New Year; Old Habits (the good ones)

On my table right now are three notebooks opened wide, a stack of cookbooks, a laptop, two magazines, and a clipboard filled with lists and notes.

Once glance in my direction and you would have no problem believing that I am drawing up my 2019 plans. hopes. dreams. The start of a new year has inspired me immensely; it’s the way I am wired. Also, I’ve recently launched an exciting new life chapter and turning the calendar to 2019 has only fuelled my inertia.

Today’s post is to encourage you to keep up those helpful kitchen habits we covered last fall –  menu planning, meal prep and batch cooking – plus a few more super practical reminders. If I need the nudge, you just might too, so let’s revisit!

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The best cooler hacks for a picnic at the beach

We’re logging quite a few beach days this summer, as our three children are the ideal age for this outing.

Now that everyone knows how to swim, the beach is actually relaxing, and that is a welcome change after a decade of rescuing kids from the surf. After applying sunscreen to three little people, my main job is feeding them all and that takes some organization – and the right gear.

This summer I’m dishing my best hacks for packing a cooler. On blistering hot July days, it takes some strategic planing to keep everything cold.

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Tips for roasting a whole leg of lamb

When I think of a roast leg of lamb, I think of Jamie Oliver. Can’t you just hear him exclaiming over how it gives you the most tender, delicious meat that just falls off the bone?

He’s absolutely right about that. And he’d probably point out how simple it is to make, which wouldn’t be wrong either. Mastering a leg of lamb is even easier than perfecting the roast chicken. And I think Easter dinner is an ideal time to splurge on an organic, 100% grass-fed leg of lamb.

We’re fortunate to have terrific lamb in Québec. My butcher sources mine from the village of Kamouraska, which aside from it being one of the prettiest towns in the province, boasts several farms that are caring properly for their animals and raising them responsibly.

The last leg of lamb I roasted was for Christmas dinner and it was absolutely ace. So, so good. It even outshone the yorkshire pudding, brussels sprouts and whipped brown butter sweet potatoes. I can’t wait to full up my table with hungry people and do it all over again.

I know there are plenty of recipes out there for leg of lamb, including Jamie’s fabulous looking Easter Lamb, but maybe you can glean a tidbit or two from my roasting tips below.

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Snow Day Hacks – Emergency Substitutions for Pantry Ingredients

The following is a guest post from Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity. Welcome, Cheri!

This winter has been a harsh one for so many people. We’re being bitten by the baking bug on a regular basis, almost out of necessity – our homes need warmth, our bodies need nourishment and our souls need comforting.

The problem with being snowed in, is that when the desire for baking strikes you can’t get to the store to pick up all the items you need, and that always seems to be the time that, that basic ingredient, that you always have on hand just happens to run out.

I present to you your snow day saving grace – kitchen hacks for pantry staples. These are not meant to be used on a regular basis but are great in a pinch. You can substitute the basics and still get delicious results without having to run to the grocery store in a blizzard. [Read more…]

12 hosting tips for putting your best plate forward

It feels like Thanksgiving crept up on me this year, and as fate would have it, my kitchen is going to be swirling in a chaos of renovations on the upcoming long weekend.

I won’t have a functioning cooktop, but I will have an oven, so Maple Pecan Pie is still on the menu. Whew. Actually we are dining with family both Saturday and Sunday, so I won’t have to wrangle any sort of mid-construction holiday dinner in my own kitchen. (PS. Stay tuned for a full kitchen tour coming soon when everything is back in place.)

If you’re welcoming guests on Thanksgiving weekend – or any day, for that matter – then today’s simple entertaining tips are for you. I’m a big believer in details, and know that even small gestures can make a big difference when receiving guests.

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