Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Post Aug 27, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope you've been having a great summer as it now comes to an end. I hope everyone's had a chance to check out The Ex this year. We've already gone twice, and at least once more next Monday! The weather hasn't been the best but we've had some great sunny, hot days! I've had Eros this week and he's been so good and well behaved! The best part of him is finally getting to play catch after seven years! He gets bored but it's nice to feel like we've finally got it down!

 Yesterday, temperatures hit about 40 C and I wanted to go back to Mexico and sit beach side so badly!

 I've been so good and have been keeping up my Nutribullets! I can't say I loss any weight or anything but I do feel better and healthier. Than again, it could all be in my head! But, since starting the smoothies I can definitely say I snack less on junk foods since I'm usually full. The best part is add fruits to make all the veggie flavours disappear! It's not as healthy as Winton's shakes but I'm getting there. It's very slow process from eating unhealthy all your life!

His and her smoothies!

 I found this life hack online and I found it to be so amazingly helpful when I'm cutting up boxes and boxes of pre cut fruit as work snacks for during the week. The skin peels so easily and makes prep work so much faster!

 Now, that some of our friend's children are getting older, I want to stray away from the non-education toys that will be tossed out and started picking up more learning friendly items. Thanks to BMV, I got this selection of books for $20! I rarely go into a used bookstore but I was surprised to find how much new books they have on sale. And for way cheaper than purchasing them from Chapters. The best part? They use good quality sticker tags that easily peel off and leave no residue!

A few weeks ago, I was able to get such a great deal at Walmart! They had a sale for $1.99 for all these Scrubbing Bubbles and I had a ton of buy one, get one coupons and various other ones. Making them about a $1 each or less. I've been using the aerosol one and the cool blue spray that comes out turns white after a few seconds. It's funny but it's like I'm spray painting the bathroom with no ill effects! Kind of makes cleaning fun. The graffiti artist in me is now satisfied! hahaha

Some more food reviews coming up!

Eros and Pookie

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


Hi All!

After a much needed hiatus, I'm back into full writing and creative mode! In May, I was suffering from burn out and took a much needed break from work and jumped on a flight to Mexico! We stayed    in some town just outside of Playa Del Carmen. Our resort was fantastic and crazy huge! We had to take golf carts from the lobby to our room everyday. The grounds were immense and filled with animals at every turn. There were peacocks and coati everywhere! I did manage to scratch one of my items off my bucket list and that was a trip to Chichen Itza. It was good but not great, I have to admit I was pretty miserable that day from all the rain! Of all the beautiful days in Mexico, it had to rain the one day we set out to visit the main reason for our visit! It poured and poured and I froze! Not fun! I'll see if I can post some pictures later!

Some other news! I've stopped working on the weekends and it's been great! I thought I'd be a lot poorer from it but I'm a lot happier and less stressed out. And luckily, karma has blessed me with some great gigs that balance out my loss of income. I've started sewing hardcore again, which is really nice! I get to be creative and relieve stress all at the same time. Unfortunately, I've been going a little nuts at the 50% off sale at Fabricland and picked up a bunch of items. And funny enough! I made a bag for Winton's karate sticks and had a crapload of orders coming in for my bag. So, I basically covered most of my sewing expenses. Lately, I've been making tons of baby items like burp clothes, newborn bibs, regular sized bibs, baprons and even some superman style capes with the child's letter. Is it just me, or do you guys notice that every single child in your life seems to have a birthday so close to each other?

I've also been making diaper cakes lately! I've learned to make baby stroller shaped one and owl shaped ones. They are very very cool! And I've had a few orders to fill, so that helps in all my cost for fabric and materials.

Money wise, we've been spending a ton more on fresh produce at Costco to blend our nutribullet breakfasts and we've eaten more cleanly lately. It's hard to get off the pizza and pasta train but consuming so much veggies and healthy stuff right off the bat in the mornings, I don't feel so bad eating like crap here or there. We've been cooking more at home lately and using fresh cuts of meats etc. instead of copping out and buying frozen this or that. Coupled with our goal to swim more often, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this healthy lifestyle. Mind you, we are still couponing and price matching what we can at the stores. It just seems more practical and economical to shop at Costco every other time and grab three large tubs of Greek yogurt for $10, that would last us about a week. Than to buy one tub for about $5-6 that would last us a couple days.

Well, this has been what I've been up to! Hopefully, you all have been doing well and saving money while enjoying the summer!

Eros And Pookie

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Mine Sushi Review

Hi Sushi Lovers!

