Mar
24

This year, I didn’t attend the Restaurants Canada Show as media but was actually working at a booth at the show.

On my break, I had the chance to roam around and discover some new products.

Well to be honest, I didn’t have to leave my my booth to discover a new product. You see, St.-Albert has recently produced a new cheese to the market 1894 which is the year St. Albert Cheese was established. It’s a soft rind cheese that has been aged for 60 days and it’s Yummy…with a capital Y. We truly had excellent feedback from the many trade show attendees who sampled this cheese.

restaurant - 1897
2. Kelvin Slush Co. has introduced a new ORGANIC margarita mix. I would definitely order this in a restaurant over a sweet, chemicall-y margarita. Congratulations to the team of great guys, (who are also behind Walter Caesar) for this innovative product.

restaurants - kelvin

3. Cow’s Creamery has introduced a new Salted Cultured Butter. As you know Im a huge fan of butter. Heres’ a story for you. I grew up with margarine and soon as I started to live on my own I started to use butter and have not looked back. I love using butter when I bake and totally would spend extra $$ to spread a better quality butter on a better quality piece of delicious bread!!

restaurant - sea salt

4. Station Cold Brew  has launched Nitro! I found this explanation about Nitro on twitter, which will explain to you more about this new beverage.
@stationcoldbrew Surely you’re asking yourself “What the heck is Nitro Cold Brew?” Well, we’ll tell ya. Our Signature brew infused with Nitrogen. We do it because it pours a beautifully cascading coffee reminiscent of a stout. An unrivaled texture and mouth feel. #NITRO #COLDBREW #fuelup
restaurant - nitra

As always, I have a ton of fun at these shows.

Have a great weekend.

 

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Mar
22

The Breville Fast Slow Pro is simply a BRILLIANT appliance. It’s basically a pressure cooker but it knows the time, temperature and pressure that different foods need. See what I mean? Its BRILLIANT.

As you know I own quite a few appliances. You name it. I have it. But I’ve never ever owned a pressure cooker nor can I remember the last time I went to someones house who owned one.

However a food blogger friend of mine has been regularly posting about her pressure cooker recipes and I was intrigued, to say the least.

So when the Breville Fast Slow Pro™ arrived, I immediately invited Carole over to teach me a thing or two about using a pressure cooker. While she talked about the ins and outs of pressure cooking, I chopped a few ingredients for the soup.

breville - ingredients

Recipe for Split Pea Soup

1 carrot – diced

1 parsnip – diced

1 onion – chopped

2 celery stalks – chopped

2 cups of  rinsed dried split peas

6 cups of vegetable stocks (4 cups of stock and 2 cups of water – to be honest)

salt and pepper.

Directions: Put all these ingredients into the Breville Fast Slow Pro™, close the lid, press a few buttons and wait 25 minutes. Could cooking get any easier? I don’t think so.

In 25 minutes – Carole opened the lid and just like magic, dinner was served. Yes – Carole got to open the lid as I must admit I kept thinking the pot was going to explode. But Carole assured me that these days, pressure cookers are safe, safe, safe.

breville - carole

I had so much fun that I made a second batch of soup. Seriously.

breville - freezer

Here’s a few things that I learned from Carole:

Some Definitions:
QR – quick release
NPR – natural pressure release
PSI – pounds per square inch

Things I Can Look Forward to Making:

I can take a frozen chicken breast and have dinner ready in 45 minutes
I can make half an acorn squash in 15 minutes
I can make beets in 24 minutes.
I can make small potatoes in 5 minutes.
I can make a whole sweet potato in 15 minutes with natural release

Great Websites about Pressure Cooking:

www.pressurecookingtimecharts.com
www.pressurecookingtoday.com

Plus she says that it’s important to follow recipes and the instructions that go along with it. (note to self)

Happy Cooking!

Disclosure: Breville Canada provided me with this appliance, however all opinions are my own.

 

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Mar
20

I’ve recently discovered a few new items that I would like to share with you. Believe it or not, they are not food related items. Surprised ya, right?

These are items that can now be found in my bathroom! (still surprised, right?).

