Category Archives: simple daily pleasure

Everything we love about Italy ! 

Happy Sunday great foodie friends, 

This is a great short piece but long enough to make your mouth water and remind you how Italians influence (and beautifully by the way) the culinary world! 


Cafe Crema 

Happy Thursday great foodie friends, one wet afternoon I happens upon Cafe Crema in West Vancouver near Ambleside. 

Crema (@cremawestvan)

1495 Bellevue Avenue

West Vancouver, BC

V7T 1C3 | Map

The atmosphere is cozy and comfortable and the aromas of fresh baked goods, sandwiches grilling and coffee being crafted by the baristas you settle in to enjoy a nice break from the weather or a rest stop / sip after walking the path along the beach. (They are just near Ambleside beach) 

My sandwich was fresh and filled just right with the tastes of Montreal smoked meat and soft melted cheese! 

We also thought long and hard about needs and wants and decided the wants  outweighed the needs and opted to try the delectable looking Almond Croissants.

The croissant was slightly warm and was the perfect sweet bite to follow the sandwich.

No coffee for us today but it smelled fantastic and we are sure to go back and try a sip or two! 

Treat yourself to a nice break at Cafe Crema, you will be pleasantly surprised.


Cook with your Kids & Family- eat real food 

Happy Monday great foodie friends.

The more I see what people consider food (especially the young and young families) the more I realize that we as a society need to get back to the basics. 

Don’t get me wrong, fast food every once in a while should be ok but making it the rule vs. the exception  begs the term “You are what you eat”.

I fully realize how busy life is and that time is short and a rare comoddity for most families but in some way or another through the generations one could always say the family is busy. 

Let’s look at this way, planning and learning are the keys to what I am proposing.

  1. Stay to the outer 4 walls of the grocery store.
  2. Watch cooking shows or look through cookbooks and plan out at least 5 meals for the week. 
  3. Go to farmers markets 
  4. A lot of foods or meals freeze well so you can make it ahead.
  5. Reduce refined sugars, salts and msg loaded seasoning. There are easy recipes to create your own seasoning, sea salts and healthy herbs that will make your foods taste much better.
  6. Do all of this with your kids! 

When you cook with your family it brings us back to our roots. Think about the “family” meal and sitting around the table with friends. It’s what connects us as people and what feeds our soul as well as our bodies. 

Teaching the young that hamburgers and French fires are not the healthiest way to eat but rather roasting a fresh chicken and serving it fresh vegetables are the “norm” will pay off for the future. 

Please don’t take this as a lecture but rather a friendly nudge to remember to learn where your food comes from. Make things fresh ahead that you can incorporate in your weekly meals (pasta sauce, chicken, beef or vegetable broths) and watch how you reconnect with your family and friends as you sit together, cook together and laugh together.

You gotta try this! 

Top 10 Recipes Googled in 2015- according to Food Network and a Happy New year! 

First I wanted to thank you for following Bcfoodieblogger and wish the happiest New Years and a healthy and prosporous 2016! 

I just wanted to share this posting from Food Network and Google. Some recipes make sense that they were the most searched and some didn’t make as much sense but then we really must think about worldwide culinary thoughts and not just our little but most delicious culinary dinseyland called Vancouver and the Lowermainland.

Most googled recipes in 2015 -click here
What were the most-searched recipes on Google this year? The powerful search engine has unveiled the results of the top 10 recipes that users have been searching for. You may be surprised by the results — and you’d never guess what tops the list as 2015’s most-Googled recipe!

1. Apple Roses

Google users were obsessed with this year’s most-searched recipe, in which thin apple slices are arranged to resemble the petals of a rose within puff pastry, and then baked to golden-brown perfection to result in a delicate, delicious dessert that looks far more complicated than it actually is.

2. Rice Krispies Squares

Rice Krispie squares remain an easy-to-make, kid-friendly treat, so it shouldn’t be surprising that recipes for this popular snack were Google’s #2 search in 2015, with the Internet serving up a nearly endless supply of variations. Among them, this spectacular version that adds peanut butter and chocolate to the mix.

