Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Best Pot Roast

February....It's the middle of the month, snow is falling and its cold.  I shouldn't complain as we have had some nice temperatures lately.  But today...its cold.  So its a great excuse to watch the Olympics (GO CANADA!!!) and eat comfort food.

I love winter comfort food.....its sooo....comforting...(redundant I know, but so true!)  I love spicy foods, like chilies, and spicy sausages, but when you have young kids that doesn't always fly.  So when the boys are done skating, sledding, or general winter romping outside, things like meatloaf, hearty soups, and roasts go over well.  Pot roast goes over REALLY WELL!  Nothing like coming in from the cold, and sniffing appreciatively at the heavenly, meaty smell of pot roast.

This is ultimately MY FAVORITE POT ROAST RECIPE!  I don't like cooking potatoes with meat (kinda mealy texture to me) so I omit them in this recipe.  I cook them separately.  You do as you like. I serve the roast and veggies with mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings! (my good).  I prep the roast in the morning and throw it in the oven in the afternoon.  Easy breezey.  Then come supper time....YUMMO!

adapted from Pioneer Woman

What you Need:

1 roast (4-5 pds)  Chuck is the best, but I use what ever type I have.  I also use venison roasts as well.
2 TBSP of olive oil
2 whole onions
6-8 carrots cut into large chunks
salt to taste
pepper to taste

1 cup red wine (or use beef broth)
2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp of dried thyme
2 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary

What You Do:

1. Generously season your meat with the salt and pepper.  I really like sea salt for this.

2.  In a large skillet pan, heat oil over med-high heat.  Peel skin off onions and slice into halves.  Place "face" down into skillet.  Add carrot chunks.  Sautee until browned all over. This should take about 5-8 minutes.  Remove veggies to a plate.

3.   Add a bit more oil to skillet pan and add the meat.  Sear on all sides until nicely browned.  Remove to a roasting pan.  Add veggies to roasting pan as well, surrounding the meat.

4.  Pour on top of the roast and veggies the wine, and beef broth, until the liquid comes up the roast half ways.  Sprinkle with herbs.

5.  Cover and slow roast in the oven at 275 degrees F. for 4 hours.  If you have a smaller roast....reduce your time!!! to about 3 hours.

6. At serving time cut or shred meat.  Pour a little of the juices on top.  Serve with the veggies.  Really good with mashed potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ginger-Pineapple Tea.

January has been quite the interesting month weather wise....While December was all about SNOW....January...has been about MELTING SNOW.  We've had a short stint of spring like weather with warm temperature, ice EVERYWHERE (hence a few no school days), and lots of sunshine.  I loved it!  Especially the sun.  Made me feel GOOD, anticipation for spring...I pinned a tonne of gardening things on Pinterest and bought some cool planters....

Today though....its snowing.  And that is okay.  It's doing what January is supposed to do.  I am thankful for the sunshine we had though.

So to warm myself on day such as today I am making some tea.  Ginger Tea....with pineapple and honey.  Comfort in a cup.  I won't go into all the benefits of ginger...but I do love that it calms my tummy as I sip it as well as just helping calm ME.  So maybe today you could use some tea....

Ginger-Pineapple Tea

What you Need:

sliced fresh ginger (peeled) about 2 inches.
1-2 wedges of pineapple
1 tsp of honey
1 1/2 cups of boiling water

What you Do:

1.  Peel and slice about 2 inches of fresh ginger.  Coarsely chop.  Coarsely chop pineapple wedge.

2.  In your favorite mug combine ginger, pineapple, honey and water.  Steep for 8 minutes.

3.  Strain solids and enjoy tea.

*** If you have a large loose tea infuser you can use this to steep the tea as well.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Choco-Cranberry Granola Balls

      We are mid month here....and we just had a huge wind storm and warm temperatures.  Put that together.....ya got a lot of icy roads.  So we had "snow" day here in northern Alberta.  Sun shining...but no school....Buses can't iceskate...a proven fact.  So the boys are maxin' and relaxin' watching Turbo and having a picnic in the livingroom. 

