Our family gets giddy for holidays. Knowing me as you do, it shouldn’t be a shock that I have an entire storage room dedicated to wreaths, décor and cookie cutters divided meticulously into seasons. Yes.. I do. And I gently rotate them throughout the year so that the next holiday’s treasures are easily accessible. Beloved traditions have permeated every Hallowe’en, Christmas and Easter in order to make memories and bond as a family. We have special recipes and songs, outfits and stories handed down through generations. While all of this adds sparkle to life, sometimes these traditions aren’t entirely selfless. At times, I focus more on the spectacle than actually spending real time with my kids. My heart races as I just admitted that.
I have been passionate about food and drink my entire life. I have been a culinary broadcaster and writer for over 20 years. Long ago, I became weary of fads and gimmicks in the food world passing as new “essentials”. So when I am delighted by a new product, it usually is accompanied by an element of surprise reminding me of what I still love about food and food people. Barilla Pronto Pasta delighted and happily surprised me when I dared it to star in my traditional, Boston inspired, Fourth of July celebration.
Dads are hot. Yes, you read that right.
DADS. ARE. HOT!
And they also like hot things. And cool things, because they’re also kind of cool.
It’s pretty commonly accepted around town that husbands and dads aren’t the bomb-diggity anymore and single guys have all the game. But, a man who can be an amazing life partner, help his little girls play softball, teach his son how to drive, and cook us all an amazing dinner—I’m telling you, that is the real definition of hot.
That time of year is upon us again, ladies, when we ask ourselves the age-old question: tie or socks? I usually like to go rogue and get him both but this Father’s Day, I want to think outside of the ‘workwear accessories’ box. My partner is a great dad and an incredibly thoughtful man; he does the things that I don’t even realize need doing, like restocking the fridge with cream for my coffee and making sure our toddler treat cupboard is well-stocked. And he is always ready when he knows I need a break, a few minutes to decompress. I keep these things close to my heart when I come home to his dirty socks on my living room table: because marriage, right?
Diala’s Kitchen is one of my favourite new food blog obsessions and after getting gluttonous on the (terrible, curse on whoever invented this) “Eat What You Want Day” with a bowl of popcorn to carry me through from breakfast to lunch, an inhaled curry pad thai for dinner, and half a huge bag of dark choc almonds to follow—let’s just say that I woke up this morning hungover, overcome with guilt, and looking to redeem myself.
Diala to the rescue with a dish that’s fresh, healthy, totally yummy, and makes me feel like I might not have to wear a T-shirt over my swimsuit during baby swimming lessons this summer.
Fudge is a Christmas tradition in my family, my mom or sister always makes it for us to enjoy on Christmas Eve (and for days after!) I’ve never really made it myself but I recently came across a recipe for Apricot Raspberry Cheesecake Fudge from A Mom’s Take and while it looks amazingly delicious, I’m personally not a big fan of white chocolate or apricots by my little pregnant brain immediately went to: That would be awesome as a Peanut Butter and Jelly fudge!!!
Just like my mama, I find joy in celebrating the holidays with some extra special little markers. Even though our family didn’t make pretend with the different characters of celebrations (ie. Santa, the Easter Bunny), we would always wake up to things hidden around the house on Easter for us to find. Who cared whether a egg-toting bunny left it or not, chocolate is chocolate, man.
You may read this in Liam Neeson’s voice, if it suits you. Jamie Dornan, maybe, or Pierce Brosnan. Aiden Quinn or Colin Farrell. All of them are Irish. Even the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, if that’s more your speed. You know who wasn’t Irish? St. Patrick. He was from Wales. But that doesn’t mean we can’t don our green gear and down a few in St. Paddy’s honor, does it? Erin Go Bragh!
While baking in our house is not reserved for special occasions, I do like to bake up special holiday treats, whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. Though St. Patrick’s Day is not necessarily a big celebration with us, it’s fun to spread a little Irish cheer and a good excuse to bake up something yummy. Plus, if green beer isn’t your bag, this perfectly moist pistachio cake will be totally up your alley.
“Here comes Peter Cottontail….hoppin down the bunny trail…” The popular Easter song echoes through my mind as I walk through my local grocery store, observing the pastel coloured chocolates, the brightly packaged plastic eggs, and the plethora of bunny-themed paraphernalia littering the aisles. It can only mean one thing: Easter is on its way.
There’s something about Easter egg waste and chemical dyes that makes me squirm. Of course there are store-bought non-toxic natural Easter Egg dyes out there, but we set out to discover our own from ingredients in the fridge. The result was muted and beautiful – almost what you would find if you happened upon a bird’s nest in nature.
Several years ago, on a freezing cold, snowy Valentine’s day, my sweet boyfriend of several years popped the question. Though some may scoff at a February 14th proposal, I still think it was thoughtful, romantic, and a bit old-fashioned in the very best way.