It happens every single year, someone, somewhere invites us to a holiday event and when you ask “what can I bring?” you hope they’ll say “nothing” so when you show up with a bottle of wine and some homemade treats they think you’re a superstar. Instead, they casually say, “just bring an appetizer.”
This summer the kids and I went on a road trip to Sudbury, Ontario to follow in the footsteps of the 2015 Amazing Race contestants by going underground in a former working mine that has been converted into an amazing experiential learning exhibit called Dynamic Earth.
First things first – the reason why the main image for this post is not the best is because I left the room for less than 20 minutes and my family inhaled these Muffin Tin Panzerottis before I could get a good photograph. And by family, I mean my brothers, my dad, my sister in law, and my husband. The only one who should know better (because he lives in a house with a food blogger where nothing gets eaten before double checking that it’s been photographed) is my husband, but that’s a topic for another day.
Before we get started, I can absolutely say that these Chicken Pesto and Goat Cheese Pinwheels are so delicious they could definitely be served for dinner with a side salad or as part of a brunch. Personally, I love to bring them as an appetizer for a family function, book club or when the neighbours invite us over for some holiday cheer, not only because they taste great, but because they are super easy to make and can easily be whipped together while your hot rollers are doing their magic on your hair.
This summer, my sister moved home and brought with her a fancy university degree with very few job prospects in her area of expertise, a goal to get a job anyway so she can buy some rental properties, and a fairly new vegan (almost raw) diet along with a whole bunch of stuff from her University apartment that is now hanging out in my basement.
Sometimes I need a meal with a little bit more of an “adult-flavour” (ie: not something that gets dipped in ketchup) but I barely have enough time to make one dinner, let alone one for the kids and one for mom and dad! A friend of mine recently shared a pork curry recipe that had… wait for it… cream cheese in the ingredients list.
Fall is here, and as the days get shorter, the temperature gets colder, and the nights get fuller with after-school activities, the slow cooker once again becomes my go-to partner in the kitchen for getting my family fed.
On our family vacation this summer to Blue Mountain Resort, among the hiking, the roller-coastering, the gondola riding, the rope climbing and the beach days (yes Blue Mountain has a private beach – who knew?), my kids came across a brochure for the Apple Pie Trail and immediately started to ask questions.
Summer is finally here and with it comes school holidays, which means having to stock up on the summertime every day essentials. No matter how you look at it, summer activities, entertaining - even just having the kids at home - can get expensive. But if done right, a well-stocked home will save you time and money by avoiding unnecessary and last-minute trips to the store, hitting the drive thru on a regular basis, or ordering take-out when unplanned guests stay for dinner.
Some say that bannock, a traditional staple in aboriginal diets, is one of Canada’s oldest known foods. Leavened with baking soda instead of yeast, it’s traditionally fried in heavy pans and comes out flat, warm, and filling.
The warm and filling part is what makes it great for camping – especially for breakfast!
Although originally concocted in Holland many centuries ago, gin has long been considered England’s unofficial national spirit. So it’s not surprising that my Grandfather with his British roots would often declare around 4pm in the summertime that it was “time for a beverage” and would head to the kitchen to mix himself a gin and tonic. After we entered adulthood, my grandfather would mix one for my cousins - and me too - when we were visiting.
Sometime between moving out west and moving back to Ontario, the number of times we’ve had people over for dinner - just because - can be counted on one hand. Somewhere along the line we stopped entertaining. We do still have people over for all the major holidays, but for no special occasion? It's just wasn't happening.
Although these Honey Balsamic Chicken Kabobs can be made on the barbecue at home, I save this recipe for our #CanadaWithKids camping adventures, because whenever we bring friends or family with us they’re always shocked that I made something “this delicious” in the backcountry in record time.
The trick is preparing and freezing at home. Here’s how…
One of my favourite things to do in the spring when the snow finally starts to melt is head out to the sugar shack to walk through the maple tree forest and show the kids where and how the iconic Canadian maple syrup is made. Even with warmer weather on the horizon, you can keep that feeling by using maple syrup in these delicious cookies - year round.
There’s absolutely nothing to say about this BBQ Beef Stir Fry except it’s fast, easy, working mom approved, and can easily be adapted to your kids’ tastes by using their favourite sweet or kicked up BBQ sauce.
There’s something about meat on a stick that makes dinner more fun for the kids. My son wants to eat the meat right off the stick and my girls prefer I slide the meat off and cut into pieces. Either way, this Peanut Butter Chicken Satay recipe (aka Chicken on a Stick) is a hit!
I also love that I can do all the prep-work before heading out the door for the day and when we get home I can just pop them in the oven, make some rice and steam some veggies.
March Break is right around the corner and for many of us the kids are home and looking for something to do. For our family, all the after school activities are on hiatus too, so that means our evenings are a bit more relaxed and perfect for getting the kids into the kitchen.
If you’re looking for a couple of easy kid-friendly recipes they can really "help" make, here’s a list of the recipes my kids and I will be cooking this March Break.