My New Fave Homemade Gluten Free & Dairy Free Bakeshop, Almond Butterfly Cafe

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to my sweet blog and hellooo to finally feeling like real Spring weather in Toronto!! I know, It’s been a longggg winter with snow and cold winter weather in April, crazy right?? 😉 I’m just so happy it’s warm again with higher temperatures and the beautiful sunny days are finally here!! I can’t believe it is May already too!! Seems like we are going from winter to summer quickly instead.  Hope everyone been surviving a colder Spring weather and ready for sunny & hot days ahead!

I’m excited to share with you a new gluten free and vegan dairy free bakeshop that I discovered a few weeks ago when the weather was a bit warmer out great for exploring downtown Toronto and found, Almond Butterfly Bakeshop & Café. It is located downtown Toronto’s vibrant Harbord Street Village near Spadina and Harbord close to University of Toronto St. George campus.

Almond Butterfly is a 100% gluten free bakeshop café that offers vegan, dairy free and paleo options. It is homemade and freshly baked goods everyday at the shop from fresh-baked muffins, brownies, bagels, cupcakes, cookies, scones and more!! They also offer toasted breakfast sandwiches and grilled lunch melts until 3pm, which is great to me that they can offer gluten free and vegan lunches for more options. Even though I still have wheat in my diet, it’s good to know and have my options open to try gluten free food as after trying at this bakeshop, I enjoy gluten free food. From their website, they use nut flours and nut oils in their baked goods to give their signature Almond Butterfly taste that their customers have come to know and love now.  They also serve espresso, coffee and tea, which their coffee is roasted locally by Social Coffee & Tea Co. Overall, a great range of selection for a gluten free bakeshop café that offers vegan and paleo options, which is rare to find in certain parts of Toronto and it’s great to see more cafes like these for people like me who is allergic to dairy.

That is why I like to share my discovery of dairy free or vegan bakeshops with you guys, my readers so you can know where to find these allergy friendly bakeshops to eat at and that they are bakeshops that are also good and delicious tasting ones to go to. 

When I arrived at Almond Butterfly for the 1st time there, it was on a busy Saturday late afternoon. The café was quite full already and there was a lineup, which in my opinion a busy bakeshop means the food here is good. The atmosphere was buzzing in a great friendly way with people enjoying their baked goods. Almond Butterfly is a cozy, quaint and down to earth feel type of bakery with their beautiful and simple interior design of the wooden walls, the lighting and splash of colour throughout the bakeshop. It was a smaller size bakeshop, but there was enough space for a few tables for people to sit and eat along with a small patio in the front. I love their variety of baked goods offered as mentioned before so it was a bit of hard decision to pick which desserts I wanted.

I ended up having a late lunch at Almond Butterfly Café and Bakeshop as they offer lunch sandwiches such as grilled melt sandwiches and decided to try one of them. I had the Harbord Melt, which is a deli-style turkey with apple and cheddar melt on a gluten free bagel. I requested the dairy free cheddar for my sandwich. I was so excited to try the grilled melt turkey sandwich and unfortunately it was a bit disappointing mainly I think it was a bit too salty for me, the fresh grilled apples was great addition though to it but I believe the turkey that was too salty. Not what I expected. But maybe next time I will be trying their pizza bagels to see if that one is better. I hope that they improve on their sandwiches!

But I really enjoyed and loved their baked goods more than their savory items. I ended up with 2 different types of cookies – Ginger Snap and Sugar cookies, which I didn’t take any photos as I was so excited to try them. My fave is definitely the Ginger Snap cookies, soft and chewy I loved it!! I had 2 cupcakes – Almond Jam Vanilla and Dairy-free Lemon Vanilla cupcakes (both were Dairy-free cupcakes as they just named one with DF lol). I enjoyed both of the cupcakes as they were moist and the frosting wasn’t too sweet either it was just the right amount of sweetness. I love the sour candies on top of the Dairy-free Lemon cupcake, yum as I love sour candies…😊 I really enjoyed the Almond with Jam cupcake though I was hoping there was jam inside the cupcake not just the top as it would have had more pop of a flavour to it. Overall, amazing vegan and dairy-free cupcakes from Almond Butterfly definitely would recommend them to everyone!!

Almond Butterfly Cafe & Bakeshop Exterior with a patio area too

Quick Update

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I was working for a temporary Administrative work, but that is done now. Still looking for the right balance along side with my blog, but I’m happy to be refocusing on my blog again and looking for new opportunities. Update on my Facebook page, as of right now, it is temporary put on hold until things are less busier. It’s getting closer to summer season and usually I’m busy with day trips and food festivals so Facebook page on hold for now.

I’m really excited for my tropical and beach vacation to Jamaica in less than one week (leaving next week)!!! Ahhhhh!! I can’t believe it’s approaching so soon!! Looking forward to relaxing, refreshing my mind and body and just enjoying the sun, sand and pool days in Jamaica. Yes I will be posting a few vacation photos on my Instagram so don’t forget to follow along there for my photos & stories!

Don’t forget to stay connected with ME,

For the latest updates on my blog through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and my foodie adventures and vacation photos on Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Why not stop by Almond Butterfly Café & Gluten Free Bakeshop and see for yourself why I love this vegan, dairy free and gluten free delicious and tasty bakeshop offering a variety of baked goods! I highly recommend Almond Butterfly Café and Bakeshop and hope you love it as much as I do because their slogan says it all,

“No gluten. No wheat. No soy. Vegan and Paleo options.
Breakfast. Lunch. Espresso.
Amazing taste. Extra love.
… this is Almond Butterfly in a nutshell! :)”

Until next time, I’m off on my tropical vacation to Jamaica, but I’m always on the search for my next new sweet desserts craving…😊

-Sweet B.

For more information on Almond Butterfly Cafe & Bakeshop, please see below:

Check out their website – Almond Butterfly Cafe & Bakeshop -> click here

You can follow them on social media networks on Facebook @AlmondButterfly and Instagram @AlmondButterflyBakeshop.

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My 2018 Macaron Day Adventure

Hi everyone,

Happy Belated Macaron Day & Happy Spring 2018 everyone!!! 🌞🌈🌷🌹  On March 20, 2018 marks the 1st Day of Spring, which was also Macaron Day celebrating these sweet elegant & delectable bite-sized dessert, macarons. A great way to start a new season, Spring with sweet & bright desserts and at the same time donate to a great cause, SickKids Foundation where each bakery donated 25% of their day’s sales to the SickKids Foundation in support of the SickKids VS campaign.

As we begin a new month already, April, my fave month is obviously March because it’s a special month of the year for me particularly because not only it is my birthday of course lol…but it also marks the 1st Day of Spring, which means finally warmer & sunnier days ahead, lighter jackets despite the fact that this Spring has been very verrryyyyy coldddd & with weirdly enough rain & snow too this year in Toronto so it still feels like winter unfortunately! But more importantly one of my fave type of dessert is celebrated on March 20, 2018, which is Macaron Day.

Who could forget one of my fave French small and delicate yet big flavour dessert macarons? Not me of course, I love that they have a special day to celebrate in Toronto, Paris, New York and Internationally. It’s like they created this special day just for me lol…😊 (Hmmm…wonder if they knew how much I love desserts when I was born lol!!)

History of Macaron Day

  • Macaron Day is celebrated around the world on the same day and coincides with “Jour du Macaron” in Paris.
  • Cities that celebrate Macaron Day include: Paris, New York, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Belgium, and Budapest. (Japan celebrates on March 21)
  • The focus of the day is to celebrate the first day of spring and give to a local charity.

Who else celebrated Macaron Day like me??? Which Macaron shop did you go to?? Would love to hear where some of you went, please leave your comments below! Thanks!!

On Macaron Day, I decided to visit my 2 fave bakeshops that specializes in macarons as it was hard to decide which one to go to so I decided why not go to both right?? It is of course Macaron Day and one can not have too many sweet elegant mini bites of French macarons right??

I made my 1st stop to Nadège Patisserie to their Queen St W location and it was my 1st time actually going to this location as they have 4 other locations in the GTA. I been to the Yorkdale and Scarborough Town Centre locations so far. Their newest location is the Path Richmond-Adelaide Centre one. I was greeted with a busy crowd in this cozy and modern bakery, a decent size with area of tables for you to enjoy your delicious French treats and desserts. It was busy obviously because it was Macaron Day and I loved their Macaron Day decorations.

There was a decent selection of macarons available and Nadège offered that day a limited edition of Macaron Day flavours that includes: Honey & Brie, Bailey’s Chocolate, Red Wine & Chocolate, Strawberry Guimauve, Earl Grey and Pomegranate Chocolate. I ended up choosing 3 flavours – the Red Wine & Chocolate for my sis and mines were – Earl Grey and Strawberry Guimauve. I loved the Strawberry Guimauve one a marshmallow taste and light one though!! I was disappointed with the Earl Grey one as I love everything Earl Grey esp macarons and was sad because the filling inside was chocolate and so you all know, I don’t eat chocolate. And sadly the chocolate overpowered any flavour of the Earl Grey so I didn’t taste any Earl Grey at all. That was the only disappointment! My sis loved her Red Wine & Chocolate though!

If you haven’t heard or stopped by Nadège Patisserie, I recommend you try them as they have some interesting flavours compared to other macaron places. They also offer not just macarons but other French pastries including cakes, mini cakes, donuts, tarts, and more. During special Holidays, they always have special chocolate items and since it was Easter next that they had small and large Easter chocolate eggs. Nadège has a great selection of desserts and treats for any occasion that’s why I always love stopping by them to get sweet treats.

After stopping by Nadège Patisserie, my last and final stop is of course at my annual fave macaron shop, Butter Avenue. It is a tradition that every year for Macaron Day I celebrate this sweet and delicious day with Butter Avenue and this year was no different.

Butter Avenue is my go to and definitely my top fave macaron shop and I stopped by their Queen and Spadina only location now. If you didn’t know, was sad to find out that their Yonge and Lawrence location closed late last year. That’s the location I usually always go to as it is much closer to where I live as it was mid-town compared to their downtown location. I sadly miss that location!! But hoping they open another location closer to where I live soon.

I still made the trip to downtown to their Queen and Spadina location as it is always worth to travel for Butter Avenue or in my case, I travel for any desserts. So this is no difference! If you haven’t heard of Butter Avenue, “offers an evolving selection of desserts and pastries created using classic French confectionary cookery and techniques, we pride ourselves on making our products with natural ingredients without added artificial flavours or preservatives.”Quote from Butter Avenue Official Website. Butter Avenue is unique from other macaron shops as they offer a twist to some of their macaron flavours with a sense of Japanese infusion flavours. I always love that and always can’t wait to see what new flavours they come up with.

They made special macaron flavours for Macaron Day, Butter Avenue made 40 exclusive one day only flavours to celebrate Macaron Day. They took it up a notch this year and introduced 4 categories of flavours“Sweet Table”, “Farmer’s Market”, “Lounge Bar” and “Tea Salon” to choose from. Wow what an amazing selection!!! That’s why I love Butter Avenue, they always surprise me with large variety of flavours and different unique ones to choose from too. I couldn’t wait to see what the flavours were as you don’t know what the exact flavours until you get to their shop!!

With the large variety of unique and delicious flavours to choose from, I ended up with a half dozen + one extra (as I couldn’t decide lol…plus I was sharing my macarons with my sisters, my niece and my mom), I chosen these following flavours – Roasted Green Tea, Osmanthus (Tea Blossom), Irish Coffee, Mimosas, Dark Chocolate, Wild Strawberry, and Terre Et Neige (Green tea & cocoa).

My 2 macaron flavours for me was Wild Strawberry and Tea Blossom macarons. Can I say I fell I love with the Tea Blossom macaron?? As some of you know, I love tea!!! It was a light tea blossom taste with a hint of floral very little with the right amount!!! I wish they make the Tea Blossom one of their new regular flavours!!

Macaron cotton candy

Overall, a very successful “Macaron Day” with my 2 faves bakeshops – Nadège Patisserie and Butter Avenue. You could not have ask for a more sweeter and perfect day for a dessert foodie like me to celebrate my fave elegant bite size dessert, macarons and to share these special desserts with my sisters, niece and my mom.

Don’t forget to stay connected with ME
For the latest updates on my blog through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and my foodie adventures on Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Sorry for the delay on this blog post as some of you may know through my updates on Twitter that I have taken a temporary Administrative work as I also enjoy working as an Admin but trying to find the right Admin work to balance out to work on my blog as well as this is where my passion is. Please bare with me with slower updates than normal but don’t worry I’m still here and already started working on ideas for my next blog post before my Jamaica trip in May!! Can’t wait it’s coming up & soon will need to do some vacay prep like new swimsuits, and etc…:)

Everyday is macaron day for me so if you missed out on Macaron Day (please mark it down for next year’s in 2019 same day), why not go out and try one of my fave macaron shops, Nadège Patisserie and Butter Avenue to enjoy a sweet & elegant bite of dessert to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Until next time, I’m on my search for my next sweet craving dessert hunt😉💜🍰🍩🍭🍦

-Sweet B.

For more information on Nadège Patisserie, please see below:

Website – Nadège Patisserieclick here

You can follow them through these social media networks – Facebook @nadegepatisserie, Twitter @nadegetoronto and Instagram @nadegetoronto

For more information on Butter Avenue, please see below:

Website – Butter Avenue click here

You can follow them through these social media networks – Facebook @ButterAvenueCo, Twitter @ButterAvenue and Instagram @ButterAvenue.

 

My Highlights of 2017 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference – Part 2

Hi everyone,

Welcome to Part 2 of my Highlights of the Food Bloggers of Canada 2017 in Ottawa. Let’s wrap up this amazing conference on a beautiful Fall Sunday and my leisure time to do some sightseeing attractions in Ottawa on Sunday evening and Monday half day.

Day 3 – Sunday, October 22, 2017

On the last day of the FBC2017 conference, we had a hearty and healthy Sunday breakfast consisting of variety of fruits, sausages, grilled vegetables such as tomatoes and mushrooms, Burnbrae Farms provided different types of eggs, and in the vegan section there was red bean & potato hash too. I love that FBC was able to provide different options for different allergies for people. I love the tea station and they even had my soy / almond milk for my tea.

We had the morning session with 2 inspiring speakersPailin Chongchitnant who is the author of the cookbook, Hot Thai Kitchen, host of TV series One World Kitchen on Gusto TV, and creator and host of the YouTube channel PailinsKitchen and Dana McCauley from Food Starter where she helps start up food businesses to grow. Dana also has authored four cookbooks. She discussed the food trends in 2017 and upcoming food trends, which was great to hear about.

My fave treat was during our coffee break with Vegan Glutenfree scones by Strawberry Blonde Bakery. I tried the Apple Cinnamon flavour ones and loved it!!! Yum!! As scones tend to be dried a bit, but this one wasn’t and I love the apple cinnamon flavour, as some of you know I love any apple treats and desserts!! I had my scone with Spiced Cranberry & Iced Apple Wine jam by The Preservatory and it was a great combination the sweet jam with the scones!!

Last, but not least where is FBC2018 headed for next year…..drum roll please…FBC2018 is a Road Trip across Canada for 3 weeks in September 2018 with our hosts, Melissa and Ethan along with special guest: Dennis Prescott. How exciting is this?? They have announced a few set cities/provinces such as Vancouver, Manitoba, Alberta, Halifax, and ending it in my own city, Toronto, but there are no confirmed details at this moment until January 2018 where they will give us more details. I’m excited and hoping I will be able to attend one of the intimate cities conference.

I love to travel to different cities as some of you know, so it would be great to attend one outside my own city maybe the West Coast as I haven’t been to the West Coast in awhile. So we shall see. Waiting patiently for FBC2018 details…😊  Maybe I might see you there too.

Ending the conference with a light and healthy lunch by Dairy Farmers of Canada where I enjoyed a variety of foods including winter squash salad, tofu, fruits and more. We even got a cute small plush cow at the tables. Check out my delicious & healthy lunch below.

After the lunch, there was a brand networking session with sponsors and mingling with our fellow bloggers at the FBC Lounge located at the top level of the hotel. It was a beautiful & stunning view of Ottawa with the beautiful Fall colours. It was great catching up and meeting new Canadian bloggers, so happy to finally meet Deb – The Sugared Teacup where we mostly talk on Instagram.

By the end of Sunday afternoon session, I was tired, but feeling of course inspired, filled with new information and tips for blogging and energized about my new ideas for my blog!!

View from the Top Level of the Hotel

Mary Tang & me on the 1st Night of FBC2017

Me & Debra (The Sugared Teacup) during lunch on the last day of FBC2017

Me with the FBC2017 sign on the last day

Of course, you can’t forget about Food Bloggers of Canada amazing Swag Bag that we get every year. I look forward it to it every year to see what goodies I get to bring home. This year we got cookbooks of course, 2 containers, utensils, cooking tools, and snacks. My fave definitely has to be The Sugared Teacup coaster, it was so cute!!! Check out my photo of my Swag Bag.

FBC2017 Amazing Swag Bag

For more information on the above sponsors, speakers and bloggers, please see below:

Day 3 & 4 – Sunday, October 22 (Evening) & Monday, October 23, 2017

Me with the Ottawa signage on Sparks Street

During and after the FBC2017 conference, I still manage to do a bit of sightseeing and exploring in Ottawa. I was happy to have stayed an extra day after the conference to enjoy the beauty of Ottawa especially during the Fall season as Ottawa has a natural beauty of colourful trees and scenery to enjoy.

Some of the attractions that I visited are: of course no stop in Ottawa without seeing the Parliament building, Byward Market, Sparks Street, shopped at CF Rideau Centre, and Rideau Falls.  I loved shopping at the Byward Market with unique items that you normally don’t find at a shopping mall. I found a great kitchen shop called: Ma Cuisine recommended by Deb (The Sugared Teacup) where I bought a new mug as I love drinking tea and always looking for new mugs or tea accessories. They had lots of variety of mugs and tea accessories so if you love tea I definitely recommend you stop by Ma Cuisine as they also have lots of other kitchen supplies.

Me in front of the Rideau Canal

Me in front of the Parliament Building

When travelling to new cities, I always love to discover new vegan bakeries so of course while I was in Ottawa for the FBC2017 conference, I made time for one new vegan bakery shop that I discovered. Because Strawberry Blonde Bakery made some of the delicious vegan desserts at the conference as well, I had to stop by their bakery shop itself to see what other delicious vegan baked goods that they had.

On my last day in Ottawa, I stopped by Strawberry Blonde Bakery shop, which is a vegan, gluten-free and nut free bakery. Their mission is to “create a place where the growing number of people with food allergies can buy a treat and not have to worry about cross-contamination, while also not having to compromise on taste or aesthetics.” –Strawberry Blonde Bakery website.

Their bakeshop wasn’t far from the downtown area of Ottawa, very accessible by transit as I took the bus there. I feel in love with their cute bakeshop from the outside with their beautiful & colourful exterior. They have a sitting area only outside thou. I love the atmosphere of their cozy and friendly bakeshop inside despite the size of the bakeshop quite small, but filled with delicious and beautiful aroma smell of freshly baked goods.

Strawberry Blonde Bakery has a large variety of baked goods to choose from cupcakes, cookies to pies, scones, squares, Nanaimo bars, brownies, cakes along with a few savory items as well. They also serve vegan soft serve (ice cream)…YAY!!! It was hard for me to choose what to get.

I ended up getting one Strawberry cupcake with Vanilla frosting and it was simply delicious with their moist cake and the frosting wasn’t too sweet either. One of my fave new vegan cupcakes for sure!!

I also bought their packaged Oatmeal Raisins cookies to bring home with me to try on the train ride home. These are the best Vegan Oatmeal Raisins cookies I ever had, I love Oatmeal Raisins cookies and it’s rare to find one soft and tastes exactly like a regular Oatmeal Raisins cookie. I wish I bought another box of them!! I loved them!!!

Me in front of the Strawberry Blonde Bakeshop

If you haven’t tried, Strawberry Blonde Bakery yet at Ottawa downtown area in the Wellington West area, I highly recommend you checking out this cozy and friendly vegan bakeshop. It definitely won’t disappoint you!! Go try it yourself…😊

For more information on Strawberry Blonde Bakery, please see below:

Websiteclick here

Address – 114B Grange Avenue, Ottawa, ON.

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

Another amazing FBC conference for 2017 is done already!! Wow!! As it was my 3rd time attending this inspiring and great conference, I love seeing the growing Canadian food bloggers attend this amazing conference every year. Every year I attend this event, I enjoy networking, learning, being inspired by others and of course the delicious and variety of foods at the conference.

Thank you Melissa and Ethan for putting on another fantastic conference for all of us!!!! Every year you guys bring something new and fun to the conference. I am excited for next year’s 2018 Road Trip Conference!!! Looking forward to further details in January 2018! As I can’t wait to start planning which destination I would love to travel next to.

For now, thank you to my wonderful readers who managed to read most or if you are still following along on my Part 2 of my Highlights of Food Bloggers of Canada conference. I admit it was a bit long to read, but I hope that you enjoyed it that you are just as inspired and eager to attend 2018 Road Trip FBC conference like me! You can check out Part 1 of my FBC2017 Highlights if you haven’t read it yet here -> click here.

Feeling inspired and getting ready for the Holiday spirit, I am busy prepping for my Holiday post that I am excited to share with you soon!! I am also working on a special project slowly yet progress is happening that I will be sharing with you soon for the New Year 2018. Look out for that announcement soon!!

For the latest updates such as when my next blog post is along with you can follow along on my foodie adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Until next time, I am in search for my next sweet Holiday spirit adventure….

-Sweet B.

For more information on Food Bloggers of Canada, please see below:

Food Bloggers of Canada – Website – click here

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

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

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 2017 Macaron Day with Butter Avenue

Hi everyone,

Welcome back everyone!! I’m back now, did you miss me?? 🙋 It’s been a very busy month of March for me as you all know I went for my birthday trip/vacation to beautiful and glamorous Las Vegas with my sister and niece. I had the most amazing time exploring the Vegas strip and sampling so much delicious and scrumptious food.

A quick update on my Vegas trip – Vegas is definitely the place to be if you want amazing and high quality food, no doubt I was definitely not disappoint with the many choices of restaurants and even desserts to choose from. It also helps that it simply was so beautiful there with the beautiful hotels with the most beautiful water fountains! Loving Vegas both day & night  esp. love the lights at night time & enjoyed the warm desert weather in March. I have to admit though there was a lot of walking, so not a relaxing trip, but lots to see and do. I had the most amazing and wonderful time at one of my fave travel destinations being there for the 2nd time and loving it more! A great way to celebrate my birthday, a bonus was a complimentary upgrade for my hotel room with the most beautiful balcony Bellagio and Paris view ever!!

If you haven’t been to Vegas, I highly recommend visiting there at least once as it is not just about the casinos, but there is so much to see and do especially the most amazing food in Vegas is one main reason I go and the shopping of course…:) Be sure to look out for a special blog post on my fave restaurants to check out in Vegas next month that I am currently working on.

Don’t forget for the latest updates about my sweet food blog or my food adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24. If you were following me on my Instagram account while I was on my Vegas trip, then you would have seen a few yummy food & beautiful scenery photos during my trip.

March seems to be an important month of the year for me because not only my birthday of course lol…but it also marks the 1st Day of Spring, which means warmer weather, but most importantly one of my fave type of dessert is celebrated on March 20, 2018, which is Macaron Day.

Who could forget one of my fave French small and delicate yet big flavour dessert macarons? Not me of course, I love that they have a special day to celebrate in Toronto, Paris, New York and Internationally. Yes, this is a late post on Macaron Day and if you missed it, please mark March 20, 2018 in your calendar for next year for the next Macaron Day or there is always no time like the present to enjoy a simple yet delicious macaron as you can enjoy macarons any day of the year!

