The Best 6 Ways to Balance Hormones

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor


Our hormones dictate how we feel, think, eat, sleep, respond, urinate, defecate, menstruate, lose or gain weight….might I go on….They are essential to life! Hormones are the messengers within us that make things happen to ensure we stay alive! Now I might add, most people today are walking around hormonally imbalanced. How can you tell? Here are a few clues that signal hormonal imbalance:

  • Weight Gain
  • Hair Loss/Thinning
  • Facial Hair Growth in Women
  • Development of Gut/Breasts in Men
  • Acne
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Brain Fog
  • Anxiety
  • Sugar Cravings
  • Lack of Energy
  • PMS
  • Irregular Menses
  • Short tempered/Irritable
  • Low sex drive   etc……..

So what can you do about it?

Here are 6 lifestyle modifications that you can start tomorrow! If you follow these steps, you will feel happier, healthier and more energetic for sure!

  • Get moving. Exercise has been shown to help with weight loss and also getting hormones balanced. It does not matter which are out of balance, as exercise is a fantastic way to help balance many. Choose an activity you enjoy and stick to it. It must be consistent exercise at least 4-5 times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Get sound sleep. When we sleep, this is when our body comes back to homeostasis, if we allow it. Disconnect from your TV, phone, email and anything that can affect melatonin production at least 45 minutes before bed. Limit caffeine after 2pm as this can affect sleep. Create a zen space for sleep and make it a priority and protect your sleep hours. They are necessary for hormonal balance. Aim for 7-9 hours. When you dream, this is a good sign of deep sleep. If you can remember them, even better!
  • Enjoy a High Fibre Diet: This includes mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts/seeds and legumes.  This type of diet is very high in fibre, which gets the bowels moving and helps flush out excess estrogen levels.
  • This is a must, especially if cortisol (your stress hormone) is elevated. Choose any form of meditation and stick to it. This has to be a consistent practice. Aim for 20 minutes a day to find inner peace and hormone balancing.
  • Do a Liver Detox twice a year. Our liver recycles hormones and when it becomes “sluggish”, hormonal imbalances results. If you are unsure which one to do, reach out as I have the perfect cleanse aimed to target liver, kidneys and colon.

Remove sugar, dairy and high fat foods/meat from your diet. This is a MUST! If you need help with sugar cravings reach out. Keeping a food journal is a great way to become conscious of what you are eating, when and why.

(Get the scoop on your hormones by clicking here to fill out Dr. Jen’s “Hormonal Questionnaire”)

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
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Sick Kids VS Everything!

I am a proud Torontonian! I love the city in which I live and work. It’s filled with amazing people from different cultures who embrace their roots, there are tons of great places to visit, awesome places to eat, fantastic music, artists, andddddd I could go on but I’d be here forever. Today, I really just want to focus on one of my all time fave things about Toronto…Sick Kids Hospital.

We are so amazingly fortunate to have one of the best hospitals right here in our backyard. One that many travel to from not only across our great country but all over the world. It all started back in 1875 by a group of women who rented out a house in downtown Toronto, set up some beds…6 to be exact and Sick Kids was born! This hospital has done sooooo much, the history on this place is just amazing. They are known world wide for their groundbreaking work and have a reputation like no other.

Sick Kids treats kids of all ages who are battling all different types of illnesses including the rarest of the rare and most serious. For some kids they are in and out, others have a short stay and some live there for months on end. These kids, their parents and the Sick Kids staff are truly amazing. Their reality isn’t an easy one and takes a lot of courage and strength.


Recently the hospital started to put up images of kids standing brave and tall with a big “VS” behind them and today they launched the video for their newest campaign and BEST campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s called ‘Sick isn’t weak’ and well I could tell you about it but I think the best thing to do is press play and watch and see for yourself!

To all these superheroes (the kids) and their parents I applaud you…keep on fighting the fight because you can do it! And to the staff…from the admin people, social workers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologist and everyone in between THANK YOU! Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out.

For more information on Sick Kids be sure to visit


Getting ready this morning and as I rummaged through my jewelry box I came across one of my favourite necklaces that I haven’t worn in ages. My personalized “PINA” necklace and so I picked it up and thought perfect I’m going to put this one. I then remembered that today…October 11th is International Day Of The Girl…perfect day and reason to wear it. You may think well what does this piece of jewelry have to do with the fact that today is International Day Of The Girl but it does you see because although it may just be a personalized necklace to many, to me it’s a symbol of who I am and it tells a story….my story…the story of a GIRL!


