Blog Posts by Nadine Kalinauskas

  • Open Farm and TerraCycle team up to offer ethically sourced dog food — with recyclable packaging

    We want our food organic and ethically sourced.

    We care about packaging: we want less of it, and for it to be recyclable or reusable — or even edible.

    And apparently we want the same things for our pets.

    Human food trends are increasingly influencing pet-food product development, in part because we humanize our pets and want to offer them treats that reflect our food-buying values, writes Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry.

    (And, like us, pets are getting fatter and we’re starting to pay closer attention to their diets.)

    Open Farm, a new family-run Canadian pet food company devoted to sourcing ethical, high-quality, local ingredients, is catering to our increasingly high standards when it comes to feeding Fido or Fluffy.

    “Consumers are more educated than ever when it comes to their own food choices and are increasingly applying high standards to what they look for in pet food. This is because, more and more, dogs and cats are viewed and cared for as members

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  • Digital health: tracking your kids’ health information online

    We already keep track of our busy schedules, holiday shopping and fitness routines online.

    And while some of us are starting to use technology to monitor our own health, parents are being encouraged to start tracking their children’s health digitally, too, to make their records more easily accessible — and so that the kids can more easily access their records themselves when they’re older.

    “It is already busy enough raising a child, so having quick and easy access to health information in a digital format can be very helpful for parents,” Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe, medical director at the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre and family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, writes in an e-mail to Yahoo Canada.

    “Tracking growth parameters such as height and weight can be quickly input into an app or electronic graph as well as the electronic medical record in your doctor’s office. These methods allow for us to graphically produce information to get an accurate picture of how growth is

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  • As seen on Pinterest: Making pie crust from cake mix

    The challenge: to make a pie crust out of cake mix.

    The recipe, first spotted by one of our editors on Pinterest, promised to be easy and “taste really good.”

    And who can say no to pie made out of cake?

    So I gave it a try.

    The ingredients.The ingredients.

    Following the directions from — blogger Liz got the idea from a trip to the Duncan Hines headquarters — I set out to make a crust/filling combo sure to hit the spot: Turtle Cheesecake Pie.

    Making the crust

    The cake mix: Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Devil’s Food Flavour cake mix.

    I added the egg, extra yolks and butter. At first, the dough was dry and crumbly.

    “There’s not enough moisture!” I complained to my taste-tester/husband in the other room, who offered no support.

    The dough will initially look dry and crumbly.The dough will initially look dry and crumbly.

    Once I turned out the dough on the dusted-with-cocoa-powder counter, however, everything started to come together nicely.

    Note that this “dough” will stick to your hands. Wear rings at your own risk.

    After letting the ball of cake/pie dough sit in the fridge for the obligatory 15

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  • Eat for prosperity this Chinese New Year

    Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, falls on February 19th and runs through to the Lantern Festival on March 5th.

    If you’re hoping to plan your own Chinese New Year party, here are some “lucky” tips from the experts to ensure a prosperous year to come.


    Do your research.

    Shirley Lum, a culinary historian who gives lunar Chinese New Year food tours in Toronto, recommends that newbies join a meal hosted by someone like herself to learn about the food, traditions and symbolism important to a Chinese New Year banquet. Once you’re acquainted with these traditions, consider hosting a potluck dinner with friends.

    “If this is not possible, then keep it simple. Make it a potluck and aim for 8 dishes: chicken, fish, pork, shrimp, green vegetable, noodle, rice & a dessert with coconut/sugar/peanuts,” she recommends.

    Lum adds that, over the years, she’s seen “traditional meals” evolve with Canada’s changing demographics.

    “Railway workers until early 1950s we saw plenty of Cantonese-style

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  • Never throw out stale bread again: Bread hacks to know

    This week, POPSUGAR offered a solution to a very common food headache: stale artisanal and homemade bread.

    (I don’t know about you, but my homemade bread is usually rock-hard by the end of day two.)

     Thinkstock Thinkstock
    Instead of throwing the whole loaf into the freezer, POPSUGAR’s Nicole Perry suggests slicing up the still-fresh leftover loaf — within the first 24 hours of first cutting into it — and arranging those slicing on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Freeze the bread, uncovered, until it’s frozen solid. Once frozen, transfer the break slices to an air-tight resealable freezer bag.

    Whenever you need a slice or two of bread, take what you need from the freezer and let it thaw, or just toast them from frozen. The bread will be almost as good as if it was fresh — and certainly better than dry second-day bread.

    POPSUGAR’s helpful hack got us thinking: what other bread hacks do we need in our carb-loving arsenal?

    Bread hack: Revive stale bread with ice cubes

    Courtesy Real SimpleCourtesy Real Simple

    This trick from Real

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  • Super Bowl snacks that won’t break your diet

    Is your waistline dreading that irresistible call of the snacks this Sunday?

    Fortunately, “healthy” and “tasty” don’t have to be mutually exclusive, even on Super Bowl Sunday. 

    Nutrition and wellness expert Rose Reisman is sharing her tips for a healthy Super Bowl party that everyone can enjoy — even the fans unconcerned with their diets. 

