Oct
19

For the last few years, I’ve been going to Israel and with every trip there’s new discoveries to share. Here’s my review from a recent trip to Israel that I took. (Aug 28 to Sept 4th – if you really want the exact details. LOL)

Where to Stay:

This time I stayed for 3 nights at the Centre Chic Hotel which is part of the Atlas Boutique Hotel Group. It’s worth noting that they have several locations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem , Haifa and Eilat too.  I fell instantly in love with this boutique hotel.

Here’s a few reasons why:
-the location was ideal (right across from Dizengoff Square which is as central as you can get)
-the funky chic decor
-the perks: free bicycles, beach bags with towels, and complimentary happy hour (wine and food), fridge in the room, cute balcony with a table etc.
-the friendly staff

PLUS it’s affordable!!

What to Do:

Of course I went to Carmel Market, Levinsky Market, Sarona Market, Mahane Yehuda Market and the Western Wall too. Sadly no time to visit the Tel Aviv Museum, Jaffa, The Port and many other tourist destinations. Sniff.

However I did make time to relax (for a change) and enjoy the wonderful beaches in Israel.

I even went shopping and made it to the Azrieli Shopping Centre for my first time!! This mall has three floors of shops, eight cinema screen and approximately thirty restaurants, as well as the only H&M in Tel Aviv. There’s even an indoor viewing platform on 49th floor which will allow you to overlook the entire city.

Where to Eat in Israel?

There’s wasn’t enough time to connect with Delicious Israel (kicking myself) or Fun with Joel either.

However I did enjoy a wonderful dinner with two Israeli food writers. I met Keren Brown on my last trip to Israel and we connected instantly. She wrote “38 Essential Restaurants in Tel Aviv” and this is definitely one list you want to refer to on your next trip to Israel.

The other Israeli food writer that I met was Phylis Glazer who published the first vegetarian cookbook in Hebrew.  How cool is that? Please click here to check out her YouTube video of the Carmel Market.

In a nutshell here’s where we ate:
Magic Burger – for some reason we were craving a kosher burger.
– HaAchim – great local restaurant that had a line up at 9 pm on a week night! The words: fresh and good quality come to my mind.
Shlomo & Doron (in Carmel Market) for amazing hummus. Huge thanks to my Washington foodie friend, www.foodwanderings.com for the recommendation.
– Segev Concept (in Sarona Market)
-During a visit  to Machene Yehuda; I went to Jachnun a few years ago and I didn’t hesitate to return as his food is truly a unique experience.
-While in Ra’anana; Falafel Nona…Finally I had a falafel. Hip Hip Hooray.
-While in Herziliya; Cafe Fresh for Shakshuka….A great way to end of my trip.

Where I shopped:

Last year I bought a few things from a store called Hoodies and this year I went back for more. I adore the quality of the cotton, the price points and the basic styles. Its perfect for my lifestyle! (um, casual)

As always, I’m looking forward to another visit to Israel. However I promised myself that my next trip will include more time in the north and south parts of Israel. It’s time to explore! (even though I love visiting Tel Aviv).

For more information:

Website: https://new.goisrael.com

Need Food Suggestions in Tel Aviv? https://www.eater.com/ (another great list written by local food writer, Keren Brown)

Need More Food Suggestions? https://www.thestar.com/

 

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Oct
17

Lately I’ve been entertaining a lot which is code for “I’ve been spending time on Pinterest”.

As always Pinterest inspired me to put together the following menu:

-Carrot Soup

Spinach Feta Pinwheels

-Pineapple Coconut Quinoa

-Roasted Mushrooms in Browned Butter

Baked Tilapia Veracruz

-Pear/Apple Crisp

I was also inspired to set the table using some placemats I hadn’t used in a while!

In particular I want to share the Pineapple Coconut Quinoa recipe with you. It was SO flavourful and not hard to make at all.

The flavour was due to these two ingredients: Dole Pineapple Juice and Cha’s Organic Coconut Milk

Hurry up and make this fabulous side dish – you won’t be disappointed. Promise.

Recipe: Pineapple Coconut Quinoa (original recipe posted by www.theharvestkitchen.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice  (I used a can of pineapple and drained the juice from it).
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • juice of 1/2 lime
FOR THE MANGO SALSA
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. This is the interesting part – heat the pineapple juice and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium low heat.
  2. Then add the quinoa and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the vanilla and lime juice.
  3. Cover and simmer on low for about 17 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has absorbed, but still a little moist on top.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Lightly fluff with a fork. (an important step)
  6. Add chopped mangoes, coriander and red onion. Feel free to add a touch of lime juice as well.

