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MickyN

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

Happy holidays!

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season, with cheerfulness and good health all-around – and, of course, many presents from Santa 😉

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate Christmas 🙂

Book reviews: Give the gift of quality reading this holiday season!

Writing a book is like running the marathon – or at least this is how I remember the experience. It is intense. For months on end you worry about every single detail in the upcoming book, sometimes obsessively so. You wake up in the middle of the night and think of pics or sections (will the cover pic really work? Does my argument is strong enough in that chapter?). You constantly recheck your writing despite having editors on hand to help you with the job. In the end however, the stress and trepidation are so worth it: the book you hold, fresh off the press, is a labor of love and a work of art. It is your heart writ large on every page and picture 🙂

I read a lot of academic books during the school semester, but during the break I like to switch gears and to focus on books which satisfy the other half of my self: cooking! Recently I came across two cookbooks which would make excellent holiday gifts for foodies and non-foodies alike. The detailed explanations, stunning pictures and overall exquisite mixture of style and substance make these cookbooks stand out from the crowd in the best possible way.  Keep Reading

CLOSED Nielsen-Massey & McCrea’s holiday gift review and giveaway: It’s the perfect foodie present!

Update: This giveaway is closed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always very excited to receive gourmet gifts. Nothing makes me happier than a bottle of grapeseed oil, or a jar of fine pesto, or some tahini with an intriguing story, or a candy bar which reminds me of my beloved England, or… You get the idea 😉 I see such gifts as a window of opportunity: they’re my chance to experiment, to get out of the routine, to finally be myself in the midst of a crazy, busy world. As someone who appreciates gourmet gift-giving, I’m always on the lookout for high quality presents to share with foodie friends. Sometimes however, finding the perfect food-centered gift can be difficult. Equally important, what should I give to a foodie who (almost) has it all?

Thankfully, I found a way to solve my gift-giving dilemmas recently, when I was contacted by Nielsen-Massey to review the gift basket they had designed in partnership with McCrea’s Candies. As someone who had collaborated with Nielsen-Massey in the past, I was interested to review the latest Nielsen-Massey holiday gift suggestions, especially since they involved a partnership with a caramel-making company. Vanilla sugar and sea salt caramels in the same box? Count me in!

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