Showing posts with label fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fun. Show all posts

Brownies with Rice Krispies

Happy Holidays!

These brownies with Rice Krispies are delicious and easy to make.

1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal crushed
1/2 cup vanilla flavoured sugar  
1/4 cup flour
1/8 cup cocoa
pinch salt
pinch baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk

Mix crushed cereal, sugar, flour, cocoa, salt and nuts.  Then add oil, eggs and milk.  Mix until combined and then spread evenly in a greased 8" x 8" baking pan.
Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.  
Store in a tight covered container at room temperature.  This recipe is slightly adapted from this site.

This holiday season Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal has teamed up withe Lisa Sangeuedolce, a top Canadian cake decorator to create dazzling homemade gift ideas on a tiny budget.  Lisa's signature Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal holiday ornaments put a fancy twist on Rice Krispies square.  Join Kellogg's on Facebook and see a variety of ideas to make delicious treats.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Gingerbread cookies

3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg at room temperature
2/3 cups molasses

We can use a paddle attachment in the stand mixer or hand mixer to make the dough.
Beat butter till it is creamy, add sugar and beat till the mixture is light and fluffy.  
Add the egg and beat.  
Spray the container with oil spray before measuring molasses so it doesn't stick to the measuring cup.  Then add the molasses to the mixture and combine.
Add the sifted dry ingredient 1/3rd at a time to the wet mixture.  After adding and mixing all the flour, gather the dough into a ball and cut it into two parts before covering it with a plastic wrap.  Leave the dough in the fridge to chill overnight or until it is firm so it can be easily rolled.

Flour the surface, rolling pin, cookie cutters and hands well with flour and roll the dough about 1/2" thick.  Keep turning and lifting the dough so it doesn't stick.
Prepare a tray with parchment paper and butter before placing the cut shapes.  Space about 1"between the cookies and leave the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  The cookies should barely brown around edges if baked too much it will become too crispy.  Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
The cookies will stay well covered for up to two weeks.  This Gingerbread cookies recipe is adapted from Joy of Baking.  Here is how my children helped bake and decorate these cookies.  
All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Salmon burgers, TurboCharged and Julia Child book giveaways

Salmon burgers recipe from the book TurboCharged recipes.

2 salmon fillets skinned and chopped (1 1/2 lbs) I used 1 lb
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1 egg
2 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper
I added 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped and 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Combine everything except oil.  The book suggests to form 4" patties, however I made 10 mini patties as I served it with small buns.  Chill the formed patties for about 2 hours or more.  
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Cook patties until it is cooked through.  The book suggests 3 minutes per side, however I cooked for a little bit more.  Serve with buns with the topping you prefer.

This book TurboCharged recipes has lots of useful information and recipes.  There aren't any pictures so it doesn't look attractive to open and start reading :) 
Most recipes use only a few ingredients.  All the recipes in the book are easy to follow and understand, as the instructions are simple.  We have to figure out about certain methods and change the cooking time to our preference.  

The beginning of the book talks about healthy eating, answers a lot of questions we all have i.e. should we go organic, getting kids to east healthy etc...  The book goes into brief detail about benefits of different vegetable, herbs and spices.
I liked suggestions on how to use a variety of herbs, which is good if we are looking to add new flavour into our daily food i.e. quick fried single sage leaves adds a delicious flavour to cheese. 
The book is separated into sections such as i.e. beverages, dips and dressings, appetizers, soups stews salads, vegetarian, eggs, fish, meats, pulpy and desserts.  This makes it is easy for us to find something we want to make quickly.

