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Recipe: sticky apple-cider glazed chicken

Why not take advantage of the cozy elements of fall and use all of these fantastic flavours in your cooking. Nothing is better on a chilly day than a warm cup of apple cider. How wonderful would it be to take those flavour combinations and make a meal out of them?  How about apple cider glazed chicken? This recipe is inspired by one of fall’s favourite treats— apples. This recipe is simple, healthy and delicious and is sure to please.

Ingredients:

  • 8 bone-in, skin on chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
  • 1 medium apple- thinly sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Season chicken with salt, pepper, cinnamon, soya sauce, and thyme and place in a lightly oiled pan and roast for 40 minutes.
  3. As the chicken bakes, combine apple slices, apple cider, honey and butter to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half.
  4. Carefully remove chicken from the oven and pour the mixture over the chicken and return to broil for 5 minutes or until the mixture sticks to the chicken.
  5. Serve chicken with extra pan drippings and enjoy.

Will you be serving this for your next family dinner? Comment below

 

 

 

VIDEO: Who else is excited for the Great Canadian Baking Show?

Tonight is the premiere of the Great Canadian Baking Show, the Canadian spin off of the U.K. television show of the same name.

Ten amateur bakers from across the country will gather in a tent in the middle of nowhere and compete for the grand title of Great Canadian Baker. In each episode, the bakers will compete in three rounds: the Signature Bake, the Technical Bake, and the Show Stopper.

Why should you watch this show? I’m a huge fan of the original show — the Great British Baking Show — and in the video below I explain why it is the best cooking show on television right now. I’m extremely excited for the Canadian spin-off and hope they keep the essence of the original series in tact.

Every week, I will be reviewing an episode from the show, going through my favourite desserts, talking about challenge winners, and perhaps discussing the cuteness factor of the goats (or other woodland creatures that may pop up). Here is the introduction to our new series, “A Baking Minute”, or in this case, a minute or two.

Are you excited for the Great Canadian Baking Show? Let us know in the comments below!

Recipe: vegan apple crumble

Despite the sprinkling of snow this week, it’s still too early to call this season winter. That means there is still time to indulge in your favourite fall desserts. The smell of roasted squash, sweetened fruit, and perhaps a bit of pumpkin spice is too much to resist. I will literally follow that smell to the nearest bakery or coffee shop. There is something addictive about these flavours, and I’m not ready to give them up just yet!

My personal favourite is an apple crisp or an apple crumble. There is a great recipe for a vegan (with gluten-free options) version of this fantastic dessert, provided to Women’s Post by Avra Epstein, founder of Love Wild Live Free. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Recipe Apple Crumble Pie (gluten-free option)

Yield: 1 pie (9”) or 4 mini pies (4.5”)

Ingredients

Pie Dough:

1 cup + 2 tbsp flour (see notes below on making this gluten-free)

1/3 cup *cold* unrefined coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

4 tablespoon *ice cold* water

Filling:

4 apples (about 1 + 1/2 lbs), peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other vegan sugar)

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon true cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Crumble Topping:

1/2 tsp true cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour

1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, softened

The tiniest pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Optional finishing touch:

1 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk (I used rice milk)

1 tsp turbinado cane sugar

(use organic ingredients)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

Prepare the Pie Crust:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut in chunks of cold coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add in water 1 tablespoon at a time and gently mix until dough comes together (not to worry if it doesn’t form right away, the dough should come together when it is kneaded).
  3. Use your hands to gently knead/form the dough and gather any loose scraps.
  4. Transfer to a well floured surface and form into a disk shape. If you’re making 4 mini pies, divide dough into 4 and form each portion into a disk shape.
  5. Lightly flour the top of the dough, as well as your rolling pin and roll into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer to your pie dish and form crust moving from the middle of the dish, outwards to the rim of the dish. Repeat if making 4 mini pies.

Note: This dough is very forgiving, it may break when you transfer it to the dish, but you can easily press it back together.

Prepare the Filling:

  1. Combine apple filling ingredients in a large bowl – you can use the same bowl that you made the crust in to save time on clean up! Add filling to the pie dish(es), make sure not to include any excess liquid.

Prepare the Crumble Topping:

  1. Combine crumble ingredients in a small bowl. Top the apple mixture in the pie dish(es) with the topping.

Final steps:

  1. Optional: Lightly brush plant-based milk on any exposed pie crust on the rim of the pie dish(es) and sprinkle a small amount of turbaned cane sugar on top.
  2. Place pie dish(es) onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Check after the first 20 minutes and keep an eye on the topping and crust thereafter to make sure that it doesn’t overcook.

