Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe to Riches)

Getting the winning recipe from Recipe to Riches in my inbox on Monday mornings is always a fun little secret between me and a few other food bloggers. (Last time it was the Chicken & Bacon Skewers, remember?)

The show doesn't air until Wednesday, so as tempted as I am to tweet of photo of the baking process or the finished product, I have to sit on it for a few days.

It wasn't easy to keep quiet over this weeks winning recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. Created by Recipe to Riches contestant Sonya Walos, they took me out of my baking comfort zone with their preparation, but brought me right back as soon as I tasted them.

First up, a confession: these are my first ever gluten-free cookies, both to make or eat. They certainly won't be my last, and not just because I've got scads of potato starch and tapioca flour (say what?) kicking around now, but because they are genuinely delicious!

Sonya's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies won me over with their contrasting crunchy and soft textures, rich butterscotch flavor, and milk chocolate chips. The addition of coconut also gave them a lovely chewy texture. The best part? My kids loved them, so SCORE.

Want to make Sonya's cookies yourself? You can head over to the FN website to get the recipe (it should be posted soon!). Sure they required lots of unique ingredients, especially to one unfamiliar with GF baking, but it's always fun to expand one's horizons.

If you're not a baker but still want to taste these gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, the product should also be on shelves this weekend at Loblaws across Canada, so you can pick up a box and see what a winning cookie tastes like.

The popular Food Network Canada show is over halfway finished, with the grand finale coming up soon, where Canada will vote and the winner will receive a whopping $250,000.

I think these Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies could have had a shot at the big prize, unfortunately Sonya has been disqualified from the competition. Get the full scoop on the Recipe to Riches Facebook page.

Missed the episode? It will be available online soon on the R to R video page.

Disclosure: Recipe to Riches is giving their official bloggers a $100 Loblaws gift cards to offset the time and money spent making the winning recipe and writing a blog post. The opinions expressed here are my own, of course!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

More Business of Being Born (Giveaway!)

**This giveaway has ended. Thank you to all who entered -nearly 100 of you!- and I really hope you all get to see the film at some point.
Congratulations to the winner, Amber! Woot! Amber please contact me with your mailing address and we'll get your prize shipped out.**

I'm six months into my third pregnancy and at this point, 'baby talk' is an equally passionate subject as food. My girlfriends can attest to the fact that I could talk birth and babies for hours at a time.

The third time around is every bit as exciting for me as the first pregnancy and although I have less (far less) time for reading and research, it is still a priority.

Imagine my delight when a PR rep for Ricki Lake contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in reviewing her latest documentary series, More Business of Being Born.

Like millions of other women, I had watched The Business of Being Born, Ricki's breakout documentary on the birthing crisis in America, and really enjoyed it. In fact, Danny and I had just recently watched it together and I gleaned even more from the film the second time around.

The timing couldn't have been better for me to be introduced to the film's follow-up series. It was as if all the research I was wishing I had time to do was already done for me and condensed into a tidy 4-DVD package. All I had to do was pop the corn and put my feet up.

I watched all four DVD's last weekend. I cried. I laughed. I took notes. I formulated questions for my doctor. I booked an appointment to interview a doula.

This film touched on so many topics that I needed to learn about. For the first time, the term VBAC is in my vocabulary, as Mateo (my second) was a breech baby and delivered by scheduled C-section. I am an advocate of natural birth (Noah was an all-natural, drug-free delivery) and sincerely hope to avoid surgery this time around. MBOBB answered a lot of my questions regarding VBAC's.

I'm incredibly thankful for this new, eye opening documentary on modern birth made by women for women.

Mateo and I, 2008.

Today 'More Business of Being Born' premieres in L.A. and around North America (
find a screening) and I'm here to tell you that it is a MUST SEE for expecting parents or future parents.

I'm giving away More Business of Being Born: The Complete Box Set at the bottom of the post, but first, read a little about what each film contains!

DVD #1: Down on The Farm: Conversations with Legendary Midwife Ina May Gaskin

Follow Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein to The Farm Community in Summertown, Tennessee, where pioneer midwife Ina May Gaskin talks candidly about the latest birth trends and the art of midwifery. Gaskin, who was featured in the original The Business of Being Born, sparked Lake’s initial interest in natural birth and has continued to inspire the filmmaking duo’s advocacy efforts.

