May
05

Did You Know…


Did you know that May 6th is World AS Day? I will admit that I didn’t know but I’m glad that it was brought to my attention. True Story: I received an email about this important campaign right after an appointment I had with a massage therapist.

I’m hoping that this blog will help build awareness of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) during the month of May!

Lower back pain is a common health problem, often a result of everyday activities, such as sitting at a desk or lifting a heavy box. As a sales rep, I’m in my car a lot and have days where lower back pain is an issue.  Luckily for me, I’ve only been in mild discomfort. However chronic back pain lasting longer than three months could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease, and form of arthritis of the spine, affecting approximately 300,000 Canadians. AS occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joints in the spine, causing stiffness and pain. While many associate arthritic conditions with old age, AS most commonly strikes people aged 15-40 – in the prime ages of their lives.

AS - photo 1

I had the opportunity to interview Deborah Campbell who was a busy young mother and avid runner when she was diagnosed with AS at the age of 38. After being diagnosed with the debilitating condition, her mobility was so limited she was confined to a wheelchair for a time. Today, Deborah has found a way to control her disease through a combination of medication, nutrition and exercise. She continues to run and this summer, she’s entering the Canadian Death Race as a solo participant to raise awareness for AS.

deborah2

Question: How long did it take you to get properly diagnosed?

Answer: It took 3-4 months

Question: What type of doctors did you consult with during that diagnosis?

Answer:  I was very fortunate to have a General Practitioner who had a lot of knowledge in the area of Rheumatology. He sent me immediately to a rheumatologist, I was in to see her within a month. Had my MRI within 2 weeks.

Question: What type of advise would you like to offer to anyone with chronic back pain?

Answer: Get in to see a health care practitioner as soon as possible. Also, for me, I needed to keep stretching the best I could. Don’t get stuck in the mindset if I can’t do things. 

Question: Tell me how nutrition has helped you feel better?

Answer:  Nutrition has always been an important part of my life. I’ve been a runner for over 15 years. I know now what foods trigger flare ups. The better I fuel my body, the better my body responds to my physical activity and to my treatments.

Question: Do you also swim? I’ve heard swimming is great for people who suffer from lower back pain.

Answer:  No I don’t swim. It has been recommended to me time and time again. It would be a great training tool along side my running for sure. I have to tell you though, I don’t like public pools, and I don’t like being cold. It’s just one of my weird quirks. I will keep you posted once I make it to a pool. 

Question: Tell me more about the Canadian Death Race!

Answer: Ah, the Canadian Death Race. I have been wanting to do this event solo for over 14 years. It’s a 125 mountain adventure race that has over 17000 ft elevation gain. It’s held in Grand Cache, Alberta. You have 24 hours to finish. There are 3 cut off points along the course and 5 transition areas. It is a tough course. I’ve been fortunate enough to have already done 2 stages of this event as part of a relay team twice now. I’m doing it solo to bring awareness to AS, as well as to give a new definition to what someone can do with this disease . I’ve always said that I was going to define it, I didn’t want the disease to define me. I’m monitored by my doctors and they are excited to see how I do. I run because I can. I run for those who can.

It occurred to me as I write this blog post, that I personally know quite a few people who suffer from chronic back pain and I know it’s not been an easy road to recovery.

Here’s to May 6th and raising awareness about World AS Day.  If you’ve had back pain for more than three mhttp://www.standuptobackpain.caonths, it could be a sign of inflammatory back pain like AS. To learn more about AS, visit: www.standuptobackpain.ca. 

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

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May
03

The month of May is going to wiz by. Here’s why.

May 4 to 14 – I will be seeing as many films as I can throughout the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. I’ve been been busy studying the guide and putting together a schedule! Can’t wait to help them celebrate their 25th anniversary.

tjff - guide

On May 4th – I will be walking thru the aisles of SIAL looking for new products to share with you. For example – Sugar Cubes that are available in three flavours : cardamom, cinnamon and saffron. Stay tuned for an entire blog post dedicated to this incredible trade show.

sial - flavor sugar

On May 6th – I’m heading to Oxford County to go on their Cheese Trail.  Every Saturday in May, you can head to Canada’s Dairy Capital in Oxford County and enjoy the day celebrating all things cheese. How can I NOT go? LOL

chees days

On May 8th at exactly 9:30 am you will find me and my cheque book at this fabulous Sample Sale. I will happily be shopping for my FALL wardrobe at wholesale prices. Love. Love. Love This Sample Sale.

sample sale

On May 10-11th – I will have the opportunity to drive the the 2018 Equinox on a beautiful drive through some of Niagara Region’s most charming towns. The route promises to include great food, activities and accommodations too.