If you did celebrate Macaron Day, which bakery did you celebrate it with? Would love to hear where some of you went, please comment below! Thank you!

This year I celebrated Macaron Day with one of my fave bakery shop, Butter Avenue. I wasn’t able to visit more macaron bakeshops that day as unfortunately I was working my full time Admin job and didn’t have enough time to visit more. But I made time for my fave bakery shop, Butter Avenue where purchased half a dozen of macarons to share with my sisters and niece. I also sampled one of their new mini dessert – “Over the Moon” consisting of Vanilla Créme brûlée, raspberry puree, raspberry mousse, all natural lemon crème and their delicious Raspberry mini macaron on top! I loved the mini dessert, it was perfect size and it wasn’t too sweet. I hope that they would make these mini desserts a regular item on their bakery list as this was a limited edition dessert during Macaron Day weekend.

Butter Avenue partnered with Chef David Lee who is the executive chef of one of the best restaurant in Canada, Nota Bene, to create 3 distinctive macarons for Macaron Day. I sampled one of the 3 distinctive macarons, their Uji Matcha Passionfruit and as I’m not a fan of passionfruit, but I simply loved this new flavour. I didn’t expect it at all, it had the right sweetness of the passionfruit and a pop of flavour from the green tea matcha. Wow!!! Great combination for this macaron flavour. I also got my fave Earl Gray, Almond Raspberry Cake along with a few other faves that my sisters love. As desserts are always sweeter to share and was happy to share them with my sisters.

For Macaron Day, Butter Avenue despite not being one of the official participating locations for Macaron Day, they donated their 1/3 of the day’s sales to Kids Cook to Care foundation. I’m happy to celebrate and still be help give back to the community while enjoying my sweets.

While for Macaron Day TO, their participating locations in Toronto and GTA with a simple purchase of a macaron, 25% of the proceeds will be donated to – Red Door Family Shelter on March 20.

With the end of a busy yet fun month of March, marks the start of a new month for April. April means more warmer Spring weather and sweet treats for Easter!! As I unwind and settle back into my regular routine after my amazing Vegas trip, back on the hunt for the next sweet and healthy foodie adventure.

So don’t forget to come back and join me next month and see what sweet & healthy blog post I have in store for you all. Cheers to my fave month filled with sweet macarons in March!!! 🎉🎈🍹 (you think they made Macaron Day in March for me?)

-Sweet B.

For more information on Macaron Day TO and on Butter Avenue, please see below:

Macaron Day TOWebsite: macarondayto.com

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

Butter AvenueWebsite: www.butteravenue.com

Address:

Locations

Yonge & Lawerence -3467 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M4N 2N3

Queen & Spadina – 477 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 2A9

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

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day 2 my Sweet Readers!!

Hi everyone!! 🙋

Wishing everyone a sweet Valentine’s Day!! This Holiday for most people is about showing their love for their “loved ones” while for me, this day I love to share & enjoy my love for delicious desserts and sweets. This is the perfect day to indulge in delicious & beautiful desserts, how could you not resist? 😀

I stopped by this past weekend at one of my fave dessert places, Pusateri’s – Saks Food Hall at Eaton Centre, where there were so much delicious desserts to choose from. I love the variety here and was craving for cookies and tarts so that is what I ended up choosing! Thou also craving for macarons & cupcakes? Hmmm…lol…you can never have enough desserts. 😊 Might be picking up my 2nd Round of sweets today! 😀 What yummy, sweet and delectable desserts will you or going to be enjoying on this Valentine’s Day? Would love for you guys to share your desserts and I’m always up to try new bakeries / dessert shops, so please feel free to share below! Thank you!

Don’t forget to stay connected with me on my next blog posts, updates and yummy food photos, you can follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24. Check out my Instagram later tonight to see what my 2nd Round of sweets for Valentine’s Day was! 💝💌🍰🍫🍸🌹

xoxo,

Sweet B.

For more information on Pusateri’s:

Website – Pusateri’s Saks Food Hall