BBQ Candied Yams


Making our Thanksgiving a barbecued feast is one of my favourite memories when we get some gorgeous weather lasting into October here in Southern Ontario.

Our BBQ Turkey Breasts that we cooked in 2011 were one of our most memorable Thanksgiving meals, and probably the best turkey we’ve ever had. So in wanting to expand on what we could make on the BBQ for Thanksgiving, I created these delicious stuffed barbecued “candied yams”. Easy and delicious, I cooked and scooped the flesh from sweet potatoes, then mashed it with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground pecans then topped them with mini marshmallows that puff and brown gorgeously on the grill. Yes they were amazing! The look on my kids faces when they saw marshmallow topped sweet potatoes was priceless. We loved the flavour of the charred barbecued sweet potatoes with the toasty marshmallows – ooey gooey good!

Recipes serves 8 (increase quantities if serving more for Thanksgiving)


  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Approx 2 heaping cups mini marshmallows (approx 1/4 cup per sweet potato half – I used 20-25 mini marshmallows per potato half – so you will need about 160-200 mini marshmallows)


  1. To speed up prep and cooking time, precook potatoes in microwave on high for 20 minutes (my rule of thumb is 5 minutes per potato).
  2. Remove from microwave and seal each potato in foil for placing on the grill.
  3. Cook potatoes for 10 minutes on the barbecue.
  4. Remove potatoes from the barbecue and carefully open foil packages and create a foil “plate” that you will use to put back on the barbecue OR if you happen to have a grilling basket you can use that.
  5. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise creating 8 halves, and scoop out almost all the flesh into a bowl leaving a thin layer and the skins intact.
  6. Combine sweet potato with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans.
  7. Spoon mixture equally into the 8 skins.
  8. Top each potato with a layer of mini marshmallows (approx 20-25 per potato).
  9. Place potatoes back on grill for 7 minutes* or until heated through, and marshmallows have puffed and are slightly golden.
  10. Serve immediately and enjoy!

*Note: you can also make the potatoes baking and then finishing them off under the broiler to toast the marshmallows if you do not want to bbq.

#GayLeaMom After-School Cheese Kabobs


In the never-ending quest for fun but nutritious after-school snacks, I was able to create these cheerful kid-friendly cheese kabobs with the help of the great quality and delicious cheese products from Gay Lea!

Filled with fruit, cheese and some protein (extra lean turkey kolbassa and some salami from my favourite deli), these after-school kabobs are sure to make your kids smile as they fuel up to do their homework or get ready for their after-school activities.


For my kabobs I chose two different Gay Lea cheese productsIvanhoe Old Sharpe Aged Cheddar which is a high-quality aged cheddar that is creamy and delicious and Salerno Light Mozzarella a fine high-quality traditional Italian cheese.


  • Ivanhoe Old Sharpe Cheddar
  • Salerno Light Mozzarella
  • Your choice of protein – salami, kolbassa, turkey or ham
  • Your choice of fruit (grapes, strawberries, apples)
  • Dried Apricots (or other dried fruit that can fit on a skewer)


  1. Prepare kabob items by cutting cheese into cubes, washing and trimming fruit, and cutting meat (if needed).
  2. Assemble cheese, fruits and meat onto skewers of your desired length.

*These would also be great for parties or team snack duty, or for an adult version try some different charcuterie (spicy salami, prosciutto, etc. and some cured olives).


Now, to add to this delicious snack idea, I really couldn’t resist trying Gay Lea’s newest product – Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese. It has all the benefits of regular cottage cheese without the lumpy texture. Even better, is that one of the flavours is Salted Caramel, which is really, really good (My parents were actually raving about it having no idea that I had bought some myself!). Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese is also available in a Vanilla Bean flavour. Packed with 10g of protein per serving and only 110 calories, you can also add it your smoothies, shakes, cakes and muffins for a guilt-free enhancement (but really you are going to have a hard time not just eating it as is from the container!). Nordica Smooth comes in packages of 4x100g cups, making it a convenient, light snack to enjoy anytime, and makes a great lunch bag addition or after-school snack. The product is currently available in Ontario only at most major grocery stores, except No Frills and Walmart.


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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.

