Saturday, 13 February 2016

How to make a
Hearty Beef Stew




In my home stews, are my comfort food.
I can stew them slowly on the stove or in the oven.
I can prepare them and toss the ingredients into a
slow cooker and when I return home...
everything is done.
If the chunks of meat are small enough I can even eat the stew with a spoon~
Shhhh...
don't tell anyone but, when I'm home alone and we don't all eat together...
I curl up on the sofa and eat my stew nestled into my hand! Heaven!
I hope you like this rendition which utilizes
leftover gravy and leftover green stems, which
save on the budget and reduce our footprint on the
planet.

You'll need:
2-3 lbs of stewing beef or veal
2 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
2-3 peeled and cubed potatoes
1 onion chopped
1/2 bell pepper diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2-3 peeled broccoli stems and fennel tops, diced
1/2 pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped 
1 tsp chipotle spice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine
 2 cups leftover gravy


 In a preheated saucepot add the oil and brown beef on all sides.

Add the wine, parsley and bays leaves.

Stir to mix, reduce the liquids for 5 min.
Add gravy to the pot.

Prepare the vegetables.


 Add to the pot.

Stir to mix.
Bring to a boil.
Immediately reduce to a simmer.
Cover with lid, ajar.
Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs, stirring regularly until fork tender and liquids are reduced.

Hearty Beef Stew
Enjoy with love.

Thursday, 4 February 2016




Blueberry Smothered BBQ Duck

I have made many types of meat, poultry and game.
However....
I have really never attempted at making duck,
I received a gift certificate from one of my winning entries,
so.....
I decided to use some of it for
Organic Duck Breasts
Many of us have heard of Duck a l'orange or Tart Cherry sauce.
I had none of that in my home except blueberries.
At first I thought it would be too sweet,
but then,
I realized that fruit is only sweet if you add sugar to it.
I decided to pare my fresh blueberries with rosemary and some white wine.
Well, the combo is awesome, dark, rich and colourful.
The Organic Breasts were so tender and not gamey at all. I rendered the skin on the BBQ, skin side down and I got a crispy skin that didn't need to be removed to be enjoyed.
This would be a great Valentine dinner for 2!

Blueberry Smothered BBQ Duck

Here's what you'll need:

2 organic duck breasts
1 pint washed, picked through blueberries
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp paprika


 Score the skin


Sprinkle with seasonings, marinate for at least
1/2hr or overnight if you have the time.



 Place on a hot grill or BBQ skin side down.
Cook for 10min until crispy, turn over for another
5-8 min or until desired doneness.

Meanwhile add wine, berries, rosemary and a pinch of salt to a small saucepot.
Bring to a boil.
Skim any foam off the berries.
Cook for 5-10min reducing the sauce.

Diagonally slice breasts.


Spoon sauce over breasts.


Enjoy with love~

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fa la la la la, la la la la.......
tis the season

to bake!
Candied Fruit Log

For a few years now, I have not baked cookies for Christmas.
Cookies do take extra effort and I have been baking fabulous desserts when invited instead.

This year I was in the mood to bake the cookies that I learned to make with my Sicilian neighbor, who bless her,
has passed on.
She was a wonderful baker.

This is where tradition begins,
 recipes pass from generation to generation.
She knew I loved to cook and bake so, when she made this big batch of cookies, any help would be grateful~
She would make them during the day and when my girlfriend (her daughter) and I would come home from school we would help her ice the cookies.

Of course we would sample as we helped too ;D...
Contrary to most Biscotti,
these are not baked twice and are softer in the center.


Here's what you'll need:

Candied Fruit Log

6 lg eggs
1/2 cup milk
I used dairy free
1/2 lb Crisco vegetable shortening, melted, cooled
6 1/2 cup flour
1 grated orange and lemon
2 1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1 cup each chopped nuts and candied fruit


Mix dry ingredients together.
Stir in fruits and nuts.

Whisk eggs, milk, sugar & Crisco

Pour liquids into dry ingredients.
Mix by hand to form a firm dough.
Knead gently on a lightly floured surface.
Divide into 6 pieces.
Roll each piece into logs*

Place 2 or 3 logs onto your baking sheet.
Roll out to the length of your baking sheet. This will determine the size of the roll.
Line with parchment or silpat.
Bake 20-25 min until lightly golden.

Icing:
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp lemon or orange extract
3-6 tbsp. milk or lemon/orange juice
sprinkles

Mix until you like the consistency.
You may like it thick or thinner.
Allow to dry then slice the roll.

You can ice each roll, dry, wrap and store
or
slice, ice individually, dry, then store.
Either way, place over a rack lined baking sheet.

Store tightly wrapped or layered with wax paper in a large plastic freezer proof container for
up to 3 months.

