A vibrant end of summer feast

This morning all three of my children left for school and I found myself with a quiet house for the first time since June.

Always the planner, I made myself a second cup of coffee, grabbed a note pad and began scribbling down my menu for the long weekend. Labour Day is just around the corner and we’re getting together with friends for a vibrant end-of-summer feast.

I’m guessing you probably have similar plans: shop the local markets for the most beautiful produce, invite a few people over, and fire up the barbecue. Maybe you’ll toast the start of a new school year or raise your glasses to the end of the heat wave – both are welcome changes.

In case you’re looking for menu inspiration, today’s post provides a few ideas – my absolute favourite recipes of the summer.

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The Ultimate Camping Food Day!

Last Friday we left the city behind and headed for the green rolling hills of Vermont for an impromptu camping trip.

A recent overhaul of our outdoor gear meant that everything I needed was relatively easy to find. Over the years, Danny and I have developed a system: I pack the kitchen gear/food while he takes care of the essential camping/sleeping gear. So if we’re missing a corkscrew, it’s on me; if the axe is nowhere to be found, that’s all him.

By now the kids pack their own items – everything from warm socks to Frisbees, bathing suits and pocket knives. Together we get the van loaded and the canoe tied to the roof. Thankfully, leaving for a camping trip has become much more streamlined.

Over the weekend I received a lot of questions about our camping experience, so I thought I’d revisit the topic here on the blog. I’ve written extensively about camping over the years, as we’ve gone every summer with our kids since they were babies. I’ll do a full round up at the bottom of the post, but before that, let’s have some fun and imagine what the Ultimate Camping Food Day would look like.

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Ten Spring 2018 Cookbooks I am Loving

Although it would be impossible to top last year’s bounty of beautiful cookbooks (*wink-wink* mine was among them) 2018 is shaping up to be a solid year for fantastic cookbooks of all sorts.

I’ve been cooking from a stack of exciting new books over the past few months as they have been released, and these ten have been the most enjoyable, inspirational and, indeed, motivational. My collection is all the better because of these new titles, and I’m thrilled to share them for your consideration.

Cookbooks are very personal, and what inspires me may not nudge you in the direction of the kitchen. I say take some time in a bookstore to flip through these books and let yourself fall in love with one or two. Better yet, research the author and decide who you would like to support. Then buy one for yourself and one for a friend. Okay! Read on for ten Spring 2018 cookbooks I am loving.

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Entertaining at Easter: Two Dinner Menus

I love that Easter is early this year, and we can send March on its way with chocolate eggs, homemade hot cross buns and bouquets of pink tulips.

Honestly, this month has been really tough in our household, with one sickness after another, four ER visits, antibiotics, allergic reactions to those antibiotics, missed school days and more sleepless nights than usual. I’m so ready for April, and spring, and weather warm enough that I can throw open the windows and air the whole place out. Who is with me?

In anticipation of the long weekend ahead, I’m guessing many of you are menu planning and making grocery lists.  Here on the blog we’ve made brunch plans, laid out a few menus for Easter lunch, and now I want to give you two menu suggestions for hosting dinner with friends and family.

Just to be clear, there’s no way am I suggesting that you host all three of these meals, but I do love to provide inspiration for any and all occasions.

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Entertaining at Easter: Two Lunch Menus

Let’s lunch! After months of desk lunches and brown bagging it, Easter long weekend provides an opportunity to plan a get-together with friends over a casual – but elegant – midday meal.

Whether you are hosting the in-laws for an informal ‘do’ or looking to catch up with a gaggle girlfriends, here are two menu ideas that can be adapted for any occasion. The first is planned around a sit-down lunch, where you can set a pretty table and bring out the best dishes.

The second menu is meant to be set out buffet style or passed around on trays for more of a standing and mingling lunch. It also provides some great do-ahead ideas, such as small jars of pretty panna cotta, which can be prepare several days in advance.

Whatever your style, I’m sure you’ll find inspiration in this post for entertaining this spring.

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