Review: 2010 CRFA Show

on 0 comments Read Full Article

I've been meaning to sit down and write this post for awhile, but life (mostly work) got in the way.  Don't you hate when that happens? Yeah, I know. 

Anyways, here it is.  My review on the 2010 CRFA (Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) Show held last weekend at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto from March 7-9 2010.  Now for those of you who’ve never heard of the CRFA trade show, it’s basically the big kahuna of trade shows when it comes to anything in the food service/restaurant industry.  Tickets for the event were $30 the day of or $20 for pre-ordering online.  

Anything imaginable about running a restaurant from the food to the supplies, equipment, advertising etc… could be found at this show.  There were vendors among vendors on everything surrounding this industry.  Aside from the food vendors, there were exhibitors for uniforms, sanitation, security, publishing, drive thru equipment, china, furniture, and the list goes on... To emphasize the breadth and depth of the show, there were five booths on footwear alone (because we all know how important it is to keep our feet comfortable if we're standing/cooking/serving all day.  I was a me, your feet take a beating!)  

And since I have a food blog and because I grew up in the restaurant industry I thought I would attend to check it out.  (A big thank you goes out to Prasanthi for arranging a pass to attend the show!)

I always find trade shows to be a little overwhelming especially when considering the sheer size of the venue and all the people milling around.  This show was no exception.  It was huge! There were 1200 exhibitor booths this year and 12,000 industry professionals.  If you plan on attending next year, be sure to schedule at least 3 hours if you want to take it all in.  It’s definitely an experience to say the least. 

When it comes to food, we first feast with our eyes.  I’m now going through all my pictures taken at the show and the flood of flavors is all coming back to me.  The biggest perk of attending the show is the bevy of samples to be had.  (And by bevy I really mean a buffet… )  I’ll just let some of the pictures do the talking:

I made you hungry.  Sorry.

Be sure to arrive on an empty stomach next year.  In addition to the likes of the above, there was a lot of meat sampling (pulled pork, pulled beef, wings, crab cakes, prosciutto etc…) smoothie and tea samples, plenty of cheese and dairy products in general, lots of olive oils and tons and tons and tons of cake and gelato.  On top of that, there were plenty of ethnic vendors offering up their samples of dumplings, noodles, sauces etc…

Yes, it was truly a food lovers paradise especially if you have a sweet tooth and I’m sure everyone who attended found it pretty easy to overindulge.  My stomach was feeling the repercussions as I was leaving.  You literally had to roll me out of the there. 

But food aside, there’s a lot to be learned at the show and it’s a prime opportunity to talk with industry professionals who are so passionate about food.  Did you know that that only difference between brie and camembert cheese is 5 degrees during the ripening process? The show also had a full schedule of seminars and demonstrations like a cooking demo with Susur Lee and seminars on economic forecasting, foodservice trends, maximizing profitability, and customer service.  A couple of them sound really interesting and next year I’m going to make it a point to check some of these out.  There is so much to see/do at this show that you may need to schedule two days to fit it all in. 

To close, I’m going to highlight some of my favorites from the show.  You may be surprised to hear that among the sticky toffee pudding, baklava, cheesecake, truffles, etc… my favorite treat was more on the healthy side.   
Pomegranate frozen yogurt! 
The perfect amount of tartness to balance the sweetness/creaminess of the vanilla. 

Second runner up was cous cous and spinach (no picture).  I kid you not.  Among all the carbs and sugar it most have stood out like a sore thumb.  But it was so fresh and flavorful that I could have eaten a giant bowl of the stuff.  

Third runner up was mousse.  They had little samples on spoons that you could just pick up and stick in your mouth.   Thick, creamy perfection.  

Now, I’m all about healthy eating but when it comes to attending a food show honestly, I think it’s best to leave those little carb free, fat free, sugar free thoughts aside for a couple hours and enjoy your time there. 

A little tiramisu never did hurt anyone right?

