Jan
28

Recipe: Potato Nest Frittata


My neighbour gave me a recipe from the Toronto Star that she thought might interest me.  I figured: “why not”? I was actually curious if this recipe would turn out and it did! Please note – this is a 2 step recipe that requires you to bake the potatoes and then stick them in the fridge overnight!

White Potato Nest Frittata (Star Tested – Toronto Star, Jan 3, 2015) written by Michele Henry

INGREDIENTS

2 large russet potatoes

6 eggs

salt and pepper

6 tbsp diced red pepper

6 tbsp diced shallot (I didn’t have any in my fridge…oops)

6 tbsp grated cheddar (I used OKA).

DIRECTIONS

1. Bake potatoes in preheated oven at 350 F for about an hour

recipe - pototatoe

2. Let cool for 20 minutes

3. Place in refrigerator overnight.

4. The next day – grate the potatoes over a bowl and then season with salt and pepper

recipe - grate

5. Generously spray the muffin tin with PAM or grease with vegetable oil. Then pat the potatoe mixture into the muffin tin to form a well. Note; the two potatoes were exactly enough for a 12 piece muffin tray.

recipe - nests

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for 15 to 20 minutes or till golden brown. (yes – the edges turned golden brown). I placed the muffin tray on the top rack!

7. Remove from the oven and then place a tiny amount of red pepper and cheese and shallot – into each potato nest.

8. Crack open an egg on top of each nest. I swear I thought they would overflow but they didn’t. PHEWW.

recipe - crack egg

9. Bake in a pre heated oven at 400 F for 15 to 20 minutes.

FINAL PRODUCT

recipe - final

I then sprinkled each one with dried dill. Next time I would use add fresh dill or fresh parsley AFTER they were cooked

Again – I thought that they were going to spill over but everything worked out. Pheww!

Note to self…I really need to have company over for brunch one day soon.

 

 

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Jan
26

There’s a new app on my phone that I would like to share with you!  See the icon that says “Nectar Flowers” ? Well I just installed it and then I used it to send flowers to my daughter over the weekend!

photo3

This app is truly unique and as you know I like anything unique!! Why did I like using this app so much? Here’s a few reasons..

a) I was able to record a video message instead of a note! Love this idea

b) It was super easy to use. After several clicks…my order was processed.

c) The app will even assist you if you don’t know the exact address

I love discovering new apps. Infact, I actually need to write an entire blog post about some of my new favorites so stay tuned.

Here’s the bouquet that was delivered which is called: Sun Bath Bouquet. Price ($39) ps vase not included.

floweres - jeff

 

Seeing as Valentines Day is around the corner, I thought I would share this special offer with you!

FLYER2

For more information: www.nectarflowers.com

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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Jan
23

You would think that I would get bored to attend the same event, year after year. But I’m not. Every time I attend the Interior Design Show I am blown away. There’s so much eye candy at this show…it’s not even funny.

Naturally the event starts off for me with the Opening Party. This is one party – I won’t miss. Of course I had to wear the right shoes! LOL.

ids - shoes

Here are some beautifully designed pieces that caught my eye.

a) Don’t you just love this chair? Not sure if it’s comfortable, but I sure do like looking at it!

ids - chair

b)  This bathtub is just soooo elegant!

IDS - tub

c) Believe it or not – this is a tile! What a statement..

IDS - tile

d) One carpet is more beautiful than the next one.

ids - rug

e) This is one of my favorites…its simply a thick piece of black rope. I think this would look great in a family room or on a bedroom wall behind a bed.

ids - rope

e) Of course, I had to take advantage of the swings and goof around a bit!!

ids - swing

There is seriously so much to see at this show and I really hope you get a chance to visit this weekend.  As you know, I’m more of a foodie yet I truly adore this show.

For more information:

Website: www.interiordesignshow.com (worth buying your tickets online)

Hours: Saturday Jan 24, 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday Jan 25, 10 am  to 6 pm.

Location: Metro Convention Centre, North Building, Toronto

 

 

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Jan
19

Planet Fitness has over 900 locations throughout the States and can now boast that they have a location in Canada. Back in December, they opened their first location at 1245 Dupont St. (inside Dufferin Mall)

I was invited to take a tour and eagerly said “yes” as I wanted to compare it to Fit 4 Less. You see, I use to be a member of Goodlife (since 2007) but when I moved in August it no longer made sense as there is a Fit 4 Less,  less than a kilometre away from where I now live.

