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family dinners

6 iPad Recipe Apps and Accessories for Thanksgiving

apps, GEAR By September 20, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Thanksgiving iPad AppsWe know you’ve done it: spilled flour/milk/grape jelly on your iPad while trying to follow a recipe.  This Thanksgiving, spend more time on the table decor and less on futzing around with recipe books by getting technical.  There are a few things you’ll need, but we guarantee you’ll become hooked.  Not only will you want to spend all your time trying new things in the kitchen, but your prowess will win over the hearts and health of the family.  We’ve got 6 iPad recipe apps and accessories that will make your Thanksgiving dinner easy-peasy. Ready?

1.  An iPad.  Not that you don’t have one already.  But if you don’t (or have a hankering for the latest)… the fourth generation iPad has a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display perfect for viewing digital recipes and cookbooks as well as video tutorials. And with it’s advanced dual-band Wi-Fi you can download and stream content at remarkable speeds.  Not that you’re watching Real Housewives while you cook or anything.

2.  This is the best ever for those of you who cover your screen with ingredients. Protect your iPad with Chef Sleeve’s Disposable Sleeves. chefsleeve.com 

3.  Get Appy.  Apps, not appetizers.  These are some favourites:

a) Shopping List Free Universal (Free)  Sort your items into store departments and organize your shipping trip!

b) GrocerySmart Universal (Free)  Sync and share lists across multiple users and devices.

c) MealGuru iPad ($3.99) MealGuru transforms your iPad into a mobile meal planning solution capable of whipping up deliciously healthy dinner ideas for every day of the week.

d) MealBoard Universal ($2.99) MealBoard combines recipe management, meal planning, groceries and pantry management into a single app. 

e) Evernote Food Universal (Free) Discover and save delicious recipes and amazing restaurants, add photos, notes and location to remember your food and experiences and share with your friends via email. Twitter and Facebook.

f)  Big Oven Universal (Free) The most complete cooking tool for getting inspired and organized in the kitchen and on-the-go. Take 250,000+ recipes wherever you go.

4.  Be a stand up chef.  Williams-Sonoma Smart Tools Kitchen Stand for Tablets is a must have.  And while you’re at it you may as well order some new Vitamix accessories, a new chef’s knife, Thanksgiving decor…..

5.  No counter space?  Attach your iPad directly onto the fridge with the minimalist-inspired Belkin fridge mount.  Space-age.

6.  Want to write down recipe modifications or create your own?  Geek out with the Cube – Bluetooth Laser Projected Keyboard.  (PS. It’s on sale).

We’ll also be publishing lots of hearty Thanksgiving recipes, so feel free to bookmark our recipe section on your iPad too.

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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A Back to School Goal: Exciting Family Dinners

EAT, family meals By August 21, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

exciting family dinner plansSummer is so great.  Salad from the garden.  Beach dinners prepackaged at the grocery store.  The 2 for 1 Tuesday Whole Foods pizza deal.  Thankfully there are berries in the garden because I’ve been pretty lax on feeding my family interesting, well-balanced dinners.  A goal I always implement for September is to get life back on track after a summer of fun.  This year at the top of my list for back to school is exciting family dinners.

I wouldn’t say that I’m in a meal rut – I love to cook and develop recipes and experiment.  I’ve just been (gasp) lazy this summer.  Lazy and tired.  So the thought of a meal plan that forces me to experiment is quite exciting.  The plan should eliminate stress, save money at the store and get the kids excited for what is to come.  Mexican has always been a favourite of the family – making our own tacos to assert our personalities and experimenting with spices, meats and fresh ingredients to excite the tastebuds.  (Food fights optional).

weekly meal plan

So when I created this plan, I’ve slotted in two Mexican-inspired nights.  As an ambassador I’ll be developing recipes using Old El Paso dinner kits.  I promise to be creative and share our new recipes on UrbanMommies and Pinterest. In the meantime head over to the Old El Paso Facebook page and see how they’re experimenting. Happy eating amigos!

What recipes would you like to see in each of our nightly categories?

Disclosure – I am participating in the Old El Paso Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills, and received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Summer BBQ tips

A Chef’s Summer BBQ Tips

EAT, entertain By August 2, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Summer BBQ TipsJust in time for a long weekend, we have a special treat for you: a chef’s summer BBQ tips!  Chef Tom Filippou, Executive Chef President’s Choice Cooking Schools has given us an exclusive interview about the current trends and tips in BBQ.  Here he talks overcooking, smoking, menus and marinades.  Enjoy, and feel free to extend a dinner invitation to our team…  Have a great long weekend!

