All posts by Renee Reardin

Super Easy S’mores Popcorn Perfect for Summer Weekends

From Oreos and Goldfish to Ben & Jerry’s, companies everywhere have come out with a chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow version of their signature treats to please customers everywhere. Somehow s’mores have become the Pumpkin Spice Latte of the warm weather season. To carry on with the trend everyone seems to be so fond of, I gave one of my own favourite snacks the s’mores treatment. I topped sea salt popcorn with drizzled milk chocolate, toasted marshmallows, graham cracker bits and a little bit of caramel, to create a treat that’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

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S’mores Popcorn

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bag sea salt popcorn
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup light brown/golden sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup broken graham crackers

s'mores popcorn ingredients on counterop

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the bag of popcorn over the entire surface. Preheat oven to broil on high.

2. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter and stir in the sugar. Cook while stirring until completely combined and smooth. Pour the caramel over the popcorn. Be sure to work fast as the caramel dries quickly and becomes difficult to spread.

Related: Scrumptious S’mores Recipes to Try This Summer

3. Divide the chocolate chips into two batches and heat them in the microwave for about 45 seconds or until melted. Mix with a spoon until smooth and drizzle over popcorn. Repeat with remaining chocolate chips.

4. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top and place the pan on the top shelf of the oven to roast the marshmallows. Be alert: you only want the marshmallows to be lightly golden and this can take as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Make sure you remove the pan from the oven before the chocolate gets burnt.

s'mores popcorn ready for the oven next to red bowl of melted chocolate

5. While still warm from the oven, sprinkle the graham crackers on top. Gently press to help them stick to the chocolate. Refrigerate for about an hour and break into pieces. Enjoy!

Published August 26, 2015, Updated August 1, 2018

How to Make the Perfect Caesar Every Time

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For Canadians, caesars are like hockey games, Tim Hortons, or even, dare I say, denim-on-denim. It defines us, unites us, and just makes us who we are. It’s the signature drink on most patios, a staple on every menu and the one bevvie we always seem to be in the mood for.

They can however, be a tad difficult to make. Opt for tomato juice instead of Clamato, or too much Worcestershire and not enough hot sauce, and it’s all too easy for your caesar to become an undrinkable disaster.

I’m speaking from experience here.

And so, since it’s pretty much our obligation as citizens of this home and native land to master the art of creating the perfect caesar, I’ve put together a little how-to guide to help you (read: me) get it right every time.

So, what do you do? Start by mixing the ingredients. But before you start pouring, please note that the order of ingredients does matter.

Start with a rimmed glass, fill it with ice, add the Worcestershire, followed by Clamato juice, hot sauce, vodka, and then season with salt and pepper. An easy way to remember the order of ingredients is to start with the cheaper ones and work your way up.

When it comes to the garnish, here’s your time to be creative. Go the conventional route with a long piece of celery, or grab a skewer and make a combo with pickles and olives. But if you’re really looking to earn some extra hostess points, add a piece of bacon, or better yet, a juicy slider burger. Because you know, why not?

No matter what garnish you decide to use, I love finishing off the cocktail with a fun straw, like this red and white stripe version from Party City ($5).

And there you have it: an easy, fail-proof recipe for Canada’s number one cocktail.

Mini Easter Brunch Quiches

Hosting Easter brunch this year? Don’t panic. What we have here is your little saving grace.

Mini spinach quiches are healthy, delicious and totally easy to make…and that’s not even the best part. They can be made ahead of time then re-heated when guests arrive so you don’t spend all morning hidden away in the kitchen. If those aren’t good enough reasons to make mini quiches then how about this: they’ll cost you well under $10.

Ingredients:
1 dozen eggs
1 (6-8 ounce) bag of baby spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1 /4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin pan with butter or oil.
2. Saute chopped onions in a pan with the oil until onions are translucent.
3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk. Fill about ? of muffin cups with spinach, and sprinkle about a teaspoon of the sauteed onions on top.
4. Pour whipped eggs into muffin cups and fill them about two-thirds full, then add a pinch of grated cheddar cheese.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden on top.
6. Gently remove them from pan with butter knife, then serve.

