doughnuts · festival · fruits · healthy eating · organic

Long Grove Strawberry Fest 2019

~Last weekend my fiance and I checked out the Strawberry Festival, an annual event held in Long Grove, IL from June 21-23 (we went on the 21st since we both had the day off). It was about an hour drive from where I live, but thankfully traffic wasn’t bad. The main road took us on a detour that shuffled us to event parking by a local church. We walked a short way only to realize that neither of us had extra cash on us (the last $5 my fiance had was used for parking (though it was advertied as free parking, what a rip off!)). The woman at the entrance pointed us in the direction of the nearest ATM, where I withdrew enough money not only for entry for the two us ($5 per person) but also for spending.

Once inside the festival we were greeted by a band performing on the main stage and a group of people filing in and out of the shops adjacent to the stage. The festival sprawled across downtown Long Grove with several booths selling various strawberry flavored concoctions. One of the more unusal ones I saw was a stand selling strawberry flavored kettle corn, which I was tempted to try, but I chickened out. We walked several blocks down to explore the rest of the festival where we ended up at the Long Grove Coffee Company.

Long Grove Coffee Company

The Long Coffee Co. was cozy and reminicent of a traditional coffee shop one would see on TV. There were several small tables and even a shelf of old board games you could play. There was a wide selection of coffee, coffee blended drinks and tea to choose from, as well as a few pastries. I had a vanilla latte and a strawberry doughnut which my fiance and I split. Let me tell you, this was by far one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had! It was a cake based doughnut (fun fact I actually prefer yeast based doughnuts) that was so light and fluffy even with chucks of strawberries baked into it, and coated with sugar but it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. It was so good that before we left I bought a half dozen doughnuts 🙂

Walking back on the main road to the majority of stalls at the festival we stopped at a stand from a company called Nectar of the Vine that was selling wine slushies. They came in packages where to make the slushy you combine the package with a bottle of wine (or other liquor you prefer) and equal parts water, blend and freeze for a few hours.

They had two flavors to sample, pomegrante and peach mango. I tried the pomegrante and my fiance tried the peach mango. After sampling we exchanged shots and tried the opposite flavors, both of which were delicious. After talking with the procuerer of the stand we parted ways and further into the festival. Before we left, however, I stoppped back and bought the pomegrante mix. The man had recognized us from earlier and gave me a deal: 2 mixes for $20 (each bag was $13 each)! Score! My second flavor I got was the peach mango.

The last stop, and perhaps my favorite, was a chocolatier that made everything you could possibly dip in chocolate or create with chocolate that could have easily put Willy Wonka out of business. I picked up a few chocolate dipped strawberries (the feature photo of this post) and a strip of chocolate covered bacon. The chocolate was so smooth and luckily didn’t melt on the car ride home! The strawberries were juicy and delicious.

Overall I enjoyed the Strawberry Festival more than I thought I would. It was through Facebook that I found the festival and learned from the guy at Nectar of the Vine that Long Grove also hosts a chocolate festival and an apple festival in the fall (which I hope to attend) 😀

For more info and to shop Nectar of the Vine’s vast selection of wine slushies visit https://www.nectarofthevine.com/

farmers market

I’ve emerged from hibernation

Hello everyone!

I’ve come out of my self impossed hiatus and have returned to blogging and farmer’s markets. I took 2018 off to focus on some personal and financial stuff, but I’m back! Last weekend I went to the Frankfort Country Market and had a wonderful time, which there will be a subsequent blog post about it. And this coming Memorial Day weekend my fiance (I’m engaged now! <3) and I are going back to Frankfort Country Market.

farmers market · Handmade · holiday

Countdown to Christmas

~Can you believe that Christmas is only a couple of days away?! Good thing I finished all my Christmas shopping lol. But if you didn’t, I have a place where you’ll find the perfect gift: Christkindlmarket in downtown Naperville (or Chicago, but Naperville is closer for me). I’ve been wanting to go to Christkindlmarket for years (the one in Chicago), and when I found out that Naperville is its suburban home, my desire to go intensified.

