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Summer Bison Burgers

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Have you ever tried bison? How about another exotic or game meat? Sometimes stepping out of your culinary comfort zone has a big pay out and these burgers were that for me. If you’re looking for something a little different to grill up this Summer- maybe Dad would love these for Father’s Day, or how about for that Canada Day BBQ?- these won’t disappoint. I love that bison is similar to beef, so it’s not too unfamiliar for those less adventurous, but the meat itself is amazing and these beauties contain no binding (no egg, breadcrumbs, etc). Just good, simple, delicious ingredients. I originally made these as sliders as part of my menu for Will’s surprise 30+1 birthday last month, but wanted to re- create them in full form to share on OHP since they blew away my expectations (read more about the menu at the end of this post). The bison I used for this recipe is from one of my favourite stores that I’ve shopped at for years, Heritage Meats, and after an amazing experience serving up an exotic meats menu for Will’s party, I teamed up with them to recreate and share the recipe. You’ll never look at a beef burger the same way again. Promise.

Ingredients

2 lb ground buffalo/ bison 

2 medium yellow onions

1 bulb + 4 cloves of garlic

Aged white cheddar cheese

Pretzel buns (or your favourite burger bun)

10 mushrooms

 2 cups arugula 

5 large russet potatoes

4 cups organic beef broth

1 tsp organic corn starch

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the russet potatoes and slice into large fries. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Shake onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown/ slightly charred (approx 45 minutes to one hour). Turn the fries after 1/2 an hour in the oven.

2. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic and remove any excess outer layers, making sure it maintains it’s shape. Place on a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the garlic for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and soft. If you have room in your oven, place it on another rack while the fries cook, otherwise roast the garlic separately ahead of time.

2. While the fries are cooking, finely dice one of the onions and crush the cloves of garlic. In a large bowl, combine onion and garlic with the ground buffalo. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.

3. Form the mixture into patties 1/2″ thick and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Either cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook or cook immediately.

4. When ready, bring your BBQ or grill to medium heat and space the patties evenly over the heat. Flip after 5- 7 minutes and grill until cooked through (approx 10- 15 minutes total at medium heat). Place some slices of the aged white cheddar on the burgers a few minutes before they’re ready if you prefer melted cheese.

5. While the burgers are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium/ high heat. Slice the remaining onion and mushrooms and sauté them separately (don’t clean the pan!). Set aside until ready to build the burgers. In the same pan, heat the 4 cups of organic beef broth and add the cornstarch to thicken slightly (if desired) to make the au jus for dipping (so, SO good!). The beef broth will absorb some of the flavours left over from the onions and mushrooms and make for some tasty dipping.

5. To build the burgers, scoop some Dijon mustard and mayo onto the buns, along with some of the roasted garlic. Next add the sautéed mushrooms and onion, followed by the burger patty. Top off with slices of the aged white cheddar (if you haven’t already melted it on) and arugula. Secure the top of the bun with a bamboo skewer and serve with the fries (and au jus, if desired). Now just try going back to your regular beef burger. 😉

This is a delicious twist on a traditional beef burger and one you’ll hopefully love making throughout the year. If serving with the au jus, cutting the burgers in half once built makes dipping easier and (slightly) less messy. 

 

 

    

More about that exotic meats menu…

Last month I surprised Will with a 30+ 1 party (aka a belated 30th) and when it came time to plan the menu I knew I wanted to do something different, a little crazy even. I thought it over and ultimately decided to go with a menu that was waaay different than anything I had ever done before, something totally out of my comfort zone and experience: a menu made up of a variety of exotic meats. I know of restaurants that serve up protein that’s less common than our typical beef and chicken and I had a hunch one of my favourite stores might be able to help me plan the menu. I’ve shopped at Heritage Meats since they opened in 2003- way before kids, going gluten- free, etc- because I love their passion for food and the quality selection they offer. I called to find out what they carried and I wasn’t disappointed, ultimately deciding on a selection of five to try: crocodile, buffalo, kangaroo, boar, and camel- cooked up in different recipes and served alongside some BBQ chicken just in case our families weren’t in an adventurous mood. I didn’t play it safe, I Googled and Googled and Googled how to cook the different meats (and no one got food poisoning, yay!) and Will loved the crazy menu. This was some of the most fun I’ve had with food in a while and I couldn’t have pulled it off so calmly if it weren’t for the advice and help from a few of the staff members at Heritage Meats. 

Please note this post is not sponsored or endorsed. I have shopped at this store since it opened in 2003 and they were the first place I thought of when I decided on an exotic menu for Will’s birthday. When I originally called to ask for help narrowing down the menu, the service and help I received both over the phone prior to visiting and in- store was exceptional (and I did not mention I was a blogger to try to get ‘special attention’). This has always been my experience with the staff of this store and it led me to reach out to them to partner on this recipe. They kindly provided the buffalo and aged cheddar cheese to help me recreate the recipe I served at Will’s birthday and I whole- heartedly recommend you check them out online to learn more and pay them a visit. Whether you’re passionate about food and care about it’s quality, or seek specialty products, this store is a destination worth the drive and the staff will be the finishing touch of a great shopping experience. It’s been a pleasure shopping with them over the past 13+ years and even more so partnering with them here on OHP. Shops like this keep my love for food alive and I’m so grateful to them for their dedication to what they do.

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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June 9, 2017
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3 Flavour Marbled NiceCream

Posted in Recipes, Summer by

I scream, you scream… it’s hard to think of a Summer where there wasn’t a day spent at the beach served up with a scoop or two of my favourite flavour (usually bubble gum- you know the kind with real bits of gum in it?- or cotton candy). And it’s still a favourite treat of mine, no matter what time of year. Buuuuut, since we’re headed into the hottest time of the year I thought what better time than now to share a recipe for a sweet frozen treat that’s tasty and- gasp!- healthy too (can you guess the hidden uber- healthy ingredient???). And if you haven’t tried making your own ice cream/ froyo/ nice cream, now’s the perfect time to try. In case you’re unfamiliar, nice cream is the dairy free sister to the classic dairy dessert we know and love. You can absolutely whip up this recipe with milk, but I’ve been wanting to try making nice cream and had a freezer full of frozen ripe bananas calling my name, so I went for it.

Ari and I spent a messy morning blending up the flavours (we went with blueberry, raspberry, and the secret flavour you’ll have to scroll down to find out about), and I now know what I’ll do from now on with all the bananas that get over- ripe when it’s too hot to bake banana bread. This takes about 15 minutes to make, and the mix is also perfect for popsicles. Your kids will love helping, everyone will love eating it, and you’ll love that it’s a healthy version of a favourite Summer sweet treat. Now about that secret ingredient and how to make your own nice cream at home..!

Ingredients

6- 10 ripe bananas (you don’t have to be frozen, mine were just in the freezer waiting to be made into something yummy)

1 cup each of your favourite frozen fruits; for ours we used blueberries, raspberries, and kale (how’s that for a sneaky/ healthy secret ingredient?!)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

2 tsbp honey or maple syrup (optional)

1- 2 cups of water, dairy- free milk, or milk

Directions

1. Start by blending all of your bananas as if you were making a smoothie. I added about 1 cup of dairy- free milk to mine to help get a thick/ creamy/ smooth consistency (we splurged on a Blendtec a few years ago and love it for things like smoothies and soups). The more flavours you want to make, the more bananas you’ll want (I used 10 for this recipe).

2. Once you’ve got the banana mixture smooth, pour it into a large jug and set aside. To make the green nice cream, I juiced a few few kale leaves (you don’t need very many as the colour is really strong). For each flavour, combine 1 cup of frozen or fresh fruit with 1- 2 cups of the banana mixture. For the green, add 1 tbsp of kale juice (you won’t be able to taste the kale, but if you prefer you can add some vanilla extract and/ or honey). Pour each colour/ flavour into their own container until you’ve made all the flavours you want to include.

3. Scoop spoonfuls of each flavour into a baking dish until it’s full, putting different colours/ flavours throughout (this is what will help create the marble effect).

  

4. Drag a skewer or chopstick through the mixture to create a marble effect- make sure to go all the way to the bottom so the nice cream is marbled throughout, not just on top.

   

5. Place your dish in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to freeze. When you want to serve, take it out of the freezer for 10- 15 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!

  

  

   

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Both our juicer and blender get a lot of use in our house. They were two kitchen items we researched and invested some money into, since we wanted ones that would hold up well to use and last a long time. So far we’ve been more than satisfied with them and they do a great job; they were both splurges and we bought them at different times as we were able to put the money aside. I use them for many of the recipes that appear on the blog and get asked fairly often about which ones we own. The juicer we have is the Breville Juice Fountain Elite 800JEXL and we have the Blendtec TB-621-20 Total Blender. I’d highly recommend them both and worth the investment, especially if you enjoy making healthy food at home.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

May 26, 2017
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On the Go Eating: Avocado, Red Onion & Sprouts Wrap

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I’m not sure about you, but I find I skip lunch more than any other meal. It’s a busy time of day, and it’s easy to forget about eating when you’ve got a bunch of stuff on the go. Even if you’re hungry it may just be a matter of not having anything ready or sometimes it’s as simple as forgetting to pack something for yourself when you pack up to take the kids somewhere- I’m usually so focused on packing them up that I completely forget that I should pack a lunch for me as well. Haha true story more often than I care to admit.

So cue some meal planning and trying to get organized a little in advance. And if you tend to eat on the go, it helps to have something you can grab out of the fridge in the morning, instead of throwing something together in a rush. Wraps are a favourite of mine when it comes to lunch, especially if I’m out and about around midday. This recipe is loaded with flavour and is a healthy on- the- go lunch option. Pair with some other grab- and- go items like cut up veggies or salad and you’ve got a filling meal that’s convenient and didn’t have you picking up a heavy meal at the drive through. Added note: the sprouts in this recipe are an easy item to grow yourself and I’ll be sharing more about them and the kefir cheese I used in later posts.

Ingredients

Wrap (I opted for an organic spelt one for myself in this recipe, but pick your fave)

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh sprouts*

2 tbsp kefir cheese with garlic & dill* (or use a cream cheese with dill and garlic)

I’ll be sharing more about these in later posts, see more info about them following the recipe

  1. Start by slicing everything up and spreading the cheese in the wrap- tip: to make wrapping easier, place it and all other contents to one side of the middle.

2. Add in the avocado and red onion…

3. … followed by the sprouts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Fold in the sides on the wrap, then roll it up starting with the end with the contents closest to you. As you roll, continue to fold in the sides to keep the wrap tight and prevent the contents from falling out. Slice in half to serve.

5. Enjoy immediately or pack in your lunch. Use a toothpick to help hold it’s shape if desired.

For easy make- ahead lunches, pack half of a wrap with other ready- to- go options such as cut up veggies or salad (see the quinoa version of this pasta salad in this post). Bento boxes or other divided containers are perfect for this. We got ours on Amazon and you can find similar ones herehere, and here. They’re great for prepping meals ahead of time and stack neatly in the fridge.

 

If you want to learn more about kefir and it’s benefits (ie why it’s great to use instead of traditional milk products, such as cream cheese), check out this book by Donna Schwenk as a great reference. You can also purchase everything you need to make your own kefir at home, including the kefir grains online. All you need are some grains, milk (I prefer to use organic), a mason jar with lid, and a metal mesh food strainer. 

For the sprouts in this recipe, I used the organic Sprouting Seeds Blend from West Coast Seeds. These are a fun and simple way to get your kids involved in growing their own food right in their own kitchen (also great if you don’t have a large space for an edible garden but still want to grow your own food- more on that coming soon!) and only take a few days until ready to eat. You can buy a kit like this three tier sprouting kit to grow multiple varieties at once or use a mason jar with a screen for a smaller- scale set up (I’ll be showing you what this looks like in an upcoming post). The best part: all you need is water to grow them! 

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

May 16, 2017
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It All Begins with Food {Cookbook Review}

Food is a universal language we all speak, something that unifies us. It’s something to be enjoyed, and also the fuel we provide our bodies. If you’d followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that our family loves food, albeit with a few bumps in the road- we’re still gluten free, but other restrictions have since been removed from Ari’s diet- and I’ve sought out options as healthy staples in our diets. We enjoy as many home- cooked and healthy, whole- food based meals as we can, but still indulge in comfort food, etc when we get a craving or are short on time (everything in moderation, no?).

Before kids and since, I love a good recipe. There’s something I find soothing and therapeutic about preparing a meal (note: when the kids are cooperating); it’s a simple pleasure I find a lot of joy in. And while I turn to online sources for much of my inspiration when trying out a new meal idea, I still love turning the pages of a cookbook. There’s something about the tactile nature of running my fingers down the pages and marking recipes to try with sticky notes that I love. So when I had the chance to review the new cookbook by Love Child Organics founder Leah Garrad- Cole, I looked forward to the opportunity.


“Welcome to It All Begins With Food, a book dedicated to clean, whole- food recipes for your entire family”.


Leah and I share the same outlook towards food, with a focus on the quality and integrity of ingredients, especially when it comes to feeding our kids. There is a lot to be said about the source of our food today (how was it grown, where did it come from, etc) and while this isn’t always black and white, Leah offers up a valuable resource in her new cookbook for everyone from new parents to passionate home cooks alike. I discovered her line of quality baby food, Love Child Organics, soon after Ari was born and have had the pleasure of being a brand ambassador with the company and watching it grow over the past few years. The introduction of It All Begins With Food was something I was looking forward to, and now am happy to be sharing my thoughts on the book here with readers. This cookbook will grow with your family, and even if your kids are past the baby and toddler years, it is full of information and recipes you will appreciate and enjoy.

This is a beautiful cookbook, filled with photos and tables of information that compliment Leah’s recipes. But it isn’t all eye candy, and second only to the recipes themselves, the information Leah has gathered in this cookbook make it a great reference to have on hand. What does it really mean to be organic? What’s a GMO? What foods should I avoid introducing to my baby? Are just a few of the questions Leah addresses in It All Begins With Food, along with a section I love, make it yourself, make it better, which features suggestions on how to make pantry staples at home to avoid unnecessary ingredients such as sugar, salt and preservatives. 


“There is an overabundance of of information out there, and it can make the task of feeding your family really confusing and overwhelming. We all want our children to eat well, but it’s hard to know where to start, and with our busy lives, it’s really difficult to find the time to make it happen.”


Alongside the recipes, Leah has included information to help guide readers through food topics that we face today, including:

  • organic foods (one of Leah’s favourite topics)
  • The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen- foods grown with the most pesticide residue and least, respectively
  • GMOs- what are they and how to avoid them
  • alternative names for sugar used in ingredients lists
  • clean kitchen/ pantry shopping list + tools and equipment 
  • meal planning tips + planner
  • getting your kids involved in cooking + food prep
  • information, tips, and serving suggestions for introducing first foods to baby

 

While this cookbook is a wealth of information for starting out your little one on solids (see For Baby, below), Leah has covered healthy suggestions for the whole family from start to finish: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, creating your own pantry staples (I’m looking forward to diving into this chapter more in the coming months), and recipes for entertaining. I tend to avoid recipes that contain ingredients that are hard to find or seem too complicated; most of the time I have the kids with me when shopping and cooking, so I’ve subscribed to the adage simpler is better on several levels when it comes to the food we eat.

And that also applies to the nature of the ingredients themselves: Leah uses common, clean/ healthy, simple- to- find- ingredients in her recipes, with prep and cooking time around an hour total for many of the recipes (many less than that). This is a cookbook with crowd- pleasing recipes, but doesn’t forget about the person creating the meal. You don’t have to have kids to appreciate her method, but it’s definitely a cookbook created by a parent with parents in mind: healthy food that doesn’t take hours to prep and cook. Thank you Leah!


“With an unwavering focus on replacing ingredients that have little nutritional value with ones that are nutritionally dense, It All Begins With Food ensures that every bite counts while making the end result is pleasurable and the ingredients are easy to find.”


Chapters in the book:

purees & mashes

finger foods

smoothies: the vitamin vehicle

superhero breakfasts to keep them going (and going!)

easy lunches

family- friendly dinners

healthier snacks & treats

let’s celebrate

make it yourself make it better


 

For Baby

For parents looking for information, tips, and recipes for feeding their baby, this book is a wealth of knowledge and I wish it had been around when Ari was a baby. As a Mom, Leah speaks from her own experiences, as well as from the wealth of information and knowledge she has amassed since starting an organic food company; I love this combination of experience and knowledge and I feel this approach will appeal to many parents beginning the food journey with their children. Here are just a few of the highlights for me that I appreciated Leah including:

  • Canadian & US official infant feeding recommendations
  • suggestions on when to start introducing solids + signs to look for that your baby may be ready
  • what foods to start with
  • food allergies + reactions (also the difference between a true allergy and an intolerance/ food sensitivity)
  • how much food + how often
  • baby food recipes (purees + mashes), tips + combinations

    

Whether you’re passionate about healthy cooking, want to incorporate more whole- foods recipes into your weekly meal plan, or starting out a little one on solids, It All begins With Food  includes ideas for all members of the family, and will be a welcome addition to any cookbook library. 

To learn more about Love Child Organics, visit them online:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

It All Begins With Food available online at Amazon.ca and Indigo

Disclosure: I received this cookbook in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog post contains affiliate links. 

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May 11, 2017
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Game Day Potato Wedges

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Hands up who’s got a football fan in their house? If you do you probably don’t need me to remind you that the Super Bowl is tomorrow and with it all the beer and food you can cram in a house (anyone have a hubby with a beer fridge in the garage that’s about to explode right about now?). Whether you’re right in there with the guys or you’re just going to put on a jersey and pretend to watch (ie yell at the TV when everybody else does) there’s few other excuses like the Super Bowl to indulge in some naughty eats.

And by that I mean basically anything that can be dipped, eaten without a fork, and most likely involves bacon. And carbs… followed up with a big helping of beer or another drink of choice. Bring on the sweatpants/ leggings/ elastic waistband pants. So yeah, I’m just going to write off eating healthy on Sunday now so I can enjoy all the things in their bacon- y, oh- so- bad- for- you- but- it- tastes- so- good glory. If you’re wanting to whip up something last minute these potato skins won’t disappoint. All the credit for these has to go to Will since he’s the one who always makes them (I just take the pictures while we try not to eat them and drool all over them), and really is possible for anything to taste bad when there’s bacon involved? Guys, this one’s for you in honour of the big day- hope your team wins! (and if not, at least you got some good grub out of the deal 😉 ).

Ingredients

6- 8 large russet potatoes

3 cups cheddar cheese, grated

1 bunco of green onions, diced

1 package of bacon (8- 10 slices)

Salsa & sour cream to serve

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Slice your potatoes lengthwise so that the wedges are approx 1 1/2″ wide. Using a sharp knife, carve out a small divet (think similar to removing the core from apple slices), and chop off an inch from each end. Lay on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the flesh of the potato is cooked.

2. Over medium heat, cook up your bacon to desired crispiness (remember that it’ll also be going in the oven and will crisp up a little more in there). When cooked, transfer to a plate with a piece of paper towel and allow to cool; pat with paper towel to remove any excess grease. Chop into large bacon bits.

3. Start layering the toppings on the potato wedges starting with the grated cheddar cheese, followed by the diced green onion and bacon bits. Pop back in the oven for another 10- 15 minutes until the cheese has melted.

4. Take out of the oven and serve with sour cream and salsa (and any other toppings you’d like). Enjoy!

 

 

February 4, 2017
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Festive Popcorn

It’s that time of year when everything is starting to feel festive and Christmas spirit starts to take over. Will and I are still big kids at heart and get into the mood early with things like festive cocktails, decorating, and lots of Christmas tunes (I don’t think it gets any better than doing holiday baking while pumping your favourites in the background). If you’ve got some parties coming up or need some festive stocking stuffer/ teacher gift ideas, this popcorn is perfect. I made mine minty- what’s more Chrismtas- y than candy canes?- but you can choose whatever holiday treats you like for your mix. It’s simple to make and looks super cute when finished off with some Christmas wrapping or served in cute paper cups at a party. Just try not to eat it as you go or you won’t have any left! 😉
Ingredients:
4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup mint chocolate chips
1 cup mint candies (this will equal approx 1/4 cup when crushed)

 

Directions:
1. Once your popcorn is popped and cooled (you don’t want it to melt your candies), separate your various ingredients into bowls.
2. Unwrap your candies and place on a piece of parchment paper. Fold the parchment over the candies and using a rolling pin crush them into small pieces.

 

 

 

3. Now for the fun part! In a bowl or jar, begin mixing your ingredients together in layers starting with popcorn at the bottom. Do this until you’ve mixed everything up together and your container is full. It looks super cute stored in a mason jar with a lid or…

 

 

… wrapped up in a cute container like a Chinese take- out box to give as a gift!

 

 

… finish it off with some pretty ribbon or twine and some Christmas greens for an easy party favour or teacher’s gift.

 

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November 30, 2016
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Easy Candy Bark

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Who else always gets to the day after Halloween and wonders what to do with all the candy they’ve got kicking around the house? I know a few parents who trade their kid’s candy for money or a toy but if you’re like me and have a sweet tooth, you don’t mind the extra treats in the house (should I mention here that I do ration the candy/ hide it so the sugar rushes are somewhat avoided?).
Now that the trick- or- treating is behind us, why not do something fun with all that candy? Have you ever made chocolate bark? It’s pretty much the simplest thing you can make and it’s a great way to use up some of those sweets (and not that I want to bring up Christmas the day after Halloween, but this would be cute to make for the holidays- just wrap it up in cellophane). You can use melting chocolate like I did or chop up a bunch of those mini bars and melt them for the bark. The options for this are endless- you just have to pick your favourites to use and try not to eat them all as you go!
Ingredients:
– melting chocolate (you can also chop up mini chocolate bars & use them instead)
– assorted candy
– sprinkles


Directions:

1. Begin by brining a pot of water to a boil & melting the chocolate in a double boiler (I use a Pyrex jug to make it easier to grab/ hold onto to pour out the melted chocolate).
2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

3. Take all your candy out of the wrappers (and try not to eat too much while you do! 😉 )

4. When the chocolate has melted, pour it onto your baking sheet and use a spatula to spread it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick (I totally failed on getting out the lumps/ air bubbles 😉 ).

5. Now for the best part! Toss on your candies & sprinkles to your heart’s content. Allow to cool- pop in the fridge for about half an hour to help it set/ solidify faster.

6. When the chocolate has cooled/ hardened, break the bark into pieces and enjoy!


November 1, 2016
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Halloween Marshmallow Pops

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Who’s ready for the spooky fun that is Halloween??? A little while ago I got together with some of my local blogger friends for a Halloween dessert photoshoot inspired by all things orange & black (see some sneak peaks on Instagram here and here) where we all pitched in with some yummy treats all for this fun & spooky day. I opted to make marshmallow pops since they’re a super cute and simple treat (based on those IG photos I’d say these were a hit! 😉 ) and because I’m a total sucker for anything dipped in sprinkles. You pretty much only need 3 ingredients to make these and you can go as crazy or as simple as you like. Up the Halloween factor with some party straws in matching colours and you’re set! I love how they turned out and had fun mixing up different combos of sprinkles (love the skulls & crossbones!). If you have a Halloween party coming up another cute idea would be to wrap these in cellophane with a pretty ribbon as a cute favour or for school parties. All you need is 10 minutes and the willpower not to eat them as you go! 
Ingredients/ supplies:
– chocolate chips/ melts (I went for white, orange & milk chocolate)
– sprinkles
– large marshmallows
– party straws
– scissors (if you want to cut down the straws)
– parchment paper

Directions:
1. Place a Pyrex jug in a pot and fill approx 2/3 with water; bring to a boil at high heat
2. Meanwhile cut your straws in half and insert into the marshmallows; pour your sprinkles into shallow dishes for dipping and tear of a piece of parchment paper big enough to place the quantity of marshmallows you want to dip
3. When water is close to a boil or boiling, pour your choice of chocolate into the Pyrex jug and melt
4. Stir the chocolate until it’s melted & smooth and dip your marshmallows, then roll them in your choice of sprinkles
5. Place the marshmallows on the parchment to cool. When ready, transfer to your serving dish/ platter and enjoy! 🙂

Want to see how everything came together? See this post over on Creative Wife & Joyful Worker!

Dessert Table Photos: Creative Wife & Joyful Worker
Desserts:
Spooky Marshmallow Ghost Brownies: Kewe Clothing
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing: The Cheerio Diaries
Chocolate Peanut Butter Halloween Treats: Loving Littles Blog
Table Styling, Spider Cake & Drinks: Creative Wife & Joyful Worker
October 11, 2016
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Yummy Mummy Recipe: Strawberry Chia Banana Bread

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OK- how many of you have a) a freezer full of ripe bananas just waiting to be made into something delicious and b) are digging the cooler weather because it means you can turn on your oven for baking without feeling like you’ll melt like a human popsicle?
How’s that for a recipe post intro (insert teary- eyed laughing emoji here!)? But seriously- how many times do you buy bananas and end up tossing them in the freezer because they get to that ‘too ripe I don’t want to eat them’ stage? This recipe is perfect for this exact situation. Whether you go for it and make a whole yummy loaf or opt to make muffins, the strawberries and chia seeds are a yummy addition to this oh- so- classic of recipes. There’s also a secret ingredient that I love including in a lot of my baking for some added flavour/ moisture/ nutrition, but you’ll have to scroll down to see what that is. Happy baking all!

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour (I used a combination of a gluten free flour blend and brown rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2- 3 bananas)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of apple sauce (my secret ingredient instead of an egg! I’ll tell you why after the directions…)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (for a dairy- free version, swap in 1/4 coconut yogurt or another 1/4 cup of apple sauce)
2 tbsp coconut milk
3/4 cup strawberries, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
2 tbsp chia seeds

For garnish:
Fresh strawberry slices
Unsweetened dried coconut

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & line a 9″ loaf pan with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients; in a separate, larger bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, including the mashed banana & strawberries (remember to keep some for garnish!)
3. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix- about 1/2- 1 cup at a time to avoid lumps
4. Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with strawberry slices and unsweetened dried coconut
5. Bake for 50 minutes- to 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (I find with my oven it’s always closer to an hour or just over an hour)
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes & enjoy the loaf fresh with your favourite toppings or slice it up & put it in an airtight container for snacking and lunches throughout the week

And as for that secret ingredient: why apple sauce? 
When I first started baking gluten and dairy free recipes, I also tried some alternatives for eggs out of curiosity and apple sauce has become a staple in some of my sweet recipes as an egg substitute: simply swap in 1/2 cup of apple sauce for each egg the recipe calls for. And if you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know that our family is a fan of Love Child Organics and their awesome organic food options for littles. Well, guess what I used in this recipe? A pouch of their apple puree! One pouch is equal to almost half a cup, so they work perfectly as a pre- measured ingredient (lol can I consider that a #momwin? 😉 )

I love that I can trust the quality of their ingredients and that their pouches are an allergy- friendly option, free from dairy, gluten, nuts, and absolutely no additives/ fillers. If you look on the back of the pouch I’m talking about there is one ingredient: organic apples. Don’t you wish more food labels were simple like that? And if you have a hard time getting your kids to eat fruits and veggies, their pouches are a great option for babies just starting out on solids and for older kids as well (Ari & Liam practically pounced on the pouches I had on hand for these photos- safe to say they’re a hit with the kids!). If you want to learn more about this awesome company, I’ll share more at the end of this post, but for now let’s get back to baking!!!