DIY Packed Lunch Kits You’ll Actually Want to Eat

I blame my grade school days for my great distaste towards packed lunches. Day after day it was the same thing: The same plain sandwich with one slice of meat and no crust, and two boring snacks, which I’d usually eat at recess.

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Though I never lucked out with a pack of Dunkaroos or Gushers, my parent’s were still pretty good at pleasing a kid. I got a one-bite chocolate bar on occasion, or sometimes a few chips. My lunch aside, it was the other kids I had a problem with. There was the one who always had the stinky baloney sandwich, the smell in which would linger until afternoon recess, and the kid that would bring fettuccini alfredo and a carton of milk every Thursday. (Don’t tell me you didn’t just shiver.)

And now, we still don’t really have a choice but to bring packed lunches to work. Health-wise and money-wise, it just makes sense. And so, because none of us can eat the exact same thing every day, I’ve come up with an easy guide to help you choose healthy options guaranteed to keep you full all day long. Sure, you may think it’s a lot of food but it’s all about portions. Eating a little food all day long is a surefire way to keep you full without overdoing the calories.

Now, all you have to do is pick an item from each of the following lists, prep it, pack it, and you’re on your merry way. And yes, don’t worry, I have your sweet tooth covered too.

8 AM: For most of us, the idea of cooking a fabulous breakfast and actually sitting down to eat it is as foreign as leaving the house with wet hair. It just doesn’t happen. So, we resort to eating on the go. Choose one of these easily packable, easy to eat snacks that go perfectly well with the two cups of coffee you always have time for.

  1. Organic wheat cereal, like Kashi’s.
  2. A whole wheat English muffin, toasted, with butter or jam (with no added sugar)
  3. A homemade breakfast bar under 150 cals, like our Peanut Butter Bar version.

10 AM: Your coffee’s done, you still have a few more hours until lunch, but you’re hungry. Or, you’re looking for an excuse to take a break from work for a bit. Fair enough! I’ve got you covered with morning fruit options:

  1. An apple.
  2. A scoop of fruit salad (try our version with a savoury dressing)
  3. A small serving of fruit, granola and Greek yogurt.

1 PM: You made it! It’s lunchtime. That thing you’ve been looking forward to all morning? Ya, it’s here. And we have three lunch options all delicious, and all healthy.

  1. A salad with asparagus, radish, avocado, spring green mix, and any other veggies you’d like to add. This is the fastest option, so if you’re short on time while preparing your lunch before work, go with this.
  2. A little more extravagant, but totally filling, a turkey sandwich on a whole wheat bun is a great option.
  3. The BLTA: Just grab a whole wheat wrap, arrange bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado in it, and you’re done.

3 PM: Right about now, that darn sweet tooth starts acting up. This is the little kick we need to get us through the day, and it’s perfectly fine to indulge in something sweet, as long as this privilege is not abused, Meaning, no, I am not advising you to eat a whole dark chocolate bar, I’m talking about just a square or two.

  1. A small piece of dark chocolate (the darker you can go, the better!).
  2. 1 small cookie, like our chewy oatmeal cookies with apricots and pumpkin seeds.
  3. A small rice crispy square (do it right, and it can only be 150 calories).

5 PM: Some of us may still have another hour of work to put in, and some of us may have a super long commute home ahead of us. So, better take a little snack to hold you over until dinner, just so you’re not tempted to pick up a doughnut… or something.

  1. Fruit and cashew trail mix.
  2. Raw natural almonds.
  3. Light hummus with carrot and celery sticks.

How to Make Strawberry Jam

As much as we love a delicious gourmet meal, there’s something to be said about a good ol’ classic PB&J. What better way to take a basic sandwich to a whole new level than with rich, homemade strawberry jam?

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Composed of nothing but a few simple ingredients, this made-from-scratch pantry staple is a must-try. When you see how easy (and insanely delicious) it is, we’re sure you’ll be making it every other week!

