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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cider and berrries

Just bottled my hard cider. 1 gallon is sparkling and dry, one gallon with brown sugar is sparkling and a bit sweetened (2pkg truvia) and the rest 3/4 gallon were bottled and set aside as wine, with fermentation stopped and sweetening with 2T wine sweetener. The wine bit had star anise in it so I am curious if the flavour comes thru at all. We shall see- I plan to let it age a year. A few weeks to carbonate the rest and then I can give it a try...


Now? Well my sis in law works at the local upick strawberry ranch and lconvinced me to go out there yesterday- I picked 8Lb in under 10 minutes! Ad so I froze half of them and the other I am making into preserves...simple but yummy for some future date. I already made a bunch of jam and I would rather have some preserves for dessert and ice cream over the winter. I modified the recipe from my small batch canning cookbook, cutting the sugar to 1/3 of the recipe initially.

7.5 cups rinsed strawberries (whole)
2 c sugar
4.5 T lemon juice (from 1 big lemon)

Stirred and let sit 3-4 hours i a bowl, stirring occasionally. The juice comes out of the berries snd dissolves the sugar.
Then I added 3/4 c dry wine/sherry- I used the last of the elderflower from my friend Karli

Brought to boil and cooked 2 minutes and stirred in half a ack of low sugar pectin and processed in sterilized jars for 10 minutes.

Thismade 6 half pints plus more for me to eat in the next week or so in the fridge.

Mmmmm.....


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dynamite chocolate cake (gluten & dairy free)

Yesterday was my brother's birthday. I was tasked with the cake. His wife and a few of his friends are gluten free and dairy free so I took up the challenge and made what is quite honestly one of the best cakes I have ever had *period* and my first attempt at gf df chocolate cake. You should make this soon. You won't regret it.

I must admit I was visiting with my dad and I made one version of this without baking soda which was a tasty brick...but I tried again the morning of and was not dissapointed. I have used prebought flour mixes and made my own for gluten free baking and either way, this is the sort of recipe that would work regardless of the mix you use because the cocoa would mask the chic pea flavour in some gf flour mixes (I like either rice flour based like Kininicknicks or chic pea based like Bobs Red Mill or I make my own (see below)).
This cake  is super easy and makes a nice light chocolatey cake that reminded me of a cake my mum used to make all the time.  I doubled this recipe to make two 9 inch round cakes and layered them with chocolate mocha icing (below). Mmmmm.

Dynamite chocolate Cake

1 1/2 c gluten-free flour mix 
1/2 c cocoa (sifted to remove lumps)
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
2 heaping t baking soda
3/4 t guar gum (critical ingredient)
5 T cooking oil
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 egg
1 c water

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl to remove lumps. In another bowl, mix all the wet together with a whisk. Add all liquid ingredients and mix well. Bake in greased and floured 9" square pan lined on the bottom with waxed paper, at 350 F for 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Once it cooled I iced it with chocolate mocha icing:
6 T dairy free margarine
6 T coffee
2 t vanilla
4-5 c icing sugar ( to desired thickness)

Whip up the first three ingredients with a mixer and add in icing sugar until well mixed. This is just enought to ice a 9x13 cake or do a layer cake with icing in the middle as I did. The coffee adds a nice extra touch of yumminess. You could use coconut extract too instead and then sprinkle coconut on top too... big brudder dislikes da coconut so I went for coffee instead.

Afterthought: If you are curious and have a Nutters or Bulk Barn near you, you can save a lot of $ and make a very versatile gf flour mix with 3 c rice flour, 1/4 c potato starch, 2/3 c tapioca, 1/3 c cornstarch (and 2t guar gum if adjusting a regular recipe to be gf). Always add guar gum or xanthan gum to gluten free baking. It takes the role of gluten and allows thet stickiness you need for things to trap air and rise. 



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Newest healthy snack bliss

Sweet Potato Hummus.

Oh...it's good people....

Now if you'll excuse me I have a bowl of hummous to drown in.
MMmmmmmm....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pumpkin branish muffins

Trying to be a bit healthier lately, so I thought of something that I figured would taste good together and winged it to make up these muffins in my head and they are pretty good if I do say so myself

Dry:
1  3/4 c flour (3/4 whole wheat if you have it...I think it'd be too dense if it was all whole wheat)
2/3c bran
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t vanilla
1/3 c chopped toasted pecans

Wet:

