Food


Mom Who Runs...runs so she can consume some extra calories. I am passionate about entertaining, trying new recipes, tasting new products, exploring new restaurants and of course...I will be telling you about it RIGHT HERE. So if you are a foodie like I am, keep clicking on this column.

Dec
22

Its that time of year where there’s a lot of entertaining going on. So I thought it might be useful to share two recipes for you.

The first recipe is ideal for breakfast or a brunch. I discovered it while flipping through a RICARDO magazine and thought “hmm..this sounds interesting AND easy”.  I tried it and it worked!! In the event you have never heard of Ricardo before, he is a well known media personality in Quebec who launched an English version of his magazine in 2014.

Basically all you need is some cheddar cheese (I used St.-Albert cheddar of course), Wonder Bread and a waffle maker (I used my beloved Breville Waffle Maker)

ricardo-cheese

Place one piece of buttered Wonderbread onto the waffle maker (buttered side facing down), place some cheese on top, place another piece of buttered Wonderbread on top (buttered side facing up)…close the waffle maker for a few minutes and bingo you have these delicious Cheese Waffle Sandwiches (with NO MESS).

ricardo-waffle

The second recipe is ideal for an appetizer for a party.

This Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Bread Dip Ring is once again super easy to make and delicious.

The entire recipe can be found on this video. 

But here’s a recap in case you don’t want to watch the video!!

Basically you take pizza dough and make golf sized balls. Place these balls in a greased, oven-proof dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Mix in a bowl: sour cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, drained artichoke hearts, drained frozen spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Place the spinach mixture into the centre of the oven-proof dish. Brush dough with an egg wash.

appetizer-ballsspinach

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. VOILA – delish appetizer

appetizer-final

Happy Holidays!

 

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Dec
20

Chanuka Ideas….


Chanukah is just around the corner and I’m ready. (I think). I found my Chanuka decor thanks to my beloved new Brother Label Maker, and my tummy is ready too.

chanuka-decorations

Of course I spent some time on Pinterest and found a few ideas to get me in the holiday spirit. In particular, I found this recipe for Chanuka Gelt Cookies!  The other day I made them and they were a HUGE hit. I’m sure I will be making another batch soon. It took only one bowl, a few ingredients and about 30 minutes to make (start to finish).

Chanukah Gelt Cookies (original recipe from www.bakingandmistaking.com)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup (150g) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter …of course)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups (220g) flour
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Unwrap the chocolate coins. (not as easy as it looks but easier than unwrapping candy canes!!)

gelt2

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the dough comes together. I then placed the dough into the fridge for an hour. (a tip I learned from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Then place the disc, well spaced apart, on an ungreased baking sheet OR  put the dough into a muffin tin sprayed with Pam. This is a new kitchen hack that I learned that will prevent the dough from spreading too thin.muffin4I then pressed the gelt (chocolate coin) into the centre of the cookie and placed it into the oven at 350 F for exactly 9 minutes. The edges were slightly brown but the centre was pale and puffy (and perfect)

Let them cool before removing them from the tin.

chanuka-gelt-2

Other cool chanuka ideas (thanks Pinterest) that I’m going to attempt include these adorable Cheese Dreidels. How cute!! Loved this idea but something tells me I’m not going to be successful. Time will tell.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-9-25-03-pm

 

These cute napkin rings.

pinterst-chanuka

Wishing everyone who celebrates, a wonderful Chanuka. May light and peace fill these 8 days.

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Dec
18

I usually blog about recipes or restaurant suggestions, but this blog post will be dedicated to gift suggestions. Seeing as Chanuka and Christmas are both right around the corner, I think it’s a good time to share five great gift ideas for a foodie.

FIVE GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR A FOODIE:

1. This practical (and pretty) muffin pan from Indigo. Just take your muffins directly out of the oven and place directly on the table. LOVE IT.

muffin-pan

2. A Gift Card to HelloFresh. This is the perfect gift for a) anyone who is busy b)anyone who hates grocery shopping or c) anyone who has entertained a lot over the holidays and is simply tired of thinking about what to make for dinner!!

hello-fresh-outside-fo-box

3. An electric spiralizer from Hamilton Beach. How cool? A growing trend these days is to make zucchini noodles (or sweet potato noodles) and this genius gadget will have you making healthy recipes with no effort at all. Not to mention it will grate and make ribbons too.

