Monday, 28 March 2011

A slow cooker is a mom's best friend

I love things that make my life easier and less complicated, so, by definition I love my slow cooker!!!!!!
She really is a beauty! Since purchasing her only a short while ago she has really earned her keep.  Today while my little bundle of perpetual energy napped I was able to do all my dinner prep, toss it into the slow cooker and now I even have time to type this blog.
so what ridiculous easy recipe is on the menu for tonight?  spicy chicken wings and oven roasted vegetables.

(This is them just after I put them in the slow cooker....once they were finished we were too hungry to take pictures so no final product pics sorry) lol!!!

You start by splitting the wings and discarding the tips (to avoid being wasteful, I boil the tips with some onion ,celery, salt pepper and garlic to make my own homemade chicken stock) toss the wings into the slow cooker, right on top you add 1/4 cup of molasses, 1/4 cup lemon juice, a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce a couple cloves of minced garlic (to your taste) a couple splashes of hot sauce (to your taste) and a tsp of onion powder.  mix it all together, make sure it coats the wings and set the cooker to low and leave it for between 5-6 hours.  I'll let you know how they taste in my next post!

For the roasted veggies I used:
 1 butternut squash 1inch dice
 1 onion rough chop
3-4 parsnips 1 inch dice
3 carrots 1 inch dice
1 red pepper
2 leeks cleaned and cut into 4 equal pieces
handful of full garlic cloves  peeled

season with salt and pepper, 1/4 cup of dry red wine  (to give the vegetables a different taste the wine can be changed up with an apple juice/white wine reduction, a light coating of balsamic vinegar glaze or for a super easy version just coat the veggies in a  bit of zesty Italian dressing cover the bottom of a large casserole dish and pop them in the oven for 45min-1 hour

stay tuned, pictures to follow!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

and the lucky winner is......

Beet Salad!!!!!!  wow look at the colour of those beets!  It makes a really pretty side dish

I just boiled the beets (skin on) for about 40 minutes and then rubbed them under cold water to remove the skins then just sliced them up and tossed them with two big glugs of red wine vinegar about 1/4 cup of crumbled feta and 3 minced garlic cloves.  Cracked pepper on top and voila!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Going Local and going Organic

Although I've always liked the idea of being able to eat organic my wallet never agreed, and although committing to shop only locally grown produce is great in theory, it's not always so easy to figure out what comes from where when you're in the grocery store, not to mention the fact that I've grown up in a life where if you would like to have strawberries on a snowy February afternoon....No Problem!  they just flew in from Mexico!.....and how often is that imported vegetable or fruit actually cheaper then then the Ontario grown one sitting right beside it!?  It's crazy!....or at the very least a little nuts.  

 Recently T and I got a little flyer/brochure thing in the mail, normally I would recycle things like this without even looking at it but for what ever reason it caught my eye and I read it cover to cover.  The company is called MamaEarth Organics, it's a Toronto based company which promotes Healthy living by making fair priced certified organic local (whenever possible) produce easily accessible to those living in the GTA.....sort of like a farmers market  that makes house calls.  They deliver once a week and prices vary from $27-$55.  The baskets are different every week and you are able customize it to your tastes for a small fee (some of the bigger more expensive baskets allow you to customize for free)  Today I received my first basket!  I'm so excited about this service.....I actually went online to price everything out at a regular grocery store and excluding any crazy sale prices things were comparable, and yet they are locally grown certified organic and they were delivered right to my door!  They have about 10-15 different baskets to choose from and I debated going for the the family basket which is free to customize vs the 100% all local basket, for now I've decided to go with the all local basket, it's a little smaller and I really like the idea of supporting our local farmers.

So here's the haul, I popped the lid off my Tupperware bin and was met with:

5 Mackintosh Apples
2 lbs of Russet potatoes
1 bunch of still live cilantro (packaged with the soil so it's not a race against the clock to use it!)
1 head of hydroponically grown lettuce
2 lbs of yellow onions
110g of Shiitake mushrooms
1 large butternut squash
2 lbs golden beets

I'm most excited about the Golden beets because I never would have picked them out myself and now it's giving me a fun project....come up with a killer beet recipe....soup is the obvious so I'll try and come up with something more unique first and use beet soup as my back up!   I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle

Menu for tonight?  Beef and Onion Pie with Strawberry pie for dessert!  Pie is one of those things that I love it if it's home baked but don't really care for it otherwise.  As much as I like it I don't make it very often.  I'm actually only making it tonight because my crust recipe makes enough dough for 3 double crusted pies (or 6 singles) and I was making a strawberry pie as a thank you to our fabulous neighbors who gave us a hand yesterday when we were having some car trouble.   so I made the two fruit for us of course (I'm Pretty sure T would throw a fit if I only made one pie and then gave it away)  and then I decided to make Pie the theme of the night, and do a savory pie for dinner. 

