Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kemptville Wine and Food Show

Last night we went to Kemptville's first ever Wine and Food Show. It wasn't very big, but admission was free. You could buy tasting tickets in five dollar strips, worth 50 cents, each and exchange the correct number at any of the stands to taste their wares.

We have been to the Brockville Wine and Food Show twice, and as I said, this was much smaller. There were just three wine companies, two beer companies, and maybe five or six restaurants or other food vendors represented. Costco was there trying to drum up some business by offering reduced membership rates and free food samples. Marlin Travel and a couple of other product vendors were also on hand so not everything was wine and food related.  I found that a bit strange.

Normally we find the samples at such shows are just wee tastes of things. After all, you have a lot of booths to work though. Since that generally takes a while, and you nibbling over a period of time, it's not like eating an actual meal. We decided to eat our supper before we went.  That was a mistake as the samples at this show were much larger and I'm sure we would have left feeling like we had eaten a whole meal if we had tasted from several of the booths.

Catered Affairs was offering two main dish foods but I opted for the brownie s'mores.  Red Hatters like to eat dessert first, you know.  We used up most of our tickets on those, actually.

The Empire Cheese people, from Campbellford, are always a welcome sight as they offer a wide variety of flavoured cheeses and never charge you anything. Tonight I discovered that Mrs McGarrigle's mustard has now been added to two varieties of their cheese.  They didn't come with the salsa cheese this year, which is one I'm always looking for, but their extra old cheese was absolutely amazing. I'll be bringing some of that home soon.  While Mrs McGarrigle's carries some of their cheeses, I was told that Kemptville's B&H store carries most of them.  I have not been in there in years, but I will be now.

I think I spent most of my tickets on various wines. I especially liked one that comes from the Harwood Estates Vineyards in Prince Edward County. It was a Pinot Gris, if I remember correctly, but I'll be able to find it easily when I go there, as it's in a distinctive blue bottle.  It's not found in the LCBO. I was given a card for a complimentary wine tasting when I visit the winery.

The local winery, Blue Gypsy Wines, was also on hand. I thought I had tasted all their wines at the winery last fall, so I didn't use any of my tickets at that booth. My hubby tried their raspberry wine though, as apparently it wasn't available when we went there.  

We stopped by the Nakhon Thai booth and I asked if the food was very spicy. The lovely lady, assured us that was a misconception. She said that 80% of the dishes on their menu were not spicy, and if we wanted something that normally would be, we could always ask them to cut back on that and they would.  To prove her point she offered a plate full of rice with a curry dish, as well as some Crispy Lemongrass Chicken. She didn't take any of our tickets, but she certainly made a fan out of my hubby. He really enjoyed that food, and went back to tell her how good it was.  She pointed out the dishes he had tasted on her menu, and I suspect we will be visiting that establishment in the near future.  I notice, from the menu that they have several meals that are vegetarian (not vegan) and gluten free.  I know of people who are always on the lookout for such things.

Another booth had fish and other things from The Landing. That's a take out place known for it's fish and chips. I saw a bin off to the side and I asked what was in there. They had cut big cinnamon buns into quarters and she gave us each one of those. I asked how many tickets she wanted, and she just waved her hand at me and said, "We're good."  I sometimes find that I have trouble with cinnamon buns these days as there is often too much cinnamon in them. I like them but they give me heartburn. But these were perfect. I asked if they always have them, and was assured that they do. We have never been there for a meal as we usually go to sit down restaurants,  but we do now have a reason to stop by and bring home a treat.

The Kemptville Chamber of Commerce has worked a long time to get this show up and running and ran into various problems along the way. Though the show was small and I was initially disappointed, I think they did succeed in bringing more interest to the various businesses that took part.  Several of them now will now have us as new customers, and I'm sure others who attended can say the same.  Next year promises to be even better.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Freebie Friday - February 22

I'm late posting today, but it's been hectic around here.

Nothing much arrived in the mail this week, other than a copy of Cheese magazine. It comes full of recipes and coupons to use on products that are in the recipes. I see a couple I want to make, so I'll make use of both of those coupons for the Arctic Gardens frozen vegetables.  Then for dessert, oh yes, I'll be making those Maple and Cream Cheese Squares!  I may have to find some friends to share those with, for my own good.

The only other free thing I got this week was the Butterball Turkey Bacon I showed you the coupon for last week.  I'll be making myself a bacon and tomato sandwich for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Roaring 20's Party

It's been a while since I told you about one of my little adventures, and really, that's what the rambles here were supposed to be all about.

I belong to a seniors club that meets twice a month. This week they held a Roaring Twenties party instead of a Valentines party. Perhaps that's because a lot of the members no longer have their spouses.   I don't know, but whatever the reason, it was lots of fun.

When we arrived we found that the hall had been turned into a speakeasy. Members making like waiters asked if they could get us a drink, as if there really was alcohol available. What we really got was cranberry juice, ginger ale, or a combination of the two.  There were various games of chance set up at tables around the room, and people came dressed in their 1920's finery.  If you approached one of these gaming tables, you were handed a stack of chips and told you now had $10,000 to play with.  It's a good thing it was imaginary money as I lost mine quickly.

Later on the speakeasy morphed into a cabaret and the music began. We have, among our members, people who are good on the keyboard, or can sing or dance so there was a nice little floor show.  Coffee and tea and lots of wonderful goodies were available at this point.  The whole afternoon was quite enjoyable, and didn't cost us a red cent.....not that those are being used these days anyway.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Freebie Friday - February 15

I have a wide variety of free things to report this week.
First I used a coupon to bring home a package of Kellogg's Special K Cracker Chips absolutely free.  Maybe I should have scanned the coupon so you would believe me, but I now have another one for Turkey Bacon, so I'll show you that, when I use it.

