Hazelnut-Apple Power Bars

For months now we’ve been talking about making the trip to Ottawa to skate the length of the Rideau Canal.

It’s the world’s largest rink, if you didn’t know, with views of our parliament in the distance, and hot chocolate stations scattered along the winding canal. One can skate for hours without stopping, although you may be tempted to slow down for a poutine or beavertail break. It’s a Canadian thing.

Back in early January we settled on a weekend to go, booking accommodations with family and clearing our schedules. As a family, we tend to cultivate contentment in the little things, giving ourselves over to an occasion be it a mere afternoon skate or sled, so there was much anticipation around the event. [Read more…]

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Hazelnuts, Feta and Yogurt Mint Dressing

Today my children go back to school, and I return to my desk as well to assume responsibility of my work life, both online and off.

As a closing note to the end of our carefree summer days – which were really and truly relaxing – I threw together a laid-back dinner on the weekend. My sister and brother-in-law had stopped by for a visit, so we put the baby to bed early, lit the coals on the kettle grill and opened a bottle of my favourite late-summer wine.

In a way, it was an intimate version of our harvest dinner which I host every August. My cookbook has more details and all the recipes from this annual backyard event, but essentially it is a slow dinner in the garden to celebrate the bounty of summer. It’s the one time of the year when I bring the white tablecloth and stemware outdoors –  a simple way to add elegance to a table with little effort.

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Autumn Pesto Blitz (Oregano-Hazelnut Pesto)

If there is one fall tradition I uphold above all, it is making and freezing pesto. Pumpkin spice lattes we can take or leave, but we simply cannot be without multiple batches of homemade pesto as we head into winter.

I keep an eye on the frost warnings, but generally I harvest my herbs during the last week of September. All the basil is set aside for pesto – and a good bunch of the parsley and oregano, too. We like variety in our pesto; it makes up for the fact that we are decidedly unvaried in our use of the sauce. Yep, you guessed it: pasta. I am the mother of three children, after all.

Pizza closely follows pasta as a vehicle for enjoying homemade pesto. There’s hardly a winter pizza we make that doesn’t take a spoonful of the sauce, like this Brussels Sprout, Walnut & Pesto Pizza. Ohh, la la.

Here’s how my autumn pesto blitz goes down, plus a recipe for a new favourite: Oregano Hazelnut Pesto.

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