Homemade Nutella Milk & $500 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Happy Monday! Read on before you start to scowl at me for celebrating the start of the work week because I have two exciting things to share with you this morning. The first is that I’ve gotten together with some of my blogger friends to give away a $500 Amazon gift card to two of our lucky readers and the second is my recipe for delicious Homemade Nutella Milk!

Homemade Nutella Milk | cucinakristina.com | Raw homemade chocolate hazelnut milk

To make Homemade Nutella Milk, you’ll need a high-speed blender and a nut milk bag. If you don’t have either of those, you could purchase both of those items if you win and still have enough money left to buy a pound of hazelnuts; but if you win, you can use the gift card for anything you want. That’s the beauty of Amazon! You can buy just about anything your heart desires with the click of a mouse.

Enter to Win One of Two 500 Amazon Gift Cards. Here’s How to Enter:

$500 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Image via Unsplash

Prizes: (2) $500 Amazon gift cards

Rules & How to Enter:

  • Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. You can enter once or daily between now and September 4. 
  • Besides the mandatory blog comment entry, all other entries are optional. 
  • Giveaway ends 9/4 and is open worldwide.

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Short Film Friday: Food

Short Film Friday aims to pass along short films that I find on the web. I have a massive appreciation for cinema, especially short films and documentaries. Want to play along? Share your short films with me on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #shortfilmfri.

Short Film Friday. Play along #shortfilmfri

I came across this stop-motion flick and was impressed with it’s creativity. In this short film, a culinary cast of characters is personified and given a chance to express its feelings towards food and health. I can’t decide if I like cheeseburger or the crab best. It’s a close call. Watch the film below and leave a comment letting me know which is your favorite!

Synopsis: Ordinary table food showcase their personalities in this stop-motion film dedicated to food. (more…)

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day: July 2014

It’s been awhile since I have participated in a Foodie Pen Pal exchange. I have really missed connecting with fellow foodies so I thought I would start up with the program again this month. I was hoping my garden would be producing an excess of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, and tomatoes to send to my match, but no such luck. Maybe next month! :)

This month I was paired up with Betsy over at Betsy Between the Miles. She sent me a box of homemade and local items along with some Trader Joe’s favorites. Being from California, I love, love, love Trader Joe’s so I am always happy to find new items they stock. One of the first things I Googled when I moved to Chicago was Trader Joe’s. I honestly do not think I would have made the cross-country move if TJ’s didn’t have a Chicago store.

What Was in the Box?

July Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day | cucinakristina.com | #foodiepenpals

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Pickled Sugar Snap Peas

Capture the essence of spring with these quick pickled sugar snap peas. Unlike some pickled products, these pickle in as little as 4 hours. Serve them for lunch in place of traditional Kosher pickles or add them to a meat and cheese platter at your next party and watch them disappear so quickly you’ll wish you doubled the recipe!

Capture the essence of spring with these quick pickled sugar snap peas. Unlike some pickled products, these pickle in as little as 4 hours. | cucinakristina.com

We have an abundance of peas on our hands! Pea season is typically long gone by this time in July, but the weather this summer has been on the cool side and it seems to be extending the life of our spring produce. We’re swimming in peas and lettuce and yearning for tomatoes and peppers

I’ve been trying to freeze our produce in small batches as it ripens so that I am not overwhelmed come September and have to spend my entire weekend blanching, freezing, canning, and pickling.  (more…)

Belgian Beer Dinner with Fork and Duvel Moortgat

If you are following me on Instagram, you know that last week my friend Jenny B and I had the opportunity to attend Duvel Moortgat’s Belgian Beer Dinner at Fork in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. As members of the Windy City Bloggers, we were offered free tickets to this event and, since Fork has been on my list of restaurants to try, I jumped at the chance!

I don’t typically drink a ton of beer, but when I do I like to indulge in high quality beers and Belgian beers definitely top my list. Duvel Moortgat is a family-owned brewery founded in 1871. Duvel, I learned, is also owner of the Ommegang Brewery which makes a stout called Chocolate Indulgence that I’ve had before and loved.

After dinner, Jenny and I sat down with Andrew from Duvel, Chris from Lakeshore Beverage, and Chef Tim Cottini from Fork and chatted about the food, the beer, and some of their favorite things. Everyone was super cool and hearing their take on the pairings and dishes made me wish I could go back in time and try everything all over again. 

The Menu

Belgian Beer Dinner with Fork and Duvel Moortgat

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Short Film Friday: This Is Where We Live

Short Film Friday aims to pass along short films that I find on the web. I have a massive appreciation for cinema, especially short films and documentaries. Want to play along? Share your short films with me on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #shortfilmfri.

Short Film Friday. Play along #shortfilmfri

One of the best parts of having summers off is having endless hours to sit in the sun and read. I’ve always been a rigorous reader, but the pile of “to-read” books is always higher than my “read” books during the school year. 

Today’s film is a beautiful stop-motion animation from 4th Estate Publishing. It was shot over a 3 week period and makes you want to dive through your computer screen into this cityscape of literature. The background and characters are all build from books they have published over the last 25 years. Can you spot any you have read? 

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5 Ways to Decorate a Chain Link Fence

One of the advantages of living in an urban environment is being blessed with an unsightly chain link fence along your property line. Chain link fences are slowly starting to become available in various colors, but I am willing to bet that the majority of chain link fence owners have something similar to ours. 

5 Ways to Decorate a Chain-Link Fence | cucinakristina.com

I started looking into the cost of covering our chain link fence with a fence kit or a lattice fence panel, but by the time we bought enough pieces to cover the entire length of our yard, we may as well have just replaced the fence completely. Unfortunately, a new fence isn’t in our budget this year so I started to look for ways that I could make the fence less of an eyesore.

The easiest option seemed to be to use the fence as a giant trellis and plant some climbing plants. If you want something organic, climbing plants are a great option. They would add a nice pop of color to your garden and the flowers would be great for attracting bees! 

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Crock Pot Bone Broth

This recipe for Crock Pot Bone Broth couldn’t be any easier because your slow cooker does all of the work for you! In addition to being incredibly easy to make, homemade bone broth is rich in nutrients and minerals giving it tremendous health benefits. 

Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) Bone Broth | cucinakristina.com

One of my favorite the kitchen tricks is making my own vegetable broth from kitchen scraps. I keep a gallon sized Ziploc bag in my freezer and throw any vegetable peelings, trimmings, and ends from my food prep in it. When the bag gets full, I dump it into a large pot of water, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for roughly 4 hours. 

Last weekend, I picked up a pound of soup bones from my butcher for $2.19. I planned on making bone broth on Sunday, but it was 85˚ and the thought of having a pot of bone broth simmering away in my air conditionerless kitchen was unbearable. So, I got out my trusty Crock Pot and put it to work.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make this on your stovetop using a large pot. The downside is that you’ll have to stick around your house until it’s done which can take 24-36 hours. Since most people don’t feel comfortable sleeping, going to work, or running a quick errand with a pot of bone broth simmering on the stovetop, a slow cooker is ideal for this recipe.

The flavor of homemade broth is deep and rich and a thousand and one times better than any store-bought brand or bullion cube on the market. Plus, it is good for you, easy to store, and versatile. 

Health Benefits of Bone Broth

The health benefits associated with incorporating bone broth into your daily diet are plenty, but my top 3 favorites are: 

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Short Film Friday: 4th of July Edition

Short Film Friday aims to pass along short films that I find on the web. I have a massive appreciation for cinema, especially short films and documentaries. Want to play along? Share your short films with me on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #shortfilmfri.

Since Short Film Friday fell on one of my favorite U.S. holidays, I thought I’d share four short films highlighting the 4th of July. The first three are cute animations under 20 seconds and the last one captures the beauty of our country from sea to shining sea in just under four minutes.  

Happy 4th Of July! from Jimmy Simpson and John Provencher

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How To Divide Chives

Are your chives looking a little sad? Are they more than 2 years old? Has your plant outgrown its pot? It’s probably time to divide those chives and give them a little more space to thrive. This post will walk you through the steps you need to take to divide your chives so they will keep wildly producing!

How to revive and divide chives | cucinakristina.com

Chives are a great container plant to add to your herb garden because they are fast growers and easy to maintain. They are perennials which means they will live for more than 2 years and go dormant in the winter, but they will pop back to life in the spring. People sometimes confuse a dormant perennial with a dead plant, but chives are hearty and can tolerate pretty harsh winter conditions. If you invest in a small chive plant now, you will have it for years to come.

As with any potted plant, there will come a day when the plant outgrows its pot. The chives in the photo above are about 3-years old and, as you can see, they aren’t looking so hot. The leaves, although vibrant, are wilted and the flowers are shriveled and pale rather than bright and purple. This is because the bulbs have become too crowded and the plant needs more room to grow in order to continue to produce healthy leaves and flowers.

You don’t need to invest in a larger pot to give your chives the room they needs to produce. You can divide the plant into smaller clusters and transfer it into smaller pots. Dividing chives is easy and necessary in order to keep them wildly producing.

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