Jun
08

The Coolest Gift Ever


Do you ever have those occasions where you need to buy a gift for someone who has everything? Well this gift is sure to impress. Trust me.

I’d like to introduce you to the new Breville Smoking Gun. As you know I’m a huge fan of all Breville products but this one is certainly unique.

For a change, I put together a small video clip for you to watch so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. It features me actually demonstrating how to use it. Go ahead and take a peek. PS I think I’m going to do these video clips more often. #somuchfun

I have a feeling this gift would be a huge hit if you are looking for a Fathers Day Gift, a hostess cottage gift, or any other special occasion

Happy Cooking!!

Disclosure: this product was provided to me by Breville Canada however all opinions are my own.

 

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Jun
06

Yummy Food Discoveries!


Thought I would do a round up a few yummy menu items that have caught my attention these days.

For example

  1. The new Tuna Harissa Sandwich from Aroma Espresso Bar.  aroma - harissa sandwich

Inside this tasty sandwich you will find: two slices of tomato, sliced red onion, sliced egg, a tangy pickle, chopped tuna and the harrisa. I’m in love with the entire combination of flavours.

aroma - harissa

2. Taco.TO (170 Spadina)

Their vegan tacos caught my attention. Just perfect…both the taco and the price too ($4.45 each).

cheap lunch - taco to

3. The Kelp Salad from Nut Bar. (1240 Yonge St) Totally healthy and totally refreshing.

lunch - kelp nut bar

4. This $3 Vietnamese Sandwich that I purchased (and devoured in my car) on Gerrard St. East. Yes – you read correctly it was $3.

cheap eats - $3 sandwich

7. This new Lebanese Bakery and Cafe called Republic. (25 Nelson). Absolutely adored Their turkish coffee and their Hen’s nest too. Definitely going back.

republic

8. Anything from Planta!!  (1221 Bay St). I’ve been to this vegan restaurant twice and it continues to impress me even thought I’m not a vegan. Sadly no photos to share as I always seem to go at night. #bloggerproblems

9. The chopped liver from Harbord Bakery. (115 Harbord) The best part of my job is that I get to meet great people who love food as much as I do. Here’s a photo of the owner of Harbord Bakery and I, enjoying a sample of their freshly made chopped liver. It was perfect. chopped liver

Toronto has no shortage of great food to discovery.

Happy Eating!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May
28

Brunch Ideas!


Every once in a while I have the urge to host a brunch. But I’m pretty sure I have Pinterest to blame as I’d seen some recipes that captured my attention. Next thing  you know, I’m planning a brunch!

The table looked like this.

brunch - table2

I was pretty happy with the menu I selected, so today I will share two recipes with you. Deal?

Recipe #1: Mini Pancake Kebabs (original recipe can be found here)

brunch - ingredients

Here’s a formal list of what you need:

-skewers

-2 bananas slices

-about 6 strawberries sliced

-your favourite recipe for pancakes. I must admit making tiny pancakes was a bit challenging!

Nutella or dulce leche

Instructions:

  1. Spread nutella or dulce leche on each pancake.
  2. Take a skewer and insert the tiny pancake, then a sliced strawberry and then a sliced banana.
  3. Repeat!

Final Result:

brunch - pancakes final

Recipe #2: Granola Breakfast Pizza (original recipe can be found here)

Once again, all you need is a few ingredients:

brunch - pizza ingredients

Specifically you need:
3 cups of Granola
1 cup of Greek Yogurt (its important that its thick yoghurt)
1 cup of peanut butter
1/2 tbsp of cinnamon

1/2 cup of sliced almonds

Instructions:
1 Mix the granola and peanut butter in a bowl
brunch - pizza granola
2. Line parchment paper in a dish, and then spoon the mixture into it.
brunch - granola in plate
3. Place in the fridge for an hour or the freezer for 20 minutes. Note: I made the base a day in advance and kept it in the freezer overnight. You want to make sure that the base sticks together!!
4. Remove from pan and place on your serving dish. Spread greek yogurt (the thicker the better) on top of the granola mixture.
 brunch - pizza:yogurt
5. Arrange fruit on top. Sprinkle with almonds.
brunch - pizza - final
Both menu items were a hit!!
Stay tuned, as I’m pretty sure I will be posting another two brunch recipes shortly.
Hope this blog post inspires you to host a brunch one day soon as well.
Cheers,
Vicky
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May
24

