October 19th, 2017

6 Science-y Things To Do With Kids for Halloween

Halloween is a great time to get your kids interested in science. When else does it make sense to make slime and goop and bubbling witch’s brews? They’re not just fun to play with; they’ll teach your kids about how the world works, too. Chemistry and physics can be exciting!

Whether you’re throwing a kids’ Halloween party or just want some spooky educational experiments, we’ve got you covered.

Make Some Halloween Slime

Halloween 2017

Slime is the classic spooky science-y experiment for good reason: it’s easy, sticky, icky, and oh so fun to play with! You can make slime yourself with these borax-free slime recipes–make a bunch of different coloured batches with food colouring! You can also purchase DIY slime kits which contain everything you’ll need, as well as instructions. Want something even cooler? Make bubbling slime with xanthan gum, baking soda, and vinegar!

Ooh, Ooze!

Halloween

Ooze is a bit more foamy and a bit less sticky than slime. Think about those vinegar and baking soda volcanos you used to make as a kid, only with a bit more structure–that’s ooze! You can make ooze with hydrogen peroxide and yeast, both easily available ingredients. For your little witch or wizard, make this magical brew in a cauldron or beaker. Or if you’d prefer to scare your neighbours, make an oozing pumpkin for your front steps!

Dancing Ghosts

Teach your children about static electricity by making a ghost dance! Science Bob has the scoop; all you need is a balloon, your child’s hair (to create the static charge), and a ghost made out of tissue paper. Oh, and maybe some spooky tunes to add to the effect.

Glowing Gulps

Halloween

With a little tonic water and a black light, you make make glowing liquids that are safe to drink. Tonic water contains quinine, which has been used historically to prevent malaria. British colonists in India would drink gin and tonics for this very reason (the gin makes the tonic a bit more exciting.) Quinine will fluoresce under a black light, which just means that it glows! You can usually get a black light at a party supply store.

Fake Blood

Halloween

If you’ve got older kiddos, make some fake blood with them! Steve Spangler Science has a bunch of recipes. It’ll add some amazing colour to a scary Halloween costume!

Galaxy Play Dough

Halloween

If you’d prefer to make something a little less scary, try making some galaxy play dough. By adding glitter and glycerin, you’ll have a shiny, sparkly dough to pull, stretch, and play with.

 



October 5th, 2017

4 Thoughtful Thanksgiving Host Gift Ideas

Hosting a group of people for Thanksgiving is a lot of work, and while many hosts are happy to spend the occasion with friends and family, they deserve a hearty thank you for their efforts. Show your appreciation for a Thanksgiving meal by bringing a thoughtful host gift. We’ve got 4 Thanksgiving Host Gift ideas to start with. Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Sandwich Fixin’s

Gourmet Turkey Sandwich - Thanksgiving Host Ideas London Drugs Blog

If the host of your Thanksgiving is particular about their dinner, then why not bring food for the next day? This is especially nice if you’re staying with your hosts – it’s the type of thing one might overlook in the uber focused prep shopping. Put together a nice collection of the makings for turkey sandwiches. A nice loaf of bread (or two!), a quality jar of mayo, and some nice lettuce is plenty – but if you want to turn it up a notch, consider this gourmet turkey sandwich recipe. Cream cheese, sprouts, and sunflower seeds? Sound delicious, and super thoughtful.

Overnight French Toast

Overnight French Toast - Thanksgiving Host Ideas London Drugs

Breakfast for the next day is probably the last thing on your host’s mind, so we love the idea of prepping it for them. This apple pie overnight french toast is ideal because it can be prepped in advance and takes no work the next day. Use a disposable tin foil pan to make cleanup a snap! Just make sure your host will have space in their fridge for the pans – or take responsibility for some creative rearranging.

Homemade goods

Homemade Salsa - Thanksgiving Host Ideas London Drugs Blog

If you’re crafty in the kitchen, it’s always a good idea to bring homemade goods as a hostess gift. Whether it’s pickles, salsa, or jam, it is a lovely gesture to bring a non-perishable homemade gift. With this and the chocolates listed below, it’s important to stress that the items are a gift – so there’s no need for them to share with their guests.

Chocolates – homemade or not

Slow Cooker Fudge - London Drugs Blog

No time to cook or can? No problem. This simple fudge recipe is a literal “set it and forget it” slow cooker recipe. All you need is milk chocolate chips, whipping cream, honey, white chocolate chips, and a bit of vanilla and sea salt, and a few hours for the chocolate to cook and cool. But if you don’t have time? No problem. Check out our extensive chocolate selection in store or online.