 If anyone's interested Jamie Oliver has a super recipe for a beef and onion pie that I would be more than happy to share, just send me an email!

Well hope you enjoyed the pics!

Friday, 18 March 2011


It's Friday and although it feels like it took forever to get here, all is forgiven and I embrace Friday with open arms!
Tonight in honour of all things easy and lazy...... tonight I make PIZZA!  Onion, cheddar, and Feta on whole wheat crust, a nice way to finish a long week.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

St. Paddy's Soup

Today was kind of a blah day and what better way to chase away the blahs then to make a nice big pot of piping hot soup!  And lets not forget that it's St. Patrick's day today.....where people all over the world become Irish.....even if only for a couple of hours.  So in honour of this festive day I decided to make Broccoli soup....not because Broccoli is Irish (I'm quite certain it's not) but because it's green, and seeing as I have to miss out on the Green beer this year I figured why not.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ground black pepper to taste.......It's that easy

Mmmmmm Soup is my comfort food, I like all kinds of soups in all sorts of flavours.  As a kid I never used to appreciate soup, I think because I didn't really know that all those different varieties existed.  I'm pretty sure as a kid I thought the word soup was synonymous with Chicken Noodle or Tomato.....not that there is anything wrong with those flavours, it's just that there's so much more out there!  and for me soup is a great way to eat foods I don't like, take broccoli for example; I won't eat it raw I don't care for it cooked, steamed, grilled......not even if it's drenched in cheese sauce.  But give me a hot bowl of homemade Broccoli soup and I'm a happy girl!......Yummy!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A very Merry UnBirthday

Tonight we're celebrating my cousins 30th Birthday....even though his birthday was last month.  In my opinion 30 is a pretty big milestone and we were not able to celebrate with him on his actual birthday so here we are.  I've got Ribs in the slow cooker and I'm just waiting for my Vanilla banana cake to cool so that I can ice it.   I love my cousin, and I love to bake, but lets face it there's only so much time in a day.  Normally I would have made the cake a day in advance, but this was kind of put together at the last minute so time is not a luxury I have.  Without too much guilt I can admit.....I cheated, I went out this morning and bought a cake mix.....not a big deal for some people, but for me this is definitely cheating.  The reason I'm able to live with myself?  Well I give it more than just the "boxed cake mix" effort.  Here's a secret if you're ever pressed for time but need someone to feel special and spoiled... you start with the cake mix.....I usually prefer french vanilla or devils food as my base.  You take the cake mix and put it into your bowl, and you pretty much throw out the rest of the directions.  Instead of following the standard recipe on the back of the box you add 1 cup of buttermilk 1/3cup vegetable oil and 4 large eggs Mix it altogether until it's smooth.  The next step is the best step.....You add flair.... what ever you like.  My personal favorite despite being overly simple is 3 mashed bananas.  Although Chocolate Mint and Ginger Molasses are pretty good as well.  These changes allow you to maintain the simplicity of a boxed cake mix while giving you a much more home made decadent flavour.

Here they are Vanilla-Banana cake with creamcheese frosting garnished with strawberries and 24 mini vanilla banana cupcakes....the cupcakes were so he had something to take home, we ate the cake after dinner.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Fondant Icing here I come!

Well, this is it.  The first day of my new blog!  Today I'm attempting to make my own Rolled Fondant, fingers crossed it all works out or I'll have 4 dozen un-iced sugar cookies, and lets face it the icing makes the cookie.
I'm back, and pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy making your own rolled fondant can be.  I've only ever used fondant twice before and both times I used the store bought stuff.  The problem with the store bought fondant is a) it's super pricey and b) it tastes pretty blah.  The icing I just made however, tastes pretty yummy and only cost me about an eighth of the price.  Unfortunately there is a down side, I found my homemade icing to be a bit on the greasy side making it a bit difficult to work with and roll thin.   So my first attempt was good but not great.