Mine Sushi is one of our favourite local sushi spots near by and their food is really good but pricey to boot! I guess it doesn't help that their location is across the street from the Roger's Centre! We love coming here but it's definitely not everyday sushi we could afford. Luckily, we had a groupon! So, here's what we ordered:

Yakitori, filled with big chunks of chicken! 

I really like their Dynamite roll! I feel like they didn't skimp out on the shrimp and didn't over kill it with the rice.
Chicken Udon. It was super duper hot and burnt my tongue, way hotter than any other udon I've had before. They gave a good portion of noodles but could of gave me a few more pieces of chicken for what I paid for it. I love Hosu udon, they give me a choice of miso soup or fish broth but I didn't get this choice here. 

I love getting fruit at the end of the meal. It's like a nice treat and throw back to getting them whenever I ate at a Chinese restaurant downtown. 

Overall, anyone who is in the mood for sushi should definitely check out this place. It's got great food with or without the groupon and I didn't get any negative attitudes for presenting my coupon. The only thing is in the past we ordered Lobster Roll, I would advise getting this. It wasn't very good! Instead, check out Thompson Hotel's Wabora Sushi Restaurant! It's our absolute favourite and priciest (maybe even more so than Ki). Then again that's another review! Until next time!

Eros And Pookie

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Taxes! Eek! A Guide to Filing Self Employed Taxes!

Hi Friends,

I'm sad to report it's that time of year again that each of us must endure.... Taxes! However, we will be getting an extra week because the CRA website was down. Did you know you can't file your taxes after 3am? Strange, huh?! I found this out when I tried filing at like 5am and got denied. Taxes are like getting a your yearly physical, it's uncomfortable, you wish you'd live without, but it's absolutely necessary. Here are the step's I take to file my taxes.

Most importantly, it's all about my budgeting document I use everyday! It has the list of all my income for the year, HST collected and paid, and my commissions paid. At the end of each year, I create a new excel sheet and edit my budget according to my needs and tailor it for what my life needs at the time. So, this year I took out the OSAP column and added down payment savings. Right on January 1st, two things happen. First, I can use my budget right off the bat and secondly I create separate envelopes for the year to organize receipts for my business expenses. A budget makes my life just so much easier, I don't know how I lived without one in the past! Trust me on this one! It can save you hours, if not days of agony!

Here are the list of expenses off the CRA website:

With the envelopes, doing a bit of organizing throughout the year will save you so much time and stress during tax time! I try to keep my receipts in chronological order, you don't have to but that's just part of my ocd-ness. Let me explain...

Using my iPad, I create a new spreadsheet to add up my different categories of expenses. For each receipt, I have a column for date, what it's for, the cost, the hst, and even the tip (if it applies). This will make it very easy for me to just plug in the numbers in my tax program later. Funny story! I once spent a couple nights helping a tax preparer with a large database and lots of experience prepare files for her clients. She was teaching me stuff  with the intent so I could help her out during the busy tax time. Having taken the H & R Block tax course, I already knew the basics but one thing the course didn't cover was self employed taxes and I thought it was be nice to shed some light on that for myself. In a way, I did learn a lot about what to do and A LOT more of what not to do. At the time, wanting to be a tax preparer myself, I found out that most people just don't know how to organize their paper work. It's like pulling teeth to get them to give you all the information to properly file their taxes for them, not to mention all the crumbled up receipts and paperwork you must sift through. Then they blame you if you get audited or what not! This totally turned me off from trying to start my own tax business, but I'm willing to help and do it for others who have just a regular old T4 and some RRSP savings. You see, the thing with this person wasn't that she wasn't a good tax preparer, it was her process. She's a bit older and some people just don't like change or adapting as technology changes. I love excel, I love that I type in the numbers and it instantly adds them up for me when I put in the formula. She would only let me add up numbers with an old calculator that prints up using ticker tape. OMG! The horror on my face when I would make one mistake and have to type all the receipts up again, but the worst part of it was that is wasn't a proper functioning one! You press one thing and it doesn't register but you don't notice till you print it up to see. Punching in a bunch of numbers as fast as I can and not having to think I made a mistake since I already knew I punched it in correctly, somehow it was my fault for not carefully checking after each button was pressed. I suggested the excel but she brushed it off as saying something along the lines of "kids and their shortcuts." It's not short cuts, it's called efficiency and I did not appreciate the tone that my generation was lazy! I don't have all day to play with non-functioning calculators that don't get the job done. Geez! You don't have to guess that I never plan to go back there again.

