Homemade Garlic Croutons

This week I decided to be a bit daring and create my own Homemade Garlic Croutons. See, my kids LOVE the garlic goodness but I wanted to see if I could make a healthy version. The result: an easy, inexpensive, delicious Homemade Garlic Croutons recipe. You gotta try this…

Homemade Garlic Croutons

What made my Homemade Garlic Croutons healthy? I used Demptser’s Garden Vegetable Bread (vegetables in bread?! yes, there are carrots and pumpkin in it…but I assure you it doesn’t have an overbearing “veggie” taste).

Homemade Garlic Croutons Recipe

Homemade Garlic Croutons
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making Homemade Garlic Croutons is easy, inexpensive, and yummy! Great for salads, snacks, and cheese plates.
Serves: 8
  • 6 slices of Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  1. Heat over to 375C
  2. Place 6 slices of Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread on a cookie sheet
  3. Brush melted butter over each of the bread slices
  4. Sprinkle garlic powder on each bread slice (to taste)
  5. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 12 minutes.
  6. After baking (turn off oven), place toasted garlic bread slices on a cutting board and cut into cubes.
  7. Then, return garlic bread cubes to cookie sheet.
  8. Next, return cookie sheet to hot oven (which is turned off) for 3-5 minutes.
  9. Serve warm immediately or store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.

Homemade Garlic Croutons Ideas

These Homemade Garlic Croutons are great for after-school snack (and in the lunch box too). They are also crunchy additions to any green salad. Oh I realized a grown-up switch up when I stumbled upon my husband munching on my Homemade Garlic Croutons…

Garlic Toast with Brie and Salami

Homemade Garlic Croutons

I know what I’m putting out for the guests the next time we do a wine & cheese!

Disclosure: #spon and these Homemade Garlic Croutons were truly a hit with the Brie. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. Visit Dempster’s on Facebook and follow @Dempsters on twitter 

Spaghetti Pie Recipe

This hearty pasta casserole is delicious! I know – you are thinking – spaghetti?! – pie?! Yes, dear readers…Spaghetti Pie! And this recipe makes enough for a family dinner (plus lunch the next day). I would also flag this spaghetti pie recipe for class lunch and potlucks. Oh, I did I mention this is totally make-ahead and freezable?! This is print-worthy…

Spaghetti Pie Recipe


Spaghetti Pie Recipe

Spaghetti Pie Recipe
Prep time
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Total time
This Spaghetti Pie Recipe is super easy, make-ahead, and freezble. Makes a 9×13 and an 8×8 – perfect for a big family dinner, make-ahead meal, or potluck.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 900 g spaghetti
  • 28 fl oz spaghetti sauce
  • 500 ml sour cream
  • 1 bag shredded ozzarella cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat over to 375F.
  2. Grease 9×13 and 8×8 casserole pans.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain.
  4. Beat eggs.
  5. Combine sour cream, eggs, and parmesan in bowl. Stir in cooked spaghetti.
  6. Place spaghetti mixture in greased casserole dishes. Layer ½ the mozzarella cheese over both casserole dishes of spaghetti.
  7. Next, spread spaghetti sauce over top of both casseroles.
  8. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over both the 9×13 and 8×8 spaghetti pies.
  9. NOTE: You can cover the casseroles and freeze at this point.
  10. Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serviing. To serve spoon onto plates. Serves 10-12.

I made this spaghetti pie recipe this week for guests (huge hit!) and along side of it was a basic garden salad with my Easy Vinaigrette Recipe, Italian sausages, and baguette. I made the spaghetti pie without meat (should a guest be vegetarian) but you could certainly add cooked ground beef or cooked sausage.

Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines

Madeleines are a favourite in my house. It’s a great little cake to eat with coffee or tea (think breakfast or afternoon snack). Also pretty perfect as a homemade school lunch treat. You have to try my Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines…

Madeleines Recipe - Recette Madeleines

Yes, I have fancy silicone molds from France for baking Madeleines – but you could use a muffin liners and a muffin pan and create the same yumminess.

Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines is easy enough to make with kids and yummy enough to serve to guests!
Serves: 12-14 Madeleines
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ oil
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Drops of lemon or orange juice (and zest makes it better)
  1. Measure, pour, and stir together dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Measure, pour, and stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well (until there are no lumps).
  4. Spray Madeleine silicone mold or muffin pan and spoon mixture in.


This Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines is easy enough to make with kids and yummy enough to serve to guests. You have to try these…

And I would totally serve these on the table next to my Red Fruit Salad :-)

Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

This easy (and delicious) Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe is the favourite side dish of my daughter. It’s a great make-ahead dish which also freezes. Serve it as a side dish for your next family meal or as a main dish when you add bacon….my daughter even eats it as an after-school snack…

Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe
Prep time
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Twice Baked Potatoes are delish! Make ahead, freeze, or prep, cook, and serve! Recipe can easily be doubled and tripled for a crowd.
Serves: 2
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • ½ cup sour cream (or 2% milk)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pepper
  1. Pre-cook baking potatoes (9 minutes on high in microwave).
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Using a knife, cut baked potatoes lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the potato insides (be careful not to break skin) and put in bowl. Set potato skins aside on a cookie sheet.
  4. Mash potatoes. Add sour cream (or milk), garlic, ½ of the shredded cheese, and generous amounts of pepper.
  5. Spoon potato mixture into potato skins.
  6. Cover with remaining shredded cheese.
  7. Bake in a pre-heated oven (350C) for 15-20 minutes (or until cheese is melted).

Check out my ideas for other Easy Side Dishes. And if you love cheese like I do…you have to try my Slow Cooker Mac N’ Cheese (yes, you read that correctly SLOW COOKER!).

Grazing and Alice Eats

I am a grazer. I eat many small meals throughout the day. So do my kids. So when I heard about a recipe book called “Grazing” I was completely interested. Instead of a regular book review…I decided to do something different…actually test drive the recipes and see if they were a hit or miss with my family and friends…do you think Julie would approve?… ;-)

Grazing and Alice Eats

Written by Dinner With Julie super cook Julie Van Rosendaal (she is also super funny – I co-presented a Blog To Book presentation at Blissdom Canada with her and she was a natural at making people smile). Her publisher @whitecapbooks  saw me tweet about her Grazing and offered to send me a copy. “Yes please!” As a grazer, I truly appreciate recipes which give a healthier approach to snacks and finger foods. And being a Mom to kids who prefer finger foods for meals as well as snacks (especially my toddler) – the idea of a go-to book for finger foods is amazing!

My first test drive experience…Julie’s Cherry Tomato and Olive Bruschetta ->


And I upped the anxiety by making this for a dinner party appetizer. 1,000 fairy points to Julie for creating a recipe that has variations, make-ahead appeal, and taste. It was easy to make in the afternoon, hide it away in the fridge, and bring it out when the party started. HIT. The adults raved about the bruschetta (I served it with crackers, pita triangles, and thinly cut baguette). Being it was a tapas party…the bruschetta was the perfect appetizer to start our nibbling. So I said the adults loved it…the kids wouldn’t try it (gah kids!).

A few days later…I decided the test-drive had to be something I knew the kids would try…Homemade Chicken Bites ->

Homemade Chicken Bites

Now, don’t tell Julie but I went astray on her Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard recipe. I tried to double the recipe but somehow messed up my math on the homemade dry breadcrumbs part (my fault not Julie’s). Thus, my chicken “strips” looked more like “bites” (thus the name change). Despite the mix up…they were a resounding HIT. The kids loved them (so did adults). Moist chicken (I had never put chicken in buttermilk before…but I will do this always from now on!). Crunchy breading. It was delish! Truly.

Alice Eats is a highly illustrated cookbook which integrates Alice in Wonderland themed recipes with creative stories. It would make a great Alice in Wonderland themed wedding shower gift. Or a tea party! hmm…now I crave tea and scones…

Share! What’s your favourite “grazing” finger food?

