfully, things are about to change. A Milwaukee-based coffee company aims to stand out from the crowd by telling amazing stories about their coffee producers as well as selling their delicious coffee. The name of the company is Colectivo Coffee, and they have recently opened a café in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Does coffee need stories? Having listened to Colectivo’s reps and having tried the coffee they sell, my answer to this question is a resounding yes!

I visited the new Colectivo Coffee location (their second in Chicagoland) one late December afternoon with my friend Marina. The wind was piercingly cold, and as we parked and crossed the grainy, salt-covered street, we were both looking for a respite from the frigid weather. Once we entered the new Colectivo coffee shop, everything fell into place – for me, forever the warmth-seeker, anyway 🙂 Keep Reading