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Festive 4th of July Desserts for Kids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 29, 2015

Independence Day is filled with red, white and blue food including delicious desserts for kids! Not only can we utilize the yummy berries that are finally in season such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries but our pastry chefs all over Boston are whipping up scrumptious creations that are sure to please the whole family.  While some foodies suggest high calorie desserts with extensive ingredients (not to mention extensive sugar), this selection offers easy to prepare directions as well as fuss free diet restrictions.  With these delightful treats, you’ll be able to ring in the 4th of July with a bang!


Freeze Your Own Popsicles


Making your own popsicles is a simple way to invent a fast snack while still being able to control the sugar content by selecting a preferred juice.  Flavors that work the best for a red, white and blue theme are cranberry, fruit punch, grape, blueberry, white grape and lemonade juices.  Most of these varieties offer a low calorie and reduced sugar version so your kids will be able to cool off while slurping down a healthy Popsicle.  If you really want to get fancy, you can freeze them in three separate levels by placing one layer on top of the other just as long as you freeze them one at a time.



Strawberry Shortcake


Okay, so this sweet may not be on the healthy side but honestly, who cares!  You can make this dessert an essential dish at your 4th of July barbecue table just by place a huge scoop of whip cream on top of a piece of shortbread (store bought is fine).  Once you’ve started piling on the good stuff, add red and blue berries  (strawberries and blueberries work best with shortcake) that will finish it off perfectly.  Don’t be afraid to substitute when needed such as replacing the cream with a high quality French vanilla ice cream.               photo credit:


Strawberry Bombs


                         photo credit:

This is so great you’re going to want to make these year round!  Just take a strawberry and clean out the insides with a spoon delicately.  Fill the middle with whip cream and top with one ripe blueberry.  Place in the refrigerator overnight to allow hardening so the cream doesn’t spill out.  Serve before, after and during your barbecue and watch that plate disappear within seconds!


Tags: Dessert, July 4th, Chef, Kids, cooking, Summer, July

Plan Your Father's Day Cookout Menu

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 17, 2015

Father’s Day Barbecue


It’s time to fire up the barbecue- Father’s Day is here!  The big guy will be celebrated on Sunday, June 21st and let’s face it, all you have to do is light some coals on the grill and he’s pretty much satisfied.  Make sure you skip the lean diet food such as salad, greens and fresh fruit.  You can pretty much count on the fact that all he’s really interested in is a smoldering, juicy slab of beef cooked perfectly to his satisfaction.  Favorite cuts likely to be most popular this holiday are baby back ribs, three inch thick pork chops and teriyaki wings that can be seasoned and sauced just about any way dad likes them.  You’re going to want to buy in bulk, too since Father’s Day is meant to be a buffet of indulgence.  Things could get kind of complicated if you haven’t made a decision on your barbecue grocery list or destination so here are a few choice ingredients and locations that always tops my list each June!


What You’ll Need

It’s time to grab your beef so dig in and buy his favorites!

Select three options:

Baby Back Ribs                            Sausages                       Pork Tenderloins

Three-Inch Thick Pork Chops         Teriyaki Wings                Marinated Chicken

Lemon Infused Salmon                 Strip Sirloin Steak           Cowboy Steak

Split Roast Chicken                     Chicken Legs                  Fillet Minion

Swordfish Kabobs                       Steak Tip Kabobs             Jumbo Shrimp


                   photo credit:

It’s time to get rubbing with marinades, seasonings and sauces!

Select four options:

            Lemons                                         Garlic Rub                     Memphis Rub

            Smoked Salmon Brine                    Pork Brine                     All Purpose Meat Rub

            Chicken Marinade                          Balsamic Vinaigrette       Barbecue Sauce

            Hot Wing Sauce                             Asian Marinade Sauce    Mango Sauce

            Relish                                           Applewood Sauce           Sweet Maple Marinade   


Since he’ll need to eat something with his barbecue to balance things off, try grabbing a

couple of his more preferred vegetables.  Now remember, you don’t want to

take away any attention from the grill, just compliment it with some color and freshness.

