Event Recap: Bindis and Bangles #TimeToHug

20 Nov

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I was pretty excited to be invited to attend Bindis and Bangles, a special South Asian themed baby shower hosted by my friends at Masalamommas and sponsored by Huggies Canada. The event was held at Swagat Banquet Hall and when I walked in I was touched by the amount of effort that was put in to decorate the room with South Asian flair. There was a bangle bar, a bindi bar, a candy bar and a photo booth where I got a great photo of my son and I with a funky Indian background.

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The event was hosted by national TV personality Karen Johnson and featured some terrific speakers. Nanny Robina, a leading Parenting Expert, shared her tips to help babies sleep and settle. As a new mom, one of the best tips I took away was to hold the baby close to you while doing squats, which is meant to help to settle a crying baby. I’ve tried it several times now and it’s been working like a charm!

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Rishma Malik Scott, Baby and Prenatal Yoga Instructor and Actress, conducted a prenatal/baby yoga demo and provided tips on making yoga work for anyone by sharing simple moves with the guests. She stressed the importance of being in the moment with your baby, something that seems simple in theory but difficult in practice.

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Lisa Caron, Postpartum and Birth Doula and Author spoke to moms about the importance of bonding in the first year with baby. She suggested that we take a few moments to look into our baby’s eyes every day to build a strong connection with our children. Overall, there was a strong theme that parents need to explore different ways to connect with your baby early on in the relationship. By being present and mindful, using yoga and meditation and really by just taking time to try to understand baby’s cries and cues, we could help to strengthen the bond and improve communication with our babies.

It wouldn’t have been a South Asian event without delicious food and drink. We were treated to a tasty buffet of hot snacks including vegetable and paneer pakoras, samosas, tikka and spring rolls, along with delicious chutneys.

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The fabulous folks from Lemon Lily tea gave us a chance to try their delicious teas at their tea bar. I tried their Canadian Maple and Peppermint Chai teas and I really loved them both. OMG the Canadian Maple tea….wow.

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A baby shower isn’t complete without a few games. There was a diaper changing competition where guests had to change as many diapers as possible within a time frame. The winner left with the perfect prize, a Diaper Genie.

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Each table featured a “diaper cake” center piece and the guests had to answer trivia questions to win one. Here are a few of the questions:

True or false – a baby’s weight should be double their birth weight by the time they are 6 months old. The answer = true!

What is the average cost of raising a child until their 18th birthday? $242,070

What is the average diaper changing speed for dads? 1 minute and 36 seconds for dads vs. 2 minutes and 5 seconds for moms!

Kudos to Masalamommas and Huggies Canada for hosting a fun event tailored to the South Asian community, it was clear that a lot of work was put into it. If you would like to check out more photos from the Bindis and Bangles event, please head to Huggies’ Time To Hug Facebook page at www.facebook.com/timetohug and while you’re there, upload a photo of yourself hugging someone special in your life with the hashtag #TimeToHug – for every photo uploaded to the page, Huggies will donate $1 to the South Asian Women’s Centre.

 

 

Win tickets to the VIP Preview Evening of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

3 Nov

LogoDisclosure: I’ve received a pair of VIP Preview Evening tickets for the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, for my own use.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is back in Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Nov 20-23 and as usual it promises to be an exciting weekend of amazing food and wine. This year, the weekend will feature special appearances from Chef Lynn Crawford, Chef David Rocco and other great Canadian chefs, cheese seminars from Dairy Farmers of Canada and demos on the Food Network Canada stage, to mention a few of the many great reasons to attend the show.

I’m thrilled to share that I have TWO pairs of tickets to the VIP Preview Evening on Thursday November 20, 2014 to give away to the readers of Milk & Eggs and my friends on Twitter.

Here’s how you can enter:

1) Follow me on Twitter at @savvari

2) Retweet one of my tweets about the contest. One entry per person.

