All posts by Jeff Fidler

irish foods low carb

Irish Food The Low Carb Way

Delicious Low Carb Irish Foods to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is nearly here, and with it comes the promise of green beer and plenty of laughter and merriment. To aid in your Irish celebrations this year, we thought it would be helpful to gather together a list of delicious low carb recipes that you can serve in honour of St. Patrick. Irish food is hearty, and in many cases is low in carbs even when made in traditional ways. These recipes take things to the next level by incorporating some interesting twists and alternative ingredients to make them even lower in carbs. Now, there’s no time to waste in preparing a great Irish-themed menu for St. Patrick’s Day, so let’s get right to the recipes!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

What better way to kick off a St. Patrick’s Day menu than with the classic combo of corned beef and cabbage? This savoury, high-protein meal is definitely considered comfort food, and it’s loaded with a hearty helping of vegetables to round out the recipe. It’s quite simple and easy to prepare, and requires very little prep time. This particular version calls for the corned beef to be brushed with butter prior to serving for an extra-rich flavour. Serve with your favourite mustard on the side, and you’ve got a fantastic Irish meal to go with your pint of Guinness.

Low Carb Irish Colcannon

Traditional Irish colcannon is made from mashed potatoes and either kale or cabbage, but this recipe takes the low carb route and uses cauliflower in place of the potatoes. It also substitutes spinach as the secondary ingredient for added nutrition and a vibrant green colour, although kale can also be used for a more traditional taste. It also incorporates avocado and sour cream for additional depth of flavour, and the result is simply delicious. Serve alongside bacon or ham, and enjoy.

No Bake Irish Cream Cheesecake

Next up, we’ve got a delectable dessert that utilizes the unmistakable taste of Irish Cream to make a rich, creamy cheesecake that is simple to prepare, and requires no baking. These mini single-serving cheesecake desserts feature a do-it-yourself Irish cream that helps keep the carb count very low, and tastes amazing. You can also adjust the coffee amounts to your taste, making it either stronger or milder if you prefer. Serve with a dollop of sugar-free whipped topping, and we’re sure you’ll fall in love with this simple but decadent dessert.

Low Carb Irish Shepherd’s Pie

There’s just something about Shepherd’s Pie that makes it one of the definitive comfort foods. It’s easy to make, can be prepared ahead and frozen for a convenient meal whenever you need it, and this low carb version is amazingly healthy. This particular recipe comes from Dixie Diner, and features their low carb instant mashed potatoes as the topping of the pie. Alternatively, you can always use a cauliflower mash instead, which would help to add another serving of vegetables to this dish, and bring the carb count down even lower.

Lamb and Vegetable Stew

It’s hard to believe that something this delicious can be made in just 20 minutes, but it’s true! This stew is hearty and comforting, and you’ll definitely want to have it year-round, not just on St. Patrick’s Day. It uses a savoury combination of tender lamb chunks, garlic, green beans, zucchini, and a simple selection of herbs and spices to produce a delicious low carb meal that the whole family will definitely enjoy on a chilly evening.

Low Carb Irish Cream Ice Cream

Here’s another tasty dessert option that you will love to serve up on St. Patrick’s Day, or any other day where you’re in the mood for some Irish cream deliciousness. This recipe is sugar-free and keto-friendly, with a nice light flavour that’s not too sweet but definitely an enjoyable way to finish a hearty meal. Top it off with a little bit of sugar free chocolate sauce or serve it beside a low carb brownie for an extra-yummy dessert experience.

McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

Finally, we have something to offer for an Irish breakfast that is amazingly simple and yet perfectly appropriate to kick off your St. Patrick’s Day this year. McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal is made entirely from wholegrain Irish oats, and is loaded with plenty of nutritional value and vitamins. Oatmeal is also extremely high in fiber, and contains an essential fatty acid, making oatmeal a very healthy breakfast option. You can also top your oatmeal with a variety of different things, like your favourite flavoured syrup or some fruit and berries, to give it a personal touch.

Conclusion

Planning a healthy, low carb St. Patrick’s Day menu full of Irish inspiration can be easy, and we hope that these recipes have encouraged you to try something different on your meal plan this year.

