Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
1 - 2 cups (250-500 mL) chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter large baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour, baking soda and milk and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (15 mL) onto prepared baking sheets, at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart.
Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 15 min or until golden around the edges and set in the centre. Let cool on sheets for 2 min, then transfer to racks to cool.


Layer cooled cookies between waxed or parchment paper in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Tip for Kids: Make mini cookies, using a heaping teaspoon (5 mL) of batter. Use candy-coated mini chocolate chips or add colourful sprinkles on top of the batter just before baking.
Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped honey-roasted peanuts or candied almonds with the chocolate chips.
Tip for Kids: Make mini cookies, using a heaping teaspoon (5 mL) of batter. Use candy-coated mini chocolate chips or add colourful sprinkles on top of the batter just before baking.
For more Milk Calendar Recipes Visit:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Baked Broccoli Cheese Balls - outrageously delicious as a meal or bites to serve at a gathering! Served with a Yoghurt Lemon Sauce.

You'll be surprised how much broccoli is crammed into these! They certainly don't taste healthy - but they are. They are juicy and moist inside, golden on the outside, they stay pretty round after baking, and are gorgeous to serve as a vegetarian main or as bites! Serves 3 - 4 as a main. Recipe video below and Gluten Free option in notes.
Calories374 kcal           
  • 2 cups (packed) roughly chopped soft cooked broccoli (well drained) (~400g/13 oz raw broccoli) (Note 1)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Colby or Tasty cheese are my usual)
  • 2 shallots / scallions , finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil spray
Garlic Lemon Yoghurt Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup plain yoghurt
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ garlic clove , minced
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (adjust to taste, depends on fat % of yoghurt used)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 200C/390F (all oven types).
  2. Line tray with baking / parchment paper. (Note 2)
  3. Place all ingredients (except oil spray) in a bowl. Mix well to combine, mashing up the broccoli as you go (like when you are cooking mince).
  4. Scoop up a heaped tablespoon, then press in firmly. Flick out into your hand then form into a ball. Place on tray. Repeat with remaining mixture - should make 15 - 18 balls.
  5. Spray with oil then bake for 25 minutes, or until the surface is slightly crisp and golden.
  6. Serve with Lemon Yoghurt Sauce – it also goes great with ketchup!
  7. Sauce: Mix ingredients together then set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
1. This can be made with fresh or frozen broccoli. If using fresh, you'll need 1 giant head or 2 medium heads. Ensure the broccoli is cooked until soft so it is easier to “mash” and mould into meatball shapes.
Chopping and cooking fresh broccoli: Cut the florets off the broccoli then break up into medium pieces. Cut the thinner stem into about 2.5cm / 1 inch pieces. If you want to use the thick main stem, peel the outer skin (which is tough) then cut into 2.5 cm / 1” x 1cm / 2/5” batons. Boil water in a large saucepan (or do this step in a steamer). Plonk the stems in first, cook for 2 minutes. Then add the florets and cook for 3 minutes, or until soft. Drain well.
2. Storing: Cool then place in an airtight container. For a quick reheat, use the microwave, or otherwise reheat in the oven. These also freeze well once cooked, thaw then reheat at 180C/350F for about 5 minutes. Can be made ahead, form balls, then refrigerate (not freeze), then bake later.
3. Pictured in the photo in post with: Lemon Rice Pilaf and quick sautéed kale (tear off a few handfuls of kale, rip leaves off the tough centre stem, tear into bite size pieces. Saute in a bit of oil with a handful of pre shredded carrots (I always have Just Veg from Woolies on hand), season with S&P and finish with a sprinkle of crushed almonds.
4. GLUTEN FREE OPTION: Sub breadcrumbs with 3/4 cup almond meal. 
5. Nutrition is for 1/3 of the recipe which is a meal size serving (for an adult). Gluten free option: increases to 387 calories, carbs decreases to 17g.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Breaking down barriers for Canadians with disability

We desperately need a ministry that's directly responsible and accountable for the broad portfolio of disability policy

