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Smoky Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

Have you ever tried brisket? This cut of beef is amazing for a variety of meals and ideal for slow cooking. If you want a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of dinner, this is about as easy and delicious as it gets (this was my first time and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out). While I made this meal with Fall comfort food in mind, it really would be delicious year- round. I’ve teamed up again with Heritage Meats (see why I’ve shopped with them for years and check out delicious bison burgers in this post) to share a recipe idea that’s crowd- pleasing and pretty much fool- proof. This Langley store is my go- to for quality, organic meats and other specialty and gourmet foods (you an also read more about them below) and this brisket is proof of why they’re a popular spot for locals looking for quality options for everything from meats and deli items to gluten free and other specialty foods.

This smoky brisket is juicy and tender (I’m hoping to try pulled beef sandwiches next) and makes for a satisfying meal. You can enjoy it day- of, or serve it the next day (see my tip on why to give the 2- day option a try near the end of the recipe instructions). I served mine with rosemary mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies, but the combinations are endless. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes with this cut of beef and hope you’ll love adding this recipe to your Fall menu! 

Ingredients

3- 3 1/2 lb cut of brisket

1 tsp each:

–cayenne pepper

–cinnamon

— salt

— pepper

6- 8 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tsp liquid smoke 

slow cooker smoky beef brisket ingredients

Directions

  1. Start by creating a foil liner for your slow cooker (I just folded two large pieces together) and mixing the dry rub together. 

slow cooker smoky beef brisket dry rub

2. Coat the entire surface area of the meat with the dry rub, working it in with your fingers.

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

Here’s how it looks after the dry rub has been applied. Those streaks of fat in the meat help make for a juicy and flavourful finished product! More on that juice below.

slow cooker smoky beef brisket slow cooker smoky beef brisket

3.  Crush the garlic and pour half of the liquid smoke and crushed garlic in the bottom of the foil liner (this will help flavour the bottom side of the meat as it cooks). Pour the other half of the liquid smoke and crushed garlic on the top side of the meat and rub it in.

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

4. Place the brisket in the foil liner and wrap up the top to seal in the heat. Slow cook on low for 6- 8 hours or high for 3- 4 hours (I opted for high since I started this recipe mid day and was it was as juicy and tender as ever). 

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

5. When cooked you can either serve immediately or allow to cool in the crock pot insert and refrigerate overnight. Tip: by allowing the brisket to cool in the insert overnight you can skim off the fat from the liquid that seeped out during the cooking process (none of the liquid in the photos was added, that’s all from the brisket- yum!). Leave the remaining liquid that’s full of flavour in the slow cooker to keep the brisket juicy while you re- heat it and use it to make a delicious gravy. This is purely preference and not a necessary step, but I recommend giving it a try when you have the time.

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

slow cooker smoky beef brisket

I served mine with rosemary mashed potatoes and fresh carrots and beans from our garden. I glazed them with a simple seasoning of olive oil, salt and pepper and put them under the broiler to cook. For the gravy I simply added 1 tsp of organic corn starch to some warm water and mixed it in with the juices left over from the cooking process. 

slow cooker smoky beef brisket rosemary mashed potatoes 

slow cooker smoky beef brisket rosemary mashed potatoes  

slow cooker smoky beef brisket rosemary mashed potatoesslow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables

slow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables 

slow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables

slow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables

slow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables   

slow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables and rosemary mashed potatoes

slow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables and rosemary mashed potatoesslow cooker smoky beef brisket with seasonal vegetables and rosemary mashed potatoes   

Don’t have a slow cooker or wanting to upgrade? Here are 4 options to check out:  

Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Slow Cooker

Crock Pot 4 Quart Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach 6 Quart Slow Cooker

Crock Pot 8 Quart Slow Cooker

About Heritage Meats

Located in Langley, BC, Heritage Meats specializes in gourmet, high- quality, and specialty foods including gluten- free, organic, and premium quality meats. Since opening in 2003, it’s become a destination, offering a selection of everything from deli items, pantry staples, and meat to gourmet and specialty items (including exotic meats!) hard to find in most stores. All of the meat and poultry carried in the store is non- medicated- no hormones, antibiotics, or animal by- products- and the friendly staff can help you with any questions you may have.

