My Highlights of 2017 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference – Part 1

Hi everyone,

Welcome back 😁 and saying Hello to a new month, November already! How did this year go by so fast that it is the end of the year now? Wow!! Thou will be a busy end of the year with the upcoming Holidays and I love the Holidays!! Excited to be sharing with you guys soon about Holiday posts😀 But first, I been very busy since being back from my amazing Food Bloggers of Canada conference in Ottawa at the end of October. It was a busy yet a fun & foodie filled 3 days conference with my fellow Canadian bloggers. I left the conference feeling inspired, filled with new knowledge & information and excited about expanding my own blog.

This was my 3rd time attending this amazing conference and it has become an annual tradition for me attending the FBC conference. I love getting together with my fellow Canadian bloggers and catching up with friends or meeting new friends. Every year it is different and I love the experience along with learning new concepts and ideas on blogging.

If you were following me along with my FBC conference adventure through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 or Instagram @SweetBFoodie24 (and my stories), hope you enjoyed the photos and live updates while I was at the conference if you weren’t able to join us.

Quick Update

Things will be busier for me for the end of the year as I have started a temporary Admin job with my focus and career path still as a blogger. As some of you know, I left my full time Admin job earlier this year to focus on this blog and refocus my health situation. I am still continuing to grow with this blog and still maintain a balance between Admin work and blogging. I am looking for the right Admin job to balance what I love to do more as a blogger. We will see how this temporary Admin job turns out…😜

So finally I’m here and excited to share with you all, my readers my full experience at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference for those who were not able to attend this foodie conference.

This is my full Recap (warning has it might be a LONG post…😊) of the amazing and fun Food Bloggers of Canada 2017 conference taken place to our nation’s capital in Ottawa, Ontario this year to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday and their 5th conference where 150 bloggers, brands and speakers in an intimate atmosphere to network, providing professional development and of course delicious food. FBC2017 was held at Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre. The conference was held for 3 days.

Day 1 – Friday, October 20, 2017

I took the afternoon train by VIA Rail train from Toronto to Ottawa. I had a relaxing leisure train ride to Ottawa after a very busy 1st work week at my Admin work and at the same time packing & prepping for the conference. I usually take Business class when I take VIA Rail and this was no difference, love travelling business class as I liked the assigned seating and meals on the train. I enjoyed my dairyfree lunch consisting of delicious rice with chicken and beans, salad, whole wheat bun, and fruits! Some beautiful scenery as I headed to Ottawa. Arrived in Ottawa around 4:50pm there was a slight train delay.

I arrived at the Delta Ottawa City Centre Hotel by bus, which took approximately 20 mins not too far from the VIA Rail station. There was a Lentils Lounge to welcome us attendees and for Conference Registration as well in the Life Lounge of the hotel. I wasn’t able to attend as I arrived after 4:30pm.

I took a few minutes to take in, unpack and relax from my train ride of the beautiful and modern Delta Ottawa City Centre Hotel in my hotel room. I had the King bedroom and with a cityview on a lower floor, not much of a view, but enjoyed my medium size room. I guess I’m more used to more spacious rooms, but still enjoy this room with the modern design and high tech gadgets such as the clock with iPod plugin.

Kickoff Cocktail Reception

Starting FBC2017 with a cocktail reception and I arrived for the cocktail reception near the end and enjoyed a few appetizers along with my fave drink to start off the conference – a refreshing & sweet Fall Sangria with apples and cloves inspired by Ontario Apples

There were lots of yummy appetizers to enjoy. My fave was a Vegan Carrot Chickpeas Patties with Lemon Tahini Dressing by Half Your Plate.

Lentils.org Dinner

For the dinner that evening it was hosted by Lentils, it was a mix and mingle type of dinner with tabletops where we were able to chat with other attendees while enjoying a healthy delicious foods that incorporates lentils in each dish. I thought that was an interesting and great idea. I don’t eat much lentils and it was great to see what dishes that each vendor decided to do. There were several food stations to select from. It was hard to find a tabletop to eat though…😀

Thank you to Lentils for our 2nd Swag Bag that includes “All The Things Sweets” cookbook by Renée Kohlman, cute Go To utensils and lunchbox.

My fave dish of the evening was of course not surprised the dessert table, it was the 1st thing that I saw and loved the 4 different dessert that was offered. Love that these desserts had lentils in it.

  1. Top Fave – Spiced Apple Skillet Cake with Streusel toppings by cookbook author of All The Sweet Things – Renée Kohlman, love any apple desserts so it was not a surprise when I fell in love with this dessert!! It wasn’t too sweet just perfect, love the moist cake too. I secretly had more than 2 pieces I’m so bad lol!!
  2. Sticky Toffee Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chucks, this was pretty good too despite me not a chocolate person at all (yes if you didn’t know I don’t eat chocolate, it’s a surprise to lots lol!!) and I don’t eat chocolate. I tasted more the toffee part.
  3. Fruit Skewers – Loved the fresh fruits too, beautiful display! Always refreshing to have fruits and stay healthy.

Besides the desserts, my 2 fave savoury dishes were:

  1. Lentil Sweet Potato Pierogi with Cider Pickled Cabbage and Crème Fraiche, but I had the Vegan option so no Crème Fraiche by The Wellington Gastropub.
  2. Lentil Sausage by Carben Food & Drink. It was a simple yet delicious sausage and love that it was vegan too. Beautiful plating for this dish!!

Overall, a great and delicious different types of food to start of this amazing and foodie conference. It was great to reconnect with familiar friends & bloggers and meeting new bloggers during the mix and mingle dinner as well.

For more information on the above Sponsors, vendors and authors, please see below:

Day 2– Saturday, October 21, 2017

Breakfast with Ontario Apple Growers

FBC2017 started Day 2 with a healthy & nutritious breakfast by Ontario Apple Growers. Unfortunately due to personal reasons sadly missed this delicious breakfast as I love apples too.

Ontario Apple Growers provided a healthy and delicious breakfast with Apple French Toast, Apple Parfaits, fresh fruits, and etc.

The Keynote Speaker for the morning was Elizabeth Baird, author and editor of multiple cookbooks both on her own and with Canadian Living who she was also a former Canadian Living food editor. She also is a member of the Order of Canada. With her many years of experience in the food industry, it was an honor to listen to Elizabeth Baird and listen to her vast experience working in the food world about the history of food and cooking and tips.

The rest of the morning was divided into workshops that we (attendees) got to sign up before the conference. I attended 3 workshops that morning that included:

  1. How to Snag Media Opportunities and Survive Interviews – Presented by Zannat Reza and Will Lamont
    • Even though I haven’t pitch to any media yet about my blog and brand, it was a great topic for me to learn more and understand. It was interesting to hear about how to handle radio, print and tv interviews if I was ever to approach towards the media section.
  2. Behind the Brands: What PR Teams Need Bloggers To Know – Presented by Heather Travis
    • Great session with Heather Travis with lots of tips and advice for beginner bloggers like me. Getting a better understanding what PR are looking from bloggers such as pitching the right time of season/year, Earned vs Paid means through relationships, define your business, and more. Learned lots in this short session.
  3. Standing Out In a Crowd: Building Your Brand Identity – Presented by: Sam Turnbull
    • Great presentation and lots of advice & tips from Sam Turnbull on learning more about your brand identity. Her main points was to know your niche so your readers know who you are. Another tip was having keywords related to your topic and blog and use those keywords in your blog or when you talk about your blog so the readers know who you are.
    • She was very inspiring speaker and passionate about her niche and who she is.

Saturday Lunch hosted by Half Your Plate

After a full morning session of learning and filled with lots of information to take it, I was ready for a healthy lunch hosted by Half Your Plate. They provided for us a create your own Buddha bowl (I think that’s what you call it), which is a bowl full of vegetables, healthy grains and lean protein for a perfectly balanced, nourishing meal topped with a unique sauce.

It was actually my 1st time having a Buddha bowl and loved the variety that Half Your Plate provided for us with full of fresh ingredients to create it. I love the vegan Soba noodles!! I created my Buddha bowl with Soba noodles, rice, fresh apples & oranges and tofu topped with hoisin sauce. Yum!!!

Of course, I always love my dessert and loved the fresh fruits and the delicious lemon squares.

Boots & Roots with Farm & Food Care

For the 1st time at the conference, hosted by Farm & Food Care – 8 local farmers (egg, mushroom, diary, beef, hog, grain, vegetables and apples) held a great session for us bloggers to answer our questions about food and farming. Each farmer had it’s own table where we were able to go to different farmers and learn more about that particular farmer food specialty. It was great to learn more about local produce.

