Fab finds at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

3 Oct

photo-15

A few days ago I had the opportunity to attend Grocery Innovations Canada, an industry conference and trade show hosted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. I love to learn about new products and I’m also obsessed with food packaging, so I look forward to this show every year. I should explain that grocery shopping is a huge passion of mine. One of my favourite post-work activities is wandering the aisles of grocery stores (yes, I’m serious). Even when I’m on vacation, I seek out local and chain grocery stores, just to check out their products. So when I got to the show, it was one of those scenarios where I walked in and I was so excited to be there that I didn’t know where to start : )

Warning – this is going to be a LONG post. Not long in words but long because of the number of products I’ll be talking about. Note: Some of the products pictured below aren’t new but the brands were showing them again as a reminder to retailers and media that they are available. Here we go….

For those who follow a gluten-free diet, there’s a gluten-free version of Cream of Rice in market. I didn’t get to sample it but I thought I would share this info for those who enjoy the product. Learn more here: http://www.creamofwheat.com/products/cream-of-rice/

photo 2

I love mushroom risotto and I’ve made it at home several times. It’s an easy dish to make but it’s just very time-consuming so I was happy to find out about In Cuisin’s Mushroom Risotto. I’ve seen it in the freezer section many times (often on sale) but I had never tried it. I had a hot sample of the risotto and it was delicious! There was an assortment of mushrooms in it and the rice was just the right texture. In my opinion, for a frozen dish it was as close to restaurant style as you could get. I’ll definitely be picking this up to keep in the freezer for a last-minute lunch or dinner. Learn more here: http://infoodsinc.com/en/products/in-cuisin-risotto/mushroom-risotto/

photo 3

Coffee + coconut water? Yes, it’s true. The fine folks at Vita Coco have combined coconut water with espresso and a splash of milk to create a mighty tasty drink. I was surprised by how good it was (Apologies for the poor photo!). Vita Coco was also showing their flavoured coconut waters – I enjoyed the mango and pineapple flavours the most. Learn more here: http://vitacoco.com/products/vita-coco-cafe/#cococafe
DSCF2552

DSCF2554

Robin Hood showed some quick bread mixes with flavours including banana bread and lemon poppy seed bread. This looks like a great idea for those who wish to make quick breads at home without the effort of scratch baking. While they weren’t giving out samples of the baked breads to try, I did receive a coupon to try the product. I’m a huge fan of Robin Hood flour, it’s the only brand I’ll buy, so I’m sure this product meets the same standards. Learn more here: http://www.robinhood.ca/Products/Mixes

DSCF2555 DSCF2556

Another packaged baking product I wanted to mention are Duncan Hines Strawberry Flavoured Cupcakes, this product comes with cream cheese icing and a piping bag. I’m very big on baking from scratch but I have to say that the cupcakes I sampled were quite tasty and weren’t too sweet. Definitely a good option for some easy home baking. http://www.duncanhines.ca/products/cupcakes/strawberry-flavoured-cupcakes/

DSCF2563

Rotkappchen De-alcoholized Sparkling Wine….wow, I loved the taste and I thought the packaging looked quite nice as well. It’s a great option for those who wish to have a non-alcoholic beverage but don’t want to feel like they are missing out on anything. Learn more here: http://www.therealbubbly.com/products.html

DSCF2566

I wanted something spicy after having the cupcakes and sparkling wine so I was so happy to spot No. 7 Hot Sauce’s display. They have a range of flavourful sauces with different levels of spice, so there was really something for everyone.  The best part, they are from Toronto! Learn more here: http://no7hotsauce.com

DSCF2571

This was big news for me….I love the Moroccan 9 Vegetable Soup that I can buy hot and ready at Loblaws and Longo’s. I found out that the supplier was Campbell’s and I was thinking of asking them to sell the soup in cans and voila…my wish was granted when I visited their display at the show! I bought a can of the soup after the show and I’m having it right now. While it is close to their Campbell’s FoodService version, it isn’t 100% the same. I’ll still keep a can or two in my cupboard to squash the cravings as needed though. Learn more here: http://www.campbellsoup.ca/en-ca/products/everyday-gourmet/campbells-everyday-gourmet-moroccan-spiced-eight-vegetable-chickpea

photo 1

Next up, Supereats Kale + Chia Chips. I enjoyed these, they were tasty, nice and crunchy and left me feeling satisfied. I’m look for these at my local health food store. Learn more here: http://www.supereats.com

photo 3

Another tasty chip, Luke’s Organic Protein Chips with blue corn and red lentils. Also really tasty, especially considering the fact that they are “healthy” chips. Another one to look out for in health food stores. Learn more here: http://www.lukesorganic.com

photo 4

Mmmm Wonderful Pistachios! These aren’t new but I love their variations on the humble little pistachio. I tried their Sweet Chili pistachios for the first time and I was kicking myself for not trying them earlier, they were so good! I also loved the salt and pepper flavour, it’s simple but oh so tasty. Can we just talk about their cute packaging for a minute? It’s eye-catching and very fresh. Go get some, now. Learn more here: http://getsnackin.ca

