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Avoid a strict routineâ€¨
Cover all your basesâ€¨
Try something newâ€¨
Know your stuffâ€¨
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Beverages account for a huge source of our sugar intake. Credits: Getty Images
Sugary drinks contain a lot of empty calories and have been linked to numerous health issues. Learn how to kick these drinks to the curb with five healthy alternatives.Trading in your sugary chai latte for a chai tea made with steamed milk may seem like the end of the world. But, changing your diet can be easier – and yummier - than you think.
Canadian Living visited the historic South End district of Halifax to see the celebrated craftsmanship of architect Andrew R. Cobb. Over 100 years since his work, his signature style has left a mark on the residents of this charming period neighbourhood, who take time to decorate their doors in vivd holiday vignettes. Find inspiration for your own holiday decorations from one of these 12 beautifully decorated holiday doors.
Lynn O'Callaghan took the three Rs to heart for her vibrant decor. She reduced the number of urns on her veranda to a single standout arrangement; reused her old wreath, updating the original lime ribbon with fab fuchsia tulle; and recycled a large birch branch destined for the dump by sawing it up and inserting pieces into the urn. We'll add a fourth R for "reimagined." Instead of plastic ties, Lynn used green dollar-store pipe cleaners to suspend her handsome spruce and hemlock garlands. Brilliant!
Wreath, propsfloraldesign.com; light, livinglightingns.ca
The bright Bermuda-inspired front door of Elizabeth and Michael Ryan's 1920s Andrew Cobb home is complemented with a simple homemade wreath. Elizabeth wired small pinecones onto a wreath form; added a few larger pinecones that she and her husband, a Second World War buff, found in Normandy, France; and finished the look with metallic gold sprays and ribbon.
With its luxe louvered shutters, stucco exterior and climbing vines, Lynn Tilley's home exudes French country charm. During the holiday season, an ornate wreath of pink and burgundy flowers, berries and pinecones pops against the stately black door, while a bold yet elegant bow tops the pretty package.
Bow, mymothersbloomers.ca; wreath, costco.ca
Festive flourishes are no sweat for Larry Swinamer and Susan MacIntosh. Decorating, says Larry, is "a collective, fun endeavour. It just sort of flows." He's in charge of the entryway's delightful arrangement of hanging ornaments, while Susan, who is the owner of Props Floral Design, takes care of the wreath and planter. She breaks up the evergreens with decorative elements made of copper, including whimsical whales – a nod to the couple's waterfront location.
Wreath and planter arrangement, propsfloraldesign.com
"A wreath on the door expresses the circle of love, peace and joy that begins at home," says Catherine Johnston, who had this splurge-worthy statement piece custom-designed to complement her home's dazzling façade. As a personal touch, she added fragrant cedar and balsam fir boughs cut from her winter cottage at Foley Lake, N.S.
Wreath, propsfloraldesign.com; light, homedepot.ca
"Every year I'd buy a wreath and it would come with a piddly little red bow," says Cindy Wheeler Ingham, who wanted something more substantial to decorate her Andrew Cobb home for the holidays. Her search led her to this bold ready-made bow in her youngest son's favourite colour – only to find it was too big for her wreath. So...she ditched the wreath!
Bow, mymothersbloomers.ca; coach lanterns, homedepot.ca
"We really try to achieve the classic Dickens theme," explains Margo Giacomantonio. From the thick pine garland wrapped in 40 feet of ribbon to the pine and eucalyptus wreath, everything in the traditional red-and-green scheme is fresh and homemade. Flanking the door are two massive urns featuring dogwood, gold-sprayed branches and poinsettias."
Ribbon, kent.ca; wreath decorations, propsfloraldesign.com
Why should the front door get all the glory? Graced with a corner lot, these homeowners took much care in creating garden gates that were not only complementary to their Tudor-style home but also pleasing to passersby en route to the nearby city park. The neutral backdrop means the sprays – a mix of balsam fir, white pine, alder and teasel – garner the attention they deserve.
Sprays, Balsamea House, 902-624-6261
"Nova Scotia weather is not kind to Christmas decorations," says homeowner Suzanne Morrison. The secret to her success? A collection of fabulous faux adornments, including holly berry and pinecone garland, lit potted plants and a cool contemporary silver wreath.
Garland, walmart.ca; plants and wreath, homesense.ca; planters, halifaxseed.ca; mailbox, michaels.com; sconces, kichler.com
At Laurie Cruess's 1915 American foursquare–style home, a wreath of wide-meshed ribbon, purchased at the Dalhousie University Christmas Craft Sale, shimmers under the soft glow of the period-perfect mission sconces. With the help of a friend who works at the Halifax Public Gardens, Laurie arranged the planters with fresh evergreens clipped from her own garden, along with magnolia leaves, pinecones and dogwood branches.
