Jul
29

Today I discovered a new product that I think is just brilliant. It’s called Beetborsht Inabeerbottle.
harbord - beet
I’m familiar with Borsht as I grew up with it but would NEVER (repeat NEVER) go near it. It was in a ugly bottle and it was simply unappealing.

However today I went into Harbord Bakery and came across this new concept and in a nano second I was having a sample. Within another nanosecond, I was buying 2 bottles. Just like that!!

harbord - store

The brains behind this bottle are: Rafi, Tyler and Misha.  Rafi (on the right) is one of the owners of Habord Bakery, along with his sister Susan. They are proudly celebrating their 70th Anniversary and this beetborsht inabeerbottle was created to celebrate this occasion.

harbord - rafi

Harbord Bakery is famous for this product as well as many other baked goods.

harbord - challah

On a side note: My dad is turning 87 at the end of August and I’m sure I will be bringing him a few bottles for him to enjoy. It’s going to be the perfect gift. I have no doubt, I will bringing more bottles to Ottawa for the Jewish New Year in September as well.

For more information:

Harbord Bakery, 115 Harbord St, Toronto
(416) 922-5767

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Jul
26

Recipe: Asparagus Tart


I had the opportunity to go on a tour with Foodies on Foot and visit an asparagus farm as well as a lavender farm! I don’t often get the chance to visit a farm but when the opportunity presents itself …I jump at the chance.

The asparagus farm was indeed a learning experience. I had no idea that asparagus grew like this. (see bottom left photo)

asparagus - farm

At the end of the day, we were given 11 pounds of asparagus. For about a week, I was pretty busy making asparagus soup, roasted asparagus, steamed asparagus etc.

I also made this delicious Spring Asparagus Tart that I discovered online. In no time at all, I had a pretty nice looking meal.

Here’s the recipe courtesy of Morgan Hass for Food Network Kitchens:

SPRING ASPARAGUS TART

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (a 9 1/2- by 9-inch sheet from a 17.3-ounce package)

1 cup mascarpone

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 large egg, beaten

1 lemon, zest finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 pound pencil asparagus, woody bottoms trimmed off

1 tablespoon olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the puff pastry to a 9- by 12-inch even rectangle.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. I used PC Butter Puff Pastry and was really pleased with the results. This is now by “go-to” puff pastry of choice!

asparagus - puff

Combine the mascarpone, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt, the flour, egg and lemon zest, and then fold in the chives and tarragon.  (I didn’t have this spice handy ). Spread over the puff pastry, leaving a 3/4-inch border.

Toss the asparagus with the olive oil in a bowl. Lay half of the asparagus in a neat row across the surface of the tart so the tips meet the edge. Do the same in the opposite direction with the remaining asparagus. (the fancy part)

Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Bake until the border of the tart is deep golden and puffed and the top is lightly spotted golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.

FINAL RESULT

asparagus - tart

Serve this tart with a few salads and you are good to go!!

asparagus - salads

To find out more information about Foodies on Foot, please visit their website www.foodiesonfoot.ca  or follow them on twitter @foodiesonfoot.

 

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Jul
22

My last blog post was about camping so I thought it would only be appropriate to do a blog post about GLAMPING. Here’s the definition of Glamping according to Wikipedia:

Glamping is a portmanteau of glamour and camping and describes a style of camping with amenitiesand, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Glamping has become particularly popular with 21st century tourists seeking the luxuries of hotel accommodation alongside the escapism and adventure recreation of camping

My glamping experience this year, was at Langdon Hall as it fits my criteria when I want a QUICK escape. To be exact: It’s about an hour away from Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

langdon - hotel

I have been escaping to Langdon Hall for over a decade but only for a day trip (think Spa treatment and then hang out at the pool). But this trip I actually stayed overnight. What a treat!!

This meant I had time to play tennis, (twice!!) and go for a quick ride on a tandem bicycle. #FUN

langdon - activity

We even took advantage of the complimentary Wine Tasting that was taught by one of the sommeliers on staff (there’s actually a few of them at Langdon Hall). It was a fun blind wine tasting and sure enough my fav wine was a 2010 Charles Baker Riesling from Stratus Vineyards in Niagara on the Lake.

langdon - wine

During July and August, Langdon Hall offers a variety of complimentary activities for their guests: wine tastings, garden and history tours, cooking demonstrations and even a vegetable garden tour.