By Jennifer Zwicker
and Stephanie Dunn
Breaking Down Barriers is the galvanizing theme of a recent report from the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. It outlines urgently-needed recommendations to improve access to underused federal disability supports: the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).
Some of our most vulnerable members of society face multiple hurdles trying to get access to DTC and RDSP. This includes eligibility criteria that don't reflect the realities of living with a disability and are more strict for people with impairments in mental function compared to those with physical disabilities. It also means a burdensome application processes that can include hidden costs, arbitrary eligibility decisions and opaque claims and appeals processes.
Jennifer Zwicker
Jennifer Zwicker
Those with disability are almost twice as likely to live in poverty as other Canadians. That makes programs like RDSP critical.
RDSP helps people with severe disabilities and their families to save for the future and the idea of the program was hailed as one of the most progressive savings plans in the world. Yet fewer than 15 per cent of Canadians with qualifying disabilities are accessing this program.
Bureaucracy is the greatest barrier that needs to be broken down. Accountability and measurable action by National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier and Revenue Canada is long overdue.
Yet it doesn't make sense that we're tasking staff at Revenue Canada with determining complex eligibility for much-needed disability savings and income support programs in the first place. The minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the minister of Finance need to heed the Senate recommendations.
The lived experience of the extreme fragmentation of programs and supports is significant.
If you're a Canadian living in low income with a severe disability, you have to prove your disability status to your provincial government to claim disability supports, and then prove your status again to the federal government to gain eligibility to DTC to set up an RDSP.
Completing these applications is not without cost; people can pay hundreds of dollars to their physicians to complete an application form certifying their disability (in some cases every year). And the certification is out of touch with global standards of disability determination. As well, many bank branches simply don't support in-person setup of RDSP.
Stephanie Dunn
Stephanie Dunn
It's unclear why anyone who meets the strict criteria for provincial disability supports would not be entitled to DTC and RDSP. One of the recommendations in the Senate report is that everyone in a provincial program for people with disabilities be enrolled automatically in RDSP.
For this to happen, collaboration between ministries and across different levels of government is needed. Yet recommendations of this nature aren't new in Canada. In the 1998 In Unison: A Canadian Approach to Disability Issues report, ministers agreed that "More effective and co-ordinated programs would better serve Canadians with disabilities and the country as a whole."
That this statement is as true today - two decades later - demonstrates that effective action has failed to follow this intergovernmental vision.
How can we turn this dismal lack of action around? Can the current federal Liberal government make it happen?
Let's hope so.
In the short-term, the federal government needs to mandate that the ministry of Finance, the Canada Revenue Agency, and Employment and Social Development Canada enact the recommendations outlined in the Senate report, ensuring collaboration where required.
In the longer term, Canada desperately needs a strong and empowered ministry that's directly responsible and accountable for the broad portfolio of disability policy, including supports and rights-based legislation.
This ministry should engage with provinces to determine how to best streamline federal and provincial disability supports.
Finally, all parties need to realize that the current system is working against Canadians with disabilities. Denying this already disadvantaged group access to the supports that they need - and are entitled to - works against our vision of an inclusive Canada.
Dr. Jennifer Zwicker is a director of Health Policy at the School of Public Policy and assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Stephanie Dunn is a research associate in the Health Policy division at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. They are both contributors with, which is based at the University of Winnipeg.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Health system fails to provide quality care for seniors

It's clear the status quo isn't meeting the needs of our aging population. So what can be done?

