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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

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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Basic Invite review: ‘Tis the season for great food and fabulous party invitations!

Nothing says holidays like delicious home-cooked food and precious moments spent with family and friends. Indeed, if there’s any time when I can’t seem to get myself out of the kitchen, it is around the winter holidays. The smell of decadent roasted turkey or ham, the crunching sound of crispy fresh baked cookies, the soothing velvet layers of potato and zucchini casseroles – there’s nothing quite like these, right? 馃檪 And yet, the food we eat is only one component of our usual winter holiday magic. When it comes to organizing festive gatherings, I like to show my appreciation for my loved ones by thinking things through, not just in terms of food alone, but also table setting, choice of wines, and party favors. Every little detail matters – and it all starts with a beautiful invite.

Thankfully, my knowledge of stationery companies has expanded recently upon being contacted by聽 Basic Invite, who expressed their interest in a collaboration. I jumped at the opportunity – and who wouldn’t? I love festive cards and invitations, and the quality of the products I had seen on Basic Invite’s website appeared unsurpassed by any other company currently on the market. So I said yes to Basic Invite’s offer – and I let the invites roll 😉

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Nielsen-Massey review and giveaway: baking dreams of cr猫me br没l茅e!

Ask me about my earliest baking memories, and I’ll tell you they revolve around mom making spice cake in the kitchen of our small apartment. With the patience that always characterized her, she would gently mix the batter with a wooden spoon (spatulas were non-existent), and would slowly pour it in an age-old baking pan with smooth edges and black interior. I would watch her lost in the beauty of colors and aromas, and ready to devour the copper-hued cake brimming with cinnamon and juniper berries, if we were lucky enough to get hold of the latter.

Ask my husband about his earliest baking memories, and he’ll have two words for you: cr猫me br没l茅e. The first thing he remembers about the baking process is the smell of fresh caramelized sugar – and his trepidation in anticipation of the forthcoming treat. His mom (my mother-in-law) would make cr猫me br没l茅e in a big enamel pot, capable to feed an army – and thus definitely capable to feed four small children! As the years went by and the children grew up an left home, MIL had to reduce quantities and to give up on her humongous cr猫me br没l茅e enamel pot – and yet, everyone’s love of her dessert (myself included!) never subsided.

I thought cr猫me br没l茅e would be the perfect dessert to make using Nielsen-Massey Vanillas聽products. I have been incorporating Nielsen-Massey extracts into my family鈥檚 recipes for two years now (some of my previous reviews can be found here, here, and here). Nielsen-Massey Vanillas contacted me again recently and offered to send me one of their vanilla extracts to review as part of their latest “Better Your Bake” campaign. Baking dreams of cr猫me br没l茅e? Yes, please! 馃檪

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My review of Mark Bittman’s Fast Pho meal kit available on Peapod: delicious convenience at the touch of a button!

Two jobs, two kids, one hungry husband, one overworked grandma – and the problem remains: What’s for dinner? I wish I had a good answer every time my family asked this question, but truth is… I do not! There are so many household chores to do, so many errands to run, so many people to take care of – which means that cooking dinner tends to become an afterthought these days, when it really shouldn’t.

Enter renowned food writer Mark Bittman and his latest cookbook, Dinner for Everyone: 100 Iconic Dishes Made Three Ways. Bittman wants cooking dinner at home to make his readers happy, and his book provides foolproof recipes for “encouragement and inspiration on even the toughest days.” To mark the launch of Bittman’s latest work, online grocer Peapod has created a meal kit based off of one of Bittman’s favorite recipes from Dinner for Everyone. I was asked to review the kit as well as to make additional recipes by shopping online for the ingredients – and what a time-saving experience this has been! It takes a village to raise a child – and it takes a well-stocked online grocery store to keep a stressed out mom on top of things ☺

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Hope & Sesame waffle recipe, review and giveaway: Happy Mother’s Day!

I don’t know about you, but I always start the day with oatmeal and coffee – and when I say coffee I mean 4.5oz coffee and lots and lots of milk to top it off. We drink plenty of cow’s milk in this house, and we are fortunate that none of us is lactose intolerant. Drinking cow’s milk is something I truly enjoy – which should not come as a surprise if you consider my life’s story. Milk was always in short supply when I was a kid. My dad would queue for hours to get a couple of bottles of curdled liquid that barely qualified as milk. I still remember the long lines of bottles left on the pavement on purpose, to hold someone’s place in line. Sometimes, we would get lucky and my aunt would bring us some milk from the countryside. That really was a reason for celebration. As we poured the thick, yellow liquid into glasses, my family’s faces would light up, as if witnessing a miracle. Drinking milk and eating bread was so good!

Gone are the days when barely drinkable milk was the only option for me and my family. Thankfully, nowadays not only is cow’s milk pretty much everywhere you look, but you can also find plenty of non-dairy alternatives to milk if you’re lactose intolerant or you just simply want to enjoy a plant-based diet, for a variety of reasons. There’s soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk and rice milk, to name a few. This is the beginning of an interesting food trend, whose dynamic growth has been reported by the media. The possibilities are truly endless. Enter Hope & Sesame, the world鈥檚 first line of organic sesamemilk 馃檪

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