Easy 2-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

This concept is nothing new, but I have yet to find an easier peanut butter cup recipe. So here ya go! (And personally, I think these cups taste way better than the brand name store-bought variety.) Note: We used Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut spread (crunchy) which is sweetened with agave nectar. Using a natural peanut butter on its own works as well — and you can add in your own sweetener if you like.

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Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Cups Recipe

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter

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Directions:

1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use a silicon muffin tray
2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips until silky smooth. Put 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of the muffin liners and then spread it out evenly with your finger or a spoon. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.
3. Then take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and put that on top of the hardened chocolate. Don’t spread this out with your finger as it will settle itself and stay mostly in the centre. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.

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4. If your chocolate has become sludgier while you were waiting just put it back on the double boiler quickly to re-melt it. Then take 1 to 2 teaspoons more of melted chocolate and put that on top of the peanut butter. The peanut butter won’t be super hard but it will hold up for the rest of this process. If you’re rushed you don’t really have to put the peanut butter part in the fridge again.
5. You can push the melted chocolate into the sides a bit with your teaspoon to ensure it runs down to cover the peanut butter. This won’t necessarily happen, especially if you don’t refrigerate the peanut butter part, but I don’t mind them looking a little rustic and oozy anyway!
6. Smooth the top of the cups if you desire, but they might just settle nicely on their own. Then refrigerate this for at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or at room temperature if you want softer cups.

Looking for more vegan treats? Try our Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

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Meet the Winning Bakers of Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival

It was the sweetest day of the year for Diane Rogers. The baker and owner of Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont. took home not just one, but the three top prizes at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, held in Midland on June 9.

The award-winning baker beat out more than 60 competitors to win first place in both the professional traditional and fusion competitions, plus took home ‘Best in Show’ with her stunning strawberry-rhubarb butter tarts. The annual one-day festival, which is a butter tart lover’s dream come true, saw more than 60,000 people descend on the town of Midland, eager to satisfy their sweet tooths. Not only is this a chance to taste tarts from the best bakeries, it is home to the ultimate annual baking competition. The top professional and home bakers enjoy the sweet taste of butter tart baking victory.

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Diane Rogers of Doo Doo’s Bakery took home three of the top prizes in Midland’s Best Butter Tart Festival on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Photo by David Hill.
Photo by Rodrigo Moreno

And Rogers is one of them. In 2016, she swept the professional, non-classic category, taking home first, second and third prize with her tarts. Yet, despite the accolades, the award-winning baker wasn’t confident that she’d bake a winning batch this year. Doo Doo’s placed 12th in last year’s competition, which had Rogers wondering how her tarts really measured up.

After going back to the drawing board, Doo Doo’s reclaimed its title and more this year. The classic, plain butter tart is simple, but judges found it to be simply the best.

“I’m a purist,” the self-taught baker said. “I like them plain.”

Rogers used the classic pastry and perfectly sticky-sweet tarts as a launching pad for the creation that earned her both top prize in the fusion category, plus Best in Show. Taking advantage of fresh strawberries and seasonal rhubarb, Rogers baked the award-winning batch at midnight the night before the competition.

“I’ve kind of got a knack for pairing flavours with butter tart filling,” Rogers said. “We’re always experimenting in our kitchen – even down to the last minute.”

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The Winner of Best in Show at Midland’s Best Butter Tart Festival, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Butter Tart from Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont. Photo by Rodrigo Moreno.

The sweet and tangy tart was so good,  that as soon as the judging ended, a crowd descended on her booth before Rogers even heard that they’d won.

“I call it Butter Tart Christmas because that really is what it is,” she said. “It was fun, it is always lots of fun.”

While the winning strawberry-rhubarb creation wasn’t among the thousands of tarts Doo Doo’s sold that weekend,  fans can taste the award-winning tart at their bakery and cafe. Butter tart lovers can also seek them out at the Cobourg Farmers’ Market and the Peterborough Market.

While Rogers has had years of competition under her belt, Tonya Louks thought the festival would just be a fun weekend away. The amateur baker from Welland, Ont. is usually one to shy away from the spotlight, which is why she never expected to be crowned champ of the traditional amateur competition on Saturday.

“I thought I didn’t have a chance, but you just never know,” said Louks, who has been making butter tarts for her family for years. Armed with a family-filling recipe passed down from her husband’s great-great-grandmother, she’s perfected her thin, flaky crust and studded her tarts with raisins for a mouthwatering treat her family raves about.

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Amateur baker Tonya Louks’ award-winning traditional butter tart. Photo by Rodrigo Moreno.

