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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An Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

It almost seems like a cliche to write about a shower in April, but I had to share a few details from a recent celebration that was a long time coming.

This afternoon tea is also another chapter in my sister’s story, and since you’ve already joined us virtually for the winter engagement, the West Coast wedding, and the backyard reception here on the homestead, it’s only fitting we tie things up with a baby shower.

Now this joyous event had originally been planned to take place back in November, when my sister, Miranda, was six months pregnant, a comfortable stage of the pregnancy to travel from her Halifax home.

The invites had been sent, Miranda had purchased a plane ticket  – and then my nephew was born early. Almost 2 months early.

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Merry Christmas … wherever you are

This holiday is a bit out of the ordinary for us. There’s no snow; it’s green and balmy, and the scent of the ocean occasionally floats in on the breeze.

We’re in Halifax, which has to be one of the nicest cities in the country, celebrating Christmas with my sister. I’m writing this from the family room near the NICU where my little preemie nephew is camped out. He won’t make it home for the holidays, but home is really where there is love and he is surrounded by it here. We’re bringing Christmas to the hospital, and we’ll be together.

I don’t have many words today, but I wanted to pop in to say Merry Christmas…wherever you are.

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My Favourite Canadian Cookbooks of 2015

Here and there around the web, folks are sharing gift guides of their favourite things from the year gone by. I love these lists, especially those geared toward foodies or travel lovers; it’s always interesting to see which books, kitchen tools or trinkets others are currently crushing on.

For example, popular home preserving site Punk Domestics shared their picks for the Best DIY Books of 2015, Tsh over at The Art of Simple wrote a thoughtful gift guide, and friends over at Eat North listed their 10 Best Canadian Cookbooks. There is plenty of inspiration to be found for the book-lovers on your list.

I’m here to add my suggestions to the mix! I’ve already shared my favourite international cookbooks of the year and promised I’d be back with the Canadian edition. It’s been a fantastic year for cookbooks from coast to coast so let’s get right to the 2015 line-up.

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