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Meals with My Munchkin: More-ning McWraps at McDonald’s

17 Nov

 

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I was excited to learn that McDonald’s Canada came out with the Kale and Feta More-ning McWrap, a  breakfast wrap that sounded like a great option for my vegetarian diet. As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, it’s hard to find good vegetarian options at quick service restaurants, so I couldn’t wait to try it. Yes, even we vegetarians want the experience of hitting the drive thru for breakfast! Right now my go-to breakfast item at McDonald’s is an Egg McMuffin, minus the ham but with tomato added. I love it and it’s one of things I crave but it’s the only thing I get right now. The thought of a new veggie option was exciting.

As a vegetarian married to a meat-eater, I’ve found over the years there are only a few quick service restaurants we can visit that have good options for both of us. Knowing my dietary preferences and my husband’s, McDonald’s challenged us to try the new More-ning McWraps and share our thoughts. Since McDonald’s also came out with a Sausage and Hash Brown More-ning McWrap, it was a good opportunity to grab my husband and my son for a Sunday morning breakfast outing. Our order – the new wraps for my husband and I and a Hotcakes Happy Meal for my toddler.

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We got our order and started to dig in…per the McDonald’s website, the Kale and Feta More-ning McWrap contains scrambled eggs, baby kale, sliced tomato and feta cheese, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. The wrap has 21 grams of protein, which is terrific as I’m always looking for on-the-go vegetarian options with protein. I took my first bite and I was happy to see that the wrap was generously filled with the ingredients. As I got deeper into the wrap, I was happy with how the ingredients interacted with one another. The scrambled eggs were moist and the addition of feta cheese gave the wrap a bit of a bite against the fresh veggies. I would have liked to have a little bit of spice in it but that’s just who I am, I always want spicy food. Overall, I really enjoyed it and I would get it again.

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While I was chowing down, my husband dug into the Sausage and Hash Brown  More-ning McWrap. This wrap contains scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, a hash brown and a slice of cheddar cheese, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. He took a few bites and he immediately said, “this is a whole McDonald’s breakfast in one bite! I like how the flavours are mixing together” – he actually liked it so much that he kept his head down and ate the whole thing without coming up for air. I was barely able to get a photo in. When he was done, he simply said, “Yeah, that was pretty good, I would get it again” – always a good sign : ) What’s great about both of these wraps is that McDonald’s is using ingredients from their other products and meals to create them, which I thought was really smart.

While we munched on our wraps, my son happily sat in his highchair with his cool McDonald’s bib, gobbled up his Hotcakes and ate the yogurt that came with his meal. I appreciate that every McDonald’s location has high chairs and bibs and that there are healthy options on the menu like yogurt and apple slices. Everyone was full and happy, especially my son who also enjoyed checking out the fish tank at our local restaurant : )

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Thank you McDonald’s for creating another veggie option, hopefully there are more items to come! And that’s a “wrap” folks (pun intended).  Have you tried the new More-ning McWraps? If you have, please let me know what you thought of them!

Mini Apple Cinnamon French Toasts

10 Sep

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Disclosure: I was given samples of Ozery Pita Break’s Just Minis products to try along with some recipe ideas. I only share information about products I enjoy and this is one of them. I hope you’ll try them out too!  

Earlier this year I created a Fattoush Salad recipe using Ozery’s Pita Break’s Large Regular Pita so when they sent me a box with samples of their Just Minis pita products to try out I was excited to try them out.

My baby son is growing up so fast…he’s now a fast moving toddler which means that he can work up quite an appetite. Being a toddler also means that he wants to eat independently, so finding wholesome, great tasting foods that he can enjoy on his own means a lot to me. Bonus points if my husband and I can enjoy them too.  My son is obsessed with bread and one of his favourite ways to eat it is in French Toast. I used Ozery’s Pita Break’s Just Minis Apple Cinnamon flavour and they were delicious. My son was able to hold the mini pita in his little hands and just go for it….it’s always fun to watch him eat : ) He had them plain while my nephews (who are 6 and 13) enjoyed them after school with maple syrup. Overall, they were a hit, which I’ve learned is a big deal when it comes to kids!