If you’re looking at a fast and easy way to make other things more Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, pick up a bottle of delicious DaVinci Irish Cream Flavoured Syrup. It’s sugar free, and is a perfect way to inject the wonderful flavour of Irish cream in to your coffee, on your hot cereals, or as a sweet addition to the top of your favourite frozen desserts.

We hope that you have a wonderful St. Patricks Day, and cheers to your health! Or as they say in Ireland, slàinte!

Introduction to Smartcake & Smartbun Low Carb Products

Cake and buns aren’t exactly the first type of foods that spring to mind when you think of the low carb diet, but the bakers over at the Smart Baking Company have made it their mission to completely change that. They’ve created an amazing series of baked products that shatter every stereotypical image of diet food being bland and boring.

In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at the Smart Baking Company, and what has driven them to produce such amazing cakes and other low carb products that our customers can’t stop raving about.

About the Smart Baking Company

Based in Florida, the Smart Baking Company was founded to prove to the world that, in their words, ‘healthy and fun can go hand in hand’. They are dedicated to making delicious and healthy foods that are perfect for low carb, gluten free, and low sugar diets. Smartbun and Smartcake products are free of gluten, starch, and sugars, but are dense in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids many essential vitamins. To learn more about the Smart Baking Company, visit their website.

The Smart Baking Company has quickly risen to the top of the list of popular low carb brands, thanks to their consistently delicious products and dedication to using only the finest healthy ingredients. You can be sure that when you buy their products, you’re getting top quality in addition to amazing taste. Now, let’s take a look at their products, and learn just what it is that makes them so good!

About Smartcakes

Finding delicious and healthy snack foods can be a challenge for many people, especially if you have a notoriously powerful sweet tooth. Sugars and carbs abound in traditional cakes and baked goods, and for low carb dieters, this means being very careful about enjoying cakes and other baked foods. Smartcake brings cake back in to the spotlight for low carb snackers. Fans of Smartcake simply can’t stop raving about the taste and texture of these delicious little cakes, and the fact that they are contain zero net carbs, no sugar, and no gluten just makes them even more satisfying!

Smartcakes are conveniently packed in pairs, and these delicious snack cakes that come in a wide array of flavours. Some of the most popular include Chocolate, Cinnamon, Coconut, and Tangerine. Smartcakes are made with a proprietary fibre blend including oat, corn and flax, and each cake contains 5g of fibre and 4g of protein. You can browse the entire range of Smartcake products here.

About Smartbun

Burger lovers rejoice! No longer are you forced to skip the bun, or resort to dry and tasteless bread options to hold your burger. Smartbun is the answer to the prayers of low carb hamburger aficionados. Developed specifically to address the needs to low carb and gluten free diets, the Smartbun is high in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Smartbuns have a light and flaky texture, just like traditional gourmet hamburger buns, and are the perfect low carb platform for your fresh grilled patties. These buns use only top-quality ingredients, including a similar proprietary fibre to that which is used in Smartcake. Smartbuns are available in both plain and sesame seed varieties.

These buns are one of our customers all-time favourite low carb bread products, and the reviews we get are definitely some of the best we’ve ever about a low carb bun. Don’t think that the use of Smartbuns are limited to simply hamburgers. You can use them to create all kinds of sandwich concoctions, and have zero-worries about the carb count of the bun. Use them for everything from grilled chicken to Reubens, or even breakfast sandwiches. There are lots of options available, and the only limit is your creativity! You can shop for Smartbun products here.

Summary

Just in case you may need a bit more convincing to try out Smartbun or Smartcake products, check out this great video featuring Juli from Livin Large on Lifetime as she talks about her experiences with Smart Baking Company products, and does a quick review of the latest flavour of Smartcake, Tangerine!

If you find yourself frustrated or disappointed with the typical low carb cake and bun options, then you simply have to try these products from the Smart Baking Company. Smartcake and Smartbun products have built an outstanding reputation in the low carb world for being some of the most delicious and healthy baked goods that are available.

We’re sure that if you give them a try, you’ll agree that Smartcake and Smartbun are anything but ordinary, and they’re a perfect addition to any low carb lifestyle!