1. Tangle Teezer Blow Styling Brush (available at Sephora, Select Hudson’s Bay and Urban Outfitters)

product- brush

This hair brush is pretty awesome. Its light weight and I like how it “feels” in my hand. No joke… they spent two years of research and development to develop this brush.

2. Makeup Eraser (available at Sephora)
Say good bye to those eye remover products. All you need is this amazing product and some water. Bingo – my make up is now removed. This product was given to me as a gift and indeed it was the perfect gift for me. I’m now packing this magical product on all future trips.

True Story: I left it at a hotel en route to New York and on the way back I returned to the hotel to pick it up. That’s how much I like this product.

products - makeup

3. Kinky-Curl
My sister (who also has curly hair) is a curly-hair-product– maven. I really do trust her when she says “buy this”. So I bought it (as did my cousin who was visiting from overseas) and let’s just say that my curls are very very happy. The conditioner does magical things with my knots and the custard keeps my curls ..curly without frizziness or feeling stiff. Hope that makes sense. If you have curly hair you will know exactly what I mean.kinky

product - kinky-curly
4. ELABLOOM

ELABLOOM was founded in 2011 by two partners that recognized the need to develop quality, affordable personal care products in the marketplace. So they created a lineup of unique products for your face and body. Lately I’ve been using a few of their facial products and I like how they smell and I like how they feel on my face too.

products - elabloom

Have you discovered any great beauty product these days? Do share.

Disclosure: some of these products were provided to me, however all these opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Mar
17

My life looks like this:

a) My kitchen has been in the process of being renovated since Feb. 10th. Last week the counter, sink and faucet were installed and let me tell you – this was a big deal as I had been washing dishes in my bathroom for 3 weeks. Still need to decide on the back splash and the paint colour but I’m 98% done and I’m really (really) happy with my new kitchen.

life - kitchen

b) I went to the Saks Off 5th VIP Preview Party at Vaughan Mills. What made this event special was the fact that my daughter was the first customer (insert applause). Super impressed with this store…brands/price/selection and will definitely return to Vaughan Mills again.

life - saks

c) It just dawned on me that I need to get my snow tires removed. So much to do and so little time.

d) I bought this heirloom tomato (for slightly over $5). I normally am pretty careful with my $$ but I was excited when the store owner told me that it was his first shipment of the season and just bought it without thinking. I’m going to cut it up over the weekend and eat it with  St. Albert Cheese Curds. Not a bad plan, right?

life - tomato

e) I’ve successfully pre-planned my upcoming birthday weekend and will be heading to Niagara Falls to do something I’ve never done before. Believe it or not, I’ve never stayed overnight in Niagara Falls.  Now I can scratch that off my bucket list. Stay tuned for a blog post.

f) I’ve been planning a dinner crawl with another foodie couple for Saturday April 9th. The plan is to head to Boralia for mussels, then hit Wenona Craft Beer Lounge for BBQ’ed meat  (and craft beer, of course) and then head to another restaurant for dessert. I can’t wait.

life - boralia

Photo – courtesy of the internet

g) Finally got a PVR and can’t wait to start taping The French Open. I’m-a-tennis-junkie-and-I-am=proud.. #lifechanger.

h) I have a mental list running thru my head of all the stores I want to check out that have recently opened. My list looks like this:

H & M Home at Eaton Centre

Simons at Square One

-Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s at Sherway Gardens

The question is WHEN? LOL.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

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Mar
13

I’ve just returned from a trip to Ottawa. I hadn’t been there for a little over 4 months so I was a bit out touch with the foods scene, but not for long as I posted on facebook: “Where should I eat?” and as always my foodie friends in Ottawa were happy to help.
Here’s a recap of what I discovered;

Datsun  (380 Elgin St) – This is a new trendy restaurant on Elgin St and is owned by the same owners as El Camino. It’s one busy restaurant …even at 10 pm. We ordered two dishes and both were incredibly flavourful. Next time, I need to go with a larger group so I can try more dishes.