It goes a little like this…

I am a daughter
a little sister
a wife
a lover
a mother
a granddaughter
a niece
a cousin
a sister in-law
a zia
a Godmother
a friend
a good friend
a best friend
an entrepreneur
a business owner
a music lover
a teacher
a shoulder to cry on
a person to lean on
a hard worker
a strong independent woman

So today celebrate YOU and celebrate the GIRLS around you because GIRLS are leaders, GIRLS make a difference and GIRLS’ rights matter. Let’s make it count ❤️.


The Benefits Of Cold Pressed Juice

Guest Blog Written By: Michael Appugliese “mike fresh” from Freshouse Juicebar


The Benefits Of Cold Pressed Juice

If you haven’t already heard, drinking cold pressed juice can be the most natural and raw way to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.

What is Cold Pressed Juice?

Cold pressed juice is a method of extracting juice from produce. It involves two steps.

  • Pulverizing
    • The produce is first pulverized by a blade and turned into pulp. This process breaks open fibers and frees up nutrients and enzymes to be released.
  • Pressing
    • The newly made pulp is placed inside a cloth type bag and squeezed at high amounts of pressure using a hydraulic press. The strong action of the press squeezes out the most juice that can be squeezed out of the produce, better and more efficient than any other form of juicer on the planet.

What is the difference between cold pressed juice and regular juice?

download-1The juice that you find at the supermarket can take up to 12 months before it hits the shelf. Regular juice is: 1.Juiced 2. Pasteurized 3. Stored 4. Shipped

Pasteurization is the act of heating up the juice to extremely high temperatures to kill off the bad bacteria. The problem is that vitamins, enzymes and good bacteria are also heat sensitive, so you also destroy the good bacteria. Chemicals are also added to the juice during this process before it is bottled.

Cold press juice is simply the pure juice from the produce, with no type of processing done to it at all. The juice is extracted and bottled. Because of its natural nature, cold press juice must be consumed within 3-5 days (depending on the juice) from the day it was pressed. Just the way nature intended it to be!

Why Drink Cold-Pressed Juice?

Maximum Nutrition
– Regular centrifugal juicers use a blade that creates heat, which causes the juice to oxidize and lose nutrient value. The hydraulic press removes the juice from the pulp without adding any heat and yields a highly concentrated juice full of nutrients.

Fastest Absorption – once the pulp has been removed, the digestive system is able to absorb all of the nutrients immediately. The digestive system does not have to work on breaking down anything. As soon as the juice enters the small intestine, the nutrients are absorbed immediately and enter the bloodstream.

Freshest juice – Real cold press juice is never pasteurized or processed in any way. The shelf life is only 3-5 days, guaranteeing a fresh product. Always watch out for cold press juice that has been HPP’d (High pressure processing). This juice claims to be cold press, but has been processed to extend the shelf life from 3 days to 30 days! Makes you wonder if this can still be considered natural??

downloadWe are all supposed to eat fruits and vegetables everyday, the problem is that in today’s fast paced society people find it difficult to stop and take a bite of the apple, or eat that piece of broccoli. A high majority of Canadians do not take in anywhere near the recommended 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. Cold press juice is a convenient way to stay healthy and guarantee your absorbing high quality nutrients, while getting in all your servings of fruits and vegetables.

“The juices extracted from fresh-raw vegetables and fruits are the means by which we can furnish all the cells and tissues of the body with the elements and nutritional enzymes they need in the manner they can be most readily digested and assimilated.”
Dr. Norman Walker

For more information on Freshouse Juicebar be sure to check them out online
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Signature Little Ones does it AGAIN! Vendor Signature Little Ones Inc. is a leader when it comes to personalized items. They offer personalized onesies, birthday outfits, blankets, pillows, baptismal sleepers, bibs, etc…if you can personalize you can bet that they do it! This Canadian (Ontario) home based business knows what’s hot, what’s in, what’s new and offer all of it with only the best quality to their customers.

