Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tomato and White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated financially by the Ontario Bean Growers, I've been a huge fan of all things bean related for a very long time. All opinions are mine. 

So, how is everyone doing? I feel like the world has just been turned upside down, and like many of you, I'm holding tight to whatever I can grasp on to: the close relationships I have with my fella and my mom; working on my cookbook (it's so good to have a massive project to focus on); my four sweet and entertaining felines; voices of friends from afar; Netflix and books; short walks outside, far away from people; and of course cooking and baking. My kitchen is truly my sanctuary; I feel safe and comfortable there. With all of the scary stuff happening outside my house, standing at my counter creating recipes feels normal. And good. I like normal and good! I've been staying home LIKE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO and honestly, it's going okay. I'd pretty much planned on self-isolating until August when my manuscript is due, but not quite as extreme as this. I long for the days far down the road when I can go out for dinner with my boyfriend. And go grab a coffee and chat with friends. And hug them! And pick my mom up so we can go get pedicures. I'm going to go to all of the movies and all of the concerts and I very well may hop a on a jet plane. And not be afraid. This all seems like a dream, but when the anxiety kicks in late at night, these are the small things I think of and honest to god I'll never take them for granted again.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Three Cheese Onion Tart

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated financially, all opinions are my own. 

I’m back with more Spanish Sweet Onion love, but before I get to describing just how utterly easy and delicious this tart is (just look at it) here are some neat things about onions that you may not know. It’s monday! Let’s learn things! 

The onion is an ancient vegetable thought to have come from Central Asia and has been grown for over 5000 years in Egypt, 2000 years in Italy and more widely in Europe during the Middle Ages. That’s a really long time! The onion has collected a wealth of stories, myths, symbols, culinary and medicinal uses that connects us to a broader view of human activities and attitudes. Because relatives of the onion are found all over the world, it is likely that the onion has been a common ingredient of the cuisines of the world from the time before humans wrote, perhaps even before they spoke. In its long and robust life, the onion has found many champions. Greek physicians around 60 AD, prescribed onions for eating, as well as for medicinal reasons. Richard II, King of England, had many recipes using onions in his 1390 “cookbook.” Some ancient cultures raised the onion to symbolic heights. The Romans considered the concentric rings of cut onions and globe shape of uncut ones symbolic of eternity. The Egyptians painted or carved onion shapes on monuments and in tombs to depict their use as funeral offerings. And, lastly, Greek and Phoenician sailors carried onions on board their ships - the high content of Vitamin C came in handy when preventing scurvy. Cool, hey? Lots to think about the next time you pick up a bag of Idaho-Eastern Oregon Spanish Sweet Onions at the market!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Buttery Pappardelle in Caramelized Onion Sauce

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated financially, all opinions are my own. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m in full-on hibernation mode. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I’m writing my second cookbook (!!!) and don’t have to venture out of my house too much. This is especially welcome when the *Feels Like temperature is -40C in Saskatoon. Oh my stars, let me tell you, that is COLD. And when it’s this cold I want to fill my belly with delicious comfort food that is simple, budget friendly (it is January after all) and delicious. This recipe for buttery noodles swaddled in the most delicious caramelized onion sauce checked all those boxes. I just finished the last bit for lunch today and I already can’t wait to make it again!

Friday, January 3, 2020

A New Year, A New Cookbook!

"Anything can happen! Anything can be!" 
~ Shel Silverstein

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays, and while I can't believe we've slipped into a new year, a new decade, here we are. I'm slowly coming out of the chocolate and cheese coma that is December, and ready to get roaring on my brand new project that will consume a great deal of my 2020. I'm writing another cookbook! Vegetables: A Love Story will be published in the fall of 2021 by the fantastic team at TouchWood Editions once again. I'm super excited to finally share the news with you, though I first broke it on my social media a few weeks ago. You follow me over there too, right? For more behind the scenes cookbook adventures, be sure to see what I'm up to on the Instagram and Facebook. Plus, sometimes there are photos of cats! And cookies!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms Stuffed with Italian Sausage and Asiago Chese

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. And, as usual, I will only write about products that I really love! 

Last night I caught the tail end of Mr. Bean's Christmas. You know the one. He ends up with the turkey on his head and hilarity ensues. When I run into one of the long ago Christmas specials like Mr. Bean, or A Charlie Brown Christmas I feel all warm and fuzzy inside, or maybe it's just the wine or maybe I'm just feeling nostalgic. This is nostalgia's prime time though, no? It seeps in from all sorts of crevices - like when you unpack your boxes of ornaments, and there's a Christmas card from 1999 tucked in, from an old friend you haven't seen in as long. Or when you hear "River" and have to sit down because it gets you every time. It doesn't take much these days to momentarily transport you back to another Christmas; another life.     