Make Pancakes & Waffles Great with Walden Farms Syrups

Product Insights: Walden Farms Syrups

We’ve already talked about all the great options that exist for low carb breakfasts, but today we’re going to look a little closer at a couple of our favourites, namely pancakes and waffles!

These delicious breakfast foods can easily be made the low carb way, but we’re not going to stop there. We’re also going to talk about Walden Farms, which is one of the most popular brands in the world of low carb foods. They have some of the most delicious sugar-free syrups that you can buy, available in many different flavours you can choose from to top off your pancakes and waffles.

If you’re not familiar with Walden Farms, take a look at this introduction article to learn more about the company and the different types of low carb food products they make. They’re one of the finest low carb brands available, and our customers agree that the quality and taste are second to none.

Now, let’s get going on breakfast!

Types of Walden Farms Syrups

First and foremost, we should definitely talk about Walden Farms Classic Pancake Syrup. This is the standard, go-to pancake and waffle syrup for many of our customers, who love the amazing guilt-free maple flavour. As with all Walden Farms syrups, it’s 100% sugar-free, which makes it absolutely perfect for a low carb or Keto diet. Many people even use it as a flavour accent on things like cereal and smoothies, or as an alternative sweetener in coffee, lattes, and tea. It’s definitely got plenty of uses in the low carb kitchen. You can find Walden Farms Pancake Syrup here.

Next up, let’s have a look at some other syrups from Walden Farms. If you’re in the mood to mix things up in the morning and try something new, they have several other flavoured syrups that work great on pancakes and waffles. Try some Strawberry Syrup to go with your strawberry pancakes, or perhaps some Caramel Syrup to accompany a piping hot Belgian waffle with sugar-free whipped cream.

Fans of blueberries will be happy to discover this tasty Blueberry Syrup which is amazing on top of blueberry pancakes or as a sweet addition to blended fruit drinks. For an even more decadent treat, throw some chocolate chips on top of your waffle and drizzle it with this fantastic Chocolate Syrup. We’re pretty sure this will be a smash hit with kids and parents alike!

Once you start exploring the different flavours of syrup from Walden Farms, you’ll find that they open the door to all kinds of custom pancake and waffle creations. For the full selection of Walden Farms syrups, click here to browse.

Now that we’ve got you craving some fresh, hot pancakes and waffles, it would be a shame to leave you without some incredible low carb recipes to try. So, we’ve gathered a couple of delicious recipes that you can use to test out all those new flavours of syrup this weekend!

Low Carb & Keto Pancake Recipe

Pancakes definitely qualify as comfort food, and this recipe will undoubtedly end up as your standard family pancake recipe from now on. It’s simple to make, only requiring 6 ingredients, and produces light, fluffy, and delicious pancakes every time. The great thing about this Keto Low Carb Pancake Recipe from Maya at WholesomeYum.com is that it combines both almond flour and coconut flour to produce a superior texture that you can’t get with each flour on their own. It’s a unique twist on low carb pancakes that makes a huge difference in the final product.

Once you get your stack of pancakes cooked up, top them off with whatever low carb toppings you’d like, such as berries, nuts, whipped cream, and your favourite flavour of syrup. Now, dig in!

Low Carb & Keto Waffle Recipe

Finding a great low carb waffle recipe is like finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, we did it for you so all you need to do is bookmark this recipe and start cooking! This recipe for low carb Keto Waffles from Libby at DitchTheCarbs.com is not only sugar-free, but also grain-free, and still produces light, fluffy, waffles with no complicated ingredients or instructions. One fantastic tip that we just have to share about these waffles is that they can even be used as an alternative sandwich bread that kids will go nuts for. Now that’s what we call a creative use of a healthy waffle!

Conclusion

We certainly hope that this article has encouraged you to check out some of the great syrup products from Walden Farms. Those recipes for low carb waffles and pancakes are absolutely perfect for a fun, hot breakfast that the whole family will love this weekend. Offering a selection of toppings and syrups to choose from will kick things up a notch and definitely inspire some creativity around the breakfast table. See what interesting combinations you can come up with, and don’t be afraid to share them with the family. Although, they may just be so good, you’ll want to keep them all to yourself! Happy eating!

