23 Jul

Summer with Epicure

Summer is in full swing here on the east coast of Canada. Thankfully the weather has been mostly co-operative which means we spend lots of time on the deck with family and friends and eating of course.

burgerThere’s nothing better than BBQ eats during the summer months.  Whether it’s hamburgers, steak, chicken, lobster, you name it, it nearly always tastes better when it’s been cooked on the BBQ.  I was introduced to Epicure a few years ago by a very good friend of mine.  I, like other friends went to an Epicure party to try some of the low salt dips.  Well, they aren’t just limited to dips anymore, but also include spices meant just for the summer.  The first time I tried Epicure I found that the spices lacked salt, that’s when my friend said “you then have control over how much salt is added to your meals”.  Bingo! This made so much sense.

The summer line, which we’ve been enjoying includes glazes and rubs:

Fish Rub
Montreal Chicken Rub (my favourite for kabobs)
Montreal Steak Rub
Oh Canada (Maple glaze and garlic)

Good Burgers Really FastAnd if making your own burgers is on your list, there’s a special Good Burger. Real Fast. package that has everything you need including a “special sauce” which tastes very much like “the original” really yummy burger sauce, but a little cleaner.

burger pressBut it didn’t even stop there, we made our own burgers,,, from scratch – no kidding!  I know it’s really easy to buy frozen premade burgers from the store, but making your own burgers from scratch can be just as easy with this Burger Press and then you know exactly what it is you are eating.  You add the spices, you add the cheese and then you press the burgers into a patty you’ve made yourself!  The Epicure recipe doesn’t call for an egg, but I recommend it to keep your patties together.

penguin popsMy personal favourite product of all however is the Squeeze and Eat Pops. These cute little penguins molds freeze up within a few hours and I get to control how much “liquid sugar” the kids get to enjoy.  1 part juice to 1 part water.  They love cold pops during the summer (well anytime really) and I always prefer making these at home.  The mold can stand up on its own and the suction of the cover is so tight that the liquid doesn’t fall out when they are right side up to freeze.  When the pop is frozen turn the mold and cover upside down and the cover becomes a holder – genius.  This also helps to keep the pop upright (ie. not dripping on the floor) while the kids are eating it.

We will continue to BBQ until at least the end of October, making the most of the good weather until the snow starts to fall.  As the for Squeeze and Eat Pops… Those will be in use all year round.

In all honesty, at first I did find Epicure lacked in salt content, but when I start cutting back on salt you realize how salty everything else was.  In a way, it’s actually kind of scary…

Giveaway:  
1 lucky Canadian reader will receive a $100 Epicure summer package including the Squeeze and Eat Pops and more.   (Open to Canada, closes August 7th @ 11:59pm PST)

To Enter: 
Let me know what your favourite BBQ item is in the comments below.

Bonus:
Visit the epicure site And let me know what you’d like to try out this summer in the comments below.

Bonus:
Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post.

**Disclaimer:  I received these items from Epicure to test out with my family and friends.

 

Winner confirmed: Leah

04 Feb

Thai at home

I love food.  I’m really great at eating food, but not very good at making it.  I need simple and easy to follow recipes.  I also need quick, as a full time working mom, I do not have an extra spare moment to spend slaving away in the kitchen.  There are a few meals that I can get away with making regularly and there are a few things that we’re always better off ordering in.  One type of food that I have never been able to recreate properly is Thai.  While I love the taste, I don’t necessarily love it when I try to make it on my own at home.


An ingredient that is frequently in Thai food is fish sauce.  And to be honest, I never cooked with it – until recently, maybe that’s why my Thai recipes were always off.  So what is fish sauce? Well, if you really want to know the deets …. This info-graph has the whole thing laid out for you.  (There’s a reason I haven’t made fish sauce on my own before…. I don’t have 30 minutes to put together a meal, let alone 9 months to make a sauce.  I guess it’s best to leave this one to the pros).

TK-INFOGRAPHIC-v2

To put the fish sauce (and my “stellar” Thai cooking skills) to the test I made a recipe found on the Thai Kitchen website.  Tempura Shrimp!  I absolutely love tempura in restaurants and wouldn’t ever dream of trying it at home, but here I am, trying it at home.  Here’s my website putting me outside of my comfort zone.

