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.