Blog Posts by Nadine Kalinauskas

  • 2014 food trends we’re happy to see die

    With the year nearly over, we’re looking back at some of 2014’s most over-hyped and underwhelming food trends - especially, the ones we’re sick and tired of. 

    No offense to fancy, overpriced toast - but your 15 minutes of fame is totally over.

    Food trend we’re over: Sriracha everything.

    Goodbye, sriracha everything. (Thinkstock)Goodbye, sriracha everything. (Thinkstock)

    Sriracha had its moment — a huge one — in 2014. Every fast food chain had a spicy item to showcase it, hoping to keep up with the demand for hotter foods

    There’s nothing wrong with adding a little heat to your meals, but we’re up for taking the non-Sriracha route to get there. We’re pretty excited about Baum + Whiteman’s predictions that sweet-spicy sauces are about to take off. We’re ready for you, jalapeño honey.

    Food trend we’re over: pumpkin spice everything. 

    See you later, pumpkin spice. (Thinkstock)See you later, pumpkin spice. (Thinkstock)

    We love us a good pumpkin pie. And we’re even OK with the occasional overpriced autumnal latte. But we draw the line at pumpkin-spice peanut butter, margarine and vodka

    We’ve reached peak pumpkin spice; it’s time to move on, please. 

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  • Surviving the holidays without gluten

    It’s not easy being gluten-free — nor is it always easy figuring out what to serve guests who can’t, or simply don’t, eat gluten. 

    We asked registered holistic nutritionist Sarah Maughan to help us navigate a gluten-free holiday meal. 

    Shine On: For readers hosting gluten-free guests this holiday season, what do we need to know as we menu-plan and prep (other than just ditch the flour)?

    Maughan: When hosting guests who require gluten-free diets, it’s important to have a conversation with them first and share your menu thoughts with them so they feel confident and comfortable about the meal. It also gives them a chance to have a conversation about cross-contamination — because you’re right, it’s not just omitting flour that’s important, it’s about sauces, and contaminated utensils that often create the most reactions.

    Holiday classics (like shortbread) can be made gluten-free with a few modifications. (Image via Sarah Maughan)Holiday classics (like shortbread) can be made gluten-free with a few modifications. (Image via Sarah Maughan)

    Make sure you ask your guest about cross-contamination and how to avoid accidentally adding gluten to a gluten-free dish — for example using the same mixing bowl for a

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  • What should I do when I get a gift I hate?

    ’Tis the season to give — and receive. But what should you do when you receive a gift you really don’t like?

    We went to etiquette expert Karen Cleveland to find out. 

    When in doubt, always express gratitude, appreciate the sentiment, and don’t throw out those ugly sweaters from Grandma.

    Always express gratitude for a gift -- even if you hate it. (Thinkstock)Always express gratitude for a gift -- even if you hate it. (Thinkstock)

    SHINE ON: What should you do if you receive a gift you hate — and you just opened it in front of the giver?

    Cleveland: Express your gratitude. Every gift, no matter how simple or extravagant deserves the same sincere thank you.  

    Is there ever an occasion when you should keep the gift (decor, jewelry, etc.) even though it’s not your style?

    Absolutely, for sentimental reasons. That gift, though not “you,” might come to mean something in years to come. 

    What if the gift is from someone close to you — a significant other, for example — and you’re really disappointed in their choice? Is it ever OK to broach the subject of gift expectations?

    No. In fact, the question makes me really sad. It sucks the true

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  • Foods that taste better when frozen

    Baby, it’s cold outside. And while it’s easy to nosh on warm comfort food this season, let’s not overlook the joys of cold food, too. Really, really cold food. 

    Here are some foods that taste best when frozen. Eat slowly, or risk the dreaded brain freeze.

    Frozen bananas make a delicious ice cream-like treat. (Thinkstock)Frozen bananas make a delicious ice cream-like treat. (Thinkstock)

    Bananas

    Peel bananas before you freeze them. You’ll be surprised at how creamy a treat they become when frozen. If you’ve got an extra minute or two, toss frozen chunks of banana into a blender for one-ingredient ice cream.

    Grapes

    If you haven’t tried frozen grapes — they’re nature’s candy — you’re missing out. Epicurious reminds us that grapes are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, so try to buy organic. 

    Also great frozen: raspberries and frozen canned fruit, like peaches and pineapple.)

    Frozen avocadoes are an unexpected treat. (Thinkstock)Frozen avocadoes are an unexpected treat. (Thinkstock)

    Avocado slices

    This is one snack we can’t wait to try. The Food Network recommends freezing avocado slices for up to four hours, then sprinkling them with chili powder and salt before eating. 

    Iceberg lettuce wedges

    Another

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  • How to set (and decipher) a formal dining table

    ’Tis the season to impress dinner guests. 

    And while the winter holidays are the perfect time to throw a formal dinner party, for those of us who’ve never set a formal table, the task can seem pretty daunting.

    A formal setting can intimidate guests, too: “Which glass is mine?” “Is that your bread knife or mine?”

    Shine On asked Toronto-based etiquette writer and advisor Karen Cleveland for some help in navigating formal table settings. 

    Shine On: What makes a table setting a “formal” one?

    Cleveland: A “formal” table setting is really subjective, but a good gauge is that it is set for multiple courses.

