Crispy Chipotle, Bacon and Cheddar Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet_Pot_Fry_Raw

My favourite way to make sweet potato fries is with Epicure’s Chipotle, Bacon and Cheese seasoning. It is SO good! Gives the fries a bit of a kick and especially delicious with some zesty ketchup. Just have to have these if we are having a burger night! I also love to use my Epicure Crisper as it does result in nice and crispy fries, but you can also use a parchment lined baking pan and have great results.

This recipe is for 2 servings (as I just make enough for my husband and I as it is too spicy for the kids). Double the recipe for 4, and note you may need a second baking sheet to accommodate all of the fries.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small-medium sweet potatoes or one very large potato
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut flour (optional – but it does add more crispiness/texture)
  • 1 heaping tsp of Epicure Chipotle, Cheddar & Bacon seasoning OR have fun and use your own blend or another store-bought seasoning you like

Directions:

  1. Cut potatoes into fries, and soak in ice water for 1 hour. *Note: not necessary but it is a step that does help make fries crispier.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Drain cut potatoes and dry on a tea towel and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Toss potatoes with oil, coconut flour and seasoning.
  5. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet or on the Epicure Crisper (another one of my faves) and bake for 20-30 minutes on the middle rack, tossing occasionally for even cooking.
  6. Serve with your favourite ketchup or aioli.

Sweet_Pot_Fry_Baked

Viennese Crescents

VC_Final

Delicate, buttery and delicious! These Viennese Crescent Cookies are a family tradition, and a recipe that was handed down to me from my grandmother (who is a fantastic 88 years old this year!). These were always at the table after Christmas dinner. Now that I have my own family with two little girls, I am passionate about continuing the tradition and filling the holidays with the treats that I remember as a child, and teaching my girls how to make them too. It is amazing to have 4 generations around the table, and seeing my grandmother who is now a great-grandmother taste testing my results with her recipes (and a little stressful – lol!). No worries though – these are grandma-approved!

For this recipe I used Gay Lea Convenient Sticks Unsalted Butter – love that it makes it so easy to measure. Did you know that Gay Lea uses only pure and preservative-free cream from 100% Canadian milk produced by Gay Lea’s 1,200 local dairy farmers? It is great quality butter that you can feel good about using, and for me it gives me great results all time in my baked goods.

For this recipe one of the “secret ingredients” is using vanilla sugar vs vanilla extract and granulated sugar. I found Dr. Oetker’s Natural Vanilla Sugar in my local European store.

Note that the exact recipe as passed down to me is measured in ounces, and I have given the approximation in tablespoons or cups, but I do highly recommend weighing if you have a kitchen scale handy.

VC_Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz butter (12 tbsp)
  • 9 oz all-purpose flour (approx 2 cups)
  • 3 oz vanilla sugar (approx 1/2 cup or 12 packets)
  • 4 oz finely ground almonds
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Icing sugar for dusting baked cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix butter and flour with a spoon. Add sugar, ground almonds and a pinch of Kosher salt.
  3. Combine well.
  4. Form into crescents on a parchment or silpat lined baking pan. Note that if dough is too crumbly you can add a few drops of water to moisten.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden on the edges.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  7. Dust with icing sugar.
  8. You can store in an airtight container on the counter for a few days, or you can freeze cookies without icing sugar if storing for the holidays and then dust after fully defrosted.

Gay_Lea_Shortbread

Don’t forget that Gay Lea is holding a contest to see how people enjoy their favourite shortbread cookie! You can enter by sharing a photo on Twitter and/or Instagram with the hashtag #GayLeaShortbread showing how you enjoy your favourite shortbread.Three (3) winners will be chosen at random on December 1st, 2014. Participants will have the chance to win ONE of the following prizes: one (1) KitchenAid Stand Mixer or (1) of two (2) year’s supply of Gay Lea products! The contest ends November 30, 2014 at 11:59pm ET. Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unfortunately unable to participate. Full rules and regulations HERE. Participants must share one photo and include the hashtag #GayLeaShortbread to be considered. Winners will be selected randomly.

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Danielle Walker’s Slow-Cooker Beef Chuck Chili . . . with a super food-storage idea from Shape+Store!

beef_chuck_chili

Oh my word, this is the best chili I have ever made, and the perfect recipe for playoff Football season!  The recipe is from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Cookbook and it is amazing! My go-to chili recipe used to be my Slow-Cooker Turkey and Three Bean Chili which is fantastic, but I just can’t to seem to digest beans anymore and have not touched or made chili in a year (I know terrible, and even more upsetting for my poor husband who loves chili). This recipe however has a great depth of flavour and so good made with real chunks of good quality beef. Trust me hubby was really happy, and the good news for me is my tummy was very happy and did not fight me after eating it  : )

The recipe is only found in the cookbook (which I highly recommend along with her second book Meals Made Simple), but here is my very slightly adapted recipe to reflect products & product sizes found in Canada.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1.3 kg good quality beef chuck “stewing beef” – cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 red peppers, diced small
  • 1 cooking onion, diced small
  • 796 ml organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) no sodium added beef broth (organic if possible)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt . . . or you can use kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • Red onion, finely diced for garnish if desired
  • Fresh Cilantro for garnish if desired

Directions:

*Note: I prepped all but cooking the beef the night before and then just cooked off the beef and dumped all in the slow-cooker in the morning. You could also cook the beef ahead also, store in fridge overnight, and dump and go in the morning!

