Best Ballerina-Inspired Snacks To Celebrate #WorldBalletDay

Professional Ballerina, Jenna Savella, Shares Her Favourite Snacks

Best Ballerina-Inspired Snacks To Celebrate #WorldBalletDay

Best Ballerina Inspired Snacks To Celebrate World Ballet Day

On October 1, 2014, five of the world’s top ballet companies will come together to celebrate World Ballet Day with a 24-hour live stream featuring a no-holds-barre glimpse into a day in the life of professional ballet dancers.

Throughout the day, the Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet will each take centre stage for 4 hours, showcasing a behind-the-scenes look at where all the action happens—the rehearsal studio.

As a mom of two aspiring dancers, I know my girls will be glued to the live stream before and after school and in the days to come on You Tube as they catch up on what they missed. So when I had the opportunity to interview The National Ballet’s Second Soloist, Jenna Savella, about World Ballet Day, of course I asked her all about . . . SNACKS!

In our conversation, Jenna told me that she was excited to reveal to the world what actually happens in rehearsals because “most people never get to see what happens before the show. They only ever get to see the final result.” During the World Ballet Day live stream, the National Ballet of Canada will be will be rehearsing Manon and Nijinsky. But Jenna says ballerinas do get (some) downtime during rehearsals, which is when they sew their shoes, study for school, start businesses, and, of course, snack!

Some of Jenna’s favourite snacks include: “nuts, snap peas, granola bars, anything quick and easy to eat to during 5 minute breaks.

Here are some great recipes inspired by Jenna’s favourite snacks to help you celebrate National Ballet Day.

Snap peas with this yummy Hummus or this Protein-Packed Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.

These easy Cinnamon Sugar Almonds.

Easy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars or these Nut-Free, School-Safe, Homemade Granola Bars.

Of course, if you’re looking for something a little sweeter, then I would recommend my kids’ favourite cookiesOatmeal Chocolate Chip. They may not be granola bar-ish, but they do have oatmeal in them!

I also asked Jenna what her favourite meal is that her mom makes back home in British Columbia, and without hesitation she told me, “Lumpia, a traditional Filipino spring roll.” Since Jenna admits they are “not so healthy but delicious,” and I am certain anything I made could never compare to her mom’s, we’ll be making Fresh Avocado and Chicken Rolls, which are my kids’ favourite rolled-up goodness. But if you don’t have time for rolling, you can try this Nutty Noodle Salad.

To learn more about World Ballet Day be sure to visit and check out this videomy girls have already watched it more than a dozen times!

Happy World Ballet Day everyone!

Photo Credit: Jenna Savella in rehearsal for Nijinsky. Photo by Bruce Zinger.


Cheesy Twice-Baked Poutine Potatoes Recipe

A Little Bit Of Comfort Cheese Can Go A Long Way

Cheesy Twice-Baked Poutine Potatoes Recipe

Cheesy Twice Baked Poutine Potatoes Recipe

In our house, fall means back to school, back to activities, and back to comfort food. 

For my family, comfort food almost always involves cheese — because cheese makes everything taste better! Some of my family's favourite "Comfort Cheese" recipes include Mac and Cheese, my Grandma's Christmas Morning Strata (good any time of the year!), this easy peasy Lasagna, and the easiest healthy baked pasta dish you'll ever make

Along with our tried-and-true family favouites, I like to try new recipes (check out for some cheesy inspiration), and come up with some of my own. I don't cook because I love food (though I love eating it!) or love the art of cooking. I cook because I love feeding my family their favourite comfort foods after a long day — it'ss like wrapping them in the big warm loving hug only their mom can give. 

My daughter loves baked potatoes and "the right" poutine (she is Canadian after all!) but often tells me that the drive-thru versions "don't taste homemade enough." I decided it was time to add something new to our repetoire and you can imagine how excited she was when one night she came home from a long day of dance and this was on her dinner plate — Twice-Baked Poutine Potatoes!

Simply butter your potatoes and bake them.

Once baked, cut the tops off.

Then scoop out all the potato inside.


Add your cheese.

Scoop cheesy mashed potatoes back into potato shells.

Top with more cheese and bake.

Make your gravy.

Place on serving dish.

Top with gravy and enjoy!



4 Baking Potatoes (I used Russet because my grandma always does)
1/3 cup butter, divided
Sea salt to taste
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used Kraft Herb & Garlic Mozza Cheddar with a touch of Philly because it makes this super creamy!)
1-1 1/2 cups of your favourite gravy (homemade or out of package is just fine!)

  Pre-heat oven to 425F.

  Wash your potatoes and using a fork pierce all over then place on foil-lined baking sheet.

  Melt 2 tbsp of butter and brush all over potatoes. Season with salt. Bake for 45-60 minutes.

  Once baked, carefully cut tops off the potatoes, let cool slightly then scoop out all of the potato inside leaving the skins intact. CAREFUL these are hot potatoes!

  Place all scooped-out potato into a bowl, add remaining butter, milk and salt to taste. Mash to desired consistency. Add 1 cup of cheese to potatoes and stir until combined.

  Scoop mashed potatoes back into potato skins, top with remaining cheese and bake in 350F oven for 10 minutes.

  Meanwhile prepare your favourite gravy. Drizzle twice-baked potatoes with gravy and serve (with extra gravy on the side just in case!).

Who wants to dress up to go out when you can create warm comfort at home? 

Create these mouthwatering cheese-inspired dishes found at the Kraft Comfort Zone. It’s ooey gooey goodness all in the comfort of your own home.


