Sunday, September 13, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert Ravioli

This post is sponsored by REESE Canada

You guys, I have great news!  Not only does REESE now make a spread that tastes exactly like a spreadable Reese's peanut butter cup (seriously, this is a thing!), it's now available in Canada!

If you're looking for a sweet, salty, decadent treat, then this spread is definitely for you.  Incredible on it's own, accompanied by your favourite cracker, pretzel, or cookie, (or really, just licked off of a spoon) this spread is downright dangerous to have in the kitchen.  So dangerous in fact, it should be hidden, so you don't accidentally eat it all in one day - it's really that good.

It also makes for the perfect filling and topping for the dessert ravioli I've had dancing around in my head for quite some time now - a product that serves two completely separate purposes in one recipe?  I think I'm in love!

Before we get to the actually recipe however (trust me, it's worth the wait) I have a bit of a funny story to tell you all today.

You see, the hashtag associated with this campaign is #DoYouSpoon.  Literally as soon as this campaign started appearing my friends started sharing it on social media and tagging me in it.  Why do you ask?   It all started 4 years ago, when I was interviewing for a contract.

The woman who was hiring me texted me to ask "what time can you come in today?" and I replied "I can be there soon if you like".  At least that's what I meant to text.  What actually sent was "I will be there to spoon if you like".  Cue the most embarrassing moment of my life.  After what seemed like an excruciating amount of time, but was only a few seconds, my potential new boss texted back "as long as I get to be the little spoon".  I knew right then and there we would get along just fine. How right I was, because 4 years later, I consider her amongst my very best friends!  Spooning has always been an inside joke between us, and needless to say this campaign rejuvenated it big time!  You can image how ecstatic I was when an opportunity to be a part of this campaign came my way!

Anyways, now that I've told you the most embarrassing moment of my life, I bring you back to the recipe:

Recipe makes 12 individual raviolis

- 1 recipe for pie crust (here's my Gramma's recipe!)
- 3/4 cup REESE's Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread, divided
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- flour, for sprinkling

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Roll out pie crust and cut into 1.5 inch squares. 

In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, and 1/2 cup REESE Spread.   Put 1-2 tsp into the centre of 1/2 the squares, then brush the remaining 1/2 of the squares with whisked egg (this will act as an essential glue to seal your ravioli together). 

Place an egg washed square over a filled square, pressing down lightly to seal the pieces together.

  Using a fork, crimp the outer edges of the ravioli (alternatively, you can use a ravioli stamp if you have one).

Place ravioli on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with the remaining egg wash.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the ravioli are golden brown. 

Spoon remaining (about 1/4 cup) REESE spread into a small sandwich baggie and cut off the tip.  Warm between hands, then drizzle on top of cooled ravioli pieces. 


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Garden Borscht

This recipe appeared as my September Column for my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice

[The first year I tried my hand gardening, I killed green onions.  Not only did I kill green onions, I killed THE green onions that my Grandfather passed on to me from the plants that his father had passed on to him (sorry about that Gramps & Great Gramps!).   Thankfully there were plenty more where that came from and I didn’t kill the only plants in existence (whew!). 

If you know more about gardening than I did at that moment (which is pretty much any knowledge of gardening whatsoever) you’ll realize that green onions are practically the easiest vegetable you can possibly grow.  In fact, you could likely plant them and forget about them and they would flourish on their own and take over your entire garden.   Somehow however, I still managed to kill green onions.

  The second year I tried gardening, not only did my green onions live, I was incredibly excited that I was also able to grow tomatoes (another fairly easy starter plant for the novice gardener).  Every year I learned a little bit more, through trial, and error, and several FaceTime sessions with my Gramps. Not only was I actually growing things, I started to get smart about the way that I planted my garden.  Last year I devoted an entire garden to salsa where I grew tomatoes, onions, cilantro, green peppers, and jalapenos.  This year I have a backyard garden filled to the brim with beets, carrots, green onions, and dill.

