All I Want for Christmas with Jeweliette’s Elsa Corsi

Elsa Corsi

We are checking in with local personalities and how could we not include this beauty. Elsa Corsi is a jewellery designer and co-owner of Jeweliette Jewellry, with online shoppin and a location of Hornby Street.  Corsi keeps us in sparkles throughout the year; you’ll often find me wearing her designs on special occasions and I own many of her gorgeous pieces. Sparkle on Elsa Corsi and a happy holiday to you and yours! Now you know where to pick up any last minute holiday jewels you may need!


1) What is on your wish list for the holidays in terms of Jewellery? EC – The sparkliest thing on my Wish List is a pair of Nike Free 5.0 with a crystal encrusted ‘swoosh’. Ever since I saw them on Instagram, I can’t get them out of my mind.

Peanut Brittle Bark Chocolate Arts

2) What about something not even related to jewelry that you are might want? EC – Easy, A lifetime supply of the Peanut Brittle Bark from Chocolate Arts…with the calories removed!

3) What is the best gift you EVER got? EC – One year, my husband asked me if I could have anything I wanted for Christmas what would it be. I told him, a coat I had seen when I was in New York …three years prior. I thought it was the impossible gift, but he tracked it down. Of course, I love the coat-but I love even more that he went out of his way to really surprise me!

herman miller chair

4) What is the best gift you EVER gave? EC A Herman Miller Chair

jeweliette pearl

5) What items to give for the Jewelry addict in our readers life ?
Our ‘twin-set’ pearl earrings at Jeweliette Jewellery are this seasons gift to give! They are a smaller pearl stud post with a larger pearl ear backing. We like to say ‘its business in the front and a party in the back”.


6) How do you recommend one chooses their jewels for a holiday party? EC – The absolute must have for any holiday party is a great pair of earrings that sparkle. This could mean a pair of large studs for the gal who doesn’t usually wear much jewellery or a bright, colorful pair for the jewellery afficionado. I love it when our clients bring their outfits in and we play ‘dress up’! So often what they choose when they see it all together is not what they thought would go at all, so its always fun when there is that element of surprise in their style discovery!

moet pink champagne

9) What do you bring to a holiday party? EC – Always Champagne. Preferably in a pink bottle!

9) What charity do you wish for more funding for in 2015? EC – There are so many worthy charities that need support, and we try to get involved with as many as we can locally. This year, we supported Arts Umbrella, The Vancouver Aquarium and The Daffodil Ball.


8) How will you celebrate the holidays this year? EC – This year we are doing something different, pyjamas and Chinese food all day! No dishes and no cooking!

All I Want For Christmas With Van Doren Chan

van doren chan

We are checking in with some of our favourite local personalities as to how they celebrate the holidays and what they wish for under the Christmas tree. The talented Van Doren Chan is the Sommelier at Vancouver’s top French Restaurant, Le Crocodile, and the owner of C’est la V production, an event planning and hospitality training company that  specializes in enhancing relationships between restaurateurs, producers, wineries and farmers.

lucky peach

1)    What is on your wish list for the holidays in terms of wine or wine related paraphernalia  (your area of expertise)? VDC – A life time subscription to Lucky Peach Magazine

2)   What about something not even related to that area that you are might want? VDC The giant 4.5 kg Tobelerone


3)  What is the best gift you EVER got? VDC Aromaster Master Wine sensory kit

4)  What is the best gift you EVER gave?  VDC One thousand mini paper cranes I folded. It is a Japanese legend, so I gave my one wish that will come true to that special person.

bella winery

5) What are three wines to give this year?

VDC  Bella Sparkling Wine House – They source from 5 different regions in BC and showcase the true expression of each vineyard. Perfect wine to start the Christmas celebration.

Gorman Winery The Pixie 2011 Syrah – Screaming Red Mountain fruits source from Ciel de Cheval and Kiona vineyard. Great wine to enjoy with a dish or on it’s own.