5 Smart Ways To Get Weeknight Dinners On The Table Quickly

Plus, A Yummy Recipe for Slow Cooker Tuscan Beef Stew

5 Smart Ways To Get Weeknight Dinners On The Table Quickly

5 Smart, Quick Ways To Get Weeknight Dinners On The Table

As a working mom of three very active children, I am often asked how I manage to feed my family every single night after working all day and before heading out to dance, cheer, taekwondo, baseball, hockey, or whatever else we have on that night.

The answer is that it’s not easy and I am certainly not perfect but over the last almost eleven years of working motherhood, I have come up with a few tips and tricks to help me get family dinners on the table as fast as possible.

1. Put The Kids To Work

One of the top complaints I hear from moms about having to cook dinner (besides not knowing what to make) is trying to throw something together with the distraction of the kids reminding you how hungry they are. This is why meal planning or at least "meal thinking" is a must.

While our kids will always need us the most when we are the busiest, the best way to intercept is to put them to work.

Once they hit pre-school age, kids can be a help in the kitchen, so assign jobs to everyone. I keep plastic dishes and cups in the pantry that my kids can easily reach on their own. This means both my 5- and 6-year-olds can set their own place settings and get water from the dispenser on the fridge door while my ten-year-old gets the regular dishes and cutlery out. The favourite job by far = folding napkins.

They can also unpack their school bags, empty out their lunches, set the table, make a salad, and more!

2. Cook The Night Before

This is a BIG one for me. Baked pasta dishes and casseroles often taste better the next day, so making them the night ahead is a bonus! While some nights it’s hard to motivate myself to cook something for the next day, there is nothing like walking in the front door after a long day knowing all you have to do is make some veggies or a salad and set the table while dinner is re-heating.

3. Know Your Pantry and Your Freezer

I know exactly what staples are in my pantry and in my freezer. I have 3 to 4 go-to meals that I can make based on the items I almost always have on hand.

Pasta and tomato sauce are always in my pantry and at least once a month I stock my freezer with meatballs. I also (almost) always have frozen chicken breasts in my freezer that can easily be thrown in the slow cooker (yes frozen!) with some spices and pantry staples to make chicken noodle soup or shredded chicken.

No matter what you like to stock your kitchen with, be sure to stock it with a few staples so you can easily whip up quick and easy dinners without giving it too much thought.

4. Use the Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is my dinner-making best friend. I feel like a superhero mom when we walk out the door in the morning and I’ve already fed my kids breakfast, made their school lunches, AND threw dinner together in the slow cooker. The trick is to use a trusted source for recipes (like and because weeknight dinner-making is not the time to experiment! If you’re new to slow cooking (and even if you’re not) you can try some of my tried-and-true family favourite recipes including the yummy Slow Cooker Tuscan Beef Stew Recipe below.

5. Give Yourself a Break

I would love to be able to tell you that my kids eat a very nutritious homemade dinner every single night but that would be a complete lie. The truth is, I usually have about 4 dinners in me a week and then I give myself permission to do something a little bit easier.

Sometimes it’s breakfast for dinner (yes eggs, toast, pancakes, oatmeal totally count as dinner), sometimes we have leftovers from the night before and sometimes we even hit the drive-thru. I’m unapologetic about using any of those methods to feed my kids dinner and all of us moms should try not being so hard on ourselves every once in a while.

Speaking of not hard — this Slow Cooker Tuscan Beef Stew recipe is a new family favourite in our house. In fact, the last time I made it I even had my parents over for dinner (on a weeknight!) and it was 100% company worthy. What makes it so good and weeknight easy is the helpful pack of spices and flavours Club House created just for slow cookers. Something you might not know is that slow cookers can often do a number on spices, leaving dishes bland or a bit overspiced. I like to use pre-mixed spices like the mixes Club House makes to always make sure I'm getting the right combination of flavours. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking… my kids won’t eat STEW and in some cases you're definitely right. Only 1 out of my 3 kids will eat stew in a bowl, but the beef is so tender and the veggies so flavourful it’s super easy to deconstruct this stew into a kid-friendly meal (see below for what I did!).


2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes (or make it really easy and buy the pre-cubed kind)
3 cups coarsely chopped vegetables (I use carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes)
28 fl oz diced tomatoes with juice (that’s one large can)
1 pouch (42 g) Club House Slow Cookers Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine (or substitute with 1 cup beef broth)

  Put beef, vegetables and tomatoes in slow cooker.

  In a small bowl, mix seasoning and wine (or beef broth if using) until blended.

  Pour over beef and vegetables; toss to coat well.

  Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Stir before serving.

Yes it’s THAT easy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 hours
Serves: 8

Kid Tip: As I mentioned above, only 1 of my 3 kids will eat stew in a bowl (my eldest daughter and my husband LOVE it!) but because the beef is so tender and the veggies are super flavourful I simply shred a few pieces of the beef with a fork, put it on a slider bun with a bit of the stew liquid and voila — Mini Pulled Beef Sandwiches. Serve with a few potatoes and carrots cut up on the side and it’s the perfect deconstructed stew-turned-favourite kid meal!

For more helpful tips on how to get dinner on the table every night, watch my webisode!

How can you turn a few minutes of reading into hours saved in the kitchen?

Visit 'Family-Friendly, Everyday Cooking Ideas' where we’ve teamed up with Club House to create a page filled with tips and recipes to help you whip up healthy meals in a flash.