Ingredients:
1 quart of ripe strawberries (normal-sized container from the grocery store)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp water

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Directions:

1. Sort through the strawberries and make sure they’re completely ripe. Green ones just won’t cut it.

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2. Wash them, remove the stems, cut out the white bits and place them on a paper towel to remove the water.

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3. In a medium-sized pot on medium heat, add 1 tsp water along with the strawberries. Using a wooden spoon, mash the strawberries into small pieces and add the sugar. Stirring continuously, let them come to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and let it sit over night.

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4. The next morning, put it back on the stove. While you wait for the strawberries to come to a boil, fill two small jars with water and put them in the microwave until boiling. When the strawberries on the stove start to boil, pour the water out of the jars and fill them with the strawberry jam.

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5. Seal the jars, turn them upside down, let them cool and keep them stored in the fridge.

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

How to Make Easy Blueberry Scones

When it comes to baked goods, most of us don’t even attempt to make them from scratch. But it turns out, scones can be just as simple as that go-to muffin recipe of yours — not to mention you likely already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

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Whether you bake them for a yummy weekend breakfast or for a tea party with friends, these simple, budget-friendly scones are bound to impress.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Icing sugar for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust racks so one’s in the centre. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pick over blueberries for only the ripe ones, and rinse.

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2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using 2 knives in a criss-cross motion, cut butter into the mix until pieces are no bigger than the size of peas. Stir in blueberries.

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3. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and eggs. Make a hole in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir lightly with fork, then bring to a lightly floured surface and knead just a little.

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4. Pat dough into a square that’s about 1” thick. Using a floured knife, cut it into four squares. Then cut the squares in half on a diagonal and once more, to create 16 mini triangles.

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5. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar.

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

How to Make Your Own Wedding Cake

Your wedding cake is undoubtedly the most significant dessert you’ll ever eat in your life. As kids, we dreamed of a cake tiered to the ceiling, trimmed with frothy white icing and topped with mini-me (and mini-him) cake toppers. We dreamed of that classic wedding picture of cutting the first slice with our other half. We dreamed of eating it respectfully and so not shoving it into each other’s faces, America’s-Funniest-Home-Videos style. It’s such an important, traditional element to a wedding, and yet these days, more and more couples are choosing to eliminate it as a way to cut corners. Why? Because a single cake can rack up quite the hefty bill.

If you want to keep with tradition but aren’t feeling the $1000 price tag, then why not whip up your own gorgeous gateau? Below, I’m showing a step-by-step guide to making your own wedding cake, complete with tiers, frothy icing and topped with pretty blooms.

Naked Wedding Cake 1

Decorating Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:
6 cakes (Follow this recipe for your classic white cake. You will need three batches.)
36 oz icing (Follow this recipe for vanilla buttercream icing. Again, you will need three batches.)
Flowers, for decorating

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Note: The prettier the flowers, the better your cake will look. Hit up a flower market to get some stunners like peonies and ranunculi. Don’t forget to add some greens to the mix. Try green leaves with a white, wishy-washy coat for a whimsical look.

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Directions:
1. Before you make your batter, heat the oven to your recipe’s advised temperature. Use unsalted butter to grease the sides of two cake pans, one 8” and one 10”, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. As for the cake I made… I cheated a bit. To save a little time and cash, I succumbed to a cake mix and pre-made icing. If you feel like taking the easy route like me, you will need three boxes of cake mix, which will give you two cakes per box, and three 12-oz containers of icing.

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3. I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to beat the batter. Cakes made with an essential baker sidekick come out so much lighter and fluffier than with a handheld beater.

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4. Divide the batter into your two pre-lined, pre-greased pans. Try to make them similar in depth. Bake them for the recipe’s advised amount of time, let cool, and move to a cooling rack. Repeat.

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5. When the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice off the top of each cake where necessary, to create an even surface.

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6. Take the parchment paper off the bottoms of each cake, and place your first layer on the cake stand. Add a few dollops of icing, and smooth over the surface gently, ensuring not to get cake crumbs worked into the icing.

