Thursday 26 November 2015

Kentucky Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

One more recipe this week.  Because I've been slacking in the recipe department, and because every turkey needs this by it's side.

This cranberry sauce is gorgeous.  It's much nicer looking than the mass of cranberry jelly that you get out of a can, and so good that we were spreading leftovers on toast well after the turkey was gone.  If you're planning of having turkey this weekend, plan to have this cranberry sauce with it.

I happened to have a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon left from our trip to Kentucky last summer, but any bourbon or brandy would work in this.  It's not enough alcohol to have grandpa doing cartwheels after dinner, but it adds an amazing depth of flavour.  You can omit it if you prefer - you'll still end up with some really good cranberry sauce.

Kentucky Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberries, or about 3 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
Zest of one orange
3 tbsp bourbon (substitute one tbsp vanilla if omitting bourbon)

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized pot.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes until berries begin to burst and break down.  Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Balsamic Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

I hate Brussels sprouts, or at least I did.  These Brussels sprouts, oven roasted with butternut squash and dried cranberries, then tossed with Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, are game changers.

If you're stateside, and looking for an extra vegetable dish to add to your Thanksgiving table this weekend, look no further.

Prep time is minimal.  Some peeling and chopping, then into the oven to carmelise.  Brussels sprouts prepared this way taste so much better than their boiled or steamed versions (a revelation for me, sort of like how I felt when I discovered oven roasted broccoli), and the sweet butternut squash is a perfect match.

The dried cranberries add another flavour boost, and the Dijon balsamic vinaigrette wraps it all up perfectly.  It's also a forgiving side dish, tasting just as good warm as it does lukewarm.

Easy to make, easy to serve, and incredibly tasty.

Balsamic Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and sliced in half
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup dried cranberries

2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Toss butternut squash and Brussels sprouts with two tablespoons of olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again to distribute evenly.

Roast the vegetable for 20 - 30 minutes, gently tossing once or twice during cooking time.  Scatter dried cranberries over the vegetables for the last five minutes of cooking time.  Remove from oven.

While vegetables cool, whisk together Dijon mustard and both vinegars.  Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until the oil and vinegars have emulsified.  Season with cayenne pepper.

In a large bowl, gently toss roasted vegetables with Dijon vinaigrette.  Salt and pepper to taste if necessary.  Serve warm or lukewarm.

Friday 13 November 2015

Friday, it's Friday!

Credit to my son for the photo.  Credit to Emily Dickinson for the words.  I just smooshed them together.

The fall colours are actually coming to an end around here.  All it takes is a few windy days and the branches are suddenly bare.

Other random bits.

Nutrition bowls from Freshii.  Love these.
Our newest dog, in a coat.
New reading.
Lusting after the all the mugs.
More autumn scenery.
Crispy garlic kale.
Most excellent roofing truck signage.
Hot, fresh, biscuits
Coffee outside, enjoying lingering warm fall days.

Speaking of all those leaves on the ground, here's three good reasons why you shouldn't rake your leaves.

I want to have a Harry Potter party just like this one.  Every little detail.  Wow.

S'mores Mini Dippers just became a possibility around here, thanks to hubby bringing me wee marshmallow bits from the US this week.

Did you know that the thread count of your sheets doesn't matter as much as these three other things?

Make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte -with real pumpkin, molasses, and whipped cream.  Heaven.

And whoever thought of making Stuffing in a Bundt Pan is a genius.

We observed Remembrance Day this week, so we're all clear to start Christmas decorating this weekend.

Happy Friday, happy weekend!

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Lest We Forget

Taking time today to be grateful for our freedom, and to reflect on the enormous cost.

In Flanders Fields, printed in 1918 by the Heliotype Co. Ltd. Ottawa | Canadian War Museum

Remembrance Day posts here, here, and here from years past.

Do you know what the poppy means?

Garden Of Flags Honours Fallen Canadians For Remembrance Day, Toronto, 2015

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Niagara Glen

One of our boys took my camera to Niagara with him recently, and came back with some great shots of the autumn colours at Niagara Glen.

Niagara Glen is along the Canadian side of the Niagara Gorge, at the site of the Niagara Whirlpool.  The gorge and whirlpool were created about six to seven thousand years ago as the Niagara River slowly eroded its way through the Niagara Escarpment.  Erosion resistant bedrock forced a right-angle turn in the river's path at the site of the Whirlpool, where the rushing waters are forced into a deep counter-clockwise spin.  Despite being a few kilometres downriver from the Niagara Falls, there is still a considerable amount of mist in the air.

He also captured these shots of our dogs a few weeks ago.  I think he's going to be getting a camera of his own for Christmas!

Monday 2 November 2015

Halloween Night Chili

As expected, Halloween night was a wet one.  The rain came just in time for the trick or treaters to hit the streets.

Only one of ours went out, the rest are too old for trick or treating.  But that didn't stop them from dressing up.  Halloween parties quickly take the place of collecting candy door to door.

I made a wicked batch of chili, roasted some pumpkin seeds, and ate an obscene amount of chocolate.

The next time you roast pumpkin seeds, add a splash of sriracha sauce to the oil and salt that you toss the seeds in.  Amazing!

And if you're looking for a good chili recipe, for Halloween night, or any other night, try this one.  It's got just the right mix of meat, beans, and spice.

Chili Con Carne

2 lbs extra lean ground beef
2 ribs celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 medium sized onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large cans tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 cans red kidney beans, drained
2 cans mixed beans, drained
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
a few dashes of Tabasco sauce

Scramble fry the beef, celery, pepper, and onions with one tablespoon of the chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are soft.  Add the garlic and stir to combine, remove from heat.   I read something once about layering flavours in dishes.  I think that's what I did here.  Spicing the meat separately adds an extra layer of flavour to the chili.

Are you laughing at me?  I really did read it somewhere.

Combine the remaining ingredients in either a large slow cooker or a large pot.  I prepared this in my slow cooker but it can simmer just as easily on the stove.  Add the beef mixture and stir well.  Simmer on the stove top for an hour, stirring occasionally, or cook 4-6 hours on low in a slow cooker.

You can play it pretty loosey goosey with the spices.  I sometimes add more or less of the amounts listed.  Go with what you love and make it yours!

Thank you for featuring me!

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