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Celebrate spring with these 12 brunch recipes

Cityline | posted Saturday, Apr 5th, 2014

Hosting a brunch this spring? Whether you’re having a few friends over on the weekend or the whole extended family is coming by for Easter, we’ve gathered together some of our fave brunch recipes that’ll have everyone asking for seconds.

Yummy twists on family favourites:

We’re regularly craving classic brunch dishes, from eggs and bacon, to fluffy pancakes. If your guests love the standards, too, try some of our creative twists on traditional recipes! These egg & toast tartlets from Claire Tansey are a fun way to eat your omega-3s, and they pair perfectly with her maple-fennel bacon.

For the pancake lovers, why not try adding cocoa powder to make thesechocolate pancakes with strawberry sauce? Mairlyn Smith sure knows how to make a dish that appeals to the chocoholics in the house (and it uses whole wheat flour to boost up the nutritional value, too!).

If you want to sneak some vitamin-rich veggies into a super easy brunch dish, this sweet potato French toast from Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh is exactly what you’re looking for. Cut it into easily-dippable strips and your kids will gobble this up instantly!

Fancy dishes to impress your guests:

Want to really wow your guests? Whether you’re looking for a savoury dish or a sweet one, brunch is one of our favourite times to experiment with more intricate recipes — or recipes that seem really impressive, but aren’t actually too complex to put together! This goat cheese soufflé with smoked salmon from Claire Tansey is a perfect example of a dish that looks way more difficult than it actually is. You don’t have to be a trained chef to make your own soufflé!

Think you can only poach your eggs in water? Think again! Our chefs have two elegant alternatives for you. Adults will love these Chardonnay-poached eggs from Jason Parsons, while the whole family will drool over Randy Feltis’ maple syrup-poached eggs served over stuffed French toast!

Not much of an egg fanatic? Switch out your eggs for seafood in this scallops Benedict from Jason Parsons!

If you’re looking for something sweet, look no further than this homemade crepe recipe with macerated berries. These crepes are easy to personalize with your fave ingredients, and we especially love them with fresh, mixed berries.

Make-ahead meals:

If you want to get some extra zzz’s before your guests arrive, why not make your entrée the night before? This asparagus and cheese strata from Mairlyn Smith needs to rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours before you serve it, so that the bread can soak up all of the delicious egg mixture.

Tarts are a great make-ahead option and we love the seasonal flavours in this spring onion & goat cheese tart. You can also make this recipe even easier by using pre-baked pie shells instead of puff pastry.

We love a good quiche, and this crustless mushroom and broccoli quiche from Dr. Joey Shulman is a yummy, healthier option! Serve this with a side salad or fresh fruit for a lighter meal.

What’s your go-to brunch recipe? Share your faves in the comments!

With files from Suzanne Gardner, Cityline.ca

Photo credit: Roberto Caruso

Take your best family vacation photos yet!

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Mar 11th, 2014

When you’re on vacation with your family, it’s easy to forget about pulling out the camera and snapping a few photographs along the way. But travel photos are one-of-a-kind keepsakes of quality time spent with your loved ones, and they’ll tug at the heartstrings to boot!

After years of taking mediocre travel shots, we wanted better – for ourselves and for you! So we scoured photography sites and blogs to learn a few simple tips and tricks from both professional photographers and talented amateur shooters to help us up our game.

Here’s what we learned:

Take more action and/or candid shots. There’s nothing wrong with posed photos, but try capturing your family members in a more natural setting. Maybe they’re building a sand castle on the beach, playing a game of catch, or examining a colourful flower. Those candids are the ones you’re likely to love most.

Know where the light is coming from. We’re all guilty of taking photos where our subjects are facing into the sun and squinting at the camera. Just as bad, the photos where the sun is behind our subject and faces are cast in shadow. Try to ensure that enough light is coming from the side to illuminate your kids’ faces without forcing them to squint.

Move away from the centre. Rethink the notion of putting the focus of your photo in the centre of it. By shifting the subject to one side of the photograph, you create a more engaging portrait – especially if the background is a beautiful nature scene or a striking piece of architecture.

A sense of place. Where in the world are you? Cathedral Grove in B.C.? A sandy beach in Hawaii? A cobblestone street in Paris? Give your photos a sense of place by capturing unique or unusual elements you’re likely to only find there. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is an obvious one, but so is a patisserie piled to the rafters with baguettes. Think about items, people, buildings, and scenes that speak to the place you’re in.

Put down the phone, pick up the camera. Yes, cameras on phones have improved in quality. But a proper camera – whether a point-and-shoot or a full-on D-SLR – offers so much more flexibility, and, let’s face it, better photographs. Many cameras even offer the ability to share to social media now.

