Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Artisan Soda Workshop:Cream Soda Syrup

 When I was offered a chance to review the artisan soda workshop cookbook by Andrea Lynn.I was so excited to finally be able to make my own homemade soda's with healthier ingredients.It may be a cookbook a little off topic for my blog, but I just couldn't let go of this offer.

When the book arrived, my first impression was that it was full of creative ideas.I have rarely seen homemade soda cookbooks and was very interested.I found that this little book reviews the history of soda,healthier ingredients,pop culture names and all the basics.Andrea gives you all that you need to know before starting any recipe.So in your very own kitchen you can experiment by making your own soda's with this very book.Follow her recipes or bring your own ideas to life.I found her words quite helpful,inspiring and direct.

So after learning everything that needs to be known. I set off to choose my first tester and it had to be a copycat soda. Which is exactly what this first chapter is about, called homemade Soda Copycats.So looking through the recipes I chose the simplest one to start out with.Its called Cream Soda syrup,can you guess what drink that is for? It has to be for the infamous cream soda.My favorite!

For this recipe its actually one of the easiest syrups you can make.All you need is vanilla bean, water and granulated sugar,that's it! So lets see how it all came together.

So to start with you will need 1 1/2 vanilla beans.I found mine at Thrifty foods and the one that is the most popular in Canada are Tosca vanilla beans that are sold in a tube of two.I bought these for about 4 to 5 bucks and are no where cheap.So use them wisely and makes sure to never throw them away.I let you know why later.This can be also found in Safeway and health food stores. Secondly you will need 1 cup of water and 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar.For equipment, you will need a medium pot,paring knife,plate,liquid measure and a container with a lid.

 First you will need 1 whole vanilla bean and 1 half of another.Split them in half length wise leaving a small part of the end intact. Use a paring knife

Scrap the insides of the beans with the flat side of the blade.

You will get about 1 tsp of seeds inside.Do not throw away the beans you will use this for the recipe and for later use.

Now add the 1 cup of water to the medium pot.

Pour in the 1 cup of granulated sugar.

Then lastly,Add the vanilla beans and seeds to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat,and boil,stir gently until sugar dissolves at about 2 minutes. 

Remove from heat.Result will be a slightly thick syrup that has a yellowish color to it.Be sure to let cool and keep the vanilla beans in the syrup.Placing it in a new container may quicken the process, since a pot takes longer to cool down.

For me, I placed the syrup in the container I would use to preserve the syrup.I let it cool without a lid.Once it was completely cool, I put a lid on the container and place it in the fridge till ready to use.This syrup can last in the fridge for up to 1 month.Be sure to keep the beans in the syrup, she says it continues to add flavor overtime.Once you use up the syrup, let the beans dry out at room temp for a day and then you can add them to granulated sugar to make a vanilla flavor sugar.The author even mentions you can add these pods to a food processor along with a few cups of sugar to create a strong vanilla sweeter.Isn't that a great idea!

So when ready to use this syrup,add about 1 1/2 tbsp of syrup or to taste to 1 1/4 cup of carbonated water.Stirring to combine flavors.Its that easy!

Cream Soda

 In the end result, I found that 1 1/2 tbsp of syrup wasn't enough for the amount of carbonated water.It was actually quite blend in flavor and I began adding more syrup till it hit the right spot. Once I reach the flavor I wanted, it tasted exactly like Cream soda,maybe even better. The appearance however wasn't exactly pleasing to look at with speckles of black seeds floating about. If your someone that wants to impress other you can easily fix this appearance issue by simply adding a few drops of red few coloring and ice cubes.Looking below, doesn't that just dress up this copycat soda so much more.Delicious!

For this recipe, I was thoroughly impress by its simplicity and flavor.I also have to mention how I love that you can use this syrup and others in this book to enhance other foods.Even when I made this specific syrup I use it for a syrup on the Buttermilk pancakes I reviewed in a previous post.In the end, I have to give this syrup a big thumbs up!

