Toppings and dips for casual Christmas entertaining

Easy entertaining is the least stressful way to manage the holiday season. Make these ahead and keep in the refrigerator for those unexpected drop-in guests. Keep a selection of crackers on hand. Cheese is loved by almost everyone and dried fruits, honey and nuts complete a welcoming spread. Spinnakers Baked Cheese This was served at […] Read more


Bite into your Christmas list with a cookie exchange

A Christmas cookie exchange is a fun and social event during the holiday season. For ease of sharing, package your contribution in individual take-home containers for each person and include the ingredient list and storage suggestions. Chocolate Roll-out Cookies 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 625 mL 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 60 mL 1/2 tsp. […] Read more


Financial literacy helps you achieve your goals

The financial health of individual Canadians is affected by rising lending interest rates and personal debt and a lack of planning for future financial needs. The issue becomes more acute when combined with fewer cash and more debit and credit transactions, online shopping and a plethora of credit and investment products. Financial literacy is the […] Read more



Make-your-own mixtures spice up meal times

Combinations of spices and herbs enhance the flavour of foods but commercially prepared mixes often contain large amounts of salt, MSG, flavour enhancers and preservatives. By creating your own spice blends, you can lower the salt content and adapt the flavours to your family’s preferred taste, such as more or less onion, garlic or heat. […] Read more


Easy to make comfort food

Nothing beats the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting through the house. Bread machines may be convenient but it isn’t difficult to make breads from scratch either. The four main ingredients are flour, yeast, salt and water. Bread flour makes a superior loaf because it is higher in the protein, gluten. When water is added […] Read more



Ocean is awash with offerings for nutritious dishes

Most of us don’t live near the ocean but that is no longer a reason to not use seaweed or sea vegetables in our meals. There are several foragers on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts that have successful businesses collecting and drying a number of varieties. The collection locations are often remote for better […] Read more


A new twist on traditional Thanksgiving dishes

Create your own traditions this year with these new ideas for Thanksgiving dishes. Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms You can substitute cremini mushrooms or dried shitakes for fresh ones. The stems of dried shitakes should be removed because they are tough. 6 tbsp. butter 90 mL 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced 250 […] Read more


New reader contest: Let’s get crafty!

Unique, homemade gifts can be fun to make and more personal and meaningful for the recipient. Western Producer readers are invited to enter our Creative Gifts for the Holidays contest to win a great prize. Homemade Vanilla Extract Natural vanilla extract is superior to artificial extracts and a good gift for any cook. 3 vanilla […] Read more



Desserts with savoury twist tease the taste buds

Savoury flavours in desserts are not a new fad. The Europeans traditionally serve a cheese course at the end of a meal. Aged Parmesan with a good quality balsamic is delightful. Prosciutto- wrapped melon slices are often an appetizer but there is no reason they could not be a dessert. The addition of savoury flavours […] Read more


Homemade master mixes a valuable time-saver

When preparing meals for the field or school lunches, master mixes are convenient. The large batch measuring and mixing of the dry ingredients and fat make the ingredients ready for quick preparation of a variety of fresh baked items like biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins and cookies. Commercially available biscuit or pancake mixes are comparable products. […] Read more