Gunderloch Weingut Nackenheim Rothenberg 2013 Riesling Auslese – A delicious late harvest Riesling with aroma of white lily flowers and honey suckle, great pairing with a cheese plate or enjoy it with your Christmas cookies.

5)  What do you bring to a holiday party? VDC – Homemade Eggnog

6)   What charity do you wish for more funding for in 2015? VDC – S.U.C.C.E.S.S Senior Care

lego space station

7)  Best gift as a kid? VDC – Lego – Space Station (base board) my mom took me Christmas shopping and I get to choose my own gift. I saw the Lego space station and super excited and I grab it. Open it on Christmas Day, it only contain the base board and nothing else. Space station never got complete.

8) How will you celebrate the holidays this year?

Working Christmas Eve, it is a long tradition for many family to celebrate Christmas Eve lunch at Le Crocodile, amazing Alsatian food and sing along Christmas carols. Christmas Day will be a long day of eating and drinking with family. Usually starts early in the morning when my brother and I saber a bottle of bubbly then the Charcuterie and cheese platter to follow and Chinese dumplings made by mom for lunch then a big multi-course dinner at night with ice cream cake to finish the evening.



foodbankDid you know that on average more than 28,000 individuals – 26 per cent of whom are children – rely on the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society each week?

During the holidays we spend more time together cooking in the kitchen or gathered around the dining-room table than we do during any other season. But many Canadians are focused on food for another reason – they don’t have enough. That’s why Loblaw is urging people to donate to the annual Holiday Food Drive, held at Real Canadian Superstore® and Extra Foods® locations across Vancouver. If every Loblaw customer donated one item this holiday season food could be provided to the 841,191 Canadians that turn to food banks every month.

The Loblaw Holiday Food Drive is running until Dec. 24th. Some of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society’s most-needed items this holiday season include:

  • Whole Grains – Rice and Pasta
  • Simple Proteins – Salmon, Tuna, Natural Nut Butters, Beans, Lentils
  • Basic Cereals – Oatmeal
  • Hearty Meals – Soups, Stews, Chili
  • Canned Fruit and Vegetables – Canned Beans, Tomato Sauce
  • Infant Formula and Diapers


Thrive Holiday Style


Each year when the holiday season comes, there is far more temptation around and keeping a healthy balance is damn difficult. Luckily we’ve got our nutritionist, Patti Smyth, R.H.N. on hand and we asked her for some suggestions.

She’s pictured above indulging at one of our fav spots, Cuchillo! 

Have a healthy and happy holiday season!

From Patti:

Tis the season to be jolly, social, busy, generous and maybe a little over indulgent.

And why not?  You’ve worked hard all year, its time to connect with old friends, celebrate with colleagues and share a meal or two with extended family.

But how do we embrace the seasonal festivities, and maintain some semblance of our health goals?

Here are my top 5 tried and true strategies:

  1. Eat before you go. Have a good quality snack with fibre and lean protein (ie. left-over chicken on lettuce with sesame seeds and sesame oil).  This will provide a nourishing foundation on which to enjoy the appie table and since you won’t arrive hungry, you will indulge in moderation.
  2. Embrace your control issues:
    1. Bring a dish to the party (if appropriate) that is within your current food choices and make it the majority of your plate
    2. When not at a social event, maintain healthy choices
      1. Focus on a plant based, lean protein meal plan.
      2. Continue to maintain 7 servings of vegetables and 2 fruits each day
  • Drink lots of water to rehydrate from the night before and/or prepare for the event to come AND
  • Take your multi vit daily, it’s also flu season
  1. Survey the landscape, proceed slowly and with caution
    1. Upon arrival, ses out the bar and food situation.
    2. Start with a bubbly water as you make a plan.
    3. Let your Plus 1 know your plan so they can support you
    4. Mingle and socialize away from the buffet (at least 2 arm lengths to prevent snitching)
    5. Move that super sexy body of yours. It’s more than a vessel, it’s a gift and living on the West Coast, we are so fortunate to be able to get outside everyday.
  2. Move that super sexy body of yours. It’s more than a vessel, it’s a gift and living on the West Coast, we are so fortunate to be able to get outside everyday.
    1. Power walk at lunch
    2. Skip rope in the basement
    3. Use resistance bands in the office
    4. There are yoga options for everyone everywhere
  3. From “CHEERS!” to “I LOVE YOU MAN
    1. Have a plan
    2. Alternate glasses of water with wine. Jesus did it, you can too.
    3. Be the DD (aka designated driver) at least once.
    4. Add ice to a glass of wine (sommeliers close your eyes and ears)
    5. Savour hard bar neat or with water

