This category covers groceries, restaurants, bars, alcohol, entertaining and recipes.

German Oven-Puffed Pancake, Cooking Light- Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Easy As Sin: Make Glorious Puff Pancakes

As a breakfast treat for sleepover guests (or for anyone any time for that matter), nothing is more spectacular than classic German puff pancakes.

German Oven-Puffed Pancake, Cooking Light- Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

FROM THE VAULT | “Easy as sin” is how Deb Perelman at the famous food blog Smitten Kitchen describes her generic recipe for sweet German pancakes, which involve precisely two and a half minutes of prep time. “A delicious no-brainer” is the way I describe the most scrumptious dessert pancakes on the planet. Read more

Butterfly popcorn flake

5 top recipes for popcorn toppings no one will be able to resist

Here are 5 top recipes for popcorn toppings your guests will not be able to resist.

Butterfly popcorn flake

 

FROM THE VAULT | Although I wasn’t able to get everything organized in time for the Emmy Awards this year, I will be hosting a popcorn party for friends and family when the Oscars roll around on Sunday. Movies and popcorn are a winning combo, and in the past few weeks I’ve been scouring the Internet for recipes, whipping up toppings and popping up a storm on my stovetop. Read more

guacamole iStock

An Appetite For Easy: One Minute Guacamole

Here’s a recipe for the best guacamole you’ll ever scoop on a chip: it’s fresh, seriously delicious and you can make it in a minute.

guacamole iStock

 

ONE-MINUTE WONDER | It’s a holiday today in British Columbia and we are having friends over for a dinner, which means I’m going to need appies: lots of them. I can get away with serving strictly store-bought stuff—cerignola olives, edemame in the shell, gourmet potato chips—if I serve it in small, one-of-a-kind containers that give it an air of exclusivity. But store-bought alone feels ungracious to me so I like to mix in a few homemade or half-scratch appies I can turn around on a dime. One of my all-time half-scratch favourites is cheater guacamole. I’m always surprised by how many people ask me for the recipe. Read more

IMG_0794 copy2

BARKING MAD

Here’s how to make our four favourite variations on classic chocolate bark. (RECIPES)

EASY & DELISH | We are forever on the lookout for spectacular made-in-minutes desserts. Our quest has lead us to ambrosial treats such as Donna Hey’s five-minute clafloutis, Dorie Greenspan’s five-minute apple cake and Teresa Syrnyk’s quick bacon candy. Every one these sweets is two yums up in our book—and so is chocolate bark, the perfect basket-ready candy to share at Easter.

Nothing is easier to make than chocolate bark is, and few desserts have the potential for personalizing that this drop-dead gorgeous confection has.

Here are our top four chocolate bark recipes.

Bark Management

Chocolate bark is basically melted chocolate that has been poured out into a pan and then garnished with candies, fruits, flowers, nuts, whatever. That’s all there is to it. You can use whatever type of chocolate you like and whatever toppings in whatever combinations you want, which is what can make each batch of bark so interesting.

Contrary to what some recipes say, it really is best to melt your chocolate on the stove, in a double boiler (not in the microwave). If you don’t have an official pan, improvise by using a stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water.

I like to make bark in bread baking pans. They are the prefect size to turn out slabs of bark that look like supersize candy bars. Be sure to line the pan you use with greased parchment paper so the candy will pop out of it easily.

Barks Worth A Bite

We love Specialty Cake Creations’s white chocolate bark made with freeze-dried strawberries (find them at outdoor stores or Trader Joe’s) and salted pistachios. CLICK HERE for the recipe.

We love Murray Bancroft’s Nowruz-inspired chocolate bark. We made ours with rose petals (find them at Persian markets or specialty food shops), salted pistachios and dried sour cherries. CLICK HERE for the recipe.

We love Healthy-Delicious.com’s  ginger coconut dark chocolate bark. CLICK HERE for the recipe.

