Monday, May 2, 2016

ninja coffee bar (product review)

I love the idea of being a minimalist but that's just not me. I do love a good appliance and all those kitchen gadgets, so I was excited when the folks at Ninja sent over a Ninja Coffee Bar for me to review.

This machine has some great features! It allows you to do a Classic Brew, for when you just want a plain old cup of coffee. It also lets you do a Rich Brew and a Specialty Brew for a more concentrated brew to make those specialty coffees. My favourite feature is the Over Ice button. I usually prefer a cold drink over a hot one and this button allows you to have an intense iced coffee. It increases the concentration to compensate for the melting ice! See below for a delicious recipe for Thai-Style Iced Coffee!

The Ninja Coffee Bar allows you to choose how much or how little coffee you want it to make. You can make a cup, travel size, a half carafe or a full carafe! This ability to choose how much you want sure does save a lot of wasted coffee but also allows you to serve a crowd.

Other things worth mentioning are the drip stop, so you can enjoy a cup of coffee mid-brew; the programmable delay brew, so you can have your cup of joe waiting for you in the morning; and the clean cycle indicator, so you always know when it's time to clean the machine.

The machine also comes with the Ninja Easy Frother so that you can froth your milk to make those specialty drinks at home. Add your milk, microwave and pump! This was a fave for hubby.

If you are a coffee-lover, this is definitely a machine that you will love! Don't forget, coffee is great for desserts too. Just pour some over your favourite ice cream, and you've got yourself some affogato. Delish!

This Thai-Style Iced Coffee is so good. Love that it's icy cold and the addition of condensed milk is a total bonus.

Thai-Style Iced Coffee

3 Ninja® Single-Serve Scoops (or 3 tablespoons) ground coffee
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 cups ice

Size: Cup setting
Brew: Over Ice

Following the measurement above, place the ground coffee into the brew basket.
Combine the sweetened condensed milk and 2% milk in a large plastic cup; stir to combine. Add the ice to the cup; set cup in place to brew.
Select the Cup size; press the Over Ice Brew button.
When brew is complete, stir to combine.

Disclaimer - Ninja provided the Ninja Coffee Bar for review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

clean out the fridge beef stir-fry

Sometimes I'm overly optimistic and I buy way too many vegetables. I plan meals that don't come into fruition and sometimes these healthy morsels seem to get forgotten in the fridge. Stir-fries are the perfect dish to clean out your fridge and make use of all those veggies before they end up in the compost bin.

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store yesterday just to buy the beef. I was determined to use up everything that was in my fridge. Sadly, the red peppers didn't make it, but I did manage to save the broccoli and the carrots. I even used up the half bag of salad that was in the fridge - the cabbage and the carrots, even the pumpkin seeds, were perfect for a stir-fry.

I dredged the beef in a flour mixture because I wanted the pieces to be a little crisp but you can totally skip that step. For the sauce, I sometimes just make a mixture of the sauces that are in the fridge, using up the last drops. This time, I made a slight variation to the sauce from the Mongolian Beef recipe, which was so delicious.

Mamma used up the veggies, the kids at the veggies, it was a good day!
Beef Stir-Fry

1 pound beef, cut into strips
1/2 cup flour
2 TB cornstarch


2 tsp oil
2 tsp ginger
2 TB minced garlic
1/2 cup soya sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TB corn starch
2 TB water

In a small saucepan, combine the first six sauce ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil. Combine the corn starch with the water and add to the sauce ingredients. Let simmer until thick.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour mixture and pan fry. This can be done in batches. Keep aside. Drain the oil from the pan and add in any vegetables. Once they are almost cooked, add back the meat and add the sauce. Perfect with rice!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

marathon mouth, the ebook

I think the best part of any road trip is discovering the food on your journey. When we travel, checking out the local eats is always high on our priority list.

My friend Bill Corbett has an amazing food blog called Marathon Mouth. His blog highlights great roadtrip eats in the Western US and Canada. Besides the bright pictures of the food and places that he has visited, Bill provides personal tidbits about the restaurants, owners and the food.

Bill has released his fourth book, Marathon Mouth, which highlights nearly 900 cafes, diners, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks and brewpubs. He gives his suggestions on where to eat  and even provides links back to the various establishments. This book is a must-have for planning your next trip!

Click here to find out more about where to buy the ebook or buy it from here (affiliate link)

Sunday, April 24, 2016


One of my favourite desserts growing up was faludo. Faludo is milk based jiggly pudding - like a creamy jello.  It is made with a sweetened milk mixture with the addition of agar agar which helps it set.