Mini Apple Cinnamon French Toasts

Yield: 12 mini French toasts

Ingredients

  • 6 Apple Cinnamon Just Minis, split into halved rounds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk (Note: I increased the amount of milk to a ½ cup as I wanted the pitas to soak up a lot of the mixture. You may want to use more.)
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided

Optional:

  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Maple syrup

Directions:

In a large shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs and milk together. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg (if using). Immerse Apple Cinnamon Just Minis into milk and egg mixture. Turn to coat both sides. (Note: I let the pitas soak in the mixture for about 20 seconds).

Meanwhile, preheat large skillet with lid to medium-high heat, melt 1/2 tbsp butter. Place pita rounds into skillet, cover. Cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Turn, cover and cook 3 more minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon & sugar mixture (if using). Top with maple syrup (optional). Serve hot.

Note: I chose not to sprinkle the mini French toasts with the cinnamon/sugar mixture or add maple syrup for my son as I felt the apple cinnamon flavour was sweet enough for him (and for my husband and I). You may want to add the extras for older kids.

My husband and I have been trying to reduce the amount of bread we eat but these are a great solution for when we want to have a little for a snack or meal. What I love about Just Minis is that I can do a lot with them, especially since they freeze beautifully and can be ready quickly if I pop them in the toaster or toaster oven. They make a nice snack with some cheese and cut up carrots and celery for work or after school. We also top them with different spreads – baba ghanouj, peanut butter, jam, cream cheese etc., and we also serve them to our son with scrambled eggs.

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To learn more about Ozery’s Pita Break, please visit:

Website: www.pitabreak.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ozerybakery.pitabreak

Twitter: @OzeryBakery or www.twitter.com/ozerybakery

CONTEST: Enter to win an Ozery’s Pita Break “Back To School” prize pack!

This prize is valued at over $75 and it includes:

  • A lunch bag
  • Tupperware
  • Reusable snack bags
  • A toaster
  • A few other goodies!

You can earn entries by doing the following:

  • Leave a comment below this blog post and tell me how you would enjoy Ozery Pita Break’s Just Minis. What would you make with them? How would you eat them?
  • Follow both me, Sandy Avvari-Nayani @savvari and Ozery’s Pita Break @OzeryBakery on Twitter. Then, retweet my tweet about this blog post/contest from my Twitter feed at twitter.com/savvari – the tweet will be pinned to the top of my Twitter feed.

Additional Info:

The contest begins on Thursday September 10, 2015 and will end on Thursday September 24, 2015 at 12 pm EST. The winner will be announced later that day.

You can enter via each method once per day until the end of the contest.

The contest is only open to Canadians with a Canadian shipping address. Ozery’s Pita Break will ship the prize package directly to the winner’s home.

Good luck!

Mini Vacation – Niagara-on-the-Lake

25 May

Statue of George Bernard Shaw in the courtyard of Shaw Café & Wine Bar

As soon as I hear the words “Niagara-on-the-Lake” I immediately think of beautiful wineries and delicious fruits like the peaches and plums that are grown in the region. So I was thrilled to find out that I had won a two-night Niagara-on-the-Lake bed and breakfast prize package from The Wine Ladies and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed and Breakfast Association last year. My husband and I booked our visit for the last weekend of March and were looking forward to touring several wineries. Unfortunately, we found out too late that the wineries are closed on Good Friday! What do you do in Niagara-on-the-Lake when the wineries aren’t open and growing season hasn’t begun yet? Challenge accepted!

The last time we stayed at a bed and breakfast (or B&B) was when we were in Europe on our honeymoon, so we were a little bit nervous about staying at one that was only an hour and a half away from Toronto. Would it feel odd to stay in a B&B so close to home?

I contacted AquaBella B&B to make our booking and I was immediately impressed at their attention to detail, as they asked what our plans were while we were in the area and if we had any dietary restrictions. I mentioned that I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I include dairy and eggs in my diet) and they said they would be happy to accommodate me. When it comes to breakfast food, lacto-ovo vegetarians like me are pretty easy to deal with and even better, my husband will eat anything. I then shared that I was worried we wouldn’t have anything to do in the area on Good Friday. Faith and David told us they would take care of it and do a little bit of research to help us along…phew! Since we were only staying for two nights, it didn’t take us very long to pack. We hit the road on the Thursday afternoon and were in Niagara-on-the-Lake in less than 2 hours.

AquaBella B&B
Photo credit: Faith and David Bell, http://www.aquabellabandb.com/

As soon as we walked into AquaBella B&B and were warmly welcomed by Faith and David, we both knew that we were in good hands. One side of Faith and David’s home is devoted entirely to the B&B and includes a separate kitchen, living room and fireplace. The kitchen had a tea/coffee station which was available to us at any time.

