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 13th, 2017

It’s Crock-tober! Share Your Classic Crock Pot Recipe to Win

Autumn is in full swing, and with it comes the changing colours, crisper air, and a desire for comfort food. There’s nothing better than having your crock pot simmering away on your kitchen counter with a delicious soup just waiting for you to enjoy.

Crock Pot Recipes - London Drugs Blog

We know you love Crock Pots. Now you can win one!

October is the month where we pull out our crock pots and those old favourite recipes we love. Maybe some are passed down through the family, or others you’ve only tried recently. But why keep those recipes to yourself?

We’d love to hear what your favourite crock pot meal is and put some of those great recipes into action. Plus, share the love with others!

Four ways to enter the contest:

1. Submit your recipe in the comments below (1 entry)
2. Enter through our sign up form from Oct. 14-16 (1 entry)
3. Share your recipe on Twitter with #LDCrocktober (1 entry)
4. Follow @londondrugs on Instagram and let us know in the comments (1 entry)

Also, here are some of our favourite recipes to make for an easy Crock Pot dinner!

1. Crock Pot Baked Spaghetti

Slow Cooker Crock Pot Baked Spaghetti - London Drugs Blog

Who can go wrong with a delicious cheesy baked spaghetti in the Crock Pot? Try this fool-proof recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker or share your very own recipe with us in the comments below!

2. Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes all you need is chicken soup and a good book on a crisp fall day. This classic Crock Pot recipe from The Black Peppercorn will soothe your soul – but we also want to know what else you would add to it!

3. Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs

Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs - London Drugs Blog

Meatballs are a crowd favourite and oh-so-easy to whip up in the slow cooker. Try this tasty recipe from Well Plated and tell us in the comments below what you would pair your meatballs with!

We will be giving away Crock Pots all month long through Facebook, Twitter, and right here on the blog. Check back often to see dates for each giveaway!



July 26th, 2017

Best Sour Cherry Jelly

Liquid Pectin allows you to make the freshest jelly possible, retaining more flavour and nutrition than with any other method of jelly making.

Ingredients

  • 4.4 lb (2 kg) sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) lemon juice
  • 7 cups (1750 ml) granulated sugar
  • 2 pouches (170 ml) BERNARDIN® Liquid Pectin

Instructions

  • Place 7 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.
  • Wash, stem, pit and pulse cherries in a food processor or finely chop. Combine with water in a stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.
  • Pour prepared mixture into dampened jelly bag or cheese cloth-lined sieve suspended over a deep container. Let juice drip undisturbed, at least 2 hours or overnight. For quicker results, squeeze bag; juice may be cloudy.
  • Measure 3-1/2 cups (875 ml) prepared juice into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and all the sugar. To reduce foaming, add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add liquid pectin, squeezing entire contents from pouch. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam, if necessary.
  • Quickly pour jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jelly. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jelly.
  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 10 minutes.*
  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.

Makes about 7 x 250 ml jars.

 

Boiling Water Canner  – Altitude Adjustments
* At altitudes higher than 1,000 ft (305 m) increase processing time as indicated in chart. ALTITUDE INCREASE
Processing Time
FEET METERS
1,001 – 3,000   306 –    915 5 minutes
3,001 – 6,000   916 – 1,830 10 minutes
6,001 – 8,000 1,831 – 2,440 15 minutes
8,001 –10,000 2,441 – 3,050 20 minutes


June 28th, 2017

9 Canadian Recipes to Celebrate Canada 150

When we think of Canadian cuisine, there are staple dishes–both sweet and savoury–that immediately come to mind.

While Canada is known for creating the poutine and Hawaiian pizza (among other delicacies), not everyone has grown up with these familiar local flavours. So whether the following dishes bring back fond childhood memories or this is your first ever time trying them out, these recipes are bound to have you brimming with Canadian pride this July 1st. Bring them to a Canada Day barbecue, share them with your coworkers and classmates, or simply whip up a batch to enjoy yourself.

1. The Famous Canadian Butter Tarts

Canadian Recipes - Butter Tart

The butter tart may be taken for granted as a regular dessert choice in Canadian households, but for some it is a sweet and flaky treat that may be overlooked. Everyone should experience this luxurious–and simple to make–national dessert that is popular year-round, and enjoyed by all.

