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Party Ideas for the Best Galentine’s Day Ever!

Happy Galentine’s Day from Girls on Food!

Welcome to our first official Galentine’s Day Party Guide 2018! Although it’s not technically an official holiday, we at Girls on Food can’t help but indulge in this very special day to celebrate our favorite ladies!

With Galentine’s Day approaching us on Tuesday, February 13th, and Valentine’s Day following the next day, we wanted to provide you with a few of our favorite party items and ideas to help you plan the ultimate Galentine’s Day celebration- the kind Leslie Knope would be impressed with.

There are many exclusive promo codes and deals in this party guide, so you can try many of these products at discounted prices! Be sure to keep an eye for them and any notes on expiration dates.

First: Send an American Greetings e-card to get your girl-squad pumped

The party invites have already gone out, your guest list is set and it’s the morning of Tuesday, February 13th. What better way to get your friends pumped for the party that night by sending them an American Greetings e-card?

Forget sappy, snail mail greeting cards of the past, American Greetings has an array of options that will make your galpals chuckle. Our favorites are the Smooth Hamster and the Michael Bolton e-cards.

The best part of American Greetings e-cards is that they have a monthly membership option, and you can send unlimited e-cards, no matter what the occasion is. It covers all your bases, letting someone special know you’re thinking about them and in a way that’s so much easier, creative and doesn’t leave an ecological footprint.

Use this link to receive a FREE 7-Day Trial Subscription at AmericanGreetings.com!

Then: Plan The Party

A better version of the little black book from 27 Dresses, the Panda Planner is a necessity for having a stress-free life and a perfectly organized Galentine’s dinner party. Combine that with a Maria Shireen bracelet to dress up your hair ties and a modern Snowe candle for ambiance and you’re in perfect party-planning mode! Want your own? Use the code MSxGOF for 15% off qualified bracelets, and GOFPANDA for 10% off your own planner, February 2nd through March 2nd!

Get That Kitchen Organized

Take a trip to your happy place, the Container Store, to get your home extra organized! We recommend customizing your drawer organizer (or using their starter kit) to avoid any embarrassment when your dinner guests go through your drawers for an extra piece of silverware. Go one step further by installing drawer liners that repel dirt and water, prevent sliding and add an extra layer to the design! I used the InterDesign Linus drawer organizer starter kit to organize my Littledeer wooden utensils, Centellino wine decanter, Chemex handles, chambray cocktail napkins, and Pottery Barn copper handled flatware.

You’ll need oven mitts that match your sassy attitude and are still functional when handling that hot stuff. Blue Q’s Oven Mitts are super-insulated 100% cotton and a percentage of their sales are donated to hunger relief programs throughout the world. Elevate your kitchen accessory game even further by pairing a Le Creuset Cerise Red Signature Saucepan with Littledeer’s Hand-Made Heart Paddle for love in the kitchen, and you’re ready to begin cooking!

Prepare Your Floral Arrangements

As can be assumed for any Galentine’s/Valentine’s Day event, flowers are a MUST! The Flower Chef by Carly Cylinder is a modern guide to do-it-yourself floral arrangements. With plenty of imagery and easy to follow instructions, you’ll be a pro florist just in time!

Set The Table

Here are some of the basics for setting a table:

  1. Place utensils in order of use, from the outside in (salad forks are left of dinner forks, and spoons are to the right of dinner knifes)
  2. Forks go on the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right
  3. Only include utensils that are needed based on the menu you’re serving (if you’re not serving soup, don’t put out the soup spoon).

My favorite themed flatware, that can also be used throughout the year, is the copper handled flatware set from Pottery Barn, which enhances your Galentine’s Day dinner with the handcrafted copper-plated stainless steel. Linen Hemstitch embroidered placements are far more practical than paper lace hearts, and are versatile for formal and casual occasions alike. My favorite ceramic salad and dinner plates are from the Costa Nova Riviera Collection They are safe for the dishwasher, freezer, microwave, and oven! In addition to the impressive craftsmanship, they’re great for everyday use, being that they’re extremely durable, chip-resistant, and thermal-shock resistant.

