Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Burt's Bees is the Bee's Knees

I don't know about you, but every winter, I am plagued with extremely dry skin. I hate it. Dry, flaky, itchy skin. It only happens during the winter for me.

Thank goodness for Burt's Bees.

Burt's Bees offers natural personal care products and natural skin care products. What's best is that their goal is to create truly natural products and educate people on how truly natural products have a positive effect on us and on the world we live in. They have our well-being and the well-being of the environment in mind.

I discovered Burt's Bees a few years ago. Always on the lookout for healthy and safe products, a friend told me about them. I loved the fact that the products are natural and formulated to help heal, repair, and moisturize. I love their natural lip balms.

Soon after hearing about Burt's Bees, I started noticing them all over the place! They were in almost every store I shopped at. That says a lot about a product!

I was sent a variety of Burt's Bees products to review.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm:
Right up my alley! This is the kind of stuff I love! I don't wear lipsticks, as I love the glossy sheen of lip balms and glosses.
I was sent the tinted lip balm in "Hibiscus". When they say it makes your lips soft, moisturized, and conditioned, they weren't kidding! This is probably one of my favourite products and a now a "must have" in my purse at all times!

Burt's Bees Radiance Body Lotion:
Made with Royal Jelly and packed with 134 nutrients, this lotion nourishes your skin and enhances its natural glow. From a girl who is plagued by dry skin, I can attest to how soft and shimmering this lotion makes your skin!

Color Keeper Green Tea and Fennel Seed Conditioner:
High in antioxidants from the green tea, this conditioner keeps hair vibrant, while not weighing it down.

Anti-Blemish Purifying Gel Cleanser:
I don't usually have break outs, so I never really thought much about using anti-blemish cleansers. I did try this one and really like it. It makes my face feel clean and fresh. "This cleanser is clinically proven to help wash away blemish causing bacteria, excess oil and impurities without over-drying or irritating skin. Salicylic Acid, derived naturally from Willow Bark Extract, penetrates pores to help reduce blemishes and prevent future breakouts. Evening Primrose and Beet Root Extracts help care for troubled skin resulting in clear and healthy-looking skin, naturally. Dermatologist tested. Noncomedogenic." (from the Burt's Bees website)

Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum:
Now that I'm in my 30s (okay, as of mid-December, I'll be four years closer to 40!), I  have to admit that I am growing increasingly more concerned about my skin. I notice fine lines where there weren't any.  Eeek! This antioxidant-rich pomegranite and evening primrose serum helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

For more information, check out the Burt's Bees Story here and view their site for all their amazing products. You can also find them on Facebook and on Twitter.

I really like Burt's Bees products and would highly recommend them to friends and family. I feel good about using products that are natural. Again, one of my absolute favourites is the tinted lip balm.

Disclosure -  I was given the above Burt's Bees products for review purposes. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

Some Great CANADIAN Holiday Gift Ideas!

We love supporting Canadian businesses and we try to buy Canadian whenever we can. For the special people on your list this season, we've found some fabulous gift ideas.

Today I Ate A Rainbow is the perfect tool for getting kids to eat a rainbow every day. A fun, interactive chart keeps them excited about adding some colour to their meals! It's a great present for kids and parents alike!

Simply on Board has great toy straps that are great for preventing your tiny tots favourite toys, teething items, or even sippy cup from falling on the ground. The straps attach with velcro and are machine washable. There's nothing that grosses me out more than Little One's belongings falling on the floor in busy malls or restaurants. Okay, I'm only slightly paranoid about where people's feet/shoes have been!

KIOKKO Bebe Couture is easily recognizable amidst all the other baby/toddler/kid blankets, bibs, etc. Each piece is made with lots of attention and care. I've been known to give KIOKKO Bebe Couture blankets, washcloths, and bibs to expectant mothers or for welcoming home a new baby. I absolutely love the mitten clips and have not only gotten some for Little One, but for some of her friends too!
Mabel's Labels is perfect for all your labeling needs! We use Mabel's Labels on all of Little One's favourite items. They're great in case we leave her things behind at play group or elsewhere or  just so friends don't accidentally take them home with them! I'm known here as the Mabel's Labels giver! I've given labels to all my nieces and nephews and to Little One's friends for their birthdays or at Christmas.