jump rope

Celebration and libation with friends and family (natural or chosen) is a vital ingredient to aging gracefully and total health.

The Holiday Season is a wonderful opportunity for togetherness and breaking bread, nourishing the soul and fueling your ability to thrive.

Enjoy and appreciate all that the Holiday Season brings you.

Patti Smyth, R.H.N.

Patti Smyth has always loved food…good food.

Patti’s appreciation of food deepened as she accompanied her mother to countless doctors visits and cancer treatments.  Through that experience she realized that the food we eat and lifestyle we choose is our very best defense against disease, chronic pain and fatigue.

Patti abandoned her successful 22-year career at Vancity and immersed herself in studies at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition where she learned all about food – how best to prepare it and what it does inside the body. This new knowledge reinforced what she already knew intuitively; that food fuels, heals and nourishes the body. And as her knowledge grew, so did a deep-seeded passion to share it.

Having been a single, working mother for years, Patti understands hectic schedules and tight budgets, and knows first-hand the challenge of finding the time and energy to put yourself, and your health first. Patti helps you do just that; understand your choices and implement the right plan to live a full and vibrant life for life.

Patti Smyth is a registered holistic nutritionist and passionate outdoor enthusiast. She is on the team at Vital Health Medical and Wellness Clinic, a Sun Run leader and Treasurer of the Successful Women Always Network through which she supports the North Shore Women’s Shelter.

Vegetarian Holiday Feasting With Graze Restaurant

Graze Holiday FeastTake a break from last minute shopping on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 and enjoy a meatless holiday feast at Graze Restaurant.

Choose from 2 seatings, early or late; reserve before 6pm and or for after 8pm.  $35 per person 604-620-8822

Graze Holiday Feast Menu

Paired Soup & Salad

Smoked carrot bisque with carrot jerky & cinnamon oil.
& Timbale of braised pear, fennel, celery root and kale chiffonade with a mustard cream dressing and fig.


Winter Vegetable Country Pie
Cauliflower & kale pie crust, filled with winter vegetable dauphinois, layered with red & beluga lentils, tarragon cream, topped with whipped acorn squash
(gluten Free, not nut free) -or-

Caramelized onion & lobster mushroom galette of kamut & coconut flour pastry with thyme and a cranberry raisin chutney
(gluten light)

Sides (all of them)

Crispy smashed german butter potatoes with roasted garlic & herbs, topped with a cinnamon roasted carrot & gravy

Salted bourbon-maple-baked mixed beans with yam

Creamed kale & spinach

Cornbread & rye stuffing with cranberries, fig, apple, chestnuts and wild rice
(gluten free)

House-made cranberry sauce, of course


Pecan & cranberry ‘butter’ tart, with cranberry-rosehip coulis, and vanilla coconut whip (gluten free) -or-

Pumpkin gingerbread cake with salted caramel & marmalade

Graze Celebrate The World In A Garden

The world in a garden

Well friends there is a very cool evening coming up with one of our favourite restaurants fundraising for one of our favourite causes.

On Tuesday, Dec. 16th, Graze restaurant is donating 20% of dinner sales to help The World In A Garden build school gardens around the world! Simply book a table at {604-620-8822}, mention The World In A Garden, and you’re on your way to enjoying a delicious meal. There is also Silent Auction. Please share and invite your friends as well!


The World In A Garden is a multicultural urban farm and garden project that educates community and youth about the nutritional, cultural  and environmental aspects of growing and eating food.