One evening after picking a fairly decent august bounty from this particular garden, I posted a picture on social media, commenting about how great it felt to be able to “go grocery shopping” in my own backyard that evening.  Someone mentioned that I had all of the necessary ingredients for borscht, and once that idea was in my head, there was no getting it out until I made it. 

While green onions don’t traditionally go in borscht, they certainly earned their place in this recipe – after all, I think we can all agree that I’ve put my green onions through entirely too much to exclude them.]

Recipe makes 8 servings

- 2 L beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups beets, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups cabbage, chopped
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 1 cup green onions, sliced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup dill, chopped
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- pepper, to taste
- sour cream to garnish

Bring broth and bay leaves to a boil over medium heat. 

Add beets, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage.

In a separate pan, sauté green onions and garlic in butter over medium heat. 

Add to broth along with fresh dill and tomato sauce.   

Continue boiling until veggies are soft.

Just before serving, stir in vinegar and brown sugar.

Pepper to taste, then garnish with sour cream and a few sprigs of fresh dill.

- Nutritional Info (per serving) -
Calories – 84    Fat - 2    Carbs – 15     Protein - 2   Fibre - 3


Monday, August 31, 2015

Yonanas Review & Homemade Banana "Ice Cream"

This post is sponsored by Yonanas. I received compensation in exchange for this post, though as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own, and I only work with brands that I would use in my own kitchen

I am a huge fan of sorbet, so when Yonanas offered to send one one of their machines to test out and share on Cooking With Jax, I was really excited at the idea of all the different kinds of frozen fruit treats I could make.

When the machine arrived, Marc's niece was visiting and we posted our adventures on Instagram.  We used straight up frozen mangoes with a splash of vanilla stirred in afterwards. It. was. amazing.  Both of us agreed that it was a much creamier texture than if we were to have used a blender, or even a food processor.

What I liked the most about it was that we could have a sweet treat without any added ingredients like processed sugars.  Marc's niece, who is lactose intolerant, could enjoy a creamy, frozen dessert without worrying about dairy.  Even if you're not a fan of bananas,  pretty much any variety of fruit will work with the machine.

 After using this product several times in the past couple of weeks, here are my five favourite tips for optimizing your Yonanas machine! 

The machine itself was easy to use, clean, and relatively small to store - I would definitely recommend Yonanas as a great way to make an inexpensive, easy, and healthy allergen friendly treat! 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Homemade Iced Tea

This recipe is my column contribution to The Hinton Voice's July 2 Edition. 

I am writing this in the midst of a heat wave, on the warmest day of the year so far.  Needless to say I couldn’t possibly imagine using my stove in this weather, much less heating my house up with the oven! As a result, most of the recipes I’m making these days are of the no cook/serve cold variety.

During said heat waves (and most summer days for that matter), keeping cool and well hydrated is essential.  Homemade iced tea really does the trick on both counts.  Not only is it cool and refreshing, it’s also really easy to make from scratch. In less than 20 minutes from start to finish, you can be enjoying a nice cool refreshing glass of iced tea too. Not a fan of lemon in your iced tea?  Simply omit or swap out the lemon for your favourite fruit (peach tea is another favourite in my house!) or garnish with a sprig of fresh mint instead.  

If you want a sweeter tea, something more along the lines of traditional Southern Sweet Tea, simply add more sugar to taste.  I’ve seen recipes that call for up to a 1 cup of sugar for the same quantity of water that’s in this recipe, though I find 1/3 of that amount just right for me.

If it’s a hot summer’s day, be sure to make a double batch!  For a more adult beverage, add vodka to the mix, or pour into popsicle molds for a cool summer treat!