Ok, back to my taxes! With my budget in hand and my tax program, I can easily punch in my personal info and what my income was for the year. Along with my current expenses and deductions, it's pretty quite simple since the program does most of the work for you. Honestly, if you use the easy steps you could get it done in about a couple hours time. An hour or so for adding up your numbers and less for punching them in. The software makes it super easy! It asks you really simple questions and if you don't understand you can click the explain button. The program does all the math for me, it's great! Imagine if I had to manually calculate what I owed for CPP etc.? The horror! And why would anyone want to?

Here are some tips I found most useful!
- Always make sure you hit "YES" to the HST Credit Application. It doesn't hurt! And if you can possibly get some extra dough, why not?
- If you give to charity, you can save them for up to the past five consecutive years and then claim them all at once. This gives you the most bang for your buck!
- Medical expenses are for one year. I choose to just do it from January to December so I can easily remember. But, you can choose any date that you have not previous claimed for. So, maybe you had the bulk of your medical bills from February to next January. That works too!
- If you're not making much this year and are making RRSP contributions, you can defer some or all your RRSP deductions for the year when you are making more money. This will help you to pay less tax in the future.

This is a complete separate return I have to fill out for my business every year because I have a business number. I could do it quarterly but for me it's easier to do it yearly as I don't collect much HST on behalf of the government. This is pretty simple but time consuming as well. I just need to go back to all the times I've collected HST from my clients and paid HST to agents and for expenses etc. I haven't done mine yet but I really should! You just submit those numbers and depending on what you submitted you might get a cheque or a bill.

Hope that helps to clarify the tip of the iceberg of taxes! There is just so much to know and learn that it's practically impossible to know everything. They really should be providing real life classes in schools. Things like budgeting, saving, and taxes shouldn't just be left for at home. Yes, you're parents should take in some accountability but it would be nice for those who don't have the ability to learn at home, that they can get a taste for it in school.

Eros and Pookie

Eros And Pookie

Spring Rolls and Shopping Trip Apr 8, 2014

Hi Everyone!

After a bit of a hiatus, all thanks to my Macbook crashing on me! I'm back! I'm sort of on the market for a new iPad and Macbook but I would much rather prefer to wait for the next generation. Backing up files are so important! And thankfully, my cousin has put boot camp on this computer so now I've switched over to the PC it's like learning how to use a computer all over again. It's such a strange world! I miss having all my devices easily in sync with each other. Let's catch up to what I've been doing this whole time!

My mom knows how much I love her spring rolls and she happened to be in the area after making a fresh batch of meat! How convenient for me huh?! She fully supplied me with everything I needed to roll and make my own fresh Vietnamese spring rolls! Some of you may know, you can't pre fry them and give them out. They have to be eaten soon after cooking or else they get all soggy and gross.

Rolling them up! I really need to work on my rolling skills because I know I have definitely lost them! Egg whites are a great glue to keep the rolls closed! My mom has even used beer too!

I think I may have over fried them since I made them so thick! I just wanted to make sure the heat got to the centre to avoid any possible food poisoning.

Shoppers Drug Mart Deal
- 2 X $3.99 - 2 X $1 coupons - 2 X $1 SnapSaves = $1.99 each!
Perfect timing to run out of tissues in the house! 

No Frills/Walmart
- 3 X Liquid Plumber pm'd $1.99 each
- Pineapple pm's $1.97
- Vinegar 4L $1.97
- Juice $2.99
- Aparagus pm'd $1.99
- Natural Selection Roast Beef $3.99
- Oreo's $1.88
- Egg Creations $1.25
- Whole Wheat Bread $1.88
- Lou's Peameal $3.99
- Cauliflower $1.97
- Fuji Apples $.97/lb
- Lactania Butter $2.99 - 75 cent coupon
- Egg White's $2.69 - $1 coupon - $1 Snapsaves
- 2 X Chipit's $2.27
- Marshmallows $1.50
- Banana's $.57/lb
- Cucumber $.97

Eros And Pookie

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Clearance Shopping, Shopping Trip April 1, 2014 and Cooking at Home!

Hi Guys,

I have to say it's been a difficult past three weeks for me with no day off. Hopefully, I'll be able to get the upcoming Monday off so it would make it a whole month with no days off. Ah, 'tis the life of the self employed! So, let's see what I've been up to on my down time!

