Made Easy: How to Make the Perfect the Omelet

The omelet is a basic dish every home cook (especially broke students) should be able to master. Eggs are relatively cheap and an excellent source of protein and takes minutes to cook. Omelets are also perfect for any leftover scraps you have in the fridge whether it’s that last cube of cheese, broccoli floret, or the lone slice of ham. We’ve been conditioned to only eat eggs during brunch, but omelets make for quick and easy (and budget-friendly) dinners.

When I first got into cooking, my omelets would always run into one of two problems:

1. The omelet tore and fell apart when I tried to fold it in half or
2. I added too many toppings and the whole thing became more of a weird egg stir-fry.

Here are some tips to avoid those problems:


The Perfect Omelet


3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon oil or small pat of butter
3 toppings of choice (peppers, mushrooms, ham, onions, tomatoes, etc.), 1/3 cup each
Salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1: Have Your Mise en Place Ready

A ‘mise en place’ is a French term for having everything in its place. As you can see, I diced the onions and mushrooms, grated the cheese, beat the eggs, poured out the oil, and had my seasonings ready. You don’t want to be still chopping mushrooms while the eggs are cooking away (in addition to risking burning the eggs, once they cook up and solidify the mushrooms won’t stick to the omelet).

As for how much of everything to use, a general guideline is to use three large eggs and then up to three toppings at 1/3 cup each or 1/2 cup if you’re only using two toppings. Loading your omelet with too much stuff would result in the egg ripping and becoming more of a scramble.


Step 2: Get the Oil Hot Enough

Put the skillet over medium heat for about a minute. Then pour in the oil or butter and wait again till the butter melts (and starts foaming) and the oil becomes shiny and coats the pan.

If the oil is still cold when you pour the egg in, you get this gross-looking oily egg mixture where the oil floats on top of the egg, which defeats the purpose of the oil making the egg not stick to the pan.

Step 3: Cook the Tougher Fixin’s First

First sauté the toppings that require more cooking time than the eggs such as bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, bacon, and broccoli.

I’ve had many hotel omelets when I’d bite into the eggs and taste raw mushrooms in the centre. Don’t do that.


Step 4: Pour in the Eggs

Spread the sautéed toppings evenly across the skillet. Gently pour the beaten eggs into the hot skillet, making sure that it envelops all the toppings and there aren’t any gaps in the omelet.

Step 5: Be Patient

Don’t poke the omelet with the spatula just yet. Let the omelet cook and solidify for about 30 seconds so that it won’t fall apart when you fold it.

Gently nudge the edges of the omelet towards the centre with a spatula, making sure the eggs aren’t stuck to the pan. You can tilt the pan and give it a light swirl with the wrist to allow the uncooked eggs from the middle of the pan to flow to the edges. The centre of the omelet should still be a bit runny.


Step 6: Add the Delicate Stuff

Sprinkle in the toppings that don’t require as much cooking time such as finely grated cheese, herbs, or chopped tomatoes.


Step 7: Fold 

This is the critical part. Try to get as much of the spatula under one half of the omelet before you do a quick flip (it’s all in the wrist). You also can use your other hand to tilt the pan towards the spatula.


Step 8: Shimmy 

Gently slide the folded omelet on to a plate. Garnish with additional herbs or cheese if you like. Serve immediately.


734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.


Pepper + Paint: Kid-Friendly Carrot, Apple & Flax Muffins

I love the feeling of knowing my children are starting their day with a proper breakfast and since they keep reminding me “it’s the most important meal of the day.”

made a mental record of the things I wanted them to have: protein, fibre and fruit topped the list. I also wanted something that would taste good and would be relatively fast and easy to prepare.

I came across an amazing muffin recipe that tastes like carrot cake. It’s moist and filling and full of deliciously healthy things like flax, oat bran, apples and carrots. I omitted the nuts and raisins and added a streusel topping instead. The muffins are lovely on their own but the streusel adds a touch of sweetness that I think makes them just perfect.


Apple, Carrot & Flax Muffins with Steusel Topping


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
2 ggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups shredded apples
Handful raisins, nuts (optional)

Streusel Topping:

5 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed. oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the milk eggs, vannila and oil. Mix until just blended. Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.
  4. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Add streusel topping and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

pepper-paint Nicholetta Bokolas is a food writer based out of Halifax, NS. She is the author of the food blog Pepper + Paint where she captivates readers with her stories, recipe development, food styling and photography. She is a regular contributor for a local parenting web site and has been highlighted in magazines and other web and print media. She continues to collaborate with businesses on culinary-related projects and is proud to support the locally-sourced food movement. Pepper + Paint was voted one of Canada’s best-designed web blogs in 2012.

Nicholetta Bokolas is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.



