Monday, 23 September 2013

Dempster's Garden Vegetable Bread

The other day my mom sent me on a grocery run. Her list consisted of bread, fruits, and cheese. On my way through the bread aisle, I found out that the grocery store had Dempster's Garden Vegetable Bread on sale ($0.80 off!). I decided that since my mom didn't specify which bread to buy that I would give this one a shot.

I'm always looking for ways to add vegetables into my diet and this bread is made with carrots and pumpkins (along with the standard flour, salt, vegetable oil, etc.) and claims to have a 1/2 serving of vegetables in 2 slices.

The first thing that I noticed about this bread is that the loaf is smaller than my regular whole wheat bread (if I had to guess I'd say a good 4 or 5 slices less). The bread itself has an almost orange appearance with little orange flecks (no doubt from the carrot and pumpkin). The texture was softer than the usual whole wheat bread that I normally purchase and the taste was slightly sweet and very slightly spicy, but I didn't really notice any taste of carrot or pumpkin.

I haven't tried this bread toasted yet, but I find that it makes really great sandwiches. I usually put mayo on one slice, horseradish mustard on the other side, some type of sandwich meat, cheese and lettuce. Both of my sisters and I love sandwiches made with this bread.

I find the original purchase price of this bread a little steep for the amount of bread that you actually get, but I would purchase this bread again if it were on sale -- the grocery stores around my house seem to usually have this bread on sale anyways, last week I purchased two more loaves at 2 for $5.

This bread is great if you are trying to add additional veggies into your diet, but really shouldn't be your main source of vegetables (unless you're planning on eating a loaf or two a day).

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Kraft Fruit & Veg Salad Dressings - Garlic Parmesan with Roasted Cauliflower and Fire Roasted Tomato with Basil

My mom recently went on a shopping spree and came back with two of these interesting dressings: Garlic Parmesan with Roasted Cauliflower and Fire Roasted Tomato with Basil.

There are also two other flavours that I will review once I try them:  Berry Balsamic and Roasted Yellow Pepper with Garlic and Lime

These dressings contain no artificial flavors and colors and are each between 25-30 calories per serving.  They are low fat and low salt.  The Kraft Fruit & Veg dressings are also made with real fruits & vegetables.

Now, I'm a HUGE salad fan so I take any chance I have to try new dressings.

The  Garlic Parmesan with Roasted Cauliflower was VERY garlicky. I love garlic so this didn't bother me (in fact I LOVED it!), but if you're not a big garlic fan then you might not like this dressing. I thought that the Parmesan flavour balanced really well with the garlic. 

You couldn't really taste the cauliflower, but it did make this dressing very, very thick straight out of the bottle. For me, the texture took some time to get used to since it's almost more of a paste than a dressing, but once I did this dressing was delicious! The thickness of this dressing made it really good for dipping veggies and the garlic and Parmesan make it an excellent companion to mashed potatoes (which consequently, it comes with a mashed potato recipe on the side of the bottle!).

The Fire Roasted Tomato with Basil is great with salads. It does have a tangier flavour and is a bit sharper than other tomato and basil dressings that I've had, but overall it is enjoyable. I like that it has more of a vinegar base as opposed to the others that I've had that were predominantly oil based. This dressing is also a bit spicy, which was a surprise since a lot of the other similar dressings have been almost bordering on bland. This is a refreshing dressing that would be perfect for a summer barbecue (if summer ever makes an appearance!).

Overall, I would purchase these two dressings again. Since these two dressings were so good, I can't wait to try the other two flavours!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sally Hansen Salon Effects

The other day I just couldn't get may nail polish to dry so I decided to stop by my local drug store and pick up the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Laced Up (shown above). At my local Shoppers Drug Mart, these bad boys will set you back about $10.99 (Canadian) plus tax, although when they're on sale you can probably save a dollar.

The product is described as follows:

Sally knows nails are the best accessory. Now, Sally makes it easy to get a salon effect any time, any place. It wears like nail polish because it IS nail polish. No dry time, so you’re ready to go.

The kit comes with 16 nail strips (varying sizes), a small file, a buffer, a cuticle pusher, and instructions.

The instructions are pretty simple and have 2 steps (Prep and Application).

To prep your nails it is recommended that you start with clean, dry nails. Use the wooden stick provided to push back cuticles, shape free edge of nail with the hot pink side of the file, smooth the surface of the nail with the white side of the file, and lastly use a final swipe of nail polish remover to make sure nails are clean.

The application instructions are:
  1. Select - Choose the best strip for each nail
  2. Peel - Remove the clear protective plastic cover and peel the nail polish strip from the backing paper
  3. Break - choose the side of the strip that best fits the shape of your cuticle. Break the silver tab away from the strip
  4. Apply - Place the strip against the cuticle line. (Press the strip to your nail. Gently stretch the strip over the nail. Firmly smooth over entire nail)
  5. Shape - Smooth excess over nail edges, forming a crease around the edge of the nail. Gently file away excess from nail edge.
  6. Repeat for remaining nails
Application of these strips was pretty easy. They went on fairly painlessly. The hardest part that I found was finding the individual strips that fit each nail. Some strips were way too big (too big = harder to trim down with the wooden stick), while others didn't cover my whole nail and left a little sliver on the side or near the cuticle uncovered (which I easily remedied with some black nail polish as filler - the Laced Up pattern is pretty forgiving to touch ups). Now, I'm a stickler and hate missing a spot on my nail even with regular nail polish so if you're not so OCD about your nails then it's really not a deal breaker and you don't really need to do touch ups.