I’ve been told that the 2018 Equinox is a fresh and modern SUV that’s sized and designed to meet the needs of the compact SUV customer. It will be the perfect balance of design and technology to keep me safe, comfortable and connected.

equinox

May 14th – Mother’s Day! Planning on meeting my mom in Kingston to celebrate this special day with her, and planning on spending the evening with my daughter.

May 16 to 19 – I’m heading to Philadelphia and I’m too excited for words as I’ve never been to this city and the food scene sounds amazing. (a priority – clearly).

philly

May 23rd – more good news to follow!!

My biggest challenge is how to get to Ottawa to see the Tulip Festival. ARGHHH.

Hopefully I will get a chance to rest in June.

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Apr
30

Hello Spring


Spring is here. (I think)

Last week, I was checking out beautiful cherry blossom trees.

lowes - cherry blossoms

But today I wore a winter jacket. (no photo – its just too upsetting). However when you walk into Lowe’s – you definitely know its Spring!!

lowes - patio furniture

The Style & Trends team has prepared a wonderful Spring/Summer line of spring outdoor decorating solutions. I’m all for spending more time OUTDOORS than INDOORS when it comes to these two seasons.

This year, Style and Trends Director Cindy Jardim, has designed four collections which are exclusive to Lowe’s Canada. (Gracious Living, Cuban Cool, Renewed Formality, Metro Modern).

lowes - 4 looks

Each collection was created with the goals of empowering consumer creativity and increasing comfort levels with design.

lowes - outdoor solutions

Lowe’s has also  introduced melamine serving and dishware this year! This serving dish makes me smile and would certainly be a conversation piece around a table.

lowes - melamine

I don’t know what it is about melamine dishwater but I’m always drawn towards it. P

lowes - dishes

Seriously, Lowe’s has you covered when it comes to Spring/Summer outdoor living.

lowes - gold

Happy Shopping!!

For more information: 

Website: www.lowes.ca

Instagram and Twitter: @Lowes_Canada

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

Disclosure: Lowe’s provided me with a gift card however all opinions are my own

 

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Apr
13

I’ve been busy in the kitchen lately which is code for “I have some recipes to share with you”.

I must admit, I was nervous when I was making this dish as I wasn’t quite sure it would work out but it did! (hip hip hooray).

This recipe only requires a few ingredients and wasn’t hard to make at all. My biggest tip to share with you is to invest in a cheesecloth (available at any dollar store) to ensure that your grated potato is DRY!

Wringing out the grated potato in a dish cloth just isn’t the same. Trust me. So here’s what you need to know to make this fabulous side dish.

Recipe: Spinach Potato Nest (original recipe found here www.MayIHaveThatRecipe.com)

4 large Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 tsp salt
¼ – ½ tsp pepper
2½ tsp garlic powder
2½ tsp onion powder (I went to Bulk Barn to grab this ingredient)
4 tsp vegetable oil
Cooking Spray
4 cups of frozen spinach thawed  (I bought 2 packages and it was more than enough)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs

Instructions

Preheat oven at 400F
1. Grate the potatoes, add ½ tsp of salt, mix well and let them sit in a colander with a bowl under it for 20 minutes. Squeeze as much water out of the grated potatoes as you can. (I used a cheesecloth and you should too!!)  Season with ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp. onion powder, ½ tsp pepper. Add 4 tsp vegetable oil and mix well.

2. In a large skillet, sauté spinach in olive oil. Season with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder and ½ tsp salt. Cook until most of the water had evaporated, 6-8 minutes. Set aside. (Note: I squeezed out the water with my hands just to make sure it was dry)

passover -spinach

3. Generously spray a 12 muffin tin pan with cooking spray.

4. Arrange grated potatoes into each muffin cup, pressing against the bottom and up the sides. (Another Tip: I spent a bit of time, pressing the potatoes down)

passover - nest

5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start to brown slightly . Remove from the oven.

Final Product:

passover - spinach final

Happy Cooking!