Host a Bake-Off

One fun way to bond in the kitchen with your girlfriends is to have a bake off! Foodstirs modern baking (Sarah Michelle Gellar is a co-founder) delivers non-perishable, organic dry ingredients, all natural decorations, and chemical-free dyes to make tasty treats. Their Baker’s Club is a bi-monthly subscription that features fun kits like the Sweetheart Brownies (seen in image). You can also purchase fun individual baking kits such as Rainbow Cake Pops and Out of This World Donuts. Making these brownies was so easy and I cannot wait to try their other kits! These kits are also very fun to inspire little ones to get in the kitchen. Use promo code GIRLSONFOOD for 20% off your first purchase on their site.

 A Stranger Galentine’s

For those of you who cannot get enough of this throwback thriller, why not enter the Upside Down for a theme? Stranger Things inspired costumes, Christmas lights and a round of D & D are musts for this idea. For sweet baked treats, we recommend picking up a copy of Stranger Fillings by the Muffin Brothers (a parody cookbook) for inspiration. We couldn’t resist testing out the book with a banana-blonde wig version of Eleven’s Eggo’s. WARNING: According to a study conducted by Hawkins National Laboratory, the more advanced recipes such as the Demogorgonzola Tartlets, Friends Don’t Li(m)e Pie and The Upside Down Cake could leave guests with telekinetic powers. Collectible figurines by Funko are also fun and are perfect for any fan-girl still mourning the loss of Barb.

Vino Vixens

You’re going to need all of the essentials for a wine-centric night:
1) For aerating and chilling your whites and roses to the perfect temperature, the icicle-looking Corkcicle Air is inserted directly into the bottle after being in the freezer for 90 minutes. Use the code GIRLSONFOOD for 20% off products on the Corkcicle site, now through March 31st!
2) To avoid the guesswork for your wine purchasing, order from Winc to have 4 bottles shipped to your doorstep based on the flavor profiles you know you love. For a limited time only, use the code GIRLSONFOOD for $25.00 off your first order of Winc!
3) The online store Wine Enthusiast carries all of the best wine glassware lines, including Zafferano and Fusion. The Zafferano Red Wine Glasses are uniquely shaped and remarkably lightweight and perfectly suited for bold and aged reds with the narrow opening of the mouth maximizing aroma and a generous bowl promotes oxidation for the wines to breathe. The handblown crystal Fusion Air Wine Glasses are also exceptionally lightweight with a large bowl, while also being dishwasher safe and remarkably break-resistant (if you break it, they’ll replace it for free up with a 10-year guarantee)!
4) To help guests keep track of their wine glass, the uniquely shaped Palm City wine charms are both fun and functional, with fun themed designs such as Beachy and Wine Lovers! Use code GIRLSONFOOD for free shipping and 15% off your entire Palm City order, now through March 2nd!
5) To avoid wasting any time opening a bottle of wine, the Original Rabbit Corkscrew pulls a cork in 3 seconds and then automatically releases the cork making it the most efficient opener in your collection!

Brew Up Some Fun! 

You’re about to start enjoying your craft beers and carbonated beverages in a whole new way. Become a bartender wherever you go. Unlike traditional growlers, the pressurized GrowlerWerks uKeg uses a CO2 canister to keep your beers fresh for up to two weeks after your first pour. Pro tip: Make sure to have your 33 Bottles of Beer tasting book handy for notes on the contents of each uKeg! For your own copper plated keg, use code uGIRLSONFOOD for free shipping via U.S. Ground; expires at midnight on March 2nd.

Tea Time

Being realistic, following the wine you’re going to want to wind down with a nice cup of tea and honey. One of my personal favorites is the Blackberry Sage by the Republic of Tea, which pairs perfectly with the elegantly packaged healing Manuka Honey from Kiwi Importer (raw honey made from bees that feed on the Manuka tree). Note, if you create an account with Kiwi Importer, you receive $5 off your first purchase!

Cool Beans

With dessert (or with clean up the morning after) you’re going to want to serve delicious, quality coffee. And now that specialty coffee shops ship their beans nationwide, you can pre-order your single origin just in time for your event! I personally love Ritual Coffee, based in San Francisco, for their bright red packaging and seasonal beans that make for perfect drip coffee in a Chemex.

Time For Desserts 

Treat your gals to sweets on themed Galentine’s Day dessert plates by Nicole Miller Home, sold exclusively at T.J.Maxx. Don’t forget to elevate your candy game and have a few of your favorite Sugarfina boxes on hand for snacking! After all, Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day are times to indulge; with delicious and unique flavors such as “Cheers To Us” Champagne Bears and “Love You a Bunch” But First, Rosé Roses, who could resist?