 

hamilton

 

4. A  subscription from Try the World. Once you subscribe, you will receive a curated selection of gourmet foods—including ingredients to cook with, drinks, and snacks—from a new country every month, plus a Culture Guide to help you create an authentic culinary experience at home. This is the perfect gift for a foodie!

try-the-world

5. In the event you know a food blogger, this portable studio from Staples would be the ideal gift. You have no idea how tough it is to take photos past sundown. Oh the problems I have when the sun starts to go down in the winter at 4 pm. #bloggerslife

studio

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season. Hope you find the perfect gifts and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

Disclosure: Some products or services in this blog post were provided to me, however all opinions are my own

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Dec
15

There are time when I have a craving for something really specific. Here’s a list of restaurants where I satisfy certain food cravings.

a) Craving Chicken Wings? Head to The Wingery. TRUST ME..they have the biggest chicken wings you’ve ever seen. Click here to find a location near you.

cravings-wingery

b) Craving Chicken? Head to Jackpot Chicken Rice (318 Spadina Ave). Delicious. Delicious. Delicious.

jackpot-chicken

c) Craving Dim Sum? I’m a fan of Dim Sum King (421 Dundas St. W)….carts, a massive space, and it’s cheap ‘n cheerful.

d) Craving Matcha? Head to Tsjuri. You won’t be disappointed.

e) Craving Poke? Check out Cali Love   (367 Queen St. W) News Flash: They are just about to open a second location.

cravings-calil

f) Craving something sweet? Cant help you. LOL.

g) Craving something totally different? Head to Junked Food Co. (1256 Dundas st. West)

junked-food

h) Craving Soup? Mother’s Dumplings (421 Spadina Ave) has you covered. Best use of $5.15.

i)  Craving Pizza? Za Pizzeria.( 402 Bloor St. W) This place is a gem. Please check it out.

j) Craving deep fried pickles? Just go directly to Leslieville Pumps. (929 Queen St East)  Seriously.

i) Craving a salad? Aroma Espresso Bar has numerous salad options to satisfy any craving.

photo credit; Loren Lieberman

photo credit; Loren Lieberman

 

 

j) Craving something healthy? Yam Chops (705 College St) has no shortage of options.

K) Craving Pierogis? Have you tried The Saucy Pierogi (1282 Dundas St. W) Handmade pierogis. I swear.

craving-pierogi

L) Craving to Cook at Home? Head right over to HelloFresh. I’m loving this service (which is now available throughout Canada) Stay tuned for a dedicated blog post about using this service for two weeks.

cravings-hellofresh

L) Craving Indian? You MUST go to Ji. (760 St. Clair Ave W). This place has won my heart for Indian Gastropub type of food.

cravings-ji

M) Craving Crispy Squid? Head to Jamie’s Italian (Yorkdale Shopping Centre). I loved this dish so much that I ordered another serving.

cravings-jamie

N) Craving Cheesesteak? Check out Philthy Philly’s. (multiple locations). No other word to describe this other than the word: YUM

craving-philthy

I’m sure I missed a lot more categories but I don’t want to bore you. Perhaps one day I will finish off the list (O to Z). LOL

Happy Cravings!!

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Dec
11

Time for Cocktails


It’s that time of year to bring out the cocktail accessories and enjoy a bit of cheer during these long winter nights.

coctail-stuff

I recently attended an event that featured some pretty lovely cocktails. The one on the right was my favourite.

cocktail-mrs

Its’ called The Mrs.!
To a flute glass, add:
• 1.5 oz SKYY Vodka
• .75 oz freshly squeezed lemon
• .75 oz simple syrup
• 4–5 mint leaves
Top with Prosecco and garnish with a mint sprig.