Here’s my first impressions about Planet Fitness:

-They  offer a $10 a month fee as well as a Black Card membership ($19.99/month). The basic membership allows you to use the machines, change rooms, showers.

grid

-The  Planet Fitness Black Card membership allows you to bring a GUEST at anytime and use the hydromassage table (which I had to try..LOL) plus there’s other small perks.

planet - table

 

-There’s an actual change room with showers and a water fountain too! This might be a given to see both items at a gym but keep reading…

planet - change

-There’s plenty of staff

Here’s my first impressions about Fit 4 Less:

-It’s bright and clean.

-They also offer a $10 a month fee and a $20 a month fee. However the more expensive membership doesn’t allow you any perks, it simply gives you the option to cancel your membership.

-There’s NO change rooms. No Showers. Not even a water fountain.  But for $10 a month I’m not complaining. I really just need a few weights and a treadmill and I’m good to go. Plus it’s open 24 hours a day. (even though I’m NEVER going to use a gym at 2 am).

-There’s few staff members to assist you. In fact you need a FOB to get in and to get out as there’s not always a staff member on premise.

However for me, it makes sense for me to join Fit 4 Less as it’s so close to where I live.

What’s nice to see is that the fitness industry is making gym memberships affordable!!

For More information:

Website: www.planetfitness.ca

Twitter: @planetfitness

Phone: 416 537 2957

Planet Fitness is located at 1245 Dupont St and will be opening a second location in Brampton in the near future.

 

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Jan
13

Recipe: French Toast Muffins


On Sunday morning, I made a perfectly good lookin’ French Toast to serve to my daughter. However I was still staring at half a loaf of challah and then said to myself: “Vicky…now is the time to try that recipe for Individual French Toast Muffins that you saw on Pinterest 3 years ago!!”.

french toast - rebecca

Here’s the recipe that I used from the website: Two Peas and Their Pod

INGREDIENTS:

1 loaf French bread, cut or torn into 1/2 inch cubes  (I used half a loaf of a whole wheat challah)
2 1/2 cups milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Butter and Maple Syrup, for serving, optional

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

french toast - bread and eggs

2. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Add a handful of bread cubes to each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg and milk mixture evenly over each muffin tin. You may need to press down on the bread cubes after you pour a little mixture and then pour more. Pour slowly or you will have a mess. Cover the muffins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight. (I refrigerated it for 2 hours)

french toast - muffin

3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the cinnamon streusel, in a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with your hands, until you have a crumbly mixture. Remove the muffins from the refrigerator and sprinkle the muffins evenly with the streusel topping.

4. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.

FINAL PRODUCT

How cute? I can’t wait to serve these at a brunch one day soon. I have a feeling they will be a hit!

french toast - final2

Happy Brunching!!

 

 

 

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Jan
11

I’m not sure how I found out about FFWD: Advertising and Marketing Week, but it’s been on my radar for a long time. This year – IM GOING. Can you tell that I’m excited? Well I am! I thought it would be fun to share a quick email interview that I had with Gillian Graham, who is the CEO of Institute of Communication Agencies.

1.    How long has AD WEEK been taking place?

The week was launched in 2009 as “Advertising Week”, so this will be our 7th year! It was renamed

“FFWD: Advertising and Marketing Week” two years ago, reflecting its relevance to the entire marketing and communications industry.

adweek - banner

2.    What are the most anticipated sessions?

All the sessions are highly anticipated, because they cover the broad spectrum of issues facing our industry, such as data, brand influence, multiplatform consumers, native advertising, mobile marketing, becoming an entrepreneur/starting a start-up, etc.  There will also be a screening of award winning global commercials from the 2014 Cannes “Festival of Creativity”. There are a few sessions that should definitely spark interest and conversation, such as the debate between Mitch Joel and Andrew Keen on “Is the Internet the Answer?”, the presentation by Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and the insights from global advertising icon Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy & Mather, New York. The Ad Ball on Thursday night Jan. 29th is always a very well attended and fun party!

adweek - ball

3.    How has AD WEEK changed over the last few years?

Like our industry, the week has evolved dramatically over the last several years.  It has grown from under 10 events in its first year, to over 40 events in 2015, and is now Canada’s largest and most diverse annual gathering for the advertising, marketing and communications industry. Last year we added a “Morning Master Series”, featuring esteemed marketing professors from various universities.  In 2015 for the first time, we will hold an exciting “Battle of the Bands” event, featuring bands from various Toronto agencies. This year we will also be welcoming presentations from several new and exciting sponsors, such as Twitter.

4.    Who should attend?

Anyone who has an inquiring mind about our changing world, or who wants to network with others in the communications industry (Starbucks coffee is supplied, providing ample opportunity to spark conversations and make new friends). If you are interested in creativity, innovation and new ideas, this is perfect for you!