[Sweetened iced tea first gained it’s popularity in the early 1900’s as an item of luxury amongst the wealthy due to how expensive tea, ice, and sugar were at the time. The very first known recipe for iced tea was published in 1879 in a cookbook called “Housekeeping in Old Virginia” by Marion Cabell Tyree, a resident of Texas.  The original recipe called for green tea, though now most iced tea is made with black tea, most commonly Orange Pekoe.]

Recipe makes 2 Liters (8 cups)

- 3 Orange Pekoe tea bags
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup sugar (or honey)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 4 cups ice
- 1 lemon (optional)

In a 1 L mason jar (or another container that can withstand boiling water) pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags.  Add sugar and baking soda (sounds a little odd, however the baking soda will cut down on the bitterness of the tea and give the tea a smoother finish).

Allow tea to steep for 10-15 minutes or so (try not to leave it any longer than this or the tea will become really bitter regardless of how much baking soda you use!).

Once tea has steeped, add ice water and lemon and cool in the fridge until ready to drink. 

- Nutritional Info (per cup) -
Calories – 29    Fat - 0    Carbs – 7     Protein - 0   Fibre - 0


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Loaded Potato Salad

This was my column in the June 4th edition of The Hinton Voice.

[When it comes to summer recipes, potato salad is definitely high up on the list.  Whether you’re heading to a summer potluck, or firing up the barbecue for dinner at home, this recipe for potato salad is certainly going to make a great addition to whatever it sits next to on your plate.

This loaded potato salad has everything that I love about baked potatoes – freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, a hearty sprinkle of green onions or chives, and loads of delicious bacon.

One of the things I like most about this salad (besides the bacon, who am I kidding) is the fact that it’s made with a base of sour cream with only a small amount of mayonnaise.  While mayonnaise goes really well in traditional potato salads, it can sometimes feel oily and heavy, whereas sour cream gives it a different and unique, lighter texture (quite possibly the only time in history you will hear someone saying this about sour cream).  For an even lighter version of this salad, try swapping out the sour cream for Greek yogurt!]

This recipe can be served either hot or cold.  For the warmed version, simply bake the finished recipe in a pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Recipe makes 6-8 servings

- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup real mayonnaise
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 6 slices of bacon, crumbled
- 2 green onions, sliced
- salt & pepper to taste

- 1 tbsp cheddar, shredded
- 1 slice of bacon, crumbled
- 1 green, sliced


Peel, cube, and boil potatoes.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes max.  If you cook too long, you’ll be making loaded mashed potatoes – which is still pretty great but not what we’re going for here.  

Boil the eggs (I like to cook mine for 12 or so minutes for a hard boiled egg that’s still creamy).  Once eggs are cooked, run under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Peel and dice, then toss with cooled potatoes.

Add sour cream and mayonnaise, and then mix until well combined.  Sprinkle in shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, green onions, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper. 

Give everything one last stir, then place potato salad in serving bowl and sprinkle with toppings.

If you have the willpower to do so, chill potato salad for at least an hour before serving (or ideally, overnight) to allow the flavors to meld.

- Nutritional Info (1/8 recipe) -
Calories – 274    Fat - 14    Carbs - 26     Protein - 1


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Raw Hazelnut Brownies

This is my column as it appeared in the May 7th edition of The Hinton Voice. 

[Not only is this recipe raw, vegan, and gluten free… it’s also delicious.

I know, right?  How on earth could a healthy brownie made with only 4 ingredients that doesn’t include butter, sugar, or flour taste that great?  Well dear readers, I’m here to tell you that these brownies are every bit as good as their sugary baked counterparts.  In fact, this recipe satisfies even your most die-hard chocolate lovers.  Even friends of mine that despise all things healthy can’t get enough of the rich fudgy flavour of these decadent treats!

Not only do raw brownies make an excellent healthy snack, they are packed with protein (over 5 grams per brownie!) and tons of fibre (7 grams!) making them great for a pre-workout energy boost.  They are even great for breakfast, and best of all, they are very easy and quick to put together. 

