Tag Archives: charities

Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace

In case you missed it, my recap of the Mohegan Sun BrewFest was published yesterday! A new restaurant review too!

Good day, folks. Or at least I’m trying to make it one. I have been having on-and-off lingering tummy issues since Wednesday and it’s really gotten old. (Actually, hearing about it has probably gotten old for you all too, but I digress.)

I fluctuate between feelings of nausea and feeling pretty-OK-but-something-is-still-off. Obviously I am grateful that I felt well enough to go to the BrewFest on Saturday night and have a good workout Sunday morning, and even a pleasant Sunday doing errands, blog work, and homework. But I woke up yesterday (Monday) ill again and I’m getting sick of being afraid to eat my favorite things like salad beasts, cottage cheese, and peanut butter! Today has just been more straight-up nausea.

I missssss you salad 🙁

I know that there are many folks out there who have GI issues ALL the time. So I feel bad complaining. And also feel much more aware of how lucky I am to have the healthy body I have! 99% of the time I am a healthy and happy camper. I didn’t even get a cold last fall/winter (and I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve already said this a few times this year). The body is an amazing thing and when I am feeling ill, no matter how so, I am more driven than ever to take care of my body.

Heated mashed banana mixed with plain Chobani. Completely safe and oddly comforting.

At least I didn’t have too many plans this past weekend with the exception of dinner out with my mom on Friday night and the BrewFest Saturday night. Plenty of time to rest during the day. I just am hoping my body will decide whether or not it wants to get better soon because I’m not a fan of the flip-flopping. And I also hope my body flips to the get-better side and stays there. Right now it seems to be staying nauseous. Wrong way, body!

Nope that’s not coffee – it’s a ginger herbal tea called Evening Comfort Tea! Mom brought it home for me from Daybreak. I miss my coffee but have had an off-and-on appetite for it.

On Sunday afternoon while I was at home being productive, I took some photographs of  a beautiful bowl I received from Macy’s via the Everywhere Network. The bowl was sent to me to review as part of an effort to spread the word about the Path to Peace Collection.

It reminds me of the sun!

Macy’s first started selling these handmade baskets, exported from Rwanda, in 2005. Since then, they have contributed to Rwanda’s exports a great deal. The program is part of a mission to help the country via “trade instead of aid”. The idea is the support of Rwanda via increased awareness among US citizens of the beautiful products that can come from that country and its people, so that they can remain self-sufficient. You can check the collection out here – some of the bowls are breathtaking.

I do enjoy when a product is sent to me with a handwritten note!

Macy’s purchases the baskets from the weavers, who not only gain a source of income, but also pride.

Each basket comes with this tag of authenticity.

Anyone who purchases a Rwanda Path to Peace basket can be confident that he or she is directly promoting the well-being of that basket’s weaver. This practice reminds me of Fair Trade products – making sure that someone producing a product is getting a fair amount of income from it, and a place to sell that product too.

I don’t usually do these kinds of posts, but I wanted to take the time to do so because it’s a great cause and if I am able to write a blog post about this and spread the word, why not? Even if only one person ends up buying a basket because he or she sees a retweet from another tweet from a Facebook status from this post, at least I will have somehow helped that basket’s weaver – I don’t even need to know that I did.

My favorite photo, saved it for last 🙂

The detail in these baskets is pretty incredible and I love how malleable they are. Completely easy to store when not in use, and easy to transport too if needed. Check out the entire collection – you might like what you see!

I received a basket from the Everywhere Network to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you ever used your blog to support a charitable cause?

Did you see any baskets on the website that you liked?

Have you ever had an illness that seemed to linger? How did you handle it?

Taste of the Nation New Haven: The Savory Food

Another event like the Mohegan Sun Wine Festival has come along that was so awesome, I cannot possibly recap it in one post. Well, I could, but you’d get sick of reading about it halfway through. That’s the beauty of this blog – I can do things my own way, so I will be dividing my recap into a couple of posts – savory food today, and sweets and drinks tomorrow.

Taste of the Nation is an event I have been wanting to attend ever since I started reading blogs. I have seen my favorite bloggers attend their local cities’ Share our Strength food and drink tastings and have been jealous of the eats each and every time! Taste of the Nation holds tastings throughout the country (Connecticut has one in New Haven and Hartford, at different times of the year) to raise money (through ticket sales and silent auctions) that goes toward ending childhood hunger in America. Local food and drink vendors donate their time and resources, and each one sets up its own table and serves unlimited samples to hungry attendees. Event organizer Timothy Cipriano, who is in charge of the food at all New Haven Public Schools, was kind enough to give me the opportunity to go to Taste of the Nation: New Haven and cover the event for this blog! I was even joined by fellow CT blogger Marissa of Style Cusp. Don’t be fooled by her blog’s fashion-focus – she may be a Lucky Magazine blogger, but she’s also a true foodie!

The organizers did a great job creating a visually stunning display in Yale Commons, a Yale dining hall. After the decorators were done with it, it most certainly didn’t look like one.

I felt a little overwhelmed at first! But I’m an experienced tasting-goer, so I adopted my go-to strategy that aids me in trying as many different things as possible – only finish a FULL sample if the item is out-of-this-world. If I take a bite and dislike it, or like it and it’s just OK, ditch the rest to save room for more!