Serve warm. Pairs well with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream or coconut whip cream.

A Note on making this Gluten Free

The flour: I have tested out a number of gluten-free flours over the years and I’ve found the best results with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (GMO-free). I like to avoid gluten-free flour mixes that contain conventional potato and corn starch. Be wary of non-organic potato and corn as these are are grown with pesticides and are commonly genetically modified.

The oats: Oats are gluten-free by nature, but are sometimes contaminated during processing or even in the field during production. If you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity, be sure to select oats that have a “gluten-free” label on the packaging.

 

Avra Epstein publishes organic vegan lifestyle living resources on her blog lovewildlivefree.com where she shares everything from nutritious recipes, to health & wellness information, while showcasing the best of Toronto vegan businesses and local food along the way. Her meal-time inspiration, with an emphasis on healing foods, will make you feel good, inside and out! LoveWildLiveFree was recently featured on Blog TO’s list as one of “15 Instagram accounts for Toronto vegans to follow.”

Recipe: Raw Pumpkin Pie with coconut whipped cream

There can be so many treats to eat around Thanksgiving that some people get overwhelmed by the choices. However, as a vegan, those choices can be limited. Never fear! Women’s Post has you covered. This Thanksgiving, if you are looking for a healthier or vegan recipe try this raw pumpkin pie with delicious coconut whipped cream. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds!

Ingredients:

Crust
For your crust you can use a variety of options, including nuts, dried fruits and shredded coconut.

3/4 cup almonds ( or nut of your choice)
1/2 cup pitted dates (or raisins work well too)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp of water
1/2 tsp sea salt

Filling

  • 2 cups of diced pie pumpkin
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions:

  1. Add almonds, dates and coconut to a food processor and mix for two minutes or untiled crumbled. Add water and sea salt and blend again (the mixture should solid enough to form into a ball).
  2. Press the crust mixture into a base of a 9’inch pie pan.
  3. Place the crust in the refrigerator.
  4. Using a blender, add the pumpkin, banana, almond milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, dates, and spice. Blend until smooth.
  5. Spoon the pie filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Topping: This topping is entirely optional, but coconut cream is a great option for vegan whipped cream.

Refrigerated the can of coconut cream overnight and chill the bowls used for mixing for up to one hour before mixing.

Once the coconut milk is in the bowl you can add some additional sweetener of your choice and whip on high for 7-8 minutes.

Add to pie and serve! Enjoy.

 

Let us know what you think of this raw pumpkin pie recipe and leave a comment below. Happy Thanksgiving !

 

 

4 ways to create your own gourmet kitchen

One of the most important rooms in your house is more than likely your kitchen. You cook there, sometimes you eat there. It becomes a hub of conversation, where friends and family can be creative. One of the things that many people look at when buying a new home is often the kitchen —  it it big enough, bright enough, and does it have state of the art appliances? Many foodies and aspiring chefs (and even amateur ones) love working in a good kitchen. Here are a few tips on how to create your own gourmet kitchen, or at least feel like you’re working with one.

Get Organized

No matter the size of your kitchen, it is essential it be clutter free. This creates the feeling of a grand working place. You should have select storage areas for specialty items and an organizer for everything from your cooking utensils to your excess plastic bags. Keep you kitchen streamlined and know where everything is kept for easy access. In terms of design, keep it minimal and tidy with easy to clean surfaces.

Bright Colours

Thanks to many optical illusions, a room painted in white or even cool bright colours often tend to appear larger. The reflective surfaces of the lighter paint helps a room feel bigger with wider walls. Try to find reflective surfaces that will lighten the room. For instance, white moulding or trim adds depth to a wall and using quality paint provides a bit of shine or gloss helping the flow of light. Avoid darker or muddy colours at all cost. If you want to add a pop of colour to your white space, use colourful appliances.

Invest In The Proper Tools

If you want to work in a high performance kitchen, it might be time to invest in some high performance tools. Try using professionally made pots and pans and especially appliances with a brand you can trust. These products will be worth the investment because they are durable and should last for an extended period of time, making you feel at ease in having a product you can depend on. At the same time, monitor the performance quality of any new appliances you consider investing in and see which one works best for your space.

Gourmet Products

Put the salt and pepper down if that’s your basic seasoning. It’s time to invest in some gourmet spices (and I use the word gourmet as just an upgrade from salt and pepper). Open your mind and your spice rack to different flavours and aromas. Get new spice blends, oils, vinegars and open yourself to trying new flavours. From Peruvian pink salt to pineapple curry, discover new and interesting products.