The dough holds together extremely well, making them ideal for raw brownie truffles, energy bites, or even the fudgy center of a homemade ice cream cake. 

They are also great in the summer when the thought of turning your oven on is too much to bear and you’re looking for a rich and decadent treat.

These brownies are chalk full of healthy ingredients that you can not only feel good about eating, but feel great about serving your family too.]

Recipe makes a dozen brownies

- 1-500 g package dates
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ¾ cup raw cacao (cocoa powder works just as well)

Frosting (double if you like lots of icing)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp raw cocao/cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, rice syrup, etc.)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk of choice


If dates are fresh, skip to the next step.  If dates are dry, soak in 1 cup warm water for 10 minutes, drain, then proceed with recipe.

In a food processor, blend hazelnuts and walnuts until fine.  Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with cocoa powder.  Set aside.

Transfer dates to food processer and pulse until smooth.  Add nut mixture and blend until ingredients are a dough-like consistency.

Press dough into a pan and chill for at least ½ hour

When dough is chilled, combine icing ingredients and using a whisk (or fork), whip until smooth.

Frost brownies and serve.

- Nutritional Info (per brownie) -
Calories – 254    Fat - 9    Carbs – 29     Protein - 5   Fibre - 7


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thai Curry Soup

This recipe appeared as a Cooking With Jax Column in the May 30th copy of The Hinton Voice. 

Thai Curry Soup

Last week 2 major things happened in my kitchen.  One, I finally perfected the Thai Curry Soup recipe that I have been working on for a couple of months now, and two, I pulled one of the most rookie kitchen mistakes of all time.

I sliced hot peppers and then touched my eyes.

After testing the recipe a couple of times the night before I decided to make up a quick batch to bring to some of my friends to try for lunch.  Just before leaving, I decided to add a couple of slices of hot chili peppers as a garnish to each bowl.  I washed my hands 3 times over, and then continued on with my morning routine.  About 20 minutes after garnishing the soup, I started to apply makeup.  Eye makeup.  You can see where this is heading…

In the nano second between my eyes starting to burn, and me realizing why they were burning, rather than thinking “oh you just touched hot peppers, stop what you’re doing now!” I somehow thought instead “nope, going to rub my eyes a little bit more to see if that helps”.  It didn’t.

I looked in the mirror and saw a glimpse my blazing red eyes just before they sealed themselves shut.  Panicking, I jumped in the shower and sprayed my eyes with water.  Nothing.  Luckily my husband was home and ran and grabbed me a bowl full of water.  I dunked my face into it and opened my eyes a couple of times, head submerged before finally being able to open my eyes just long enough to figure out what to do next.

Turns out a shot glass filled with milk cupped over the eye and blinked into a couple of times will relieve the pain almost instantly.

On the plus side, I now feel a heck of a lot safer hiking in the woods armed with pepper spray.  

Recipe makes 4 Servings

- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 L chicken broth
- 2 cans coconut milk (I use 1 can light and 1 can full fat)
- 1 tsp freeze-dried lemongrass (or fresh if you have access to it)
- ½ pgk rice vermicelli (or rice sticks)

- freshly chopped cilantro
- green onions
- sliced red chili peppers (hint: wear gloves!)
- chopped roasted peanuts


Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Melt coconut oil, then lightly sauté garlic and ginger.  Add red curry paste and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add diced chicken breasts to the pan and cook until no pink remains (about 6-7 minutes).   When chicken is fully cooked, stir in chicken broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  The longer you simmer the soup at this point, the tenderer the chicken will be.

Add coconut milk and lemon grass and bring back to a boil.

Finally, just before serving add rice vermicelli (this will only take a minute or two in the hot soup to soften).

Serve with a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro, green onions, and sliced red chili peppers (being careful to wear gloves of course).

- Nutritional Info (1/4 recipe) -
Calories – 285    Fat - 14    Carbs - 22     Protein - 15   Fibre - 1 
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