DSCF2576

I’m looking forward to trying the Blueapple, a product that was made to help keep fruits and vegetables fresher for longer in the fridge. Learn more here: http://www.thebluapple.com/how-it-works

photo-13

These aren’t new but I thought I would share since there is a huge slow cooker movement right now. These liners make cleanup easy, you just line the cooker, make your dish and then just pull the liner out and toss it after. Learn more here: http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/products/slow-cooker-liners/

photo 4

KitchenAid was showing their new Produce Preserver, designed to help keep produce fresher for longer. I received a sample of this so I’m really looking forward to testing it out. Stay tuned! Learn more here: http://www.kitchenaid.ca/en_CA/shop/-%5BP1KG6S1B%5D-2104325/P1KG6S1B/

photo-14

Maple water. It was the first time I had heard of it and apparently it’s the next big thing. Surprisingly it contains protein, prebiotics and antioxidants and you know what, it tasted pretty good. Not too sweet, just a fresh clean taste. Bonus points, the company is Canadian! Learn more here: http://www.eauderableseva.com/en/

photo 5

Huge news…Tassimo and McDonald’s have partnered up to create McCafe t-discs for Tassimo machines. I adore my Tassimo machine and I can’t wait to try the McCafe discs. Learn more here: https://www.tassimo.ca/en/beverages/mccafe/

photo 2

Greek yogurt with chia mixed in from Olympic Dairy (they’re Canadian!). A great option for vegetarians who want to add more protein in their diets. Learn more here: http://www.olympicdairy.com/index.php

photo 3

Two more great products from Sol Cuisine – the first one is their Tangy Korean BBQ Meatless Chicken. I liked the flavours and the texture of the meatless chicken was great. Their Veggie Breakfast Sausages were great too, they would be perfect in a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and tomato. (my favourite sandwich combo). I’ll definitely pick up both of these next time I’m at the grocery store. Learn more here: http://solcuisine.com/canadian-retail

photo 5

photo-16

I loved these Korean filled pancakes (called Hotteok) from Arumi. I tried both the Hotteok Red Bean and Hotteok Brown Sugar, both were really tasty. The rep said these products are available at major Korean grocery stores in the Toronto area. The company doesn’t appear to have a website with these products on it…

photo 2

A few side items…Coca-Cola brought their “Share A Coke” machines to the show and I was able to finally get some cans made with my (full) name and my husband’s names on them. So cool! Learn more here: http://www.shareacoke.ca

photo-12

Lastly, not a product but a really cute giveaway at the show from McCain Foods. They were focusing on their frozen potato products so they handed out potato shaped stress balls. I just had to share : )

photo 1

The show was quite big, big enough that I’m sure that I missed some good finds. Luckily fellow blogger Vicky Weiss  attended as well, so please check out her blog to find out which products she loved at GIC at www.momwhoruns.com

Have you tried any of the above products? Are there any that you’re excited about?

 

 

The Delicious Food Show is back from October 17 to 19

16 Sep

DFS_2014_LOGO_ONLINE

Disclosure: I’ve received a media pass for the Delicious Food Show.

One of my favourite food shows, the Delicious Food Show (DFS14), is back on in Toronto from October 17 to 19 at the Direct Energy Centre. My husband and I had a great time at the show a few years ago and a highlight for us was meeting Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef. We’re both huge fans and it was terrific to have a chance to speak with her at the show and get a signed copy of one of her cookbooks. The show featured a wide range of exhibitors and we were able to try new products, learn about new kitchen tools and watch demos/talks featuring some amazing chefs.

This year, I’m excited for another 3 days of food, cooking and information about entertaining from the creators of DFS14. Once again, hundreds of exhibitors will be there with live cooking demos, tastings and hands-on workshops.

This year’s lineup of chefs includes Mario Batali, Tyler Florence, Dominique Ansel, Chuck Hughes, Nadia G, Mark McEwan, Lucinda Scala Quinn, Roger Mooking and more over the course of one action packed weekend. If you love food, you’ll want to check out this show. See you there!

ABOUT THE SHOW:

For information and tickets, visit: http://www.deliciousfoodshow.com

LOCATION:

Direct Energy Centre, Hall A
100 Princes’ Blvd
Toronto, ON M6K3C3

DFS14 SHOW DATES & HOURS:

Friday, October 17th, 2014: 10AM – 9PM
(Note: Nadia G’s Bitchin’ After Party at Gladstone Hotel, Toronto: 9PM – 1AM)
Saturday, October 18th, 2014: 10AM – 8PM
Sunday, October 19th, 2014: 10AM – 6PM

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Hashtag: #DFS14
Twitter: @DeliciousShow
Facebook: /DeliciousFoodShow
Instagram: @deliciousfoodshow
Pinterest: /deliciousshow

Meals With My Munchkin: Il Fornello Richmond Hill

7 Sep

Note: This is not a sponsored post. We chose the restaurant and we paid for our meal.

photo 1

My baby son Ronin is now 3 months old and my husband and I have become a bit braver, so we’ve started to take him out to restaurants with us. Heading out with a baby comes with a few special challenges as every trip out requires a few extra steps of planning. Given this, my goal is to find restaurants that will easily welcome my husband, son and I when we want to have a meal out. Welcome to a new series, Meals with My Munchkin, where I’ll review my vegetarian meal at restaurants we’ve been to with our son and share my thoughts on how baby friendly the restaurant was. I’m hoping these posts will help other moms and dads feel brave enough to head out to restaurants with their babies.

