Happy May Long Weekend! Marc was finally able to come home for a visit this weekend (he's living with my brother in Edmonton while he's in school - his 4th and final year of Electrical). It's his first time home in 6 weeks so we have been making the most of our weekend together.
Yesterday we had a really great day playing in the sun. We hiked the Sulphur Skyline in Jasper National Park (6 km of a straight incline, I am still feeling the burn a day later, while I write this.). The view was AMAZING - I can't wait to take this hike again.
After hiking in the mountains all day, we drove into Jasper and had dinner and drinks at a restaurant with a rooftop patio.
After hiking all day, we both had steaks on the mind so we each ordered a New York Steak with baked macaroni.
For dessert we went to The Fudgery in Jasper. This place is really great because you get to watch the candy makers creating the delicious masterpieces you are about to consume. It's also the first place that Marc and I met.
Back in the summer of 2000 when Marc was first living in Jasper, he was one of the candy makers at this very shop. One of my first jobs was also in Jasper, coincidently right next door. Fast forward a few years later to when we had started dating. We were having one of those "get to know you" conversations and discussing the fact that we both worked in Jasper the same year. Suddenly we put 2 and 2 together and realized who the other was. He was the cute guy I used to buy watermelon popcorn from after my shift, and I was the girl that his roommate (and fellow candy maker) Pierce had a crush on! Years later when he reconnected with Pierce, he told him that he ended up marrying "that cute girl from Jasper". Now, every time we go into Jasper together, we make sure to stop at The Fudgery and pick up some candy.
I love how they name the candy after the beautiful nearby scenery "Mountains, Ice Fields, Glaciers, Iceburg..."
After we snacked on our candy we texted a couple of friends and made plans to meet up at Miette for a soak in the mineral filled hot springs. We ended the night completely relaxed - needless to say after all that fresh air we both had a great night's sleep!
Today while Marc gets some homework done, I plan on catching up on some work (though I would hardly consider gardening, writing, and studying my wine's hard work! Sounds like the perfect way to spend a Sunday to me! :)
So tell me, how are you spending your long weekend?
Here is my recipe for May that was published in last week's The Hinton Voice (my local newspaper).
I was a teenager I used to make "homemade" corn chowder by combining
a can of cream of chicken soup with a can of creamed corn. It was quick,
easy, and in my teenage opinion, tasted great.
Corn chowder is still one of my favorite kinds of soup, and I make it
often - though now I’ve traded in cans of pre-made items for fresh ingredients.
key to any good soup is sautéing the vegetables first.This not only deepens the vegetables flavors,
it also cuts down on the overall cooking time by enabling the vegetables to
cook faster.I’ll never forget the time
I tried to skip this step and boiled the vegetables directly in the creamy base
instead.It was during my husband and
I’s early days of marriage and we had invited all of my in-laws over for dinner
(of course this couldn’t have happened while we were dining solo).The last time I made soup for company it was proclaimed,
“the best soup they had ever had” so I was fairly confident that another soup
would be well received. I was in a bit
of a hurry so I figured I could just boil the veggies in the milk and call it a
day.Worst. Idea. Ever.No matter how long I cooked the soup, the vegetables
just wouldn’t turn soft.I turned the
heat up too high and ended up completely burning the soup (at least the
vegetables were cooked though!).This
wouldn’t have been so bad if I would have noticed before I had already served
everyone.By the time I took my first
bite, everyone had already started eating.The second the burnt soup hit my lips I was instantly mortified. Being
the kind people that they are, no one said anything to me and just politely continued
to eat their dinner.Needless to say, no
one went back for seconds and I’m pretty sure I saw someone devouring the
remainder of the extra toppings that were sitting on the table. To this day my
sister in law swears she doesn’t remember the time I burned the soup. My theory
is that it was so awful she may have perhaps blocked it from her memory (either
that or she is still just being really polite about it).
now you know why I am always sure to sauté my veggies first whenever making
soup.I am happy to report using this
method has enabled the soup to turn out every single time, and now as a rule I always
try a quick taste before I serve anything to company.]
