Archive | December, 2012

Holiday Party Planning: Tips for Festive Fun!

30 Dec

Holiday party season is coming to an end but there’s still one more big party to go and it’s the one most people go all out for…New Year’s Eve!

If you’re hosting, you’re either reading this and thinking:

a)      Holiday Party Planning Tips? I have this down pat.

b)      I better get cracking…yikes!

If you’re in the second group, I have a few holiday party planning tips to share from Metro (one of my “go to” grocery stores). Since my side of the family is vegetarian and my husband’s side eats everything, we try to have a little something for everyone at our parties. Some of our veggie-friendly favourites include the Irresistibles Vegetable Spring Rolls and Irresistibles Spanakopita. They are easy to store in the freezer and pop into the oven if you need a quick appetizer. If you have a sweet tooth, the Irresistibles Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels With Sea Salt and the Irresistibles Maple Butter are both faves of my bro-in-law (these are a surprise for him…shhh!).

Irresistibles Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels With Sea Salt and Irresistibles Maple Butter

Irresistibles Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels With Sea Salt and Irresistibles Maple Butter

As promised, here are some great tips for your next party : )

Holiday Party Planning: 10 Tips for Festive Fun!

Creative serving

Instead of communal bowls of nuts, try a more eye catching and hygienic presentation by putting snacks in clear glass, narrow-necked decanters. Guests can pour nut and trail mixes themselves, and it looks great, too!

Stagger serving times

If all food is served at the start of the night, guests are likely to gorge and go home early. Keep your party hopping by serving your tasty hors d’oeuvres all night long.

Impress with a signature cocktail

Channel your inner mixologist and offer guests a unique signature cocktail for your holiday party. Be sure to have other non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages to offer alongside this cocktail.

Prep in advance

The “day of’’ for the party planner is always hectic! Between set up, last minute errands, and wrangling the kids – stress is high. Try prepping what you can a few days before. Things like fruit trays, cheese and cracker platters and Swedish meatballs can all be put together a day or two in advance.

Presentation is everything

When preparing food trays and hors d’oeuvres platters, have fun! Use the Canadian winter landscape as inspiration by placing pinecones and frosted pine needles in your tray display.

Fast and fancy

Limited time? Solicit the help of the frozen food aisle! Metro’s private label line, Irresistibles, offers delicious appetizers (quite a few vegetarian options too!) which are perfect for party planners, with selection and creativity covered.

Tidy as you go

No one likes waking up to a mess, by tidying bit by bit during your party, the house will be kept clean for your guests, too!

Set the ambiance

A beautiful candle display can never go wrong at a holiday party.

Provide plenty of options

Be sure to provide an assortment of appetizer options at your holiday bash to keep all types of appetites full and happy!

Enjoy yourself

This is your party, too! You’ve worked hard and it’s important to enjoy the environment, interact with your guests and taste your delicious treats!

Do you have any special party tips to share?

Disclaimer: I received a holiday basket of Irresistibles products from Metro. All opinions expressed are my own.

Advertisements

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

26 Dec
Almond Fresh Noël Nog

Almond Fresh Noël Nog

I had some friends over recently for a pre-holiday gathering and given that some of them are lactose intolerant, I thought it would be fun to try Almond Fresh Noël Nog, a non-dairy “egg nog” that I learned about recently (check out my previous post about Almond Fresh here).

The verdict: We all enjoyed it and we were particularly impressed with how light it was in comparison to regular egg nog. My friend Lisa was particularly happy that she could have an egg nog style drink without the dairy, as she only found out that she was lactose intolerant a few months ago.

I had some Noël Nog leftover after the gathering, so I decided to make some French Toast, using a recipe from Almond Fresh. It was my first time trying out a non-dairy French Toast and I was really pleased with the results! I was able to get the same custardy, rich texture that I enjoyed when I made French Toast with regular milk.

I ended up making this on a morning when my husband wasn’t home, so I cut the recipe back to make French Toast for one (makes 2 pieces of French Toast). I’ve included measurements for one serving in brackets below.

Almond Fresh’s Noël Nog is only available for the holidays, so if you can’t find it, you could substitute Almond Fresh Vanilla and add a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe to get the same flavours.