An Option For The Health-Nut

We all have that one gal-pal who insists on following her diet throughout Valentine’s Day. While we may not have the same willpower as she does, we can try to let her clean-eating influence us a little. Serving an array of Siren Snacks at your party will keep her happy and allows you to indulge in a tasty guilt-free treat. These plant-based protein bites (12 grams per serving) are dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free and soy-free and contain no artificial colors or sweeteners. This is also a girl-powered company, founded by sisters Elizabeth and Abigail Giannuzzi from San Francisco. There’s plenty of variety in flavors with Dark Chocolate Brownie, Cookie Dough and Snickerdoodle, but our favorite flavor is the Lemon Poppyseed; a sweet and zesty break from the traditional protein bars. Use promo code GIRLSONFOOD for 20% off your first purchase on their site.

Keeping It Clean

If you’re hosting a party, you must be sure guests have the option to use hand sanitizers before digging into their favorite finger foods, but don’t you hate it when those ugly anti-bac bottles are on the table? Enter: OLIKA 2-in-1 hand sanitizers. These adorable little “Birdies” keep your mitts clean with a hand sanitizing spray that is a push spray at top half of the bird and hands wipes at the base of the bird. Use promo code: GIRLSONFOOD for 10% off OLIKA purchase ($15 minimum) on their site.

Got a friend with a major sweet tooth? Be sure to check out Double D’s Truffles & Treats for an assortment of handmade chocolates. Ten dollars will get you a 15 piece gift-wrapped box and you get to customize the flavors in the box. Plus – this chocolatier, is able to create flavors by request and have them shipped to your door.

A “Happy Ending” 😉 

Have you checked out Sugary Charm’s Kama Sutra Collection? Known for their more PG-rated cookie cutters, they have recently expanded into a naughtier line of cookie cutters. Unlike standard metal cookie cutters, these are made with food safe materials (PLA- a biodegradable, plant-based plastic, FDA-approved) and, even better, they imprint the dough perfectly. Check out their site for options and use promo code GIRLSONFOOD for 25% off your Kama Sutra cookie cutters purchase.

Start your free trial now!

This post is sponsored by American Greetings on behalf of PepperJam Networks; all opinions expressed are our own. 

Macy’s Culinary Council Brings Timothy Hollingsworth to Walnut Creek

BAY AREA FOODIES!

Are you ready to spend an afternoon in foodie heaven with former French Laundry Chef de Cuisine and current owner of Otium in LA, Timothy Hollingsworth? Myself (and the rest of Girls on Food) are so excited to join one of our favorite chefs for a special cooking demonstration at Macy’s Walnut Creek, in Walnut Creek, CA, where he will be sharing a few of his favorite recipes.

When: Sunday, August 27 at 1pm

Where: Macy’s Walnut Creek, Home Department, 3rd Floor, 1301 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Price: FREE! RSVP here to ensure a spot and receive a $10 Macy’s gift card when you check in! 

Before the demonstration I’ll be roaming Macy’s latest in cookware and gadgets for my kitchen. I’m thinking with that $10 Macy’s gift card, I could stock up on some early Halloween kitchen goodies.

Also, with any purchase of $35 or more in the Home department, you will receive a special gift and a chance to meet Chef Timothy for a photo opp! I’m ready for my close-up!

Oh my gosh I can’t wait! Like many Bay Area locals, I’ve been dreaming of dining at French Laundry, so to have him cook for us personally will be such a treat! When Julianne attended his recent Culinary Council demo in LA, I was watching the Girls on Food Instagram stories salivating over his cooking!

Culinary Council is a collection of spectacularly talented chefs, pastry chefs, and food professionals that travel throughout the country and hold various tastings and demonstrations in Macy’s all over the U.S. Check with your local Macy’s to see if any are happening near you!

I’ll be live on my Instagram feed with stories, so be sure you’re following me!

 

 

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Weekly Wanderlust 8/4/17: Get $5 off Thrillist’s Taco Knockout Event in LA, Manresa Bread in Los Gatos, CA, Renegade Chocolate in Uxbridge, Ontario and Happy Hour at answer. in Nashville

Every Friday here at Girls on Food, we bring you Weekly Wanderlust, featuring the best our in cities, recipes, videos and advanced notice on events we’ll be appearing at.

TinTin here:

Thrillist’s 5th annual Taco Knockout is Saturday, August 12th, 1 PM – 4 PM at Lot 613, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles, CA.