One of the newest things to hit the personalized world is sublimation printing. You’re probably wondering what sublimation printing is and so the best way to describe it is that it’s a very high-quality, brilliant, lasting image that is undetectable to touch and has unparalleled resistance to washing. Patricia and her team at Signature Little Ones Inc. are one of the first in the country to offer this amazing new technology and are taking things to the next level. Made to order and customized just for you they are super excited to launch this new collection!


I had the chance to speak with Patricia of Signature Little Ones to talk more about sublimation printing as well as get to see, touch and feel the product…it’s absolutely amazing! I actually found out that sublimation printing isn’t something new to Patricia as she has been working behind the scenes taking the time to study the process and master the perfect image before launching this collection. She wanted to make sure that all her customers who order a sublimation piece would walk away having a great one of a kind quality piece they could cherish for a long time. Although sublimation offers unequaled creative freedom, it requires know-how to achieve a final satisfactory result and vivid colours.

Signature Little Ones Inc. signature item for this collection is their personalized blankets are the perfect gift for any parent to be.  A great size for the crib, stroller, laying about, or just to swaddle your new born. It’s an amazing keepsake and stunning photo prop for your newborn pictures. The blankets measure 30” x 40” and they are made with the softest fleece.  The process involved in making these stunning blankets ensures the integrity and the softness of the blanket which stays bright and colorful wash after wash.

More pieces will be introduced to this new collection, but to start they will also be offering their personalized bibs.  These too are made with the softest fleece measuring 8.75” x 14.25” and have a velcro closure. The design covers the entire bib and is not only will this stay bright and colourful no matter how many times you have to wash it.

These beautiful pieces will be offered in a variety of designs with countless colour options making each piece unique and different.

Also stay tuned because other pieces like onesies, baby hats and lovies will be joining the collection soon enough!


To celebrate the fact that sublimation printing is now available at Signature Little Ones Inc. we are going to give away a great prize pack that consists of a custom sublimation printed blanket and bib (prize value $100.00).

Wanna WIN? Here’s how you can ENTER!

1. “FOLLOW” Signature Little Ones Inc. on instagram (
2. Find the contest post and tag a friend.

OR for a second chance to WIN you can do this…

1. “LIKE” Signature Little Ones Inc. on facebook (
2. Find the contest post and “SHARE” it on your personal fb page.
3. Tag a friend on the contest post.

*Contest closes Sunday, September 18th at 11:59pm and winner will be randomly selected the week of September 19th*

For more information on Signature Little Ones Inc. or to place an order visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram and twitter.

Tasty Tuesdays ~ Listening, A Key Ingredient for Lunch

Guest Blog Written By: Jenny Arena from Fables and Focaccia


Listening, A Key Ingredient for Lunch

While Pinterest would have us believe that bonsai shaped broccoli, storm trooper sandwiches and apple roses are key when it comes to packing school lunches, I have found that the key ingredient, when it comes satisfying the two little stomachs that I pack meals for, is the act of listening.   Defined as, giving attention with the ear and attending closely for the purpose of hearing, it is this seemingly simply act, that can help you gain valuable insight and, make the completion of tasks (such as packing lunches), a whole lot easier. Yes, you read that right; the act of listening has taken a great deal of effort out of meal prep.

I learned this valuable lesson on the eve of my children’s very first day of school two years ago. I was ready to simply pack up leftovers from dinner and send them off on their merry way. Given that it was a pretty important first day though, I decided that before moving forward with my lunch plan, it might be a good idea to inquire, rather than assume. I felt it best to ask so that at least one component of their day would not be surprising or overwhelming for them (this was after all a brand new experience for all us). So I turned to my little ones and posed the question that has since been our evening ritual “what would you like mommy to pack for your lunch?”

BacktoSchoolJennyFunny enough one of my girls answered without hesitation asking for lasagne. While I love my daughters dearly I wasn’t prepared to pull and all-nighter creating an Italian casserole, so lasagne were a lunch box no-go. After explaining to them that mommy couldn’t get that particular lunch made I posed the question again. They pondered for a few minutes and then responded with the next, more feasible option. While I don’t recall the exact noon hour nosh they requested, I do recall that they each asked for something different (which has typically been the case since).

While you might think that given the choice, children will gravitate towards unhealthy options, but I have actually found the opposite to be true. Of course my girls will ask for cookies, bags of chips or juice boxes on occasion (they are kids after all), but for the most part, they make great choices and by involving them in the process, I empower them to make those choices.

So before running out to buy a bento box in which to compartmentalize googley-eyed oranges and critter shaped cucumbers (which admittedly yes I have done from time-to-time, heck even I like to pack a little pinspiration), try listening to what your children (and their taste buds) have to say. And by the way, since I did take the first day off school off, I had plenty of time to layer noodles and make the girls their lasagne to enjoy as a special dinner on their first day of school, and to pack for lunch the next day.

Here’s to a happy and healthy start, to a new school year. Buon Appetito!

For more from Fables and Focaccia be sure to check them out online
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Top 11 things to do with kids in Italy

Guest Blog Written By: Clara Power of Clara Power TPI


So you are going to Italy with the kids….what a wonderful decision! There is so much to see and do in Italia – the country is so so full of culture, great food, history and AMORE. After multiple visits with my kids, there are a few things that we always try to squeeze in.

Here is my top 11 list of what to do with kids in Italy:

1. Go to the Beach – smack right in the middle of the Mediterranean, the majority of Italy offers stunning shore line and breathtaking vistas. Whether its just for a few days or a few hours, visiting the beaches is a familiar pastime for the locales and is definitely something you will not want to miss. The kids will love frolicking in the waves, making sand castles and catching some rays.

2. Visit an Archaeological site
 – from the Colosseum to Pompeii to Agrigento – the country is filled with archaeological sites that are fascinating. The history, the culture and the technology that the Romans had over 2000 years ago is something to marvel at. Even if the kids aren’t history buffs, they will enjoy just being in the center of it all and maybe be inspired to become an archaeologist one day.

3. Take a Cooking Class – Italy is known for its phenomenal food. Whether you are a pasta lover or if pizza is your thing, nothing beats rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. Learning food appreciation and getting some hands on experience is not only fun, but a life long skill. It’s a great time for the family to bond and once done cooking, enjoy the fruits of their labour

4. Visit a Farm – agriculture is still a very large part of the Italian culture. Whether it’s growing grapes for wine, tomatoes for sauce or foraging for truffles in the mountains, visiting a farm is not only fun but educational. I am a strong believer that all children should learn where our food comes and what it takes to make its way to our bellies – and what better place to learn this!

5. Rent a Boat – nothing beats getting out into the ocean, feeling the wind in your hair and smelling the ocean air. Sailing is a popular pastime in Italy and there are so many wonderful places to stop and enjoy the panoramic seaside. Kids especially like to get in the water and perhaps do some snorkeling. If lucky enough, you might get to see a fish or 2. If a rental isn’t possible, maybe a ferry in the Cinque Terre area or along the Amalfi Coast?

6. Take a High Speed Train – there is no better way to see the Italian countryside than by traveling by train. Kids love to hop from city to city while enjoying their time using this a very popular form of transportation. For some north American children, this may be the first time on a train and traveling at a speed of almost 400 km/hour is beyond exhilarating.

7. Climb a Mountain (or a Volcano) – much of the Italian landscape is full of mountains and volcanoes. Whether you are skiing in the Italian Alps or climbing Mount Vesuvius, they are marvelous sites that should not be missed. The majestic beauty is something that needs to be experienced to be appreciated it. Not to mention, going back to school and telling your classmates you climbed a Volcano definitely gives you some street cred.

8. Visit a Botanical Garden – I’m not sure about your kids, but my kids love flowers and botanical gardens. No matter how large the city or how crazy the hustle and bustle is, there is something so peaceful and calming about visiting a garden.  It’s such a great experience to slow down and learn about some of the flowers that you may not find at home.  “Stop to smell the flowers” is a lesson that I try to teach my kids especially while on vacation.

9. See a Museum – museums are everywhere! Whether it’s the most popular choices of the Vatican Museum in Rome or seeing David in the Academia in Florence to that obscure one found in the smallest of towns, museums are a great place to learn about the country you are visiting. Many museums these days offer maps and recorded tours just for kids that point out the highlights that they find most interesting.