[Find the recipe at Cooking the Globe]

2. Bannock

Canadian Recipes - Bannock

Bannock–a traditional Aboriginal bread–is made up of flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, and can be made savoury or sweet depending on your tastebuds.

[Find the recipe at Family Feedbag]

3. Classic Canadian Maple Syrup Pie

Canadian Recipes - Maple Pie

Maple is the spotlight of our nation’s flag, and is used as a natural sweetener in many dishes and as a popular condiment across the country. This sugar pie recipe truly makes maple syrup the star, and will be loved by anyone with a sweet tooth.

[Find the recipe at Seasons & Suppers]

4. Authentic Canadian Poutine

Canadian Recipes - Poutine

Of course, you can’t talk about Canadian cuisine without bringing up poutine. Originating in Quebec, the extremely satisfying combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy can now be enjoyed across the globe.

[Find the recipe at Half Baked Harvest]

5. No-Bake Nanaimo Bars

Canadian Recipes - Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are the intensely sweet and creamy dessert named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia. Although they may appear complex, these no-bake bars can be whipped up quickly (and devoured just as fast).

[Find the recipe at Liv for Cake]

6. Tourtiere (Quebecois Meat Pie)

Canadian Recipes - Tourtiere

While tourtiere is a traditional Quebecois savoury pie filled with pork, veal, and beef, this recipe can also be tweaked to cater to curious vegetarians. Whether you keep the meat or not, this classic French pie is sure to appease your appetite.

[Find the recipe at Saveur]

7. Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Donut Holes (DIY Timbits)

Canadian Recipes - DIY Timbits

Timbits (bite-sized donut holes made by Tim Hortons) are a staple in many a Canadian diet, and if not–or at least a guilty pleasure. Thankfully, you no longer have to hide the Timmy’s box from coworkers and friends–you can now make them in the privacy of your home!

[Find the recipe at Port and Fin]

8. Canadian Bacon Pineapple Pizza

Canadian Recipes - Hawaiian Pizza

Despite its name, Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple) was actually created by a Canadian back in the ‘60s, making this exotic-sounding pizza a true Canadian classic. Really amp up the Canadian spirit by substituting the ham for Canadian bacon.

[Find the recipe at Eat In Eat Out]

9. Grilled Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls

Canadian Recipes - Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls

If you’re lucky enough to have lived or visited the East Coast, you’ll understand the hype around lobster rolls. This recipe is simple, traditional, and can even be made with frozen or canned lobster if you can’t get your hands on a fresh Nova Scotian crustacean.

[Find the recipe at Food Gypsy]

 



June 28th, 2017

Instant Pot Review (and a Recipe!)

With the introduction of the Instant Pot to my kitchen, making meals for my family has gotten so much quicker and more efficient! I’d been hearing about the Instant Pot and its miraculous time-saving ways, and there is no better time to try one of these fantastic tools out than the summer. Not only does this amazing cooker save time and energy, but it also helps keep your kitchen cool with its super-efficient insulated cooking system – no more sweating over a steaming pot on the stovetop or turning your kitchen into a sauna by roasting dinner in the oven on a hot day! As an added bonus, less heat lost into the air in your kitchen means less energy needed to cook your meal perfectly, helping to minimize your energy footprint for a greener kitchen.

The Instant Pot’s myriad functions make this multifunctional cooker more than worthy of its counterspace footprint – with pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sautéing, and warming functions, this handy package can replace multiple old, worn-out appliances in your kitchen – even down to your yogurt maker, with pre-calculated programs for cooking soups, meats and stews, beans and chilis, poultry, white rice, multigrain, and porridges, to take the guesswork out of preparing these staple dishes.

While I was skeptical at first that the Instant Pot, with its wide range of uses, would measure up to appliances that focused only on a single utility, I was blown away by how well it performs all its functions. In a head-to-head with my rice cooker, the Instant Pot managed to cook rice perfectly in half the time! I was equally impressed by the ease with which it cooked lentils (only 30 minutes from dry!), soup (tasted like it had been simmering all day after only 45 minutes!), and beef (falling-apart-tender in under an hour!) – all-in-all, this multifunction miracle won me over quickly and completely.

London Drugs carries two models of the Instant Pot – the IP-DUO60 V2 and the IP-DUO80, and I’ve tested them both to help you choose which model is the best fit for your kitchen. The two models are almost identical except for their size, boasting the same great rundown of features – multicooker capability, easy steam-release valve, automatic stay-warm function, heavy-duty stainless steel inner pot, included steam/roasting rack and utensils, detachable power cord for easy storage, and more.