“My family kept bugging me to enter and I said ‘you are all biased,’” said Louks, who relented after her family insisted she share her tarts with the world. Even though she made it through the first round of the competition with ease, she was worried how her thin crust would stand up against the competition, who had thicker pastries.

“You never know what the judges are going to like or not like,” said Louks, who was excited to see The Baker Sisters as part of the judging panel.

With the surprise win under her belt, Louks is already getting requests from friends and family, who want a bite of her award-winning treats. While she isn’t taking orders, she’s definitely taking inspiration from this year’s winners and from the variety of tarts available at the festival, including some impressive gluten-free tarts and ‘puptarts’ she brought home for her dog.

Looking to try some tasty tarts? Hit the road this summer and discover 10 Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth.

Patriotic Pancakes Perfect for Canada Day

With a bright red maple leaf in the centre, these patriotic pancakes are perfect for Canada Day. Fresh red berries, whipped cream and maple syrup are great toppings, but you can switch it up with your favourite fruit, nuts, sauce and more.

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Maple Leaf Pancake Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Makes: about 12 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
22 ml Red food colouring
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Garnish:
Maple syrup
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

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Directions:
1. In large spouted bowl, whisk together egg, milk and butter, then whisk in flour, baking powder and salt until smooth. Let stand 20 minutes.
2. Measure 1/3 cup of the batter into shallow bowl, and thin with enough water turn into a creamy consistency. Tint red with food colouring.
3. Over medium-low heat, heat a nonstick skillet with 1 Tbsp oil per pancake. Brush 2-inch (5 cm) maple leaf-shaped cookie cutter with some of the oil. Place in skillet. Pour in enough red batter to fill, then cook 1 minute until set on bottom. Holding cutter with tongs, or hands, lift cutter away from maple leaf shape. Using a squeeze bottle or spoon, top each leaf with enough white batter to cover.
4. Cook until bubbles form on tops, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes and cook until bottoms are golden, about 1 minute.
5. Working in batches and brushing pan with remaining oil as necessary, repeat with remaining batters, cleaning off cookie cutter when necessary.

Garnish:
Serve pancakes with maple syrup, raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The Ultimate Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for Canada Day

Every year July 1st, I catch some of the festivities of the Canada Day celebration in my city. They have a large open fire salmon barbecue at the centre of the festival grounds surrounded by many vendors selling lemonade, fresh kettle corn and cotton candy. My favourite part of the festivities is the pie-by-the-slice fundraiser inside the local community centre.

There’s always quite a large selection; pies made with plump local blueberries or Okanagan peaches are always popular choices. But my go-to has always been the strawberry-rhubarb. There’s just something so irresistible about the combination of the sweet and tangy pink filling and the (optional but mandatory) à la mode, that keeps me going back year-after-year. So here’s an ode to my favourite July 1st treat, with an added Canada Day-inspired touch.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Canada Day Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Makes: One double crust 9-inch pie

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup cold butter, unsalted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cold water
4 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup ice

Egg Wash:
1 egg
Coarse sugar

Filling:
5 cups chopped rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups strawberries, halved
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Directions:

Crust:
1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt and sugar. Set aside.
2. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay!).
3. Combine the water, cider vinegar and ice in a small bowl.
4. Add 2 Tbsp of the liquid mixture over the flour mixture. Mix and cut it in with bench scraper or spatula until fully incorporated. Continue adding the liquid, 1-2 Tbsp at a time. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.
5. Shape the dough into 2 flat discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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Filling:
1. Prepare the rhubarb and strawberries. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch.
3. Toss together the fruit and dry mixture. Add lemon juice and combine.

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Assembly and Baking:
1. Once the dough has chilled, roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment and fit it on the pie plate.
2. Line pie pan with rolled out bottom crust.
3. Roll out top crust. Using a maple leaf-shaped cutter, punch out maple leaves into the rolled out top crust. Save all the maple leaf cut outs to use for decorating the edge of the pie.

4. Pour filling into the bottom crust, leaving behind any excess liquid from filling.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

5. Gently place on top crust. Take the reserved maple leaf cut outs to create a border around the pie.

6. Coat top crust with a simple egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven, just in case any juices bubble over.
7. Bake at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 35 to 40 minutes longer.
8. If the top crust is starting to get a little dark too quickly, place a pie shield on the pie.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

9. Once ready, let pie set for at least 1 hour before cutting into it. Serve as is or with a big scoop of ice cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Looking for more inspiration? Try our 60 Great Canadian Recipes.

Watch this video to get Anna Olson’s top tips on baking fruit pies.

