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5 Local, Healthy Products At Choices Markets For Your Next Dinner Party

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local and healthy, choices markets, dinner party, fall dinner party, menu ideas

You know you’ve reached the West coast of Canada when you see Choices Markets pop up on city street corners and in suburban plazas. Widely recognized and well-established, the Choices brand represents a healthy, fresh and local focus. Consumers trust that when they walk out of one of the 11 conveniently located stores, they are carrying a reusable cloth bag full of goodness.

In the Lower Mainland, the rains are already upon us, the leaves are preparing to dazzle with their vibrant fall colours and food enthusiasts are switching out their barbecue recipes for indoor dinner party menus. With the help of these local, organic and healthy products found in the aisles of your favourite Choices store, your next gathering will be delicious and nutritious.

Pulse Kitchen Vegan Cheese

As your friends trickle through your doorway, out of the rain and into your cozy home, inevitably they will make their way to your kitchen island where conversations take place as the main meal simmers nearby. They also know this is where your platter of cheese, crackers and grapes is usually found. To mix things up and wow your guests, switch out the dairy for Pulse Kitchen Vegan Cheese – Cashew Kind of Blue or Cashew Cheddar. Made with nuts and chickpea miso, these ‘cheeses’ contain a powerful protein punch. Best of all, their cheesy flavour pairs well with everything you would normally serve on your platter.

pulse kitchen, vegan cheese, cashew cheese, choices markets, local and healthy

Spread ‘Em Kitchen Dips

If we say ‘chip’ and you say ‘dip’, this is your match made in heaven. Traditional dips just don’t measure up to this company’s mandate to serve nutrition-dense food that pleases the taste buds while nourishing the body. You can use Spread ‘Em Kitchen Dips just as they are to accompany raw veggies or spread on crackers. Or use them in recipes to create delights like this jalapeno ranch dressing for your salad. For more inspiration on how to spread ‘em and serve ‘em, check out their beautiful Instagram feed.

spread em kitchen, jalapeno ranch dressing, choices markets, local and healthy

B.C. Garlic

At the heart of many international cuisines is this odd-looking bulb, a cluster of cloves that contain an aroma you would recognize anywhere. Sizzling in olive oil, roasting in the oven, or raw and minced, B.C. garlic is an important start to your main meal. You can choose the variety of garlic based on what you are using it for: Chesnok Red is a full flavoured, purple stripe variety with a rich mellow taste and is perfect for baking or roasting. Yugoslavian is one of the hottest of the porcelain variety and is great for storing. It has an earthy flavour you can enjoy every day. Not sure which one is best? Ask the staff at Choices Markets. And while you’re at it, ask them to show you their B.C. organic sturgeon from Northern Divine. This mild, boneless fish tastes great with a simple garlic lemon sauce.

bc garlic, chesnok red garlic, choices markets, local and healthy

Better With Ice Cream

Ice cream does not disappear with summer; in fact, a scoop (or two) with a warm slice of apple pie is a classic fall dessert. Don’t rule out this frozen treat at your next party, especially when it’s Better With! Made with real cream and traceable ingredients, you can feel good about serving dairy from ethical farms using sustainable practices. Find a selection of flavours at your local Choices Markets: strawberry, coffee, caramel, vanilla and even a classic cream. If you want to get fancy and go beyond the usual, check out their recipes for some unconventional ways to eat ice cream!

better with ice cream, choices markets, local and healthy

Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Tea

Post-dinner conversation in the living room pairs perfectly with a cup of Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf tea. But wait: is it coffee or is it tea? It’s very much a tea, as Vancouver duo and co-founders Max Rivest and Arnaud Petitvallet will tell you. It just happens to be made from the leaves of the coffee plant. Wize Monkey is a company steeped in social responsibility; the impact of what they have created, and their partnership with a Nicagarua farm has been life-changing for members of that community. Coffee bean harvest season is only 3 months long but the leaves can be harvested the other 9 months of the year. This means year-round income for coffee families; they do not have to move to find work and children can remain in school. And in exchange, a lightly sweet, full-bodied caffeinated tea can be enjoyed by Choices Markets consumers.

wizemonkey, wize monkey coffee leaf tea, choices markets, healthy and local

 

 

 

 

Taslim combines her love of writing and social change by telling the stories that build bridges among people. Her motivating forces are her 3 children and her INFJ personality. Taslim is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Canada and Yummy Mummy Club, and a columnist for Peace Arch News. She has romantic notions of travel writing across European countrysides and historic African towns but her heart belongs to Surrey, B.C. You can connect with Taslim on Twitter and Instagram @taslimjaffer.

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Food & Drink

La Poutine Week 2021 Is Coming!

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Let’s start the year off right, with La Poutine Week 2021, delivery edition!
Because you deserve it.