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Mar
30

I’ve just returned from the VIP opening of the first Costco Business Centre  in Canada.

costco - outside

This is what you need to know:

  1. Any Costco member can walk in to the Costco Business Centre. (insert applause)
  2. There’s more business products. Especially if you own a restaurant/catering company/cooking school etc.
    costco - not available

For example you aren’t going to see a hot dog stand for sale at a regular Costco.

costco - cart

3. They offer Business -friendly hours

costco - hours

4. Not to mention they deliver!!costco - delivery

I loved walking thru the warehouse and seeing massive quantities of EVERYTHING at super cheap prices. For example a 3.78 L jar of hot pepper rings for $6.89!!

costco - prices

It was also very cool to see the fabulous cheddar cheese I sell (St. -Albert Cheese Co-op)  in the Cheese/Meat Cooler.   So if you need a brick of cheddar at great prices – you now know where to go!!

costco - st albert

Can’t wait to see what the industry thinks of this concept!

ps. you can shop online too.

For more information:

Website: www.costcobusinesscentre.ca

Address: 50 Thermos Rd, Toronto, ON M1L

Phone: +1 866-455-1846

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Mar
29

Passover and Pinterest


Passover is soon approaching (April 10th to 18th to be exact) and I have no doubt that many of my facebook friends will be busy this Sunday cleaning and cooking (in that order).

It’s certainly not an easy holiday as it involves a lot of food and entertaining and a list of restrictions.  However I’m going to share a tip with you to make it easier. It’s called PINTEREST.

I actually created a Passover Board on Pinterest (see bottom left) to help me organize the recipes that I’m going to attempt to make for the Seder.  Why didn’t I think of this idea before?

passover - pinterst

Here’s the menu for my Vegetarian Seder that I will be serving on the first night!  (thanks to my Pinterest Passover Board).

Arugula Orange Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing

Salmon with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Matzo Stuffed Herbed Tomatoes

Garlic Herb Cauli-Rice

Spinach Potato Nests

Dessert: Fruit (not making anything that involves a gazillion eggs or matzo meal)

As for my table – I’m naturally going to use my grandmothers china that I pull out every Passover. But I’m also going to attempt to make a few of these great “table decor ideas” that I found on Pinterest – not with purple but with burgundy to match the china (of course. LOL). I actually made the idea on the bottom right last year and it was a huge hit.

passover - table

 Not sure if the matza vase is going to turn out but we will soon find out. Hoping its’ not going to be a #PinterestFail.

Here’s one more tip to make your Passover Seder easier! I saw this idea on Pinterest a few months ago, and IT WORKS.  Trust me.

passover eggs

Wishing all my friends who celebrate Passover, a very meaningful holiday.

Happy Cooking (and Cleaning).

 

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Mar
27

A few weeks ago I received an email about a new clinic called West End Mamas. I clicked on the link and had one of those moments where I said to myself – “Wow! What a great idea”. I immediately replied that indeed I would be happy to blog about this clinic as I’m always excited to share creative and entrepreneurial initiatives!!

This clinic is founded by Dr. Sarah MickelerCanada’s leading expert on prenatal and postnatal chiropractic care. The mission of the clinic is to is to provide total wellness for motherhood. 

sarah_new_headshot_copy_720

When you click on the website (which I hope you do)…you will find that this clinic offers everything a new mama would need for total wellness. There’s a wide range of services being offered at West End Mamas. For example: Chiropractor Care, Acupuncture, homeopathy, registered massage therapy, nutrition and dietician counselling, naturopathic medicine, doula services, pelvic floor physiotherapy, lactation and postpartum support and more!!

I have no doubt that each and everyone of these health care professionals, were carefully selected!

mamas - wall

Two of their staff really intrigued me. The first is Allison Martineau, who believes in helping families cook and eat for health throughout the entire motherhood journey – something any parent knows can be a struggle, especially in those early days. I couldn’t help but think how valuable this would be for expectant moms trying to navigate a nauseous pregnancy while eating well!
The other is Tanya Smith. We hear a lot about reproductive health and technology these days, but not a lot about holistic solutions. Tanya is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner, with specialized training in supporting clients through their fertility treatment in partnership with a fertility clinic.