I’ve recently returned from my first trip to Philadelphia and for the entire four days all I did was Tour and Eat, Tour and Eat…and Repeat. I’m not complaining as I wore the right shoes (my beloved Keen Uneeksand wore the right clothes (um, stretchy pants).

Let’s start with the touring part of my trip:

I used the Big Bus Tours as much as possible as it’s a great way to see a city. In fact, every time I visit a new city I will use these “hop and off” buses.

philly - bus map

I got off whenever I wanted to check out an attraction or museum, and then simply hopped back on after my visit. Their tour guides were cheerful, friendly and informative too.

Usually I’m not a museum person, however I took the time to check out the following museums/attractions and I’m really happy I made this decision.

Barnes Foundation

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Rodin Museum

National Museum of American Jewish History

The Franklin Institute

Independence Hall

-Liberty Bell Centre

-Rocky Steps & Statue

philly - touring

I walked, and walked and walked some more. In fact, my Samsung GearFit indicated that I walked 18,000 steps one day!

philly - tour 1

As for food:

I asked my cousin to send me a list of where I ate over my visit and this is what she sent me.  I was lucky enough to share a few meals with them which was the best idea as we cut up everything we ordered into thirds. Smart Move!

Tuesday
Carmen’s (cheese steak – lunch at Reading Market of course)
Fiesta Pizza (cheese steak – dinner)
Dalessandro’s (cheese steak – dinner)
Rita’s Italian Ices (dessert)

Wednesday

Dizengoff (inside the Whole Foods…this is unique to Philadelphia)
High Point Cafe @ Allens Lane Station (morning coffee)
Parks on Tap (to enjoy a beer in a beautiful park)
Vedge for a vegan dinner)
Big Gay Ice Cream

Thursday

The Franklin Fountain (rootbeer float)
Lennie’s (hoagie)
McNally’s (for their famous Schmitter®!)
Bredenbecks (ice cream)

Friday
Volo (coffee)
Insomnia Cookies
Monk’s Cafe (for unique beer that is hard to find)

Seriously, there was no shortage of good food to check out! I must say I tried hard to find foods that were unique to Philly and I’m pretty sure I can say “mission accomplished”. Now that I’ve returned to Toronto I’m back on track and eating more fruits and salad. LOL

I summed up Philadelphia like this: it’s bigger than Ottawa, but smaller than Montreal. I really did enjoy this city and do doubt will be returning seeing as the flight is only 1.5 hours from Toronto.

For complete tourism information please check out this website: www.visitphilly.com

Disclosure: A VIP pass was provided to me by the Philadelphia Tourism Office however all opinions are my own

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May
14

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)  launched a fun contest to find the top 150 hidden travel gems in our country. IHG sponsored this hotel stay and my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are my own.

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to do something fun with my mom but sadly I didn’t have the time to get to Ottawa. I solved this problem and met my mom half way in the beautiful city of Kingston which is half way for both of us.

kingston - mom and I

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Kingston – Waterfront which has both an indoor and outdoor pool. Sadly there was no sun. Sniff. But this gave us more time to enjoy the room!

kingston - room

We loved the pillows, which indicated if they were firm or soft. What a great idea.

kingston - pillow

Not sure if you know this but IHG® Rewards Club is currently running a unique 150th Hidden Gems Contest!!

IHG®Rewards Club will be celebrating Canada’s 150thBirthday with a Contest to Curate Canada’s Top 150 Hidden Travel Gems. The top 150 hidden gems from coast-to-coast will be selected by IHG through a contest just in time for Canada Day!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Visit their website:
  2. Follow the three easy steps!