Jet Baby has a fantastic variety of cool clothes for cool kids. Little One had her first John Deere outfit from Jet Baby and has since gotten a Poison onesie and Bob Marley onesie. There are so many adorable outfits and tees to choose from. Not your run of the mill, boring, generic, cookie cutter clothing. Jet Baby also sells books, CDs, DVDs...and toys from when I was a kid! I'd love to get Little One the Snoopy Sno Cone maker or Fisher Price phone that I had when I was a kid. Jet Baby is definitely a must if you're looking for the perfect gift!

Wean Green has an assortment of glass containers for your child's needs. We have the Wean Cubes and have stored all of Little One's snacks in them. They're the perfect size to just pop into your diaper bag or purse and pull out for your wee one to snack from.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"This Tofu isn't so Bad", Said the Non-Tofu-Eating Beef Farmer

Truth be known, my husband has an aversion to any recipe that does not contain meat. Oh, he'll eat whatever I serve him, if he knows what's good for him! Just kidding. He's pretty open-minded and will try anything and everything I serve him. Tofu just isn't one of those things. Though he likes how I season them and infuse certain flavours in the tofu dishes, he claims that that palatability is just not for him. Fair enough.

I grew up eating tofu on a somewhat regular basis. Since my Dad is Chinese Caribbean, we are no strangers to tofu. Tofu is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes. Also as a vegetarian for most of my adult life, tofu was a mainstay in my diet.

Tonight, I was craving tofu for supper. A friend of mine from university (we were both vegetarian and involved in some environmental groups together) had this amazing tofu recipe that called for chili flakes and other ingredients I cannot remember. It was a sweet yet spicy tofu dish. Since I couldn't recall the exact recipe, I had to improvise.

First, I poured over some of my favourite cookbooks in hopes of finding something similar to the recipe I had in mind.
So many tempting recipes, but not exactly what I had in mind. I was left up to my own devices for this one.

For supper, we had Tofu Satay on rice noodles with steamed Bok Choy drizzled with sesame oil and Lychee milkshakes and chilled Lychee for dessert.

Please keep in mind that I rarely measure ingredients when it comes to cooking dishes (except for baking, where exact measurements are a must).

C's Tofu Satay on Rice Noodles
1 or 2 packages of firm tofu, cubed (depending on how many people you're feeding)
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
cooking oil
Cilantro, chopped (to garnish)

Sauce -
soy sauce
chili flakes
dash chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
3 Tbsp peanut butter
After you've prepared your tofu and your veg, cook tofu in a pan with a little oil until slightly browned. Add your veggies and cook with sauce.

While you do this, you can steam your Bok Choy and rice noodles. This whole meal takes less than 30 minutes to make from prep to finish.

My non-tofu-eating husband said this was the best tofu dish he's had so far. He really liked the combination of sweet and spicy (sweetness from the peanut butter and heat from the chili).

On bed of rice noodles, place tofu satay. Sprinkle with chopped coriander to garnish. Drizzle sesame oil over Bok Choy and serve.

Monday, November 28, 2011 - Great Glasses Without Breaking the Bank!

When I was in high school, I got my first pair of glasses. I thought I'd beat the odds of ever having to wear glasses, even if my family members wore glasses. Back then (as a teenager), glasses just were not cool.

I actually had two pairs of glasses. I think the optometrist's office had a 2 for 1 sale on, because I had a red pair and a blue pair. They were not the most flattering things either. Big, heavy frames and Coke bottle-like lenses. They were awful...and expensive.

Because I didn't like them, I rarely wore them. The optometrist said they were only for distance (blackboard, TV, computer, and driving), so I only used them for that.

Thankfully, has a wide variety of stylish prescription glasses that won't break the bank!
They've got everything from rimless frames, vintage styles, sunglasses, metal frames, Titanium frames, semi-rimless frames, and more! carries brands we know, love, and trust like Calvin Klein, Jones New York, and Diesel (just to name a few). If  you're going to wear prescription eyeglasses, you might as well look good in them and love them, right?

