Food and Drink

Quick and easy kale carbonara

Kale—the superfood everyone talks about—is delicious when prepared properly, and is jam-packed with iron, vitamin K, and powerful antioxidants.  Here is a quick and easy carbonara recipe packed with healthy kale, ready in just 30 minutes!

Quick and easy kale carbonara

Quick and easy kale carbonara

Prep time: 10 minutes, cook time: 20 minutes


  • 1 lb. linguine or spaghetti
  • 5 strips of bacon, diced
  • 2 bunches of kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • red pepper flakes


  1. Cook the pasta per the package’s directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and sauté diced bacon until crisp.
  3. Add washed, coarsely-chopped kale to the bacon renderings and sauté until wilted.
  4. Whisk eggs and cheese together and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Once kale is sautéed, squeeze the juice of the lemon and toss with bacon.
  6. After pasta is al dente, drain and add to kale mixture. Stir in egg and cheese. Serve immediately.

Optional: Add some of the starchy pasta water if the carbonara appears too dry.

Serves 4-6

Guilt-free banana and Nutella ice cream

Guilt-free banana and Nutella ice creamI recently came across this recipe for an instant chocolate-chip ice cream in Chatelaine and immediately thought it was a great idea for when I need a guilt-free (and healthy) way to squash my sweet tooth.

This recipe literally takes less than five minutes to prepare, and is a great way to use up ripe bananas sitting on your counter.


  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp. of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • 1 tbsp. of skimmed milk


  1. Peel and slice the ripe bananas in half, and freeze until firm.
  2. Once the bananas are firm, remove them from the freezer and add them to a food processor.
  3. Whirl until you get a smooth, soft serve-like consistency, and add the Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread and skimmed milk.
  4. Incorporate using a spatula, making sure you get the sides of the food processor.
  5. Add desired toppings (Rice Chex cereal pictured above), and serve immediately.

Optional: If you’d prefer harder, frozen texture, you may opt to put the mixture in the freezer until the desired consistency is reached.

Eating through The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 2

From locally-made salt-water taffy to hand-pulled pork shoulder, visitors are getting more than a taste of the lives of Canadian breeders, growers, and agricultural exhibitors.

“Five years ago, one would have never imagined ‘Cowboy Fries’ offered for sale at The Royal,” said Frank Caputo, vendor and owner of Toronto food truck, “Hank Daddy.”

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, taking place at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place until Nov. 11, is quickly becoming a destination for lovers of all things food.

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair - Chefs Competition

Courtesy Scott Vivian, Beast Restaurant –

Vendors on hand are highlighting out-of-the-ordinary food items – often available only in specialty shops – and you can sample your way through a plethora of vendors serving up everything from succulent barbequed meat, to gourmet confectionary, to fresh-to-order hot apple dumplings.

Caputo’s number-one offering, the “Pulled Pork Parfait,” is made with crispy sweet potato fries, soft-pulled pork, and a crunchy cabbage slaw – a dish he and his daughter created four years ago.

For Caputo, this is only the first step in bringing more gourmet food trucks to the streets of Toronto.

“Demonstrating the passion we put into our food to the thousands who come through The Royal – even if it’s served from a food truck – is crucial in changing the way Torontonians consume street food.”

Jordan McLelland and his seven-year-old daughter have visited The Royal for the past three years.

“I’ve never seen so much focus on the show for ‘foodies,’” McLelland said.  “I knew there was a ‘food truck revolution’ happening all over the U.S. and Canada, but seeing so much food highlighted at The Royal this year is surprising.”

New this year to celebrate the show’s 90th anniversary, Food Network celebrity chef Curtis Stone will be hosting the Chefs Competition taking place Saturday at the Royal Culinary Theatre.

Food Network personalities Bob Blumer (World’s Weirdest Restaurants) and Kevin Brauch (The Thirsty Traveler) hosted the Royal Mixology Competition Monday, pitting local mixologists against one another in a competition for top cocktail made with Ontario ingredients.

“Food is a large part of The Royal’s history, and business is booming,” said Carl Marquardt, a confectioner who has been at The Royal for 30 years.  “The new competitions and wild culinary offerings this year only solidify what is already an exploding ‘foodie’ culture.”