AquaBella B&B

We were escorted to the “River Room, which had a Queen-sized bed, television, Wi-Fi and a nicely decorated washroom. Added touch: There were fluffy bathrobes for both of us! Since we were the only ones staying at the B&B at the time, we took a peek at the “The Falls” room and “The Lake” room. All of the rooms were beautifully decorated and the beds looked very comfortable (that’s the key!).

AquaBella B&B, River Room
Photo credit: Faith and David Bell, http://www.aquabellabandb.com/

AquaBella B&B, River Room

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The Lake Room, AquaBella B&B

The Falls Room, AquaBella B&B

After we got settled in, Faith and David gave us a few ideas for things to do the following day and then surprised us with a voucher for a wine tasting for two at Peller Estates, which was still open! They hurried us along, as it was almost time for the last tour of the day. Let the fun begin…

Peller Estates

We drove up to the Peller Estates grounds and I immediately fell in love with the place. The estate was beautiful and it covered a huge plot of land. Since the weather wasn’t so great, there wasn’t much to see outside, so our tour guide focused on the winery itself, taking us through the wine making process and cellar area. While on the tour, we received a step-by-step lesson on how to taste wine and even though my husband and I knew the basics, it was great to get a refresher from a passionate professional. In the process, we were introduced to a few of Peller’s wines and my favourite was the Signature Series Ice Cuvée, a sparkling wine made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, with a dosage of Vidal Icewine.

After a great tour, we headed to the tasting area, where we enjoyed a flight of three wines and shopped for a few bottles to add to our collection. We both enjoyed the tour and felt it was definitely worth the price of admission. We can’t wait to visit the property again in the summer and enjoy a walk through the vineyard.

Peller Estates

The Epicurean

Soon enough, it was time for our dinner reservation at The Epicurean. Our prize package had included a gift certificate for the restaurant and after the busy week we’d both had, we were looking forward to a nice dinner. I was so glad that I had made reservations because the restaurant was packed and the only table available was the one we had reserved! They had been holding themed nights and that night was “Italian Night” with a special menu in addition to their regular menu.

I started with their Baby Green Salad, garnished with crunchy shoe string potatoes, parsnip chips, cherry tomatoes and dressed with Ontario vinegars. The salad was nice and light, which was perfect since my main course was a delicious Eggplant Parmigiana with a side of spaghetti. We were both too full for dessert so we ended our meal with espresso and house made biscotti.

Baby Green Salad at The Epicurean

Eggplant Parmigiana at The Epicurean

Espresso and scrumptious biscotti at The Epicurean

We walked up and down Queen St., afterward, which is filled with shops, restaurants and galleries. By the time we finished dinner, everything was closed but we were able to jot down the names of a few places we wanted to visit the following day. We headed back to the B&B to relax and get ready for bed…

Niagara-on-the-Lake – Day 2

We woke up the next morning to the wonderful smell of coffee and the lovely sounds of what I call “kitchen music” – plates moving, cutlery clinking and food sizzling as it hits a hot pan. We headed downstairs and Faith and David greeted us with coffee and a table beautifully set for four.

Beverage service at AquaBella B&B

Fruit, granola and yogurt parfait at AquaBella B&B

We started with banana bread and a yummy fruit, granola and yogurt parfait. I was already almost full when the warm apple cinnamon french toast casserole came out. After one bite, I couldn’t resist and I quickly finished my whole piece and grabbed seconds (hey, I was on vacation after all!).

Fresh banana bread at AquaBella B&B

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

It was the Good Friday holiday, which meant that none of the wineries were open, however the shops, restaurants and galleries on Queen St., were open. We threw on some comfy shoes and headed out, ready for some retail therapy.

One of my favourite shops was Irish Design, a shop filled with products from Ireland, a country that is dear to both my husband and I, as we went there for our honeymoon. We make it a point to stop at any Irish shop as we can usually find Barry’s Tea and other items we enjoyed on our trip. We both love the beautiful Irish accent as well, so it’s a treat to have a chance to hear it again : )  This shop was extra special as an Irish Tea Room was attached to it, which served pies, boxty (Irish potato pancakes), quiches and other tasty treats. We ended up getting a box of Barry’s Tea to take home (it’s so good!) and a few snacks to munch on as we continued down the street.

