Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts? Yes Please!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

It’s the simple things in life that make me happy.  Like cutting up bacon with kitchen shears or how the light is perfect in my tiny kitchen at about 4:00 these days.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

We eats a lot of Brussels sprouts in the winter and adding bacon and walnuts to the mix is deeply satisfying.

cutting bacon into brussels sprouts

Start by turning on your oven to 350. Then wash your sprouts.  Chop of their ends and cut them all in half.  In a mixing bowl, add a few table spoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of lemon juice.  Next cut 5 pieces of bacon in and add 1/2 cup of  walnut pieces. Mix it all around and then pour it out on to a foil lined cookie sheet. Cook them for 30 minutes stirring once. It’s delicious and wintery and bacon just makes Brussels sprouts better.

Brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts


Monday, January 27th, 2014

Chopping purple Cabbage

Making Purple Cabbage Sauerkraut

Making Purple Cabbage Sauerkraut

Making Purple Cabbage Sauerkraut

Could it really be this easy? Seems so. After eating jars of sauerkraut in a single sitting, it’s time to start making my own. I just figured it was a huge undertaking but it seems you just chop your cabbage, add pickling salt, massage it all together and leave it on the counter for a few day.  I didn’t believe it until I saw it.

Here’s some useful info from the kitchn: and Kate Payne has good instructions over on edible Austin:

Pork Chops with Apples, Onions and Mushrooms

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Eating local in the dead of winter can have it’s challenges here in Ontario. That said, while we may not have strawberries we have plenty of Ontario apples, mushrooms grow year round, onions store well and we planned ahead this year and split a whole pig with friends ensuring a well-stocked freezer. When a gorgeous basket of Empire apples showed up on the door step from the Ontario Apple Growers I knew exactly what to make for dinner.


This recipe for pork chops and apples is Ryan’s favourite dinner these days.
We serve it with mashed potatoes and there are never any left overs.

Pork chops with Apples, onions and cider

2 pork chops
2 yellow onions
3 large empire apples, cored and sliced into thick wedges
8 small mushrooms cut in half
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2 table spoons unsalted butter
1.5 cups/1 bottle of hard apple cider

Brining pork in apple cider

We brine our pork first which ensures we never have a dry chop.  Loosely following Shana’s brining instructions I combine more apple cider, juniper berries and salt along with some thyme and a bay leaf.  Depending on how organized I am, I aim to brine the pork in the fridge first thing in the morning but have done it for as little as one hour.

When it’s time to make dinner, preheat the oven to 350° and remove the pork from the brine, give it a quick rinse and pat dry.  Then sprinkle them generously with coarsely ground salt and pepper.

Heat a cast iron frying pan on high heat for a few minutes, you want a really hot pan to start. Add the olive oil and butter. lay the pork chops in and wait 5 minutes without touching them to ensure a nice sear.

Chop apples and onions

Chop your onions, apples and mushrooms while the pork is searing.

Flip your chops and add the apples, onions and mushrooms and cook them on the stove top for another 10 minutes until the apples and pork have browned. Stir occasionally, adding the cider 5 minutes in.

cast iron

Transfer the pan to the oven for another 15 minutes. Check pork temperature with meat thermometer and remove from oven when it reads 140°.

Serve with apple, mushroom and onion mixture over mashed potatoes.

Pork Chops in cast iron


Protein Packed Mashed Potatoes with Cottage Cheese

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Mashed Potatoes with Cottage Cheese

I’ll admit, I barely know what cottage cheese tastes like. I buy it, put it in the fridge, and then my husband sits down and eats the whole tub with a spoon. In order to share this recipe I had to sneakily buy and mash potatoes during a baby nap. If Ryan had the chance he would have stolen the cheese with no regrets.

Good thing he didn’t, since I really needed to make mashed potatoes.  Chunky, cheesy, mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes with Cottage Cheese

We are constantly in search of protein around here, I’m not sure why but I especially find my daughter and I are happier the more protein we have. With 30 grams of protein per cup, cottage cheese in the mashed potatoes is an easy way to sneak a little extra into our meals.


This month, along with other participating sites, we’ll be giving away a Breville Die-Cast Hemisphere Blender valued at $329.99

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We’ll also be giving away 1 year of free Nordica Cottage Cheese (12 coupons for free Gay Lea product) to one reader

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Readers may enter across all participating blogs and may win on a single site. Open to Canadians, excluding Quebec.

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

Baking with Littles

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013


I’m a perfectionist, but far from perfect. I often over commit and am terribly ambitious. I’m working on it.

However, baking with a band of little girls is a whole lot of fun and is not nearly as ambitious as it looks. And hey! If you’re going to trash the kitchen you might as well invite a few friends and have a good time.

3 Girls & Cookies

After 4 years of coming up with schemes that involve kids in chef hats making me cookies, here are a few things I’ve figured out.

Measuring is really fun but is best done one on one. This way you can watch, teach fractions and keep things relatively precise. I often pre-measure and leave the cups on the counter so the littles can just pour them into the mixer.


Preparing ahead goes a long way. For this baking date Catherine made the beet powder ahead of time and I had the first batch of  sugar cookie dough in the fridge. Patience gets taught while the cookies are baking, anything else is pure torture and the opposite of cookies.

Extra hands make for easy work. Through the miracle of christmas vacations, we actually had a one to one adult to child ratio for this round and it meant we were all cleaned up in time for a hot lunch and the dads even had a home brewed beer.

3 Girls & Cookies_2
Keep it simple. This is absolutely the hardest part. I will admit, I was looking at french macaroon recipes. We choose momables awesome gluten free cookie recipe.

We like to bake and I’m planning of baking twice this season.  That’s it. We won’t get to make everything we want, but we will stay cheerful. On Christmas eve we’ll make another batch of short bread and possibly try a new cookie recipe and that’s it.

It’s important to use ingredients you actually like. Treats are treats. They should make you happy and not make your kids cry. Lots of junk isn’t going to improve your fun fun totally excellent baking experience. Kids just want to bake, they don’t need pile of candy to decorate with or 6 colours of icing. None of us can stand the effects of food dye on our kids so we used dehydrated beets to make cookies pink and red. On the flip side a lots of butter and a little sugar make everyone really happy so there’s no need to skimp.


Last but not least; Don’t cry over spilt milk. Or cracked eggs, or attempt egg white only recipes with small children.

Let me know how you bake with kids or what your favourite cookie recipe is  for a chance to win a year’s worth of Gay Lea butter. (Canadians only, excluding Quebec, contest closed December 24th)

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

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