Jul
09

More Brunch Recipes!


Another Sunday = another opportunity to host a brunch for friends that were visiting form Ottawa. My friend graciously offered to bring bagels and cream cheese but I was eager to try to try out some new recipes that I found on Pinterest. As for the recipes I tested….I scored. They all came out perfect and of course I’m going to share the details with you.

The table looked like this. Don’t you just love the grass runner and those adorable shot glasses (which were perfect to serve mimosas?)

brunch - table

As for the food…. the main attraction was this Easy Overnight Blueberry French Toast Bake from www.thesaltymarshmallow.com. Once again I need to thank Pinterest for helping me find this incredibly easy and tasty recipe!

Recipe: Easy Overnight Blueberry French Toast Bake
Ingredients
  • 2 French Baguettes cut into 1/2 slices. (I used one long baguette and it was fine)
  • 1 12 ounce Package Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Cups Blueberries
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream or Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 Stick Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Lightly butter a 3 quart casserole dish.
  2. In a medium bowl using a hand mixer or large spoon, (I used my Cuisinart and I’m glad I did) to combine the cream cheese with the maple syrup, and cinnamon, then fold in the blueberries. Pretty easy eh?

  3. Spread about a tablespoon (or so)  of the blueberry cream cheese mixture onto one side of each slice of bread. Place bread slices evenly in a row in the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl,  whisk together the eggs, cream (I used cream) or milk, and vanilla extract. Pour mixture evenly over bread slices.

    Cover pan with foil and refrigerate at least 3 hours – overnight. (Overnight is best and I agree!)
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Place the bread mixture in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown.

  5. Prepare the topping: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the maple syrup and cinnamon. Drizzle over french toast as desired. (note: I forgot to do this step and it was still delicious).

    brunch - blueberry dish

I also served baked eggs in rep pepper shells! For added flavour I put in some vegetarian sausage and chives (for color).

brunch - eggs

Healthy. Oh so healthy.

This fruit salad served in kiwi cups were also an idea I found on Pinterest.

brunch - fruit

Hope this blog post encourages you to host a brunch one day soon and hope everyone is enjoying their summer too!!

 

 

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Jun
29

Summer Salads


I must admit that there was a time, where I hated making salads. Mainly because I hated to chop. Well things have changed….I now love making salads!!

A facebook friend asked me “why do I love making salads” and indeed its’ a great question. Here’s my answer.

  1. I enjoy LOVE going to Farmers Markets and then coming home to make a fresh salad with produce thats’ local and fresh. The other week, I found this beautiful bibb lettuce for $3.50 at Wychwood Barns. How could I NOT buy it? In fact I bought two!!

salad - bibb

  1. I love that you can take a few ingredients and create something that is ever so pretty!!
  2. Salads are healthy which means I can eat more!!
  3. I consider it fun to scour Pinterest looking for unique recipes to try. (Please don’t judge me)
  4. Salads provide you the opportunity to include something crunchy, sweet, savoury etc.

Here’s a few photos to prove my point:

  1.  I had leftover chicken in the fridge, leftover corn on the cobb and before you know it – there was this beautiful salad on the table.

salad - chicken:corn

2. I had some kale in the fridge, some tomatoes and some blue cheese. Perfect ingredients for a delicious salad.salad - kale?

3. Bought some sea asparagus for my first time (apparently they are FULL of nutrients) and once again, I threw a few ingredients into a bowl which resulted in a nutritious salad

salad - sea asparagus4. This salad simply consisted of Bibb lettuce, grapefruit segments, avocado and toasted almonds. Freaking delicious. Oh ya – I threw in some edible flowers.

salad - grapefruitSee what I mean? I hope that I encourage you to get out there and visit your local Farmers Markets AND to make more salads!! All that chopping is worth it. Promise.

Have a wonderful long weekend everyone!

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Jun
27

Mom Who Snacks…


I’ve been in food sales for about 10 years now, although at one point I took a 3 year break. I really enjoy being on the road and spending time in my car roaming around to existing customers and prospecting new customers as well.

Last month I started a new job and at the same time I made a resolution to try and bring snacks-from-home to nosh on during the day. I’m motivated to spend less $$ and to watch my waistline too.

So every morning before I head into my car (which is really my office) I slice up some veggies, grab some almonds, and a few rice crackers too and stick them into little containers.

snacks

However I always seem to grab a coffee somewhere during  the day and with that coffee I want/need a “treat’ but I want a wholesome treat!!  Therefore I’ve been gravitating towards these two products to go along with my coffee.

Good & Simple Bars which are available in three flavours: Cranberry Orange + Flax , Walnut + Grains
or Blueberry Oatmeal

good and simple - bars

I’m also a fan of the Good & Simple Muffins which are also available in three different flavours:  Fruit + Fibre (with Blueberries and Cranberries), Banana Bran or Chocolate Chip Oatmeal.

good and simple - muffin

Good & Simple Muffins and Bars are delicious fresh-tasting baked goods that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.  For me, this means I’m enjoying them in my car!

vicky car

Not my car but I wish it was my car!!

Made with real ingredients such as blueberries, cranberries, bananas, walnuts, chocolate chips and flax seeds, each Good & Simple Muffin and Bar is made with whole grains and with no artificial flavours or colours. The combination of ingredients creates a wonderful texture and flavour experience which I’m really enjoying.

These wholesome snacks are individually wrapped making them perfect for on-the-go snacking. Once again, this is perfect for my situation as I’m on-the-go more than the average person.

You can find Available at the in-store bakery at Metro and Freshco grocery stores.

Now that my car is fully stocked with snacks, I’ve been less tempted to spend $$ and be more mindful of the snacks I’m selecting.  As for the job….it’s been a great month in that respect too! Promise to blog more about exactly what I’m selling in the near future. Promise.

For more information:

Facebook; www.facebook.com/GoodandSimpleCA/

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

 

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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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