All Star Eating

by Amy My family is big on going out for breakfast. It's something my husband and I have been doing together since we started dating and the kid's first trip out was to meet a friend for breakfast when she was two days old. We're always looking for a good breakfast place and we've tried quite a few. Last weekend we decided to head over to the Big Rig Brewery on Iris to see how their brunch tasted.

Big Rig is fairly new and I had heard a couple of good reviews but really had no idea what to expect from the place which is partly owned by Sens defenceman Chris Phillips (also known as Big Rig).

Right away I was impressed with the family friendliness. Kid-sized breakfasts are $2.99 and there's a decent selection. Our kid always wants pancakes and she got one big one and two little ones, which is much more reasonable that what some places serve for kids. Important note: The pancakes were served with some fruit and REAL maple syrup. In fact, all of our breakfasts seemed very fresh.

They also have small glasses for kids' drinks, which is one thing that I really look for in restaurants - please don't give my child a big glass that she can't hold, or a heavy bar glass.

Another thing that I'll give Big Rig a big A+ for is the TVs. We have been some places where the kid was so distracted by the TVs placed so close to the tables that she stopped paying attention to her meal. At Big Rig there are TVs - I got to watch the basketball game between Canada and Australia that Canada very nearly won - but they were placed around the restaurant and weren't so in-your-face as they can be.

The staff were great, they checked in and talked to the kid, got her another glass of milk when she finished the first, and she really enjoyed the high chair on wheels.

I can say we'll definitely try Big Rig for dinner sometime, especially after looking at the kids' dinner menu that seems to be healthier than a lot of places.

Amy is mom to two year old Maggie and a 6 year old schnauzer named Henry. You can read her blog at where she writes about motherhood and anything else that’s on her mind. She also shares a blog with her husband at where they talk together about parenting a daughter.

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FLASHBACK: Sugar Bushes: Sand Road Maple Camp

It's maple season! We've had some great posts in the past about sugar bushes so will be re-posting some.  If you've had a wonderful sugar bush experience we'd love to hear about it! By Rebecca

Today we took the kids on our annual sugar bush trip. We go for pancakes, running around outside, real maple syrup and maple sugar candy.

Sugar bushes (or camps, or shacks or pancake houses or farms depending on where you go) is nothing new for me. I grew up in Eastern Ontario, near Quebec and was surrounded by them. School trips were always planned and I went to a prom at one. Seriously. I've written about this and my love for maple syrup in the past.

I am excited that my children get to relive my love for the sugar bush (and they certainly share my love for maple syrup). There was a huge maple tree on the property of one of my homes growing up. It flowed with sap each year. We would sometimes put a bucket on it for fun, but there wasn't enough to make syrup.

My grandfather, a farmer, tapped some trees on his property and would boil the sap and make syrup. It was a dark syrup as I remember it and it was delicious. We would dip buttered bread in it or pour it over bananas. Maple syrup over white rice is still a favourite snack of mine.

This picture was taken at the sugar bush today, but my grandpa had a pot just like it!

Today's trip was to the Sand Road Maple Camp. It's near Moosecreek, about a 50 minute drive East of Ottawa. It's worth the drive.

First, the drive doesn't seem that long (although, remember we are often taking drives like that with the kids!) and once you get there the food assures you that it was worth it.

Oh, the food. We decided on the buffet for all of us. $14.95 for each adult and $4.95 for the kids. If you prefer you can order off the menu, single items etc. But since our kids love pancakes and the trimmings, plus they got juice, it was worth it.

The choices were pancakes (of course!) with unlimited delicious syrup, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, baked beans (these were amazing), sausages and bacon. Not just any bacon, but deep fried smoked pork jowls. I know. But it was so so good! ( I don't have a good picture of the food because we were eating it plus when I took pictures of the kids, I dropped my phone in my beans!)

My 2 year old ate beans and a huge pancake. My son had nearly 2 pancakes and some bacon. When I asked him how he was liking it, he simply said 'it's AWESOME!'.

As for the syrup, it was wonderful. Had that traditional smokey, sweet flavour a sugar bush syrup should have. Incredible. I left feeling very satisfied.

The ground was a little muddy, and the weather turning so we didn't stay too long after but did walk around for a bit. There is only a small play structure for the kids, so don't expect a lot of play time that way, but mine were happy to walk around exploring the trees for a bit.

Naturally, I also left with maple sugar candy.

Go to enjoy the drive, stay to enjoy the amazing food!

The camp doesn't require reservations, is open Tuesday-Sunday 9-4 and until April 25. Take the drive and enjoy!

Rebecca blogs about family and motherhood, is a self-professed foodie, and dabbles in online engagment and community giving.  She has a strange love for maple syrup that can possibly only be matched by her love for chocolate and coffee.
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Valentine's Day Dinner

by Carly
We love to celebrate Valentine's Day with a nice family dinner.  We set the table with our nicest dishes, keeping to a red and white theme.  Jake loves shaped pancakes so I had fun making heart-shaped ones for our special dinner.
I had a few heart-shaped cookie cutters laying around, so after mixing my pancake batter and pre-heating the pan, I sprayed the cookie cutters with cooking oil and placed them in the pan.  Add the batter, be careful not to overfill the cutters.  When the pancake starts to bubble, use a pair of tongs to remove the cookie cutter from the pan.  You may need to gently cut around the edge of the cutter with a knife to loosen the pancake first.  Once the cookie cutter is removed, flip the pancake and cook it on the other side.  Be sure to re-spray the cookie cutters with cooking oil before using them for the next pancake.
Since my husband isn't big on pancakes, I made him some heart shaped eggs, using the same method.
Topped with maple syrup, some powdered sugar and homemade fruit salad, our pancakes made with a lot of love were a big hit!
Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 5 year old son, Jacob.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.
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