CHILI FOR CHILLY DAYS :)

We have had a lot of snow this winter which is unusual of our part of the country.  I will definitely get into the comfort food aspect of cooking when it gets like this.  You just want to have something hearty and warm when the weather is cold or just damp and chilly!

Chili comes in many forms and I’m sure everyone has a different recipe and they are all good, but we love this one and its super easy. 🙂

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Start it in the morning and leave it on low for the day in the slow cooker, and by supper you have a ready meal and the house smells yum.

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Ingredients:

1 – 28 ounce can of tomatoes or 1 quart of homemade canned tomatoes

2 – 28 ounce cans of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1 lb of ground chicken or turkey browned

1 small onion chopped and cooked until translucent.  (optional) (I will put it in the pan after the chicken has cooked to absorb some of the browned bits.)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 Tblsp of Chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tblsp of worcestershire sauce

Add to the crock pot and put it on low for 6 – 8 hours.

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Serve in deep bowls and garnish with grated cheese and sour cream and green onions if you like.  And of course the obligatory crusty roll!

Dig in and enjoy!! Yum 🙂

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  – Charlene

CHICKEN POT PIE :)

Recently I had some extra  chicken and decided to use it up by making a chicken pot pie.  It’s so yummy and the ultimate comfort food!  You can definitely use turkey as well.  I’ve never been one to love heated up left over meat of any kind unless its doused in gravy.  I will eat cold meat but reheating left over meat is something I try to avoid.  This recipe solves the dilemma very quickly and tastily 🙂

For the pastry, I’ve used the same recipe for years and years and its definitely a no fail recipe.

Pastry:

1 lb Tenderflake shortening

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

Using a pastry blender or two knives cut the shortening into the flour and salt mixture until it resembles a coarse crumble.

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1 cup cold water (250 ml)

1 egg

1 Tblsp vinegar

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Mix the wet ingredients together.  Add to flour/shortening mixture and knead until it comes together in a ball.  Add the wet ingredients a bit at a time as sometimes you don’t need the entire 1 cup of fluid.

If the dough is too sticky chill it for an hour or two.  Roll it out on a floured surface and line a 9″ pie plate.  Prick the bottom surface with a fork in several spots to prevent the pastry from puffing up.  Set aside and prepare the filling

Chicken filling

2 cups of diced chicken, white and dark meat

2 large carrots diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion diced

1/2 bulb of fennel sliced thin and chopped

2 russet potatoes peeled and chopped.

1 cup sliced cremini , button or shitaki mushrooms

1 litre of chicken stock (store bought or home made)

salt and pepper to taste

Thyme fresh or dried or any other seasoning you feel like adding.

1/4 – 1/3 all purpose flour for thickening

Add the vegetables and saute until becoming translucent and slightly carmelizing.  Add chicken and chicken stock and stir well. Mix the flour in 1/2 cup of stock or water and add to vegetable/chicken mixture.  Cook until thickened and then pour into pastry shell.

** If you want it to be gluten free, you can use Gluten Free gravy mix instead of an all purpose roux for the thickener as well as a gluten free pastry mix for the crusts.

Roll out second round of pastry and add top layer.  Add a few slices to top to act as air vents.

Depending on how deep the pie plate is this may make two pies.  If I have too much for one pie but not enough for a full second pie I have put the remainder in a small casserole dish and use pastry for the top layer.  Its a little lighter for a meal than having 2 layers of pie crust.  Just as tasty though!! 🙂

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 min or until the crust is lightly browned.

You can serve with a side salad or coleslaw.  So delicious!!

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I hope you give this a try. The picture above should have a darker crust but my oven was starting to give me grief and I couldn’t set the temperature accurately.  Still waiting for my new oven to be delivered! Yay!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  – Charlene

 

LATKES! MY FAVOURITE :)

 

 

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Firstly, Happy New Years to all of you!  I wish for a happy, healthy, peaceful, positive and prosperous 2017 to each and every one of you 🙂  Thank you for following along!  It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so I thought I should sit down and start the new year off right!

A couple of times a year I make Latkes for supper and that is the entire meal.  Probably not the healthiest meal as they are fried but sooooo tasty ha ha.

INGREDIENTS:

6 – 8 russet potatoes

1/2 medium onion grated

1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 eggs

2 tsp of baking powder

salt and pepper to taste

canola oil

sour cream

apple sauce

I start off peeling russet potatoes and putting them into a large bowl of cold water.  Once they are all peeled I grate them using my Kitchen Aid food processor. I use the smaller grate setting as the pancakes tend to cook quicker.  Before I had my food processor I used to grate the potatoes by hand and it made shreds thin enough that they cooked well, but it was just too hard on my hands grating all those potatoes.

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Once you have grated all the potatoes put them into a large bowl handful by handful after squeezing them to remove a lot of the liquid.  You will end up with a lot of orange coloured water with a lot of potato starch in the bottom of the bowl which you can throw out. They oxidize with being out in the air. They start going white again once you start cooking them.

Add the grated onion, flour, eggs, baking powder and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.  I use my hands for this as well or you can end up with clumps of flour and egg.

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Heat approx. 1/4″ canola oil in a frying pan and once heated, drop 1/3 cup approx. of potato mixture into oil and flatten slightly so they cook evenly.  I set the element on high as I have a gas cook top.  I also use 2 frying pans to make the process go a bit quicker.

As each batch is done I put them on a paper towel lined cookie sheet and keep in a 300 F degree oven to warm until ready to eat.

Once all cooked its time to eat! Best part by far!! Sour cream and apple sauce and salt and pepper.  We sometimes have a few left and they can be heated up in the toaster oven for breakfast or lunch next day.