Afternoon Treats with Cookina Popcorn Bar

I loved the Cookina Popcorn bar station for our afternoon snack session. I loved that there was a diary free option as well as they had kernels available to pop fresh popcorn with no butter. They used Cookina reusable bag to pop the fresh popcorn and love that you can reuse it. They had a variety of flavor toppings to add to the popcorn as well.

Saturday FBC Dinner

FBC hosted a beautiful and appetizing dinner that evening and sat with a variety of people from bloggers to cookbook authors. It was great to interact and engage with others. I had the diary free option dinner that evening so my main course was the delicious, moist, and flavourful roasted chicken with mini potatoes and asparagus. My fave was the palette cleanser, which was a lemon sorbet with frozen fruits on top, it was soooo beautiful! I loved it!!

Winter Squash Salad

Lemon Sorbet with frozen fruits & flower

Roasted Chicken with mini potatoes, carrots and asparagus

That evening, our dinner speakers were food writers & adventurers and authors of their new cookbook, Feast – Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. It was a pleasure meeting them and hearing their story on their road trip and how they met each other.

Me with Dana and Lindsay during book signing

Of course, the best part of any meal is my fave desserts, FBC had special desserts by Cake & Shake Dessert Bar to make their famous Nanaimo Bar cakes. For the vegan and gluten free option, Strawberry Blonde Bakery made a replica of the Nanaimo Bar cakes in the vegan version.

I decided to go with the Apple Nanaimo cake with the apple donut on top (I couldnn’t resist lol!) as I spoke with the baker and he explained the apple one doesn’t have any diary product in it except the frosting so I didn’t eat the frosting..:) I also tried the gluten free cookies as well!

What a great and scrumptious dinner to end Day 2 of FBC2017. I couldn’t believe how fast the conference was going and that only Sunday half day left of the conference before it finishes. I booked to stay an extra night instead of leaving Sunday evening so I was happy to have majority of Monday to enjoy sightseeing in Ottawa before going home Monday evening.

This concludes Part 1 of my Highlights of FBC2017 conference in Ottawa, stay tuned for Part 2 to find out about Day 3 of FBC2017 and how my last day in Ottawa went and what places I visited and did I visit a vegan bakery? Stay tuned! Check back this weekend to find out!! ☺

-Sweet B.

For more information on the above Sponsors, vendors and authors, please see below:

Food Bloggers of Canada

Website – click here

You can follow FBC on Facebook @FoodBloggersOfCanada, Twitter @FoodBloggersCA and Instagram @FoodBloggersCA

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My Food Travels – Summer Getaway 2017 to Kingston, Ontario

Hi everyone,

Well it’s officially Fall weather despite the weather being a warmer Fall than seasonal temperature and with mid-October already, which means we are in full swing with the season for apples and pumpkins both representing the Fall season. One of my fave seasons is Fall, why? I love the cooler yet sunny days and the beautiful colourful leaves changing. The best thing about Fall is the delicious and warm apple desserts that I pick fresh from the farm.

What are you looking forward to enjoying in the Fall season? What dessert or foods you usually look forward to enjoying? Let me know below in the comments, I always love to hear from my readers.

3rd Feature – Food Travels in Kingston, Ontario AGAIN – Part 2

Fall is also the perfect time for Fall getaways or day trips as its in between the high peak seasons and I usually love travelling at this time to take advantage of the off-season prices, still warm & beautiful weather before winter and less crowded for tourist areas.

This is my 3rd Feature for my Food Travels if you haven’t read my previous ones, I love travelling to new cities or towns to explore and discover new bakeries and restaurants along with the sights and attractions in a new city or town whether it is in Ontario or in Canada or USA. I love sharing my discovery with my readers.

Why I Love Kingston?

Last year, I discovered the beautiful and historic charming city of Kingston and because I fell in love with this charming city so much that I went back to visit Kingston on an one night getaway in the summer back in July to visit one of my friends who recently moved to Kingston.

Kingston is one of my new fave travel destination and it is the perfect getaway for Spring, Summer or Fall. As I have previously travelled to Kingston in the Fall last year, you can check out my Fall Adventure here ->My Food Travels – Fall Getaway 2016 to Kingston, ON“. If you haven’t been to Kingston yet, you are definitely missing out. It is located in the Eastern part of Ontario on the end of Lake Ontario where the beginning of the St.Lawerence River is. The city is located midway between Toronto and Montreal. It is known for the “Thousand Islands” tourist region.

A great reason to visit Kingston in the Fall or Spring is that Kingston offers local fresh foods and you can find an array of fresh produce and products at Kingston’s Farmers market. I love fresh and local foods, Kingston is a great place to enjoy local foods. There are a few Farmer’s markets that you can check out during your visit. One of the popular markets is the Kingston Public Market, which is located in Kingston’s historic downtown, right behind City Hall, the Public Market is full of vendors selling the highest quality local produce, prepared foods, garden plants, flowers and handmade crafts. I was able to check it out during my visit in July and loved checking it out discovering some fresh jams and along with handcrafted jewelry.

There are other farmer’s market such as The Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market, The Frontenac Farmers’ Market, and more, which I haven’t been able to check out yet. You can find more information about other farmer’s market on Kingston Tourism site -> www.visitkingston.ca.

Quick Facts on Kingston

Some quick facts on Kingston, Ontario for those who would to know more information on this city:

  • Kingston is home to Fort Henry and part of the Rideau Canal of UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Resting-place of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister
  • The Best freshwater sailing harbor in North America
  • Queen’s University, the Royal Military College of Canada and St. Lawrence College
  • Offers vibrant arts, entertainment, recreation and leisure communities
  • Offers lots of events, festivals, and attractions
  • A bustling downtown core with a variety of independent & unique shops and a variety of amazing restaurants to offer
  • Beautiful parks and trails

Kingston City Hall at Night

My Experience

My 2nd visit to this beautiful & charming city of Kingston was this summer in mid-July 2017. Despite the short visit, I enjoyed every minute being in my new fave travel destination. It was my 1st time though in Kingston in the summer time and loved it! This year it wasn’t a hot summer, but still enjoyed the warm weather while I was in Kingston. This is why Kingston is a perfect destination for Fall as well.

I travelled by VIA Rail Train to Kingston with a stop to Belleville, ON first then to Kingston for an event. I usually travel by VIA Rail Train within Ontario as it’s the easiest, comfortable and relaxing way to travel from Toronto to destinations within Ontario or Quebec. As I previously discussed in my other Travel posts why I love travelling by train, you can check out my Travel Reviews here -> click here for more information about VIA Rail and why I love travelling by train.

On my short summer visit to Kingston, ON, I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted to. But still had an amazing stay in Kingston catching up with my friend and exploring the downtown area of Kingston more.  I love the small town feel in a city like Kingston with the beautiful waterfront views and nature surrounding the city! The water views in Kingston are stunning and I never get enough of this amazing view. I enjoyed my overnight stay with shopping, eating of course and sightseeing the downtown core. Of course, I had to stop by the popular “Kingston” large signage by waterfront near City Hall and the train. Love these huge signages around Ontario, Toronto is not the only one now having these signs for tourist spots! 😀

A must stop in Kingston for me is checking out my fave bakery, Cards -> click here, located downtown Kingston and walkable distance to the waterfront afterwards to enjoy their sweet treats. They make my fave Oatmeal Raisin cookies. I love Cards because they use quality ingredients with no additives or preservatives and it is homemade. Check out my Kingston – Part 1 for more about my fave bakery, Cards and why I love it. Definitely recommend for all my readers to stop here for a sweet treat as Cards has a large variety of baked goods to try!!

I also love to discover new bakeries or restaurants in Kingston as well with every visit besides returning to my fave places. I love the variety and local food in Kingston, I’m excited to share with you 2 vegan friendly places I found that I didn’t know about in my last visit to Kingston.

New Vegan Friendly Restaurant & Bakery To Check Out in Kingston

Score Pizza

If you are looking for dairy-free pizza like me if you didn’t know, I have a dairy intolerance and now enjoy dairy-free products. I discovered Score Pizza in downtown Kingston who offers custom pizzas with fresh and healthy ingredients made with their stone fire oven where your pizza is ready in minutes. They have a large variety of fresh veggies, meats and cheeses to choose from. They even have gluten free crust. Yes, Score Pizza has vegan cheese, which is perfect for me and those who enjoy dairy-free products.

