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STRANG HALL - A CHEF-COLLECTIVE COMING UP IN OVERLAND PARK

Calling all local foodies! Not one, not two, but six  Chef-driven restaurants are coming to town. Yes, you heard that right! Add a coffee shop and a bar to the mix. Strang Hall is a chef collective under one roof, which will be opening its doors soon. Downtown Overland Park, has been undergoing a  major facelift, and Strang Hall might just be the star of the new block. I can't tell you excited that makes me as I am forever looking for great dining options in the southern part of the KC metro. If you were thinking fo Strang Hall to be just another food hall, then you are mistaken. As its much more than that. 13,00 square feet of fine dining, from six different chefs.Tim Barton, the founder of Strang Hall, seeks to create a unique culinary experience by partnering with local chefs. A series of media events and the narrative of Strang Hall was unveiled, along with some exclusive tasting sessions.  
It is hard to pick favorites, but let's start with Chef Remy Ayesh. I love me some tacos, any day of the week. Chef Ayesh's restaurant will be called Nida, which means Nest in Spanish. Why did I start my article with Chef Ayesh, well, both of us went to KU Journalism School. She returned to her culinary roots to follow her passion. After holding prestigious positions in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City, she will be packing a flavor punch in a tortilla. 

From Spanish-Lebanese flavors to something closer to home. Chef Anourom Thomson will be opening Anousone(A-New-Sone). Chef Thomson will be serving comfort food with a Southeast Asian flair. While I have eaten my way across quite a bit of Asia, I must add that it was my first introduction to Laotian cuisine.

Chef Chad Tilman's Italian-inspired Norcini shall be offering craft sandwiches and both red and white pizzas. Chef Tilman is well known for inspiring foodies on how to eat local. From being a skilled butcher for over twenty years to being a forager of wild mushrooms, Tilman's culinary journey is fascinating for any foodie.
ChefMark Dandurand shall be opening Fond -which seeks to serve familiar dishes by injecting exciting flavors to create something wholly new. From butcher shop fare to vegan plates, Chef Dandurand has quite a few culinary surprises up his sleeve.




Chef Jon Ponzer brings an East Asian flair to a fried chicken concept, at his restaurant - Basabasa. A fried chicken sandwhich with spicy Kimchi or a close cousin of the  Japanese chicken sando. As an Asian foodie myself,  I can tell you that Asian fusion with fried chicken, seems like quite a culinary match made in heaven.

Last but not least, is Chef Erin Bassett's restaurant Solstice, which higlights seasonal produce and her passion for healthy food. Chef Bassett seeks to have a menu that uses the freshest of produce sourced from local farmers, featuring soups, sandwiches and seasonal salads. 

So which Chef's creation will you be interested in sampling first? Strang Hall shall be opening its doors to the public in December. Bon Appetit !


Thank you Nam Cu for photographing me at the preview events. 

CHICKEN LO MEIN WITH KRAFT- HEINZ

  I am a self-confessed foodie, and so is my husband. So when the doctors and nurses at the hospital told us, that my husband had to go on a restricted diet, we knew we had to get creative. As many of you know, my husband has been battling a very aggressive form of cancer since April. Now after three surgeries, and chemotherapy, we have won the battle against cancer, strong. As his last surgery was a lymph node removal surgery, he has been recommended to be on a low-fat healthy diet. As perfect timing as it was, Kraft-Heinz and Influenster had reached to me with a recent campaign.
 KraftHeinz has an amazing recipe database - myfoodandfamily.com, which is home to every recipe that you could think of. The best part of the story is, they have a treasure trove of Healthy Living recipes. So rather than being confused about where do I go looking for healthier versions of our favorite recipes, Kraftheinz and Influenster made sure that they were right there at the tip of my fingertips. How convenient is that!
 Now when you have access to such a huge recipe database, how do you decide what to cook first. You want to try everything at once. I decided to let my heart make the decision. My husband has a special place in his foodie's heart for Asian food, so I decided to go that route. Chinese take out is our guilty pleasure. Lean chicken/chicken breast is one of the proteins he is allowed to have in his current restricted diet regimen. So it all fell into place. Presenting, Chicken Lo Mein. The total fat content is 7g, which is perfect for my husband's daily allowance of 20g of fat. This recipe makes 6 servings of
1 1/3 cup each.