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7. Smooth over the entire surface, add the next layer, and repeat.

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8. Add icing to the sides of the cake for a more whimsical finish. Apply it with your icing wand, and scrape off excess to even it out.

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9. I like to place the majority of the flowers on the top of the cake, so I only added a few subtle touches of flowers to the sides and base of the cake. I placed a piece of greenery to the bottom, and lightly pressed it into the cake to secure it into place.

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10. On the opposite side on the second tier, I added a small, blooming peony and more greens.

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11. For the top of the cake, I started with a few greens and filled it in with seven flowers.

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12. I had a brighter pink flower option but decided to keep it to the softer shades for a dreamier feel.

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Notes:
– Try to lay the flowers on the cake instead of puncturing the surface so you can rearrange the blooms as you see fit. You will also lessen the risk of contaminating the cake with the flower’s chemicals.
– Flowers should be placed on the cake just before displaying.

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Happy Wedding Day!

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

S’Mores Bark for the Long Weekend

Oh, May long weekend…the unofficial start of summer. The first gloriously warm long weekend of the year, spent at a cottage enjoying morning hikes, afternoon tanning on the dock, and evening huddles around the campfire.

As lovely as that sounds, it’s not the case for most of us, and we’ll be settling for a little stay-cation in our own ‘hood.

But don’t give up on your lakeside fantasies just yet, because we’ve got a recipe for everyone’s campfire favourite that will totally make your long weekend — we’re talking about s’mores. Well, s’mores bark, to be exact. Think graham crackers, melted milk chocolate, and soft, roasted marshmallows all in one delectable bite.

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With only four ingredients required (and no bonfire needed), you’ll be able to whip up this new take on everyone’s ultimate fireside treat — in under 15 minutes and for under $12!

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Ingredients:
12 graham crackers (broken into quarters)
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup Skor bits

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to broil on high, line baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay graham crackers on baking sheet.
2. Pour about 1/3 of chocolate chips into a bowl, and microwave for about 60 seconds. Mix chocolate until smooth and lump free.

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3. Working in sections, pour the chocolate sparingly on top of the graham crackers, and carefully spread it out with a spatula. Repeat steps 2-3 to finish off the bag of chocolate chips, and evenly cover all graham crackers with a layer of chocolate.

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4. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the chocolate. Try to keep them within the cracker lines, so it’s easy to separate the pieces at the end.

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5. Place in oven on a rack that is on the third notch from the top. Roast the marshmallows until golden, about 30-60 seconds.

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6. When chocolate is still hot, sprinkle Skor bits sparingly on top.

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7. Refrigerate until hard, about an hour. Break into pieces and serve.

How to Make Summer Fruit Popsicles

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In case you weren’t aware already, it’s really hot outside. Even on the days that our iPhones tell us it’s only 20ºC, we still find ourselves in a sweaty, frizzy-haired mess. And since we still have a few more weeks left of summer, I’m sharing the ultimate recipe for the quintessential frozen treat.

No, I’m not talking about the Frappucino you opt for over a steamy cup of coffee (no-brainer), or that cup of FroYo you eat for dinner a couple times a week (it’s summer vacation—duh!). I’m talking about the perfect, healthy alternative to tasty frozen desserts.

Instead of blowing all your money (and bikini bod!) on candy-covered yogurt and Frappa-whatevers, try my easy, inexpensive and refreshing recipes for real fruit popsicles.

Whether you make them for a mid-day snack or a BBQ dessert, you’re in for a real treat.

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Ingredients:

  • Popsicle molds (I got mine from Ikea)
  • Orange juice
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Strawberries
  • Peach
  • Raspberries
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Ice
  • Large popsicle sticks
  • Gel pen
  • Magic Bullet Blender

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Directions:

1. I started with writing the different fruit combinations as labels on the popsicle sticks: fruit punch (a mix of whole fruit slices with orange juice), strawberry-banana (blended together), and blueberry-raspberry (blended separately with vanilla Greek yogurt).

