Thursday, May 22, 2014

Aunt Joan's Ganache

My Aunt Joan gave me a recipe for ganache when I was newly married and I had no clue what it was but I love anything chocolate and this recipe quickly became one of my favourites.

Ganache is really versatile.  Here are a few of my favourite past uses for it...
 {back when I had a cake business}

Dripping down the sides of a cake...

Dripping and piped along the bottom.

More drips, and piping, and lettering!

I know you already saw the dripping effect but this was is too cute not to safe, right?

I used ganache to create a muddy track for this dirt biker:)

Layered in an ice cream cookie cake.

I think you get the idea.  
Here's the recipe...



-1 bag of chocolate chips (about 2 cups) OR 2 cups of chopped chocolate...use what ya got:)
-1 cup heavy cream (I use unpasturized Jerseyland cream)


-Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
-In a small saucepan ( I use a double boiler just to be safe cause burnt milk is not a good scene), bring the cream to a boil.
-Pour the cream over the chocolate, let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes, then blend until smooth and shiny.  ( I usually use a whisk but an electric mixer is a good idea, I'm just lazy:)
-let cool slightly before using.

**if you are wanting the dripping look, you do want the ganache to be relatively warm so it drizzles but not hot enough to melt your icing.

**if you are wanting to pipe ganache onto a cake, you'll need it a little cool so that it keeps it's shape.

**ganache can be made ahead and stored covered in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Cookie Ice Cream Cake

My son Caleb has requested an ice cream cake for his birthday two years in a row.

Here is this year's version...



-1 double recipe of your favourite cookie dough
-6-8 cups of your favourite ice cream flavor/s(we use so delicious coconut ice cream)


-bake one giant cookie in your springform pan.  I prefer to undercook my cookie so that it is more on the soft side than the crispy side.  **If you line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, it will be easy to remove your cookie.
-bake a second cookie in your springform pan, the same as the first.  
-let cookies cool
-ganache should also be cooled to room temperature so that it is spreadable but will not melt ice cream
-prepare ice cream by letting it sit out just long enough to make it easy to scoop and smooth.

-place one cookie in the springform pan
-top cookie with generous layer of ganache
-scoop ice cream on top of ganache and smooth it out to edges of pan.
-top ice cream with second cookie
-top cookie with ganache
-top ganache with remaining ice cream
-add decorations as desired (I squeezed dollops of ganache around edges and stuck cookies into them but you can get as creative as you like:)
-freeze your cookie cake!

Serves:  8-16 (I would serve small pieces because this cake is very rich)  Be sure to take the cake out and let it defrost a bit so that you can cut into it at cake time!  **I actually made two of these, pre cut one, used the whole one for singing happy birthday and served the pre cut one first while cutting the whole one.

**springform pans are awesome for displaying your lovely dessert because once it has it's structure (in this case by re-freezing the ice cream) you can remove the sides!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Asian {crock pot} Stew Beef

This smells so amazing all day.
One of the benefits to using the crock pot...coming home to the smell of dinner!!

Also, I get bored with stew meat done the same way all the time.

This dish is not boring!

ASIAN {crock pot} STEW BEEF


-1-2 lbs stew meat (we use bison)
-1 chopped onion
-2-3 cloves garlic (chopped or minced)
-1/2 cup tamari (soy-free version of soy sauce)
-1 tsp. fresh ginger (chopped) or 1 TBSP ginger powder
-1 Tbsp maple syrup
-2 Tbsp olive oil


-add all ingredients to the crock pot
-cook on high for 3-4 hours OR on low all day

**Pictured served over Zoodle Citrus Stir Fry

Serves:  6-8 if served with rice or another side

Sweet Potato Rosemary Soup

This soup is my personal "ideal" soup.  I love everything about it.  I hope you do too:)

Sweet Potato Rosemary Soup


-2-4 sweet potatoes (yams? the orange ones) roasted
-1 roasted head of garlic
-2 onions, chopped
-2-4 carrots, chopped
-2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
-4-6 cups chicken broth or water
-1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 Tbsp dried)
-2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 cup cooked and finely chopped turkey bacon (that's what we use, you can substitute as you wish)
-2-4 cups chopped cooked chicken
-1 cup Israeli Couscous (or a pasta of your choice, or none if that's your choice:)