Naturally, we also relaxed by their exquisite pool.

langdon - pool

What strikes me the most about this majestic property is their lush grounds and their spectacular vegetable garden. I couldn’t stop snapping photos of GREEN!!

langdon - green

The highlight of our trip was the chance to eat at Langdon Hall and to chat with Chef Jason Bangerter.  Notable achievements while at Langdon Hall include:

  • Relais & Chateaux, Rising Chef Trophy 2015
  • Five Diamond Restaurant Award by CAA/AAA 2014
  • Gold Medal Plates, Toronto 2014 – Received the Bronze Medal, fundraising chefs competition for Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
  • The Good Food Innovation Awards – Received Gold by Food Day Canada for the demonstration of an innovative Canadian menu.
  • Relais & Chateaux, Gourmet Fest at Carmel by the Sea – selected as the only Canadian Chef to take part in this 60th anniversary celebration.

Sadly, we weren’t that hungry and only ordered two items from their dinner menu.

-East Coast oysters with rhubarb and green apricot mignonette, garden hot sauce.

langdon - oysters2

-Potted chicken liver pate with elderberry and thyme jelly, spring vegetables and sourdough crisps.

langdon - liver

I can’t wait to return and order more dishes from this talented Chef.

langdon - chef

I also can’t wait to sleep on their beds again. I actually had to look to see what I was sleeping on and discovered it’s a feather bed. I also found out when I was leaving that you can buy it online.  I think I will be treating myself to an early birthday gift (err..about 8 months early. LOL)

Of course, the service we received EVERYWHERE was spectacular. Everyone we encountered had a smile on their face ..the bellman, the pool staff, our waitress at the bar, the front desk staff and cleaning staff too. It was truly a pleasure to stay at this Relais & Chateaux, designated hotel. Just so you know – there’s only two properties in Canada with this designation.

Other exciting news about this property is their expansion, which include a new spa and more event space. It’s scheduled to open in the Fall and I have no doubt that it’s going to be magnificent. Can’t wait to check it out. (note to self: put this in my calendar…NOW)

langdon - constructionFor more information:

Langdon Hall, 1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON
Telephone: 519-740-2100
reservations@langdonhall.ca

Twitter: @Langdon_Hall

Instagram: @LangdonHall

 

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Jul
20

For many years, I went to summer camp and fondly remember many canoe trips and even a sailing trip! However as an adult I’ve only gone camping three times. Sad but true.

Last week this all changed, as I finally went camping again.

Here’s what was involved:

a) I googled “best camping spots near Toronto”. Found this great website  that inspired me to pick up the phone and call a  1 888 number to book a camp site at Elora Gorge Conservation Area. On a side note: I found it extremely interesting (?) to call an American Call Centre to book a Canadian Camp Site.

b) I sent out a tweet: “Going Camping. Need a recommendation for a tent”. My fellow lifestyle blogger friend (who goes camping regularly) suggested: Coleman.

I swear her camping blog posts inspire me and I encourage you to click here to read about her camping adventures.

c) Went to Canadian Tire to buy a tent, sleeping bag, cooler, lanterns and a bbq grill. The Coleman tent said it would go up in a minute and I swear it went up in a minute. It took less time to set up the tent than it does to make my bed!  As for the sleeping bag – it kept me warm and cozy and it was on sale! $39.99 ! (hooray). Actually the tent was on sale too. ($189)

camping - tent

d) As for food: I wanted to follow the rule: K.I.S.S (keep it simple) – so eggs, bread, hot dogs, jiffy pop corn, pancake mix, salami, bagged salad, oysters, tuna patties, muffins, blueberries, cheese, etc were on the menu!!

camping - cooking

e) The camp site we selected (area C number 166) was quiet, well shaded and included electricity (so I could charge my phone…I’m bad eh?). It wasn’t near the water or the quarry but I didn’t care  – it was QUIET and peaceful and truly beautiful to be surrounded by so many trees.

camping - trees Even though it rained and we left early, we did get a chance to hang out for a few hours at the Quarry.

camping - quarry

What did we learn?

-we forgot oven mitts and toilet paper. Oops!!

-we didn’t bring the right clothes and it rained an rained and rained. In fact it rained so much that we packed up our tent and left a day early.

However, we can’t wait to go camping again and trust me, I will be blogging about these experiences.

To book a campsite this summer:

Grand River Conservation Area: 1-877-558-GRCA (4722)

Reservations at Ontario Provincial Parks: 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275)

To buy camping equipment:

Head to www.canadiantire.ca for all your camping needs!

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Jul
19

It’s summer and the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen. I don’t know about you but I cook a lot more in the winter.