10. Sample Gelato
 – Italian gelato can be found in every town, on every corner of every street, and if you don’t stop to sample you are just missing out. The various flavours from Nutella to Pistachios to Tiramisu will have you salivating. Do not forget to try Lemon Granite in a Brioche (Italian bun) for a delightful treat. The kids will love comparing flavours and deciding at the end of the trip which one was their favorite.

11. Visit Sicily
 – call me biased as my family originated in Sicily, but I think Sicily is one of the most beautiful provinces in all of Italy. So many travellers visit Italy and often forget about this small island right at the tip of the Italian boot but doing that is definitely a mistake. Sicily is full of small medieval towns, majestic churches, Greek and African Influences, mountains, agriculture, and some of the kindest and welcoming people you will ever encounter. I always say that if you want to truly experience Italy, you must visit Sicily! The province feels a little like going back in time as everything moves slowly there and the people enjoy every day with such a zest for life.

Thinking about going to Italy? Vendor Clara Power TPI can help. Planning Family vacations is what I do best. I work hard to ensure that your travel itinerary works best for you and your family. With my connections with some of the top tour operators in the world, including luxury consortium Virtuoso we can work together to make sure that you have the time of your life. Do not hesitate to connect with me and we can start planning. Arrivederci!

For more from Clara Power TPI be sure to check her out online
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How To Make “Back to School” Stress Free: Tips for Parents and Kids

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor


School is just around the corner. This may make you feel anxious, excited, afraid, happy or sad. How do you feel? This time of year can make many people feel stressed and anxious as they prepare themselves and their children for school. The transition from summer to school does not have to be stressful. Here are some tips to help you and your child ease your way back into school.

Tips to help ease stress for PARENTS:

  1. Get ORGANIZED at least one week before school. This includes cleaning the kids rooms, tidying up their play area and also creating a “HOMEWORK” Zone that is fun and appealing for the kids. If possible, organize the kids closets and drawers so that they can easily dress themselves in the morning- with a quick look over by a parent ofcourse.
  2. Shop ONLINE for back to school clothes and supplies. Do this sooner than later. This can alleviate stress and save time for end of summer fun.
  3. If you tend to WORRY about your children in school and this time of year brings you stress and anxiety, focus on the time YOU may have as a parent to NOURISH yourself. Whether that is starting a yoga class, new eating plan, acupuncture or having more time for socializing. Remember, children feed off your energy and vitality. If you are stressed out, they will feel that. Aim to stay cool, calm and collected. Reach out for help.
  4. Try COLOURING Books for adults. Although this activity can help your child with focus, concentration and anxiousness, it is great for adults as well. Great activity to do with your children. You can all benefit!

Tips to help ease stress for KIDS:

  1. Get your kids on a routine at least one week before school starts. Set times for bathing and bedtime. Getting sound sleep is important for your child’s energy, mood and focus. Reading bedtime stories or playing calming music may help some children who are anxious. A hug and a kiss goodnight accompanied by “I LOVE YOU” soothes any child’s soul.
  2. Talk to your children about how they feel about starting school. If you notice that your child is anxious (stomach aches can be a sign) try to ascertain why. Try to help them focus on the positives of going to school. ie. meeting new friends, gym class, seeing your favorite teacher or anything that may have been memorable for them. This is important as children don’t always know how to express themselves. Taking the time to speak calmly and openly with them is important.
  3. Get your kids involved in picking their favorite knapsack and lunch bag. Picking their favorite superhero may give them more confidence and excitement about going to school.
  4. Take your kids grocery shopping with you. Make them a part of their lunch and snack picking. No parent wants their children coming home with a full lunchbox and you know how important fueling the mind and body is. One good treat, one not-so-good treat. Everything in moderation.
  5. Aim to start weaning kids off summer treats which may include a lot of sugar, fats, additives and preservatives. This can help ease anxiousness and hyperactivity in children.
  6. Leave your child a note each day in their lunchbox. It could be a funny picture or sweet message. “Have a nice day :)”. “Mommy and Daddy love you”. “Can’t wait to hear about your day”. “Keep smiling”. Little messages from a parent can make a child feel connected and calm.

If you find these tips helpful please share! Another parent or child may benefit and start school with more ease and happiness because of you.

Wishing you a healthy and happy school start. Here for all your health needs.