Honest Ed's
Honest Ed's is clearing out so I tried going after work one day to see if they had an bargains and sadly they do not! Everything is insanely over priced compared to Walmart and their other competitors! I did manage to come across these cute Kermit The Frog bags for $1! They'd make great gift bags for kid's presents and such! It cost the same amount I would of spent on a regular gift bag from Dollarama, but this way it's reusable! 

Another Walmart/No Frills trip!
- Kale pm'd from Freshco for $1.99
- Clemintine's 4lbs pm'd from Freshco for $3.99
- Banana's $.59/lb
- Broccoli $.97
- Fruit Creme Cookies $1.88
- 2 X Healthy Harvest Pasta $1 each
- McCain fries $1.47
- Celery $.97
- PC Chips $1
- Triscuit (I forget, I think it was like $1.44)
- English Muffins $1
- PC Cookie Dough $1.97
- Bosc pears $.97/lb
- Mini Soccer Ball $3
- Chicken Breast $2.83

Walmart Clearance! Yay! I found some really cool wooden craft pieces for 40 cents each. Great for kid's painting and doing cool art stuff. I also found this 3 piece baby set for $5! Amazing! They will incorporate nicely into my future diaper tricycles!

So, after a much thought and research we have our new mattress! Hooray! It's amazing! It came in record timing and the delivery process was in and our in less than five minutes! I'm happy to report that I've been getting much better rest at night without loose spring's stabbing me in the ribs! My only two complaints are that it gets a little hot during the night so I have to turn to let the heat escape, then again it could be that it's now spring time and I don't need my heavy duvet. Another, is that my pillow is just so flat so it's been killing my neck now more than ever! 

Food Wise!
So, I've been having these hankerings for breakfast foods on the weekends. I want to do brunch or just go across the street to Cora's for a quick bite! But, I remembered my new mantra of cooking everything at home! So, with some effort I made some Eggs Benedict! They didn't come out all that great but I had a great breakfast that didn't cost me $20 a person! 

I'm also still on my smoothie kick! Maybe not as often as before but I still try to have at least 2-3 smoothies a week to get my veggies in! I find that I'm so full and constantly peeing after. And my fullness still makes me feel hungry for something more substantial like meat or something. It's just such a strange feeling, I'm full but I want to eat!

Eros And Pookie

Friday, 21 March 2014

Buying A Mattress

If you're like me, there is a sense of dread that comes over you when you have to make big ticket purchases. Two things come to my mind when this happens! First, my poor home maintenance fund is going to take another major hit! Secondly, the research! Oh my, the hours and hours spent online searching for any info on how to make a decision. What kind I'm looking for, is there a deal on this item etc. etc.

One advantage is that I had some time before I made a decision and bite the bullet on what mattress I wanted to buy. The thing is.... no one has asked me what I wanted before and I have no frigging idea where to start! What kind of mattress do I want? Eurotop? What's that? Where do you buy one? How can you tell if it's a good quality mattress? What happens if I buy the wrong one? What's the delivery cost? What happens to the old one? All these crazy questions come to my mind and I feel pretty much like a doe blanking out in front of oncoming headlights.

One of the hardest parts of growing up is just figuring crap out for yourself. My mother never taught me how to buy a mattress! She would just ask a friend who's husband made mattresses, get one she liked for a deal and that's what I would sleep on at home. The thing is I could ask my mom if she's still friends with that person and any advice she'd have for me on buying a mattress. But, knowing my mom she'd tell me to go cheap and save the money! She doesn't see that quality of sleep and paying more for a mattress is an investment in yourself. Yes, she does believe in quality sometimes but what works for her might not work for me.

First off, I can't stress how important and freeing it feels to have a home maintenance fund. It's one of the best idea's I've had! Because of it, I'm not stressing about the idea of how I will pay for this or any other home item thing I need. So far, in it's short few years of funding it has bought me a brand new washer, dryer, Dyson vacuum, as well as some small purchases like a new home phone and stuff. So, if you don't have one... NOW is the time to start! Even if you start small at $5 a week, as long as you start and form that habit!

Some questions I asked friends and family before doing any research to narrow my search for the perfect for me mattress!
- What kind of mattress they have?
- How much did it cost?
- Where did they buy it from?
- What qualities do they like in a mattress?
- What brands are considered good quality?
- Do they know someone who works in that industry?
- What's this coil count I heard of?

I then found a very interesting site called Sleep Like The Dead. It had very informative reviews on all sort of brands and types of mattresses. It was much more detailed than even the corporate websites. If you ever look up a mattress from any brand, it just tells you bare minimum information. Nothing really important that I wanted to know like common problems, if you over heat from all the pillow top material etc. I need to read the reviews and comments on a bunch of mattresses. I read everything I could about innerspring, memory foam, latex etc. What brands had the best customer service, to reasons why they broke down, and issues like sagging in the pillow top.