We started off with this most satisfying bowl of ramen.

ottawa - datsun

Then we moved on and had this Braised Beef Panang Curry with Roasted Peanuts and Lime Leaf dish.. Yummy. Yummy. Yummy.

ottawa - datsun2

2. Aroma Espresso bar – This a popular coffee chain in Toronto, New York and Israel now has a location in Ottawa. It’s located at Landsdowne Park (300 Marche Way – #109) which has been developed into quite a bustling part of town. What did I order? I tried the new cold pressed ginger and tumeric drink. This beverage (which is available hot or cold) hit the spot and was a great alternative to (another) cup of coffee.

ottawa - aroma
3. Urban  Juice Press  (340 Parkdale Unit B Entrance on, Spencer) I had just purchased beer at Beyond the Pale and as we were turning the corner saw a sign and parked the car again. Loved the space and the organic juice that we purchased. These cold pressed juices can be the perfect pick me up in the middle of the day!

ottawa - urban

4. Origin Trade Inc. (111 York St) – This new coffee/lounge blew me away. Someone really put some thought into decorating the space. Plus my coffee can best be described as “smooth” with no bitterness whatsoever.

origin grid

Other discoveries:

This local kombucha that is made in Smith Falls. (purchased at Herb and Spice on Bank St)

ottawa - kombucha
2. This local kimchi that I purchased at the Ottawa Farmers Market.

ottawa - kimchi

But besides eating my way thru Ottawa, the real reason I went to Ottawa was to celebrate my friends 50th birthday and to hang out with my mom. I’m so lucky to have both of these women in my lives.

ottawa - mom:suziAs always, I love visiting Ottawa. Hoping to return in May for the Tulip Festival and to discover more great food.

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Mar
08

My recent trip to Buffalo included:

-attending the Bruce Springsteen concert

-and eating. (this doesn’t surprise you, right?)

The day went like this:

2 pm – Anchor Bar…no need for an explanation.

buffalo - post concert

 

3 pm – Teds’ Hot DogsIt was customer appreciation day and I couldn’t resist a bargain ($1 a hot dog). Despite the HUGE line up, it was well worth it.

buffalo - teds

 

4 pm. – Andersons Frozen CustardGuess what? It was snowing when we walked in. #scored

buffalo - andersons

730 pm – Bruce Springsteen Concert….who played for 3 hours straight. What a performance.

buffalo - concert

Midnite – Gabriel’s GateIn my humble opinion, this was the perfect post concert snack.

buffalo - anchor bar

 

The following day included one more restaurant. We went to this cool bakery/cafe for some wicked toast and coffee. I fell in love with the building …and the bread.

Five Points Bakery 

buffalo - breakfast

Can’t wait to go back to Buffalo!

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Mar
06

When I received an invitation from the founder of Aquamermaid to try a class, I immediately said “YES”.

Seriously, how often does one get a chance to become a mermaid? LOL

The class started off by picking out our “mermaid tails”.

mermaid - picking

Then everyone introduced themselves with their real name, their mermaid name, and their favourite stretch.

Following the introductions, we got into the water and everyone swam a length.

Then the fun started, as we wiggled into our our respective mermaid tails.

mermaid - wiggling

We did some drills in the water – front, back, side. Trust me, everyone was smiling and having fun.
mermaid - final

As you can see from this next photo, being a mermaid is harder than it looks!

mermaid - touching

Then we got a chance to take more photos. LOL.

mermaid - vicky

Things you should know:

-guys can participate and in fact there was a guy in our class.

-this is a super fun party idea for kids AND adults.

-the Mermaid school exists in Ottawa and Montreal as well

-you can actually buy the mermaid tail!

For more information:

www.aquamermaid.com

Instagram: Aquamermaid

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Aquamermaidschool

Youtube; Aquamermaid (please oh please click on this link to really get a sense how cool this class is)

Phone: 1 866 279 2767

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Mar
02

When I went to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Buffalo, I knew that the trip would include a visit to Trader Joe’s.  A trip to Buffalo would simply not feel complete without stopping at a grocery store. (in my humble opinion)

I bought a mixture of old Trader Joe favourites and some new products that I’ve never bought before.

