Review of Graco Blossom 4-in-1 seating system highchair

The Graco Blossom 4-in-1 highchair is the highchair we chose for our daughter. The reason I chose this one was for its versatility. It can be used in 4 different ways. It’s a regular highchair, a standalone toddler chair, a separate booster seat, and a portable highchair. It is designed to accommodate both a baby and a toddler all at the same dinner table.

This Graco highchair works exactly as promised. All of its parts are very easily removed. It is really not complicated to convert.

Using this highchair daily, I can say that I love that it is made of wipe-able material. It is a leather feel backrest which can very easy be wiped down with a cloth, or even sprayed with any household cleaner(I use vinegar). The table top has a removable plastic lid that can easily fit into the dishwasher, or is really convenient for when you’re lazy and did not take the time to wipe it down right away. Basically, just remove it, and underneath is a whole new clean table top ready to get dirty.In addition to the above, if you release the sides of the table top, the full top comes off and reveals a much smaller table for your baby. It is far less bulky, and may allow the highchair to fit under some tables.

It’s really easy to put Mila into her highchair, the front button on the table pushes in well(you can do it with one hand), and it slides right out. I never take it all the way out, just have is looser and sit Mila in place then push the top in snugly towards her. There is a 5 point harness system in place if you want or need to strap your baby down. For younger babies, there is extra padding that can be removed for when they grow.

Everything is adjustable on this highchair, such as the angle your child rests to eat, the foot rest, and the distance between your baby and the highchair table. The highchair is on wheels, so it can very easily be transported to wherever you may need it, or can wheel it back to a tidy corner when not in use.

I’m very impressed with this highchair, it has a sleek looking design, and comes in various colors/patterns. I will say that I have not made much use out of the portable highchair option, because I’ve found a more convenient portable highchair that I will discuss in a separate review.

Overall,Graco’s 4-in-1 seating system highchair is very easy to clean, looks comfortable for any baby, and even without the harness, I trust that Mila is secure in her seat.(although I would never leave her unattended of course)

I highly recommend this highchair. In Canada it’s available in most stores that sell highchairs(Baby’s R Us, Walmart, Kiddytown, etc). It’s regular price is around $179.99. It’s priced in the mid range as far as highchairs go.

If you’re a person that likes to match their baby products, then Graco is a good brand to do so with, as many of their different products come in the same color schemes.


Review of Awake Chocolate Bar

First off; product design? Win.

Awake chocolate is a new chocolate bar with added caffeine. 1 full chocolate bar is equivalent to one cup of coffee. If  you are both a chocolate lover and a coffee junkie, then this is definitely an option for you.

The unfortunate problem for me was that because the taste of Awake’s chocolate was so utterly fantastic, I was getting way too much caffeine.

Such gooooood chocolate that equals no sleep(for me), is somewhat of an unfair trade-off.

I still allow myself this treat in the mornings. Damn right. I would love to treat people with these at the office!

So on the whole, I was very pleasantly surprised by this chocolate bar. Having added a significant amount of caffeine to the chocolate, I’d have thought the taste may have suffered. Au contraire!

Everyone I’ve introduced Awake to has been impressed. If you try it out, it’s not  available everywhere yet, but it likely will be. Currently it is only sold in Canada, but will soon be in the US according to their website. It is found at some Shoppers Drug Marts, and pretty much all main corner stores. (dépaneurs, esti!)

Primarily, they are available at all Canadian University and College campuses. Gotta keep the students awake, and they’ll try anything!

Have you seen the adorable owl and the chocolate art? Best part.


Heinz ketchup – Plant Bottle

Nearly two years ago I compared ketchup brands, to see if I could find a ketchup that tasted as good as Heinz. I could not. To me, there is no ketchup that can beat it.