This event is going to be packed with the most popular tacos SoCal has to offer, including Aqui Es Texcoco, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, La Carmencita Restaurant and many more. There will also be chilled cervezas from Estrella Jalisco and a live DJ set from Electric Taco.

South Bay favorite The Standing Room will be serving an original creation, Tako Poke Tacos, which we’re the most excited for. We predict this taco—a blue corn tortilla topped with smoked octopus, tobiko, ikura and chives—will be the most innovative bite there.

General admission per person is $35, but if you use the discount code THRILLISTVIP at check out, you get $5 off. Just a little gift from Girls on Food. #yourewelcome

Traditionally this event takes place in NYC but it’s about time Thrillist brought it to LA! Not trying to start a Tupac vs Biggie feud here, but SoCal really is the home of the best Mexican street food in the U.S. 

For out-of-towners, I will be live on our Instagram stories feed providing you with footage of the event. But if you’re in LA and at the event, be sure to say hi!

For more info and to purchase tickets, check out:

http://events.thrillist.com/tacoknockout2017

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It’s Ok To Be Shellfish: Good Catch Boil House in Markham, Ontario

Good Catch Boil House
179 Enterprise Blvd #109, Markham, ON L6G 0A2
http://www.goodcatchboilhouse.com/
https://www.instagram.com/GoodCatchBoil/

Image by @mjeatstoronto

Situated just north of Toronto (in York Region), Good Catch Boil House is the first Louisiana-inspired restaurant in the City of Markham. They specialize in customizable seafood boil combinations served by the pound in six flavours: Cajun, garlic butter, Szechuan, curry, lemon pepper, or Good Catch blend. I had the privilege to attend their media event to show that Good Catch Boil is not only a boil house, but they also serve gourmet pub fare that cannot be overlooked!

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Gina Homolka at Macy’s Herald Square on April 1st

Official Gina Homolka Image

This is not a joke or an April fool; Macy’s Culinary Council is hosting world renowned blogger, James Beard nominated author, and recipe developer Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste on Saturday, 4/1 at 1:00 pm. Culinary Council is a collection of spectacularly talented chefs, pastry chefs, and food professionals that travel throughout the country and hold various tastings and demonstrations in Macy’s all over the U.S. Check with your local Macy’s to see if any are happening near you!

Demo attendees will listen to Homolka dish about some of her favorite “skinny” recipes as well as get to sample them.

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Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant: 20 Years Strong in Toronto

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant
195 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1C7
http://hongshingto.com/
https://www.instagram.com/hongshingto

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant is family owned and is celebrating 20 years of operation in downtown Toronto! This restaurant is the most modern but traditional Chinese restaurant that I have ever came across, and that is why it’s my favourite! Just over a year ago, they modernized their sign from your typical old school Chinese Restaurant neon sign to this beautiful modern design. In addition to the modern exterior, they have updated their “Specials” board with lettering created by local artist, @angelita_gel.

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Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton in Toronto

Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton
2439 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4P 2E7
http://www.warungone.com
https://www.instagram.com/Warung_Indonesia_d_Eglinton/

Exterior photo courtesy of Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton

Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton roughly translates into Indonesian Small Family Restaurant at Eglinton. You can find this restaurant a couple of blocks north of a relatively busy business area of Yonge and Eglinton. They serve Indonesian style food in a comfortable and homey environment and prepare their food from scratch to order which allows you the time to just relax in the atmosphere. Recently, my boyfriend and I were invited to a media tasting of this restaurant from DKLO Events and had our first try of Indonesian food!

Toronto is a fairly multicultural city. However, it ‘s hard to come by new cuisines if you are not already familiar with it or if not recommended. This Indonesian restaurant specializes in providing their customers with customized meals. What do I mean by that? They offer a “Set Your Own Meal” option where you can choose two veggie appetizers, one veggie appetizer, and one entree served with rice. This tasting provided us with this opportunity to set our own meal!

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Hollandaise Diner: Brunch 7 Days a Week

Hollandaise Diner
2231 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1K4
https://www.facebook.com/HollandaiseDiner
https://www.instagram.com/hollandaisediner/

Who doesn’t love brunch? Better yet, who doesn’t love eggs?! Hollandaise Diner is a brunch spot along “The Danforth” in east Toronto that specializes in brunch seven days a week from 7 am to 3 pm. They are even open on CHRISTMAS DAY for your Christmas brunch needs! This east end diner owned and operated by a very proud “east ender” couple who show their love for this diner in all their dishes by preparing them fresh from scratch every morning. This diner may be small (well, it is a diner!) but, in my opinion, is worth the wait!

