Archive | November, 2014

Margherita Penne

27 Nov

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I love the Milk Calendar. I’ve been kind of obsessed with it since I was younger and I would read all of the recipes over and over again and ask my mom which ones we could try. Since we were vegetarian, there were only a few recipes we could try, so it was pretty easy to pick them out!

I was excited to get a copy of the 2015 Milk Calendar this year, even more so because I once again had the opportunity to try one of the recipes, with ingredients generously provided by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. The test recipe this time was Margherita Penne and I knew I would enjoy this dish as soon as I saw the ingredients list. Tomatoes, bocconcini, basil…..yum!

Margherita Penne

Link to the original recipe from the 2015 Milk Calendar recipe site (please note that I have not changed the original recipe, I’ve just included my own notes below) – http://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/margherita-penne

Course – Main Dishes

Prep. Time – 10 mins

Cooking Time – 13 mins

Yields – 4 to 6 Servings

This yummy pasta is based on the classic pizza margherita, which is topped with tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil – sometimes the simplest things taste the best.

Sandy’s notes:

-The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp of dried thyme but I’m not a huge fan of thyme in pasta dishes so I only added a 1/2 tsp. It was more than enough to flavor the dish nicely in my opinion. I think 1 tsp of dried oregano would be a great substitute as well.

-If you want to be able to see the bocconcini in the dish then add it in seconds before serving it, otherwise it will melt into the pasta.

-While I enjoyed this pasta hot, I enjoyed it even more after I reheated it the next day. I just needed to add a few tablespoons of water to get the sauce going again.

-See additional tips from the Dairy Farmers of Canada below the recipe.

Ingredients:

12       oz  (375 g) penne pasta

2          tbsp  (30 mL) butter

4          cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2  tsp       (7 mL) dried thyme

1/2     tsp       (2 mL) salt

1/4     tsp       (1 mL) hot pepper flakes

2          tbsp    (30 mL) all-purpose flour

2 1/2  cups    (625 mL) Milk

2          cups    (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2     cup      (125 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan

12       1-inch (2.5 cm) mini Canadian Bocconcini

1/2     cup      (125 mL) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Canadian Parmesan, for serving

Preparation:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for about 11 min or until al dente, or according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme, salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook 1 min. Sprinkle with flour; cook, whisking for 1 min. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Whisk for 3 to 5 min or until smooth and thickened. Stir in tomatoes and Parmesan.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour in sauce; toss, stirring 1 to 2 min over medium heat to coat pasta. Stir in Bocconcini, basil and salt to taste, if needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.

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Tips from the Dairy Farmers of Canada:

-Bocconcini come in different sizes, so if you need to cut the balls, the pieces should be about ¾-inch (2 cm) in size.

-Try cubes of Mozzarella instead of Bocconcini.

-Add some of your favourite pizza toppings to the sauce, such as pepperoni, olives or sun-dried tomatoes. Or use your favourite short pasta in place of penne.

To check out the rest of the recipes from the 2015 Milk Calendar, please visit – http://www.dairygoodness.ca/milk/my-milk-calendar/recipes/year/2015

 

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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

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