In Search of Yummy-ness

A Canadian Food Blog

Maple Crunch Chocolate opened


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I Bought a SeasonsBox

This blog post is really overdue. I meant to put it up 2 weeks ago but then my computer decided to crash…  *sigh*… Anyhow, I’m finally up and running and can begin catching up on posts!

SeasonsBox Feb 2013

What is a SeasonsBox? 

SeasonsBox is a monthly subscription service that “strive[s] to introduce you to luxurious environmentally conscious products that meet [their] highest quality standards and that will stimulate your senses.” Each box includes 3-5 full size luxury products that are selected to match a theme. The theme could be a season, holiday or other special occasion. I believe the company shipped out their first boxes in December 2012, so they are fairly new.

The nice thing about these boxes is that, unlike many other subscription boxes, they included products for the home, body, and occasionally they include edible products too. The subscription is available to residents of the United States and Canada, all prices on the website are in USD, and the boxes are shipped from Brampton, Ontario (Canada).

SeasonsBox Info Cardopened seasonsbox feb 2013

How much does it cost? 

SeasonsBox is a little more expensive than some other subscription boxes available right now, but it’s important to realize that you are getting full size products. Many other subscriptions only give sample-size products in their boxes.

You can either buy a subscription or make a one time purchase through the SeasonsBox website. If you purchase a subscription for 3, 6, or 12 months the price per box is reduced – like buying in bulk.

Subscription Pricing (prices include shipping)

  • Bill monthly for $34.90
  • 3 months for $99.70 (save $5) + 5% Store Discount
  • 6 months for $174.50 (save $34.90) + 10% Store Discount
  • 12 months for $349 (save $69.80) + 15% Store Discount
  • One time purchase or Gift it for $39.95

My box was shipped via FedEx Ground, and I received a tracking update email when it was delivered.

What’s the cancellation policy? 

I contacted the founder of SeasonsBox, Agnes, to get the answer for this question. Here is her response:
“For the month-to-month option you can cancel at any time with no obligation.
For the pre-paid (3, 6 and 12 month discounted subscriptions) the only time you can cancel and get a refund is prior to your first box shipment. However, we have a “skip a month” policy. Since we reveal our boxes monthly and for some reasons you decide a particular month’s box does not fit your life style, you can simply email us to skip that month (move a month ahead).
Our mission is introduce you to environmentally conscious products that meet our highest quality standards and to provide great customer service. For that reason we think you would love SeasonsBox.”


What’s Inside?

I was extremely pleased with the February SeasonsBox! The theme was “Love Yourself”, and I decided that this would be my valentines gift to myself.

I received a chocolate bar, a body scrub, a face mist, and a package facial cloths. See details below each photo.

Maple Crunch Chocolate

Galerie au Chocolat Fair Trade Bar in Maple Crunch
Retail price $5.00 USD, $5.00 CDN

 

This fine Belgian chocolate is made with a high percentage of cocoa. It has a rich chocolate taste with lots of crunchy maple bits. I’m eating it as a write this blog post… yum

Juicy Bamboo Facial Cloths

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths
Retail Price: $17.00 USD, $19.99 CDN at Whole Foods

These 100% biodegradable cloths are sulfate, paraben, alcohol and synthetic fragrance free. They smell like Vitamin C tablets and honey, which is a good thing because they have both of those ingredients in them (and that smells better than it sounds, I promise).
dream organics rose water

Dream Organics Rose Water
Retail Price: $19.00 – $22.00 USD

This rose water should improve your complexion, reduce redness, and set your makeup. I really love how this smells. It’s exactly like the rose water used in Iranian desserts, very fresh and not at all artificial.
Bambu Earth Salt Glow

Bambu Earth Sugar Cookie Body Polish
Retail Price: $17.00 – $18.00 USD

I’m excited to use this body polish. It smells like almond cookies! This scrub is made from great ingredients like dead sea salt and organic coconut oil and is free of synthetic fragrances.

The February box is no longer available, but you can purchase these items from the SeasonsBox store here

Did I Subscribe?

