On Tuesday I went on a tour of Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn Kids on Bloor Street West in Toronto to see what new and exciting things they have in store right now. Everyone on the tour had a great time, and I wanted to share with you some great recipes we tried, and what we found in-store!
First up we started at Williams-Sonoma where our Culinary Specialist Jennifer showed us how to whip up some amazing treats!
We tried out a very healthy smoothie called a Ginger Berry Pom. I have experimented with smoothies in the past (some great, some not-so-great!), but I had never added pomegranate or ginger to a smoothie. The result was a nice fresh kick at the end of a sip. Here is the recipe:
Ginger Berry Pom
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Juice Solution – Erin Quon & Briana Stockton
2 tangerines, peeled and seeded
2 red apples, cored
2 cups pomegranate seeds
2 cups raspberries (fresh when in season, frozen when not)
1 inch piece organic young ginger 1 tbsp. honey
Blend ingredients in blender and serve immediately.
Jennifer also showed us how to make a delicious chocolate mousse using avocado. I really love avocado, but with chocolate? I was skeptical. The mousse turned out amazing, and it’s a really simple recipe.
The Chocolate Rocket
Adapted from The 52 New Foods Challenge – Jennifer Tyler Lee
2 medium Hass avocados
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup skim milk 1 tsp. almond extract Maple syrup to taste (minimum 1 tbsp.)
Pinch of salt
Whipped cream and macerated strawberries
Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Using a spoon, remove the flesh and place in food processor or blender fitted with the metal blade.
Add the cocoa powder, sugar, milk, extract, maple syrup and salt and process for 2 minutes, or until smooth and no chunks of avocado remain.
Chill for 10 minutes before serving with whipped cream and macerated strawberries.
I had never heard of macerated strawberries before, but they were delicious. Basically it’s a great way to get as much flavour and taste out of your strawberries as possible.
2 pints fresh strawberries, trimmed
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
Sugar to taste (minimum 1 tsp.)
Slice trimmed strawberries into a large bowl and add lemon juice, zest and sugar to taste.
Toss and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes for more juice.
These strawberries we so tasty, and I could see myself eating a bowl with or without the mousse.
Jennifer even taught us how to make our own whipped cream which I had never made before!
½ pint 35% whipping cream
½ tsp. Tahitian vanilla extract
½ tsp. sugar
Whip cream in stand mixer on high with whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
Reduce speed and add vanilla and sugar just until combined. Serve immediately.
Overall these were very easy recipes to try, and the presentation of all of them were lovely as well. They are a must-try for sure!
We also sampled a cake made using Williams-Sonoma Red Velvet Bundt Cake Mix, and cookies made using Williams-Sonoma Red Velvet Cookie Mix. I love the cake and cookie mixes from Williams-Sonoma. They are so easy to put together, and they taste like you baked something from scratch. I use their mixes when I want to impress friends with my amazing baking skills (after hiding the boxed-evidence in my garbage).
Our next stop was to Pottery Barn next door where we learned about some of this season’s trends.
One of the more popular purchases at this time of the year at Pottery Barn are their decorative baskets. They are a functional way of decorating since they double as storage. Pottery Barn has many different styles and textures to choose from, and for some of us with small spaces it’s a great way store something in a pretty way.
Next up we learned the anatomy of a bed. Have you ever bought a bedding set from a store, and then once you got it home it looked nothing like the display you saw when you purchased it? It’s probably because you didn’t buy enough pieces. It’s all about layering. To create this perfect look you would start with a fitted and flat sheet, then a quilt. Next up two plain euro-shams in solid colors. Then you would need your patterned shams to start the layering process.
This bed has two duvets – one would likely be your actual plain duvet, with a patterned duvet on top to match your patterned shams.
Finally a color on top, in this case a blue pillow, matched with the same color on the bottom of the bed which ended up being a throw pillow. Voila – the perfect Pottery Barn Bed!
At Pottery Barn Kids it was all about layering again. Did you know that there are in-store designers to help you with your purchases? They are the people who can help you make sure the bedding you purchase in-store will look amazing when you get it home. It’s hard to know what you need to buy and not buy, especially when you are on a budget. Don’t be afraid to ask for expert help, because it’s available!
We took a look at the Monogram department in-store which was neat to see since I have taken advantage of this option with Pottery Barn Kids before. This is the only store in Ontario with a monogram machine, and if you bring your item into this store it can be ready in as little as 20 minutes! They only monogram Pottery Barn Kids products that they have in-store or online (just in case an error is made so they can replace it).
This season there are lots of new superhero-themed items at Pottery Barn Kids, including new bedding styles and décor.
The kid’s Valentine’s Day items were absolutely adorable! Their table settings for Valentine’s Day and for Easter were all about layering – just like making the perfect bed.
Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn are right next door to each other on Bloor Street, with Pottery Barn Kids just at the top of the stairs of Pottery Barn. There is no way you can just visit one of these three stores. I’m so happy that they are open for business on the Bloor Street strip. It’s like a trifecta of awesomeness that draws you in. I had a great time shopping around!
For more information on Williams-Sonoma vist www.williams-sonoma.ca
For more information on Pottery Barn visit www.potterybarn.ca
For more information on Pottery Barn Kids visit www.potterybarnkids.ca