Feb 7



Dara-FinalBioSmallDara Michalski, a Canadian (“Canuck”) living in the United States, is the writer, recipe developer and photographer behind the award winning site, Cookin’ Canuck. Dara has been sharing her easy, innovative and healthy recipes with her readers since April 2009. More recently, she started writing about her adventures with running, including her first marathon.

Starting in September 2011, Dara’s cooking and view on health went through a transformation, leading to a 30-pound weight loss and a new dedication to moderation in eating and exercise. Read about her Health & Weight Loss Journey. Her recipes reflect the meals she serves her family – full of flavor, occasional naughty, but with a focus on health and moderation. She believes that healthy eating doesn’t need to equal boring food!

Dara is a Canadian at heart, growing up in the beautiful cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, but has happily lived in the United States for the past 17 years with her husband and two young, energetic boys. She is regularly inspired by international flavors, drawing off of her mum’s youth in Jamaica and her parents’ time in Malaysia during the early part of their marriage.


Dara proudly works with a variety of brands, including Adobe Photoshop Elements, Cherry Marketing Institute, California Avocados, California Strawberries, Cherry Marketing Institute, Harry & David, Bush’s Beans, OXO and Green Valley Organics/Redwood Hill Farms.

If you are interested in working with Dara, or would like to request a copy of her media page, please email her at cookincanuck (at) comcast (dot) net.

Head to the Press page to read about sites and magazines where Cookin’ Canuck is featured and awards that have been given to Dara’s recipes.

Dara aspires to give you recipes that fit into your lifestyle during hectic weekdays and leisurely weekend get-togethers. Take a look around in the Recipe Index to find plenty of inspiration for your next meal.

Use of this site constitutes your agreement to our Privacy Policy.

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lindsey March 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm

So excited to have come accross your blog. I can’t wait to dig into it deeper – I am new to blogging!!!
I am also a Canadian living in the USA. I grew up in NB but have been living in NH for the past 8 years :)


2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) March 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Lindsey. Good luck with your blog!


3 Carolyn Brittain November 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Hey Lindsey, I also grew up in NB, and now live in the States. I live in UT. I was thrilled to find this site from a link on the Pioneerr Woman’s site.

take care,



4 Laura March 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Congratulations on your new look. I’m just the opposite as I was born in the USA and now live in Canada! I love to cook and try new things in the kitchen but I have a husband that likes the basics……..meat, bread and potatoes with gravy thrown in! So I am always looking for variations on a theme. I will check back often.


5 Connie the cookie monster March 31, 2011 at 12:19 am

vancouver is where its at, high five! i don’t ever want to move from here! though i gotta admit, utah has comparable mountains :)


6 Kristyn May 4, 2011 at 12:58 am

I just moved to Malaysia with my family from the USA and very glad I came across your blog! I’m trying to figure out how to cook with all the local spices! I can’t wait to try some of your recipes.


7 Baking 'n' Books May 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Wow! Impressive! I love the name – I’m a Canadian as well – but still live here. I would like to get out West one day. AND the states – I have actually been considering going there for work but am unsure…big change…I mean, sure FL and CA sound great ;)…but are they really?


8 Sam February 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I’m originally from PEI (hello fellow Maritimers!) and live in FL. I came down as a new grad (Occupational Therapsit) to work for a year and 18 years later, I’m still here!!! I LOVE being warm in the winter!!! I have a plaque that I put up that reads, ” Let snow… SOMEPLACE ELSE”!! I live in northeast FL so we do get some cold. We even had a 2 minute snow flutter (couldn’t call it flurries) the day after Christmas in 2010.
Anyways, just found this wonderful blog site and definitely want to check it out!!


9 Anastasia May 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Yes, CA is great. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia but now live in Los Angeles and love it. Not to say I don’t miss Canada though!!!


10 Mary May 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Hello from Nova Scotia Canada= yummy recipes and lovely pictures.


11 Sid July 13, 2011 at 6:47 am

I’m also a Canuck living in the US. And I lived in UT for a long time before moving on. Great blog, look forward to exploring more of it.


12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

Thanks so much for stopping by, Sid. What a coincidence! What part of Canada did you live in?


13 carolinaheartstrings July 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

We love your blog Dara and visit often. You make some amazing recipes and your pictures are just fantastic.