-roast the sweet potatoes in the oven until they are soft. let cool.
-you can roast the head of garlic along with the sweet potatoes but they will be ready sooner, so keep an eye on them.
-squeeze the garlic cloves into your blender
-peel sweet potatoes and add them to the blender as well. 
-add 4 cups of water or chicken broth to the blender, blend everything together until it makes an orange puree
-in a large soup pot, fry onions, celery and carrots in coconut oil over medium high heat
-pour sweet potato puree into the soup pot wight he cooked vegetables
-add seasoning, chicken and bacon.
-I prefer to cook the "pasta" (israeli couscous in this case) separately.  Two reasons:  1. not everyone in my house eats grains   2.  pasta continues to cook and turns mushy.
-add more water or chicken broth for desired thickness.

serves: 6

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tom Tam Crock Pot Chicken

This is another family favourite, and always a winner with guests.  I've modified it over the years from a recipe my amazing sister in law Tammy gave me.  I do this a lot to accommodate our nutritional values as we have learned more about health and changed the things we eat.  I don't like to throw out old favourites, I prefer to update them so they can stick around!  

This tasty dish used to involve sugar and soy sauce and ketchup.  Feel free to use those if you like, this recipe is very flexible.  You can substitute in or out as you need.  I like flexible, do you?

Rice is an easy pairing but truth be told, it's typical for us to eat this by itself with a salad or roasted veggies.  Cauliflower rice is another great option if you are avoiding grains but like to make yourself think you are eating something grain like:)

Cilantro, for me, makes everything better!



-1 1/4 cup tomato paste (2 small cans)
-1/2 cup tamari sauce (this is a non soy based "soy sauce")
-1 cup coconut sugar
-1 1/4 tsp mustard 
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
-1 tsp onion powder
-chicken of your choice, bone in or out.  

-cilantro to taste, on the side


-throw everything in the crock pot
-cook on low all day or high for 3-4 hours

serves: 6

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate chip Muffins

This is our favourite muffin.

I make these a lot.

nobody ever complains.



-2 cups spelt flour
-1 cup coconut sugar
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/8 tsp. cloves
-1/2 tsp. ginger powder

-1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (1 15 oz can)
-1/2 c plain yogurt
-1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 egg

-1/2 cup chocolate chips


-mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
-mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl (I often use my vitamix)
-add wet ingredients to dry. mix well
-add chocolate chips
-scoop batter into muffin tins (I line them with parchment paper muffin liners)
-bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

Serves:  makes two dozen "not quite full sized" muffins (perfect to stretch the recipe and be able to say "sure!" when the kids ask for two:)  If you want full sized muffins, it makes about 16.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Strawberry sauce

This is just too easy, and so yummy. I love that this sauce can be whipped up without any fuss and because it uses frozen berries, it can be made at any time of year.



-frozen organic strawberries  
**i usually just use the whole bag (2 cups approximately) but you man make as much or little as you like, since its the only ingredient it doesn't matter:)


-Place berries in a pot
-cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until berries are mushy
-mash berries with a fork

Dr. Mike's Pancakes

We have a big birthday here today!
Someone is turning 40!
{not mentioning any names}
Birthdays call for pancakes.

These babies are the real deal, approved by all members of our house.
The birthday boy himself came up with the recipe and I haven't tried another one since.
{I tend to stick to what I know works}



-1 cup almond flour
-1 cup spelt flour
-1/4 cup coconut sugar
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
-1 Tbsp cinnamon
-2 eggs
-2 cups coconut milk
-1 Tbsp maple syrup
-coconut oil for lightly lining pan


-mix dry ingredients in a small bowl
-mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl 
-add dry ingredients to wet. mix well
-melt coconut oil in pan
-scoop batter onto medium high heat pan
-flip when bubbles begin to appear all over pancake

Serves:  4-6 ( I always double this recipe for our bunch)

**I typically serve pancakes with some or all of these topping options:

-plain JL yogurt mixed with vanilla and maple syrup
-cut up fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, mango, raspberries...)
-frozen blueberries
-maple syrup
-strawberry sauce (pictured)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fancy Food: Watermelon Squares

This almost feels silly to type out because there isn't much to this recipe but it tastes great and the presentation is fantastic so I thought I'd share it as an awesome option for a cute little something to bring to the end of the year parties, or to serve as an appetizer at your own event.