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Fall Flavours: Spiced Apple Pie with Lattice Crust

I was asked by Carusele to participate in this campaign, sponsored by Splenda Stevia Canada. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

There are still a few days *officially left in summer, but I'm crushing on fall super hard already. The leaves are turning gorgeous yellows and oranges, and on my morning walk today I even kicked up a few just because I can. I love the smell of fall: earthy and melancholic. Summer had its time to shine, and now it's all about getting ready for the stillness of the colder months. And with the colder months, it means my oven is on all the time, full of roast chickens and vegetables, stews and braises, and pies, oh the pies! First one out of the gate is a special pie, made with Splenda® Stevia No Calorie Sweetener.

Someone close to me is majorly cutting back their sugar intake and has requested that I bake them something that they can indulge in at all the fall festivities, like Thanksgiving. Perhaps you're in the same boat too, where someone special who'll be sitting at your dining table this fall can't eat as much sugar as the rest of us, but doesn't want to feel left out or excluded by a sugary sweet dessert. As a host, and a professional baker, I feel it's important to meet people where they're at on the sugar scale, and if this means I forgo sugar and bake with Splenda Stevia once in awhile, I'm totally okay with that. 

Splenda Stevia gets its sweetness from the stevia leaf and is sourced from the sweeter, cleaner-tasting part of the stevia leaf so there is no bitter aftertaste. Combined with apples freshly picked from my friend Kim's tree, and loads of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom, the pie tasted super good, like all of my other pies. Seeing the smile on my loved one's face as they savoured a slice meant the world to me. Splenda Stevia really is a sweet way to reduce sugar in your favourite foods without sacrificing taste. 

For the apple pie filling, instead of sugar I used Splenda Stevia Sweetener, Granulated, a new product recently released. It's cool in that you can use it cup-for-cup with sugar. So, I usually add about 1/2 cup sugar into my apple pie filling, and for this recipe I used 1/2 cup Splenda Stevia Sweetener, Granulated instead. Kim's apples were on the tart side, and overall I was really happy with the sweetness here. If you like a sweeter pie, you could add up to 2/3 cup of Splenda Stevia. 

Baking a pie doesn’t have to be perfect. Once you take the pressure off yourself, it’s amazing what can happen. Also, don’t be intimidated by the lattice crust. It’s just pieces of pastry woven together, like a basket. If you go under instead of over, don’t fret. You’ve made a pie! I love how the bottom crust is folded over the lattice edges to give a rustic look. It also traps the juices, keeping all that loveliness inside the pie instead of on the bottom of your oven, which we don't want. 

As the apple pie baked away in the afternoon, my house smelled amazing. As I pulled the apple pie from my oven I breathed in the scent, and was so happy to see the juices bubbling and the lattice crust golden brown and glorious. The hardest part was waiting for the pie to cool so we could taste a slice, but the wait was worth it. Full of spiced apple flavour, with a hint of vanilla and lemon, the pie pleasantly tasted of fall, with no bitter aftertaste usually associated with stevia.  As the days get cooler and cozier, I know there'll be more pies and other baked goods coming out of my oven. It's good to know that if I have to bake for someone who doesn't eat that much sugar, I have an excellent ingredient such as Splenda Stevia to rely on. Happy fall baking, all! 

Spiced Apple Pie with Lattice Crust

3 pounds baking apples, peeled and cored
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup - 2/3 cup Splenda Stevia Sweetener, Granulated 
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground cloves, nutmeg and cardamom
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 discs of pastry, enough for a deep-dish pie 
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water

1. Toss together the sliced apples, lemon juice, Splenda Stevia, flour, spices and vanilla in a large bowl. 
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of pastry into a 13-inch circle, or thereabouts. Place it in the bottom of a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate, with the pastry overhanging the edges of the pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry in another 14-inch circle for the top crust. Use a ruler to guide you when cutting the pastry into 8-9 long strips to keep the edges straight. Save the 2 end pieces in case you need to do any patching. I like wide strips, but if you like a thinner look, feel free to cut thin strips of pastry. Weave the pastry strips, going over and under, making sure they connect with the edges of the pie crust, which I've moistened with egg wash. Fold over the edges of the bottom crust, tucking in the lattice ends. This will help to trap the juices and give a rustic look.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake it for about 90 minutes, until it’s golden brown and bubbling. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Grilled Sausages with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Sauerkraut

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. And, as usual, I will only write about products that I really love! 

And just like that I'm writing on the second last day of August. Seems like only yesterday we were  brushing off our patio furniture and planning what we wanted to plant in the garden. Now I'm wearing woolly socks in the house and turning on the lights much sooner. The fans, which came in handy for the few heat waves we had this summer, are now collecting dust and have to be put away this weekend. Yep, summer is darn near over, and I hope it was a good one for all of you. Mine had moments that were super good, and not so good, and if I'm being honest, I'm kinda ready for the new start that fall always seems to hold. But first, one must send summer away with a last hurrah, and with that hurrah always comes excellent food, right? 
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