What I have pleasantly come across recently is the fact that Heinz now uses bottle made from plants. They’ve launched a little ‘Guess what my bottle is made of?’ campaign in support of Earth day. Using 30% plant based bottles is a good positive step. Now I can feel good about spending a little bit extra for my ketchup because I’ll have no other.

I think a lot of companies are finally starting to change their ways which is good. I’ve always recycled bottles, but who knows how many plastic containers still end up in land fills. Some areas still don’t even have government run recycling programs. Imagine that.

Anyhow,this was  just a little update on Heinz ketchup.

Here’s an easy meatball sauce recipe that I love. The main ingredient is Heinz tomato ketchup. Try it out, it’s delicious.

All you need is a cup of ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp margarine. You may add more brown sugar and vinegar to taste. I don’t actually measure anything, but it’s sooo good I had to share. Stir all the ingredients over medium-low heat in a pot. Once heated and melted through, pour the sauce over your favourite tasty homemade meatballs(or store bought ones if you prefer).



Review of Bodum Brazil French Press Coffee Maker

Bodum, the same Danish company that made my knife block; also produces tons of kitchen gadgets and small appliances. I recently received their Brazil French Press coffee maker for Christmas so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

As the sole coffee drinker in our household, having something the size of this french press is very convenient. That being said, it can still brew up to 12 ounces of coffee at once. The french press requires no electricity, nor does it need the water to be boiled. It is very simple to use.

First you must measure your coffee(the coarser the grind, the better the results in this coffee maker), and dump it in the bottom of the maker. Next you’ll heat your water in a separate container. You’ll want to heat it to the temperature that you’d drink it at. I typically use my large mug and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes and 22 seconds. I’m lazy like that; I usually time the microwave with the same number.

Once your water is heated you’ll poor it directly on top of the coffee in the maker, then use a plastic or wooden spoon to stir it up. They say not to use a metal spoon because it can crack the glass with the heat. Then you put the lid on the maker, and wait 4 minutes. Once the time is up, you slowly push down on the top knob, which pushes the filter through the coffee mix. Once you’ve pushed as far is it will go, you’re ready to poor yourself a cup. Just tip and poor into your mug.

The instructions are for a 4 ounce cup of coffee, but who in their right mind only drinks 4 ounces? Also, you need to put more liquid in the maker, because less comes out after it is brewed. This was a trial and error process for me. So a downer is the bad instructions as they do not mention the loss of liquid. You can use coffee that is ground finer, but the result is that you’ll have some coffee grinds in your actual cup, which is not desirable. I lived and learned on that one.

In my opinion, the flavour of the coffee that is brewed in this manner has a superior taste. There are other brands that make french presses out there, but this Bodum comes in three colors, looks attractive, and sells for only $24.95.


Review of Sun-Maid’s Cinnamon Swirl Raisin bread

Sun-Maid’s cinnamon swirl raisin bread has been around for many years. There’s a reason for that. It tastes superior to all of the other brands. It also has the most raisins, and the perfect balance of cinnamon.What I also enjoy, since this bread is clearly a treat; is the fact that the slices are nice and small. No need to feel guilty! You know, unless you use the copious amounts of butter and cream cheese that I do.

Moving on…

Do you know what is an absolute delight? Using this raisin bread to make french toast. It’s delicious, and even efficient since you’ll need fewer ingredients in your egg mixture.

The only suggestion I would have for Sun-Maid would be to offer a whole wheat version of this bread. Country Harvest has a whole wheat variety which makes it Sun-Maid’s only competition in my opinion.Their loaves are huge, but the guilt is lessened by the whole wheat factor.

Cinnabon, the mall pastry store, has recently tried to mimic Sun-Maid’s bread by boasting the same sized packaging and look. The only difference is the blue bag. They even made the same swirl in their bread. That being said, the cinnabon loaf is missing a key ingredient. The raisins! They trick you by placing spots of cinnamon in addtion to the swirls to confuse you. The raisins are supposed to make you feel good about eating sugar bread… Get it right Cinnabon!