Enjoy with love!

Monday, 2 November 2015

BBQ Cider Beef Ribs

We are now in the full swing of Fall weather~
Patio furniture is stored, leaves raked and
the home is winterized.
I love to use the oven especially for slow roasting beef, not only does it warm up the kitchen but the wonderful aromas waft throughout the home making everyone feel comfy cosy inside, against the chilly backdrop in the evening.
These fall off the bone BBQ Beef Ribs have a bit of a tart bite using Canadian Apple Cider Vinegar.
 The glaze will give these fall of the bone ribs a mouthwatering shine!

Here's what you'll need:
3-4lbs of beef ribs
1 cup BBQ sauce
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
1 tsp each oregano, steak spice, salt
 vegetable oil

In an oiled skillet, brown all of the ribs on both sides and place into a casserole dish.


Sprinkle with spices, herbs and seasonings.

Pour the BBQ sauce and vinegar over the ribs.

Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 300F for 
2 hrs.
Remove foil after 2 hrs and continue roasting for 1/2-1hr basting with juices in between.
*Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 4-6hrs
with lid slightly ajar 
Enjoy with love!
 




Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Onion Rosemary
Cranberry Sauce

 
I've been making cranberry sauce for years now for the Holidays and every year I add new flavours.
It's so easy and affordable. It makes double the amount you purchase at the grocery store.
Just look at the glorious fuchsia colour,
but the taste it what's important here.
This year I decided to add apples, rosemary and onion.
The flavours go great with any poultry, especially  Turkey.
 
Why buy canned Cranberry Sauce
when you can make it in 10min and
  serve it for Thanksgiving?
 
This gourmet Onion Rosemary Cranberry sauce will impress your friends and family and it's not overly sweet like the bought varieties.
Cranberries have a huge amount of pectin so they take minutes to thicken when cooked and cooled.
Here's what you'll need:
 
1 bag of washed cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 apples, peel on, cored and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. EVOO
zest of 1 orange
 
Add oil to a medium sized pot.
Toss in onions and cook until softened an medium high heat for 5 min., stirring.
Add the cranberries, apples, water and sugar.
Stir to mix.
Bring to a boil and cook for 5 min.
Add the rosemary and continue cooking for another 5 min.
Drop in rosemary, orange zest and stir.
When the mixture thickens and the berries pop.
Ladle it hot into a sterilized jar, large enough to hold the mixture. Place tightly sealed lid on.
When cooled refrigerate.
*Can be stored up to 1 month refrigerated.
 


Monday, 28 September 2015

Chunky Monkey Bundt Cake
with
Reese's Fudge Center




 I was so lucky to be one of the bloggers to sample the new Reese's Peanut Butter spread!
Everyone's favourite Reese's Pieces candy is now available in an incredibly delicious spread!
All I can say to that is
"What took them so long"
It truly is delicious.
My son and I dug into it as soon as it arrived in the mail and we were both impressed.
I was trying to think of what to make with it that would showcase it's great taste. Spreading it onto bread or fruit which are both equally delish is what most would do to enjoy this new product.
I really wanted to see what I could do with its consistency and how its flavour would hold up to baking. It took me a week of brain storming with the family;
 
a) what combinations of flavours would go with my favourite candy and showcase this great spread
 

b) should I wait until I have guests to create something?
 
c) do I make it simple of flashy?
 
Then a rare occurrence happened in my house...there were leftover bananas....
They actually were black and everyone wanted
to throw them out!

Well, this is exactly how ripe bananas should look like to get the most flavor in a banana cake.
Completely blackened skin and mushy inside.
Even too mushy for a smoothie.
This lends a lovely speckled colour to the cake.
So,
   now I had....
  Bananas, peanuts, chocolate
need I say more?
You don't Monkey around tee hee...with this combo...
I really wanted to see if I could create a fudgy soft tunnel with Reese's Peanut butter chocolate spread and have it sink exactly where I wanted it to go.
Never have I attempted this.
The cake batter has to be fairly thick for this to happen and the fudge ring cannot be too dense or it will sink to the bottom.
But,
I was prepared to test this recipe more than once
for quality assurance purposes of course!
As is turns out...it was quite perfect on my 1st try

This center is fudgy, moist and my family and guests were quite pleased with the sweetness, texture and most of all the
taste
In fact comments were: the banana doesn't take over the chocolate peanut butter taste.
But, before I got to see where the tunnel was I needed to make a ganache and I really was not familiar with this product and the only ganache I ever made was with real chocolate and cream.
Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread mixed perfectly with the canned coconut milk I
had on hand.
I doubled the recipe to cover this large cake
 and it's a shiny spectacular effect.
It stays where you pour it and remains soft.