10 Innovative Cauliflower Dishes From Coast-to-Coast

Finally! Kale has been kicked the curb. Well, in all actuality, kale is still very present on most menus, especially the salad section. However, much like a flash-in-the-pan popstar, something needs to leave the limelight and make room for something new. Enter the cauliflower.

The cauliflower you’ll find presented at restaurants these days are a far cry from what most of us would remember from childhood. Blanched or steamed to limp nothingness and then covered in a cheese sauce…Cheese Whiz if you were a really lucky kid.

These days, this piece of produce is served up a million different ways. Sauteed, pureed, roasted, fried, made into pizza crust…Hell, I’ve even seen it sliced up and roasted in a lamb’s skull at a pop-up restaurant in Calgary…clearly for the shock value.

Anyway, here are 10 different restaurants from coast-to-coast that are cooking up the hearty vegetable in cool innovative ways.

1. Blacktail Florist @thefloristBC (Vancouver, BC) – Cauliflower Soup

Since it’s now officially fall, soup is welcomed addition to the dinner table. Try this silky smooth and creamy cauliflower soup from Top Chef Canada season three’s Geoff Rogers finished off with sweet raisin puree and an apple crumble. See, autumn ain’t so bad!


2. enVie @enviehalifax (Halifax, NS) – Caulipower Alfredo

If you think ‘vegan’ translates to a big block of tofu sitting atop a flavourless rice pilaf, then allow Chef Lauren Marshall’s food to deliciously slap you in the face. The Top Chef Canada alumnus puts a unique spin on a pasta classic in Halifax using a cashew miso cream, blistered tomatoes, oven-roasted cauliflower and tempeh ‘ham’.


3. Fat Pasha @fatpasha (Toronto, ON) – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

It’s not so much the doneness of vegetable itself that kicks this dish into overdrive, but the cilantro sauce, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, grilled halloumi cheese and creamy tahini that makes it pop. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who didn’t fall in love with this cauli-variation.


4. Grand Electric @grandelecticTO (Toronto, ON) – Crispy Cauliflower Tacos

Everything tastes delicious when it’s in a taco shell, right? Caramelized cauliflower is served up with a rich, spicy chili sauce, pickled jalapenos and cilantro. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, you’ll enjoy scarfing one of these little guys down.

5. Home of the Brave @theHOTB (Toronto, ON) – Buffalo Cauliflower

Not particularly known for its quality culinary offerings, the diamond in the rough here would have to be buffalo-style cauliflower. Served with a ranch dressing for dipping too. Admittedly, it does sound a little strange when reading the description on the menu, but you probably are too.

6. Leyda’s @leysdascafe (Saskatoon, SK) – Chickpea Pakoras

I’ve always thought the most interesting thing about this nut-free, gluten-free and 100% organic eatery in Saskatoon is the fact that they can dish out food within those parameters without being too ‘hippie’ about it. The pakoras here are a combination of roasted cauliflower and zucchini, coated in a chickpea-based batter and served up with a green coriander chutney.


7. Nuba @nubatown (Vancouver, BC) – Najib’s Special

With several locations around Vancouver, Nuba is all about good, wholesome food. Keep it light at lunch with their take on cauliflower, cooked until slightly crispy tossed with lemon and sea salt for a bit of brightness with a healthy dose of tahini.

8. Oak Tree Tavern @oaktreeYYC (Calgary, AB) – Curried Cauliflower Hummus

Truly a thing of beauty, this may not be the first time a person would gravitate towards when perusing a pub’s menu, but if this doesn’t hit your table then you’re really missing out. Served with warm pita bread, this mixture of chickpeas and roasted cauliflower is unexpectedly rich and filling and balanced out by the spoonful of sliced, curried pickled cauliflower on top.


9. Rostizado @rostizado_yeg (Edmonton, AB) – Roasted Cauliflower

This new eatery from the owners of Tres Carnales is focused on serving refined Mexican fare in a cool atmosphere. A little south-of-the-border flare adds depth to the vegetable, using a mix of chilies, cilantro, fresh lime juice and cumin.


10. Workshop @workshopYYC (Calgary, AB) – Fried Cauliflower

Last, but not least, Calgary’s newest downtown restaurant opts for frying the florets of cauliflower and finishing them off by lining them up on a big smear of a bright, bold sauce made with garlic and harissa (a hot chili pepper paste).


Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.


The Ultimate Hawaii Five-O Viewing Menu

The party continues! For  Global TV’s star-packed premiere week, Food Network Canada celebrates the marriage between food and TV watching with its kick-ass guide to themed menu pairings with powerhouse series Hawaii Five-O.


The Ultimate Hawaii Five-O Viewing Menu (written by Anne Vranic)

Whether you tune-in for the bikini-clad babes, bare-chested bros, ballin’ beaches, badass-ery, bromances or blood-pumping action, Hawaii Five-O is your jam and we don’t blame you – it’s totally awesome, brah. In celebration of the return of one of TV’s sexiest series, prepare a menu that will distract your friends from Alex O’Loughlin’s abs…smile…tan…laugh…tattoos… or at least get them drunk enough to think he’s within reach (aloha!)