Select two options:

            Tomatoes                                      Asparagus                       Broccoli

            Cucumber                                     Onions                            Carrots

            Spinach                                        Green Beans                   Mushrooms


Now that you’ve mapped out your list, here are a few places that serve the best choice cuts in Massachusetts!

Select 1 option-that’s all you’ll need!


                        Butcher Boy                                     Butcher Shop Market       

                        1077 Osgood Street                                  782 Adams Street

                  North Andover, MA 01845                      Dorchester Center, MA 02124


          Bucciarelli's Butcher Shop & Deli

                         147 Bridge Road

                  Salisbury, MA 01952

Tags: Father's Day, Steak, Chef, cooking, #EXFL

Tri-Color Pasta Salad for Memorial Day

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day Backyard Menus for Bostonians


Memorial Day is early this year, which will be celebrated on Monday, May 25th and many of us are beginning to plan our menus for a festive and delicious backyard meal!  Officially reserved to respect those who have lost their lives serving our country, this holiday is also associated with marking the first day of summer with a barbecue hosted for family and friends.  Boston grillers will be making quite a spark with their meat selections of beef, pork and chicken but many including myself get stumped on deciding the extras.  Most of the time, you’ll see long picnic tables filled with chips, dip, potato salad and coleslaw but what’s a girl to do when she wants to add a little something special to this year’s buffet?


Now we don’t have to go crazy with overwhelming hot sauces or exorbitantly priced marinades, I assure you.  We can put a little extra sizzle in our food without making unnecessary prep work or incurring ridiculous grocery bills.  The idea behind your meal should reflect simplicity and freshness since now is the time where local fruits and vegetables are becoming available.  Here’s what I’ve found for a yummy barbecue side dish that’s fun and easy to whip up in a jiff.   Don’t be afraid to improvise your own culinary preferences when trying it out on your own!


Tri Colored Pasta Salad

I love this dish and look forward to cooking a batch as soon as the weather warms up for summer.  The ingredients are easy to find, affordable and even healthy to boot! 


You’ll Need:

1 Box of Barilla Tri-Colored Rotini                         1 Large Yellow Onion

2 Large Ripe Red Tomatoes                                                3 TBSP of Olive Oil

1 Large Green Bell Pepper                                      ½ Cup Ken’s Italian Dressing

Salt/Pepper To Taste                                               1 TBSP Rosemary


In a pan with olive oil, sauté both the green pepper and yellow onion adding seasoning of salt and white pepper until softened.  Set the pan aside until cooled.  Cook the box of pasta according to the package and strain well with cold water until the noodles are cool.  Dice the two tomatoes and add to a bowl.  Add the room temperature contents of the sauté pan as well as the chilled pasta and mix well.  Next, spice it up with salt, pepper and rosemary along with the ½ cup of salad dressing.  Place in refrigerator for three hours before serving and enjoy a scrumptious and colorful dish perfect for celebrating Memorial Day!

Tags: Memorial Day, Chef, cooking, Outdoor Living

Spring Desserts that Help Whittle Waist Lines

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Apr 29, 2015

It’s about that time again and most of us are in the same boat…


This winter no doubt challenged many Bostonian’s waistlines with the winter storms calling us to indulge in comfort foods of macaroni, cheesy casseroles and juicy oven roasts.  Really, who could blame us for putting on a few pounds of insulation while blizzard after blizzard struck our city?  Its all part of New England living but unfortunately so isn’t the ritual of an annual spring diet. 