Some tips from the book...
  • If the eggs aren't organic we should skip them.  Organic eggs have 1:1 ratio of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  Commercial eggs have 19 times more omega 6 than omega 3, which is unhealthy.  
  • The book gives a list of produce that we don't have to worry if it is organic or not.
  • It is important for us to read food labels.  Did you know if the ingredients are listed as one of the first ingredients then that is the main one?  
  • The book has a list of other names that sugar is presented on labels that we maybe unaware of i.e. agave, brown rice syrup, cane syrup, cornstarch, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, lactose, sorghum, rock sugar, pulled sugar, treacle etc.  
  • The book lists the terms in the ingredient list that signals the presence of MSG under names such as autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatine, glumate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed corn gluten, mono potassium glumate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed protein (wheat/soy/vegetable protein)
  • Store bought dressings have lots of additives.
  • It is better to keep separate cutting boards.  We can keep our cutting boards sanitized by washing with 1 tsp chlorine bleach mixed with 1 quart of water.  Dip and dry.  
  • To quickly bake potatoes boil first for about 10 to 15 minutes then bake or grill. 
  • Steam cook with minimal oil and water.
Check out more about health on their site.  This book is available online and amazon.

Giveaway:  If you would like to win this book please leave a comment on this post.  The giveaway ends on August 25th open to people in Canada and US.
Update: The winner is Sanoli

Many of you may know about the JC100 event that started in May where bloggers participated by making specially chosen recipes from Julia Child.  I participated in the 2nd week of the event by making chocolate mousse.
Giveaway: To celebrate the 100th birthday of Julia Child on August 15, 2012 I am hosting a giveaway for someone in Toronto (due to postage) to win a copy of this Dearie: The remarkable life of Julia Child a biography by Bob Spitz.  Please leave a comment on this post or email me before August 25th if you would like to win this book.  
Update: The winners are Asiya and Cheryl

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Rubbermaid LunchBlox giveaway

Many people take food to work and school everyday because it is healthier, cheaper and convenient.  Having a container that will accommodate a variety of food makes the job of packing lunch fun and easy. This Rubbermaid LunchBlox is an environmentally friendly option that saves us money and hassle of finding small containers.
There are 2 varieties of LunchBlox kits for sandwich and salad. The boxes and the Blue Ice packs are BPA free.  The containers can be put in the microwave, dishwasher and freezer.  The LunchBlox collection keeps the lunch organized in any type of lunch bag without a hassle as it optimizes space.  The containers carry enough food that is perfectly proportioned for a healthy meal for one person.

The LunchBlox containers have a specially designed Blue Ice pack that fits with the containers to keep the lunch chilled while we are on the go.  The containers keep the food fresh without wilting or spoiling. 
The ease of transporting the containers allows us to take a variety of healthy meals for lunch everyday.
For example in this sandwich kit there is a sandwich container, side container, 2 snack container and a medium Blue Ice pack.
In the salad kit there is a salad base with lid, 1 salad topping tray, 1 dressing container and a Blue Ice pack.

The cost of these Rubbermaid LunchBlox is about $10 to $13.  It is available at Walmart, Loblaws, Home Hardware, London drugs, Co-op and TruServ.  They also have open stock assortments that range from $3 to $8.

This Rubbermaid LunchBlox is a solution for many of us as studies show 83% of people working outside the home take food to work and eat in their office or cubicle.  
44% of people find it hard to fit food storage containers into their lunch box and bag.
Sandwich kit

If you would like to win 4 kits (2 sandwich kits and 2 salad kits) leave a comment on this post.  The giveaway is open to people in Canada so please say if you are in Canada on the comment to enter the giveaway.  
The giveaway ends on May 20th.  
Please follow my twitter and Facebook so you would know when the winner is announced.  
Update: The winner is prairiesummers

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Chocolate chip shortbread cookies

1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup vanilla infused sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Beat butter and sugar till it is fluffy. Add flour, salt and mix well then add the chips.
It could be made into individual sizes by making about 12 balls and lightly flatten it about 1/2" high. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, it will harden a little once it is removed from the oven so don't over bake as it might burn on the bottom.

Let the cookies stay on the baking sheet over a wire rack for about 5 to 10 minutes before removing. Can be stored in an air-tight container.