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
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Tasty Tuesdays ~ Muffuletta: Quite a Mouthful

Guest Blog Written By: Jenny Arena from Fables and Focaccia


Muffuletta: Quite a Mouthful

Summer may be winding down but there are still a few weeks left to enjoy seasonal activities like splashing around at the beach; seeking theme park thrills; foraging through woodlands; hiking or biking through beautiful trails; and grabbing a blanket and packing a picnic to enjoy at the park.

Quintessential in my wicker basket is what I consider to be the perfect picnic food, a scrumptious Sicilian sandwich known as the Muffuletta. A mile high loaf (ok, actually only 2 inches high) piled with layers of Italian deli meats and its distinctive characterizing feature, olive salad. Anyone who’s been to New Orleans will recognize this sandwich as a staple garnering signature status right alongside the Po’ Boy.

download-2The original Muffuletta or Muff (as it is affectionately known), is said to have been the original creation of Salvatore Lupo, owner of the famed Central Grocery (an Italian Market) in New Orleans, in 1906. Central Grocery was located near the Farmer’s Market and quite often many of the farmers, most of which were Sicilian immigrants, would find themselves there for lunch, ordering bread, salami, cheese and a little olive salad. Signor Lupo would watch them while they sat on crates and barrels performing a balancing act with their meal on their laps.

While typical Sicilian fashion was for each food to be eaten separately, Salvatore suggested that it might be easier if he halved a loaf of bread and made a sandwich with the ingredients. After experimenting with different types of bread he found that the soft, round, sesame topped, Sicilian Muffuletta loaf was ideal, and began producing the sandwich. In no time, the farmers began asking for it as the Muffuletta and a taste phenomenon was born. The Central Grocery now has two locations in New Orleans, each proudly bearing a sign reading “Home of the original Muffuletta”, and each drawing a crowd for the famous Sicilian sub. The Italian Market has since become a tourist attraction and the sandwich it made famous can be found all over the Mardi gras city.

downloadThe Muff consists of a round loaf of bread (about 10 inches across) filled with Italian salami, olive salad, provolone cheese and mortadella. The key ingredient is the olive salad which gives the sandwich its special flavor and makes it appealing to the eye. A true Muffuletta must always be served at room temperature, never toasted; it is considered blasphemy to heat the sandwich.

You don’t have to stamp your passport and take a trip to New Orleans however to enjoy this delectable sandwich, you can easily prepare the Muff at home and pack it up just like I do for a picnic. Buon Appetito!

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe


Olive Salad:

2/3 cup pitted and chopped green manzanillo olives
2/3 cup pitted and chopped black Kalamata olives
1/2 chopped roasted red pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
1 anchovy fillet mashed
1 tbls capers, drained, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano (dried works well if you don’t have fresh)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all the salad ingredients together and allow the flavors to marry for 1 hour. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the sandwich:

  • 1 round crusty Italian bread such as Calabrese, sourdough, or if available actual Sicilian Muffuletta bread
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • I have taken a few liberties with the deli meats and filled the sandwich with some of my favorites versus the traditional mortadella and salami
  • Sliced spicy capicollo
  • Sliced porchetta
  • Sliced prosciutto cotto
  • Sliced bresaola
  • Sliced roast chicken

To make the Muffuletta cut the bread in half lengthwise and hollow out the bottom half. Layer the bottom with some of the olive salad and its juices (this is also where I stray from the original recipe where olive oil is brushed on the bottom and the salad is reserved merely for the top of the sandwich). Fill with layers of the deli meats and cheese (I actually tried to alternate the lighter and darker meats with the cheese for visual appeal). Once you have filled the bread top with the olive salad and cover with the other half of the loaf and press down slightly. If possible allow the Muffuletta to sit for at least half an hour once again for all the flavors and layers to mingle. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature, and, if possible enjoy with a nice glass of wine.

Buon Appetito!

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No dress rehearsal, this is our life!

post-stamps-tragically-hipIt doesn’t really matter how old you are, what kind of music you like or where in Canada you live because chances are, is that you know the music of The Tragically Hip and are familiar with the poetic lyrics of frontman Gord Downie. The Hip is as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup and so when we learned about Gord Downie’s glioblastoma diagnoses…a incurable form of brain cancer we all couldn’t help but feel some sort of emotion.

