I never met my husband’s mom, and it makes me sad every day. I wish I could thank her, cherish her and appreciate her in person, but the family lost her to cancer before we met. I have seen photos and heard stories, but that’s not always enough. There is, thankfully, one holiday tradition she began that I can continue. Every Christmas morning, we make her special German Omelette recipe. Through the flavours of this delicious strata, I connect with her on special occasions every year, and am able to share in some small part of the blessings she bestowed on her family.
I am a super-collector of thematic decor. Seriously. I actually have an entire room dedicated to Hallowe’en garden gnomes, spring-themed cookie cutters and Christmas nutcrackers. The latter were acquired a few years ago from Canadian Superstore, and the store has since upped the ante with full-on Canadian hockey nutcrackers. (Don’t worry – I put a word in with the designer requesting goalkeeper versions). I will be lining up this year to snag a few of these.
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?
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!!!
Spring is almost here and I’m excited not just because winter is coming to an end. I’m ready to put away my Christmas wreath and pull out the ceramic bunnies that will decorate my living room for the next month. Yes, Easter is coming soon! My shopping list ready for Easter-themed craft for the kids (paints, wax, eggs, yes, I’m that mom!), and on top of that list are as many chocolate eggs and bunnies as I can get away with without setting a bad example. In fact a few years ago when we lived in a condo building in downtown Calgary I found the kids were missing out on back yard fun but I still managed to organize an indoor Easter egg hunt. Not as fun or challenging as one outdoors would have been but it was the tradition that mattered.
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!