Here’s what you’ll need to make tempura shrimp:

Shrimp
Canola Oil
Tempura batter
Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce
Dips (Thai Kitchen Plum SauceThai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili SauceThai Kitchen Pineapple & Chili Sauce)

This is was quick and easy to make.  I literally dipped each shrimp into the fish oil and then rolled them into the tempura mix and popped them on a hot skillet with the canola oil.  They were ready in about 30 seconds on each side.  It’s just a bit harder than sticking bread in the toaster and slathering on peanut butter – that’s my kind of cooking.  Oh yeah, and the verdict? Very yummy!  And not just for  adults, but the kids (6 and 2) enjoyed them too.

They are best served hot so make sure the rest of your meal is ready to go when you throw these in a pan. You’ll be serving up appetizers or a meal (3 or 4 on a skewer) in just a few minutes.  You can use a dip, or just eat them on their own (yes they are that good).

Temputa Shrimp

Now that I’ve tried the shrimp, I’m going to experiment with different veggies (sweet potato tempura, or how about home made onion rings) in the fish oil and tempura batter.  I can’t express how easy it was and how much it did taste very similar to what I would order in a restaurant.  I was actually impressed with myself and perhaps now that I have found the fish oil Thai secret, I won’t be so scared to try other Thai food at home too.

Tempura Shrimp Skewer

When you see fish oil as an ingredient, there’s no need to be scared, use it, it really does make the Thai difference.

Looking for another recipe? How about these Thai Cocktail Meatballs – or check out all the recipes for the #TKeveryday Recipe Challenge.

Enjoy!

*Disclosure, this is a sponsored post.  Please try this, you will like it.  I tried other recipes, and they were not nearly as good. Promise.

30 Dec

Chicken Appetizers for New Years

It’s hard to believe, but another year has gone by.  Time seems to be flying, 2014 is just around the corner.  The baby is already 1 and the oldest has started school.  They say time goes by fast once you have children and while I’m not 100% sure who “they” are, “they” certainly know what they’re talking about.

New Years Eve is all about reflection on the year gone by and excitement for the year to come.  It’s a comforting time, spent with friends, loved ones and of course revolves around food.  Is there a holiday that doesn’t revolve around food?

For last years New Years Eve Party, I made Chicken and Brie Crostini, an easy appetizer that can also be served as a meal.  Very little fuss and easier to make than pie.  (I’ve made pie before, it can be really hard).  It was a huge success.  Yeah me!

Chicken-and-Brie-400x285

New Years Eve snuck up on me this year, I can’t believe it’s already December 30th.  While we do have a place to go to celebrate I haven’t even thought of what I want to bring as a snack.  Once again, I find myself not overly creative and, to be honest not much of a cooker, thankfully the Chicken.ca website is built for people like me.  Ideas that are outside of the ordinary and look much more impressive than what effort it takes to make.

The drool worthy choice this year? How about Chicken Rumaki w/ Maple Syrup Tamari.  Sounds like a lot of trouble, but here the simple name: Chicken Wrapped in Bacon with a Maple Sauce.  Yummy!

Chicken Rumaki-W-Maple-Tamari

Here’s what you need:

  • 12 slices bacon, low-sodium
  • 3/4 lb (0.4 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast(s), cubed
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) light tamari sauce
  • or
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) ketchup
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil, smoked
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) sesame seeds, (optional garnish)
  • 2 green onion(s), medium, sliced for garnish

Check out the Chicken.ca website for the instructions. Nothing too complicated, even I can make them.

If bacon isn’t your thing, there is also a chicken quiche  recipe and a stuffed chicken mushroom cap recipe that look like they are worth making.

Chicken Quiche-tart

Chicken Stuffed-mushrooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your go to appetizers for New Years Eve?

Where ever and whatever the New Year brings you, I wish you all good things for 2014.

 

**DISCLOSURE – “I AM PARTICIPATING IN THE CHICKEN FARMERS OF CANADA PROGRAM BY SHESCONNECTED.  I RECEIVED COMPENSATION IN EXCHANGE FOR MY PARTICIPATION IN THIS CAMPAIGN.  THE OPINIONS ON THIS BLOG ARE MY OWN.

 

16 Dec

Cookie Exchange Made Extra Special

Since I’m not really giving many presents this year, (you can read all about it here) and am focusing on what really counts, I was thinking baking for people is a great way to show how much I love them.  There is one problem with this plan however… I’m a terrible baker.  Well, not terrible, but certainly not the best.  While I have aspirations of making all these marvelous things I find on Pinterest, the truth is, I need easy and fool proof.

Here’s what I’ve done to make some otherwise kind of plain cookies, into something a little more special.