Gord, 52, started treatment back in December and has undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Even with all that going on the band decided that it was important to say farewell to their fans and announced a final tour…The Man Machine Poem Tour.

TheTragicallyHip-ManMachinePoemSummer2016They kicked things off on July 22nd in Victoria, BC and hit up cities across our great country for a 15 show tour. Tickets went on sale and everyone went nuts trying to score a seat to see one of their most beloved bands play for the last time. It was pure mayhem and disappointment to many when they turned up empty handed. At that point, the band decided to team up with the CBC to broadcast their FINAL show in Kingston, Ontario to make sure everyone could take part…leave no one behind! The CBC broadcasted and streamed the concert commercial free on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 2, CBC’s YouTube channels, and

This past Saturday we came together as a nation to celebrate something that unites us all as Canadians…the music of iconic Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip and of course Gord Downie. Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre was rammed with a sold out show while others gathered with friends to watch from their homes, bars, town squares, and cottages. 11.7 million people watched the show…that’s 1/3 of the country and more than 900,000 people streamed it from around the world…insanely amazing!

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 6.11.32 PMThe concert was set to kick off at 8:30pm EST and I was ready or as ready as can be for what I knew was going to be an emotional next few hours. I had front row seats on my sofa as I flipped the channel over to the CBC. I along with many was greeted by the great Ron MacLean who was broadcasting live from the Olympics in Rio along side of Team Canada. Ron said a few words and then threw it to the Hip in Kingston. The first thing we saw was the band getting ready to hit the stage and Gord giving a kiss to each and every one of his bandmates. My heart sunk knowing that this was it! I’m not a huge Hip fan, I never was but I do respect the band a great deal and enjoy their music. Hell, this is a band who taught us a crap load about the history of the great country we live in through their songs. According to a @stats_canada tweet they said that “46% of Canadians have learned more Canadian history from Tragically Hip songs than from school”. Bottom line is that we are Canadian and the Hip is a part of who we are…some would even say that they are a part of our DNA.

It was time! The guys took to the stage, the crowd went nuts and they kicked off the set with “50 Mission Cap”. As they played, so many thoughts ran through my head. Thinking about what the band was feeling, thinking about those watching live at the K-Rock Centre, the fans who wanted so badly to be there but couldn’t, Gord’s friends and his family (his wife Laura and their 4 children) and most of all Gord himself. It made me emotional and I felt for all of them.

As the show went on they played all our favourites and the songs that put the Hip on the map and made them who they are today. We heard “Courage”, “My Music At Work”, “Twist My Arm”, “Bobcaygeon”, “New Orleans Is Sinking”, “Grace, Too” (which brought us all to tears when we saw Gord wipe away his tears) and they closed it off with “Ahead By A Century” which they truly are!

It was a show that we will never forget, one that will go down in history and not only will it have people talking about it for years to come but also got the attention of many already including the guys from Pearl Jam who played Wrigley Stadium that same night. Lead singer Eddie Vedder took a moment during their show to acknowledge Gord and the Hip, send some love their way and dedicated a song to them. When you see stuff like this happening you realize just how much love and respect people have for The Tragically Hip.

Another person who took part in Saturday night’s farewell was our very own Prime Minster Justin Trudeau. It was great seeing our leader there amongst the many supporting Gord and the guys. Gord took a moment to acknowledge Trudeau and say “Thank you to the Prime Minister for coming to our show, it really means a lot to all of us,”. The two met prior to show and snapped a few very touching photos together. Trudeau also later tweeted “On behalf of Canadians, I thank Gord Downie and the Hip for their decades of service to Canadian music. Forever in our hearts and playlists.”.


They rocked it! Plain and simple! They came out, gave it their all and celebrated 30 years of The Tragically Hip. 30 years of great music! 30 years of amazing Canadian rock! It was amazing to see the crowd dance, smile, shed some tears and of course singing along with Gord.

I don’t think I will ever forget this concert for as long as I live and Gord’s words last night will stay with me forever, especially when he said “Thanks for listening in the back. Thanks for listening, period. Have a nice life.”.


A big THANK YOU to The Tragically Hip and an even bigger THANK YOU to Gord! It takes a lot of courage and strength to do what you did and it means a lot to all of us xoxo


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