If you’ve ever traveled with me or have followed me on the blog for awhile, you probably know that drinking water is not something I do very often. I drink water when I run, of course, and when I work out, but I haven’t been able to make it a habit to drink several glasses of water daily. I did make a real effort to drink plenty of water years ago when training for my first half-marathon, and found I was frustrated with being in the bathroom all the time. And I noticed that when I stopped guzzling water, my running didn’t seem to be affected, so I stopped drinking it as often (and interestingly, more recent research challenges how much fluid we actually need).
One thing I have been able to do when it comes to hydration is swap out some of the juice and a lot of the soft drinks (I used to consume a half a can daily and now I don’t usually have any in my fridge) and I’ve replaced it with flavoured sparkling water. As you may recall, I tried out Sodastream last year to help me do this, and I was super curious about Bonne O, another at-home machine to make your water bubbly so when this Canadian company asked me to try out their sparkling beverage system, I told them I was in as long as I could share my honest review to which Bonne O said of course.
So, how’s it measure up? My first reaction to the actual Bonne O machine itself is that it’s not very sleek or modern looking. Compared to the modern look of my Sodastream Power, the white machine and overall shape is much less appealing to me than the boxy and more compact shape of the Sodastream Power I have (besides aesthetics, I need kitchen gadgets that take up the least amount of space in my small kitchen, and I feel like Bonne O takes up more counter space).
Bonne O’s major difference, in my opinion, is the carbonators. What are these mysterious little white pucks that somehow make water bubbly? Instead of the usual heavy canisters of compressed CO2 (the kind you use with Sodastream), Bonne O uses small round pucks, which are made of food-grade materials (think citric acid and sodium bicarbonate) that react with water to create CO2 gas.
Another thing that sets Bonne O apart is you can use it to carbonate lots of different beverages and ingredients. With Sodastream, you’re carbonating water and adding fruit or syrup. But with Bonne O, you can make fruit infusions so that flavours are incorporated during the sparkling process. And, people, you can sparkle wine or your favourite cocktail! Whaaaat. I could get behind some sparkling white wine on a hot summer night!
That said, because I go through phases, lately I’m focusing less on what I’m drinking (my juicer hasn’t been used in while…) and focusing more on cooking, so I’ve been using the Bonne O mostly to drink sparkling water really simply with lemon or lime. But I did whip up some ginger syrup as the Bonne O 100 Sparkling Creations book that comes with the unit inspired me to try the recipe. And the result is delicious, and I like the idea that I’m making my pop from scratch.
So which machine do I prefer? I found that Bonne O, using one carbonation puck, results in exactly the level of bubbliness I enjoy (N.B. You can use half a Bonne O carbonator if you prefer less bubbles). My Sodastream Power, while it offers three levels of carbonation, I found that the results weren’t consistent (I sometimes selected the highest carbonation twice to get a decent amount of bubbles, but sometimes I’d end up with great bubbliness and sometimes less so).
It’s the carbonators that are, in my opinion, the major advantage to the Bonne O system. With my small kitchen’s limited storage and no car to do grocery shopping, I really dislike buying, storing and and returning the CO2 tanks. The carbonators in comparison are lightweight and are in a compact box, and this is what’s won me over. The only thing I feel Bonne O comes in second on is its design, as I mentioned above. Sodastream Power is a much sexier looking machine. If choosing between the two machines, I personally think it boils down to the CO2 tanks vs carbonators and the machine’s design, as I find the actual beverage results pretty comparable if you’re planning on carbonating water (if you’re keen on carbonating wine and other drinks then, of course, Bonne O is the way to go).
And what about that giveaway I mentioned?!
(THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED)
CONGRATS TO SHAMARRA G., the winner of her own Bonne O! Thank you to everyone who entered!
Here it is! You don’t just have to take my word on what Bonne O is like because one lucky winner in my giveaway will win a Bonne O Sparkling Beverage System (valued at $169.99 Canadian/$149.99 U.S.)! The giveaway is open to Canadian and continental U.S. residents. You can enter in three different ways (enter all three ways as each way counts as an entry!):
INSTAGRAM: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), and comment on the photo related to this giveaway — tell me what beverage you’d use the Bonne O to make. Would you add a certain fruit? A cocktail? Herbs?