We recently went to Montreal for our first road trip with the baby and it was there that he went to his first proper restaurant (blog post to come!). Since our outings there went so well, we decided to check out one of our local restaurants, Il Fornello Richmond Hill, for their weekly pizza special. Since we now dine with a baby, I called ahead to try and book a table for 3 people, so that we would have a decent amount of space for us and Ronin’s car seat. They were happy to take our reservation, which was terrific!

Our meal:

Il Fornello Richmond Hill had their Tuesday pizza special on, with all pizzas priced at $10 each (dine-in only). My husband ordered the Pizza Melanzane with tomato sauce, ricotta di bufala, sautéed spinach, eggplant, oven roasted tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. It was delicious and I loved all of the toppings, especially the oven roasted tomatoes.

 
photo 3
 
I ordered the Salsicccia Italiana pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, caramelized onions and roasted red pepper (there was Italian sausage in the ingredients list but I asked to have it omitted). I enjoyed this pizza too, as the caramelized onions and roasted red peppers almost melted into the cheeses on the pizza, creating a sweet and salty flavour combination which I loved. We both wanted a bit of a kick on our pizzas so we asked for some of their chill oil on the side. It worked well with the pizza and we ended up dipping our slices into it while eating….yum : )
 
photo-11
 
Their Tuesday menu also has two versions of their gnocchi on special for $12, so we ordered the gnocchi with rosé sauce as well. Best decision of the night! The gnocchi was soft and pillowy and the sauce was nice and creamy, it was a perfect match. The serving size was perfect for sharing as we both found that it would have been too heavy for just one of us to have. Overall, the food was great, so great that we are going back with friends next week!
 
photo 4The checklist: 
 
Baby friendly? Yes! The staff member who answered the phone didn’t seem to mind at all when I said we would be bringing our baby son. 
 
Car seat friendly? Yes. When I called I booked a table for 2 + a car seat and the staff were kind enough to give us a table for 4 so that we would have enough room for our son. 
 
High chairs? Yes, high chairs are available.
 
Stroller friendly? Yes. The restaurant advised that strollers are accepted. The restaurant is at ground level and there are accessibility buttons on the doors.
 
Change table? No. The women’s washroom did not have a change table : ( However, they did have a decent amount of additional counter space, which I was able to use for a diaper change. In my mind that is better than nothing. 
 
Would we come back here with our baby? Yes, definitely! Hopefully they will install a change table, if they did this restaurant would be a perfect option for moms and dads with babies. 
 
Restaurant info: 
 
Il Fornello Richmond Hill
8851 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario
L4C 6Z1
Tel: 905-530-1153
 
 
Do you have a restaurant recommendation for the Meals with My Munchkin series? Let me know!
 

“Waldorf” Berry Salad

11 Aug

Waldorf Berry Salad final

Disclosure: Dairy Farmers of Canada provided me with a basket of fresh ingredients so that I could try this recipe. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post.

I haven’t posted to Milk & Eggs in a long time and there’s a very good reason for it, I had a baby (my first) in May and time has just flown by! As a new mom, I’m on the hunt for quick and tasty vegetarian recipes – bonus points if I can make it and store it in the fridge to have it the following day or days later. So I was quite excited to be asked by Dairy Farmers of Canada to try a recipe which would combine fresh local berries and real cream made from 100% Canadian milk. Dairy Farmers of Canada joined forces with chefs from across Canada to create new recipes that combine berries and cream, seriously one of life’s greatest combinations.

The recipe I chose was Chef Michael Allemeier’s “Waldorf” Berry Salad, as the combination of berries and the crunch of celery and walnuts sounded unusual and very interesting. The recipes from all of the chefs are featured on www.AnyDayMagic.ca – I can’t wait to try more of them before berry season is over for another year…

“Waldorf” Berry Salad

An exciting twist on a classic summer salad. Celery, toasted walnuts, apples, mixed berries, all tossed in a creamy dressing – using half and half cream, sour cream and Greek yogurt.

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60 mL) 10% half-and-half cream

3 tbsp (45 mL) sour cream

3 tbsp (45 mL) Greek yogurt

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced celery

1 cup (250 mL) toasted walnuts, lightly crushed, divided

1 red delicious apple, cored, quartered and diced (skin on)

1 2/3 cups (375 mL) assorted berries, (such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or quartered strawberries, if large)

Salt

Black pepper

8 – 10 whole butter lettuce leaves

10 – 12 celery leaves

Preparation

In a large bowl, stir together cream, sour cream, yogurt, and lemon juice. Stir in celery, ¾ cup (175 mL) of the walnuts and apples. Gently fold in berries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a bowl or on a serving platter, arrange lettuce leaves and gently spoon salad on top. Garnish with remaining walnuts and celery leaves.

Tips

For tender and sweeter celery, peel the back part of the celery rib with a vegetable peeler; this really changes the flavour and nature of celery!

Celery leaves can be found in the heart of the celery.

