Valentine’s Day Beet Salad

Beet Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

That’s right. I said salad.  No truffles, cupcakes, chocolates, cookies, mousses or cakes.  Salad. It’s February and I know for me, it’s my natural instinct to commit “carbicide” — I want to make a cake and some peanut butter cups and cookies and stuff them into my face. But I’m going to be controlled and dedicated to eating healthily. Seriously, the party’s over. I’ve been on a binge ever since the beginning of December and now my pants are getting tight and my boobs are looking huge and I’ve got to take control. So. Here’s your Valentine Guilt-free Salad. It’s delicious anyway and it looks cute. Continue reading

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Slow-Cooker Beef Pot Roast

Slow-cooked pot roast, pureed cauliflower, gravy, green salad, beet horseradish

This is a great time of year to pull out the slow-cooker and figure out how to cook with it.  I use it as often as possible because it means I’ve dealt with my dinner-making obligation early in the day and I can move on to other fun stuff – like baking and eating baking.  Besides that, everyone should know how to make a pot roast, it’s a Canadian staple dinner.

Anyhow, I bought a grass-fed beef sirloin tip roast – it works well for pot roast — or use a blade or other tough chunk of beef. We’ll be cooking it low and slow so all those fibrous strands of meat will break down in the process, all the while providing some great flavour.  I chose ‘grass-fed’ because that is what cows are supposed to eat naturally and I believe that it is way, way more healthy to eat this kind of beef.

You will need to make a flavour base to cook this in. Follow along with what I’ve used, but please feel free to stray from this guideline and use what you like and/or have on hand.

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

serves 6

2-3 lb beef roast (blade, sirloin tip)

2 medium onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine (I used shiraz – use a good wine)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (use any kind)

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp tamari or soya sauce

2 tsp ground ginger

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup bbq sauce

ground black pepper

to thicken gravy:

1/2 cup water mixed with 2 tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

Turn slow-cooker on to high.  Spread diced onions along bottom of cooker.   Unwrap and wipe off roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter until melted over med-high heat. Brown roast on all sides.  Place browned roast on top of onions.

In separate medium-sized saucepan, put in the rest of the ingredients (except water and cornstarch).  Bring to a boil and stir. Pour mixture over beef roast in slow-cooker. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.  When roast is tender (can pull apart with a fork), remove from liquid to a plate and tent with foil. Mix up water/cornstarch mixture and stir into liquid in slow cooker (on high). (If there is alot of fat on top of liquid, remove as much as possible before doing this). When thickened, pour into a gravy boat. Slice meat. Serve with horseradish (or beet horseradish – even better)…boiled or mashed  potatoes and carrots – or for a healthier, lower carb option – pureed cooked cauliflower and a green salad. Cheers.

Brown roast over medium-high heat

Brown roast on all sides

Mix all ingredients (except water/cornstarch) in medium saucepan.

pour mixture over roast in slow-cooker

Add cornstarch/water mixture to liquid in slow-cooker to thicken

Slice roast, serve with gravy

Turkey Apple Meatloaf

turkey apple meatloaf

I love turkey burgers…so thought I’d try this recipe when I saw it in the Kingston-Whig Standard while I was waiting for my oil change.  I’m not the type who would ever make a ground beef meatloaf, it just doesn’t turn me on at all….but I’m all about the turkey so… Give this a try, it’s easy and it’s seasonal with finely diced apples in it.  The recipe calls for 2 pounds of ground turkey, so I divided it into two 8 x 4 aluminum loaf pans, instead of one large loaf (but go ahead if that’s the size loaf pan you have on hand)-one for dinner, one for sandwiches the next day. I enjoyed both, but let’s face it, a meatloaf sandwich is special and this one does not disappoint.

Turkey Apple Meatloaf

adapted from Foodland Ontario

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium apple, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 small or 1 large firm apple, finely diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (if you have it, I didn’t use it)

2 lb ground turkey

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1.5 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp bbq sauce (I used PC Louisiana style mustard based bbq sauce)

Directions

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, stirring occasionally.

Stir in garlic and apples; cook for about 3 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in bread crumbs and parsley, if using.

In large bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; stir in apple mixture until well combined.

Press turkey mixture lightly into two 8 x 4 aluminum loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread bbq sauce over top of loaf (loaves).  Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 40 minutes to  1 hour or until digital rapid-read thermometer registers 165°F (74°C).

saute onion, add garlic and apples and continue to cook until tender.

mix turkey with mustard, spices, egg, bread crumbs...

press into pans, top with bbq sauce

yum

Shish Taouk

shish tawook

[Hi everybody, it’s been awhile…I’m back from cottaging and I have been cooking like a maniac– I  just have had no time to document it. Here’s a great recipe to start off.]