Barry’s Tea, The Irish Tea Room

Savoury foods, including Boxty (potato pancakes).

Jams from Ireland and homemade scone mixes

What’s the best thing to have after a savoury snack? Something sweet of course! We saw a lineup forming outside of Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop so we had to stop in to check it out. It was surprisingly warm and sunny outside, so everyone (including us) seemed to be craving a cold treat. I tried the passion fruit flavor and my husband went for his favourite, pistachio. Both were delicious and tasted really fresh, I could see why Nina’s was so popular. Pastries, cakes, macarons, crepes, sandwiches, Nina’s had it all, including Easter Bunny Bread as a special! It would take at least 10 more visits before I’d have a chance to try everything…

Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop

Gelato at Nina’s

Gorgeous pastries at Nina’s

Vegetarian Panini at Nina’s

Easter Bunny Bread (sold only for Easter, sorry!).

We shopped and shopped and soon enough, we were hungry (Note: We both love food and when we travel, we always seem to be hungrier!). We wanted a quick bite to hold us over until dinner and we noticed that the patio at Corks Winebar and Eatery was open. A patio lunch in March? Yes please! The food was simple pub food and that usually means little to no vegetarian options, so I was happy to see a veggie wrap on the menu. The wrap consisted of a soft flour tortilla, stuffed with goat cheese, hummus and grilled portobello mushrooms, green peppers and onions. It came with a choice of side and I decided that since I was being “good” by having all of those veggies, a side of fries couldn’t hurt : ) It was delicious and it really hit the spot.

Corks Winebar and Eatery

Veggie Wrap at Corks Winebar and Eatery

My husband wanted to check out some of the antique shops in the area, so we headed over to Sylvia’s Antiques and then to Lakeshore Antiques and Treasures. While I love my stuff shiny and new, my husband loves items with history behind them. So I wandered around and reminisced as he began his hunt. He ended up finding a beautiful old camera, a few books and a souvenir spoon holder that one of our relatives had wanted. With so many items to look at, it definitely takes a lot of time and patience to get the most out of an antique shop. My husband has already made me promise that we’ll head back to both shops this summer.

Photo credit: Sylvia’s Antiques, http://sylvias-antiques.ca/

Photo credit: Sylvia’s Antiques, http://sylvias-antiques.ca/

We headed back to the car as we both wanted to visit a pastry shop that friends had recommended to us. Willow Cakes & Pastries was in a nondescript plaza and as soon as I saw the cute little door, I somehow felt that we would be in good hands. The shop was bursting at the seams with Easter goodies, they had cakes, cookies, chocolates…you name it and they had it. We decided to pick up some little cakes so we could have a late night dessert (the cakes were practically screaming “Buy us! Buy us!” so of course we had to).

Macarons and cookies at Willow Cakes & Pastries

Mini brownie cheesecakes at Willow Cakes & Pastries

After relaxing at AquaBella B&B for a little while, it was soon dinner time. We had made reservations at another restaurant but we ended up cancelling them, as the current menu didn’t appeal to either of us. Remembering how much we had enjoyed our meal at The Epicurean we decided to head back again. The staff greeted us with warmth (and surprise) when we came in, even going so far as to nicely ask us if we had left something behind from last night! We started with an amazing cauliflower soup (made with vegetable broth) that had both of us wanting to lick our bowls.

Cauliflower soup at The Epicurean. They get bonus points for making it with a vegetarian broth : )

For my main, they had a few veggie-friendly options on the menu but I asked the chef for a plate of their sweet potato gnocchi, along with the roasted Brussels sprouts and veggies they had served along with my husband’s main dish the night before. What I received was so delicious that my mouth is watering as I think about it, as everything on the plate came together so well.