It’s not often in Toronto that there are places who offer dairy-free cheese so I don’t get to eat pizza as much as I used to. So I was happy and thrilled to have found Score Pizza in Kingston to enjoy a custom order pizza with vegan cheese.

What I love about Score Pizza is that you can custom made the pizza you want it, there are lots of combinations of ways you can enjoy your pizza and made tailored to each individual as we all know, everyone has their own taste!

I custom made my pizza to a chicken, pineapple, mushrooms and tomatoes as I love pineapples in my pizza!! It was simply delicious, their quality of food is excellent!! It was quite busy when I went to Score Pizza on a Friday night, but the service was friendly, helpful and at a pretty fast paced, which I loved. Great atmosphere as well!

If you are looking for a fresh and healthy customized fire oven pizza with a variety of combinations, then look no further than Score Pizza to satisfied all different individual tastes.

Score Pizza interior, *Photo Credit to Score Pizza Official Website*

For more information on Score Pizza, please check out their website -> Score Pizza

You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @ScorePizzaKingston and Instagram @ScorePizza.

Geneva Crêpe Café

A new vegan friendly dessert place I discovered in Kingston is Geneva Crêpe Café, which is a cozy café with a taste of Paris in Kingston. How lovely is that!! This cozy and sweet café is located downtown area of Kingston. What I love about this café that it offers fresh local ingredients and seasonal produce, that’s why I love about what Kingston has to offer.

Geneva Crêpe Café first opened in August 2010 and it specializes in French crepes (savory & sweet), Belgian waffles, homemade soups and seasonal salads. They also offer great choices of espresso and speciality coffee and tea. Geneva Crêpe Café is privately owned and operated and is proud to support local farmers by offering fresh seasonal produce and meat.

What I like about Geneva Crêpe Café is that each crepe is made fresh to order with their fresh and local ingredients. They offer vegan options with their buckwheat batter for a gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly alternative.

I ordered a custom crepe – Strawberry and mango buckwheat vegan crepe with strawberry sauce and sugar icing on top! I like that they offer a variety of crepes and even do custom made crepes to suit each person taste. It tasted delicious, the sweet fruits and the crepe itself was made fresh and you can tell from the first bite of it, it’s hard to describe how perfect this crepe was. If you didn’t know, I love any mango desserts so this was a perfect dessert for me to end my 1st night in Kingston. I also ordered an Earl Grey tea with soy milk to go. I love that this café is vegan friendly and I’m able to order dairy free products here.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the café – a casual and friendly place to enjoy this sweet dessert. Also, the customer service at this café was excellent and friendly. If I had any questions, they were able to answer them and assist me if I needed any help with deciding my order.

If you haven’t stopped at Geneva Crêpe Café in Kingston, then you are definitely missing out on a taste of Paris in Kingston as their crepes are simply the best! You would feel like you were in Paris after enjoying their sweet crepes. Don’t forget to stop at Geneva Crêpe Café when in Kingston…😊

For more information on Geneva Crêpe Café, please check out their website -> Geneva Crêpe Café.

You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @GenevaCrepeCafe and Twitter @GenevaCrepe.

My Accommodations – Inn

For my 2nd visit in Kingston, ON, I decided to stay at Green Acres Inn, which is conveniently located 10 mins within the downtown area of Kingston. My last visit, I stayed at a hotel within the core of downtown Kingston, making it easier to walk around downtown.

Green Acres Inn is a charming and spacious Inn making you feel like a country side home with spacious appointed rooms and suites that includes a small kitchenette in the room and modern feel to the room. In most rooms, there is even a whirlpool tub, which my room had and it was great to have to use to relax after a day of walking around downtown. Green Acres Inn has a large spacious space as they have a Victorian Gazebo and a large outdoor pool beautifully situated on seven picturesque acres.

This is a very charming and friendly Inn to escape to for your trip, vacation or getaway to Kingston. It is operated by a family owned Inn and very friendly front desk service I received when I checked in and any questions I had during my stay. Also at this Inn, it is also environment friendly as they offer water with water bottles or in jugs for your room.

Overall, I had a great and relaxing stay at Green Acres Inn and loved the beautiful landscape views that it offered. I didn’t feel like I was in the city at all more like in the country and peaceful. I especially loved the outdoor pool as I was lucky to have gone when the weather was warm enough still to use the outdoor pool. I enjoyed a late afternoon swim after I checked in before heading into the downtown Kingston area. I highly recommend this charming, friendly, and beautiful landscaped Inn if you are planning a stay in Kingston and looking for an Inn where it is like a home away from home in the country side.

For more information on Green Acres Inn, please check out their website -> Green Acres Inn.

You can also follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @GreenAcresInn and Instagram @GreenAcresInn.

Another amazing, fun, and foodie adventure getaway to a charming and beautiful city of Kingston, Ontario. If you are still reading this, thank you for letting me share my travel adventure with you I know it was a bit long. 😉 If you haven’t travelled to Kingston yet, I definitely recommend you check out this beautiful and charming city a perfect Fall, Spring and Summer getaway. There is so much Kingston has to offer that you will definitely not be disappoint as this was not my 1st visit and will not be my last one either. I look forward to visiting Kingston again very soon most likely next year!!

It’s a busy month for me in October with working on ideas for new blog posts, the surprise project I’m working on, which I will be sharing with you guys shortly and of course I’m excited about attending the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference in a few days. Been busy prepping for that as well!

Don’t forget to stay connected with me for the latest blog post updates & especially for the upcoming FBC Conference as I will be doing lots of updates from Ottawa with photos and yes Instagram stories too so look out for all the fun and yummy foods I will be enjoying.

If you don’t already do, please follow along with me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 & on Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Until next time….will be doing a full blog post on FBC2017 Ottawa once I’m back so look out for that to get the full scoop and if my summer getaway to Kingston, ON isn’t an inspiration for a Fall getaway to enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery in Kingston and the warm weather we still have, what are you waiting for?? 😀✈

-Sweet B.

For more information about visiting Kingston, please see below:

Kingston Tourism Website -> Visit Kingston

You can follow them on their Social Media networksFacebook @StayInKingston, Twitter @VisitKingston1 and Instagram @VisitKingston.

For more information on VIA Rail, please check out their website -> VIA Rail Website

 

 

My Highlights of Vegan Food & Drink Festival 2017

Hi everyone!!

As the warm summer days are coming to an end and it is now officially September. I can’t believe how fast our summer went by this year!! Can you?? I took advantage of the last week of August to relax and enjoy the summer days outside when possible with day trips to the beach and more. How did you enjoy your last week of summer??

While summer isn’t quite over yet despite the cooler weather already and feeling like Fall weather. Even though Fall is one of my fave seasons coming up & excited for. One of my fave activities in the summer is attending food festivals. This summer already been to a few food festivals and love sampling new foods to share with you, my readers. As I usually go quite a few food festivals, I will share with you my fave ones (food festivals) and you can always check out my Instagram account @SweetBFoodie24 to see my stories and photos for all the food festivals that I attend. Trying to post a bit more on my Instagram stories when I can. Hope you guys enjoy them!

I love attending food festivals and discovering new foods and learning from vendors!! If you have a suggestion of a food festival that I haven’t attend yet, please let me know. You can leave your comments below! Thanks, I always appreciate any comments and suggestions from you guys!

On Saturday, August 19, 2017I attended my 2nd Vegan festival of the summer and this is also my 2nd time attending the Vegan Food & Drink Festival with my sis who is also my foodie partner going to food festivals together. I love sharing my food festival experiences and especially with my sis is a great person who I also call my best friend that I’m so happy that we get to share these experiences together. It is becoming a tradition for us now going to this particular food festival sharing our love for vegan foods! As you know or if you didn’t know, I have lactose intolerance so I enjoy non-dairy products now. Almost a year in a few months where I discovered I am lactose, I am still learning and discovering new dairy-free products and vegan lifestyle. This is a great Vegan festival to discover new vegan foods or re-discover your fave vegan foods!!

If you haven’t been to the Vegan Food & Drink Festival before, here are some basic information about it:
  • This is the 3rd Annual Vegan Food & Drink Festival
  • Date: Saturday, August 19, 2017 (One Day Festival)
  • This event is also hosted in Chicago (June 10, 2017) and New York (October 1, 2017)
  • Time: 11am – 7pm
  • Location: Fort York Garrison Commons (same as last year)
  • What Does the Festival Offer: vegan comfort food, cold drinks, and live entertainment
  • Cost: $10 (Early Bird Price) & $20 (At the Door) -> I bought mines in advance during the Early Bird Pricing
  • Vendors: From local & visiting vendors including some USA vendors this year

I was excited to attend my 2nd time at this large Vegan Food & Drink Festival this summer with lots of different vendors to choose from. This year, we got lucky with the weather and it ended up being a warm great summer day for a food festival unlike last year where it rained majority of the day. It was a lot easier to enjoy delicious vegan foods without your umbrella lol!