3. Osso Bucco

Don’t try to figure out why the third most popular Google search was for Osso Bucco recipes, as this iconic Italian dish is apparently more popular than ever. In this recipe, Chef Ricardo Larrivée gussies up this classic favourite by adding the sweetness of orange and prunes.

4. Chili

Everybody loves a bowl of hearty chili, and Internet users searched up a storm looking for recipes. If you’re looking to cook up a pot of zesty chili, you won’t go wrong with this spicy and savoury recipe from Bobby Flay.

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Red Beef Chili.

5. Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce is apparently making a comeback, judging by its status according to Google searches, and Chef Michael Smith offers up his version of this creamy classic, which he uses to top gently steamed asparagus.
Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Asparagus Hollandaise.

6. Puffed Wheat Squares

Puffed wheat squares are a kid-approved favourite that don’t require a whole lot of effort to make, and Google has numerous recipes to provide such as this easy-to-follow recipe.
Get the recipe for Puffed Wheat Squares.


7. Spaghetti Bolognese

One of the most iconic Italian pasta dishes out there, spaghetti Bolognese is a hearty crowd-pleaser that is always welcome on the dinner table. No need to Google when you can use this authentic Bolognese recipe from Chuck Hughes.
Get the recipe for Chuck Hughes’ Bolognese.

8. Beer Can Burger

Following in the tradition of beer can chicken, the latest beer can barbecue craze involves pressing an aluminum can into a huge, baseball-sized sphere of ground meat (a half-pound or more), with the resulting indentation used as a vessel to stuff cheese, bacon or whatever toppings you like before grilling it up.
Get the recipe for Smoked Beer Can Burgers.

9. Lasagna

Lasagna remains a go-to staple for busy families, a casserole-like pasta dish that everyone loves and, as a bonus, can be prepared ahead of time and then heated up for dinner. If anyone knows a thing or two about cooking an amazing lasagna, it’s Giada de Laurentiis, who adds the rich, sweet flavour of butternut squash to her recipe.
Get the recipe for Giada de Laurentiis’ Butternut Squash Lasagna.


10. Mashed Potatoes

It seems as if 2015 was the year that everybody wanted to spice up their mashed potatoes, whether it was for Thanksgiving or simply to serve up a more creative version of this popular side. In this recipe, Ree Drummond gets back to the basics with her creamy, whipped version of savoury spuds.
Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

Click on the Food Network link above for the original article and link to the recipes.

 Make 2016 a year when you challenge yourself in the kitchen to try new recipes, make them your own and share a meal with family and friends. Remember that the Kitchen table is where we sit and share and is the second heart and soul of the home to your mothers. Sharing a meal connects us and helps us bond, and it has been that way since the beginning of time.

Have fun tonight, enjoy your transition from 2015 to 2016 and stay safe…find a ride home if you need to and wake up tomorrow with a refreshed outlook on the start of a new year.

Thank you again for following my blog and I hope to bring you more reasons to continue next year. Anyone interested in a new “E-cookbook”? 


Sauder research-Foodies more satisfied with their lives 

Research | Foodies more satisfied with their lives

December 9, 2015Tagged: All News, Faculty, Press Release, Research

Thank you Sauder and Yann Cornil and Pierre Chandon for the enlightening view on eating for the right reasons.

People who revel in the tastes, sights and scents of food report higher well-being than those who eat simply to satisfy their hunger, according to a new study from UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

The researchers also found that having a deeper appreciation doesn’t lead to extra pounds, finding there is no correlation between idealizing food and above-average body mass.

