Sunday, 24 August 2014

Rosemary Thyme Bread

It's been a hot summer up here in Northern Alberta!  Temperatures soared, a few forest fires adding to the drama, and lots of summer activities.  This year we had a staycation....but we did more than I thought we would.  We went camping at local spots several times, our oldest went to camp for the first time, lots of play dates, campfires, and good food!  I thought I'd be able to blog this summer...alas...I was too busy with the family :). And that's okay.  But I'm here today, no busy schedule, and a great recipe to share with ya.

The weather definitely cooled this past week and I. In the mood for some comfort food.   We love those fact italian breads you dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so I found a recipe I liked and tweaked it...( I like tweaking.....). So I now share it with you.  Serve with butter or the oil/vinegar mix and enjoy some comfort food as Fall descends on us....can't wait for all the pumpkin fancy drinks to be avaliable again soon...:)

Rosemary Thyme Bread

What you need:

1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 Tbsp of quick rise yeast

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp of garlic salt
1 Tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme ( not of each, but in total)
1 1/2 Tbsp of softened butter

Fresh rosemary for garnish

What you do:

1.  In a small bowl mix the warm water and sugar.  Add yeast, stir and let sit for a few minutes until bubbly.

2.  In a large bowl mix flour, salt, herbs, and butter.  Combine till butter is crumbly.  Add water/yeast mixture and stir to combine.

3. Knead dough on a floured surface for 5-10 min. ( crank up the tunes and go for it!!). You want it nice and "elastic".

4.  Place in a greased bowl ( I use olive oil) and cover and place in a warm place to rise for 60-75 minutes.   It should double in size.

5.  Make dough into 2 round loaves and sprinkle remaining garnish on top.  Press into the loaves to help them stick.  Cover and let rise again for 45 minutes.

6.  Bake in a 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly brown.

7.  Serve warm :). Makes 2 loaves.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Best Pot Roast

February....It's the middle of the month, snow is falling and its cold.  I shouldn't complain as we have had some nice temperatures lately.  But today...its cold.  So its a great excuse to watch the Olympics (GO CANADA!!!) and eat comfort food.

I love winter comfort food.....its sooo....comforting...(redundant I know, but so true!)  I love spicy foods, like chilies, and spicy sausages, but when you have young kids that doesn't always fly.  So when the boys are done skating, sledding, or general winter romping outside, things like meatloaf, hearty soups, and roasts go over well.  Pot roast goes over REALLY WELL!  Nothing like coming in from the cold, and sniffing appreciatively at the heavenly, meaty smell of pot roast.

This is ultimately MY FAVORITE POT ROAST RECIPE!  I don't like cooking potatoes with meat (kinda mealy texture to me) so I omit them in this recipe.  I cook them separately.  You do as you like. I serve the roast and veggies with mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings! (my good).  I prep the roast in the morning and throw it in the oven in the afternoon.  Easy breezey.  Then come supper time....YUMMO!

adapted from Pioneer Woman

What you Need:

1 roast (4-5 pds)  Chuck is the best, but I use what ever type I have.  I also use venison roasts as well.
2 TBSP of olive oil
2 whole onions
6-8 carrots cut into large chunks
salt to taste
pepper to taste

1 cup red wine (or use beef broth)
2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp of dried thyme
2 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary

What You Do:

1. Generously season your meat with the salt and pepper.  I really like sea salt for this.

2.  In a large skillet pan, heat oil over med-high heat.  Peel skin off onions and slice into halves.  Place "face" down into skillet.  Add carrot chunks.  Sautee until browned all over. This should take about 5-8 minutes.  Remove veggies to a plate.

3.   Add a bit more oil to skillet pan and add the meat.  Sear on all sides until nicely browned.  Remove to a roasting pan.  Add veggies to roasting pan as well, surrounding the meat.

4.  Pour on top of the roast and veggies the wine, and beef broth, until the liquid comes up the roast half ways.  Sprinkle with herbs.

5.  Cover and slow roast in the oven at 275 degrees F. for 4 hours.  If you have a smaller roast....reduce your time!!! to about 3 hours.

6. At serving time cut or shred meat.  Pour a little of the juices on top.  Serve with the veggies.  Really good with mashed potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ginger-Pineapple Tea.