If you haven’t been to this large Vegan Food & Drink Festival before, I suggest planning ahead and checking out the vendors online and research them before going and get an idea which ones you like to visit. For me, it was still tough to choose and narrow down certain vendors to try. I love the large selection of vendors though to choose from just makes it hard to decide lol! I ended up sampling majority of the vendors I wanted to and some I didn’t and hopefully next time I could. 😊

I felt that this year the layout of the festival was better in terms of flow where the vendors were located and making use of the large Fort York Garrison Commons. There was a bit more seating areas this year. I love the signages that they had around the festival grounds this year a bit more than last year and it created a great addition to the festival. Check out below their famous “Vegan” sign that I took with my sister. I been noticing that most events and festivals are doing the huge word signage ever since the Toronto sign at City Hall started it. I love them though!! 😀

Overall, a great summer day sampling and discovering lots of new vegan foods along with some shopping in between eating lol!!  

At the Vegan Food & Drink Festival, besides all the delicious vegan foods, there are also clothing and accessory vendors. One of the vendors, The Imperative is Toronto’s 1st 100% all-vegan shop and the creators of the Vegan Food & Drink Festival itself. It was great to see their merchandise at the festival as I haven’t been to the retail store myself. I ended up getting a cute tee and a button (photo below).

Their retail store offer vegan and cruelty-free products and there were quite a few items at the festival showcasing their products from the store. At their retail store, they offer from t-shirts to beauty products to housewares and more. I’m looking forward to checking out their retail shop one day to see myself what they have to offer!

For more information on The Imperative, you can visit their Facebook page @VeganImperative and Instagram @theveganimperative. Their retail store is located on 1332 Queen St. West, Toronto, Ontario.

One of my fave jewelry vendors was there back at the Vegan Food & Drink Festival, Jewels by SJB. If you haven’t checked out Jewels by SJB, you definitely should as I love her unique and beautiful handmade jewelry. Sue is from Toronto, ON and has a collection of hand forged, cruelty free jewels and creating beautiful detailed pieces. She uses genuine gemstones that includes .925 sterling silver and 14K gold fill metal. She is also a vegan who shares her message through her jewelry.

Of course, I couldn’t resist getting one of her beautiful unique pieces and ended up getting a beautiful necklace – her Gem Drop Necklace with the Purple Amethyst.

For more information on Jewels by SJB, you can visit her website at www.jewelsbysjb.com. You can also follow her on Facebook @jewelsbysjb and Instagram @jewelsbysjb.

Finally what my fave foods were at the festival, I know you guys have been waiting for this. Go check out my faves & delicious photos. 😊

My Fave Savoury foods from the Vegan Food & Drink Festival are:

1.Boon BurgerI was excited to see Boon Burger as one of the vendors at this festival as I discovered Boon Burger a few weeks ago and visited their Burlington location and loved it! Of course, I had to sample one of their delicious vegan burgers as there are no locations in Toronto. If you haven’t heard of Boon Burger, it is Canada’s First All Vegan Burger Café. Boon Burger offers “100% cruelty free food, that tasted delicious and that was ultimately a better choice for our health as well as the environment.” They are opening a new location in the Fall 2017 in Hamilton. Hoping one day for a Toronto location, but for now I can always venture over to Burlington for the best vegan burgers.

I had their Festival Burger made with black bean patty at the festival with their sweet Peach Chutney sauce. It was delicious!! As I’m not a full vegan, you can’t tell that the patty is made from black bean and I love that this is a healthier version of an actual meat burger. I love their vegan burgers!! After trying their burgers a few weeks ago, I’m still impressed with Boon Burger and their high quality food along with their friendly customer service at the booth. I highly recommend checking out Boon Burger if you have a chance in Burlington or Hamilton (opening Fall 2017). You can check their website for other locations (Barrie, Guelph).

For more information on Boon Burger, you can visit their website at www.boonburger.ca.

You can follow them on their social media networks on Facebook Burlington one @BoonBurgerBurlington, Twitter Manitoba location one @BoonBurger and Instagram Burlington one @BoonBurgerBurlington. Check their website for the location social media you are looking for they have different ones.

2.Champs Diner – My 2nd fave savoury dish from Champs Diner who is one of the US vendors that came to Toronto. Champs Diner is from Brooklyn, New York serving New York’s fave all-vegan diner with American’s comfort food for about 5 years now. I was excited to also try some of their foods as I heard good review about them.

I had their Tofu Benedict Waffle Fries only as I was getting full by the time I reached their booth and I’m hoping next time I get to try their vegan burger too. But I simply love their Tofu Benedict Waffle Fries with fried tofu, fried ham, cherry tomatoes and homemade Hollandaise sauce. I’m not a fan of Hollandaise sauce too much, but it was light and not overpowering the dish, which I loved about it.

When I visit New York next time, now I know where to go for delicious and comfort American all-vegan diner food. I can’t wait to visit their actual diner!! If you are one of my readers in the USA, then I highly recommend you go visit their diner and try their delicious and homemade vegan foods.

For more information on Champs Diner, you can visit their website www.champsdiner.com.

You can follow them on Instagram @ChampsDiner.

My Fave Desserts from the Vegan Food & Drink Festival are:

1.Chimp TreatsI love my ice cream, but now that I’m dairy free it’s a bit harder to find dairy free ice cream. I discovered Chimp Treats at the festival and they have their Nice Cream frozen dessert that are 100% made from fruits. I love their booth too – very colourful and cute designs! It is a creamy frozen dessert made entirely from bananas. They have their three flavours: classic Banana, Mango Banana and Strawberry Banana. It is fat free, low calorie and no sugar added.

I tried their Mango Banana sample at the festival and loved it!! It is soft and creamy with the right amount of sugar and I can taste the mango in there. I definitely loved it!! I highly recommend you try it too. I can’t wait to get my own pint of Nice Cream at a grocery store! Will be checking out where they sell them.

For more information on Chimp Treats, you can visit their website at www.chimptreats.com.

You can follow them on their social media networks through Facebook @ChimpTreats, Twitter @ChimpTreats and Instagram @ChimpTreats.

2.Glory Hole Doughnuts – One of my fave pastry dessert at the show is definitely Glory Hole Doughnuts. Their doughnuts are hand-made and fresh everyday with real and local ingredients! They make 3 different types of doughnuts – yeast, cake and vegan. They rotate their flavours seasonally.

I was lucky enough to sample their Vegan Hibiscus Berry Glazed doughnut – it had a hint of rose tea infused flavour in it and loved how moist, soft and the right amount of sugar in the doughnut. It wasn’t too sweet!!

If you are looking for delicious and fresh Vegan doughnuts, I definitely recommend you guys check out Glory Hole Doughnuts at their bakeshop in Parkdale area of Toronto downtown.

For more information on Glory Hole Doughnuts, you can visit their website at www.gloryholedoughnuts.com.

You can follow them on their Social Media on Facebook @GloryHoleDoughnuts, Twitter @GHoleDoughnuts and Instagram @GloryHoleDoughnuts.

Another refreshing and fresh frozen dessert that I didn’t mention is Happy Pops. They are all natural ice pops made from real fruit and low calorie. They are also vegan and dairy free ice pops. I also sampled one of their ice pops, I got the Mango flavour one not surprised since I love anything mango…😊 I loved it! You can taste the actual flavour of the fruit of mango and love how fresh it was with low calorie of sugar. I also recommend Happy Pops as well to try it yourself!

For more information on Happy Pops, you can visit their website at www.happypops.ca.

You can follow them on their Social Media by Facebook @HappyPopsTO, Twitter @HappyPopsTO and Instagram @HappyPopsTO.

It has been another successful and delicious vegan summer festival that I attended with my sister. With summer coming to an end, I had enjoyed this summer attending to several foodie festivals by sampling new foods, interacting with vendors, learning about new food products and the outdoor atmosphere.

It will be a busy next few months before end of the year and I’m excited for next month Food Bloggers of Canada food conference in Ottawa where this will be my 3rd year attending. I’m looking forward to sharing with you my readers my experience at the conference. Also working on something new for 2018 so stay tuned!!