Be sure to tune in for my next syrup review!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dairyland Review Part 3: Homogenized Milk,1% Chocolate Milk, And Old Fashion Buttermilk

Dairylands Homogenized Milk

Dairy land's homogenized milk is a rich, high in fat milk.It contains 3.25% milk fat and is about 160 calories for each cup.It is also high in calcium, Vitamin D and A.It is great to use for your cereal,desserts, baking and also in beverages.

For me, I purchased Dairy land's 4L Homogenized milk to test out.I'm an avid milk drinker and use it a lot when I bake frequently.I rarely use the full fat milks for recipes;however I thought to go this route. So of course I tried it out for drinking purposes first and my conclusion is that its quite smooth and rich.It will leave you with that infamous milk mustache.This whole milk will be great to use for special drinks such as chocolate milk,and alcoholic drinks.

For my second test, I paired Dairyland's milk with my favorite cereal, Multi Grain Cheerios.I found that the cheerios themselves had layers of flavors and the milk only help bring out those flavors more.The milk was quite similar to cream,which I sometimes add to my cereal for richer milk flavor.It will full you up faster then lower percentage milks and keep you satisfied longer. I think I ate that bowl of cereal so fast I can't ever remember how it tastes anymore.

So my conclusion is if you like richer milks with your cereals, beverages etc.Then this is the milk to buy.However it can be a bit pricey depending on the store.Since I picked up this one for $4.99 so it pays to look around and price check for your milks.

 1% Dairylands Chocolate Milk

As well as purchasing Dairylands milk I also had to pick up their 1% chocolate milk.I chose to get their 4L jug,which was a pretty hefty price of $5.89 at Save on Foods.However I love chocolate milk so much I just had to add it to the gift card list.If you want something a little less they do offer it in  250 mL, 500 mL, 1 L, and 2 L cartons and jugs.

This chocolate milk is made with 1% milk fat so it is a lighter version;however it is plenty rich enough to satisfied any chocolate addict.It is rich,smooth and chocolaty. It is so good cold and be great for alcoholic drinks such as Irish creams,coffee liqueur beverages etc.

It is also an excellent source of calcium,Vitamin D and A.So you can enjoy your beverage treat and grain some nutrition.To be more specific you will receive 25% calcium and 45% of vitamin D for every 1 cup.It's definitely not a drink to have as a staple in your kitchen;however would be great to use not just for beverages, but for recipes too.I only wish I had the time to make some recipes with this chocolate milk before everyone drank it all. Oh well,If its gone quickly it means it must of been pretty good.

 I also couldn't go without testing out a little garnish to my chocolate milk.Can you guess what I added? If you said Whipped Cream, your so right.It just adds that little fancy touch that makes me feel it should be served in a 50's diner.It brings that little extra creamy,rich flavor.Yum! Both milks were delicious!

 Dairylands Old Fashion Buttermilk

Now, I'm not the one to drink Dairylands Old Fashion Buttermilk on its own.However my dad loves the stuff so I had to get him to review it to make it fair.For me, I have had previous test tastings with this specific buttermilk and it was just not my kind of flavor. So to start, this buttermilk has 3.25% milk fat so we knew right away its going to be quite rich.In the end, my dad loved it and he told me that its rich,smooth,creamy and delicious.He also said we have to get more for drinking purposes and to repeat those delicious buttermilk pancakes again.So I guess in the end I have to give it a thumbs up especially if a family member loves it. Its definitely a unique flavor and you will either love it for a beverage or for a recipe.

I hoped you enjoy my Dairyland beverage point of view and be sure to tune in for my next review.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dairyland Review Part 2: Old Fashion Buttermilk & Aerosol Whipping Cream

Dairyland Review:Part 2
Old Fashion Buttermilk &Aerosol Whipping Cream

 When I first picked up Dairyland's Old Fashion Buttermilk at the store.I just knew I had to use it to make home-made buttermilk pancakes.This is because I have always wanted to make these pancakes with real buttermilk and not with replacements.So one fine morning, I finally got the energy to make these bad boys and I was wonderfully surprised.I found such a big difference in flavor,appearance and texture of these pancakes that I now love this recipe.I can no longer go back to my replacements of milk with lemon juice or vinegar;It just isn't the same any more. I now know what real buttermilk pancakes taste like and trust me they are ten times better. However the only negative aspect to all of this is the price for buttermilk can be a little steep, depending on the store.Example: I got this 2L carton for $3.79 at Save on Foods,technically free for review.However I know I wouldn't buy this constantly like milk.Definitely a special treat.