Also posted here.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

What will you plant? Event

Pefferlaw has a wide range of potting soil, black earth, organic compost, hanging basket planter mix and manure from sheep and cattle. Mixing in manure to existing soil provides nutrient to plants, improve aeration and increase water-holding capacity. The manure from Pefferlaw is natural and free of contaminants. There is NO insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, industrial material or municipal sources that contain metals and pathogens or wetting agents.

Plasma car review and giveaways

Plasma car
We didn't ride the Plasma Car on this flooring, it is just for the purpose of pictures 

I had a wonderful opportunity to review this plasma car. It is an awesome ride. The only thing needed to ride this car is, energy and a mood to have fun.

Everything on the car is controlled by the steering wheels. There are NO batteries, gears or pedals. It is easy to assemble, as the instructions are straight forward. The car will hold up to 120 lbs on uneven surfaces and 220 lbs on smooth surfaces. I love the sleek design and the attractive choice of bright colours that are available. 

It is recommended by the designers to ride the car on smooth floors. We used them on hardwood floors because it is freezing outside and there is snow :) So far, nothing happened to the floor and there were no scrapes. Children and adults will have to learn to share ;) and patiently wait for their turn to ride the car. It is easy to spend hours of fun moving around in this car. 
Plasma car
Plasma car is generously sponsoring 2 cars to giveaway. Giveaways are open to USA and Canada and ends on January 31st. Update: The giveaway winners are Heather and Laura 
Plasma car
All rights reserved on opinion, photographs and written content Torviewtoronto and Createwithmom © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Jewellery organizer and bracelet

Jewellery organizer
This post is about a perfect solution for all of us that are trying to be organized.

GemGini is a jewellery organizer which is creatively designed. It is slim, neat and has strong magnets that can attach easily in the inside of cabinets. It could also be fitted on doors, armoires or anywhere that is convenient.
This organizer saves lots of time when we are in a hurry looking for jewellery. And makes it easy to keep the jewellery in one place for every day use.
Jewellery organizer
It has a mesh like plastic net that makes it easy to hang earrings, two sides have hooks for chains and necklaces. The bottom part has a soft foam roll to place rings and small earrings. There are hooks on the bottom to place bracelets.
Jewellery organizer
Here is a homemade bracelet that we made using beads and gimp string. It is easy and fun to make your own bracelet.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Sweet semolina banana Æbleskiver snack

sweet semolina banana Æbleskiver snack
1 cup semolina cream of wheat (rava)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp coconut fried in 1 tsp ghee
1 cup ripe banana mashed
1/4 tsp cardamom ground
1/2 cup jaggery syrup or treacle *
oil to coat the pan

* I used palm treacle, can substitute with brown sugar.
Soak the semolina in the water for 1/2 hour. Add all the ingredients to the soaked semolina and make a thick batter, the batter should not be pourable.
Heat the aebleskiver pan in medium high heat, when it is hot put 1/4 tsp oil and brush the sides. Then put batter to fill the holes and cook. When it is easy to turn, turn it with a wooden skewer and cook the other side. Serve it warm.
sweet semolina banana Æbleskiver snack
I bought this reasonably priced Lodge pro-logic aebleskiver from Amazon. It is made in the USA, cast iron is pre seasoned which makes it easy to use. As the pan and handle is made with cast iron, it is better to use a glove to hold the handle.

I washed it with hot water, as it says not to use soap or detergent. I also avoided using metal tools, instead turned the snacks with a wooden skewer. I coated the holes with oil, using a silicon pastry brush and didn't have to use too much oil to make these snacks.
Æbleskiver pan
All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Dinosaur birthday cake

This birthday cake is made for my little guy.

One recipe of chocolate cake baked in a heart shape pan. Cut the heart shape from the middle into two, put some icing in between and attach it together. Place the cake over the cake board by putting some icing on the board. I used a homemade cake board.