Fruit Eating Game

This is a fun Fruit Eating Game I created with the kids over the holidays. My daughter actually said “Mommy, Papa has ‘fun parent’ competition today!” – I think that was meant as a compliment ;-) Anyway, this fruit eating game was a big hit with the kids (and it got them eating fruit with big smiles!). I call it “One, Two, Three…SUCK”

Fruit Eating Game

Fruit Eating Game

You will need:

  • Plate
  • Knife
  • Orange
  1. On plate, cut orange into wedges (discard the white “pulp” but keep the orange skin).
  2. Line up orange wedges – skin side down.
  3. Kids circle around plate (doing this at the kitchen table or while sitting around the coffee table works best).
  4. Have kids hold up arms (as if they were being robbed).
  5. Have kids put hands behind their backs (as if their were being handcuffed).
  6. Shout out together “One, Two, Three…SUCK” and each participant picks up an orange wedge with their mouth (no using hands!) and sucks the orange. Discard sucked orange wedge to side of plate.
  7. Repeat.

It was like bobbing for apples. Just oranges. And. they. loved. it.

Do your kids like to play with food like mine? Then they will love my DIY – Kid-Friendly Sushi and Snack Ideas For Toddlers. I confess…most meals we sit down and are very serious – discussing days events and weekend plans. However, it is fun – once in a while – to switch up a family meal. Picnic in the living room. Hands-free eating like my fun fruit game above. Crazy dinner where you eat breakfast at night. There’s nothing wrong with a meal switch-up right? It breaks the routine and is kinda fun for pd days and snow days.

And when you pair an eating game with healthy food (like the oranges above)…well that busts the meal boredom and encourages healthy food choices. Win/win.

Red Fruit Salad

I was inspired when hosting our last play date and created a winner-of-a-snack for kids…Red Fruit Salad. It was easy, healthy, and yummy…plus, the kids thought I knocked it out of the ballpark when I served it in ice cream cones…

Fruit in ice cream cones

And then, we grown ups enjoyed it for dessert in non-ice-cream-cone format…

red fruit salad

Red Fruit Salad
Prep time
Total time
Easy, healthy, and yummy…red fruit salad!
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 4-6
  • Strawberries (washed and sliced)
  • Seedless red grapes (washed – cut or whole)
  • Red delicious apple (washed and cubed)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Optional: ice cream cones (to hold fruit)
  1. Wash strawberries, grapes, apple. Cut fruits into bite size pieces. Put in container. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar. Mix. Let sit 30 minutes.
  2. Spoon a serving into ice cream cones.
  3. Kids LOVE this.


As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Tips For Making Valentine’s Day Special

This is the post where I share some of the special things I do at home to make Valentine’s Day special chez moi. For the kids. For my prince. Even for me. Here are my Tips For Making Valentine’s Day Special…

Tips For Making Valentine's Day Special

Lunch Box Notes are an easy (and FREE) way to make Valentine’s Day Special. A simple post-it note saying “I love you” is perfection.

Romantic Dinner IdeasI love making Special Meals for Valentine’s Day (and birthdays and most holidays – I special days require special meals). I highly recommend the easy Valentine’s Day recipes in my Romantic Dinner Ideas  post or this recipe for Ravioli Hearts with Brown Butter Sauce because they all follow my philosophy “Valentine’s Day should be easy”. And parents just need more easy don’t they?!

Time Together really makes Valentine’s Day. I ensure we all have a sit down dinner where we can talk about our days. Even the bad stuff in our days. It connects.