Don’t forget to stay connected with me for the latest updates, next blog post, and my foodie adventures through Twitter @SweetBFoodie 24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24 (if you have noticed, I been posting a bit more on my IG stories so go check that out esp when I’m at a food event..😉 )

For now, let’s get ready for Fall weather with delicious warm desserts and beautiful colourful leaves scenery while still enjoying the sunny warm Fall days. In this summery festival blog, remembering what hot summer days are like enjoying delicious vegan foods. Back on my hunt to discover new bakeries or restaurants and new travel ideas to share with you guys!

Until next time….

-Sweet B.

For more information on Vegan Food & Drink Festival, please see below:

Website: Vegan Food & Drink Festival Main Site -> click here

Social Media: You can follow Vegan Food & Drink Festival along with their other festival locations, next year festival & updates through

Facebook @VeganDrinkFest, Twitter @Vegan_Fest and Instagram @Vegan_Festival.

My Food Travels – Spring Getaway 2017 to London, Ontario

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to my sweet foodie blog!! I’m back now!! Can you believe that it is August and half the summer is already over?? 😁 Summer is going by quickly, but we still have the rest of the month to enjoy these sunny and rainy days?? There seem to be more rainfall this year than normal, which I’m not too fond of. I hope that everyone is still enjoying their summer so far like me.

I decided to take a mini break from writing in July as I had a busy schedule with my mini summer getaway to Belleville and Kingston along with other activities like attending food festivals, watching baseball, spending time with my family and more. What have you guys been up to this summer?? Did anyone discover a new bakery that I can try?? You can leave me a comment below, I always love to hear from my readers.

Quick Update

Getting things back on track, I’m also working on a few ideas and looking for new delicious bakeries or restaurants or sharing with you my next foodie events in August as in August & September there are a few food festivals to attend that I’m looking forward to.

Don’t forget if you want the latest updates on my next blog post or to follow my foodie adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 OR on Instagram where I’m posting a bit more stories now so you can check those out too @SweetBFoodie24. For any upcoming food festivals or events I’m attending, check my Instagram stories as well as my photos for the live updates.

2nd Feature – Food Travels in London, Ontario

My next feature in my Food Travels is in London, Ontario where I went to London for a mini getaway in the Spring time on the last week of May 2017. I haven’t been to London before even though I was born in Toronto, ON I am still discovering new cities within my province of Ontario. I love exploring new cities or towns so I was excited to go to London as I read and heard that London’s culinary scene is known for it’s local and seasonal food from farm to table and their outstanding farmer’s market and on the rise in a lot of their restaurants are plant-based cuisine. I was excited to explore what London’s vegan type of foods has to offer and esp discovering their vegan bakeries.

I look forward to sharing with you in this blog post more about my foodie adventures in London, ON. I love travelling in the Spring as well because that’s when warm weather is back after the winter and travelling in the Spring I find that it is less expensive than travelling in the summer. You can still enjoy warm weather with less crowd than the summer for sure. I always prefer to travel during off seasons than high peak seasons.

I travelled by VIA Rail Train to London, ON as with my 1st Feature to Kingston, ON (click here -> Fall Getaway 2016 to Kingston, Ontario ) I mentioned why I love travelling by travel, you can check out that post for more information. Overall, for me, it’s the easiest, comfortable and relaxing way to travel from Toronto to London or to any destination within Ontario or Quebec. I have yet to travel further yet but train for me is a good option for Ontario and Quebec areas. This year I love the signage for celebrating Canada’s special “Canada 150” year on the trains.

Quick Facts on London

Some quick facts on London, Ontario for those who would to know more information on this city:

  • London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
  • London is at the confluence of the Thames River where there are trails to see the beauty of Thames River, approximately halfway between Toronto, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan
  • It is approximately 2 hours train and drive ride from Toronto
  • London is known for its culture and entertainment scene with their The historic Grand Theatre, Museum London, London Music Hall, Western Fair District and the 10,000 seat Budweiser Gardens, all located downtown. As well a city home to festivals including: Sunfest, the Home County Folk Festival, the London Fringe Theatre Festival and etc.
  • London has a number of parks to explore including Victoria Park which is located downtown London making it accessible that has lots of events and attracting an estimated 1 million visitors per year. Other major parks include Harris Park, Gibbons Park, Fanshawe Conservation Area, Springbank Park, and Westminster Ponds.

Information taken from London Tourism website (click here -> London Tourism site)

My Experience – Sightseeing

Overall, I enjoyed this small town feel in the city of London, Ontario for my mini Spring getaway. As I live in a big city in Toronto. I loved that London has a small and friendly town city feel with their downtown similar to Toronto easily accessible with shopping and variety of restaurants to choose from. I love the combination of the city life and nature surroundings in London with the Thames River and parks within the city.

With my short visit to London, I was able to visit a few of the main attractions including Covent Garden Market (which is a large market filled with fresh produce, shops, restaurants and a farmer’s market located in the heart of downtown London), Museum London, Eldon House Historic Site (located in downtown London’s oldest residence that has been preserved and maintained since 1960 and was donated to they city of London by the Harris family. It has the most beautiful gardens in the city.), Budweiser Gardens, visited a few parks including Victoria Park, Ivey Park along the Thames River, and Harris Park and of course visited a few bakery shops (details below my fave bakery shops).

There are still many more things to do and see in London, ON, which I would love to come back and visit again. I did quite a few things and visited and ate so much delicious foods and desserts in London lol…😄 in one short visit…😊 I left London feeling so full and satisfied my sweet cravings lol!! But in a good way!! It was a fun culinary foodie adventure in London and I look forward to my next visit!!

Hotel

I stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown hotel. It is conveniently located downtown London, Ontario on Colbourne Street at King Street making it easily accessible to the downtown core. It as only a 10 mins walk from the VIA Rail train station, which I was happy that I was able to get to the hotel by walking.

The Residence Inn London Downtown Hotel was recently renovated with a fresh, newly updated and modern bold look to the overall hotel and even the rooms. I been staying with the brand Residence Inn and Marriott and I always love their spacious rooms compared to other hotels. And this was no difference, I stayed in a 1 bedroom suite and loved how big and spacious the room was and loved the newly updated look. My bedroom was in a separate room on it’s own and love how the living room and kitchen in it’s own space. It felt cozy and right at home like a small apartment.

I loved the location of the hotel as I was able to take a bus or walk to most of the restaurants, shopping, and attractions within the hotel area. Other great features about the hotel are complimentary wifi and full American breakfast in the morning. Only negative is there was no pool in this hotel. As I love to swim especially in the evening after a day of exploring the city, that would have been nice. But I can’t complain as everything else about the hotel was exactly what I expected with a lot of great features.

The Lobby of Hotel

Most importantly, I had great customer service both at the front desk very friendly and welcoming when I first arrived and checking out along with any issues I had during my stay, which I didn’t. They were very helpful as well with any directions I needed within the downtown area.

Overall, another amazing stay with my fave brand – Marriott, this time staying at Residence Inn London Downtown. I highly recommend this hotel if you are planning a stay in London and especially great for longer stays with the spacious rooms making it feel more like home than a hotel with kitchenette, business center services available and lots of space to work.

My Fave 3 Desserts / Bakeries in London, Ontario

If you are looking for some sweet desserts shops and bakeries, I am recommending when coming to this beautiful and foodie city to satisfied your sweet cravings, you will not be disappointed. Here are my Top 3 that I recommend you checking out in London:

1. Marky’s Crepe Café

Location: 484 Richmond Street, London, ON

Website: Marky’s Crepe Cafe -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @Markyscrepeandwaffles, Twitter @Markyscrepecafe and Instagram @Markyscrepecafe.

Looking for the best crepes and waffles in London, ON, then go to Marky’s Crepe Café is a small, cozy and friendly café offering authentic desserts to diverse taste of London’s locals known for their delicious waffles and crêpes. They also offer Panini, Sandwiches, Salads, cakes and smoothies. I love that they have vegan and gluten free options. If you are looking for a vegan option for the crêpes, they offer buckwheat crepe options, which was perfect for me as I enjoy dairyfree option now. I requested by e-mail a day in advance that I was coming and they were able to accommodate to make the vegan option for me as they don’t make it on a daily basis so if you were coming please let me them know ahead of time. Overall, a great experience at Marky’s Crepe Café, I love their small and cozy café. They have a very small selection of seats inside and now they have a patio as well. Great customer service, the staff was very friendly there and very helpful loved how patience she was with me. I ended up ordering a custom vegan crêpe with fresh mangos and strawberries and icing sugar on top. It was simply delicious!! Loved it!! If you are looking for delicious freshly made desserts esp crêpes, don’t look any further than going to Marky’s Crepe Café in London!