Yes, I did! Although, to be honest, it’s really not in my budget right now. I cancelled a magazine subscription to help offset the price 😛
I went with the 3-month plan so I can do a couple more reviews, and I’m planning on ordering boxes with interesting food items. The March box preview is on the SeasonsBox website right now and I decided to skip it because I already have a few teas to write about.

Overall I’m really impressed with SeasonsBox though. When my income increases I’d like to subscribe to the 6 month plan. I think it’s a great way to treat yourself, and the boxes would make great gifts too.

If you’re interested in subscribing to SeasonsBox, please use my link. I’ll get $5 and SeasonsBox will include “an additional seasonal must-have product with your first box for free!” Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise you can contact SeasonsBox at support@seasonsbox.com.


Additional Information:
 If you enjoy reading reviews on subscription services, you should check out the Petite Pear Style blog. I actually discovered SeasonsBox through Ellesy’s blog, and was enticed by her descriptions and photographs. She also reviews TopBox, Glossybox, Glymm and other popular boxes so be sure to visit her blog!

Maple Crunch Chocolate opened
YUMMY!~
Paramount Butcher Shop


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Paramount Butcher Shop

Paramount Butcher Shop Mississauga

Paramount Butcher Shop
4646 Heritage Hills Boulevard
Mississauga, Ontario

Hours: Monday – Sunday   9:00AM – 9:00PM
(905) 890 -1700

http://paramountbutchershop.com

Paramount Butcher Shop is the first meat “boutique” that I’ve come across. According to their website, their mission is to “provide our customers a new and exciting experience,” and they offer “the highest quality of halal meats, poultry and deli, presented in a new and enticing way by the finest butchers.”

The store is certainly different from your typical butcher shop. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly clean the store is. Everything looks shiny, new, and inviting. Then I noticed that I couldn’t smell the meat, which is great because the smell of raw meat makes me a bit queasy.

Paramount offers a variety of beef, lamb, veal, and poultry products including pre-marinated meats. Their seasonings are based on Middle Eastern flavours and their spicy products can be very hot. I happen to enjoy their spicy dry salami and spicy beef sausages. They do not offer any pork products because they are a halal shop and pork products are not included in Islamic dietary guidelines (but you don’t have to be Muslim to shop there).

The products tend to be more expensive than meat you can buy at most grocery stores (except for maybe Whole Foods). This is largely because you are paying for time and talents of the butchers, as well as the quality of the meats. I’m not an authority on butchering or charcuterie, but I can tell just by the look of the meat that it’s different from what you can buy at a big-box grocery store. The chicken and ground beef has a lot less fat than what I buy at Metro, for example.

While I can’t afford to shop here all the time, it’s worth making a trip there for certain items.You can get gorgeous hand-cut steaks, hand-made sausages, or a Frenched rack of lamb. Their customer service is good too. There is usually someone behind every counter available to help answer your questions or prepare your order. I had a nice conversation with one of the butchers recently about sausages (since they are something that I don’t usually make at home). He was really friendly and helped me pick out a few sausages to try, and told me how to cook them. I think my dad and I overcooked them but they were still tasty… (click thumbnails for cooking instructions).


You may be interested in knowing that Paramount works “directly with local farmers” and “believes that great tasting meat starts with naturally fed animals that are bred in a healthy environment.” Also, their deli meat does not contain dyes or preservatives. To my knowledge the meat is not organic though… (let me know if I’m wrong!).

If you’re in the area, you should definitely check out this shop. They also have locations in Toronto, Thornhill, and London (Ontario). For store locations click here.

This is my first attempt at a photo gallery. Let me know if you like it 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

*This is not a sponsored post.

Chopped Canada


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“Chopped” is coming to Canada!

Chopped Canada

Screen Shot from Food Network Blog
http://www.foodnetwork.ca/blogs

I just wanted to do a quick blog post to express how incredibly excited I am about this announcement!