    In mid-to-late nineteenth century, we started dining a la Russe, meaning that each type of food was served in its own course, and the table wasn’t reset between all of them. All the forks showed up on the table at once, and it was up to the hostess or butler to know which order the meal was coming out in so that the cutlery could be arranged accordingly. That began our (relatively modern)

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  • Citrus hacks: Tips and tricks to brighten your winter diet

    It’s finally citrus season again. To celebrate, Sunkist has released a series of helpful citrus-hack videos: creative, time-saving ways to peel and prepare citrus fruits. 

    Watch them all above. 

    Those cute grapefruit bowls would be perfect for a holiday brunch.

    Sunkist advertising and public relations manager Joan Wickham also shared her top citrus tips with Shine On readers. 

    How to buy citrus:

    “Unlike some fruit, like stone fruit or bananas, for example, oranges are actually what’s called a non-climacteric fruit, which means they don’t ripen after they’ve been harvested. So our growers actually handpick every piece of fruit to make sure it’s ripe,” Wickham tells us. 

    “But in terms of what you should look for at the store, you should look for fruit that’s firm and heavy for its size and also with a bright, colourful skin. You want to avoid fruit that’s bruised or wrinkled or looks kind of discoloured. Because that will indicate that it might be old or it maybe hasn’t been stored

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  • Expert tips for low-stress holiday entertaining

    There are many things you can do to reduce holiday entertaining stress. (Thinkstock)There are many things you can do to reduce holiday entertaining stress. (Thinkstock)
    Hosting a holiday party this winter and dreading the stress that inevitably comes with it?

    Shine On recently asked Sebastien Centner, entertaining expert and director of Eatertainment Special Events, how to keep stress levels at a minimum when entertaining this holiday season. 

    Shine On: How early should we start planning a holiday party?

    Centner: The earlier the better! But of course then life gets in the way, doesn’t it? My suggestion is pick the date and send out a invite or save the date as soon as possible. While the planning and organization can always be done closer to your holiday party date, with how busy the holiday season can get you want your party on people’s calendar before everyone else’s! 

    When do invitations go out? Do they need to be snail-mailed or are email invites acceptable?

    I personally tend towards printed invitations for my events both because you rarely receive printed invites anymore but also because the invitation sets the tone for the event — stylish,

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  • How to take your oatmeal to the next level

    Warm oatmeal is the perfect breakfast for cool-weather mornings. (Thinkstock)Warm oatmeal is the perfect breakfast for cool-weather mornings. (Thinkstock)With temperatures dropping, we’re opting for cozier breakfasts this November. 

    Shine On recently spoke to registered nutritionist Joey Shulman, who told us all we need to know about oatmeal — and why we should feel good about our new heartier breakfast choice. 

    It’s good for us. 

    “Oatmeal is an excellent breakfast for the cooler months as it gives us that warmth and comfort we are often looking for!” Shulman says. “Oatmeal is filled with fibre and iron. It is a gluten-free grain that helps to stabilize our blood sugar levels and a serving provides us with about five grams of protein. Steel cut oats have a lower glycemic index so they will not cause as much of a spike in our blood sugar levels.”

    Soak before you cook. 

    For the time-crunched, overnight oats is an easy go-to breakfast. We asked Shulman if there was a nutritional difference between soaking and cooking our oats. Apparently we should do both!

    “Soaking your eats before consumption increases their digestibility. I always

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  • Everything you need to know about Daylight Saving Time coming to an end

    This weekend marks the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST), so be sure to turn your clocks back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday night.

    Actual time the “fall back” comes into effect: 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 2.

    “Springing forward” often gets a bad reputation for throwing us off kilter — and increasing risks of heart attacks and car accidents — every spring, but does “falling back” have any effects on our health?

    Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. Don't forget to change your clocks and smoke alarm batteries. (Thinkstock)Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. Don't forget to change your clocks and smoke alarm batteries. (Thinkstock)

    Better sleep. 

    Finally, we’re back to normal. 

    Last year, German researchers claimed that sleep cycles never get on track during DST, with night owls suffering the most. 

    "The circadian clock does not change to the social change," researcher Till Roenneberg said, according to HealthDay News. “During the winter, there is a beautiful tracking of dawn in human sleep behaviour, which is completely and immediately interrupted when Daylight Saving Time is introduced in March.”

    The extra hour of sleep can also tell you if you’re sleep-deprived. If you wake up before your

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  • Florida man orders world's most expensive Starbucks drink

    This July, 23-year-old medical student Sameera Raziuddin thought she broke the record for most expensive Starbucks drink by ordering a 60-shot frappuccino worth $57.75.

    She even brought her own jug to hold the 192-ounce beverage. 

    But earlier that month, Jarrod Johnson in West Virginia ordered a record-breaking 77-shot $71.35 Starbucks drink. He had baristas fill a cooler with the massive drink

    Yesterday, a Florida man broke the record once more. 

    William Lewis ordered a 101-shot “Mega” latte worth $83.75 and because he’s a holder of the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program’s Limited Edition Metal Card, the drink was actually free

     

    William Lewis' 101-shot “Mega” latte. (Image via Facebook)William Lewis' 101-shot “Mega” latte. (Image via Facebook)

    Into the 160-ounce novelty cup Lewis ordered online, a barista poured a grande latte, followed by 99 more shots of espresso and 17 pumps of vanilla syrup. 

    "It’s an internet challenge," Lewis, a political and business consultant and talk show host tells TODAY. “I wanted to beat out the record.”

    Lewis shared the giant cup of coffee, which contained

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