Monday, June 27, 2011

Dempsters Thin Bagels with Home Made Strawberry Jam



I really and truly love it when a new product is introduced that makes me say "wow...cool". Dempster's has come out with the first complete line of 100 calorie thin bagels in Canada. Sorry rest of the world, they're only available in parts of Canada. But...you just never know so read on.





You're definitely reading that right - 100 Calories which is less than half the calories of a regular bagel.

These new thin bagels hit the bakery aisle of major grocers across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada on March 16, 2011. If you love bagels and want to practice portion control, isn't it nice to finally be able to say yes, I can have a bagel and not feel guilty about the carbs. AND, you have three varieities to choose from: White with Whole Grains, Multigrain 100% Whole Grains and Cinnamon Raisin. They're also low in saturated fat, and contain no trans fat or cholesterol.



Are you in Ontario, Quebec or one of the Atlantic Provinces??? Tell me what you think, how else you might incorporate them into your family's mealtime or even which is your favourite variety. I think I'm leaning to the whole grain. The only thing I found missing were the calories. Where can you get them? Co-op Atlantic, Food Basics, Freshco, IGA, Metro, Price Choppers, Sobeys, Super C and Walmart. Interestingly, I found them at a small local grocer.

I had my bagels so now do I just eat them plain? toasted? create a breakfast/brunch dish with them. I'd been at the market the day before and picked up a flat of local strawberries. My inspiration came from Psychgrad who had called a while earlier and I could hear the popping seal of her canning jars - she had also made jam. I went over to the Bernardin site just to make sure I knew what I was doing. Here's the recipe as it's written on the Bernardin site. I know it's a no/no to double recipes when preserving but I did and I got lucky; it turned out fine.








No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin lets you control the type and/or quantity of sweetener in fruit spreads. Make fruit spreads with no added sweetener, sugar replacements like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, or small quantities of granulated sugar. Follow directions carefully!

Makes about 4 to 6 x 250 ml jars (depending on chosen sweetener)

4 cups (1000 ml) crushed strawberries
1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened apple or white grape juice
1 pkg (49 g) BERNARDIN® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin
Sweetener – if using:
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener
OR
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) granulated sugar

• Place 4 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

• Crush strawberries one layer at a time. Measure crushed strawberries and fruit juice into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Whisk in No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin until dissolved.

• If using sweetener, measure SPLENDA® or sugar and set aside.
• Stirring constantly, bring fruit mixture to a boil over high heat.
o If using, add sweetener (sugar or SPLENDA®) and return mixture to a boil.
Stirring frequently, boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim foam.

• Quickly ladle hot jam into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jam. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jam.

• When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 10 minutes.

• When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

• After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.
The combination of a toasted Dempster's bagel slathered with light cream cheese and sugar free home made strawberry jam - I have no words and even better, I feel absolutely no guilt.




Val from More Than Burnt Toast is coming for a visit next month for our blogger get together. If you're hearing about the get together for the first time and live locally, you're more than welcome to come - just contact Val or me for all the information. We're also planning to make a dish together that follows the theme of this post so stay tuned.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tickets to a New Cooking Show!


Hey Toronto (or anyone planning a trip to Toronto)!

There's a new show coming to the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) and it's all about food! The show's host is food personality from Montreal, Stefano Faita.


He’s one of the most popular food personalities in Quebec, with two French television shows, best- selling cookbooks, a busy cooking school and a renowned housewares store to his credit.

Stefano is going to be hosting a daily, half-hour, studio-based program every afternoon, inspired by his family's traditions and food history. Doesn't hurt that he's not too hard on the eyes either! (Just saying....)

Here's the exciting part....You can get free tickets to attend a studio taping by visiting: www.cbc.ca/inthekitchen

In each episode of the series, Stefano prepares two or more simple recipes that feed into an over-riding theme. The theme of the day will:

1) Show how to get the most out of a specific ingredient ("What can I make with this bushel of fresh tomatoes from the farmer's market?");

2) Answer a common cooking question ("When do I use fresh herbs vs dried herbs?"); or

3) Give creative ideas for feeding a family any day of the week ("What's a light pasta meal I can make before soccer practice?").

Stefano uses fresh, simple ingredients and emphasizes adding your own special touches to each dish (no food snobbery here).

The show will be interactive, giving members of the live studio audience and opportunity to join him in the kitchen. (Images of Giz rushing the stage to cook with Stefano are flashing in my head)

Here's a clip about the upcoming show from the CBC (with a lovely advertisement about colon cancer screening)

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Brickworks Farmer's Market


The Evergreen Brickworks Market that produced millions of bricks per year in 1889 has evolved to present day to become a social community that invites locals and visitors to experience sustainability in real time. An environmental center in the heart of Toronto, Evergreen Brickworks offers a variety of ongoing and changing events sure to please any visitor.



A clay and shale quarry for over 100 years (original building still standing), the transformation of this 40 acre piece of land is really remarkable.