“Here in North America, we’re in a society that considers food to be the new tobacco – and that’s the wrong approach,” said Assistant Professor Yann Cornil, the lead author of the study. “Eating pleasure does not need to be the enemy of a healthy lifestyle. Instead, we should help people appreciate all that’s beautiful about food, and build up more of a food culture.”
Cornil and his co-author defined eating pleasure as being either epicurean – the full sensory experience – or visceral – satisfying an impulse . The pair surveyed people to determine how they enjoyed food, and then surveyed them about their general well-being and tendencies to overeat. They compared this data with body mass index of the participants.
Epicureans scored higher on well-being, had less interest in large servings and were equally distributed across the body mass index. The researchers also found epicureans can’t be stereotyped, as they were evenly distributed across age, income and education levels.
Cornil says his findings could inform public health campaigns that too often demonize rich or fatty foods as leading to high rates of obesity and diabetes.
“Loving food doesn’t mean you’re going to eat too much of it – it depends on the kind of pleasure you derive from it,” he said.
“If you eat to satisfy your impulses, then you’re more likely to overindulge and eat large portions mindlessly. But if we teach people to appreciate food for its aesthetics, its symbolism and its rich flavours, then their first bite will the best one, and they’ll be more likely to choose smaller portions.”
The study, “Pleasure as an ally of healthy eating? Contrasting visceral and Epicurean eating pleasure and their association with portion size preferences and wellbeing,” by Yann Cornil and Pierre Chandon, is forthcoming in the journal Appetite.

Link – click here to go directly to the Sauder posting
If you want to know some other great foodies to follow and watch please let me know what region that you live in and I would be pleased to pass on some of the top foodies to help  suggest some great spots to eat or for some great suggestions for some wow recipes to try! 

You Gotta see This! 

Follow me on Twitter @BCfoodieblogger or Instagram @bcfoodieblogger 

The Top 12 Italian Foods in 2014 – the votes are in!

Happy Saturday great foodie friends…. The holidays are around the corner and thoughts of holiday Flavors are no doubt dancing in your brain, across your tastebuds and tummy! I know these aren’t traditional holiday flavours but aren’t Italian flavours just perfect anytime? I think so.

Thank you to Italian Living .com for posting this vote! I couldn’t look at these photos with out my mouth watering!
Love all things Italian….. Enjoy.
click here for the full article on


Per the Italian Living article:
More than 700,000 foodies and 5,00 food professionals—including bloggers, chefs, restaurateurs and cooking schools —voted for the twelve most popular Italian foods. Parmigiano Reggiano won 1st with the “King of Cheese” receiving 20% of the votes. This international contest sponsored by the nonprofit group I Love Italian Food was conducted online in November 2014, with results released in mid-December.

“This contest made us understand which of our traditional foods are the real ambassadors outside of Italy, “ comments Alessandro Schiatti, founder of I Love Italian Food. Three of the winning foods—Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and Aceto Balsamico, are all from the Emilia-Romagna region, which isn’t surprising as that region has more products that are DOP and IGP ( protected designation of origin) than any other region.

Using these twelve winners, I Love Italian Food will launch a project in January 2015 called 100per100, which will ask twelve of Italy’s top chefs including Heinz Beck, Cristina Bowerman, Moreno Cedroni and Antonella Ricci to create a unique recipe for each.

And the 2014 winners are:












You Gotta Try all of these!

Blog from the Bog- Cranberry Bog that is.

As Fall days fast approach I was excited to get an invite to the “Bog”
at 3rd generation Hopcott Farms.
Hoppcot’s is a 3rd generation farm becoming well known for its local meats raised on its own land touting antibiotic and hormone free local offerings.
The Hopcott family started as a dairy farm in approx 1934 and in 1957 the dairy herd was sold to help Fred Hopcott realize his dream of raising beef cattle. Over the years the farm has changed with the times and as all good farmers with vision are pushed to evolve to survive.
Overtime Bob Hopcott saw the writing on the wall as he saw many local packers disappear he realized that he would have to continue to diversify. In 1996 Bob Hopcott heard that Ocean Spray Cranberries was looking for acres to plant Bob singed up and converted approx 70 acres of corn fields into cranberry bogs.


We were lucky enough to meet Bob along with Geraldine Austin from BC Cranberries and some of the great team from Hopcott Farms responsible for this magic little berry.

Cranberry facts

*Approx eighty growers located in the fertile lower Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island produce over 750,000 barrels (1 barrel = 100 lbs) of cranberries annually, accounting for up to approx. 12% of cranberry production in North America.

*It takes approx 3-5 years for a cranberry Dwarf shrub or vine to start bearing fruit.

