Feature Friday: Thug Kitchen

One of my all-time favourite recipe sites is Thug Kitchen. Not only are the recipes delicious, but the¬†instructions are down-right hilarious and use several naughty words that are found in my vocab too (sorry mom!). Check out their most recent recipe for coconut caramel dip. They had me at “all you need is four f*cking ingredients” ūüôā

Happy Halloween! Here is a random picture of a Jack-O-Lantern vomiting guac…. lol.



Product review: Kellogg’s Pop Tarts¬ģ

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a creeper at the grocery store. While waiting in line, I like to casually check out the carts of others, just to see what the hot items are. Creepy? Yes. Judgemental? Possibly. Interesting? Of course! My career is based on food, and sometimes I feel like I’m never “off duty”.

Today after work I went to the store for a few things. I was behind a small family who were loading their items on the belt. Apparently there was a Pop Tart sale, as they were buying at least 8 boxes (that I was able to stealthily count). It made me realize that I haven’t really had a Pop Tart since I was very young, and I remember them tasting like cardboard. I wondered to myself, has anything really changed? I also recently tried a recipe that I found off one of my favourite blogs, the Minimalist Baker. It was a DIY Pop Tarts from scratch, using only 7 ingredients. With a few substitutions (I used butter instead of Earth Balance and made a strawberry rhubarb compote as rhubarb was in season) I completed the recipe with success and the result was AMAZING. Here is a link to the recipe (FYI they also freeze very well!)

Here is the nutritional information for the DIY Pop Tarts (found at the bottom of the recipe):

Serving size: 1 pop tart w/out glaze Calories: 335 Fat: 8 g Saturated fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 35 g Sugar: 3.5 g Fiber: 1.5 g Protein: 4.5 g

No one said it was going to be health food :). But, I would treat this more like a dessert and you can definitely customize the size of the tart to smaller if you want it for a lighter snack/dessert. The thing I like most about these¬†are the minimal ingredients and lower sugar content. Speaking of sugar, let’s compare to our old friend, Kellogg’s Pop Tart:


Look at the strawberries on the front! Here is the product description, from the Kellogg’s website: “A delicious pastry with real fruit filling and topped in icing. As a source of 4 essential vitamins and minerals, Strawberry Frosted Pop Tarts¬†toaster pastries are a fast and fun way to snack”.¬†Wow. No wonder parents and kids love this product. For the kids, the box is colourful, they are sweet, delicious and you can easily take one en route to school. For the parents, they are quick to eat, apparently have real fruit, and a whopping 4 essential vitamins and minerals. Hmmm….

Ingredients (from Kellogg’s website):¬†Wheat flour, sugar/glucose-fructose, dextrose, vegetable shortening (contains palm oil), icing sugar, crackermeal, modified wheat starch, salt, dried strawberries, dried pears, dried apples, baking powder, citric acid, natural flavour, corn cereal, gelatin, modified corn starch, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, calcium phosphate, colour.

I counted 21 ingredients. Companies are required to list their ingredients by weight, so the majority of the Pop Tart is made of: flour (not whole grain), sugar, sugar, shortening (fat), more sugar, refined grain, refined grain, salt and FINALLY some fruit.


The Government of Canada defines “source of” as “at least 5% of recommended daily intake“. So I guess these Pop Tarts are a “source of” iron, niacin, folate and thiamin.¬†Unfortunately Kellogg ¬†forgot to point out that 1 Pop Tart has absolutely no protein, very little fibre (2 things that help keep us satisfied and prevent subsequent sugar crashes) but is a fantastic source of sugar (18g, equal to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar).

The verdict

Parents should save their money and pass on the Pop Tarts. Worried about the 4 essential nutrients you might miss from the Pop Tarts? Have a piece of fruit (like fresh orange) with a slice of whole-grain bread and natural peanut butter. The bread and fruit are both loaded with B vitamins such as folate, niacin and thiamin. The peanut butter has some iron, and the vitamin C from the orange will help your body absorb the iron better. Plus, with all that fibre from the food, you will feel satisfied for longer! If you are looking for a treat, I suggest trying the DIY Pop Tarts. They are obviously a bit more of a time investment than purchasing Pop Tarts in the box, but well worth it and you cut out 14 ingredients!

Market Monday

I am back to the market after a 2 week hiatus! It felt good to be back. I’ve been going to the Sorauren Farmer’s Market for almost a year now and many of the vendors I purchase from now know me by name and know what I like to purchase. That added touch makes shopping at the market so much more meaningful, knowing that I purchase food right from the farmers and the interaction is much more personal than a grocery store.

Today I spent a bit more than usual. I unfortunately ran out of both honey and maple syrup this morning so I had to re-stock. My haul included:

  • Maple Syrup (made in Goderich Ontario, close to my hometown!)
  • 2 small bags of pure maple syrup candy (dessert for Chris and I)
  • Unpasteurized wildflower honey (made by Clover Roads Organic farm in Hagersville ONT)
  • 2 chilli bowls (West-End Food Coop)
  • Organic hummus (West-End Food Coop)
  • Bunch of carrots
  • Basket of sweet potatoes
  • Basket of white potatoes

I skimped out on my produce today as I already have quite a few things at home (spinach, celery, mushroom, acorn squash). I bought all my produce at the Clover Roads Organic farm booth. The lovely couple who owns the farm are quickly becoming some of my favourite people at the market. They are friendly, knowledgeable and their produce has always been fantastic quality. I have never bought honey from them before but they explained how they make their honey, and the reasons for the different colourings, depending on the pollen.

When I bought carrots I was sifting through the big basket, looking for ones to take. The farmer mentioned to me “oh, not many people like the ugly ones”. When he said that I had to chuckle and tell him about this news story I read online. The report talked about a new grocery campaign in France, where selling “ugly” vegetables and fruits has become really popular. The campaign started to bring awareness to food waste and how “ugly” produce is on par with their “beautiful” counterparts. You can read about it here.

A sampling of my "ugly" selection, which I think is beautiful!
A sampling of my “ugly” selection, which I think is beautiful!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks… I spoke with one of the lovely staff at the West End Food Coop, who agreed I would be able to interview one of their coordinators! I’m super excited to share with everyone the wonderful work they do in the Parkdale/Queen West neighbourhood.

I had to dig into the hummus c/o the West End Food Coop. Eating in my car, like a boss.
I had to dig into the hummus c/o the West End Food Coop. Eating in my car, like a boss.

Happy Market Monday!!!