  1. Combine all spices in a bowl and set aside until ready to add to slow cooker (bay leaf through to red pepper flakes).
  2. Combine peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, beef broth and minced garlic in a bowl and set aside until ready to add to slow-cooker.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large 12″ skillet and cook beef until browned (about 10 minutes).
  4. Combine all ingredients (except chocolate) in your slow-cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
  5. After 6 hours and slow-cooker converts to warm setting, stir in chocolate and make sure incorporated well.
  6. Taste test and add salt if desired (original recipe calls for 3 tsp sea salt, but I only added 2 tsp figuring I could add more at the end if needed – and I did not).
  7. Serve garnished with red onion and cilantro (if desired) and with some good quality organic tortilla chips  for dipping and scooping! (I really like Kirkland Signature Que Pasa Organic Tortilla Chips which they sell at Costco).

Now to assist with storage after you have made this huge batch of chili I have to tell you about a fantastic product line from Shape+Store. I met with founder Maya Liberman who generously gave me her products to test out. Her products were also featured on Dragon’s Den Season 9 Epidode 1 so check it out! The Burger Master is a fantastic product for forming and freezing home made burgers, but guess what – it is also fantastic for freezing lots more! With 4 cups of storage room, the Burger Masters easily divided my 4 cups of chili into 8 equal easy to remove 1/2 cup portions (they just pop right out!). The Burger Master is also super easy to clean. Check out the awesome photos below  . . .

shapeandstore_chili

I honestly am totally impressed! I now have easy “chili pucks” ready to go in the freezer for lunches or easy to heat dinners. I especially love that they are measured portions and I know exactly how much 1/2 cup is. Since it is not quite burger season right now I was thrilled with the results with leftovers, and this will be a go-to for me for freezing. What a great xmas gift idea for the cooks in your family! Check out the Shape+Store website – as you will also see the “Smart Cookie” which I will be writing about next week  – a gem for Christmas cookie prep!

FINAL LOGO for web

Disclosure:  This post was written in partnership with Shape+Store to help spread the word about their product lines.  The opinions shared about their products are entirely my own.

 

 

Fun with Gay Lea at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair & Gay Lea Shortbread Contest!

I am excited to share with you that I was selected to be a Gay Lea Ambassador and as part of this great opportunity I was invited to attend the 2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. As part of the Fair Gay Lea provided their delicious butter for the Butter Sculpting Competition, with winners being judged today! I had a great time at the Fair and it was really fun to see the amazing butter sculptures. My favourite was The Town of Musicians of Bremen (after the folk tale) and is the top right photo below . . .

GL_RAWF

In honour of Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and as a proud supporter, Gay Lea is holding a contest to see how people enjoy their favourite shortbread cookie! You can enter by sharing a photo on Twitter and/or Instagram with the hashtag #GayLeaShortbread showing how you enjoy your favourite shortbread.Three (3) winners will be chosen at random on December 1st, 2014. Participants will have the chance to win ONE of the following prizes: one (1) KitchenAid Stand Mixer or (1) of two (2) year’s supply of Gay Lea products!

The contest opens November 7, 2014 at 12:00am ET and ends November 30, 2014 at 11:59pm ET. Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unfortunately unable to participate. Full rules and regulations HERE. Participants must share one photo and include the hashtag #GayLeaShortbread to be considered. Winners will be selected randomly.

Gay_Lea_Shortbread

Gay Lea will be giving away their own shortbread cookies at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, so if you are attending the fair on Sunday, November 16th they will have the chance to try out Gay Lea’s shortbread (using Gay Lea butter, of course!) during their “Christmas at the Royal” event. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 7 to November 16, 2014.

I had a great time at The Royal so be sure to check it out. It is especially a great event to take the kids to as there is so much to see and lots of animals.  I really enjoyed watching some of the judged horse events in the arena, as well as checking out all of the food vendors (of course!).

Also, stay tuned for my great family favourite shortbread recipe which I will be posting next week. I will be doing some baking this weekend and maybe some holiday decorating too!