1 Egg + Almond Fresh Noël Nog + Cinnamon makes some mighty fine French Toast goodness

1 Egg + Almond Fresh Noël Nog + Cinnamon = mighty fine French Toast goodness

Dip the bread into the egg/Almond Fresh Noël Nog mixture

Into the frying pan with a little butter or oil

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 eggs (for one serving, use 1 egg)

1 cup (250 mL) Almond Fresh Noël Nog (for one serving, use ¼ cup)

2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon (for one serving, use a ½ teaspoon)

8 slices bread or brioche (for one serving, use 2 slices of bread or brioche)

Slivered almonds and maple syrup

Directions:

1. In a shallow dish, beat together the eggs, Almond Fresh Noël Nog and cinnamon.

2. Heat a large frying pan over low/medium heat.

3. Soak bread in the Almond Fresh Noël Nog/egg mixture, one slice at a time.

4. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil or butter. Cook each slice of French toast on both sides until nicely browned.

5. Serve with slivered almonds and maple syrup- enjoy!

Notes:

-You could easily make this with regular egg nog if you had some leftover from your festivities

-Again, Almond Fresh Noël Nog is only available for the holidays, so if you can’t find it, you could substitute Almond Fresh Vanilla and add a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe to get the same flavours.

-I chose to dust my French Toast with icing sugar, instead of using the slivered almonds and maple syrup.

For more info, check out their website at http://www.almond-fresh.com/

They are social media friendly! You can also “Like” them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/almondfresh or follow them on Twitter at @almond_fresh or http://twitter.com/almond_fresh

Disclaimer: I received coupons to try Almond Fresh products in the mail. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Product Test: So Good soy milk

21 Dec

I love tofu and other soy-based products such as veggie burgers, so over the past few years I cut back on drinking soy beverages, as I didn’t want to have too much of a good thing. Given that many coffee shops and restaurants only offer soy milk as a dairy alternative, I decided to make some adjustments to my diet and bring soy milk back into the mix. I recently received some coupons to try So Good soy milk, so I decided to taste test two of their products:

So Good Chocolate Single Serve (comes in a 3-pack)

So Good Chocolate Single Serve – what a great blogging buddy : )

So Good Chocolate Single Serve 3-pack

One of my weaknesses is chocolate. I absolutely love it so I was naturally drawn to So Good’s chocolate soy milk in single serve 3-packs. I liked the convenience of the single serving since it would help me to control my portion size (yes, ladies and gents, it’s all about portion control!). I kept the pack in the fridge for a few days, so it was nice and cold before I tried it and I was so surprised at how creamy and delicious it was, in fact, I couldn’t believe that there was no dairy in it at all. The amount of sweetness was perfect for me too and it was so tasty that I pushed the straw too far into the package to get the last sip and lost it in the carton…ha! The packs also come in vanilla and strawberry, so I think I’ll give those flavours a try too, although chocolate will likely still win in my books : )

So Good Omega DHA Vanilla

So Good Omega DHA Vanilla

So Good Omega DHA Vanilla

The other product I tried was So Good Omega DHA Vanilla. As a vegetarian, I have to work a bit harder to find veggie-friendly sources of nutrients that are often easily available in animal protein. I was happy to find out that So Good Omega DHA derives its DHA from a 100% vegetarian source and delivers it together with ALA, another important Omega-3 fatty acid found naturally in soybeans and flax (Source: So Good website). This was great news for me as a lot of other products with Omega-3 that I want to try derive their source from fish oils (not cool for me). I loved the subtle vanilla flavor in this soy milk and the level of sweetness and creamy texture were perfect for me. I made a quick smoothie this morning with the So Good Omega DHA Vanilla, a banana and a handful of frozen strawberries and it was delish…mmmm.

On a side note, I LOVE contests, so I thought I would share info on a fun one that So Good is running right now. Go to http://www.sogoodlife.ca/ – then upload an image and caption that shows why life is “So Good” to enter to win So Good products.

If you want more info about So Good, check out their website at http://www.sogoodbeverage.com – they also have a lot of interesting recipes on the site that use soy milk, including this soup recipe:

Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup, made with So Good Original

The recipe can be found on the So Good website here – http://bit.ly/dggIzm

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ kg broccoli florets

½ kg cauliflower florets

1 ½ x 10g vegetable stock cube

4 cups water

1 ½ cups So Good soy milk (Original)

¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add cumin seeds, onion and garlic and sauté until soft.

2. Add broccoli, cauliflower, stock cubes and water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Place in a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Add So Good and salt and process until combined.

5. Return to saucepan and reheat. Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Have you ever cooked with soy milk? What have you made?

Disclaimer: I received coupons to try So Good products in the mail. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

%d bloggers like this: