Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Shortbread drop cookies

Shortbread drop cookies

1 cup shortening softened 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup icing sugar 
Vanilla to taste, start with 1 teaspoon
Jam, chocolate chips, raisins, whatever you choose for the middle. 

Whip shortening until fluffy
Add other ingredients
Whip at least 5 minutes until really fluffy.
Roll into tiny 1.5 inch balls, squish slightly leaving a thumb print
Press jam or other fillings in middle
Bake @350F for 12-14 minutes until the texture changes and they look done. 
Cool before indulging.  

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Crockpot Honey Orange Chicken

Adjusting from one child to two is an experience. It is well worth it but combined with volunteer commitments it doesn't leave much time for anything else. I have still been cooking but for the most part haven't been measuring, not the best thing when I want to post a recipe. I'm easing back into posting my recipes again, starting with this adaptation of my most popular recipe; sweet and sour chicken. Let me know in comments how you like it.

Honey Orange chicken

1 diced green pepper
1 diced red pepper
1 can of diced pineapple with juice
1 diced onion
2 inch minced ginger
4 garlic cloves minced
2 large chicken breasts diced
3 tsp Orange zest

1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar (You can use white if you want the cider is just a nicer flavour)
5 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate

1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water

Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.
Place the rest of the ingredients except for the slurry in the crockpot, pour sauce over.
Cook on low for 5 hours.
15 minutes before serving whisk in slurry.
Serve over rice or noodles

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Buying meat in bulk part 2

Now that you know how much meat you need you need to source it from somewhere. When you look at it a good option would look to be just to buy a whole, 1/4, 1/2 of a large animal. I am not fond of this method, while it is easy you don't get to choose your cuts, you end up with too much of one thing.

Some things to look for in a place to buy meat
- Buy from the meat packer or wholesaler
- If they butcher the animal on site or own the site it it butchered it is cheaper
- Look for places that offer you meat frozen and already packaged. (Usually only available for pork and beef, we freezer pack our chicken.
- Try before you buy (This is huge, you want quality)
- Talk to them about your meat, if they know their cuts that is better, how flexible are they?
- Compare prices, look for the best quality for the lowest price (I buy all my shrimp at Costco and canned crab)
- Don't dismiss cutting up whole meat yourself (We buy whole frozen  utility turkeys when they are super cheap , thaw them enough to be able to cut them up then freeze in manageable portions, the Turkey Farmers of Canada has good info on that)
-Don't be tricked by pretend bulk buys,
- Know what you eat, if you aren't adventurous in the kitchen don't buy cuts you won't eat, even if they are substantially cheaper. Buy what you will eat! Just because it is cheaper does not mean buying 80lbs of ground beef is the best choice. Or now is not the time to buy 10lb of beef tongue just because you saw it on Masterchef and have decided you are going to try cooking it, by all means buy a little to experiment with, but don't count on it.
-Budget, put a little money aside every paycheck to save up for it as it is a huge investment all at once.
-Don't plan to pick up all the meat on the same day. You need time to fit it all in the freezer and time to package it up. If it isn't frozen putting all that unfrozen meat in the freezer at once could raise the temperature to unsafe levels and spoil the food, or cause your motor to burn out by working too hard.
-Know your freezer size and put your freezer through a defrost before filling it
- Invest in a freezer lock and or alarm. (Nothing is worse they having someone not notice that they left the freezer open a crack and spoiling your food)
- Buy soup bones and make stock, there is nothing like fresh stock. I save my turkey bones and chicken bones and buy beef bones make stock then can it in the pressure canner. It is well worth the effort. Not only is is cheap you know exactly what went into it, there is no hidden MSG and it tastes better then the store bought stuff anyways :)

Buying meat in Bulk Part one

This is just one part in a multiple part series on how to cut your costs and still eat well.

In order for us to eat well and on an appropriate budget I order my meat in bulk and keep it in the freezer. Depending on our budget at the time I order anywhere from 4-7 months worth of meat at a time. I have had many people ask me how I figure it out, this is my system.