*There are basically two ways to harvest a cranberry – Wet-picked or dry picked.

*A natural predator to the cranberry- a tip worm which can destroy a harvest

Known health facts related to Cranberries

The majority of physicians and other health professionals believe there is a clear association between a diet high in fruits and vegetables and a low risk of chronic disease. Phytonutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly antioxidants, are increasingly being shown to help optimize human health.

Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs) that can prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections to the urinary tract wall. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.

Recent scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
this is a great link to WH Foods that keys in on further health benefits to this magic little berry

A small group of us were lucky enough to dawn the “waders” and go into the bog to gain a better understanding of the wet-picked harvest. The wet-picked or harvested cranberry is generally destined to head to the Ocean spray juice or Craisins plants for processing after the “washing/cleaning” process is completed locally.




The cranberries are wet-picked or harvested by first flooding the field (which was a bit of a challenge to farmers this year due to our great weather) and then once the berry has floated to the surface (they are basically a hollow berry, so easily want to rise to the top) they are collected with these large booms and brought to one end of the field where they can be pulled out by a conveyor that brings the berry out of the field and into trucks.

From what I gathered the largest % of cranberries are wet-picked and a small % are dry picked and can usually be found at your markets and veggie stands for a limited time generally for you to use in baking or homemade cranberry sauces. The greater % of cranberries are destined for Ocean spray to convert into delicious cranberry juices or the ever popular Craisin.
This crop has to be a labor of love as though the cranberry is a fairly hearty fruit, it is subject to a few natural predators that can destroy a crop if not tended to.

The best part of my experience was getting to meet the farmer, the face, personality and passion behind our foods. This experience helps educate us about where our foods come from, as well as learning what the passion is behind what we so conveniently just find in the grocery store.

Eat local, buy local, support local is easier today than ever if you take the time to embrace it. It is a healthier way to eat and it is a more economical way for us to support local producers.
Let’s be honest, we don’t have access to everything locally as some of our favourite fresh foods and fruits just aren’t grown locally or are seasonal. Does this mean that we can’t do everything we can to eat fresh, eat better, eat locally? I don’t think so.

This was a great experience and not my last. I do intend to start a series of postings (as time allows) focusing on local products from our local farms / orchards / wineries as well as their specific growing and processing practices.

Hopcott Farms gets a thumbs up from me on their promise to grow, produce and process in the most responsible practices within their ability.
Thank you to Bob Hopcott and Geraldine from Bc cranberry for your hospitality and the excellent education through this great experience.

Tried my hand at fresh Cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving using fresh cranberries from Hopcott’s farm! 


1 pound of fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup water

1 3/4 cup sugar (use raw or cane) 

The zest & juice from one orange

1/4 tsp of nutmeg

1/2 tsp of allspice 

1 cinnamon stick 


Put the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat on med high to a boil & the reduce to a simmer, add in the spices and cinnamon stick and simmer for approx 5-7 mins more.  

Add in the orange juice and rind in the last min and stir in.

Pull out the cinnamon stick and then refrigerate 

Yields approx 2 cups of the most delicious Cranberry sauce! Happy Thanksgiving  and Merry Christmas! 

Buy Local/ Eat Local/ Support Local

You Gotta Try This!

click here for a link to Hopcott Farms

click here to access the BC Cranberry Marketing Commission


Sriracha – quite possibly the fastest growing hot sauce company and the things you probably didn’t know- brought to you by

Happy Sunday great foodie friends,
I came across this article that I just had to share.
Sriracha is one of those sauces that you may not own yet but will soon, as well you may very well think that you have never tried it before but likely have as it is the “go to” spicy sauce for most if not all sushi chefs for spicy tuna rolls.
If you are lucky enough to have tried it, then I am wrong. If you are a spicy sauce fan, then you surely have it as a staple in your kitchen!