Let us know how it goes! Post a description of your kitchen in the comments below!

Grilling: from revolution to togetherness

It’s almost here — yes, I’m talking about barbecue season. For most Canadians, this is a year-round phenomenon, but for the less brave or cold tolerant, the beginning of Spring usually means it’s grillin’ time!

Why all the excitement? Well, grilling is more than what sears on the grate. It’s the experiences lived, memories created and the friends and family brought together sharing the common love of great, grilled food. It’s for burgers and buddies and being social without the media.

That’s the passion of Weber!

Rewind to 1952, when a man named George Stephen, a sheet metal worker at Weber Brothers Metal Works in Chicago who also happened to have a passion for grilling, sparked a backyard revolution in America with the invention of the first Weber Kettle charcoal grill. This first-of-its-kind covered kettle barbecue quickly gained a loyal audience with Stephen eventually buying out the company, changing the name to Weber-Stephen, and devoting all of his professional time to manufacturing and selling Weber kettle grills. But he didn’t stop there! In 1985, Weber again revolutionized outdoor grilling with the introduction of the Genesis gas grill, replacing grease-catching lava rock found in other gas grills with a unique Flavorizer system designed to eliminated flare-ups. The food drippings that hit the specially-angled hot Flavorizer bars are vaporized back into the foods for that great barbecue flavour. The juices that don’t vaporize are directed away from the burner tubes into a catch pan at the bottom of the grill making clean-up a breeze. Another revolutionary invention from Weber!

Thirty years later, Weber’s most loved grill just got better! The new, show-stopping Weber Genesis II line of gas grills has been thoughtfully and carefully designed to provide backyard chefs with the ultimate outdoor cooking experience.

Equipped with the new and innovative GS4 high performance grilling system—the heart of every grill in the line—Genesis II grills are available in 2, 3, 4 and 6 burners so there’s one to fit every lifestyle and budget, giving you more reasons to bring everyone together.

Explore the new Weber Genesis II here! 

Bluetooth technology takes the guesswork out of grilling

Genesis II grills also come equipped with something called iGrill 3, a cutting-edge Bluetooth thermometer that makes grilling easier, more convenient, and a whole lot smarter. It’s the perfect solution for the 84 per cent of backyard chefs who are afraid they will fail at the grill. The Weber iGrill 3 monitors the internal temperature of food from beginning to end, sending grilling data to your iOS or Android device and notifying you once your food has reached the perfect temperature. The Weber iGrill 3 is exclusively compatible with the new Weber Genesis II grills in that it fits in a water-resistant docking station positioned on the front of each grill. It includes two temperature probes, which can be adaptable to four probes so you can monitor almost anything you grill including steak, chicken, fish or roasts – giving you perfect results each and every time.

For charcoal lovers, the heat is on with new all-natural hardwood briquettes

“The charcoal segment continues to grow dramatically in Canada with 90 per cent of charcoal grillers saying they want charcoal that lasts longer while providing consistent heat,” said Patricia Larez, vice-president marketing, Weber-Stephen Canada.

The new Weber Briquettes do just that, outperforming other charcoal fuel on the market. Weber Briquettes provide consistent heat and are made from 100 per cent all natural hardwood. They do not include any unwanted chemical binders or fillers and they produce less ash.

They are also conveniently packaged in a weather-protected re-sealable bag that features a handy zip top to help protect charcoal from rain or snow.

Become a backyard hero!

If you are looking to upgrade your grill skills, look no further than the Weber Grill Academy, the first and only school of its kind dedicated to grilling. The Grill Academy, located in Vaughan, Ontario, offers regularly scheduled public grilling classes and is also available for special events. Whether it the “back to basics” approach to charcoal grilling, learning how to smoke the perfect brisket, or simply improving your technique at the gas grill, Weber Grill Expert and Celebrity Chef Michael P. Clive teaches a variety of classes that are sure to get you fired-up for grilling season. Classes are held year round and are always a great, hands-on, edutaining grilling experience.   Each class offers three hours of grilling instruction and when finished, you’ll eat your grilled creation and take home your leftovers!

Visit webercanada.ca for product information and to sign up to receive fresh off the grill news!

