Tag Archives: snack

Kid-Approved Breakfast Squares

Back-to-school season always leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. Sure, it’s nice to get back to a regular routine, but it also means summer is officially over. It’s time to replace the flip-flops and sunscreen for backpacks and lunchboxes, and there’s no more relaxing with leisurely sleep-ins and endless amounts of time to enjoy your morning meal.

With school starting comes the mad morning rush, and it takes a few weeks to get into the groove again. It’s helpful to prepare breakfast the night before to alleviate stress on busy mornings. These healthy breakfast squares really come in handy for those times when it’s just, “Grab your backpack and we’ll eat in the car!” They’re low in sugar, peanut-free and pack well for breakfast on the go.

Oatmeal Breakfast Squares
Recipe courtesy of Angie Wright of Friday is Cake Night.


Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 20 mins
Yield: 9 squares

1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 large overripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup (50 ml) packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp (45 ml) unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla
11/2 cups (375 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (125 ml) oat flour
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square cake pan with non-stick spray.
2. In large bowl, mix together milk, banana, brown sugar, applesauce, egg and vanilla.
3. Add rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt to banana mixture. Stir to combine. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Written by Angie Wright

Friday is Cake NightI live in Northern B.C. with three taste-testers: my husband and two kids. We love to travel and try out new recipes. I have always loved to bake – and I have the extra 10 pounds to prove it!

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Healthy Peanut Butter and Jam Squares

This delectable sweet and healthy dessert comes from Toronto’s own earth and city. Oats, almonds and dates are mixed together for the base, then topped with a layer of natural peanut butter blended with banana and sea salt, a layer of jam and finished off with the remaining crumble.


Ingredients (makes 12 squares):

3 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
2 1/2 cups raw almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 cups dates, pitted

2 cups natural peanut butter
2 ripe bananas
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cups dates, pitted
2 Tbsp water
1 cup jam of your choice
3 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)


1. Grind almonds in a food processor until it becomes a fine meal and place into a mixing bowl. Grind oats the same way, then add the almond meal back in.
2. Add cinnamon and sea salt, and with the food processor running add in dates a few at a time, until the mixture starts to come together. Press 3/4 of this mixture into a parchment lined 9″ x 13″ pan.


3. Blend peanut butter, bananas and sea salt together in a food processor.
4. In the same style as the almonds/oats mixture, feed the dates in a few at a time until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture seems too thick to spread with a spatula, add a little water as necessary.
5. Spread this mixture over the pressed base in the pan.
6. You can mix chia seeds into the jam if you like, then spread the jam over top of the peanut butter layer.


7. Then add the remaining crumble on top.
8. Refrigerate overnight and cut into squares. Store squares in the fridge to prevent melting.



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Fried Zucchini: A 15-Minute Recipe With Crunch

By Alisha Enid

My mother always found ways to spend one-on-one time with each of her three children. Usually she would show up at school, pull one of us out for the day and we would enjoy a special lunch at a restaurant, just the two of us. Those are the days I remember like they were yesterday.

On one of these lunches, she asked if I wanted to share a plate of zucchini sticks. We didn’t really eat zucchini growing up, but I was feeling adventurous that day, so I agreed.

The sensation of the crunchy coating combined with the mild flavour of the zucchini made this dish love at first bite.

Since then, I have tried many versions of zucchini sticks. Baked, fried, coated, uncoated, you name it: they all make me think of those lunches with Mom. To this day, when we go out for lunch, we always share a plate of zucchini sticks. It’s tradition now, and one that I hope to continue with my own sons.

In this version, I went for zucchini rounds rather than sticks, and I coated them in crunchy Panko crumbs combined with Parmesan cheese. Fried to perfection, these zucchini rounds bring me back to my childhood.

Panko-Crusted Parmesan Zucchini Rounds, Courtesy of Alisha Enid, alishaenid.com, Delta, B.C.

A healthier, homemade version of deep-fried zucchini sticks.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes per batch
Yield: 2 servings

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) ground pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup (250 mL) Panko crumbs
1/4 cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fine sea salt
1 large yellow or green zucchini; cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups (500 mL) oil for frying

1. Using three shallow bowls, set up dredging station. In first bowl, combine flour and pepper. In second bowl, beat eggs. In third bowl, stir together Panko, salt and Parmesan cheese.
2. Heat oil in deep cast-iron skillet over medium heat until a breadcrumb dropped in the oil creates bubbles and turns brown.
3. Working in small batches, dredge zucchini rounds in flour, then submerge in beaten eggs and dredge in Panko crumbs.
4. In batches, lower breaded zucchini rounds into hot oil; fry about 3 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Remove from pan; place on paper towel to soak up excess oil. Repeat with remaining zucchini rounds.

Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Click here to print, save or share this Panko-Crusted Parmesan Zucchini Rounds recipe.

Alisha Enid
I am a wife, a mother and a daydreamer; a lover of film, food and photography. You can usually find me in the kitchen, behind the camera or chasing after my boys.

4 Amazing Apple Recipes to Try This Fall

Available year-round, apples are a great way to add a hint of tartness and cut through rich and hearty dishes, and they pair perfectly with fall spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Opt for varieties like Fiji, Gala, Pink Lady, or, my personal favourite, the Honeycrisp, which lends particularly well to cooking and is just an all-around tasty snack.

Apples with winter spices cinnamon nutmeg

Cranberry Applesauce
The addition of tart cranberries gives the sauce a grapefruit pink-hue and that extra zing that goes great with grilled pork chops and roasted turkey, or even in a sandwich. Since it’s essentially a fruit puree, you can make extra batches and freeze them in popsicle molds for a festive frozen dessert. It’s cranberry and applesauce rolled into one!

3 cups peeled, cored, and roughly chopped apples
2/3 cup apple cider
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

In a saucepan combine all the ingredients. Cover. Simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes until the apples and cranberries become soft. Mash with a fork or roughly pulse in a blender. Makes 1 1/2 cups of sauce.


Apple-Stuffed French toast
Because going out to weekend brunch is becoming more and more of a challenge as it gets colder, have this recipe handy for cold days when you want a restaurant-worthy meal. For a variation, use bananas and pears, or a mix of both.

4 slices of thick bread like challah, brioche, or plain white sandwich bread
2 eggs, beaten
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into rounds
1 tsp ground cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon per French toast)
4 pats unsalted butter
Powdered sugar and maple syrup for garnish

1. Melt two pats of butter in a pan over medium heat. Fry the apples until they become soft and begin to brown and slightly crisp up. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Dredge the bread slices in the egg. Place one slice on the hot pan then place the cooked apple slices on top of the bread. Place other bread slice on top, sandwiching the apples.
3. Continue cooking until the bread begins to turn a golden brown. Flip and cook until both sides are done.
4. Slice the toast diagonally. Drizzle with maple syrup and dust with powdered sugar on top. Makes 2 servings.


Apple-Tuna Salad Croissants
Shout out to my junior high Home Economics teacher Mrs. McClusker for teaching me to add apples to tuna salad. It gives the tuna a pleasant crunch and mellows out its fishy taste, making it less of a olfactory hazard to eat at the workplace. I further sweetened the tuna with the addition of apple cider and torn kale leaves that have been tossed in balsamic, giving it a nice tart flavour so that you don’t have to drown the fish in mayo.

2 croissants, sliced horizontally
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 medium-sized apple, cut into small matchsticks
2 kale leaves, stems removed and torn into small pieces
1 Tbsp apple cider
2 tsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, apples, and apple cider. Mix gently with a spoon, careful not to mush the apples.
2. In a separate bowl, add a small splash of balsamic vinegar (you need less than what you think you need). Massage the kale with your hands for a few minutes and squeeze out any excess liquid. Set aside.
3. Lightly toast the croissant halves until warm. Fill with kale and tuna salad. Serve immediately. Makes 2 croissants.


Baked Cinnamon Apples
While there will never be a substitute for a homemade apple pie, baked apples offer that same taste without having to roll out the dough. It’s also a healthier option — unless you place a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream beside it. No judgment.

4 medium apples
2 tsp cinnamon (1/2 tsp   per apple)
2 pats butter (1/2 pat per apple)
1 tsp nutmeg (1/4 tsp  per apple)
2 tsp brown sugar (1/2 tsp  per apple)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Using a melon baller or a metal measuring spoon, scoop out the core of the apples from the stem end.
3. Fill the holes at the top of the apples with a bit of butter, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
4. Place apples in an oven-safe dish. Carefully pour water into the dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes until the apples soften and brown on the edges. Remove from the pan and serve immediately. Serves four.

Baked Apple

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.

Zucchini Bread with Pecans

Zucchini bread is the perfect high-fibre treat – it can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or light dessert. This delicious recipe can easily be made gluten-free, so sub in your favourite wheat-free flour and get ready to enjoy!