14 Brad July 20, 2011 at 8:06 am

Dara, what a fun find! I’ll throw my hat in the ring and say that I also grew up in Canada, Lethbridge Alberta to be exact. I came to college in the States, graduated, got a job and my wife and kids live in Provo, Utah. The blog is great and I look forward to spending more time here and trying some of your great recipes. Some day we’ll have to talk Nanaimo Bars! All the best…


15 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Brad. And to think you’re only 1/2 hour away! Nanaimo Bars are a childhood favorite (okay, I still love them) and I would be happy to talk about them any day of the week.


16 Dawn April 19, 2012 at 8:03 am

I can’t believe y’all are talking about Nanimos. My southern mom makes those. I think she got the recipe from my dad’s sister (my dad’s family is from New England and since he passed away almost 30 years ago, we weren’t sure of the history or how they got the name or the spelling – lol). I have a similar recipe in a cookbook called Napoleans. You do mean the bars with the chocolatey crust, the vanilla filling and the fudgy top, right? Could you share the history or how they got the name? Thanks so much, I can’t wait to share this with my mom. Look forward to exploring your blog!


17 dara Ickes September 1, 2011 at 8:34 am

Hello from another Dara – So happy I found your site….I can’t wait to try some of your yummy recipes.


18 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I’m always happy to meet another Dara. I hope you have a chance to try some of the recipes.


19 adrienne and lauren October 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Hi Dara! My friend Lauren and i have just started our blog (shes sitting next to me making it/attemping) and we stumbled upon your site for the rosemary and lemon chicken :) We LOVED it and made it for the first two dinner parties we hosted because it was such a hit! We started making dinners every night and will definitely be back to check out all your recipes here. We are both from good ol Nova Scotia, but living in Vancouver.


20 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Adrienne and Lauren. Let me know when your site is up an running. I would love to stop by.


21 Zesty Cook October 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

A fellow Canuck! Found your site through Pinterest and I’m enjoying it a lot so far. The apple pecan spaghetti squash looks especially delicious. My kids are my taste testers, too! Nothing like hungry kids to give you honest feedback :)


22 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Thank you! I’m always glad when a fellow Canuck stops by. That spaghetti squash recipe is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it, too.


23 Miss Nancy Pants November 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Salut from la belle province! ..I love your blog, gorgeous recipes.. i can’t wait to try some of them.


24 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Merci beaucoup! Thanks so much for stopping by.


25 Sandra Ross November 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

Love the site, love the recipes and love you!

Sam xox


26 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Thanks so much, Sam. I love you too!


27 Dara November 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I just found your blog. I really liked the lentil soup recipe. I am an American Dara now living in Waterloo, ON. The balance of Daras is maintained.


28 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Dara, your comment gave me a good chuckle. Balance is maintained indeed! Thanks so much for stopping by.


29 Kelsey December 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Love the recipes! Your site is always my first stop when I’m trying to think of what to whip up for dinner!


30 Drew December 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Hi Dara,
Are you Park City Utah? I have a friend turning 40 and he must have your 40th bday cake! We will be in Deer Valley and Park City … Do you take order request? I would love the Chocolate & Dulce de Leche for his 40!


31 Paul Hewitt December 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Hi Dara…
I’m going to try the Mushroom Puff Pastry Strudel tonight. It’s the first such recipe that I have found that sounds exactly like what I have been looking for. Looks like a great site!

All the best. Hope you get back to Canada from time to time!


32 Lisa@One Cook Two Kitchens January 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Hi Dara, I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. I just discovered it before Christmas while coming across your Chocolate Nutella Fudge recipe. Wow, what a winner….we loved it with the sea salt! I just started my blog and unfortunately was just a little too new at it to remember to take the photos before we ate the fudge! I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes, Dara. You are an inspiration.


33 Brandy Shymko January 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

Thank you for the fantastic recipes, I just pinned half of them to my Pinterest board..they are just too good not to share :) I can’t wait for the snow in Yellowknife to melt so I can get at my BBQ!


34 Genny January 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Dara — Just came across your blog today! Congratulations on your weight loss! Can’t wait to go thru your recipes. I, too, have decided to make this my year for weight loss!


35 Judy January 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hi Dara, my husband and I grew up in a small town in BC (Nelson) and lived for 20+ years in Vancouver where our 3 kids were born. We are now living in Arizona (17 years). I love your blog and am inspired to lose my weight with your recipes!