Sweet potato gnocchi with roasted vegetables at The Epicurean

We were both so full from dinner once again, but thanks to our earlier visit to Willow Cakes & Pastries, we knew we had little cakes back at the B&B. As a vegetarian, it’s not often that I’m impressed by my meal but when I am, I always make it a point to thank the chef and his/her team. They rarely get thanked for their efforts! It was late and we were tired, so we headed back to the B&B…

The following morning, we woke up once again to kitchen sounds and the smell of fresh coffee (why doesn’t this happen EVERY morning?!?). Once again, we were greeted with another beautifully set table, this time with all the fixings for a fresh waffle breakfast. Faith and David’s daughters joined us for breakfast and we had a great time chatting it up with them. One of my favourite parts of breakfast was Faith’s strawberry sauce…it was so delicious and had a lot of depth. I learned that the secret ingredient was a few spoons of fresh strawberry jam to kick up the flavor a notch…it’s those little tips that make all the difference…

Fresh waffle breakfast at AquaBella B&B

After a filling breakfast, it was time for us pack up and get ready to head back to the city as we had tickets to the Toronto FC soccer game that afternoon. We took a quick little detour and sat by the water to soak up the scenery and get some sun. It was a wonderful mini vacation and we headed back to Toronto refreshed and rejuvenated. We’re already planning our next visit!

See you next time NOTL!

List of businesses: 

AquaBella B&B
511 Charlotte Street,
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 289-868-8784
http://www.aquabellabandb.com/

Peller Estates
290 John Street East
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 905-468-4678
http://www.peller.com/

The Epicurean
84 Queen Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 905-468-3408
http://www.epicurean.ca/

Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop
37 Queen Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 289-868-8852
http://www.ninagelateria.com/

Willow Cakes & Pastries
242 Mary Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 905-468-2745
http://www.willowcakes.ca/

Corks Winebar and Eatery
37 Queen Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 289-868-9527
http://www.corksniagara.com/

Irish Design
75 Queen Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario LOS 1J0
Phone: 1-800-268-9064
http://www.irishdesign.com/

Sylvia’s Antiques
275 Mary Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Ontario, Canada
L0S 1J0
Phone: 905-468-1100
http://sylvias-antiques.ca/

Lakeshore Antiques and Treasures
855 Lakeshore Road
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0
Phone: 905-646-1965
www.lakeshoreantiques.net

Have you been to Niagara-on-the-Lake? If you have any recommendations for the area, please do share them in the comments section below.

Baked Egg Cups and a contest from Egg Farmers of Canada!

14 May

Early mornings, busy days and late nights leave only a short amount of time for many couples and families to make dinner. An easy solution… “get cracking” and make breakfast for dinner! I’m a big supporter of Canadian farmers, so I was excited to receive an invitation from the Egg Farmers of  Canada to test their Baked Egg Cups recipe. With the summer coming up, I’m looking forward to pairing fresh Canadian eggs with produce from my local farmers’ markets.

The Egg Farmers of Canada conducted a survey in April 2013 with over 3,000 Canadians, aged 18 and over. In the study, they found that distance from farm to grocery store is seen as the key to freshness. Eighty per cent of Canadians surveyed are confident products from within Canada are at peak quality when purchased. Conversely, 53 per cent believe imported foods cannot be considered fresh. “In an age where grocery aisles are filled with foods from around the world, it is clear that Canadians place the highest value on locally produced food, exactly what the system of supply management allows for,” says Bonnie Cohen, Manager of Marketing and Nutrition for Egg Farmers of Canada. “The results are identical regardless of socio-economic status, telling us that all households want the food they feed their families produced by local farmers.”

Be sure to visit the Egg Farmers of Canada Facebook page by May 15 for a coupon to save $1.00 off the purchase of 2 dozen eggs! You’ll need them to make the Baked Egg Cups, so why not save a little : ) I’m happy to share that they were really easy to make, as I had everything prepped and ready in 10 minutes, which gave my oven enough time to preheat. I popped them in and less than 20 minutes later, they were ready to go. I’ve included a lacto-ovo vegetarian version of the recipe below. Enjoy!

Baked Egg Cups (Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian version)

Baked Egg Cups (Lacto-ovo vegetarian version)

The original recipe can be found at: http://eggs.ca/cooking-with-eggs/recipe/baked-egg-cups/ and you can see the video at the top of this post.

Ingredients

Baby spinach leaves (approximately 1 cup)

6 tsp (30 mL) crumbled goat cheese

6 eggs

6 tsp (30 mL) milk

2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped chives or dried herbs

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Spray bottoms and sides of 6-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Line inside of each muffin cup with baby spinach leaves (about 8-12 leaves, stems removed). Then sprinkle 1 tsp (5 mL) of crumbled goat cheese over spinach. Carefully crack an egg over top. Spoon 1 tsp (5 mL) milk over each yolk. Sprinkle chives or dried herbs and black pepper over top.