To get into the island spirit, serve your guests (and yourself) a vodka-laden pineapple coconut flavoured Hawaiian cocktails followed by shrimp and scallop coconut ceviche.


Pre-viewing Cocktail and App:

The big kehuna is a shrimp tasting platter that will bring guests to their knees. Inspired by Big T’s (i.e. Kamekoma) recently opened shrimp truck, put your hands up for an assortment of glazes from orange-pineapple to sweet and sour. Much like the fiery procedural, guests will be on the edge of their seats awaiting the next dish.


Main Course:

Go cuckoo for cocopuffs with Chin Ho Kelly’s favourite dessert – a chocolate cream puff that put Liliha’s Bakery on the map. Crank the heat up, don your lei from five Halloweens ago and feel inferior as Grace Park’s six pack inevitably appears on screen… it’s Hawaii Five-O time baby!

Hawaii Five-O Season 5 premieres Friday, September 26 – 9PM ET/PT on Global.




Holiday Recipes: 26 Rosh Hashanah Must-Eats!

Rosh Hashanah

What’s a Jewish holiday without a little noshing and a lot of fressing?

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival starts today, and we’ve got a fresh take on cooking with the holiday’s classic ingredients.

Food Network Canada wishes you and yours a shana tova as you eat your way into a sweet new year!

Apple Recipes

Honey Recipes

Fig Recipes

Pomegranate Recipes



Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Breakfast Through Dessert

These days, everyone is so busy. Busy with work, busy with kids, busy with life and when we’re so busy our healthy eating habits fall to the wayside. Life becomes a series of grabbing convenient, sugar-laden foods that provide minimal nutrition to our hard working bodies.

So, what is there to do? The answer is to freeze! Freezer friendly meals help save time, energy, money and are easy to do. To make freezing meals even easier, simply make that meal the night before, double the recipe and freeze the rest. Invest in some BPA-free Tupperware and freezer bags, a good sharpie and you are well on your way to becoming a freezer-friendly master.



Freezer-Friendly Breakfasts:

Green Smoothies


1/2 cup kale, chopped
1 banana, cut in half
1 scoop protein powder
1/4 cup strawberries, cut in half
1 cup almond milk/coconut milk/rice milk/whole milk


  1. Place the kale, banana, protein powder and strawberries in a BPA-free plastic bag, label the date and place it in the freezer.
  2. When you’re ready to make your smoothie, simply take the bag out and pour all contents into the blender, add your milk of choice and blend.

Mini Frittatas


3 eggs
1/3 cup almond or rice milk
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
handful sundried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion or green onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herbs


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Beat the eggs until fluffy in a bowl. Fold in the milk and vegetables.
  3. Put liners into a muffin tray and pour mixture into the tray.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until firm to touch.
  5. Once the frittatas have cooled place them in a BPA-free container or bag, label the date and pop those in the freezer.

Baked Oatmeal Cups

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans and walnuts
1/4 cup almond or rice milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries
2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Place liners in a muffin tin and add mixture to the muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Once cooled, remove from muffin tins, place in a BPA-free container or bag, label the date and freeze.

Freezer-Friendly Desserts

Granola Cookies


1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped by hand or in the food processor
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 banana
2 Tablespoons almond butter or nut/seed butter of choice
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch cinnamon
pinch sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mash the banana in a bowl and add the coconut oil and almond butter, mix well.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and shape into cookies.
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Once cooled, place in a BPA-free container or bag, label the date and freeze.

Black Bean Brownies


1 can of black beans, washed well
3 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 – ½ cup coconut sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor, except for the shredded coconut and blend well, until there is a smooth consistency.
  3. Pour batter into a coconut-oiled brownie dish. Make sure the batter is nice and even in the dish.
  4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. When ready sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
  5. Once cooled, cut into squares, place in a BPA-free container or bag and freeze.

Savory Sweet Potato Muffins


1 1/4 cups of chickpea flour
1/2 cup of squash or sweet potato puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup of spinach, chopped
1/2 cup of red pepper,?chopped
2 teaspoons of rosemary
1/2 cup fresh basil,?chopped
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Bake or steam the sweet potato until it is a puree.
Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients.
Mix everything together, folding in the veggies. If your picky eaters don’t like eating pieces of vegetables you can blend the spinach and basil up in a food processor with the sweet potato.
Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of unbaked muffins. Bake for 25­30 minutes in muffin tins.
Place in a BPA-free container or bag, label the date and freeze!