Review of Method Holiday Dish Soap and Hand Soap

Method, the all-natural green cleaning supply company, has come up with a fabulous line of holiday products in cute festive bottles. all of their products use recyclable packaging, are naturally derived, biodegradable and never tested on animals.

This holiday collection has pump dish soaps, gel hand wash, and foaming hand wash. Their holiday scents are frosted fir, spiced pear, candy cane, and cinnamon drop.

Well I just HAD to try the candy cane dish soap! I’m so sick of my green apple or citrus scents. So I have the candy cane pump dish soap, and I decided to try the frosted fir gel hand wash, because I love the smell of real Christmas trees, and always get them.

The pump mechanism on the dish soap is awesome. Usually dish soaps get all gunked up at the top and you don’t even bother to close them anymore. They’re just goo. Well this is a pump, so you never get that gooey mess at the top. It comes out nice and smooth and you have less chances of wasting it because you’re not pouring/squeezing it out. The candy cane smell is fabulous! Makes me want to eat the damn soap lol.  I also love the red Christmas bottle with the bulbs on it. I have a black and white kitchen, so the red stands out nicely.

The frosted fir hand wash is a perfect holiday fragrance. The smell of fresh fir tree stays on your hands afterwards. You’re reminded of Christmas throughout the day. My brother in law was joking around about it though, because he decided to eat a sandwich after he washed his hands. He said he felt like he was going to take a bite out of a tree each time. So it’s fairly strong, but I enjoy it.

These method holiday soaps are perfect for gift-giving to your holiday hosts. They make great holiday décor, too. The Method dish soaps are $4.59, while both hand washes are $4.39. Even though they’re a bit pricier than other dish soaps, the fact that they are biodegradable and have such unique scents makes them worthy in my opinion. Plus they’re much less than the Body Shop or Fruits & Passion.

Method sells a whole bunch of other cleaning products, body washes,  detergents, and bathroom care. I’m very anxious to try their line of  ’wood for good’ collection for my hardwood floors and my piano.


Review of Dempster’s Country Originals Bread

Dempster’s is a Canadian bread company that’s been around for many years. It is a subsidiary of the Maple Leaf Foods company. This fall, they’ve come up with a new line of sliced bread. Country Originals.

The country originals line includes a white loaf, a whole wheat loaf, and a 12 grain loaf. What’s different about this line of bread is that it is entirely made free of artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives.

I don’t understand why bread has not just ALWAYS been free of these things. The dates on this line of bread are no different than any of the other brands on the shelves, the expiry dates are comparable.

I cannot taste ANY difference between this new line of bread and Dempster’s other lines of sliced bread. It totally tastes the exact same to me.  They should just stop making the other ones.

The country originals line is one that I recommend. No one needs preservatives, artificial flavours or colours. On the topic of colours, why the heck would there be colour added to bread? This bread appears to look identical to the other loaves I’ve seen. Thankfully society is moving towards more healthier natural eating as it once was. I’m really happy that Dempster’s has come up with this new line of bread, because it’s just that much better for you to eat, and easier on your entire digestive system.

I can’t tell the difference in flavour at all (if there even is any), so I highly doubt children would, or anyone for that matter.

Making the change to this new Country Originals just makes sense to me. I will keep buying them.

Click here for some coupons.

Dempster’s products are sold at most National Canadian chain grocery stores. The Loblaws chain does not seem to offer Dempster’s anymore, likely in favour of their own President’s Choice line.



Review of Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board

The Epicurean cutting boards caught my eye when shopping in Westboro at Kitchenalia a few weeks back. I’ve been in need of a new cutting board for a while.

I decided to buy the Nutmeg cuting board of the Epicurean Kitchen Series. It met a bunch of criteria that I felt was important, most notably that it was dishwasher safe. Here are all of this cutting board’s attributes.