Here’s a few things to make that will take no time at all so that you can spend more time enjoying the sunshine.

a) An appetizer with two ingredients: Piggies in a Blanket.

Not sure why I’ve never made these before. They are simple to make and simply delicious.

All you need is hot dogs (or Yves Veggie Dogs) and Pillsbury Croissant Dough.

2 ingredients - dough

Totally addictive and totally tasty.

2 ingredients - piggies

 

b) Two ingredient dessert: Strawberry Galette.

Take any berry and boil it with a touch of sugar and a touch of water. Then take some PC butter pastry and put the berries in the middle and then fold it. Bingo – you’ve got yourself dessert.

c) Four ingredient desert: Ice Cream Cake

You will need; No Name Ice Cream Sandwiches, No Name Icing, a few cherries and a few PC chocolate chips.

dessert  - ice cream

 

 

 

 

Instructions: place 4 ice cream sandwiches next to each other. Take the icing and spread it on top. (I’ve used the PC ice cream syrup for this and it worked as well). Basically you need something to act as “the glue”. LOL. Then take 4 more ice cream sandwiches and place it on top. Final step: more icing (or syrup) on top and then decorate with cherries and chocolate chips!! THIS DESSERT IS A WINNER. dessert - final

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Jul
13

I grew up watching a lot of sports as my dad owned Ritchie’s Sports Shop in Ottawa for 43 years. I attended many live events and watched a lot of sports on TV, but had never been to an opening ceremony before. This all changed on Friday night.

I finally attended an Opening Ceremony. It was a big deal for me to attend on a Friday night but I made sure it happened as it was a once in a lifetime experience.

atoma - ticket

No matter how many photos I took, I simply could not capture the moment but I certainly did try.

atoma - ceremony

It was inspirational to watch so many dedicated athletes walk into the venue! Of course, the ceremonies included spectacular performances as well. Sorry – no photos. Please forgive me!!

As mentioned in previous posts, I attended the opening ceremonies as a guest of McKesson Canada. At their cocktail party, (before the opening ceremony), I came across this sign and was impressed with this message: GET OUT THERE. GET ACTIVE.

atoma - get out there

atoma products help you get the most out of your day, even in the most demanding situations. Whether you’re on the field or at home, atoma products help you perform at your peak.That’s why atoma is proud to support athletes and be the Official Pharmacy to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

See these atoma products? Well I will be using them throughout the summer. I know that these high quality products have the same ingredients as national brands but at lower prices. You gotta love it. They actually guarantee your satisfaction or you will get your money back.

atoma - products

Please visit this website to meet the athletes that atoma is supporting and to learn more about atoma products….www.teamatoma.ca.

Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored, however all opinions are my own

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Jul
10

I got tired of  making blueberry crisps, so I made a Blueberry Cobbler instead. (just like that) I searched online for a recipe and discovered that there’s LOTS of recipes out there….and they are all a little different!

After reading (err..scanning) thru many recipes I finally found one that suited my needs. This is code for …I had all the ingredients in the pantry/fridge.

It’s a winner. The blueberries become all goo-ey and the cobbler part was perfect.

Here’s the recipe:

Blueberry Cobbler (taken from www.wickedgoodkitchen.com)

Ingredients:

For the Blueberry Filling

6 cups of blueberries

1 cup of sugar (I used less)

2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons of all purpose flour

For the Buttery Biscuit Crumble Topping

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons of all purpose flour

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits

1 large egg, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 tablespoon of sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly butter a pie plate, baking dish etc.

2. Prepare the blueberry filling: Place blueberries into the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Add the flour and whisk until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the berries and toss gently.

 

blueberry - filling

3. Prepare the buttery biscuit crumble: In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a course meal with small pea-sized pieces of butter.  In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla into the beaten egg. Gently toss the egg and vanilla into the flour mixture until moistened and the dough starts to hold together.

blueberry - crumble

4. Assemble the cobbler: Sprinkle the biscuit crumble evenly over the fruit filling. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (if desired).

5. Bake for 40 minutes.

blueberry - final

**I promise that your kitchen is going to smell delicious and the blueberries will be bubbling away.

This recipe was so good that I’ve made this cobbler twice in one week.

Sadly I never have ice cream in my freezer but I bet this blueberry cobbler would be absolutely perfect with a scoop of ice cream!!

blueberry - plate

Happy Baking.