36 Stella January 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hello from Edmonton, Alberta. I’m from Kenya, lived in Eastern US for 10 years, then moved to Alberta. A prairie hubby and 2 kids later, I’m here to stay…for now… I’m so glad I came across your site. I’ve been looking for new recipes which incorporate quinoa, and found some here. :) I will be making the Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa today. Can’t wait to try it! I love how you break down cooking, put visuals, and make it so accessible to all. Kudos on your wonderful work and website.


37 Jackie Thompson February 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Hi Dara,
I came across your blog at Food Bloggers of Canada. I’ve recently started a blog about recipes and life on our farm in Ontario, Canada. I’m on the prowl for some fellow Canadian Food Bloggers and was thrilled to find you. Your recipes look delicious and I’ll be back for more!!


38 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm

As a Malaysian (living in US for 6 years now) am so happy to have learnt about your parent’s living in Malaysia for 2 years! 😀


39 Charlie February 29, 2012 at 4:53 am

Hi Dara: Grew up in Ontario, came to NB.because of military.
Married, spent 6 years in Germany. Then back to NB.
Went back to Ont. for 5 years, couldn’t stand the pace, so here we are again in NB.
Nice to meet another Canadian.



40 Annalise March 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I am a Canuck living in the USA too. Was born near Toronto but am now living in the Midwest! Thanks for this yummy looking recipe!


41 Teags April 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hi Dara,
What a magnificant website! Is is refreashing to hear your story and so great for you to have tracked your journey and share it with others. I know reading your blogs and recipies has given me new inspiration to create healthy recipies and variation in ones eating habits, that can sometimes get mundane. Thank you for your creative flair and encouragement to spice up my eating habits!


42 Louise May 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

Smoked Paprika Chicken with Red-Skinned Potatoes

Hello Dara,
Working as a travel RN far from home, I found the above recipe, looking online for the “Cooking Light” recipe it was inspired by. Found yours instead, it is better than the original, I make it often. Thank you. Great blog and great recipes.


43 Sheree June 21, 2012 at 7:49 am

For all women everywhere, could you consider describing who YOU are first, then you’re affiliation to the others in your life. Who are YOU? A wife? A mother? Those don’t tell me anything about what you do or what you contribute. I
Imagine your husband introducing himself as a husband of a food blogger. Although that is true, it gives no insight to him as a person. Please tell us about you. Warm regards and courage A fellow Canuck


44 Sarah June 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

Hello from a fellow Canadian, I grew up and still live in the East Coast (Nova Scotia) I love all the blogs I follow but find it fun when I stumble upon one with some Canadian roots. Looking forward to reading more and trying out some of your recipes!


45 Ima Baken June 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm

enter for cookbook drawing


46 Rebecca July 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Wow love your site. Came across it when searching some history about Canadian obsessions with the Caesar, and I listed a link to your site.
Think I have found my opposite twin, I’m from the US, but have been in Ontario for the past 15 years.
As much as Canada & the US are so alike, there are some differences in food preferences, and we have the best of both worlds. Your recipes brought back some memories, especially my Kamikaze days. LOL And I too make oven baked french fries and my Canadian Husband loves them, but your ideas gave me some new twists on my plain old onion salt and paprika variation.


47 Kari@Loaves and Dishes September 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hey Dara,
I am originally from Victoria, in fact my entire family has moved back there, except for me. I lived in Vancouver for a few years. I go back West every summer, it’s truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.
My inlaws live in Southern Utah.
My husband and I now reside in sunny South Florida (can’t get too much farther from home).
It’s always fun to have things in common, makes the world a smaller place.
I am looking forward to getting to know you on your blog.


48 Kristyn September 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Hi Dara. I, too, am a Canuck living in the US. In fact, I live in SLC. I was watching Studio 5 the other day and heard you say pasta the Cdn way and knew you were my people. I’ve been here for 12 years. From London, ON, went to uni in Vancouver, then transferred to Utah after living in YVR for 7 years. Might need to get together with you and drink those Grayhounds with you. Will be following your blog from now on.


49 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) September 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Hi Kristyn, thanks so much for writing! Ah yes, there are only a handful of us that say pasta the “proper” way around here. :) It would be great fun to meet up sometime!