Dishwasher safe : easily sanitized in dishwasher
Eco Friendly : made using materials that leave a low carbon footprint
Knife Friendly : will not dull knives by allowing surface to slightly score, protecting knife edge
Heat Resistant : heat resistant to 350F (can be used as a hot plate)
Made and manufactured in the United States
50% Recycled material : materials made using 50% recycled corrugated cardboard

When I first read the tag on the cutting board, the breakdown of each attribute was not given. I just saw the titles. The reason I bring this up is because of the ‘knife friendly’ quality. I took this to mean that the cutting board would not be affected by knife marks…

After a few uses I noticed the scratches show up on the board. I was very disappointed. Now that I’ve looked further into the brand, I’ve seen that knife friendly means that the board is friendly to your knives, and not the other way around. In fact, the website says that the surface is supposed to ‘slightly score’ in order to protect your knives. Ohhhh!

The board I bought is very large (18×13), very lightweight, and has so far not warped, meaning it remains flat after numerous dishwasher loads. I really do like it because I can chop many different veggies on it without having to clear the board all the time. Since it is made with recycled cardboard, I am reluctant to cut raw meat on it though. I save my ugly plastic cutting boards for raw meat. Although they do claim that the board will NOT harbour bacteria. Here is a video!

Other than the knife marks(which apparently will never be deep cuts), I am pleased with this cutting board. Especially now that I realize I was mistaken. It’s a nice-looking board, and is perfect for all of my vegetable chopping. It is also very easy to slide off the cut vegetables into whatever pot or pan to cook, because the entire surface of the board is smooth, there are no ledges. The little hole makes it easy to pick up, or could be used to hang it for those with kitchen hanging systems.

The board cost me $35. Since it was made with recycled material, I didn’t mind paying a bit more for it. Hopefully one day I will find a board that is scratch free, but until then, I am glad that my knives will keep their sharpness on this board.


Review of Saybon But-r Mints and Fudge soft chews

The Giveaway mentioned in this post went to my fabulous reader Lex! Thanks for your support Lex :)

How fitting to start off October with a treat post? A treat post with a special giveaway that is! Read on…

Allan Candy company has come up with a new line of individually wrapped candies called Saybon. Ordinarily I would describe these candies as your typical ‘business’ or ‘grandparents’ type candies. The kind you find when leaving a restaurant, or the ones you would avoid until the end at Halloween.

These thoughts vanished after I tried them. I tried two different packages of the Saybon line. The But’r Mints, and the soft fudge candies (2 flavours). All of the Saybon candies are made in Canada in a peanut-free facility and are kosher.

My favourite of all the ones I tried is the dairy chew from the soft fudge package. Soo delicious! The regular chocolate fudge ones were fantastic too. Both are very soft and melt in your mouth. I thought they would be really sticky and get all into your teeth, but they’re much softer than that. The flavour of the dairy chew reminds me of maple somehow, but they only describe the flavour as ‘dairy’.

Ah-hah! I just checked out their website, and realized that they actually describe the dairy chew as ‘a delicious maple flavoured chew’. I wonder why the bag doesn’t say that. At least my taste buds are accurate!

The but’r mint candies are much closer to a hard candy. It’s a very interesting flavour. You get the buttery cream then the mint in your mouth. They’re very good. They’re still chew-able, but not like a soft fudge. I planned to give all of these candies out to my guests whenever people come over. They all lasted about a week instead. My husband and I ate most of them, then my father kept eating but’r mint after but’r mint, and even hid the last few from me lol.

The Saybon line has11 different flavours to chose from. Visit SAYBON on Facebook to enter the “It’s Good to Share Sweepstakes” for a chance to win $10,000.

These candies were a definite pleasant surprise. No longer will I judge a candy by its packaging. You have to try them.

One of my readers who posts a comment on this review will win a gift pack of these SAYBON candies, so please post a comment to be entered in a draw. I’m looking forward to sending one of my faithful readers a special October treat!