I picked up my press bracelet…

Grabbed a glass…

…and promptly headed into the tasting room. Today’s post is about the savory food though, so let’s save the drinks (and desserts) until tomorrow!

The above eggplant pancakes topped with cilantro yogurt from Barcelona Wine Bar were so good. I’d totally eat these for breakfast.

But Marissa and I both liked their other offering better these cauliflower “tarts” were topped with bacon and crispy onions. Now this tasted just like breakfast! It reminded us of bacon and eggs.

Marissa tried and liked the above scallops from Yale Dining Services. I wonder if students ever actually get these in the dining halls!

They were also serving the above stuffed chicken with risotto  – how pretty is it?! – but I didn’t snag a sample of this for some reason that I do not understand.

Whole Foods Milford served chips and guac (I passed on that) and a spinach and mushroom quesadilla with jalapeno cream sauce. It was really good! We both enjoyed that one.

Ballin’ presentation right? Unfortunately the presentation was the better than the rum-topped carrot ginger soup in these shooters from La Cuisine Cafe. I liked the first sip, and the rum tasted really interesting with the ginger. But the following sips were a bit lackluster.

Their potatoes topped with short rib, though, were super good. I LOVE potatoes!!!

OMG. Caseus – I love them so much. I discovered them on a Taste of New Haven tour of Canal Quarter (seriously, hidden gems EVERYWHERE on those tours). And I had no idea that Marissa was as much of a cheese freak as I am (good thing she’s gluten-free and not dairy-free!) The above Brigid’s Abbey cheese is actually one of the two I’ve tried from Caseus before, but I was sure to grab another bite. Mmmm.

Those are bleu-cheese stuffed dates and I could have eaten them all night long.

This fabulous cheddar was Marissa’s favorite cheese.

I was partial to the Coupole goat cheese (obviously – and doesn’t it look like a brain?!) spread on a cracker with local preserves. Marissa and I agreed we could’ve just stayed at the Caseus table all night long. We even hit it for a second time later on.

We wanted to try the Oysters Rockefeller above, but this one was the only one left, so we decided to double back when there would be two available for us to try. Too bad that when we did, they had run out completely!

This shrimp cous cous was quite satisfying! The herbs used were so strong, maybe even a little too strong.

Certainly the most “exotic” thing I tried was this foie gras – AKA duck liver – from Bella Bella Gourmet. I did not like it, and not just because I knew it was duck liver. Couldn’t stand the texture!

This was one of my favorite things I tried the entire night – their duck pastrami sandwich on buttery, crispy rye bread. Pure heaven.

No pork belly tacos from Oaxaca Kitchen were available when we passed by their table, but I liked the presentation of their guacamole on the above cucumber, with radish and shredded carrot. Guac is whatever to me so I passed on this.

How cool is this cantelope from Thali?!

Box 63 was serving up some amazing eats – just look at that menu!

I sampled bites from a couple different sliders – the Hawaiian and the Coney Island. Both were amazing. The Hawaiian had grilled pineapple and the Coney Island had chili!

These were called Greek salads with grilled chicken, but Melissa and I were just interested in the grilled chicken skewers. We split one of these plates and each had one. Loved the sauce on there!

Marissa was so pumped to try this lobster risotto. I’m not a big risotto person but had a couple bites, quite good!

The above table’s presentation was amazing. This meat was topped with an apple chutney-like sauce. The apple paired so well with the medium to medium-rare meat. I could eat a whole entree’s worth!

Mmmm – bread and olive oil! Nothing better, right? This crusty good stuff from Chabaso Bakery was garlic-flavored – perfect for me!

Oh Plan B. I continue to be not a big fan, but I did like this goat cheese steak crostini (passed on a slider, already had one at the Mohegan Sun WineFest). Gotta love medium rare steak!!! And Plan B’s Glastonbury Twitter has been receptive to my issues with their lack of healthy sides – maybe some grilled veggies will make an appearance there someday!

I was starstruck by both this delicious veggie quinoa dish and its creator – Claire Criscuolo, RN and founder of Claire’s Corner Copia, an amazing healthy restaurant in New Haven that’s been a mainstay by the town green since its opening in 1975. I’ve eaten there before and adored it. It was so amazing to meet Claire and tell her how much I adore her restaurant. I had to “favorite” the below tweet from her a couple days later!

My favorite food is pizza, and I was wondering when I would get to sample some. After all, New Haven is a huge pizza town in America! I didn’t get to try any real New Haven pizza unfortunately (can’t believe there wasn’t any there!) but Skinny Pines Catering satisfied my pizza craving with some delicious brick oven, thin-crust slices. They don’t have an actual brick-and-mortar location, unless you count their truck that travels from event-to-event a brick-and-mortar location – that won’t stand still! I think it’s a really cool concept.

There weren’t a lot of slices available when I stopped by, but I had one that included caramelized onions and it was wonderful. Cater my wedding, please?!

Brownson Country Club of Shelton, CT has a pretty impressive culinary staff. Both of the dishes described above were amazing.

The monkfish with lobster essence mousse, frisse, sea beans, lobster, and truffle salt pictured above was one of the best dishes of the entire Taste of the Nation event – Marissa and I both agreed on that.

The steak tartar above was the last savory dish of the evening that we tried. Very good, but by then our tastebuds were getting worn out, so I don’t know if my review can do this justice!

And to think…I still have to tell you about dessert!

Which savory sensation would you have wanted to try the most?