Freezer-Friendly Lunches/Dinners



1 cup black beans or cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup brown rice
Whole grain tortillas


  1. Combine cooked black beans and/or cooked chicken in a bowl and season with cumin, chili powder, sea salt, honey, olive oil and lime.
  2. Mix the diced tomato with the rice and season with a pinch of sea salt.
  3. When a tortilla is room temperature, lay it out, place a scoop of cooked brown rice in the center, and then the black bean or chicken mixture on top. Fold up, place in a BPA-free container or bag, label the date and freeze.
  4. When you’re ready to eat the burrito, eat with guacamole, salsa and a side salad for some freshness. Those ingredients do not freeze well so they must be eaten fresh.

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers


2 pounds of ground turkey
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and shape into patties. Press down the center of the patty, creating a lowered center, to allow for more even cooking.
  2. Place on a heated grill and BBQ for 12 minutes, flip once. Or cook in a sauté pan or in an oven that is heated to 350. Cook until all juices run out and the burger is cooked all the way through.
  3. Once cooled, place in a BPA-free container or bag, label with a date and freeze.
  4. When you’re ready to eat the turkey burgers, serve with a fresh side salad.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Topping Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Filling Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey or chicken
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 cup soup stock
1 cup kale, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tablespoon grapeseed oil or avocado oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place roughly chopped sweet potato in a pot with about ½ cup water. The water should not cover the sweet potato, just enough so that they will steam. Cover the pot and place on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft.
  3. Once the sweet potatoes are steamed throw it in a food processor with garlic, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. Blend until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor then mash with a masher or a fork.
  4. Place a sauté pan on medium heat and pour in 2 Tablespoon grapeseed oil or avocado oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 5-7 minutes until onions are really translucent.
  5. Add the ground turkey or chicken and cook until browned. Use the back of a spoon to break up the turkey and mix around so it is evenly cooked.
  6. Add the tomato paste, dijon mustard, and soup stock. If the broth is low sodium, add a pinch of sea salt.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Oil a casserole dish and layer in the turkey mixture and then spread the mashed sweet potato on top. Use a fork to texture the top of the sweet potato. Bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Once the shepherd’s pie has cooled, place it in a freeze-friendly container, label it and freeze!

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.


The Ultimate NCIS: New Orleans and Chicago Fire Viewing Menu

To celebrate Global TV’s star-packed premiere week, Food Network Canada celebrates the marriage between food and TV watching with its kick-ass guide to themed menu pairings with powerhouse series NCIS: New Orleans and Chicago Fire.


The Ultimate NCIS: New Orleans Viewing Menu (written by Kaitlyn Ward)

Are you still reeling from Zeva’s departure from NCIS last season? Are you looking to satisfy your craving for a hearty helping of heart-pounding drama? Your calls have been answered with NCIS: New Orleans! Y’all better get to the quarter because this show is hotter than a Cajun catfish! With back-to-back premieres of NCIS and the series premiere of NCIS: New Orleans, the non-stop bone-chilling cases, chemistry & adrenaline-inducing action will come at you like beads at the Mardi Gras parade! As delicious as Special Agent Lasalle is, the kitchen will be even hotter with these NOLA-inspired dishes.

To get things started and let loose like you’re in The Big Easy, sip on a creole bloody mary. But don’t confuse this kicking cocktail with an ordinary bloody mary – feel the heat with a blast of cayenne pepper and garnish with pickled okra to help you channel your inner Abby Sciuto (go on and take a dance break during the commercials!)

Now laissez les bons temps rouler (or let the good times roll to those of you that aren’t up on the lingo) and dig in to a spicy jambalaya that will have even no-nonsense Gibbs leading the march for the second line parade.

Would an episode of NCIS be complete without a DiNozzo wise crack? Hell no! And this meal would not be complete without dessert. Undo that top button and indulge in a beignet (or a dozen!) that is sure to tide you over until next week’s all-new episodes!

NCIS Season 12 returns to Global on September 23 – 8PM, followed by the series premiere of NCIS: New Orleans at 9 pm.


Pre-viewing Cocktail:


Main Course:




The Ultimate Chicago Fire Viewing Menu (written by Anne Vranic)

So, you want cut abs like Kelly Severide? Bulging arms that could carry a kitten out of a tree? In the words of Dawson, “bitch please.” This Chicago-style cuisine will be as satisfying as your dreams about Taylor Kinney and way more fun than the gym. So sit back, loosen your cargo pants and enjoy the season three premiere of Chicago Fire!

To kick things off and appropriately cleanse your palate, down Creator Derek Haas’ favourite cocktail, the “highball” comprising whiskey, ginger ale and lime (and take a subsequent shot every time Dawson stares lovingly at Casey).

Then, channel 51 Firehouse’s resident cook and heartthrob Mills, and prepare some family-style, feel-good Bucktown samplers that will fire up your friends’ tastebuds including mini pizzas, mini Chicago-style hot dogs and slow-cooked Italian beef sliders. Warning: consumption may set off a five alarm fire.

