A made-in-Canada subscription box for breakfast lovers: A review of October’s OatBox

I received October’s OatBox for free in exchange for an honest review. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes

OatBox is a monthly breakfast subscription box from Montreal, Canada. It includes two sizeable bags of handcrafted granola blends that are 100% natural and preservative-free, plus two recipes that use or complement the granola. Gluten-free boxes are available and subscriptions can be delayed or cancelled free of charge.  A made-in-Canada subscription box for breakfast lovers: A review of October’s OatBox

I’ve got 99 problems but online shopping ain’t one: Gourmet Trading’s 800+ products now available online. See what we tried + A giveaway!

Gourmet Trading sent me a selection of products to try in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

If you follow me on social media (and if you don’t HELLO, PRIORITIES PEOPLE!!) you know that I’ve been trying some more products from Gourmet Trading over the past couple of weeks. The Canadian specialty foods importer and distributor first reached out last year and got in touch again recently when they launched their new online store. Now everything I’ve tried — and more than 800 other products — can be shipped to your door. Which is a godsend for those of us who prefer not to wear pants. #pajamasarelife Read on to see what we loved, get a discount, and enter to win some of my favourites.  I’ve got 99 problems but online shopping ain’t one: Gourmet Trading’s 800+ products now available online. See what we tried + A giveaway!

What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food + Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Ottawa summers are like Zac Ephron: short and hot. California hot. Too hot to think about what to have for dinner, but too short not to make the most of all of the fresh fruits and veggies in season. Luckily people like Gaby Dalkin have done the thinking for us. The LA recipe blogger from What’s Gaby Cooking just released a cookbook with the same name, and it’s full of everyday dishes designed to be made and enjoyed in an easy, carefree, Cali state of mind. The 125+ recipes use fresh seasonal produce and readily available pantry staples for dishes for any occasion, from a day at the beach or a picnic at the park, to a Mexi-Cali fiesta and outdoor pizza party. Nourishing smoothies and salads and veg-and-grain-packed bowls are balanced with indulgent treats like Strawberry Shortcakes, Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares (sooooo deelish!) and a Summer Fruit Galette. Here’s a look inside the book and a recipe to try (we did!), the Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart.  What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food + Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart + Win a copy!

Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Although Nathan Turner didn’t get as much air time as the other stars of Million Dollar Decorators (probably because he stayed pretty clear of the drama), I always wished we’d seen more of his California Casual style. “To me, it means a laid-back room, a friendly host, and a beautiful table with simple recipes and fresh ingredients,” the decorator/author/entertainer and California native says in the introduction to his new book (and my wish come true), Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat and Entertain the West Coast Way Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!

The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier

Thomas Allen & Son sent me The Pesto Cookbook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

Although I’m rather pitiful with houseplants, we’ve had a few times when our herb garden has done so well that we didn’t know what to do with it all. But now I’ve got all kinds of ideas, thanks to The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier. Her new book (she also wrote The Apple Cookbook) combines herbs, oils, garlic and other ingredients in a wide variety of pestos, pastes and purées, plus an additional 75 recipes to incorporate pestos in dishes both savoury and sweet. Today I’ve got a peek inside and one of Olwen’s recipes we really enjoyed, the Olive, Thyme and Parsley Pesto.

The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier

Green Sangria for St. Patty’s Day 🍀

Two Oceans sent me some wine to facilitate this post, but all opinions are mine and from the heart. 

St. Patrick’s Day is usually a slap-dash affair over here with a last-minute run to the dollar store for green hats and sunglasses and whatever else we can find because for some reason not one of us has a single green tee in our closets. The overall effect is as tacky as it gets, but it doesn’t have to be. With this easy Green Sangria you can be quick like a leprechaun and classy too, with layers of jewelled green fruits like the rolling hills of Ireland. Invite your lads and lasses and raise a glass to the emerald isle (and St. Patrick too). May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. Green Sangria for St. Patty’s Day 🍀

DIY marbled eggs and entertaining tips + A giveaway!

Two Oceans sent me some wine and craft supplies to facilitate this post. All opinions are mine and from the heart. 

With Easter just around the corner I’ve got a fun craft for you today that would make a cheap and cheerful addition to any Easter table and a quick and easy activity to do with family and friends. Let’s make some DIY marbled eggs! Handmade Jungle‘s Victoria Stacey developed this clever craft for Two Oceans Wines and I’ll show you eggs-actly how to do it, plus share some of Victoria’s entertaining tips and a giveaway to get you started. Let’s hop to it!  DIY marbled eggs and entertaining tips + A giveaway!

Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr

Penguin Random House Canada sent me a copy of Tanya Bakes in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

It’s a grey and drizzly day here in Ottawa, much like I imagine it to be in UK lifestyle blogger and YouTube star Tanya Burr’s corner of the world, only hers probably smells like fresh-baked cinnamon buns or lemon drizzle loaf or any of the other homey puddings, pastries, cookies and cakes in her lovely book, Tanya Bakes. It’s her first cookbook and her second book (Love, Tanya was released in 2015) and she’s got a third coming this September called Tanya’s Christmas: Make, Bake and Celebrate (which I’ve already got, thanks to my magical unicorn friend Maria). Inside this one are page after page of comfort foods — mostly desserts, but also some breakfast dishes and a pizza — accompanied by a brief bit about where or when they were first enjoyed or a tip on how to serve them. Many are family favourites, some a tribute to friends, and a few borrowed from the kitchens of beloved Brits Nigella Lawson, Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver.  Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr

Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast — 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations

Sasquatch Books sent me a copy of Scandinavian Gatherings for review purposes. All opinions are mine and from the heart. 

With a high of 7°C, it’s been milder here today then it has in ages yet even so, all I want to do is burrow under the covers and not come out until Spring has sprung. Fortunately I have lots of great books to keep me company. One I keep coming back to is Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast — 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations by Melissa Bahen of the food and lifestyle blog Lulu the BakerScandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast — 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations

And someone’s going to win this too! A look at The KitchenAid stand mixer Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment

TSC sent me the KitchenAid Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment and the Artisan Mini stand mixer to try free of charge. The opinions in this post are mine, and not Rogers’. 

I’m so excited for tomorrow! One of you lucky readers is going to win a gorgeous KitchenAid Artisan Mini stand mixer plus the slicer/shredder attachment I’m going to quickly show you here. (If you haven’t yet entered, don’t miss your chance!) I’m not exactly known for my knifing skills and have regular run-ins with the grater so the slicer/shredder attachment is one of those things I should have picked up years ago. It’s easy to use, even easier to clean (which is important) and does the job much quicker (and smarter) than I do. You’re going to love it!  And someone’s going to win this too! A look at The KitchenAid stand mixer Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment

Five things + a giveaway I don’t want you to miss!

I received the KitchenAid stand mixer and slicer/shredder attachment from TSC for free to review. The opinions expressed in my post are my own and not those of Rogers. And the same for Mad Radish — they sent me a gift card to pay for lunch. I think the gift cards are a great idea for holiday giving. (And receiving! Just sayin’.)

At some point today I’ll actually get out of my jammies and into the shower but I may just put them right back on because that’s how I roll. I have no plans to go out and all the plans to stay in (love those days!), and a pot of tea at the ready to keep me going for a while. Here’s the highlight reel from recent weeks and a reminder about an amazing giveaway wrapping up tomorrow morning that I don’t want you to miss. Happy Sunday!  Five things + a giveaway I don’t want you to miss!

Big gingerbread boys with KitchenAid’s Artisan Mini • A merry little recipe and review #gingerbreadforthewin

I received the products mentioned in this post for free from TSC. The opinions expressed in my post are my own and not those of Rogers. 

With less than a week to go, polling shows gingerbread has a decisive lead in the festive treats race. (Check out my last post for cute cookie ideas, a giveaway and up-to-the-minute poling results.) Today I’ve put a few new twists on an old family favourite. It’s a gingerbread boys recipe I think you’ll enjoy. (Of course you can make them girls or stars or whatever else you fancy.) My friend Cathy’s mother-in-law used to make them for her sons and grandsons when they were little (actually she still does). Their giant size thrilled the kids and their heft made them easy to handle and not so easy to break, which is essential when shipping them by post. On those years the grandkids couldn’t make it to see Nonna at Christmas time, she would package the gingerbread boys in popcorn to protect them on their journey, along with all the decorating essentials. I know. So sweet, eh? And isn’t it sweet that while I had visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, TSC had visions of me making cookies. To help me meet the demand for gingerbread boys they kindly sent me a KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer to review, and boy-oh-gingerbread-boy, this baby can dough go!  Big gingerbread boys with KitchenAid’s Artisan Mini • A merry little recipe and review #gingerbreadforthewin