For the chocolate cake:
I used the same recipe as the butter cake but instead of 1 1/2 cups flour I used,
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder

One recipe butter cake baked in a circle shape pan.

I carved each shape of the dinosaur with a knife. I made stencils by drawing the shapes on paper first. This way there is no waste and I used up all the cake.

To cover the body I used chocolate buttercream and dusted with cocoa powder. I added some sprinkles to add some friendliness and colour to the dinosaur body.

For the eyes, I used chocolate fudge with a little bit of royal icing and peppercorn.

Oreo cookies for the mouth and the rest was dusted on the cake board.

For the claws I dipped one side of the cashew nuts in melted chocolate.

For the spikes I cut marshmallow into triangles then dipped in melted chocolate.

The cake board is decorated with green tinted desiccated coconut and crushed oreos. To finish up I made this decorative tree.

Check out Smorgie for a list of restaurants. The site is easy to use when trying to find places to go for a night out, meet clients, or to find local eats when traveling. This is an easy way to keep a list of restaurants and recommend it to friends. It is free to join it, all you do is sign up with your email address. This sponsorship is brought by who have partnered with foodieblog for this promotion.

I am excited to have been visited by the fairy hobmother on this special day to receive a gift card. Check out the Induction technology cooking appliance. It saves money in the long run and uses magnetic fields to heat the base and sides of compatible induction pans. The hob itself is cool to the touch for safety reasons, it is easy to clean and has a child lock. There is a video on the site that explains it well. Dear friends who are following Torviewtoronto, Hobmother will visit one of you soon :)

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Our kitchen and bar stools

bar stools

This post is about a handy piece of furniture that is useful around the house especially the kitchen. There are so many types of barstools out there, that when we go to shop for these stools; it is easy to get lost :) In my opinion because these stools can be used anywhere in the house it is a wonderful addition to have.

It doesn't matter if the kitchen is large or small, because having a stool will be convenient. A stool gives extra seating and some of these stools can be stored away under tables. There are some that match the style of dinning room chairs. 

For a small kitchen with less space, it can be easy to use when preparing meals or while eating like in a breakfast bar. 

A 12" space between the counter and seat is important to sit comfortably, so the person's feet can fit under the counter. That is why counter height stools are 24" to 27" high, because work spaces like kitchen counters are usually 36" high from the ground.

There are many choices on the type of wood, upholstery, fabric, leather and vinyl that are used to make the stools. Choices can be made by preference and comfort depending on what we want. There are adjustable stools, or swivel stools to turn. Stools with footrest, backrest and/or armrest. Ones with backrest would be safe for little children, so they won't fall over. Armrests would help when sitting for long periods of time.

All rights reserved on written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Visit to an organic farm

I am pleased to share this post about my visit to an organic farm. Friends this is my longest post :) however it is well worth reading Enjoy!

Organic means no fertilizers or chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides used in any part of the production. For a farm to become organic, and to come to its natural fertility it takes about 3 years in which they completely stop using conventional methods.
Cows are fed feed from organic practices for 12 months before the certification is given. The accommodations for the livestock has to be ample in size with lots of room for the animals to socialize and access outdoors. Everything from composting manure to crop rotation is recorded and 3rd party certifies the whole process.

Organic meadow is the 1st organic company established in 1989 that represent the organic farmers in Canada. They represent more than 100 family farms that think of clean living. As it is locally produced energy used for transportation is reduced, and there are many social benefits that teach our children the basics of where and how our food comes from.

We were served a fabulous lunch meal that included many organic meadow products; milk, cream, butter, variety of cheese, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, ice cream and eggs. Organic food is rich in nutrients and has disease fighting antioxidants.
There are over 60 products available at about 1000 grocery and speciality stores. The facilities are Kosher certified and carry logos such as woodland Ontario and Canada organic logo.

I visited the Birchwind Holsteins farm located at the Oak ridges moraine.