Friends of mine that had gone before advised that I go in the middle of the week because the weekends are chaotic. As advised I went this past Thursday around 12:30, and even then it was crowded. I found a parking garage a few blocks from the Naper Settlement (where they held the market) and my best shot of getting a semi-decent parking spot was on the 5th floor roof.

When I got to the market, I was overwhelmed by the astounding number of ornaments that were sold in nearly every stand. They were beautiful and delicately painted, ones that would look great on any tree. The first stand I went to was, of course, an ornament stand. Hailing from Germany and Poland, these beauties came in all shapes and sizes, boasting a different winter or holiday theme painted onto them. I didn’t go for the traditional hanging ones, but rather a flock of adorable clip on birds. I have birds (parakeets) of my own so naturally I would gravitate toward those. I can’t remember the individual price of the birds but the box containing 4 were $30. Now my little flock is nestled on the branches of our Christmas tree at home 🙂

After purchasing the bird ornaments I made a lap around the market scoping out the different stalls and deciding what I would want to eat. Nearly every market-goer was holding a red decorative mug filled with some of the richest hot chocolate I’ve ever had. To go with my hot cocoa I picked up some caramel coated cashews to munch on as I continued through the market.

I stumbled upon a stand that was a purveyor of wares made from alpaca wool. I was looking for something to match the alpaca wool hat I purchased at the Frankfort market over the summer, and I found a pair of gloves, the ones with the fingertips cut off that could also be worn as mittens, with a similar brown and white striped pattern for $25, which is very reasonable for something wool woven. The man running the stand hails from Alberta, Canada works with families in Peru and Ecuador that raise the alpacas for the wool. Support local businesses/family run operations!

After I picked up a few smaller ornaments and a gift for a friend of mine, I finished the day eating pierogi and potato pancakes. In my Happy Hanukkah! post I briefly spoke of eating them traditionally with sour cream and apple sauce, but at the Austrian Lodge the serve their pancakes 3 ways: plain, with sour cream and apple sauce, or with sour cream and smoked salmon. I opted for plain, which were deliciously crispy, but I’m biased and prefer my mom’s recipe. The pierogi at Tata’s Pierogi were plump and tender, filled with your traditional meat or potato & cheese, and a little more on the exotic side with spinach and feta. Spinach and feta isn’t exactly exotic, but I don’t see a lot of those in Polish cooking.

Overall, I absolutely fell in love with Christkindlmarket. I would for sure go again, either to Naperville or I may be brave enough and fight traffic to visit the one in Chicago.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! ❤

holiday

Happy Hanukkah!

~While I am not Jewish (I happen to be Catholic), I still feel it’s important to highlight and respect other cultures’ traditions, especially around the holidays and in this time of worldly strife.

Hanukkah, also know as the Festival of Lights, started today at sunset and lasts for 8 days, representing the 8 days the sacred oil lit the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to only last one day.

Because of this oil, many foods eaten during this time are cooked in oil. One of my personal favorites are latkas, or potato pancakes. Traditionally, these tasty creations are served with sour cream or apple sauce, but I like them with ketchup (although apple sauce would be delicious).

To my Jewish readers and readers of other faiths: HAPPY HANUKKAH!

Healthy Living

Burt’s Bees Beauty Challenge: Final Thoughts

~So the Burt’s Bees Beauty Challenge has come to its end, and I have mixed feelings about the gentle foaming cleanser with royal jelly. I like it because of how gentle it is and the fact that it’s foam is pretty cool in and of itself. This was my first time using a foam cleanser so it was an interesting experience. But it was also a reason why I’m not as big a fan of this cleanser than cleansers I’ve used in the past. Every time I used it I would ask myself: ‘Is this really working?’

The acne spot treatment, however, I do enjoy. Even if the aroma of the willow bark is a bit strong for my liking. I place a drop on the stubborn spots on my face before I go to bed, and when I wake up the next morning the spots are either drastically reduced or gone! But you need to be consistent with it though, or those spots can come back, and with a vengeance (at least in my case it did).

Overall, this was an interesting and eye-opening experience. I use the term eye-opening because I was like many people and only had a one track mind when it came to Burt’s Bees: lip balm. After this challenge I’m more inclined to try more facial products from Burt’s Bees after I finish the foam cleanser.