The Secret of a Clean Kitchen

5 hours of cooking, 5 min of eating and 5 days of cleaning the kitchen.  Yep, that explains why for so many cooking is just an unenjoyable chore. BUT…. cooking in the kitchen doesn’t need to involve complicated meals and a big kitchen mess. Staying out of the kitchen is not the secret to keeping it clean, but rather it’s learning how to make less mess when in the kitchen.  I’m here to say, kitchen living is worth the effort. Once you try some of these cleaning hacks, you will see why the kitchen is the heart of your home.

TIP #1 – Start with a Clean Kitchen. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to add a cooking mess on a kitchen that is already in disarray. Start off cooking with a clean kitchen. Two of my favorite clean supplies are Mrs. Meyer's Basil and Young Living Thieves’ smells like fresh lemon.

TIP #2 – Buy Yourself a LARGE Cutting Board. Last week I made a soup and was able to cut/prep carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and parsley all on one board. Sorted on board by produce, I then used the bench scraper to put each item into the pot – saving me from cleaning several prep bowls. I must confess, I do love the mise en place of prep bowls like that on TV cooking shows, but it comes with extra clean-up and I’m guessing you don’t have staff that will be cleaning all those bowls like they do on TV!

TIP #3 – Line Your Baking Sheets! Whenever possible use parchment paper, aluminum foil or a silicone mat. It makes for easy pan clean-ups. My brie rosemary potato pan would take so much longer to clean if not for the parchment paper and don’t even get me going on how long it takes to clean a non-lined bacon sheet. Parchment paper is also great to use for cake pans too. When you take the time to line your tray, you ‘ll see just how easy clean-up can be. 

TIP #4 – Scrap Bag/Bowl Whenever I am prepping, I remove scraps as I go. While a simple bowl does the trick, it becomes one more bowl to clean so I go with the plastic grocery bag. I will peel my produce into this plastic bag, (over a garbage can works too) which helps keep counter tops clean and it is super-fast and easy to toss in garbage.

TIP #5 – Immersion Blender I think every kitchen needs this tool. To say I am obsessed with mine is an understatement. I like this tool because it is easy to use, it eliminates having to pour hot liquid into a food processor and it saves me from having to clean up that contraption and all its many parts. An immersion blender is so much quicker to clean then then a food processor/blender.

TIP #6 – Think Twice Before pulling out all your measuring cups, bowls, spoons etc. look at your recipe and the serving size. I can tell you I’ve had to clean a number of extra dishes in the mistake of grabbing too big or too small a pan/bowl.

TIP #7 – Simple Meals I will go into more details including recipes and meal ideas in an upcoming blog post but for now, simple meals like a sheet pan dinner or a pressure cooker dinner will certainly make for less mess and easier clean-up.

TIP #8 – Clean as You Go. While I know this is basic common sense, it is easily forgotten as you get into your cooking game. At minimum, rinse dishes as you go so that you don’t come back to fiercely scrubbing a bowl. And while I speak of rinsing dishes – teach this to your family members. It is so much easier cleaning a rinsed bowl of oatmeal than one that was left to harden in the sink. (Am I right son??)

TIP #9 – Clutter Must Go!!! The less on the countertops the easier the clean-up. I eliminate the look of clutter from my countertops with some organization methods. Several of my appliances, I store on a designated metal shelf (container store) in my basement, bringing them up on an as needed basis. About that pretty baby blue Artisan Stand Mixer on my counter - yeah that is what I call décor 😉

My other kitchen clutter free tip is having a couple organized drawers in my kitchen for keys, mail etc. so that doesn’t end up on a counter. Lots of shelf organizers can be found at container store.  I also avoid a countertop of cookbooks by either using my iPad for recipes as well as designating a shelf in my glass cabinet for cookbook display.

TIP #10 – Basic Kitchen Rule I cook you clean! That sounds fair and if that is the case, you can make the kitchen a great BIG mess.

