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A Mother’s Day Meal in the Garden

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Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the leading women in our lives. And if you’re a mother, that means you, too! Taking a break while unwinding with mom-friends over a community meal offers much-needed stress relief from the demands of family and everyday living (even if they’re welcome ones!), while nourishing important female friendships.

There’s really no better way to step back from the whirlwind nature of our lives than a ladies-only garden party, cooked by you and your village. Because this day is all about you, moms, the workload is light and shared.

These healthy meals are beautiful, transportable, and so simple to prepare. Enjoyed outside in the garden, park, or, if it’s rainy, amongst some flower arrangements indoors, this straightforward yet stunning feast was designed to nurture those who nurture everyone else.

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Pink Devilled Eggs

Herbed Chicken and Carrot Patty Lettuce Cups

Easy to transport and eat, these juicy chicken parcels are reminiscent of a fresh spring roll, thanks to herbs, carrot, and fish sauce.

Melon and Halloumi with Chili Crisp and Lime

Slice, drizzle, and squeeze—there’s little more to this refreshing, flavour-packed sweet-meets-heat melon salad.

Spiced Cauliflower Dip with Rainbow Crudités

Roasted cauliflower gets snacky in this luxurious, plant-based cauliflower dip. You can make the dip and store sliced veggies submerged in water for a couple of days ahead of the potluck.

Spring Mix Panzanella

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that’s typically made with summer tomatoes. Mom’s version is simplified with a spring green update.

Berry and Yogurt Slab Tart

One giant berry-and-oat crumb bar, jooshed up with rich vanilla yogurt. There’s no rolling of pastry here, making this minimalist dessert a cinch to whip up.

Eco-conscious dishware and table-settings

Keep waste to a bare minimum and work toward a fully reusable garden party with these chic options:

  • bamboo fibre dishes, utensils, and tumblers
  • wheat straw plates and tumblers
  • glass and stainless steel food transportation and storage containers
  • Mason jars for drinking cups, flower vases, and candle holders
  • natural fibre linens for napkins and tablecloths (bonus if they’re second-hand!)
  • soy or beeswax candles
  • wildflowers native to your area for Mason jar vases

Spring spritzers

Try these simple, bubbly nonalcoholic drinks for your Mother’s Day menu.

Mellow Mojito

In large pitcher, muddle 20 fresh mint leaves with 2 sliced limes and 2 Tbsp (15 mL) agave or maple syrup. Top with 3 to 4 cups (750 mL to 1 L) cold soda water, stir well to chill, and pour into glasses. Garnish cups with more fresh mint and a lime wedge.

Cherry-Coconut Spritzer

Add ice cubes to individual glasses followed by a big pour of pure cherry juice and squeeze of lemon. Top with cold coconut water and a splash of cold soda water. Garnish cups with a fresh cherry and lemon wedge.

Blackberry Kombucha Spritzer

In glasses, muddle a couple of fresh blackberries to release their juices, and then top with your favourite flavour of cold kombucha.

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Choosing Sustainable Seafood

Choosing Sustainable Seafood

Are you wondering what it means to buy “sustainable” seafood? The type of seafood, where it’s from, and how it’s caught or harvested all play into what makes seafood sustainable. Simply put, it means that the harvest of a particular seafood is done in a way that allows for continued harvesting into the future. But it’s not simply a question of controlling overfishing. Impacts on the environment are also key. Wild fish have the reputation of being more sustainable, but that’s only if they’re fished through managed seafood programs and don’t have other impacts such as pollution or depletion of other species.   Seafood from aquaculture can also be sustainable, provided it is done in a way that avoids any detrimental effects to the larger ocean environment or other species. Stay informed, though, since species considered sustainable one day may be under threat the next. This might mean being willing to try something new or forgoing a favourite for something that is more sustainable. While that may sound like a sacrifice, it’s also an opportunity to discover a new favourite. If you live in an area where seafood is harvested, making a decision to support local fishers and harvesters may also influence your decision about which sustainable seafood choices to make. Navigating the specifics can be tricky, but your local fish counter is a great place to start your quest for sustainable fish. Your fishmonger is a valuable source of information about where the product is sourced. You can also look for certifications from organizations such as Ocean Wise and Marine Stewardship Council. Once you get it home, sustainable seafood’s variety and versatility presents us with an ocean of delicious opportunities in the kitchen. Try these recipes for simple, flavourful, and diverse preparations. Your choices can help Ocean Wise Seafood is a seafood certification program that helps consumers and businesses choose sustainable seafood options. The program works with scientists to assess the state of aquatic ecosystems and the species they support, making recommendations on sustainable choices. They employ a simple rating of either Ocean Wise Recommended or Not Recommended. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol when you buy seafood or check out their website ( seafood.ocean.org ) to search for sustainable seafood options. They have information about various species, where and how they’re fished or harvested, and whether your choice is sustainable. It’s simple, easy, and reassuring. Face your fish-prep fears Many of us shy away from cooking seafood because we think we don’t know how, or because we may be worried about spoiling a piece of beautiful fish. Here are some quick tips to relieve your fish-prep fears. Start with the best In addition to asking at your fish counter about sustainability, don’t be afraid to ask how the seafood you’re buying has been transported and stored. Frozen fish, which is flash frozen, may be a better choice than a piece of “fresh” fish that has been around for a while. Store it properly Shellfish Store shellfish in the fridge, in a shallow pan without water, and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Frozen fish Remove frozen fish from its packaging, and thaw, loosely covered, in the fridge overnight. Drain any water that collects as it thaws. Cook fresh fish within two days. Celebrate simplicity Quality seafood is its own celebration and lends itself to simple preparations: a quick grill, a dash of lemon. Keep it simple and let the flavour of the fish shine through! Let your fish warm up It may sound strange, but letting your fish come up to room temperature over about 30 minutes will help you get an even temperature when it’s time to cook. Explore different cooking methods Poached, grilled, steamed, baked—seafood does it all. If you always grill fish, explore a gentle poach or raw preparation. Know your temperature Use higher heat for grilling, and make sure the pan or grill is hot when the fish hits it. Use low heat and a gentle simmer when poaching. Skin side down Cooking fish with the skin on helps keep it together. When grilling, cook the skin side first to protect the fish as it cooks. Know when it’s done Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and is barely opaque in the centre. Dive in Don’t let your fear stop you. Just get started!

Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.