Tuscan Kale, Squash, & Quinoa Salad

Tuscan Kale is also known as cavolo nero (black kale) or dinosaur kale. It’s slightly bitter flavour is a good foil for the sweet roasted squash. To bump up the protein, sprinkle with chopped almonds or walnuts, or top with a poached egg.


1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 ml) Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil


3 cups (750 ml) diced squash
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 red onion cut into wedges
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) red or yellow quinoa
1/2 small bunch Tuscan Kale (about 3 cups/750 ml packed), stemmed and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) cooked chickpeas (or canned, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1/2 cup (125 ml) grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C)
For the dressing, whisk lemon juice with mustard, then whisk in oil, set aside.
For the salad, toss squash, unpeeled garlic cloves and onion with 1 Tbsp (15 ml) oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large, wide pot, combine quinoa with 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add kale then cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes until wilted. Drain off excess water, and then turn mixture into large bowl. Add roasted squash and onion, chickpeas, basil and Parmesan.
Squeeze garlic from skins onto cutting board. Using flat side of knife, mash to a paste. Which into dressing. Pour over salad and toss to mix evenly.

Serves 6

How to plan an Office Festive Party

The most effective way to plan a successful office festive party is to first understand the goal behind the event.

1. Are you using this as a motivational event 
2. Do you want to hand out awards to employees in recognition of performance 
3. Do you want to say thank you to everyone and Celebrate.

When you know what your goal is it will help you get started and organize things into place. But don’t go at it alone, you need to assign a team to help plan the party. This will allow the event to be the result of multiple perspectives and will make the party planning workload more manageable. 

The top key initiatives to begin with are;

1. Set a preliminary reasonable budget
2. Select the location for the Festive Party
3. Select the menu for the Festive Party 
4. Select the entertainment, decor, gifts and if necessary the awards. 

Remember to consider the time and location, it should be a place that is suitable to everyone. Is it close to public transportation, is parking included, do they have over night accommodations? Wether your hosting a cocktail party, a buffet, or a sit down meal it is easier to have a theme which sets the tone of the event and gives you a starting point when selecting your menu, entertainment and decor.

Knowing your budget will determine how much you can spend on food, entertainment, room rental, decorations and other items you may wish to purchase.

When you find a location suitable make sure you discuss room rental costs and what is included in those fees.  Do they provide security for your event? Do they provide bar tenders? Do they provide linens, plates, napkins and silverware? Do they have in-house Dj’s? Do they have any festive decorations? Take advantage of everything they offer for free to help with your budget.

As you get closer to your date it’s a good idea to make a critical path list, tracking all the details big and small. Make sure you have covered all the time-sensitive details and double check your list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

Also think about planning some activities during the party, nothing is worse than walking into a decorated room with tables full of food and employees hiding in every possible corner. As awful as icebreaker games can be, you need to find a way to inspire your employees to interact with one another.

A slide show of memorable moments from the year can give shy employees something to focus on. Everyone enjoys a photo booth, which will give you images to post on your company blog or at next year’s holiday party.

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful Festive Party.

Romantic Winter Weddings

While winter is not the most popular season for weddings, we are seeing more couples create a romantic wedding during the starkness of winter. A winter wedding can be truly spectacular. Bright colours and twinkling lights add a cozy warmth, that can not be captured the same way at a summer wedding.

Keep in mind, when choosing a winter wedding location, the indoor space should be warm and inviting, making your guests feel at home. Wood-burning fireplaces and rooms with windows, so you can see the soft fall of snowflakes outside, and, the sun flooding your room with natural light adds a cozy warmth to your winter wedding. It is also a good idea to select a wedding venue that can accommodate everything you need in one location; ceremony, reception and overnight accommodations for your guests.

The ambience around a winter wedding is similar to the first snowfall of the season, it’s magical and very romantic. Make sure to highlight and maximize the winter elements in your decor; faux snow and Christmas twinkle lights add to a perfect winter wedding wonderland, incorporate this with natural components, such as frosted pinecones, pine leaves and snowflakes. 