“Mushroom and Brie Frittata”: three large eggs, potato frittata with portobello mushroom, button mushroom, and brie served with asparagus and red pepper jelly

This diner serves a multitude of various breakfast dishes, ranging from buttermilk coconut pancakes to frittatas to a build-your-own eggs benedict. Their menu is endless! Oh, and their homefries are NOT deep fried! They may taste as crispy and yummy as if they were fried, but they are cooked on a flat top!

“The Original Eggs Benedict”: English muffin, peameal bacon, two poached eggs, original hollandaise sauce
“The Smoke Bloke”: English muffin, two pieces of smoked salmon, two poached eggs with their zesty hollandaise
“The Cajun”: sautéed Cajun spiced peppers and onions, two pieces of baked polenta with two poached eggs and their cajun spiced hollandaise sauce

Just as their diner is named, hollandaise sauce is their specialty. Their hollandaise sauce is made fresh from scratch daily, and they even offer five different hollandaise sauces (original, HP infused, zesty, coconut and Cajun) which give their diners a different experience each visit.

“The Meatloaf”: two pieces of homemade meatloaf, ketchup glaze with sautéed mushrooms, two poached eggs, and their HP infused hollandaise sauce

I have had the opportunity to sample a multitude of their eggs Benedict creations, and it ‘s hard to pick a favourite. I would say that “The Meatloaf” eggs benny is one I would keep coming back for. This benny consists of two pieces of homemade meatloaf, ketchup glaze with sautéed mushrooms, two poached eggs and their HP infused hollandaise sauce. This creation is definitely over the top and is such a homey dish. Meatloaf, in general, can be a bit dry or even taste, well, like plain meat but at Hollandaise Diner their meatloaf is super moist and is seasoned perfectly.

“The Coconut”: grilled tomato on top of bitter greens, two poached eggs, their coconut hollandaise sauce and topped with toasted coconut

Another benny I would go back for if I wanted a lighter option would be “The Coconut.” This benny consisted of grilled tomato on top of bitter greens, two poached eggs, their coconut hollandaise sauce and topped with toasted coconut. This dish a vegetarian variation of an eggs benedict and I would grab it in a heartbeat. You may think that having coconut in a dish may make it sweet, but somehow they magically were able to create this sauce without being sweet yet have that coconut flavour you’d be looking for.

Coconut buttermilk pancakes with blueberry fruit sauce

The last thing I would probably go crazy for is their buttermilk pancakes. Man oh man, did I devour this stack you see. I was super stuffed when I tried these dishes, but somehow I got myself to stuff all of this in my face, and I do not regret any second of it! This stack is their coconut pancakes (YES, COCONUT!) with blueberry fruit sauce. These pancakes not only taste like coconut but they have coconut in them! So when those coconut cravings hit, I know where to go!

“The Croque Madame”: grilled cheese, two poached eggs, and their original hollandaise sauce

One last dish I cannot go without featuring is “The Croque Madame.” This benny consists of a grilled cheese, two poached eggs, and their original hollandaise sauce. If you love grilled cheese and you love eggs benedict, then you know which benny you should have! This benny plays to my childhood, and my favourite thing to request (and cook!) was grilled cheese. I wish I thought of this sooner; having the ooey gooey grilled cheese with the creamy hollandaise sauce and the perfect runny egg yolk, it really cannot get any better.

Clearly, I do recommend this place, and I would say that it is currently my go-to brunch spot. With all of their fresh and made from scratch dishes, I will be a return customer!

Raw Spice Bar: A Subscription Box For The Epicurean

raw spice bar

raw spice bar recipes

Imagine a world with no spices. What would food taste like with no salt? No cinnamon for cookies or cakes or coffee. What would Indian food be with no cumin? Or Italian food without basil, thyme and oregano? Throughout history, the spice trade has established vast empires and compelled explorers to travel across the globe. Today, countless beauty products and holistic medicines contain spices.

Needless to say, food and life in general would be pretty bland without spices.