Pick Quality Pots & Pans and Other Kitchen Cookware

How to Choose Quality Cookware for Your Kitchen

How to Choose Quality Cookware for Your Kitchen

Having the right tools and equipment on-hand in your kitchen can make a huge difference in the food you cook, and how much you will actually enjoy cooking it. Most of us become quite accustomed to the kitchen supplies that we have on-hand, and when we finally do purchase an upgrade, it can be quite surprising just how much better things work. It can be something as simple as the shape of the pan, or the materials it’s made of, regardless, the right tools make cooking easier and more fun.

In this article, we’re going to go through some details on what to look for if you’re considering upgrading your cookware. We will cover everything from the basic types of cookware, to materials, and even some of the most popular brands to consider. With these tips, you’ll be sure to find the best cookware for your low carb kitchen!

Cookware Categories

Cookware can easily be broken down in to just a few main categories, usually based on the function they serve and whether or not they are intended to be heated. The main categories of cookware that most items will organized into are:

Pots & Pans

When something needs to be boiled, fried, simmered, or sautéed, this is the category you’ll be looking at. Pots and pans come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to meet the needs of countless recipe instructions. For example, soup pots naturally need to be big and deep, whereas saucepans are wider and shallower. While most of us simply look at the size of the pot or pan to determine which one we need, for many recipes, the shape is equally important. Many recipes describe the type of pot or pan best used for the food being cooked, so make sure you pay attention to these little details to get the best results when you cook. For example, if a recipe calls for the food to simmer while covered, you’ll need to make sure that you have a suitable lid for the pot or pan you choose.

Utensils and Preparation Equipment

Knives, forks, spatulas, whisks, and virtually everything else that you need to prepare foods prior to the actual cooking steps are in this category. This includes things like mixing bowls, cutting boards, slicers, graters, and anything else you’d need to prepare your ingredients. Depending on how the food should be prepared, or the type of ingredients you’re using, you’ll find different shapes and sizes of preparation tools and utensils more useful than others. For example, a paring knife is designed specifically to peel fruits or vegetables, or other small and intricate detail work. A carving knife, by comparison, would be awkward and difficult to manage for those tasks due to the size of it. Much like a screwdriver makes a poor hammer, you’ve got to use the right tool for the job.

Oven Safe Cookware

Due to the high heat environment of the oven, cookware that is designed for use in the oven is very different in materials and construction. Oven-safe cookware can be made from metal, ceramic, porcelain, stone, or glass. Thicker walls and heavy lids are typical for things like casserole dishes, steamers, and Dutch ovens. Ovenware must conduct and hold heat well in order to cook food evenly for best results, so the materials used are generally heavier and more durable than some other types of cookware. Other types of ovenware, like cookie sheets, are thin and made from metal in order to better suit the shorter cooking times of some baking recipes.

Materials

Just like there are different styles and shapes of cookware, there are different materials that they can be made from, each with their own characteristics. These characteristics tend to make some materials better for certain types of cooking than others. Here, we will list the most common cookware materials and their characteristics:

Stoneware, Ceramics, and Porcelain

Also known traditionally as ‘earthenware’, these types of cookware are created from pottery and ceramic materials fired at a very high temperature. This makes them ideal for use in the oven, and for serving dishes for foods that you’d like to stay warm for longer periods of time. Stoneware has very good heat retention, but doesn’t heat up as quickly as metal, meaning that it tends to me more suitable for recipes calling for longer cooking times. Depending on the specific type of cookware you choose, keep in mind that cleaning them can be difficult as foods tend to bake into the surface, something to keep in mind.

Glassware

Similar to stoneware, glassware is generally used in the oven, but also is common in serving dishes as well as in things like mixing bowls, storage containers, and other miscellaneous kitchenware. Glassware has the unique advantage of being transparent, and so it can be quite beneficial for some recipes that rely on visual cues to determine doneness. Glassware has similar heat-retention to stoneware, and can keep hot food warm quite well. Glassware does have the disadvantage of being a bit more fragile than some other materials and should always be handled with great care. Glassware can also be difficult to clean as foods bake into the surface – and because they aren’t non-stick, cleaning them can be a chore.