Farms are located between East and West Boulevard between 57th &  55th Avenue in Vancouver, along the railway tracks. Drop in Mondays from 3-5pm. Visit the Get Involved page for more information.


Educational programming includes nutrition and environmental education workshops, youth leadership, our Bee-Coming Leaders: Bee School for Kids!  and school programs.


The World In A Garden provides a community space to grow traditional and culturally appropriate foods from various ethnic backgrounds. This allows traditional food culture knowledge to be preserved and shared within the community. Cultural Potlucks are an engaging  way to celebrate, share and learn about various cultural food choices, growing techniques, and nutritional benefits of unique food varieties.

Sustainable Food Production:

Current plans for expansion include the development of an interactive and educational urban farm site that will include diversified food production. The new site is planned to include vertical food growing, and a chicken coop to display what is possible in urban spaces.

Social Enterprise:

The World in a Garden are growing in a variety of ways to be financially self-sustaining with a social enterprise that includes  rain barrel project, farmers’ market sales, honey from bees, gift baskets and educational programs.

Our Global Vision:

The World In A Garden is working to launch The Global Garden Project with the first pilot project in Costa Rica in October 2014. Additionally, we are currently working to install gardens in Chennai India in January 2015 in order to support self-sustaining community building and the interconnectedness of cultures through food production.

All I Want For Christmas with Jennifer Schell

Jennifer Schell

This holiday season we are catching up with some of our favourite local personalities to find out how they are celebrating the holidays and what might be on their holiday wish lists. First up, cookbook author and food writer, Jennifer Schell. Schell’s cookbook, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine and Cheese Maker celebrates all great food artisans and products from the Okanagan. It’s sold out, but stay tuned for the next version, with recipes and stories from “By the Sea”; Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. That’ll be a must for holiday gifts come bullet

1)     What is on your wish list for the holidays in terms of food and wine (your area of expertise)? A Weber Bullet!

2)   What about something not even related to that area that you are craving? Endless spa gift certificates

3)  What is the best gift you EVER got? A commissioned painting.

4)  What is the best gift you EVER gave? Big screen TV to my sports loving husband.

Upper Ben

5)  What is a great hostess gift that we might receive if we invited you into our home? A bottle of Okanagan wine and Okanagan cheese and probably a cookbook!

6)   What charity do you wish for more funding for in 2013? Soup sisters/broth brothers & Project Chef!

easy bake oven

7)  Best gift as a kid? Hands down – my red Easy bake oven.

8) How will you celebrate the holidays this year? Christmas Eve is our big night in keeping with our European traditions! Turkey dinner with my family on the farm is followed by present opening in the evening. I love the romance of opening gifts at nighttime when the tree is twinkling.

Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen

It’s not too late to be that person that makes all of their Christmas gifts. You don’t need to channel Martha Stewart;  there’s many fairly low effort items that you can whip up in your kitchen and look like a superstar with something either savoury or sweet.

Thanks to the cookbook from Alison Walker, Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen, if you can follow some straightforward instructions and you know how to tie a bow, you can wrap up everything from Bourbon Peaches to mini Christmas Cakes and please all sorts of hungry people on your holiday gift list.

We recently made the Rosemary Grissini (page 127) and served it up with some Marinated Goat Cheese from her recipe on the opposite page.

Apricot am Homemade Gifts

Apricot Jam

Summer apricots made there way into a Apricot and Almond Jelly and we’ve got some pears marinating right now as we substituted them for the peaches in Walker’s Bourbon Peaches recipe.

Make cookies, marshmallows, or popcorn bark, there’s everything in here to show that special someone you really do care. Better yet, give them the book as well and maybe they’ll return the favour.

Check out this recipe for peanut brittle and you’ll have something sweet in very little time. Substitute hazelnuts from one of the great local Agassiz nut producers and make it full of locally sourced ingredients.

Peanut Brittle


PREPARATION: 15 minutes, plus cooling
COOKING: 20 minutes
MAKES: about 1 lb 6 oz

1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 2⁄3 cups salted roasted peanuts
scant 2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
scant 2⁄3 cup water

Whether you like to snap a sweet nutty piece onto ice cream or just
nibble on some when you feel the need, this brittle also makes a perfect foodie gift. Don’t feel wedded to peanuts, though; toasted almonds, macadamias, or pistachios are all admirable substitutes.