Jump forward one month

After much research and many sleepless nights, I finally knew I had to make a decision about which mattress I was buying. I was hoping and thinking (more like wishing) if I could just hold out for a few more years until I bought my first home and I could get the whole new enchilada at once. But nope, I need really need one and stat!

I kept researching online and quickly realized how much more important your mattress is than I had thought. I knew it could affect your quality of sleep but didn't realize how much of an affect it really had. I didn't know how important it is if your asthmatic or prone to allergies etc. I didn't know that side sleepers need this and back sleepers needed that. I knew how much money I had in my home maintenance fund and roughly an idea of how much I really wanted to spend. So, I decided to ask!

Ask anyone... Friends, family, acquaintances if they had an hook ups on deals with mattresses and eventually someone replied! With luck a girlfriend of mine hooked me up with her work discount on getting new hotel quality mattress! I was pretty much sold after I heard the brand and the price! I went to a Leon's to check out this particular brand and figure out if it would be a good fit. I sort of feel like it's equivalent to buying a car or tv. Anything I buy now would be ten million times better than the technology they had back in the day. So, I put in my order for the Beautyrest Black and now we play the waiting game until delivery day. I'm so excited about getting my new mattress as if I just bought two plane tickets back to Paris! My bed is my sanctuary! I spend a lot of time in there sleeping and reading and watching some tv, why not shell out the extra dough and the time to get the one you think is best. After all, how can I head off to work without a proper's night rest? How can anyone?

I had a realization when I was on my quest for this mattress is the power of asking! I really believe that if you put out word when you need something, people will want to help you out. I know of so many instances when I told my friends I wanted to get out of debt, started couponing and stuff that people were actually so supportive and kind. They would always have me in mind when they found a deal or picked up some coupons on my behalf. What I thought that some people would be looking down on me (I didn't care cause those aren't friends anyways), what I found was a lot of support and advice. Honestly, I couldn't have gotten out of debt all by myself and am so thankful for having such good friends! I love when people come up to me to tell me they read my blog, want to talk about deals, or advice on how to they can save money. It's us little consumers versus the big corporations anyways! We should stick together and help each other out if we can. We have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Eros and Pookie

Thursday, 20 March 2014

DIY Natural Laundry Detergent!

Hello Fellow DIY-ers,

Is it just me or do you notice the lack of good sales on essentials like soaps, disinfectant wipes, laundry detergent and so on? There are some great sales here and there but they usually aren't for the products I want or need. There are a variety of recipes that can be found online if you prefer an all natural ingredient based product like me! And I thought I'd try one out!

I've decided to make my own laundry detergent! We prefer to use liquid and the sad part of this process is that I need to wait for someone to give me an old big liquid detergent bottle to dispense my home made detergent. Why don't I use the ones I already have you ask? Well, they're just small bottles and I'm looking to keep one large bottle that has the easy to dispense knob on it than having a few smaller bottles on hand. So, for the time being I made the powdered version of this recipe and will transform it into liquid later. It was really simple to make and this seemed to be the most popular recipe I found online!

Here's what you need:
2 cups of finely grated bar of soap
1 cup Borax (can grab it from Walmart for like $5)
1 1/2 cups Washing Soda (Bake baking soda for 30 mins at 400 C)
1 cup of Baking Soda
2 tablespoons of natural oatmeal (optional, but great for skin problems like eczema etc.)

I used this recipe to try and make a big batch that would last me awhile! The only thing I can suggest to save you some time is to make the washing soda first. I spent a lot of wasted time sitting around waiting for it to do it's thing in the oven, then it was super hot when I poured it in with my other ingredients. It sort of melted my soap bits and I don't know if its a good or bad thing. Grating the soap takes awhile too but more on that later!

 The ingredients! I sadly only bought a tiny bit of oatmeal for the recipe. If anything, I should of got at least 2-3 times what I have pictured. I spent a good amount of time crushing the oatmeal with my hand into tiny bits as to avoid clogging my washer. I don't think you need to do that but I wanted to spread out my oatmeal as much as possible. 

Oh boy! Let me tell you! Grating is tiring! I used a 112g bar of Dove soap and it got me to just under two cups of soap! Near the end the soap gets pretty caked on the grate and makes grating even more difficult. It's like a test of patience and pain in the ass-ness to save a few dollars! 