3) If you don’t use Twitter or wish to get an extra entry, leave a comment below this blog post and tell me why you want to go to the VIP Preview Evening. Please be sure to leave your Twitter handle, email address or Facebook page name in your post so I can reach you if you win. One entry per person.

The contest closes on Thursday November 13 at 12 noon EST. The winners will be chosen at random and will be announced on Thursday November 13, after the draw takes place, via my Twitter account @savvari

Each ticket is valued at $45 ($90 value for each of the two pairs).

Note: You can only win one pair of tickets.

Good luck and I hope to see you at the VIP Preview Evening!

Learn more about the upcoming Gourmet Food & Wine Expo:

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/

Twitter: @GFWE Hashtag: #GFWE

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

Invitation: Bindis and Bangles – an event for new South Asian moms

23 Oct

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As a new mom and a member of Masalamommas, a community and online magazine for moms in South Asian families, I would like to invite the readers of Milk & Eggs to ‘Bindis and Bangles, A South Asian Baby Shower’ – an event for expecting moms and new moms (those with babies 6 months or younger). This event has been organized by Masalamommas and is being presented by Huggies.

Event info:

Date: Sunday November 16, 2014

Time: 11 am to 2 pm

Location: Swagat Banquet Hall, 6991 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Lineup:

  • National on-air personality and host Karen Johnson
  • Baby & prenatal yoga instructor and actress RIshma Malik
  • Parenting expert Nanny Robina
  • Canadian Doula, Lisa Caron

Hashtag: #TimetoHug

To RSVP, please go to: http://bit.ly/1wuLdxR – This is a free event, however tickets are first come, first served.

The event promises to be a lot of fun, so I hope to see you there! Scroll down below for more information on the host and speakers for Bindis and Bangles.

Karen Johnson: Host for the Bindis and Bangles event

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Karen’s warm personality and introspective nature has helped her navigate a notoriously difficult industry to break into. After graduating from Humber College’s broadcast journalism program, The Shopping Channel gave Karen her first opportunity to showcase and hone her on-air skills. Karen’s enthusiasm and professionalism led to a reporting position for Omni’s news division, from there the station created a new entertainment show “Bollywood Blvd” featuring Karen as the host.

Karen then landed the Station’s premiere cooking show, The Veggie Table. The show gave her an unexpected opportunity to hone her skills in the kitchen, which blossomed into a full-blown love of cooking and into her spinoff cooking show currently in production, The South Asian Tasting Table.

The Veggie Table has aired nationally and internationally for over 13 years and continues to air in around the world in syndication. Karen is a sought after media personality, reporter, producer, news writer, speaker and emcee. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Karen’s notable career in front of and behind the camera began in 1993 and she has been an avid face in the media since. While Karen spent the bulk of her career as the face of Canada’s The Weather Network, Karen recently served as the on-call weather anchor for Canada’s most watched morning news show Canada AM.

Nanny Robina: Parenting expert will give moms sleep tips and more for newborn babies

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Nanny Robina is one of North America’s leading parenting experts. Born in Birmingham England, to a British mother and a Pakistani father, Nanny Robina was the seventh of nine children. She was raised with a solid foundation to respect all faiths and cultures and grew up in a very strict and disciplined family environment.

Her genuine love of children and international travel has shaped her solution-based expertise, helping parents with hot button issues like discipline, manners, playtime, mealtime, and sleep time. In fact, she has a 95% success rate with her strategy for putting babies to sleep–a skill that is in demand everywhere. But it is her mission to raise happy, healthy, and secure children that attracts parents to her parenting workshops, one-on-one consultations, speaking engagements, blogging and writing.

Equipped with several professional certificates: NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board) in 1982 from Garretts Green Technical College; MNT (Maternity and Nanny Training) for infant care in 1985 from South Birmingham College Hall Green; and Business for Women Entrepreneurs in 2003 from the Aurora Women’s Centre, Robina put her childcare passions to work.

