Category: food

Celebrating Family Around the Table with Hamilton Beach: Bread Maker

My favourite memories as a child and teenager were spent in the kitchen cooking with my Dad. I loved the holidays as we would prepare cannelloni, lasagna, veal and all types of desserts. I would spend half my time helping prepare the meals and the other half eating the ingredients (cannelloni stuffing is still my favourite – all of that delicious spinach and cheese goodness).

Good food and family were the two most important things we had growing up in our home. They were the centre of every happy, fun moment and especially around the holiday season. This is the gift I want to give my own kids – family and good food.

The one thing I always wished I learned how to do in my youth? Make bread.

There is nothing better then fresh, warm bread to accompany your meal (it is like a giant hug on a bad day). We always had a loaf of bread with every meal and I was always the first to volunteer to go pick one up at the bakery (I loved the smell and how the bag would just heat up). Not to mention, bread is the best way to clean up those dirty sauce pots over the holidays!

My only problem? I have been incapable of making bread from scratch – it doesn’t rise, it is still uncooked after it is finished cooking in the oven or it is rock solid. After many failed attempts, I gave up (my pride couldn’t handle the bad loaves and the teasing from the kids).

We were able to test out the Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread maker leading up to the holiday season and I can honestly say that I am in love with this machine.

The Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread maker is on the bigger size but it does tuck away perfectly in our pantry closet, although I tend to leave it on my counter as it fits right in the corner. It has a beautiful, sleek stainless steel design so it can match any kitchen decor and will fit in with your other appliances.

The bread maker looks intimidating at first but it is actually very simple to use. You adjust each setting with the turn of the dial (which for me was the hardest part to learn) – making changes for the type of bread, loaf size and the crust colour (light, medium or dark). Once you have added all of your ingredients, adjusted the settings – it does the rest for you. You can literally just step away and enjoy the smell of the bread rising, warming and baking.

The clean up? Surprisingly very simple. My husband teased me a bit thinking that the machine would be messy on the inside but I could clean the inside with a paper towel. There was no sticky dough left in the machine (similar to when you make the bread by hand) and the pan that contains the ingredients was simple to wash in the sink. Nothing stuck to any of the parts, except for a bit of dry crust on the mixer piece.

Hamilton Beach has a great selection of recipes on their website – we have been using the French bread and Italian Parmesan recipes. Both have become huge hits in our home and take roughly three to four hours to bake with roughly a five minute prep time. So no excuses for not being able to make fresh bread, you can whip those ingredients out and have them in the machine in five to ten minutes.

The bread always came out perfectly, despite being paranoid the whole time that it wouldn’t work. The first time we made the french bread we realized we didn’t like the recommended crust colour (it came out a bit harder, which I know french bread can be but my kids like their bread softer) so the next time we went for a medium and it was perfect. Be careful when you are removing the pan from the machine, it gets very hot! I burnt the edge of my finger on the fourth time, but everyone was so excited to snag a piece of bread that they didn’t notice I hurt myself (no worries, it didn’t even blister!).

The bread maker made it possible for us to enjoy delicious home made bread with minimal effort, mess and clean up. Every recipe came out exactly as expected and added that missing piece from my childhood.

Do you have a baker in the family? This would make a perfect gift for the holiday season for them. The machine is roughly $149 Canadian, you can find more details on their website here.

Make sure to follow Hamilton Beach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest recipes and products!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeaProudly #CollectiveBias

Victoria Day long weekend, a weekend that so many of us view as the unofficial kick off to summer in Canada. This long weekend has so many great memories tied to it for me, from camping to fishing to fireworks. Despite the weather still being chilly, as children it never seemed to bother us. We were ready to begin our summer adventures!

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Now as an adult with my own kids, the Victoria Day long weekend is a very special time for us. It is affectionately known as our ‘outdoor spring clean up’. Our kids look forward to this weekend every year as we always open the pool over the three days. The pool is still frigid but our youngest always braves the elements and dives right in. I watch in horror as he does this and stand back as far as possible to avoid being splashed by the water and to protect my favourite cup of tea. I feel extra spoiled this year as Bigelow Tea have six new flavours of their famous organic tea here in Canada! To learn more about the new flavours and to purchase a box of their new tea, hover over the picture below to click over to Walmart to purchase one of the new flavours!

While my boys are working on the pool, I am busy working away at my gardens – pulling out weeds, replacing soil and planting my vegetables now that the fear of frost over night is gone (knock on wood as we all know how quickly weather in Canada can change).