I also loved that this clinic offers child minding, lockers for your strollers, water in the waiting area, and a really easy to use website! Not to mention the location of this clinic is on the subway line.receptionIn their beautiful, light-filled 400 sq. ft. studio, they offer classes such as prenatal and postpartum yoga, childbirth preparation, breastfeeding and lactation support, and parenting skills such as Introducing Solids, Baby Wearing, and Mother Wellness.studioI really wish there was a clinic like this back in 1996 and 1999!! #LeSigh

Last week I took the subway and went to check out their space and to enjoy a massage. I was really impressed with the warm welcoming staff and the comfortable space they have created.  Not to mention that my massage therapist was skilled and asked all the right questions to ensure that I was comfortable and a happy client.

For more information: 

Website: www.westendmamas.ca

Address: 2477 Bloor St. West (2nd Floor) at Jane St. Toronto, Ontario

Phone: 416 960 5656

Email address: hello@westendmamas.ca

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

 

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Mar
16

Please forgive me as I haven’t been blogging as much as I normally do. You can blame the following recipe which is so simple that I’m making a batch every two days. What’s not to love? All you need is a blender and a few ingredients. I’m also loving the fact that there’s NO FLOUR, NO SUGAR and NO BUTTER in this recipe.

blender - ingredients

This recipe is saving me in the morning as I tend to sleep in till the last possible moment. As a result – there’s always a mad dash out the door WITHOUT eating anything. Now I simply grab a zip lock bag and enjoy these muffins in my car. Can anyone else relate?

I’m not going to keep you waiting much longer for the recipe. Here it is!

Recipe: Blender Oatmeal Muffins (original recipe can be found here – www.wellplated.com)

Ingredients

2 cups oats (quick cooking or old fashioned – I used old fashioned)
2 large ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cups of mix ins – chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, chopped dates – whatever you want!!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Mix all ingredients in the blender. (how easy could this get?).

blender - blender

3. Drop batter into a well greased muffin pan. Fill no more than three-quarters of the way to the top. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips or nuts as desired. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

FINAL RESULT!!

blender - finalHappy Baking!!

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Mar
09

I recently worked at the Restaurants Canada  giving out samples of squeaky cheese curds to a variety of people who work in the Restaurant Industry (chefs, caterers, restaurant owners, etc).

rc - vicky

When I took my breaks, I quickly walked thru the show to discover new products and say hello to fellow exhibitors like Lemon Lily, Lorelyns Gourmet Desserts and Walter Craft Caesar.

Here’s a few products that caught my eye. For some reason they are all beverages…which either indicates that I was really thirsty or it’s a growing category!!

  1. Pink Lemonade Beer by Farmery Estate Beer! #interesting
    rc - farmery beer

2. Hatch – Cold Brew Iced Tea. Love the packaging and the combo!

rc - hatch

3. This organic Maple Syrup Soda

rc - organic maple syrup soda

Plus this beverage caught my eye as well. Especially the blood orange flavour!

rc - bull's head

I ate and ate and ate for 3 days solid…a little this and a little of that. When I got home there was no need for dinner just a huge need to lie on the couch!! (can you say Netflix and Chill?).

The best part of the show was knowing that Uber Eats would deliver to my booth. All I did was download the app, order what i wanted from the menu (which would come from other exhibitors) and within 20 minutes it was delivered. Oh how I love technology (and food t00).

RC - uber

Already looking forward to the next trade show which will be SIAL – May 2 to 4th.

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Mar
06

As a sales rep for St. Albert Cheese Co-op,  I often myself walking along the streets of Toronto looking for prospective customers. One day I walked into a very cool hip restaurant only to find out that it was a vegan restaurant. Oops!!

However the menu really intrigued me, as did their cocktail list so I went back as a customer!!

dooomies - cocktail

I went back on a Sunday night at 630 pm and the place was packed. (always a good sign). However we did manage to get a table at the back for our party of four people. I should mention that no one was a vegan but everyone was open minded to check out a new restaurant!

doomies - packed

We immediately ordered the (vegan) nachos and then immediately devoured the nachos!!

doomies - nachos

I ordered the fried chicken and waffles but only managed to eat half of it as it was a massive portion. I happily ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day.

doomies- waffle

It was positively delicious and I want to order it the next time I visit. It was that good.

The rest of the gang ate veggie burgers and everyone seemed pleased.

I love this restaurant as they don’t have one single salad on the menu. As much as I like salads, I love eating creative food that I can’t make at  home i.e. fried vegan chicken.

Next restaurant review: another vegan restaurant called Planta. Stay tuned!!

For more info:

Doomie’s 1263 Queen St W Toronto

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

Twitter/Instagram: @DoomiesToronto

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