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Anna Olson’s Guide to Making Bread at Home

Comforting, filling and satisfying, bread is the cornerstone of western food culture. And making your own bread is one of the gratifying baking projects. There’s a sense of power and confidence that comes from coaxing four simple ingredients into a dough that grows and then bakes into something so fulfilling.

There is such satisfaction to rip into that loaf of freshly baked bread, a whisper of steam emanating from it, and letting the butter wind in little rivulets as it melts on your first bite. If you’ve always wanted to try making your own loaf, this guide will give you the knowledge and confidence to bake bread at home.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Rustic Ciabatta.

The Four Magic Ingredients

Flour

Bread flour has a higher protein (gluten) content than all-purpose, so when kneaded, the proteins bond, giving the dough strength so it can hold in the air the yeast produces. Many types of bread can be made with all-purpose flour, but if you are getting serious about bread baking, then bread flour is best.

Water

Tap or spring water is a personal choice, but no matter your choice, the temperature is key. Yeast ferments at around 115ºF (46ºC), so your water should be that or a touch warmer. A thermometer isn’t necessary – I just test the water on my wrist – it should feel slightly warmer than body temperature.

Yeast

Yeast is key to fermentation. Yeast feeds on the natural sugars within the flour and generates alcohol and carbon dioxide, which causes your dough to rise. As the bread bakes the alcohol cooks off, while the air bubbles produced by the CO2 stay in place, making the bread airy, fluffy and light.

Leavening Agents

Most bread recipes call for commercial yeast, but there’s more than one way to leaven your bread.

Commercial Yeast

The simplest ways to start fermentation is to add a few teaspoons of dry active or instant yeast. Dry active yeast needs to be dissolved into water, while instant yeast can be added at any time, no dissolving needed.

Starters

A yeast starter is a natural and flavourful way to start fermentation, most commonly used for sourdough bread. To make your own starter, combine equal parts by weight of flour and water. Then add a touch of honey. You could also add a pinch of commercial yeast, which is optional. Place the mixture in a loosely-covered jar on your countertop and let sit for 24-36 hours. The natural yeast in the air will start a fermentation. After using, remaining starter can be re-fed and stored in the fridge, feeding it every two days with the same proportions of flour and water. The longer it ages, the more flavour it develops.

Salt

Salt does more than flavor bread. It also slows fermentation, which is a good thing. The longer a bread is left to rise the better flavour you get and the interior texture becomes stretchy when you tear into it. Commercial breads than have a fluffy cotton-like texture are quickly fermented, where homemade or artisan breads have a chewier texture and more character.

 

4 Easy Steps to Making Bread

How to Knead Bread

Kneading is the important step of working the dough to develop the proteins in the flour. You can do this by hand or with a mixer equally well, and it is a gratifying step – that feeling of pushing, stretching and pulling the dough is so soothing, and as the dough becomes developed, you will feel it get elastic under your hands.

Don’t be tempted to add too much flour to your dough as you knead it. I like to hold back 1/2 cup of flour from the recipe to use for kneading. Bread dough should still be a little tacky in most cases and barely come away from your hands after kneading.

How to Proof Bread

This is the most important part of bread making, and where you do nothing! Time is key here – the first proof (also called rise) is where the yeast really gets to work, developing flavor and texture. The first proof is usually at room temperature and some recipe call for you to punch down the dough, to challenge the yeast to get to work again.

The second proof happens after shaping, and you can control the timing of this by popping the bread into the fridge (this way you can make, proof and shape your bread dough the evening before, chill it overnight and then proof it in the morning to start the day with freshly baked bread).

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Seeded Rye Bread.

How to Shape Bread

Every culture with bread has a style for shaping it. Regions in France and Italy have very specific shapes to their bread, or consider flatbreads and other styles such as naan.

Shaping isn’t just for aesthetics – as the baker, you are knocking out the air from the dough one last time, coaxing that yeast back to work, and this helps develop the crust.

How to Bake Bread

Most bread cooks best in a high temperature oven, to set the crust and get that final burst of leavening. Adding steam, by spraying the inside of the oven with a misting bottle, or placing a tray filled with 2 cups of boiling water helps develop a good crust and a shine to the crust.

You can tell when your bread is baked by lifting it up with a tea towel and tapping the bottom – if it sounds hollow, then it’s done.

If you are baking bread in tins, turn the bread out of the tins immediately from the oven.

The most challenging step when baking bread? Letting it cool at least 20 minutes before slicing or tearing into it!

Can’t wait to get baking? Try Anna Olson’s Best Classic Baking Recipes.

