10 Examples of Smart Home Technology for your Kitchen

Posted by | Housewares, Technology | No Comments

Smart Kitchen Tools

In 1999, Disney Channel released an original movie called Smart House. In this children’s movie, a teenage boy named Ben wins a competition where the prize is a fully automated home that can ultimately take care of itself. To Ben, this home means his dad will not have to re-marry. However, in typical movie, Ben’s dad falls in love. Ben, feeling betrayed, tampers with the smart home’s computer program and causes it to try to take over. Spoiler alert, the movie has an all-around happy ending.


When I first saw this movie way back when, I was in awe of the idea of an automated, or “smart,” home.… Read more

Experience The Peninsula Hotel’s Chocolate at the Pen

Posted by | Dessert, Hotel, Travel | 14 Comments

For most people, there is nothing better in this world when it comes to sweet treats than chocolate. In any form. Rich, decadent chocolate made from only the finest cacao beans.So, it should be no surprise that the elegant Peninsula Hotel Chicago is offering an adventure in to the world of chocolate from the eyes of a world-class pastry chef. Chocolate at the Pen is a chocolate bar like no other. Executive Pastry Chef and Chocolate Sommelier, Dimitri Fayard, sets the stage for an evening of sweet indulgences that range from desserts to chocolate truffles to a hot chocolate station to homemade ice cream all presented to appeal to your eyes first.… Read more

Delicious and crispy roasted potatoes topped with parmesan cheese for the perfect side dish.

Crispy Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

Posted by | Housewares, Recipes | 10 Comments

I like entertaining. Truthfully. I love it. Coming up with recipes whether reading cookbooks, searching online or creating my own dish is totally fun for me. Finding side dishes that everyone likes when you are hosting a dinner party can be a bit overwhelming at times however. I have found though, that potatoes are a welcome addition to just about any table. It’s familiar and comforting to many people. And there are a 1000 ways to make them! As a Brand Ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, I look for ways to incorporate this very popular and so flavorful cheese into my recipes.… Read more

Celebrating the Holidays with Max & Leo’s and Chicago Trolley

Posted by | Restaurants, Tourism | 7 Comments

Everyone knows that coming to Chicago is an adventure in architecture, food, the arts, shopping and sports! From a tourism perspective, there are endless ways to see all that Chicago has to offer. In the winter time, our options are a bit limited given the weather. Which is why our recent holiday celebration of artisan pizza from Max & Leo’s and a ride aboard the Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour made for such a festive evening.

We started out at Max & Leo’s for its artisan pizza and wings. Made in 900 degree coal fired ovens, the pizza’s char crust is filled with creative ingredients from the always popular Margherita to the Brooksy (Mascarpone and sliced mozzarella, grilled chicken, caramelized onions and wild mushrooms) to L’Umina (ricotta cheese, sliced pears, caramelized onions, basil, fresh sliced prosciutto and drizzled organic wildflower honey) to many other varieties that you can see here.… Read more

Dining on the Freshest Seafood at Sullivan’s Steakhouse Naperville

Posted by | Restaurants | 4 Comments

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Going to a steakhouse as a non-meat eater can sometimes be concerning. Will the fish that they offer me be at the same standards as the steaks being served? Will I have choices or just that one line item of salmon? Had I gone to Sullivan’s Steakhouse from the start, I would never be asking these questions. The fish is outstanding.sullivans-board-roomIn the quaint downtown of Naperville, Illinois, you will find a Sullivan’s Steakhouse. There are many reasons to be celebrating at Sullivan’s in Naperville. From the newly remodeled restaurant with a contemporary feelsullivans-decor-picmto the holiday season to a girl’s gathering to family dinners to a work meeting.… Read more

Gingerbread with Crystallized Ginger

Posted by | Recipe | 5 Comments

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There are so many things about the holiday season that I just love. The decorations, the parties, and of course, the food! From soups to stews to braised meats to spiced sauces and breads to desserts, creating recipes that use rich and aromatic ingredients not only tastes amazing but will make your home smell warm and welcoming. Gingerbread is one of those treats that just feel right to eat during this time of year. 


Gingerbread with Crystallized Ginger

The trick with making gingerbread loaves is to find the right balance of those intense spices like gingercloves and cinnamon.… Read more

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan Cheese

Posted by | Recipes | 5 Comments

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Brussel sprouts. You either love them or not. But, I will bet you never had them made in a good way if you say you don’t like them. There was a time that you would see recipes that showed boiled or mushy sprouts. I don’t blame anyone for not eating them. I didn’t grow up having them at dinner. And my Mom is an amazing cook!

I started making them three years ago for Thanksgiving. I found a recipe that sounded good on “paper”. Once I made them, I realized how delicious they are! The funny part was, while they look like little cabbages, they don’t taste like that.… Read more

14 Ideas for a Stress-Free Holiday Season of Cooking

Posted by | Holidays, Housewares | 7 Comments

Ok, did you realize Thanksgiving is in 6 days?! 6 days! Are you ready? Does hosting a big meal stress you out? I would understand if you say “yes”. All those recipes, grocery shopping, cooking, setting the table and personalities can make for an emotionally charged dinner. But, since I love Thanksgiving and the tradition, I am going to share some secrets with you on how to actually enjoy the day and no longer dread that Thursday in November.

Inspiring Kitchen vegetable turkey platter appetizer final

There are a million websites that will tell you what to make for dinner, how to roast the turkey and how to set the table.… Read more

For The Children: The Jackson Chance Foundation and One Step Camps

Posted by | Fundraiser | 8 Comments

This has been a month of fundraising for wonderful organizations tying together restaurants, hotels, wine and spirits and VERY generous people. Last week, I shared how a prestigious cooking school, Kendall College, and fresh and modern, Fig and Olive Restaurant, were able to raise funds for their scholarships and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, respectively, over fried chicken, champagne and salmon!

Today, I have two new experiences to share with you:

 


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When a child is ill, all we want to do is make them better.… Read more

LuxeHome Chill at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart

Posted by | Culinary Event, Fundraiser | 5 Comments

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As someone who works in the home design and cooking space, attending LuxeHome Chill each November is one of the highlights of the year for me. This year, we celebrated the 10th annual LuxeHome Chill International Wine and Culinary event. Held at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, designer showrooms filled with the most gorgeous housewares, fabrics and lighting grace the vignettes which are the backdrop for over 50 world class chefs and over 150 wines to be offered to guests.luxehome-housewares-picmThis premier food festival is presented in cooperation with Wine Spectator Magazine with the evening’s proceeds benefiting three Chicago charities:

The Lynn Sage Foundation – Dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, this foundation has raised over $2 million to support the Lynn Sage Scholars Program which is 100% local to Chicago and fully research based. 


Saturday Place – This academic enrichment program for 3rd and 4th grade students from Chicago Public Schools is a proven model for improving students’ academic performance and creating a lasting love of learning. 

Respiratory Health Association– An independent not-for-profit lung health organization that has been serving Chicagoland since 1906, their mission is to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better through education, research and policy change. 

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As we wandered the hallways and showrooms, elegantly dressed guests sampled dishes made by Chicago’s finest chefs and restaurants while live music played all around us.… Read more