I now wear my glasses on a regular basis. I'm just glad to know that there are options out there for good quality, attractive, stylish, affordable glasses now.

With all the styles, colours, and designs available for eyeglasses now, it's easy to look good and still be able to see! I have some friends who really know how to change up their style with their glasses! Funky/fun one day, chic another. Casual, professional, sporty, classic...the options are endless!

It's truly amazing how a certain style of glasses can change your look entirely.

I'm actually quite partial to this for my next pair of glasses! Love, love, love!
Psssst! is having an
Early Holiday Sale!
Take 20% off any frame in their iSee Eyewear collection and get free shipping within the US. Code: iSee20FS (you can find the collection here:
Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses. Code: Blog10
Order glasses!
Of course, before you order, make sure you understand what your prescription needs. Check out the helpful info for understanding eyeglasses and lenses on the website.

Join in on the conversation on Twitter and on Facebook!

Disclosure - This is a sponsored post. I am being compensated by for writing this piece. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own. Sustainable Stainless Steel Mealtime Combo WINNER!

I know, I know. Many of you will be upset with me. Sadly, there could only be one winner for this very popular giveaway.  It makes me really happy to know that A) Many of you are concerned about the environment and are considering litter-less lunches/sustainable products for your families and B) You love supporting new, up and coming Canadian businesses like!
Thank you to all who entered this giveaway. Cheers to for sponsoring this giveaway. We really love working with you!

Without further ado, the lucky winner of the Sustainable Stainless Steel Mealtime Combo is...
  • Name: Tara Elias
  • Option: Follow via GFC
The winner has been sent an e-mail. Please reply with your address so can send you your amazing prize! Just in time for the Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Celebrating the Holidays with Hallmark

  The Holiday Season is my favourite time of the year. It's the one time in the year that I get to spend with my family and friends that live out of town. It's always been such a special time to celebrate and share with loved ones. Now, with a child of my own, the Holidays have even greater importance to me. 

Knowing how busy and chaotic the Holidays can often be with preparations for big family dinners, decorating, and planning gatherings, Hallmark Canada wants to remind and encourage people to "Press Pause" and take some time to enjoy and appreciate all the special moments this year.
I'm excited to say that as a member of the Hallmark Canada #PressPausePanel, I was given the opportunity to share some exciting Holiday products with my readers!

 The Make-A-Wish Products 
The Make-A-Wish bear is Little One's favourite item. The bear is soft and cuddly, and you can record a special message for a special loved one. I sang a snippet of Robert Munsch's "Love You Forever" for Little One and recorded it. This way, if she ever misses me (if she's at her grandparents' house or if she's not with me), she can just press the button and hear my voice.

The best part about the Make-A-Wish products is that by giving them as gifts to friends and family, you give back and spread the joy.  By purchasing Make-A-Wish selected products, Hallmark will donate 25% of sales to help make children's wishes come true all year round.
Recordable Storybooks
A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my all time favourite stories. Each year at Christmas, I watch the cartoon. It's a Holiday ritual I have and hope to continue with my Little One. Now, I can start a new tradition by reading the book to her. The recordable storybook is fantastic for making memories last.

Titles include: Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and more! I am thinking of getting one for my parents to read and record for my nephew and twin nieces in Kingston. They live 10 hours from us, and we spend every other Christmas with them. Hearing Lola and Grampy's voices will help bridge the distance since we can't be together every year.
Christmas Ornaments
Hallmark has lots of great tree ornaments as well. I think Hubby will love this Wayne Gretzky ornament. He doesn't know yet, but this is going in his Christmas stocking!

 Rockin' Talkin' Santa or Elf Hats & the Merry-Okee Christmas Karaoke Microphone
Growing up, Christmas was a time of festivity in our family. Our aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, grandparents would get together and sing, laugh, eat, give, and be merry. Singing Christmas carols by the piano, partaking in some karaoke fun, and just being goofy has been a tradition in our family.