 All all my ingredients in a large mixing bowl. The best part is since Borax is natural, plus soap and basically baking soda, I don't have to worry about cross contaminating harmful chemicals with my regular food mixing bowl. 

After I gave it a good stir, I reused an old mason jar as storage. I've done one load of laundry with two tablespoons of this stuff and so far and it seems to be just fine. No complaints from Winton so far! There's no smell or anything and my clothes feel clean. I'll keep you guys posted if there are any pros and cons. 

Next, I have some home made Lysol wipes and baby safe lotion soap lined up! I'm pretty excited about the soap! I just ordered some really really cool silicone moulds online and I just think it would make a great gift idea on top of using it at home. I love eliminating all the bad and unnecessary fragrance and chemicals from things we use on ourselves everyday. You get to control it and making isn't too bad and the cost over time is pretty monumental. Not to mention all the less scratching that is to be had with the use of more natural products on the skin! I hope you guys give it a try and let me know what you think!

Eros and Pookie

Friday, 14 March 2014

Shopping Trip March 3, 2014 and My Diet!

A good thing about Costco shopping is that I usually don't need to go grocery shopping the following week! It's like a twofer! Other than a few things we pick up here and there on the way home from work, we are pretty much fully stocked! I don't mind paying full price at Costco sometimes because some of the qualities and quantities makes it's worth the price. For instance, we bought a huge bag of asparagus for $4 and at No Frill's we'd only get a small bunch. We had a huge bag of kale, baby spinach and I forget what else was only $5. It's great! It can double as a salad to eat with a meal or to toss in with my smoothies. There are some downsides! The size, which happens to be the upside too! Yes, I'd like a lifetime supply of toiletries but no I don't need a bag of like 20 apples to eat in a week. So, it's best for us to pick and choose what we pick up! Also, best thing is there is a No Frills next to the Costco in Etobicoke! We get our PC branded products without forgoing them. Let's see what I picked up!

 No Frills
 - 2 X Tetley Tea $1 each
- Tropicana Orange Juice $4.44
- Red Apples 97 cents/lb
- Oranges 88 cents/lb
- Celery 88 cents
- Dawn $1.99 

I like smoothies and I'm putting more and more veggies in them. The only thing is that they are so cold to drink. It's cold out and to come home to make a cold smoothie isn't always my ideal. I'd much rather have some hot chocolate or a nice cuppa tea. 

Dinner time! This is me trying to incorporate lots of veggies in my meal. The crazy part is all these veggies are just for me! Winton was at work this night! 

My dinner with chicken breast and some roasted potatoes, as well as my pre-made lunch for the next day. I'm really regretting not picking up more lunch boxes when I was in Tokyo. Would of been great to pick up some cool bento kind of lunch boxes so I can separate my food better. 

Another lazy dinner day. Quick pan fried chicken breast with salad and asparagus. 

I'm not going to lie because I don't eat like this everyday. It's actually quite boring food to me and not super appetizing. We did have fancy butcher shop bought burgers and fondue at home again this week. But, it's great to know that a few times here and there I did eat well and healthy!

Eros and Pookie

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Food Reviews! Dim Sum King, Le Papillon, Arisu and The Shore Club

Hi Guys,

Thought I'd start something new with some food reviews! I'm no food expert but I sure do love my food and eating out! Hopefully, you'll enjoy some of my regular joe(sephina) reviews!

Dim Sum King (Chinese)
Chinatown has some great lunch specials if you happen to live or work around the area. I love to come here for some cheap Chinese brunch on Monday's. It has the best value for average quality food. At around 2 bucks per item you really can't go wrong and can eat to your heart's content. Dim Sum King use to be really good when they first opened maybe a year or two ago but now it's about par on the rest available in the area. I sort of judge by how much they water down the sweet soya sauce for the fresh shrimp rolls and if I get any reheated dim sum dishes. If you want really great dim sum with a higher price tag, Crown Princess on Bay Street is the way to go! It's about $5-6 a dish but well worth it! It's nice to treat yourself for special occasions but definitely not an everyday go to place unless you can afford it. I'll take pictures and post another review later on this place. 

Le Papillon (French)
I've wanted to go here for years and we happen to come across one of those Groupon things to check it out. We did and it was probably one the best group deals for a restaurant we've ever had. Great customer service, great food and we had a blast! I definitely will be coming back here without a voucher. Our meal came with two French Onion soups, one large salad, two glasses of wine, two dinners and two desserts. Above is the photo of the soup, I forgot to take one before I started digging in. I'm not a big fan of this soup but it was so delicious! I loved everything but still couldn't get myself to eat the onions on the bottom. 
We had the duck confit which was really good. I was thinking "oh my, what a small portion" but with the soup and salad I was really starting to feel full. It had an orange grand marnier sauce, which to me what new and I actually really enjoyed it. 