In addition to the exotic meats mentioned in this post, they also carry a selection of other quality meat and deli items:

– Beef (non medicated Alberta beef, dry aged for flavour and tenderness)
– Chicken (local, non medicated, air chilled)
– Pork (local, non medicated, free run)
– Sausages (made in house, no fillers, gluten free)
– Entrees (made in house by the shop’s chef, with a large selection of gluten free options)

To learn more about the store and it’s product offerings, visit the Heritage Meats website and find them on social media:

Facebook: Heritage Meats & Gourmet Specialty Foods | Twitter: @HeritageMeats

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smoky slow cooker beef brisket

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

September 18, 2017
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The Secret Dinner: A Night to Inspire

The Secret Dinner party table setting

It’s hard to believe that this evening- The Secret Dinner– was almost two weeks ago already. After months of preparing and planning, the evening celebrating the launch of the Captured In Squares website (the photo styling company I run with friend and blogger, Janette of Ava to Zoe) came and went in a flash- don’t the best kind of nights always go by too fast? A lot of love and time went into planning what Janette and I hoped would be a creative way to launch our website and we’re sharing some of the details on our blogs.

The catch of The Secret Dinner was that hostesses and location would be kept a secret until the last minute (hence the name), but hints were dropped on the event’s Instagram page so guests would have some idea of what to expect. I had the task of taking Janette’s idea of a secret dinner (all credit goes to her for the idea) and bringing all the details together while she hustled away on getting the website ready for the launch. Inspired by a wall of dreamcatchers, we wanted to go with a style that was a little bit boho/ rustic/ vintage with a white, gold, green colour scheme with accents of dark red for drama/ contrast. Let the pinning marathon begin! 

The theme of the evening was ‘a night to inspire’ and we wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring together some of our supporters and clients since starting Captured In Squares as a way of saying thank you. It was a chance to enjoy an al fresco meal in good company while swapping stories and experiences from being in business. Hose d’oeuvres from Fork & Knife Catering and flatbread from Rocky Mountain Flatbread were served alongside wine from Evolve Cellars, followed by a show- stopping naked cake by The Cake Mama.

We wanted the dinner to be outside to make the most of the last of the late Summer nights and our date in August didn’t disappoint. As a final way of keeping everything a secret until the last minute, guests had to walk down a path to enter the dinner area, turning a corner to see the set up. We opted for a low- lying palette table set with white and gold, vintage wine glasses, and wooden cutlery; menus were placed at each setting topped with a fresh sprig of greenery from my parent’s garden. Pretty finishing touches included a table- length runner of fresh seeded eucalyptus (Budget Blooms) from placed on top of sheet music and fabric, tea lights (Canvas Candle Co), the words ‘inspire’, ‘ignite’, ‘achieve’ in gold calligraphy (Paper + Parties Co) at each place setting, and a notebook topped with a mini dream catcher (Shop Ava to Zoe) for each guest. Since it was a low table, piles of cushions and blankets surrounded the table so the ladies could lay them out as desired and sit comfortably. 

We kept the decor simple, using a palette to display a selection of the photos from Impressed App we’ve taken since starting Captured In Squares, and decorating the food table in a vintage lace tablecloth and fresh flower bouquet provided by Budget Blooms. Fresh greens and a dream catcher (another Shop Ave to Zoe piece) served as a backdrop, with a vintage magazine wrack as a wine holder on the table. The cake made for a pretty focal point, finished with fresh flowers from Budget Blooms and a gold ‘Captured In Squares’ calligraphy cake topper from Paper + Parties. 