PS Love how this contest is so user friendly!

holdiay inn - contest

I took the time to find this this hidden gem called “Martello Alley” in downtown Kingston. Naturally I’ve submitted into this contest. Wish me luck!!

kingston - martello alley

Hope you get a chance to enter the contest too.

Its not a surprise that IHG® Canada is a leader in hospitality, travel and leisure and the go-to destination for Canadians!

For more information:

Website: www.150canada.IGHrewardsclub.com

Instagram and Twitter: @IHGRewardsClub, #IHG150

Disclosure: My hotel stay was complimentary however all opinions are my own

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May
11

Did you know that there’s a Cheese Trail in Oxford County? Most likely you are probably asking yourself: “Where is Oxford County”? Here’s the answer. Its a 90 minute drive from Toronto and a great place to discover Ingersoll, Woodstock, and more.

cheese - map

You are also probably asking yourself as well: “What’s the Cheese Trail?”. Here’s your answer.  This trail offers 23 curated stops featuring local cheese and dairy. (yum) and this event takes place every Saturday throughout the month of May. Naturally I had to go check it out myself.

cheese - sign

My day started off at MountainOak Gouda. (3165 Huron Road, New Hamburg, ON). Please note, that New Hamburg isn’t technically in Oxford County but on the border! I absolutely adore this award winning Gouda and now I have a better appreciation of this Gouda after touring their facilities and visiting their 200 happy cows in their barn!!

cheese - moutnain oak tour

I then stopped into a charming chocolate store called Chocolatea (38 King St. East, Ingersoll, ON) for a sweet treat. I was greeted warmly by the store owner and eagerly consumed a delicious basil/lime chocolate!

cheese - chocolate

For some reason, after I have a chocolate I always feel like a coffee. So I walked over to a neighbouring cafe called  The Olde Bakery Cafe (120 Thames St. South, Ingersoll, ON) for a unique Cajeta Latte. I was informed that 99% of their baked treats are made in-house (yum) and my Cajeta latte is unique to the area as its made with goats milk right from the area!

cheese - latte

I made sure to stop into a restaurant called Louie’s Pizza Pasta & More, (440 Bell St. Ingersoll, ON)  as I read about it on www.curiouscreature.com. I am so happy that I stopped by. This popular restaurant is popular for a reason! Of course I tried their famous Panzerotti which was stuffed with goodness!

cheese - vicky panzerotti

But this month, they are featuring a deep fried cheese curds and I HAD to try that too!! Guess what? It was freaking delicious.

cheese - deep fried curds

The only thing I didn’t try was their famous pizza. But I did that on purpose cause I’m definitely going back!!

cheese - pizza

Ok back to the Cheese Trail I also stopped off at Gunn’s Hill but sadly I didn’t go on on a tour. Again, another good reason to go back.

cheese - gunns hill

I then went back to Toronto (sniff). I wish I had more time as this Cheese Trail offers so many unique activities. For example I wish I could have added 3 more stops:

  1. Cheese Board and Wine Pairing at SixThirtyNine (639 Peel St, Woodstock)
  2. New Seasonal Brew Launch at Upper Thames Brewing Company (225 Bysham Park, Dr #9, Woodstock)
  3. Visiting the Dairy Capital Cheese Shoppe (474 Dundas St, Woodstock)

However like I said before, I will be back. Nothing beats a weekend getaway!

PS I encourage you to click here to see suggested itineraries and maps! Oxford County Tourism has you covered and has thought of everything.

For more information:

Website: Oxford Tourism Cheese Trail

Twitter/Instagram: @TourismOxford

Hashtag; #BigCheeseDays

Phone: 1 519 539 9800 x3355

 

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May
09

This Mother’s Day,  Rabba Fine Foods has joined up with OASIS to offer mothers (and their loved ones) an opportunity to win some exciting prizes – all for sharing #RabbaMomMoments on social media.

Sounds easy and sounds fun. True Story:  I recently participated in a contest at a trade show and I won!!