I love the story behind SKYY Vodka. It all started with the motivation by one mans’ search for a better martini. The solution was simple: Start with a better vodka. He was not only an entrepreneur but an engineer as well, who set out to create a superior tasting vodka with fewer impurities and unmatched quality.

Another cocktail I enjoyed was this:

cocktail-pretty

Here’s the recipe for this cocktail!

The Wild Turkey Boulevardier
In a mixing glass, stir to chill:
• 1.5 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon
• .75 oz Campari
• .75 oz Cinzano Rosso
Pour over ice in a rocks glass or strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with orange zest

All you need is some friends, some cocktails and some appetizers! Go for it and enjoy the holiday season.

cocktails-board

Cheers!

For more information: 

Instagram/Twitter: @WildTurkeyCanada @SKYYCanada

Hashtag: #CampariCanada

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Dec
08

Natrel recently launched  a line of Lactose Free butter and an Organic butter too. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I received the press release which announced this news.

This is the first lactose free butter on the market*

butter-blog

There are only two ingredients in this butter: Lactose Free Cream and Sea Salt.

Other info you should know: at the moment it’s only available in a 250 gram package and I only saw “salted butter” on the shelves. The organic butter is only available in Ontario + Quebec, and the lactose free in Ontario, Quebec + the Atlantic provinces.

As someone who is lactose free, I can’t wait to bake some of my favourite recipes with this product without having to take a lactose free pill. I’m beyond excited.

I’m also excited to let you know about Natrel’s The Greatest Dessert Exchange which is currently underway! It’s a pretty cool ideal. Basically the concept is to Spread Joy this holiday season beginning with delicious Natrel products. Add a little love and the best ingredients to make your favourite dessert, and then offer it to someone you care about. Invite them to continue the dessert chain by doing the same for someone.

Feel free to visit Natrel’s Facebook page and share the official Natrel Greatest Dessert Exchange post. For each share, Natrel will donate 25¢ to Breakfast Club of Canada.

Here’s recap:

  1. Make a Natrel dessert 
  2. Offer it to a loved one
  3.  Invite them to do the same

Here’s a recipe for a Big, Soft Ginger Cookie thats perfect for this time of year. Of course I used Natrel lactose free butter for the recipe. The best part was that I could actually lick the beaters without having to take a lactose pill. Yes Im a 51 year old adult!!

Big, Soft Ginger Cookie (original recipe from www.tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Natrel lactose free butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger…be generous!
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon…be generous!
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves…be generous!!
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar in a small bowl

natrel-ingredients

Yay lactose free cookies!

Directions
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

natrel-two-bowls

Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. (they expanded more than I thought so don’ t overcrowd your sheet). Bake at 350° until puffy and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Note: My first batch wasn’t as flavourful as I wanted them to be so I added more spice for the second batch and was MUCH happier.

I will definitely be offering these cookies to loved ones and participating in the #NatrelDessertExchange and I hope you will be participating too.

FINAL PRODUCT:

natrel-final

*Source: The first lactose free butter made with sea salt and lactose free cream available on the Canadian market )

Happy Baking!

For more information:

Website: www.natrel.ca

Twitter/Instagram: @NatrelMilk

Hashtag #NatrelDessertExchange

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

To learn more about the Greatest Exchange, please click here.

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

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Dec
06

Loblaws: Food Trends


I recently went to a Loblaws event that identified Canadian Food Trends for 2017. Here are five themes that they believe will impact Canadian kitchens in the upcoming year.

Drum roll please….

1) The New Home Chef: There’s no question that people want to cook at home but always feel like there’s no time.  Chef Mark Russell believes: “Canadians want to feed their family great tasting quality food and are now more than ever willing to ask for help through recipes, new kitchen gadgets and meal kits.” I agree with this statement. I really do.
loblaws-home

4. The New Conscious Consumer – Canadians are more interested than ever before about where their food comes from and how its’ grown. In 2017, Canadians will be “bugging” out as they increase consumption of alternative proteins, such as insects and plant-based proteins. I tried crickets at at event several years ago and found myself indulging in a hot dog laced with crickets this summer at the CNE. I’m all over this trend!!