10 Perfect Red and White Drinks for Canada Day

If you plan on throwing the ultimate Canada Day bash, you might be stumped as to what to serve when it comes to drinks. With the exception of domestic beer, it can be difficult to think of “Canadian” drink recipes — besides the Caesar of course. Spice up your drink menu by incorporating these red and white cocktails your guests are sure to love.

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1. Strawberry Sour

Start your Canada Day bash right with this gorgeous red and white cocktail from Chef David Hawksworth. Nothing says summer like strawberries!

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2. Cranberry Kir Royale

Tyler Florence combines frozen cranberries, orange juice and Champagne for the ultimate summer drink. Bring

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3. Shuggie

Why is this drink called a Shuggie? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re certain you and your guests will love this rum-based cocktail infused with rhubarb, ginger, lime and Thai basil flavours.

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4. Citrus Berry Spritz

This sweet fizzy drink from Giada De Laurentiis is filled with berry ice cubes and a hint of mint for freshness.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

5. Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Bobby Flay’s sweet, citrus-infused summer drink is ideal for a party or get-together with friends.

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6. Lava Flow Mocktail

What’s more Canadian than the combination of red and white? These sweet dessert-worthy drinks start with a base of raspberry purée, then a milky topping, a generous amount of whipped cream and finished with sugared frozen raspberries on top. Don’t forget to rim the glasses with red-coloured sugar!

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7. Rum Punch

Try this refreshing booze-infused punch filled with tropical flavours and Jamaican white rum from Bobby Flay.

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8. Cranberry Mojito

To keep with the red and white theme, don’t forget to serve this fizzy bevvy with floating cranberries and fresh, muddled mint leaves.

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9. Watermelon Martinis

Sure to quench your summertime thirst, Bobby’s fruity martini is loaded with tons of fresh watermelon and melon liquor for the utmost melon flavour.

Classic Canadian Caesar
10. Classic Canadian Caesar

The ultimate Canadian drink — thanks to our nation’s love of Clamato juice. This classic drink is a must-have for any Canada Day celebration. This version adds fresh sage and lime for a fresh new twist.

Looking for more recipes for your party? Try these Great Canadian Desserts.

These Vegan Roasted Banana & Peanut Butter S’mores Are Reason Enough to Go Camping

Everyone knows that chocolate and peanut butter are the perfect marriage, and when you add warm banana, gooey marshmallow, melted chocolate and graham crackers to the mix, you and your taste buds will be very happy! S’mores are the quintessential campfire dessert, after all. This upgraded vegan version takes the summertime treat from tasty to mind-blowingly delicious.

Vegan Roasted Banana & Peanut Butter S’mores


Prep Time
: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

2 bananas, sliced into 1 1/2 inch circles
8 large vegan marshmallows
16 graham crackers (gluten free, if needed)
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 dark chocolate bar

Directions:

1. Get your fire going, or heat up your grill to high.

2. Peel the banana and slice it into 1 1/2 inch circles.

3. Thread the banana circles and marshmallows onto skewers or sticks, and hold them over the fire for a few minutes until golden.

4. Spread a layer of peanut butter on each graham cracker and place a square or two of chocolate onto one cracker.

5. Place the roasted marshmallow and banana on top of the chocolate, so it melts, and then add the other graham cracker on top to make a sandwich.

6. Now, take a large bite and enjoy!

Looking for more decadent campfire treats? Here are 28 Scrumptious S’mores To Try This Summer. For more vegan sweets, see our 50 Best Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

Why Do Canadians Drink Bagged Milk?

Oh, Canada! As proud Canucks, we certainly have our share quirky traits and tastes, from profusely apologizing with “soar-ee” to our love of ketchup chips, butter tarts and poutine. But did you know that bagged milk is also a uniquely Canadian invention?

Believe it or not, milk bags have been in Canadian fridges since the 1970s, selling mainly in Ontario, Québec and the Maritimes. Each package contains three un-resealable plastic pouches filled with milk, equaling 4 litres in total. Insert a single bag into a pitcher, snip off the corner and start pouring. Then put the pitcher back in the fridge, until you need it next.

Bag of Milk

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It wasn’t always this easy. Until the late 1960s, milk was packaged in heavy, breakable glass bottles, racking up big bills for the dairy industry to transport. Soon, alternatives started arriving on the market, such as cardboard cartons, plastic jugs and eventually, plastic bags.

As the story goes, DuPont, a Canadian food and packaging company, unveiled thin, plastic bags that could be used to store and sell milk in 1967. Gradually, the dairy industry began ditching glass bottles and adopted this newfangled plastic pouch, which was far more practical and cost-efficient. Plus, Canada’s conversion to the metric system in the 1970s made the switch a no-brainer: while plastic jugs and cardboard cartons had to be redesigned and manufactured to be sold in metric units, plastic bags could easily be re-sized.

