Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cranberry Apple Butter

I adore fruit butters.  Fruit butter is kind of like jam, only with a much more intense flavour.  The reason the flavour is so intense?  Fruit butter is cooked down for several hours (sometimes even overnight!) in order to achieve it's thick, condensed fruit flavour. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Homemade Turkey Stock

The day after a big turkey dinner (or chicken dinner for that matter) my hubby and I always like to make homemade turkey stock.  It's fairly easy to make, and is a great way to use up leftovers. The night of the feast we carve the bird, putting aside the turkey carcass for the next day.  You can use the turkey stock right away and make homemade turkey soup, or you can refrigerate or freeze it for later.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup

This recipe appeared in my local newspaper "The Hinton Voice" for my October column.  I write a monthly cooking column which is also titled "Cooking With Jax".  

[I hate mushrooms.  Or at least, I thought I did.  Ever since I was a little girl I’ve despised mushrooms in every way, shape, or form… that is except, cream of mushroom soup.  Now don’t get me wrong, I could never eat it on it’s own, just simply as soup.  I’ve always tolerated it in other recipes, like scalloped potatoes, beef stroganoff, or in a casserole.  It always had to be hidden by other things though, and never served on it’s own.  

A friend once told me that eating a mushroom was like chewing on an ear.  I have to say that’s the best description I’ve ever heard by far.  It’s not the flavour of the mushroom that I despise; it’s the rubbery, slippery, texture that always gets to me instead.  In fact, I came thisclose to aborting this recipe after feeling the slimy texture of the mushrooms while I was washing them!  I know what you’re thinking – why would I share a recipe featuring an ingredient that I hate?  Because dear readers, this is the recipe that changed the way I felt about mushrooms forever.

I’m not certain if it was the gorgeous looking portabella mushrooms staring at me from the grocery stores shelves, or the recent mushroom foraging class I took with a friend (you can never have too much zombie preparedness survival knowledge) but either way once I had it in my head that I wanted to try making mushroom soup, it was happening.  At the very least, I would use it to make stroganoff (that’s how I sold it to myself anyway).  I’m just as surprised as you are that the soup didn’t quite make it that far!  One taste to make sure the flavours were on track, and I was hooked.  I finished an entire bowl to myself and went back for seconds. If a self-proclaimed mushroom hater like me can love this soup, this recipe has got to be a keeper!]  

Recipe makes 4 servings

- 2 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 Portobello mushrooms 
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream


In a medium saucepan preheated over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter.  Sauté onions for 1-2 minutes, then add chopped mushrooms. 

Stir in garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked and onions are slightly translucent. Add chicken broth, and bring mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan set to medium heat, melt remaining butter (1 tbsp), then add flour.  Cook for 30 seconds or so, and then add milk 1 cup at a time.  Whisk constantly until milk comes to a boil, then stir it intp to the mushroom/chicken broth mixture.   

Finally, stir in heavy cream.

Optional: serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh parsley to garnish.

Nutritional Info (per serving)

Calories – 250   Fat – 15    Carbs – 14     Protein - 8   Fibre – 2


Monday, September 29, 2014

*** Flash Giveaway ***

Hi guys!  I've paired up with 12 other bloggers to bring you a Flash Giveaway starting at 8 am EST today!  

The Flash Giveaway is happening on my Facebook Page, so be sure to head over there ASAP as this giveaway will only last for 24 hours! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Newbies Guide to Navigating Seattle's Pike Place Market

I was recently in Seattle for the International Food Blogger's Conference (IFBC).   While I was there I had the privilege of visiting Seattle's famous Pike Place Market, one of the top rated farmer's markets in the world!  This was my second time visiting this phenomenal market, and along the way I managed to pick up a few observations I thought I would share! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Hi guys! I'm here again with this month's instalment of the column I write for my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice.  

[September is here, and with it – my favorite season of all time – fall.
Pumpkin spice lattes aside, it’s also the time of year when all of the hard work put in during the spring and summer gardening has finally come to fruition.  The first year I started gardening I planted the basics –tomatoes and carrots.  Easy beginner veggies that pair really well together for companion gardening. It took me a few seasons before I finally figured out how to grow edible tomatoes (now I can’t keep up with them all!) but carrots have always been something that I have found really easy to grow.  My grandparents live on Vancouver Island, a noticeably different growing climate than we have here.   Each year it’s always a race to see who has edible goodies in their garden’s first.  Generally most of the time my Gramps wins, but ever since the race began, my carrots have always been ready to eat first.   He generally plants his garden well before mine, but for the most part, my carrots always seem to come in first.  

A few seasons in I got wise and figured out how to stagger planting seeds a few weeks apart so that I have just enough carrots ready at a time.  These balsamic carrots are one of my favorite ways to use them, and make a great side for a weeknight roasted chicken or a Thanksgiving turkey feast.  The honey and sugar makes a sweet crust on the carrots, while the vinegar cuts the sweetness with a bit of sour and creates a glaze.   You can adjust the vinegar or sugars depending on if you like more sweet or sour, but I like this combination the best myself!]


Recipe makes 4-6 servings

- 12 or so medium, whole carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop the leafy tops off the carrots leaving about ½ an inch of the green on the top (you can cut the tops off if you like, I just like the aesthetic appeal that leaving a bit of green on the top gives – it also helps keep the carrots as fresh as possible until the very last second).

Scrub the carrots well, and then pat dry.  Place them on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and a few springs of fresh thyme if you have it.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the carrots are about 2/3 cooked.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by combining the vinegar, maple syrup or honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heating over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Alternately, you can place the ingredients in a microwave safe dish and heat for 30-60 seconds or so to get the same result.

Pour glaze over carrots and return to oven for a remaining 10-15 minutes, until the glaze is bubbling and the carrots are completely cooked. Stir the carrots immediately after removing them from the oven to coat them with the glaze – the glaze will thicken as it cools. 

Serve with a few more springs of fresh thyme.

Nutritional Info (1/6th of recipe)
Calories - 108   Fat – 2    Carbs – 22     Protein - 2   Fibre – 4

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