Networking Galore!!

Networking Galore!!

5.    What should I wear?

For most sessions, wear comfortable clothes and bring your laptop or tablet to take lots of notes!  For the Ad Ball, wear bold, colourful dress to fit with the “Graffiti” theme.

6.    How do I register?

Go to www.advertisingweek.ca (best to do it soon – sessions have limited space and will start to sell out shortly)

7.    Where is it taking place?

Most presentations will be held at TIFF Bell Lightbox, but a few are in other downtown Toronto locations.  All details are on the www.advertisingweek.ca website

8.    Are student prices available?

Yes, we are very keen to have students join us, and additionally we will host our much anticipated “Next Generation Day” on Wednesday, January 28th.

9.    Any other tips for attendees?

FFWD: Advertising and Marketing Week highlights upcoming trends, opportunities and challenges facing Canadian businesses. It will feed your mind and provide new connections.  Jobs have been secured, careers have been kick-started, and businesses have been started/grown because of the contacts made and the speakers viewed during the week. And, we know of at least one marriage and baby that resulted from

Ad Week! ;)

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Jan
07

At one my point in my life I was a Food Sales Rep. This meant I was visiting 12-15 grocery stores a day. However my fridge was ALWAYS missing something.

I really do have a love/hate relationships with Grocery Stores. Thankfully Loblaws has introduced a program called Click & Collect, so I can “love” grocery shopping more than hating it!

Here’s my experience using it:

1. I sat on my couch one night and ordered my groceries online using this website: https://shop.loblaws.ca/

After a few clicks, my online cart was full of things I needed…ie Kale, Almond Milk, frozen spinach, and other goodies!

2.  I then clicked on a convenient time for me to pick up my groceries. Sweet.

3. The next day, I drove to Loblaws (there’s 3 locations that are offering this program). When I drove thru the parking lot I saw these “Click & Collect” signs so I parked and followed the instructions. i.e I made a phone call where a friendly customer service rep reviewed my bill.

For more information about substitutions, pricing, etc. please click here: https://shop.loblaws.ca/faq

loblaws - sign

4) The friendly customer service rep came out with my groceries and put them in my car.

loblaws -cart

5) See me smiling from the comfort of my car? I was SO happy with the service and the fact that I didn’t have to leave my car!!

loblaws - bill

Things you should know;

a) There is an additional service fee depending on the time slot you choose. I must have picked a great time, as I only had to pay an additional $3 for the service.

b) You need to spend a minimum of $50

c) There’s 3 locations in Toronto that are offering the  “Click & Collect” program.

Loblaws: 17 Leslie Street, Toronto

Loblaws: 11 Redway, Toronto

Loblaws: 301 High Tech Road, Richmond Hill

Would I use the Click & Collect program again?  YES. YES. YES!!

Happy Clicking and Collecting!!

Disclosure: I was compensated to try the Click & Collect program however all opinions are my own

 

 

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Jan
05

New Year = New Recipes


It’s a new year which is code (for me) for checking out some new recipes! So here are 3 recipes that I want to share with you that I recently tried. I hope you like them as much as I did.

a) PERSIMON MIXED SALAD:

I was recently introduced to PERSIMONS for the first time in decades. This particular variety from Spain has completely changed my mind about this gorgeous looking fruit. They have a sweet, delicate flavour similar to a peach or a mango and are only available for a short period; usually from mid-October until January/February. I think their limited availability makes them even more special, which is why you must seize the opportunity when they are in market!

Here’s a fabulous salad that I whipped up one night wtih just a few ingredients that were hanging around my fridge.

For more information about this fabulous fruit: www.persimonsays.com, Twitter: @PersimonSays

INGREDIENTS:

-Salad Mix

-Persimon

-Toasted almonds

-Pomegranate

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. For the dressing: take the pomegranate juice, add oil, dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Whisk together.

FINAL PRODUCT

recipe - salad

b) APPETIZER: Mediterranean Ricotta fritters

I couldn’t believe how easy this recipe was to make. I will be making these again but probably going to add a different topping. ie fresh sasla or a spicy ailoli or mango chutney or a pesto. Clearly this a versatile recipe!! ps if you are looking for more amazing recipes please check out www.dairygoodness.ca

INGREDIENTS

1 egg

1 cup Canadian Ricotta

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper

1 cup Canadian Swiss Cheese, grated

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 tsp black or green olive tapenada

2 tablespoons fresh herbs..ie parsley and/or chives

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F

2. In a bowl, whisk egg with Ricotta, flour and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and pepper. Incorporate Swiss Cheese and half the herbs

3. Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven on top rack for 10 to 12 minutes or until fritters are puffed up and golden brown.