Copper and Aluminum

Most commonly used to construct pots, pans, and other cookware that are intended to be used on the stove, copper and aluminum are extremely versatile materials for a wide range of cookware. Both are durable, light, and conduct heat extremely well, meaning the cooking surface gets hot very quickly. Aluminum is less expensive than copper, if you can afford it, get it, as it’s better to invest a little bit more to have copper for its superior heat conduction, better looks, durability and longevity.

Stainless Steel

While stainless steel is an extremely popular cookware choice due to its appearance and durability, its actually much less efficient at heat transfer than some of the other material options. Most high-quality stainless-steel cookware actually uses a copper or aluminum core or base in order to address heat transfer issues, when compared to plain stainless steel.  Stainless steel can also be difficult to clean, foods love to stick like glue which not only makes cleaning more difficult, but can also impact the cooking experience.

Cast Iron

There’s no mistaking the weight and feel of a piece of cast iron cookware. It’s heavy, and extremely solid, and will last a lifetime when cared for properly. Although many people avoid cast iron due to its reputation of needing more effort to maintain and care for, it’s actually quite simple to season and care for a cast iron pan, and it ends up with a virtually non-stick surface. Cast iron transfers heat evenly and holds heat extremely well but does take much longer to heat up than aluminum or copper. Cast iron isn’t suitable for everything, especially acidic foods, which can actually damage the cooking surface. If you love steak, but don’t want to BBQ in the winter, get a cast iron pan, it’s ideal for searing meats to seal in the juices.

Coatings

Since one of the least pleasant aspects of cooking is the cleanup process afterwards, cookware manufacturers have invested a great deal of time and effort in developing better materials and coatings that help prevent sticking and make them easier to clean. There are a few different common coatings that you will see on the store shelves, and each one has unique properties to be aware of.

Silicone

Most of the kitchen products that feature a silicone coating are focused around baking, Silicone baking sheets are great for cookies, but other shapes of cookware, like a muffin tin, will likely be more difficult to clean. In addition, silicone is a very poor heat conductor, and won’t produce a browning effect like a metal pan will. If you like your baked goods to have browned bottoms or edges, silicone is probably not the best choice. Overall, silicone has limited applications and should be reserved for those instances where it makes the most sense.

Teflon

Teflon-coated cookware has been around for many years, and the non-stick effects are extremely helpful in a variety of cooking applications. Teflon coatings are used on metal cookware, usually aluminum. They effectively prevent foods from sticking to the surface, and make the cookware easier to clean. They can be damaged by using metal utensils, and so plastic or wood should be used to avoid scratching the coating. There has been some question over the safety of Teflon coatings on cookware in the past. These health concerns were related to the use of synthetic chemical compounds such as PFOA, also known as C8. However, the manufacturer of Teflon phased out these compounds from their processes in 2013. This article from Franki at GoodFood.com.au details the concerns with non-stick cookware, and how things have changed in recent years.

Ceramic

Ceramic coatings are made from the same materials as those used in other ceramic cookware. These coatings are extremely durable and produce a very slippery surface, making it very difficult for food to stick to it and makes for easy cleanup. Ceramic coated cookware is very popular due to these characteristics, but it also tends to be slightly more expensive. If you’re going for a quality set of non-stick metal cookware, ceramic coatings are definitely recommended as the best long-term investment.

For more information on the types of cookware materials, coatings and construction types, check out this cookware report from Consumer Reports.

Popular Cookware Brands

Now that you have a better idea of what kinds of cookware are available, and what materials you might want to choose, how do you start identifying the best manufacturers to look for? Well, there are some world-renowned brands that are always a safe bet for cookware, these include:

  • Meyer (Anolon, Circulon, Rachael Ray)
  • Tramontina
  • All-Clad
  • Cuisinart
  • Farberware
  • Lodge
  • Calphalon
  • Le Creuset
  • Woll Diamond Plus

In addition, Donna at TheSpruce.com has put together this handy list of the 8 Best Cookware Sets to Buy in 2018. Here, you’ll find recommendations for top-quality cookware in a wide variety of styles and price ranges.