Now we don’t have to go nuts with Spartan dishes and cardboard tasting meals-that’s just not how Bostonians get the job done! Northeasterners understand that the proper way to lose a seasonal spare tire is too eat healthy portions infused with lots and lots of fresh produce.  Our plates should gleam with bright colors customary to fruits such as berries, peaches, apples and other delicious goodies.  One area of our menus that utilize this concept to the fullest is within our desserts!  So what if we’ve been satisfying our “sweet tooth” with French vanilla ice cream smothered in caramel toppings or strawberry cheesecake dripping with cream and icing? Colder months of the year call for these decadent enticings but now it’s time to clean up after some of these excessive calories and revamp our dessert choices!  These are a few of my favorites that promise to curb weight inducing cravings and ready you for those soon-to-be visits to the beach!

 healthy desserts

                                         photo credit:

Plum Kebabs

This is a wonderful recipe to try once you’ve salvaged your grill from the winter storage basement!  All you need are a few wood skewers, red and purple plums and sugar to sprinkle on top.  First, soak the skewers overnight in water to prevent burning during grilling.  Take 4 to 5 plums of different varieties and colors and skew through the sticks.  Try changing up the pattern to make a fun and interesting visual presentation if using this one for summer barbecues.  Once the fruit has all been secured, dip the entire rod in a dish full of white sugar.  Roll entirely in mixture until the fruit is completely covered.  Heat up the grill and place the skewers on top, turning slowly until the sugar has caramelized and the plums begin to cook.  Take the sticks off and either serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla yogurt.  This tastes so good and you’ll be surprised how little calories you are consuming for such a yummy spring treat! 


           photo credit:

Banana Pudding Pops

I found this gem from “Eating Well” and have used this for my kids when in a pinch because they are easy to make and requires few ingredients for the recipe.  First heat a skillet and add 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a pinch of salt.  Boil mixture until all of the ingredients have gelled well.  Add 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the skillet.  In a processor, blend the skillet preparations with 3 cups of chopped banana.  When the mixture resembles pudding, then scoop into freezer-ready, popsicle molds and let them sit overnight until frozen through.  Serve them immediately or store until the next hot day calls for them!

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA

Tags: Dessert, Chef, cooking, #EXFL

Spring Inspired Salads

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Apr 15, 2015

Things are starting to warm up out there and its that time again to find yummy vegetable and fruit dishes!  For some, it’s because bikini season is right around the corner but for me, I love the freshness and bright color that is seen in springtime meal options.  The yellows, greens and reds are just a few shades that are appearing more and more as the temperature rises.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts are all being created with a new rainbow flare that promises healthy and happy glow in Boston foodies.  One section of the menu is also heating up with promise- and that’s the salads!  There are now other options available to us “greens” lovers that step outside the winter boundaries of garden and Caesar salads.  Restaurants all around the city are showcasing their newest creations that envelop interesting and tasty ingredients that vamp up the classic salad plate.  Whether you’re someone who enjoys simplicity or someone who enjoys eating dangerously, here are a couple of favorites that grazed my palette with scrumptious perfection!


                         photo credit:

For the Fruit Lover

Salads infused with berries are growing to be one of the most requested dishes by patrons.  You might think the combination is strange but trust me when I say that strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and even blackberries drive a sensational sweetness when combined with spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and shaved carrots.  The best matches for dressings are wide in variation but I prefer balsamic vinegar with this type of salad because it intertwines the sweetness with a pinch of tart. 

Tree fruit also makes wonderful additions to salads, making them both tastier and healthier.  Clever chefs have incorporated apples, peaches and plums to romaine lettuce based salads, causing an incremented draw to these out-of-the-box options. 


                                              photo credit:

For the Vegetable Lover

I’m definitely situated in this department because I’ve been known to throw in a handful of chopped broccoli and cauliflower to my dinner salads.  The benefit from doing this is to charge up your vitamin intake while still keeping the meal low on calories.  If you want to get fancy, sample an Asparagus Farro Salad that has ingredients including spinach, cranberries, walnuts and Parmesan cheese.  Or how about throwing in some Lima, wax, green, red or black beans to infuse some extra protein?  Recipes I’ve tasted that were stupendous were Super Duper Bean Salad and Easy Pea Salad created by that have simple instructions on how to make your own.  Tear off a piece of pita bread and constructed a salad sandwich to really get decadent with salad dining!