September 26th, 2017

A Beginners Guide to Canning and Preserving

Fall is here! But don’t worry, it’s not all rain and cold weather. Fall is a beautiful season of bounty, and you can make the most of that bounty by taking up your new favourite hobby: canning. That beautiful jam you like? You can make it. Dill pickles? You can make those too. Those cans of tomatoes you buy every other week? Yep, you got it! All you need is a bit of equipment and a bit of know-how. London Drugs has got you covered on both counts.

Woman In Kitchen Listing Ingredients In Vegetable Preserves

Canning is really just a way of preserving food. Water bath canning is the easiest way to start: you fill glass jars with the stuff you want to preserve (jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) and boil them in hot water. This kills any bacteria present, removes air from the jar, and seals it to prevent any more bacteria from getting in. Water bath canning only works for high-acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, and pickled things.

If you want to get really fancy and preserve your perfect pumpkin pie filling, you’ll need to upgrade to a pressure canner. But the basic process is to sterilize your jars in boiling water, make your preserves, put those preserves in the jars, put on the lids, and throw them back in boiling water. Easy peasy, right?

So where do you begin? First, you need some equipment:

  • Large stockpot, deep enough to completely cover your jars
  • Canning jars
  • Canning lids (these will come with jars if you buy a new set!)
  • Jar lifter
  • Lid lifter
  • Funnel

We’ve got a complete canning kit that includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel, as well as 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and even 1L jars for things like pickles and whole tomatoes. If you’re making jam or jelly, you’ll also need pectin.

Once you’ve acquired the equipment, you need to decide what you want to can! In early fall we still have stone fruit like peaches and plums, and lots of tomatoes. Later in the season, root vegetables like carrots and beets can make some excellent pickles. And apples, of course!

Pickled cucumbers, homemade preserved on wooden table

If you’ve got a well stocked grocery store that brings in produce from further afield, you can can small batches with basically any type of fruit. We’ve got recipes for strawberry balsamic jam and sour cherry jelly on the blog from earlier this summer. (What’s the difference between jam and jelly, you ask? Jam is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice! The more you know.)

Next, as a beginner, follow a recipe!

Canning isn’t difficult, but when mistakes are made they can range from something minor like a jam that doesn’t set to something dangerous like food that is unsafe to eat. You may balk at the amount of sugar in some of these recipes, but it’s integral to getting the jelly or jam to set properly, and it helps prevent spoilage.

Boiling time will vary depending on what altitude you’re at. You also can’t reuse the flat part of the two part lid for canning jars; you can reuse the ring, but you need a new lid each time you can. And don’t forget to sterilize your jars before filling them with your preserves!

Bell pepper preserves - London Drugs Blog

There are a ton of great websites you can go to for more information and recipes, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Food in Jars, and Punk Domestics. Companies that make canning supplies like Bernardin and Ball are also fantastic resources.

Here are a few of our favourite fall recipes. Go ahead and get canning! You can can!



September 20th, 2017

10 Fall Chocolate Desserts You Need to Eat Now

For some food lovers, the end of summer means saying goodbye to backyard cookouts and delicious BBQ meals. For others, the cooler fall weather is a welcome excuse to warm up in front of the oven and enjoy a piping hot mug of cocoa after dinner.

10 Fall Desserts You Need to Eat Now - London Drugs Blog

Whatever you may prefer, there’s no doubt that the following dessert recipes are bound to inspire you this fall season (and satiate your sweet tooth)! Besides – who can say no to chocolate?

1. Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Fall Chocolate Desserts - London Drugs Blog

The chocolate chip cookie is beloved for a reason! And because fall is the season where you can finally dust off your cast iron skillet, this cozy take on a household classic provides the perfect dessert option on a chilly evening.

[Find the recipe at Dinner with Julie]

2. S’mores Chocolate Pudding Jars

Fall Chocolate Desserts - London Drugs Blog

Just because camping season is coming to a close doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to s’mores just yet! These pudding cups call for the basics – marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers and some pantry items, and allow you to enjoy a campfire treat in the comfort of your own home.

[Find the recipe at Seasons and Suppers]

3. Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Churros Chocolate Fall Dessert Recipe - London Drugs Blog

Dipped in a luxurious dark chocolate sauce, the crispy cinnamon coating and sweet, soft dough make these churros to die for. A fair favourite that can easily be made at home, there’s no need for a clunky deep fryer if you have a wok on hand!