Chicago Fire Season Three returns to Global on September 23 – 10PM


Pre-viewing Cocktail:


Main Course:



The Ultimate Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist Viewing Menu

Continuing Global TV’s star-packed premiere week, Food Network Canada celebrates the marriage between food and TV watching with its kick-ass guide to themed menu pairings. Tonight it’s Sleepy Hollow followed by The Blacklist


The Ultimate Sleepy Hollow Viewing Menu (written by Kaitlyn Ward):

Wake up Sleepyheads! It’s time for fan-favourite Sleepy Hollow to be resurrected, saving you from TV purgatory. Put on your roomiest britches and get ready to throw the viewing party of the century.

Prepare to be transported to the colonial days with a “stone fence”. You will be bound to this cocktail featuring spiced rum and apple cider, casting a spell on your taste buds. Garnish with a lemon twist and you will have all of the Four Horseman ready to party!

You are sure to lose your head over this colonial beef stew that will satisfy your inner Crane but appeal to your modern Mills. Don’t forget to leave some room because you would be as crazy as Jenny if you skipped dessert.

Unleash your devilish side with sin-eater cinnamon beignets! Dip these supernaturally-sweet morsels in a cream cheese frosting to tide you over for another 230 years (or at least until next week’s episode) and set Twitter on fire with your fabulous food pics that may even get Captain Irving’s attention (#yum).

Sleepy Hollow Season 2 returns to Global on September 22 – 9 pm ET/PT


Pre-viewing Cocktails:


Main Course:



The Ultimate Blacklist Viewing Menu (written by Anne Vranic):

You’ve spent the summer perfecting your evil (yet irresistible) laugh, purchasing the perfect fedora and tinted shades, and conjuring up theories about who the hell Red is and whether or not Tom is alive – yes, you are in The Blacklist withdrawal club.

To celebrate one of the most highly anticipated series returns, it’s time to recruit a culinary task force and make a meal that would land on the most wanted list (or at the very least blow up your instagram).

So, let’s kick things off “Berlin” style with bratwurst and German potato salad. To ensure maximum criminal-fighting stamina – and brain power for Red’s mindgames – serve your guests an extra protein punch in the form of sausage stuffed mushroom caps.

Now would be a good time to take a break to sip a full-bodied merlot and loosen those Italian wool pants in preparation for the main dish: a mean beef stroganoff (fans will recall that Red had to raincheck after shooting the cook’s husband – surprise, surprise.)

You’re probably feeling like Lizzie post-break up but it can’t be as bad as getting a pen in your neck so pony up: it’s time to cap off your meal with a crime brule, Lizzie’s favourite dessert.

The Blacklist returns to Global on September 22 – 10pm ET/PT.


Pre-viewing Apps:  


Main Course:




Made Easy: Sriracha Chicken Salad Sandwich

I like to call this my “Absent-minded lunch” for those times when I have a million other things going on and don’t have the attention span to keep an eye on the stove. By boiling the chicken breasts, it keeps them juicy unlike grilling or roasting, which can dry-out the bird if you’re not paying attention. This also works for frozen chicken breasts; just toss them into the boiling water and they should be ready in 20 minutes.

I prefer shredding the chicken for a finer texture that’ll keep the meat from falling out (don’t you hate it when cubes of chicken fall out of your sandwich?). Make this the night before for a delicious packed lunch the next day.

Sriracha Chicken Salad Sandwich



1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 thick slices sandwich bread
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup onion, finely minced*
Chili flakes (optional)



  1. In a pot of boiling water, boil the chicken breast until it is no longer pink in the middle.
  2. Using a fork (and another fork or a pair of tongs to hold down the chicken), shred the chicken into thin threads.
  3. In a bowl, mix the shredded chicken, mayonnaise, Sriracha, and chili flakes together.
  4. Assemble the sandwich. Serve with a side of crudités.

*The key to a good chicken (or tuna) salad is to have a sweet crunch in the mix. If you don’t like onions, you can try for milder green onions or even apples that have been diced into tiny bits.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.


How to Throw a Kick-Ass Bourbon Party


Sometimes, we’ll use just about any reason to throw a party. Quit your job? Yay! Found that perfect apartment? Woohoo! Started dating a new guy and have to look busy to keep him interested? Party on, Wayne!

With the temperature dropping and BBQ gathering no longer an option, we’re in need of fun (and warm) ways to keep us entertained indoors. So, why not celebrate National Bourbon Month with a bourbon-themed bash with your besties? You could even call it “Bestie Bourbon Bash,” if you will.

From the perfect cocktail to the best dishes to serve, not to mention the little extras to indulge in, here’s everything you need to throw a kick-ass night in with friends.


When it comes to how to serve bourbon, keep it simple when savoury dishes are being served and stick to it straight up, with ginger, or even as a Manhattan. Before the meal or afterwards with dessert, go for a fun cocktail like a Sour Cherry Old-Fashioned.