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

In order to prepare for our busy long weekend, we have to be super organized and start picking up supplies and planning out the weekend roughly two weeks in advance. We find that this gives us just enough time so that if something unexpected pops up, we are still prepared.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Two weeks before the official long weekend, we begin to create a supply list for both my husband and I. My husband’s list will have all the pool supplies (pucks, chlorine, etc.) and mine will have the garden supplies and food that will be needed (because lets face it – boys can eat and Mom definitely deserves her favourite drinks if she is going to be on her feet all day).

I always include some of my favourite items that help me to relax during this very physically demanding time. For me, the best way to relax and unwind is with a steaming cup of organic Bigelow tea. I love how a hot cup of tea melts away my problems and makes me feel that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. There is a reason why so many people wont tackle a problem until they have had a hot cup of tea! This has been engraved in me through my Mother – she loves her tea and whenever we had a busy week or day, tea was her go to.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

My Mom instilled a great love of tea but she always taught us to be picky with choosing the tea brand as that makes or breaks a cup of tea, this is why Bigelow Tea has been my go to drink. I was stoked to find out that Walmart now carries the six new flavours of steeped Bigelow Tea.

You can just imagine my joy at finding ALL of the six new flavours (Chamomile Citrus, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Green Tea with Pomegranate, Lemon Ginger and Green Tea) at our local Walmart when I went to get groceries.  You can pick up all six new flavours in the tea aisle at Walmart while picking up your other items in the grocery department at your local store.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

A week before make sure to take a final stock of all of your supplies and items that you purchased to make sure you have enough and that you didn’t miss anything. If you need to, head back to Walmart to pick up any forgotten items. If you did forget anything – don’t be hard on yourself, with kids and life it is easy to forget items!

I use my Friday night to prepare the meals and snacks for the next day, from preparing meat to cutting up veggies to making lemon ginger oatmeal bites. My oatmeal bites are a family favourite that uses the Lemon Ginger Bigelow tea to give a burst of flavour and energy which we all need come Saturday morning and mid-day.

The bites only use three ingredients (bananas, oats and Lemon Ginger tea) and take under twenty minutes to prepare and bake, I love simple recipes in my house and you couldn’t get any simpler or healthier in my mind. The bites do have to be refrigerated but they taste great cold as the flavours seem to be that much richer the next day (find my recipe for them at the bottom of this post). I end my night with a warm cup of Chamomile Citrus tea as I find it helps get  my mind and body ready to sleep.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

With everyone excited on the Saturday, it can be hard to remember to eat a healthy breakfast but it is so important in order to keep our bodies energized for the day. That is why I love those oatmeal bites! We can eat them on the go or even come back to them as we need to – pair it with a cup of Lemon Ginger tea and you are set for the day.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Above all else, enjoy the craziness that is the outdoor spring clean up. It can easily get boring for young children, so take breaks to have fun – blow bubbles, use chalk, let them ride their bike and even use their water guns to help water your newly planted seeds. Cherish each one of those memories because too soon the kids will have grown up and started their own long weekend memories.

Lemon Ginger Oatmeal Bites


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of oats (may need up to an extra 1/4 cup of oats depending on the size of your bananas)
  • 2 Bigelow Lemon Ginger tea bags
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Mash the two ripe bananas in a large bowl with a fork.
  3. Boil 1/2 cup of water and add both bags of Lemon Ginger tea. Steep for five minutes. Allow the tea to cool for an additional five minutes. Add the tea to your bananas.
  4. Add in the one and a half cup of oats. If the mixture is too wet due to the size of the bananas used, add in a little bit more oats. The mixture is supposed to be wet so be careful not to add too much.
  5. Bake in the oven for fifteen minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

The oatmeal bites should be refrigerated after being prepared.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

How do you celebrate the Victoria Day Long Weekend? Do you have a fond memory or favourite tea attached to the holiday? Tell me how you #TeaProudly over the long weekend!

Make sure to follow Bigelow Tea on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with new flavours and more.

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Dining At Blue Mountain #WinterWarrior

Food has this magical way of bringing people together – to laugh, to talk and to catch up. The best part of vacation is getting to dine out with no worries about cooking but just being able to enjoy the meal and company.

Blue Mountain Dining

With so many dining options to choose from at Blue Mountain, we chose to have dinner at Firehall Pizza Co and at Oliver and Bonacini. We chose to have breakfast at the all day breakfast restaurant, Sunset Grill.

Blue Mountain Dining

The Sunset Grill serves up delicious all day breakfast with endless coffee (mmmm…coffee!). I loved the warm decor that brightened up the inside and made you feel right at home. Our meals were very well priced and came with huge portions which was perfect for filling us up for a day of skiing. Sunset Grill was the perfect breakfast dining option for us and it was located within a five-minute walk from our hotel.