This is why the Hallmark Rockin' Santa hat and the Merry-Okee Christmas karaoke microphone are perfect for some festive fun! It changes your voice while you're singing. Haven't you always wanted to know what you'd sound like with an elf's voice?

Interactive Storybooks and Cuddle Buddies
Cuddle Buddies are also a cute gift for children. Jingle the Husky Pup barks, whimpers and sings when he hears the magic words read from the storybook that accompanies him. My three year old loves the interactive storybooks and Cuddle Buddies.

Of course, what are the Holidays without special greeting cards for your loved ones?

Hallmark has built its reputation on years of offering customers high quality products for all occasions. People seem to gravitate towards the Hallmark cards when they're at the store looking for the perfect card. Birthday, Easter, Graduation, Wedding, New Baby, Anniversary, Get Well, Sympathy, Christmas, Hanukkah, and every other occasion, Hallmark has you covered.

Take the time to "Press Pause" and enjoy some special time with your loved ones this Holiday season! Check out the Hallmark website here. Join in on the fun by checking them out on Facebook and Twitter too!

Disclosure - As a Hallmark Canada #PressPausePanel member, I received the above products to write about.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

There's Still Time! Nominate Your Holiday Hero (Toshiba Canada)

As a Mom, for some reason the responsibility of getting special presents for our loved ones always seems to fall upon me. If I leave things to my husband, everyone would get something from the home hardware store. No, really. They would!

Not that there's anything wrong with receiving tools or building supplies. I just like getting things that are a little more personal. Practical is good, but personal shows that lots of thought and effort went into getting the present.

As a Toshiba Holiday Hero Ambassador, I was able to check out some of the amazing products Toshiba has to offer for everyone on our holiday list! I know everyone in our family is all about technology. Our teenaged nieces are way ahead of me when it comes to all things electronic! My brothers, brother-in-law, parents, and even Little One are really into what's new and exciting in the world of all things techie. Electronic gifts are both practical and personal. 

On my Toshiba Ambassador mission, I checked out the Toshiba Tablet (one of my teen nieces and my husband are interested in the Tablet). I also inquired about the Toshiba 3D HDTV - a present for me. Oh, okay...for everyone en "la casa de C"! Check out my findings here.

Every year, Hubby says I'm a hero to my little family. I have to get Christmas dinner organized, make all the baked goods, do the shopping, entertaining, gift wrapping, writing/mailing out all the Christmas cards...

Being a hero isn't just what I've mentioned though. My neighbour down the road is a hero in my eyes. He saw one of our cows on the highway and helped me get her back where she was supposed to be. My husband is a hero because he does so much for everyone, works so hard on the farm and off the farm...and never complains about being exhausted.

Do you have someone in your life that you think is a hero?

Nominate your hero today for a chance to WIN: a Toshiba Prize Pack for your nominee, and a Toshiba Tablet for yourself.

Prize Packs include:

*A Mobile Office Pack

*An Extreme Laptop Pack

*A 3D Entertainment Pack

There isn't much time left to nominate your hero! Head over to the Toshiba Canada Facebook page and be a Holiday Hero today! 
**Nominations end November 28th, 2011! (Open to residents of Canada only)**

Check out the Toshiba Canada website and join in on all the Toshiba fun on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Recipe to Riches: Creamy Kulfi!

By now, many of you must know how addicted I am to FoodNetwork Canada and to the new reality TV cooking show, Recipe to Riches. What I enjoy about the show is that they've brought food that many people might not be familiar with and introduced it to the general public in the form of President's Choice products. Even for those recipes that did not win, the whole nation has been introduced to them on the show. Bannock Hazelnut Pie, Pouding au Chomeur, Salt Fish & Ackee Pie, Stuffed Olives, Mini Tourtieres all illustrate what a culturally diverse country we live in.

Canada is a multicultural country and I'm so impressed that food from different cultures are represented on Recipe to Riches.

I  have been looking forward to the Frozen Treats episode. Always curious about what kind of intriguing recipes the judges will choose, I was really looking forward to the three recipes.