[Find the recipe at Recipe Tin Eats]

4. Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Fall Chocolate Dessert - London Drugs Blog

If you haven’t already heard, the pumpkin spice latte (or PSL) has made yet another comeback this fall. And whether you’re on board with the trend or not – we guarantee you’ll love this pumpkin spice hot chocolate recipe!

[Find the recipe at Lemons for Lulu]

5. Baked Double Chocolate Donuts

Fall Chocolate Dessert Recipes - London Drugs Blog

Donuts are not only delicious, but they can be a great baking activity that the kids will love. These double chocolate donuts are a quirky (and easy to transport) alternative to birthday cake. If you don’t have a donut pan on hand, simply use a muffin tin!

[Find the recipe at i am a food blog]

6. Coffee Ice Cream Chocolate Mud Pie

Chocolate Mud Pie Dessert Recipe - London Drugs Blog

Although some may argue that the fall season is too cold for ice cream, we beg to differ. Complete with an Oreo crumb crust and filled with your favourite brand of coffee ice cream, this mud pie is a perfect dish to bring to your next fall potluck!

[Find the recipe at Coco Cake Land]

7. Cherry Chocolate Crumble

Cherry Chocolate Crumble - London Drugs Blog

When you think of a fruit crumble, chocolate doesn’t usually come to mind. This crumble, however, brings the classic flavours of black forest cake into a rich cherry crumble – loaded with fresh Bing cherries and rounded off with a coconut and cocoa topping.

[Find the recipe at Kitchen Heals Soul]

8. Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Tart

Chocolate Pecan Tart - London Drugs Blog

Nothing quite says “fall” like a warm pecan tart fresh out of the oven. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve found a recipe that will excite any chocolate lover! A maple pecan filling sits atop dark chocolate for a unique – and tasty – dessert.

[Find the recipe at Salted Plains]

9. Pain au Chocolat

Pain au Chocolat Recipe - London Drugs Blog

Pain au chocolate – or chocolate croissants – are usually a coffee shop treat. Thankfully, we’ve found a recipe that’s as simple as it is delicious! With only three ingredients: egg, puff pastry and your favourite dark chocolate bar, you can have your *croissant* and eat it too.

[Find the recipe at Simply Beautiful Eating]

10. Decadent White Chocolate Brownies

White Chocolate Brownies - London Drugs Blog

Believe it or not – not everyone is a huge fan of dark or milk chocolate. For anyone who can’t eat chocolate, or prefers the taste of white chocolate, we’ve got you covered! This delectable brownie recipe is the perfect balance between rich and fluffy, and can be tweaked to whatever sweetness level you prefer.

[Find the recipe at Simple as That]



October 23rd, 2016

7 Weird Appliances We Love

Most kitchens have a blender, a coffee maker, and a toaster; maybe a stand mixer or a panini press. But what about specialty appliances? Novelty appliances are too good to ignore – make for perfect gifts (gag or otherwise!). Which one is your favourite?

Milk and Cookie Shot Maker

milk-and-cookies-shot-maker-2

Eliminate the need for dishes with these all-in-one milk & cookie shots. A chocolate lining (courtesy of the appliance’s chocolate melter) prevents the milk from soaking the cookie, so you can nibble at your leisure without worrying about the depreciation of your snack’s quality.

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October 6th, 2016

8 Clever Hacks for Your Kitchen Appliances

There’s no time like the present to dust off that waffle iron you received as a wedding gift two years ago. The same applies to the slow cooker only brought out for potlucks, and the popcorn machine you can’t reach at the back of the cupboard. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Coffee makers and dishwashers are capable of doing much more than what it claims on their packaging. The following hacks take everyday kitchen appliances (and a few kitchen tools!) from one-dimensional to multi-faceted.

Cheese Grater

kitchen cooking hacks

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to butter a fluffy piece of toast with a cold slab of butter. Not only can a cheese grater solve all your butter problems, but it can also double as a vegetable slicer, spice grinder, and chocolate shaver. Find more grater hacks here.

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August 15th, 2016

8 Back to Dorm Kitchen Essentials

back to school campus dorm

For university-bound students, back to school shopping can be the most appealing part of the new semester. Of course, there are the usual suspects – backpacks, pens, notebooks, and if they’re lucky, new electronics. But what about back to dorm shopping? They may not have a full apartment to deck out, but there are still some essentials for late-night study sessions – namely, in the kitchen department. We’ve gathered eight kitchen essentials for every post-secondary student. While blenders and slow-cookers are a great idea, sometimes they just need the basics.

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