I love watching the U.S.A. version of Chopped and it would be neat if any of my foodie friends become contestants on the show. For some reason the cooking competition genre hasn’t become boring to me yet, even though there are so many out there. I really enjoy Top Chef and Sweet Genius. I could live a full life without watching any more makeover shows however, but I digress!

If I hadn’t seen my friend T.F. share the news from the Food Network’s page on Facebook, I probably wouldn’t have found out about this for a while. I haven’t had time to watch TV lately… anyhow, if you or someone you know is interested in applying to be on the show then be sure to check out the Food Network Blog.

Good luck to all who apply!!

Fairy Water


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Padma Lakshmi’s Fairy Water

Padma Lakshmi's Fairy Water

A few weeks ago Padma Lakshmi was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Padma is one of my favourite TV personalities and her segment on the show was a lot of fun. She cooked a lentil salad from her cookbook, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, and made Fairy Water. I was eager to try making my own Fairy Water because I’ve been trying to consume green tea daily, but I don’t particularly enjoy the taste of it. Here is my own version (which was really nice) if you want to give it a try.

Glass pitcher with water

Start with a pitcher of fresh water. I used about 3 cups.

Pouring liquid into a glass pitcher

Pour in steeped green tea. I used about 3 cups of organic green tea.

Water with green tea and apples

Add your flavourings. I used a quarter of an apple cut into thin slices and two cinnamon sticks. Top off with extra water.

Fairy Water

Enjoy!~


(Obviously this video does not belong to me, I’m just sharing it)

Weekly Meal Planner


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Meal Planning Binder – Part 1

Weekly Meal Planner

The new year is well on its way, and I’ve finally started to set my annual goals. One of them is to be more organized… which always seems to a struggle for me. I get overwhelmed fairly easily. The first area of my life that I need to organize is my cooking routine. I absolutely hate coming home from work (starving) and having to figure out what to cook for dinner. The best solution to this problem is to use a meal planner.

Now, I’ll be honest, planning your meals can be about as much fun as budgeting. But it’s just as important! Some excellent reasons to use a meal planner are:

1.To save money.
Planning your meals means you can go to the grocery store with a plan. If you purchase only what you plan to cook (and actually use the groceries, don’t let them spoil!) it’s easier to stick to a budget or avoid wasting money on food that won’t get eaten.

2. To track your eating habits/diet.
Are you trying to eat more vegetables or less junk food? Creating a meal plan will help you because you can clearly see what you will be eating every day for the entire week. You can see where you need to add more vegetable dishes etc. Be realistic though. If you usually only eat one serving of vegetables a day, don’t try to increase your daily amount dramatically. Gradually change your eating habits and track your progress with your meal planners.

3. To save time and share the work.
For me, this is the best part of meal planning. If my family knows what we’re going to make for the week, we can plan ahead. I can prep ingredients ahead of time or delegate the task to someone else. If my brother gets home before me, he can put the chicken in the oven. Then all I have to do is make the rice and vegetable dish when I get in. It’s wonderful!

I remember watching Sandi Richard’s show on Food Network, called Fixing Dinner, and thinking that it all looked to good to be true. We’re still getting use to using the meal planner but so far so good….

Click here to download my Weekly Meal Planner for free 🙂

Nestle Scaries


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Nestle Special Edition Halloween Themed Treats

Nestle Special Edition Halloween Chocolates 2012

Nestle has given a few of their most popular treats a spooky new look. These special edition wrappers are too cute to pass up! I purchased mine from my local 7-Eleven, and I’ve heard that they are available at Shoppers Drug Mart too. Look for a special stand-up display; usually near the entrance of the store.

The chocolates themselves are exactly the same as the originals. If you can’t get your hands on these, try making your own festive wrapper. This craft was featured in Woman’s Day magazine and I saw it on Pinterest too: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2011/10/27/halloween-candy-bar-covers/

Coffin Crisp: Nestle Special Edition Coffee Crisp Bar 2012

 

Nestle Scaries

 

scAero: Nestle Special Edition Aero Bar 2012

Nestle Special Edition Kit Kat Bar 2012

Are you ready for Halloween?