2. Organic Works Bakery

Location: 481 Ridout Street North, London, ON

Website: Organic Works Bakery -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @OrganicWordsBakery, Twitter @OWBakery, and Instagram @OrganicWorksBakery.

Organic Works Bakery is a cozy and boutique organic and gluten-free bakery located at their new retail bakeshop location at Eldon House. They originally first formed in 2007 and over the years made its mark as the only certified organic, gluten free bakery with savoury treats, breads and other baked goods made in a gluten free facility. They are continuing their focus on providing healthy options to their customers.

When I visited Organic Works Bakery, the Eldon House was still under construction on the outside, but was still able to locate it. I love this rustic and cozy bakery with so many options to choose from. Great customer service by the staff as well and very helpful explaining about their products as well. It was hard for me to choose, but chose the Vanilla Raspberry Swirl cupcake and took home a few organic apple oats cookies as I love cookies so how could I resist lol!! The cupcake was moist and soft, the frosting wasn’t too sweet, it was just perfect!! I loved the cupcake!! The apple oats cookies I took them home on the train ride to have a snack and it was delicious! If you are looking for a variety of baked goods with healthy options and gluten-free, I highly recommend Organic Works Bakery.

My delicious & sweet Vanilla Raspberry Swirl cupcake in the garden

3. The Boombox Bakeshop

New Location: 520 Adelaide Street North, London, ON

Website: The Boombox Bakeshop -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @TheBoomBoxBakeshop, Twitter @BoomBoxBakeshop, and Instagram @theboomboxbakeshop.

The Boombox Bakeshop is a vegan friendly bakery and café where they specialize in cupcakes, cakes, mini pies, cookie sandwiches and more. I was excited to visit one of my fave desserts, cupcakes esp vegan cupcakes…😋 I visited The Boombox Bakeshop on one of their last few days before moving to their new location, so please be aware that they have now officially moved into their new location, which is only a few spaces down from their original location at 520 Adelaide Street North, London, Ontario.

I loved their outside signage, very cute with bright & bold colours! Despite the moving process, inside their old bakeshop, love the unique and cozy environment with the boomboxes as decorations and a combination of the music and baking! I had the Tropical Punch cupcake and definitely felt like it was a summery cupcake filled with sweetness. The cake of the cupcake was moist and not too sweet. I look forward to my next visit to The Boombox Bakeshop to check out their new location and see what it looks like along with sampling more of their cupcakes and other baked goods. That day I had lots of yummy food and desserts before going to the bakeshop so was a bit full lol!!

It was a great Spring getaway to London, Ontario exploring a city with a combination of beautiful natural scenery and water views along with their fresh and local culinary scene focusing a bit more on the plant based cuisine. I definitely had a very foodie weekend enjoying lots of different foods and desserts / baked goods in London. I have enjoyed London’s small town atmosphere in this city setting.

If you haven’t been to London, ON before, I would definitely recommend for you to come and explore this small town atmosphere in a city setting to see what I been talking about. I can’t wait to come back to London again to further explore other parts of London and enjoy more of their local and plant based cuisine!! I always love exploring new cities and I look forward to my next foodie and travel adventure!

If you read most of this blog, thank you as I know it was a bit long, but hope you enjoyed reading about my foodie travel adventure in London, Ontario.

As summer is coming to an end, I’m enjoying what is left of summer and looking forward to more Fall food festivals coming up in September. Looking for my next sweet vegan bakeshop or restaurant to share with you….😋

-Sweet B.

For more information on London, Ontario, please see below:

Website: Tourism London Site -> click here

Website: City of London, Ontario -> click here

Social Media: You can follow Tourism London & stay up to date through

Facebook @TourismLondon, Twitter @Tourism_London, and Instagram @TourismLondon.

Hotel: Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown -> Website -> click here

 

 

 

 

My Honey Sweet Summer Dairy Free SkinnyPop Popcorn Recipe

Hi everyone,

It is officially summer now and I’m ready for beach days, more food festivals, summer day trips and of course summer foods or for me, summer desserts or snacks. What are you looking forward to this summer?? Is there a summer food you enjoy most at this time of year? Love to hear what you guys enjoy for the summer so please feel free to leave a comment below.

As some of you know, I enjoy dairy free products because of my food sensitivities as I still learn and discover new foods that are dairy free as I always love to share them with my readers. I thought that I always share new vegan bakeries or restaurants that I also share with you new food products.

Now that summer is finally here, I thought what better light fluffy summer food to enjoy than popcorn, right? I recently discovered a dairy free popcorn that is perfect for me that I didn’t know before until now called: SkinnyPop Popcorn. SkinnyPop Popcorn is a premium popcorn kernel that has no GMOs (genetically modified organism), no artificial ingredients, gluten free, dairy free, peanut free, no artificial flavours, zero trans fat, and preservative free. Their motto is using simple ingredients such as whole grain popcorn, natural sunflower oil and perfect amount of salt combine together to give you a “delicious snack that you can feel great about eating everyday” – SkinnyPop Popcorn website.

SkinnyPop Popcorn comes in Popped Popcorn (already popped), Popcorn cakes and mini cakes and their new product is their microwave popcorn. SkinnyPop Popcorn also comes in different flavours from Sea Salt & Pepper to Naturally Sweet to Jalapeño to White Cheddar (Dairy Free).

I recently picked up their Popped Popcorn in the original flavour and I thought it be great to add a healthy and summer twist to it the popcorn. After searching for ideas as I’m not much of a cook or baker, I thought of a simple and easy recipe that I would love to share with you. It’s an easy recipe for the summer and perfect for the upcoming Canada’s Day celebration to share with your family and friends.

My new simple & easy recipe is called: Dairy Free Sweet Honey Popcorn with Dried Fruits. When you think of summer, you think of light and sweet so I thought with a healthy twist to put in dry fruits and with this recipe using dried strawberries and apples as strawberries are known for summer fruits. A great combination with strawberries are apples, but you can also substitute it with other dried fruits that you prefer or have just the dried strawberries on it’s own, which still works out perfectly.

The ingredients for this recipe includes: SkinnyPop Popcorn, dried strawberries & apples, brown sugar, honey, and coconut oil. I’m using coconut oil in this recipe instead of butter as it’s the dairy free alternative to butter. An interesting tip is that I found out that coconut oil is tasteless so if you were worried about making the popcorn tasting like coconut, don’t be as it doesn’t from making this recipe myself.

Instructions:

Once you have all your ingredients, have a large mixing bowl to put the popcorn, dried strawberries and apples ready to mix it with the honey sauce (mixture). To make the honey sauce (mixture), in a medium pot or saucepan – add the brown sugar, coconut oil and honey. Cook it on medium high heat until the mixture is bubbling and well combined. Once it is done, pour the honey mixture over the popcorn & dried fruits in the large mixing bowl that you had prepared. You can pour as little or as much as you want in the bowl. Then mix until the popcorn and dried fruits are covered with the honey sauce (mixture).  You can see below the photos of each step.

So now you are ready to taste and enjoy this sweet and healthy vegan dairy free popcorn treat with a summer twist to it. Yum!! It’s the perfect sweet summer treat to share with your family and friends or a sweet bowl for yourself.

Hope you give my new sweet, summer and healthy SkinnyPop Popcorn recipe a try and let me know what you think of it. Feel free to leave me your comments below as I would love to hear what you think of my recipe.

Don’t forget to stay connected with me on the latest updates on my next blog post or my foodie adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

As summer has just started, I’m excited for what the rest of the summer will bring for me including going to more food festivals and my mini summer getaway later in late July!! So I leave you for now with this sweet yet healthy dairy free popcorn treat and continue my search on my next sweet vegan bakery or restaurant hunt. Cheers to a yummy and sweet summer! 🍦 🍧 🍓 🍹 🌞

-Sweet B.

For more information on SkinnyPop Popcorn, please see below:

SkinnyPop Popcorn – website -> click here

You can follow SkinnyPop Popcorn on Facebook @SkinnyPopPopcorn, Twitter @theskinnypop and Instagram @theskinnypop.

