Inspiring Kitchen, Author at InspiringKitchen.com

Holiday Traditions: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Posted by | Baking, Hostess Gift, Recipes | No Comments

Do you have a favorite cookie? I do. I remember them from childhood at my Grandmother’s house. Molasses cookies. The chewy ones. Well, since Gram baked from the heart and left me no recipe, I had to create one. This was a seriously fun project to be on! Holiday Traditions: Chewy Molasses Cookies

After much trial and sort-of error, I have a molasses cookie recipe that I love. It’s so easy and is made with ingredients you have in your spice cabinet, especially this time of year. I use the Brer Rabbit brand of molasses. It has a mild flavor which I like in this recipe.… Read more

10 Technology Gift Ideas for Kids and Adults

Posted by | Gift Guide, Technology | No Comments

10 Technology Gift Ideas for Kids and Adults

As everyone knows, we are immersed in the world of technology. It is everywhere in our lives with the intention of making us more organized and efficient, able to communicate faster and more often, a resource for just about any research we are doing (recipes, homework, WebMD, etc), entertainment, music, fitness tracking, exploring virtual reality, beauty tips and tools and so much more. Earlier this year, I wrote about how technology is now the norm in kitchens with 10 examples of smart home ideas for your kitchen.  With the holidays fast approaching, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to attend the CTA Holiday Gift Ideas Lunch and Learn sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association, Techlicious and Hostess, Kris McDonald from littletechgirl.com. 

At the luncheon, brand reps were available to educate us on their products, uses and benefits.… Read more

A Night Out: Gourmet Dinner and a Movie at CMX Cinebistro

Posted by | Entertainment, Restaurants | No Comments

Dinner and a movie. An evening out with some good food and entertainment. A way to temporarily escape real life and immerse yourself in some drama, intrigue, comedy or action packed stories. Such a fun plan, right? We just need to choose a movie and then coordinate our dinner reservation so that we get to the theater in time. And we can’t forget traffic! But there is good news as Cinebistro has got this all figured out for us as we discovered on a recent evening out. 

With Halloween around the corner, we found a theater that was showing a classic show: Beetlejuice.… Read more

Athens Phyllo Shells Make Entertaining So Easy

Posted by | Entertaining, Foods, Recipes | No Comments

Athens Phyllo Shells Make Entertaining So Easy – 6 recipes using Athens Phyllo Shells for desserts, appetizers and brunch.

Athens Phyllo Shells Make Entertaining So Easy Recipes Appetizers Desserts Phyllo Dough Dessert Recipes

The phone rings. Friends are stopping by in 30 minutes to hang out and catch up. Wine? Check. Dessert? Nope, nothing ready. Give me 20 minutes and I am all set, thanks to Athens Phyllo Shells.

Athens Phyllo Shells Make Entertaining So Easy

These ready-to-serve shells are the solution to so many entertaining dilemmas this holiday season.  Made from phyllo dough, a light, crispy and tissue thin dough used in Greek cooking, the shells make for the perfect bite size sweet or savory treat to share with guests.… Read more

Dippable Halloween Snacks with Mini Babybel Cheese

Posted by | Cheese, Entertaining, Recipe | No Comments
Dippable Halloween Snacks with Mini Babybel CheeseThis post is sponsored by Bel Brands USA and Mini Babybel Cheese, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Dippable Halloween Snacks with Babybel Cheese – Celebrate Halloween with party perfect melted cheese rounds for dipping in your favorite sauce.

Entertaining is such a creative outlet for me. My favorite part, which will be no surprise, is the menu. Hosting a Halloween party means having treats that appeal to adults and kids. Thanks to Mini Babybel®, I have this covered!Dippable Halloween Snacks with Mini Babybel Cheese

You may be familiar with these little rounds of cheese wrapped in red cello paper. They come in a mesh bag that you will find in the cheese section of your local Target store.… Read more

Highlights from Chicago’s Premier Food and Wine Festival – Chicago Gourmet

Posted by | Bon Appetit, Chefs, Culinary Event, Illinois Restaurant Association, Restaurants | No Comments

Highlights from Chicago's Premier Food and Wine Festival - Chicago Gourmet

Highlights from Chicago’s Premier Food and Wine Festival – Chicago Gourmet – We ate, we drank and we #RockedTheFork at this year’s culinary event.

 

Chicago’s Millennium Park was the place to be as we celebrated the 11th year of Chicago Gourmet. The theme of #RockTheFork had hundreds of chefs, master sommeliers, wine and spirit makers and others sharing their specialties.