Final Result:

Not only did it taste amazing but I was happy the way it looked as well!!

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Oct
15

Apple Season!!


The first thing that comes to my mind when you say “September” or “October” is APPLES. It’s funny, I didn’t grow up apple picking but as soon as I had kids it was something we did almost every single year.

Sadly I can’t get the kids (now 17 and 21) to go anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from heading out to Milton to go apple picking!!

So a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I headed out on a beautiful Sunday and went to Chudleigh’s.

We timed our visit right and went around 2 pm which meant that it was nap time and missed the morning “rush” of families. (#smartmove)

I managed to accomplish everything on my visit.

a) I simply HAD to have the corn on the cob.

b) I simply HAD to go on a wagon ride. Yes – I’m 52 years old and still feel like a 10 year old sometimes. LOL

c) We filled up a bag of apples and then went home to make a delicious dessert that I discovered on Tip Hero. Promise to share this recipe with you in more detail in a future blog post. PROMISE.

Seeing as we went early in the season, there were only two varieties available. However this DID NOT stop us from enjoying our experience.

There’s plenty of apple varieties (throughout the season) to keep everyone happy.

We are still enjoying a warm Fall so don’t hesitate to consider a trip to Chudleigh’s. Here’s proof.

 

Happy Apple Picking!

PS Chudleigh’s is open till Oct 31st!

For more information:

Website: www.Chudleighs.com

Address: 9528 Regional Road 25
Halton Hills, ON L9T 2X7

Twitter/Instagram: @chudleighsfarm

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

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary passes, however all opinions are my own

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Sep
19

Rosh Hashana Menu 2017


It’s that time of year again!

The Jewish New Year begins on Wednesday night however for many of us, we were thinking about “THE MENU” weeks ago!

Of course, when I think of the word “MENU”, I automatically think of “PINTEREST”.

I was super organized and even created a Rosh Hashanah 2017 Board so I could pin all the recipes and table settings that interested me.

After pinning 18 different ideas, I narrowed it down. Here’s the final menu:

  • Tomato Soup with Homemade Croutons and Parmesan (sorry no recipe)
  • Pan Seared Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce (click here for recipe)
  • Green Beans with Chestnuts, Pomegranates and Lemony Tahini (click here for recipe)
  • Sweet Fragrant Rosh Hoshana Rice (click here for recipe)
  • Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas. (click here for recipe)
  • Dessert: Blooming Apples with Vanilla Ice cream

This Ethiopian tahini that I bought in Israel is going to be put to good use!!

Seeing as it’s traditional to serve apples with honey, I’m going to serve this amazing African Bronze honey that I just discovered at the CHFA show. This honey is so flavourful and I have no doubt that my guests are going to love it too.

As for the table, Pinterest provided me with inspiration once again.

Wishing everyone who celebrates, a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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Sep
17

Israel Arrived in Toronto!


I retuned from Israel on September 4th and lucky for me, I was able to feel like Israel was right here in Toronto due to an event held by Ezer Mizion.

FYI….Ezer Mizion is Israel’s largest Health Support Organization Specifically, Ezer Mizion’s diverse line-up of services includes the world’s largest Jewish Bone Marrow Donor Registry and specialized programs for children with special needs, cancer patients, the elderly, and terror victims.

I was all to happy to find out that this incredible organization was recreating in Toronto one of my favourite markets: Mahane Yehuda.

I knew the event was going to be popular and I was right!! Wychwood Barn had  a massive line up outside (even though people had purchased tickets) right from the start.  It would not surprise me (at all) if this event will take place in a bigger venue next year and perhaps over a Sunday/Monday of a long weekend!

I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw my favourite vendors from Israel right here in Toronto. Seeing this vendor, really made my day!

It was also a pleasure to meet Norene Giletz, who was selling her famous cookbook, Second Helping Please.

Naturally I had to buy these incredible Rugelach from Marzipan Bakery. I didn’t even blink when I found out the price. I overheard someone say: “I can’t believe the price” and I replied “Well they had to get here from Israel” and she came back with a pretty funny line: “They must have flown first class”. I had a good chuckle.

I understand from facebook that they are still available at Kosher City Plus #justsayin’.

Seeing the Halva King also brought a smile to my face (and my tummy too).

Congratulations to all the volunteers who organized this event. Looking forward to next year’s Shuk.

For more information:

Website; www.ezermizion.org

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

 

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Sep
10

Looking for a Backpack?


It’s that time of year again where everyone is searching for the perfect back pack. This is clearly an essential “back to school ” item a long with lunch boxes, pencil cases and more!

