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

YOGURT, HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT, IT’S YUM!

I recently purchased a Euro Cuisine yogurt maker and have been using it on a weekly basis since then.  I have been making plain yogurt and eating it with granola or adding it to smoothies and it’s so much better than store bought!  Also this machine is very user friendly 🙂

I tried several different fat contents of milk and have settled on 1% milk as that is what we drink in the house.  If you wanted a higher fat content yogurt you could use 2% or 3.25% milk.

Start off by making sure your equipment is very clean.  I clean the yogurt jars in the dishwasher and the lids in soap and water.

I use an empty yogurt jar and add 7 filled jars of milk to a deep sauce pan and set it over medium heat.  I whisk it gently to make sure it heats evenly and doesn’t scorch or get a skin on it.  This is where the quick read thermometer comes in handy!  The milk heats, but shouldn’t be boiling.

Once the milk reaches 180 degrees F take it off the element and let it cool a bit until it comes down to 112 degrees F. This can take approximately 30 minutes depending on how cool your home is.

At this point you add the culture and an optional addition is 1/4 cup of skim milk powder to make it a bit thicker.  This is a personal preference 🙂  Whisk until dissolved.  Try not to froth it up too much or you won’t have enough room for your milk in the jars.

 

I transfer the milk from the saucepan to a glass measuring cup which makes it easier to pour into the jars.  I usually make 7 jars, which is one layer because it’s only me eating the yogurt, but you have the capability to make 14 jars (2 layers) at once.  Very handy for a growing family!

Place the jars, lids off,  in the base of the yogurt maker and cover with the plastic cover.  On top of that place the lids and then the top cover covers the lids.  Set the timer and you are on your way to creamy, tasty, homemade yogurt ❤  Make sure no one unplugs the machine while its cooking 😦

You have the ability to add chopped fruit or jam to the yogurt for flavour prior to cooking, but, I like plain and then I can customize it at breakfast.  Depending on what fruit is in season the options are endless.  I also make some homemade granola that I add on.

Once the time is up, you put the lids on and place the jars in the fridge.  The lids have little date markers on them so you can either set the date for 10 days from the day you are making them (best before date) or the date you made the yogurt.

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I hope you are able to try this as it really takes the mystery out of making your own yogurt!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  Charlene

FABRIC AND DESIGN FUN :)

My daughter had purchased some material from our local fabric store and wanted me to make her a blouse/shirt with it.  It happened to be a Cotton and Steel fabric and because the white of the bunnies is not a true white I couldn’t match it, so we went with a solid black fabric.  It turned out so cute and she has gotten a lot of wear out of it and a lot of compliments.  Its definitely an original and no one will have the same one out there!

She can dress it up with black or white pants or use it as a jacket with a simple tee underneath.

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I had to definitely think about the direction that the bunnies were heading when I made the cuffs and Nehru collar.  Almost ran out of material 😦   I used plain black buttons down the front and then vintage buttons on the sleeves and neck.  With fall coming its a fun addition to her wardrobe.

This was a fun project and although not perfect we had fun designing and executing our plan.  Next project??? Stay tuned!  🙂

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

IN A “JAM”

We’ve had such nice weather lately that when I was out in the valley this week, I decided to stop at the local berry farm and pick up some berries.  I opted to not “U-pick” as I was wearing white pants that day. 🙂   I headed into the market and found the berry counter.  After looking at the “flats” I purchased a 15 lb flat of strawberries and 10 lb flat of raspberries.  It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how many berries I actually had gotten!  I think I was mesmerized by all the good looking red berries haha

Once home I had to decide what to do with 25 lbs of berries!  After all you can only drink so many smoothies and eat so much yogourt with berries sprinkled on top.  Off to the market to pick up more mason jars, sugar, lemons, and pectin (liquid).

These recipes make one batch.  I made strawberry and raspberry jam and the recipes are slightly different but the general idea is the same.

I took the lids off the jars and washed them all in hot soapy water, rinsed well and placed on a deep cookie sheet with 1/2 inch of water in a 300 F degree oven to sterilize them.  I leave them in until just before I have to fill them.

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Take the lids and place them in a sauce pan with water and bring to a simmer. (Screw caps don’t have to be hot and sterilized.