Dishes to Serve:


Make sure you have the right glasses, like this version from West Elm. And feel free to dress them up with customized stir sticks, like these wooden options from For Your Party. As for the activity, cards and bourbon just feel right, and this golden set from Anthropologie is perfect.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.


Sweet Eats: Gluten-Free Cornbread with Bacon & Cheese

With the days getting chillier, nothing battles the nip in the air better than warm and cozy, stick-to-your ribs food. When it starts to get cold outside, comfort food is where it’s at – and this recipe for bacon, cheddar and green onion cornbread fits the bill.

Make a batch and serve it warm with something equally as comforting like chili. Or eat it on its own, slathered in butter as an afternoon snack. However you decide to enjoy it, it will certainly help ease the certainty that cold weather is on the way!



1 cup cornmeal
¾ cup corn flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups milk
10 slices pancetta or 5 slices bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 cup packed grated cheddar cheese



  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter an 8” baking dish. In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, corn flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the butter, eggs and milk. Combine wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the cooked pancetta or bacon, green onions and cheddar cheese.
  2. Scrape mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Slice into squares.


SONY DSC Miranda Keyes is a freelance food stylist, recipe developer and writer who used to live in London, UK but moved back to Canada for nanaimo bars, maple syrup and poutine. To learn more about her, follow her on Instagram littlemirandapiggy and Twitter @mirandaak.


A Modern Way to Eat: Review, Recipes & Giveaway


Here’s a concept: we want it all. We want our food fresh, local, cheap, fast, easy and whenever possible, low in calories, Paleo-friendly and GOOP-approved. Oh, and don’t forget, it has to be delicious. Always, 100 percent, Instagram-worthy, foodgasm hashtag, cook for your future-husband, current bestie, tasty.

Lately, there’s another thing we’re craving: meatless meal ideas that you can actually get excited about.


With her debut cookbook, A Modern Way to Eat, Anna Jones—who happens to be Jamie Oliver’s protege (he wrote the book’s forward)—is giving foodies in 2014 exactly that. More than 200 ways to leave meat off of our plates (even if only for a day), and do it without ever feeling like we’re missing out.

In the past we’ve been fed two vastly different types of vegetable-led food. It’s either stodgy and loaded with cheese to make up for a lack of imagination, or nutrition-obsessed and not winning any converts in the flavour department. With A Modern Way to Eat, Jones’ is trying to bridge that gap.


She succeeds with beautiful recipes that you’ll come back to again and again; it’s a gold mine of drool-worthy vegetarian fare designed to appeal beyond those who are strictly veg. It’s for people looking for fresh ways to weave meatless meals into their everyday lives.

Buy the book here: A Modern Way To Eat


Win a Copy of Anna Jone’s A Modern Way To Eat

GIVEAWAY: We’ve got a copy of A Modern Way to Eat and it could be yours. To win a copy, simply follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter answering the following question: Which celebrity chef wrote the forward in Anna Jone’s debut cookbook? Tag your answer with the hashtag #amodernwaytoeat

Giveaway Rules:
The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for Chuck’s Day Off Giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must follow the Giveaway guidelines above, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run until October 2, 2014 at 5 pm, after which time no answers will be considered.

Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the submissions from each entrant and choose a random entrant to win the giveaway. From the entrants that correctly completed the Giveaway guidelines, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.

There is one prize available to be won, which consists of (“Prize”).

By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.
Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.
The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.
Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.

By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.
In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by anInternet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway Rules by Shaw shall be final.

The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at


Must-Try Canadian Steakhouses: Alberta Edition

For years, Albertans have been stuck with that ‘steak and potatoes’ rap when it comes to their dining preferences. But, if nationally buzzworthy restaurants like Rouge or Model Milk in Calgary and North 53 and Tres Carnales are any indication, there’s a lot more diversity in an Albertan palate than some people may assume.

That being said, it’s hard to ignore the places that highlight one of the things Alberta producers do best. And, well, that’s undeniably beef.

Bears Den (Bear’s Paw, AB)
Nestled into the Alberta countryside, about a 30-40 minutes drive from downtown Calgary, you’ll pull up at The Bear’s Den. The restaurant has been around for years in the community of Bear’s Paw and just last year went through a big renovation.


Fireplaces and ambient lighting make this classic restaurant a cozy one. For starters, stay somewhat vintage with their take on a Waldorf salad before diving right into the mains. Prime ribs, tenderloins, rib eyes…you name it; they’ve got it.


Buchanan’s (Calgary, AB)
Dubbed as the city’s ‘original chophouse’, this eatery just a couple blocks away from the Bow River does right by beef. At dinnertime, Buchanan’s grills up New York strips, beef short ribs and all of the regular suspects, but what they’re consisting known for are their hand-ground burgers. After being open for over 25 years, I can say with 100% certainty that they were definitely hand-grinding and forming beef patties here way before it was the ‘hip’ thing to do.

