Chicago Good Food Festival

GFFClogo-white-vert

One of the best things about living in a large metropolitan city like Chicago, is that there is always something exciting going on in the city.  This is especially true when it comes to good food and great music.  Next weekend, On Saturday March 18, to be exact the excitement will continue with the Good Food Festival which will take place at the UIC Forum form.  However last night I was bale to attend a preview of what the festival will entail and I was pleasantly surprised.

A few nights ago several ambassadors of the Festival invited a few of local bloggers out to Read it and Eat to sample some of the items that will be available at the Good Food Festival.  I went to the tasting hungry and I left full and satisfied.  Not only was the food VERY good, the information shared from the chefs and other proprietors made the evening a great learning experience as well.

gff8The tasting started with the Zen of Slow Cooking, who had prepared a lentil chili in the slow cooker.  With just a drop of sour cream on top this chili was absolutely divine.  It was so flavorful and hearty that I did not miss the beans or meat that I include in my own chili.  Their prepackaged Slow Cooker blends come with recipes (including detailed shopping lists) to make cooking a dish in your slow cooker a breeze.  We were given a package of their Slow Cooker blends to take home.  Since I just purchased a slow cooker last week, this will be a great way to begin my journey in using my slow cooker.

The next tasting was vegetarian Indian food from the Chutney Devis, (you can find them on Facebook at ChutneyDevis).  They prepared a Dal stuffed with a spiced vegeratian potato which was absolutely delicious.  They also prepared lentils as a side to accompany the Dal and potato and their lentils were very good as well.  The Chutney Devis sent me home with a sample of their special blend of curry as well as recipe.  (Looks like I will be trying a lot of recipes this Spring).

Next we were treated to Pierogi’s from the Chow Brothers.  There was a barbecued beef brisket pierogi as well as on with mushrooms.  I am allergic to mushrooms, but the barbecued beef pierogi was very tasty.  It was paired with a carrot and cabbage slaw that was very good and not overly dressed as some slaws can be.  Since this was my first pierogi, I can only hope that any other pierogi I taste will be as good as this one.

The next dish was probably my favorite.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE dessert, and when your dessert appears to be healthy as well, in my mind that is a win/win situation.  Justice of the Pies treated my taste buds to a sweet basil and key lime pie.  Can I just stop and let my eyes roll back in my head for a minute…. Ok, so if you cannot tell already, I loved this pie.  I would buy this pie, repeatedly.  It was like enjoying key lime pie with a refreshing finish.  I cannot wait for more during the festival.

So to wash these delectable food items down there was Fruitbelt, a sparkling fruit tonic.  Fruitbelt offered samples of the apple as well as he cherry tonics.  Both were very tasty but cherry was my fav.  The drink reminded me of a milder version of Jamaican Ginger Beer.  So If you are familiar with that type of flavor and are a fan of it, you would definitely enjoy this tonic.  I could definitely see this as a mixologists secret ingredient in a craft cocktail.

Next there was this very tall gentleman in a hot pink t-shirt making crepes.  The name of his company was Gotta B Crepes.  They have several varieties of crepes and last night the rave was the cinnamon roll crepe which had  fresh bananas and strawberries as well as a crepe with goat cheese, basil and blueberries topped with honey.  I did not personally try the crepes but everyone who did loved them.  I was impressed by the fact that the chef used locally sourced items.

Finally, there was Keenwah.   Of course it was Quinoa, however it was really good quinoa, not bland or dry.  There was not much to say about quinoa, except that this brand was very good and something that I will definitely purchase.  And the $2 off coupon was an added incentive.

If you are in the Chicago area and consider yourself to be a foodie, or just a food lover who may want to experience some new and different things, then the Good Food Festival is for you.   To make it even better the Festival is, wait for it, FREE.  Yes in 2017, there is a free festival for you to attend.  You have to register for free entry so register here.  So there is no excuse for you to not come out look for the companies I have mentioned here and see all of the other great chefs and food vendors that will be on hand during the festival.  I am sure it will be a great food experience.

 

A Happy Single Valentines Day

missingpiece

I have spent more years than I can to admit as a single girl living in the big city.  While it can be overwhelming to see all of the things geared and marketed to couples, quite often it can feel as if single’s are left out on Valentine’s Day.  As a matter of fact there is no holiday where singles can celebrate or where the focus is on being single.  (Maybe I should advocate for a National Single’s Day) there may be one already but I have never heard of it.

Many singles dread Valentine’s Day because you get bombarded with couples and all of the things that couples do, the flowers, the candy, the candlelight and romance.  No one really thinks or considers what it may be like to be single for Valentine’s day and how these messages geared toward couples effect singles.  My message to singles is it that the day can be celebrated just a much by us as it is by couples.

There are many things that you can do as a single woman to celebrate Valentine’s day and I guess the first thing to think of is whether you mind or prefer being out with the couples or if your prefer to stay in.  Let’s start with staying in.

A Valentine’s Day spent in the house can be a  very enjoyable experience.  From catching up on the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows or movies to curling up with a good book or just doing nothing, this can be an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy yourself by yourself.  The day could also be spent sleeping in or eating all of your favorite junk foods in your sweats, no rules need apply.

single-ladies-girls-women-quotes-sayings-party

You can also prepare a romantic dinner for yourself, cook your favorite foods (including dessert) and break out the good china, candles and wine glasses.  Why not treat yourself and do something special just for you.  End the dinner with a nice candlelit bubble bath with a glass of champagne or your favorite wine to end the evening with a smile on your face.

If you decide to go out, Valentine’s Day can also be a day to catch up with your single friends, if you choose not to be alone. Retail therapy, lunch or dinner at your favorite restaurant or a chick flick would be the  perfect way to spend a Valentine’s Day.  Going out with your single friends helps you to remember that you are not alone and that you don’t have to be lonely.

Girls Night Out

You may also want to use this day to spend with friends or family.  You can spend the day with your parents or grandparents, or if you are a single parent your children.  You can join the other couples and head out to one of your favorite restaurants or just go out for a movie.  If you do not want to do anything major a simple evening at the local ice cream parlor after dinner can be a great Valentines treat.

And there is no rule that states that you cannot buy flowers or chocolate for yourself.  Why not?  More than anything else this is a great opportunity to think outside of the box.  Do what makes you happy  and do not get caught up in the hype that you have to be with someone in order to enjoy Valentine’s Day.  More than anything else the day should be one where self love is practiced and promoted and where YOU are the star of the show!

 

Stay Blessed!  Stay Fabulous!

pink-lips