The event was part of the Kitchen Stuff Plus and Henckels & Staub combined product knowledge day on the functions of the various knife offerings. Making bruschetta using the sharpest and most appropriate knives for the job was an absolute delight.
It seems strange to post a recipe that calls for fresh tomatoes in the middle of the winter, but I think this is the time of year we start to crave a variety of fresh vegetables! Continue reading →
5 Tips For Hosting a Casual Hanukkah Party Plus A Latke Recipe
(This post is sponsored by Kitchen Stuff Plus. You can read the original post that first appeared on November 21, 2018, directly on their website, here; all opinions are my own.)
As we approach the darkest days of the year, celebrating Hanukkah is one of the most anticipated events in the Jewish calendar.
Hanukkah is an 8-day holiday observed in November or December, depending on the Hebrew lunar calendar. This year it begins on the evening of December 2nd.
Often referred to as the ‘festival of lights’, Hanukkah refers to the rededication of the Holy Temple after the Maccabees defeated their Greek-Syrian oppressors. When the Jews went to light the menorah, or candelabra, oil that should’ve lasted for one day burned for eight.
Hanukkah is celebrated in as many ways as there are family traditions, but almost all Hanukkah party celebrations include lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, singing songs, opening gifts; and, eating latkes, gelt, and sufganiyot.
I only started making latkes when my kids came home from school one day raving about the latkes a mom had made in their classroom. Since then, my family looks forward to the one or two days when I go all out making latkes: they like to invite friends over to enjoy the party!
Here are 5 tips for hosting a casual Hanukkah party:
Tip 1: Use any variation of blue, white, grey, silver, and gold linens and platters that you have.
I’ve been hooked on making homemade latkes ever since my kids introduced me to these delicious potato pancakes years ago!
My kids came home one day, raving about the latkes a mom had made in the classroom to celebrate Hanukkah. I just had to learn how to make these potato latkes, and I’m so glad I did.
Latkes are the star of any Hanukkah celebration because they are fried in oil. Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple after the Maccabees defeated their Greek-Syrian oppressors. Oil in the menorah lasted for eight days instead of one, which is why oily foods are eaten during this holiday.
Hanukkah also includes lighting the menorah, singing songs, opening small gifts, playing dreidel, and eating chocolate gelt. (Look for an upcoming post on hosting a casual Hanukkah party.)
Last week I had an amazing day with the Henckels & Staub product knowledge team, at the beautiful Miele Experience Center in Vaughan.
Along with the Kitchen Stuff Plus team, we saw close-up product demonstrations by 5 chefs and a sales manager — all while preparing our own delicious lunch!
My favorite part was learning some food prep secrets from the chefs while trying out the different knives and cookware. I was on the team that made Tomato Bruschetta and Grilled Ratatouille Crostini and I very quickly realized that having the right knife, sharpened, could easily save me about 20 minutes a meal!
Here are some of the insider tips and tricks that I learned:
Pro Tip #1 The three most useful knives in any kitchen are a paring knife, a chef’s knife (can be a 6, 10, or 12 inch blade), and a bread knife.Continue reading →
(This post first appeared on the Kitchen Stuff Plus website, on August 7, 2018. You can read that post here and follow the hyperlinks there to learn more about the highlighted products.)
After meal planning and making lunches for many years, my family and I have decided to shake things up for our upcoming back to school and work routines: we’re eating more fruits and vegetables and trying out different food combinations and ingredients.
Recently, I sat down with my high school daughter, who prepares and takes lunch every day, and my husband, who brings lunch to work a few times a month, to discuss new and fun ideas.
My daughter tested these lunches when she was at her summer day camp job and my husband enjoyed the leftovers from the photo shoot – yup, all the meals got a thumbs up!
Sometimes I come across a recipe that I keep making over and over, like this Roasted Corn Black Bean Salad from Rose Reisman. I’m sharing it because I make it a lot in the summertime!
I saw this recipe in our local paper years ago and thought I would try it because it sounded perfect as an accompaniment to barbecued meals. It’s made with mangoes, black beans. sweet peppers, corn and coriander – all some of my favorite ingredients. The coriander is part of the dressing and the more you use, the better the salad tastes. If you have an herb garden and grow coriander, then you’ll love this salad because you likely already have this herb on hand.
There’s one salad that my husband and kids can all agree on, and that’s my Avocado Greek Salad! It’s also a hit with guests at our summer barbecues, family holiday dinners, and basically all year-round. It’s very easy to make, and with the avocados, feta cheese, and olives, it’s a filling and delicious salad. Most people ask for the recipe as soon as they’ve had their first bite.