By Ruta Valaitis
and Maureen Markle-Reid
Despite having diabetes and arthritis, Verne was a thriving independent 72-year-old who lived at home with his wife when he had a stroke. He had excellent emergency care in the hospital and began his recovery there. But he didn't adjust well after arriving home. He started to show signs of depression and was at risk of re-hospitalization.
Verne feared he would have another stroke as he waited for follow-up appointments with neurology, physiotherapy and speech pathology. He had difficulty remembering to take his new medications and adapting to using a walker.
Ruta Valaitis
Ruta Valaitis
Transitioning home from hospital is challenging for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. Home-care services are often not available or inadequate. And followup care from doctors or specialists is too often infrequent or involves juggling multiple appointments over long wait periods.
Add to this the challenge of managing complex health conditions and the risks for depression and recurring poor health and hospitalization are high.
Unfortunately, Verne's experience is not uncommon.
The 2016 State of Seniors Health Care in Canada report from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), highlights a key problem: our medicare system was established to deal largely with acute, episodic care for a relatively young population.
Today, our system struggles to care properly for patients managing multiple ongoing health issues. We know older adults with chronic conditions need more health services and have a higher risk of hospitalization compared to those with a single chronic condition.
Adults 65 years and older are the fastest growing age group in the country. In Ontario, 16.7 per cent, in British Columbia and Quebec 18.3 per cent, and in Nova Scotia 19.9 per cent of the population is 65 years or older.
Maureen Markle-Reid
Maureen Markle-Reid
Multiple chronic conditions among older adults are increasing. Approximately 75 to 80 per cent of Canadian seniors report having one or more chronic condition, such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, mood disorder and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Like Verne, these patients face several challenges in managing their conditions. A lack of care co-ordination amongst health professionals combined with low health literacy gets in the way. Their care is piecemeal and fragmented, with little focus on the patient and family as a whole. Limited financial resources to cover the costs of supplies, additional care and transportation also create barriers to self-management.
These seniors often experience loneliness. Their family caregivers often lack support. Managing multiple, often interacting medications is also difficult.
So what can be done? We asked seniors to find the answers.
As researchers with the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit at McMaster University, we're working with older adults with multiple chronic conditions and their family caregivers to promote optimal aging at home.
Community Assets Supporting Transitions (CAST) is a new hospital-to-home transitional care program in Sudbury, Burlington and Hamilton that aims to reduce depressive symptoms, improve patients' quality of life and self-management ability, and support family caregivers. CAST is delivered by registered nurses who support patients transitioning from hospital to home over a six-month period through in-home visits, telephone follow-up and care co-ordination.
There's also a community-based diabetes self-management program in Ontario, Quebec and P.E.I. that was developed for older adults with diabetes and multiple chronic conditions. The program includes monthly wellness sessions, and a series of home visits with a registered nurse and a registered dietitian. They work as a team with staff and volunteers from seniors centres or YMCAs to deliver a health promotion program for participants.
We've also been creating a new way of providing outpatient stroke rehabilitation services for older adults with stroke and multiple chronic conditions living in the community. We provide regular in-home visits for the patient and monthly interprofessional care conferences for the providers. We also developed a new web-based app, MyST (My Stroke Team), to support communication and collaboration among the interprofessional stroke team.
Clearly, the status quo isn't meeting the needs of our aging population and fails to provide quality care for seniors. Creating innovative pilot projects to improve the transition from hospital to home will help us provide a better system that's both more efficient and cost-effective, and will improve the standard of care to seniors like Verne.
Dr. Ruta Valaitis is a professor McMaster University School of Nursing, the Dorothy C. Hall Chair in Primary Health Care Nursing and co-scientific director of the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit and a contributor with, which is based at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid, is a professor McMaster University School of Nursing the Canada Research Chair in Person-Centred Interventions for Older Adults with Multimorbidity and their Caregivers and co-scientific director of the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie -this classic homemade chicken pot pie is the ultimate comfort food! Learn how to make this easy chicken pot pie recipe and you’ll never buy a chicken pot pie again!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

One of the biggest offshore corporate tax-avoidance cases in Canada

Loblaws in $400M tax fight with CRA over claims it set up bogus offshore bank

Barbados transactions were designed to 'circumvent' the Income Tax Act, government alleges

