Stories for: Food

Food, Insider's ObsessionsIn a Nutshell

untitledThe New Year is always a welcome time to start afresh, rethink goals, and start a less conscience-racking diet, in my case. With the rigors of holiday eating done for the season, I’m craving a change in my waistline and an infusion of energy back into my system. Thankfully, eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up all joy in life! I am completely obsessed with the crazy-fresh and naturally scrumptious nut bars from Nutshell. It may seem impossible that a bar- usually a last resort breakfast or snack- can be worthy of such a rave, but I myself was amazed the first time I tried a bite. The freshness of the nuts and ingredients such as espresso beans (in my fave flavor, Java), cinnamon, and of course walnuts, cashews, and other premium nuts produce a surprising and welcome flavor bomb.

Nutshell is a new boutique company headed by Will D’Agostino, an active outdoorsman who refuses to sacrifice flavor in a nutritious bar. They pay an amazing amount of attention to every single ingredient that goes into the bars. Each is packed with organic, vegan, gluten-free ingredients, and each flavor profile is so well curated it would be at home in a bakery. The bars can be kept fresh in the fridge until they’re ready to eat, and I recommend enjoying the bar at room temperature to ensure your tastebuds get the best experience. The crave-worthy bars available to the lucky residents of Connecticut and thankfully, to the rest of the country online. Trust me on this one, your workouts and tastebuds will love you that much more.

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Food, Insider's Obsessions, Mom & KidsNurture Life

peyote_nl-banner71516-everything3-v1_dsc9738-1-3I’m excited to introduce a life-changer to the heroes out there, moms and dads who do it all. Just yesterday I was chatting with a friend and described my experience of being a parent, and compared it to driving a car when you don’t know how everything in the car works, and you also don’t know where you’re headed. If this resonates with you or anyone you love, Nurture Life will be a welcome addition to the family. A much-needed service at least in my household, Nurture Life delivers healthy, tasty, organic food tailored to picky tastebuds. It replaces worry with peace of mind and gives you more time in the day to actually enjoy your kids instead of slaving in the kitchen. I don’t have to stress over planning meals, grocery shopping, and meal prepping and am free to play, teach, and love my kids with more patience (parents need every ounce!).

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Food, InternationalMaille Duo of Truffle Mustards

mailleWith holiday season upon us, tastebuds demand to be tantalized by something extra special. La Maison Maille comes through with a winning duo, the new limited edition Truffle and Cep Mustard and the best-selling Chablis White Wine and Black Truffle Mustard, plus a signature wooden mustard spoon in a black gift box. I have a special place in my heart for truffles, and sometimes crave them at random times (work, walking in the park, in the bath even!). The mustard is perfectly balanced to showcase the flavor of the truffles even amidst the tanginess, combining my two favorite tastes.  I incorporated the Truffle and Cep Mustard into a recipe for Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew. The result was an incredibly savory, comforting and  rich stew, perfect for autumn! I recommend trying the recipe for an intimate gathering, just leave plenty of time to stew the beef, as I needed an hour on top of the suggested time to make sure it was tender enough. On second go-around, I used a slow cooker, and it turned out even better! I was quite liberal with the mustard, and the high quality of the mustard elevated the dish substantially. My guests were astounded, and I was a happy chef.

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Food, InternationalSummer Spread

green-jar-boxJust in time for festive summer gatherings to kick into gear, I’m perfecting some simple recipes to serve, from girls night to a Saturday picnic at the vineyard. My go-to ingredient to make any simple dish zing is Maille’s limited edition mustard with Rosemary honey, made in the Pyrenées Mountains on the west side of the French Mediterranean coast. The fragrant condiment is such a zesty treat for the tastebuds that I love spreading it on a hearty wheat cracker as a snack. I savor the flavors as they hit, from the sweet Grand Cru honey from bees pollinating rosemary grown in rich soil and of course the Dijon mustard base ferrying these flavors forward. I love the creativity the veteran French house has shown a seemingly simple condiment, and has elevated it in a way that showcases carefully sourced herbs and ingredients.

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Food, InternationalPrintemps! A Taste of France

maille-760x428The French countryside in the spring is one of my favorite places to visit in person or in my daydreams. Picturesque lavender fields set against a perfect blue sky are paradise on earth, and the beauty and romance are never quite fully captured in pictures and words. I treasure each and every delicacy from France, whether it is gorgeous chocolate or a gooey cheese. This spring, French mustard expert Maille’s garden-inspired trio of mustards captures the spirit of France- the focus on the most beautiful and aromatic herbs and high quality ingredients. Michelin-starred chef Bruno Loubet  collaborated with Maille to create each flavor, drawing inspiration from his childhood garden in rural France. Maille has been the expert on all things mustard since 1747, and I still have the clay pot which years ago held my first tastes of the exquisite Maille condiment. I recall savoring every bit of it, and spread it on anything I could find. Who knew mustard could be so addictive? The new trio comes gift-ready in a beautiful box fit for the treasures it holds, and the three varieties include Mustard with Carrot and a Hint of Shallot, Mustard with Olives and Herbes de Provence, and Mustard with White Wine, Beet, and a Hint of Honey.