Although the instructions mention stretching these strips to fit your nail, I found that you have to be very careful about stretching these strips and wouldn't recommend it unless you absolutely have to. It is very, very easy to stretch them too much (even pulling lightly) and overstretching will leave you with an ugly clear spot in the pattern.   

The one thing that I do love about these strips is that they are already dry so I don't have to wait and pray that they dry and do not smudge. They also come in a range of pretty cool designs and if you don't want to spend the time or money to visit a nail salon for designed nails then these strips are pretty easy to use. 
These strips do come in solid colours too, but personally I would just stick with the patterned ones since it would be cheaper just to buy a bottle of polish if you wanted a solid colour.

The only real downside that I find with these strips is that they are pretty expensive for a one shot deal and on my nails they only last about a week.

I would buy these strips again, but not on a continual basis because of the price. These are going to be my once in a while treat to myself.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Rouge Valley Veterinary Clinic

I have 2 dogs: a nearly 14 year old Yorkie and a 6 year old Bichon.

A few years ago both of my dogs were going to a different clinic. My Yorkie developed what looked to be an eye infection and the other clinic did a pretty good job in getting it under control with two different eye drops (one to clear the red out and another to be used after the redness was gone); however, a few weeks later it came back. After taking my dog back to the other clinic numerous times they were not able to get his "eye infection" under control, the drops just weren't working this time but they seemed hesitant to try anythig else. Also, he had developed a tooth infection and the other clinic was not even treating him for this, even when he was having trouble eating. I decided it was time for a second opinion!

I first found RVVH on a review website. Everyone was raving about how great Dr. Serge and his team were. I decided that ,even if the reviews weren't true, it couldn't hurt to at least have my dog looked at and RVVH is actually closer to my house than the other vet clinic.

I asked my mother to make an appointment and take my Yorkie in (since I had to work). While in the waiting area my mother struck up a conversation with a woman who was coming in to return some cans of dog food. According to my mother, this woman had a fairly young Golden Retriever that was having severe seizures. The woman had nothing but praise for the care that Dr. Serge and his team provided to her and her dog. She said that Dr. Serge tried everything he could to help her dog, but in the end his seizures had gotten too severe and none of the medications that they tried seemed to help.

When my mother and my dog were called in Dr. Serge was extremely helpful. He did his exam and a few tests and determined that my dogs "eye infection" was due to dry eyes and although my dog was producing tears they were not lubricating and basically just washing out the drops that the other vet clinic had given us. My mom was given a corticosteroid and an antibiotic for my dogs tooth infection and an ointment for his eye. We also got a few cans of my dogs hepatic food, which Dr. Serge said would be better to give him at that point because it would be easier to eat.

Within a day or two my dogs eye had begun to clear up and he was eating better than he had in a month. Amber, the receptionist, even called a few days after our visit to make sure that my dog was doing alright.

From the start we have been very, very happy with the service we have gotten from RVVH. Since then, Dr. Serge performed knee surgery on my Yorkie for a cruciate tear (superdog decided to jump off of the bed) and also managed to get my Bichon's allergic reaction under control (he gets red and itchy at the base of his tail). Every time we visit, Dr. Serge and his staff are always friendly and helpful. When I book an appointment I have never had to wait more than a few minutes to have my dogs seen, which is more than I can say for some clinics where I've had to wait nearly half an hour even with an appointment.

Now, this clinic doesn't look like much from the outside. It is located in a small strip mall and compared to some of the larger vet clinics it does seem pretty small, but the care that my dogs get at RVVH is hands above the other clinics I have taken my dogs to.

Dr. Serge is always willing to answer your questions and truly cares about his patients. This clinic is also one of the cheaper clinics that I've found and Dr. Serge is always willing to work with your budget instead of trying to gouge you for your last cent.

So if you're looking for a great vet in the GTA then please consider RVVH!

111 Island Rd., Unit #8,
Scarborough, ON
M1C 2P7

T: 416 208 7800   F: 416 208 5952 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Hagen Marina 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit (Style 5)

Recently I lost my crowntail Betta fish. He lived in a 4 gallon aquarium; however, it was plastic and did not allow for a filter or a heater. Before purchasing my next Betta fish, I decided that I should upgrade my tank a little bit. A filter was definitely the first thing on my list since I really didn't want to be doing 100% water changes all the time and I also needed something small to fit in my bedroom.

Upon visiting my local PJ's Pets I noticed that they had a number of their aquariums and aquarium kits on sale. I really didn't want to spend a bundle on the cutesy orbs or cubes (none of the cubes were really large enough anyways), but then I spotted this cute little 5 gallon aquarium kit.

