The main focus of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover is the Seder, a meal during which the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt is told. During Passover, eating leavened food is prohibited, so matzo appears in many forms to take its place. It's available in the kosher section of grocery stores, large supermarkets and kosher food stores.
Matzo: This thin, square, perforated flatbread is baked according to strict guidelines to ensure no leavening takes place. It is usually machine-made and sold in 1 lb (500 g) boxes. As well as plain unsalted matzo, it's available as whole wheat, rye, spelt, egg and thin tea.
Matzo Meal: This ground matzo can be used as a substitute for bread crumbs.
Matzo Farfel: Broken into small pieces and sold in a box, this matzo is used in Passover dishes such as kugel, latkes and stuffing.
Cake Meal: This is matzo that is ground to a fine powder and is used as a flour substitute.
Potato Starch: This is used as a thickener and flour substitute during Passover.
Dainty and flavourful, everyone loves to indulge in tiny bites of traditional tea sandwiches. Though they appear finicky to make, these tea sandwiches are easy to assemble and entirely make-ahead.
Pinwheel Sandwiches Trim crusts from 5 slices white or whole wheat sandwich loaf, cut Pullman-style. (Ask bakery to cut sandwich loaf horizontally, or Pullman style.) Using rolling pin, flatten slices slightly. Spread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread with filling.
Place 1 asparagus spear (or 2 baby gherkins) along 1 short end of each. Starting at asparagus, roll up tightly without squeezing. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. With serrated knife, trim ends; cut each roll into 6 slices.
Makes 30 pieces. Pinwheel Sandwich recipe: Curried Egg Salad Triangle Sandwiches Spread 16 thin slices whole wheat or white sandwich bread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread filling evenly over 8 of the slices. Top with remaining slices, pressing lightly. Place on rimmed baking sheet and cover with damp tea towel; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Trim off crusts. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces.
Makes 32 pieces. Triangle Sandwich recipe: Ham Pickle Spread Square Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above except use 8 thin slices white and 8 thin slices whole wheat sandwich bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters.
Makes 32 pieces.Square Sandwich recipe: Pimiento Cheese Spread Finger Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above. Cut each sandwich lengthwise into 4 fingers.
Makes 32 pieces. Finger Sandwich recipe: Tuna Olive Salad
Choose the best-quality bread. Never serve end slices. Freezing bread before cutting and then spreading makes for easier handling.
Bread should be lightly buttered no matter what the filling. Butter should be at room temperature before spreading. Sandwiches will not become limp and soggy as readily if you spread butter right to edge of bread.
Cut crusts off bread with long, sharp knife after (not before) assembling sandwiches. This keeps everything neater.
Since tea sandwiches should be delicate, cut each sandwich into thirds or quarters or in half diagonally. Or use cookie cutters to cut into decorative shapes.
Watching the fiery health-care debates south of the border over the past few years, we Canadians may feel a growing urge to proudly wave our flag for all we're doing right. Last March, Candian Living's very own medical columnist, Dr. Danielle Martin, a practicing family physician and vice-president of medical affairs and health system solutions at Women's College Hospital, appeared in front of the U.S. Senate to share lessons gleaned from Canada's single-payer health-care system. The Senate was forced to contemplate the underlying principle that sets our system apart: equity. There's a lot we have to be proud of.
"Health care should be based on need rather than ability to pay," says Dr. Martin. "That's the bedrock of our system." By paying for every citizen, we end up spending just two-thirds of what Americans pay for their limited-access system, per capita. "And we actually provide quite good care," says Dr. Martin, adding that our outcomes for cancer and heart disease are similar or even better than those in the U.S. Plus, as she pointed out to one senator, we don't have 45,000 citizens per year die while waiting for treatment. Not that our system is perfect. There are still ways to make it more equitable.
1. Improve coverage of medications.
Back in the '50s and '60s, when Medicare was in its infancy, most health care was delivered in hospitals, which meant that prescription drugs weren't a significant cost for most people. "Times have really changed," says Dr. Martin. "Many Canadians are living a long time with chronic medical conditions now, and they need to take medications long-term." In the past 50 years, drug costs have become quite a concern. In fact, a 2012 study found that one in 10 Canadians struggles to pay for medication, and many fail to fill prescriptions or take them as often as directed.
2. Deliver consistent access.
"There's a role for the federal government to play in ensuring that Canadians can count on access to similar services, no matter where they live," says Dr. Martin. In March, Canada's Health Care Accord, which united all of the provinces and territories under common goals, expired. There's a huge variation in coverage between provinces, and Dr. Martin says we need national leadership to ensure consistent care.
3. Ensure that every Canadian has access to high-quality primary care.
"No Canadian should be without a family doctor, and no Canadian should have to wait six weeks for an appointment with one," says Dr. Martin. Currently, where you live impacts your access to primary care. "It's not so much about the number of doctors, it's about the distribution—where they're practicing, and how many are choosing primary care over specialties." To solve the problem, Dr. Martin says we need bigger teams of doctors, nurses and other health-care providers, rather than individual practices. "It's about being linked in â€¨to a bigger system."
For more advice from Dr. Danielle Martin, read what she has to say about these 3 aging myths.
This story was originally titled "Care That's Fair in the July 2014 issue.
