Do small things with great love

If we have no peace it is because we’ve forgotten that we belong to each other. ~ Mother Teresa.

I think we’re all at the point where we can’t go on tiptoeing around current events on the political front, and I’m mostly speaking for myself. Here in Canada we’re affected – no longer a country on the sidelines. We’re feeling the tremors; they’re impossible to ignore.

Quebec became involved this weekend, when an admirer of President Trump took brutal action against the Muslim community. The unthinkable. As a result, six families are fatherless and many more ravaged by fear and worry as their loved ones lie in hospital. And hate crimes spiked in Montreal today, because intolerance breeds intolerance, and it cannot be contained by borders or governments.

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Merry Christmas from our home to yours

From all of us here at Simple Bites, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The Christmas chaos has subsided for a few hours and the children have retired into various corners of the house with books, games and candy canes. I think Danny is sneaking in a nap and I’ve just brewed a cup of tea.

We are loving being home this year (remember last year we were in the Halifax NICU lending support to family) with heaps and heaps of snow to play in, and an enormous tree filling our living room. We have much to celebrate.

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Favourite Cookbooks of 2016

We had our first snowfall this week and instead of melting into slush, it stuck around to transform our world into a winter wonderland. Suffice it to say, I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the past four days.

There’s nothing quite like an abrupt switch from fall to winter to get one thinking about Christmas. Thinking about gingerbread and orange pomanders, cookie swaps and gift giving. Today, I’m here to help with the latter in the form of a cookbook-specific gift guide.

I’m not much help in recommending anything else, really, and so year after year, I give you my personal picks, in hope that a title will catch your eye – for yourself or a friend.

Last year I had so many favourite new cookbooks, that I had to split them up into Canadian and International titles. This year, I’m cramming everything into one post, so bear with me.
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Herb-Brined Barbecue-Smoked Turkey

 If you’re toying with the idea of cooking a turkey outdoors for the upcoming American Thanksgiving or the holiday season to follow, I’m here to cheer you on and steer you in the direction of a great recipe that worked for me.

Okay, so for years now (and it really has been years if you’ve read my turkey history) I’ve sung the praises of the butter-roasted turkey and I still believe it is the simplest way to go on the Big Day and always yields fantastic results – just read the comments and see for yourself.

But if you’ve been there and done that with a simple oven-roast bird, a herb-brined, barbecue-smoked turkey is fun and exciting way to change up the menu. It certainly pleased me and our twenty-some guests last month.

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Meringue-Topped, Layered Ice Cream Birthday Cake

Our home was a-buzz with birthday excitement last weekend, even if the party planning only started sometime Friday afternoon.

Mere moments after I had seen my parents out the door for their return trip home, I opened my trusty notebook, where I jot down ideas and details for every gathering we host. I wrote ‘Noah’s 11th Birthday’ and drew a line underneath the words, pausing for a moment to take in that number.

Eleven. It’s really teetering on the edge of childhood. There would be no robot cake this year, no pinata-thumping  or eating doughnuts off of string. Treasure hunts are a thing of the past for my 6th grader – and that is all okay; there will always be birthday cake.

Noah’s not into frosting at all, in fact, he wants nothing to do with it. He’s pretty keen on ice cream, however, and with this in mind, an idea for an epic (it must be epic) layered, ice cream cake began to take shape in my little book. A brownie layer would be good, and a chocolate cookie crumb base. He loves crisp meringues, why not work those into the topping.

After one shopping trip, lots of scooping and sculpting and melting and freezing, we had a birthday cake. An epic birthday cake.

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