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…]

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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Raspberry Vinegar

Raspberry ScrubThis is a recipe I have made before and found it wonderfully delicious!  Raspberry with Coconut Balsamic VinegarIt makes a marvelous, refreshing summer drink.  You can serve it over crushed ice or mix it in to ginger ale, tonic water or soda water.  For a grown up drink you can mix it with Mix Party Wine Cocktail Raspberry or their Sparkling Wine, like Bubbles (Rose) that contains real edible 24 carat gold flakes.

This particular version has an added extra zing using Mix Party Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar, instead of regular.  I hope you enjoy trying this out.  Watch for a great giveaway coming soon with Mix Party!

 

Raspberry Vinegar

Raspberry Vinegar

Raspberry Vinegar

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of ripe raspberries
  • 2 cups of cider vinegar **
  • Sugar to taste. Start small and add to your sweet tooth
  • Can of Tonic Water
  • Mint Leaves or a couple of Whole Raspberries

Instructions

  1. Use an Enamel or Stainless Steel bowl
  2. Pour vinegar over crushed raspberries
  3. Cover and let stand for 48 hours in a cool spot
  4. Add sugar to your sweet tooth
  5. Serve two tablespoons to a 1/2 can Tonic Water and top with a Mint Leaf
  6. You can strain your raspberries, but we like to eat them
  7. ** I have used regular white vinegar with success and in the pictures above used MixParty Coconut Balsamic Vinegar.
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Smashed Potatoes

I love easy cooking with tasty results.  This is maybe not so pretty, but was it tasty.  I took smallish potatoes and baked them until tender.  Smashed Potatoes

Turn up oven to high heat, 450 degrees.  Place potatoes on a cookie sheet or pie pan, if you are only making enough for two, and smash them with a potato masher until they spread out.   Season to your taste.  I also added herb goat cheese and fresh chives from the garden.  Drizzle it with Sundried Tomato Infused Olive Oil from Mix Party   Bake for an additional 20 minutes until golden and crispy on the edges.   Check out Mix Party, it’s on their blog, for their version of this great recipe.  They used Mix Party Parmesan EVOO.  Which Oil flavor would you choose for this recipe?  Watch for a great giveaway coming soon!

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Small potatoes
  • Seasonings
  • Mix Party Olive Oil
  • Toppings

Instructions

  1. Bake your potatoes until folk tender.
  2. Drizzle the flavor of choice EVOO on a cooking sheet
  3. Place on potatoes and smash down with masher
  4. Season and add toppings of choice
  5. Drizzle a bit more EVOO on top of potatoes
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes until golden and crispy on edges
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Peach Sorbet with MixParty Coconut Balsamic Vinegar

Served in a Tea Cup

Served in a Tea Cup

With our fruit trees already bearing new fruit, I need to think seriously about what I have in the freezer.  The peaches that I froze were not used as much as I thought they would be so something new had to be done.

My diet has been gradually cutting out all dairy, with wonderful results.  However, that means no ice cream for a summer treat any more.  Back in the reaches of my mind and recipe cards I found something I could have and use up some of those peaches from last year.  Sorbet.

Sorbet is the best dairy-free; gluten-free, fat-free dessert out there and very easy to make.  Pretty much any fruit will make outstanding Sorbet, the limits are just your imagination.  You can make them plain or add a bit of zest with a tablespoon of your favourite liquor.

Check out MixParty and tell me one you think you would like to try in your Sorbet.  Watch for a great giveaway coming soon!

Peaches, here I come!

 

Peach Sorbet

Peach Sorbet

Served in a Tea Cup

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Frozen Peaches
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Envelope Gelatin
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon MixParty Coconut Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Blend partially thawed peaches until smooth.
  2. Add water and sugar, and flavour** and stir until sugar is absorbed
  3. Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup of water add 1/4 cup of boiling water to this and stir until completely mixed, stir into peaches
  4. Freeze. Stir once or twice during the freezing time.
  5. Serve in a beautiful tea cups for special guests.
  6. ** In this case the MixParty Coconut Balsamic Vinegar; or for a grownup taste MixParty Wine Cocktail Pina Colada.
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Seasoned Kale Chips

Tasty Snack

Tasty Snack

Packed with vitamins, calcium and minerals, kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.  I love putting it in salads for added crunch and flavour.    One of my favourite ways to have kale is as Seasoned Chips.  Yummy!  This is a healthy alternative to potato chips.

Kale Chips are easy, peasy to make.  With a few ingredients, an oven or dehydrator, you can have these snacks with in minutes.  Be sure to experiment too. For a little extra spice, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or sweet paprika;  if you are a cheese lover, a little Parmesan and fresh pepper.

Kale

 

Seasoned Kale Chips

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Tasty Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 Bunch of Kale
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry kale
  2. Take all the leaves off the center stem. You can cut or tear them off.
  3. Tear or cut the kale into bite sized pieces
  4. Place the kale into a large bowl then drizzle with olive oil and add Seasonings
  5. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Using a Dehydrator you will have to experiment as to times and temperatures.
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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is not something I have used much.  I have seen rave reviews so thought I would give it a try.  Good decision!  Spaghetti Squash

In my cupboard I try and keep staples and one of them is pasta sauce.  I use it in soups, regular spaghetti, and other main dishes.  The one I found was a Tomato and Basil.  Pretty plain but I planned to doctor this up a bit.  Here is how it went.

I started with a pound of lean ground chicken.  I also keep this on hand in my freezer.   Spaghetti squash has a tough skin so I would recommend that you microwave it for about two minutes then turn over and do the same again.

This is my recipe:

  • One medium size Spaghetti Squash
  • One pound of lean ground meat, I used ground chicken
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 – 1 small zucchini, chopped small
  • 1 jar of Sweet Basil  & Tomato pasta sauce
  • Seasonings to taste
  • Grated old cheddar and Herb Goat Cheese

Cut the softened squash in half and remove the seeds.   Spray a 9×13 pan with Pam or some spray oil.  Place the squash cut side down.  Bake for 45 minutes at 375.Squash Baked

While the squash is baking, take your meat and brown it in a pot with seasonings.  Chop onions and other vegetables and toss them in with the meat.  Pour over the pasta sauce, stir and simmer until squash is cooked. Squash Stuffing

Once the squash has cooked, take it out and carefully turn them over in the pan.  Scoop the meat and vegetable mixture into the center of each half.  I used a soup scoop!  Place back in the oven for 20 minutes at 350.  Take this time to grate your cheese.  After 20 minutes, cover each side with the cheese of choice and place back in oven until melted.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chives and sweet basil leaves.  Serve with a small side salad.

It was delicious.  I found it easy to prepare and a great one “pan” meal for two people. There was sauce left over that I can use for real spaghetti the next night.  As a second meal it can also be heated and put over potatoes.  Just add a salad or some sliced fresh vegetables to go with.  I love one night cooking, two nights eating.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

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