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Sure, the main dish may get all of the glory, but your holiday feast is only as good as its sidekicks. Here are 20 of our favourite festive side dishes to round out your special meals.
Stovetop space is often limited when preparing big meals, so avoid the crunch and make this classic creamy side in your slow cooker, instead! Bacon makes this dish extra-indulgent, but you can easily omit it if you prefer to keep it vegetarian.
The combination of a creamy potato filling and cheesy breadcrumb crust makes this recipe one of our favourites. Gruyère cheese is notoriously strong-smelling, but it mellows nicely as it melts.
While it may look similar to broccoli, rapini has a distinct and assertive taste that many find bitter. Here, we’ve tossed the green with a sweet and savoury dressing, sweet yellow beans and nutty toasted almonds for a perfectly balanced blend of flavours.
Roasting the garlic takes some time, but it’s well worth the reward. The tender, golden cloves give a deep caramelized flavour to the dish, which pairs nicely with the sweet and peppery turnips that are mixed into the mash.
Sweet potato casserole is a must on holiday tables in the United States, but the traditional marshmallow-topped side doesn’t always have the same appeal here in Canada. For our Canadian twist on this dish, we’ve swapped out the marshmallows for a crunchy pecan and brown sugar streusel that’s the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
A mix of fresh and frozen peas gives this bright dish the best texture. If fresh sugar snaps aren’t available, simply double the frozen peas or substitute with broccoli or green beans, instead. The three-ingredient garlic butter is a great condiment to have on hand—simply toss with hot pasta or gnocchi and steamed veggies and you’ve got a meal in minutes!
This creamy dish is a cross between decadent creamed spinach and lighter slaw, making it a crowd-pleasing side to satisfy many palates. To make this vegetarian-friendly, simply use vegetable broth.
Toasted walnuts, tangy blue cheese and crisp kohlrabi converge in this simple autumn salad. A slightly spicy, creamy dressing is the perfect balance to the peppery arugula.
Adding Parmesan cheese to stuffing might seem unconventional, but it helps to keep this dish moist and gives it a nice crisp crust. Oyster mushrooms are an elegant addition, but you can easily use inexpensive cremini mushrooms if you prefer.
This rice-based dish is a great gluten-free alternative to traditional bread stuffing. Tossing sliced shallots with cornstarch before frying makes them extra-crispy, making for a delightfully crunchy topping.
Artichokes may seem intimidating, but they’re actually quite simple to prepare. To prep them, first cut off the sharp tips of the leaves, then slice off the top of the artichoke to remove the fuzzy centre. Simmering in water loosens the remaining tough leaves, making them a cinch to pull off. It’s best to do this work a day ahead so that all you have to do the day of the meal is make the topping and roast the artichokes until crispy. The show-stopping end result is well worth the effort.
Goat cheese lends extra creaminess and a hint of tangy flavour to classic garlicky mashed potatoes. Heating the drained potatoes for a minute cooks off any excess liquid, which yields the fluffiest mash.
The trick to giving this simple side dish a company-worthy look is all in the way you slice the carrots. Rather than cutting them in standard coins or sticks, we’ve sliced them on the diagonal to add a hint of drama to your holiday spread.
Delicate oyster mushrooms add easy elegance to this simple sautéed spinach dish, which takes only 20 minutes to make!
The secret to these crispy roasted potatoes is a dual cooking method—you simmer them first, then finish them off in the oven with goose, duck or beef fat. Look for the fat in the gourmet section of major supermarkets or in specialty markets, or simply reserve the drippings from cooking duck, goose or beef.
No holiday meal would be complete without a heaping dish of mashed potatoes, and this one, with its delicious blend of fluffy russets and colourful sweet potatoes, is sure to fit the bill.
Endive can be bitter when eaten raw, but roasting the leafy vegetable mellows the flavour and brings out its sweetness. An herbaceous and zesty dressing adds a welcome hit of freshness. Be sure to rinse the leeks well after halving them, as sand and grit can hide within its layers.
Flavour-packed capers are an effortless way to punch up the flavour of any side, and they work especially well with mild roasted cauliflower. If you find capers to be overly salty, simply give them a rinse before using.
Tender, sweet acorn squash and crisp bacon add extra appeal to Brussels sprouts. For even cooking, trim the thick bottom end of the sprouts, remove the outer leaves and halve them lengthwise so they’re about the same size as the squash cubes.
Spicy, aromatic infused oil adds unforgettable flavour to pepper (a.k.a. acorn) squash, especially when finished with a squeeze of lime juice. Make the oil up to five days ahead so you can prepare this dish in just 30 minutes.
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Many parents worry their divorce will negatively effect their children. However, one psychologist says divorce can have a positive impact on kids.
Your parents, a best friend, perhaps even yourself—most Canadians have had some experience with divorce. In 2008, Statistics Canada estimated that 41 percent of Canadian marriages would end in divorce before their 30th wedding anniversaries.
Despite this forecast, the actual number of divorces in Canada declined between 2007 and 2008—the most recent years studied by Statistics Canada—but the heartbreak that accompanies a divorce is still very real for many Canadian children. Thankfully, not all kids grow up to carry scars from their parents' split. Here are five positive life lessons children can learn following a divorce.
1. They become resilient and adaptable
For Gabrielle Domingues, a Toronto media specialist and married mother of two, her parents' divorce taught her how to roll with life's changes. "Divorce made me more adaptable to varying lifestyle situations," she says. "My dad lived in a different city for years, so I was more attuned to having more than one resting place with different people and things. That's a useful skill to have."