Conclusion

Cookware can make the difference between a frustrating struggle and a fun, enjoyable cooking experience. Having the best tools and equipment for crafting your culinary creations is extremely important, and we hope that this guide has helped you in your search for the best cookware for your kitchen. Happy cooking!

finding healthy movie snack foods

Great Low Carb Snacks for Movie Nights

Delicious Snack Ideas for Movie Night

A cozy night on the couch watching great movies just wouldn’t be the same without some tasty snacks to munch on, would it? Chips, popcorn, nachos, candy, chocolate and all sorts of other treats are always a nice addition to the home theater experience. If you’re on a low carb diet, however, you’ve got to do things a little bit differently. Most of the typical movie night snacks are loaded with carbs and sugars that can send your diet completely off the rails if you’re not careful. Fortunately, we’ve prepared this fun list of healthy, low carb snacks that are perfect for your next date with Netflix. Whether you’re looking for a snack with a salty crunch, or perhaps you prefer a sweeter treat, this list has something for everyone. Now, let’s start the show!

Salty, Savory & Crunchy Low Carb Snacks

For most of us, popcorn is the standard go to movie snack, but it has a high carb count, so it’s not a great fit for a low carb diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options for savory and salty snacks that are great to share. Here are a few of our most popular salty, crunchy low carb snacks to try with your next movie night!

Kay’s Naturals Pretzel Sticks combine a great crunch with tasty seasonings like Jalapeno Honey Mustard and Cinnamon Toast to deliver a delectable snack that is very high in protein and low in carbs.

If you are a big fan of tortilla chips, you’ll fall in love with these Nacho Cheese White Bean Chips from Beanitos. Great on their own, or for use as a solid dipping chip, Beanitos are high in fibre and protein, with zero grams of sugar per serving. Also available in other flavours like Chipotle BBQ

0and Restaurant Style.

For those of us looking to try something new and unusual, try picking up a bag of these lightly-salted Parsnip Chips from Hardbite. They’re great for dipping and are made right here in Canada in small batches. Give Hardbite’s other chips a try, like Carrot Chips and Beet Chips, and discover your new favourite snack.

Sweet & Decadent Low Carb Treats

While many people prefer salty snacks, others have more of a sweet tooth when it comes to snacks. For low carb dieters, this means finding snack foods that are low in sugar or sugar-free, but still have the sweetness that they crave. Luckily, there are plenty of sweet snacks out there to choose from, and here are some of the most popular ones we know about.

When you only want a few bite sized treats to satisfy that sweet tooth, these sugar-free Strawberry Cream Chocolates will definitely work out for you. They’ve got a soft, creamy filling just like those fancy boxed chocolates, with none of the sugar and carbs. Also available in Butter Cream Caramel and Coconut.

If caramel is your favourite flavour, then you’ve simply got to try these amazing Triple Treat Caramels from Judy’s Candy. They are completely sugar-free, and have an amazingly smooth, creamy caramel taste that you’ll fall in love with at first bite! Check out all the other sugar-free sweet treats from Judy’s Candy here.

Jelly beans are one of those classic candies that always remind us of childhood, and thanks to these delicious sugar-free Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, you can enjoy them again! Available in assorted flavours, including tasty little beans such as cherry, tangerine, grape, licorice, and many more. Grab a handful, and we dare you to try not to smile when you chew them!

Healthy Low Carb Dips

Why not mix up a tasty dip to go with some of those low carb chips or some veggie sticks? Here’s a great recipe for a delicious Dill Ranch Dip from Lisa at LowCarbYum.com that is incredibly easy to make and tastes amazing! With just a few seasonings, you can mix up some sour cream and mayo in to a tasty dip that won’t last long once the movie starts. Give it a try!

Another tasty dip option is with the line of Walden Farms calorie free dips. Experiment with flavours like Caramel Dip, Chocolate Dip, Roasted Garlic Humus or stick with more traditional flavours such as Bacon Dip, or French Onion, Ranch and others.

Low Sugar Drinks and Beverages

With all those salty and sweet snacks at your fingertips, you’ll inevitably be craving a nice, refreshing drink to quench your thirst. But forget about regular sodas that are loaded with sugar, and check out these awesome low carb low sugar drinks!

If you’ve got some rum handy, and want to mix up something special to go with your snacks, this Mai Tai mix from Baja Bob’s is just what you need. It’s completely sugar-free and has a fantastic taste that will definitely have you asking for another. Also available in other drink mix flavours like Margarita, Mojito and Pina Colada. Yum!

