Monthly Archives: October 2015

Beef and veggie chili

 

beef and veggie chili

So, here we are on the eve of Halloween. My kids have been crazy excited ever since our annual family pumpkin carving last weekend. It’s one of my favourite traditions, although I’m going to be honest, I don’t really love carving pumpkins. It’s messy and kind of gross digging the guts out of the pumpkin. Also, I’m a horrible artist. Seriously horrible, unless you want me to draw hearts or flowers, which I can usually manage. I don’t think hearts and flowers will win a pumpkin carving contest, though. Typically, I am the carver and my husband is the gutter/scooper and draws the outline. It seems fair πŸ˜‰ The kids, though being very enthusiastic about choosing the perfect pumpkins, are typically bored within roughly 10 minutes and disappear to play with their cousins. This year, my son drew his own outline and my daughter requested an Olaf jack-o-lantern. No, we didn’t win, but we did get to gut 4 pumpkins (I did help a little, there were 4 of them!!); 1 for my son and 3 for Olaf. Did I mention that I don’t like gutting pumpkins? Yeeck!

pumpkin carving contest

This years submissions

 

You can never really expect great weather on Halloween, but this year it’s promising to be extra rainy…buckets being dumped from the sky kind of rainy. There’s nothing to be done, we will march on through the rain, but I figure the best defense, is a great offence. My plan of attack is to fill our bellies with healthy, stick to your ribs comfort food and I think this beef and veggie chili will be just the thing to keep us warm through it all. Enjoy and I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Cup celery, diced

1 Cup carrot, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 lbs lean ground beef

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp cinnamon

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 – 398mL tomatoe sauce

1/4 Cup water

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until starting to sweat and become aromatic. Toss in the ground beef, breaking it up while it cooks. After about 5 minutes, once the beef is mostly cooked through, add in the tomatoes, chili powder and cinnamon. Stir together for about 1 minute, then add in the tomato sauce, water and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and allow it to continue cooking for another 20 – 30 minutes, adding a little extra water if necessary. With about 5 minutes left, stir in the bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 – 6

This week I’ll be sharing this recipe at the Fiesta Friday blog party and at Fabulous Foodie Fridays. If you’re looking for some great recipe ideas, you should check them out.

 

 

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Apple Sangria

Apple Sangria

This fall, I’ve been obsessed with apples and have been enjoying them more than I ever have before. I’ve found myself trying to incorporate them into as many different recipes as possible, but this recipe for Apple Sangria might just be the best idea I’ve had yet. I created this recipe two weeks ago for Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-laws house. Most guests would typically show up with dessert or an appy to share, but not me. I’m the family member that shows up with three jugs of sangria. Some would argue that that might make me the favourite πŸ˜‰ I brought a tomato zucchini casserole to share, as well, but the sangria was the star for sure.

Typically from Spain or Portugal, sangria is usually made with red wine, a sweetener, cut up fruit and finished with a splash of brandy. For this recipe, I decided to use the same basic method, but used white wine instead. I also added a couple little extras to change things up a bit. When you go to make this (and I promise, you’ll want to) you don’t need to spend a lot on the bottle of wine. You’re going to be playing around with it, so just choose something that’s inexpensive, but that you still enjoy the taste of. Also, sangria takes time to allow the flavours to blend together. I like to leave it for at least 24 hours, but 48 hours is even better. I hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

2 apples, sliced

1 handful of fresh sage

1 bottle of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

1 Cup apple juice

1 oz brandy

1 Cup sparkling wine

In a large pitcher, toss in the apples and sage. Add the white wine and apple juice and gently stir it all together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Just before serving, gently stir in the brandy and sparkling wine.

This week I’ll be sharing this recipe at theΒ Fiesta Friday blog party and Fabulous Foodie Fridays. Join me in checking out some truly delicious recipes.

 

Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself lacking inspiration in my cooking. I’ve been falling back on a lot of past favourites or quick, easy to throw together dinners. I’ve actually found myself feeling a little blah about cooking, which rarely happens to me. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been busier than normal. I also think that the turn in the seasons is making me feel a little more sluggish than usual. Whatever it is, it seems to have passed in the last couple of days and I’ve been playing around with a couple new recipes, starting with this gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes.

The idea for this recipe came to me last week when I had the opportunity to visit a local family farm for an incredible farm to table feast. Hosted by Hills Foods, the event was attended by notable, local chefs, food purveyors, foodies and media, and had a strong focus on local, sustainable and ethical food. You can read more about my visit here.

Although the feast was almost entirely meat-centric, there was one side dish that caught my attention; a delicious gnocchi prepared with peas and oven dried tomatoes. This recipe is my attempt to re-create the dish at home.

1 package potato gnocchi

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp oregano

1/4 Cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes, until they begin to float to the top. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and oregano. Saute for a few minutes until beginning to turn opaque. Add the gnocchi, making sure to spread them evenly around the bottom of the skillet (you may need to do this step in two batches). Cook for about 5 minutes, gently tossing or stirring part way through, until the gnocchi are lightly crisp. Stir in the peas, sun-dried tomatoes and salt to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings as a side dish.

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Maple Buttercream

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Maple Buttercream

This week has been a busy one. Aside from everyday life, a lot of the week was focused on running around getting party supplies for my sons birthday this weekend, baking a batch of muffins to share with his classmatesΒ and of course,making and decorating cupcakes for the party.

Being busy and then, inevitably, coming down with a head cold,Β I actually hadn’t intended on writing a post this week. I did, however, Β post a picture of the pumpkin spice muffins I made for my sons class, on Instagram. They were quite a hit, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the recipe. It’s really just a twist on my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, but a little more cupcake-y. The one bite I was able to steal from my son’s muffin was delicious and seeing as there were no leftovers, I’m pretty sure all the kids enjoyed them too.

Muffins:

3 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp all spice

2 eggs

1/2 Cup sugar

2/3 Cup vegetable oil

1 – 398mL can of pumpkin

1 Cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit

Stir the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add in the sugar, oil, pumpkin and milk. Whisk together until smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon the mixture into greased muffin cups filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to set for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Maple Buttercream:

1 Cup butter, room temperature

4 Cups icing sugar

1/3 Cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 – 3 tbsp milk

Using a stand mixer, combine the butter, icing sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and 2 tbsp milk. Starting on the lowest setting and slowly increasing to medium speed, begin mixing together. If the mixture is too stiff, add more milk, 1 tsp at a time. Continue mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined and creamy.

 

 

 

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