Dr. Lisa Ferrari, a Vancouver-based clinical psychologist, says Gabrielle's hunch is bang on. "A natural byproduct of going through divorce is that you are required to be more adaptive," she says. "You're in a situation where you have to develop coping strategies to deal with physical and psychological space transitions."
Often, children of divorce grow up having to develop coping strategies that their non-divorce counterparts wouldn't encounter until years later, if at all. "Having to overcome these obstacles and having to deal with change makes some children of divorce more resilient in life," says Dr. Ferrari.
2. They become more self-sufficient
Tara Richmond, a married mother to a six-year-old son and a marketing and media consultant in Collingwood, ON, found that her parents' divorce made her more confident in her own abilities. "Having a mother working full time after my parents' split taught me how to be more self-sufficient," she says. "I went home after school by myself and often started dinner. At age 11, I was doing laundry, and small grocery shops. I really relished my time alone at home. I got to know myself."
The new economic challenges that come with having a single-parent income often result in the child becoming more responsible for household chores. "It's logical that divorce offspring would view themselves as more self-sufficient, and see this strength as a positive outcome of their parents' divorce," says Dr. Ferrari.
3. They develop an increased sense of empathy toward others
A change in the family unit can make some children more sympathetic to the problems of others. "I think I am more accepting of people, their situations and circumstances," says Tara. "My parents were the first of my friends or family to get a divorce. It was 1980, so there was still a stigma."
Dr. Ferrari says that she sees this caring trait in the kids of divorce who frequent her practice. "When their peers have family problems, it's very relatable for them," she says. "I find that they can be quite empathetic."
4. The idea of marriage isn't taken for granted
"Coming from divorced parents, I have a heightened understanding to the stakes [in marriage], which hopefully makes me a more conscientious spouse," says Gabrielle. I feel a certain pride that my marriage is strong and happy when my parents' wasn't, like I'm succeeding where they didn't."
"I'm not surprised that's something Gabrielle's proud of," says Dr. Ferrari. "Even at a young age, kids want to create something different after they've experienced the hurt that comes from the separation of their parents. They say that they're going to do this better than their parents, or not do it at all. Gabrielle's doing it, and she's changing her history."
5. They learn more through quality time spent with each parent
Not all kids of divorce spend less time with their parents. "I got to know my parents on a different level by spending so much time with them individually," says Tara. "I think my relationship with each of them became closer and we learned a lot about each other."
Like Tara, the kids in Dr. Ferrari's practice often mention this plus. "The biggest positive I hear from the kids and see first hand is that they spend more time with dad, especially if their family structure was more traditional [pre-divorce]," she says. "When the parents move into a shared role, the kids find they get more time with their fathers."
While it's more common for a child, or adult, to recount negatives from their parents' divorce, Dr. Ferrari says that the legal community is adopting changes that suit the children's best interests. Hopefully, these adjustments will facilitate more positive outcomes. "We're moving towards alternate dispute resolution processes such as mediation, so parents can go through divorce without involving court," she says. "Engaging in co-parenting therapy lets mom and dad commit to parenting the kids the same way, despite no longer being married to one another. These changes are positive for kids."
If you're worried about introducing your children to your new partner, read our expert tips.
Time to believe in mini miracles. Drop years by following these simple beauty secrets.
When it comes to eyeliner, white is the new black. Brighten up those tired eyes with a single stroke by tracing the lower lash line with either a white or flesh-toned eye pencil. It’s like getting an extra few hours of sleep!
Pacifica Magical Multi-Pencil Prime & Line, $16, well.ca.
Grab the gloss
Over time we lose the fullness of our lips due to the depletion of collagen. Say no to fillers and yes to plumping lip glosses. Tip: adding a touch of shiny gloss to the centre of your lips also gives the appearance of fullness.
Too Faced Lip Injection, $29, sephora.ca.
Skin vexed with dull complexion and aging dark spots can benefit from brighteners. Look for serums, moisturizers and masks with Vitamin C and licorice root, which help prevent cell damage and regulate melanin production.
Ole Hendriksen, $44 for 6 treatments, olehenricksen.com.
Over time we loose definition in our face - we can thank gravity for that one! Give yourself a mini face-lift with help of blushes and bronzers. Create definition by blending blush along the highest points of your cheekbones—it helps make you bone structure pop.
Smashbox L.A. Lights Blush & Highlight Palette, $40, beautyboutique.ca.
Less is more
Nothing makes you look other than heavy powder formulas. Keep foundation sheer and only apply where needed. Excess (and heavy) product can accentuate wrinkles by settling in the creases, so choose a formula that can be layered, like a tinted moisturizer, BB or CC cream or a cushion compact.
CC Ultra Moist Cushion, $29, thefaceshop.ca.
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason. When your body goes into a deep sleep, your skin starts healing and repairing. Experts say you need at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. If that’s not your reality, give your skin a little boost with a nourishing overnight mask. It’s richer than your average night cream and is designed to go on top of your evening skin treatments as the final step, then rinsed off in the morning.
Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask, $108, sephora.ca.
Bigger, bolder, stronger
As we age there’s an uptake of wrinkles and a loss of hair, including eyelash and eyebrow hairs. Giving brows a fuller and more lush appearance instantly takes years off your face. When filling brows, use a pencil that’s a shade lighter than your natural colouring, but if you’re blonde go one shade darker.
Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil, $30, benefitcosmetics.com.