 
Chunky Monkey with Reese's Fudge Center
 
 
Here's what you'll need:
 
3 over ripe bananas
1 cup oil
4 lg eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
 
2 cup yogourt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
 
Fudge
1 cup Reese's Chocolate PB Spread
1 orange zested
4 tbsp. flour
1 lg egg
 
 
 
Blend bananas, eggs, oil and sugar together.


 
 Stir the yogourt and baking soda together.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl.
Alternating with the yogourt mixture while blending on low speed.
Fold in the peanuts when all is mixed;
pour and scrape the cake mixture into an oiled and floured or sprayed bundt pan.
 
 
 
 
 

Using the same bowl,
 

 
Add the fudge ingredients and blend.
 
Pour into the center of the cake mold.
 
 
Bake in a preheated 350F for 80 min or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
Rest for 10 min.
 
 Unmold onto a rack and completely cool.
This can be done 1 day in advance.
Pouring the Ganache when needed.
 
Reese's Ganache
 
 
Reese's Ganache
 
1 cup Reese's Chocolate PB Spread
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
 
Whisk the ingredients together and pour over cake.
Leave aside 1/4 cup for extra drizzling.




 Enjoy with Love!

The post is sponsored by Hershey’s Canada and I have been compensated monetarily and with product.

 


Saturday, 19 September 2015



GF Apple Spice Oatmeal Bar




Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice...
 
That is what these moist on the inside and crispy on the outside bars are made of!
 
For me, Autumn is best described as getting ready to harvest produce and fruit.
After my cool walks in the morning,
admiring the fall foliage,
I have loads of canning and organizing to prepare
 to do!
This week we preserved 5 Bushels of tomatoes!
My whole family helped!

The previous week my daughter and I
cooked 3 bushels of organic apples!
 
and

 
a few jars of Grape Jam from my garden!
 
Could this be the source of my fatigue??
lol
I do take lots of time to rest in between these
fait-accompli
 
 
 so...here I am 1 year later entering the
Crosby's Molasses contest
which I took 2nd place last year!
 
 
I saved a basket of these organic apples because,
 I knew, I wanted to make a moist, very nutritious
high in protein bar that reminds me of the tastes of
Autumn.
I tweaked my GF Oatmeal cookie recipe
 


Having accidentally discovered that by adding
molasses, it made this cookie spread because GF sweets don't rise like the goodies using flour
so...
 
I decided to add my apples and more molasses to spread for the desired consistency I needed, 
creating a luscious bar.
My first attempt, I chopped the apples larger and the bar didn't hold well.
Because it is Gluten Free it is more crumbly.
Also the over all consensus was that it was too sweet.
So this is my 2nd attempt and these are really quite amazing. High in protein and it even hides chia seeds; natures Omega 3 and fiber giant.
 
 
It is full of wholesome ingredients.
Rest assured, that the kids coming home from school, who are needing a snack will have
loads of nutrition in this bar.
It is so nutritious you could eat it for breakfast!
I left the apple peel on as it lends colour, fiber and has a certain rustic homemade feel.
Which I love.
I don't like the mechanical look of manufactured protein bars.
Don't these look amazing?

GF Apple Spice Oatmeal Bars
 
Here's what you'll need:
 
2 lg eggs
2 cups oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Crosby's Molasses
1 orange zested
1 tbsp. each pure vanilla & cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 cups GF large oatflakes
1 1/2cup flaked coconut
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 cups cored, finely diced Mac's or Ida Red apples
1/3 cup each skor bits, roasted peanuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins
*1/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped*
1 cup quinoa flour
2 cups light buckwheat flour
 
In a stand mixer bowl add, the 1st 7 ingredients.
Mix together well on low speed.
 
Add the oatmeal and coconut flakes mix well.
Continuing on low speed, begin to add the baking powder, soda, seeds, apples, trail mix ingredients, then the flours.
Mix only until no white flour shows.
You can even use a spatula to finish the mixing.
 
 
Drop onto a silpat/parchment lined 16" x 12"
baking sheet.
 
 
 
Spread to the edges/sides with your hands.
Remove any apple pieces from the edges and tuck further in as they will not allow for finished 
sharp cutting.
 
 
Bake in a preheated 350F for 30min
or until an inserted skewer comes out dry.
 

 
Immediately run a sharp knife around the edges.



 Score into even rows.
Then cut through.

 



 Cut crosswise evenly. Makes 24 lg. bars.
They are hard to resist eating right away while hot, they will crumble...but that's ok eat away!
 
Allow to completely cool before lifting out.
They will become more moist the next day.
Wrap and freeze individually for lunches.

*Toast Almonds: While the oven is preheating, place unroasted whole almonds in an oven proof dish. Toast for 10-15min. cool,  then chop.*
 
 

 Enjoy with love!