We are a family of four. (Though I don't add the baby imto the calcukations as of yet) 

1) First look at how many times a week you eat meat, for us it is 6 times but two of those days are leftovers. Write this number down, for my family that is 4 meat meals that I need to cook a week. Figure out how often you eat different meats. For us we eat chicken once, Beef twice and pork or seafood  (usually shrimp) once a week

2) Next look at how much you cook per meal, I have found that if I average .5lbs of meat per person per meal it all averages out, sometimes it is slightly more but most times it is less,. Add up the amount of each different meat for a week, for us it is 3lbs beef, 1.5lbs chicken, and .75lbs pork and .75lbs seafood (

3) Figure out how many weeks you are buying for, write this number down this time around we are buying for 28 weeks,
4) Multiply the weeks by the amount of different meat per week. Write this number down
for us we need 84lbs of beef, 42 lbs of chicken, 21lbs of pork, and 21 lbs of seafood.

5) Look at your number and meat prices and adjust accordingly, for me that seafood number looks really high, I know that I will buy some turkeys when they go on sale I also know that I would like to order more pork then that, so maybe this time around I will plan for 1lb pork a week and .50 of seafood. So the number for pork goes up to 28lb and the number for seafood goes down to 14lbs, which is a much more manageable number.

6) Now you know how much meat to order where do you get it? How do you package it up? How much space do you need to freeze it?

Monday, 28 October 2013

Dairy free cheesy mushroom baked rice

 We got our first snowfall of the season here, This is my mind calls for oven roasted meals. I wanted to make something that was filling and savory and rice based. I came up with this recipe and it seemed to fit the bill of what I was looking for.

Dairy Free Cheesy rice
1/3 cup nutrtional yeast
3tbsp onion flake
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp each of pepper, salt,and  mustard powder
2.5 c  sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup shredded daiya chedder
3 cup cooked rice
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp coconut oil

Mix first 6 ingredients together in a bowl,
Put into a greased casserole dish
Pour soy milk over it all and dot coconut oil over top
Bake covered at 400F until hot and done (About 40 minutes)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Blueberry Waffles, eggless, dairy free

I was dreaming about making brunch last night, I woke up and was so disappointed that my dream wasn't real. So I came down poured myself a cup of coffee and started making waffles, in the past I have tried making them from other recipes but they always left me disappointed and not quite what I was looking for. This time I used the little bit of knowledge I have about baking to create my own recipe, it seems to work well. I may change it over time to make it better but it is a REALLY good start

3 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
2 c unbleached white flour
1 cup pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 oil
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

In small bowl whisk together first three ingredients.
In another small bowl cream oil, sugar, vanilla, Add milk and stir again
Mix two flours and add all the wet ingredients, stir well, depending on your humidity level you may need to add more flour or more milk.
Place in a preheated oiled waffle maker and cook until golden, mine takes 6 minutes with the heat at 3/4 high.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pie crust

Pie crust and I have a love hate relationship. I love to eat it, hate to make it. In the past I have always ended up with chewy tough crust. Today I didn't! The difference was today I used my food processor to cut in the shortening and I rolled out the crust on a silpat to make it easier to lift.
I used two recipes not just one, though I guess since I altered them both I could call it my own, though not really. Recipe source #1 Recipe source #2

Double pie Crust

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Organic palm shortening- frozen chopped in cubes
6 tablespoons really cold water

(I did not write these instructions they are for the most part straight copy paste from Recipe 1)

Measure the flour into the processor with the regular blade attached. Add shortening, cut into cubes. (Your fat should be frozen or very cold. You may vary the proportions, or use some lard, but the total should be 9 tablespoons.) Add salt. Pulse three times with three counts per pulse to lightly mix the ingredients.
With the motor running, pour ice water into the workbowl just until the dough just starts to get noticeably crumbly. Don't wait until it is a big clump or it will be way too wet and will turn out tough.
Stop the machine, dump the crumbly dough into a bowl, and gather the dough into 2 balls with your hand. you can squeeze it a bit to make it stick together. If it just won't form a ball, add a tiny bit more water. (Note that if you are making crust in the food processor, you will use less water than most recipes call for.)
Wrap your dough ball in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill it about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
 Roll it out on a cool surface if you can. Then follow your pie recipe for baking.