Today, it’s estimated that 75 to 80 percent of the milk sold in Ontario is bagged, and across Canada, about 50 percent of milk drinkers buy the bagged variety. Nonetheless, our American neighbours find this practice a tad strange, and south of the border, most buy milk packaged in jugs and cartons.

But we’re not the only ones in the world who are rocking the plastic udder. Milk bags can be found in many other countries, such as South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Hungary and China. In Israel, there’s a Kankomat: soft, plastic milk bags with a knife built into a plastic container. So when it comes to milk, Canadians may march to the beat of their own drum, but there are many other nations playing alongside in the band.

These days, Canadians are doing some cool things with discarded “milk bladders.” Milkbags Unlimited, a volunteer network across the Greater Toronto Area, recycles milk bags into sleeping mats. Every adult-sized mat is made with approximately 400 milk bags, which are cleaned and cut into strips. Volunteers loop and fit each bag onto a frame, weaving it into the mattress that has a lifespan of approximately 25 years. In addition to the mats, milk bags are also used to stuff pillows and to weave into handbags. The milk bag mats offer a durable and washable alternative to sleeping on cold, damp, and dusty ground, and have particularly helped people living in disaster zones. When resources are scarce, health care professionals have even used these mattresses as substitutes for operating tables. Talk about MacGyver-style upcycling.

So the next time you snip off the corner of a milk bag, you should feel a twinge of Canadian pride. This may be one of our weird and wonderful national habits, but no one can say that Canucks aren’t resourceful!

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A Stunning Strawberry Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake That’ll Steal the Show

If you’ve managed to stop yourself from eating all of summer’s sweet strawberries fresh off the vine (or from the farmer’s market), then we have a treat for you. Turn these summery jewels into a delicious upside-down cake! Simple and understated, upside-down cakes are great for casual picnics because they travel well and pretty enough for any summer gathering. In this case, we used bright strawberries and vibrant rhubarb for this sweet and slightly tart cake.  The caramelized fruit and tender cake are definite crowd pleasers. Top with pillowy whipped cream for a festive ruby-red and white pairing for Canada Day!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Serves: 8 to 10
Bake time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total time: 1 ½ hours

Ingredients:
For the topping:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ Tbsp heavy cream
2 cups strawberries, trimmed and sliced*
1 cup rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces

*Slice small strawberries in half. For larger berries, cut into 3 to 4 slices, about ¼-inch thick.

For the cake:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

mint for garnish, optional

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Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. And the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the vanilla and heavy cream until smooth. If needed, return to low heat, whisking, until smooth. Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan. Carefully arrange the strawberries, cut-side down, on top of the caramel. Pack the strawberries closely together as they may shrink after baking. Sprinkle in about a third of the rhubarb to fill in any gaps between the berries.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium-low, add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

5. Add half of the flour mixture and mix to combine on low. Stream in the buttermilk until incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the remaining rhubarb.

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6. Tip the batter into the pan, on top of the strawberries. Smooth out the top of the cake and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the finished cake to rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a thin knife around the inside edge of the cake pan. Place a large cake plate on the top of the cake pan, and very carefully (using oven mitts) flip the cake plate and cake pan upside-down. Remove the cake pan and allow the cake to continue to cool.

7. Meanwhile, whip the cream and sugar together with a whisk (by hand or electric) until medium peaks. Add in the vanilla and whisk again until combined.

8. Serve the cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh sprig of mint, if desired.

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Looking for more delicious strawberry treats? Try our 45 Best Strawberry Desserts to Celebrate Summer.

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How to Master Cottage Meal Planning Like a Pro

When it comes to the dog days of summer, all we want is a little R&R at the cottage. And, of course, we want to eat well while we’re there, but who has time to slave over a hot stove when that gorgeous lakeside dock and campfire are calling? Take the hassle out of hustling to the cabin with these easy ideas for cottage meal planning that will have you relaxing and enjoying delicious dishes, from morning to night, in no time at all.

Map Out Your Staples

Some people are all about breakfasts and brunch, while others like to nibble in the morning and then enjoy a heartier lunch. Figure out your group’s style of eating and plan around that. Maybe it’s easier to let everyone fend for themselves with some toast or cereal at breakfast, and then throw some burgers on the grill at lunch. Or if your group is a big mid-morning brunch type, plan some easy but delicious brunches that don’t require a lot of heavy lifting, like this Italian Sausage and Egg Bake, or this Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake that only takes 10 minutes to assemble and you can do it the night before.