Slow Cooker Provençal Beef Stew


It’s that time of year when the cool Fall air starts blowing in, back-to-school, back-to-work, and after-school activities are now in full swing. This is when I get my slow-cooker back out onto the counter and into the weekly rotation of meal planning for my family.

In searching for a new and delicious recipe, I found an amazing array of ideas on The Slow Cooker Category on the Ricardo Cuisine website has 40 mouthwatering recipes to choose from, but the recipe that caught my eye was the Slow-Cooked Provençal Beef Stew. I had recently been reading a book based in Provence, and well I really couldn’t resist the description for this recipe . . . stewing beef cooked with pancetta, broth, red wine, olives, veggies and herbes de provence served over buttered tagliatelle pasta  . . . yum! If I wasn’t going to be in Provence any time soon, I at least wanted to eat like I was there!


So off I went to my local grocery store to pick up the easy to find items I needed (Ricardo Cuisine also has a handy Grocery List app on the website you can use, just sign up online!).


Start by layering the ingredients into your slow cooker – The cubed stewing beef, baby carrots, and potatoes.


Add the chicken broth and red wine. Then toss in the black olives and pancetta (no need to pre-cook, just toss it in raw).


Next is the farm fresh diced roma tomatoes, garlic and onion.


Finally season with herbes de provence, a bay leaf, a pinch of ground cloves and a hearty pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.


Give it a stir to mix up all of the ingredients then cook on high for 6 hours (this is the setting I chose), or low for 8 hours et voila, a beautiful Provençal Beef Stew!


Finally prepare your tagliatelle noodles by following the package directions. Mine cooked very fast (5-7 minutes). You could also choose to serve this over gluten-free noodles, rice or quinoa.

This recipe was easy to prepare, with all ingredients found in my pantry and at my local grocery store. Simply toss all ingredients into the slow cooker and enjoy the aroma that will waft through your house all day. My home smelled like I had been slaving all day on a spectacular authentic French meal, but the secret weapon of your slow cooker will make this amazing dish come together without much effort. Top with some parsley for a bit of flair, and add a bread basket of some lovely country loaf or baguette to serve with the stew for a perfect comforting family meal.


My Favourite Apple Recipes


I love this time of year, summer lingering, but cool Fall air coming, and of course apple season! I have a few favourite apple recipes, but honestly I have two that I make over and over again . . . my mouthwatering Authentic Polish Apple Fritters (which the recipe has been re-pinned +400 times on Pinterest!), and my Grandma’s Apple Cake, which tastes like apple pie and is so very good and easy to make too. I actually just made it again this weekend and we inhaled it!  Delish!

Since both these recipes are just so perfect, I really wanted to re-post and hope that you will try them both this Fall with your farm fresh apples.

Check out the recipes by linking to them below:

Authentic Polish Apple Fritters

Grandma’s Apple Cake


Salami & Rye Panini


Well how is everyone doing this back-to-school week? I am especially talking to all you mom’s everywhere! I know I am feeling some relief in being back to the regular routine. I can tell you that after a fun-filled summer with my darling daughters, I have been enjoying the past two days at home alone in silence. I have also been enjoying treating myself to some yummy creations, eaten at my leisure sitting down the entire time uninterrupted.

One of my favourite comfort foods is salami on rye. Being half Polish, a simple piece of great rye bread, with beautiful salami, a smear of mustard and some cheese and slaw is my happy place. So in celebrating back-to-school I decided to create a salami and rye panini filled with all of my favourite things . . . thin rye bread, perfect salami, sharp mustard, white cheese and some good Polish slaw (pickled salad). Now one of my favourite places to pick up some of these items is my local Polish deli (Euro Market Delicatessen in Burlington). I love looking around and selecting delicious canned goods, perogies, imported cookies and treats, paczki and cheesecake, as well as their assortment of deli items (which of course includes my favourite salami).

Combining all of these ingredients into a warm and toasty panini was delicious – warm and crispy, with sweetness from the slaw, saltiness from the salami, a bit of a kick from the mustard and SO melt in your mouth good! Hungry now aren’t you?