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2. Prepare by slicing the kiwi and peach, and a few strawberries for the fruit punch popsicles (you can leave them whole for the strawberry-banana popsicles).

3. Using a blender (I used the Magic Bullet), blend strawberries and bananas with ice. Then blend raspberries, ice and vanilla Greek yogurt (about half as much as you made for with the strawberry-banana mix), followed by blueberries, ice and vanilla Greek yogurt. By the end you will have three different fruit blends. You can put the blueberry one in the fridge—we’ll get to that later.

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4. Pour the raspberry mix until the halfway mark of the container, and pour the strawberry-banana mix to the brim of the container. For the fruit punch pops, place kiwi, peach, strawberries and blueberries in the containers, and fill them with orange juice.

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5. Using the cardboard packaging from the popsicle molds to secure the sticks, place the labelled popsicle sticks into the molds, and put them in the freezer. After about two hours, take them out, and top the raspberry pops off with the blueberry mix, then put them back in the fridge and leave them overnight.

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6. Ready to enjoy the pops? Run each mold briefly under warm water (but don’t let the warm water touch the popsicle!) and they should slide right out. Enjoy!

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

Related:

Best Mason Jar Desserts for Any Picnic

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Salty snacks and comfort foods are great. But desserts? Desserts, I adore. The way I feel about cakes, ice cream, pies, and cookies is how Don Draper feels about his Lucky Strikes cigs. It’s basically impossible to get through the day without something sweet, and pretty rare not to see one in my hand.

However, unlike Lucky Stripes, desserts don’t come in secure little packaging, ready to be taken wherever you go. Until now that is.

I’m highlighting the best, tastiest, must-try desserts that can be made in a mason jar. It’s the perfect (read: essential) companion for any picnic. Just picture it; sitting on a blanket under a tree, with your own individualized, mess-free dessert in hand. Now that’s heaven.

Below, you’ll find eight easy recipes to make your own mason jar desserts. And you really should be making your own because I’m not sharing.

1. Banana Pudding from Lets Dish Recipes

What to do: Crush up ¼ bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and put half of them at the bottom of the jar. Make the filling found in this recipe and scoop some on top of the crushed cookies. Then, add whipped cream, banana slices, more filling, more whipped cream, and then top with banana slices.

2. Cheesecake from I Am Baker

What to Do: Make the crust and cheesecake from this recipe, but be sure to bake them separately. Crush up the crust and place into the mason jar as the first layer, and then do the same with the cheesecake. Cook strawberries and a few teaspoons of sugar over the stove (about 2 strawberries and 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving), let cool, and then scoop onto the cheesecake.

3. Birthday Cake from Babble

What to Do: Using this classic vanilla birthday cake recipe and vanilla buttercream icing recipe, whip up a batch of each, adding sprinkles to the batter and dye to the icing (if preferred). Crumble up the cake, use one scoop for the first layer of the mason jar cake, add icing, then add more crumbled cake and more icing, and top with a couple of candles.

4. S’Mores from How Sweet It Is

What to Do: Crumble up graham cracker and make a batch of this chocolate cake and crumble. Put the cracker pieces in the mason jar for the first layer, the chocolate cake for the second, and put a few large mashmallows on a baking sheet, broil them for a couple minutes until golden, then carefully push them down in the mason jar to top off the s’mores dessert.

5. Butterfinger Pie from Crumbs and Chaos

What to Do: Whip up a batch of this cheesecake crust, and the follow Crumb and Chaos’ recipe for the filling. Layer the crumbled crust then the peanut butter filling into a mason jar, then top with whipped cream and a piece of Butterfinger.

6. Eclairs in a Jar from Me and My Pink Mixer

What to Do: Crush up one quarter bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and put half of them at the bottom of the jar. Scoop in French vanilla pudding, and top with this chocolate frosting and a few sliced almonds.

7. Lemon Meringue Pie from It All Started with Paint

What to Do: Start with this cheesecake crust crumbled at the base of the mason jar. The more experienced bakers can go ahead and cook and crumble the lemon curd filling and meringue from our famous recipe, but the rest of us (Aye!) can simply follow the instructions on the “Cook & Serve” box of Jell-O.