What the hell is Shish Tawook you say? It’s delicious, that’s what. This recipe comes to me from Michelle Blandford-Duggan–she told me she loves this recipe …and so I tried it, and I’m so glad I did (and so was my family).  I love a kebab. This one is made with chicken, onion and peppers.  The marinade, I believe is of Persian origin, although I have done no research whatsoever. All I know is that it’s good.  The marinade, which really works best if you Continue reading

Summer Fresh Tomato Salad Dressing

summer fresh tomato salad dresssing

Summer’s bounty is coming in fast….I found this recipe and thought it might be a good way to use up those fresh tomatoes that were sitting on the windowsill, as well as a pleasant change from our usual vinaigrette dressing,  This dressing tastes similar to bruschetta, with it’s fresh tomato and garlicy flavour, and the wine vinegar balances it nicely.  Mixed with your salad greens and some cukes and cheese, it’s delightfully refreshing and different on your daily salad…if you eat as much salad as we do, it’s nice to change it up. Give it a try if you’re feeling bored with your usual salad or you want to make something unique for company. It takes a few minutes to prep the tomatoes, but aside from that, easy as can be. (blender required). Continue reading

Healthy Organic Low-fat Breakfast Yogurt Combo

yogurt/berry/almond delight

This is so good, I had to share. I don’t like eggs and I am trying not to eat a bunch of carb-y toast or cereal for breakfast. This fits the bill – delicious, nutricious, low-fat, just all around yummatrocious. Check it out. I use no fat plain organic yogurt, organic kefir (which is a high probiotic yogurt-type substance), local organic maple syrup, pure vanilla, oat bran and organic raspberries. Oh, and toasted sliced almonds for some crunch-factor.

So, wash and smoosh your raspberries, then place in bottom of glass or bowl. In separate bowl, mix up 1 cup of yogurt, 2 tbsp kefir, 1 to  2 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp oat bran. Mix. Scoop on top of raspberries. Top with almonds (dry roasted in pan until brown and aromatic). It’s so good, plus, I practically fainted from hunger photographing my breakfast for you, so give it a try — it does hold you over until lunchtime. YUM!

smoosh raspberries

yogurt, kefir, maple syrup, vanilla, oat bran

it's so good.

Indian Spiced Kebabs with Raita

Indian Spiced Kebabs

If you enjoy the exotic flavours of East Indian foods, you will love these kebabs. They are as easy as mixing up a batch of burgers, but the flavour is so awesome — you might forget about standard burgers altogether.

You can adjust the heat in these depending on how spicy you enjoy your food– add more cayenne as necessary. The cucumber raita cools things down and compliments the flavour of these kebabs perfectly. I make them in a log shape–kebabs without the sticks– about 5 inches long by 2 inches wide, but feel free to make them longer or wider – whatever size you prefer, but I think if you make them too big, they may be difficult to deal with. If you think you can handle a larger size kebab, go ahead. The 5 inch one won’t fully satisfy you — you will definitely be wanting more than one.  They are also great in a burger shape, served on a bun with raita, lettuce and tomato. Once you try them, you will be asked to make them again. Use a good quality ground beef. I buy pasture-raised, grass-fed, organic beef and it does taste alot better. { Investigate your local farmer’s market to find organic beef and many other wholesome products.}

*once you have mixed up your mixture and shaped them into logs- they freeze perfectly too.

Indian Spiced Kebabs

makes 8 (4 oz) kebabs, or 4 (8 oz) burgers

2 lb ground beef

1 medium onion, grated

2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 tsp  ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp garam masala (spice mixture available at asian / indian markets)

2 egg yolks

1 tsp salt

a handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely (if you have it)

Mix up ingredients. Shape into logs or patties. Cover and refrigerate, let the flavours meld for at least 1/2 an hour.  Heat bbq up to medium (about 325-350F). Cook directly on the grill, turning frequently, until cooked through and kebabs have reached an inner temp of 170F. Serve with raita. (see recipe below)

meat mixture with all ingredients

kebabs shaped into 5 inch logs

grill kebabs

Cucumber Raita

1 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup grated (and squeezed out on a paper towel) cucumber

1/2 tsp cumin

Mix ingredients. Serve with kebabs.

raita mixture

kebab with raita and salad – a healthy lunch or dinner