Entrants for this contest, are encouraged to showcase the realities of motherhood – happy, proud, silly, and even frustrating. Entrants who share their posts or tag three friends will receive an extra entry into the sweepstake for a possible total of three contest entries.

I can definitely show case the reality of motherhood and I bet you have a few stories to share as well.

Here’s a “motherhood moment” – I’m proud that my kids have found jobs. It’s not easy out there to find a job and I’m over the moon that both have found employment over the summer.

rabba 2

Here’s another #RabbaMomMoment that I posted on Twitter:

entry

On Sunday May 14, winners will be announced on Rabba social media accounts. Prizes include:

· First place: a weekend trip for two to New York City including airfare and accommodations (1 winner / prize worth $1,500)

· Gift certificates to a day spa (3 winners / each certificate worth $250)

· Rabba $50 gift cards (5 winners)

Now that you have finished reading this blog post, I hope you pick up your smart phones and start to enter the contest.

Here’s where to post your #RabbaMomMoment: 

Twitter: @RabbaFineFoods

Instagram; @RabbaFineFoods

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/RabbaFineFoods/

GOOD LUCK AND HAVE A WONDERFUL MOTHERS DAY!!

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

 

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May
05

Did You Know…


Did you know that May 6th is World AS Day? I will admit that I didn’t know but I’m glad that it was brought to my attention. True Story: I received an email about this important campaign right after an appointment I had with a massage therapist.

I’m hoping that this blog will help build awareness of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) during the month of May!

Lower back pain is a common health problem, often a result of everyday activities, such as sitting at a desk or lifting a heavy box. As a sales rep, I’m in my car a lot and have days where lower back pain is an issue.  Luckily for me, I’ve only been in mild discomfort. However chronic back pain lasting longer than three months could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease, and form of arthritis of the spine, affecting approximately 300,000 Canadians. AS occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joints in the spine, causing stiffness and pain. While many associate arthritic conditions with old age, AS most commonly strikes people aged 15-40 – in the prime ages of their lives.

AS - photo 1

I had the opportunity to interview Deborah Campbell who was a busy young mother and avid runner when she was diagnosed with AS at the age of 38. After being diagnosed with the debilitating condition, her mobility was so limited she was confined to a wheelchair for a time. Today, Deborah has found a way to control her disease through a combination of medication, nutrition and exercise. She continues to run and this summer, she’s entering the Canadian Death Race as a solo participant to raise awareness for AS.

deborah2

Question: How long did it take you to get properly diagnosed?

Answer: It took 3-4 months

Question: What type of doctors did you consult with during that diagnosis?

Answer:  I was very fortunate to have a General Practitioner who had a lot of knowledge in the area of Rheumatology. He sent me immediately to a rheumatologist, I was in to see her within a month. Had my MRI within 2 weeks.

Question: What type of advise would you like to offer to anyone with chronic back pain?

Answer: Get in to see a health care practitioner as soon as possible. Also, for me, I needed to keep stretching the best I could. Don’t get stuck in the mindset if I can’t do things. 

Question: Tell me how nutrition has helped you feel better?

Answer:  Nutrition has always been an important part of my life. I’ve been a runner for over 15 years. I know now what foods trigger flare ups. The better I fuel my body, the better my body responds to my physical activity and to my treatments.

Question: Do you also swim? I’ve heard swimming is great for people who suffer from lower back pain.

Answer:  No I don’t swim. It has been recommended to me time and time again. It would be a great training tool along side my running for sure. I have to tell you though, I don’t like public pools, and I don’t like being cold. It’s just one of my weird quirks. I will keep you posted once I make it to a pool. 

Question: Tell me more about the Canadian Death Race!