Another great drink choice for your movie night is this fantastic all-natural Grape Soda from Zevia. It’s got zero-sugar and zero-calories, and a classic grape soda taste that you’ll just love. Pick up a six-pack today and we’re sure that it’ll become one of your favourite drinks. Check out the full range of Zevia sugar-free drinks.

Conclusion

So, the next time you’ve got a movie night planned, or are getting the gang together for a weekend-long film festival, these snacks should keep everyone happy from the opening theme right through to the end credits. Snacks don’t need to be unhealthy to be fun, and with options like these, you definitely won’t be missing anything.

We hope that this list of salty snacks, sweet treats, and tasty drinks has inspired you to try something new. Now, go ahead and fire up Netflix or browse through your DVDs and find one of your favourite films! Happy snacking!

Ideas for a romantic valentines day, 2018 valentines day

11 Unique Ideas to Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2018

11 Unique Ideas to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

For 2018 – Valentine’s Day falls on Wednesday, February 14th.

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and you may have already started planning a special day to show your special someone just how much you care about them. For some of us, however, it can be a real struggle to come up with new ways to make Valentine’s Day exciting and special. Well, fear not! We’ve compiled a fantastic list of fun and unique ways to spend Valentine’s Day with your partner that they are sure to love! And if there’s one day when it’s ok to break your low carb diet, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Let’s get started with our list of 11 unique ideas you can use to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.

#1 – Take Time Off

With Valentine’s Day falling mid-week this year, Wednesday, February 14th, one of the best ideas you can have would be planning to take time off work.  Spend some quality time together, even if it’s just the Wednesday. Time and attention is the most precious gift you can give to your partner, so plan a day excursion, and get out and do something you both love.

If you can afford to take more time off – and can manage the costs, one of the most exciting and romantic things you could do is take a trip somewhere you both love.  From pretty much every major city in Canada, Mexico makes for a relatively affordable locale, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want a break from the snow and cold by the middle of February?  Choose a nice, well-reviewed, romantic all-inclusive resort where you can relax, enjoy outdoor activities, great food, and down time together. Many resorts have special activities and meals planned for the day to help ensure you and your loved one enjoy the day.

Before you book anything, make sure your partner can take the time off – you don’t want to get stuck with a romantic trip that you can’t even use!

Spend the Day on the Slopes

If skiing or snowboarding is your favourite thing to do in the winter, then there’s no better way to spend a chilly Valentine’s Day than carving some tracks at the local ski hill. Of course, skiing and snowboarding may not be for everyone, so why not give snow tubing a try! Many snow resorts now offer snow tubing as an alternative way to enjoy the slopes, and it’s definitely a fun way to spend a day outside. Whatever you end up doing out on the snow, don’t forget to swing by the lodge bar afterwards for a proper après-ski beverage to warm up.

Road Trip to a New Restaurant

You may have tried every restaurant in your town, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring something new this Valentine’s Day. Do some looking around on sites like Yelp, or ask for recommendations for unique and unusual restaurants in nearby towns that aren’t too far away. Go on a road trip with your honey, and enjoy a new dining experience in a nearby city. Earn some bonus points for romance if you take the scenic route or explore some touristy places you’ve never seen before. See where the road takes you, and don’t forget to keep track of your discoveries in a special journal just for compiling great restaurants. Any major bookstore will have fancy journals you can buy, and picking one out gives you one more thing you can do together to complete the trip.

Local Culture Experience

Every city has elements of local culture that many of us don’t take full advantage of. Perhaps it’s a local heritage museum, a downtown theater, or stand-up comedy place. Maybe you’ve got a local art gallery or nature preserve that you’ve always wanted to see. Take a look through some local travel guides and discover some interesting new places in your own backyard. Take the day to play tourist and explore your local area. Who knows, you may discover your new favourite spot to picnic, or learn a bit more about your town’s history.