4. Place fritters in wonton soup spoons (which I own of course..LOL), with hot tomato sauce, tapenade and remaining herbs.

FINAL PRODUCT

recipe - fritter

c) DESSERT: Cherry Vanilla Blintzes (recipe from Food Network courtesy Wayne Harley Brachman)

I generally buy blintzes from a box but I was in the mood to make something from scratch and came upon the recipe while searching on the internet. It’s a winner. Next time I’m going to make a blueberry filling though!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
Nonstick vegetable spray

Cherry Filling:

1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 -teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 scraped vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 pound (2 cups) farmer’s cheese, pot cheese or cottage cheese

DIRECTIONS

Put the milk, water, eggs, and flour into a food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 10 seconds. If necessary, scrape down any solids that stick to the sides. Add the butter and process for a few more seconds to blend. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. (I let it sit overnight)

Set a 10-inch, non-stick crepe pan over moderately high heat, then spray with non-stick vegetable spray. When the pan is hot, remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of batter, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes and lightly browned. Set aside on a plate, cooked side up, and continue with the remainder of the batter.

To make the Cherry Filling:
In a small saucepan, cover the cherries with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let rest. In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and egg until blended. Gently mix in the pot, farmer or cottage cheese. Drain the cherries and fold in.

Place 2 tablespoons of Cherry Filling in the lower center of the blintz. Fold up once from the bottom then fold over the sides. Roll up the rest of the way. Repeat with the rest. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan. In 4 small batches, fry the blintzes fold side down until golden brown. Gently flip to fry the other side. Serve with sour cream or yogurt.

FINAL PRODUCT:

recipe - blintz
Happy Cooking!!

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Dec
30

My Bucket List – 2015


I’ve been composing a bucket list for the last few years. To be exact, I wrote one in 2012, and 2013.  For some reason I skipped 2014 – go figger.

Here’s my bucket list for 2015!

1) Complete a 10 km race: I haven’t run a race for a few years and I kind of miss it. (notice the word “Kind of”). So it’s time for me to sign up for a race…even though I don’t wear a watch when I run. However one thing has nothing to do with the other. Right?

2) Buy a road bike: It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a bike and I miss that too. It’s a time suck to go out for a long ride but it really feels great afterwards. Sadly I’m lazy to do the research and would like the bike to just magically appear. #inmydreams

On a side note: if I bike, run and go swimming too – then maybe I can sign up for a Sprint triathlon. Time will tell!

triathlon

3) Travel to Italy: This is GOING to happen and I’m too excited for words.

4) Print my photos: I use to be so good at this and for the last for years I got lazy. Now that I’ve discovered the Black’s App I should be able to complete this goal!

blacks app

5) Eat My Way thru Hamilton and Barrie: I’ve never done a food crawl in these two cities but I know I need to!

6) Buy a Fresh Truffle: I’ve bought Truffle oil before and Truffle Butter – but it’s time for me to buy the real thing.

7) Buy a pillow that lasts. Why oh Why am I buying cheap pillows? This must change.

8) Take a class at George Brown: I have a friend who took a Bread Making Course and loved her facebook updates about her classes. I should do it, right?

9) Try Container Gardening: I finally have a balcony and I’m convinced that I can have a balcony full of beautiful flowers this Spring/Summer. I’ve had moderate success with a herb pot so wish me luck keeping flowers alive!

herbs

10) Volunteer: I want to give back. I’ve been so fortunate in my life and it’s time for me to give back. Simple as that.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.

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Dec
23

When I lived in a house, I composted regularly as I had that little “beige bucket” that sat on the counter. Then I moved to an apartment for 3 years and the building didn’t have a compost program (sniff). I seriously missed it. But in August, I moved to a condo and guess what? They compost and I’m now shoving vegetable peels, egg shells, avocado pits and more into the little beige bucket like there’s no tomorrow.

I had the handyman put it up in the cupboard this time so it’s no longer on the counter and I’m a happy camper.

glad - bucket

My bag of choice for the beige compost bucket is GLAD® Odour Guard® Bags with febreze™ Freshness . They’re durable and odour-absorbent too.  So while my neighbours are doing the 6AM hold-the-bag-at-arm’s-length-trying-not-to-inhale dance,  I’m not worrying at all!!

 glad - products

There is no question that my garbage has been reduced in half. Plus there’s no question that I’m loving my GLAD® Odour Guard® Bags with febreze™ Freshness . I’m definitely brand loyal when it comes to this product.

Sadly I haven’t become a fan of cleaning…no matter what the product.

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

 

 

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