loblaws-conscious

3. The New Mindful Foodie– There’s no doubt that we Canadians have been placing  a greater emphasis on what we’re eating and how we’re eating it to improve our physical and mental health. The Loblaw Food Council also identified that Canadians will  also want to cook with simple ingredients to create great tasting food. See this photo? Well it’s not grated cheese. It’s …… grated cauliflower that Loblaws sells. BRILLIANT. I know multiple people personally who will be all over this product! (including myself).
loblaws-cauliflower

4.  The New Canadian Cuisine: International flavours and spices, such as Za’atar, Turmeric and Togarashi will make their way into Canadian homes. I don’t know about you but I’m already on the Tumeric and Za’atar trend. A few months ago I picked up fresh tumeric and have been grating it into boiling water. As for Za’atar – i not only like the smell of it but I like the look of it too!

loblaws-new-canadian-cuisine

5. The New Connected Shopper: Canadians will opt to shop at retailers that offer enhanced digital experiences layered with personalization to make their shopping seamless, accessible and efficient. I also agree with this trend. I’m using my smart phone more and more and I’m also using apps to help me with EVERYTHING. Plus those cooking videos are also inspiring me that seem to appear on my faceboook feed a lot!

Throughout the year, the Loblaw 2017 Food Trends will come to life in many different ways in-store, online and in kitchens across the country. As the hub of food innovation, the Loblaws® store at Maple Leaf Gardens* will feature the trends at various times throughout the year and provide opportunities for customers to taste, learn, and understand new food experiences like never before. Loblaw invites food lovers from across the country to unite and taste what’s new in food in 2017.

I’m excited about Food Trends. Are you? Feel free to share if you think one more trend should be added.

For more information:

Website: www.Loblaws.com

Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens 60 Carlton St, Toronto ON

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Dec
04

Need a Dessert?


I’m a big fan of making individual desserts. I truly believe if you serve a big cake to your guests everyone will say “I will pass”. But if you present them with their own dessert on a plate – they will accept it. Do you agree?

The dessert I served at a dinner party this past week was indeed “blog worthy” so here it is.

APPLE PIE BAKED APPLES (original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction can be found here)

Ingredients:

1/2 recipe homemade pie crust (ok I cheated and bought ready made pie crust)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon  warm water
8 firm apples  (Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Gala) – 2 apples will be used for the apple filling)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon milk
homemade salted caramel sauce, for drizzling (optional)

Directions

Prepare the pie crust, including allowing it to chill for at least 2 hours. Or if you are short of time (story of my life) – take the pie crust out of the box and cut it into 1/4 inch wide strips.

Make the apple filling: In a very small bowl, mix the cornstarch and warm water together until smooth, creamy, and the cornstarch has disolved. Set aside. Peel and dice 1 apple. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the apple pieces, cornstarch/water mixture, cinnamon, and sugar. Stir constantly for 5 minutes. Switch to low heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and allow to cool off for 20 minutes.

apple-filling

TWO APPLES GO A LONG WAY!

Assemble: Slice off the tops of the 4 remaining apples. Using a spoon (or melon baller), dig out the core. This takes some effort but its worth it.

apples-core

Spoon the prepared apple filling into the cored-out apples.

apples-fill

Lay 3-4 strips of the pie dough on top of the apple. Then, working with one new strip at a time, alternate weaving it over and under the dough strips already in place. Repeat until the top of the apple has been covered in this lattice style crust. Using a sharp paring knife, trim excess pie crust around the edges. Repeat with remaining apples and pie dough strips.

apple-before-oven

Bake:
Place apples into an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan or pie dish– really any size baking pan works. In a small dish, whisk the egg and milk together. Lightly brush the tops with egg wash. I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on top of the egg wash before going into the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven or until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly.
If desired, drizzle each with salted caramel. Serve with ice cream!!

FINAL PRODUCT:

apples-final

Happy Baking!!

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Dec
01

True Story: I grew up with margarine. There was NEVER butter in the house as we were Jewish and kept meat and dairy separate. Therefore it was easier just to use margarine.