January has been quite the interesting month weather wise....While December was all about SNOW....January...has been about MELTING SNOW.  We've had a short stint of spring like weather with warm temperature, ice EVERYWHERE (hence a few no school days), and lots of sunshine.  I loved it!  Especially the sun.  Made me feel GOOD, anticipation for spring...I pinned a tonne of gardening things on Pinterest and bought some cool planters....

Today though....its snowing.  And that is okay.  It's doing what January is supposed to do.  I am thankful for the sunshine we had though.

So to warm myself on day such as today I am making some tea.  Ginger Tea....with pineapple and honey.  Comfort in a cup.  I won't go into all the benefits of ginger...but I do love that it calms my tummy as I sip it as well as just helping calm ME.  So maybe today you could use some tea....

Ginger-Pineapple Tea

What you Need:

sliced fresh ginger (peeled) about 2 inches.
1-2 wedges of pineapple
1 tsp of honey
1 1/2 cups of boiling water

What you Do:

1.  Peel and slice about 2 inches of fresh ginger.  Coarsely chop.  Coarsely chop pineapple wedge.

2.  In your favorite mug combine ginger, pineapple, honey and water.  Steep for 8 minutes.

3.  Strain solids and enjoy tea.

*** If you have a large loose tea infuser you can use this to steep the tea as well.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Choco-Cranberry Granola Balls

      We are mid month here....and we just had a huge wind storm and warm temperatures.  Put that together.....ya got a lot of icy roads.  So we had "snow" day here in northern Alberta.  Sun shining...but no school....Buses can't iceskate...a proven fact.  So the boys are maxin' and relaxin' watching Turbo and having a picnic in the livingroom. 

For me, I am realizing that it seems that whatever I plan for my day....may change...and right now it usually is.  Whaddya do?  I am learning to roll with it.  :)

As I've had a bit more time to visit a few of my favorite blog sites these past few days I found a wonderfully, WAY TOO EASY recipe for some no-bake granola bars.  I really didn't realize HOW EASY they are and HOW TASTY too.  Simple ingredients, 15 minutes...presto....a wonderful snack.  Way better than any granola bar out of a box. 

Choco-Cranberry Granola Balls
adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

What You Need:

1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp of butter or margerine
1 Tbsp of maple syrup
1 cup of crisp rice cereal
1 cup of old fashion oats
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1/3 cup of chocolate chips

What You Do:

1.  In a medium saucepan on medium heat combine honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, and butter.  Melt, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.

2.  Add cereal, oats, and cranberries. Stir to combine.  Wait 8-10 minutes to allow mixture to cool, and then add chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

3.  Spoon into medium sized muffin cups and put in them into the fridge for about 15 minutes to set. 

4.  I did keep these in the fridge because I liked them cool, but you don't have to.  Room temperature is fine.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Simple Chocolate Sugar Cookies

 I've had a bit of a break on the blog.  A full and crazy busy holiday season is to blame. I don't mind a busy holiday season, lots of good memories made and time spent with loved ones.   But as January comes around I am ready for some simplicity.....

In the first week of January I take down the Christmas tree and most of the decorations, and then I begin the house "purge".  Getting a bunch of new stuff in the holidays means getting rid of the old stuff.  I go through each room and throw away, give away, or donate as much as I can.  I love the feeling of order and spaciousness I get after a good de-cluttering session.

I also feel a sense of de-cluttering in my cooking this January.  I am enjoying making good food with simple ingredients. This week I made a simple crusted halibut with a brown butter sauce. So easy, simple ingredients and pure tasty flavours.  I also made a simple vegetable rice with cumin and saffron. Tasty. 

Even in my baking I am simplifying.  After a Christmas of eating rich shortbread, almond roca, fruit cake, chocolates in ALLLL forms, and too much caramel and cheddar popcorn.....I need a break!....and a treadmill.... So now that I need to re-stock the larder... I wanted a simple cookie, no fancy "holiday" flavors....simple... and here's what I made.  Enjoy!

Simple Chocolate Sugar Cookies

What you Need:

2 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp of Cream of Tarter
1 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt

1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, plus more (about 1/2 cup) for rolling cookies in.
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla

What you do:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt.  
3.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together, add eggs one at a time and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.
4.  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating until combined.  
5.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in a dish of sugar to coat.
6.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass.
7.  Bake for 8-9 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool

Enjoy with a simple glass of milk.  :)