From February 1st until February 7th, Saputo TM presents, La Poutine Week delivered by SkiptheDishes is back to empower the Canadian restaurant industry, restaurateurs, servers, and foodies – all in celebration of poutine.

This year, La Poutine Week is serving YOU – allowing poutine lovers to discover new venues and savour unique poutines, while providing the opportunity for restaurants to showcase their very best creations, subsequently increasing their sales and popularity. Why? Because this year, more than ever, you deserve it!

Heading into its ninth consecutive year, La Poutine Week is a week-long event and friendly competition that has become a key vehicle for restaurant owners to build momentum around their brand, especially during the quieter winter
months. It is no secret that the past year has been one of the most challenging times our country has ever faced, and what better way to come together than through a universal love for poutine.

As co-founder Na’eem Adam explains “This year, more than ever, every poutine that will be consumed becomes a mark of loyalty – for restaurants, for us, for our community. We are here to support our restaurants by driving sales through a national platform that celebrates our most recognized and beloved dish. The restaurant industry and the foodie community need good news, and La Poutine Week is one of them.”

To further adapt to the difficulties restaurants have faced this past year, La Poutine Week has cut its annual registration fee by over 60%. For all restaurants who are unable to afford the entry fee, La Poutine Week organizers are asking they email them, and they will help ensure participation because poutine will always win!

This year’s festival wouldn’t be possible without the support of their proud partners. This includes La Poutine Week’s official cheese partner, Saputo, providing Canadian restaurants with a variety of delicious cheeses, from classic cheese curds, to parmesan, to creamy goat cheese and more… because it’s true what they say – cheese changes everything!

Plus, online food delivery network, SkipTheDishes, where any participating restaurant who is also on Skip, will be able to have their poutine available for delivery or take out during the festival. For the third year in a row, La Poutine Week is giving back to an organization near and dear to their heart.

One dollar for every poutine sold at a participating restaurant will go to Anorexia and Bulimia Québec (ANEB), an organization that guarantees free, immediate and specialized help to people with an eating disorder and their loved ones.

This year, YOU deserve poutine more than ever – so get ready Canada, because the countdown to La Poutine Week has officially started.

To join the La Poutine Week community, please go to: http://lapoutineweek.com/registration/restaurant. To learn more about La Poutine Week, please go to www.lapoutineweek.com.

About Saputo:

Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a wide array of dairy products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients.

Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada, the top dairy processor in Australia and the second largest in Argentina.

In the USA, Saputo ranks among the top three cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products. In the United Kingdom, Saputo is the largest manufacturer of branded cheese and a top manufacturer of dairy spreads.

Our products are sold in several countries under well-known brand names such as Saputo, Alexis de Portneuf, Armstrong, Cathedral City, Clover, COON, Cracker Barrel*, Dairyland, DairyStar, Devondale, Friendship Dairies, Frigo Cheese Heads, Joyya, La Paulina, Liddells, Milk2Go/Lait’s Go, Montchevre, Murray Goulburn Ingredients, Neilson, Nutrilait, Scotsburn*, South Cape, Stella, Sungold, Tasmanian Heritage, Treasure Cave and Woolwich Goat Dairy.

Saputo Inc. is a publicly traded company and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “SAP”.
*Trademark used under license.

About SkipTheDishes:

SkipTheDishes is part of Just Eat Takeaway.com, a leading global online food delivery marketplace. SkipTheDishes connects millions of customers with over 30,000 Restaurant Partners in Canada.

About People Mover Technology Inc.

People Mover Technology Inc. was founded in 2010 by Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam. PMT develops interactive food festivals around fun dishes in different cities. Notably, Le Burger Week and La Poutine Week.

They move people around interactive concepts with the goal to introduce people to new things, all while stimulating local business. Their flagship festivals are in over 2,000 restaurants worldwide and attract more than 200,000 participants yearly. https://peoplemover.tech/

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Food & Drink

Pair and Pour Some Festive Holiday Cheer This Season

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While holiday traditions and celebrations will likely look different this year, the season is still special. Set the scene for a celebratory occasion by mixing festive cocktails or creating the perfect spread to complement your wines, beers, cheeses and even chocolates.

Light and Refreshing – With aromas of Meyer lemon and flavors of fresh green apple and white peach, the crisp Landshut Riesling has a touch of delicate sweetness while still being juicy and refreshing. For a savory-and-sweet combination, try pairing it with the Emporium Selection Plain Goat Cheese Log and Winternacht Milk Chocolate Domino Cubes.

Rich and Decadent – Indulge your senses with the aromas of butterscotch, warm baking spices and the velvety dark fruit notes of the Quarter Cut Bourbon Barrel Red Blend. This decadent red blend offers a smooth finish, similar to mulled wine without the extra work. The rich flavor pairs well with a smoked cheese like Emporium Selection Smoked Gouda as well as the Moser Roth Dark Chocolate Collection Caramel Sea Salt.