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA




Tags: Chef, cooking, Spring

Saint Patrick’s Day Recipes

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 11, 2015

Saint Patrick’s Day is known for more than just wearing green-it’s one of the best holidays to feast on delicious traditional dishes from Ireland!  It happens to be a common misconception that meals served in honor of this celebration are, in general, bland with little to no flavor.   That is simply not true!  Over hundreds of generations, mouthwatering entrees have been developed by Europe’s finest cooks and passed down to their ancestors who have migrated to Boston.  Having their own adaptations and special ingredients, authentic Saint Patrick’s Day cuisine has become a true celebration unto itself being served not only in Bostonian homes but also in restaurants and hotels all over the city.  Another bonus for these recipes is that they are easy to make and considerably less expensive than other holiday spreads such as Thanksgiving or Easter.  Once you’ve found the meal that is perfect for you, don’t be afraid to put your own spin on things by adding spices and other vegetables preferable to you.  These are my favorites that I will be cooking this Saint Patrick’s Day that you just might find the urge to whip up yourself.

 sodabread_main                                photo credit:

Irish Soda Bread


2 teaspoons baking soda     3 tablespoons of caraway seed         2 cups raisins

1 cup sugar                            ¾ cups butter                                                3 eggs

6 teaspoons baking powder            2½ cups buttermilk                          1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sour cream   3 tablespoons milk                            5 cups flour


Preheat oven at 375 degrees.                     

Mix together the baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt until the batter is dry.  Slice the butter into pads to make it easier to combine with the mixture, making a crust like consistency.  Then add the raisins and caraway seed to make the bread flavorful and interesting to the taste.  Add a dash of milk slowly until the bread doe can be formed into loaves.  Place into bread oven dishes and bake for 55 minutes.  Serve with another slab of butter and eat immediately!

 corn-obrien2-300x200                                            photo credit:

Corn O’Brien


½ cup chopped onion          4 tablespoons green bell pepper

3 cups yellow corn kernels   2 tablespoons diced pimento

3 strips bacon                        1 tablespoon salt and pepper


Heat a skillet with a dash of olive oil and cook bacon until the pork is nice and crispy.  Set it aside while keeping the juices in the pan to flavor the next steps of cooking.  Add the pepper and onion and sauté until well cooked and softened.  Put the bacon back into the skillet as well as the pimento and corn kernels.  Cook until all of the ingredients have blended well and then season with salt and pepper.  Serve piping hot and enjoy!

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA

Tags: Chef, cooking, Saint Patricks Day

The Best Valentines Gifts for Men

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Feb 02, 2015

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year specializing in flowers, chocolates, jewelry and lingerie.  On February 14th, women all over the country will be unwrapping treats from their sweethearts with romantic and sentimental gestures in mind.  Wait a minute, what about a gift for him?  Ok, so he leaves toothpaste in the sink and sometimes snores too loud but all in all, he’s a great guy and maybe it’s time to reciprocate the gesture with a thoughtful present this year.  You might think that there’s no real appropriate Valentine’s gift for a man since it may seem kind of sappy but with some careful research, you can find something perfect for him.  Don’t kid yourself, men like attention just as much as we do although they may seem to hint otherwise.  Valentine’s Day treats can be meant for both him and her so be mindful not to forget your sweetheart this February!


For the Foodie

There are a lot of great gifts you can grab for the guy who loves food such as a gift card to his favorite restaurant or a cookbook written by his most talked about chef.  Great suggestions include southern barbecue publications, the “Food Truck” compilation and “Heritage” written by Sean Brock.  Make sure the cookbook reflects his tastes and you might just inspire him to do more of the cooking in the future!  If you want to add a great accessory, pick up the flick, “Chef” (my husband's favorite movie in 2014) starring Jon Favreau to go with it.  He’ll love brushing up on how to make his top dishes and I promise, he’ll love the movie too!


For the Sports Guy

Ok, the football thing can drive us nuts sometimes but he loves it so why not pick him up a couple of tickets to the next Patriots, Celtics, Bruins or Red Sox game?  He can take one of his buddies so he can truly enjoy the experience and you can head to the spa for your own entertainment.  It’s a win win present for both of you!


For the Guy’s Who’s Always On Time.  Or Late.