I also believe that backpacks are essential when travelling.

The following backpack from WillLand Outdoors caught my attention as I can use it as a backpack OR I can pull out the handle and roll it. The official name of this versatile backpack is: Luminosa Forte Freedom On Wheels!

When I need to walk 5 km thru an airport, the “roll on” comes in handy. Students will appreciate this feature when they have 8 huge books to carry home a long with binders, laptops and more.

But it also converts easily to a back pack when you simply need a backpack.

Not to mention there’s numerous pockets for me to organize my “stuff”. Let’s take a minute and review exactly what when into these numerous pockets on my latest trip to London and Israel.

The front pocket: smartphone and my (beloved) laptop.
The bigger front pocket: passport, wallet and boarding pass
The larger pocket: MacBook, Samsung Tablet, Uniqlo cape (which kept me super warm on the freezing cold airplane)
This amazing travel pack that contains headphones, chargers and more. This is a new purchase for me and I think its a game changer.

WillLand Outdoors is a Canadian company who are committed to developing the very best outdoor gear.

They are also a  company that believes in the combination of QUALITY, DURABILITY, and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Catch this, they have a “NO QUESTIONS ASKED WARRANTEE” where they are determined to keep all their customers happy. Therefore they provide a 100% HAPPINESS SATISFACTION GUARANTEE.

Not to mention they offer a variety of cool backpacks for everyday life/travel/the gym and more. It took me quite a while to decide which model would be best suited for my lifestyle and I’m super happy with my choice.

For more information:

Website: www.WilLandOutdoors.com
Twitter: @WillLandOutdoor
Instagram: @willandcanada

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary backpack however all opinions are my own.

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Aug
28

Introducing YP Grocery!


I’m delighted to share a new app with you, especially because its’ about a favourite subject of mine: GROCERIES.

Seeing as I’m a food sales rep and I’m in grocery stores all day long, one would think that I’m organized. Sadly this is not true.

However there’s a new app called YP Grocery, and it’s going to be a game changer for me (and hopefully you as well). I’ve just downloaded it and there’s a lot to like!!

YP Grocery is a new app that showcases the best grocery related deals in a given area.

yp - photo

I know there’s other apps out there but this one is different.

It’s a grocery list app. This means that the user (that’s you!) lists every product they need and YP Grocery will do all the work. Let’s say I’m looking for cucumbers – well YP Grocery will list all the stores in my given area that features cucumbers on sale.

yp - list

It combs through every current flyer for savings and grocery coupons. (two of my favourite words). Not to mention I can SHARE this list with my BF so we are on the same page. #loveit.

We have both downloaded it and here’s what we are enjoying about our experience using this app.

-it was easy to get the app up and running. i.e. extremely user friendly.

-we can store loyalty cards on it.

yp - loyalty

-there’s a filtering tool to search only the stores we like.

The only thing that would make this better would be a VOICE that said: “Vicky- you forgot the EGGS”. LOL.

Hope you get to check out this app too.

For more information:

Twitter: @YPGrocery

Instagram: @YPGrocery

Google PlayStore

Website: https://grocery.yellowpages.ca

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

 

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Aug
23

What a Fabulous Venue


It’s been a busy month. Here’s what I mean:

-Bar Mitzva Aug 5th, Toronto

-Travelled from Aug 6 to 13 (blog post to follow)

-Wedding Aug 19, Niagara on the Lake

-Wedding Aug 27, London England plus a trip to Israel (blog post to follow)

The wedding in Niagara on the Lake was so spectacular that I feel the need to spread the word about the venue.

You see, the wedding was held at Kurtz Orchards in Niagara on the Lake. It was the perfect combination of an outdoor setting, fabulous food and great cousins. How could you go wrong!!

Oh ya – it helped that the weather was gorgeous too.

Now, I’ve been to my share of weddings, bar mitzvahs and other sit-down events but I’ve never seen food like this before.

After the ceremony, instead of passed hors d’oeuvres there was a massive table of the best fruit, cheese and meat. It was truly gorgeous.

When we sat down for the main meal there was an option of salmon, beef or vegetarian. Here’s what my plate looked like. Look at the size of the meat – it’s almost as big as the 12 inch plate that it was served on.

Plus there were two salads on a giant platter. Each salad was unique and had all the right combination of flavors and textures.

For dessert there was a baked pear (sorry no photo – the sun had set) and a sweet table. I’m generally not a “sweet” person (no pun intended) but I tried every single item and everything was freakin’ delicious. I must make a note to visit this bake shop on my next trip to Hamilton. Although at the moment I can’t remember the name of this bake shop #seniormoment

However at the end of the day, it was truly being surrounded by family that made this wedding so special.

