A Quick Bite With Sophie Dahl


Way before Sophie Dahl was run­way famous, I used to some­times find her drink­ing tea at the kitchen table of my friend Cass' Not­ting Hill home. I was intim­i­dated by that insou­ciant cool that some girls just have. Plus, she was the wide-eyed Sophie from theBFG – the beloved book of all our childhoods.

Fast for­ward to her mod­el­ling days, and overnight, she became a sen­sa­tion. From Richard Ave­don to Tim Walker to Steven Meisel, she was pho­tographed by all the greats and landed on the cover of Vogue six-times. The infa­mous Tom Ford for YSL Opium cam­paign, where Sophie appeared, stark naked and smooth as but­ter cream on larger-than-life bill­boards caused a scan­dal, and still remains one of the most talked about adverts of the last 50-years.

In 2003 Sophie launched her writ­ing career with a beau­ti­fully illus­trated novella, The Man with the Danc­ing Eyes. After this she bagan writ­ing reg­u­larly for The Guardian,The Tele­graphVogue and Bazaar.

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Netflix & SPC: Get Crafty for Earth Month with our easy diorama


Walk­ing home from school the other day with Julian, I stopped sud­denly when he gasped. What?! I looked around for what had sur­prised him. “Mom! You lit­tered!” And sure enough I had, but not on pur­pose! The wrap­per for the snack I’d brought for him had slipped out of my over­stuffed pocket and onto the side­walk. I quickly picked it up and apol­o­gized. Lit­ter­ing is a very big offense to Julian (and Esme, too). Kids are just nat­ural envi­ron­men­tal­ists, aren’t they? They love nature and think any­thing that harms it is stu­pid. Which is pretty much the truth of it.

Because Laura and I work with Net­flix, we got a sneak peak at the titles they’ll be fea­tur­ing for Earth Month. There are few things I like more than a good nature doc­u­men­tary so this is pretty thrilling to me. I’m really look­ing for­ward to watch­ing The Blue Planet: A Nat­ural His­tory of the Ocean and Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?

The other morn­ing, Julian and I started our day curled up on the couch with the iPad and Sesame Street. In a way that only Sesame Street can do, they brought to life one of Julian’s favourite con­cepts from nature: cam­ou­flage! In The Cam­ou­flage Chal­lenge, Kyra Sedgewick and Elmo do a hilar­i­ous hide and seek num­ber on the city streets and it gave me an idea for a great craft. It’s a clas­sic dio­rama with an Earth Month twist. Plus a lit­tle Elmo thrown in for good mea­sure – because, really, what does Elmo not make bet­ter? This is a fun and easy project that comes together pretty quickly. It’s a nice way to talk about our favourite parts of nature and what we can all do to look after it for Earth Month (and every month!). Read more

Netflix & SPC: Go Green for Earth Month with Crunchy Asparagus Fries


I was chat­ting with a friend recently who lives in New York City and she was telling me about the Farmer's Mar­ket her daughter's school hosts each Wednes­day. The school has a lunch pro­gram so it has increased its weekly order of fresh veg­eta­bles and fruits with its local sup­pli­ers and then sells the sur­plus. Orga­nized and man­aged by the eldest grades in the school, the mar­ket gives the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity access to a bounty of local pro­duce at a frac­tion of the cost of fancy organic mar­kets. A great fundrais­ing oppor­tu­nity for the school, it also offers the neigh­bour­hood access to sea­sonal food allow­ing for a farm to table lifestyle in the most unlikely of places.

Since this month is Earth Month and I’m on our school’s envi­ron­ment com­mit­tee, the idea has me won­der­ing how I can bring some­thing sim­i­lar to my daughter's school. In the mean­time, I’ll hap­pily still sup­port our local farmer’s mar­ket where I am, frankly, excited to start see­ing some Spring pro­duce. Hello there aspara­gus, I’ve missed you. Read more

Pasta Week: One-Skillet Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta

Pasta Chicken-1

I recently had a girl­friend tell me she wakes up think­ing about din­ner, but not in that good way when you can't wait to tuck into a meal. Instead she wal­lows in her morn­ing cof­fee about what dish she can finesse into her day so it winds up on the table in-time for din­ner. It's the same ole song we all sing. Hon­estly, the only way I can sur­vive the din­ner ques­tion is by devis­ing a meal plan on the week­end. (Plus it jus­ti­fies the hour I exclu­sively date the inter­net on Sun­days.) Oth­er­wise I have a panic attack at 2pm that I didn't take any­thing out of the freezer. I also like to have a few fam­ily tra­di­tions like break­fast for din­ner night, Mex­i­can night and, of course, pizza night. This way even the menu plan­ning is eas­ier since I have a sched­ule to work within. I usu­ally mix those reg­u­lar evenings up as well. For instance, we had a chili night in Jan­u­ary that has recently mor­phed into soup night. How­ever, every­one has to do what works best for them. I have another friend who told me her meal plan is actu­ally her son's school lunch menu from the week before. On Mon­days when she drop the boys off at school, she snaps a photo of the week's lunch menu on the wall and then, voila, it's next week's din­ner plan. I thought it was bril­liant idea since she gets feed­back on every meal before she even lifts a fin­ger to pre­pare it. "Oh, what's that you say? The green beans on Tues­day tasted like flower stems? Well, ok, scratch that. It's your favourite roasted broc­coli instead." How smart is that?

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Pasta Week: Tuna Casserole


Happy Mon­day! So, this is spring? Um… am I miss­ing some­thing? Like sun­shine? Flow­ers? Sigh. This is an old post that got a snazzy new photo but it's also one of my favourite com­fort foods: Tuna Casse­role. I wrote this in Jan­u­ary of 2011. Sadly, the descrip­tion of the cold is still suit­ing. Oh, well, if it's gotta be cold, at least we can have casse­role! C.M.

It's cold in Toronto right now. Really, really cold. Like tights under your kid's jeans and then snow pants kind of cold. Sartre must not have had kids to say that hell is other peo­ple. Those of us who live with chil­dren know that hell is actu­ally other peoples's stuff. Hats, mit­tens (which will NEVER stay on no mat­ter what), scarf, snow­suit, boots… and that's for one child! Once you've cov­ered every frost-bitable sur­face of the chil­dren –which of course makes them whine and com­plain — and jol­lied them out­side for an activ­ity like sled­ding or snow­man mak­ing, you really want to come home to some­thing warm.

And for this we need com­fort food. SPC con­trib­u­tor and dear friend Heidi intro­duced me to this tuna casse­role almost a year ago. I've made it sev­eral times since and have been mean­ing to post it. But this week­end was a com­fort food emer­gency! It's a Rachel Ray recipe that I've mod­i­fied a bit in the name of health. But hon­estly, my nod to health is really just a glance. This one is not going to get you into heaven, except that it's easy and really delicious.

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