Organic families, like the Vice family are protecting the environment for our future. They use natural responsible ways to raise crop and livestock, this good cause is becoming popular and I am happy I had the opportunity to learn and share.

Cows do supply a main source of nutrition to our bodies, and it is quite important for us to think of what the cow eats as it impacts its milk. There is a lot of process, hard work and human intervention that goes into the containers we buy at the store, after all cows don't send their milk to us :)

Cows are respected animals that are even mentioned in holy scriptures. We need to treat all creatures with respect including the cow that gives us this blessing. Every time we drink milk it is important to remember the prayer to ask God to "grant us blessing in this milk and increase it for us".

The cows at the Birchwind farms are well cared for, each cow is remembered and loved. All the cows have a name, a stall, a birth certificate and are accounted for with a traceable chip in their ear.

Each of these intelligent cows know where their stall and food is, the farmer doesn't need to direct them to go to the correct stall. It is amazing to watch them graze and how they are led to the pastures. Our host farmer, Ron, said that they used to have a cow that was like a leader, when her name was called she knew what to do as she brought the cows into the stall and led them to the pastures.

Our wagon ride to see the rented pastures.

The cows in this farm are inseminated as oppose to having a bull in the farm, which is hard to maintain. The cow gives birth about every 2 years. The 8 milking cows at the farm milk for about 1 1/2 years then take a 2 months rest before they become pregnant. The females calves stay in the farm and male calves go to a veal farm.

The farmers's wife Deb mentioned that these cows are playful as well. Drinking milk from a happy cow is always better :) Before milking the cow they disinfect their teets with a natural solution for about 45 seconds to a minute to remove bacteria and after this it is wiped individually with a clean paper towel to avoid cross contamination. This helps to release the milk when the milking tubes are attached. The cows are milked twice a day and the milk is picked up everyday.

All milk in Canada are pasteurized, which means it is heated up to a point of 70 degrees Celsius or 130 degrees Celsius. The high point of pasteurization makes the shelf life of the milk longer. One of the high cost in the farm is to have the milk heated. It would help the cost we pay if there are cheaper sustainable options like solar powered heating systems. Canadian milk is fortified with Vitamin A and D, full fat is not fortified has it has Vitamin A. More on pasteurization if you are interested.

As the farms don't use any type of pesticide the flies are controlled with a web like tape on the roof in which the flies stick onto. The milk container that hold 800 gallons of milk is washed with cold water and vinegar.

What we eat makes us healthy and protects us from sicknesses. The pastures are pesticide free and there are no synthetic growth hormones added to anything. The cow manure is reused in the pastures and garden; the methane in the manure is removed using natural methods to preserve the ground water.
Wheat is planted in the fall and it grows in the Spring. Everything consumed by the cows are organic and natural. In the Summer the cows eat grass and hay, they spend 22 hours outdoor and 2 hours indoor, which they love. During the Winter months they eat 70% hay and 30% all natural organic corn, peas and cereal grains. If the weather is extreme they spend 22 hours indoor and 2 hours outdoor. The cows can stay out in the cold weather because of their digestive system and coat, which after all is leather :)
The visits by the vet has drastically reduced as natural methods are used rather than antibiotics.

The cost of these products are little more than conventional because everything used in the farm is organically approved and labour intensive. It is worth the little extra cost, as we need to seriously think global by using locally produced products. This is good for the environment, economy, politics, biodiversity, social society and our health.

Thank you Ron, Deb and the fabulous team of organizers at Organic meadow for this invitation. I met some like minded fabulous people in person and truly feel that there are no barriers on how we think about food and health.

See it for yourself, understand and appreciate you'll know its worth going Organic. Hope you learnt as much as I did and start seriously thinking where our food and products come from, in hopes that we can change the impact it has for a healthy future for all of us.

Disclosure: I am not paid to do this review. All opinion and rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First