Recipe makes one panini, because I didn’t feel like sharing today : )


  • 2 slices of your favourite rye bread (I chose the thinly sliced Munich-Style Rye from Dimpflmeier)
  • Butter to taste on bread
  • 4 slices of salami (I like kaiser salami from my favourite Polish deli)
  • Your favourite sharp mustard (I love Honeycup “uniquely sharp” mustard)
  • A slice of mild white cheese
  • Polish pickled slaw/salad “salatka obiadowa firmowa” or sauerkraut
  • Pickles for serving



  1. Pre-heat your panini press.
  2. As your panini press heats up, assemble your sandwich by layering the rye with butter, salami, mustard, cheese, slaw and the second piece of bread.
  3. Grill your panini for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted and bread is grilled.
  4. Slice in half and serve with your favourite pickles.



Buttery Cornmeal Muffins with Cheddar & Scallions


I can’t believe summer break is nearing its end and the kids will be back to school in two weeks. However, the cool weather here in the GTA the past few days has certainly been reminding me of Fall and back-to-school! This past weekend my family went to the CNE in Toronto, another reminder that summer is coming to an end and that the official start of Fall is less than one month away. As we were walking along the mid-way the smell of the roasted corn filled the air and started inspiring me for my next #GayLeaMom post. As I commented to my family about how I loved the smell of the corn, my oldest daughter piped up and said “Mom why don’t you try making some corn muffins”? Well that was it and my inspiration for this post was born!


Gay Lea has a great spreadable butter that is made by taking traditional creamery butter and adding unsaturated canola oil to make it spreadable. It is not only great for spreading on bread or toast right out of the fridge, it also will bake up great in your favourite muffin recipe. Gay Lea Spreadables Butter has no preservatives, is a source of omega 3 and comes in Regular, Light & Cinnamon Brown Sugar.


Now I think I have found the perfect match for this delicious product, and that is in these buttery cornmeal muffins with cheddar and scallions. The blend of the Gay Lea Spreadables Butter with its colleague Gay Lea Sour Cream, makes these muffins moist and delicious. The addition of some sharp cheddar and scallions jacks up the flavour, and when you try these fresh out of the oven smeared with some more Spreadables Butter, your mouth will be in heaven I promise!

These muffins are great as snacks in school or work lunches, served as a side to your Fall chili, soups or stews (dunk away!), or even eaten with your morning coffee for a savoury snack. You can bake and store overnight, as well as freeze. Just reheat as these are best when slightly warm and schmeared with butter!  You can also choose to swap in your own flavour additions, just follow the quantity guidelines in the recipe. Have fun and try some cornmeal muffins this Fall, and don’t forget the Gay Lea Spreadables Butter!

Recipe makes 10 medium sized muffins.




  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a regular sized muffin tin with 10 medium sized paper muffin liners.
  2. In one bowl combine the buttermilk, egg and sour cream and whisk to combine.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold to incorporate.
  5. Fold in the melted butter.
  6. Finally fold in the grated cheddar and scallions.
  7. Using a large (3 Tablespoon capacity) cookie scoop, transfer one scoop of batter into each of the 10 muffin liners.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes until tops look firm and a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove from muffin tin and let cool for a few minutes on a baking rack.
  10. Eat warm with some more Gay Lea Spreadables slathered on top!


“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.”

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peaches wrapped in Prosciutto with Arugula


Well we have reached the final day of Peach Week 2015, and my last recipe is a mouth watering salad or appetizer that you must try this weekend! The combination of goat cheese with peaches and prosciutto is so good, and paired with spicy baby arugula and sweet balsamic glaze, your taste buds will be in heaven!


Recipe below is per serving.


  • 1 peach, halved with pit removed
  • 4 tsp of goat cheese
  • 2 pieces of prosciutto (depending on size – if prosciutto slices are larger you could choose to use half of one slice for each peach half)
  • 1 cup of baby arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher (coarse) salt & Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Balsamic glaze for finishing



  1. Place arugula on a salad plate. Drizzle with some olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Top each peach half with 2 tsp of goat cheese (my small ice cream scoop worked perfectly for this!)
  3. Wrap each peach half with a piece of prosciutto.
  4. Place each prosciutto wrapped peach slice on the arugula.
  5. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Tip: You could also create smaller portions by cutting peaches into quarters, topping with 1 tsp of goat cheese and wrapping in smaller pieces of prosciutto for bite size appetizers!