The primary difference is in the size, with the DUO60 having a 6-quart (roughly 5.7-litre) maximum capacity, and the DUO80 holding up to 8 quarts (approximately 7.6 litres). This difference adds up to roughly two inches of difference in diameter and another two inches in height, which sounds minimal, but when seen side-by-side, the DUO80 is a very clearly a much larger appliance (it consequently also takes slightly longer to come to temp or full pressure). If you’re cooking for a large family or like to make large batches of meals to freeze, I would definitely recommend the DUO80 for its extra capacity, but if your kitchen space is limited and you don’t need to feed crowds, the DUO60 is the way to go. If you’re not sure which model will work best in your kitchen, I definitely recommend looking at the product at your local London Drugs – as the Instant Pots are packaged very efficiently, just looking at the box gives you a fairly accurate idea of how much space it will take up in your kitchen.

All in all, using the Instant Pot has been an absolute pleasure, and I expect I’ll be using it many times a week long into the future. If you’re looking to invest in a new cooking appliance or replacing an old one that’s seen better days, I can’t recommend this product highly enough!

Korean-Fusion Style Burritos, makes 6-10 servings. Recipe time: 1 hour (not including burrito assembly)

Ingredients for kalbi-inspired shredded beef:

  • 1-2 kg large chunks of braising or stewing beef (2 kg will fit in the DUO80, but may not fit in the DUO60)
  • ½ cup rice wine
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 Asian pear, grated
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ large white or sweet onion, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped

Ingredients for burritos:

  • 6-10 large burrito-sized tortillas
  • 3-5 cups prepared white or brown rice (approx. ½ cup or more prepared rice per burrito)
  • 1-2 cups seasoned rice vinegar (or plain rice vinegar with 2 tablespoons each of sugar and salt whisked in, per ½ cup vinegar)
  • Chopped kimchi (approx. ½ cup or more per burrito, to taste)
  • Chopped raw cabbage or other greens
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sriracha (optional)

Mix all ingredients so that the meat is well-coated (this may be done inside the Instant Pot to minimize dirty dishes).

Place the beef in the Instant Pot, and pour in remaining mixture on top. Close Instant Pot lid firmly, and select the Meat/Stew function with the High Pressure option for 50 minutes.

While the meat cooks, cook your rice in a second Instant Pot, rice cooker, or on the stove (you can also wait until the meat is done and cook it in the Instant Pot your beef is currently cooking in, though you’ll have to wash the pot in between – if you do this, recipe will take an additional 20 minutes, approximately). When rice is cooked, allow to cool slightly, and sprinkle with ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar per cup of prepared rice before mixing gently to distribute the vinegar evenly.

Chop kimchi, raw cabbage or other greens, cilantro, and green onions.

When the Instant Pot is finished cooking, remove the beef to a clean bowl. Meat should fall apart easily – shred it using two forks before serving.

Allow each diner to assemble their burrito to their own tastes.

(The liquid left in your Instant Pot will be highly flavourful, and can be used as a great beef soup base after straining out any remaining solids and skimming off the fat.)



January 4th, 2017

LD Picks: 8 Simple and Healthy Recipes to Kickstart Your Year

We’ve all said it before – even if it’s only lasted for the first two weeks of January: “My resolution this year is to eat healthier meals and stop snacking on junk.” Even though a protein-packed and nutrient-rich diet may be ideal, the truth is that a low-fat life is not easy to sustain for everyone.

Thankfully, healthy eating does not have to mean drab and flavourless eating. The following recipes are designed to keep you fuller longer, provide ample nutrition, and satisfy any unhealthy cravings left over from the holidays.

Vegan Overnight Oats

During a busy workweek, it can be difficult to make time for a well-rounded breakfast that will get you through the day. While oatmeal has a reputation for being bland, there are countless variations that will allow you to switch it up daily. Add cinnamon, maple syrup, and dried fruit to your oats the night before, and allow your mixture to soak up all the goodness. The addition of chia seeds supplies an early morning dose of Omega-3s to allow for a bustling day ahead.