Caesar’s (Calgary, AB)
Heading into its 43rd year, Caesar’s is one of the longest-running establishments in Calgary. Going with the ‘don’t mess with a good thing’ mentality, I don’t think this place has changed the menu much over the years, aside from minor updates. Dining here is a throwback, for sure, but a fun one.

Escargot, scampi, lobster tails and Caesar salad (prepared tableside, of course!) are just a few of the items that can grace your table along with whatever cut of beef tickles your fancy.

The Grizzly House (Banff, AB)
There are few places in Banff as iconic as this one. The set-up of the dining room has always been of interest to tourists, seeing as each booth in the restaurant is equipped with a phone, which diners can use to contact other tables throughout the meal. It’s rumoured the phone system was created when a ‘swingers’ culture was more prominent in the early 1970s. Back then the place was a disco bar. For real!


Aside from a large selection of beef for main courses, you can also opt for hot rock grilling and a variety of fondues. This really is an institution of the little mountain town, so if you have a little extra cash to spend, it’s an undeniably fun spot to grab dinner.

Melissa’s Missteak (Banff, AB)
Sadly, Melissa’s doesn’t offer an inter-communication system at her steakhouse, several blocks down from Grizzly, but she’s got some character nonetheless! Over 30 years old, this family-friendly spot offers the classic steakhouse dining experience for parents while boasting a lot of dishes that will appeal to kids (even the pickiest) like pizza and a mini ‘missteak’ weighing in at 4 ounces for any little carnivores in tow.


Vintage Steakhouse @VintageChop (Calgary, AB)


Out of all of the steak-centric restaurants on this list, Vintage should take the top spot for putting the most effort in. From the lobster mashed potatoes, creamed spinach (amazing!), and ridiculously gooey mac n’ cheese to their premium chops including a massive prime rib chop for two, this steakhouse kicks some serious ass.


Once you’re done slicing into your meaty meal – drowned appropriately in peppercorn sauce, obviously – the night is not complete without ordering Vintage’s spin on a Baked Alaska. Truly a thing of beauty, proving that some things really do get better with age.


Von’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar @steakshucker (Edmonton, AB)
If you love some more extensive ‘surf’ with your ‘turf’ when you’re trying to pick out a steakhouse to try in Edmonton, then Von’s is a safe bet.

Start off with some classic bacon-wrapped scallops or a big ol’ shrimp cocktail and then get your fill of filet mignon, rib eye and more. Oh yeah, a steak dinner is never complete without a loaded baked potato, so you better opt for one of those too!

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.


The Hot Plate: Creamy Roasted Chicken and Barley Soup

Warm the house with the aromas of this hearty and flavourful soup when Fall arrives.


Creamy Roasted Chicken and Barley Soup with Mushrooms

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6


2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup brandy
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cups chicken broth
1 dried bay leaf
4 cups shredded roasted chicken
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup 35% whipping cream
1 cup peas
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat oil and butter in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes or mushrooms and onions are lightly browned.
  2. Pour in brandy and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to scrape up browned bits; simmer for 1 minute. Add broth and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Add chicken, barley and cream. Simmer, for 25 to 30 minutes or until barley is tender and soup is slightly thickened. Stir in peas and parsley.


  • Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread or homemade biscuits.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.



The Ultimate Good Wife Viewing Menu

To kick off Global TV’s star-packed premiere week, Food Network Canada celebrates the marriage between food and TV watching with its kick-ass guide to themed menu pairings starting with powerhouse series The Good Wife (which we LOVE. Go Alicia!)


Let’s be real: you are a modern day superhero. You are an awesome mom who’s calm under pressure, yet protective; you’re a boss at the office, bringing suits to their knees with your cool demeanor and legal prowess, all the while channeling a Vogue editor as you stroll down the hallway in tailored pencil skirts and blazers. Or you’re the other 90 percent of the population.

Either way, you can appreciate a strong woman at the top of her game and live for Sunday nights anchored by a full-to-the-brim glass of red wine and The Good Wife. Not to mention, your Sunday lineup just got a presidential size bump with new series Madam Secretary. We’re giving you full permission to kick your feet up, eat until your blazer pops and drink until Will becomes a distant memory (kidding – no amount of alcohol can do that).

Let’s kick things off with a tequila infused cocktail or two – not only does it bring you closer to Will and Alicia, it serves as the perfect palate cleanser for your main dish: Fully loaded pizzas, and if you’re feeling extra ambitious infuse said dough with beer. Will would have wanted it that way. Arrest your guests with the mother (in-law) of all pies: a Jackie-Florick inspired mince pie. Proceed with caution as you serve the grand finale — wine steeped plums and/or peaches. No objections here!