My Printable Recipe

Dairy Free Sweet Honey Popcorn with Dried Fruits

  • Servings: 3-4 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A sweet honey popcorn with summer dried fruits perfect for the summer.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups SkinnyPop Popcorn
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Coconut Oil (you may put less if preferred)
  • ¼ Honey
  • ½ cup Dried Strawberries
  • ½ cup Dried Apples

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the SkinnyPop popcorn, put in the dried strawberries and apples. In my case, I sliced the dried apples in smaller pieces as they were in rings to make it easier to eat. If you have other dried fruits, you can prepare them now.
  2. For the honey mixture – in a medium pot or saucepan, add the brown sugar, coconut oil and honey. Cook over medium high heat until mixture is bubbling and well combined by mixing it.
  3. Then pour honey mixture over the popcorn mixing bowl that you prepared before, you can pour in the amount desired or until all popcorn and dried fruits have been covered. In between pouring the honey mixture, use a wooden spoon or spoon to mix in between as it will get sticky to get an even coat of honey mixture with the popcorn.
  4. You can wait 5 – 10 mins before enjoying as letting the honey mixture soak in the popcorn before enjoy the sweetness.

My Highlights of Niagara Vegfest 2017

Hi everyone,

It’s officially the month of June and with the start of the official summer this week, the weather has gone from cold to very humid and hot fast here in Toronto!! Thou I am not enjoying the humidity too much, but loving the warmer and sunnier weather now to enjoy esp the outdoors. Maybe less humid lol!!

With sunny and hot days upon us, this means one thing that festival season is officially here and what a great way to cool down and enjoy delicious foods outdoors. I am excited and love attending food festivals especially during the summer days sampling and discovering new foods to share with you all my readers. I already have a few food festivals planned that I would like to attend from June – September so I’m looking forward to it. If you have any suggestions for a food festival you think I should try out, please don’t hesitate to let me know as I always love attending new food festivals that I haven’t been to. I’m looking out for new food festivals for the Fall too. Feel free to comment below or you can reach me by e-mail at blooi24@hotmail.com

RECAP:

quick recap since my last blog entry, since leaving my previous work, been busy with a few projects and prepping for the summer months for my blog of course. Enjoyed my mini getaway to London, Ontario where enjoyed lots and lots of delicious foods including some vegan desserts and looking forward to sharing with you all in another blog post next month. If you were following me on Twitter and Instagram, then you would have seen my foodie London getaway..:)  I’m still learning how to use Instagram stories so please bare with me lol…😉

My 1st food festival for this pre-summer season that I attended was 2 weeks ago during the first weekend of June was to Niagara Vegfest. It was my 1st time attending the Niagara Vegfest as I always love visiting Niagara Falls so I thought it would be great to also attend this food festival to see, discover and sample the Niagara Region culinary vegan foods. I had the most amazing and fun foodie day as someone of you may already seen from my Instagram and Twitter posts. I’m happy that the weather ended up being sunny and warm as it was supposed to rain and I got lucky and it only rained in the morning. I arrived in St.Catherines by bus that day with a beautiful sunny day and enjoyed every minute of Niagara Vegfest.

If you haven’t been to Niagara Vegfest before, here are some quick information about it:

  • Niagara Vegfest is a 2 day multi-venue event – Day 1 (June 3, 2017) is the Niagara Vegfest in the Vineyard and Day 2 (June 4, 2017) is the Vegan Festival Main Event
  • 6th Annual Niagara Vegfest
  • Location: Market Square, downtown St. Catherines (91 King Street)
  • Admission: Free / donation of $2 or canned foods
  • It includes 80+ vendors and exhibitors, guest speakers, kids zone and TD Niagara Jazz Festival Music Stage
  • “A celebration the many benefits of a healthy, compassionate, plant-based lifestyle, and showcases exhibitors, vendors, and speakers from the Niagara region and beyond” -Niagara Vegfest

Overall, I had an amazing and very foodie day at Niagara Vegfest. I loved the atmosphere at the Market Square in St.Catherines as this festival was some vendors indoors and some outdoors, which to me is good because I liked the flow of the traffic it gives for attendees when they attended this event. It also gives options for weather if it rained or if it was sunny to have the indoors and outdoors available. I loved that they had the TD Niagara Jazz Festival Music Stage outside where I was able to enjoy the beautiful jazz music whether I was inside or outside. It brought a different element to the festival by adding music and creating a fun atmosphere to the Niagara Vegfest. Though I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed with so many vendors to check out, but at the same time it was great to have a variety of vendors and exhibitors to offer to people. I spent half the day at the Niagara Vegfest as there were so many delicious and yummy foods to sample along with checked out a few non-food vendors.

My Top 4 Fave Foods at Niagara Vegfest are:

1) Pizza Rolls by Rise Above Restaurant

  • Best pizza sausage roll I ever had, yum, it was crispy the pastry part and the most tastiest sausage inside, loved it!! As someone who is now dairy free, it’s hard to find places with vegan pizzas so happy to have stopped and had the most yummiest is that a word lol…pizza rolls by Rise Above Restaurant.
  • Quick information about Rise Above Restaurantis the Niagara’s 1st 100% vegan restaurant and bakery. They are located downtown in St. Catherines. They specialize in comfort foods, healthy choices, and fresh baked desserts. Only wish they would open another location in Toronto, I look forward to stopping by the actual restaurant one day.

2) Peach Fritter doughnut by Beechwood Doughnuts

  • I was so full from all the delicious vegan foods that I had to still get a doughnut from Beechwood Doughnuts as I heard they had the best vegan doughnuts. So I bought one to bring home to eat and chose the Peach Fritter (peaches are one of my fave fruits) and so glad I did lol…Beechwood Doughnuts hands down the best vegan doughnut I ever had!! Wow, I don’t usually eat doughnuts too often, but I would if it is for the sweetest and soft doughnuts that Beechwood Doughnuts make. The Peach Fritter the best lol!! If you haven’t tried, Beechwood Doughnuts, you are definitely missing out!! I would definitely travel for these doughnuts!!
  • Quick information about Beechwood DoughnutsNiagara’s first and only 100% vegan doughnut shop. Located in the heart of Downtown St. Catharines. They opened in January 2015 and become popular and have a reputation for quality in the Niagara Region and beyond. They also won 3 awards in 2015 at the Toronto Vegetarian Association Veg Awards – best vegan bakery, best vegan doughnut and best vegan dessert.

3) Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake by Dolled Up Desserts

  • One of my fave regulars is definitely Dolled Up Desserts who I always enjoy visiting at any vegan food festivals and always love seeing what Katarina (Dolled Up Dessert owner) new delicious desserts she has for that day. She comes up with the most delicious vegan and creative desserts, I love it!! She also has the most beautiful display for her booth I love how creative she is! This time I tried her delicious & sweet Strawberry Lemonade mini cupcake. Loved it!!
  • Quick information about Dolled Up Desserts – Her main shop is based in Hamilton, Ontario. Dolled Up Desserts creates and share high quality desserts that are gluten free and vegan, and are made with 25-50% less sugar, ingredients that are organic, locally sourced.

4) Banana Split Cupcake by Fairly Frosted Bakery

  • I love cupcakes so it was hard to resist when I saw the delicious vegan cupcakes display at Fairly Frosted Bakery. One of my friends also recommended them so was excited to try them and they had an assortment of different baked goods to choose from. It was hard to choose besides the cupcakes. I ended up choosing their Banana Split Cupcake and it was delicious minus the chocolate topping as some of you might know I don’t eat chocolate I know it’s a shock lol!! The frosting wasn’t too sweet either so it was perfect.
  • Quick information about Fairly Frosted Bakery  – A bakery from Guelph, Ontario founded in 2011. Fairly Frosted Bakery serves vegan, gluten free and nut free baked goods.

One of my fave vegan ice cream is food truckSweet Teeth, which is not mentioned above, but they always been my fave regulars at any vegan festivals. So it goes without saying that I always visit their food truck of ice cream and waffles, yum and this time is no difference. I got their OG waffle, which consists of fresh strawberries, strawberry sauce and of course the ice cream. If you haven’t tried Sweet Teeth food truck, I highly recommend it!! This year they also added shakes to their menu and love their new flavours added to the menu. They always come up with new flavours, which is great to see.

One of my fave vegan jeweler is Jewels by SJB, I discovered Sue’s beautiful jewelry last year at one of the vegan food festivals and instantly loved her unique and beautiful handmade jewelry. Sue is from Toronto, ON and has a collection of hand forged, cruelty free jewels and creating beautiful detailed pieces. She uses genuine gemstones that includes .925 sterling silver and 14K gold fill metal. She is also a vegan who shares her message through her jewelry.

