Pull out all the stops for Santa this year, starting with a batch of cookies that are ALMOST too good to share.
For a shift from standard royal icing, we've topped these sugar cookies with marzipan, a mixture of sugar and almond paste, which is easy to roll out and adds rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Marzipan Star Cookies
Drop cookies make a fuss-free base for these delightful sandwiches, as there's no rolling out or cutting required.
Get the recipe: Minty Swirl Sandwich Cookies
A crunchy chocolate topping adds a whole new level of deliciousness to the winning combo of chocolate and peanut butter.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crunch Cookies
A creamy, sweet and nutty filling takes these cakey chocolate cookies to a whole new level.
Get the recipe: German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Slice-and-bake cookies are great for time-pressed cooks because there's no rolling or cutting out shapes—simply form the dough into a log, chill and slice.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond-Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Gingerbread and Shortbread Cookies
Store a log of this oatmeal raisin dough in your freezer so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies at a moment's notice.
Gooey marshmallows and melted dark chocolate give these soft thumbprint cookies the irresistible flavour of the classic campfire treat.
Get the recipe: S'mores Thumbprints
Sesame seeds add the perfect amount of savouriness to these otherwise sweet cookies.
Get the recipe: Apricot Sesame Thumbprints
A buttery coconut filling takes these chocolate cookies into extraordinary territory.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond Coconut Thumbprints
Stuffed with a creamy cookie-crumb filling, these soft chocolate cookies are a cocoa lover's dream.
Get the recipe: Cookies and Cream Sandwich Cookies
Get creative when painting the glaze onto the trees. Windswept cedars, bending pines and evergreen boughs dotted with tiny bobbles look wintry and festive.
Get the recipe: Painted Tree Cookies
No ugly sweater party is complete without these themed cookies!
Get the recipe: Ugly Sweater Cookies
These colourful wreaths may look intricate, but all you need is a piping bag with a small star tip to give them their realistic look.
Get the recipe: Festive Wreath Cookies
White sprinkles give these stockings a fluffy-trim effect.
Get the recipe: Stocking Cookies
Every bite of these easy-to-make cookies will melt in your mouth.
Get the recipe: Classic Whipped Shortbread
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soft and cakey molasses cookies are rolled in coarse turbinado sugar for a pleasant crunch and an extra hit of sweetness.
Get the recipe: Big Fat Molasses Cookies
These festive drop cookies are both chewy and crisp.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
Christmas colours add holiday flair to these giant cookies.
Get the recipe: Festive Canvas Cookies
We've added a subtle blend of spices to basic shortbread for extra festive flavour.
Get the recipe: Spiced Ombre Snowflake Cookies
These chewy, mildly spiced cookies are covered in a pretty crunchy coating. They may appear soft when they come out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool.
Get the recipe: Chewy Spiced Double-Chocolate Cookies
Enter for your chance to receive one of four prize packs with all seven of this month's top picks from Penguin Random House Canada.
The following prize is offered:
7 books from Penguin Random House (PRH)
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The total prize value is: $204 CAD
Boost your heart health Image by: Getty Images
Heart disease is the biggest cause of death for women, but Dr. Danielle Martin from Toronto's Women's College Hospital says there are ways you can improve your heart health.
What do you think of when you hear a phrase like "women’s health"?
Many of us picture high-profile campaigns about breast and other cancers, or reproductive health issues—but, in fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death for women over 55.
In the past, health professionals were trained to think of heart disease mainly as a men’s issue. This mentality led to gaps in awareness (when Canadian women were asked to name the greatest health problem for their gender, only 13 percent correctly answered heart disease) and treatment (after a heart attack, women are less likely to be admitted to intensive care settings and â€¨cardiac rehabilitation programs, or to receive interventions such as bypass surgery).
Today, thanks to public health campaigns and the work of advocates, there is growing awareness that heart health is a women’s issue, too.
When it comes to your heart, there is good news on two fronts.
First, you have the power to reduce your risk of a heart attack right now. Some risk factors are beyond your control, such as age, gender and family history. But there is much that you can control.
Many of the risk factors for heart attack and stroke can be reduced or even eliminated. Smoking is a big one: If you smoke, the single best thing you can do is stop. Other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, can be significantly reduced by effectively managing those chronic conditions. Management includes eating a healthful diet with lots of vegetables and minimal processed foods; exercising and keeping a healthy body weight; and, when necessary, taking medications regularly and as prescribed.
The other piece of good news is that the Canadian health-care system has made some much needed changes to the way heart health is managed. One challenge in the past was the long wait times to see a cardiac specialist. In recent years, Canada has been a world leader in improving access to cardiac care. For example, back in 1990, the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario set out to reduce wait times. It increased coordination between family doctors and cardiologists by creating a central database and an urgency rating system.
The result? 17 cardiac centres across Ontario link patients, doctors, cardiologists and hospitals. The moment a patient is referred, they are assigned a maximum safe wait time and given a tool kit of educational resources.
Since 2004, regional differences in wait times have gone down, and nearly all Ontarians waiting for heart treatment and procedures are seen within their recommended wait times.
Both at the individual level and at the systemic level, there is much we can do to reduce the risk of heart disease and promote heart health.
St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick Image by: Illustration by Jeannie Phan
What to see, do and eat in St. Andrews and the surrounding area.
1. Off Kilter Bike Tour. Take in breathtaking ocean views, learn the town's history and get some exercise as you bike to local attractions–all while wearing a custom cycling kilt. Owner Kurt Gumushel's father, a tailor, moved to St. Andrews from Turkey in the 1960s and became known for the beautiful kilts he made. He started a new trend when he made kilts for local mountain bikers a few years ago–something tourists can experience during one of Kurt's bike tours.
2. Sunbury Shores Art and Nature Centre. Art and nature are two important themes in St. Andrews and they come together in this renovated workshop/exhibition space, featuring galleries, studios for painting, printmaking, jewellery making and gorgeous view of the Bay of Fundy. Sign up for a workshop or simply tour The Water Street Gallery, which features rotating exhibitions from local artists.
3. Symbiosis Fine Art. Artist and entrepreneur Matt Watkins opened his gallery/shop four years ago and features pottery, painting, jewellery and photography created by himself and other local artists. Watkins specializes in custom jewellery (most of the jewellery in the shop is made in-house), painting, silversmithing and sculpture. (He also teaches workshops in these areas at Sunbury Shores.) Symbiosis is just one of the many beautiful boutiques along the main strip that features one-of-a-kind artwork, jewellery, gifts and more.
4. Oven Head Salmon Smokers. Debra and Joseph Thorne have owned and operated their smoked salmon business for 29 years. Specializing in smoked salmon, smoked salmon pate and smoked salmon jerky, they supply their cold-smoked salmon products to Sobeys, catering companies and local restaurants, including The Algonquin Resort. And they ship anywhere in Canada and the U.S., so if you can't make it to their shop (or if you love what you tried there), you can get it delivered straight to your front door.
5. Ossie’s Lunch. Established in 1957, this retro roadside stop offers an extensive menu featuring all the local delicacies, including fried oyster sandwiches, clams and chips and lobster rolls. Can’t choose just one? Go for the seafood platter and taste a little bit of everything.
6. New River Beach. Dip your toes in the Bay of Fundy with a stop at the scenic New River Beach Provincial Park. Boasting sandy beaches, cliffside hiking trails and tidal pools, this is a must if you're traveling during the spring or summer.