    Pizza and wings are two of the worst offenders when it comes to Super Bowl snacks. (Thinkstock)Pizza and wings are two of the worst offenders when it comes to Super Bowl snacks. (Thinkstock)

    Identify the worst offenders

    “Loaded Pizza, beer, wings, potato chips, tortilla chips, cheese, nachos, high fat dips, meatball subs, chicken fingers and fries and soft drinks are some of the worst offenders,” Reisman tells Shine On via email. 

    Make healthy swaps

    Instead of just ditching your favourite recipes, make them over with lighter ingredients. 

    Reisman explains:

    “Instead of traditional sour cream that is 14% milk fat, use a lower fat substitute or better yet use a plain low-fat Greek yogurt so you get an extra boost of protein. Substitute regular mayonnaise for light or lower fat sour cream of yogurt. If a dip calls for cream cheese use a

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  • Not feeling the gym this winter? Try working out at home

    Braving the below-zero chill to get to the gym just isn’t happening these days — sorry, New Year’s resolutions — so we’re looking for an at-home alternative for getting in shape.

    We spoke with Dr. Stacy Irvine, chiropractor, exercise specialist and co-founder of Totum Life Science, about what we need to start getting fit without leaving the comfort of our living rooms.

    You can get a highly effective workout at home. (Thinkstock)You can get a highly effective workout at home. (Thinkstock)

    SHINE ON: Is it actually possible to get fit at home?

    Irvine: It is not only possible to get fit at home, it is quite practical too! You will save travel time, you will save money and you will be able to fit your workout in at any time that works with your schedule.

    Do we need to buy any equipment before embarking on at-home workouts?

    You do not need any fancy equipment to work out at home. You can use your stairs and do a “body weight”-style workout. However, it can make the workout more enjoyable if you have a few pieces of equipment such as a mat, a set of weights and possibly a resistance band. By adding these few

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  • How to love the body you're in

    Last week was Healthy Weight Week, but we believe every day is a new opportunity to learn to love the body you have.

    We spoke to Lisa Naylor, a Winnipeg-based eating-disorder-treatment counsellor and Dove self-esteem consultant, about embracing healthy habits — and learning to love the skin we’re in. 

    There are some things you can do every day to build a positive body image. (Thinkstock)There are some things you can do every day to build a positive body image. (Thinkstock)

    SHINE ON: “Healthy weight” and “ideal weight” are not always the same thing. How can we set realistic goals/expectations for ourselves when it comes to weight and body image?

    NAYLOR: I prefer the term “healthy body” because people can be healthy at wide variety of weights, shapes and sizes. Realistic goals include making small incremental changes to improve health behaviours, if that feels important to the individual. I like to think of “adding in” rather than “taking away”… so adding in more fruits and vegetables, adding in more walking or a weekly yoga class, adding in more water. These kinds of goals are attainable and rarely lead to guilt or preoccupation with weight or body.


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  • Sprouts: How (and why) to grow your own

    Got sprouts?

    Nutritionist Julie Daniluk is sharing her enthusiasm for all things sprouts with Shine On readers — and walks us though how to sprout at home. 

    “I think it’s worth the effort,” Daniluk says. “The neat thing is, it takes you about 10 minutes to do it, and then you simply nurture it along…It’s just a little bit of effort to get the setup going. But once you’ve got that done, then it’s really fun and it’s saving you a lot of digestive stress.”

    We’ve been converted: 2015 is the year of the sprout. 

    We think 2015 is the year of the sprout. (Thinkstock)We think 2015 is the year of the sprout. (Thinkstock)

    What are sprouts?

    “To define a sprout, I would say that it is a ‘baby plant,’ Daniluk tells Shine On. “It’s taking it from its incubated form and starting to grow it into its full-sized plant. Consider it like a little egg. It would be the seed. When it sprouts, it’s quite similar to, in human biology, when something gets fertilized and all of a sudden it comes alive in a different way. So by sprouting something, you take it from its hibernation form into its fully alive state,

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  • How to host your own Robbie Burns Day supper

    January 25th is Robbie Burns Day.

    Instead of squeezing into your local Scottish pub — a heads up: many pubs’ Robbie Burns Day suppers are sold out already — why not host your own dinner in honour of the beloved Scottish poet?

    Donna Wolff, co-owner for The Caledonian in Toronto shared with us the rundown of a traditional Robbie Burns Day supper.

    The Menu:

    “Traditionally a Burns Supper is a soup — cock-a-leekie or Cullen skink — followed by haggis, neeps & tatties and then a sweet finish of clootie pudding, sticky toffee pudding or cranachan,” Wolff tells Shine On by email.

    The most important item on the menu, of course, is the famous haggis.

    “Haggis is Scotland’s national dish and is a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, steel cut oats, suet, onions and many secret spices,” she continues. “It is encased in a sheep’s stomach and simmered for several hours.”

    Haggis, neeps and tatties. (Thinkstock)Haggis, neeps and tatties. (Thinkstock)

    Up to the challenge of making your own? Try one of these haggis recipes:

    1. A traditional haggis recipe from Rampant Scotland: 
    2. Baked
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