I hate wine period. It's one of those drinks that I have to force myself to drink. It's just way too strong and the flavour just doesn't do anything for me. Until this! This was such an amazing wine! I LOVED it! Unfortunately, I tried looking for this brand at the LCBO and Wine Rack and no luck! How sad :(

We had the apple crumble and the caramel pudding. By far my new favourite dessert of all time is now the caramel pudding. It's not even the kind of pudding you think it is! It's sort of a spongey cake soaked  with hot caramel sauce and ice cream. Absolutely, divine! Even Winton loved it so much! As for the apple crumble, it's apple crumble what more can I say? 

Arisu (Japanese/Korean)
We actually didn't order this so I'm not 100% sure what it is. All I know is that it was noodles in a sort of wonton soup flavour. It was actually super delicious and was great to wet our appetite before our meal. 
I've never had Korean short ribs in a salad before but it's such a great idea to add bits of meat to your salad for protein. I always have chicken or something but beef just kicked it up a notch for me! 

As per typical Korean foods, they always give you an assortment of side dishes to snack on before your food comes. The only thing that I really enjoyed were the candied peanuts, it was a nice change than getting sugary beans all the time. The sweet potato thing was ok and I didn't really like the rest. I like bean sprouts a lot but it just wasn't that great here. 

Winton ordered this sweet fruit chicken dish he usually gets at these restaurants. The portion was really good and the chicken plentiful. I personally usually find this dish too sweet for me, but here it was still sweet but not as bad. There was a decent meat to breading ratio. I hate when chicken pieces are 90% bread and 10% meat!

Here comes my dinner! The presentation was pretty cool! It was on a heavy black stone with a variety of sushi pieces for tasting. It was part of their Winterlicious menu. I can't really say anything spectacular about this as they are your pretty typical sushi pieces. 

The Shore Club (Canadian)

I went here for the second time for Winterlicious with Winton and a friend. I have to say I had really high expectations for this restaurant and with a Winterlicious menu I knew it wouldn't be as good. I usually hate going to Winterlicious now because the value of the food just isn't worth the price anymore. The first time I came here was to have a big dinner with Winton to celebrate my becoming completely debt free. We had such an amazing time with such good food and great service and a hefty price tag of almost $300, including drinks. Here's what I got for Winterlicious... 

To start we order Rock Shrimp for the table to start on top of our Winterlicious appetizer. I choose two ways cod, it came fried and in a sort of pate. It was pretty super delicious! Could of used a couple more crispy toast pieces for my pate though.

I'd have to say this steak is pretty comparable to what they serve at The Keg. There was nothing that special about it and the presentation was pretty plain.  We all knew we were going to share our side dishes and it was nice that they came out separate which made the sharing easier. Broccoli was plain, mash potatoes are how you'd expect but I really enjoyed the spicy mushrooms. 

For dessert, I had order a key lime pie as it was probably the best of the dessert choices. I'm not a huge fan of tart flavour so I don't get this often and this one was pretty sour which was nice but a little too much so for me. On the other hand, Winton had the vanilla pudding and I had a taste of that and still preferred my pie. The vanilla pudding was pretty plain and the sauce pretty average. Overall, I had a good time here thanks to the good company but if you do plan to go here stick with the regular menu. 

Eros and Pookie

Friday, 28 February 2014

Cooking From Scratch!

Hey Frugal Followers,

I was very inspired a while ago after watching a video about how you can eat anything you want if you just make it yourself. If you have to cook it from scratch, you'll be less likely to eat as much of it and ergo you'll be healthier for it. I unfortunately know very well the sad fact of baking or cooking all day. When I'm done I just want to get rid of the thing and barely touch it cause I feel so overwhelmed by the effort that went into it.

I've always been in the camp for trying to make things myself from using a bread maker to sewing small gifts for kids. I take a lot of joy making something special for someone but never really thought about seeing my meals that way. Don't get me wrong, I do love to cook when I'm not exhausted from working so much and have a youtube video to follow. But, I'm talking about everyday eating and that includes weekdays! I've been taking smaller steps to cook some of my foods completely from scratch and making them healthier and knowing what exactly is going in them. On the plus side, I get to use better quality ingredients and my taste buds thank me for it.