Less Mess Kitchen Supplies


Dr. Stephanie Skopek

Stephanie's friends know her as an ‘obnoxiously’ Canadian that has lived in the US for over 25 years. Stephanie practices General Dentistry in North Barrington where she share office space with her husband Bob who is an orthodontist.  Stephanie enjoys drinking coffee on her patio, cooking, reading, learning, golfing and gardening but is always up for a fun adventure, especially if traveling is involved. "I am passionate about the community where I live and supporting local businesses as well as mentoring and promoting women in business."

When in the Office


COFFEE OR TEA? Coffee and Tea

FAVORITE LUNCH?  A big salad

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Intraoral digital scanner

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Bring a lunch

FAVORITE SPACE? My operatory with a patient

COMMUTE TIME?   10 - 15 minutes 

NEWS SOURCE?  As many as possible for accuracy but Go-To is  the BBC and CBC

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? Depends on the time of day. Always organized at the beginning and end of day.

BRIEFCASE OR HANDBAG? Tote bag….been searching for the ideal Briefcase for years 

Mac or PC? Mac

BREAK TIME?  No set break time…ideally 12:30-1



SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? My friend and colleague Jeff Bonk


BUSINESS ADVICE? Never stop being curious and learning

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE?  Anything Athleta 



MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Is a coffee pot a gadget?



HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND?   I’m not usually driving around.  


SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE?   Teresa for 22 years. She’s part of the family!

PURSE OR WRISTLET?  Daytime purse, evening out wristlet

TV OR NETFLIX? TV cooking shows. Netflix when someone gives me a good recommendation




SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?  My friend Rebecca Darr, executive director of WINGS

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? Jigsaw puzzle that is always in progress on my dining room table

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Set one day (or 2 half days) only, for chores so you can relax and enjoy the moments with your family. 

My Favorite Recipe

Stephanie refers to this favorite recipe as a breakfast crowd pleaser when you have company staying for the weekend.

My Non-Predictable Life in 2022

There is something comforting about predictability. 

I can wake up each morning with the predictable morning routine of making my bed. I can order my favorite Starbucks drink and be confident in predicting it will taste the same whether I am in Chicago, Barrington or even out of state. I can make my weekly staple dinner knowing before I take a bite, what it will taste like. Ordinary predictable living is quite typically the norm for most.  And I do say that in judge-free good way as I am in that majority! It does help bring a clarified understanding of order and ease to daily living. Personally, I find predictability brings me more peace and satisfaction than the potential chaos of the unknown. While I am a strong social extrovert, "spontaneous adventurer" has never been words to describe my personality which is why predictable is quite easy for me to sustain for weeks, months and years later.  

So, how is it that my comfortable predictable ways started to become dissatisfying?

It wasn’t until I was well into my 30’s that I really started to travel outside of IL. I wasn’t born into a family of lifestyle travelers and thus, I never felt like I was missing out on the experiences that came with traveling. Took becoming an adult to see the value of using my income for a plane ticket over house accessories or a new wardrobe.  Took traveling to learn how ordinary days are still great days to come home to, but some of life’s most remarkable days are found getting lost in another city or country.

While in Cabo

I just recently returned from a week in Cabo, Mexico and I think that is what stirred up my desire to live this year with a little less predictability and dare I say more adventure. It was a trip that was nothing close to my generally predictable days as each moment seem to be its own adventure.

While in Cabo, I enjoyed some incredible “new” dinner dishes at some unique restaurants – one such restaurant designed their space around an outdoor rain forest setting. The large trees and natural environment paired so beautiful with each entrée.   And so, while gauche is for me a must order off any Mexican menu, this night I put it aside to try something new and every bite was worth the change-up.

In traveling to Cabo this week, I met new people. I spent part of a lunch chatting with a Cabo local and another day we spent an entire day on the most beautiful boat with a crew of 5 … you can only imagine the stories shared and the memories that were created. And so, what I noticed within those moments is that while my inner circle of friends sustains me on a regular basis there is a rich gift and a good memory that comes in sharing some of your time with a stranger.

While in Cabo, I heard live music in a foreign language. It was fun and enjoyable to listen to even thou I had no idea what words were being communicated. It was something other than my American playlists and it was enjoyable to listen to. And so, what I found in that experience was while I enjoy my kind of music, I could come to appreciate music even more if I would be willing to listen to a variety of musical talent. 

This trip to Cabo was extra-amazing and perhaps it was because I wasn’t in the chill of Chicago or perhaps it was that I took a break from predictable living.  All I know is that I really want this trip to be more than just the memory of a week away. I want to carry it with me into 2022.  While I’m not so big on new year’s goals, I can take my Cabo experience and create a little more day in and day out adventure to year 2022. 

My 2022 non predictable life will include….

Making one new dinner dish a week. I’ll share this on the blog this year. I’m starting this week with Julia Childs Coq Au Vin (Yep, for all those Emily in Paris fans … you know all about this dish) 😉 Trying new food adds flavor to your kitchen and life.

Traveling to new places. While I love weekends at my place in Chicago, I know Chicago and have experienced a lot of what it has to offer. I want to discover what weekends away look like in new places in 2022. I’m sure my girlfriend and travel expert Andrea will cover me on this one.

Stopping already with the over played play list. While driving, I will listen less to my killer but predictable play lists (yes, I know the order the songs are played) and listen more to audio books or the radio because there is a great surprise that comes from hearing a new song for the first time. Right???

Being more intentionally inclusive. Sometimes I find it hard to bring in a new friend to an established circle of friends, but I will toss aside any potential awkwardness to welcome new people into any of my circles because every friend was once a stranger.

Ordering something new at Starbucks – Ok, I’ll try a new winter drink even though my venti skim hot chocolate lite whip is so satisfying on a blister cold day.

Skipping bed making …. Yeah, no I don’t think so!

I hope this blog post inspires you to continue to enjoy what you know, while also creating some extraordinary moments that come from trying something new. 

Happy 2022!

Fasting from Snacking

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This past week we entered into the season of Lent. For many Catholics and Christians alike, fasting is something associated with Lent. Many times you will hear the question what are giving up for Lent? And then comes the internal question of what can I really be successful at giving up for 40 days … cause trust me the catholic guilt is real when you mess up!! 

One of my favorite things I enjoy is food (no surprise there!) I often catch myself snacking on food throughout the day  So for me, food fasting is something I rather not take on.  But this persistent internal voice was trying really hard to convince me to give up snacking and eventually that voice won. 

So how do you just stop snacking?

Here are a few tips I put together for myself to make sure I get through the next 40 days snack-free!

While fasting is most often associated with food it can also be associated with giving up something that you enjoy, something that is perhaps not serving you well.

Regardless your religious stance I think fasting is a discipline that we should all practice from time to time. While no discipline is enjoyable at the moment, in the long term it really does nourish the body, mind and soul. 

Brunching my way through Chicago

Brunch, it’s a decision us city people taking very seriously. It is often the highlight to a weekend. Brunch isn’t just about eating a quick meal, its meant to be a prolonged eating experience. From endless mimosas to lavished buffet bars, weekend brunch is seriously quite a big deal.

And personally, speaking for those of us who love sleeping in, one of the best parts of brunch by far is the timeline. Most restaurants weekend brunch menu starts by 10 AM and carries on through to midafternoon. In today’s blog, I am sharing just a few of the many amazing brunch experiences you will find while brunching your way through Chicago

Siena Tavern

My eyes are always way bigger them my stomach when I go here. With such a great brunch menu I find it hard to decide what to order so I often convince my husband or guests we are brunching with to all order something different, so we have a little bit of everything from sweet to savory. Siena Tavern is located within walking blocks of my home and has become my happy familiar go to for weekend brunching. I highly recommend pretty much anything on their brunch menu but here are my top favs: 

Siena Tavern is located at 51 W Kinzie St, Chicago 60654

Brunch is offered 10-3 on Saturday and Sunday and is comprised of both a savory and sweet menu.

676 Restaurant & Bar

Located on the 4th floor in the Omni Chicago Hotel overlooking the mag mile of Michigan Ave you will find a warm and classic restaurant that I call my secret gem. 676 Restaurant & Bar has not only great food but stellar service!! Most folks tend to brunch at a designated breakfast restaurant which often means one thing … very looooong wait times, but that is not really an issue at 676 Restaurant.  

