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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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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