This kit comes with the following:
  • a 8 inches long x 16 inches wide x 10 inches tall (5 gallon) aquarium
  • a full canopy with incandescent bulb
  • Marina Slim Filter S10 (plus 2 filter cartridges)
  • a small net
  • a supply of Nutrafin Max Fish Food
  • Nutrafin Aqua Plus and Cycle
  • a thermometer
  • a care guide 

The aquarium itself is solidly built, your classic construction of glass and silicone. The canopy is black plastic with a stainless steel-like decal on the front, but it does have an annoying plastic bubble over the on/off switch. The bulb that comes with the canopy will do for now, but it casts a yellowish tint to the aquarium. The filter is very quiet and does its job pretty well (I have one Betta in my tank so I don't need a full force gun-ho filter and this filter seems to be pretty comfortable for my fish).

One downside to this aquarium is that it does not come with a heater, but I was able to pick up a 25-watt Marina submersible heater at the store. The heaters can be pretty pricy though, even for a small one to heat this aquarium.

Another downside is that it does not come with any gravel or decorations, everything has to be purchased separately. In my case, I had gravel and decorations left over from my 20 gallon aquariums so this really wasn't a big deal.

For me, this aquarium kit was pretty much everything I was looking for. It was affordable, good looking, and had most of the stuff I was looking for in a starter kit. Small enough to sit on my dresser, but big enough to give my Betta enough space to swim around and explore.

Cam's Auto Service

I have been taking my car to Cam's Auto Service for a while, but have never gotten around to writing a review.

Cam's Auto Service is located in Corktown at 475 King Street East (between Parliament Street and Queen Street) in Toronto. You really can't miss it, it's the big PINK building!

The first thing that you notice at Cam's is how friendly the owner, Cam, is. Usually he's right at the front desk and will greet you with a smile (if Cam's not there then Carson will help you out in the same fashion). Cam is always happy to help you out no matter what your circumstances are. His service is generally quick (much quicker than most garages); however, if you get there first thing in the morning it is generally super quick.  Early morning visits generally guaranteed you a parking spot on Cam's lot and super fast service.
Cam is pretty popular and later in the day he can get quite busy and his lot can get full very fast, which means you'll have to park on the street (feed the meter if you don't want a ticket).

Cam has been taking care of my cars for a while now. It first started out with my 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier (or the Crap-o-lier as it was affectionately called) and now he services my 2009 Volkswagen Jetta and my fiance's even older Crap-o-lier. Generally my car is just general maintenance and an oil change and my costs are pretty minimal at Cam's, definitely a lot less than a dealership or one of the larger chain service places. 

My fiance recently needed a brand new exhaust system and the big box guys wanted to charge him an arm and a leg to fix it (he needed the works: new catalytic converter, new exhaust, new exhaust pipe, etc.). I told him to take it to Cam's and it was a fraction of the price.

Cam's is not like a lot of the places that will try to swindle you by telling you that you need unnecessary work done to your car. I remember sitting at Cam's and waiting for my car to be finished. There was an elderly lady who brought her car in for service and she told Cam to do whatever needed to be done because her son was paying for it. Cam came back with the diagnostic on what needed to be repaired or replaced (a pretty minimal list to begin with) and the lady kept asking Cam about a certain part that she was sure needed to be replaced because her son had told her that this particular part might not be working correctly. Instead of just trying to make another quick buck, Cam actually explained to the woman that the part was fine and that it did not need to be replaced.

So if you're ever in Toronto and need something done on your car then consider taking it to Cam's. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Spoon and Fork - The Queensway

For my birthday, my boyfriend and I decided to go out for dinner. We were originally planning on going to one of our favourite Thai restaurants, but then we remembered that a while ago we had passed a combination Japanese and Thai restaurant at the corner of Kipling and The Queensway that we kept meaning to try out.

Both my boyfriend and I love Thai food; however, between the two of us I am the only one who likes sushi.

It was a pretty last minute idea and being around Christmas (December 15) we didn't really think that we would get a reservation. We called anyway and the man that answered was more than happy to fit us in.

We arrived 10 minutes early to make sure that we wouldn't lose our reservation and were seated right away (even though the restaurant was very busy). Generally on the weekends it's a good idea to make reservations or the wait time can be very long.

Now, Spoon and Fork has 2 different menus: a standard dinner menu and an all -you-can-eat menu. We opted for the AYCE menu.

Our server was Junior N. He quickly took our drink orders and gave us a few minutes to go over the menu. I started with a combination of sushi dishes and my boyfriend started with their pad thai. Our drinks came right away and our food followed a few minutes later. Honestly, the food came so fast that at first I thought they had given us someone else's order, but it was our orders.

All of the food that we ordered that night was delicious. My boyfriend stuck mainly to the Thai menu (pad thai, mango salad, rice, etc.), while I ordered mainly from the sushi menu with a few Thai dishes thrown in.

The wait staff came around constantly to keep our table clean, remove any of the empty dishes and made sure that our drinks were full. All of the staff were very friendly and accommodating.

Our entire meal, including drinks, was less than $80 for 2 people.

The only suggestion for this place would be to up the lighting level a tiny bit. It can seem a bit too dark at times, but this is the only negative thing that I have to say about this place.

We will definitely be going back!

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