Recently G and I have been exploring the city of Toronto more than we used to. First it was the Mac N Cheese festival, which still has me craving the mouthwatering and to die for Cajun mac n cheese. Then it was the Little Taste of Italy, local dives, room escape at Casa Loma and neat soccer nooks to enjoy the Copa and Euro games.
Toronto is filled with multiculturalism and so much excitement that it had me wanting to put a list together of places and things to check off this summer. Let me know if there is anything exciting that you’ll be doing in Toronto this summer, or anywhere for that matter– we love hearing about new things to explore.
1. Try a delicious Booyah ice cream taco. (This place is literally down the street, I’m disappointed that we have yet to go!)
2. Have a picnic at Colonel Samuel Smith Park
3. See John Fogerty live in concert at Molson Amphitheatre (July 11)
Happy Wednesday ladies and gents. It’s been a great couple of weeks celebrating milestones, executing new projects and Spring deciding to finally stay. Leather jackets are out, sunglasses in hand and taking walks will become the norm. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and the sunshine!
Panagio’s seems to have the right idea about life.
My new Nike trainers, now I won’t stand out like a sore thumb.
Deliciously glazed Krispy Kreme donuts courtesy of the lovely Tania and Marco. I haven’t had these in years and G never had one before- so you can imagine it was quite the treat.
Ladies night at the Cadillac Lounge in Toronto. Taking Toronto nightlife to great lengths with awesome live bands, car like booths and to die for nachos.
Marshall’s nailed the fitting room concept and made life easier for indecisive people like myself. The raptors shirt made its way to the definitely pile later on!
The most delicious and uniquely plated salad I’ve ever had from Pizzeria Defina in Roncesvalles. Meet the Caramelized Plum. Delicious medley of arugula, bufala cheese, prosciutto, toasted almonds and saba vinagirette. Sissy and I highly recommend checking this pizzeria out.
It was exactly 8 years ago today that I decided to make a lifestyle change for the better. I was in my final year of high school and throughout the years I managed to pack on 60 pounds. Little did I know at the time that I had a thyroid problem but aside from that, my eating habits were outrageous and I lacked exercise in my life.
My friend Julia introduced me to Weight Watchers and we thought it would be an excellent idea to join the program in order for us to get in better shape for prom. In conjunction with my new WW program, I also got a teen membership at the YMCA and started swimming and attending group classes in order to speed up the shedding process.
6 months into the program I was 33lbs lighter and felt better than I had in years. Weight Watchers was seriously God sent and exactly what I needed in my life. It taught me everything that I needed to know about healthy eating and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I was rewarded for working out and not limited to “special food”. I was able to eat anything and everything I wanted but in moderation- which is why till this day I adore the program.
I am no longer on Weight Watchers as I have since then reached my weight-loss goal but I continuously recommend the Weight Watchers program or any online food journal for that matter. Today I share with you some great online tools that will help you achieve your healthier lifestyle goals.
Weight Watchers Weight Watchers has an excellent maintenance and weight-loss program for people of all ages. It takes the fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein of the foods that you eat and transforms them into a POINT. Each person is allocated a certain amount of daily points (based on your goal weight, age, height and daily activity level) and also rewards you with an additional weekly point allowance in case you feel like having a Saturday Cheat day. WW has you weigh in once a week to track your progression and encourages you every step of the way.
Why it works? Weight Watchers teaches you how to enjoy the food that you love in moderation. You may LOVE your double fudge brownies or your big mac sandwich at lunch but you’ll slowly start to notice that these indulgence foods take up an immense amount of your daily points. Weight Watchers also encourages physical activity and in turn rewards you with additional points every time you work out.
WW is a paid program available at a GREAT cost for everything that you receive with your membership and also has a free trial period for those who just want to test the waters beforehand.
MyFitnessPal MyFitnessPal is a free online food journal/ calorie counter website and app. Similar to WW, it determines your fitness profile and pending on your goals it will recommend a per day calorie allowance. It also rewards you with additional calories based on the amount of exercise that you do per day (only cardiovascular).
I currently use MyFitnessPal as a guideline on what to eat daily and how much food I should allocate myself per meal. I do not use per say for the calorie counter feature but just as a visual of what my body is intaking per meal. MFP also has an option for you to track nutrients of your choice (fat, protein, potassium etc). The only two downfalls I see with MyFitnessPal is that it solely works on a calorie plan (which isn’t always the best thing- calories are not the only importance in weight loss) and it does not reward additional calories for strength training.
Overall, it’s a great program that is free of charge and one that teaches you healthy eating habits, moderation and the importance of daily exercise.
I have personally never used FitDay so unfortunately I am unable to “speak” on the progress or personal pros and cons of the program. However, after much research there has been a great response on the overall mechanics of the program.
FitDay is a free online food journal that allows you to track your food in take and exercise. FitDay like WW has a graph/chart system for you to view not only your weight loss goals as a visual but your food and exercise levels. FitDay like WW and MFP is big on community and posts multiple fitness and food articles daily.
Some of the cons that I found from this website were complaints of the overall speed of the website. I can imagine how frustrating it may be to track your daily food on a website that lags. I’ve also heard that if you abandon the daily use of the site after a certain time period (months) that your records are deleted from the system.
Overall, FitDay is a great free tool that can help you achieve your weight loss goals, premium accounts are available at a monthly rate.