4 things to swap for a healthier kitchen

Even though it can be a bit of an annoyance, making your food from scratch is always healthier than purchasing pre-made processed meals. But, what ingredients are you putting into your household goodies? Your first tip — the days of using lard and bleached white flour to bake homemade cakes are behind us. Let Women’s Post stock your kitchen with ingredients full of nutrients and vitamins that will make your dishes taste delicious and healthy!

The first thing you should do is rid the kitchen of white flour. It has very little nutritional value, is full of high fructose corn syrup, and is easy to replace with a healthier alternative. Whole wheat flour is a reliable option, but even go a step further and opt for a blended flour with flax seeds and other nutritional elements. Brown rice flour, coconut flour, and amaranth flour are all high-protein flours and also happen to be gluten-free. The best part is when you swap out your flour for a healthier selection, it will make your baked goods taste even better and more full-bodied.

Coconut oil

Another item to get out of the kitchen is canola oil. It is a genetically-modified product and is hydrogenated, filling it with false chemicals that are refined, bleached and degummed. Instead, go for a more natural option for your cooking and baking needs. Swap it for coconut oil. This superfood can be used in place of any oil, butter, or vegetable shortening. It is pure magic. Other healthy oils include avocado oil, grape seed oil, pistachio oil, and hemp oil.

Chia Seeds

The addition of seeds or nuts to a meal will automatically add extra nutritional value. My suggestion: always have ground flax seed on hand and add a spoonful into almost everything you make. It is virtually tasteless and adds a much-needed dose of fiber to meals and treats. It is especially delicious in smoothies. Chia seeds are beneficial to add into salads, baked goods, and smoothies as well. They are full of fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, calcium and vitamin A, B, E, and D, as well as other antioxidants.

Maple syrup

One of the most addictive, delicious, yet unhealthy ingredients found in the cupboard is refined sugar. This ingredient causes a host of issues including diabetes, bad teeth, heart disease, and issues with the liver. I can’t stress this enough! Get rid of sugar! Once the kitchen is purged of the toxin, the other options will make you feel better and are healthier for your body by a long shot. Alternatives to sugar are honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, and brown rice syrup. Molasses is rich in nutrients including calcium, zinc and is strong source of iron. Brown rice syrup is one of the only sweeteners that doesn’t have fructose, but all of the alternatives are going to be a better option that regular sugar.

Replacing key ingredients in the kitchen is one of the simplest ways to bake healthy, homemade foods. It will make your meals taste better and will increase nutrients with very little effort needed. Being a responsible consumer and purchasing healthy ingredients instead of processed foods will lead to a healthier and happier life. So get to the kitchen, and begin your healthy eating kitchen swap. The change will definitely not be regretted.

Holiday Baking: empire cookies

In between the chocolate and heavy desserts this holiday, why not try these sandwich empire cookies? This recipe is one of my all-time favourites. Not only do they have a hint of almond in the icing, but the jam centre really balances everything out. They are also relatively easy to make, and look impressive to guests. It’s a refreshing change to the typical sweets passed around on Christmas Eve.

Here’s what you need:

cookie

1/2 cup butter

1 to 1 1/2 cup of white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda (1 teaspoon if you use granular sugar)

Filling and icing

Raspberry jam

1 cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons of hot water

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

candied cherries or candied fruit

Photo by Robin Hood

The base is a simple sugar cookie recipe. You can use this one or follow your families instructions. Start by creaming together the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. It’s best to use an electric mixer, but if you don’t have one, make sure the butter is really soft. Then mix together the rest of the dry ingredients together, and pour into mixer gradually as you stir until dough is formed. If you have to, use your hands for the last bit of mixing, making sure to kneed the dough until it forms a ball.

You will be using a rolling pin to roll out the dough, so you may want to split the dough into two to make it easier.

Roll out the dough until relatively thin. Remember this is a sandwich cookie, and the thicker the dough, the bigger the cookie (and the fewer it will make). Use a cookie cutter to create shapes. I like to use a circle, but any shape will do! Place on greased baking sheet or a sheet with parchment paper. Cook for 10 minutes in the oven, at 350 degrees F. Take them out and let them cool.

This cookie has numerous steps. I like to bake the cookies one day, and then put them together the next. Make sure you set time aside for this recipe!

Once the cookies are cool, it’s time for the jam filling. Take your jam and a knife, and spread it on one side of the cookie, preferable the flat side. Take another cookie and place it on top, flat side down so it makes a macaroon-looking shape. Let sit until the jam settles.