Drop that takeout menu, and walk away from the fast food. These tips will make you an ace at Monday-to-Friday dinner prep.
Set for success
Shop once, eat all week
If it's Sunday and you haven't thought ahead to what you'll have for dinner on Thursday, you're missing out on the world's simplest time-saving tool: meal planning! Write out a list of what you'll need to prep your family's meals for the entire week, and get it all in a single supermarket trip before your busy weekday cycle begins. There's no need to worry about wilted veggies when you have a Bosch refrigerator that is equipped with the special VitaFresh system. It maintains just the right level of humidity and helps keep produce fresh longer.
Call in the troops!
You don't have to handle meal prep alone: enlist your family's help. Even young kids can gather ingredients from the fridge, and Bosch's large-capacity drawers and shelves mean it's highly unlikely the broccoli will have been flattened by a jar of pickles. (Everything in its place!) Plus, the efficient LED lighting system keeps items in clear view without hogging a lot of electricity. Once your ingredients are on the counter, kids can shift to sous-chef mode. Safe tasks for little ones include tearing lettuce, crumbling cheese and whisking dressing. Older kids can peel veggies and stir sauces or brown meat on the stove.
Love your leftovers
Plan to make a double batch of your favourite casserole, soup or stew, allowing you to easily transform leftovers into lunches or use them as a base for tomorrow's dinner. Consider cooking more than one recipe at a time: Bosch stoves have five burners and three oven racks, so you'll have space for it all. Don't your weeknights feel less stressed already?
Label and date all freezer foods so you can know at a glance what you have on hand at all times. This minimizes waste, as you're less likely to buy items you already have, and makes it easier to put dinner on the table efficiently by using up leftovers.
Thaw frozen dishes in the fridge, as opposed to on your kitchen countertop, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. To avoid freezer burn and keep food at its best, use airtight storage containers or large bags that are designed for the freezer.
To maximize storage space in your freezer, package items like soups and sauces in resealable freezer bags so you can flatten and stack them on top of one another.
Freezer staples—like peas, edamame, corn, bread, ravioli and puff pastry—make weeknight cooking easier. Have these on hand at all times and make a note when one of those items is running low so you never run out.
For more on how Bosch appliances can make prep, cooking and cleanup easier, visit bosch-home.ca.
"I've seen more changes this year than in the past three years," says Lisa Gittens, a tax expert at H&R Block.
Here are eight things families will want to be aware of when filling out their 2016 return.
1. Last chance on certain tax credits
The government is phasing out a handful of tax credits and focusing on larger benefits. The children's arts and fitness tax credits will be halved for the 2016 tax year, and cut completely next year, meaning families will no longer be able to defray costs for things like swimming lessons, ballet and tutoring. For post-secondary students, the education and textbook credits are being eliminated in 2017, although education amounts carried forward from previous years will still be claimable.
2. No more income splitting
Also gone is the Family Tax Cut, which lets the higher-earning spouse transfer up to $50,000 of income to the lower-earner. During the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to cut it, calling it a "tax break for the wealthy."
With the benefit gone, Gittens recommends a spousal RRSP, which allows the higher-earner to contribute to the lower-earning spouse's RRSP and claim the tax benefit. "You may have an RRSP set up, but you haven't thought about setting it up for your spouse. This is an ideal time to use that strategy," she says.
3. Changes to child benefits
The Canada Child Benefit was a signature feature of the 2016 budget, replacing the old Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. It's non-taxable, so you don't have to claim it. However, in order to continue to receive the benefit, both parents must file a return, even if one doesn't generate any income, says Gittens.
Also keep in mind that the benefit started in July, so you still have to claim the taxable UCC for the first six months of the year.
4. New tax rates
New tax rates mean you may or may not be pleasantly surprised by the size of your tax bill this year. If you're in the meaty middle that earns between $45,000 and $90,000, your rate will come down to 20.5 percent from 22 percent.
"Most Canadians will be receiving more money at the end of the day than they were under the old system," says Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Wealth Strategies Group.
However, high-income earners will be paying more due to a new 33 percent bracket for people earnings more than $200,000.
5. Child care expenses
Childcare costs are usually the biggest deduction available for families, says Golombek. But what many people don't realize is that it goes beyond simply daycare. If you have a nanny, you can claim that expense, but also babysitting, if it's during the day, and summer or day camp.
6. Disability tax credit and family caregiver amount
If you have family members with a disability there are certain credits that may be available to you. The Disability Tax Credit is available to people with disabilities to reduce their taxes. For children under age 18, a parent or caregiver may be able to claim the unused amount.
If you're a caregiver to a family member with physical or mental impairments, you may also be able to claim an additional $2,121, according to the Canada Revenue Agency.
7. Selling your principal residence
Selling your home has typically not been something you've had to report on your taxes, because usually Canadians don't get taxed for capital gains on their principle residence. But starting with the 2016 tax year, individuals who sold their principal residence during the year must report the sale. The government is ostensibly doing this to crack down on people who try to pass off income-generating homes as their principal residence.
8. eFile early, get your refund early
Tax deadline is April 30, but if you want to get ahead of the game, file early, before the government is inundated with last-minute returns. You can still file the old paper return, but Gittens says you'll be looking at a turnaround time of anywhere up to eight weeks, versus 10-14 days for a return filed early and electronically.