Same, Same, But Different

When the line between reality and online blurs

Same, Same, But Different

As you know, I love getting my kids involved in my culinary adventures. If I can take them on a food-themed road trip, I will. If I can get them helping me in the kitchen cooking a new recipe, I will. In general, this has given my kids a fairly good breadth of knowledge when it comes to food. They've tasted things many kids haven't tried and they can do things a lot of kids can't necessarily do. When they come across something they haven't eaten before, they turn to me with questions. What is it? Where does it come from? Is it healthy? And when they are presented with some new task in the kitchen they haven't had to do before, they turn to me with questions. What is poaching? How do you chiffonade? How do you separate egg whites and yolks without talking to the chicken first?

It is amazing that they turn to me as a source of information. As a father I feel like it's a domain that's mine. I know it and I love it. However, my kids have trouble realizing that this skill-set and knowledge-base does NOT extend into the digital world.

"Daddy, I'm playing Cooking Mama and I can't stop burning these churros. Can you flip them for me?"

"Daddy, I'm playing Fair Food Maker and the inside of my fried Snickers are melting before I serve them to the kids. What would you do to hurry up your serving time?"

"Daddy, in Ice Box Doodle do you get more points for a blue slushie or a red and white ice-treat?"

I used to try and help them thinking I could resolve whatever issue they were having on the app or URL du jour. I failed miserably. Burned churros; melted Snickers; and low scoring ice-lollies.

Now I've learned to reply "Sorry kids. I can't. It's same, same, but different." And they get it. Mostly.

What digital skills do your kids ask you to lend a hand with? Are you a help or a hindrance?


Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Sausage Recipe

A Passover-Friendly Recipe Your Family Will Love All Year Round

Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Sausage Recipe

For those celebrating Passover, meal planning can be quite a drag. No bread, no pasta, and for many, no rice. So coming up with dinner ideas your family will love can be a challege at best.

They say quinoa is a super-food due to its unique high protein content. For me, it's a super-food because it's one of the few pallette-pleasing foods to look forward to on Passover. This recipe is really an incredible way to prepare quinoa over the holiday, or year-round. A play on a classic Spanish paella, it is really easy to make and takes minimal preparation time. With chicken and sausage it’s a meal in a bowl and the richly flavoured sauce will keep them coming back for more.


1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Spanish Smoked Paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup sausage, sliced (merguez, if possible)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, julienned
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

  Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a deep sauté pan heat the oil over High heat. Brown the chicken, using tongs to turn, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  Turn off heat and let pan cool for a moment. Stir in the paprika, garlic and red pepper flakes into the hot oil in the pot.

  Stir the broth into the pot, making sure to deglaze the pan. Blend in the tomato paste and bring to a boil over High heat. Stir in the quinoa and sausage. Cover and reduce heat to Medium. Cook for 12 minutes.

  Add salt to taste. Stir in chicken. Cover and cook over Low heat until quinoa is done  and the chicken should be cooked through. This should take 2-3 minutes. If the mix seems dry, add a bit more broth to the pan.

  Stir in the roasted peppers. Cover and let sit for 1 minute. Stir in parsley just before serving

Serves 4

Adapted from Lorna Sass

Find even more tricks, tips, and awesome recipes to help get your through this eight-day holiday.


Top 5 Foodie Websites

It takes one to know one

Top 5 Foodie Websites

Food blogs are my Pinterest. I love seeing what other people are cooking. I love finding inspiration through other people's food creations. Pictures of steaming stir frys, towering oversized sandwiches, massive cuts of grilled meat fresh off the barbecue. As a chef it all excites and inspires me to keep on making my own delicious food. Food porn at its finest.

There are tons of conglomerate food sites from food magazines, famous chefs and brands—but it's those personal sites that are the real gems. No hidden agendas, no mass produced recipes—just a love of food that comes through one delicious post at a time.

Here are the top 5 recipe websites that keep my creative culinary juices flowing:


A far cry from the fast-food goop North Americans often associate with Chinese food, writer and cooking teacher Diana Kuan posts recipes from regions all around China. Her photos will make you want to crawl through your computer screen to sample the recipes. I've never been disappointed when trying to create one of her recipes at home. Fresh ingredients, easy to follow instructions—what more could you ask for?

I recommend trying: Cantonese Tomato Beef


I think I originally stumbled upon Kay's (Dutch Girl) website when looking for tips on taking better food photos for my own website. Her pictures are entrancing, and her recipe archive is incredibly vast and varied. Spend a few minutes flipping through the recipes on Kayotic Kitchen and you'll find yourself with a massive case of the "I Gotta Haves." I have a love-hate relationship with kayotic Kitchen because I adore the recipes and photos but am constantly reminded just how much my own food photography skills are lacking...

I recommend trying: Lime & Ricotta Cupcakes


Truly displaying food as a labour-of-love Florentina is all about delicious, rustic food. From tips on how to make things as simple as white rice, to the complex and fabulous—the recipes seem to always inspire me to focus back on the basics. Good, delicious food to enjoy with family and friends. 

I recommend trying: Rustic Chicken Stew & Creamy Polenta


While not a recipes site per se, fellow Torontonian Mardi seems to fit more culinary adventure into her schedule than seems humanly possible. Cooking, photographing food, culinary travel, all while still holding down a full-time teaching position. So while you may not get the recipes straight off of Eat.Live.Travel.Write. (there are often links to recipes), there is no shortage of inspiration. Beautiful food from Mardi's kitchen or from one of her various culinary adventures. 

I recommend trying: Tomato and Goat Cheese Tartlettes


There is something magical about Indian food. The bright hues, the seductive fragrance of spices, and the bold flavours seem to tantalize all of the senses. On her site The Tiffin Box, Albertan food writer Michelle posts East Indian recipes focusing on fresh and local ingredients. Her photos are pieces of art and her recipes will have you running to your spice cabinet to check if you have the ingredients needed to pull together your own Indian feast.

I recommend trying: Palak Paneer