Backyard Cookout Tips + Coleman Get Outside Day

Ad. This post is sponsored by Coleman Canada and Canadian Tire.

All across the country, Canadians are counting down to Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation on Saturday. We’ll celebrate our country from East coast to West coast to the Arctic coast, each in our unique ways.

I’m guessing that most of us will be outdoors, because getting out into nature is what Canadians do best. In case you are entertaining friends or family on July 1 (or 4th, for my US readers), I’ve put together some of my best tips for a backyard cookout and I’m sharing them over at GetOutsideCanada.com.

Once again, Coleman Canada, in partnership with Canadian Tire, is championing a national Get Outside Day, encouraging Canadians to step out into the sunshine.

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Tour My Kitchen: refrigerator and freezer organization

Things get really interesting behind the doors of a food bloggers’ refrigerator, and so I have left the best part of the kitchen tour for our last day.

Back in my days as a culinary student and then later on when working in restaurants, it was not unusual to have regular inspections of our workspaces, including a detailed check up of our refrigerators. Items had to be clearly labelled, rotated regularly, and, above all, immaculate. It’s safe to say all those years of vigilance left an impression on me and I continue to strive for an orderly fridge and freezer.

It’s also safe to say that this attention to detail does not carry over to other parts of the house, say my coat closet or laundry room. So please don’t compare the contents of your refrigerator to my photos below. I will have to subject you to Instagrams of my craft closet and boy, you don’t want to see it.

I’m fortunate to have a beautiful platform to showcase my condiments and produce, juice jugs and brown eggs. It was well worth moving a cupboard over and reworking the kitchen cabinets somewhat to receive the 36-inch model, up from our old 30-incher.

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My Kitchen Tour: the dining room sprawl

My kitchen has inevitably sprawled into the dining room over the years, which is why our main eating area is part of the kitchen tour.

And it only seems natural to walk you through the space where we gather as a family to eat once all that cooking has transpired. I should warn you, though, I don’t pretend in the least bit to have a sense of style when it comes to home decor. It’s a chore for me, the way cooking is to others – I totally get that.

However, I know what makes a space feel distinctly ours: a mix of vintage and modern furniture and accessories, a pop of color, and a touch of nature. Let’s begin around our battered dining room table and mismatched chairs.

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Tour my kitchen: the range and double oven

The very first meal I prepared with my new oven is one I will never forget.

It was Thanksgiving, 2013.  We were a small group, and the gas range had yet to be hooked up, yet I was bound and determined to cook us a feast. After all, I had two (electric) ovens at my disposal and I love a good challenge.

I set a pumpkin pie in the top oven of my KitchenAid dual fuel range, and set the lower oven to ‘convection roast’.  The manual for my range, which coincidentally had a roast turkey on the cover, stated that the cooking time would be reduced by 15-30 % on convection roast and how right it was. [Read more…]

My newly-updated kitchen from top to bottom: a tour

Welcome to my kitchen; let me pour you a cup of tea.

Take care, you may step on a stray toy and I can’t guarantee we won’t be interrupted by an ever inquisitive toddler, but I’d love to show you around. After all, this is the heart of the home, my office, work zone, test kitchen, and absolute favorite place to be, ever.

There is no better time for a warm kitchen tour than the quiet, dark days of November. We’ve come in from the cold, the homestead is battened down for the long winter, and the bustle of the holidays is not quite upon us yet. We can take the time to talk shop on subjects like organizing the freezer, storing home preserves, controlling pantry sprawl, and the best home appliances for a kitchen that sees a ton of action.

This visit is long overdue, but we’re going to do it up proper. Every day this week, I’ll post a virtual walk-through my kitchen space and share a few tips for things that really make it work.

But first…the ‘before’: the second-hand appliances to which we happily bid adieu. [Read more…]