Liberally grease a cookie sheet or a marble slab measuring around
12 inches x 16 inches. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Sprinkle the nuts on to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven.
Put the butter, sugars, and corn syrup into a large deep pan along
with the water. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals.
When the sugar is completely dissolved, bring to a boil. Boil steadily
without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 300°F (the hard
crack stage). If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a teaspoon of the
mixture into a bowl of cold water and it should snap easily.
Quickly and thoroughly stir in the warmed nuts. Pour the mixture
onto the greased cookie sheet or slab and spread out thinly. Leave to
cool completely, then break into pieces. This brittle keeps for up to two weeks in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

Excerpted from Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen.  Copyright © 2014 Alison Walker.  Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


It’s Starting to Smell A Lot Like Christmas

What’s locally made, smells delicious and is 100% natural? That would be Scentuals Body Care, a line of essential oils, bath, body and hair care that comes in all sorts of delicious smelling flavours such as vanilla, gingerbread latte and evergreen, especially for the holiday season.

vanilla tangerine sentuals

Individual items are great for stocking stuffers, or grab a full gift set such as the vanilla tangerine pictured above for someone that’s been extra good.

The Christmas memory set has made our house smell divine. One spray and the festivities have begun! Plus we’ve got the soap and handcream in the bathroom so our guests smell good too! They’re made with organic argan oil, aloe juice, rice bran oil and more, and the burst of essential oils just scream Christmas. Felice Navidad!

President's Choice Turkey

Chef Dino Renaerts’ Turkey Recipes

We’ll be publishing some recipes over the holidays to help make your holiday food prep easier. We’ll have some of our own of course, but we just had to post some from our pal Chef Dino Renaerts as he has teamed up with President’s Choice for these great turkey recipes. The Turkey Sous-Vide recipe is a sure fire way to keep your turkey moist and can be prepared a week in advance. (A bake-alternative method is also included in the recipe for those who don’t have the immersion circulator).

As for those tasty turkey leftovers the next day: Turkey Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding served with roasted mini sweet potatoes captures comfort and the flavours of the season.

Cedarlane Sous Vide

If you do not yet have an immersion circulator, we have the SousVide Supreme from Cedarlane and LOVE IT! They currently have the unit on sale and it makes a great gift for the chef in your life.

Let us know what you are cooking over the holidays!

Dino Renaerts

Here’s Chef Renaerts, who, along with his partner Nessa van Bergen, own Bon Vivant, a catering and culinary arts company whose dished we’ve had the pleasure of sampling several times.  Might be too late to book them for this holiday season, but at least you’ve got his turkey recipes.

Turkey Sous-Vide Created by Chef Dino Renaerts


1 (7-9 kg) PC® Free From Air-Chilled Whole Turkey
2 cups white wine
¼ cup PC® Dijon mustard
2 tbsp PC® black label Lucques olive oil
1 pkg PC® Thyme
1 pkg PC® Sage
1 PC® Organic onion, julienned
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 shallots, diced
To taste PC® sea salt
To taste PC® Telicherry Peppercorns
¼ lb unsalted butter
1 pkg PC® Free From Prosciutto