Enter RawSpiceBar, a company that uses high quality ingredients and careful techniques to deliver a unique trio of global spices straight to your door each month. For me personally, trying RawSpiceBar allowed me to get out of my spice rut and think outside the box. I tend to stick with the same handful of spices for all of my cooking and baking. But this reminded me that spices are vibrant, full of personality and can motivate creativity!

oktoberfest flavor kit

raw spice bar

oktoberfest flavor kit

I sampled the Oktoberfest flavor kit, which was kinda out of my spices “comfort zone,” but looking through past flavor kits on the RawSpiceBar website, all of their spices are of out of my comfort zone! I like that, though. Every one of their spice blends is interesting, and the names alone are enough to kick your sensory organs into high gear…

Rose & Cinnamon Advieh, Mango Toasted Chaat, Pimento Bloody Mary, Dark Coffee & Chiles, Achiote Recado Rojo, Turmeric Japanese Curry and more!

As a gluten free vegan (I know, I know) I’m able to take any of these flavor kits and make something unique and delicious in line with my food lifestyle. With the Oktoberfest flavor kit, I knew I was in for some savory German-inspired dishes!

Here are three easy recipes for your culinary enjoyment: one from RawSpiceBar, one I adapted from another food blogger and one of my own creation – all using my flavor kit containing three different spice blends. Guten Appetit!

horseradish & mustard cabbage

Horseradish & mustard cabbage

My flavor kit came with a recipe to accompany each spice blend. I was really excited to try this one because I love cabbage more than your average person and even though the recipe wasn’t vegan, I could tell it was going to be super easy to modify. I’m also a pretty big fan of both horseradish and mustard and the combo of the two. I recommend this as a side dish to the main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet RawSpiceBar’s Horseradish & Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cabbage, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Steps:

  1. Heat a large pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) and make sure it’s shimmering, then sprinkle RawSpiceBar’s Horseradish & Mustard Seeds across the surface and cover immediately, cook until seeds stop popping, about 1 minute.
  2. Remove the cover, turn heat to medium and add diced cabbage and onion. Add vegan butter and salt and toss to combine, stirring until vegetables begin to wilt, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature. Store extra in a sealed container in fridge.

Notes: I hope you like cabbage as much as I do, because you will have a ton it! I halved this recipe and even that was a lot.

This dish was so much more flavorful and rich than I expected, and even tastes good cold. Promise!

vegan potato pancakes

Potato pancakes

This recipe makes me very happy for two reasons. One, it reminds me of making latkes with my family every year for Hanukkah. And two, I love potatoes to the point where I feel an intervention might be necessary. Really.

I modified this recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken to suit my own tastes as well as to be gluten free. It can be a main or side dish, breakfast, a snack – whatever you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp RawSpiceBar’s Schnitzel Spices
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 an onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • frying oil

Steps:

  1. Add all ingredients except the oil to a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Pour 1 tbsp oil to large skillet on medium heat. Take a handful of potato mixture and form into a patty. Fry for a couple minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  3. Drain patties on a paper towel. Store extras in airtight container in fridge.

Notes: Makes about 12-15 pancakes. These babies taste great served with applesauce or sour cream. I make my own sauce by mixing vegan mayo with some lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Sounds weird but it’s delicious!

The schnitzel spices add the perfect amount of kick to what would otherwise be very basic potatoes. And who needs basic when you have RawSpiceBar?

vegan sausage and potatoes

Sausage & Potatoes

I may have saved the best for last, and I’m not saying that because it’s the recipe I created! This was my favorite spice combo and it went perfectly with the kielbasa sausage, smoky potatoes and crispy onions. This recipe could be the main or side dish. It’s hearty and flavorful and super easy to whip up.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tsp RawSpiceBar’s Caraway, Fennel & Anise Bread
  • 5 small red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 thin slices of yellow onion
  • 2 links of Tofurky Kielbasa Sausage, sliced into small rounds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • optional: garlic powder

Steps:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet on medium low. Saute the potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes or so.
  2. Cut the onion slices in half and add to skillet. One they begin to brown add the sausage, spices, salt and a little garlic powder. Cook another 5-10 minutes to let everything heat up together, adding water if the mixture gets dry.

Notes: This dish is delicious on its own, thanks to the spices, but you can also serve it with your favorite sauce. The caraway, fennel and anise flavors really stand out but aren’t overwhelming and everything just tastes perfecto. Store leftovers in the fridge.

german dishes

The cool thing is, if you sign up for a 12 month subscription, it’s only $7 a month. I easily spend twice that on one visit to Starbucks (shaking my head in despair). And each flavor kit contains enough spices for recipes that feed up to twelve people. But the best part, from my point of view, is that each flavor kit will challenge your creativity and culinary skills in a fun way, and bring you spices from all over the world that you otherwise may never have tried.