A self-proclaimed “open book,” Nanny Robina’s expertise is honest, raw, and guided by her personal philosophy to “enjoy parenting, but stay true to yourself as a parent.” Whether a child is feeling isolated because of a new sibling, or a parent is overwhelmed, Nanny Robina offers advice that is appreciated and recognized by all who enlist her help. Currently Nanny Robina is the resident parenting expert for Canada’s #1 talk show Cityline (CityTV) and several magazines including Parents Canada, Chloe, and Edmonton Parent Child magazine. She is the go-to expert for Entertainment Tonight, NBC, City TV, Breakfast Television, The National Post, CHCH morning live, Save Us From Our House! and Till Debt Do Us Part.

Rishma Malik: Yoga instructor will do a prenatal/baby yoga demo for moms and provide tips on making yoga work for you.

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Inspired by a deep sense of purpose and passion for sharing yoga’s unifying, balancing, and transformational power, Rishma strives to share her firsthand knowledge and experience in the ancient philosophy of yoga together with modern cognitive psychology and Buddhism to provide students and clients with concrete mental, physical and spiritual tools for manifesting healthier lives and living their personal best.  Her classes are uplifting, engaging and energizing yet grounded in the calm soothing power of release and mindfulness.  Rishma Malik is a senior-level yoga instructor registered with the Yoga Alliance.

She is trained in the Himalayan Yoga tradition and received her formal 1000-hour Yoga Master certification at Sananda Devi Yoga in 2004.  She is also a registered kids yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance and holds 200-hour certification in kids yoga (E-RYCT), followed by yoga therapy and pre-natal certifications under the direction of many accomplished yoga teachers.  Rishma is also a professional actor, producer, singer, former Miss India-Canada and on-air journalist. She completed her BA in philosophy and communication studies at York University. Rishma also received extensive training in acting, movement and voice in NYC and Toronto for over 20 years and draws upon her in-depth knowledge of the body and mind in relation to the voice, self-confidence, mindfulness, openness and the 7 energy centers (Chakras). She knows what it’s like to be highly scheduled and understands the demands that come with juggling work, goals, family, aging parents and appointments.

Rishma is known for her specificity and innovation in constructing programs for healing for actors, producers, CEO’s, corporations, film sets, working parents, kids with special needs, kids with confidence issues, ADHD and autism. Rishma teaches Vinyasa Flow, Classical Hatha, Meditation, Kids Yoga, Yoga Therapy for Rehab and Chakra Yoga.

She is a senior level Yoga Alliance teacher (E-RYT & E-RCYT) and Reiki-Master and teaches hundreds of yoga classes a year locally and globally through Skype soul coaching and yoga programs for clients from England, Europe, India, and South America while juggling her professional career in the media arts. Rishma has been the lead yoga instructor for many yoga studios including ‘Soul Spa’ in Thornhill as well as the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto and has since built a bustling private practice.

Lisa Caron: Postpartum and birth doula and author will talk to moms about the importance of bonding in the first year with baby

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Lisa is the co-author of two books, Bearing Witness (2010) and Joyful Birth (2012). She has volunteered with St. Michael’s Hospital, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, with pregnant teens living in a maternity home, in Guatemala and Mexico and has worked for INFACTCanada.ca.

To RSVP, please go to: http://bit.ly/1wuLdxR – This is a free event, however tickets are first come, first served.

See you there!

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Fab finds at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

3 Oct

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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/

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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/

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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
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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

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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/

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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

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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

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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…

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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

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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 : )

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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

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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.

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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.

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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 : )
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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!
The 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

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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!

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Vegetarian Delights at Bosk restaurant, Shangri-La hotel Toronto

10 Apr

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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.

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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!

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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 : )

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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.

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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!)…

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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POACHED RHUBARB – almond, orange blossom, elderflower

A simple and refreshing end to an amazing meal!

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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.

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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!

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Congrats to Fiona Thom for winning this contest!

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