Three Easy Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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This post was sponsored by Splenda Naturals as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

 

Easy solutions to keep your New Year’s resolutions by substituting ingredients, supporting your muscles and energy and choosing lower calorie drinks.

That first step into the new year means you can continue doing things the way you always have or you can take the plunge into changing your habits to a path that makes you happy. I guess you could call it a resolution but I really think it is just a coincidental benefit of the start of the new year.… Read more

An Interview with Certified Master Chef Derin Moore

Posted by | Chefs, Resort, Travel | No Comments

An interview with Certified Master Chef Derin Moore of Reynolds Lake Oconee on creating a top rated culinary destination for members, guests and golfers.

Are you familiar with the title, Certified Master Chef? This is the highest honor issued by the American Culinary Federation to currently just 68 chefs in the U.S. at the peak of their culinary expertise. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Certified Master Chef, Derin Moore, while visiting Reynolds Lake Oconee located near Atlanta.Chef Derin Moore Reynolds Lake Oconee

The very first thing you notice about Chef Derin Moore is his stature and intensity. And then his warmth, sense of humor and passion for what he is doing comes through.… Read more

Lemon Zest Cream Cheese Pastry with Candied Lemon

Posted by | Entertaining, Holidays, Recipes | No Comments

With guests coming over for the holidays, it’s always fun to have a menu that includes sweet treats that everyone will like. So, yes, lots of chocolate but also desserts with a lighter flavor. I happen to love anything with fruit in it. That’s why I like making these Lemon Zest Cream Cheese Pastry with Candied Lemon treats. They are fragrant, bright and delicious. Plus, so easy to make! Lemon Zest Cream Cheese Pastry with Candied Lemon - Entertaining made simple with this light and fragrant lemon cream cheese pastry

If you love to have friends and family over but worry that your cooking skills didn’t carry through from Mom to you, don’t worry! There are so many recipes that will “wow” your guests that won’t have you googling every ingredient or technique.… Read more

7 Chicago Luxury Hotel Suites That Exceed Expectations

Posted by | Hotel, Luxury, Travel | No Comments

When traveling to a city with world-class museums, architecture that makes for the most memorable of skylines, a magnificent mile of shops, a vibrant theater district, shimmering waters of Lake Michigan and a top rated culinary scene, high expectations for luxury hotel accommodations are not a surprise. Here are seven of Chicago’s most luxurious suites, in no particular order.

7) Ritz Carlton: The Presidential Suite 

Located on the famed Magnificent Mile above Water Tower Place, the Ritz Carlton Hotel stands surrounded by the energy of the boulevard. Once inside, the serenity and grandeur of the hotel’s design welcomes you.

7 chicago luxury hotel suites that exceed expectations ritz carlton

The Presidential Suite is an expansive 2,900 square feet of luxury.… Read more

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

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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

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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

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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