50 jehanne@thecookingdoctor October 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I came across your lovely blog for first time thanks to Monthly Mingle..and amazed with your weight loss and healthy living oath..well done! I write on healthy eating too, and wish you could be the golden example for my patients who want to lose weight healthily..I should direct them to your site!


51 Joshua @ SlimPalate November 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I just stumbled upon you blog! Well I say stumbled upon I’ve seen it multiple times but I took the time to investigate it this time. And I must say, I love your story. It sounds so much like mine! I am definitely going to be reading your blog all the time. I too have gone through a huge transformation. I’m 16 and I have lost over 100 pounds and have achieved a lot in that and have learned so much about health. So I decided to start up a healthy food blog too! I’m pretty new here but I’m glad to see there is another blogger out there that shares a similar story. Cant wait to read more stuff from you Dara.


52 Foodie Joanie April 4, 2013 at 8:51 am

Hi Dara,

I came across your blog looking for a recipe for rum cookies and saw that you have a recipe for patties too. I’m Chimaicanese (Chinese Jamaican) myself and I noted your connection to Jamaica right away. As Bob Marley wrote,

One love, one heart


53 Ana @ fit, fun & delish! June 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Okay, I’m finally coming out from lurking and stopping by to say hi … Hi Dara! :)

Congratulations on your success! Your weigh loss story is so inspirational! You and I have pretty much the same vision. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and there is also room for some treats as long as it’s in moderation. Awesome blog!!



54 Kat August 11, 2013 at 5:31 am

What a wonderful blog! Well done! Straight to my bookmarks!


55 Kathy December 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

Hello Dara!
I just discovered your site through Ree Drummond’s site. I am a Canadian from the province of Quebec (English). I have lived in Connecticut, Florida, and am now residing in North Carolina with my husband, 3 children, and 9 cats. As a computer programmer it was quite a challenge to manage work, home, and a love of quality, interesting, creative cooking. My home culinary library now has 500 cookbooks…it is still growing. I look forward to trying your recipes. Best wishes!


56 Alicja December 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Absolutely love this blog. Love cooking and trying out new things. I consider cooking a bit if an art and similarly to painting or sculpting sometimes I require an inspiration. Your blog has become my ” muse” and many times inspired me to make your recipe as well as motivate me to create many of my own. Thank you for inspiring all of us cooks!
I have been trying to create culinary pieces for the past 20 years in Canada and before that started in small town in Poland under the watchful eye of my grandma .
My biggest aspiration is to publish my own small cookbook for friends and family as well as my kids.


57 CJ June 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm

The recipes look really good, I look really over weight, this blog looks really old.
Are you still active? Please let me know. I would consider signing up….Thanks!


58 carolynne September 17, 2014 at 6:36 am

I discovered this blog by accident this morning. As another Canadian living in the US (for more years than I can count) I was struck by the name and then by the recipes. Thank you and I’ll continue to follow you. I love to cook and coming from a family of foodies, and professional chefs, I have had an interest in cuisine of all types for many years and make it my mission now to find the most interesting and delicious recipes out there. I live in PA and have had upwards of 700 cook books at one time-I now have only about 300 by over 1100 recipes in my computer file. I follow the recipes, riff off them as well and create my own. I convert everything to gluten free which is sometimes a challenge but what’s the fun in cooking if you don’t get to do something different.


59 Tine November 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

Dara, I see that you’re a Ziplist partner. Now that Ziplist is discontinuing, you probably know that all Ziplist users need to transfer their saved recipes to another service, or they will lose them. I therefore hope that you’ll pass on the information that Copy Me That will automatically transfer their Ziplist recipes into their Copy Me That recipe box. And Copy Me That is fully free :)

Copy Me That is recipe clipper, recipe box, shopping list, and meal planner, not to mention an awesome recipe community! http://www.copymethat.com


60 Uros of Fine Stay Slovenia December 26, 2014 at 7:44 am

Really nice blog you have going on here, Dara. Thank you for all the wonderful posts! Definitely looking forward to what you have for us in 2015!


61 Lynne September 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm

I, too am a Canadien living in the U.S. Born in NB and living in North Carolina. So excited to come across your website. I like to eat well, clean and fresh. I also love to run. Training for a 1/2 right now.


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