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family meals

flourless sugar free brownies

Flourless Sugar Free Chocolate Brownies

EAT, eat, family meals By January 11, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

You’ll have no dessert guilt after indulging in these flourless sugar free chocolate brownies!

Ingredients:
· 1 (14 oz) can of
black beans, rinsed and drained
· 2 large eggs
· ½ cup cocoa powder
· ¾ cup Xyla
· ½ teaspoon oil
· 1 tablespoon milk
· 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
· ½ teaspoon baking powder
· ½ teaspoon baking soda
· ½ teaspoon of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee
· ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (xylitol chocolate to make them completely sugar free, or omit chocolate and use all walnuts)
· ½ cup walnuts (or any nuts of your choice

Directions:
– Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
– Blend the black beans, eggs, cocoa powder, Xyla ® xylitol, oil, almond milk, balsamic, baking soda, baking powder and coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl. You can also do this all by hand if you don’t have a blender. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts at the end. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. You can also sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top.
– Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.

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How to make organic canned tomato sauce

EAT, family meals By October 27, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

After my successful trip into British Columbia’s Okanagan region, I got the ‘bug’ to preserve and can all of the produce I possibly could. Because, well, zombie apocalypse. Or simple healthy organic food that doesn’t need refrigeration or freezing! The 90 pounds of roma tomatoes I purchased from Covert Farms yielded 16 1 litre jars of organic canned tomato sauce.

Organic Canned Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

35 to 46 lbs roma-style tomatoes
14 Tbsp bottled lemon juice
Salt
Sugar (optional)

Organic tomatoes for canning

Prepare the jars and lids:

Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars, lids and rings in gently. Boil for 4 minutes and remove with the tongs, placing them on a wooden cutting board.

Peel and core the tomatoes:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large cooler of ice water at the ready. Gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for 60 seconds. Remove with a strainer and transfer them to the ice water. Once cool, the skins should peel off easily. I reached into the cooler with sleeves rolled up and did this job with my hands, easily removing both the cores and skins.

Prepare the sauce:

Tomato Canning Ice Bath
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them to a large stockpot. Place stockpot over medium-high heat, crushing and stirring the tomatoes to keep from burning. Continue until all the tomatoes are added and crushed. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low boil. Reduce to the desired thickness, by a third for a thin sauce, or by half for a thick sauce. For a fine, smooth sauce you can blend in a Vitamix in batches.

Fill and close the jars:

Add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt to each jar; add a teaspoon of sugar to offset the added acidity if desired. Use a ladle to pour the sauce into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. Run a clean chopstick around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.

Seal the jars:

Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner, taking care to keep them vertical. When all the jars are in the canner, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 40 minutes.

Remove and cool:

Using canning tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack, again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately.

Label and store:

Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.

 

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McCafé at Home in Your Kitchen

EAT, snacks By October 16, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

McCafe at HomeThere’s a joke in my house about me not being a morning person. But it goes further than that. I’m so groggy in the morning that I probably should have padded walls in the hall and a bathrobe made of bubble wrap so that I don’t hurt myself on the way to the coffee maker. Unless I make it the night before I always measure wrong. One friend laughed and told me it was ‘simply’ the miles to kilometers ratio for portioning coffee to water. That didn’t help much.. If I had a few million dollars I wouldn’t hire a cleaning lady or a chef. I’d hire somebody to place my coffee beside the bed in the morning so that I could wake to the scent and avoid EMI – early morning injury.

Morning Person McCafeWhen McCafé first launched I had the opportunity as an all-access-mom to work behind the counter at a McDonald’s restaurant where I could act professional and run the barista machine. Incredible. Perfect every time (it was the machine), full of flavor and float-on-a-cloud aromas. I got slightly addicted. But then I ran into the issue of having to jump in my car in the morning in a half-awake state in order to reach the drive-thru for coffee. Not a wise move. The last time I tried I drove over my purse whilst backing up. I remember at university McDonald’s used to deliver to our residence. MMMM. Can you imagine fresh-brewed McCafé in the morning delivered all steamy and rich after you’ve been up all night writing a paper?