So to just bug everyone for a little bit before we dive into the recipe it self (...are you jealous yet) I'm going to describe how these pancakes really were.Well to start with I have say the appearance was completely different to what I'm use to.These pancake had great golden crisp tops and came out to be way thicker, due to the buttermilk.Overall, the appearance was excellent. Now for the texture, well that was completely different as well because the buttermilk helped these pancakes be thicker and moister in the end.The inside was soft and airy while the outside was slightly crisp.All the right components for a pancake I would say.Now for the last and most important part that can make and break a pancake is the flavor.Well this one definitely made it.It was mildly sweet and had a rich buttermilk flavor.It can be delicious with or without condiments.It was an all round great pancake and I definitely recommend the recipe.A+ for the recipe and buttermilk. Also, to let everyone know that this is the higher fat buttermilk.

Now with a great pancake I had to have some condiments.So when I picked up the buttermilk I had to get some Dairyland Whipped Cream Aerosol.Its a great little garnish for pancakes,desserts and brings an ohlaaa aspect to any dish.Its able to fit great against any other pancake condiments like syrup,fruit,etc.Its rich,light, creamy and delicious.Its something you will definitely see more of in my Dairyland reviews.This product is also quite convenient if you don't have time to make any home-made whipped cream;however with this aspect you do have to expect a high price to pay for the product.The price varies with each store but I got this one for $4.49 at Save On Foods.The price shows me I would not purchase this product regularly and only as a treat.It is easy to use, has multiple uses and you get about 40 calories for every 4 tbsp. It gets an A+ for flavour and convenience;however I will have to give it a B for the price and how much you get.In the end its all in what you like any ways.So I better start telling you how to make this recipe, before you all get to in patient with me.I hope you enjoy making these pancakes yourself!

The Recipe

Buttermilk Pancakes 


All Purpose Flour
Brown Sugar
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Table Salt
Canola Oil
Condiments:Syrups,fruit, whipping cream etc

Equipment:Large mixing bowl,whisk,measuring cup/spoons,liquid measure,frying pan,metal spatula,spoon & knife.

1. Gather all your ingredients and equipment before you start.

2.For a full batch of buttermilk pancakes, you will need to add 2 cups of all purpose flour to a large bowl.Be sure to spoon and level the flour.This can also be replaced with whole wheat flour for a healthier version.

3. From there, measure out 1 tbsp of brown sugar(light or dark),be sure to pack down and add to the flour.

4.Measure out 1 tsp of baking powder and add to the flour mixture.

5. Measure out 1 tsp of baking soda and add to the flour mixture.

6.Then lastly,add 1/2 tsp of Table Salt to the flour mixture.

7.Stir the dry ingredients thoroughly with a wooden spoon or whisk.

 8. Add your wet ingredients.Crack in two large eggs (white or brown) into the dry mixture.

9.Measure out 1 3/4 cup of Dairy land Buttermilk,use a liquid measure.

10.  Slowly pour Dairy land buttermilk into the dry mixture.Note:If the batter seems to thick,add 1-4 tbsp more of buttermilk.

11.Last ingredient to be added is 1 tbsp of canola oil or any oil of your choosing.

 12.Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon or whisk, until moistened.A few small lumps are good to leave in.

13.Heat up a large heavy frying pan.Medium heat.To test if hot enough, sprinkle a few drops of water and if they dance around rather then sizzle in one spot it is ready to fry some pancakes.From their grease the pan with a little oil.

14.Pour the pancake batter by 1/3 cup measure (60ml) into frying pan.Two will be able to cook at the same time.From here you can add treats to the batter such as chocolate chip, fruit etc.