My notes

I made this salad twice, the first time with the celery, celery leaves and walnuts and the second time without these ingredients. I enjoyed the salad more without the above ingredients in it as I wasn’t fan of the textures they added. That said, removing these items really just makes this a creamy fruit salad but you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that at all! It was refreshing and a great way to get good dose of dairy, antioxidants and fibre, all in one dish!

Let me know if you end up trying the recipe and if you have any tips to share!

photo-7

photo-10

photo-9

photo-4

photo-3

photo-5

Waldorf Berry Salad final

Vegetarian Delights at Bosk restaurant, Shangri-La hotel Toronto

10 Apr

photo 2 (3)

I was recently invited to a special dinner at Bosk restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel, Toronto, for a preview of their Signature & Spring Tasting Menu. I was beyond excited to be invited to this event as I had heard great things about the ambiance, food and service at Bosk. Upon receiving the invitation, I advised the host teams at the Shangri-La hotel and Do The Daniel (organizer of the event) that I follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and they were more than happy to accommodate my requests.

After weeks of anticipation, I arrived at Bosk a few minutes before our tour and dinner was set to begin, as I wanted to get settled and take in the atmosphere of the hotel and restaurant. The lobby was big and airy, with a fireplace and a group playing live music. I was greeted warmly by the staff and was directed to the meeting area for the #iheartbosk event where I was joined by an intimate group of food and lifestyle bloggers from Toronto.

DSCN0307

We started the evening off with a tour of the hotel’s new Garden Suite, a gorgeous space with a canopy bed and a private patio area. We sipped on the Shangri-La hotel’s signature Jasmine Tea while we learned about their afternoon tea service, complete with an in-house tea library containing over 75 teas. The hotel even has their very own Tea Sommelier!

DSCN0302

DSCN0301

 

DSCN0298

Shortly after, we headed downstairs to the Lobby Lounge where they had created two special Power Play Cocktails in celebration of the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs  – The Zamboni and The Hat-Trick Breakfast Cocktail. As I’m expecting my first baby soon, I had the non-alcoholic versions of both drinks and even without the alcoholic, I absolutely loved them. What’s in them you ask? I could tell you, but I think you should visit the Lobby Bar yourself to try them out : )

photo 2

Next, it was time for dinner! We were led to a private seating area with place settings for each of us, our names beautifully written on paper cranes. There were printed menus at each place setting, with a special vegetarian version of the menu for me which I thought was a beautiful touch.

photo 3 (2)

photo 3

We were all chatting away about how we had already had a great experience so far but we knew that the best was yet to come…

SNACKS – nettle tree + lemon & pea + soda

The nettle tree came first, with tiny rolled up treats that reminded me of pappadums (an East Indian crispy snack). The lemon and pea came next in the form of a savoury macaron….delish! Lastly, we had a tasty rhubarb soda that was meant to get our palates ready for the start of the meal (sorry, I drank it all before I took a photo!)…

photo 1

photo 2 (1)

SWEET PEPPER DONUT – crème fraiche, shallots, chives, parmesan

A bite of pure flavour. I was sad that I only had one!

DSCN0323

COMPRESSED CUCUMBER – radish, kohlrabi, finger lime, citrus snow

I loved this dish as it really woke up my taste buds. The citrus snow danced in my mouth and played well with the cucumber. I could have easily eaten two plates of this dish.

DSCN0324

BLACK TRUFFLE GNOCCHI – forest mushroom, tomato butter

This dish was absolutely delicious…it was so good I can still taste it and I can’t wait to have it again. I had never had anything like it and I thanked the chef for creating such a spectacular vegetarian dish.

DSCN0328

SPRING ASPARAGUS – quinoa, spring garlic, baby corn

The asparagus in this dish was hands down the best asparagus I’ve ever had. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned and went beautifully with the other components in the dish.

photo 2 (2)

RICOTTA & LEEK AGNOLOTTI – peas, fava bean, morel, artichoke

This pasta dish was outstanding, I really enjoyed the combination of the peas, fava beans, morels and artichokes as I had never had them all on one plate before. It was one of the most interesting vegetarian dishes I had eaten in a long time.

DSCN0334

POACHED RHUBARB – almond, orange blossom, elderflower

A simple and refreshing end to an amazing meal!

DSCN0335

CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE + KISSES

The cherry blossom tree took my breath away, it was so whimsical and beautiful. Pillows of pink and white cotton candy were perched in the tree, ready to be plucked off and enjoyed.

photo 1 (2)

Everything about the meal was exquisite. That is a word I don’t use very often and in this case it’s the most fitting word for the experience I had. My vegetarian meal was spectacular, top to bottom. Every dish was made with a lot of love, care and precision. The ingredients were top notch and they truly shined in every dish I had. To top it all off, service was professional, attentive and most importantly it was filled with a warmth that I haven’t experienced in a long time.

I’ve had a number of dinners at upscale hotel restaurants and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt as  welcomed and at home as I did at Bosk. Warmth exuded from every Shangri-La hotel team member I came in contact with that evening and I believe that is what has guests coming back over and over again.

My heartfelt thanks to the teams at Bosk, the Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La hotel, Toronto and Do The Daniel for a spectacular evening of incredible food and great conversation.

For more information about the Shangri-La hotel, Toronto, please visit: http://www.shangri-la.com/toronto/

Twitter: @ShangriLaTO or www.twitter.com/ShangriLaTO

For more information about Bosk, the signature restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel, Toronto: http://www.shangri-la.com/toronto/shangrila/dining/restaurants/bosk/

Twitter: @BoskTO or www.twitter.com/BoskTO

 

 

Contest – Enter to Win High Tea for Two at the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto!

20 Mar

Shangri La Hotel Toronto Logo

On Tuesday March 25, 2014 I’ve been invited to attend a dinner event at Bosk, the signature restaurant at the fabulous Shangri-La hotel in Toronto to preview their new menu! I’ve heard great things about the cuisine and ambience at Bosk and I’m looking forward to trying their vegetarian options and sharing my experience on my blog.

Not only do I get to enjoy this experience but guess what….there’s a benefit for the readers of my blog too!  You’ll have a chance to enter to win a one of a kind High Tea experience at the Lobby Lounge in the Shangri-La hotel!

See the image below for everything you need to know about this special contest that will run ONLY on Tuesday March 25! Good luck and remember, you can only enter on Tuesday March 25 between 6 pm and 10 pm EST.

High Tea Contest

I can’t wait to visit the Shangri-La hotel and share my experience with all of you, it’s definitely going to be a fabulous evening!

For more information about the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto, please visit: http://www.shangri-la.com/toronto/

Twitter: @ShangriLaTO or www.twitter.com/ShangriLaTO

For more information about Bosk, the signature restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel, Toronto: http://www.shangri-la.com/toronto/shangrila/dining/restaurants/bosk/

Twitter: @BoskTO or www.twitter.com/BoskTO

Don’t forget, the official hashtag for the March 25 special event and contest is #iheartbosk

Good luck and don’t forget to follow my tweets at @savvari or www.twitter.com/savvari that evening to be able to enter to win the High Tea experience!

 

Review: Catelli Gluten Free pasta + win a case of pasta!

20 Dec
Catelli Gluten Free Fusilli

Catelli Gluten Free Fusilli

Disclosure: I received a free sample box of Catelli Gluten Free pasta, in order to try the product. I did not receive any financial compensation for this post.

Although I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, as a vegetarian I’ve always related to those who also follow restricted diets. Way back in 2005, I worked with a woman who told me she had Celiac disease and that she had to avoid foods with wheat in them. It sounded simple at first, until I learned just how many products had wheat in them, she even had to avoid certain sauces as they contained wheat ingredients. As Celiac disease wasn’t very common at that time, she rarely ate in restaurants and she used to order special cookies, crackers and special pastas from the U.S. I once tried a dish she had made with rice pasta and I was not impressed with the flavour or the texture. I loved pasta (I still do) and I felt sorry for her as the rice pasta just didn’t have the flavour or texture that regular pasta had.

Back then, she had a lot of difficulty finding tasty gluten-free alternatives. Thankfully, nowadays Celiac disease and the gluten-free lifestyle have come to the forefront in the past few years. I’ve seen quite a few restaurants offering gluten-free options and there are grocery store sections dedicated to gluten-free products!

I was recently contacted by a rep from Catelli about their new Catelli Gluten Free pasta. After my bad experience with rice pasta and my excellent experiences with Catelli’s regular pasta line, something told me that they would have come up with a great product. The box arrived the following day and since I’m a design and packaging geek (I used to work in the printing industry) I immediately noticed the bold and beautiful colours they used. According to Catelli, their gluten free pasta is a “Unique 4 natural grain blend is made with the finest quality white and brown rice, corn and quinoa blended for a delicious taste and smooth texture that will surprise and delight your entire family.” Also important to note – Catelli Gluten Free pasta is produced in a dedicated gluten free facility and is certified by the Canadian Celiac Association.

I was ready to banish the bad rice pasta memories, so I decided to toss the pasta with kale sautéed in garlic and onion, along with a crumbled and pan fried vegan sausage, one of my favourite combinations. The results: Absolutely delicious. The pasta had a nice flavour and a smooth texture to it. It wasn’t exactly like regular pasta but it was pretty close! The only thing I noticed was that it crumbled up a little more than regular pasta, but that was likely due to the composition of it. The pasta didn’t feel heavy in my stomach afterwards, which was terrific too.

Catelli Gluten Free pasta with kale, garlic, onion and vegan sausage

Was it love at first sight/bite? Yes, I would definitely buy this product again. Nicely done Catelli!

To learn more about Catelli Gluten Free pasta, visit: http://www.catelli.ca/pasta/gluten-free

COUPON: Here’s a link to a special coupon to save $1 off of a box of Catelli Gluten Free pasta. https://www.websaver.ca/en_ca/portal/catelli_gluten/

CONTEST:

The fine folks at Catelli want to give one reader of Milk & Eggs a case (12 boxes!) of Catelli Gluten Free pasta! That’s right, A WHOLE CASE!

TO ENTER:

Answer the following questions in the comments section, below this post:  What’s your favourite pasta shape? What’s your favourite way to eat it?  P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle or Facebook name or blog site address so I’ll know how to reach you!

OR

Tweet your answer on Twitter, using hashtag #CatelliGF and my Twitter handle @savvari

For example: Hey @savvari, the best pasta shape is spaghetti and I love it with tomato sauce #CatelliGF

You can enter twice per day if you do both of the above!