We ended the evening with prize bags contributed by some of the event’s sponsors: The Handpicked Home, Canvas Candle Co, Kristina Benson Art, Marsh&Mallow, and Budget Blooms, and a heartfelt thank you to the ladies in attendance. The notebooks and mini dream catchers from the table were sent home with the guests along with a swag bag of goodies as our way of showing our appreciation for everyone who came. And just like that, the evening was over. Janette and I couldn’t have been happier with how everything came together and how we marked the milestone of launching our website. It was a heart full moment and we are both so grateful for everyone who helped us bring it together and attended. For more details about The Secret Dinner, see below and visit this post on the CIS website. 

The Secret Dinner party table setting

The Secret Dinner party table setting

The Secret Dinner fresh greens table runner

   The Secret Dinner party table setting  The Secret Dinner party table setting

The Secret Dinner party table setting

The Secret Dinner Shop Ava to Zoe mini dream catchers

The Secret Dinner white flower bouquet

The Secret Dinner party decor Shop Ava to Zoe dream catcher

The Secret Dinner Evolve Cellars Wine

The Secret Dinner Fork and Knife Catering appetizers The Secret Dinner Fork and Knife Catering appetizers The Secret Dinner Rocky Mountain Flatbread

The Secret Dinner flower bouquet by Budget Blooms

The Secret Dinner naked cake by The Cake Mama

The Secret Dinner Paper + Parties gold calligraphy cake topper The Secret Dinner naked cake by The Cake Mama

The Secret Dinner palette photo wall

The Secret Dinner palette photo wall

The Secret Dinner fresh greens decor

The Secret Dinner fresh greens decor

The Secret Dinner swag bags from Essential Packaging The Secret Dinner guests with balloon garland from Paper + Parties Co

Thank you to these sponsors for helping us bring together The Secret Dinner 2017!

#SecretDinner2017

Photos & Styling by Captured In Squares

Food & Refreshments

Appetizers: Caprese Skewers, Lemon & Garlic Chicken Skewers, & Prosciutto and Mint Wrapped Melon Skewers- Fork & Knife Catering | Facebook | Instagram

Selection of flatbreads: Fig & Brie, Parma, Classic, & Tomato Basil- Rocky Mountain Flatbread | Facebook | Instagram

Naked Cake- The Cake Mama | Facebook | Instagram

Wine- Evolve Cellars | Facebook | Instagram

Decor

Balloon garland, gold striped plates, cake topper + gold words (on cutlery)- Paper + Parties | Facebook | Instagram

Florals & greenery garland (on table)- Budget Blooms | Facebook | Instagram

CIS photo prints (displayed on pallette)- Impressed App | Facebook | Instagram

Invitations (emailed to guests)- A Little Love Creative | Facebook | Instagram

Swag Bags + Prizes

Bags & tissue- Essential Packaging | Facebook | Instagram

Gift tags- A Paper Life | Facebook | Instagram

Prizes

$30 Gift card- The Handpicked Home | Facebook | Instagram

$100 e- gift card- Kristina Benson Art | Facebook | Instagram

$50 candle gift pack- Canvas Candle Co | Facebook | Instagram

Floral bouquet- Budget Blooms | Facebook | Instagram

Gourmet marshmallows- Marsh&Mallow | Facebook | Instagram

Swag

$10 coupon codes- Kristina Benson Art | Facebook | Instagram

Set of free photo prints- Impressed App | Facebook | Instagram

Mini white dream catchers- Shop Ava to Zoe | Facebook | Instagram

Individual gourmet marshmallows- Marsh&Mallow | Facebook | Instagram

September 7, 2017
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Healthy Meals Made Easy: Fresh Prep Review

How do you make the weekly routine a little easier? With school starting up this week, planning meals ahead can go a long way and for those really busy days, meal delivery services are a great way to make sure everyone is eating healthy even while on the go.  Over the Summer I had the chance to try Fresh Prep, a meal delivery service here in the Metro Vancouver area that delivers everything you need for healthy meals right to your door; all you have to do is sign up and select the plan and meals your family wants. I’m sharing about one of the meals we tried from Fresh Prep plus giving OHP readers the chance to enjoy a week’s worth of meals for free! (see discount code at end of post).