I am happy to see that Rosy Soobrattee's Kulfi Karma won in the Frozen Treats episode. I was even  happier because that was the recipe I got to make as a FoodNetwork TV's Recipe to Riches food blogger. I love, love, love, kulfi!
Two things worried me though. Remember last time when I had to go on a hazelnut hunt for Melaney Gleeson-Lyall's Bannock Hazelnut Pie? I went on a mad search for hazelnuts for that recipe, but I found them after driving two and a half hours to Sudbury and two and a  half hours back to the Island. Rosy's kulfi recipe called for rosewater and cardamom. I searched my pantry, and found the cardamom (which I use for making Chai tea). Rosewater? Where would I find that?

The funny thing is that I did have rosewater from another recipe I made a while ago. Funny. No hazelnuts in the pantry, but rosewater?

The second thing that worried me was that the last time I made kulfi, I ended up making kulfi soup! When a recipe calls for a certain amount of freezing time, abide by the recipe's instructions! Not enough freezing time will leave your kulfi (ice cream or whatever frozen treat you're making) a soupy mess! FOLLOW the instructions! Don't be impatient like I am. Last time, I thought I could take out the frozen treat earlier. It tasted really delicious, but it was not aesthetically pleasing.

The first thing I did when reproducing Rosy's winning kulfi recipe was assembled all my ingredients. Here are some of the ingredients:
 Evaporated milk, condensed milk, whipping cream, cardamom, rosewater, pistachios, and instant dissolving sugar. I had to run out and get more whipping cream. I didn't realize that the store only had the small carton.

I then lined a glass baking dish with plastic wrap.

I didn't have ground cardamom, so I had to grind the cardamom myself. Fun times. 
Then I pureed the evaporated milk, condensed milk, rosewater, instant dissolving sugar, whipping cream, and ground cardamom in the blender.
 I poured the mixture into the plastic lined baking dish and stuck it in the freezer for 6 hrs. I actually tried to be patient and I left it in the freezer overnight for even better results.

 I shelled and finely chopped the pistachios for garnish.

 Et voila! The finished product!
I was very curious as to what Rosy's Kulfi Karma would taste like. Growing up in multicultural Montreal and then spending my adult life in Toronto, I was surrounded by delicious dishes from all corners of the world. This said, rosewater-infused treats and anything with cardamom or even cloves seemed too strong for my liking. I was eager to see how this recipe fared.

Rosy's kulfi recipe was not as complicated as I thought it would be. The ingredients "rosewater" and "cardamom" kind of scared my husband, but when he sampled the finished product, he was in awe. He said that the contrast in flavours with the sweet, creamy ice cream type dessert and the hint of rosewater and cardamom, combined with the extra boost in flavour from the pistachios made this one of his new favourite frozen treats.

 I  have to agree. I love the delicate flavours and the texture of the dessert. The hint of rosewater and cardamom lend to the exotic feel of the treat. I  have to admit that though I love nuts (I love pistachios!), I am a purist when it comes to nuts in my desserts. Not a fan. However, the pistachios in this recipe are the perfect accoutrement. The crunch and the slightly salty nutty flavour go perfectly with the smooth, creamy frozen treat.

 It's so delicious that I could have kulfi every day of the week if I could. I won't though! If I could I would!

I even brought some over to share with others for after we watched the Frozen Treats episode of Recipe to Riches! That's how I con people into watching the show with me :) I make them watch it with me and then I reproduce the winning recipe!

I'm looking forward to buying Rosy's President's Choice kulfi at the supermarket this weekend! I'm interested in seeing how it compares to her original recipe!

Congratulations to Rosy Soobrattee for her winning recipe! For the complete recipe, please visit Recipe to Riches on Food Network Canada and click on Creamy Kulfi.

Next week on is ! Then Canada it's time for you to vote! You choose who will win $250,000 - the largest prize in Canadian history! How exciting is that?!?

Recipe to Riches airs on Wednesdays at 9 pm on Food Network, and Saturdays at 8pm on Global TV. Find them on Facebook and on Twitter to join in on the fun!