I have been making Chicken Chow Mein for years, so it was interesting to note how and where the two recipes differed or were similar. I think the magic ingredients in this recipe were the peanut butter and Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing. It gave it that creaminess which made me reach out for my second bowl. Dressings like the one I just mentioned, reduce prep time and cooking time so much more, as you are not spending extra time creating a sauce from scratch.
So did you want to try out this recipe? If so here it goes.

CHICKEN LO MEIN : 
Recipe adapted from MyFoodandFamily.com. 

Ingredients: 
Spaghetti: uncooked: 1/2 lb
KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing: 1/4 cup
Boneless skinless chicken breast: Cut into thin strips: 1 lb
Garlic cloves:minced: 2
Veggies: onion and bell pepper: thinly sliced: 16 oz(frozen or fresh)
Fat-free low sodium chicken broth: 1/2 cup
Creamy peanut butter: 1 tbsp
Light soy sauce: 1/4 cup
Cilantro:chopped: 2 tbsp
PLANTERS Cocktail Peanuts:chopped: 2 tbsp( I subbed with chopped scallions)

Procedure: 
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, omitting salt.
Meanwhile, heat dressing in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken-garlic, story fry for 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Add veggies, broth, and peanut butter: stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until chicken is done.
Drain spaghetti and return to pan. Add chicken mixture and soy cause and mix lightly.
Spoon to a platter, top with cilantro and nuts.
Thank you Influenster and KraftHeinz for this wonderful collaboration at a time in my life, when I had rethink my recipes. MyFoodandfamily.com/ has a wonderful collection of recipes, to woo any foodie's heart. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try out your special recipe, from this treasure trove of a recipe database.



Disclaimer: This review has been incentivized through a partnership with Influenster and KraftHeinz. 

PLAID & FUR & A PUMPKIN PATCH - FALL STYLE










Fall is here! The weather has been temperamental, I must add, the last few days. We have had sunny days this Fall, with temps in the late 60s, and there also have been days when the temps dipped in the 30s. We almost pulled out our Winter coats, thinking Fall had missed making a stop in our town when the sun started shining. We had to make the best use of a sunny weekend, and indulge in our annual ritual - a visit to our favorite pumpkin patch.

Last year, we had co-ordinated our family costumes in chambray/blue, this year I decided to reach out for plaid. It is always too tempting to shop for new outfits whenever family photos are being taken. But we decided to shop for our closet. I have styled this faux fur vest quite a few ways, on my blog, and also these boots and my favorite plaid shirt. The only thing new in this outfit is the jeggings I recently picked. I am on the search for the perfect mid-rise skinny jeans, and I haven't yet found the perfect pair. I will do a blog post, rounding up some of the ones, I have tried on, very soon. My Chanel sunglasses are an investment piece, which I love using in many outfit ideas. My red plaid, my faux fur vest, dark wash mid-rise jeggings, camo boots, silver hoops, and Fall lips - MAC VIVA GLAM 1. I was comfortable and warm throughout the afternoon, as we walked our way across the patch to pick out our pumpkins.

Do you want to know how we co-ordinated our family outfits, in the Plaid? Yes, the puppy's scarf was coordinated too!

SHOP MY OUTFIT
 

BLADE AND TIMBER AXE THROWIG, KCPL

Blade and Timber opened their newest location in the Kansas City Power and Light District recently. I was invited for their VIP Preview night, and let me take you for a sneak peek. For those of you who don't know, Blade and Timber are all about ax-throwing, and good food, and not to forget good times.
Co-founders Matt Baysinger and Ryan Henrich have a passion for bringing people together through remarkable, interactive experiences. This passion led them to open the first ax-throwing experience for Kansas, with  Balde and Timber location in Kansas in 2017. Propelled by Blade and Timber's instant popularity, the duo opened six other locations in the US.
 Why would you throw axes, you might ask? I say, why not. It's a fun activity whether you are with friends, or out on a date night, or even as a team-building activity for your workmates. You can book a private lane, or you can hare a lane. Or you can even rent the facility for a private event. I had never thrown an axe before, and if you know, my favorite sport is to park myself on a comfortable spot in my neighborhood coffee shop. But I enjoyed myself so much, that I have already planned the next visit with some of my friends,
There are coached to help you get started, or to master your best throw. The trick is to align your body in such a way so that you can give your best throw. With some practice, I can say, I could throw some axes. Make sure you wear closed shoes, as that's a facility requirement. I had been there with my family, and it was fun to be throwing axes together. If you have kids under 10, then they won't be allowed to throw the real axes, but they do have some foam axes, with velcro on them. So the whole family can have fun. Cue in the good times.
 The Blade and Timber crew know that you run up an appetite. Their brand new menu offers piping hot comfort food. Chef Taylor Petrehn is a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist has created a menu, inspired by meals shared around a campfire. I could dedicate a whole meal to their selection of artisan waffles, but they have a lot more to offer.
  