However when I had my first apartment, I decided to have a dairy kitchen and ONLY to buy butter. I have baked exclusively with butter for the last three decades.

But the other night I was invited to a “Bake with Canola” event. Here’s proof that I was actually baking with Canola!

canola-vicky

Here’s another true story: In my cupboard at the moment is Vegetable Oil and Olive Oil.  No ideas why I have never considered buying Canola Oil. One could easily blame it on my mom – I have a good feeling she never bought Canola either!!

At the event, I learned a few reasons why I should be choosing Canola Oil.

  1. It tastes good: Canola has a neutral flavour that won’t take over. It actually absorbs the flavours of the herbs and spices thats’ in the recipe!
  2. It can “take” high heats: Canola oil has a really high heat tolerance which makes it ideal for frying.
  3. Canola is farmed right here in Canada. Here’s a cool fact: There’s over 43,000 Canola Farmers in the Prairies.
  4. It’s a healthy Choice: Canola Oil is a good source of Vitamin E and K, and is packed with Omega 3 fats. It also has the lowest amount of saturated fat.

The event took place at the Luxe Appliance Studio where we were divided into groups. Each group baked one item from this list.

canola-menu

The evening was hosted by Emily Richards who is a professional home economist, cookbook author, recipe developer and someone who I have been following since she was on TV back in the early 1990’s. Plus the recipes we used were from her new cookbook called Per La Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Cooking.

At the end of the evening, there was a beautiful dessert buffet all made with Canola Oil!!

canola-final

I can’t wait to start baking and frying with Canola Oil. My pantry now has a 3rd oil to select from and I have a feeling that it will be used very soon. You see, next month I will be frying up some delicious latkes for Chanuka using Canola Oil!!

Fore more information:

Website: Www.CanolaEatWell.Com

Twitter/Instagram: @CanolaEatWell

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post however all my opinions are my own.

 

 

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Nov
27

A few weeks ago I had a lousy day which started off at 8:10 am when I dropped my car keys down the elevator shaft.

Don’t ask. Not my best moment.

Luckily I’m a CAA member. Therefore a CAA tow truck whisked my car to a Nissan dealership that was luckily only a kilometre away. I then discovered that it would take 1.5 hours to program a key for my beloved Versa – at a total cost of $232. It was still half the cost of an elevator technician so I wasn’t complaining.

nissan-key

During the 1.5 hours I had to kill, I ventured out out to walk along Avenue Road. I did some prospecting (as always) and then realized it was time for lunch and  decided to grab a burger at South St. Burger. This restaurant has always been a favourite of mine. Not to mention that this sign made me laugh. Oh how I love clever marketing.

south-st-sign

I had a burger that I believe is the “Better Choice”.  The fact that it contained a fresh 6 oz beef patty made from 100% Angus beef, raised without antibiotics, hormones and prepared without any preservatives or additives certainly appealed to me.  Definitely the “Better Choice.”

What I also love about this restaurant is that you can customize your burger (or hot dog, or chicken burger) with over 30 traditional and gourmet condiments. There’s everything from dill pickles to dijon horseradish, guacamole and mango chutney at no extra charge. Premium toppings include a selection of five real cheeses, grilled ginger glazed pineapple, Applewood smoked bacon, and sautéed mushrooms.#YUM

I always seem to select: mango chutney, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and dill pickles. Time in and time out!! There’s something about this combination that makes me feel like I’m getting spoiled.

south-st-burger

South St. Burger is the “better” choice – hands down!!

This time, I didn’t order the french fries or the onion rings (even though they looked really good). I also was tempted to try their milkshakes as they are made with 2 scoops of real ice cream. #next time

I must admit that South St. Burger cheered me up on a pretty lousy day.

Other fun facts about South St. Burger.

  • It is 100% independently Canadian owned and operated
  • There are more than 35 locations across Canada from coast to coast and two in Dubai.
  • They also offer Gluten Free Buns

Hope you get a chance to visit a South St. Burger one day soon as well (minus the hassle of losing your keys). LOL. With South St. Burger, dinner just got better.

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

 

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