If you’re looking for some options to take a little bit of the pressure off with busy schedules, a meal delivery service is a great option and much more affordable than you may think (meals start at just $10- click here to learn more). When you factor in the time it takes to go grocery shopping, prep and cook everything, and the expense of the ingredients, meal delivery services are a much more budget conscious option than you might think. They’re also a great way to try eating a little bit healthier when you’re feeling pressed for time. Sometimes it’s hard to fit everything into a day and preparing fresh healthy meals can get sidetracked and substituted with more convenient/ less healthy options.

I’ve been trying to get back into a meal planning routine but this was my first time trying a meal delivery service. What first got my attention when I checked out the Fresh Prep website is the attention to quality ingredients and offering full- flavoured, healthy options. We took this as a chance to try some meals we haven’t made at home before and Fresh Prep offers a great variety of meals to choose from.

We opted for the Indonesian Gado Gado with Peanut Dressing and Hot Bombay Chicken Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mint Yogurt Sauce. When the meals were delivered we were impressed by how simple Fresh Prep makes everything, from how the ingredients were pre- measured to the straight- forward recipes. Added bonus: all of the ingredients are organic/ non- GMO, meaning you’re not just simplifying meals, you’re making them with the best ingredients possible. It couldn’t have been easier to create a healthy meal in under half an hour, and everyone loved it (how often does that happen?!). Even if you’re only looking for a few meals a week rather than a full week’s worth, a meal delivery service like Fresh Prep can help take the pressure off.

Here’s how the Indonesian Gado Gado turned out- yummmmmmm!

How it works:  

Go to the Fresh Prep website and select the meal plan you’d like (choose from 2- person meals and family plans for 4 people) and how many recipes you’d like delivered each week (choose from 2, 3, or 4). You can also add info if you have dietary requests such as vegan or vegetarian meals and if you’d like to skip a week.

Select the recipes you would like delivered and place your order.

Everything comes delivered in cooler bags in ensure freshness, so all you have to do is pop the ingredients into your fridge when they arrive. When it’s time to cook, simply follow the instructions on the recipe card provided and enjoy a delicious and healthy meal in 30 minutes or less.

Want to try Fresh Prep with your family? Use code OurHappyPlace  to enjoy your first week of meals for free! Code valid until September 31, 2017.

September 5, 2017
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#DrinkLocal Spotlight: Fraser Valley Cider Company

Posted in Food + Drinks by

It’s safe to say the craft beer and wine industries are going strong in BC. Whatever your preference you can probably find something to like that was grown and produced right here in BC. And while there are countless choices in those categories, what about those who don’t care for either? Or in some cases, can’t enjoy for dietary reasons? Will and I both enjoy grown up bevvies, but since going gluten free a few years ago, Will’s choices in beer have been limited, and even more so when it comes to local options. Even though we both enjoy wine, it’s nice to have options, and so I started looking into what else was available locally. Step in Fraser Valley Cider Company.

Living in BC it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t visited a winery or brewery, the experience makes for a fun day trip and you’re more than likely to have a good time, but have you ever visited a cidery? I first came across the Fraser Valley Cider Company last Fall as they were closing for the season and had been looking forward to checking them out when they re- opened in the Spring; I also had the chance to sample some of their ciders at the recent Fort Langley Food + Beer Festival. As someone with a British heritage, cider is something I was familiar with but can’t say I drink it all too often, defaulting back to beer and wine as my go- tos. But I was excited and intrigued to learn we had a local option for this drink that’s growing in popularity, especially for those who are looking for gluten free adult refreshments as an alternative to beer. While there are several craft cideries throughout the Okanagan and Vancouver Island,  The Fraser Valley Cider Company is the first- and so far only- cidery in the Lower Mainland, opening it’s doors in May 2016 after the founder, Rachel, made the career switch from engineering to follow her passion of cider making, wanting something that was more authentic, more connected to the land. It was a hobby she already enjoyed and after taking a cider makers course in 2013 she knew it was the right move, towards something that would bring enjoyment to herself and those who enjoyed the products she produced. The company currently offers 5 varieties made from apples grown in the Okanagan as well as heritage apples grown on the property: Bone Dry, Elderflower, Honey, House, and Rosy.