Contest closes on Friday Dec 27 at 5 pm. The winner will be announced later that evening.

Note: You must be a resident of Canada to win. The case of Catelli Gluten Free pasta can only be mailed to a Canadian address. Good luck!

——————————————————————————-

Congrats to Fiona Thom for winning this contest!

——————————————————————————-

Cooking with Fresh Canteen – Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salad

31 Oct

Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salada

Disclosure: I received a free recipe/ingredient delivery from Fresh Canteen. 

A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to try Fresh Canteen, a Toronto-based recipe and ingredient delivery service that helps to take the stress out of meal planning and grocery shopping. Ingredients and a recipe delivered to my home so my husband and I had dinner taken care of on a weekday night? Yes please!

Fresh Canteen’s concept is simple – choose recipes from their beautiful website, have the ingredients delivered to you and cook your own tasty meals. The folks at Fresh Canteen freely share their recipes and instructions on their website, giving customers a chance to see if they find the recipe appealing and suitable to their skill level. If you order by 11:59 pm on a Friday, you would receive your box with all ingredients and instructions from 12 pm to 8 pm the following Tuesday. When I advised the fine folks at Fresh Canteen that I was vegetarian, they suggested that I try their Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salad. To be honest, my husband and I weren’t sure about it at first…chocolate in chili? However, we both decided to be good sports about it and give it a try.

The box was at my door when I got home on the Tuesday evening. I was excited to open it up and see what was inside. All of the ingredients were housed in an insulated package with a gel ice pack included, keeping everything fresh and cold. The first thing I pulled out was the recipe card and instructions, which came neatly packaged in a plastic sleeve for protection.

The recipe, all wrapped up in a bag

Next, I laid out all of my ingredients and was thrilled to see how well packaged and fresh everything was. In some cases, I knew that I had just the right amount for the recipe and in other cases, I knew I would have a little bit extra, so I could use it for something else (yay for extra fresh dill!).

The ingredients

Here we go….

Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salad

Recipe link (courtesy of Fresh Canteen): http://www.freshcanteen.com/recipes/47-ancho-chocolate-chili

Ingredients:

1/2 can pinto or romano beans

1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp chopped garlic (2-3 cloves)

1/2 c sliced red onion

1/2 c sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup of canned corn (drained)

1/2 c zucchini

Swiss chard

1 can diced tomatoes

Green beans

Dill

Shallot

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp mayonnaise

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Olive oil

1 cup of rice

Directions:

Step 1:

  • Wash & dry all fresh produce & have a quick read of the recipe
  • Put a small pot, large enough to hold your green beans, on to boil with a pinch of salt
  • Thinly slice the onion & mushrooms
  • Finely chop the shallot
  • Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Remove the stem from the Swiss chard & chop the stem in to 1/2 inch pieces, slice the leafy part in to ribbons
  • Finely chop the garlic
  • Grate the chocolate on a separate plate
  • Trim the green beans
  • Chop the dill
  • Open & rinse beans and open can of tomatoes

Fresh veggies

Step 2:

  • In a small bowl mix the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon & salt

Spices

Step 3:

  • Rinse the rice under cold water, bring 2 c of water to a boil with a pinch of salt, add the rice return to boil cover & simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff rice when done & let sit
  • Boil your green beans until crunchy, 3-5 minutes, drain, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking & set aside in the fridge

Fluffy rice!

Step 4:

  • In a medium to large saucepan, heat over medium heat 2 Tbsp olive oil until shimmering, sauté garlic for 1 minute, add onion, chopped swiss chard stems & cook for 3-5 minutes longer
  • Add your mushrooms, corn, zucchini, swiss chard leaves & 1/4 c water
  • Cook covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Mix in your spice mixture, stir in the chocolate & tomatoes. Reduce heat & simmer, covered for 10 minutes, add the beans & cook covered for another 5

Ancho Chocolate Chili

Step 5:

  • Prepare your salad dressing
  • In a small jar with a tight lid or a Tupperware container mix:
  • 1 tsp Dijon, 1 1/2 tsp shallot, 1/2 tsp mayo, 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 3 Tbsp olive oil & shake to combine

Dressing for the Dill & Green Bean Salad

Step 6:

  • Dress your green beans (you may not need all the dressing) & add 2 Tbsp chopped dill (more if you like dill). Taste & season with salt & pepper
  • Plate a big bowl of chili with rice on the side & green beans. Perfect.

The verdict:

The Ancho Chocolate Chili was delicious! After worrying so much about putting chocolate in the chili, my husband and I both agreed that it gave a nice flavour to the dish. There were a ton of great vegetables in the recipe, which we both loved. The bonus? We had enough for lunch the following day.

I enjoyed the Dill & Green Bean Salad as well. Since my husband isn’t a big fan of dill, I left the dill out of the salad dressing recipe and simply topped mine with chopped dill afterward.

Being East Indian, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that it took this recipe test for me to finally make rice on the stove, as I’ve been a plug-in rice cooker girl all my life! The rice was so fluffy and delicious that I might be giving up my rice cooker soon (not yet, but soon!).