Figure Out Your Star Recipes

Once you’ve got your staples out of the way, then it’s time to focus on a few cottage-worthy recipes that make you salivate. Not every meal has to be a big affair, but if you can find a couple of star courses to spatter into your overall menu, you’ll definitely feel like you’re eating like royalty. Just don’t confuse slaving over a hot stove with a great meal; when looking for your star recipes, go with elevated classics that are simple to prepare, like Giada’s herb-infused Pasta Primavera, or opt for a drool-worthy, no-cook salad like the Ina Garten’s Arugula with Prosciutto and Burrata salad.

Make Friends with Make-Ahead Meals

After a breezy morning on the lake or a lazy afternoon spent dockside, what’s better than heading inside and pulling out a meal that’s already prepared? Try to plan for a few of these delicious timesaver options, especially for a quick lunch or snack. Whip up some of this one-pot Broccoli with Bow Ties and Peas or Giada’s Orzo Salad to keep in the fridge for when your hunger strikes. For dessert, it doesn’t get much cozier than this Make-Ahead Apple Crisp

Use Up Freezer Meals

We’re always looking for easy weeknight dinners at home, which means we like to prep lots of delicious freezer meals in advance. If that sounds like you, why not just bring one or two of those freezer meals up with you to the cottage? If you have a short drive, you can just pop them in the freezer when you get there, or if it’s a long haul the meal could make an easy opening-night entrée to enjoy after you’re done unpacking. No freezer meals on hand? Consider making some in advance – that way, your freezer will be stocked for when you get home too, making this one a double win!

Bring Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

At home, you love programming your Instant Pot or slow cooker so that you just throw a bunch of ingredients together in the morning, and then by dinner you have an awesome meal. So, what’s to stop you from doing that at the cottage? There are myriad ideas for great cottage-friendly slow cooker recipes, recipes that will have you eating well with very little actual cooking at all.

Befriend the BBQ

Who wants to spend time at the stove when you can hang out by the grill with a cold drink in your hand and good company? Barbecued meals are the essence of cottage living! Burgers and sausages are always easy options, but there’s a whole world of grilling recipes out there that take your meal to the next level, most of which are quick to whip up.

Stick to the Basics

If you’re a foodie, odds are you love tinkering around in the kitchen. But, you probably also stress over creating the perfect dish. Some of the best dishes around feature simple ingredients with bold flavours, which is the perfect mandate for cottage living. If it sounds like an easy weeknight dinner you’d try at home, odds are it’s perfect cottage fare too. For something elegant yet simple, this Garlicky Grilled Chicken, Portobello and Radicchio Salad from Tyler Florence boasts that leftovers make great sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, too.

Stock Up on Snacks

One of our favourite things about the cottage is sitting back and enjoying tons of food! That means snacks, snacks and more snacks. And while we love reaching for a bag of chips or digging into an array of pre-cut veggies, don’t underestimate the power of a delicious but simple dip. This Honey Yogurt Dip is always a winner. Or, if you want something with a little more oomph, try Michael Smith’s Avocado Corn Guacamole. Feeling something a little sweeter? Whip up some Power Squares or some (healthy!) No-Bake Chocolate Crunch Brownies if you need a boost before climbing in the canoe, or stir up this addictive, easy, Canadiana-inspired Saltine Cracker Toffee with a Butter Tart Twist.

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Don’t Forget the Drinks

If you’re eating well, you might as well be drinking well. When it comes to staples, you’re going to want to bring water, wine, beer and juice. But why not add some cottage-inspired beverages for a treat? We’re fans of Bobby Flay’s Watermelon-Strawberry Sangria and this thirst-quenching pitcher of Spiced Maple Iced Tea.

Make a Grocery List

Once you’ve decided on all of the great food you’re going to nosh on during your cottage week or weekend away, then it’s time to put together a grocery list. No one wants to have to make a trip to town when you run out of an ingredient, especially not when there’s a beautiful lake waiting for you.

Co-ordinate Meal Planning with Guests

Want to make meal planning even simpler? Get everyone involved. If you’re heading to the cottage with friends or other families, split up that grocery list or have certain people in charge of different meals – just make sure someone is on duty to make these Peanut S’mores Magic Bars. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to everyone enjoying some time away together with good views and good food.

So what are you waiting for? Get planning already! Here are 40 cottage-friendly make-ahead dishes to get you going. 