Open daily, 676 Restaurant & Bar offers a brunch experience that includes stellar service a beautiful buffet spread as well as the option of table menu service for those who prefer to remain seated though out the meal. The details and variety in the buffet will have you refilling your plate over and over. The buffet includes charcuturie, danish bakery, breads and croissants and leads to sweets like French toast, waffles, a savory custom omelet station with sides including sausage and bacon and ends with fruits and yogurts, and juice/coffee/tea bar are all included.

Omni Chicago Hotel, - 676 Restaurant & Bar is located at 676 North Michigan Ave.


Open for breakfast daily 7:00 AM - 11:00AM


Sleeping in till 11 and waking up with a super hungry appetite? I hear you!! That sounds like weekend living and there is no better way to kickstart your weekend then with a brunch at Freemont.  Located in the heart of River North, Freemont offers their guests a 2-hour brunch experience with an all you can eat buffet and bottomless mimosas. With stations set up throughout the restaurant you might just leave 5 pounds heavier but there is no way you are ever leaving here hungry!

Included amongst some of my favorites brunch stations is the waffle, omelet, seafood and carving station …. oh, and let’s not forget about the donut and desert station!!

Fremont’s ambiance lines right up there with their food. The two-story venue has both retractable windows and a roof that only enhance the ultimate summer brunch experience.  In their own words – “Fremont has defined the brunch game in Chicago” and I couldn’t agree more! 

Brunch Hours are 9:30-4:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday

Reservations are required.  312.844.7270

Fremont is located at 15 W Illinois Street, Chicago IL 60654

A Recipe a Week in 2022

If you read my first blog post of the new year, I shared how I want to be a little less predictable in 2022 – you know, rather than ordering the same dish at the same restaurant over and over I was going to switch things up. Rather than making those quick memorized dinners for my family, I want to surprise them with some unfamiliar homecooked meals. 

That is why I committed myself to making 52 NEW dinners for my family and friends! Yes, that is one new recipe every week. In 2022, I want to experience more first tastes and less familiar bites. I want that “OMG!” reaction that comes from a foreign bite hitting my tongue for the first time.

Come along with me, as I share how this cooking journey is going and what new recipes, I’ve made thus far in 2022.

I’ve spent the last month French Cooking with the delightful guidance of none other than Julia Child. I learned a few things from French cooking:

A Recipe a Week in 2022

All 5 dinner recipes I'm sharing come from this cookbook

Week 1: Coq Au Vin - Chicken and Wine

Week 2: Boeuf Bourguignon – Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms

Week 3: Côtes De Porc Sauce Nénette - Pork Chops with Mustard, Cream and Tomato Sauce

Week 4: Fondue De Poulet A La Crème – Chicken Simmered with Cream and Onions

Week 5: Poulet Sauté Aux Herbs De Provence & Purée De Pommes De Terre Á L ‘Ail

Chicken Sautéed with herbs and garlic, egg yolk and butter sauce & Garlic Mash Potato

French Cooking Tip …. Read the recipe completely through a few times before you start cooking. Treat the recipe like a story. By knowing the story, you are prepared and

Top Five Favorite Chicago Rooftops

Chicago is well known for beautiful summer days. With epic views the city rooftops create for some of summer’s most happening moments. With only so many summer days and so many awesome rooftops, I am sharing in today’s blog some rooftop recommendations that I think you must hit up this summer. 


On the rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association is where you will find Cindy’s. The high energy, hip rooftop has views of Millennial Park, the water of lake Michigan and City landscape. The rooftop offers its patron’s a variety of eating options. From little bites to go with your favorite cocktail to a full-on dinner menu and yes even brunch (cause in the city brunch is absolutely the best meal of the day) anytime of the day is a great time to be at Cindy’s. Known for being one of the more favorite Chicago rooftops, you will find this place is filled with a lively active nightlife. The Causal sit-down dining during the peak season will require a reservation. I have enjoyed quite a number of summer night’s here at Cindy’s and if you too are the social extrovert, I’m certain you will as well.