Chicago Gourmet Opening Ceremony

Highlights from Chicago's Premier Food and Wine Festival - Chicago Gourmet

Music played a big role in entertaining the more than 14,000 attendees with sounds ranging from guitar to the Blues to Mariachi’s to rock (of course!). 

Highlights from Chicago's Premier Food and Wine Festival - Chicago Gourmet

This world class culinary festival started off with an opening ceremony led by Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO, Sam Toia, Bon Appetit’s Editor In Chief Adam Rapoport, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Illinois, Mike House, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with celebrity chefs Rick Bayless, Carla Hall, Lorena Garcia, Bravo’s Top Chef, Joe Flamm and others. 

Highlights from Chicago's Premier Food and Wine Festival - Chicago Gourmet

Highlights from Chicago's Premier Food and Wine Festival - Chicago Gourmet

(Chef Carla Hall)

Here’s how to explore Chicago’s restaurant world all in one place!… Read more

Sony Wows with Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones

Posted by | Electronics | No Comments

Rock. Jazz. Pop. R&B. Country. Music for any mood. Listening to music has been a part of my life since childhood. My parents would have music going in the house as part of the background of whatever activities we were doing. That love of music has continued for me whether listening to live music at concert halls, attending Milwaukee’s huge music festival known as Summerfest, playing the radio or CDs or listening to portable music players. Yet those headphones for the portable players left much to be desired. Until I found noise canceling headphones. Miraculous!

Sony Wows with Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones

Thanks to Sony’s industry leading Noise Canceling WH-1000XM3 Headphones, listening to music really means LISTENING TO MUSIC!… Read more

Roasted Vegetable Frittata Makes the Perfect Brunch Centerpiece

Posted by | Entertaining, Recipe | No Comments

Roasted Vegetable Frittata Makes the Perfect Brunch Centerpiece – A colorful vegetarian frittata is served at our birthday celebration brunch.

When family lives from California to Europe, there has to be a very good reason to bring everyone together. Thankfully, we had just that occasion for a special person’s birthday. We planned for a small gathering to let the birthday girl spend time with each guest. The weekend was filled with lots of food, memories and laughter. Photographs that showed images that brought joy and stories to be shared. On the final day, we wanted to do a brunch at home so everyone could relax and reminisce in comfort. 

The main dish for the brunch was a vegetarian frittata that I made two ways to accommodate dietary restrictions.… Read more

Hyatt Cooks Up The Good Taste Series Culinary Competition

Posted by | Culinary Event, Restaurants, Travel | No Comments

Hyatt Cooks Up The Good Taste Series Culinary Competition – Eleven chefs from Hyatt hotels compete Iron Chef style for winner to attend global competition.

If you are a fan of Food Network shows Iron Chef or Chopped or Bravo’s Top Chef, you can imagine how nerve-wracking it must be for the chefs competing to win that coveted title. Their culinary knowledge and creativity are all tested in a fast paced environment. To say the kitchen is “hot” is an understatement!

In the spirit of these shows, I was invited for the second time to judge a chef competition for the Hyatt Corporation. In their The Good Taste Series competition, Hyatt chefs compete against their colleagues to win prizes and the opportunity to travel to an international destination for the ultimate in competitive cooking events.… Read more

Beer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

Posted by | Culinary Event, Festival, Restaurants, Tourism | No Comments
 
Grab your cowboy boots and hat and make your way to the Windy City Smokeout happening this weekend in Chicago. Gates just opened for the 5th year of this food and music fest with two stages filled with artists from around the country entertaining fans all weekend long. 

Beer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

With over 25 country music bands playing throughout the three day festival

Beer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

and 20 of the world’s best pitmasters sharing their BBQ creations, this is an event you just can’t miss. 

Over the course of the weekend, you have the opportunity to sample beers from 28 different breweriesBeer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

as well as cocktails including Three Dots and a Dash Hurricane/Mai Tai, Effen Bellini and Casamigos Shark Tank. Beer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

In addition to BBQ, you will find seafood options including Little Miss BBQ Salmon, Pearl’s Southern Comfort Ragin’ Cajun Crawfish Boil and Charbroiled Oysters.  Beer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

Plenty of side dishes from Alexia Cheese Waffle Fries to Hometeam Grilled Esquites Corn to LeRoy and Lewis Sambal Cucumber Salad. Beer, BBQ and Country Music at Windy City Smokeout

And of course, the mission of the Windy City Smokeout: the BBQ!… Read more