No idea who I should give the credit to for this photo. However it’s a great shot, don’t you think?

Congratulations to Kim and Alex on their recent wedding. It was truly a memorable occasion.

 

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Aug
20

Summer is almost over which is really really sad. However this recipe is going to make you smile. It’s super easy to make (3 ingredients) and it’s perfect for an after school snack!! (which is right around the corner for many of us)

However, you will need a lot of time. About 10 minutes to actually make the recipe and 5-6 hours to sit in your oven. You have now been officially warned!!

I hope you continue reading…..

As always, there’s a story behind this recipe! I happen to have gone raspberry picking and then realized that I was too lazy to bake and had no room to store them in the freezer.

I headed over to Pinterest and entered the word “raspberries” into the search engine. A whole bunch of ideas came up but one in particular got my attention that was featured on a blog called www.liveeatlearn.com.

I wish there were more photos but I honestly didn’t think it was going to turn out so I didn’t take any photos while making it. #lessonlearned #bepositive.

3 Ingredient Fruit Leather Roll up (original recipe can be found here).

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fruit (try raspberries, try this with mango, try it with blueberries…)
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey can sub sugar or sugar-substitute
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (I didn’t have any and it still worked out)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Blend fruit in a fruit processor. Mix in sweetener and lemon juice. (simple eh?). It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap (a good quality one).
  3. Pour the pureed mixture into the pan lined with plastic wrap then spread out ⅛ to ¼ inch thick
  4. In oven at 140 to 170 degrees F (60 to 75 degrees C, or as low as oven will go) for 5 to 6 hours, or until middle is not longer tacky.
  5. Allow to cool, then remove from plastic wrap.
  6. Use clean scissors, cut into 1 inch wide strips.
  7. Wrap with strips of parchment or tissue paper, then use tape or string to seal. (I didn’t do this step as it was so good that we ate all of it right away)
 Final Result: Pretty Cool eh?
 
I can’t wait to try this with the strawberries that are sitting in my freezer.

Happy Baking!!

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Aug
17

The CNE has arrived and my stretch pants are ready! ! This year there’s another incredible line up of food at the CNE. and I was all too happy to snap a few photos and taste a few items as well.

Here’s just a few examples of what you can expect to indulge in!

  1. Bacon Nation has created a Canada 150 inspired ALL Canadian Red Hot Burger. (Location: Food Building)
  2. The King of Curds will be serving deep fried cheese curds sprinkled with icing sugar and served with pure Canadian Maple Syrup. YUM. YUM and more YUM.  (Location: Midway)
  3. This photo says it all (location: Food Building)
  4. Tim Hortons as always,introduced some tasty Canadian-themed treats.
  5. Yatai (a sister project of Kanpai snack bar) has created this pretty epic fried chicken burger that’s in between fried ramen (instead of a bun) along with two kinds of kewpie mayo. Loved it and you will too!6. Pizza Nova has introduced a Pizza made with Carbone Dough.  Basically this is their traditional dough infused with activated charcoal and I regret not tasting it!!7. The Lisa Marie food truck will be serving an enormous double lobster patty burger. Seriously this burger was bigger than my hand. 
  6. You can also find this deep fried goodness at this years CNE.

Seriously there’s no end to interesting food at the CNE: Deep Fried Chicken Feet, Cricket Cones, Peanut Butter Sriracha Bites, Spaghetti Donut Balls, and more!

There’s also the Midway and I couldn’t resist playing one of my all time favourite games….

Not to mention that this years’ CNE features OH Canada! Aerial Acrobatics & Ice Skating Show with internationally renowned skater Elvis Stojko. There’s two free performances every day (2 and 5 pm).

Details that you should know about the CNE 2017:

-The CNE opens from Aug 18 to Sept 4, 2017

-Gates are open daily from 10 am to 10 pm (rides and midway stay open until midnight)

-Labour Day Monday: Gates close at 5 pm. Buildings close at 7 pm, rides and ground open till 9 pm.

-General admission $19 (14 to 64 years)

-Children (5 to 13 years) $16 Children under 5: Free

-CNE Family Pass (2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children) $59

Specials:

-Opening Day Special $10 (Friday Aug 18 only)

-Kids Toonie Mondays

-$8 after 5 pm on Monday Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays

To learn more about the CNE and about special offers and discounts please visit www.theex.com or call the CNE info line at 416 263 3330

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