Yes, I already have the class Valentine’s Day Cards ready to go (I’m such a keener!). Those class cards are such an activity in school. My kids always come home with a brown paper bag of them.  We love to put on some Music and play “show n’ tell” with the class Valentine’s. Though I prefer Michael Bublé my big kids will certainly choose a playlist of Bruno Mars.
And of course we gift. Gifts (homemade or store bought) are always a treat. Whether it be a “I Love Bacon” t-shirt for my big kids or a jar with “reasons why I love you” handmade…gifting is good.  So are Red and White themes – from clothing to home decorations – it puts you in the mood. I don’t expect Flowers on Valentine’s Day and Surprises like flower, sweet treats, and cards can really bring a smile to my face.

And there is nothing better than cuddling up next to your sweetheart on the couch – under a mountain of Warm Blankets. Ok maybe better than that would be Hugs and Saying “I Love You” to that sweetheart. ;-)

Do you have any tips for making Valentine’s Day special?

Disclosure: #Spon. And my pasta is my fav. romantic dinner – true story. As always, the opinions in this post are my own.

Valentine’s Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas

I try to go the no-chocolate/no-candy Valentine’s Day treat route (with food sensitivities, food allergies, and sugar highs I opt on the side of safe!). I have 12 Valentine’s Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas which will make great Valentine’s Day Class Treats!

Valentine's Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas

12 Valentine’s Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas

  1. Zipit Monster Zipper Twister Pencil Case, Mastermind Toys
  2. Elope Heart Shaped Sunglasses, Mastermind Toys
  3. PLAY-DOH Valentines Bag, Target
  4. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Loblaws
  5. Valentines Day Lip Whistles, Party City
  6. Valentines Day Glitter Pencils 12ct, Party City
  7. Valentines Day Mega Sticker Box 1000ct, Party City
  8. Touchable Bubbles Test Tube, Mastermind Toys
  9. Safari Limited Lion Good Luck Mini Figure, Mastermind Toys
  10. Valentine’s Day Krazy Straw, Party City
  11. Valentines Day Puzzle Cube, Party City
  12. Glow Stick Necklace, Party City

List not in order?! True. We could call it a Valentine’s Mix n’ Match game or Valentine’s Bingo activity or simply there-are-not-enough-hours-in-my-day (last one is my pick).

Feelin’ DIY for Valentine’s Day? Try my Valentine’s Day Class Treats suggestions on how to make a Valentine’s Day pencil holder or Valentine’s Day ruler holder.

I do give sweets to my kids on Valentine’s Day (after school!)…I just think…if I was a teacher…I wouldn’t want 30 kids in my class in arms-reach to sugar while on school time.

Therefore, I’m pretty sure this is will be our après l’école Valentine’s Day sweet treat…sugar high on my time?…yes please!

Easy Chocolate Trifle

My Easy Chocolate Trifle recipe. It is amazeballs ;-)

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes

Ok since the afternoon I made these Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes with my son…I have been asked for “heart cupcakes” ever since. Big hit in the Valentine’s-Day-Activity department! This is a 2-in-1 activity as making the cupcakes was activity 1 and decorating them was activity 2 (followed by activity 3 of eating said cupcakes). Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes anyone?…

Valentine's Day Chocolate Cupcakes

TIP: For the icing sugar heart – I simply used the cut out from my DIY Cut A Paper Heart tutorial. Placed that on top of the Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes and had my son shake icing sugar (we have an icing sugar shaker which made this pretty mess-free). Scroll to the bottom for a step-by-step on how to make a paper heart.

Valentine's Day Cupcake


Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Kid-friendly recipe for Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 12 large cupcakes and 8 mini cupcakes
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of strong coffee (brewed and cooled)
  • ½ cup of oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Icing sugar to decorate
  1. Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and cocoa powder) in bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Add in wet ingredients (coffee, eggs, oil, and vanilla).
  4. Beat on high for 2 minutes (until there are no lumps).
  5. Line muffin pan with silicone or paper liners.
  6. Spray liners with baking spray.
  7. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop out batter and put into muffin liners.
  8. Bake at 350C for 20 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  10. This recipe made 12 large cupcakes along with 8 mini cupcakes
  11. Decoration instructions at www.parentclub.ca

How to cut a paper heart

Romantic Dinner Ideas

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I have been on the look out for some romantic dinner ideas (and of course I did a trial run – my family LOVED it). I decided to share some recipes which you can make in less than 30 minutes…and create a Valentine’s Day menu special enough for a couple dinner and yet easy enough for a meal for the whole family.