I used President’s Choice Shortbread cookies prepacked mix, and just added butter.  This was super easy to make, but the planning started well before the cookies themselves.

Cookie container

Rather than just handing over a bunch of cookies, it was the presentation that I was most excited about.  Here’s what you need to make these adorable cookie “Jars”

  • Small Pringles can (or anything else that is round, small and comes with a lid… peanuts would work too)
  • Wrapping paper and or Christmas material
  • Scissors
  • Take or glue
  • Ribbon and/or bow

Wrap up the Pringles can, and taped it in place.  Cut out a circle bigger than the lid and put it back on.  Top it with a bow and maybe some ribbon and there you have it, a beautiful way to display some otherwise non overly exciting Christmas cookies.

Shortbread cookies stars

As for the cookies themselves?  I use a round (or star) cutter that would ensure the cookies would fit into the can, and I just used green icing to make them into stars.  Simple.  You can’t go wrong with shortbread cookies, they are so yummy.  With this simple added touch of icing and the adorable packaging, I think your family and friends will enjoy them even more.

Happy Simple Gift Giving this year.  Enjoy getting creative with cookies and the packaging.

I’m certainly going to.

26 Oct

Bacon & Chicken Soup

The best thing about cooking a full chicken, is boiling the bones and making home made soup after.  Ok, so I’ve only ever done this twice by myself, but it’s so easy I’ll make soup after cooking a full bird every single time.  You should never ever ever let a good bird carcass go to waste.

If you remember last week, I made a bacon roasted chicken for Thanksgiving, not traditional for this time of year, but I still added all the fixings, carrots, dressing, gravy, etc. and it was great.  But who really wants to have chicken sandwich after chicken sandwich the weeks after Thanksgiving?  Ok, I probably would, but the rest of the family, not so much.  So, I made a soup, a delicious soup, the most delicious soup.  I’m calling is Bacon & Chicken Soup.

Bacon and chicken soup

Here’s what you need:

  • a full chicken that you made a few days before with chicken like this Bacon Roasted Chicken
  • left overs from your chicken dinner
  • left over broth from the chicken you cooked
  • rice
  • extra veggies
  • extra soup stock

Here’s what you do:

Throw all the left over “juice” from the chicken you cooked (including and bacon that fell off your chicken), along with the chicken bones into a pot and boil on low for a few hours (until all the chicken easily falls off the bones).  Let the mixture cool and remove all the bones.  Add in soup stock, left over veggies and new veggies, rice and you can even throw the gravy into the pot and let it boil.  I usually like to then let the entire soup mixture cool off and put it in the fridge so all the fat rises to the top and scrape it off, but it’s totally up to you.

The bacon adds a super yummy flavour to the soup.  Even if I don’t make Bacon Roasted Chicken, I think I will throw in a few strips of cooked bacon into the next soup I make.  Left overs went way quicker than they would have as chicken sandwiches.

With winter around the corner, soup is one of my favourite ways to get warmed up (next to a warm tub and a cup of hot chocolate).  Check out the Chicken.ca website for some other chicken soup recipes.

Giveaway: Chicken Giveaway

  • 1 lucky Canadian reader will receive a set of Chicken Soup Bowl and a Thermos

To Enter:

  • Complete the Rafflecopter form below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 “DISCLOSURE: I AM PARTICIPATING IN THE CHICKEN FARMERS OF CANADA PROGRAM BY SHESCONNECTED. I RECEIVED COMPENSATION IN EXCHANGE FOR MY PARTICIPATION IN THIS PROGRAM. THE OPINIONS ON THIS BLOG ARE MY OWN.”

22 Oct

Bacon Roasted Chicken

This year we had a small thanksgiving.  In the past, my mom and grandmother have made a turkey fit for an army.  But this year, it was just my small family.  I’ve never made a turkey before and well, I didn’t want to break that tradition, so I pulled out a frozen chicken from the freezer.  With 2 adults and a small child, I didn’t think our appetites would allow us to enjoy turkey and 4 weeks of leftovers.

Rather than making a traditional roasted chicken, I got a little creative.  I added bacon – cause everything is better with bacon, right?

Here’s what you need to make a bacon roasted chicken:

  • Maple Leaf Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Rosemary
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Toothpicks

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Rub butter all over your chicken, sprinkle rosemary along the top, dash with salt and pepper.  Lay strips of bacon along the top of the chicken, keeping them in place with the tooth picks.

bacon wrapped chicken

I let the chicken cook about 1.5 hours and then removed the bacon to expose the top of the chicken to roast.  I let the bacon in the pan to keep the taste in.

bacon wrapped chicken1

The verdict…. Yum yum yum-o! The bacon made the chicken nice and moist and even princess pickey eater ate two drum sticks (yes, two).

bacon roasted chicken2
This is a very easy way to give a different and delicious taste to chicken.  I will make this again!