Thank you for such a great read!
click this link for the full article at


excerpt courtesy of

If David Tran were a more conventional CEO, he would be a fixture at conferences, a darling of magazine profiles, and a subject of case studies in the Harvard Business Review. Sriracha hot sauce, made by Huy Fong Foods, which Tran founded 33 years ago in Los Angeles, is one of the coolest brands in town. There are entire cookbooks written to celebrate Sriracha’s versatility; memorabilia ranging from iPhone covers to t-shirts and all sorts of other swag; a documentary in the works to chronicle its rise; and innumerable imitators. Sriracha sales last year reached some 20 million bottles to the tune of $60 million dollars, percentage sales growth is in the double digits each year, and it does all this without spending a cent on advertising.

Yet Tran shuns publicity, professes not to care about profits, hardly knows where his sauces are sold, and probably leaves millions of dollars on the table every year. His dream, Tran tells Quartz, “was never to become a billionaire.” It is “to make enough fresh chili sauce so that everyone who wants Huy Fong can have it. Nothing more.”

Product before profit

Today hot sauce is an emerging global business. The industry, which is among the 10 fastest growing in the US, now rakes in over $1 billion a year in global sales. But when Tran arrived in Los Angeles back in 1980, he was both jobless and hot-sauce-less. Having recently arrived from Vietnam, Tran found it near impossible to find a spicy additive worthy of his palate. The Southeast Asian community in Los Angeles, he soon realized, was suffering from the same hot sauce withdrawal.

In a matter of months, he had arrived at his rendition of Sriracha, a version of the Thai sauce made with hybrid jalapeño peppers (red or sometimes orange in color), vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic, and was delivering it to local markets throughout the city. Soon thereafter, he was packaging it into its now unmistakable clear bottles with the rooster logo and green caps.


But the only hope he ever harbored was to provide Vietnamese immigrants with a hot sauce worthy of their pho soup. Growing a bona fide business wasn’t an afterthought—it wasn’t a thought at all. “I started the business with my eyes closed. There were no expectations at all,” he said.

He still runs it in much the same way: with his eyes closed. He says he has not once hiked the wholesale price at which he sells Sriracha—a number he won’t share with anyone—no matter that inflation has more than tripled food prices since 1980. He can’t tell you where Sriracha is being sold, because all he knows is that Huy Fong has ten distributors, to whom he has handed off his hot sauce for over 10 years now. “We don’t have a detailed record on where it’s being sold,” Tran admits. Griffin Hammond, who is making the documentary about Sriracha, tells Quartz that as far as he knows, Sriracha is available in the US, Canada and Europe. “But it’s probably sold elsewhere, too,” he conceded. “At the very least, I know that on the bottle there is English, Chinese, Vietnamese, French and Spanish.”

Tran also learned only recently that Sriracha has become a popular ingredient among sushi chefs, who have been using it to spice up spicy tuna rolls for years. “I didn’t know until one of my distributors told me,” Tran said. In fact, says Hammond, it’s “almost always the spicy ingredient in spicy tuna rolls these days. It probably makes up a pretty significant portion of their sales.”

Sushi chefs aren’t the only ones. Restaurant chain P.F. Chang, which has 204 branches in the US and worldwide, offers Sriracha-flavored dishes. Chef David Chang (no relation to P.F. Chang’s) has bottles of Sriracha on every countertop of his Momofuku Noodle Bar restaurant in New York. Bon Appétit magazine declared the sauce the ingredient of the year back in 2010, and Cook’s Illustrated called it the best-tasting hot sauce in 2012. Though it didn’t win, Sriracha was one of three new flavors chosen in Lays potato chips’ new flavor contest last year.

You Gotta Try This!

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shaved ice- Maui, HI

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice



Dreaming of a cooling smooth wow treat in the heat? Ululani’s is a must try while in Maui!
A first I wasn’t sure I was going to try it as most shaved ice that I have had in the past usually has some larger ice chunks and be coarse in nature….. The flavor board is what enticed me and the overall experience sealed the deal!
This is truly the best shaved ice I have ever had…… Smooth and creamy textures and distinct and intense fresh flavors of the island were over the top!