Bake in preheated 350°F (180°C) oven until whites are set and yolks are cooked as desired, 18 to 20 minutes. Run knife around inside of each muffin cup, then remove and serve.

Variations: 

  • Instead of a muffin tin, use six 1/2-cup (125 mL) ramekins or custard cups.
  • Instead of spinach, use a large kale leaf to line the cups.
  • Instead of spinach, using a rolling pin to flatten a piece of bread and arrange in the muffin tin to form a cup. If you would still like to use spinach, line your bread cup with it before adding the other ingredients.
  • Instead of goat cheese, use feta cheese, cream cheese or a grated hard cheese of your choice.
  • Omit goat cheese and milk; sprinkle grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese over each egg before baking.
  • Over spinach leaves, place a thin slice of tomato and a slice of large white or cremini mushroom.

Sandy’s notes:

I chose to make two of the Baked Egg Cups with flattened pieces of bread (I used up the end pieces) and the other two with baby spinach leaves. I enjoyed both versions, however the spinach version was lighter and more impressive to look at. Overall, the Baked Egg Cups were easy to make, tasty and left me feeling full and satisfied. For a group gathering, I would serve them with a soup, a salad and a fruit tray for a quick and easy brunch, lunch or dinner.

For more information on what you can do with eggs, visit http://www.eggs.ca for recipes, tips, and more!

Egg Farmers of Canada prize pack

Egg Farmers of Canada prize pack

CONTEST: I’m giving away an Egg Farmers of Canada prize pack including a muffin tin, a “Get Cracking” apron, microwave egg cookers perfects for couples and moms-on-the-go, a magnetized grocery list, the Farmers’ Favourite recipe booklet, and a $20 grocery store gift card to buy the fresh ingredients you need to make these tasty Baked Egg Cups. Please note that you must be a resident of Canada to win, it is an Egg Farmers of Canada contest after all!

TO ENTER:

Visit the Egg Farmers of Canada site and check out their amazing list of recipes here: http://eggs.ca/cooking-with-eggs/all-recipes , then leave a comment on this blog post to share which recipe you would make on a busy weekday night.  P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter, Facebook or blog site address so I know how to reach you! It’s that easy! You can enter once per day.

Again, you must be a resident of Canada to enter!

Hurry, contest closes on Saturday May 18 at 12 pm EST. Good luck!

And the winner is….Zach Bussey @zachbussey ! Thanks everyone for playing : ) 

 

Disclaimer: I received a basket from the Egg Farmers of Canada with everything I needed to make these Baked Egg Cups.

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.

Basil Omelettes with Brie, Onions and Red Peppers

9 Apr

Eggs. They are so versatile and since they last for quite some time, they have a knack for being around just when you need them. One of my favourite things to make with eggs is an omelette and thankfully my husband is an omelette “eggspert” : ) I thought I would give him a break today so I stuck my head into the fridge to see if we had any ingredients worth of a “fancy” omelette (fancy = any omelette that contains more than just eggs, salt and pepper). I found some fresh basil, a chunk of brie, a lonely red pepper and an onion. It turns out that I hit the ingredients jackpot and the results were pretty tasty, so I just had to share the recipe with you.

Basil Omelettes with Brie, Onions and Red Peppers

Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 red pepper, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 thick slices of Brie, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Directions:

In an 8-inch skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and red pepper to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. At this point, you should reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes or until the onions and peppers become soft, sweet and slightly caramelized. Do not let the onions and peppers burn! Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, basil, salt and pepper (to your taste). Whisk until frothy. Then, wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove any moisture and residue from sautéing and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted and foamed, add half of the egg mixture and swirl the skillet to coat the bottom of it evenly. Using a rubber spatula, stir the eggs very lightly until almost set but still moist, for 1 minute. Pat the eggs back into an even layer with the back of your spatula. Sprinkle half of the brie onto the omelette and cook until the eggs are set but not too brown (this should take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute). Add half of the red pepper and onion mixture (or as much as desired) onto the omelette as well. Then, lift an edge of the omelette with the spatula and fold the omelette in half to enclose the filling and make a half moon shape. Then, slide the omelette onto a large plate. Repeat the steps above to make the second omelette. Done!

The basil adds a bit of flavour to the omelette and the brie melts into the caramelized onions and red peppers to form a gooey, delicious filling. As rich as it sounds, you will eat this and still feel pretty great afterwards, as it doesn’t feel too heavy. Do you want to make this fancy omelette even fancier? Serve with toast, hash brown potatoes and a green salad. Perfect for a crowd-pleasing brunch or a quick after-work meal!