Head to RawSpiceBar.com to learn more. You can view the different subscription options or send a flavor kit as a gift to someone. And there’s tons of great recipes to sift through.

Thanks to RawSpiceBar for letting me try their amazing flavor kit! I see more in my future 😊

Jillian 💙

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant
2328 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E 1G9
https://www.facebook.com/isabellasboutiquerestaurant
https://www.instagram.com/isabellasbeaches

Exterior family shot courtesy of Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant
Interior

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant is a new boutique restaurant that has opened in “The Beaches” neighborhood in East Toronto. Isabella’s is such an amazing and cozy restaurant owned and operated by an equivalent amazing and sweet couple. This lovely couple met in Japan, and now they are in Canada to offer us authentic, homey Japanese style dishes. This boutique restaurant is named after their bubbly daughter, Isabella, and you can tell where she gets her charm from! It is only the owners that work here but yet they are so attentive to every guest in making sure that you’re as comfortable as you can be.

Now onto the food! We’ve been here numerous times to try their various dishes from breakfast to lunch/dinner to their sweet treats. Below are (most of) the dishes that they currently have on their menu, but there are other surprises that they always have in store.

BREAKFAST

Mochi Mochi Pancakes with Nutella sauce, banana and chocolate chips
Mochi-Mochi Pancakes with Nutella sauce, banana and chocolate chips

Mochi-Mochi Pancakes
These pancakes are so thick, but still fluffy! Plus, Nutella sauce all over these?! Serious, real eats, and treats right here! These Japanese style pancakes are a unique take on your traditional pancakes.

Tamagoyaki
Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki
A stuffed Japanese omelet (contains onions, mushrooms, cheese and bacon). If you have never tried one, you gotta try this one! The way they prepare the omelet creates such a fluffy and lush texture that you’re eating a fluffy egg cloud.

Breakfast sandwich
Breakfast sandwich

Breakfast sandwich
The breakfast sandwich may sound like your ordinary thing, but you can taste the freshness of every ingredient. The egg is perfectly cooked and round (c’mon! Round egg!) and that thick cut bacon … C’mon, BACON! They also offer a breakfast combo for $5 (taxes in!) which includes a breakfast sandwich and beverage; perfect for busy mornings.

LUNCH/DINNER

Omurice before cutting
Omurice before cutting
The filling inside!
The filling inside!

Omurice
This was my first time having omurice, and if I could, I would be making this every day. It is another version of a stuffed omelet. This one is stuffed with fried rice, mushrooms and a protein (this one is beef). Traditionally, the omurice is topped with a ketchup type sauce but Isabella’s classes it up by topping it off with a homemade demi glaze. So heavenly!

Snack size chicken terriyaki
Snack size chicken teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki
Can you believe that they make their teriyaki sauce in house?! Fresh, from glorious scratch sauce! Also, if you are not feeling rice, then you can also get this beaut in a sandwich form.

Japanese Curry
Japanese Curry

Japanese Curry
This curry is not your stereotypical spicy curry, but it is still rich with that familiar curry flavor. It is smooth and silky that you just want to lick up the whole plate!

Yaki Udon
Yaki Udon with Bonito flakes

Yaki Udon
Who doesn’t love them some noodles?! This yaki udon is a fried udon dish, very simple but delicious. It does come with an option for a protein, but we went simple and got the plain yaki udon which is topped off with some savory bonito flakes.

SWEET TREATS

Nutella macarons and cherry blossom macarons
Nutella macarons and cherry blossom macarons

In the picture are their classic sweet treats that will continually be available. These are their macarons and fluffy cotton cupcakes (also available in a full cake form). The macarons pictures are their cherry blossom (the pink), and a Nutella (brown). These macarons are a delight! They are not cloyingly sweet and are the perfect texture; a perfect portion of the shell and the filling.

(left to right) Nutella macarons, Matcha fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom macarons
(left to right) Nutella macarons, Matcha fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom macarons

Now for their fluffy cotton cupcake. These are my personal favorite. Not only are the ones above matcha iced (green) and cherry blossom iced (pink) but the main base is perfection. They are just like their name, fluffy. These cupcakes are not your typical cupcake taste or texture either; more like a cross breed between a light, airy angel food cake and a flavor-packed dense cake. I realize that doesn’t make much sense, but you have to try it! If you were to visit The Beaches, Toronto area just drop by here to grab a free sample (if available) of their fluffy cotton cake, and you’ll see what I mean!