We love Martha Stewart’s lime and macadamia nut bark. CLICK HERE for the recipe— eds

White Chocolate Bark - Carolann Rule White & Dark Chocolate Bark - Carolann Rule Martha Stewart's Lime & Macadamia Nut Bark Dark Chocolate Bark - Carolann Rule ealthy-Delicious Ginger Coconut-Bark

A Bushel Of Apples - iStock

When To Go Organic & When Not To Bother

 The experts at Licious Living share their list of the “cleanest” and “dirtiest” fruits and veggies in your supermarket.

A Bushel Of Apples - iStock

 

GOOD TO KNOW | “Should I buy organic or is it just a waste of my money? I get this question a lot,” says Deanna Embury, who, with co-founder Katie Rodgers, operates Licious Living, a healthy eating company that supplies Vancouverites and Torontonians with super-tasty home-delivered meals plus operates wallet-friendly cafés in British Columbia and Alberta. Read more

dulce-de-leche

Technique: Make Dulce de Leche In The Microwave

Most recipes for making dulce de leche require slaving over a stovetop. Here’s how to beat that heat and whip it up quick.

 dulce-de-leche

 

EASY LIKE THIS | When friends of ours returned from a holiday in Argentina a while back, they brought us a jar of the country’s finest dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is a traditional Argentinean dessert made by caramelizing sugar in milk. It is not to be confused with North American caramel sauce, which made by caramelizing sugar in water. Dulce de leche is more subtly sweet than ordinary caramel sauce is; it’s also infinitely creamier, making it perfect on top of ice cream or inside treats like brownies and cheesecake. Read more

Bacon - iStock

Technique: Make Perfect, Crisp Bacon In The Oven

Nothing says lovin’ like bacon from the oven; it’s no fuss, no mess and quick.

Bacon - iStock

 

EASY & DELISH | The holidays are all about group meals like big breakfast spreads and brunches. Both of these multiplate affairs are always improved when sizzling strips of bacon are on the menu, though slaving over a sputtering frying pan to cook up a temperamental batch is a task fewer and fewer of us choose to tackle. But what if you could cook perfect bacon for a crowd while sitting in the living room balancing a Buck’s fizz in one hand and a cheesy blintz in the other? You can if you bake your bacon instead of frying it.

Read more

Ice Cream Sliders

An Appetite for Easy: Sweet Ice Cream Sliders

Could there be anything easier than making tiny ice cream sandwiches for dessert?

Ice Cream Sliders

 

 

EASY & DELISH | Most of us have snacked on hamburger sliders before, those meat filled mini burgers on tiny buns that are gone in two bites flat, but have you ever had an ice cream slider? I have. At a dinner party recently, our hostess brought out bowls filled with different flavours of ice cream and a sampler of cookies and invited us to build our own ice cream sliders for dessert. What a great idea! Read more

Sea Salt caramels- mymansbelly

How To Make Perfect Caramels In The Microwave

Yes, it really is possible to make super yummy sea salt caramels in the microwave.

Sea Salt caramels- mymansbelly

 

EASY & DELISH | When my daughter got married last May, she asked her aunt and me to make chocolate bark and fleur de sel caramels for the wedding reception. The bark was no problem; I’d made it before, and nothing could be easier (CLICK HERE for our recipes). The caramels made me nervous. There’s kitchen science involved in producing caramels that are both soft and chewy.

So we put off making these paper-wrapped sweets until a few days before the wedding—then muddled through using a recipe we found on Epicurious.com (CLICK HERE to get it). Only after the big day did I learn that we could have saved ourselves both time and concern by making our candy in the microwave. Read more

Pomegranate cut in half
TECHNIQUE: Deseed A Pomegranate Lightening Quick

Pomegranate cut in half

SAVE TIME | Pomegranates are everywhere in supermarkets right now, and maybe you’ve been eyeing them with reluctance because you hate the thought of picking and plucking at the hundreds of juice-wrapped kernels (anywhere from 200 to 1,400 per pomegranate) nestled inside the fruit’s fleshy membrane housed in a rosy-red case.

Fret not. Here’s a little tip on how to deseed a pomegranate in fewer than two minutes. We picked up it from a friend who picked it up from a chef at Rambagh Palace, “the jewel of Jaipur,” in western India—how exotic is that! Read more