Dianne’s Spiced French Toast with Sandy’s Vanilla Toffee Pears

30 Oct

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Egg Farmers of Ontario if I wanted to participate in a ‘French Toast Challenge’ in celebration of October’s ‘World Egg Month’. Of course, I accepted (hello, French toast!) and I received a BEAUTIFUL basket filled with all of the ingredients needed to create a few variations on the classic French toast recipe. I received eggs, milk, sugar, spices, maple syrup, whipping cream, apples, pears and a gorgeous baguette!

After playing with a few variations, I settled on the recipe posted below. It’s a spin on the original French toast recipe that was in the Egg Farmers of Ontario basket, served with vanilla toffee pears! I love pears and I love toffee, so I combined the best of both worlds into one topping recipe. I don’t know about you but just reading the words “vanilla toffee pears” has my mouth watering….

You can enjoy this French toast recipe any day of the week but my favourite time to make it is on a lazy Sunday morning, when you can sit down and enjoy it at your own leisure, with a great cup of coffee. Yum!

Dianne’s Spiced French Toast with Sandy’s Vanilla Toffee Pears

( Inspired by Dianne’s Spiced French Toast recipe at http://bit.ly/tWmMQZ ).

Makes: 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 cup of milk

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

Day old baguette, sliced into 2 cm thick slices at an angle (you will need about 8 slices)

Icing sugar, to dust (if desired)

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and all of the spices. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat; brush to spread evenly. Dip bread, 2 slices at a time in the egg mixture. Note: Allow the egg mixture to soak into the bread for a few seconds. Then, place soaked bread slices in hot skillet. Cook about 2 minutes then flip and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove French toast from skillet to a large plate; cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat cooking process until all egg mixture has been used. To serve, place a few slices of French toast on a plate and spoon a few vanilla toffee pears (recipe follows) and toffee sauce over the French toast. Dust with icing sugar (if desired).

Sandy’s Vanilla Toffee Pears

Ingredients:

2 semi-ripe D’Anjou pears, cored and thickly sliced

1/4 cup of butter

4 tbsp brown sugar (have some extra brown sugar on hand in case)

2 tbsp water

2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, and add the butter.

After the butter has melted and foamed, put in the brown sugar and water. Stir together until the sugar has dissolved and turned a medium caramel colour.

Put in the pear wedges, and cook over a medium high heat, stirring periodically, until the pears are a rich golden colour and can be pierced easily with a fork.

Add the vanilla and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

CONTEST!! Win a $50 Chez Cora Gift Certificate!!

In celebration of the glory of French toast and ‘World Egg Month’, I`m egg-cited to give away a $50 gift certificate to one of my favourite breakfast and lunch restaurants, Chez Cora!

TO ENTER:

-Get cracking and visit http://www.eggfarmersofontario.ca/ and learn about the many ways you can enjoy eggs

Write a short poem about eggs and post it in the comments section below my post `Dianne`s Spiced French Toast with Sandy`s Vanilla Toffee Pears’

-My 3 favourite egg poems will be entered into a random draw to win the $50 Chez Cora gift certificate!

-The winner will receive their gift certificate via Canada Post

RULES:

-You MUST be a resident of Ontario, Canada to win.

-You may enter as many times as you wish!

-Contest closes on Friday November 4, 2011 at 5 pm EST.

-Winner will be announced on my blog on Saturday November 5.

Good luck!!

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November 6, 2011 – Announcement

And the winner is…..

GREAT EGGSPECTATIONS

Sunny side, scrambled, or over easy
Omelette, frittata, or quiche made cheesy
McMuffin in the morning, egg salad for lunch
This dietary powerhouse packs quite the punch
An eggscellent staple with benefits galore
You’re delicious, nutritious, and so much more!
Oh god of breakfast foods, you reign supreme
With pancakes and bacon, you’re an all-star team
Alas, I’m no eggspert, but this much is true:
I’m always eggscited to devour you!

Congrats to Jacintha Daniel for her winning entry! Jacintha will receive her $50 Cora’s gift card in the mail next week. Thanks everyone for entering, I LOVED the poems and I know the great people at Egg Farmers of Ontario enjoyed them as well!

Stay tuned for another great contest next week!

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