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Quick & Easy Breakfast Quesadilla

break_quesa

Bored of your go-to breakfast? How about trying my delicious, quick and easy breakfast quesadillas? My 5 year old gobbled this up and loved dipping into the sour cream and guacamole (aka to her as “whackamole”). Mom and big sister enjoyed it very much too – very yummy! Big thumbs up from the kids. This would also make a great breakfast for dinner or brunch meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 flour tortillas (original 7″ size) or other small tortilla (gluten-free, etc.)
  • Coconut oil for greasing pans
  • 1 large egg (I prefer free-range organic) whisked with 1 tsp of water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of your favourite salsa (I am loving Neal Brothers Organic Medium Salsa lately – and they are an Ontario based company!)
  • 1/4 cup shredded light sharp cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole & light sour cream for serving
  • Cilantro to garnish (if desired)

cooking_quesa

Directions:

  1. On one side of the stove heat a non-stick 8″ pan to medium with a small smear of coconut oil on one burner, while on the other side heat a non-stick griddle pan (like my handy dandy Friddle) or a larger frying pan on medium heat that will fit your tortillas, also greasing with a smear of coconut oil so you can crisp your tortillas nicely.
  2. Pour egg mixture into pan and prepare egg as you would an omelette, pulling sides back to let uncooked egg underneath. When egg is about half done lightly combine in salsa and cook until set.
  3. Place one tortilla onto the greased griddle pan or frying pan and then slide omelette out carefully with a large spatula and onto the tortilla. Top with shredded cheddar and place the second tortilla on top.
  4. Once bottom tortilla has crisped (take a sneak peak underneath), flip over carefully and crisp the other tortilla.
  5. When both sides are crispy remove the quesadilla to a cutting board and let sit for 2 minutes before cutting.
  6. Slice into 4 equal wedges, and serve with sour cream and guacamole and garnish with cilantro.

 

Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea

chai_tea

I have really enjoyed experimenting with the products I received from Buy Coffee Canada so I couldn’t resist posting another recipe using Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup. Actually this recipe was thought of by my 8 year old daughter! She said to me on the weekend, why not try the syrup in tea so she could try some. Brilliant! So off we went to brew some chai tea (use your favourite brand – but Buy Coffee Canada also sells some too so check this out!). The tea was fantastic! Such a delicious combination that compliments chai tea so well. Give it a try!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Brew a cup of your favourite chai tea
  2. Add a little milk and 1-2 tsp of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup to suit your taste

BuyCoffeeCanada

Kraken Pumpkin Spice Coffee featuring Buy Coffee Canada Products

krakencoffee

I have recently had the pleasure to test some great products from Buy Coffee Canada, a direct to consumer e-commerce store offering fresh roasted coffee, syrups and teas. After receiving a box of products last week (which felt like Christmas morning to me!) including Torani Syrups (YUM!), fresh ground coffee (Kenya AA, Breakfast Blend & Mocha Java), a Perfect Pod EZ Cup System and some yummy chocolate covered espresso beans, I have been in coffee heaven all weekend!  Over the past few days I have been testing all of the products and have had great results including this yummy cold weather coffee treat with a kick (recipe is at the end of the post)!

I was really interested to test out the Perfect Pod EZ-Cup System in my Keurig vs the “My K-Cup” which I currently have but don’t use that often as I find it a bit fussy. Sincerely the EZ-Cup is so much easier as you just pop into your Keurig like a coffee pod vs having to remove the K-Cup holder and replace it with the My K-Cup. I truly have enjoyed using the EZ-Pod. Removal and cleaning is also a breeze which is a huge win for me. Below you can see all the parts and steps and my final delicious cup of Mocha Java Coffee.

EZCUP_Collage

I also tested out Buy Coffee Canada’s Breakfast Blend Coffee and added some Torani Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup and that was a delicious morning treat.

BreakfastBlend

Ok, well onto the main event which is a spiked-coffee recipe using Buy Coffee Canada’s Kenya AA Coffee and Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup. Trust me you will want one of these after a cold afternoon raking leaves or shovelling the driveway! It is also a perfect after dinner coffee to serve with dessert that is sure to impress your guests. My husband and I loved this!

Ingredients:

  • Buy Coffee Canada Kenya AA Coffee (using a Perfect Pod EZ Cup for Keurig)
  • 1.5 oz Kraken Spiced Rum
  • 2 tsp Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • 2 tsp half and half

Directions:

  1. Add Kraken Spiced Rum, Torani Syrup and half and half to a Coffee Mug
  2. Brew coffee (we used the small 7.25 oz setting on our Keurig as we like a stronger brew and it stood up well with the rum) into mug and stir to combine.
  3. Enjoy with some chocolate covered espresso beans!

Stay tuned for another recipe featuring Torani Syrup this Thursday, and I am working on some Christmas recipes using more Torani Syrups that Buy Coffee Canada have kindly sent me that are perfect for the holiday season!

BuyCoffeeCanada

 

Disclosure:  This post was written in partnership with Buy Coffee Canada to help spread the word about their product lines.  The original recipe and opinions shared about their products are entirely my own.