I asked the very friendly staff what the best or most popular flavors were….. I was directed to the top flavors list and told that the papaya and mango was pressed freshly each day…. Add the coconut and the tropical flavor wow was just perfect!
The flavor choices are abundant and the options for toppings or add-ons was also very good…. I tried one with Haupia ice-cream (coconut) at the bottom of the ice or you could also add condensed milk poured over the top……


Pick your favourite flavor and enjoy! Make sure that you get a punch card, if you are with your family or friends you will fill it up quickly and after ten, you will get a freebie!
They offer a new size that isn’t on the menu board above micro is slightly smaller than the small but more than enough to satisfy your craving.

Then they put a fresh block of ice in the machine and the magic starts….. A few pokes into the ice to make way for the flavors and Hawaiian shaved ice is ready to go…….

mango, tigers blood (no, not really…just a mixture of yum flavors, and coconut topped with condensed milk!


blue raspberry with pink lemonade and vanilla


This is a perfect treat for young and older alike! Ululani’s is a double thumbs up!

You Gotta Try This!


Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice on Urbanspoon

To Die for Banana Bread

Happy Thursday happy foodie friends,


To Die For Fine Foods and Erin Ireland are definitely on to something here!

I was fortunate to first try Erin’s To Die for Banana bread on the recommendation of one of my favorite food trucks…. (Yolks breakfast by the way) and I was hooked!
I reached out to the more than pleasant Erin and decided to do a larger sampling and try it a few different ways….

My first bite was

to die for

and it just got better from there…
Lets be honest, you first have to like bananas to want to dive in and then what we do is always compare a traditional banana bread that we may all know from days gone past and ask is it at least as good as mine or possibly even better?!
Did I mention that this was Chocolate macadamia nut banana bread?
The subtle but perfect added flavors from these two ingredients kick up the wow/to die for factor…..


ahhhh nothing better with my Saturday morning coffee
I tried this wonderful to die for banana bread simply fresh cut and with my favorite coffee and immediate satisfaction overcame me….

The next slice was warmed up with just a little dab of butter….. More heaven!
Wow, could this sweet and healthy treat actually be even better than my first bite?
Oh yes it was……

Hmmmm I wonder……? to die for banana bread french toast?…. Why not!



The aroma started to fill my kitchen and my mouth truly started to water at the prospect of what I was about to try…..


Just a little bit of pure maple syrup and guess what!
It was

To Die For!

Truly the flavors just enhanced to new heights and made the best French toast I have ever created in our kitchen…..

I love Erin’s approach to creating her delectable products: “Food is not to be enjoyed without health”
You can read more about Erin’s approach to social causes and attention to using healthy and quality ingredients in all of To Die For Fine Foods products on their website.
To Die For Fine foods -click here
A message from Erin on her new To Die For Banana Bread:
I have been dying to shout these words for months (years?)…
“Gluten Free To Die For Banana Bread has arrived!”
Apologies to the celiac population for taking so long. I promised it would happen and it has, thanks to a wonderful gluten free bakery called Two Daughters Bakeshop. Lisa, the owner and baker of this adorable hidden gem, is mom to a celiac daughter and has mastered GF bread, donuts, muffins, etc. Her baking is egg free, too.
The gluten free loaves will be available on a limited edition pre-order / pick-up basis. They are very freezer friendly, so feel free to stock up as the next bake sale is yet to be determined.
How To Order Gluten Free “To Die For Banana Bread”

How to order: Fill out this form
When: Loaf pick-up is Saturday, July 6, 10am – noon
Where to pick-up: 121 E. 1st Street in North Van (entrance is in the alley between 1st and esplanade – look for yellow balloons and signage!)
Place your orders by: Thursday, June 27
Price: One for $14, two for $26, five for $60, ten for $110
Please note: Gluten free To Die For Banana Bread contains macadamia nuts, milk products (Callebaut Milk Chocolate), and eggs. Have a question? Tweet at me: @erinireland or email: erin at itstodiefor dot ca.

Who is Erin Ireland:
Owner of To Die For Fine Foods | Editor of Vancouver Food Site | Contributing Food Reporter for @TheRushTV & @CTVMorningLive


Next up…. To Die For Lemon loaf…. I can’t wait!
You Gotta Try This!