A romantic winter wedding provides the perfect opportunity to serve wintry comfort foods. Try hearty dishes, like pasta, lasagna, a roast, casseroles, classic filet mignon, hearty greens and warm soups. Also, be fun and creative with the dessert course and set up a hot chocolate bar or s’mores bar. Serve creamy eggnog cocktails and spicy mulled wines, it’s a sweet and stylish way to celebrate the season.

There’s a new take on self-service candy bars that’s perfect for trendy winter weddings: an all-white candy spread. Think white M&Ms, yogurt-covered pretzels, white chocolate-covered cranberries, white-coated chocolate mints, nonpareils covered in white sprinkles, and various white Jelly Belly flavours. Self service candy bars can serve as both dessert and party favours.

Have a look at some winter wedding inspirations on pinterest.

Don forget to have fun creating a winter-themed wedding invitation. You can play up the uniqueness of your chosen wedding date by including snowy scenes, holiday themes, snowflakes or cozy fireside tableaux.

And, when it’s time to shop for your wedding dress begin your search by browsing dress photos online. Read up on silhouettes, necklines, trains and hues that might flatter you. The season will also affect your choice of material, brocade, faux fur and velvet will keep you warm in the winter, but, satin, shantung, silk and tulle are perfect year-round.

The entire wedding, from ceremony to reception, is guaranteed to make an impression in the memories of all your guests simply because it’s different from all of the spring and summer weddings they typically attend. Plus, your wedding will provide something to look forward to in the colder months.

Few Toronto wedding venues compare with the casual elegance and timeless style of our unique Old Mill Toronto, creating an unrivalled location for your special Wedding day.

What Wines Pair Best With Thanksgiving Dinner?

When it comes to selecting the best wine pairing for Thanksgiving Day it’s truly about what you prefer and what your guests will enjoy. There are no hard and fast turkey pairing rules, just plenty of pairing options to experiment with and see what works best for you and your guests.

Can one type of wine take you seamlessly from appetizers, all the way to pumpkin pie? Of course this can work, if thats your preference but what about having some fun selecting various wines to accompany each component of your meal.  The art of pairing wines with food is largely a matter of personal preference; however, some safe bets for Thanksgiving wines are Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel for red wine lovers and Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Viognier for those who prefer white wines.

Best Thanksgiving White Wines 

Riesling: A white wine that may either be bone dry or fairly sweet, excellent with any dishes that are spicy, salty or sweet. Whether from Alsace, Germany or Washington – Riesling wines are a top pick white wine for pairing with Thanksgiving dinner. Riesling’s innate flavours of apple, apricot, honey and its clarifying acidity give it a significant pairing edge with the likes of sweet potatoes, turkey meat and spice-laden or herbed stuffing.

Gewurztraminer: This white wine tends to have the aromatic gusto and spicy palate appeal that give it a solid standing with turkey and gravy, bringing out the best in both. Gewurztraminer offers a delicious white wine option for Thanksgiving Day.

Sauvignon Blanc: This crisp white wine is known for its citrus-based flavours that can be surrounded by herb or mineral undertones, making it a prime pairing candidate for turkey and mashed potatoes.

Pinot Grigio: Capable of handling garlic and onions, herbs and rich, flavorful, high-fat dishes, this white wine is a natural for the demands of Thanksgiving Day.

Albarino and Viognier, while they may not boast the initial name recognition of say…Chardonnay, these white wines offer the perfect opportunity to shake up the Thanksgiving table and take your guests on a little wine adventure, while still maintaining perfect pairing power.

Top Red Wine Thanksgiving Options 

Pinot Noir: This red wine is a traditional favorite for Thanksgiving. Pinot Noir’s subtle earthy undertones and often mushroom inspired flavors surround the fruit features of the wine and tend to show well with the traditional flavors of turkey and stuffing.

Zinfandel: A fuller bodied red wine that ups the intensity from a Pinot Noir, but still maintains a balancing effect on many traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. This would be a great wine pick for those looking for a heartier red wine with the capacity to accommodate spice, bitter and sweet flavor profiles.

Syrah/Shiraz: The Syrah grape can bring a spicy edge or a meaty character to the table often increasing the complexity, while graciously handling the cornucopia of flavors in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The prevalent peppery notes of Syrah will partner well with the herb-infused stuffing and both the white and dark turkey meat.