For me, I am realizing that it seems that whatever I plan for my day....may change...and right now it usually is.  Whaddya do?  I am learning to roll with it.  :)

As I've had a bit more time to visit a few of my favorite blog sites these past few days I found a wonderfully, WAY TOO EASY recipe for some no-bake granola bars.  I really didn't realize HOW EASY they are and HOW TASTY too.  Simple ingredients, 15 minutes...presto....a wonderful snack.  Way better than any granola bar out of a box. 

Choco-Cranberry Granola Balls
adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

What You Need:

1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp of butter or margerine
1 Tbsp of maple syrup
1 cup of crisp rice cereal
1 cup of old fashion oats
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1/3 cup of chocolate chips

What You Do:

1.  In a medium saucepan on medium heat combine honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, and butter.  Melt, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.

2.  Add cereal, oats, and cranberries. Stir to combine.  Wait 8-10 minutes to allow mixture to cool, and then add chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

3.  Spoon into medium sized muffin cups and put in them into the fridge for about 15 minutes to set. 

4.  I did keep these in the fridge because I liked them cool, but you don't have to.  Room temperature is fine.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Simple Chocolate Sugar Cookies

 I've had a bit of a break on the blog.  A full and crazy busy holiday season is to blame. I don't mind a busy holiday season, lots of good memories made and time spent with loved ones.   But as January comes around I am ready for some simplicity.....

In the first week of January I take down the Christmas tree and most of the decorations, and then I begin the house "purge".  Getting a bunch of new stuff in the holidays means getting rid of the old stuff.  I go through each room and throw away, give away, or donate as much as I can.  I love the feeling of order and spaciousness I get after a good de-cluttering session.

I also feel a sense of de-cluttering in my cooking this January.  I am enjoying making good food with simple ingredients. This week I made a simple crusted halibut with a brown butter sauce. So easy, simple ingredients and pure tasty flavours.  I also made a simple vegetable rice with cumin and saffron. Tasty. 

Even in my baking I am simplifying.  After a Christmas of eating rich shortbread, almond roca, fruit cake, chocolates in ALLLL forms, and too much caramel and cheddar popcorn.....I need a break!....and a treadmill.... So now that I need to re-stock the larder... I wanted a simple cookie, no fancy "holiday" flavors....simple... and here's what I made.  Enjoy!

Simple Chocolate Sugar Cookies

What you Need:

2 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp of Cream of Tarter
1 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt

1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, plus more (about 1/2 cup) for rolling cookies in.
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla

What you do:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt.  
3.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together, add eggs one at a time and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.
4.  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating until combined.  
5.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in a dish of sugar to coat.
6.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass.
7.  Bake for 8-9 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool

Enjoy with a simple glass of milk.  :)

Monday, 16 December 2013

Hot Buttered Rum

Only a few days till Christmas.  Our house is surrounded by lots of snow, the lights are up, and the blow-up Tigger is waving happily as he comes out of his blow-up Christmas tree... (Our boys love it!)  Our tree is up, and I have Christmas music blaring as much as I can.  Right now I'm listening to a rocking version of the Carol of the Bells by David Crowder.  Rockin'!!!! (it's very therapeutic to rock out to Christmas carols you know....)

And I am slowly thinking about Christmas goodies.

I don't like to rush the whole baking thing....I don't want any extra "gifts" attached to my thighs and stomach this year.  I like to wait to bake....and then let everyone else eat it up!   But my LIST is up on the fridge.  I'm trying a new gingerbread cookies recipe as we speak, Monkey Munch will be made in a few days, David's cookies - though I'm on the look out for cherry flavoring....eeeek., maple fudge, almond roca....and I think this year....Candied Orange Peel.  I think I may be the only one who will eat it though...but I am okay with that. :)

Anyways, one neat thing my husband David and I are doing this year is watching Christmas movies each night whilst snacking on lovely cheeses and sipping on wines...or hot toddys.  We've watched movies like "White Christmas", "Christmas in Connecticut", "Holiday Inn",  "Home Alone", and last night's was "A Christmas Carol - with Patrick Stewarat... HIGHLY recommend!!!"

But tonight, I have a new drink to try.  Hot Buttered Rum.  You can buy the mixes at stores, but why not try it with REAL BUTTER!!!  So we are. 