Liberte Greek Yogurt Review

on 1 comments Read Full Article

I don't know why it took so long for Greek yogurt to hit the North American market. Not only do I find the taste superior to regular yogurt, nutrtionally, this stuff is pretty awesome (that is if you purchase the 0% fat kind.) I purchased a 500 g tub of fat free Greek yogurt at my local Sobey's keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it would live up to the beloved Chobani as discussed in this post here. Chobani, Oikos, and Fage are three Greek yogurt brands that are ubiquitous in the U.S. but are not widely available in Canada. But thankfully and not all too soon, Liberte Yogurt has finally come out with yogurt of the Greek variety. You should have seen my eyes light up when I spotted this at the grocery store.

Did it live up?


Yep. It did. Thick, creamy and without that tang of regular fat free plain yogurt.

But let's talk more about why this stuff rocks. Protein, protein, protein. Each 175 g serving (about 3/4 cup) has 20 g of protein whereas Yoplait's Source Plain yogurt only has 8 g of protein, making this stuff the perfect post-workout snack. Add some chopped fruit, granola or a crumbled protein muffin into it. Or do like I do and add all three.

I'm a total yogurt-head. I don't think there's such thing as bad yogurt (unless it's full of sugar and fat) but I might make the permanent switch to Greek yogurt. I'm finding my usual low-fat yogurts a tad too liquidy and runny these days.

The only thing better than eating Greek yogurt.... would be eating Greek yogurt in GREECE. Santorini perhaps?

Sigh, maybe one day.

Anyways, this stuff is for sure a staple in my fridge moving forward.

The secret to acheiving your fitness goal...

on 0 comments Read Full Article

is that there is no secret. And that's the plain, simple, honest truth.  All it takes is hard work, dedication, and sheer motivation from someplace you may not know exists right now.  That's not what most people want to hear (at times, it's not what I want to hear either) but the truth isn't always pleasant.

This week, I want to shake things up in my workout and challenge my body to move in ways it isn't used to.  I'm going to try integrating some Tabata training into my plan.  If you aren't familiar with Tabata, I found a great post on it here.  There's a Globe and Mail article that you can read here about a Toronto mom who used Tabata to lose the baby weight.  And no, I won't be restricting myself to only one interval.  Wish me luck!

Anyways, here is my workout quote of the week to inspire you all to get moving:

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second." - William James.

The point is, dig deep people.

dig deep.

Rockstar workout + Rockstar diet = Rockstar lean. period.

on 0 comments Read Full Article

When I created this blog, the intention was to combine work out and fitness related content with healthy food/snack reviews.  Somewhere along the line..... it turned into a food review site.  That changes tommorow as I am going to incorporate more fitness related content.  Hopefully, this will keep me more accountable in terms of what I'm doing in the gym.

Stay tuned. 


Chobani Greek Yogurt (finally!)

on 0 comments Read Full Article

As I type this review, I'm craving some greek yogurt.  It's that good.  I know that I'll end up having some form of a tormented love affair with this product because it is so yummy but so so hard to find and very expensive to purchase in Canada.  I had been looking for this product for awhile and my local Whole Foods did not carry it.  Finally, I discovered that Summerhill Market carried it and I burned a mini hole in my wallet because I really wanted to try it. 

Too bad I can't make this a fridge staple.  It is just way too pricey.  But I know I'll be purchasing it every once in awhile as a treat. 

I've been wanting to try greek yogurt for awhile due to the high protein content.  It makes a superb post-workout snack and it's been making the rounds in the healthy blogopshere for awhile now.  How does it compare to regular yogurt? Well for one, it's thicker and creamier and less tangy.  Nutritionally, the 0% fat single serving container (170g) packs 18 grams of protein for just 100 calories.  Yeah, if this was a bit cheaper I'd be able to get rid of my protein powder!

Anyways, let's get back to the taste.  There's just something so velvety, luscious and smooth about Chobani that you don't taste in regular yogurt.  I can't quite put my finger on it but ever since it's been in my fridge I've been eating it every day.  I tried the plain non-fat version which I've been mixing with fruit and cereal and also the single serving honey flavor and pineapple.  I enjoyed both but if I had to choose, I'd have to go with the pineapple. It was like holy healthy-yogurt heaven on earth.     

