Finally, I’m back with a new episode of my series “My life as a foodie in Chicago”, a series that is a little bit more personal than my regular posts and where I share a little bit more of myself. Hope you’ll enjoy!
Just a little reminder in case you are a bit lost, I moved from Stockholm to Chicago eight months ago (eight already, really?!) and launched this series to share my culinary journey in the US with you. In case you missed my previous episodes – episode 1, episode 2, episode 3 – you can find them under Resources > Lifestyle in Chicago.
I have so many things I’d like to tell you I don’t even know where to start, so maybe let’s just start with the most important to me right now: we’re moving! Again! Yes, after several months living in this beautiful building in the center of Chicago, David and I finally decided to leave our 21st floor nest and move to a new neighborhood. It all started because we wanted to have a bigger apartment, and also because we love exploring and dreaming about new places to live in. So we started visiting flats just for fun at the end of December, until we finally started to seriously think about it. Especially when we eventually found our dream place.
And of course, a dream place means a dream kitchen to me (the rest doesn’t really matter after all, does it?). Oh, I can’t tell you how excited I am! Our kitchen is just exactly how I have alwaya imagined it: a large, open space, modern and bright, with many cabinets (and yes, I do need many of them, even if half of my kitchen is still packed in boxes in Stockholm). In the middle, there is a huge kitchen island that we can rotate in whatever direction we fancy, so we can basically change the layout of the kitchen. I just love the idea! Plus, it’s a very bright space as the main wall is actually one big floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the neighborhood.
The moving is planned this coming weekend so while you are reading this, I am probably busy packing, juggling mixed feelings in between nostalgia and enthusiasm. We have gathered great memories in the place we currently call home. Everything happened so quickly; I hardly believe this is happening for real (yes I know, I moved from France to Sweden, and then from Sweden to the US, so now moving from Chicago to Chicago again is not a big deal, but you know there is always a little something we are leaving behind). One thing is sure though: I can’t wait to take you on a tour of our new kitchen very soon. Be ready for it!
I haven’t counted the recipes I created for you in my current kitchen, but there were quite a few actually, and I like to remember the “behind the scenes” of each of them: which difficulties I faced for some of them, excitement I felt for others, how I played with the light and the set-up for each shooting session, etc. Some of these recipes even became huge favorites on the blog, such as the Healthy sweet potato fries with an avocado dip, the Easy fluffy American pancakes, or the French toast roll-ups with chocolate and marshmallows (a much older recipe, actually the very first one I made in Chicago while visiting my boyfriend. At that time I hadn’t moved from Sweden yet).
Among the latest recipes on the blog, you will find a medley between one third of healthy recipes and two thirds of sweet comfort dishes and desserts. Let’s start with the healthy ones here:
- Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Coconut Cream (… made with aquafaba)
- Broccoli, Feta and Red Onion Pizza
- Roasted Cauliflower Hummus and Pita Chips
- Roasted Lemon Cauliflower & Halloumi Pita Pockets with a Vegan Aioli
- My Favorite Spirulina Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)
- Roasted Turmeric Delicata Squash Quinoa Bowl with a Mint Pesto (Gluten Free)
The beginning of the year also provided for many excuses to prepare some delicious comforting treats: there was the Epiphany in January, French Crêpes Day on February 2nd, Valentine’s Day, and most importantly my birthday which called for a huge cake (guess which one in the list):
- Creamy Baked Eggs with Smoked Salmon
- Swedish White Chocolate and Cardamom Wreath
- Outrageous Chocolate-Mandarin Meringue Cake
- Heart-Shaped Valentine Cakes filled with White Chocolate Buttercream
- French Crêpes Suzette
- Glazed Orange Poppy Seed Donuts
- French Spice Cake Pain d’Épices
- Lemon Magic Cake
- Braided Almond Cream Wreath
And because I never get enough of food, when I don’t cook, bake, or shoot food photos for the blog, I always have to find a way to work with food anyway (I really just can’t get enough of it!), often as a freelance food writer. Lately I have been involved in a new project: teaching French bread classes in Chicago! I have always had this thing for teaching, and when it comes to my passion, it’s of course something I enjoy even more. These last few years, I have been mainly teaching Swedish baking classes, and now it’s time to go back to my French origins: I teach how to make baguettes, and also other French pastries, such as babas. I just had my first class this week and it was a lot of fun – 4 hours of pure joy with an amazing group of passionate students! I can’t wait to hold my next class very soon!
As you probably saw at the beginning of the year, I also developed further skills: I finally learned how to edit movies all by myself, and I’m really proud of it. My first attempt was with The Best recipes of 2016. I still need to work on honing my skills but I’m getting there, and as soon as I am settled in the new kitchen, I hope I will finally start shooting video tutorials for good. There is always a part of me a little bit afraid of doing it, but now it’s too late as I just told you I would do it! Also, I don’t have any excuse as I just got a new camera for my birthday – a Canon EOS Rebel T6s. Until now, I was using a Nikon, so I need some time to adapt but it’s part of the fun. I went for a medium-advanced camera with a new 18-135mm lens, and I can’t wait to play with it!
My other birthday present was the cutest one on Earth: a dozen of adorable vintage dessert plates. I felt like in paradise when I opened the box and discovered they were all different from one another (are you with me here or is it a thing only crazy and obsessed food bloggers can understand? Well at least if you are a food blogger, I know you get me on this!). They will for sure star in many of my upcoming recipes. So many exciting projects to look forward to!
Photo credit: BHDLN
Oh, and of course I couldn’t leave you without sharing a few photos of my wanderings in beautiful Chicago lately. The weather has been a little bit crazy here (with very cold winter temperatures followed by beautiful and almost warm spring days), but whatever the season I always like to go for a walk, a bike ride, or a run outside, exploring the city a little bit more each time, and I’m happy to share it with you here!