A four-week-long Tax Court trial will weigh the government's claim that Loblaws took steps to have a Barbados-based subsidiary appear to be a foreign bank in order to avoid paying tax. (CBC)
A senior judge warned Loblaws and the federal government this morning that she would not look kindly on any further procedural delays in a $400-million battle the two sides are waging in Tax Court.
Loblaws and the government were in a Toronto courtroom in one of the biggest offshore corporate tax-avoidance cases in the country, with authorities alleging the grocery conglomerate set up a bogus foreign bank to avoid tax on hundreds of millions of dollars in investment income.
The case has been brewing since 2015 and is slated for a full trial in April — more than a year after the originally scheduled start date, due to a series of procedural squabbles.
"I do not want to have to adjourn this again," Associate Chief Justice Lucie Lamarre cautioned both sides on Wednesday. 
At stake for Loblaws is a huge potential tax bill: $404 million, including interest, penalties and provincial income tax, according to documents related to the case.
"These are all big numbers," said Peter Baek, a Toronto tax litigator and former senior CRA auditor experienced with offshore tax rules.  
Loblaws is facing scrutiny on other fronts as well, including its recent admission to a price-fixing scheme on the sale of bread in Canada, as well as revelations in the Paradise Papers exposing the company's use of offshore havens to shield profits.  

'Circumvent the rules'

The tax battle has its roots back in 1992, when Loblaws incorporated a regular offshore company in Barbados initially called just Loblaws Inc. A little over a year later, the subsidiary changed its name to Glenhuron Bank Ltd. and obtained a Barbados banking licence.
Loblaws funded Glenhuron Bank largely with money from other arms of its global grocery business. Glenhuron Bank then used the money to invest in financial derivatives including interest and currency swaps, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in income.
Normally, those profits could legally avoid income tax in Canada under an exemption for the investment earnings of Canadian-owned foreign banks.

The name of Glenhuron Bank Ltd., the Loblaws subsidiary at the centre of the trial, is listed on the directory at the CGI Tower in Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados, as seen on 13 December 2010. (CaribDigita/Wikimedia Commons)
But not so fast, auditors for the Canada Revenue Agency said as they reassessed the 2001 to 2010 tax filings of Glenhuron Bank's Canadian parent, another Loblaws subsidiary. They determined Glenhuron Bank, known as GBL, shouldn't qualify for the exception.
"GBL's activities did not constitute banking or a banking business," the government alleges in its court filings. "GBL was not in the business of providing financial services."
The filings claim Glenhuron Bank got its seed money from "the diversion" of more than $470 million US from other Loblaws entities, in the Netherlands and in Delaware. If that money had stayed in the hands of those entities, any earnings would have been taxed, the government claims.
What's more, the government alleges Loblaws deliberately swapped the name of its Barbados entity from Loblaws Inc. to Glenhuron Bank, and then applied for a banking licence, solely "to obtain tax benefits."
"The purposes of the series of transactions... were to have GBL appear to be a foreign bank in Barbados in order to circumvent" parts of the Income Tax Act, filings state.

CEO Galen Weston named

Loblaws denies all those claims, saying Glenhuron Bank legitimately qualifies as a regulated foreign bank under the Income Tax Act and the Bank Act.
"Glenhuron Bank was a regulated foreign bank that earned income outside of Canada. Canadian tax policy and law says that the income of regulated foreign banks is not taxable in Canada," the company said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Therefore, our position is that Glenhuron Bank's income was not taxable in Canada. The CRA disagrees."
The case is set for a three-week trial this spring, after more than a year of procedural wrangling.
The government at one point claimed that a vice-president at Loblaws parent company George Weston Ltd. "was unable or unwilling to answer many questions" during pre-trial discovery hearings. Later, a judge was brought in to referee during one of the discovery sessions — a rare but not entirely unusual step.
At another point, a judge "express[ed] alarm" during a pre-trial conference at the number of unresolved questions between the government and Loblaws, according to minutes in the court file.
Finally, in November, the government filed a motion demanding that Loblaws go to the top, to billionaire CEO Galen Weston Jr., to get answers to some of its pre-trial discovery questions about "the purpose for which GBL was established and the activities of GBL during the years at issue." The government ended up withdrawing its motion after Loblaws provided additional information.
Tax lawyer Baek said the back and forth is not surprising.
"I can see how, especially with the amount they're looking at here, there could be lots of procedural fighting."