I was excited to visit Jewels by SJB booth and see what new pieces she had this time. I always love seeing what new pieces that she brings to each festival as she makes the most beautiful unique pieces. I ended up purchasing a beautiful purple amethyst gemstone to go with my Vegan necklace as well bought a new rose/light pink bracelet with the letter “v” on it. The new bracelet matches my other bracelet (purple amethyst one) I bought from her last year to make a stacking bracelet. I am happy with my new jewelry!! It is always great to see Sue again, she is always so kind and amazing to me especially if I needed any customizing to her jewelry. I love how she can custom to each customer needs. I look forward to seeing what new pieces she has in the next festival!!

My collection of bracelets and pendant necklace from Jewels by SJB

What an amazing 1st visit to Niagara Vegfest filled with delicious vegan foods, desserts, shopping local & unique items, and enjoying amazing jazz music!! If you didn’t have a chance to check out Niagara Vegfest, I highly recommend to see what delicious vegan foods & to experience this festival yourself at Niagara Vegfest next year. Look out for details on their website (information below)! I look forward to joining them again next year after this fun foodie day!! I can’t wait to see what next year they have planned out!

If you managed to read most of this blog post as I know it was a bit long, thank you!! I appreciate you taking your time to read my foodie adventure!! Summer is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to my next foodie summer festival as some of you might already know (from my Twitter and Instagram posts) I have attended my 2nd one just this past weekend! With the busy summer months ahead, I look forward to not just food summer festivals, but also to my mini getaway in July. Don’t worry I still be posting shortly after I’m back. But this summer along the way, I am still searching for my next sweet vegan dessert place!! Stay tuned!!

As always, for the latest updates or to keep up with me on my foodie adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 or Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Until next time, let’s get ready for summer filled with hot weather for foodie summer festivals, cool desserts, travelling and beaches & more!!

-Sweet B.

For more information on Niagara Vegfest and any of the vendors I mentioned, please see below:

Niagara Vegfest – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @NiagaraVegFest, Twitter @NiagaraVegFest and Instagram @NiagaraVegFest.

Rise Above Restaurant – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @RiseAboveRestaurant, Twitter @RiseAboveFoods and Instagram @RiseAboveRestaurant.

Beechwood Doughnuts – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @BeechwoodDoughnuts, Twitter @BeechwoodInfo and Instagram @BeechwoodDoughnuts.

Dolled Up Desserts – Website -> click here

You can follow her on Facebook @DolledUpDessertsBaking, Twitter @DolledUpBaking and Instagram @DolledUpDessertsBaking.

Fairly Frosted Bakery – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @FairlyFrosted, Twitter @FairlyFrosted and Instagram @FairlyFrosted.

Sweet Teeth Food Truck – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @SweetTeethVegan, Twitter @SweetTeethVegan and Instagram @SweetTeethVegan.

Jewels by SJB – Website -> click here

You can follow her on Facebook @JewelsbySJB and Instagram @JewelsbySJB.

 

 

 

My Fave Sweet Summer Treats by Eva’s Original Chimney Cones

Hi everyone,

Can you believe it’s almost summer in just a few weeks while our Spring in Toronto has been pretty mild and lots of rain (maybe a bit too much rain as it been causing floods in some parts of Toronto, yikes, not a fan of rain) with a few hotter sunny days. As May is coming to an end, I always get excited around this time just before summer starts because summer for me means food festivals, beaches, watching live baseball or tennis and summer getaways. What does summer mean for you? What food are you excited to eat during summer??

I’m looking forward to this exciting summer as already lots to enjoy starting with a few food festivals in June and more to come this summer. I can’t wait to share them with you my sweet readers!! I’m ready for a fun and yummy summer! Are you??

RECAP:

As a quick update – there are some new changes in my life, I have decided to leave my Admin work and start fresh, needed a new beginning and looking forward to new opportunities as well as re-focus my energy and passion with my blog where I enjoy working and writing, capturing photos and more. It was a difficult decision, but I believe I made the right one to be in an environment where I am more happier and less stressed. I took a few weeks off in May to relax and unwind as some of you may have seen on my Instagram acct that I enjoyed a day trip to Niagara Falls and time for myself.

I’m still adjusting and hoping this will lead more blog posts for my readers to enjoy. My next city and food getaway is to London, Ontario (not London, England..lol…one day) next week and I’m excited to share this adventure with you all in another blog post in my Travel Review.

When you think of summer, what refreshing and sweet treat do you usually think of?? For me, I love cool and sweet treats like ice cream!!!! Now that I am having dairy free products, I am looking for alternatives such as dairy free ice creams and sorbets to enjoy in the summer.

I’m excited to share with you – Eva’s Original Chimney Cones treat which also offers vegan (dairy free) treats and I discovered Eva’s Original last year at one of the food festivals I attended. Ever since then, I’m always excited to have an Eva’s Original Chimney Cone at any festival.

Me having Eva’s Original Chimney Cone last summer

Eva’s Original Chimneys was first a food truck and within a couple of years grew into a successful business that early this year 2017, Eva opened her flagship store location on Bloor Street West in the Annex area of Toronto.

What is a Chimney Cone you might ask?? Well the owner, Eva was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. Her creation and idea came from Hungary and they are unique, bread-like freshly baked Hungarian pastries, named after their hollow, cylindrical shape. They have a satisfying crunch on the outside and a delicious, light and fluffy dough on the inside. Their Chimney Cones are all sweet and they also make Chimney cakes that are sweet or savoury flavours.

Eva uses the best ingredients including organic and local wherever possible as they believe in serving simple and wholesome food. Their base dough is suitable for vegans and they also offer toppings that are suitable for vegans as well. The Chimney cakes and cones are baked fresh daily and right before your eyes in the store in their custom-made open rotisserie grill, they are baked dough and not fried.

My first visit to Eva’s Original flagship store was a few weeks ago, I was excited to enjoy a sweet Chimney Cone before the summer started and now that she had a store, I didn’t have to wait for a festival. Eva’s Original store is a cozy, friendly, welcoming and European style decorated bakeshop. You can smell the freshly baked cones being made in the store as you walked in. With the space they had, they utilized it pretty well and there are space at the back to enjoy your sweet treats as well. I enjoyed watching the bakers make the actual cones on site as well.

It was hard to choose which Chimney Cone I wanted as they had a variety of choices, which is great to make it suitable for different people. From savoury to sweet toppings and different cone choices as well. For those who want the vegan soft serve, it is only served at the flagship store. But during the festivals, they offered the vegan version as with no ice cream, but with the whipped cream instead (hoping that they still will continue this as last summer they did).

I ended up choosing the Thai Mango Sticky Rice with the golden glazed cone instead with a crispy coconut wafer on top though I think I was supposed to get the mango sliced instead. But I loved the chopped mango pieces inside, as some of you know I love any mango desserts so that is probably the reason why I picked that flavour. The only disappointing factor was I think the staff who served me forgot the mango drizzle, I was sad to miss that and only noticed it after I started eating it…☹  Otherwise, it was simply still delicious, loved the cone and this tropical dessert feels like it is summer time and at the beach!! Hoping next time I get that mango drizzle to enjoy!

If you stop by for an Eva’s Original Chimney Cone, come hungry as they are very filling, which is great!! Or they also offer a mini Chimney Cone if you aren’t up to the full size one. I love that there are 2 sizes!!

Whether you are a vegan (dairy free) or non-vegan, Eva’s Original Chimney Cone has a bit of every sweet dessert flavours and taste for everyone.

Why don’t you come stop by Eva’s Original Chimney Cone flagship store or find her food truck this summer during any of the food festivals her truck is at (on her website, see below) and see for yourself why I love Eva’s Chimney Cones sooooo much. You definitely won’t be disappointed!! I’m looking forward to getting my next Eva’s Original Chimney Cone again soon in the summer!

Cheers to a Sweet Chimney Cone Goodness delicious summer!! 🍦🍦🌞

I leave you here with the sweet Chimney Cone yummy dessert as I continue my search for the next delicious and vegan dessert hunt and looking forward to my 1st summer food festival coming up in June, looking forward to sharing my experience with my readers! So come on back next month and see what I been up to.

Don’t forget for all updates on my next blog post along with my foodie & travel adventures, follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24 (will be trying out Instagram stories too), why not follow along my London, Ontario trip this coming week to see what yummy food I discover in a new city. 🍰 Until then….

-Sweet B.

For more information on Eva’s Original, please see below:

Eva’s Original: website – click here

Location: 454 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario

(Please remember her flagship location – it is cashless)

For her Food Truck schedule – please find it on her website – here

You can also follow Eva’s Original on Facebook @originalchimneys, Twitter @ogchimneys, and Instagram @ogchimneys.