I made the first batch using 3/4 of a russet potato,  4″ piece of zucchini, and 1 small carrot and a small piece of onion and they tasted quite good.  A good way to get in additional veggies if you have kids :).

It’s a great meal. Enjoy!!

As always…LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

~Charlene

 

 

 

SQUASH SOUP…AUTUMN FAVE


I recently received a couple of squash from a co-worker’s garden and quickly went to work preparing the best squash soup ever!!

I actually had a butternut and a spaghetti squash but it worked out fine.

1 large butternut squash or two small (or variety of your choice)

2 Tblsp olive oil

1/2 sweet onion chopped

1 clove garlic

1/2 carton of vegetable or chicken stock

1-1 1/2 tsp of Garam masala (you can use curry, turmeric etc)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can coconut milk

Day old crusty bread

Peel the butternut squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Then cut into small chunks.

Put the squash into a deep pot with 1 Tblsp olive oil and the onion and garlic and cook until soft and tender and very slightly carmelized.


For the spaghetti squash, cut in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down in a pan with a bit of water and cook in 350 degree oven for 35 min until skin is soft and fork pierces skin easily. Scoop out stringy flesh and add to pot with butternut squash.


Mash or put into blender and purée until smooth. Add broth, and spice and stir until heated through. Add 1/2 to 1 tin of coconut milk according to taste and to make sure it’s not too runny.

Cut the day old bread into cubes and fry til golden brown in remaining olive oil.

Serve in soup bowl and garnish with croutons.


Enjoy!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤️

BAKING POWDER BISCUITS – YUM!!

This blog post was requested by my daughter in law after we had a “big breakfast” last weekend.  If we have time, we try to have bacon, eggs, and baking powder biscuits every so often to start off the weekend in a more relaxed way. 🙂

I’ve been making this recipe for years and years and it makes the most fluffy biscuits that just beg to be smothered in butter and jam, hot from the oven.  I just looked at the bottom of the original recipe and its from Canadian Living magazine circa 1991!  That is a lot of years haha! They were supposed to be Currant Scones but sans currants they are baking powder biscuits.

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 Tblsp granulated sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup currants or raisins or cranberries

1/2 cup of cold butter (I use margarine)

1 cup of buttermilk (I’ve tried milk with 1 tsp vinegar in a pinch, but buttermilk is better)

1 egg lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until it resembles course crumbs.  If you want to add currants/raisins/dried cranberries add now.

Add buttermilk to well of dry ingredients and mix with a fork until it makes a soft, sticky dough.

Lightly flour your surface and press dough into a big ball and knead gently approximately 8 – 10 times. Don’t over work your dough or you’ll end up with hockey pucks 😦

Gently pat the dough into a circle approximately 3/4 inch thick.

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Using a floured cutter or a small round glass and cut out rounds.  Gather up the scraps and press together to make a couple of more of “cooks” biscuits (the less perfect ones)

Brush the tops with beaten egg.

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Bake in the oven 425 F degrees  for 12 – 15 min until golden brown.  They should puff up and you should be able to see all the layers. Cool on a rack if they last that long!!

Cheers to you enjoying a relaxing weekend breakfast 🙂

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

 

 

SPRING MEANS RHUBARB!!

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When I was little, my fondest memories were going into the garden and cutting a stalk of rhubarb and then sitting with a glass with sugar and dipping and eating it.  I’m sure we all ended up with a stomach ache but I don’t have those memories haha.

I’ve tried to grow it, but have been unsuccessful so far.  I will try again this year, but in the mean time, it’s off to the market I go.

This recipe is similar to my Apple Crisp.  I have changed it a bit to give it a more fresh, spring like flavour though.

Ingredients:

Rhubarb (I prefer the red coloured ones) Amount depends on how big your casserole is. I usually take about 8-10 large stalks.

1/3 – 1/2 cup of white sugar depending on tartness of rhubarb.

grated rind of one large orange

Crisp:

3/4 cup Gluten Free Oats

3/4 cup All purpose flour or Gluten Free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill  1:1)

3/4 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup of cold margarine/butter

Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces. Place in a deep dish casserole dish. Once all the rhubarb is cut, add the white sugar and orange rind and mix thoroughly.  Always cut enough fruit to come within a 1/2″ of the top of the casserole as it will shrink with cooking.

Add the “crisp” ingredients and cut in the cold butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender, until the butter /margarine is the size of peas.

Pack on top of the rhubarb and put right to the edge. I tend to pack fairly tightly as it keeps the juices in and gets a nice crisp texture. (always the best part 🙂 )

Cook in a 350 degree oven until the edges show bubbling juices and the top is golden brown.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or eat it cold.  Either way its a delicious taste of spring and I for one, look forward to each spring!

Enjoy!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

BANANA PECAN MUFFINS

If you are looking for a tasty, high fibre muffin, this is it!  It’s from Canadian Living Magazine, I believe, in the 80’s.   So moist and flavourful and they freeze well.  The orange zest gives the muffins a bright fresh taste.

Ingredients:

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup of melted butter ( I used margarine)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

grated rind of 1 whole orange

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill, 1 to 1)

1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt ( I use less in all my recipes)

1/2 cup chopped medjool dates (remove pits)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In one bowl, mix bananas, butter, egg, vanilla and orange rind together. (the bananas had been frozen and they started to congeal the melted butter, but it still worked out fine)

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Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dates and pecans and toss together lightly.

Pour dry ingredients into wet mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon into 12 large muffin cups.

Bake at 350 degrees  for 20 minutes.  Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean. If not, put in for another 5 minutes and check again.  (the original recipe says 15 – 20 minutes)  I’m not sure if its my oven but mine is convection and I find it takes at least 25 minutes.

Let cool and then enjoy (If you can wait that long 🙂 )   Great with a cup of tea or a dish of yogourt for breakfast!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