8. Apple Pie from Eat Boutique

What to Do: Make this “Blue Ribbon” apple pie crust and filling, baking and crumbling separately. First put the crumbled crust into the jar, followed by the apple filling, then sprinkle lightly with more pie crust.

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

Related:

3-Minute Summer Dessert Recipe: Caramel Apple Dip

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Whether it’s due to our jam-packed summer schedules or our somewhat carefree (read: forgetful) warm weather lifestyle, BBQs, dinner dates and other under-the-sun soirees seem to pop out of no where this time of year. Of course, we’re so happy and grateful for the many events with friends and family, but they tend to leave us in a bit of a tizzy until we figure out what to bring.

No need to waste your summer days in shops or stuck in the kitchen. We have an amazing recipe for a delicious dessert that only takes three minutes to make. Let us introduce you to your new answer to that dreaded question, “what can I bring?” Caramel apple dip.

Only requiring three ingredients (plus the apples), this easy recipe will allow you to bring a thoughtful, homemade treat to any event, while saving your time, money, and looking bad in front of your loved ones.

Ingredients:

Light cream cheese
Caramel sauce
SKOR bits
Granny Smith apples, sliced

Directions:

  1. Using a spoon, smooth layer of light cream cheese over the bottom of a bowl.
  2. Pour caramel sauce on top.
  3. Sprinkle SKOR bits on top, and serve.

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

 

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Easy Mini Blueberry Pancakes

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To food lovers, Canada Day doesn’t just mean red and white getup, fireworks, and a few cold ones. July 1st is also the unofficial start of Blueberry Month. And because it would feel awfully wrong not to take advantage of these tiny, anti-oxidant-packed berries at their finest, we’re starting the season off right with one of our easiest, tastiest and most crowd-pleasing recipes.

Whether you’re hosting Sunday brunch or just cooking up an indulgent breaky for one, mini blueberry pancakes are sure to please. Made with ingredients you probably have in your pantry, these little bites are super easy. So why not whip up a small batch for a weekend pick-me-up, or a large batch as part of a morning feast with the fam? Just make them ahead of time, and slip them in the oven right before serving.

Ingredients:

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries

Directions:

1. Beat the egg in a large bowl, and then add the milk and beat again.

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2. Add the dry ingredients, and beat until smooth. Add blueberries to batter and stir.

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3. Heat a lightly buttered, medium-sized frying pan on medium-high heat. Scoop about 1 Tablespoon of batter at a time onto the griddle to make mini pancakes, and brown on both sides.

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4. Pile them into small stacks or just serve as bites. Keep them in a heated oven until all pancakes have been made, and serve hot with maple syrup and/or butter.

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

 

Related:

How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

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Each and every day we have to settle the same two annoying questions hanging over our heads. The first, what am I going to wear? And the second, what should I have for dinner?
It’s only too easy to fall into a food rut and get tired of your old favourites. Pasta? Had that yesterday. Stir fry? So sick of it. Chicken? Wouldn’t mind if I didn’t see chicken again for a while.
Luckily, there’s a delicious dinner idea loved by all, but it’s one that tends to be overlooked. And, because it just so happens to be in season, we’re sharing our favourite, ridiculously easy recipe for Eggplant Parmesan.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 eggplant, peeled, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 cups marinara sauce
Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated
Dried Basil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Dip eggplant slices in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. Place slices on a baking sheet and place on the middle oven rack for five minutes. Flip the slices over, and bake for another five minutes.
  2. Remove the eggplant slices from the baking sheet, and cover with parchment paper. Scoop dollops of sauce onto the pan, one scoop for every slice of eggplant. Place an eggplant slice on each dollop, cover with sauce, then lay slices of mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, then, top with basil.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

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

 

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How to Make Coca-Cola Carrots

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When it comes to making dinner, we’re often guilty of taking the easy way out. Whether it’s to save time or a few extra loonies, we opt for simpler dishes and forget how enjoyable it can be to discover a new recipe.
It’s time to say move over, broiled veggies, we have a new easy and ridiculously delicious recipe that’ll take any meal up a few notches: Coca-Cola Carrots.
Cooked in everyone’s favourite soda and seasoned with a touch of brown sugar, this new way to eat carrots is just too good not to try.
The best part? This recipe only requires four ingredients, and will take less than 15 minutes to prepare. So go on, crack that can of Coke and let’s get cookin’!