After trying the service, I would definitely recommend it to the following groups:

  • Busy singles, couples, families who want to have everything on hand to make a great meal, without the stress of meal planning and shopping
  • People who cannot go grocery shopping for themselves but want to be able to cook tasty meals at home
  • Those who want to learn how to cook in the privacy of their own home, as the instructions are fairly easy to follow
  • Lastly, for those who like to throw weeknight dinner parties, this service can provide everything you need for an appetizer and main dish. The recipes and suggested plating look quite swanky too!

On a recent visit to the site, I was able to order 4 dishes for 4 people and it came to a cost of $11.25 per person, per dish (Note: this depends on what meals are chosen of course). I thought that the cost was pretty reasonable, considering that it includes all ingredients, the recipes and home delivery. Overall, we had a great time testing out the service and enjoy our meal.

Thanks Fresh Canteen for the opportunity, I can’t wait to try your services again!

For more information, please visit: http://www.freshcanteen.com/. You can also reach them at hello [at] freshcanteen [dot] com or call 1 (855) 416 FRESH

Have you tried Fresh Canteen? What did you think? If not, what are you waiting for?!?!

Review: IÖGO 0% yogurt with stevia extract

29 Sep

Iogo stevia - all flavours 2

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by IÖGO (Ultima Foods Inc). I’ve received a product sample and compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Last week, I received a delicious delivery at my doorstep. Inside a (cold) black shopping bag with a IÖGO logo was a package of IÖGO 0% yogurt with stevia extract. The flavours: raspberry, blueberry, vanilla and mango-passion fruit. As if the flavours didn’t sound tasty enough, I saw that there was no gelatin in this yogurt, like all IÖGO products! What’s gelatin you ask? It’s a common ingredient that is derived from the collagens of animals. Ew.

So no gelatin and no artificial flavours or colours? The folks at IÖGO had my attention. To top it all off, they sweetened this yogurt with what I think is one of the products of the moment, stevia extract.

Stevia extract is a 100% natural origin calorie-free sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It has an intensely sweet taste and zero calories. When used in small quantities, stevia extract can replace some of the sugar generally used in food products.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with alternative natural sweeteners, so I couldn’t wait to try the product.  I set myself up with a little taste test station and to be fair, I tried each of the yogurts twice last week.

The verdict…

Iogo vanilla 2

Vanilla:  This was the first yogurt I tried and it took me few bites to really get into it. I’ve found that products sweetened with stevia need to coat your tongue first to allow you to appreciate the flavours. I would definitely enjoy the vanilla yogurt with some fresh fruit.

Iogo raspberry 1

Raspberry: I enjoyed this flavour and I could taste the raspberry in it, which I really appreciated. The colour of the yogurt was natural. I would definitely eat this again.

Iogo blueberry 1

Blueberry:  This flavour was also true to its name, with small pieces of blueberry in the yogurt. This tasted the most like other blueberry yogurts I’ve tried, so I would call this a “comforting” flavour if that makes sense!

Iogo mango passion 1

Mango-Passion Fruit: I was most intrigued by this flavour, as I’ve never had mango and passion fruit together. The result was a tangy yogurt that ends with sweetness. I would enjoy this flavour at the end of a heavy meal, as it would make for a light and tasty dessert.

Was it love at first sight/bite? Yes, I would definitely recommend IÖGO 0% yogurt with stevia extract to those who want to include a packaged fruit yogurt in their diet that is 0%, doesn’t contain any gelatin (yay!) and is flavoured by natural sources. I have a lot of respect for IÖGO as I like that they are working to bring fresh, new yogurt products to Canadians. This particular product retails for about $7.99 in grocery stores in Canada.

For more information, check out: http://www.iogoStevia.ca/

Have you tried IÖGO yogurt or others with stevia extract? What did you think?

Review: McDonald’s New Signature Veggie McWraps

16 Sep

Pic 1

Disclaimer: I did receive compensation from McDonald’s Canada for this post, however all opinions expressed are those of myself, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and my friend. 

My husband and I are always on the go. We are often out and about and we do love the occasional road trip (Montreal anyone?). As a vegetarian married to a meat-eater, I’ve found that over the years there are only a few quick service a.k.a. fast food restaurants we can visit that have good meal options for both of us. When I say a few, I’m being generous, there are only two places that I can think of immediately and both have veggie burgers as their star vegetarian attractions. What about the salads you say? Please. Stop. I want a real meal and there really is a certain joy that comes from eating on the road out of a paper bag. Which brings me to a piece of research provided by McDonald’s Canada…

Infobite_3

So I pretty much jumped out of my chair when I heard McDonald’s Canada released two new Signature Veggie McWraps (new vegetarian items excite me, what can I say!). I ate meat until I was about 14 years old and I loved McDonald’s when I was growing up, actually I still do. To me, McDonald’s means happy times and fun moments, like the incredible birthday parties I used to have there (the little hats and the birthday cake with the M on it were the coolest!). Now my fun moments are with my nephews, watching their eyes light up while they have a Happy Meal. To know that I might have a chance to eat with them instead of just having a coffee was very exciting indeed.

Knowing that I’m vegetarian, McDonald’s Canada challenged me to try their new Signature Veggie McWraps. I learned that the Veggie McWraps had been customized to suit Canadian palettes by McDonalds’ Director of Menu Innovation, Anne Parks. For example, Canada is the first country to use a whole-wheat tortilla.