Savory with Brew – If a craft beer is more your style, consider a rich and creamy dark ale like a stout. Its robust flavors of roasted coffee beans and bittersweet cocoa combine for a sweet yet savory, earthy finish. Serve it with rich flavors like Emporium Selection Premium English Truffle Cheddar and add a touch of chocolatey sweetness with Specially Selected Cocoa Dusted Truffles.

Signature Libations – Up the ante on your holiday celebration with a special yet simple cocktail you can mix at home with confidence. The secret to making the Mistletoe Mule is the 3-2-1 method: just pour wine for three counts, ginger beer for two counts and pomegranate juice for one count.

Mistletoe Mule

Servings: 2

  • Sugar
  • 4 1/2 ounces Tourner Brut Sparkling
  • 3 ounces Summit Ginger Beer
  • 1.5 ounces Specially Selected Premium 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • lime juice
  • fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
  1. Rim two glasses with sugar.
  2. In separate mixer or glass, combine wine, ginger beer and pomegranate juice using 3-2-1 method.
    To serve, pour over ice in prepared glasses then top with fresh lime juice. Garnish each glass with cranberries, if desired.
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Food & Drink

Decorative Holiday Dessert Recipe ideas Using Popcorn

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During a holiday season that may not quite feel the same for many families, you can add a magic touch to at-home festivities with activities and treats that get everyone involved. Creating decorative holiday sweets allows little ones and grown-ups alike to take part in the fun, and the end result is delicious desserts for all to enjoy.

Start with a main ingredient like whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn. At 30 calories a cup, it’s naturally low in fat, non-GMO and gluten-free for a nutritious alternative to traditional holiday indulgences. It’s a clever way to create artsy representations of the season at hand that celebrate festive flavors like peppermint, coconut, chocolate and other sweet eats.

For example, Coconut Popcorn Snowballs add fun and flavor to wintertime with a coat of sweetened coconut “snow” and candy cane handle while easy-to-construct Holiday Popcorn Snowmen are sure to be a hit with your children. Add to the holiday spirit throughout your home with wintery Jingle Balls that call for colored sugars to create a magical sparkling effect then take the creativity to the next level by encouraging kids to make their own red-nosed, sleigh-pulling team of Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer.

Coconut Popcorn Snowballs

Yield: 8 balls (4 inches)

  • 2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 quarts popped popcorn
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows1 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
  • 8 candy canes or candy cane sticks (about 3-4 inches)
  1. Place large sheet wax or parchment paper over work surface. Spread coconut on paper.
  2. Spray large mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
  3. In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows until melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.
  4. Spray hands with cooking spray and press mixture firmly to form into balls. Place balls on coconut; roll and press coconut to coat. While holding popcorn balls, gently press candy cane into each ball.
  5. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage.

Jingle Balls

Yield: 12 cups

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • assorted colored sugars
  1. Spray large mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Add popcorn.
  2. Spread plastic wrap on cookie sheet; set aside.
  3. In medium saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows; stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour over popcorn, mixing until well coated. Let cool 2 minutes.
  4. Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray and form popcorn mixture into 3-inch balls. Gently press colored sugar onto balls. Let sit on prepared cookie sheet until cool and set.

Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer

Servings: 8

  • 8 cups unsalted, unbuttered, popped popcorn
  • 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter or light olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 pretzel sticks
  • 16 eyeball candies
  • 8 red candy-coated
  • chocolate candies
  1. Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often, until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.
  3. Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.
  4. Insert one pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for “eyes” and one red chocolate candy for “nose.”
  5. Repeat with remaining balls. Let cool completely.

Holiday Popcorn Snowmen

Yield: 5 snowmen

  • 1 package (1 pound) large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional for greasing hands
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • licorice (optional)
  • gum drops (optional)
  • cinnamon candies (optional)
  1. In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and stir. Butter hands well and form into balls.
  3. Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, if desired.
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Food & Drink

Nutritional Inspiration for the New Year

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A new year brings new opportunities for personal changes and improvement from taking steps forward in a career to bettering personal relationships and – perhaps most common – starting on a path toward better health. For many, the worthwhile challenge of enhancing physical health begins with the foods and beverages you eat and drink.

Step one is to leave behind the habit of turning to unhealthy meals and instead focus on dishes that call for fresh fruits and veggies like this Quinoa Salad with Orange Cilantro Salad Dressing. Simply start with cooked quinoa and mix together with your preferred produce like orange slices, grapefruit and diced avocado. Add feta cheese, lime juice and diced red onion to bring the flavor to life and drizzle with the light, zesty dressing.