For example…these dried baby bananas caught my attention.

trader - bananasI have no idea what I will be doing with them but something tells me I will be incorporating them into a brunch dish one day soon!

Here’s what they look like on a plate. Can’t decide if it looks pretty or if it looks creepy!!

trader - banana on a plate

There was a section at the back of the store with a sign over it that said “new product”. How brilliant. I couldn’t resist buying these Preserved Lemon Slices even though I have no idea what I will be doing with them. But for $1.99 I couldn’t resist.

trader - lemon I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s chocolate and this time I bought a PB & J chocolate bar.  As you can see from the photo, most of the bar is now gone. Why oh why did I only buy one bar?

trader - chocolate

 

I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Buffalo.

Website; www.traderjoes.com

Address: 1565 Niagara Falls Blvd, Buffalo, NY
Phone:+1 716-833-4687

 

 

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Mar
01

I seem to have a lot of friends who have gone back to school as mature students these days. They took courses to become ESL teachers or Certified Financial Advisors and some have even taken part-time classes in the culinary field (baking or bread-making).

When my friends announced to me that they were taking these courses, I was extremely supportive because there’s no such thing as “it’s never too late to switch careers”. Plus education is always valuable and never goes out of style. EVER.

True story: I’ve been active on Social Media since 2009 and have really embraced it. I embraced it so much that I morphed into a social media consultant for 3 years.

Clients hired me to tweet and post on Facebook – seeing as they didn’t have the time or they didn’t know a thing about social media. I truly was passionate about it and over the years I’ve helped many restaurants get off the ground in the twitterverse.

vicky- desk

However I really know that there’s more to it than just tweeting. There’s strategy and content and metrics and more. I also know that I could benefit from a course. Even today.

I’m a huge believer in attending college and hope to actually sign up for a social media certificate at Seneca College one day soon.

I’m not kidding I’ve looked online as well as flipped through their printed course book. (so old school – I know).  A full-time course isn’t realistic for me however I know that a part-time course would be ideal. Even better – an online course really appeals to me so that I could study according to my (busy) schedule.

True Story #2: I am a disaster when it comes to SEO, plug ins, coding, rafflecopter and more. I often have to call a good friend of mine to help me out with these things. I know I would benefit from a basic “wordpress” course as well.

Now that I think about it – a creative writing course could help me out as well. Seems like there’s a few areas where I could do with some “improvement”!!

I’m confident that signing up at a college, would be the ideal place for me to reach more goals.

Going back to school part-time would help me out in more ways than one. There is no doubt about it. Stay tuned for more.

For more information:

Website: www.becauseitmatters.ca
Twitter: @senecacollege
Hashtag: #BecauseItMatters

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

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Feb
23

A Brilliant Printer


This sounds crazy but I live in a 950 sqf condo and own three printers. Actually that’s not true anymore – I got rid of the ancient printer from 5 years ago and kept the two hi tech printers. But truth be told, I’m sure I will be down to ONE printer soon as my NEW Epson is nothing short of brilliant.

The Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer comes with up to two years’ worth of ink – enough to print 4,000 black and 6,500 colour pages.

Say goodbye to your fear of high-cost colour-printing and out-of-ink frustrations; (which I’m sure you have all experienced).

Say hello to:

-No more out-of-ink frustrations
-Freedom to print in colour
-Innovative, super-high-capacity, refillable ink tanks
-Printing thousands of pages without replacing ink
-Ultra low-cost replacement ink

Notice the newspapers on the floor? This was a precaution when the bottles of ink were being opened up and poured into their respective tanks. Yes – a little messy but well worth it!

I’m not kidding, the printer was all set up and ready to print in about 20 minutes. How cool is that?

epson

I think it’s great that this was included with the instructions however I didn’t need to use it. Yay.

epson - help

Plus I can print directly from my tablet and smartphone too.

I’m really looking forward to never running out of ink and printing many (many) copies easily and efficiently.

Oh how I love technology.

For more information:

Website: www.epson.ca

Twitter: @EpsonCanada

Disclosure: The printer was provided to me, however all opinions are my own.

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