There is always something new to try at Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant, and I have yet to try everything! If you’re looking for somewhere cozy and relaxing to enjoy a meal, this is the place to be.

Eat Purely: Healthy Nomz Delivered Straight to Your Chicago Door!

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Eat Purely 
http://www.eatpurely.com

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to give Eat Purely a try, you can use the promo code GIRLSONFOOD for a $20 credit on your first order!

Eat Purely is an app (Apple, Android, also available on their site) that delivers healthy, organic meals to your door in the Chicago area. This is great because I live in Chicago, I like healthy meals, and my schedule has become so hectic lately that I don’t really have time to cook. (Explanation: I’m too tired and lazy to make frozen pizza AGAIN.)

(Addendum: Even though I succumbed to frozen pizza tonight and am actually eating it as I write this. Anyway…)
I agreed to try Eat Purely because I like trying new things and because of my busy schedule, and I became  pretty hooked. The food is yummy and I like that there are different options each night, along with a description about each choice so you know a little more about it:

One you make a selection, you choose a time frame (i.e 6-7pm) for the meal to be delivered and enter your address. The option to tip is also included, so you don’t have to worry about having cash on hand. I do wish they would be able to provide a tighter window frame, maybe in half hour blocks for example, although I noticed the app does give you a notification when your driver is about fifteen minutes out. 

During on demand hours (4pm – 9 pm), you can see an ETA in the app (usually about 20 minutes). Eat Purely also offers on demand for lunch (only in the Loop, West Loop, and River North for now) from 11am – 2pm

So, on to the food reviews! My first order was Asian BBQ Steak with Garlic Rice and Peanut Noodles with Tofu. It arrives like this:

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First time customers will also receive a cute little note — and a little piece of dessert comes with each order as well!

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One heads up: If you order a warm dish, you will have to heat it up in the microwave or oven on your own. Heat times and instructions are provided so it’s not that big of a deal, but just know that if you’re TRULY on the go, it’s probably best to order a salad or something cold. (Like my noodles!)

My favorite of the two was the BBQ Steak with Rice, which was really good. The noodles were okay, but I found them lacking texture a bit. I ended up sprinkling some pepper flakes on them and they were pretty tasty after that.

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For my next Eat Purely adventure, my friends and I ordered in to kick off a girls’ night. I got Lamb Meatballs with curry rice, pistachio honey yogurt, and quinoa tabouleh. My friends ordered shrimp, watermelon, and tomato salad + grilled steak salad. Here is what our table looked like:

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I really enjoyed my lamb meatballs. I liked the rice and chickpea salad, although I thought the tomatoes in the tabbouleh tasted a little stale. The tomatoes in my friend shrimp salad tasted pretty good however, and I liked the watermelon + celery combination in it. We all agreed that the portions at Eat Purely are pretty generous, and were full from one main and two salads.

Feeling hungry but wanting something light the next time around, I tried the Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad with pickled squash and candied pepitas:

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I took the time to plate it a little nicer this time around. BTW, if you take the time to make your food look pretty on a plate and upload it to Instagram, tag @eatpurely and hashtag #IEatPurely for a chance to win $100! They have this contest every month. I even got fancy and added some sliced lemons — I’m a food stylist in the making, I swear!

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This salad was my favorite of all the orders. I love arugula and goat cheese so I was already a little biased, but the pickled squash was a wonderful and refreshing addition. The candied pepitas added a fun crunch, and the dressing was flavorful but light. All in all, this was a great healthy, lighter salad. I definitely plan on ordering this when they offer it again!!

My final order from Eat Purely was Moroccan Chicken with currant cous cous and grilled veggies. I also ordered the beet salad.

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Man, both of these were amazing! I will admit compared to everything else I’ve ordered the beet salad seemed a little plain, but it was also only $7. The chicken was DELICIOUS! I loved it. The cous cous was so, so good and the grilled veggies were perfect for fall. This is another dish I definitely recommend trying out if they have it again.

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Overall, I’d say that Eat Purely is a great option if you have a busy schedule and no time to cook. The options are tasty, and you can tell they really put a lot of love into their company. I’m thinking of having dinner delivered to my work next time, and they just recently started doing LUNCH too, so that’s a perfect option! 

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to give Eat Purely a try, you can use the promo code GIRLSONFOOD for a $20 credit on your first order!