 My attempt at making a small one person portion of mash potatoes. Holy! One sized potato that is the size of two of my fists can make mash potatoes for 2-3 people! Lesson learned: get smaller potatoes!

We bought some extra lean ground beef and Winton makes the best burgers! He experiments with different recipes and ingredients and got a really good idea to put cinnamon in the burger patty. It is totally delish! This fresh beef burger beats any store bought fresh or frozen burger! The best part is you can make as big a patty or small as you like!

I have tried to make french fries on my own before, but forgot to take a picture. It didn't end up being as crispy as store bought fries nor as tasty. Apparently, it's not as simple as chopping up a potato and throwing it in some grease. I think my problem is that we only cook with EVOO and that probably contributed to the sogginess of my fries. I think next time I'm going to try to bake them instead and maybe using sweet potatoes instead of my favourite russet potato. 

Give cooking from scratch a try! Yes, it'll take more time but think of all the online shopping you won't be able to do and your wallet will thank you. Think of it as a way to spend time with your family that isn't in front of a screen. Have some fun, experiment with ingredients, all the while picking up some new skills in the kitchen!  

Eros and Pookie

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Nutri-Bullet And Shopping Trip Feb 24, 2014!

Hi Again!

So, the Nutri-Bullet diet is going pretty well! Winton's been able to have one or two smoothies a day and I have been having one almost everyday. They are so filling that I can't really have another meal! I would love to take these to work and make a quick snack or have it for breakfast but don't want the risk of waking up Winton. The only time for me to have this is right when I get home from work, so I'll end up have dinner a bit later or right at the end of the day before bed or as midnight snack. The only thing is you gotta have a lot of stuff on hand since you use quite a bit to blend up into a drink!

 One of my smoothies! They aren't as healthy as Winton's but I'm getting there! My smoothies are usually filled with more fruits than veggies and with a touch more juice for flavour and sweetness. I add a finger size celery, a crap load of spinach, small bits of parsley and two fingers worth of carrots. That seems to be what I can tolerate before tasting too much greens. 

No Frills
- 2 X Kraft Dinner $.97 each
- Bananas $.57/lb
- Ritz Crackers pm'd from Food Basics for $1.44
- 2 X Campbell's Broccoli soups for $.98 each
- Tex Mex Shredded Cheese $5.98
- Miracle Whip $2.97
- Halah Chicken Legs $1.67/lb
- Broccoli pm'd from Freshco $.99/lb
- Spinach pm'd from Freshco $.99
- Cucumber $.97
- Asparagus $1.77
- Russet Potatoes $.97/lb
- Coconut Oil $2.49
(I'm on this mission make my own soap, laundry detergent and a bunch of other stuff) 

Eros and Pookie

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Fondue?! Yes, Please!

Hi Gang!

We were first introduced to true Quebec fondue last year on our trip to Mont Tremblant with some good friends. It wasn't your typical fondue set that comes to mind, it consisted of a grill on top and eight individual trays under. The grill was to cook up our meats and the bottom was to melt cheese on top of our meat or veggie of choice. Our same friends decided to get us a little fondue set for Christmas! Man, it was a blessing and a curse all at once! We have been obessessed with having fondue dinners for the last couple of months and chocolate fondue for dessert. It's terribly tasty and amazing and all so fattening at once! I recommend you give it a try and see how good it and easy it is!

They sell this President's Choice fondue kit for about $6 at No Frills. Trust me, it's much cheaper and easier to grab this than going to a cheese store and picking up raclette cheese or something and white wine. The raclette cheese we bought at St. Lawrence Market cost us about $13 for a big block enough for two people and the wine cost us about $8-9 a bottle. If you get more serious with your fondue you can experiment with other cheeses and such, but to start off just grab this PC kit. With the kit, all you do is toss it into a pot and melt it on the stove and transfer to your fondue set... 

Voila! Cheesy goodness! You can basically add anything you want for your fondue dinner. Our staples are whole wheat bread, apples, pears, meatballs, bacon strips, and a variety of veggies. 

They sell Hershey's chocolate fondue kits which we've had before at Loblaws. However, I had so much left over Hershey kisses from Valentine's day that I decided to heat them all up at once for a fondue. I just played by ear and added what I had laying around, which was some milk but it's suggested to use whipping cream. 

I kept adding enough kisses to get the thickness I wanted 

And BAM! Chocolate fondue! Great for kids and the whole family and super easy! Just grab a bunch of fruits, marshmallows, and even some bacon and have at it. 


Eros and Pookie