Greek Salad, like most foods these days, means different things to different people. There are so many variations at restaurants and in homes. Some Greek Salad is made with iceberg lettuce, others with romaine lettuce. The type of feta cheese used (sheep or cow) can make a difference in taste, as can the type of tomato (plum versus hot house versus beef steak or even cherry tomatoes).
And, the original Greek Salad is not likely what you’re having when you go to a Greek restaurant in North America. The traditional Greek Salad, called Horiatiki, is made with tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, and cucumbers – without any lettuce. It’s dressed with sliced feta, kalamata olives, salt, oregano, and the best olive oil and (sometimes) vinegar — this is what you’ll find served in most restaurants in Greece.
Although the traditional Greek Salad is delicious, my family likes it with the addition of romaine lettuce and a whole avocado. Yes, I said avocado! We all know the health benefits of avocados: they’re low in saturated fat, contain zero cholesterol, and are high in potassium. There’s also something about the avocado that lends a creaminess and dimension to the salad. Continue reading →
With wind chill values of -35 degrees celsius in Toronto, a bowl of warm Chicken-Ginger Noodle Soup sounds just right! It’s been so very cold these last few weeks in this part of North America and we’re spending a lot of time indoors. That means plenty of time with family and friends and lots of time to cook and experiment with new recipes.
A few weeks ago, I received the cutest package from Blue Goose Pure Foods, a Canadian organic meat producer that works with Canadian farmers who are committed to treating animals humanely. Blue Goose products are sold in grocery stores and specialty retailers across Canada, and they are easily identifiable by the illustrated blue and white chicken on the labels.
This is not the first time I’ve received a pre-arranged delivery from Blue Goose. The last one was a whole chicken and a recipe for Beer Can Chicken. You would’ve seen the details on my Instagram Stories, and the end result was a delicious, moist, tender chicken, which you can see here:
It’s the little things that make a big difference. Last week, not having to plan, shop, or think about my meals made my week so easy – this, thanks, to a delivery from HelloFresh Canada.
I usually do the meal planning, shopping, and cooking for my family and I love doing it. Being a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, I have more flexibility in shopping and cooking than most households but, every once in a while, I find myself in a rut and out of time and out of meal ideas. The kids complain that the meals aren’t up to their expectations and ‘why can’t we have something good’! I’m not upset when I hear those words – I just ask them to make a list of their top 5 favorite foods and I go from there.
Having said that, getting HelloFresh Canada delivered to my door last week was such a treat!
In case you’re not familiar with the concept, HelloFresh is a service that makes meal prep and family time fun. The chefs at HelloFresh come up with meal ideas based on in-season produce, and they source everything locally, which I love.
All you have to do is go online, choose your meals, and then get everything delivered to your door. You choose the type of plan you want (pronto meals, which are ready in 30 minutes or less; family meals; or veggie meals), the number of people you want to feed, and the delivery date. It’s a subscription service that you can stop by following the instructions online.
For the past few years, I’ve hosted a holiday luncheon for about 40-50 people, kids included. It’s the one big party I have every year to invite the people that have included us in their family celebrations throughout the year and that we see on a regular basis.
The first year or two, the party planning was stressful, mainly because I wasn’t equipped with all of the plates, cutlery, serving dishes, chafing dishes, and coffee maker that I needed and I wasn’t sure about the timing of getting things done. Recently, though, I’ve figured out how to make it as stress-free as possible and I can say that this year’s party was the easiest. It only took 5 years, but that’s okay! If you’re considering hosting some form of holiday party, I hope some of these tips will help:
Tip 1: Give as much notice of the party as possible. I try to give the guests about 3-4 weeks’ notice. Because I hold the party at least 3 weeks before Christmas, most of the guests are still ‘free’ and not caught up in the holiday shopping or other parties. It’s also a fun way for you and the guests to ease into the holiday season.
Tip 2: Start cleaning out the freezer and fridge two weeks before the party. Go through the fridge and freezer and make a mental note of what you can use in the next week or two and toss what is expired. Start buying fewer perishable items like fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products, so that your fridge remains clean and empty. Cook meals that won’t have too many leftovers. And, consider ordering in or eating out for the last two days before the party… bonus for you and the husband and kids!
Tip 3: Bake ahead. Sounds easy enough, but this means that your freezer, from the tip one above, has been cleared out and can handle all of the desserts you are making ahead and freezing. It also means you have made a list of the desserts you are planning on making and that you have on hand storage containers, plastic wrap, waxed paper, and all of the required baking ingredients. Start baking two weeks ahead so the last week can be spent on prepping the house and buying fresh food for the party. Continue reading →