{it's birthday party season at my house so I've got pretty food on the mind}



-watermelon, cut into 1" cubes
-baby bocconcini
-cherries (or blueberries depending on season)


-use toothpicks to assemble.  
-serve in cute little rows!

Mexican Shredded Chicken

I like to find easy ways to do things.
 I really like to find easy ways when it comes to cooking because, if we are being really honest, I don't really enjoy the task.  
At all.
Ya I said it.
Ironically, I feed 8 people three meals a day so I have been extremely motivated to figure out ways to cut corners.

This is one of my favourites.  I make two meals in one session.

Pictured here is some of my shredded chicken and a whole bunch of beautiful veggies about to get chopped.

We use this chicken many different ways.  Want a list?  Here ya go...

~chicken tacos
~chicken enchiladas
~mexican chicken salad
~chicken taco soup

The list goes on really.  I love having shredded chicken on hand for quick meals.  Here is the how-to.


*I am very loose with my measurements.  I learned that from my Mother In Law, she just keeps working at it till it tastes right.  If more people decide to come over, you add a little more of everything.  I believe for most meals, this works (not everything) please be flexible with yourself and be willing to taste as you go and add as you like.
*Also, I have a gigantic family so my portions are large.  You can modify by cutting a recipe in half if you are feeding a family of 4 OR, do yourself a favour and make it "Banman size" so you have leftovers for another meal!

**one more thing!  This is a wordy explanation, I promise its really very simple!  The chicken will be cooked through in the boiling step but the cooking step is where you add the flavour.  I hope that makes sense:)


for boiling step:
-4 chicken breasts bone in or boneless (you can also boil a whole chicken, if you'd like)
-2 onions, sliced in half
-4 carrots, washed and chopped in half
-4 stalks of celery, washed and chopped in half
-2 tsp chili powder
-2 tsp cumin
-2 tsp salt
-2 bay leaves

for cooking chicken:
-1 tsp coconut oil
-shredded chicken (made above)
-1 Tbsp chill powder
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2-3/4 cup coconut milk

-chopped cilantro (optional)
-1/2 cup salsa (optional)
-hot sauce to taste (optional)


for boiling:
-throw everything in a large pot
-add filtered water until all ingredients are covered completely
-bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour (at this point, you could simmer for longer, it's very forgiving)
**the above task can be done overnight or during the day in the crock pot.  Simply add all ingredients, set on low and cook for 6-8 hours
-pour the cooked contents into a strainer with a large bowl or a pot below to catch the broth. (congratulations, you just made chicken broth!! Save that)
-transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl.  Discard all the vegetables, bay leaves and bones.
-using two forks, shred the chicken.  (if this feels tedious, you can just chop the chicken)

for cooking chicken:
-melt coconut oil in a sauce pot on medium heat
-add shredded chicken, all the spices and coconut milk
-stir until mixed and heated through
-add more of any of the seasonings, or any of the optional additions as you prefer.

How is this two meals?

The first meal is your shredded chicken served how you like it, Mexican Chicken Salad , Chicken Tacos, Empanadas or Chicken Burritos, so many options.  

The second meal is Mexican Taco Soup.  (post coming)

Blackberry Smoothie

Everyone really enjoys this smoothie and it's got lots of awesome goodness hidden inside.  I love to sneak the awesome goodness in whenever I can:)



-1 handful washed organic spinach
-1 raw egg
-2 cups frozen blackberries or Marion berries
-1 large banana (or 2 small ones)
-2 scoops vanilla protien powder
-3 cups coconut milk
-1 cup water 
-1 cup raw milk (or an extra cup of coconut milk if this is not an option)


-place everything in your blender in the order listed.
-blend and serve! 

Serves: 6-8 (depending on size of glass:)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dr. Mike's Chocolate Milkshake

My husband is quite the mixologist.  This is a family favourite...