I’ll review them in the order that I tried them in, with additional comments from my sister-in-law (she also eats seafood), brother-in-law (he will eat anything!) and my friend (who eats chicken on occasion) just to give you all a few opinions. Really though, you’ll just have to try them!

Wrap #1 – The Santa Fe Veggie McWrap

Ingredients: This wrap contains fire-roasted corn, black beans, a blend of real cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, tomato, red onion, iceberg lettuce, crunchy tortilla strips, chili lime glaze and southwest sauce, served in a whole wheat flour tortilla.

Pic 2

Was it love at first sight/bite?  Yes! I was immediately intrigued by the packaging (I started my career in printing and I’m obsessed with cool packaging). I loved how interactive the packaging was, asking me to tear around it to release the wrap. Cool concept. I took a peek inside the wrap and it was filled with good looking ingredients and lots of colours and textures.

IMG_2320

I dove in and I immediately liked the crunch of the veggies and tortilla strips. The chili lime glaze and southwest sauce kicked it all up a notch and I liked the light lingering heat that was left on my tongue. I think it’s spicy enough to satisfy those who want a little kick but not so much that it will turn people off. The tortilla held everything together nicely and I was able to taste that it was whole wheat, which was great. There was a good balance of flavour and I was able to enjoy the ingredients to the very last bite. I appreciated the fact that my last bite wasn’t just a mouthful of tortilla!

Pic 5

I enjoyed the southwest sauce that was used in the wrap, it reminded me of the sauce used in a delicious McSkillet Burrito I had tried at the McDonald’s flagship restaurant in Chicago a few years ago. They were able to make that vegetarian and it was a flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, potatoes, cheese, roasted red and green peppers, onions and salsa roja. Filling and delicious with a spicy kick. Yet another awesome menu item that we should have here….can you hear me McDonald’s Canada? : )

My Feedback:

If McDonald’s could give me an option to add sautéed or crispy tofu to this wrap, I definitely would. I really enjoyed the flavours in this wrap but adding a bit of extra protein would kick this up a notch for me. In terms of the packaging, I would like to see the bottom end of the packaging come up a bit higher, as I think too much of the wrap is exposed when you remove the top cover. I ended up having to support the wrap so all of the tasty toppings wouldn’t come out in my first few bites.

Would I eat it again?

Absolutely. There was a spicy kick in it that I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to eating this again.

 

Wrap #2 – The Mediterranean Veggie McWrap

Ingredients:  This wrap includes two exciting ingredients that have never been on McDonald’s Canada’s menu before: hummus and real feta cheese. Yes, that’s right, I just said hummus! Other ingredients include tomato, cucumber, red onion, iceberg lettuce, crispy lemon-seasoned onions and a creamy Mediterranean sauce, all served in a whole wheat flour tortilla.

Pic 6

Was it love at first sight/bite?  A few days after trying the Santa Fe, I went back to try the Mediterranean Veggie McWrap. Once again, I was really excited when I unwrapped the box and I realized that it was because it felt like I was opening a present….a vegetarian present : ) My first bite was filled with crunchy lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and feta, one of my favourite combinations….yum!  As I went deeper into the wrap, I tasted the crispy onions and I really liked them. The sauce wasn’t overpowering and I could enjoy each ingredient, which I appreciated.

Pic 9

My feedback: Again, an option to add sautéed or crispy tofu to this wrap would be great. Alternatively, throwing some chickpeas in for extra protein could work?

Thoughts from others on both the Santa Fe and Mediterranean Veggie McWraps:

Santa Fe:

Sudha (my sis-in-law) – “I felt that all of the ingredients were overpowered by the southwest sauce, which made the wrap a bit soggy as well! Perhaps I should try it with the sauce on the side?!”

Craig (my bro-in-law) – “I enjoyed it and would eat it again.”

Mediterranean:  

Kanika (friend) – “Good to see veggie options at McDonald’s. The Mediterranean Veggie McWrap was filled with fresh toppings and I thought it was full of flavour and healthy. I’m hoping to see more vegetarian options at McDonald’s soon!”

Sudha (my sis-in-law) – “I prefer the Mediterranean one over the Santa Fe! It was very refreshing and the best surprise was the addition of flavourful crispy onions!”

More comments from Sudha (my sis-in-law) – “How will they maintain consistency of the wrap? Would it taste the same every time? It is easier when a protein is involved as it is literally the “star”; with veggies, one has to make sure there is a balance!”

Craig (my bro-in-law) – “I enjoyed this one too and I would also eat it again. I actually enjoy all of the McWraps on offer.”

And that’s a “wrap” folks : ) (Pun fully intended).

Pic 8

As an added bonus to the readers of Milk & Eggs, McDonald’s Canada shared a few original vegetarian recipes that were developed by their Director of Menu Management. These were a few of my favourites. Enjoy!

329615_CA01_RecipeCard3

329615_CA01_RecipeCard4

329615_CA01_RecipeCard5

Have you tried the new Veggie McWraps? If so, please let me know what you thought of them or if you have any vegetarian suggestions I can pass on to our friends at McDonald’s : )

%d bloggers like this: