Roasted Beef Broth

beef-broth

Like most things homemade, beef broth is so much better than the canned stuff you buy at the store.  I picked up some marrow and knuckle bones from the butcher, and four large bones made about 3 liters of broth after a lot of simmering and evaporation.

There are two secrets to really good beef broth.  The first is Continue reading “Roasted Beef Broth”

Fruit Butters

butters
Pear butter (left), Apple butter (center), Apple cinnamon butter before the blender (right)

Fruit butters are thick, spreadable jam-like concoctions that contain no butter, fats, or extra sugar if you don’t want them to.  They can take a while to make, but are much easier (read: less work) to do if you have a slow cooker.  I recently bought a multi crock pot which is just amazing.  Not only is it volume-flexible for what you might need for the day, but it’s also incredibly convenient for making three different flavours of fruit butter!  🙂

I had two large pears left over from Christmas, so I made vanilla pear butter.  As soon as I tasted it I wished I had more pears!  Maybe later…  In the meantime since there wasn’t a whole lot, I froze it in an ice cube tray which I’ll use in oatmeal later.

I also had a lot of apples from a local farm, so I made both plain and cinnamon apple butter.  The plain butter I’ll use with pork dishes, and the cinnamon will also be frozen in ice cube trays for oatmeal and other yummy things.

Making fruit butters is really easy. Continue reading “Fruit Butters”

Back on the Healthy Track Again…

trifleSo after 11 months of being “good” and losing over 60 pounds as a result, I took a break for the holidays.  I knew that I’d probably regain a pound or two (and I did), but I also know full well that I can lose them again and that I needed a bit of a break.  So I indulged… a little.  This trifle was for Christmas dessert.  It’s roasted pear with gingerbread cake, cream cheese mousse and homemade vanilla bean salted caramel.  It was so good and so worth it.  I got the recipes from a few places, because when it comes to occasion desserts, recipes are only guidelines and seriously – go decadent or go home.

The gingerbread cake started out from AllRecipies, but I added a lot more spice than the recipe called for, and the molasses were the “fancy” variety.  (The type of molasses is important – never use “blackstrap” molasses when cooking a cake like this.)  The pears and cream cheese mouse were from FoodAndWine.com, and the vanilla bean salted caramel was from BareFeetInTheKitchen.  The trick to the caramel sauce is to keep it on the heat when you add the butter and cream or the caramel won’t mix. Continue reading “Back on the Healthy Track Again…”

Christmas Cookie Insanity & Presents

cookiesThe holidays are usually a time of insanity, but my family seems to take insanity to a whole new level.  The good news is that we’re usually still on speaking terms at the end of it.  The bad news is that we have 500 – 600 individually decorated cookies at the end of it.  Or is that more good news…?

This has become a recent family tradition.  We make these spitz cookies ahead of time and then all the women of the family get together with food, snacks, recipes and gossip while the men of the family make themselves scarce – which makes it much easier to giggle and gossip about them!  Shhhh… Don’t tell them!   😉 Continue reading “Christmas Cookie Insanity & Presents”

Easy Santa Fe Dip

dish

I didn’t plan to make this dish this week, but it’s the holidays and these things kinda happen.  This morning my husband asked me to make something for a pot luck tomorrow.  After giving him the glare-of-death for the less than 24 hours notice, I pulled out one of my easiest quick-n-easy standby recipes and gave my now incinerated husband a grocery list.  My logic was that if the glare didn’t teach him a lesson, maybe the holiday crowds would.  😉

This is always a favourite at pot lucks.  It’s creamy, salty and even a little spicy if you’d like it that way.  Serve with corn chips. Continue reading “Easy Santa Fe Dip”

Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken

chickenThis is one of my favourite kinds of meals.  It tastes great, it’s easy to make, it freezes well and can be cooked in a slow cooker so it’s waiting when you get home.

I made two of these and froze them until the night before I needed them, when I put one in the fridge overnight.  The next morning, I tossed it into the slow cooker (which is on a timer), and left for work.
Yay!  I’m my own personal chef!  🙂

Goes well with frozen roasted potatoes, a side or two of vegetables and a glass of white wine. Continue reading “Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken”

Butternut Squash Risotto

2016-12-12x-butternut-squash-risottoThis is one of those meals that stands up all on its own – no sides needed.  Combine that with the fact that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it for later, and it’s going to be a new fall regular in my house.

It was especially convenient to make since I already had some roasted butternut squash in the freezer and roasted chicken stock in the fridge.  If you’d prefer a vegetarian version, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken. Continue reading “Butternut Squash Risotto”