Answer: Ah, the Canadian Death Race. I have been wanting to do this event solo for over 14 years. It’s a 125 mountain adventure race that has over 17000 ft elevation gain. It’s held in Grand Cache, Alberta. You have 24 hours to finish. There are 3 cut off points along the course and 5 transition areas. It is a tough course. I’ve been fortunate enough to have already done 2 stages of this event as part of a relay team twice now. I’m doing it solo to bring awareness to AS, as well as to give a new definition to what someone can do with this disease . I’ve always said that I was going to define it, I didn’t want the disease to define me. I’m monitored by my doctors and they are excited to see how I do. I run because I can. I run for those who can.

It occurred to me as I write this blog post, that I personally know quite a few people who suffer from chronic back pain and I know it’s not been an easy road to recovery.

Here’s to May 6th and raising awareness about World AS Day.  If you’ve had back pain for more than three mhttp://www.standuptobackpain.caonths, it could be a sign of inflammatory back pain like AS. To learn more about AS, visit: www.standuptobackpain.ca. 

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

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May
03

The month of May is going to wiz by. Here’s why.

May 4 to 14 – I will be seeing as many films as I can throughout the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. I’ve been been busy studying the guide and putting together a schedule! Can’t wait to help them celebrate their 25th anniversary.

tjff - guide

On May 4th – I will be walking thru the aisles of SIAL looking for new products to share with you. For example – Sugar Cubes that are available in three flavours : cardamom, cinnamon and saffron. Stay tuned for an entire blog post dedicated to this incredible trade show.

sial - flavor sugar

On May 6th – I’m heading to Oxford County to go on their Cheese Trail.  Every Saturday in May, you can head to Canada’s Dairy Capital in Oxford County and enjoy the day celebrating all things cheese. How can I NOT go? LOL

chees days

On May 8th at exactly 9:30 am you will find me and my cheque book at this fabulous Sample Sale. I will happily be shopping for my FALL wardrobe at wholesale prices. Love. Love. Love This Sample Sale.

sample sale

On May 10-11th – I will have the opportunity to drive the the 2018 Equinox on a beautiful drive through some of Niagara Region’s most charming towns. The route promises to include great food, activities and accommodations too.

I’ve been told that the 2018 Equinox is a fresh and modern SUV that’s sized and designed to meet the needs of the compact SUV customer. It will be the perfect balance of design and technology to keep me safe, comfortable and connected.

equinox

May 14th – Mother’s Day! Planning on meeting my mom in Kingston to celebrate this special day with her, and planning on spending the evening with my daughter.

May 16 to 19 – I’m heading to Philadelphia and I’m too excited for words as I’ve never been to this city and the food scene sounds amazing. (a priority – clearly).

philly

May 23rd – more good news to follow!!

My biggest challenge is how to get to Ottawa to see the Tulip Festival. ARGHHH.

Hopefully I will get a chance to rest in June.

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Apr
30

Hello Spring


Spring is here. (I think)

Last week, I was checking out beautiful cherry blossom trees.

lowes - cherry blossoms

But today I wore a winter jacket. (no photo – its just too upsetting). However when you walk into Lowe’s – you definitely know its Spring!!

lowes - patio furniture

The Style & Trends team has prepared a wonderful Spring/Summer line of spring outdoor decorating solutions. I’m all for spending more time OUTDOORS than INDOORS when it comes to these two seasons.

This year, Style and Trends Director Cindy Jardim, has designed four collections which are exclusive to Lowe’s Canada. (Gracious Living, Cuban Cool, Renewed Formality, Metro Modern).

lowes - 4 looks

Each collection was created with the goals of empowering consumer creativity and increasing comfort levels with design.

lowes - outdoor solutions

Lowe’s has also  introduced melamine serving and dishware this year! This serving dish makes me smile and would certainly be a conversation piece around a table.

lowes - melamine

I don’t know what it is about melamine dishwater but I’m always drawn towards it. P

lowes - dishes

Seriously, Lowe’s has you covered when it comes to Spring/Summer outdoor living.

lowes - gold

Happy Shopping!!

For more information: 

Website: www.lowes.ca

Instagram and Twitter: @Lowes_Canada

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LowesCanada/

Disclosure: Lowe’s provided me with a gift card however all opinions are my own

 

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