So everyone, any successful weight loss/maintenance stories that you’d like to share? Happy Monday !
I adore entertaining. If I could do it weekly, I seriously would. When we get a large group of us ladies (and yes maybe sometimes the boys) together for a gathering of some sort, I tend to have a list ready for pre party prep- if I am hosting.
It may sound silly and overly cautious- but that is who I am. I like to feel prepared and I want to ensure that the night goes as flawless as possible. This weekend, I am hosting an event at my home and I couldn’t help but share my pre party prep list with all of you. Enjoy 🙂
1. Set the tone of the event
Let your guests know what they should expect. If this is just a casual get-together, no need to elaborate but if it’s a theme party, a semi-formal event, a tea party, a cocktail and finger food setting, a potluck (and so and so on)- let them know. You want your guests to be aware and also prepared on their end.
2. Clean grounds and more
There is no need to deep clean the whole house, but keep in mind which rooms or areas of the home you’ll be entertaining in. Ensure those rooms are tidy, breakable and fragile items are tucked away, out of reach or out of site.
3. Food and Drinks
This is usually on the host- whether you cater out or prepare on your own. Find out a week out how many guests will be attending (at least a rough idea at this point) and prepare +3 of your definite YES list. If this is a pot luck, ensure you know or have an idea of who is bringing what. Nothing worst than having a potluck filled with repeated items.
Alcohol and drinks. We know alcohol is expensive so have a least one signature cocktail or a concoction of some sort, a bottle of red and/or white wine and some pop/juice and water. Some guests may offer to bring a bottle of wine- I always say YAYas some may not like what you’ve picked out and it’s always better to have a selection.
Bathroom rules: Always, always have the garbage can EMPTY upon guest arrival. Nothing more unattractive and unpleasant than a trash can filled with used toilet paper and wrappers. Ensure your hand soap is full and NEVER keep your best “decor only” hand towels out. Do not assume people know that they are just for decoration. Keep them in a location/spot where your guests won’t reach for them. Have the ones you won’t mind people getting dirty-available for use.
4. Have fun
Plain and simple. You can tidy around here and there but always be present at your own event and do not show any signs of stress. If the host/hostess is stressed or worried, your guests will also feel that way. Make sure everyone is comfortable, be social and unwind. You put a lot of effort in getting the party where it is- might as well enjoy it!
For those of you who know me, you know I can’t resist a good glass of red wine. Oddly, my go to house favourite is an Ontario blend called Maria Christina. An inexpensive light bodied wine which pairs perfectly with spicy chicken (aka my favourite dish). However, I pick up a bottle
of delicious Chilean or Australian wine here and there as a treat or for guests.
Today I touch bases on simple red wine 101, great food pairings and simple knowledge on 4 main grapes for red wine. What exactly are you drinking? Find out here.
Shiraz / Syrah
I personally call it Shiraz just like the Australians, our down South African friends and fellow North Americans but the French like to refer to it as Syrah. Same grape, two different names- how special. Traditionally, Shiraz is defined as a medium to full body wine, extremely rich and bold in flavours. Flavours usually range from blackcurrant, cherry, blackberry, peppers, dark chocolate and smoke,
With flavours so bold and rich, a highly concentrated Shiraz is a perfect match for grilled meats/veggies, well seasoned red meats, beef wellington, beef stew, veal and meat lovers pizza.
Of course, my favourite but also widely recognized world wide. Mostly produced in France, Chile, Australia, US and Argentina, Cab sauvignon typically is a full bodied red wine infused with delicious dark fruit flavours. Similiar to shiraz with blackberry, cherry but also include a flavour profile of plums, tobacco and warm spice.
Cab sauvignon pairs nicely with red meats, red sauce pastas, lamb, mild to moderate cheese, dark chocolate, bitter vegetables such as eggplant, arugula and radicchio. If your Cabernet Sauv is ‘younger in age’, it will do great with grilled BBQ dishes.
In the “wine spectrum” Merlot sits humbly in the middle which allows itself to be a great match for a wide range of food pairings. Often considered a less sophisticated version of a
Cab Sauvignon, Merlot is actually delicious and well recognized. Mostly grown in France, Italy and United States, Merlot flavours range from black cherry, raspberry , plum and often has hints of cedar, mocha and vanilla.
Merlots pair great with a well seasoned chicken dish, duck, burgers, tenderloin and pork. Wine experts advise Merlot drinkers to stray away from fish dishes, earthy greens and spicy food as it may defeat the taste of the wine.
Known to be a difficult grape to grow, Pinot Noir is a lighter-medium bodied fruity red wine. Originally from France, today Pinor Noir can be grown in areas such as California, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Germany and Spain. A dry red, Pinot Noir is a fruit forward red with flavours ranging from strawberry, raspberry and black berry. Also prepare to taste hints of mushroom, spice and cinnamon.
Pinot Noirs pairs well with pork roasts, chicken in cream sauce dishes, grilled salmon or teriyaki based meals. Focus on rich sauces and stuffing when preparing your meals or glazed chickens or salmons. Duck is also great to pair with Pinot Noir, especially the breast. Because Pinor Noir is very aromatic, it is able to mingle with a wide range of flavours. Unlike a lot of red wines we listed above, PN will match well with fatty fish.