A little about Love Child Organics
Love Child Organics was started by a husband & wife team who were frustrated with the food options available for little ones when they became parents. Foods that were labelled ‘organic’ and natural contained added ingredients and fillers that offered no nutritional benefit, so Leah and John set to work creating healthy meals for their kids from organic ingredients and superfoods for an added boost of nutrition. From these efforts, the company was born, with the goal to make pure organic food accessible for all kids. Since then, LCO has grown to offer a variety of food and snack options and will be introducing an organic infant cereal soon. The company also partners with First Book Canada as part of their Spreading the Love Campaign, to provide new books to children in need. From nutrition to overall well- being, LCO is committed to helping kids get the best start in life possible.

To see the full selection of products from LCO & learn more about the company, visit their website

For the latest product announcementss, giveaways & more make sure you follow Love Child Organics on social media:
Facebook: Love Child Organics 
Instagram: @lovechildorganics
Twitter: @lc_organics

PROMO CODE:

LCOMOM01. Up to Dec. 31, your friends and followers can receive 15% off on a one time LCO order (no limit on order size.)
October 4, 2016
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Recipe: Savoury French Toast

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Hands up who loves French toast??? I don’t know too many people who don’t and really, how can you go wrong when there’s so much good stuff on one plate? (And how about those nights when you make breakfast for dinner???- YUM!). But just when you thought you had breakfast all figured out I’m here to mix things up a little: have you ever tried savoury French toast? 
The idea came to me about a month ago when I picked up a loaf of artisan bread at the farmer’s market and thought, well if eggs and toast are a good combo, why not try a twist on a classic? I’m sure some of you probably think I’m messing with perfection here, or maybe even think this sounds downright un- appetizing. But like bacon and maple syrup, this semi- sweet/ savoury combo works. This is kind of like an omelette/ French toast blend and there are endless ways to try this, so don’t feel stuck just by my list of topping ideas. My suggestion is try for as savoury as you can go and work backwards from there, trying different topping combos each time until you find a favourite. If you try it & like it, I’d love to hear what you put on yours! 

Ingredients per person/ serving:

For the French Toast
– 2 slices of bread (try a sourdough or jalapeno cheddar for added flavour)
– 1 egg
– 1 1/2 tbsp water
– aged cheddar or other strong cheese, thinly sliced

And any/ all of these yummy toppings 
(think about your favourite omelette toppings and go from there- I tried sauteed onions & olives for this version)
– 1/2 medium white or yellow onion sliced & sautéed
– 2 tbsp sliced olives
– 1/4 cup sauerkraut
– 1 green onion, chopped
– diced bacon or ham
– sliced mushrooms, grilled
– Dijon mustard for dipping

Directions:

1. Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat while you get everything ready
2. In a bowl or dish large enough for the slices of bread, beat the egg and mix in the water (I skip adding milk because of Ari & Will, but by all means add milk if you like). Dip the bread in the egg wash until it’s absorbed into the bread and there’s no dry areas
3. Fry the first side of the French toast for a few minutes until just turning golden brown, then flip
4. Place the slices of cheese on the bread and allow to slightly melt (if using, add the ham or bacon if you’d like it warmed)
5. Scoop off the pan and plate the French toast. I layered mine alternating slices with toppings between the layers and on top).
6. Add the rest of your toppings & serve

For a sweet/ savoury version use a lighter cheese and top with bacon or ham and sautéed onions and dip in maple syrup. It might sound weird, but don’t knock it ’til you try it!!!


What’s your favourite way to eat French toast? Do you like it simple or load it up?

August 17, 2016
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