Romantic Dinner Ideas

Romantic Dinner Ideas

  • Olivieri Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese tossed in olive oil and topped with Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes
  • Salmon in parchment paper
  • Tomatoes in parchment paper
  • Asparagus in parchment paper

Oliveri Ravioli

I had initially wanted to make Olivieri Ravioli Hearts with Brown Butter Sauce (looks SO good) but couldn’t find them at my grocery store.  Then I discovered the Olivieri Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese and knew it would be a hit. What I didn’t know was how fast it cooks! In minutes, the fresh pasta was done. I was so impressed (and the whole family loved it).

This was a one pot and one cookie sheet dinner in under 30 minutes! First, I prepared the foods for parchment paper…

Fish in Parchment

Romantic dinner can be delish – and healthy. This Canadian salmon was done in parchment paper, with salt & pepper, a dash of olive oil and lemon slices. Can I note that these romantic dinner ideas were all test-driven while kids were doing homework/playing around me/on a week night! I would make this dinner again and again…it was so easy. And so good!

I wish I had thought to make my Easy Chocolate Trifle because A) it is incredible B) it is so flippin’ easy C) red, white, and chocolate are my favourite colours of Valentine’s Day ;-)

Dinner in parchment paper

There you are…half our dinner in parchment paper. Asparagus, tomatoes, and two packs of fish in parchment paper. I put it in a 350C oven for 25 minutes. Because the Olivieri Ravioli was fresh (not frozen) the pasta cooked in minutes. Seriously. Minutes. Once cooked, I drained the pasta. Put it back in the pot and tossed it with olive oil. I kept it in the pot until the last minute and then plated it; topping it with grated Parmesan cheese and parley flakes. It looked (and tasted) AMAZING.

Romantic Dinner Ideas

I know our Valentine’s Day Menu…do you have any #Recipes4Romance to share? I would love to read your romantic dinner ideas!

Disclosure: #Spon. And my whole family LOVED this romantic dinner menu. As always, the opinions in this post are my own.

Granola Breakfast Muffins

Some days just call for a grab-n-go breakfast. These Granola Breakfast Muffins were super easy to make, jammed packed with healthy goodness, and really quite yummy to eat with one hand.

Granola Breakfast MuffinsTIP: I use an ice cream scooper to scoop cake and muffin batter from mixing bowl into pans. 

Not only are these granola breakfast muffins a great way to start your day (I love them) – they are also a super easy addition to the school lunch box!

Granola Breakfast Muffins

Granola Breakfast Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easy, yummy, and healthy these Granola Breakfast Muffins are a great way to start your day and also a great snack for school lunches.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup wheat bran (or you could crush bran flakes)
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1 container of vanilla yogurt (individual serving size)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ oil
  • Granola to top each muffin (I used Harvest Crunch Granola)
  1. Preheat oven to 350C
  2. In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, bran flakes, and flax. Mix well.
  3. Add in yogurt, eggs, milk, oil. Combine and mix so as there are no lumps.
  4. Using an ice cream scooper – scoop out mixture into muffin pan (use paper muffin liners or silicone liners).
  5. Sprinkle granola on top of each muffin (to taste).
  6. Bake 20 minutes at 350C. Take out and cool on wire rack.
  7. Makes 12 Granola Breakfast Muffins.

At our house, baking is a kid activity (great boredom buster too). Oh the bliss in measuring, pouring, and stirring! Just today my toddler pulled the step stool up to the counter and asked “what are we going to make today?”. If your kids love baking too – I recommend my recipe for Easy Applesauce Muffins and my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe - both super easy and very kid-friendly.

As for my Granola Breakfast Muffins – they were a huge hit (and there are none left!).