Madame Secretary and The Good Wife premiere Sunday, September 21st on Global TV starting at 8pm ET/PT.

The Ultimate Good Wife Viewing Menu:


Pre-viewing cocktails:


Main Course:



Written by Anne Vranic, a publicist/writer who loves wine and The Good Wife in equal measure.


Gratinée: Gluten-Free Blueberry Plum Crumble

This juicy blueberry plum crumble is gluten free. My blog, Gratinée, is a reflection of what I like to eat, but it’s certainly not what I eat every day – which definitely falls more in the domain of clean eating than comfort food. I use ingredients like almond meal and coconut sugar, but for the folks who want to stick by the regular pantry standbys, I also give you the regular way of making this classic dessert.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Plum Crumble with Almond Crunch


Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 4


2 cups blueberries
Approximately 10 plums, halved
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar), divided
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup thick gluten free rolled oats
1/3 cup almond meal or gluten free all-purpose “flour” or (regular flour)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
3 ounces butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Combine blueberries and plums in a mixing bowl with ? cup coconut sugar and the lemon juice. Transfer to a 7-inch casserole, cast iron pan, or non-reactive baking pan.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oats with the flour or almond meal, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Add butter and work into the flour with fingers until well combined; incorporate almonds.
  5. Spoon evenly over blueberries and plums.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.
  7. Serve with generous scoops of vanilla bean ice cream or whipping cream.


Darina Kopcok Darina Kopcok is a food writer and photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She writes the blog Gratinée, for which she also develops, styles and shoots each recipe. In addition to photographic training from Langara College, she holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She has a passion for Italian cuisine and French culinary technique.

Darina Kopcok is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.



Made Easy: Spiced Peach Punch

One of the best parts of summer here in Ontario is peach season, which runs from late July to late September when farmers markets and produce aisles overflow with gorgeous baskets of plump and vibrant pink peaches. You can tell if a peach is ready to eat by holding it up to your nose and smelling its juicy aroma. And when it’s ripe you better eat them fast because they tend to turn within three or four days (they’ll last another day in the fridge, but bring them back to room temperature before eating).

Typically when home cooks have an excess of peaches (since you’re more likely to buy a basket of 10 than just one) they turn to making preserves or pies, but try making this easy and quick spiced peach puree drink that can be served hot or cold as we transition to fall. Consider this as the gateway drink before you full switch to pumpkin spice lattes.

Spiced Peach Punch

peach drink

8 ripe peaches
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup whole milk


  1. Remove the pit from the peaches and chop them into smaller pieces. Don’t bother removing the skins. In a blender, puree the peaches and the milk until smooth.
  2. In a pot over medium-low heat, pour in the peach mixture and add in the spices. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Yields 3 to 3 1/2 cups of peach puree, depending on how juicy the peaches are.
  4. Serve hot in a mug like an apple cider, or pour some over oatmeal. Alternatively, chill in the fridge for a spicy, pick-me-up breakfast smoothie or serve it as a chilled appetizer soup with fresh mint leaves as garnish.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.


Ultimate Easy Peasy Wine & Food Guide


Some of us are quite the wine connoisseurs. We know just what wines everyone will love and will complement certain foods perfectly. I, unfortunately, fall into the other category – the group that’s are completely clueless when it comes to the grape stuff.

The worst part? I have this problem where I constantly volunteer to bring the wine to get-togethers and dinner parties even though I have no idea (1) what types of wine people generally like (I think a Pinot Grigio is a safe bet?), (2) what country to pick wine from (surely, anything from Italy would be good?) and (3) which wines go with what dishes.

But being quite the problem solver that I am, I came up with answers to my questions that I thought I’d share.

First, ask the hostess if she has a wine preference. Second, just go with Italian or French wine. And three, ask what dishes will be served, and consult my easy peasy guide for choosing a wine. Or, if you’re hosting a party and know your friends prefer a certain type of wine, you can consult my list for an idea on what kind of dishes to serve.
As for my recommended recipes, check them out below!

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.


5-Course Snow-tember Survival Menu

Brrrr…. We know summer’s over but who knew we’d be reaching for winter boots in September! Folks in Calgary have been digging themselves out from three days of heavy wet snow this week! Don’t fear my beloved Calgarians, we’ve put together a hearty menu to keep you toasty warm. And take heart – warm weather is on its way.

Drink: Spiked Hot Chocolate

ChucksWeekOffMexico_Oaxaca_Oaxacan Hot Chocolate_1006

Appetizer: Sausage Not Quite En Brioche


First Course: Beer, Ham and Cheese Soup


Second Course: Squash & Spinach Pasta Rotolo


Third Course: Stew-Pendous Beef Stew with Biscuits

ESBM_3036_Beef Stew

Dessert: Apple Cinnamon Galettes