DVD #2 - Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth

Featuring celebrity moms Laila Ali, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan, Melissa Joan Hart, Kellie Martin, Alanis Morissette, Christy Turlington-Burns and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Special Deliveries is a collection of intimate birth stories from a diverse group of mothers. Whether they chose to deliver at a hospital, home or birthing center, these heartfelt and humorous testimonies speak to the lasting power of the birth experience.

True inspiration for any mother-to-be, this group of women trusted their bodies and intuitions, taking responsibility for their birth decisions even when things didn’t go according to plan. None of these courageous women has ever spoken on the record in such compelling detail, and, on this DVD, the filmmakers weave together their passionate narratives as a celebration of the journey to motherhood that will leave viewers with a renewed sense of amazement about the power of women. 

DVD # 3 - Explore Your Options: Doulas, Birth Centers & C-Sections

The most comprehensive and educational DVD in the series, Explore Your Options offers birth-planning guidance around key topics such as the role of doulas (labor support specialists,) the advantages of birth centers and the alarming escalation of cesarean sections in the United States and Brazil.

Epstein and Lake talk to doulas about why their profession is currently booming and uncover why having a good doula can make-or-break the entire birth experience. They look at the ever-growing rates of inductions and c-sections, which have reached 50% in many US hospitals and more than 99% in some private hospitals in Brazil.

How “safe” are these cesarean surgeries, and what are the health implications for the mothers and babies? Explore Your Options examines the pros and cons of birth centers, described as a perfect middle ground between home and hospital.

DVD #4 - The VBAC Dilemma: What Your Options Really Are

The VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) has become a hot-button issue in the modern maternity care system, as one in three new mothers will give birth via cesarean section. Are all of these mothers then forced to undergo a repeat cesarean the next time around? Epstein and Lake posed that question to dozens of experts, determining the surprising truth about VBACs.


Thanks to our friends at MBOBB, I have the complete DVD set to giveaway.

Giveaway Prize: 1 copy of More Business of Being Born: The Complete Box Set (4 DVD's) Value: $59.99

To Enter the Giveaway: Leave a comment on this post. That's it.

** This giveaway is now closed. A big thank you to all who entered!**

Giveaway will end in one week, on November 15 at 11:59. Good luck to all!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Roasted Chicken & Bacon Skewers (Recipe to Riches feature)

Food-themed TV is the only television I tune in for, and even then, it's mostly watched online, commercial free. Last winter I gave 44 minutes of my week to Top Chef Canada and this fall it is Food Network Canada's fun new reality show, Recipe to Riches that's got me hooked.

In full disclosure*, my friend, the always-inspiring, Dana McCauley, is a judge on the show, so I'm not tuning in just to watch the hunky host Jesse Palmer. Honest!

While in Toronto recently for the Blissdom conference, I had dinner with Dana (at Pangaea, no less!) and she regaled us all with behind-the-scenes gossip from Recipe to Riches.

When the show aired three days later, of course I tuned in and a new weekly ritual was born. (Tip: If you want to catch up on Episodes 1 & 2 you can find them online.)

This week on Recipe to Riches, three contestants prepared appetizers and competed for the prize of $25K. New Brunswick native, John Grass swept the challenge with his Grilled Chicken Skewers.

I like to call them Spicy Chicken, Bacon and Havarti Skewers, and mine were roasted, not grilled. Basically, they rocked.

Bacon (I used thick-cut), Havarti cheese and thin slices of chicken are rolled up together, dusted with a sassy Cajun-like spice mix, and baked to a crisp. Talk about addicting.

These chicken skewers were created by a man, but hold plenty of appeal for all, especially this always-hungry pregnant mama. I can totally see them making an appearance over the upcoming holidays.

Noah even gave them the ultimate complement: "Mama, may I have these for my lunch tomorrow?" John Grass, I bet you weren't thinking 'school lunch' when you created these!

Head over to the Food Network's official Recipe to Riches recipe page to get the recipe for John Grass's winning appetizer recipe.

* Even fuller disclosure: Recipe to Riches is giving their official bloggers a $100 Loblaws gift cards to offset the time and money spent making the winning recipe and writing a blog post. The opinions expressed here are my own, of course!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin