Easy Butter Tarts

img_3437Butter tarts are made out to be difficult to make, not so.  They are a beautiful addition to your Christmas baking and everyone is so impressed.  This is my recipe, and I make it easier by using frozen tart shells.  Honestly frozen tart shells are the best thing since sliced bread.  If you want to make pastry go ahead, but be sure to add a couple hours extra on the prep time.

This recipe is a “dump” recipe.  Add all the ingredients and mix; well you can keep the raisins until last and stir them in.  Spoon out the goodness and half fill each shell.  Bake until brown and set.  So delicious.  This time I used the raisins from the grapes I dried and they tasted amazing.  img_3433

Assemble all your ingredients and turn on your oven.  Add everything into the small mixing bowl and mix until the butter is cut into small pieces and everything is blended together.  Stir in raisins.img_3431img_3434

Place two dozen frozen shells on a large baking sheet.  Fill the shells half full, they will bubble and overflow and make a big mess if you overfill.  Bake until they are brown and set.  Serve warm or cold.  They also freeze well.img_3435 img_3436

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Butter Tarts

Ingredients

  • - 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • - 2 Eggs
  • - 3 Tbsp Cold Butter
  • - 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  • - 1 Tsp White Vinegar
  • - 1 Cup Raisins (or Currants if you prefer) * Can also add chopped nuts

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients except raisins and blend until butter is in small chunks.
  2. Add raisins and stir
  3. Fill unbaked tart shells 1/2 full
  4. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
  5. Watch carefully, turn cookie sheet half way through if your oven is not even.
  6. The filling should be set not runny. Add minutes on if you need to.
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Kitchen Accessories You Shouldn’t Be Without This Fall

Cozy evenings, hot drinks and hearty home cooked meals are what fall and winter are all about. And so having a few good accessories in the kitchen will make your life much easier, allowing you to eat well and enjoy the season. Here are some of the essentials to get you through the fall and winter!food-healthy-hand-cooking

 

-Photo linked from Pexels-

Slow Cooker

Slow cookers really are genius. You can put in a selection of ingredients in the morning, safely leave the pot on all day and by the evening you have a delicious home cooked dinner all ready to go! With just a little bit of prep chopping ingredients, you can have a dish that requires no cooking effort from you whatsoever. Perfect if you know you’ve got a busy day and don’t have the time or inclination to be slaving over a hot stove in the evening. You don’t have to resort to an unhealthy or expensive takeaway, and it’s much tastier than any pre-packaged meal you could heat up in the microwave. There are lots of slow cooker recipe ideas out there; from old classics which have been adapted to work with long slow cooking, to dishes that are entirely new and unique. From stews to curries, even joints of meat can all be cooked to perfection in this handy little device.

Blender

Is there anything more comforting than a hot bowl of soup on a cold day? The perfect way to truly warm your bones. Homemade soups can also be incredibly healthy too, which is an added bonus. So whether you want to make a batch for your family’s lunch or to serve to friends as a dinner party starter, you’ll need the right equipment. Cook down your choice of seasonal vegetables until they’re soft with any seasoning, and then whiz them up using a blender until they’re super smooth. There are two ways you can blend your soup mixture, the easiest way is to use an immersion blender such as this one reviewed by Blender Friend. This method allows you to whiz everything up right from the cooking pot. The second way would be to transfer the mixture to a standard blender (in batches if there’s too much there) and do it this way instead. Don’t ever blend hot liquids or you could cause an accident, let everything cool right down first. Once it’s done it can then be heated back up before pouring into bowls. Stir through some natural yogurt or a drizzle of cream to give it a rich and indulgent finish and garnish with some fresh herbs.

Coffee Machine

Coffee machines these days come with all kinds of added extras. As well as being convenient for making you the perfect cup of joe, you can buy all sorts of fancy coffee shop style blends. You can even get teas and hot chocolates too, so they’re a great all-rounder to have in the kitchen. It saves you from having to put various different measurements of things into the cup, and each drink comes out just right every time. Enjoy with a good movie or book on the sofa, with plenty of blankets to snuggle up in!

What are your must-have kitchen accessories for the fall and winter?

Grapes to Raisins

I love to harvest our own produce.  Well, I love it when Bop harvests our produce and then I will process it some way.  This year we did not get many grapes from our vines.  They had been pruned back severely and did not produce as many as we had hoped.  Our neighbours, however, shared their bounty, and they had seedless grapes.

She told me she would dehydrate them, making them into raisins.  Then used them in the most wonderful butter tarts.  How could I resist?  I had to keep up to the “Jones” and try this myself.

Grape Harvest

Grape Harvest

Sitting in a sink full of water, stems and all, it looked like a pretty good haul.  It is a bit picky work and you do need to try and get all the little stems off of the grapes.  I know I missed some.

In the Dehydrator

The entire crop filled my four tray dehydrator.  I could almost taste the butter tarts already!

before-and-after-raisins

Before and After

Wow, real raisins.  You would not believe how sticky they were.  One dropped on the floor, bounced and stuck to the oven.  Needless to say, I ate that one.  From very full to almost overflowing trays of grapes, as you can see, they shrunk a good deal.  After all was said and done, I ended up with one full, medium sized, zip lock bag of raisins.  I will tuck them away and make my tarts and perhaps I will share, perhaps I won’t.

Easy 3 Ingredient Jam

Apricots

Apricots

Chopped up

Chopped up

Living in Orchard country means to me, putting down fresh fruit for the winter.  One of our favourites is Jam. Bop, my sweetheart, loves jam and what better way than to make it ourselves.   You know what goes into it and you can keep the sugar down as well.

I have used this same recipe for both apricot and plum jam.  Just three ingredients; fruit, sugar and lemon juice. [Read more…]

Plums are ready!

Here I am on Friday, after a week of school, chopping and processing plums.  Ripe fruit waits for no man.  Thank goodness I love doing this and Bop will pick all I need.  Today is one batch of plums – seven jars cause that is what fits in my boiling bath.

Processing fruit is fairly easy and plums must be one of the easiest.   You don’t have to peel them at all, I love that.  This is what I do. [Read more…]

Super Easy Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken CacciatoreI really did not feel like cooking tonight!  Thank goodness I had taken some chicken breasts out of the freezer yesterday.  Chicken is so easy to do anything with. [Read more…]

In My Garden

Growing up in the North, I was never much into gardening. Moving into southern BC Creston valley, where everything grows or so I am told, I need to learn a bit more. With all our renovations there was not much left over for plants but I picked up a few things for the kitchen. I have always wanted a herb garden so I planted rosemary; basil; thyme; oregano; sage and parsley. The oregano didn’t make it, not sure why, but everything else is doing fine. I had a chive plant that I brought with me and it is also growing like mad.

It is so much fun to just nip out to pick a few leaves to add to a salad or dinner.  The smell is amazing when you pick them, I always crush a tiny bit to release the aroma.  I love putting a fresh herb into infused water as well.  So refreshing.Fresh Herbs

With the plants doing so well, there is enough to clip and dry them for winter use.  Today’s harvest has a very full tray of parsley, one of sage, and a small amount of thyme and rosemary.

For chives the easiest way to save them for winter is to snip them with scissors into small ziplock bags or containers and pop them in the freezer.  They are fine enough that you can take them out frozen and sprinkle them directly on your salad or baked potato for a fresh taste in the winter.

Chicken Soup from Bones

Chicken Soup

Home made Chicken SoupI really love making soup.  It is a creative process that produces a wonderful and satisfying result.  Using bones to develop a broth is economical and you can modify as to what you have in your fridge or dietary needs.
A very easy bone soup is using the carcass from a purchased BBQ chicken.  For two people you can have a nice chicken dinner one night, sandwiches the next day and chicken soup the following dinner time.  It makes the purchase of a precooked meal very thrifty.  I have also found that generally buying a whole raw chicken is, more often than not. more expensive than the BBQ ready to serve ones are.  Go figure.
Broth and VeggiesAfter the first nights dinner, remove all the meat from the bones.  Chicken and ZucchiniToss the bones and skin into a large pot with
a half of onion; cover with cold water; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours.  Strain and discard all the bone mixture.  At this point you can make soup, but I find that if I cool it overnight I can skim most of the fat off for a healthier soup.  Once the fat is skimmed off you can freeze your stock to use another day if you aren’t making soup immediately.  Mine made appx 4 cups of broth.
This is where the fun begins.  What’s in the fridge?  Well, today I had 3 carrots, a couple of potatoes and a zucchini, oh and the chicken leftovers from last night.  I’m sure I can make dinner out of that.
Start by chopping the potatoes into bite size pieces.  Think of it on a spoon and screaming hot!  You don’t want too big a bite.  Toss them in to the broth.
Next I peeled and grated the carrots and put them in.  Sometimes I just chop them small but what’s life without a little change now and again?  The zucchini will wait until the end when I add my leftover chicken, that way it doesn’t over cook.Homemade Chicken Soup
To season I added salt; a pinch of garlic; paprika; and thyme.  I don’t like to be too generous with the garlic as it overwhelms the soup.  I love to add onion but did not have any left so slipped in a chive stem and some fresh parsley.

Last goes in the chicken and the zucchini.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, cook until potatoes are soft.

 

Serve with fresh hot biscuits or bread and butter.  Yummy!

Chicken Soup from Bones

Chicken Soup from Bones

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1 cup leftover chicken
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 potatoes, chopped small
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped small
  • Seasonings

Instructions

  1. Chop the potatoes into bite size pieces
  2. Peel and grate the carrots
  3. Add seasonings
  4. Put potatoes and carrots in broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer and cook for 1/2 hour
  6. Chop Zucchini and break up chicken to bite size pieces and add to the pot.
  7. Continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 mins.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasonings
  9. Soup is done when potatoes are soft.
  10. Enjoy
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Best Banana Bread

We love Banana Bread at our house and as they grow, our little wolves love it too.  This recipe has been used for many years, tweaked and sampled, until it’s just right.

Best Banana Bread

Best Banana Bread

[Read more…]

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