In a bowl, mix the icing sugar, almond extract, and hot water together. Put icing on the top cookie, spreading it into a circle. Make sure to have the candied fruit easily accessible. After icing a row of cookies, stop and place a single piece of candied fruit in the centre of the cookie. Complete the row. Then, move on to the next row and repeat. Let the icing harden. This may take a few hours.

And voila! Empire cookies! Enjoy!

Holiday baking: peppermint skor bark

Tis’ the season to be jolly…and that’s exactly what holiday baking is all about! For the next month (or two!), Women’s Post will be featuring our favourite holiday recipes. First of all, it gives us an excuse to bake — which is always necessary during the holiday season — and second of all, it allows us to share our traditions and hear yours!

Enjoy!

*Note: Women’s Post does not claim that any of these recipes will be healthy or good for you. We can, however, claim they will make your soul happy.

Peppermint Skor Bark

My friends and I call this the “crack” of desserts. You can’t just have one. They taste similar to skor bars — essentially they are chocolatey, sugary delights. I tend to think they are worth the calories. They are also incredibly easy to make, and require very few ingredients.

What you’ll need:

1 cup of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

24 salted soda crackers

chocolate chips (about 1 cup)

candy canes

Preheat the oven at 350.

Start by grabbing a handful of candy canes and placing them unwrapped inside a ziplock bag. Use a rolling pin or a hammer to break the candy canes into small pieces. Try to get a variety of sizes, including a fine powder to provide a garnishing effect. Be careful when doing this. It will be a loud exercise and may disrupt kids or pets.

Candy Crush: Don’t forget to take the wrappers off before mashing!

After you are done with the candy canes, put them aside. Find a sheet bake pan or a cookie sheet (depends on how steady your hands are, I prefer the bake pan) and layer it with parchment paper. This is really important, or else you won’t be able to get your skor bar off the pan. Layer your soda crackers evenly on the pan.

Grab a pot and melt your butter. Once melted, stir in the sugar and boil for two minutes until it creates a thick caramel sauce. Pour the sauce on top of the soda crackers and place in the oven for five minutes or so. Remove from the oven and cover the dessert with chocolate chips.

The soda crackers may move around during cooking. Don’t worry about it!

Place back in the oven for a minute or two until the chocolate chips are melted. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate around until it completely covers the dessert. At this point, take your crushed candy cane and sprinkle it on top of the melted chocolate. Place in the fridge or freezer for over an hour before breaking the bark into pieces.

This recipe is great because you can change up the toppings to create a few fun recipes. Try pretzels for a saltier taste or m&ms for a fun kid-friendly treat.

If its not crunchy, put it back in the freezer!

 

What are your favourite holiday recipes? Let us know in the comments below!

Make mealtime into fun time for your kids

by Deborah Lowther

As a parent, one of the most difficult times of the day is meal time. It’s when active and energetic kids are asked to sit still, use utensils, eat green vegetables, and try new foods.

For my family, I am a big believer in having our meals together at the table and creating a mealtime routine, but having three children in three years did not always make this an easy task. Night after night of being told to sit at the table, eat your carrots, don’t play with your food, drink your milk, and the favorite, “there will be no dessert if you don’t eat your dinner,” can turn our dinnertime into crying time.

So I decided to mix it up and add a whole bunch of fun.

I started a tradition a few years ago when I told the kids we will have special time when they are ALLOWED to play with their food. My husband thinks I’m crazy but the kids believe I am THE coolest mom ever when I tell them it’s “food fun time.”

When grocery shopping, they help me look for fun, playful ingredients and they get excited when they see the trays we use come out of the cupboard.  It’s a ‘special occasion’ kind of activity saved for rainy days or after a healthy meal. Yes, it’s messy, it’s kind of gross, the food involved is generally not very healthy, but it’s right at the top of our kids fun-list.

All you need is inexpensive large plastic trays: ones that have a nice tall edge work best to contain the fun.  We wash our hands really well and then get creative. A little chocolate pudding, mix in some vanilla pudding — with your hands of course — add some whip cream, and maybe top it off with some sprinkles. Jell-o is high on the fun chart for its colours and jiggly squishiness between their fingers. Anything goes. They love mixing it up and licking it off.

We’ve done ice cream with chocolate sauce, and I hand out straws to slurp up the melted finished product. We have even brought in a tray full of clean snow from outside. I give them some small cups to make little snow forts on their trays and some food colouring to turn it colours.  They play until it melts and then we go get more from outside.

I am hoping my healthy kids find ways to always enjoy food . . . they still have to sit still at the table and eat all their vegetables; but sometimes at dessert there is a whole lot of fun with food at our house!