A Tourist dream rooftop is located at Navy Pier. This opened in 2019 and is the world’s largest rooftop. The views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline are priceless! The rooftop offers both a full-service bar and dining menu. Offshore as described on their site is 36K square feet with an additional 20k of terrace and 7 firepits

Being a Chicago resident, I personally avoid the tourist trap of Navy Pier, but I had to check this one out when I had CA friends visiting me. Offshore is located at the very end of the pier – yes making for quite a walk. While I personally don’t find this ideal for an average weeknight of rooftop drinking, I would absolutely recommend checking this rooftop out when you have a guest visiting in-town or when looking for something fun to do during a summer weekend.


Like Trump or not this glam rooftop in Trump tower is exquisite in every way. Whether it be the views of the river running through the city or the legendary Wrigley Clock Tower, this rooftop makes for a perfect photo-op. Trump terrace offers both a full bar and dinner menu. With a very generous square footage this rooftop provides a space of intimacy for both large and small gatherings. The service is excellent, the space is luxurious, and that high standard is carried all the way down to the luxardo cherry that tops off your cocktail. 

One of the more personal reasons I enjoy coming here often is because Terrace 16 is in the heart of downtown walking and it makes for a very quick and comfortably safe walk home.  While I have so many fond memories here, a favorite recent was on a beautiful Friday afternoon this past May with a group of my girlfriends. Chicago is exceptionally easy to show-off to my suburban friends when I bring them to Terrace 16 


Chicago club is the oldest private club in Chicago. In order to catch these rooftop terrace views you must be a member or know a member. If you are fortunate to visit this terrace, I am telling you this will turn out to be a summer memory of a lifetime! The views of Buckingham Fountain, Soldier Field, the water of Lake Michigan and the city scape when paired with their incredibly delicious food and service is truly something that is unmatched! The Club rooftop offers both a full bar menu and full-service dinner. There are several firepits and outdoor couches for intimate gatherings as well as a fireplace. The Chicago Club brings a respect to the city dining experience with its high-class service and required dress-code.  This rooftop makes also for an exceptional place to host a private party as I experienced first-hand when we celebrated my husband Sean’s 50th in June of this year.


Being one of Chicago’s most popular summer hangouts, I probably don’t have to share too much detail about what makes this tri-level rooftop such a happening summer hot spot. London House is located on Waker Drive in the heart of downtown. To say the views are incredible would be an understatement. Pretty much every direction you turn their amazing! I would highly recommend if you are visiting Chicago (or are in town on business) to stay at London House. It is a well-respected hotel and many of their guests will enjoy a business dinner in their restaurant followed by an after drink on the rooftop. 

Being a favorite to Chicago, this rooftop will get very busy during the summer months – especially on weekends. The vibe of the crowd definitely makes this high energy setting one that will require a reservation if you want to be seated. The rooftop itself offers a full bar and the bar menu is geared more as bite-size appetizers as their full menu is found in their indoor dining restaurant. I personally enjoy ending a summer day with a nightcap on this rooftop. Last time I was up here was right as summer was coming to an end. The city was looking so beautiful that I had to snap a photo to preserve my thought on how Chicago during the summer months is truly is a dream playground.

There is nothing like a summer memory in Chicago to hold onto during those cold bitter winter months. I hope in sharing my favorite rooftops, you will not only make a summer memory, but it will provide for you a guidance to a great rooftop to visit when in the Windy City. I would strongly encourage you during the high peak summer season to call ahead of time to make a reservation as is required for most outdoor dining/rooftopsj in Chicago.


In celebration of father's day weekend I bring to you Dad-hood recipes, featuring some of One Life Kitchen (OLK) guests and staff who happen to also be really awesome dads. Creating a connection to the kitchen, I thought it be cool to not only share some of their dad moments/advice through a recipe format but also find out from the OLK "dad team" what their favorite food and drink recipe recommendation would be this Father's Day.