A walk around the park just really takes you away from your urban life and transplants you to nature, clean air and a peaceful environment.



and if you're paying attention you may even make some new friends



A relatively new center is called Bike Works meant to promote human-powered transportation. A drop in bike repair center, the space and the tools are provided and it's pay what you can. If you simply want to enjoy the space, bike rentals are also available.



My favourite part of the park is an incredible dog friendly farmer's market. It's busy...really busy.













I even learned something new! Do you have any idea what this is?

It's sea asparagus, also called salt asparagus - really really really salty and I have no idea how to cook with it. Do you?

And when you get tired of walking or just feel hungry there's a food court area that makes life really hard - you have to make a choice!! Hmmmm, breakfast burrito that's large enough to feed a small family? Strawberry shortcake scone, veggie dog, sandwich, or my choice ... Waffle and beignet with strawberries and cream.




Don't look at me!!! How was I supposed to know you wanted a waffle???



One last stop to see the woodworker and by then, you're pretty tired




If you live in Toronto or are visiting, don't miss this place. Plan your time and I promise you'll have a completely memorable day.

I really have to thank my friend "S" who took these amazing photos. Take a bow girl - you did a great job. StumbleUpon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Zealand: Part II


We're back in Canada. Now that I'm adjusted to the time difference, the trip is starting to feel like a distant memory, so I better get on with posting about it.

If you haven't read my first post about New Zealand, fill your boots.

After leaving Rotorua, we took a brief detour into Taupo, home of the largest lake in New Zealand.


Taupo has similar geothermal activity to Rotorua and is a popular tourist location. That little dot amidst the falls is a jetboat that will make quick twists and turns around the falls, a popular extreme activity in New Zealand.

After the detour, we drove to the Hawke's Bay area. This area wasn't originally on our list, but advice from a friend convinced me to add it to our route. The region is one of ten wine regions in New Zealand.



We stayed at Paradise Palms B&B, which is owned by lovely hosts, Geoff and Marion. The rooms are simple (and the price reflects that), but the common space is nice and the continental breakfasts were better than I expected (with a variety of cereal, fruit, yogurt, jams, etc.). During their continental breakfasts, we were introduced to feijoas, a fruit that can be found all over New Zealand. To me, it tasted like a more acidic kiwi, but the flavour can vary depending on its ripeness. Marion makes a great preserved feijoas and vanilla.


The day after arriving, we grabbed a winery map and made as much of a dent as possible. We started at Black Barn Vinyards.


Their estate was so lovely, I really regretted not making a reservation for lunch in their Bistro. Tip: Make reservations in advance if you're there on a long weekend or during the summer.


Our next stop was the nearby Te Mata winery. There, we found this sign for Sustainable Winegrowing NZ, an organization that promotes sustainable winegrowing in NZ.




Just down the road, we caught sight of Te Mata Cheese Company. Everything looked up and running and their trees were full of fruit, but a sign on the door indicated that they were forced to close their doors just a couple of days earlier.




It was actually pretty sad to see all of the ripe fruit and a sign on the door insinuating they left with little notice and were not happy about it.

After contemplating picking a bunch of fruit from their tree (I didn't), we continued on to a nearby winery, Craggy Range.


They charge for a flight of wine, but will deduct that cost if you choose to buy a bottle. Since R was driving, the 6 (or was it 7) "healthy" tasting glasses pretty much assured that I was drunk before noon.


You only live once, right?

We continued on to Abbey Cellars, which was a personal favourite. We bought a bottle of their Malbec, which, at $32, is more than what we usually spend on wine. But it was soooo good. It's the only bottle that we bought that we've saved and brought home with us. Knowing my tendency to hoard items that I really like, to avoid the sadness associated with the items being gone, it'll likely spend quite a while on our wine rack before I find an occasion worthy of it.



Next, we went to Alpha Domus. R really liked the more rustic, unpretentiousness of this place.





Here's a picture of one of the things I love about New Zealand, sheep in the grapevines. Of course, it's really challenging to get a picture of anything except for sheep butt (once they see you, they bolt).


By the time we had visited all of the above locations, along with a trip to the lovely food and wine room at Seleni, we were really on a mission to find food.

We were really sad to see that the Chook and Filly was closed. Still disappointed about that, the menu looks good.

Next, we tried Mission Estate, the first winery built in Hawke's Bay. But, by this point I was over-hungry and hungover and didn't think it would be worth paying for such a fancy meal. Their grounds are lovely, though. It would be very cool to attend one of the concerts held on their grounds. Check out this link, for a list of the major recording artists that have performed here.


In the end, we decided to go back to the port at Napier for lunch at the Thirsty Whale.

We spent the rest of the day, walking along the port and by the beach area before recuperating back at the B&B.





With a bit of a heavy heart to be leaving the region, we departed early the next morning to make the four hour drive to the Interisland Ferry.

South Island, here we come...


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