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 12

1 1/4 cups =all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp ground flax
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp  baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside. Stir the all-purpose flour with the whole-wheat flour, ground flax, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. Combine the zucchini, milk, oil and egg in a separate bowl. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.

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.

How to Make Green Bin Cookies

What are you craving for an afternoon snack? Maybe you love chocolate chip cookies or perhaps your taste buds are looking for something salty — we know how hard it can be to decide sometimes. With these Green Bin Cookies, you don’t have to make the choice because you can have it all! Treat the kids this spring break with these cookies that include all their favourite snacks. They’re also great for cleaning out leftovers from your cupboards!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Yield: 32 Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup large flake oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup broken salted pretzels
1/2 cup mini candy coated chocolate pieces
1/2 cup good quality dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Beat butter with granulated and brown sugars or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time or until well blended. Beat in vanilla.
2. In another bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Stir in pretzels, candy coated chocolate pieces, chocolate covered raisins and marshmallows. Chill dough for 30 minutes or until firm.
3. Using a 1 ounce (2-inch) scoop, drop 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
4. Bake, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and set, rotating and switching pan halfway through. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

– Substitute add-ins with your favourite nuts, dried fruit and candies. Try salted peanuts, butterscotch chips and chopped dates.

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.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Sometimes you just have to stick to a classic! I had the urge to make the banana bread I remember eating as a kid at my grandma’s house. But I definitely don’t have her recipe lying around and it certainly wouldn’t have been vegan, so I figured it out. This is a moist and delicious chocolate chip banana bread you can bake up on the weekend or give to someone special.


1 Tbsp ground flax
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 tsp coconut sugar, for topping (optional)


1. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.
2. Whisk together ground flax and water. Let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes to thicken.
3. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon. Stir with a fork until well combined.
4. In a separate mixing bowl mash the ripe bananas to a puree. Then add in vanilla extract, melted coconut oil, non-dairy milk, coconut sugar, and the thickened flax mixture. Stir together until well combined.
5. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and gently fold together until just combined, careful not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Transfer the mixture to an 8 x 4″ bread pan greased with a small pea size amount of coconut oil. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp coconut sugar on the top (optional).
7. Bake at 375°F for 50-55 mins. Stick a long skewer or toothpick in the centre to check if it’s done. It should come out relatively clean. Allow the banana bread to cool out of the pan on a rack before cutting into slices or wrapping.

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Super Easy S’mores Popcorn

From Oreos and Goldfish, to Ben & Jerry’s and Sprinkles Cupcakes, 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 ‘mallows, graham cracker bits and a little bit of caramel, to create a treat that’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

Smores Popcorn 1

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes (to roast the marshmallows)

1 bag sea salt popcorn
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown/golden sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup broken graham crackers

Smores Popcorn 2


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

Smores Popcorn 3

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.

Smores Popcorn 4

3. Pour the caramel over the popcorn. Be sure to work fast as the caramel dries quickly and becomes difficult to spread.

Smores Popcorn 5

4. 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.

Smores Popcorn 6

5. 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.

Smores Popcorn 7

6. While still warm from the oven, sprinkle the graham crackers on top. Gently press to help them stick to the chocolate.

Smores Popcorn 8

7. Refrigerate for about an hour and break into pieces.

Smores Popcorn 10


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.

Greek Waffle Nachos with Spiced Lamb

This downright comforting dish combines crispy waffle fries tossed in oregano and lemon juice, piled high with gyro spiced lamb, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, kalamata olives and feta cheese. It’s a Greek food lover’s dream made at home.

If you don’t have a spit to cook real gyro at home (and I’m assuming most of us don’t), a skillet works fine here. The ground lamb is browned with tons of spices and garlic to really give you all the flavours that come from gyro, but with none of the hassle. My only tip is to serve this hot and with lemon wedges. Squeeze the lemon over top of the lamb and fries. It gives this dish a nice brightness. Enjoy!


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4



For the tzatziki:
½ English cucumber
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 Tbsp chopped dill
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 pinches of salt

For the gyro spiced lamb:
1 lb (454 g) ground fatty lamb
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

For the waffle fries:
1 package (22 oz or 623 g) frozen waffle fries, baked or fried as per package instructions
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt

Diced tomatoes
Sliced red onions
Crumbled feta cheese
Torn kalamata olives
Chopped dill
Lemon wedges



For the tzatziki:
1. Peel and cut the cucumber in half, length wise.
2. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds of the cucumber and discard. Then grate the cucumber on the large hole of a box grater.
3. Place the grated cucumber in clean tea towel and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Allow the cucumber to sit and release its water.
4. After 10 minutes, pull the corners of the tea towel together and wring out as much of the water as possible.
5. Place the cucumber in a bowl and combine with the yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice and two pinches of salt.
6. Set aside in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.


For the gyro spiced lamb:
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, start to brown the ground lamb while breaking it up. It will begin to release its fat.
2. After 1-2 minutes, mix in the garlic, oregano, thyme, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Continue to brown the lamb for another 7-8 minutes until cooked through.
4. Drain off most of the excess fat from the lamb.


For the waffle fries and plating:
1. As soon as the waffle fries come out of the oven or fryer, toss with lemon juice, oregano and salt in a large bowl.
2. Transfer the fries onto the serving dish. I used a skillet because I thought it was cool.
3. Top the fries with dollops of tzatziki. Pile the lamb on top and garnish with as much or as little diced tomatoes, sliced onions, crumbled feta, torn kalamata olives and chopped dill as desired.
4. Serve immediately with lemon wedges! Enjoy!


100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

Roasted Sweet and Salty Chickpeas

It’s mid-afternoon, and the post-lunch, pre-dinner munchies are hitting you hard. You need something to satisfy that sweet and salty craving, preferably without a ton of sugar, cholesterol or fat.

Well, we’ve heard your plea, and may I present:The pea! Chickpea, actually. This superfood is gluten and cholesterol-free, and contains more than five grams each of fibre and protein (great for crushing cravings!). Either hot out of the oven or as a snack the next day, sugar and spice make this a delicious and addictive treat.


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp  chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and salt. Add chickpeas to the mixture and stir to combine.
2. Add to a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the chickpeas sound hollow when the baking sheet is shaken.

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 Blog Network family.

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.


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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

Healthy White Bean Dip

When all you can scavenge from your cupboard is a can of beans, this delicious recipe will put them to good use. This white bean purée really stands out; it’s so lemony, so garlicky…and so necessary when hosting a party or get together. All you need is a few simple ingredients and some pita crisps or crackers for dipping, and you’re good to go.


1 540 ml can Romano beans, drained and rinsed
10-12 basil leaves
8 mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Half a lemon
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


1. Rinse a can of Romano beans and look around the kitchen. Even look outside the kitchen — maybe you can grab some basil leaves and mint from the garden, as I was able to do. (Don’t be too impressed: I already managed to kill the thyme and tarragon this year).


2. Peel 2 cloves of garlic (if you want a real garlic punch, go for 4 cloves). Add the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp salt.


3. Pour in ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, then use the a blender to mix everything until smooth and creamy.


4. Now, taste your mixture. It should be lemony and garlicky, with a nice balance of salt. You’ll know the flavours are perfect if you can’t help sticking your finger in for another sample. You can serve this dip simply, with a few crackers and it will certainly be a hit.


Tip: If you want to make it a meal, toast some bread, add the purée and top with good tuna in olive oil, plus a few slices of seasonal tomatoes.



Sue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 4-year-old.

The Raspberry Refresher Smoothie

This simple, nutritious and refreshing smoothie is the perfect energy boost pre workout or great for replenishing your body post workout. Featuring an electrolyte hydrator packed with the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated when you exercise, you’ll be replacing your regular coffee with this healthy smoothie day in and day out. Feel free to sub any flavour or brand of your choosing, but the berry flavour pairs perfectly with the raspberry and banana.


Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 frozen banana
1 packet Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, berry flavour
1 Tbsp fresh mint
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/4 cup coconut water (or use 1 cup coconut water & 1/4 cup fresh orange juice)
1 cup ice cubes

In a Vitamix or high powered blender combine all the ingredients until smooth.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Bourbon Soaked Cherries with Vanilla Ice Cream

This dessert is simple and quick to make, and the combination of smooth vanilla ice cream topped with tender, bourbon-spiked cherries is to die for. Enjoy this boozy treat outside during those hot summer months, after a long day at work.

Cherries Jubilee

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

1 pound pitted sweet cherries, halved
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 fluid ounce bourbon
pinch of kosher salt
1 pint vanilla bean ice cream

1. In a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, combine the cherries, brown sugar, and unsalted butter. Cook gently until the butter and sugar have melted and the cherries begin to release some of their juice. Continue to stir until the mixture is bubbling gently, about five minutes.
2. Stir in the bourbon and kosher salt. Cook for an additional five minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice to taste and let the mixture rest for 5-10 minutes.
4. Divide ice cream between six bowls and top with a cherry mixture.