What You Need:
4 large
2 teaspoons butter
1/3 cup Coca-Cola
2 teaspoons brown sugar

What To Do:

1. Pre-heat oven to broil on high, and cut the carrots into matchsticks (about 4 cups).

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2. Heat 1 teaspoon butter in a large skillet over high heat, add the carrots and stir. Pour in the 1/3 cup of Coca-Cola, stir and cook until the carrots soften and the soda evaporates, about 7-9 minutes.

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3. Smear 1 teaspoon butter all over the bottom of a small baking pan, then transfer the carrots over to it. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar over the carrots, and broil until carrots begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

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4. Put carrots on serving dish, sprinkle with brown sugar and serve.

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

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How to Make Your Own Cereal

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Sure, we all love a fancy breakfast now and then, but the truth is, we’re quite happy starting every day with a hearty bowl of cereal.

But this simple meal can run a little pricey. If you’re eating cereal for breakfast seven days a week, and maybe for dinner every now and then (guilty), you may find yourself going through almost two boxes a week.

Cereal is actually super easy to make yourself. For about $15 a month, you can customize your morning breakfast bowl, using only six ingredients!

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All you need is the base (bran flakes are perfect), granola (I chose honey-flavoured, but you can choose cinnamon, hemp, cranberry, coconut, etc.), two toasted nut options (such as chopped walnuts or sliced almonds), and two dried fruit options (like cranberries, strawberries, or blueberries).

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The result? Endless options for a healthy, nutty, crunchy, delectable breakfast (or dinner) cereal!

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

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How to Build the Perfect Veggie Picnic Sandwich

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Well, we made it. We’re done with April’s showers, and have moved onto the blooming buds and clear skies of May. This means one fantastic thing for us office folk: time to move our lunches outdoors for a midday picnics.

It’s the glorious pick-me-up we wait for all winter long. The sunny skies and fresh breezes of spring allow us to step away from our gloomy, stuffy workspaces and venture into the great outdoors for a totally rejuvenating lunch break. Now that we’ve set the scene, next up is the menu du jour. Do you really think it’s a good idea to bring that traditional salad of yours to the breezy park? Think again.

To ensure you get your healthy serving of veggies while keeping you neat and stain-free, we’re sharing the easy ingredients you need to build the perfect hearty and delicious veggie sandwich. With only eight essential items, this budget-friendly meal is bound to become one of your go-to favourites. Now excuse us, we’re taking our entire hour lunch break today.

Ingredients:

Multi-grain bread

Mustard

Tomatoes

Sprouts

Mixed Greens

Onions

Cheddar Cheese

Avocado

 

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

Strawberry Cream Puffs for Easter

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We can all agree that no holiday feast is complete without a great dessert. After indulging in a hearty meal, we’re often in need of a treat that satisfies our sweet tooth, but doesn’t put us over the edge. Well, we have an easy recipe for an Easter dessert your guests are bound to love. Cue the strawberry cream puffs.

They’re light enough that you always have room for one, so these mini bites of heaven are the perfect way to end a great meal (and a day of binge-eating chocolate eggs).

What could be better on a sunny spring evening than an airy pastry with homemade whipped cream and tangy strawberry jam? And that’s not even the best part: chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry, so they’re totally inexpensive to make.

 

  • What You Need (for pastry):
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup 3.25% homogenized milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • Icing Sugar
  • Strawberry Jam
  • What You Need (for vanilla cream):
  • 1 ½ cups 35% whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
 Click through the gallery for steps by clicking ‘caption’


 


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

 

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