RASPBERRY JAM

4 cups prepared raspberries (pick out leaves, stems and rinse quickly)

6 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp of butter

1 pouch of liquid pectin

Use a deep stainless steel pot as jam will boil up quickly.

Add the raspberries and the sugar and use a potato masher to crush.  I keep crushing and stirring until the sugar is all incorporated.  Add in the butter as it keeps the foaming to a minimum.

 

Boil over high heat stirring constantly until it comes to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.  Add one pouch of pectin and stir in. Boil x 1 min and then remove from heat and skim off any foam.

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Place the hot jars on a clean tea towel and using a wide mouth funnel fill the jars up to 1/4″ from the top.  Wipe the mouths of the jars so that no stickiness remains and top with heated lids and apply the screw cap and screw finger tight.

 

Place jars in a hot water bath using a canner, with 1″ above all the jars.  Cover the canner with the lid and bring water to a full rolling boil. I boiled them for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat at 10 min and remove the lid and let sit for 5 min.  Then using a jar lifter I removed the jars from the water and placed them on another dry tea towel.  Within a few minutes you will start to hear the lids popping (they become concave).  Do not move for 24 hours.

Then label and put away to enjoy!

I used 500ml (1 pint)  canning jars and each “batch” made 3 – 4 jars

STRAWBERRY JAM

3 3/4 cups of crushed strawberries (hull, wash, slice and crush)

4 Tblsp lemon juice

7 cups of granulated sugar

1 pouch liquid pectin

1/2 tsp of butter

Add the sugar, and strawberries and lemon juice and crush until there is no dry sugar visible.

Bring to a full rolling boil and then add the pectin and boil for 1 minute.  Follow the remaining directions for filling jars and water bathing as above.

I ended up with 12 pints of strawberries and 10 pints of strawberries, plus I froze a  ton of berries as I was getting tired from standing and stirring.  Plenty of other recipes to come in future blogs.

Stay tuned!!

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 ❤

BABY BANDANAS

I’ve made quite a few of these easy to whip up baby bandanas.  I’m one of those people who won’t spend money on a pattern unless absolutely necessary 🙂  When my grandson was born my daughter in law had purchased a couple and then asked me to make some. My technique improved as I went along.

Just lately my daughter in law’s girlfriend asked me to make some for her little fellow, and so I did.  I tend to have more little boy fabrics lately, go figure haha.

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The first 3 are a little brighter and the second 3 are a little more retro looking.

I cut out a triangle in fabric and one in minky fabric (or you could use flannel), put them right sides together and sew around the edges leaving a 1 1/2″ gap to turn right side out. Trim the edges so that you don’t have bulky corners.  Then I iron them and sew a border tucking the opened edge in and catch it with the border stitch.

They are all backed with minky fabric. Soft and cuddly for little necks. I also used the little plastic snaps which are so handy 🙂 I added 2 so that she could adjust as her little one grows.

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So fun and so quick!

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Here is a little throwback to when I made a Halloween bib and little “boo” bag for all of little man’s treats 🙂

Little bags are another quick gift I make and have been making for years. Put a couple of books in and you have a quick and well loved gift!

Enjoy!

Remember to LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

 

BEST BRUSSEL SPROUTS…EVER!

My husband has always loved Brussel sprouts, but me…well not so much.  I have always tried to get the kids to eat or taste everything I cooked including the dreaded “alien heads”.  Yes, that is what they ended up being called.

One year I found a similar recipe and adapted it and voila!!  We now have a family favourite.  I swear if I only made these and the stuffing (see previous post), no one would complain.

Quick and simple.

I pick out maybe a pound of small to medium Brussel sprouts, peel off the outer leaves and cut them in half.  If larger cut in quarters.

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2 Gala apples, chopped (you can leave the peel on)

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6 – 8 slices of bacon chopped.

In a large sided cookie sheet I brown the bacon to soft stage (slightly cooked, starting to brown)

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Then I add in the apples and the cut up Brussel sprouts and stir to get the bacon fat all over.

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Cover with aluminum foil and put in a 350 F oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the Brussel sprouts are softened.  Then take the foil off and cook until starting to crisp around the edges.

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This is by far the best way to do Brussel sprouts and you’ll having your harshest Brussel sprout critics asking for a second helping.

Enjoy!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