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MickyN

My review of Square Roots Kitchen: when food geeks meet fast casual!

Tucked away on S Halsted Street, in an area burgeoning with stores and restaurants in the heart of West Loop, lies a new dining spot that has got Chicagoans talking. The name of the place is Square Roots Kitchen, the style is fast casual, and the food is wholesome. The restaurant sells salads, wraps and bowls that can be customized to suit one’s lifestyle and dietary needs, bringing health-conscious consumers face-to-face with cutting-edge technology in an ambiance which is both comfortable and minimalist. Did the West Loop need yet another restaurant? Having visited Square Roots Kitchen (SRK), having sampled their food and understood their unique approach, my answer is a resounding “yes” ๐Ÿ™‚

I went to SRK one cold winter evening. It was one of those evenings when I would have gladly stayed home, tucked into bed and indulging in a cup of hot cocoa – as you know, frigid weather has never been my friend. Keep Reading

St Patrick’s Day vegetarian tart: There’s spring in every slice!

This tart is a great vegetarian alternative to the corned beef dishes that are typically served on St Patrick’s Day. It is light and chock-full of veggies, and it leaves you satisfied and feeling great in your own skin, as any spring dish would. DH loved it so much that he had it for lunch at work several days in a row – believe me, that’s some serious compliment coming from a carnivore, lol The freshness of the dill coupled with the mildness of the potatoes and cabbage and the assertive notes of the authentic Irish cheddar make this tart a flavorful treat fit to enjoy all year long ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep Reading

Quinoa parfait recipe: Eat your way to health!

I don’t know about you, but this long and frigid Chicago winter has taken a toll on me: I’ve experienced cold after cold after cold, and I’ve had very little energy to do anything else but rest. Being pregnant and having a slightly weaker than normal immune system has most likely contributed to my poor state, as of late. Yet, I cannot help but wonder how my health would have been if I’d been more diligent in following a healthier eating menu. With a very busy schedule and limited time to cook (usually during the weekend, when we cook for an entire week in advance), my eating at work has featured way too many cookies and candy bars. I know, I know: I’m guilty as charged!

Fortunately, there’s still time to resort to healthier eating options and to feel better in your own body this spring, and I for sure am determined to make this happen. For a start, I’m planning to make this delicious quinoa parfait more often to keep the “cookie&candy temptation” away. Make this parfait, and you will not regret it: you’ll enjoy sweetness without guilt and healthfulness without laborious cooking 😉 Keep Reading

My review of Waterloo sparkling water & Sipp craft soda: Cheers to some bubbly happiness!

At the end of a busy day, when my feet are swollen and my breath is thirsty, what can be better than a glass of bubbly non-alcoholic drink? Answer: nothing! The sparkling freshness of these drinks provides fun, hydration, and makes the end of the day truly enjoyable and rewarding. Plus, they’re perfect if you’re expecting and you have to steer clear of caffeine or alcohol.

This love of carbonated drinks goes back all the way to my childhood. With no Coca Cola, Pepsi or any other branded product in sight, my family relied on a good-old carbonator cylinder, which my dad would go and refill from time to time. We would mix the bubbly fresh water with natural, organic fruit syrups made by my mom and my aunt, and we would drink these instead of the less appetizing, chemical-laden soft drinks which were produced locally (you should have seen those – they were truly horrible!).

The years have passed and my passion for fizzy drinks has endured, and so has my interest in enjoying natural, healthy bubbly beverages. This is why I was very excited when I was contacted recently by Waterloo Sparkling Water and Sipp Sparkling Organics to review their products. The first company makes flavor-infused sparkling water, while the other makes organic craft sodas. Good options to enjoy by any mom-to-be! 😉 Keep Reading

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

A famous romantic spot on the Chicago dining scene, Geja’s Cafe is planning the most elaborate Valentineโ€™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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Make this at home instead of buying it from the grocery store, and you will not be disappointed! Keep Reading