Though I still do a fair amount of last-minute writing, pigs can’t fly and I’m no longer in a university residence, but a thrilling coffee solution has fallen into my kitchen. McCafé is now sold in every major grocery retailer in Canada. To keep in your pantry! McCafé at HOME! In Canada, 65% of coffee is consumed in the home. I suspect that stat is about to go up… And if you have a fancy coffee maker you’re still golden – it comes in K-Cup, Tassimo T-Discs, or Ground. BOOM.

Now if McDonald’s could just teach my kids the miles to kilometers ratio…

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7-Hour Smoked Beef Ribs with Kale Mashed Potatoes

EAT, family meals By July 29, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 13 Comments

This is a perfect long weekend meal, and one where the kids can join in to develop a passion for the grill! We used a smoker but a similar result can be achieved on a BBQ. The kale mashed potatoes are full of anti-oxidants and a great way to add a healthy kick to this summer meal. The 7-hour smoked beef ribs can be prepped long in advance so you have lots of leisure time to relax with friends and family as the smoke wafts through the air. Can you smell them? (P.S. Don’t count on leftovers!)

Clubhouse LaGrille7-Hour Smoked Beef Ribs

2 lb (1000 g) beef ribs
6 tbsp (90 mL) Club House La Grille Steakhouse Onion Burger Seasoning
Dash Salt and Pepper
1 cup red wine
6 tsps (28 mL) McCormick Gourmet Rosemary leaves (or fresh if available)
3 cups water
6 chunks of rum barrel pieces (purchase at a BBQ shop to add even more flavour)

7 Hour Smoked RibsMethod:

1. Soak the rum barrel wood chunks in water for 30 minutes.
2. Rinse and pat the beef ribs until dry.
3. Have the kids wash their hands well and let them do the rub, ensuring that the Club House La Grille Steakhouse Onion Burger Seasoning gets into ever nook and cranny of the ribs.
4. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper.
5. Prepare your coals by heating in a smoker chimney. *If using a BBQ, wrap the soaked wood chips in tinfoil and place a metal bowl of water on the upper rack.
6. Mix the wine, water and rosemary in a stainless bowl (it comes with your smoker).
7. When coals are heated, place them in the bottom of the smoker and place the bowl of liquid on the rack directly above the coals.
8. Place ribs on the grill and smoke consistently for 6-7 hours. If you open the lid to check the coals or water, place lid back on quickly. **The goal is to keep the temperature at 225 degrees Celsius.

Firestarter For the Smoker Chimney

I learned this trick as part of the Girl Guides of Canada and it’s a great activity for the kids.

1. thoroughly wash a small tin can (we used a tuna can from our recycling).
2. Cut long strips of cardboard to the same height as the tin and roll them until they fit tightly into the can.
3. Using a candle or paraffin, drizzle wax on top of the edge of the corrugated cardboard.
4. Place 2-3 birthday candles into the folds. We added lavender for the scent as well.
5. Light your firestarter underneath coals in the smoker chimney. After 15 minutes your coals should be ready to place in the smoker.

Firestarter and Garlic Kale Potatoes

Kale Mashed Potatoes

6-8 potatoes
2 large kale stalks
2 T butter (30 mL)
2 T milk (30 mL)
1 tbsp (15 mL) Club House La Grille Steakhouse Onion Burger Seasoning 

1. Peel and boil the potatoes
2. Finely chop kale leaves
3. Once potatoes have boiled 25 minutes, drain and mash.
4. Add kale, butter and milk.
5. Stir and cover. The kale will slowly warm with the heat of the potatoes and retain nutrients.
6. To serve, sprinkle with Club House La Grille Steakhouse Onion Burger Seasoning (and drizzle with extra butter if you’re in our house!!)

So… have you ever had an amazing flavour discovery during exotic travel? A hugely successful dinner party where every attendee begged for a recipe? Or maybe you have a family ‘secret’ dish that combines a few odd flavours and always strikes a home run.

Do tell !!

Disclosure: This is a campaign sponsored by Club House. All recipes and anecdotes are our own.

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