IN THE KITCHEN: Your perfect dinner would include what ingredient(s)? My wife and kids with a simple recipe

IN THE OFFICE: What is a key ingredient you believe is necessary to building a successful career? Be willing to work hard for what you want 

IN THE HOME: What is the one ingredient (aka) character trait you hope your kids see in you, that you would want them to also live out in their own life? Be firm, but fair


IN THE KITCHEN: The heart of the home is the kitchen – what makes you enjoy spending time in yours? The people in the family

IN THE OFFICE:  The time of the day you tend to be most productive? No question the early morning hours 

IN THE HOME: Share with us one of the ways in which you enjoy spending time with your child(ren).  Coaching their sports teams, traveling, nerf battles


Mixing Kitchen, Office and Home together, share one belief or truth that has enabled you to really live out your best One LifeWork hard, be nice, laugh a lot

MEET DR. DAVID CROSSON: Dr. David Crosson, or Dr. Dave as patients call him, is one of the expert chiropractors at ChiroFit who provides care to people of all ages in Barrington, Illinois. He strives to improve the well-being of everyone he has a chance to meet. 

Dr. Crosson contributes his time and chiropractic knowledge to humanitarian efforts in places as far away as Vietnam. He’s also involved with local charitable foundations, including the Northern Illinois Food Bank. He volunteers his time by providing risk assessment and functional movement screening for local fire, police, and city workers, and speaks to local high school students about health care and preventive wellness.

An avid golfer, Dr. Dave is married with two children and lives in Barrington, IL.



IN THE KITCHEN: Your perfect dinner would include what ingredient(s)? Conversation, laughing and sharing. After a long day apart at work or school, this is the time to come back together as a family and be in each other's lives.

IN THE OFFICE: What is a key ingredient you believe is necessary to building a successful career? Perseverance; nothing worthwhile is given to you so you have to work hard and when you hit a wall, it is critical that you NEVER give up. 

IN THE HOME: What is the one ingredient (aka) character trait you hope your daughter sees in you, that you would want her to also live out in her own life? Honor: be honest and always do what is right, even if it is hard.  Results matter more when they are achieved with the right means. 


IN THE KITCHEN: The heart of the home is the kitchen – what makes you enjoy spending time in yours? Being there with loved ones, whether it is preparing a meal or sharing in a conversation over milk and cookies. 

IN THE OFFICE:  The time of the day you tend to be most productive? Before standard business hours begin or after they end, as I can focus on tasks rather than replying to emails/calls and other inquiries from my customers.  

IN THE HOME: Share with us one of the ways in which you enjoy spending time with your daughter.  Playing games whether it is board games or card games.  It provides both a venue for conversation as well as a challenge for the mind.  Our new favorite game is "Sequence", strongly recommend it.  


Mixing Kitchen, Office and Home together- share one belief or truth that has enabled you to really live out your best One Life.  Live in the moment; don't worry about what happened in the past nor concern yourself with what may happen in the future.  Be present today for today's sake. 

MEET STEVE:  Steve lives in Barrington and is a single parent to his seven-year-old daughter, Savannah.  Professionally, Steve is a director of finance for the 10th largest not-for-profit health care system in the United States.  In his free time, Steve is on the Barrington 220 Board of Education, Co-Leader for Girl Scout Troop 310, a Room Parent at Countryside Elementary School, on the Notre Dame Club of Lake County Board of Directors and volunteers for a variety of causes.  


"PERFECT" Manhattan


It’s truly perfect!

Ken Kuhn enjoys spending some of his free time serving up drinks here at One Life Kitchen. Ken is married to Carol and they have two adult children - Steve and Rachel.

Chef Sean's Favorite Summer Meal

Rosticciana - Tuscan Grilled Ribs



Chef Sean McGuire learned this recipe three years ago while traveling in Italy. It's one of his favorite summer meals to make. Pair it with a ceasar salad and a slightly chilled glass of wine. 

ABOUT CHEF SEAN MCGUIRE: Sean spent many years cooking in San Francisco and California wine country. Sean is a chef and teaching instructor at One Life Kitchen and serves as a private chef in the Barrington area. Sean is married to Shauna and they have two little boys.

Simple Ways to Show Hospitaltiy

Hospitality … to some that is a very exhausting word and yet to others it is exhilarating word. Hospitality for some is an instinct. It is almost like a natural born gift and yet for others it takes a serious amount of effort.

One might suggest that being hospitable has to do with your personality. However, just because someone is an extrovert and loves being around others, doesn’t necessarily imply they love hosting people. In the same way an introvert may find joy in hosting others. 

