Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Found Memories at Le Marché de L'Ouest



The market up-close

We often take the little things in life for granted. Things like places, faces, circumstances we see or experience. As a result of past trials, I've learned to embrace life as it happens, the good, and even the not so good, because somehow, everything happens for a reason. The Marché de L'Ouest was kinda like my neighborhood shouq, just slightly more organized, 'Americanized' and less crowded. 


Exploring the Marché de L'Ouest's fresh produce straight from the Quebec farm.

I''ll never forget those youthful days, the ones when I almost drove over a farmer's kiosk as my father was teaching me how to reverse park at the Marché de L'Ouest (OUCH!). Or better yet, the Fridays when I was an 8 year old (with long braided pig-tails) tagging along with my mom at the Marché de L'Ouest's Marché Pêche-Pêche fish market where I would stare right through the crab tank with complete disbelief at the notion that people actually ate the poor creatures.

Shopping with my chicas in the same market I used to shop with my mom. 
25 years later, I find myself bringing my daughters to one of my most nostalgic outdoor markets. It brings warmth to my heart, knowing such a place filled with childhood memories can be shared with loved ones, especially my children.

Remodeled since the 80's, Le Marché de L'Ouest is a quaint place to shop for fresh foods and especially seasonal flowers for your garden i.e. hydrangeas, hibiscus, roses, begonias...

This market is the perfect place for Rosh Hashanah shopping. 
In addition to the outdoor market, there are various kosher vendors and cute boutiques within the mall. These include:

Dozens (right beside the Dollarama entrance)
If you are looking for one of the best eyebrow threaders in town, I recommend you visiting my Israeli esthetician Anat, she has a knack for reshaping eyebrows.

Paradise Kosher
Indispensable if you're kosher in D.D.O, the first successful kosher bakery-deli-shawarma-catering store, called Paradise Kosher, opened up several years ago and sells all kinds of ready-made dishes, Meals from meat balls, Moroccan salmon, Chinese chicken, meat, cheeses, and baked goodies. When in D.D.O, my usual order consists of bourekas, baguettes and turkey colcuts. During the holidays, they also offer special menus

The take-out counter at Paradise Kosher deli at Marché de L'Ouest
Bulk Barn
Bulk Barn Foods Limited is considered Canada's largest bulk food retailer with stores located in every province. Established in 1982, Bulk Barn has over 200 stores. Their head office is located in Richmond Hill, Ontario." (Wikipedia) If you're a baker, or stocking up on Simcha Torah candies, Bulk Barn is the place to buy kosher candies in bulk. If you are not familiar with their concept, the store is filled with huge barrels of a massive variety of nuts, chocolates, candies... although not all are kosher, the kosher ones are specified on the labels.

Candy bins at Bulk Barn. 

My daughter and I posing for the camera :)


Let the good times begin! :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Top 12 Back-to-School Kosher Snacks


I go through this shopping frenzy with my daughters at every back-to-school season. My kids and I take a few hours searching for the top recess snacks they would enjoy. I wonder why I put myself through such trial, the whining, the requests, the complaints... but it's worth toughing it out, after all I need to ensure my kids eat right. If you want to brave this type of shopping-with-the-kids activity, I recommend the following: 

1) Make sure your kids are fed before you enter the supermarket, otherwise they will open-up most of the snacks you buy ( FYI one cheese stick was left out of a pack of 8)

2) Sneak in a mini bottle of vodka - you'll need it (kidding moms).

3) Wear good shoes and bring binoculars - these can be useful to read the fine print in the 'circulaire' or track down the kosher certifications. 

4) A sweater should be brought - the frozen and refrigerated sections can make you feel freeeeezing.

5) Avoid the clothing department if you are at Loblaws or Maxi, you'll end up being more clothes than food. 

6) Oh ya, important, before you start, take the kids to the washroom :) 

As a kosher mom, I scout all kinds of kosher products, that's where most Jewish grandmas and mother-in-laws acquire their self-taught KGB skills or find out the latest community news.

From my pantry to yours, here is a list of my family's top 12 recess snacks 



1. LOBLAWS/MAXI NO NAME BRAND CRACKERS
Flavors: Plain, flaky or cheddar.
Certification: COR certification Dairy Equipment.
Nutrition facts: 10 crackers, 140 cal. and 5 g of fat. Peanut free.


2. TRISCUIT CRACKERS Flavors: Roasted Tomato & Olive Oil, Rosemary & Olive Oil, Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil.
Certification: Orthodox Union certification.
Nutrition facts: 4 Crackers, 90 cal., 3.0 g of fat

3. PITA BITES
Flavors:
Original Sea Salt, Garlic & Chives and Black Olive Feta.
Certification: Orthodox Union
Nutrition facts: 9 crackers, 120 cal. 3 g of fat

4. HI I'M SKINNY STICKS
(Loblaws Organic Section)
Flavor: Veggie Tortilla
Certification: C K dairy
Nutrition facts: 34 sticks, 130 cal., 7 g of fat

5) PRETZELS
Variations: sticks, salted, unsalted...
Nutrition facts: 28 sticks, 110 cal., 0 g of fat

6) KELLOGS SPECIAL K CRACKER CHIPS 
Flavor: Original, BBQ or Sour Cream & Onion
Certification: Orthodox Union
Nutrition facts: 20 g, 80 cal., 1.5 g of fat

CEREALS 

7. LIFE
Certification: Orthodox Union
Nutrition facts: 3/4 cup, 120 cal. 1.5g of fat

8. FRUIT LOOPS
Certification: COR
Nutrition facts: 3/4 cup, 110 cal., 1 g of fat 

9. KASHI HONEY SUNSHINE
Certification: Orthodox Union
Nutrition facts: 3/4 cup, 120 cal., 1.5 g.

MINIS

10. QUACKERS CRISPY MINIS
Flavors: Cinnamon, caramel and chocolate
Certification: COR
Nutrition facts: 1 pouch, 90 cal., 3.5 g of fat 

11. PRESIDENT'S CHOICE LITTLE CHEDDAR PENGUINS
Certification: COR
Nutrition facts: 1 pouch, 110 cal., 1 g of fat 

12) ACT 2 MICROWAVE POPCORN


In addition to my top 12 pantry items, I've scouted the following top PC name brand products available at Maxi and Loblaws.
President's Choice has a comprehensive line of peanut free snacks from:
Little Penguins Snack crackers, Fruit Twists, Cereal bars: Strawberry, berries... and Granola bars




Of course veggies, fresh or dried fruits along with cheese or yogurts are wholesome for little ones.




More wholesome animal cookies, which can be found at Loblaws Organic section,
are Barbara's Snackimals. These come in vanilla, chocolate chip or oatmeal flavors. 
Apple sauce has become a staple in the lunchbox. There are so many kosher tube versions available. 

Have a happy school year everyone!