2 eggs
1 c almond milk
1 cup cooked pumpkin puree
1/4 c oil

Toast the pecans and chop them roughly. Mix all the wet together and stir in spices, salt and bran and toss in pecans. Then add remaining dry and stir until just mixed. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 healthy and tasty muffins. Next time I will be replacing the oil with coconut oil and tossing in some chia seeds or maybe some raisins or dates. If you want to be uber healthy you can cut back on the oil but I have found that if you don't have a bit of fat in a muffin they don't keep well for more than a few days unless you freeze them. The pumpkin really moistens them up and compensates for the bran. If you are baking for a larger horde than by all means swap out oil for greek yogurt, but for just J and I, if I want them to keep more than a day or so and not get that "off" muffiny softiness (bleh) a little fat helps keep the muffins fresh.
Enjoy! I am :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

stuffed chicken

It was a tasty wekend. For breaky/brunch we had this baked oatmeal recipe I made with blueberries and it was fantastic!
Then, last night we had a lazy evening of time so I made a meal that wasn't elaborate but required cooking time: Greek stuffed chicken breast and greek roasted potatoes. I had just made lemoncello and so I had 2 c of freshly squeezed lemon juice so I tried to think of ways to use it up. This worked deliciously.

First I peeled and sliced a few (3?? can't quite recall...) potatoes in to wedges and parboiled them in salty water for 15 minutes and drained them. While doing that I started on the chicken and turned the oven up to 375 F.
For the chicken, I took 2 chicken breast and pounded them out nice and thin and then layered a mixture of 1/3 c crumbled feta, 1/2 c spinach, 3 diced mushrooms, 2 green onions, 1 t minced garlic and 2 t pesto on top of them. I rolled them up and used a few toothpicks to keep them shut and put them in a little baking dish sprayed with Pam (lots of juice cooks out with this so you need something other than a baking sheet to not make a mess and keep the chicken from drying out). Then I poured about 1/4c lemon juice over them (adjust to your own taste) and sprinkled a few more mushrooms, red onions on top and put them in to bake for 20 minutes. I took the drained potatoes and tossed them with some drizzles of chipotle olive oil, pepper and italian seasoning and more lemon juice to coat and put them spread out in a pan and into the oven with the chicken. After 20 minutes I flipped the potatoes and put 1/3 c shredded mozza onto the chicken and baked it all for another 20 minutes. Then I took the chicken out to sit a bit, flipped the potatoes and let them bake another 5 minutes until they started to get nice and crispy while I prepped the chicken on the plates.
Results were so good I forgot to take a picture. Yummy and easy peasy... :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

pumpkin carrot nut multigrain muffins

Everyone I mention these muffins to keeps mentioning they want one. I made them up after having leftover pumpkin on the weekend and they turned out well. Luckily I could remember what I put in them and after making them a few more times (we've been inhaling them in mass quantities), I've written the recipe down so I don't forget. After eating one people keep saying they want the recipe...so here ya go. J and I love them. This recipe makes 12 muffins.

In a big bowl, mix well:
1/4c coconut oil (melted) or regular canola oil
1/4 c water
1 c grated carrot
1 c pureed pumpkin
2/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 t salt
1 1/2t pumpkin pie spice (OR 1/2 t each of cinnamon, ginger and cloves)
1/2c chopped walnuts of pecans (whatever you have around -I bet pumpkin seeds would be good too)

In a separate bowl, mix and then stir in to the wet stuff until just mixed:
3/4c multigrain flour
3/4c white flour
1/2t baking soda
2 t baking powder

Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't overbake them...and enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

LBL smoked fish cakes

Oh man.
I get ideas from watching food tv...Lately, when J works late I have been watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives...and one place in Maine made fish cakes in a way I had never heard of. With potatoes and salted fish...then they deep fried them...they looked amazing.
My dad catches fresh fish up north where he lives and he and his friends smoke it up sometimes...and it is drop dead fresh and insanely delicious. I love it but there is only so much smoked fish you can have, and J is really not a fish fan, so I usually just nibble away at it...and I got to thinking that I still had half a fillet of smokey deliciousness in my freezer on the way home today...and I decided to Saskatchewanify a US classic in a healthy way: smoked lake fish potato cakes.
So, I boiled up a large potato and once it was soft I fork mashed up the potato with a glug of milk. Then I added about 1/2 t of crushed garlic, pepper, dill and a bit of salt. Then I flaked up the fish  (~1/4c flaked) and added it in and mixed it all up with my hands and added half a beat egg and 2 T bread crumbs to hold it all together.
Then I made the smush into 2 small patties and dipped them in the remaining half egg and coated them with about 1/4 c more bread crumbs and popped them onto a hot nonstick pan with a spray of Pam just to crisp them up on both sides. I could have baked them to crisp them up better....but it was late and I was starving. :)


I nommed them up with some steamed beetroot and carrots and a bit of fresh tartar sauce I whipped up and...oh...MAN. These are delicious...off the hook with flavour. They are so simple...but the smoked fish just filled it with flavour without overpowering things. I am in love.
I definitely need to make these for my dad the next time I am up visiting!