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Food, Gift Guides, ObsessionsObsession of the Moment: Sugarfina Vice Collection Bento Box

ootm---sugarfina

Food, Mom & Kids3 Treats That’ll Have You Cuddling Up for Valentine’s Day

 

daydream

If there’s one thing I want to do this polar winter more than anything else, it is to cuddle! Not only is cuddling good for stealing a little body heat, but it warms the soul. It’s no wonder that Valentine’s Day falls right amidst the coldest season, when there’s nothing more appealing than finding someone special to get close to. The absolute must-have for cuddling up this winter is the Daydream blanket by aden + anais which is something of an actual dream come true for me.

Since the days when I only trusted aden + anais blankets to swaddle my newborn with, I have been secretly wishing I had my own version of this beautiful baby blanket. As soon as I found out that their ultra-soft signature cotton muslin weave is now available in a generous size at 60″ x 72″, I was counting the minutes until I could curl up and get warm under it. I’m not ashamed to say, it’s almost like an adult security blanket for me since it follows me around the house whether it’s sitting under it with my morning coffee (ok, that only happens on Saturdays), or after a long day of work as I plop on the couch. Some chilly nights it even finds its way to bed, thrown over the comforter for some extra warmth. The Daydream blanket actually contains four layers of muslin, not a bit of filler here! As soon as my skin touches an inch of the fabric, it just can’t get enough of it. I can attest to the amazing quality- not only does it somehow get softer with every wash, but holds up under multiple launderings and tumbles through the dryer.

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Food, HomePerfect Pairing: Donna Karan New York Blend & Be The Light Czech Holiday Cookie Candle

Relax and unwind this season with a pairing that’s as cozy as it’s elegant.

Tea and a candle may not come to mind immediately as going hand-in-hand, but Harney & Son’s Donna Karan New York Blend tea and Petra Nemcova’s Be The Light Czech Holiday Cookie candle complement each other in just the right way. The gentle caffeine-free blend of chamomile, ginger root, and peppermint tea calms and balances while the candle notes of cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, and vanilla envelope your senses in warmth and sweetness. Each is lovely on its own, but best experienced together as an evening ritual to unwind after a chaotic day. The pairing also makes a thoughtful gift for the haute hostess or busy woman and is equally enjoyable whether shared around the table with family or alone during a singular moment of escapism.

Harney & Sons Donna Karan New York Blend tea ($10, DonnaKaran.com,Harney.com)
Be The Light Czech Holiday Cookie Candle ($98, BG.com, NeimanMarcus.com)

Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesThe Sweetest Gift: Sugarfina Beverly Hills

sugarfina beverly hills

I don’t know about you but I seem to have outgrown the candy emporiums of my youth — where color-coded M&Ms graced the walls, waiting to be dispensed into a plastic bag for my movie-snacking pleasure. But what I haven’t outgrown is really good candy. And that’s where gourmet candy curators and founders of Sugarfina, Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick, found their sweet spot.

Recently engaged, Rosie and Josh met on Match.com four years ago and dreamed up the idea for Sugarfina, a gourmet candy haven for grown-ups, after watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on their third date. A combination of marketing savvy (she used to be a marketing director for Barbie) and entrepreneurial success (Josh sold the now-defunct Pandemic Studios, a video-game design firm, to Electronic Arts in a deal valued at $860 million), they had great potential for success.

Sugarfina launched in August 2012 online, and just this weekend, these lovebirds opened the first-ever Sugarfina candy boutique for grown-ups in Beverly Hills. I stopped by during their fourth hour of operation, got a tour from Rosie and sampled as much candy as I could. (Tough job, I know.) Here are the highlights: READ MORE

Food, Los AngelesThe Best American Wines for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving wines

Bird, check. Veggies, check. This year’s “It” pie, check. Wine … Marijke?

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year or being a gracious guest, you may find yourself staring blankly at a wall of wines, trying to decide which (affordable) bottle will be most delicious with a turkey dinner. Well, stare no more. I’ve enlisted my dear friend and sommelier Marijke van Niekerk @lawinegal to provide her top recommendations for Thanksgiving.

The theme is “classic gourmet” with a deep Southern twist, based on the menu I curated from the growing stack of Bon Appétit magazines under my coffee table and a borderline obsessive recipe-search habit. Marijke has decided on an all-American wine selection because, “Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to explore the United States’ fantastic, world-class wines.” Very well, then! Here’s the lineup:

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