• Gluten Free Pasta Recipe by Darcia

    Gluten Free Pasta Recipe by Darcia

    Have you tried gluten-free pasta lately?

    If you’ve signed up as a host for our Homes For Dinner event, you’ve invited new friends to a dinner party or a family member is introducing their new crush over a nice meal at your place, you might be concerned about unknown allergies or food sensitivities. It’s never fun to find out after you’ve placed your famous creamy pasta dish on the table that your new guest is gluten and/or lactose intolerant.

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  • Interview with Bri Trypuc – Why She Hosts Every Year

    Interview with Bri Trypuc – Why She Hosts Every Year

    FUN?! That's a given! Which is why we agreed to be hosts for our 3rd year in a row. The evening is an absolute blast for us as hosts and we wish nothing more than to create an incredible evening for our guests. We always have something up our sleeves, so guests can expect to be gastronomically delighted.

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  • My Awesome HOMES FOR DINNER Host Experience

    My Awesome HOMES FOR DINNER Host Experience

    “Host a dinner party for 8 complete strangers? Fun! Where do I sign up?”

    That was my immediate reaction when hearing about this unique fundraiser for HOMES FIRST. I thought it was an innovative way to celebrate an integral organization and shine a light on the importance of home.

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  • Beyond Easy Roast Mushroom Recipe

    Beyond Easy Roast Mushroom Recipe

    I recently posted an article with advice on creating a vegan charcuterie board . I suggested replacing meats with a vegetable pate, roasted mushrooms and nuts. I’ve since been asked for my roasted mushrooms recipe.

    OMG, roasted mushrooms are so easy to make and vegetarians and omnivores alike seem to love them. I not only serve them on my vegan charcuterie board, I also serve them as side dish with everyday meals. In fact, they are so adamantly requested that they’ve become that they have become a must-have at my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

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  • Cheese Plates

    Cheese Plates

    Cheese plates are almost always a welcome addition at a dinner party. In my last post I mentioned 5 Steps to an awesome charcuterie board (and a vegan version, too!) , that while I do serve a cheese platter, I’ve replaced it in my pre-dinner line up with a charcuterie board. Now I prefer to offer it post dinner.

    People are often too full to truly enjoy a dessert that you spent hours making (or pretended to but really you just took it out of the bakery box, put it on your own plate and surrounded with some freshly sliced fruit). At the same time, things can get awkward pretty fast if you just sit around the table waiting for your stomachs to settle.

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  • 5 Steps to an awesome charcuterie board (and a vegan version, too!)

    5 Steps to an awesome charcuterie board (and a vegan version, too!)

    Anyone who has experience throwing dinner parties knows that the success of the dinner does not rely on the main dish alone. It begins from the moment you take their coats and lead them into the sitting area. I have worked out a formula that always ends with a great experience for everyone.

    My formula begins with a great selection of appetisers waiting for the guests, with a couple of great wine and beer pairings as well as a fun but simple signature cocktail and mocktail for the teetotalers and designated drivers.

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  • Freezer Pickles: Easy, Delicious and Loved by All

    Freezer Pickles: Easy, Delicious and Loved by All

    Last week, I talked about apple preserves and how to use them to make your guests fall all over themselves with “oohs” and “ahhs” while simultaneously simplifying your party planning prep.

    If the idea of canning scares you, however, there other make-ahead options that will help you achieve modern Martha Stewart status (without having to follow a 33-step recipe that looks like it could double as an instruction manual for do-it-yourself Swedish furniture).

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  • Apple Picking Season

    Apple Picking Season

    I love the transition from summer to fall if for no other reason than it signals the opportunity to go apple picking. And apple picking leads to preserves. And preserves are a hostess’s secret weapon!

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  • Rosenthal's Table: A Host's Experience

    Rosenthal's Table: A Host's Experience

    My partner and I are fortunate enough to live in a converted factory located in a back alley in the city’s west end. We love sharing our space. A few years ago our dear friend and Homes First board member Sandra Barton asked us to host a dinner. At first we thought this might be a bit weird or odd. 20 complete strangers showing up for dinner?

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  • Wild Mushroom Risotto That Happens to Be Vegan And Gluten-Free

    Wild Mushroom Risotto That Happens to Be Vegan And Gluten-Free

    I love to cook and I LOVE to entertain. While I’ve earned a reputation for throwing a few killer cocktail bashes and fancy-schmancy dinner parties, my favourite events are my low-key Sunday night get-togethers. In fact, Sunday nights at my place are so casual that I’m never entirely sure who’s going to show up. My regular guests are welcome to bring out-of-town friends and relatives, a new co-worker or whomever, really. For this reason, I like to make sure that I can accommodate food allergies and other dietary restrictions. I also like to make meals that are delicious and cost-effective while still impressing guests.

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  • Introducing: Homes For Dinner Blog!

    Introducing: Homes For Dinner Blog!

    Hi! My name’s Darcia, and I’m a brand new volunteer at Homes First. When I told my husband that I planned to volunteer at Homes First, his immediate reaction was to roll his eyes. “Because you don’t have enough to do?” he asked. And I did see his point. I work long hours, much of which involves travelling and weekend work, I’m half-way through a two-year French language program, I just moved into a new place and immediately started tackling a full list of DIY projects that are “must haves” in order to match the unit to our needs. I could go on if I didn’t think I’d bore you.

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