Here's how.  Go pop some popcorn, Catch a Bing C. flick, and sip on this.

Hot Buttered Rum
adapted from: A Thousand Threads

What You Need:

3/4 cup of softened butter ( I used can use unsalted)
2 cups of light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Rum (dark or spiced)
boiling water or apple cider

What to do:

1.  Cream together butter, sugar, spices, and vanilla.  Roll into a cylinder and wrap in parchment paper.  

2.  Freeze.

3.  When ready to make, cut of 2 tablespoons of butter mixture and place in a small mug. Add 1-2 oz of  rum and then top off cup with boiling water.  Stir and serve immediately!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

We truly just came out of some crazy, crazy weather these past few days.  Lots of snow, wind, and freezing rain....makes for an interesting week.  My oldest has been having "Snow Days" for the past couple of days, and we only ventured forth today....because we needed groceries.

Looking on the positive side to the Great Blizzard...WE WILL HAVE SNOW FOR CHRISTMAS!  Lots o snow....:)  Good thing too, shhh, we got the boys some GT racers.. (Good thing they are not proficient readers yet...that,  and my blog doesn't have Lego or Ninja Turtles in no interest what so ever....)

BUT, the boys WERE interested in these AMAZING cookies.

I will put this out there.  These are my favourite Oatmeal cookies so far.  They were eaten up with great gusto and I have to make another batch here soon.  SOOO GOOD.  Definitely on my go-to list.  So here it is.  Add it to your Christmas baking list.  You will not regret it.  :)


adapted from Mother Thyme

What you Need:

2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP of baking powder
half a tsp of baking soda
half a tsp salt
2 tsp of cinnamon
half a tsp of ground nutmeg

1 cup of hard margarine or butter (softened)
1 cup of brown sugar (packed)
half a cup of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract

For the glaze:

2 cups of icing sugar (confectioners)
4 TBSP of milk

What to Do:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Have baking sheets prepped with parchment paper or silicone mats.
2.  Place oats into a food processor and pulse for 10 seconds.  

3.  In a medium bowl combine, oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

4.  In a large bowl, beat margarine, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Beat until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat a bit more.

5.  In small batches add the dry ingredients while you are beating.  Beat until combined.

6.  Using about 2 TBSP of dough for each cookie, roll dough into balls and place onto baking sheets.

7.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Until golden brown on bottoms.

8.  Remove to cooling racks.  Cool

9.  Make glaze: combine icing sugar and milk and stir to make glaze.

Dip tops of cookies into glaze and allow to set.

Eat with gusto or savour with a cup of hot chocolate.  So yummy!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Citrus Hot Toddys

As the weather is cooler....I yearn for comfort and warmth.  I sit by the fireplace, have a warm blanket around my legs, slippers... Oh so cozy!  I love it!  My husband and I usually spend our evenings this way watching our favorite tv show when the kiddos are asleep.  We usually make ourselves a cracker and fancy cheese plate and have grown-up drink.  And we've discovered.....TODDYS....

And not just a simple toddy of rum, hot water and cinnamon....This toddy takes it up to another level!  Citrus!!!!  I've combined fresh lemon and orange juices, sweet honey, and cinnamon.  Add to that some spirits (we like spiced rum) and some hot have a perfect cozy drink!  This would also be very comforting after a day out on the slopes, or sledding, or shovelling, or staying inside watching everyone else....shovel.....


So, break out a couple of your favorite mugs, mix up these easy ingredients, light a fire (or turn on that fireplace station on tv) turn on some Christmas tunes...(NO ITS NOT TOO EARLY!!!!) and sip this sweet nectar....

Citrus Honey Toddys
adapted from:  Camille Styles

What you Need:
(serves 2)

- juice of one lemon
- juice of one navel orange
- 2 TBSP of honey
- 1/3 cup of spiced rum
- 1 cup plus 1/4 cup of hot water
- 2 lemon wedges
- 2 cinnamon sticks

What to do:

In a glass bowl combine, juices of lemon and orange, honey, rum, and hot water. 

Divide into mugs.  Check to see if its your desired temperature for hot drinks.

Add lemon wedges and cinnamon sticks