This Maple Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich is Your Ultimate Canada Day Dessert (or Breakfast)

These red and white ice cream waffle sandwiches make for a scrumptious Canada Day dessert or decadent brunch. They’re best eaten right away, but you can stretch the time before they melt a little bit by freezing them after assembling. If you’d prefer to enjoy them hand-held, just skip the whipped cream and maple garnish, and dig right in!

maple-nut-wafflewiches-2

Maple-Nut Wafflewich Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: 6 sandwiches

Ingredients:
1 cup whipping cream (35 %)
3 cups maple walnut or vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup maple syrup

Maple-Nut Crunch
1 Tbsp pasteurized egg whites
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Waffles
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp each baking powder and granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
4 tsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp red food colouring

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Directions:
Maple-Nut Crunch
1. In large bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Whisk in maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Add pecans and sugar, tossing to coat.
2. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
3. Bake in 225°F, stirring every 15 minutes, until crisp and coated, about 45 minutes. Let cool. (Tip: Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Waffles
1. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt.
2. In separate bowl, whisk egg, milk, sour cream and butter. Add to flour mixture, stir just until blended. Using food colouring, tint batter red.
3. Spray electric waffle iron with cooking spray. Heat iron to medium heat. Spoon amount of batter directed by manufacturer onto grids of waffle iron. Close lid quickly. (Do not open until waffle is done.)
4. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions. When done, lift waffle off grid with fork. Repeat with remaining batter. Let cool.
5. Meanwhile, whip cream to stiff peaks.
6. Place 2 scoops of ice cream onto 6 of the waffles. Top with remaining waffles, pressing to push ice cream to edges. Roll edges in maple-nut crunch. (Tip: Freeze for up to 1 hour.)
7. Transfer each sandwich to a dessert plate. Top each sandwich with a dollop of whipped cream and remaining maple-nut crunch. Drizzle with maple syrup.

These Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders Are Your Answer to Healthy Entertaining

This unconventional take on the sloppy Joe is inspired by the popular chickpea-filled Trinidadian street food, doubles. Like sloppy Joes, doubles are a deliciously messy, sweet and savoury snack. They’re typically made of channa (a curried chickpea filling) sandwiched between two pieces of fried dough with tamarind sauce, chutneys and pepper sauce.

For this sloppy Joe recipe, the fried dough is replaced with mini sesame-seed buns. The savoury curried chickpea filling is topped with a spicy and crunchy cucumber chutney, complemented by a tangy pineapple jam rather than tamarind sauce. It’s an unlikely combination, but if you enjoy sweet, savoury and spicy flavours, this recipe is calling your name. It’s perfect for a summer get-together, pleasing picky kids or entertaining guests. Plus they’re veg-friendly for everyone to enjoy!

Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4-6 (makes 12 sliders)

Ingredients:

Channa (Chickpea Filling):
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp turmeric
2 Tbsp geera (ground roasted cumin)
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 can drained chickpeas (28 oz)
4 tsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet pepper
salt, to taste

Spicy Cucumber Chutney:
1/2  large field cucumber
1/3  scotch bonnet pepper
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Additional Toppings:
Pineapple jam or guava jam (you can typically find this in the Caribbean/world food section of the grocery store, or at a Caribbean grocery store)
12 sesame buns (or any type of slider buns you prefer)

Directions:

Channa (Chickpea Filling):
1. Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and green onion.
2. Add a few spoons of oil to a large pot at medium heat. Then sauté the onion, garlic and green onion.
3. Once the onions become translucent, add the turmeric, geera and curry powder and stir – add a bit of water if necessary to keep the ingredients from sticking to the pot.

4. Add the drained chickpeas and chopped cilantro and stir. Then pour enough water to cover the chickpeas and scotch bonnet pepper (do not cut the pepper). Let the ingredients simmer on medium heat until soft, adding more water when necessary to keep the mixture from burning or sticking to the pan.
5. Once the chickpeas have softened and the mixture has a thick consistency, take it off the heat and let cool.

Chutney:
1. Use a grater to shred half the field cucumber and place in a bowl.
2. Finely chop the 1/3 scotch bonnet pepper, removing most of the seeds (this pepper is incredibly spicy, so be careful when handling) before adding to the bowl of grated cucumber.

3. Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro to the bowl.
4. Mix the ingredients together and place in a mason jar.

Assembly:
1. Lightly toast the sesame buns and spread a generous portion of pineapple jam to the bottom of the bun, then add a few spoonfuls of the chickpea channa mix, top with a bit of the spicy cucumber chutney, and enjoy!