Find this vegan, gluten-free recipe from Oh She Glows

Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

When you have a hankering for a big plate of Chinese food from your local restaurant, you may not regret it at first, but all that grease won’t settle well in your stomach. If you’re vegetarian, it’s difficult to find anything on the menu you can eat at all. Lettuce wraps can be made at home for everyone, and are even speedier than takeout. With hoisin sauce, Sriracha and soy sauce as a base, all you need is fresh lettuce, tofu and veggies of your choice. Meat lovers can even substitute chicken or shrimp to make it family-friendly.

Find this delicious vegetarian recipe from Not a Leaf

Simple Roasted Squash

Although squash is a staple of the fall season, they can usually be found at the grocery store year-round. Whenever there’s a significant cold spell in the city, nothing is better than turning on the oven and baking an aromatic, savoury-sweet dinner. This dish is extremely versatile: just add whatever protein you’re in the mood for, quinoa or rice, veggies on hand and toppings such as walnuts and parmesan cheese. Another easily-adaptable meal, roasted squash can also be substituted with bell peppers and zucchini.

Find this cold-weather recipe from the Kitchn

Personalized Flatbread

Carb-cutting might seem near-impossible (or just unrealistic), but as long as you eat it in moderation, and you have no gluten sensitivities, there’s no harm in having pizza once in a while! Personalized flatbread (usually featuring a little less dough than a pizza crush) is one healthy— and delicious—way to curb your craving. Using health-conscious ingredients like organic sugar, and spelt flour (in addition to all purpose flour) can lessen the guilt and add to the flavour. Top your flatbread with hummus, sautéed vegetables, and a protein of your choice. Drizzle with a balsamic dressing for added sweetness.

Try this homemade garlic herb flatbread recipe from Minimalist Baker

Energizing Kale Salad

When you’re looking for an extra boost of energy—whether training for a marathon or preparing for a presentation at work—it can be difficult to eat mindfully. It’s far too easy to load up on carbohydrates like pasta, or simply drink a protein shake and call it a day. Make sure you reap all the benefits from this protein and fibre-packed salad. Olive oil, sunflower seeds, apples and kale can be topped with breaded or grilled chicken, fish or pork. Add a handful of chopped figs for sweetness and sprinkle with hemp hearts for Omega-3s, iron and zinc.

Try this delicious take on kale from Honeycomb Food

Hearty Chickpea Stew

For another vegetarian dish that will please everyone at the dinner table, grab that can of chickpeas you’ve been saving in your pantry and make this creamy curry. Canned tomatoes, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices make the sauce for this stew. Add eggplant, sweet potato and spinach to round it off. Served on rice or quinoa, this is a foolproof dish perfect for the winter. Hint: double the recipe and freeze a portion for another day.

Find this hearty vegetarian recipe from Deliciously Ella

Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars

Using just a handful of ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard, these peanut butter quinoa bars are great as a snack to throw in your bag, a quick breakfast on-the-go, or as a satisfying dessert after dinner. Substitute peanut butter with almond butter in case of allergies, and chocolate chips with raisins. Oats, quinoa, honey, coconut oil and chia seeds make this a jam-packed protein bar reminiscent of sweet blondies or granola bars.

Try this chewy and fresh recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

Dark Chocolate Apricots

Dark chocolate is not only acceptable as a healthy treat, but it’s also recommended for daily intake. It contains heart-healthy antioxidants, amino acids and releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. Of course, only 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate is needed per day to promote some of these health benefits, but don’t worry, we won’t tell if you exceed that amount. Dip dried apricot halves in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chilli powder for a fast and decadent dessert with a kick.

Indulge on this healthy snack from Better Homes & Gardens



October 5th, 2016

6 Perfect Side Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a huge job – not only does it take a lot of planning and organization, it can also be fairly costly. If you’re not hosting this year, it’s worth thinking about how to help. Always ask the host what you can bring – that way, they can choose something specific if they want to. However, if they don’t have a preference, we’ve got some great suggestions for dishes you can bring along that complement the turkey. Read on!

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Thanksgiving London Drugs

You know how it goes. Thanksgiving arrives, and the oven is overfilled with a turkey and roasting vegetables and the stovetop has cranberry sauce, gravy, and stuffing. So why not offer to handle the mashed potatoes? You can prep them in advance and then bring the whole slow cooker with you – that way, no oven space is needed to reheat your dish, but no one will have to bear cold mashed potatoes. Check out this recipe, which features classic cream and butter, and then let us know what your favourite mashed potato toppings are. We especially like cream cheese and sour cream.

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