TWITTER: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:
I love bubbles! And I’d love to win a @bonne_o Sparkling Beverage System from @healthswellness! http://bit.ly/2nCvvQX #bonneoswellness
FACEBOOK: “Like” the Health and Swellness Facebook page, and reply on the photo on the page — tell me how much water you drink daily. I’d love to hear what everyone’s hydration habits are!
This giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random on March 22, 2017 and contacted via the method they’ve entered to provide their shipping address and contact info.
Thanks, good luck and happy hydrating!
March 14, 2017
This Saturday, January 28, 2017, is Chinese New Year and it’s the Year of the Rooster! Now while I haven’t celebrated it in years, about a year ago, I interviewed chef Eric Chong about his family’s Chinese New Year traditions and he spoke of the annual feast they prepare. Which got me thinking, so I asked my sisters what we used to do, and they said my mom used to prepare homemade bau, and special dishes with chicken and shiitake mushrooms. And that we weren’t allowed to wash our hair that day (a superstitious tradition of some sort, which I don’t follow now, sorry, mom!).
I don’t really remember too much of this…I think maybe by the time I came around (I’m the baby of the family) that we celebrated less and less (was I such a handful that all sorts of extra cooking and festivities dwindled down?!). While I don’t host a particular celebration now, this week I learned what a bounty of foods (at good prices, too) there are at Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills to help one do so.
Both stores have steadily been moving towards making their stores a one-stop shop with a focus on offering a great selection of global foods.
Like these T&T pork and leek dumplings and green onion pancakes (above). I love that they’re so quick to prepare so it makes for a tasty meal both for part of a CNY celebration but also any time of year. I also found things like sour sop ice cream, dragonfruit, lo mein noodles, Rooster dried flower mushrooms, pineapple cakes, and so much more. If I were hosting a dinner, this vegetable dish looks amazing, and I’d be able to get all of the ingredients at No Frills or RCSS (if you’d like to make it, here’s the recipe for this Braised Chinese Mushrooms and Sesame Bok Choy).
RCSS and No Frills both have oodles of fresh produce and foods to help you prep for your Chinese New Year celebrations. They carry a good selection of T&T and loads of Rooster brand products and fresh fruits like starfruit, dragonfruit and yes, citrus fruits (so key to Chinese New Year!). And at Real Canadian Superstore, you can also pick up some decorations for your get-together! My favourite is the pretty lantern at the top of this post.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Now, how would you like to win a little red envelope in celebration of Chinese Year New? I’m giving away five PC giftcards valued at $20 each that can be used at Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills. This giveaway is open to all Canadian residents.
It’s an Instagram giveaway, and here’s how to enter:
- Follow me on Instagram, @healthandswellness.
- Comment on the Instagram photo related to this giveaway (it’s a photo of the red lantern) what your favourite Chinese dish or food is, and also tag two friends who you’d invite to your Year of the Rooster celebrations.
The giveaway closes at noon (12 p.m. EST) on Monday, January 30, 2017, and I’ll randomly select five winners that day. The winners will be notifed via Instagram so that the five lucky people can provide their addresses and details to claim their giftcard prize.
Thanks and good luck!
Congratulations to the winners of this giveaway: @ avodah8 @nicoleroannef @dlasquinha @laurieswimmer and @xvalmeida!
January 25, 2017
I’m a huge fan of The County (aka Prince Edward County) so when I was invited a few weeks ago to spend the day exploring the area and eating and drinking my way through some of the amazing vineyards and purveyors who will be taking part of TASTE Community Grown (the County’s annual wine and culinary fest taking place September 24, 2016 — this is it’s 15th year!), there was no question I was going to attend. I’d last visited the County last year (and my previous visit was probably a good 10 years ago!) and fell in love with it all over again. (I wrote about last summer’s jaunt for Vitamin Daily).
This time around, I got to check out a slew of places I hadn’t been to before. We made our way early in the morning on a luxe private shuttle from Foley Bus Lines (and I was very much appreciative for the chance to stretch out and catch some zzz’s). We didn’t hit much traffic, though, and our first stop was at Pyramid Ferments where a tasting of their kombuchas and kimchis jolted us awake in the most delicious way. My favourite, though, was these sun-aged lemons, which are beautiful to look at and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. Oh, and btw, their Gut Shots? I hear they’re good as a hangover cure.
Next, we stopped into Three Dog Winery where the dogs weren’t available to greet us but the lovely John and Sacha Squair were, and we tasted wines (my favourite was the Dog House Red), and we nibbled on pizzas (one featuring some delectible Seed to Sausage sausage) on the lovely verandah. I’m definitely adding a stop here to my itinerary the next time I visit as I’d love to take one of Sacha’s yoga classes in the enclosed desk being built; the view of the vineyard during sun salutations will be fantastic (and, well, so will enjoying some wine after shivasana!).
Bellies full of pizza, that didn’t stop us from eating on. We popped into Pink Lunch Pail, where apple pie lovers will need to try their version (I adored the shortbread crust). The bakery is also known for their lemon desserts, and I’m saving my appetite to try this next time.
From there, we stopped into two wineries, Karlo Estates and Trail Estate. Karlo Estates is the first vegan certified vineyard in the world (and the grounds are beyond pretty and romantic, check out the beautiful bridge in my first photo on this post). Trail Estates I enjoyed because their focus is on small batch craft wines, and by small, that can mean even smaller than a barrel; so there’s always something new in the lineup as they’re always experimenting.
OK, so I’m a lightweight when it comes to wine…but the tour continued!
Thankfully (as I was in need of some food to balance the wine), our next stop was at Guapo’s Cantina, which is at Traynor Vineyard. And I think after my trip to Sayulita a few months ago, I’ve become pickier when it comes to my tacos, and I was a very happy camper here because the tacos at Guapo’s Cantina were incredible, and the yucca fries were just the perfect crispness, and the couple behind the cantina (Lance and Ashley) just so fun and friendly. And since we had been drinking wine all day, Traynor Vineyard served up some icy cold cocktails including margaritas, sangria and a paloma. This is a definite PEC must-stop for me.
I know, you’re probably thinking how much more can one girl eat and drink in one day? But we all persevered and visited Keint-He Winery & Vineyards (I enjoyed the balance of acid and sugars in their Voyageur Riesling) and finally, dinner at East & Main Bistro, where it’s nice and cozy (and we all shared the bison special and a bunch of appetizers as we were plenty full from the day of tasting).
The good news is you can taste from all of these lovely PEC purveyors (along with upwards of 40 others) at Taste Community Grown, and I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away! The prize includes two tickets (valued at $40 each) along with tasting tickets for the event. Taste Community Grown takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at Crystal Palace (Picton Fairgrounds). You can get more info on the fest here.
To enter this Taste Community Grown giveaway, which is open to Canadian residents (but you’ll have to get yourself to PEC on the 24th for the event), you can enter once in each of the four entry methods:
- Email: Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and phone number. Please put “Taste Community Grown” in the email’s subject line.
- Twitter: Follow me @healthswellness on Twitter, and then tweet:
I want to #TastePEC at TASTE Community Grown by winning these tickets from @healthswellness and @PECwines! http://bit.ly/2chlCXU
- Instagram: Follow @healthandswellness Instagram; like my Instagram post for this giveaway (posted on September 7th), and tag a friend you’d like to attend Taste Community Grown with.
- Facebook: Like the Health and Swellness page on Facebook (at the top of the page), and then leave a comment on the photo of this Taste Community Grown giveaway — tell me what your favourite thing to do in PEC is!
This giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. EST, Wednesday, September 14. 2016. Please note that this giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. The one winner will be chosen at random and their name will be announced on this blog post once confirmed.
Cheers and bon appetit! (Wish I could join you at TASTE, but I’m traveling that weekend!)
September 7, 2016