Chicken and Waffles, steak frites, or fried chicken sandwiches, there is something to satisfy every Lumberjack or Jill's appetite. They also have a selection of hand-crafted dips created from scratch for your choice of waffles. 



 So what are you waiting for! For your next weekend or your next special occasion, you can head to throw some axes, and enjoy some good eats, at a location of Blade and Timber, closest to you. It's my husband's birthday very soon, and we know where we will be celebrating with some of our closest friends.



STRIPES AND RUST : KCFW FW'19 OOTD









Kansas City Fashion Week starts in a few days, and I wanted to pen down yet another outfit ost from last season. For my last night of KCFW Fall Winter'19, I paid an ode to Fall. It is always tricky how you plan your outfits for fashion week. Do you dress according to the season you are in or do you dress according to the season of the fashion week? As you know the Fall-Winter shows happen in Spring-Summer and vice versa. I try and pay an ode to either, in the various outfits I style for fashion week. 

Stripes have been on-trend across seasons. While for Spring-Summer, you might opt for brighter colors, the moodier darker stripes take center stage, during Fall. This particular top/blouse of mine had a good mix of colors/tones when it came to its stripes. You have lighter brown, rust and even dusty pinks, interspersed with whites. This makes it a great transitional piece from Summer to Fall, and you can wear it either off-the-shoulder- or not. It is flowy but boxy in a way, which makes me comfortable in my mom bod. Everyone has problem areas, and for me for midriff/tummy bulge is something which I like to camouflage.

I paired it with the quintessential Fall tone- Rust. A mini which offset the volume of the boxy blouse/ top. Some platform espadrilles, which carried forward the warm notes of the outfit.

Huge Thank You to Sabrine Dunne of Sabrina Dunne Photography for collaborating with me on this post. It was raining heavily all afternoon and evening. She took these amazing photographs of mine, against the backdrop of Kansas City downtown, just before the runway shows began for KCFW.

While I am missing the upcoming season of KCFW, for my husband's ongoing battle with cancer I shall cherish the wonderful memories of all the years and all the seasons. 

BLACK AND WHITE : KCFW FW'19 STYLE





 




Kansas City Fashion Week is almost here. While its a big part of my annual calendar, I have decided to take a break, for a season. The reason: I have my plate full now. As many of you might know that my husband, is battling a very aggressive form of cancer. Being a  caregiver is often not the easiest job. So while I might be missing the upcoming shows next month, I thought of doing a flashback to last season. 
KCFW Fall Winter 2019. I had done my series of the Recap of the runway shows of last season, but I had not done the Outfit posts. So here we go.

We are almost at the end of Summer, and Fall-Winter will be here before we know it. Deciding your outfit fr fashion week can often be tricky. Do you dress up for the shows, or do you dress up whats trendy during the actual season? Fashion Week happens a season in advance, as you know it. So my Outfit for the Media Night of KCFW FW'19 was something which you could easily to transition from Summer to Fall.

Black and White! The iconic song was my inspiration for my outfit of choice. I am not an MJ fan per se, but I am a woman of color. I decided to shop my closet as I styled my outfits for last season of KCFW. The linen culottes have been a favorite of mine. Who does not love wide-legged cropped pants? I know I do. Whenever I am styling culottes, I try to balance out the volume. SO crop tops become an obvious choice. A white crop top with a Peter Pan faux leather collar, and a print which is a conversation starter. What's summer without some sunglasses right, and a top with a sunglass print is a no-brainer.
How do you play up the black and white? You bring in red and blue, of course. Red lipstick, red statement earrings, and blue denim covered mules, provided the perfect accent for the black and white outfit. Are you ready to transition your outfits from Summer to Fall? Stay tuned to the blog, for some more outfit ideas frm KCFW.

Photos by Deabshish Dasgupta and Sabrina Dunne.