Beaujolais Nouveau: A light, fruity red wine, from the Gamay grape, that goes quite well with turkey and all of the fixings. This wine is released from France on the third Thursday of November, just in time to highlight your Thanksgiving feast!

Rosé and Sherry wines, along with the sparkling wine are also worthy of consideration for Thanksgiving wine pairing potential. They all provide a capable go between for those that are not firmly camped in either the red or white wine trenches. If you are considering a sparkling wine you may choose one labeled as “extra dry” – which will offer a touch more fruit flavor than a “brut.” As for rosé wines, a drier selection will be the most versatile for pairing with virtually any part of the Thanksgiving feast. Keep in mind that if you are hosting 5 or 50 guests this Thanksgiving that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to offer a lovely selection of wines. There are many well-received, well-rated value wines that you can obtain for $10 or less.

For those of you who prefer to leave the wine selection in our hands, not to mention all the dishes too, treat your family to our delicious traditional Thanksgiving Feast with our Brunch Buffet or the fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet at the Old Mill Toronto. Prepared by our talented culinary team, dedicated to making your family get together a joyous Thanksgiving gathering.

Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Rigatoni

Enjoy this easy-to-follow Italian pasta dish at your next family dinner. The tubes of rigatoni are the perfect size to hold the creamy sauce and small pieces of sausage inside, giving you flavour in every bite.

Serves: 6 servings


* 12 ounces of rigatoni Pasta
* 12 ounces bulk Italian Sausage (mild or spicy)
* 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Butter
* 1 pound sliced mushrooms
* 1 small onion diced
* 2 Garlic Cloves Minced
* 1/2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper 
* 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
* Minced Fresh Basil (optional)

Cook rigatoni according to package directions in salted water

Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook sausage (remove from casing) over medium heat 4 – 6 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain and remove from pan.

In same skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add Onions and salute until translucent. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper, cook covered 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; cook and stir 2 – 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid is completely evaporated.

Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Return sausage to skillet; heat through. Drain pasta; serve with sauce, If desired, sprinkle with basil. 

Add a dash of red pepper flakes for some heat (optional)


Where Did Halloween Come From?

Halloween is an ancient, celtic, pre-christian New Year’s Celebration that over the last couple of thousand years lost its pagan context and has transformed into one of the largest secular holidays of modern times.

The earliest Halloween celebrations were held by the Druids in honour of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. The Pagan Druid priests believed that on the last night of the year October 31st, the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead was at its thinest. This meant that the dead could hang out with the living, not cool! It was believed that these spirits could harm the living or take them back to the underworld. To avoid this, people started dressing up as ghosts and spirits in hopes that this would confuse the dead. They would also try to appease the dead with offerings of food and nuts. They would leave little treats that the household had to offer, to satisfy the hunger of these spirits. If they were satisfied with the treat, it was believed it would not trick the person or cast an evil spell. Therein lies the origin of the present day trick or treat.

During the most celebrated festival of the year, Samhain, it was believed that the “Lord of Death” gathered all the souls of those that had passed during that year to take them to Druid Heaven. To help the souls get there, the living people would light fires to help them along their journey and to also keep them away from the living. 

Christian missionaries showed up and tried to change the Pagan celebration of Samhain by telling them that all the spirits they are worshiping are scary, evil and demonic. Than they created All – Saints day on November 1st as the new celebration. The idea being to celebrate the Saints rather than worship the dead during Samhain. Alas this did not work and people continued to celebrate Samhain as the time of the wondering dead.

Halloween traditions were brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween is now celebrated in a range of other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. 

Through the ages, various supernatural entities — including fairies and witches — have come to be associated with Halloween. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became fashionable, though as the holiday became more widespread and more commercialized (and with the arrival of mass-manufactured costumes), the selection of disguises for kids and adults greatly expanded beyond monsters to include everything from superheroes to princesses to politicians. 

Join the Old Mill Toronto on October 31st to celebrate Halloween. Pump up the volume and boogie down in the historical Old Mill Dining Room to the spooky ghoulishness of monster hits by DJ Ian! 

Get those creative juices flowing! Prizes will be given for best costume, funniest costume and most creative. Although costumes are encouraged feel free to come as you like and join the party.