It's a simple dessert and super easy to make, and I finally learned how from my mom. It can be made as is or with the addition of nuts. I wish I had pistachios to add but I'll have to add it next time. It can be made in a large bowl and served family style or in little molds and served individually.

Faludo is a family favourite - definitely a recipe to try!


4 cups milk
5 TB sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/4 tsp agar agar powder
pink of red food colouring
chopped nuts, optional

Combine the milk and the sugar and bring it to a boil. Add the evaporated milk and a pinch of red food colouring to make the milk mixture pink. Add 1 tsp agar agar powder and bring the milk to a boil.

Pour the milk into a bowl or into molds and sprinkle with nuts if you wish. Let set in the fridge overnight.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

back to the dinner table with canada beef

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to the Canada Beef Centre of Excellence for the Canada Beef Family Dinner. The evening featured the launch of the new Canadian Beef brand, a burger cookoff and some delicious beef eats themed around the Family Dinner.

We filled our bellies with beef short ribs, beef sliders, roast beef with barley and beef tacos while we watched local food personalities compete in a burger cookoff. We were also treated to a performance by Canada's country music superstar, Paul Brandt who is featured in Canada Beef's latest video. It was a great evening with foodie friends and Canada Beef.

Growing up, both my parents worked hard during the day. Dinners were the one meal that we could spend time together and catch up on everyone's day.  We would all rush off to evening activities but not before having a hearty meal with our loved ones.

Now that I have my own kids, eating dinner together remains an important part of the day. It's a great way to find out about what's going on when we aren't together. Sometimes all it takes is a delicious meal with all of us on the table to get the little guy to open up about school and friends and life as a seven year old.  The days we have activities in the evening, just means we eat earlier or later but still together.

Food is always the center of any kind of celebration. I love how it brings people together, and provides an excuse to spend time with the ones we love. When thinking back on these family dinners, Canada Beef plays an important role. From pot roasts for Sunday suppers to juicy steaks for birthdays, food is as big a part of the memories as the moments we spend with each other.

Looking for ideas to incorporate Canada Beef into your family dinner? Mexican Pasta Shells and Taco Casserole make the perfect weeknight meal.

Weekends are perfect for slow cooked meals like Pot Roast or Slow Cooker Beef Ribs. Get more inspiration and tips with Canada Beef's The Roundup app.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for the #makeitCDNbeef influencer program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

strawberry burst

It has been an amazing April so far while we have enjoyed an early summer. In fact, we broke a 100 year old record yesterday with temperatures climbing to 28 degrees! Needless to say, most people were outside, enjoying the patios or having drinks on their decks. While we bbq'd up some jerk chicken and lamb chops, we enjoyed this refreshing drink - strawberry burst!

This is the perfect drink to cool off on a hot day and great for parties. It's nice to have some fun drinks for those that don't drink alcohol or for the responsible DDs.

Fill your glass with ice and Sprite, or your favourite lemon-lime soda, add 3 TB of crushed strawberries and a squeeze of lime. Cheers!

Monday, April 18, 2016

menchie's scratch and win

Menchie's is always great to have some frozen yogurt and to get your chocolate fix. Here's another reason to love them.

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt has a new digital Scratch & Win contest! Participants who scratch are entered to win the GRAND PRIZE  of a 7 night trip for two to the Mayan Riviera!

Participants are able to “scratch & win” (no purchase necessary) on mobile and on their computers. When participants scratch, they’re scratching for instant win prizes, however the most exciting part is that when they scratch, they will receive a pin to enter to win the grand prize:7 night round trip for 2 to the 5-star Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa in the Mayan Riviera (ARV $5,000). *Certain restrictions apply. Full rules:

The contest goes until Sunday, May 15, 2016. Click here to enter! I'm really excited to try their new flavour - Skor!

Want to know more about Menchie's?
  • Menchie's has 106 Canadian locations with new locations coming to Brampton, Manitoba, BC and Alberta.
  • Custom made cakes are now available made with your favourite yogurt and toppings.
  • Menchie's yogurts are gluten-free, vegan and certified Kosher.
  • Menchie's has 128 flavours to choose from and over 50 toppings to choose from.
  • Coming soon (and now available at some locations): Menchie's Smoothie Bar! Smoothies are made with 100% natural fruit, no artificial colours or flavours. There is 4 servings of fruit per 16oz cup.

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