Eggo Fibre Plus Cinnamon Waffles

on 0 comments Read Full Article

There's something about waffles that just makes me happy.  Especially when your butter, peanut butter or syrup melts into the little grooves.  Slightly salty and crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside.  There is no way that a waffle from a box could compare to a waffle made from a waffle iron but to tell you the truth, I don't think I've ever had a bad waffle. period.   Pancakes though, are another story.
I decided to pick up a box of Eggo Fibre Plus Cinnamon waffles. They were significantly cheaper than the other healthier frozen waffles that were organic or made with flax.  Nutrition stats are not bad at all: 2 waffles (70 g) = 180 calories, 5 g of fat, 31 g of carbohydrates, 10 g of sugar, 4 g of protein and 3 g of fibre
I ate mine topped with one laughing cow cheese wedge, sugar free syrup, and topped with mango and kiwi.  Next time, I think I'll make a waffle-wich with a couple of egg whites. 

Chickpea Blondies

on 0 comments Read Full Article

They say that cooking is an art and baking is a science. I rocked science in high school and university but I consistently mess up every baking attempt without fail if the directions call for more than slicing and baking. Most of my "creations" either end up wrapped in an ugly foil mess in the trash or in the freezer after taking one or two bites (only to end up in the trash 2 weeks later to join other fallen creations of my past. Part of my failure in baking is due to the fact that I like to experiment by throwing in a little extra of this, a dash of that, and a sprinkle of what have you in anticipation that what lovely concoction is born from my oven is exponentially greater than the lovely photo from the food blog that inspired the baking extravaganze in the first place. Anyways, I was inpired by Allie to try out her Chickpea blondie recipe. The only substitutions I made were 4 tbsps of splenda brown sugar instead of the agave nectar, a tbsp of orange zest in addition to 2 tsps of cardamom and 1 tsp of pure almond extract. 
I know what you're thinking. Chickpea + blondie? But you actually do not taste the chickpea at all and the flavor of the almond + orange + cardamom was pretty darn phenomenal. 

The chickpea melds in nicely with the banana to produce a lovely... cake bar. I wouldn't exactly call it a blondie since blondies are usually chewier but these were really soft and light and would pair well with coffee or tea and it is definitely healthy enough for breakfast in the morning. I think I may call this my first baking victory.  I can't wait to experiment with this recipe using other flavour profiles. 

Guiltless Gourmet's All Natural Chili Lime Tortilla Chips

on 0 comments Read Full Article

Can chips really be guiltless or is that just a silly oxymoron? I recently purchased a bag of Guiltless Gourmet's all natural Chili lime chips the other day because I wanted something crunchy and spicy that wouldn't leave me with that heavy greasey feeling in my stomach that you may get from a few too many kettle cooked chips.

I'm going to put these chips in the enjoyable category. They weren't mind numbingly addictive to the point where your hand is subconsciously reaching into the bag but they had a real spicy kick with a slight cornmeal-y crunch like most tortilla chips do. A healthy sized serving of about 18 chips clocked in at 120 or so calories and the size of each chip was pretty much the same as a regular dorito. So if you can stop at one serving than I suppose they really are guitless. You can consider this snackaholic guilty of finishing the entire bag. The chili lime flavour definitely passed the test.  I'd like to true the spicy black bean flavour or the spinach and artichoke parmesan next time I'm in the mood for chips.

A post dedicated to roast kobocha

on 0 comments Read Full Article

Lately, I just can't get enough of roasted kobocha.  Kobocha is Japanese winter squash and taste like a cross between pumpkin and butternut squash... very similar to acorn squash.  Yum.  In my opinion, the best way to prepare it is to slice it length wise, roast it for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees and then flip and roast for another 15 minutes.  You can add salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, curry powder etc..or whatever spices you have on hand but I find it taste best plain. 

An Ode to Roast Kobocha:

Roasted so tender
Best unadulterated
Nature's nutty gold

(yes, I'm a dork. I wrote a haiku about a vegetable.)