Hospitality isn't just about hosting a social engagement. It represents a reflection of love as it involves serving. It extends to being a space that welcomes gatherings. Having the opportunity to show hospitality to someone is a gift that will long be remembered. As the late Maya Angelou said, “people will never forget how you made them feel.” With that in mind I want to share some simple hospitable tips that will make any guest feel welcome in your presence.

Hospitality should not be stressful. There are no set requirements to qualify for being a good hostess other than having the heart of serving others. The showstopper of a home vibe and the skill of being an incredible cook is nothing, if you lack the heart of joyfully serving your guests. My wish for you is this, that you may experience the joy that comes in serving others and when your guests leave your gatherings, may they know they were nourished in their body and soul through your hospitality



Annu Khot is an Attorney turned Entrepreneur, Proud Mom, South Asian and A lifelong Learner.

Over the past 14 years, my career has done a complete 180°. I went from a life of dry legal jargon (yes, I’m a recovering attorney) to the unpredictable—but incredibly fulfilling—world of entrepreneurship. I’m now the Managing Partner of Rely Services, a professional services firm that provides outsourcing solutions to commercial and governmental firms. We have 250+ employees, and our commitment to excellence has enabled rapid growth. In addition, I’m an angel investor—and recently made investments in the healthcare and cannabis industries. I’m perpetually on the hunt for my next investment! I’m an industry-agnostic investor—as long as there’s a strong business case, I’m in.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE? Something always sophisticated, chic, and classy. Structured bags, tailored pieces, solid colors. When in doubt I always go with White. Very minimalistic when it comes to accessories although belts are my weaknesses. Red lips are a must. 

COFFEE OR TEA? Dairy free Indian Chai with fresh Mint & Ginger in the morning sets my day right & a warm cup of Nespresso in the afternoon for that pick me up. 

FAVORITE LUNCH?  A Bibimbap from Bibibop Asian Grill in Schaumburg. A meal in a bowl concept serving a flavorful mix of rice, protein, and fresh veggies. The nutrition is all portioned out on top of the bowl so at the end of the day you know you are having a balanced meal. 

MUST HAVE WORK GADGET?  Apple 12 Pro Max – Apart from emails and instantaneous work updates through various chat systems, it is now my bank, wallet, GPS system, digital camera, flashlight, voice recorder, home automation controller. With the plethora of software and services available on my smartphone, it is by far the most important digital screen in my life.

I am not sure Steve Jobs entirely understood the impact of the iPhone when he introduced it, but he did understand that it would be a platform for innovation and indeed that is what it has become.

BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?  Actually both I would say but mostly eat out! 

FAVORITE SPACE? My office – it is styled to my liking. Bright, white with Gold accents. A place where I go to be creative. 

COMMUTE TIME? 20 minutes from the office to home

NEWS SOURCE?  Espresso & Pocket are my go-to apps

DESK ORGANIZED OR CLUTTERED? Organized. Makes for easy business! 


Mac or PC? PC 

BREAK TIME? I don’t have many breaks during the day, but when I do, I get a nice cup of coffee, and strategize the rest of my day.

 My dedicated break time is when I sit down in my home in the morning when it is nice and quiet – with my tea, and I strategize my day.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOURS OF THE WORKDAY? Noon-4 seems to be the most productive. I get done a lot with my teams between this window. By then they have all their reports and updates ready and its more productive mutually. 

FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK? The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy. Taught me the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small seemingly insignificant actions daily. 

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? All the 22 trailblazing women who have scaled their companies to successful IPOs.

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORKDAY? Hard stop around 6:30-7:00PM. Take a note of what’s need to be done the next day. Have dinner with family. Exchange how our day was. Some Me time later, where I catch up with my family and friends in India. Skin care and 30 minutes of reading. I’m still working on no gadgets before bedtime. 

BUSINESS ADVICE? (1) Most successful founders are not anything special. The difference is they tried, and you did not. (2) Passion, Purpose and Profit can co-exist.  – Whitney Wolfe

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE? Loungewear and Athleisure beats hands down. Cozy and comfort over anything.  

WINE OR COCKTAIL? Why not both? White Wine – Moscato.