To taste PC® Holiday Sauce – Cranberry with Port Wine


  1. Mix PC® Dijon mustard, white wine and PC® black label Lucques olive oil together in a bowl. Add julienned onion, garlic and mix together. Season generously with sea salt and cracked pepper and set aside.
  2. Debone the turkey leg: split the leg to separate the drumstick from the thigh. Bone-out thighs and set meat aside in refrigerator. Drumstick and bones can be reserved to roast to make stock and soup separately.
  3. Trim remaining PC® Free From Air-Chilled Whole Turkey to make a turkey crown: chop the back bone so as to leave the carcass rounded with breasts still attached.
  4. In a deep dish or a large re-sealable freezer bag, add dijon marinade, de-boned turkey thigh meat and turkey crown. Refrigerate and marinate overnight.
  5. When ready, remove from refrigerator, discard marinade and pat dry.
  6. Assembly of turkey thigh roulade: in a pan on medium heat, melt 3 tbsp. of butter, and sauté diced shallots until translucent and just starting to brown. Set these aside to cool. Lay two slices of PC® Free From Prosciutto on a clean work surface. Lay turkey thigh meat in a single layer on top, season generously with salt and pepper, and add a sprinkling of chopped PC® Thyme and PC® Sage. Roll thigh meat into a tight roll – prosciutto should be on outside of roll. Tie with butchers twine and place in vacuum seal bag.

To Sous Vide

  1. You will need an immersion circulator and vacuum sealer.
  2. Vacuum seal turkey thigh roulades. Cut the turkey breast from the marinated turkey crown to remove from bone and place in vacuum pack, seal.
  3. Prepare circulator with water, and preheat circulator to 150oF. Place vacuum sealed turkey (thighs and breast) into the water bath. Cook breasts for 2 hours and thighs for 2.5 hours.
  4. Carefully remove vacuum packs and place into an ice bath (a bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes). Do not open the vacuum packs: once chilled, turkey can be kept in refrigerator for up to a week.
  5. When ready to serve, remove breasts and thighs from vacuum bags, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Pre-heat oven to 350oF.
  6. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add the turkey pieces, searing skin side down, until skin is crispy and golden. Remove from skillet and place on a baking sheet with a drip rack. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes, until warm all the way through.
  7. Carve and serve with PC® Cranberry with Port Wine Holiday Sauce, and home-made gravy. 

Alternative Preparation: Bake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400oF.
  2. Place turkey crown into roasting rack with a drip tray. Rub room-temperature butter over turkey skin and season with salt and pepper. Place the prosciutto wrapped thighs on drip tray also.
  3. Brown turkey and thighs for 15-20 minutes or until skin is golden. Reduce temperature to 350oF and cook turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 150oC (using a meat thermometer), about 1-1.5 hours.  Remove from oven and cover with foil and a dish towel let rest for half an hour before carving. The internal temperature of the turkey will keep rising while it rests.

Carve and serve with PC® Cranberry with Port Wine Holiday Sauce, and home-made gravy. 

Turkey Popovers, Chef Dino Renaerts, President's Choice

Turkey Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding served with roasted mini sweet potatoes Created by Chef Dino Renaerts


250 ml water
250 ml milk
500 ml whole eggs
2 eggs, whites only
500 ml all-purpose flour
1 tsp each of chopped PC® Thyme and PC® Sage
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices PC® Free From Prosciutto, chopped roughly
1 cup PC® black label Isle of Man cheddar, grated
2 cup PC® Mini Sweet Potatoes, halved
2 Tbsp PC® New World EVOO
Leftover PC® Free From Air-Chilled Whole Turkey, shredded and warmed
To taste PC® Cranberry with Port Wine Holiday Sauce


  1. In a blender, place water, milk, whole eggs, egg whites, flour, thyme, sage and salt and pepper. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Allow batter to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375oF.
  3. In a muffin tin, pour reserved turkey drippings from day before to fill to the ¼ mark. Place in oven and heat until hot, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Remove batter from fridge, give it a stir, and pour into hot tins, filling to just below the top of the muffin tin. Add chopped PC® Free From Prosciutto and grated PC® black label Isle of Man cheddar to each tin.
  5. On a baking sheet, place halved PC® Mini Sweet Potatoes and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place both the yorkshire puddings and the sweet potatoes in the oven. Bake until yorkshire puddings have risen and are browned, approximately 35 to 40 minutes, and the sweet potatoes are golden and crisp. Turn oven down to 300oF, and continue to bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven.
  7. Fill each yorkshire puddings with warmed shredded turkey leftovers. Serve with PC® Cranberry Port Wine Sauce, and roasted PC® Mini Sweet Potatoes, roasted to perfection.


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