Beef and Black Bean Enchilada Bake <br> Photography by Jim Norton Credits: Beef and Black Bean Enchilada Bake <br> Photography by Jim Norton
No book lover is going to complain about receiving a hot new read for the holidays—but if you're looking for a more unique lit-inspired gift, check out these editor-approved picks.
Invisible double shelf, $29.
Reading glasses, $20.
Literary quote print, $10.
Banned books heat reactive mug, $12 USD.
Agate bookends, $44.
Custom bookplate stamp, $49.
Library card tote bag in natural, USD$20.
Illustrations by Josie Portillo
These pooches, all Purina Animal Hall of Fame inductees, showed amazing loyalty and courage in the face of potential tragedy.
Late one evening, Matthew Church returned from a bike ride complaining to his wife, Patricia, of pain in his shoulder and elbow. She gave him a couple of Aspirin, and he went upstairs to watch TV while Patricia read by the fireplace downstairs, the family's labradoodle, Zola, at her feet. Moments later, Patricia heard a thud from upstairs. She would have brushed off the noise, but Zola began to bark and growl at Patricia. Confused by Zola's behaviour, Patricia followed the dog upstairs, where Matthew was lying facedown without vital signs. He'd gone into cardiac arrest, but because of Zola's protective instincts, the ambulance arrived in time to restart his heart and save his life.
Raya, a five-year-old black Labrador retriever–Norwegian elkhound mix, loves elk hunting with her owner, Brent Cote, and his mother, Trudy. On a warm fall day in 2015, one such outing turned out to be much more exciting than usual. They'd been hiking for several hours when dusk fell and they began making their way back to their truck, walking along the edge of the forest. Out of nowhere, a bear burst out of the brush and charged toward the family in an effort to protect her cub. In an instant, Raya leaped in front of Brent and Trudy, barking and growling at the bear. After three attempts at charging, the mom and her cub were forced to retreat. Because of Raya's bravery, the trio was able to escape without injury.
Port Alberni, B.C., resident Kayla Aolick credits her golden retriever, Shadow, with helping restore her independence. Kayla has epilepsy, the aftereffect of a cancerous brain tumour that was removed when she was 11, and her episodes were once so bad that she couldn't go anywhere alone. But since the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides matched her with the seizure-detection dog four years ago, things have been very different. Shadow warns Kayla when a seizure is coming on—and he may be the reason she now experiences fewer episodes. With Shadow around, she and her family don't stress out as much about what will happen if a seizure strikes; they know he'll alert Kayla, get her mom or even push her medical-alert button, if necessary. From taking cooking classes to running errands solo, Kayla can finally live a more independent life.
Toronto Police Service Canine Unit Const. Steve Balice rarely goes anywhere without his police dog, Lonca. One November evening, the duo was stationed at the back entrance of a residential address, while the rest of the Emergency Task Force entered through the front door. Const. Balice saw an armed man running from the building, seemingly headed toward the officers out front, so he shouted numerous warnings before finally releasing Lonca to bring the suspect down. The man proceeded to strike Lonca in the face with a machete—but he didn't let go until the suspect finally surrendered. Though bleeding, Lonca assisted in the capture of a second suspect before being rushed to the veterinary hospital, where he received five stitches on his face and two staples in his paw. The suspect who attacked Lonca was the first in Canada to be charged under Quanto's Law, a piece of legislation enacted in 2015 to protect law-enforcement animals, military animals and service animals.
The Purina Animal Hall of Fame is an annual ceremony that recognizes heroic animals from across Canada—to the tune of 172 inductees in its 48 years. The vast majority are dogs, but there have also been feline inductees—and even a horse! This year, in addition to these four brave dogs, Rex, a Saskatoon-area pooch who saved a family member from a house fire, was honoured. Read his heartwarming tale here: How one family's rescue dog turned out to be a hero.
Whole30, an intensive one-month dietary reboot that requires cutting out dairy, grains, sugar and processed foods, took the Internet by storm last year, as much for its strict approach (cheat once and you have to start from scratch) as its health benefits. But Melissa Hartwig, one-half of the duo behind the program and a certified sports nutritionist, knows that ditching bad habits is usually a more long-term project. Enter her new book, a guide to rethinking your relationship with food, complete with advice on creating your own perfect diet and strategies for overcoming slipups. — Stacy Lee Kong
Food Freedom Forever (Viking Canada)by Melissa Hartwig, $32.
When Zoe Walker sees a photo of herself in a personal ad that she didn't place, she's confused, but not afraid. Soon, more ads, featuring different women, all commuters, appear. Then, Zoe starts seeing those women on the news, the victims of increasingly violent crimes—but no one save Kelly, a transit cop, believes her when she says there's a link. This fast-paced read will have you looking over your shoulder on your way to work, wondering who has been paying attention to you, without you noticing. — SLK
I See You (Berkley) by Clare Mackintosh, $24.
Canadian-born, U.K.- based YouTube star Estée Lalonde's debut book is full of charming no-pressure advice for creating a stylish life, including chapters on beauty, fashion, food and home, all punctuated with regular appearances by her boyfriend, Aslan, and their greyhound, Reggie. But it's in the sections on people and life, where she candidly describes her ever-present struggle with anxiety and what it was like to grow up on the fringes of the in crowd, that Lalonde gets real. — Grace Toby
Trevor Noah was born in South Africa during apartheid to a black mother and a white father—so the title of the comedian and Daily Show host's first book, Born a Crime, is, pardon the pun, no joke. A hilarious but thoughtful read, Noah's essays touch on poverty, racism and his heartwarming, complicated bond with his mother, who, despite her tough love, shares his penchant for laughter. — Kate Wells
Born a Crime (Doubleday Canada) by Trevor Noah, $35.
Love at first bite
Any Ina Garten fan knows that her husband, Jeffrey—who can often be seen smiling blissfully while enjoying a homemade feast on Food Network Canada's Barefoot Contessa—is the one true not-sosecret ingredient to any recipe Ina cooks up. Her newest cookbook (her 10th!), Cooking for Jeffrey, is an edible love letter to her husband, and to the dishes she's been making for him for decades. It features a plethora of recipes that are perfect to serve at a dinner party, such as Camembert & Prosciutto Tartines, Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken, Challah With Saffron, and Limoncello Ricotta Cheesecake. Another reason to love the book: Almost every dish comes complete with a make-ahead tip, so you'll never have to scramble in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying one another's company. If you've been meaning to entertain more, or if you just want reliable, full-flavoured, simple, rustic food to add to your repertoire, this is what you'll want to curl up with. — Jennifer Bartoli