The Canadian food we know and love comes in many varieties -- sticky sweet butter tarts from Ontario, French fries complete with cheese curd from Quebec and even lentils from Saskatchewan (it's the world's largest exporter of the green variety!).
But along with those specialities are the products of the Canadian companies that surround us, the Tim Hortons and Lays ketchup chips contained in our borders (and of course, elsewhere). They helped define what we call "Canadian food," and can't be ignored as we celebrate on July 1.
The Huffington Post Canada asked our prodigious food bloggers and staff to remake some classic culinary Canadiana in honour of Canada Day, and their 'hacks' are impressive. Whether putting a healthy spin on a breakfast sandwich or enlivening a plate of fries, these masterpieces should inspire some patriotic action in the kitchen this weekend.
SEE: 'Hacked' Canadian food from HuffPost. Have your own creations? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter at @HuffPostCaLiv:
McCain Fries Poutine
I use McCain Fries to make our Canadian quintessential comfort food -- poutine using the delicious dipping sauce from Swiss Chalet (a truly Canadian company), and then add authentic Canadian squeaky cheese curds.
Sweet And Salty Doughnut
My girlfriend Clara Kown and I came up with my favourite Canadiana food hack -- scooping out the filling of a Canadian maple donut from Tim Hortons and replacing it with fried Canadian bacon from Metro. It's a great mix of sweet and salty akin to the popular bacon chocolate you can get at Whole Foods.
A Lighter Timmy's Wrap
Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution, and who doesn't love their coffee? But choosing a healthy lunch at Tim's on a road trip means foregoing the fat- and sugar-laden doughnuts. Instead, have a Barbecued Chicken Wrap (whole-wheat, a road rarity!), ask for extra lettuce and tomato to make it as low-cal but filling as possible and grab a steeped tea, black (milk can prevent you from absorbing the catechins which are cancer fighters) and a low-fat yogurt and berries. You'll be back on the road after 350 worthwhile calories and only about 30 percent of your daily intake of sodium.
Alternative Ice Capp
Everyone loves a cool, coffee chocolatey frost bevy in the summer. This must be why the Tim Hortons Ice Capp is such a super fave. Now, I have never actually had one. Actually, could I still be considered Canadian if I admit to never having had any Tim Hortons coffee beverage of any kind ever?
Here is my amazingly delicious version including loads of powerhouse ingredients including:
Maca: contains the essential nutrients necessary to boost thyroid function, helps to balance the components of the endocrine system, and promotes the use of glucose in the bloodstream for energy which means less gets stored as fat.
Hemp seeds: Get full! Eat high fibre and high omega 3 fats to stabilize blood sugar and be hunger free until mid-afternoon. With less hunger you kick to the curb the oodles of mid-meal snacking with reduced cravings for starchy and sweet carbs.
Dandelion root: Has kidney and bladder supportive diuretic effects that helps reduce water weight. It may also help the liver regulate blood sugars to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), frequently an immediate cause of binge eating. An added bonus the increase in bile flow stimulated by dandelion helps to improve fat metabolism in the body.
Caffeine: We're talking very selective amounts here, which may stimulate thermogenesis -- one way your body generates heat and energy from digesting food.
Raw Cacao: Magnesium is one of the most deficient nutrients in North Americans and the primary source, in nature, is found in cacao. Raw chocolate is known to diminish appetite.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
2 Tbs raw cacao powder
5-8 organic coffee beans
2 tsp maca powder
1/2 tsp dandy lion root powder (or natural coffee replacement)
1 Tbs hemp seeds
1 cup of ice
1 cup of water
honey to sweeten
Blend all ingredients.
Beavertail Breakfast Sandwich
How my friend Steve and I would improve a Tim Hortons' breakfast sandwich: The patties would be two Beavertails, then we would add our egg and cheese -- but we would also cook our bacon using maple syrup to give it a sweet crisp.
Campbell's Tomato Soup
My enhancement of Campbell's Tomato Soup -- it might not be a Canadian company, but it is part of the Canadian culinary fabric!
2 cans Campbell's tomato soup
1 chopped tomato
1 small onion, chopped
4 basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup gin
Pour tomato juice into pot and heat on medium. Melt butter and oil together and sauté onion and basil. When that is done, remove from heat for a moment while you add some of this mixture to the gin. Stir and pour gin mixture back into sauté skillet.
Stir and let boil up for less than a minute. Pour mixture into tomato soup. Cook together for one minute. Remove from heat. Serve hot or cold topped with a dollop of yogurt or crisp bacon or both.
Second Cup Sips
Second Cup is Canada's national coffee shop. So what's better for you in the summer: A lemonade smoothie or a latte? A strawberry lemonade smoothie has 22 teaspoons of sugar and no protein. That will get your blood sugar climbing! Better off with the iced vanilla bean latte with only 10 teaspoons of sugar and milk and the added bonus of 9 g protein -- don't forget to get it made with skim milk for fewer calories. If your heart is set on lemonade, try the sparkling green tea option -- there's a whopping 230 calorie difference.
Ice Cream Sandwich
Perhaps the most beloved of all President's Choice products, the Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie, tastes pretty great on its own -- but add in a scoop of Chapman's Hokey Pokey ice cream and you have yourself an indulgent, north of 49 kind of dessert.
The Great Canadian Burger Includes Ketchup Chips
What goes into a fully Canadian burger, you ask? No less than Canadian peameal bacon, an all-Albertan beef patty, aged Canadian Cheddar, lettuce (grown in BC), tomato (grown anywhere in the country), mustard -- and the finishing touch of ketchup chips for an extra crunch.
Ultimate Vegetarian Poutine
The ultimate vegetarian Canadian poutine include McCain's French fries (preferably the spirals), mushroom gravy, Black Diamond Cheesestrings and crumbled ketchup chips.
-Arti Patel, HuffPost Associate Editor
Super Indulgent Poutine
Poutini's has the best vegetarian gravy and doesn't make you feel horrible when you wake up after a night of drinking. PC faux chicken nuggets are hands down the best take on fake meat -- they are so good I prefer them over the meaty ones. Put the two best foods on the planet together and you've got Canadian success.
-Meredith Gillies, HuffPost Style intern
I went through a Kraft Dinner phase not too long ago, but felt ashamed about reverting back to my university diet in my late 30s, so I devised some -- enhancements, shall we say -- to make my KD a little healthier, a little tastier and a lot more grown up. A few extra-Canadian variations:
-The BKT: bacon, KD and tomato -- chop up some crispy strips of bacon and toss in some halved grape tomatoes. If you're feeling fancy, go pancetta and heirloom. I say!
-The KD tuna melt: mix in some chunk or flake light tuna, some shredded cheddar cheese, a few dashes of pepper sauce (this is key), and lots of black pepper. Make it peppery and green -- add arugula!
-The KD double-double: I haven't tried this, but picture it: KD topped with melted cheese curds. Say what! So Canadian and meta it'll blow your mind.
Happy KD Day, folks.
-Lisa Yeung, HuffPost Managing Editor, Lifestyle
Nanaimo Bar S'More
How can you possibly improve on two layers of chocolate sandwiching buttercream icing, and finished with crumbs at the bottom (and with origins in British Columbia)? We're going to suggest adding in that Canadian wilderness campfire staple -- the marshmallow -- for a dose of sticky, even more sugary fun.