- 3 cups coconut milk
-18 ice cubes 
-2 Tbsp organic maple syrup
-3 scoops chocolate whey protein powder (see link --->)


-add everything to the Vit-a-mix and blend 

*If you don't have chocolate whey protein powder, you can use two bananas and 1/2 cup cocoa powder and an extra tsp of maple syrup.  It's best with the protein powder  though:)

Serves 6

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dr. Mike's Detox Smoothie

My husband created this smoothie.  Some of my kids love it, others are not impressed.  That's kind of how things go around here though.  We don't get down about the whining or complaining, we keep focused on what the long term goal is.  If we make an amazing, healing, detoxing smoothie with all kinds of awesome ingredients, we suffer through the objections and force down the good stuff!  This may not be easy at first but any kid can get used to drinking green smoothies.  We just keep reminding them about what it's doing for their health.

This weekend we had a "vacation meal".  After a vacation meal, a detox drink is always a good idea!



-2 cups frozen organic strawberries
-2 cups filtered water
-1 1/2 cups coconut milk
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp tumeric
-5 leaves organic kale (washed and de-stemmed)
-2 scoops organic whey protein from grass-fed cows


-Blend liquids and kale in your Vit-a-mix
-add the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully incorporated.


-this smoothie will serve 6.

Cocoa Kamut

This recipe has been with us since long before I valued quality ingredients.  The original recipe included corn syrup and sugar and puffed wheat.

This is my healthier option, I hope you enjoy it!



-1 cup coconut sugar
-1/2 cup maple syrup
-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
-1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
-1 Tbsp vanilla
-8 cups puffed Kamut


-Combine first 4 ingredients in a pot.
-boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
-remove from heat and add vanilla
-grease a large bowl with coconut oil
-pour puffed Kamut into the bowl
-pour hot mixture over Kamut
-mix well.
-smoosh mixture into a greased 9x12 pyrex pan
-let cool then cut to serve

*you can scoop the mixture out of the bowl and into cupcake papers in a cupcake tin for a nice way to serve this dessert to a crowd, or as a treat to bring to a school event

Pesto Feta Turkey Burgers

When Caitlyn, my 5th baby was born, my friend Denise brought turkey burgers.  I never forgot that meal.  I craved it actually.  I asked her for the recipe so I could enjoy them again.  This is basically her recipe, it may have changed a little bit over the years.  These turkey burgers are now a staple meal at our house.

The ingredients are simple but really flavourful when added together.

Really, that's all you do, throw them together and fry them up.

On this day, I served the turkey burgers two-bite sized by themselves as an appetizer.  Sometimes we eat them in lettuce wraps, sometimes they are an addition to a big salad.  Every once in a while we eat them with a bun.  When we first started taking grains out of our diet, I could not imagine how a burger could be enjoyable without a bun.  It is funny how your tastes change as you modify your eating habits.  We don't really miss the bun part of burgers anymore.



-2 pounds ground turkey
-1 cup chopped spinach
-1/2 cup feta cheese
-1/2 cup pesto sauce
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1 tsp pepper
-1 Tbsp coconut oil


-combine all ingredients in a large bowl
-heat coconut oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
-I like to use a scoop to create even "scoops" of the mixture, and put them in the pan.  Use a fork to flatten them out to a 1/2-1/4 inch thick. (the old fashioned way of using your hands to make patties works too but my way keeps my hands clean:)
-you can add more seasoning at this point if you choose.
-when cooked though, flip burgers to brown the second side.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Barley Bison Stew

I can never make enough of this dish.  I love mealtime when there is no complaining.  This stew accomplishes a blissful happy mealtime.  Everytime.

We use Bison but this would work equally well with beef stew meat.

If you want it to go further, you could add filtered water and change this from a stew to a soup.



-1 pound stew meat (bison or beef)
-1 Tbsp coconut oil
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 Tbsp thyme
-2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
-2 onions, chopped
-4 stalks celery, chopped
-4-6 carrots, chopped
-1 cup barley (rinsed)
-3-5 cups filtered water, or beef broth if you have it.


-sprinkle half of the seasonings all over the meat.
-brown the meat in a hot skillet with the coconut oil
-add garlic, onions, celery and carrots, cook until almost soft
-add barley and water and seasonings, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
-keep stirring every once in a while.  This should simmer for at least an hour.
-you may need to add more seasonings, to your own taste:)

*you can add everything to the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day on low.
*some people prefer a less "starchy" consistency, this can be accomplished by boiling the barley separately.  A lot of times I do this so those who are avoiding grains can have the stew without the grains and the others can add them if they like.