15.When the tops are bubbly and edges are dry.Its time to flip the pancakes to brown the other sides.Continue with rest of the batter and you don't have to grease the pan again after the first time.

16.Golden brown on the top and bottom is the best look for pancakes.When cooking your pancakes I find that once a batch is done placing them on a plate and covering them with a lid will help keep them warmer longer.

17.For part of my batter I also added blackberries for some different flavor and texture.

For all that work, I definitely deserve a treat that looks like this,Don't they look delicious! Try it out!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dairyland Review Part 1: Cottage Cheese Combo's

 Dairyland Product Review 

Part 1

I was so excited when Argyle Communication's offered me a chance to review Dairyland products that I just had to jump at the opportunity.They were so helpful with any questions I had and Dairyland themselves was so generous with a $50 Save on Foods Gift card. I was so surprised when I read how much I would receive and I definitely was able to get quite of few treats,which you will hear about very soon.So to make this short, I want to send a big thank you to Argyle Communication and Dairyland for being so generous and helpful.Thank You!

So for all of my loyal viewer, you most likely want to hear what I have been up too.Well, simply I have been keeping busy by working and reviewing Dairyland products.So to get this show on the road I will start by telling you about some of the products I have tested out so far.


Dairyland's Cottage Cheese Combo's is the first product I tested out.They are a product sold across Canada and can be found in store like Save on Foods,
Wal-Mart or any grocery store that carries Dairyland.There price can vary depending where you buy them and the package it self contains four snack cups with two fruit flavors.So it depends on the store and how much you want to spend.The store I got it from was Save On Foods for $4.99,which is a little steep for four snack cups,but hey I got it with a gift card so I'll splurge on myself.

When I first saw the package of cottage cheese combo's I found it very eye catching with its color scheme,title and detailed pictures.It definitely lures you in to try out the product even if your not a fan of cottage cheese.I also found they were able to get their information across in a very simple and direct way.I was able to know that the product was made with low fat cottage cheese,is high in protein, and contains 0.8% milk fat all without looking at the chart on the back.However the chart is also very useful and laid out very well that you can understand what your getting in each cottage cheese combo. As you can see both flavors have the exact same amount of calories,fat,sodium etc.However not all the ingredients are that easy to figure out so I recommend if your concerned is to do your research. For me,I'm here to review the product.

 From looking at the package to opening it up. I found that these snack cups were about the same size as yogurt cups and had the similar idea as yogurt with fruit on the bottom,however made with cottage cheese.This is actually a really great idea for these combo's and may even lure others to try them out.Some may find cottage cheese mixed with fruit is a strange combination, however they work quite well together.Cottage cheese is so rich and creamery like yogurt that it can be mixed with any kind of fruit.Definitely a combo to try out!

When I tired the strawberry cottage cheese combo, the texture was very creamy, light and smooth.The strawberries once mixed in together, created sweetness and flavor.It also gave a little bit of texture by the little chunks of strawberries.The strawberries also brought color to a very blend white and overall it was a very refreshing snack or dessert. It had just the right balance of sweetness and strawberry.I can see this being a very addicting little snack!

The second fruit flavor I tried was the pineapple cottage cheese combo.This combo goes in a completely different direction compared to strawberry,why you ask? Well you get way more texture and flavor.The cottage cheese is still creamy and light;however you get added texture from the pineapple tidbits.The flavor is also very sweet and tangy,which creates a really refreshing dessert snack.So overall, I would say its my favorite out of the two and I already want more!

Overall,both of these snack cups are really good and I want everyone to keep an open mind about cottage cheese because these are so much more then just that ingredient.They are a great healthy flavorful snack for breakfast, lunch,dessert or even for the kid's. So I do recommend you try it out for yourself;however I do have to say that the price can be a little steep for the amount you get.As I mentioned above I got these for $4.99,which is close to the amount you can pay for a large jug of milk.So just watch out for these when they come on sale to try them out or If you have the money to splurge like I did then go for it.

Well I hope everyone enjoyed my review and be sure to stay tune for more! I'll try pumping them out as fast as I can. Thanks!