FAVORITE MEAL YOU COOK? Make a mean lasagna! My family loves it.

MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET?  Classic Dutch Oven. I love how the goat or chicken curry turns out to be. 

COOK OUT OR TAKE OUT? Cook out all the way

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? The family dining room. All decisions are made there, from what’s for breakfast to where to invest. 

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND? I don’t do that on a daily basis.    

MUSIC OR PODCAST? (1) Jenny and Liz Kaplan’s Encyclopedia Womannica to fill in the gaps where women are historically underrepresented. Each episode is a five-minute lesson on a brilliant woman you may not know, but most likely should. (2) Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. (3) Big Fan of Michelle Obama’s



TV OR NETFLIX? Neither – don’t watch a whole lot of TV. I watch movies occasionally.  

HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK? It usually takes around three months before I need a vacation. Even if I don’t travel far, it’s important to change your scenery. 


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ? Becoming by Michelle Obama  


HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? Family time is a big part of it. Getting to know how everyone’s day was, planning out meals for the next day & planning out my son’s day and make sure everything is ready to go. I also read, meditate, and isolate. This helps unplug from the world and helps me shut down at night.  

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Running a house requires a lot of planning and prepping ahead of time. Its both a gift and a curse. Lower your expectations, embrace interruptions and give yourself grace. 

Recipe Favorite 

Chicken Tikka Nachos

When I immigrated to America, I was hooked on Zesty Nachos. I frantically started looking for fusion recipes that would satisfy my South Asian palate. This recipe is taken from “That Spicy Chick’s” Blog. 

Chicken Tikka Nachos – an Indian spin on everyone’s favorite classic Mexican appetizer! They are made with delicious, shredded Chicken Tikka, plenty of cheese, pico de gallo, creamy cooling yogurt sauce, and a spicy red chili sauce! 

author: LAVINA prep time: 1 HOUR cook time: 30 MINUTES total time: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES yield: 6–8

For the Chicken Tikka:

For the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce:

For the Pico de Gallo:

For Assembling the Chicken Tikka Nachos:

Optional Toppings: Pico de Gallo, Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce (recipes included below), 3-4 TBLS Mykonos Red Chili Sauce (or any of your favorite hot sauces!), sour cream, guacamole, salsa, olives, etc.


For the Chicken Tikka:

Combine all the ingredients except the unsalted butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix and make sure the chicken breasts are fully submerged in the marinade. Cover with cling wrap and allow for the chicken to marinate for 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator for best results.

When ready to cook, heat the unsalted butter and Olive Oil in a medium sized sauté/fry pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated Chicken Tikka breasts and the remaining marinade in the bowl to the pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken has cooked through and longer pink on the inside. Transfer the Chicken Tikka breasts and shred with two forks. Set aside.

For the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl (or measuring cup) and mix to combine. Transfer to an easy squeeze condiment bottle and store in the refrigerator until needed.

For the Pico de Gallo:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and toss until combined.

For Assembling the Chicken Tikka Nachos:

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Spread half of the tortilla chips evenly in a large cast iron skillet, round cake pan, 9×13 baking dish, or directly on a baking tray/sheet pan. Top evenly with half of the shredded Chicken Tikka, half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and half of the Colby Jack cheese pieces. Repeat with the remainder tortilla chips, Chicken Tikka, shredded cheddar cheese, and Colby Jack cheese pieces.

Bake until the cheese has melted – about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with the Creamy Cooling Cucumber Sauce and Mykonos Red Chili Sauce (if using) or your favorite hot sauce! Spoon the Pico de Gallo evenly on top and garnish with the chopped coriander. Serve immediately!


Make Ahead: You can make the Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce and Pico de Gallo a day in advance. For the Chicken Tikka, I recommend marinating it 2 days in advance, and then cooking/shredding it a day in advance of serving. This way, all there is left to do on the day of serving is assemble the Chicken Tikka Nachos and bake it!

Storing: You will most likely have leftover Creamy Cooling Yogurt Sauce and Pico de Gallo. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 1-2 days. If you have leftover shredded Chicken Tikka, store in the refrigerator in an airtight contain