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 Blog Network family.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are like eating a brownie, fudge and meringue all at once. In each bite you experience a crunchy, chocolate crackle on the outside, and a soft brownie-like texture on the inside. If you love chocolate as much as we do, this recipe was made for you. The best part is that although they may sound heavy, the lack of flour makes them super light. So take advantage of how easy these chocolate cookies are to put together as soon as your craving hits!

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 48


3 cups  icing sugar
3/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp salt
4 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease well with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Whisk the icing sugar with the cocoa powder, coffee and salt. Stir in the egg whites and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Spoon 12 mounds of batter on to each baking sheet.
3. Bake, on the middle rack, for 13 to 15 minutes or until the tops are shiny and crackled. Cool completely on the baking sheets. Gently peel away the parchment paper.


– Let stand for 2 (or up to 20) minutes before baking to make a smoother and shinier cookie.
– Bake one tray at a time on middle rack for best results.
– Store extra cookies in between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container.

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 Blog Network family.

Bacon Cheese Puffs

Is there any food combination better than bacon and cheese? If you want an appetizer that will have everyone wanting seconds (and thirds), look no further. These amazing little puffs pack big, bold flavour into one tasty bite: light and flaky choux pastry is filled with a mouth-watering dip that combines Pepper Jack and Parmesan with crispy bacon. Feel free to serve this dip on the side and allow your guests to dip right in!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 60 bites

cheesy bacon puff pastry bites


Choux Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
3/4 cup water
6 tbsp unsalted butter
4 eggs

Cheesy Bacon Dip:
7 slices bacon
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise


Choux Pastry:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour with salt, set aside.
2. Bring water and butter to a boil in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Remove saucepan from heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, set over medium heat until mixture forms a ball and coats the pan with a thin film.
3. Transfer to stand mixer bowl. Mix with paddle attachment until cool. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue beating until dough is shiny and smooth.
4. Spoon into piping bag fitted with 1/4-inch (6 mm) plain tip. Pipe 1-inch (25 cm) rounds, 2-inches (50 cm) apart onto prepared pans.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden. Reduce heat to 350°F, continue to bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn oven off and let the choux puffs cool for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Cheesy Bacon Dip:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook bacon for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Cool completely and crumble.
2. In the same skillet, set over medium heat, cook onion and garlic for 2 minutes or until softened. Let cool completely. Stir onion mixture with bacon, Pepper Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise until combined.
3. Split the puffs and fill each with 1 tsp (5 mL) dip. Arrange on prepared pans. Bake for 10 minutes or until filling heats through and cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Notes: Pepper Jack is Monterey Jack cheese flavoured with jalapeno peppers. Substitute Havarti cheese spiced with jalapeno if you like.

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 Blog Network family.

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

Why choose between blueberry muffins and coffee cake, when you can have both? In this simple breakfast recipe, the moist buttermilk cake and crunchy streusel topping are merged with bursts of sweet, juicy blueberries throughout. Enjoy a piece of this muffin-like cake for breakfast, or in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Serves: 10-12

1 stick butter (room temperature)
¾ cup sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries

Streusel Topping:
¼ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ stick cold butter


1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Coat inside of 8?x8? pan with butter, then dust with flour.
3. Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl, beat until light and fluffy. Then beat in one egg and vanilla extract.
5. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together.
7. In three parts, mix dry ingredients and buttermilk into wet ingredients (add ? of dry + ? of the buttermilk and mix until combined, the repeat two more times).
8. Gently mix blueberries into dough, and then spread dough evenly in baking pan.

Begin making streusel topping:
1. Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. In chunks, mix in butter with a fork or beater until you get a clumpy mixture.
3. Spread streusel topping on coffee cake.
4. Bake cake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when piercing center of cake.
5. Allow cake to rest 10 minutes before enjoying!

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.


Dairy-Free Double Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are seriously amazing. They’re chewy, chocolatey, and honestly, we think baking vegan treats turns out a lot better than “regular” baked goods.

Give these treats a try and get a big glass of almond milk ready for dunking.


Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cups earth balance butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup vegan chocolate chips


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl cream together earth balance, sugar, vanilla, and molasses until fluffy. Then add in non-dairy milk and mix until well combined.
4. Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Scoop 1/4 cup of cookie dough and roll it into a ball, then flatten the cookie slightly with your hand onto un-greased cookie sheets.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Cool cookies on baking sheet for about 5 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

Now just try not to eat the whole batch yourself!

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