Easter Appetizer Round-Up

Inspiring recipes for simple spring appetizers.

I was a natural-born feeder from as early as age four or five, when I would set the table for my mum and help with simple kitchen tasks for the family meal.

The days we were anticipating guests were always incredibly exciting; I’d get to pick the wildflowers for the table and draw place cards to set above the dinner plate. My mother instilled a love of hospitality in me at a young age, and to this day I love gathering people around my table.

Cooking for others has always been my most comfortable form of self-expression and Easter is one of my favourite times of the year to host friends. Last year I gave you an Easter brunch menu and two lunch menus for your entertaining inspiration; today I’m simplifying it even more with suggestions for spring appetizers.

I hope you’ll be encouraged to invite a few people into your home over the April long weekend and make a few memories around the table.

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How (and why) to Start a Cookbook Club

For a long, long time, I’ve wanted to start a cookbook club, the kind where you all read the same book, prepare a recipe, and bring it to a pot-luck to share.

There just wasn’t enough margin in my life before now; I couldn’t have added another event to the calendar. However, now that we are in Halifax, our lifestyle change has opened up pockets of time and I’ve been intentional about filling those spaces with activities that bring me joy.

Enter the cookbook club. While it’s technically a social event, the gathering dovetails nicely into my line of work as an author and recipe developer – a perfect intertwine of work and play with delicious food as a result.

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Holiday Brunch Tips and Recipes

My holiday brunch strategy goes like this: a decadent baked treat, a flavourful egg dish, a winter fruit salad and heaps of coffee. That’s it.

Every year there are slight variations to the plan, like crispy maple-glazed bacon or a pot of hot spiced mulled cider, but the trio of carb + protein + fruit is a solid one that I recommend you master first. If you plan it right, there are at least two dishes for everyone on the guest list, be they your vegan friends, the gluten-free gang and the paleo-ish folks.

I’ve already shared previously about my love of hosting brunch, and so today’s post is a closer look at how I make it work with minimal stress. You’ll find a simple breakdown of my holiday brunch strategy, with favourite recipes linked and totally acceptable shortcuts listed for when you need them. After all, the act of gathering is far more important than what is actually on the table.

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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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