Men love watches for several reasons.  They’re stylish, fashionable man jewelry and assists in getting them to where they need to go.  Now we’re not talking Rolex here, just a nice piece that looks great at an affordable price.  Several companies exist who provide these but you might want to check out Timex’s “Weekender” watch that has a cool wrist band, contemporary sporty face and awesome affordability in price. 


For the Cocktail Guy

These are so cool, there’s no doubt he’ll flip when he unwraps them.  “Double Walled Whiskey Glasses” are the newest rave in barware and are so visually appealing that they can be used for a variety of other purposes. Designed in ultra thick glass, the cups are formed in an oval shape with two layers displaying both the beverage and a beautiful sheen from reflected light.  The chic presentation will surely have your guy’s heart thumping this Valentine’s Day!

suzie__ricky_canale Suzie and Rick Canale together since 2000. 

Tags: Fenway Park, Movies, Chef, Valentines Day

Low Fat Winter Desserts

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jan 20, 2015

The holiday season is packed with celebrations amongst family and friends where we can enjoy one another’s company, sip champagne and feast upon the most delicious treats.  There’s the turkey at Thanksgiving, red velvet cake at Christmas time and for New Years, just about any decadent cuisine is up for grabs.  The holidays are wonderful but if you’re like most recovering from the festivities, you’re looking to pare down the calorie count and get back into those favorite jeans that have been on vacation in the closet.  So many people swear off dieting in January because they just don’t want to give up satisfying their sweet tooth just to dial back the numbers on the scale. I agree, it’s depressing but what if we could compromise by allowing dessert if we only swapped a few ingredients here and there?  Now I don’t mean eating strange non-dairy cheesecakes -we don’t have to get crazy to lose a couple of pounds.  I, myself, love a sweet morsel before bedtime and refuse to get weird when it comes to denying certain after dinner accompaniments.  This is what I’ve tried and amazingly, it works.  Give it a go and you’ll see you’ll be strutting your stuff in no time!


                              photo credit: Whole Foods Market

Berries, Berries, Berries

Berries are nature’s savior in the dieting department because they pack a ton of vitamin value and antioxidants (something many need after a little too much bubbly over the last month).  Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (my favorite) can all be found in your produce department year round and can be mixed in with any dessert dish being served.  Blackberries are another yummy berry but can be difficult to find in New England grocery stores but if you do, ground the berries to make a natural, finishing syrup.   You don’t need to add any other flavoring or sugar and the beautiful color will top off any cake or soufflé magnificently.


Frozen Yogurt-You’ll Never Know The Difference

There is a long running argument that frozen yogurt can’t match the taste of ice cream but I strongly disagree.  Not only does the creamy consistency taste wonderful but you’re literally ingesting a quarter of the fat and sugar, therefore upping you metabolism to burn more wasteful calories.  You can select just about any flavor desired including chocolate chip, chocolate mousse and peanut butter cup.  Fantastic varieties include Breyers, Friendly’s and Edie’s, try them blind folded for an ultimate test.  You can’t go wrong with any of there products and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. 


Splenda Makes Splendid Treats

Splenda is a sugar substitute that many bakers have been using as a sweetener substitute.  Prepared within cakes, cookies, muffins and cupcakes, many speculated that Splenda wouldn’t deliver the “sweet” effect that consumers were yearning for.   They admitted their mistake when tasting that the low calorie sugar really did deliver and was pleasantly comparable with traditionally made desserts.  Although the ingredient was mainly implemented at first by pro-dieters and diabetics, the tasty confection has proved to be a big hit on the dessert menu!

suzie_and_lance_canale Suzie Canale, Westwood, MA 

Suzie frequents Wilson Farm in Lexington, Market Basket in Waltham, and Roche Brothers in Westwood for fresh produce and quality ingredients for her and her family.

Tags: Dessert, Chef, cooking, #EXFL

Recipe for New England Clam Chowder

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 16, 2015

New England Clam Chowder Recipe


For all of you football fans getting ready for Sunday’s big game, here’s a sure fire hit to add to your menu of tailgating foods!  Authentic to the New England region and delicious to boot, this recipe is both easy and quick to cook up for the big game day.   Try this New England Clam Chowder soup for your friends and family and get ready to cheer on the Patriots!