1.  What are this summer’s current trends in BBQ?

I would say that one of the hottest trends right now is incorporating traditional North African spices and flavours into your foods.  We’ve just introduced our PC black label harissa spice blend that is a Moroccan seasoning blend of crushed hot red chilies, cumin, ground caraway, coriander, garlic, sea salt and spearmint leaves adds a bold and slightly smoky kick to stews, grains and vegetable dishes. Not only can you use it to season your meats, but it also becomes a condiment when blended with olive oil to make a thick paste which is a really unique way to spice up your burgers or chicken.

Also, a fairly new trend that we’ve really been a bit of a trendsetter in is grilling cheese on the barbecue.  For example, we have a great mild-tasting Mediterranean-inspired PC Halloom Cheese that is great for the grill because it resists melting, holds its shape and great to add to kebabs, summer salads and sandwiches. Also, one of my favourite new foods this summer is our PC Cedar Plank Brie. The wood protects the double-cream Brie from the flames while the smoke imbues it with flavor. It even comes with our PC Memories of Tuscany Sauce  that adds sweet and tangy notes to the creamy cheese. Both of these are really unique foods to offer your guests and I think we’ll start to see more and more cheese on the grill.

Lastly, slow cooking on the barbecue using smoking and indirect heat are always very popular every summer.

PC Cedar Plank Brie2.  How do you ensure that you’re not overcooking your meat and vegetables on the grill?

The number one thing to do to ensure that you don’t overcook anything on the grill is to be attentive. Be focused on what you’re doing, don’t get distracted by trying to make other foods at the same time in the kitchen.

Also, get to know your barbecue and find out the “hot spots” and “cool spots” on your barbecue, this will help prevent charring and burning.

Lastly, I always teach people to use the “touch method.” This is what most chefs are taught to use, especially with meat and chicken. When you touch the meat, the firmer it is, the more cooked or well-done it is. If the meat is softer or pliable, the more undercooked it is.

3.  People keep talking about smoking on the BBQ.  How do you do it and what flavours are your favourites?

This is my super simple way to do smoking….

1. Soak your wood or wood chips in water for at least an hour before your barbecue

2. Strain your wood or wood chips

3. Wrap aluminum foil around the wood and pop some holes in it to allow the smoke out

4. Put the wood on the barbecue and put the heat on very low

5. Place your meat on the wood

6. When the chips start smoking, close the cover of your barbecue and keep the cover down so the flavor from the smoke imbues the food

Tom’s tip: for even extra flavor, soak your wood or woodchips in bourbon or apple juice the night before.

 4.  If you’re doing an easy BBQ with friends, what is your typical menu?

I always tell people to use the barbecue as much as possible to keep you outside with your guests instead of inside the kitchen.

I like to start off by having some bite sized chicken or beef kabobs or a great skewer (like the one that uses our PC Halloom cheese with sundried tomatoes) to serve to guests to snack on when they arrive.

Or serving our PC Cedar Plank Brie with some pita crackers is also a great unique offering for your guests that they will love.

Another neat idea that I’ve served my guests before is barbecuing a pizza and slicing it up into bite sized pieces to serve as a mini appetizers to guests when they arrive.

In terms of a main course, it’s always great to serve a grand finale like ribs served with a great barbecue sauce like our PC Molasses, Brown Sugar and Bourbon Barbecue sauce. If you’re going to do ribs, use indirect heat and let them cook for an hour or so.

Also, something really interesting that I’ve been doing lately that kids and parents love is setting up a D.I.Y. burger bar. Serve a really popular burger such as our PC Free From Angus Burger (serve the PC Free From Mini Sliders for the kids) and then set up unique condiments in serving bowls instead of the usual ketchup and mustard. Our new PC Condiments such as our PC Kimchi Korean-style condiment, our PC Soffrito Relish or our PC Maple Mustard are great crowd pleasers and conversation starters.

5.  Meats: marinate or flavour injection?  Or neither?

This all depends on the cut of meat you’re using. The tougher the cut of meat (such as a flank steak or a sirloin) the more you should marinate. True marinading is used to breakdown the connective tissue found in tougher cuts of meat. For meat that has a lot of marbling, you don’t need any marinade (such as a rib eye or fillets). Chicken can be marinaded or grilled without, depending on your individual preference.

When choosing a marinade, make sure it has a citrus or vinegar base (these are best to breakdown the connective tissue) or try any of our premade PC Marinades.

These recipes and more are available at www.PC.ca. The President’s Choice items Chef Tom mentions are available at Real Canadian Superstore, nofrills, and Extra Foods locations.  Happy Grilling!!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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