Wine and Cheese Tasting

What would Valentine’s Day be without a glass of a nice vintage red wine? Well, take that to the next level with your very own wine and cheese tasting event. Go to your local gourmet cheese shop and find a selection of unusual cheeses to try. Pick a variety of types and styles so you get different taste experiences to match with some new wines. Pick a soft cheese like a double-crème brie, a firm cheese like a well-aged cheddar, and something bold like a fragrant blue cheese. Everyone’s tastes are different, so pick a couple of favourites and then mix in some new ones that you’ve never tried. Then do some quick research on sites like VinePair.com, which has a great guide to Pairing Wine and Cheese, and find a couple of bottles to sample with your cheeses. Finish the experience with a nice charcuterie plate of cured meats and some fresh fruit, and you’ve got a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Nostalgia-Filled Movie Night

Go back in time, WAY back, with a movie night dedicated to your favourite movies from ‘back in the day’. Pick a couple of movies from each of your childhoods, get cozy on the couch, and let the clock spin back. Complete the experience with some snacks and drinks that you used to enjoy as kids, and spend the night laughing and remembering those great moments from your youth. It’s a fun way to reconnect with a piece your own personal history and share it with your partner on the most romantic day of the year. Netflix has a massive selection of new and old movies to choose from, so start browsing!

Get Artistic with a Paint Night

You may not be the next Van Gogh or Jackson Pollack, but you’d be surprised at just how easy and fun it is to create your very own beautiful canvas painting. There are many art studios that offer casual paint classes for adults, as well as for kids, that are easy to follow and definitely a lot of fun. Some even offer special events for things like Valentine’s Day that include a glass of wine to go with your artistic experience, so check around your local area and see what you can discover. If there’s no studios nearby, don’t let that stop you. Swing by your local arts and crafts shop and pick up everything you and your Valentine need, from canvas to paints and brushes, and make your own studio at home. Just be sure to put down some drop cloths for those errant paint splatters!

Pajama and Board Games Day

Who says that Valentine’s needs to be expensive or complicated? This idea is for those of us who just need a lazy day to lounge around in comfy clothes and have some laughs. Get out your fuzziest pajamas, get a nice cup of coffee (maybe even Irish it up a bit), and break out all your classic board games for a day-long tournament! Although, we’d suggest keeping things light and avoid any of those complicated and overly-lengthy board games that can get frustrating the longer you play them. Card games, puzzles, goofy guessing games, and drawing games are all perfect, or you could go digital with your favourite multi-player video game. Whatever you choose, keep the pressure minimal and keep things fun!

Make the Ultimate Music Playlist

Music fans will love this idea! With all the digital music tools we have available, it’s easier than ever to discover all kinds of new music, or reconnect with the tunes from days gone by. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to set up some great new music playlists that you can curate together with your partner. Maybe you go the obvious route and craft a collection of romantic songs, or maybe you go retro and pull together all your favourite tunes from high school. Check out historical music charts from your younger days to find all those songs you’ve forgotten about, and scan through the latest and greatest new music to uncover new artists from your favourite genres. We love to use Spotify as a place to discover all kinds of music, and organize our favourite tunes in to playlists that can easily be shared on many popular social networks. Check it out!

Explore the Stars and Tell their Stories

If you can manage it, and the skies are clear, take a drive to a secluded spot away from all the city lights and go stargazing with your partner. There are lots of cool astronomy apps you can download, like Planets for example (Download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). The Planets app uses the GPS and internet connection on your smartphone to display all the constellations visible in the sky in real-time. But don’t stop there! Once you find a few visible constellations, look up their ancient origin stories and learn about what their names mean. Orion the Hunter is an easy one to spot, as are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (Big Dipper and Little Dipper), but see if you can also locate Cassiopeia or Draco, too. They really are beautiful to see once you know where to look, and even more interesting once you know their stories.

Valentine’s Day Recipe Challenge

Here’s where you can put your culinary skills to a very delicious test with your partner. Put forth a challenge to them that you each must make a dessert to share, and they have to be made from scratch. They take turns tasting, and see whose creation reigns supreme! There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, and this is one way to have a lot of fun with it, too. If you’re looking for some help to get started, head on over to our article on Low Sugar and Sugar Free Desserts for some great tips and tricks as well as some amazing recipes to try.

Conclusion

We certainly hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration to try something new this year for Valentine’s Day. It’s always nice to take the time to show the love of our lives just how much we appreciate them, and finding new and exciting ways to express our love helps to keep the spark alive and well. It also happens to be a lot of fun, too, so get creative and enjoy this special time with your partner.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!