 

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Jul
07

Yesterday, I had a once in a lifetime experience to be a Torch Bearer for the Pan Am Games. This was truly a cool experience that I will remember for a long long time.

torch - grass

I can’t describe what I was feeling as I ran the 200 meters down Gerrard St. E as I was too busy waving and smiling! (see photo below)

I certainly felt protected as there was a convoy of 12 cars/motorcycles behind me!! Plus 3 policeman running beside me.

torch - police

I also had no idea that people would stop me on the street afterwards to take photos of me.  I must admit I felt very proud to be part of this Torch Relay.

Fact: The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay was a 41-day journey that shared the Pan Am spirit in more than 130 communities.

Now that my Torch Bearer experience is behind me, I can focus on attending the Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony.  It will be thrilling to witness Sprint Canoeist,  Mark Oldershaw carry the Canadian Flag into the Opening Ceremony. Honestly, it’s not every week that I get to experience these types of events.

I am extremely honoured to be a guest of McKesson Canada at the Opening Ceremony and will be definitely posting on Twitter and Instagram.  So feel free to follow my tweets and instagram posts as I will be using the hashtag #atomaPanAm.

Stay tuned for my report on the 2015 Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony K?

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul
06

Did you know that there’s dairy products where the cows are grass fed? Well, Rolling Meadow Dairy are proud to offer premium quality products made with Canadian Grass Fed Milk. They allow their cows to graze on pasture as long as the Canadian weather will allow. 

My kitchen has been “dairy” for over 2 decades so I really thought I was an ideal candidate to try their products. Sadly the butter was out of stock but I will be looking out for it on my next run to the grocery store.

rolling - products

It was natural for me to enjoy Rolling Meadow yogurt for breakfast along with a homemade strawberry/rhubarb jam.

rolling - yogurt

I enjoyed it so much that later that night I decided to serve waffles for dinner, with a dollop of yogurt and homemade blueberry jam. (recipe to follow)

rolling - waffles

Then for an after dinner snack, I decided to make a Strawberry Milkshake (using the strawberries I had picked from Whittamore’s Farm).rolling - milkshake

In my opinion, the Rolling Meadow Yogurt and Milk tastes different than other brands, however I say that in a good way not in a bad way.

In the event you are wondering what’s the benefit of eating Grass Fed products? Here’s your answer: The primary benefit is that the ratio of  Omega 6 to Omega 3 is significantly improved (up to 300%) vs. non-grass fed milk. One could say it’s a healthier product in addition and that it makes it more digestible for some consumer who have had challenges with milk digestibility in the past. (um..like me, who has been suffering from lactose intolerance for 5 years now)

For those who are interested how to make the jam, here’s a not so precise recipe.

1. Take some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or even a combo of rhubarb and strawberries….and place it in a pot with a bit of water.

2. Add a bit of sugar (a bit).

3. Let it boil and after a few minutes, you have some  homemade jam.

Perhaps one day I will actually use my measuring cups and measuring spoons!!

For More Information:

Website: www.rollingmeadow.com. On a side note: I think there website is so well designed with fantastic content. Please take a peek.

Store Locator: Click here

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all my opinions are my own

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Jul
02

Food Festivals…..


There’s a festival for everyone – a Hot & Spicy Food Festival, a Rib Festival (or two or three), Toronto’s Festival of Beer,  a Night Market, and many many more. Seriously, there’s no shortage of festivals.

I try to attend as many as I can, seeing as food is a strong interest of mine. It seems as if I’m always on the prowl to eat something different or discover a new product!

Here’s a recap of two food events that I recently attended:

1. Taste of Toronto:

The 2nd annual celebration of everything we love about food, takes place July 2-5 at Fort York. Taste of Toronto features 70 artisanal producers, interactive classes by star chefs and 50 dishes from the some of Toronto’s hottest chefs and restaurants.

This festival should be on your radar as the weather is going to be picture perfect over the next few days.

restaurants - taste

The big draw for foodies this year is the appearance of Morimoto, Chef Morimoto is known to millions as the star of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America—and the big news is the fact that he will be opening a restaurant in Toronto one day soon!

For more information about this event..(hours, admission prices etc) please click here.

2. Restaurantacular

This food festival that is located along Mount Pleasant Road, is a great chance to wander from restaurant to restaurant to enjoy the $2, $4 and $6 amuse bouche, appetizers and small bites they have prepared especially for this event.  Restaurantacular is a chance to try the many great restaurants in this neighbourhood, little bites at time.

food - restaurantacular

I’ve gone two years in a row so I can “eat my way along Mount Pleasant”. It’s a fun, neighbourhood event on a street that is known for their fabulous restaurants and bakeries!

Curious to know if you will be going to any food festivals this coming summer! Please let me know.

 

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