A Day In The Kitchen

I love my crockpot. I use it for everything. I never realized that there were so many different things you could make in a crockpot. This time I used it to make apple cider.

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I found a recipe for homemade apple cider. We adjusted it slightly and threw everything in the crockpot. Seven hours later we were tasting our first sip. It was good for a first attempt. I think we will try a different variety of apples next time to see if we find a better flavour combination.

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Since our crockpot was occupied I had to figure out another way to make dinner. Since ‘make chilli’ was on my Fall Activity list I thought it was a great opportunity to scratch off another item.

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My Lobster and I are both a fan of chilli and we found our favourite chilli recipe courtesy of Michael Smith.

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His Bacon Chipotle Chili found in Make Ahead Meals is now our go to chilli recipe.

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Light and Fluffy

Last year I wanted to try make pumpkin muffins but just did not have the time. This year I added it to the Fall Fun activity list and made the time.

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I decided to take my banana muffin recipe and just replace the bananas with pumpkin. It worked out that I had extra pumpkin pie filling from making tarts which just happened to be the amount I needed…it was fate.

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Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (softened or melted)
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of apple sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or grease pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Make a well in centre of flour mixture. In well, mix together maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, apple sauce, and pumpkin filling. Stir together, do not over mix. Spoon batter into muffin tray.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre of a muffin comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and let cool.

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They tasted delicious; very light and fluffy. I think I enjoyed them more than the regular banana recipe. This recipe is definitely a keeper for our family.

Where Is My Pie?

Thanksgiving is not complete without pumpkin pie and since ‘bake a pie’ was on my fall activity list I can now scratch another item off. Okay I actually just made tarts instead of a full pie but in order to cross it off the fall fun list lets just call them mini pies!

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Over the past few years in my journey to eat healthier I have adjusted many favourite dessert recipes to have less sugar, or at least contain a more natural sweetener, as well as no dairy. It was time to come up with a new pumpkin pie filling. With the clock ticking I crafted a new recipe. It took a couple tries to get the spices right but other than that it was a great success.

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Pumpkin Pie Filling

*makes for 2 pies or 1.5 dozen tarts

  • 3 1/4 cups of pumpkin puree ( 1 can of pumpkin puree)
  • 150 ml pure maple syrup
  • 100 ml almond milk (can substitute with the milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbs arrowroot powder
  • 3 eggs

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  1. Heat oven to 350*. Beat eggs in a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir until blended.
  2. Pour filling into unbaked pie or tart shells.
  3. Bake for approximately 25 minutes for mini pies or tarts. **I have not tried the recipe in a full sized pie yet. Not sure about baking time, probably around 30-40 min.** To test the pie insert a knife, if the knife comes out clean its done, if not bake for longer.
  4. Let pie cool before serving.

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That Time Of Year

As an Early Childhood Educator it always seems like ‘that time of year’ when the colds come around. Once again the cold has come home, surprisingly it was not with me. That was a shocker. This time my Lobster brought the cold home. To help him feel better, and to keep the cold from getting me, I made chicken noodle soup for dinner. 

  
 Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic 
  • 4-5 carrots 
  • 4 potatoes 
  • 1 carton of chicken broth
  • 5 cups of water 
  • 1-2 breasts of chicken, cooked 
  • 1 cup of pasta noodles ( I like baby shells)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Chop onion and garlic and fry in large pot with oil. 
  2. Chop carrots and potatoes into small cubes, add to onions and garlic. 
  3. Add chicken broth and water to pot, bring to a boil then let simmer 
  4. Add cooked chicken breast cut into bite size pieces with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Continue to simmer until potatoes are tender. 
  6. Bring pot to medium heat and add pasta. Cook until pasta is ready. 
  7. Serve and enjoy. 

  
 

In case you need something with a little extra fighting power check out my recipe for garlic soup, Garlic Is For Heroes.

All Grown Up

I love traditions. I think they are a great way for a family to stay close. I look forward to each and everyone of our family traditions, some of my favourite ones occur during Christmas. One such tradition is making shortbread cookies. Oh they are delicious. Of course I always thought the dough tasted so much better than the baked cookies.

Well keeping the tradition alive I decided to bake a batch of shortbread for the Christmas season. Of course now that I am all grown up I thought I would experiment and make grown up shortbread cookies. I am glad I decided to venture into the kitchen as my cookies turned out great. My secret grown up ingredient…Baileys Irish Cream!

Baileys Shortbread Cookies

*1/2 cup cornstarch
*1/2 cup icing sugar
*1 cup flour
*3/4 cup butter (softened)
*1/8 cup Baileys Irish Cream

Blend all ingredients together with hands. Roll out into logs and roll in wax paper.

Cool for about a 1/2 hour in fridge. Don’t cool for to long as it will crack when cutting.

Slice and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet @300*C for 20 to 30 minutes.

Cookies freeze well.

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Five Little Pumpkins Squashed In A Bowl

The change of seasons has begun and I love this time of year. Oh autumn how colourful you are. I especially love all the pumpkins everywhere. They are probably one of my favourite things. Carving pumpkins and eating pumpkin pie are some exceptionally memorable pastimes of mine. Now I am not one to go changing a good thing but I came across a recipe and thought I would give it a whirl. Pumpkin Ice Cream. It sounded a bit odd at first but then I got curious and had to try it out. I’m not going to lie, it’s unusual and I couldn’t eat it all the time but I was pretty impressed. It was a nice little treat to start off the autumn season.

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Pumpkin Ice Cream

* 4 Bananas
* 1 cup pumpkin purée
* 1/3 cup maple syrup
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg
* 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Blend all ingredients together. Freeze. Enjoy!

* may need to thaw slightly before eating
* dairy free
* no added sugar

On Blueberry Hill

If I had to choose my favourite fruit it would be very difficult. I love fruit and I like different fruit for different reasons. Blueberries, however, are definitely a contender for the top spot. Growing up I loved going out looking for a blueberry patch and picking blueberries. Freshly picked wild blueberries are the best, especially in a bowl of cream and sugar, yum. I know not very healthy but oh so delicious, it’s a guilty pleasure that I have no control over. Another favourite treat growing up was blueberry syrup. It was great when having crêpes or pancakes. Yet it was another thing that was loaded with sugar and not all that healthy in the end. As I now try my best to live a healthier lifestyle it was something that I would need to give up. Giving things up is hard and didn’t work well for me so I came up with a better plan. Change the recipe to make it healthier and still delicious. It took a few tries to get it just right but my plan worked.

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Blueberry Syrup

* 1 1/2 cups of blueberries
* 1/3 cup of honey
* 2 Tbsp of arrowroot powder
* 1 cup of water

1. In a pot add blueberries, honey and water. While stirring constantly bring to a slow boil.

2. Mix arrowroot powder into a small bowl of water until dissolved then add to blueberry mixture.

3. Continue stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool before serving.

* store syrup in fridge
* can substitute blueberries for any berry
* for a thicker syrup or sauce use 3-4 Tbsp of arrowroot powder
* can substitute arrowroot powder for cornstarch or another thickener
* syrup great for pancakes or crêpes! Thicker sauce great for cheesecake and other desserts!

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