Making nutritious choices goes beyond just your meals, however. Take your commitment to the next level with beverages that don’t cancel out your effort to eat healthy. This Spiced Citrus Ginger Mocktail combines a concentrate made of orange juice, orange peel, lime juice and lime peel with zero-sugar, zero-calorie ginger ale.

These health-conscious recipes are made possible with the flavor enhancement of Zevia beverages, which are naturally sweetened with stevia and include no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives.

Ranging from sodas to organic teas, energy drinks, sparkling water and mixers for cocktails and mocktails, the zero-sugar beverages fit nearly any lifestyle including eating patterns like paleo, keto, intermittent fasting and gluten-free.

Visit zevia.com/recipes to find more nutritious food and drink solutions.

Quinoa Salad with Orange Cilantro Salad Dressing

Yield: 2 cups

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Zevia Orange Soda
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 avocado
    1 teaspoon garlic

Quinoa Salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • leafy greens (optional)
  • 1 orange, cut into pieces (optional)
  • 1 grapefruit, cut into pieces (optional)
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1/2 avocado, diced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (optional)
  1. To make dressing: In food processor, pulse orange soda, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, avocado and garlic until consistency is smooth.
  2. To make quinoa salad: Cook quinoa according to package directions and let cool.
  3. Once quinoa is cool, add to bowl with orange pieces, if desired; grapefruit pieces, if desired; lime juice; avocado, if desired; feta cheese, if desired; and diced onion, if desired. Top with orange cilantro salad dressing.

Spiced Citrus Ginger Mocktail

Yield: 1 mocktail

Concentrate:

  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 lime peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed

Mocktail:

  • 1/3 cup concentrate
  • 1 can Zevia Ginger Ale
  • ice
  • lime wedge, for garnish (optional)
  • orange wedge, for garnish (optional)

To make concentrate:

  1. In small saucepan, combine orange juice, lime juice, orange peel, lime peel, black peppercorns, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks. Bring to boil over high heat then turn to low; simmer until liquid has reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Let cool and strain out solids. Transfer to glass jar and store until ready to use.
  2. To make mocktail: Combine concentrate with ginger ale over ice.
  3. Garnish with lime wedge or orange wedge, if desired.

SOURCE: Zevia

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Food & Drink

Eat and Drink Smart to Fend Off Cold and Flu Season

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It’s no secret that a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and veggies can deliver important vitamins and nutrients for better health, but many of your favorite foods can actually help support your immune system, too.

In addition to precautions like avoiding people who are sick and washing your hands often, you can influence your immune system through what you eat and drink.

Stay hydrated. Keeping well hydrated can be difficult during the winter months, especially if you spend most of your time indoors. A warm drink like this flavorful Orange Spiced Tea provides a strong dose of vitamin C along with a delicious dose of hydration.

Keep the produce going strong. Fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies often come to mind during warmer months, but produce like citrus, leafy greens and root vegetables are plentiful during cold and flu season, too.

“Consuming the whole fruit is the best way to ensure you gain the maximum nutritional benefit,” Dr. Poonam Desai said. “When speaking with patients, I recommend seeking nutrients like vitamin C from whole food sources, rather than supplements, especially with a vitamin C-rich fruit like California oranges.”

Get a natural boost of vitamins. Vitamins A and C, found in fresh citrus, are two key nutrients that support your body’s natural line of defense, your immune system. Just one orange offers 90% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C, and California Navel oranges are in their peak season – just in time for the height of cold and flu season.

5 Ways to Get More Vitamin C

  • Pick heavy fruit. When shopping for citrus, choose fruit that smells fresh and feels heavy for its size. The heavier the orange, the juicer it’s likely to be.
  • Explore versatility. Fresh citrus like California Navel oranges make a nutritious addition to sweet and savory dishes, beverages, cocktails, sauces and more.
  • Use the whole fruit. Reduce food waste by consuming the flesh, juice, zest and peel. Try squeezing juice and grating zest into a smoothie, using orange segments for a vibrant salad or combining diced Navels with red onion, cilantro and jalapenos for a zesty salsa.
  • Retain vitamin C content. Vitamin C is water soluble, so to retain as much as possible, eat citrus fresh, avoid overcooking and use minimal amounts of water.
  • Refrigerate for longer shelf life. Keep your citrus fresh longer by storing it in the refrigerator at a temperature below 42 F. To get the most juice out of the orange, bring it to room temperature before cooking.

Orange Spiced Tea

Recipe courtesy of California Citrus Growers

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 clove cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tea bags
  • 1 cup California Navel orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 slice California Navel orange
  1. Bring water and cinnamon to boil; let cinnamon dissolve. Remove from heat and add tea bags; soak at least 5 minutes. Remove tea bags.
  2. In separate pan, bring orange juice, sugar and lemon juice to boil. Stir until sugar dissolves.
    Pour juice mixture into spiced tea.
    Garnish with orange slice and serve hot.
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