But the best part was yet to come… Stay tuned for the leftovers!

Want to get your own bacon? I have some free coupons for 8 readers. Fill out this form and I’ll send them your way.

**DISCLAIMER: THE PRODUCT/S MENTIONED ABOVE HAVE BEEN GIVEN FREE OF CHARGE FROM Maple Leaf IN EXCHANGE FOR BEING FEATURED ON MY WEE VIEW. THE PRODUCT FEATURES EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE THOSE OF MY WEE VIEW AND HAVE NOT BEEN INFLUENCED IN ANY OTHER WAY. PLEASE SEE THE FULL TERMS OF USE.

08 Sep

Dempster’s Thins ($1 off & Free Coupons)

dempsters Logo

I’m a nursing Mom, for two reasons.  The first is because it’s great for your baby and the second, is a little more selfish, it’s suppose to be great for the mom too – an easy way to drop a few pounds.  Last time around (5 years ago), I easily lost all my baby weight while nursing.  It may have something to do with the fussy gassy baby I was nursing, I really limited my diet to chicken, rice and carrots so the baby could have toot free nights.  This time, my easy peasy lemon squeezie baby could care less if I ate broccoli and cabbage all day (most gassy foods ever), she has her digestive system under control and there have been very few cranky nights.  However, this means I can eat chocolate, fast food and other junk without batting an eye, and my friends, it’s not good… it’s not good at all.  I have yet to lose all my baby weight and in three month, I have to go back to work.  Boo-urns (that’s a Simpson’s quote for those of you too young to know).

One of my weaknesses is bread.  I love toast, sandwiches, garlic bread.  Truthfully, for the past few months, I was having toast and Nutella for breakfast nearly everyday.  It’s just so good! (and then sometimes before bed – YIKES).  Thankfully both jars of Nutella ran out and I didn’t buy another one.  But, I was still eating bread, with peanut butter or just butter, not as bad, but eating 4 – 6 slices of bread everyday really adds up when it comes to calories and cellulite on my bum.

Dempster’s Thins is pretty much the best invention ever for bread lovers – just 50 calories a slice. YES! it’s true, it’s true.  I am now eating toast and sandwiches guilt free (even made it in the oven as light garlic bread).  The bread is also multigrain (Dr. Oz says those are the best right?) so it’s rich with all the good things our body needs as well.  I am absolutely in love with this bread, and will be buying it regularly to help me on my path to pre baby weight.

Dempsters Thins

Along with the Thin bread, I am also making an effort to make healthy sandwiches, it’s almost like a double bonus.  Some may think… heck, there are less calories in my bread, so I can go wild with the fillings, but not me.  The Thin bread gives me the extra boost I need to make extra healthy choices.  Here are a few of my favs:

  • Cucumber Sandwiches (also the queens sandwich of choice). It’s a simple sandwich with light mayo, cukes, salt and pepper
  • Toasted Tomato Sandwiches.  Toast up your bread add light mayo, sliced tomato, salt and pepper.  If you want to add a bit of “badness” put on a piece of bacon.
  • Toasted Chicken Sandwiches.  Toasted or not add light mayo, chicken and all the greens you want.
  • Egg Sandwich.  This one is for breakfast.  Fry or poach an egg and with the yolk still somewhat runny place it between two slices of toast with butter.

Egg Sandwich

This is just a small change in my diet and I’m very hopeful it will make a difference.  If you want to give it a try, here’s a $1.00 coupon for the Dempster’s Thins or Tortillas from Websaver or, you can enter below to get a free coupon.

Giveaway:

  • 8 lucky readers will receive a free coupon for the Dempster’s Thins

To Enter:

If you have any yummy sandwiches that are low in calories, please send them my way

**DISCLAIMER: THE PRODUCT/S MENTIONED ABOVE HAVE BEEN GIVEN FREE OF CHARGE FROM THE COMPANY OR PR FIRM IN EXCHANGE FOR BEING FEATURED ON MY WEE VIEW. THE PRODUCT FEATURES EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE THOSE OF MY WEE VIEW AND HAVE NOT BEEN INFLUENCED IN ANY OTHER WAY. PLEASE SEE THE FULL TERMS OF USE.