How to host a BIG backyard gathering

Today, while wandering the homestead in a t-shirt with a cup of coffee in hand, I discovered my rhubarb and ramps have sprouted up from the ground.

The kids dug out a Frisbee from the garden shed and dashed around the soggy yard, obviously invigorated by the warm winds. Spring has arrived! It’s time to start planning the many ways we will take advantage of the glorious warm weather.

If you’re anything like me, your mind turns to outdoor entertaining just as soon as the last hunk of ice melts into a puddle on the deck.

The upcoming months hold many opportunities for celebration from a Mother’s Day brunch to a wedding shower lunch, but today I want to talk about throwing a BIG backyard party. The sunup to sundown kind of event, where more people pass through your garden gate then you usually see in an entire month. The kind of party you only throw once in your life – unless you thrive on this sort of thing, of course.

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Overnight Maple Hot Cross Buns

I wasn’t intending to develop a new recipe over the weekend, but I was playing around with these maplelicious hot cross buns and they turned out so well, I knew I had to share my notes and findings in a recipe.

On Friday evening I was in need of a little baking therapy (it’s a real thing, you know). Recent news and events from the week had left me floundering a bit; I needed to find my ground – and I aways find it in the kitchen.

I ground cardamom, cracked eggs, measured maple sugar and by the time I had the dough mixed up and in the fridge, I was already feeling better.

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Presenting…The Simple Bites Kitchen cookbook

I‘ve been counting down the days to this very post: the one where I reveal the cover of my next cookbook, The Simple Bites Kitchen and share a few details about this personal project.

As of now, the edits are a wrap, the cover is confirmed and this labour of love is getting ready to go to press. We also have a set release date: October 3, 2017. That’s just six months away!

So how did this book come to be? And what is it all about anyway? Keep reading for the story, a few behind-the-scenes photos…and the cookbook’s cover reveal.

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Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Walnut-Bacon Crumble

The boys had a few well-rehearsed pranks for us on April First, such as glue on the toilet handle (!), but the worst prank by far was played by Mother Nature: yet another snowstorm.

Snow in April isn’t a big surprise, but was still disappointing; I’m really, really ready for the snowbanks to melt. Yesterday the sun shone brightly, daring us to escape outdoors and defy the snow. So we did.

The boys shovelled the snow off of the fire pit and Danny built a roaring campfire. I brought pots and pans out from the kitchen and simmered maple beans and a cider ham over the open flame. In the coals I roasted sweet potatoes, and we boiled maple syrup to pour in the snow for maple taffy.

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Spring cookbooks preview: the Canadian edition

It is going to be an incredible year for Canadian cookbooks.

Not only will my new cookbook drop in October (details coming very soon) but there is an every growing list of exciting titles being released from many unique Canadian writers.

An out-of-the-box vegan cookbook, a coast-to-coast ode to Canadian cuisine, a collection of 100 spirited/boozy recipes, a charming baking book from the Prairies and heavy ‘dose of awesome’ from Canada’s most famous food photographer and Instagram celebrity: these are the five cookbooks I am most excited about so far in 2017 and I’m sharing a peek at them here today.

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