The Boileau family refreshed the stately elegance of their 1910 Andrew Cobb home by repainting the original sconces and replacing the drafty old door with a handsome replica. But when it comes to decorating for the holidays, they choose fun over formality. Take, for example, their wreath, decked with brilliant purple baubles and delightfully unexpected eggplant-coloured leaf clusters.
Silver branches, winners.ca; silver baubles, realcanadiansuperstore.ca; wreath decorations, propsfloraldesign.com; evergreens, Balsamea House, 902-624-6261
Janet Willwerth keeps her front-door decor minimal but meaningful. "I find comfort in the familiarity of my Christmas things," she says. "Each time they are brought out, they bring back memories." Her whimsical grouping showcases two special gifts (the Santa and candy cane), a robust wreath (bought from a door-to-door salesperson) to which Janet added a bow, and an antique ship's lantern from Pictou, N.S., that's been in her family for generations.
Photography by Sian Richards
Whether your holiday style is modern, romantic or more on the traditional side, we've got a new take on Christmas-tree decorating just for you.
A fabulous floral tree sets the scene for a pastel Christmas. Simply place several large faux blooms in shades of the same colour throughout the branches. The best part? The flowers can be popped into a vase when the tree comes down!
High Park seven-foot lifelike pine tree, canadiantire.ca. Faux flowers, michaels.com. Blåregn throw, ikea.ca. Forever Frenched art print, annawithloveshop.com. Cushion, tonicliving.com. Wispy Pink 2005-70 paint (on wall), benjaminmoore.com.
Adorn your tree with your favourite family memories. Flip through photo albums together (or scroll through images on your phone) to make choosing pictures part of the fun. Scan the images, print them in black and white on sturdy matte paper, then cut them out, leaving a white edge. Next, perforate each one with a hole punch, and use twine to make a loop through the opening to hang on a branch. It's sure to be a conversation starter!
The giving tree
Wrap your tree in mini gifts. Vary the size of the packages for visual interest, but keep the look unified by sticking to a simple colour scheme; in this case, we were inspired to create a traditional red-and-white palette. Once wrapped, presents were tied to branches using coordinating ribbon and twine.
High Park seven-foot lifelike pine tree, canadiantire.ca. Marcel sofa, Woodford coffee table and Hugo rug, urbanbarn.com. Cushions, tonicliving.com. Essex mantel, hearthmanor.com. Winter Retreat wall art, minted.com. Simply White OC-117 paint (on wall), benjaminmoore.com.
Our ultimate Christmas dinner guide
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Credits: Jeff Coulson
Be the star of the show with our 11 ultimate potluck dishes.
These brownies are Food Director Annabelle Waugh's secret recipe and are sure to be a hit at any potluck! We now use it as our classic brownie recipe at Canadian Living. You'll see that they live up to their name.
Creamy and comforting? Check. Rich and delicious? Check. This simple, classic side has everything you could ever ask for in a potato gratin. We guarantee you'll make it again and again – and again!
We gave our classic caesar salad a nutrient boost by adding tender baby kale. Crunchy pumpernickel croutons and Parmesan crisps really put this salad above the rest.
Serve this saucy pulled pork as sandwiches piled high on buns, with bowls of garnishes, such as pickled jalapeños, sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly shredded red cabbage (or better yet, red cabbage slaw), and let guests build their own sandwiches.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you're feeding a smaller group. Serve over hot steamed basmati rice.
This version of potato salad has all the comfort of a fully loaded baked potato and can be made ahead of time so it's ready when you need it.
No one will be able to resist these flaky savoury sausage rolls. Make them in advance of any party and reheat in the oven before serving.
Vegetarians won't feel left out of the pot luck with these delicious bites and your meat-eating guests will appreciate them too.
Our foolproof 5-ingredient roasted garlic dip couldn't be simpler to make. Serve it with your favourite vegetables, or alongside festive Christmas Tree Veggie Tray.
I know what you're thinking: Who brings biscuits to a potluck? One bite of Mile-High Bacon Cheese Biscuits and the answer will be you! They combine easy-to-work-with dough and the layering technique of puff pastry. They're great at brunch with poached eggs, with soup or – my favourite – warm from the oven with a slice of tomato and shredded iceberg lettuce tucked inside. Instant BLT.
This twist on an Italian classic combines lightly spiced layers of creamy mascarpone cheese and citrus-flavoured ladyfinger cookies in an everyday baking dish that's perfect for a large crowd. Top with praline dust just before serving so that it keeps its crunch.