Looking for more nutritious, flavour-packed recipes to feed a crowd? Here are 16 Party-Perfect Vegan Appetizers. And for all things chickpea-related, check out these 75 Chickpea Recipes to Make Your Heart Happy.

trail-mix-in-a-bowl

Snacking Just Got a Little More Canadian with Butter Tart Trail Mix

Cottage canoe rides, road trips, relaxed barbecues and outdoor summer concerts all have one thing in common: they’re better with snacks! We’ve come up with a healthy staple trail mix that takes less than 5 minutes to make, along with a few fun Canadian twists to tickle your fancy and tantalize those taste buds, no matter where the summer takes you. Get out there and hike, paddle, cruise, grill and sway to your heart’s content – we’ll bring the snacks

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Basic Canadian Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ cup dried cherries

Directions:

1. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

nanaimo-bar-trail-mix

Take all your favourite flavours of Nanaimo bars into the woods with you by making some chocolatey trail mix. Not a fan of coconut? Our original trail mix is simply satisfying.

Nanaimo Bar Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted  walnuts halves
1 cup toasted, shaved coconut
¾ cup dark chocolate chunks
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
¼ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Mix together walnuts, coconut, chocolate, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

butter-tart-trail-mix

The choice is yours: candied pecans or candied bacon? There’s no wrong answer! Both our tasty butter tart trail mix and sweet and savoury bacon mix are satisfying.

Butter Tart Trail Mix Recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp salted or unsalted butter
1 cup pecans
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup raisins

Directions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

2. Melt brown sugar, water and butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture foams and the pan starts to look dry, about 5 minutes. Spoon onto prepared sheet and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix together candied pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and raisins. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month. 

Candied Bacon Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 strips bacon
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack. Spray rack with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place bacon in a shallow dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, turn to coat, pressing sugar onto bacon to adhere. Place on prepared cooling rack on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 min, or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, crumble or roughly chop.

3. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cherries and bacon. Serve immediately.

More bites this way with our Best Road Trip Snacks made for traffic jams and car singalongs.

Sumac Ridge Signature Cellar

A Wine-Lover’s Guide to the Okanagan Valley

Once known for fruit orchards and lakes, the Okanagan is now a destination for wine lovers everywhere. The hills and valleys are striped with grape vines of all varieties and area wineries and restaurants continue to push the envelope in their abundant offerings. Here are 10 spots that can’t be missed on your first, or next trip to this beautiful region. To plan your trip or see a complete list of B.C. wineries visit winebc.com.

Sumac Ridge Signature Cellar Grazing and Harvest Dinner, Summerland

This educational and delicious evening starts in the sparkling wine cave where guests learn about the traditional French method for transforming wine into bubbles before watching a Sabre Ceremony pop open Stellar’s Jay Brut. Private Reserve wines will be poured during the dinner that follows.

Nk’Mip Cellars, Osoyoos

Explore connections of place and people at Nk’Mip Cellars, the first Aboriginal-owned winery in North America. Winding through the process of grape to glass, the legacy tour speaks to the Osoyoos Indian Band and their work to translate desert terroir to bottle.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna

If the idea that wine from this organic and biodynamic winery is better because it’s aged in the sacred geometry of a pyramid isn’t enough of a draw, then tasting some of the award-winning Cipes Brut should be.

Nichol Vineyard, Naramata

Among the first wineries to settle on the Naramata Bench, Nichol has remained small compared to others in the Okanagan. In this case, size does matter. Most of the work here is done by hand, including during harvest when workers pluck bunches of grapes by hand from the vine.

Tantalus Vineyards, Kelowna

Matching historic vineyards with modern facilities, Tantalus brings together the traditions of wine with a progressive approach focused on sustainability. The new LEED-certified winery features enviable views from the tasting room, where you can sample their premium, single-vineyard wines.

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SunRock Vineyard Tour, Osoyoos

Named for its perch on a mountain slope, this is the ideal spot for a lunch and sampling of wines. Sip on SunRock and Jackson-Triggs Okanagan wines at this organized vineyard tour and barbecue lunch made with local, seasonal ingredients.

Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Estate Winery, Oliver

A small slice of Italy tucked into the landscape south of Oliver, Terrafina’s menu takes classic dishes — pasta carbonara, meatballs, risotto — and twists them into something unique. (That carbonara features crisp pork belly and a rhubarb gastrique, for example.) Considering the winery’s Italian heritage, it’s the perfect marriage between the old country and the Okanagan.

The Vibrant Vine, Kelowna

A cacophony of colour, no tasting room compares to The Vibrant Vine. Sample some of the famed Woops blends with its signature upside-down labels or stop by Friday evenings and weekend afternoons to sip Vibrant Vine wine while listening to local musicians on the lawn.

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, West Kelowna

Set atop the west side of Kelowna like a crown, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery is hard to miss. The architecture — complete with bell tower and amphitheatre — is as bold and evocative as the wines Mission Hill produces.