Blue Mountain Dining

My delicious meal:

Blue Mountain Dining

The hubby got the protein meal! Check out all that goodness:

Blue Mountain Dining

Hungry yet? I know I am!

Blue Mountain Dining

We had dinner at Firehall Pizza Co on our first night and I fell in love with the food and decor (and from the large group of people gathering it was definitely a hot spot at Blue Mountain Village!). The music was pumping (but not overwhelming so), the staff were fantastic, service was quick and the food was delicious!

Blue Mountain Dining

Oliver and Bonancini was the last place we dined at during our stay and it offered a good variety of cuisine to satisfy each one of us. The children’s meals came with an appetizer, main course and a dessert! Both of our boys devoured their food!

Blue Mountain Dining

My husband ordered the lamb and in his words “That was the most incredible meal I have ever eaten!”. And it truly was.

Blue Mountain Dining

The atmosphere and design of the restaurant was gorgeous. Later on in the night, in the picture below the top part of this middle area lights up with a fire casting a warm glow in the restaurant. The restaurant is perfectly located on the main floor of the Westin hotel just adjacent to the lobby.

Blue Mountain Dining

I had to share a picture of my gorgeous Sangria!

Blue Mountain Dining

Do you have a favourite place to dine out at when visiting Blue Mountain? Which one of these places would you want to visit first?

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Nutrience: Grain Free for Our Fur Baby #review

Toopy has been a part of our family for almost seven years now. She is our best friend, our guard dog and a special part of our family. We would do anything for her.

Her health problems started roughly two years ago. Our healthy dog took a turn for the worse and was covered in red sores that she would scratch until they bled. She was also losing her fur in large clumps all over the house. We were terrified.

Our first visit to the vet, they diagnosed her with allergies and gave her steroid injections, pills and sent us on our way. One month later, we were back in their office. Again, the diagnosis was allergies with the same treatment plan. We went through this cycle for the past two years until the vet finally said she does not think it is an environmental allergy but a food allergy. We tried every food possible for her – including the vet recommended kangaroo meat one (in the hopes that something foreign to her will prevent her from reacting). No such luck!

When I got the word from BzzAgent that Toopy was chosen to try out the new Nutrience dog food, I thought this might just be it! Nutrience comes in three forms: Natural, Grain Free and Original.

We decided on the Grain Free version for Toopy only because of her skin sensitivities and possible allergies. Their Grain Free version contains fresh meat, fish, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and botanicals. The grains are replaced with lentils and sweet potatoes. Sounds delicious right?

Nutrience Natural is made up of fresh meats, fish, low calcimine carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and botanicals. Their original formula is the basis for the other two and was developed to give our pet family members as much uncomplicated food that contains wholesome ingredients.

These ingredients all work together to help keep your pet healthy, happy and active.

Toopy seemed to love her food – hard to ask her this question but those bowls emptied pretty quick! She had no problems transferring over to this brand at all. The food size was perfect for her and she had no trouble chewing them. We actually noticed an improvement with her skin as well. She was scratching less, releasing less oils onto her skin, less dry skin and generally she was happier. Her happier self was much more playful and she is back on the road to being an active and happy dog again!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products for free as part of the BzzAgent program. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Burnbrae Farms: Leftover Solutions #Giveaway

The hardest night in our house is Friday. We are exhausted from the week, no one wants to cook a big dinner – not to mention there are too many leftovers in the fridge and plenty of vegetables that need to be used up.

The hardest part in all of this? Coming up with an unique dinner recipe combining the leftovers especially the rice, veggies and meat.

Have you visited the Burnbrae Farms site recently? They have a great section called the Recipe Nest where you can find a large variety of recipes broken down into meals, desserts and drinks.

We recently tried out their Chicken Broccoli Rice Skillet recipe. We made a few changes to suit our boys – we substituted extra lean ground beef for the ground chicken (they are not huge fans of the ground chicken yet but we are determined to get them to keep trying it!).

It was a pretty big hit in the house and my favourite part? We used up the leftover rice that would have gone in the green bin along with the broccoli that was almost on it’s way to the green bin as well. There was a good variety of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates in this simple and easy to cook meal!

Now I am giving you a chance to win some Burnbrae Farms coupons! I have four FPC: 2 French Toast Creations, 1 Simply Egg Whites and 1 Hard boiled Snack Pack.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open to Canadians only, 18 years of age and older.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received FPCs to try out the recipe above. I received coupons as a thank you and have in turn provided them you to my readers as a thank you for visiting my blog. Regardless of receiving the coupons, my opinions are my own.  

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