Later in the week I received samples of both Advil Nighttime and L'Oreal Miracle Blur.  Now these are two products that I truly hope work, and more will be purchased if they do.  Both of these samples also came with coupons worth $4 off a future purchase.

Finally, I got something I was no longer expecting. I had done a survey for Penguin Books last fall, and was thrilled to be presented with a list of books to choose from, as a reward for completing the survey.  I picked a book and waited for it to arrive. I had won a book from them shortly before this and it arrived quite quickly. But this reward book never came. I assumed it was lost, and for some reason I dropped Penguin a line a couple of weeks ago to say that I never got the book I chose. Well, it arrive this week, so I'm very happy about that. I don't know if it was my inquiry that triggered the shipment or if it was just a coincidence that it finally showed up here now.  I'll be starting to read it in a day or two, when I'm finished the book I currently have my nose in.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Freebie Friday - Feb 8

This week, among other things, I received two samples, along with coupons for $2 off each product.  There is a major difference in the size of the samples, but I was previously given a full size bottle of the smaller one, so I'm certainly not complaining.
Garnier Intensive 7 Days Body Lotion is my new favorite.  It is non-greasy, absorbs well, and the Shea Butter variety that I chose has a scent I really like.  The original deal got me a free product coupon for a full sized bottle, but when I was offered another sample, I was happy to see they let me have it, and I assure you that I will be using that $2 off coupon to buy more.

Meanwhile I got another laundry detergent to try this week.  This time it's one called Method. I've never heard of it before, but it comes in a handy pump style container.  The sample they sent me is enough to do 8 loads.  That will give me plenty of time to assess how well it does laundry in our hard water.  I really like the idea of a pump dispenser.  No measuring, or pouring, just a couple of pumps and we're all set to wash the clothes.  The container is constructed in such a way that you can see the hose from the pump through the bottom, so apparently you can get every drop of the detergent by just tipping the container so that the hose is in the wee remaining bit.  No waste.  This sample lists the scent as Fresh Air and the package says it's "made by and for people against dirt."
Besides samples this week, I also got a cheque for $20 from Legerweb.  I've done surveys for them for several years now and made about $100 from Legerweb alone in the past year.  You can sign up on your own, but if you happen to know me, it would be great if you asked for a referral.  I'd get an extra dollar the first time you took a survey.

Finally, I also received a $5 gift card for Tim Horton's that I won from taking part in a contest on the Canadian Free Stuff website.  I'll be taking my man out for a treat this weekend, with that.

All in all, I think that was a pretty good week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Testing and Reporting - A Little Late

Last fall Chatelaine had me acting as a recipe tester again.  Of course I couldn't tell you what I was testing at the time, and I meant to do it when the issue containing those recipes came out.  I always get behind in magazines during the holiday season and have so much to catch up on afterwards that I'm afraid I'm a little late with this but I'll link you to the recipes as they appeared in the January issue.
One was called Maple-Walnut Quinoa Chicken when I tested it, but now they have changed the name to Maple-Cider Chicken and Nutty Quinoa.  Either way I thought it was good. I had never had quinoa before.  I don't know if I'll be making this recipe again, as the man of the house didn't care for the flavour.  In the past, if a recipe listed quinoa as an ingredient, I turned the page, but I wouldn't be so quick to do that now. I'm glad I tried this recipe.

The dessert I made was the Bushberry Pudding Cake.  The sauce for this one has whiskey in it, but the cake alone is still very good.  If you want to feed it to children without the sauce, or just make it that way, go right ahead.  I know I'll make this one again, and may try it with different combinations of fruit as well. Peaches and blueberries, or apples and blackberries would also be great, I'm sure.
If you do make this cake, and want to use the sauce, pour the hot sauce over the cut pieces, not the whole cake. The cake is fine cold, but the sauce needs to be heated.  If you pour the sauce over the entire cake, and there are left overs, the butter in the sauce congeals and that spoils the flavour as all you end up tasting is butter.  Without the sauce, it's a great picnic cake and is about to become a family favourite.

I didn't have time during the testing period to make the Bannock, though I had intended to. I have, however, made it since then.  This is extremely easy and well worth the extra effort if you are having something like chili, soup or stew.  I don't know that it even needs the cheese. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Freebie Friday - Feb 1

I had no idea I'd actually get to do this every week, but that's the way it's working out so far this year. Mind you, I thought perhaps this week there would be no freebies to show you, but a couple did show up in the end.
One is a good sized sample of Purex. I don't know if I've ever used that brand of laundry detergent before, so a sample is a very good thing to send me, as I'd likely never by a full bottle without trying it first. This particular sample has a scent called After the Rain.  I guess that means it's a fresh clean smell.  The packaging says it will leave your clothes "bright white clean."  I think I'll use it on the next load of karate gis, as they are what I'd want the whitest. It also says that Purex is Canada's #2 Laundry Detergent.  I imagine Tide is number one.  I'm surprised this is listed as number two, but perhaps after I use it, I'll have a better understanding of why.

The other item is The Gardener's Idea Book from Proven Winners. Copies of this publication are still available if you sign up to get updates from their website. There are lots of pictures and I especially liked seeing various planters full of interesting varieties.  I'll probably try to copy some of those combinations this year.  There is also a planter in this booklet that I absolutely love.  I'll be on the lookout for that all season, I'm sure.  If all else fails, I guess I can order it from the supplier, which is listed, but unfortunately American, so the shipping will probably bring me to my senses.

This week's freebies have me dreaming of spring.  After The Rain scent on laundry, and pictures of the best flower ideas for the coming year have me hoping the Ground Hog can predict an early spring on his special day tomorrow.