Fun Halloween mocktail ideas

Throwing a Halloween party can be a lot of fun, and figuring out what to serve at your party can be a little intimidating.  A party would not be complete without mocktails so the non-alcoholic drinkers can have a fun, too!

To help you along the way, here are five Halloween non-alcoholic mocktail recipes to include in your party this year – ideal for adults and teens alike!

The simple, non-alcoholic fruit punch
For a fun twist on a classic fruit punch, mix half a gallon of sherbet ice cream and two litres of ginger ale.  This non-alcoholic fruit punch is a refreshing mocktail, full of bubbles and zest.

Pomegranate Bellini
Heat the pomegranate juice in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling.  Whisk in half-a-cup of blueberry jam until it is smooth and combined.  Strain the liquid through a pitcher.  Put the syrup into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

To serve, pour two or three teaspoons of syrup into champagne flutes and fill with non-alcoholic champagne.  Float a few blueberries on top to garnish, and enjoy.

“Monstermash smoothie”
In a blender, combine fresh strawberries with a splash of orange juice, set aside.  Blend a handful of blackberries and blueberries until you get a puree consistency.

To serve, pour one layer of strawberries, followed by a layer of blueberry/blackberry mash.  Top with a blended orange juice and vanilla yogurt mix.  This drink is thick, creamy, and refreshing.  Serve with a spoon so your guests can mix the drink, giving it a layered and marbled look.

“Zombie eye punch”
Pull out the stems of 10 cups of cherries, and insert a chocolate chip in each cherry.  These will represent your zombie eyes.  Add all of the zombie eyes into the bottom of a punch bowl.  Combine three cups of ginger ale, 10 cups of cherry cola, five cups of red fruit juice concentrate, and three cups of pineapple juice.
Chill and serve.

“The Vampire Bite”
In a large pitcher, combine two cups of cranberry juice, half-a-cup of apple juice, and a quarter-cup of grenadine.  Top it off with two cups of seltzer water.

Squeeze one tube of red candy gel on a plate.  Rim the edges of four low-ball glasses and pour the prepared drink evenly into the glasses.  Garnish with gummy vampire teeth and serve immediately.

How to be a Great Party Guest

The summer season tends to mean more socializing, especially in the form of backyard parties and BBQs. Before you head to the next event on your social calendar, why not brush up on your guest etiquette?Follow our suggestions to make sure you have a good time – and are invited back!

The Importance of RSVP’ing

RSVP – short for “Répondez, s’il vous plait” – means to “please respond.”  It is your invitation to let them know whether or not you plan on attending their function.  Not replying to an RSVP can be interpreted as rude as they’re busy planning the amount of food to serve to guests, party supplies, drinks, etc.  By withholding your RSVP, you’re preventing the host or hostess from accurately preparing for the function.

Being a Timely Guest

Party hosts often need to time out food service so that hors d’oeuvres are fresh and ready just when the guests are arriving.  Being on-time is crucial – you don’t want to arrive late.  You don’t want to add extra stress on the cook of having to keep the food warm.   Plus, if you arrive early, simply mingle with the other party guests.

Bring a Gift for the Host

Taking a bottle of sparkling wine or a few pre-mixed cocktails would be great choices for the host or hostess.  For more creative and fun host gift ideas, take a look at our feature, here.

Be Prepared to “Schmooze”

As the saying goes, don’t be a party pooper.  Prepare yourself by thinking of a few easy conversation topics – recent movies, funny work stories and recent news are great starting points.  Remember to avoid controversial topics like religion and politics.

Eat/Drink Responsibly

Don’t arrive at the party with an empty stomach.  You don’t want to arrive ready to devour everything in sight.  As a rule of thumb, when it comes to drinks, only grab two – a party with an intoxicated person is never fun.

Help with the Clean Up

Once the dinner party is done, offer to help clean up.  If someone has gone to the effort of cooking a delicious meal, they shouldn’t have to do the dishes, too.  Step in, and offer to assist – even if they protest against it.

Write a Thank You Note

Finally, remember to write a kind thank you note to the host or hostess for inviting you to their party.

What guest tips do you have?  Sound off in the comments below!

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