Consider the ‘golden hour.’ No shortage of photographers will tell you that the best times to take photographs are daybreak (the first hour of sun) and dusk (the last hour of sun). It’s often referred to as the ‘golden hour,’ when places and people are beautifully lit. If you’re not an early riser, take advantage of that end-of-day glow as often as possible.

The beauty of natural light. Natural light is where it’s at – especially if you’re taking photos of food. Flash can distort the look of your subject, and often with food it makes something delicious look positively inedible! One tip we’ve read about to make the most of low light spaces, is to hold up a white napkin or side plate before taking the shot to help bounce light onto your subject and brighten up the photo.

Get at least one good shot of the whole family. Usually one parent takes on the role of ‘family photographer.’ Unfortunately, that means they often don’t get to be in the shots! Make sure you either ask someone to take a photo of the whole family, or make use of the timer setting so that there’s at least one good snap of everyone.

With files from Suzanne Ellis, Cityline.ca

In Season: Sweet potatoes

Cityline | posted Sunday, Mar 2nd, 2014

In an online feature from our friends at Cityline.caIn Season, they highlight seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

What they are, the different varieties, their health properties, and how to incorporate them into your cooking.


What: These tubers, with their reddish-brown skin and orange flesh, have more in common with the morning glory flower than they do with your average spud. They’re also commonly confused with yams, although the yam and the sweet potato are also two distinct species. Whatever botanical family they’re classified in, we know we love these sweet-tasting roots!

Varieties: Sweet potatoes are grown in many parts of the world, and both their skin and flesh colour can vary greatly. In North America, we’re most familiar with the brown-skin, orange-flesh variety.

Health properties: Sweet potatoes have a few nutritional advantages over white potatoes — the main one being that they’re a great source of beta-carotene. They’re also rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre.

Plays well with: Sage, onions, maple, other root vegetables, carrots, pecans, black beans, cranberries, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, coconut.

Simple ways to use: The sweet potato can be treated much the same way as white potato — baked, roasted, fried, mashed (you get the idea). You’ve no doubt seen sweet potato as a side dish at Thanksgiving, often sweetened further with brown sugar and/or marshmallows. But we think the tuber has enough natural sweetness on its own. We’re looking forward to subbing it in for carrots in our baked goods — we’ve been told sweet potato muffins, breads and cakes are vastly superior to those made with carrots. Sounds like a challenge to us!

Storage: Store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 3-4 weeks.

Get cooking with sweet potatoes!

Sweet potato French toast

Roasted garlic and sweet potato clafoutis

Spiced quinoa, sweet potato, broccoli and cranberry salad

Mexi meatless shepherd’s pie

Roasted sweet potato soup with orange and ginger

Coconut curry with sweet potatoes, chickpeas and spinach

Chicken teriyaki with kale and sweet potatoes

Sweet potato salmon cakes with yogurt dill dressing

Triple-threat superfood burger with sweet potato, walnuts and kale

Curried chicken thighs with sweet potato fries

With files from Suzanne Ellis, Cityline.ca

Cityline celebrates Tracy Moore’s 1000th show

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Oct 8th, 2013

She’s done it all — from interviewing celebs (hello, Oprah!), to cooking with the 3 Chefs, to admiring the latest styles with our Fashion Friday stylists, to helping our decor experts with their DIY projects — and she’s done it with grace and poise. (Although Trace would probably laugh to read that.)

Tracy Moore and Cityline are celebrating her 1000th show as host with Canada’s longest running and most successful daytime show for women in Canadian history.  She was on Breakfast Television Tuesday to celebration this momentous occasion.

The crew at Cityline was able to sneak in a few surprises for her big day, including  getting their beloved viewers to share congratulatory messages, memories, and photos.

While Tracy wasn’t looking, their producers also shot video messages from some of the show’s amazing roster of guest experts.

Watch below as she stopped by Breakfast Television this morning, and see the full episode of the Cityline special.  Plus, check out Tracy’s favourite moments and the behind-the-scenes photos from the show taping here.

From everyone at BT, congratulations, Tracy!

With files from Suzanne Ellis, Cityline.ca.

Your one-stop shop for everything back to school!

Cityline | posted Monday, Aug 19th, 2013

That’s right–it’s almost that time of year again.  

Students are gearing up to go back to school, and our friends at Cityline.ca have put together an extensive guide to make sure your scholars are ready to start another school year off on the right foot!

Backed by Cityline’s team of trusted lifestyle experts, read up on everything you need to know from easy peanut-free lunch options, to parenting tips, to must-know university survival advice.

Click here go back to school with Cityline.ca!

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