4 Red Potatoes                                                          3 Tbsp Flour

½ Gallon of Half and Half Cream                            4 Tbsp of Butter

2 Bottles of Clam Juice                                              1 Tbsp of Dried Rosemary

4 lbs of Clams                                                                        1 Cup of Chopped Parsley

2 Celery Chopped Stalks                                          Salt

1 Yellow Chopped Onion                                          White Pepper



Melt the 4 Tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot and sauté until softened.   Slowly add flour creating a roué, which will start to thicken the mix of vegetables and butter.  Once the flour has been soaked up, slowly add in the cream taking rests to stir the chowder. 

 Take a knife and pierce the red potatoes, then place them in a microwave for 4 minutes.  Slice the lightly softened potatoes into rough cubes and add them into the pot. 

 In a separate pan, boil the 2 bottles of clam juice.  Place the clams in the heated liquid and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, afterwards straining the excess juice and adding the cooked clams to the chowder. 

 Add the 1 Tbsp of rosemary and cup of chopped parsley to the pot then season with salt and pepper to taste.  The chowder will thicken and the temperature should be dropped from medium to low for approximately 40 minutes.  Serve piping hot!


Tags: NFL, Suzie Canale, Super Bowl, Football, Chef, cooking, #EXFL

Boston’s Top Comfort Foods for Winter 2015

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Jan 10, 2015

It’s cold outside and Bostonians are searching to find their favorite foods that will comfort them through the next few months.  January, February and March can be bitter and icy, the kind of weather where we need a little extra cushion in our stomachs to brave the season.  For some it’s a decadent dessert while others prefer an entrée of rich cuisine but whatever you favor, I think we can all agree that we need some extra meat on our bones during this time of year.   City restaurants can have just what you’re looking for or maybe you would rather opt to stay home and create your own menu?  Here’s a bit of fare facts to help you explore and enjoy some of the top comfort foods for winter 2015.


Top Comfort Foods

  1. Pasta has got to be the number one “go-to” food when we need a “calorie hug” and there is an extraordinary array of options open to you.  Tortellini with sautéed spinach and cherry tomatoes is delicious and carries very little prep time.  Stuffed shells are another fabulous comfort meal because you can alter the variations of ricotta cheese and add whatever fillings you like such as mushrooms, extra tomatoes, onions and spinach.  Alfredo, chicken and broccoli is another classic that actually contains healthy vegetables and protein so it’s a little more “guilt free”.
  2. Soups are number two on my list because (if prepared right) you can get your bones warmed without eating an excessive amount of fat.  Excellent varieties include creamed corn, cream of broccoli and chicken noodle soup.  Some of these are quite simple to make in a crock pot or can be interchanged with bases replacing a heavy flour roué with a blended rice, celery and onion substitution (I use this when making my cream of broccoli recipe).  Soups are also ideal because you can throw in whatever veggies you have left in your fridge to make scrumptious bowls of yummy and heart healthy soups.


Best Winter Cookbooks

There are millions of wonderful cookbooks out there and all contain some useful tricks from the trade to help you whip up five star meals.  My favorites include “How To Cook Everything”, “The Joy of Cooking”, William Sonoma food guides and “Martha’s American Food”.  Trust me on the last one and look up her recipe for macaroni and cheese.  You’ve never tasted anything like it, I assure you!


Try Em’ and Dine In Em’

If cooking is just not your thing, have no fear because Bean Town is home to some spectacular restaurants, bistros and cafes.  How about chicken potpie found at “Henrietta’s”, French onion soup from the “Capital Grill” or a burger from “Tasty Burger”?  Don’t forget we are famous for the world’s best clam chowder so treat yourself with a sampling from my favorites “Union Oyster House”, “Legal Seafoods” and “Grill 23”.

suze Suzie launched her third children's book, The Candy Roses of Cape Care at the Union Oyster House in 2013.


Tags: Restaurants, Boston, Chef, cooking, #EXFL

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