 I love meeting the people behind a company and learning it’s story- What gives it it’s soul? It’s personality?- and was excited to visit the cidery and tasting room located in Langley and meet Rachel in person. We talked about how she made the switch to cider making, the ciders themselves, and her plans for the growing business. From concept to opening, the turnaround was fairly quick considering a major career change took place and the cidery had to be built from the ground up with a very limited budget: the business plan was created in 2012, Rachel took a cider makers course in 2013 (‘Would I really like to do it as a job?’), the farm was bought in 2014, and the cidery opened for business in May 2016.

The 12- acre property houses an apple orchard alongside the cidery and tasting room and is close enough to keep the drive short while still leaving you feeling like you’re miles out of the city. And where better to enjoy a glass of cider than where it’s produced, where many of the apples are grown? As I said, I like cider, I just tent towards beer and wine without any excuse outside of habit. But trying the cider at the Fort Langley Beer + Food Festival and enjoying some at home following my visit to the cidery has solidified it as a new favourite on my list of grown- up refreshments. As someone who’s tried and enjoyed it, I asked Rachel to describe cider’s appeal, what she tells newcomers or those curious about it: “Simply, it’s refreshing. Cider and sunshine go together”. And it should be noted that like most craft vs mass- produced options (not unlike that seen with beer), there is a notable difference between craft cider and large- production varieties: craft cider is produced from full juice, with no additives or preservatives and has a more wine- like taste over the more pop- like taste of many large commercial varieties. The flavour of the apples is front and centre, and you couldn’t ask for something more refreshing- especially on a hot sunny day.

I couldn’t share about the cidery without also talking about location itself. Beautiful inside and out, there’s room for you to enjoy your cider at tables inside the tasting room, or outside surrounded by the scenic property (it’s also family- friendly and kids are welcome). Much of the tasting room is comprised of furniture built by Rachel’s Dad from wood repurposed from an old barn that was on the property when they bought it: “We had no budget and had lots of fun looking up ideas on Pinterest”, and the chandelier above the bar was a DIY project made by Rachel herself from light fixtures and branches. As she says, “It’s amazing how creative you get when you have no money”. The results speak for themselves and the atmosphere created from the love and passion that built the cidery is something that Rachel is proud of.

 

 

When I asked her what sets it apart from others she notes the authenticity of their practices, the culture of the business, and how visitors feel when they’re at the cidery.”It’s a chill place, there’s no attitude or pretence, it’s just fun. There’s no technique to drinking cider, you just taste it, drink it. We want people to feel like a part of the cidery family”.  The cidery culture and dedication to ethical practices are also things Rachel is proud of: most of their employees are former customers who loved what they were doing, coming on board to be a part of the efforts. And there is a focus to do good, towards ethical business practices, and to treat the land they are located on with respect.

So what’s next for the cidery? When I asked Rachel she listed off a variety of things that have me wanting to return a few more times over the season, including:

  • Live music nights + food trucks
  • Summer Solstice Hog Roast
  • Long Table Dinners featuring Chef Adrian Beatty 
  • Pizza nights with Al Forno Mobile Pizza Truck

There are also plans to expand the locations and farmer’s markets the cider is available (view a current list of stockists here), in addition to offering eggs and honey for purchase. You can view the list of upcoming events and purchase tickets online on the cidery’s Events page.

If you’re looking for some fun things to add to your Summer bucket list, a trip to Fraser Valley Cider Company is a worthy addition, and you’re more than likely to find some new favourite sips. Whether you make it a date or a family affair, the cidery is worth a visit and is open Fridays and Saturdays 11am- 9pm, and Sundays 11am- 6pm. 

For more information about the Fraser Valley Cider Company, including hours, where to buy, and upcoming events, visit their website and find them on social media: Facebook and Instagram.

Want to add this to your Summer Bucket List? Save it for later!

June 15, 2017
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