- - ½ cup crumbled
- - 1 tbsp butter
- - 2 lbs baby red
potatoes (or 4 medium)
- - ½ onion, chopped
- - 4 ears of corn
(or 3 cups frozen)
- - 2 cups chicken
- - 3 cups milk
- - salt & pepper
- - fresh chives, for
Pre-heat a large saucepan over medium heat and fry
chopped bacon.Set cooked bacon aside,
and wipe out pan with paper towel.
Chop potatoes into small cubes and sauté in butter until
lightly translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
Add chopped onions and corn, cooking until onions are
tender. Stir in broth and milk, and bring
to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.Turn down heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until soup
has thickened to desired consistency.
Add salt & pepper and garnish with chives and reserved
I was delighted a few weeks ago when Manitoba Harvest sent me an package of their delicious hemp hearts to try and share with my readers! [Instructions on how to enter to win are at the bottom of this post]
For as long as I can remember, hemp hearts have always been a staple in my pantry. They make a great addition to any dish and pack an whopping 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons! Since I don't eat a ton of meat in my diet, and hate the taste of protein powder, hemp has always been a easy way for me to get the extra protein my body needs. For breakfast I often have a slice of toast with peanut butter and hemp seeds with a glass of milk. I also love sprinkling hemp on yogurt, oatmeal, or salads, and even into baked goods.
I've been wanting to make a raw vegan brownie for awhile now and these brownies do not disappoint! Not only do they taste great, but they are also great for you. If you're a chocolate lover like me, these are the perfect snack when you are craving something sweet and don't want the added sugar.
I had one before my morning walk today and they gave me a ton of energy! I can see these being a new energy bar staple in my bag from now on!
To win your very own 8 oz bag of hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest, simply comment on the post below and tell me what you would use your package of hemp seeds for! Contest ends May 4th, 2013. Open to Canada and US residents only.
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 2 cups unsalted cashews
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp water
- pinch of of sea salt
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts (reserve 2 tbsp for topping)
Combine everything but the hemp hearts in a medium food processor and pulse until smooth.
Fold in hemp seeds and press into an 8" x 8"pan.
Sprinkle with reserved hemp seeds and place in fridge until firm.
[Spring is in the air! After what feels like an incredibly long winter
season, spring has finally made it’s appearance. I love this time of year – warm sunshine and
happy people everywhere. Of course with
spring being the precursor to summer, it’s only going to get nicer from here on
out (except for the occasional foot or two of snow we sometimes randomly get in
the middle of spring – you know it will happen!).
I wanted to make a cheerful spring dessert the other
day and cherries are one fruit that always remind me of spring.I love both the smell of the beauty of cherry
blossoms, and of course the delicious cherries that follow and are so plentiful
in the summertime.If you’re not a fan
of cherries, you can easily substitute the filling for any type you like
(blueberry, lemon, and even pumpkin are also favorites in our house).
These bars remind me of the kinds that you can find at
most bakeries and sandwich shops.They
are quite similar to date squares, only with a gooier center. They are super easy to put together and call
for common ingredients that you likely already have on hand - making them an
ideal last minute dessert.
In addition to keeping well after they are baked, these
bars also freeze really well. Just pop
them out of the freezer the night before you need them so they are good to go
the next day.Because they store so
well, they also make for a great dessert to pack for picnic lunches, take on
camping trips, or bring to BBQ’s and other get-togethers.Always a crowd pleaser, I haven’t come across
a person yet who doesn’t enjoy these bars as much as we do.]
- 2 ¼ cups oats
-2 ¼ cups flour
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups butter, melted
- 1-540 ml can of cherry pie
oven to 350 degrees.
all of the ingredients except the cherry
pie filling together in a large bowl until well combined.
mixture into two equals halves.Press
the first half of the mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan. Place the other half of
the mixture in the fridge.Bake the
first half for 20 minutes.
the filling evenly over the baked crust.Evenly crumble the remaining crust over the filling and bake for an
additional 30 minutes.
This week has been extremely hectic around our house.
Marc started a new job that requires him to work 17 (12 hour) days on, 4 days off. Since I've been busy teaching evening courses the past few months (and also taking a few classes myself) there hasn't been a whole lot of time for cooking in our house. Because my weekdays are so busy, I think it's really important to take the time on weekends to prepare a nice meal, and if I'm feeling extra ambitious, a few extra meals to get us through the week.
Lasagna is a great choice for a make ahead meal because it's really easy to prepare and freezes extremely well - it also happens to be Marc's favourite food! I could probably make lasagna every day of the week and he wouldn't complain.
I used whole grain pasta this time around and since I already had the ingredients on hand, I went with with the lasagna recipe on the back of the box. To go with the lasagna I made this garlic toast with a caesar salad and even enjoyed a few glasses of red wine! After dinner, we ended up staying in and renting a new comedy that just came out - the perfect way to end a busy week!
If you are interested in learning more about whole grains be sure to check out this website, which is full of great information!
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, though all opinions are my own.
First and foremost, Happy St. Patrick's Day! I always love when holiday's fall on a Sunday blog post. :)
My husband and I have both been working a ton lately making it difficult to co-ordinate dinners. I took advantage of my weekend off to make a few make ahead meals for the week. Shepard's Pie usually makes an appearance on our dinner table at least once a month or so, and seeing as how today is St. Patrick's Day and this dish is Irish, I thought it would be the perfect day to share this recipe!
- 1 lb ground lamb (or ground beef)
- 1/2 onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth, divided
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp worchetsire sauce
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3 large potatoes
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup mozza cheese*, shredded (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Pre-heat large frying pan and cook meat over medium heat. While meat is browning, dice onions and carrots - add to cooked meat.
Pour 1/2 cup cold broth into a small bowl and whisk in flour. Add to meat mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add worchestire sauce, frozen peas, and salt and pepper. Evenly distribute mixture into a medium casserole dish or 4 individual ramekins.
Peel potatoes and boil until soft (about 8-10 minutes). Add butter and milk to potatoes and whip until as smooth as possible. Top meat filled ramekins with mashed potatoes and fluff with fork.
Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.
[I was at a recent event where I was served a delicious salad dressed with a lovely homemade balsamic vinaigrette. A few people amongst our table commented on how they could never figure out how to put together anything but a basic salad, let alone a homemade dressing to go with it. We got to talking about our favourite flavor combinations and the amount of unpronounceable preserving agents in most store bought dressings. Sure enough, before the meal was over I promised I would try and come up with a flavourful salad and a healthy dressing for them to try making in their own kitchens.
I’ve always really enjoyed the contrast between the natural sweetness of strawberries, the bitterness of spinach, and the creamy, saltiness of feta.Straight spinach would also make an ideal bed for this recipe, though I really enjoy the variation of flavors that a mixed blend brings to the table (plus to be honest, that’s what I already had in the fridge).
When I first started researching recipes for a homemade dressing, I was surprised at how many recipes called for a ton of sugar and oil (one recipe even went as far as calling for a cup of each!).I knew there had to be a healthier way so I set out to my kitchen and experimented with a few different ingredients until I came up with what I think is the perfect combination for this salad.
This recipe makes a great appetizer, though paired with some grilled chicken and a sprinkle of toasted nuts and this salad could easily hold it’s own as a main course.
*To toast nuts, either sauté them in a frying pan over medium heat, or place on a baking sheet in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes until lightly brown.Almonds, pecans, or pine nuts would all go really well with this salad.]
- 2-3 cups mixed greens
- 2-3 medium strawberries
- 4-5 thin slices of sweet or purple onion
- 2 tbsp crumbled Feta
- 4 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 ½ tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or ½ tsp minced)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
Slice up strawberries and arrange them on top of a bed of greens.Sprinkle on onion, then crumbled feta.Pour on dressing, then top with toasted nuts and chicken if applicable.
Mix all of the ingredients together.I like to make and store most of my homemade sauces and dressings in a mason jar – just screw on the lid and give it a good shake.Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Nutritional Info (entire salad with ¼ recipe dressing) -