Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

If you follow me on Instagram (here) you know that I have been creating wickedly yummy treats for the Little Ones in my home daycare for the past two weeks.  I am a little bit obsessed with all things Halloween and this year it migrated to my cooking.  Here is a peek at the deliciously spooky treats we enjoyed.

This was a simple yummy lunch.  I simply cut Jack-O-Lantern faces into flour tortillas, spread some goat cheese inside and baked at 350 degrees until the tortillas were crispy.

I froze these ghost, but you could also keep the bananas fresh.  Chocolate Chips created the eyes and mouth.  Alternatively you could melt chocolate, dip the bananas in it and then freeze.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a Halloween staple.  Over the years I have mastered this process, just a light coating of olive oil and some salt and pepper and these babies are done in about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Note I stir them around every 5-10 minutes to avoid burning.

These are beyond simple; pretzel sticks and cheese strings.  I did have one little one refuse to eat the cheese because she didn't recognize the cheese string she would normally devour, toddlers, geesh!

On the witching theme, these were made with sliced pitas, peanut butter and raisins, so simple.

Another yummy lunch idea is these Mummy Dogs, simply cut the hot dogs into a "person" and wrap in refrigerated biscuit dough.  The kids LOVED these.

A healthy snack is these Monster Mouths; peanut butter, apple, chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds.  The teeth options for these are endless, this is just what I had on hand.

Finally, the snack I LOVED the most, Mini Candy Apples. For these I followed this tutorial except I coated them in chocolate instead of toffee which I figured would be difficult for toddlers to bite through.  In the future I want to give yogurt a try (similar to these), which would need to be frozen and I am not sure how the apples would hold up.

Well these you have it, my week of haunted treats.  Have a great night trick-or-treating.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

Let me just start by saying that photographing my recipes lately has been a bit of a challenge.

First off, as the days get shorter the beautiful natural light I normally saw shining through my kitchen window has totally disappeared.  As a food blogger who mostly shares what I make for dinner this makes photographing it quite difficult.  I don't love artificial light, not for food or people photography (check out my lifestyle photography blog here).  And we are also trying to get dinner on the table for a very hungry two year old, so I can only mess around with plating for so long.

Secondly, I have been experimenting with my slow cooker and let's just say slow cooked food, while tasty, convenient and comforting is not the most appealing to the eye.  Case in point:

Please, I beg you, DO NOT take this photo seriously!  This chicken is moist, tender, and oh so yummy.  We usually serve it with rice and broccoli (pictured) and then I will use the leftovers to make Hummus Pasta for the daycare kiddies.

If anyone has any wonderful tips for food photography in low light and how exactly I make a dish like this look good, please, please share! Please.

But for now you will be subjected to terrible photos accompanied by delicious recipes as I explore the world of slow cooking over the next few weeks/months.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Slow Cooker Cooking

So it's been a really long time since I shared a Menu Plan with all of you.  Truth is I've been busy creating some new weekly menus centering around a wonderful, miraculous time saving device - my slow cooker.

I am sure if you've been reading my blog you have noticed I do A LOT of slow cooker cooking. Just check out some of my recipes here, here,and here.

This Friday is Halloween and what a great night to test drive your slow cooker.  You can prep everything the night before, pop it in the slow cooker in the Am and when you get home from work just serve the Littles dinner and you are out the door.  No drive-thru windows, no frozen pizza, just fresh, homemade goodness to fuel their Trick-or-Treating.  My family will be enjoying my Slow Cooker Chili (recipe here).

Below is this weeks menu.  Note I have also "Halloweenafide" our afternoon snacks at daycare, you can follow along on Instagram (here) as I share our Spooky Treats each day. 

Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and enjoy Slow Cooking this week.

For recipes follow these links: Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Slow Cooker Legume Soup

Is it just me or has this been the fastest/slowest October ever?

It seems like the month just started while at the same time it feels like it should be Christmas already.

When life gets busy I usually turn to my slow cooker to help out in the dinner department.  I have dedicated the month of October to using my slow cooker and have obtained a lot of inspiration from Pinterest (you can check out my Slow Cooker Board here).

The great thing about a slow cooker is you can usually throw a bunch of stuff in them and a beautiful meal comes popping out.

This recipe is exactly that, you simply throw everything in the pot and leave it alone. 

I LOVE when dinner can be simple even when life is not.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Slow Cooker Chili

To me there is nothing more Fall-Like then a big old piping hot bowl of Chili.

I love making my Chili in the Slow Cooker as it gives me the day to sit back, relax, go pick some apples, enjoy a stroll through the woods to admire the leaves or play in a pumpkin patch, you know typical Fall things.  When I return home from my busy day of Fall fun guess what dinner is done!

I like to serve my Chili with a dollop of sour cream (plain Greek yogurt is also a good stand in), some guacamole, shredded cheese and some tortilla chips to scoop it all up.

I simply love all thing Fall and this Chili is something I consider part of Fall.  My family will even be enjoying this recipe on Halloween Night like we do every year, that's how "fall" Chili is in our house.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Inspiration Round Up - Apples

Hello There!

This past weekend we headed out to Brantwood Farms and picked some apples.

Our Little One had so much fun running around the trees, picking apples off the low branches and having Jon lift her up high for the tall branches.

And now we have over 10 pounds of apples in our house.  So I did what everyone with 10 pounds of apples in their home would do. I headed on over to Pinterest and created a mood board of things to make with apples and I thought I would share a few of my favorite picks with you. 

These Apple Pie Bites are tops on my list. 

And as I work on my Month of Slow Cooking Menu Plans (more on that to come) I thought I totally need to try this Slow Cooked Apple Sauce.

These Mini Caramel Apples are just too cute and I bet the Daycare Kiddies would enjoy some version of these at snack time.

And finally one for when all the cooking is done or perhaps a great Thanksgiving Cocktail? This Apple Sangria is a must on my list.

Have you had a chance to go apple picking this season? Or are you enjoying the fresh selections from the local market or grocery store?  Either way fall is a great time for all things fresh and local and apples are number one on my list for fall produce.  What are you going to make with your apples?

Monday, 29 September 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Why I Plan to Eat Out - September 29th - October 3rd, 2014

What an amazing Summer Fall weekend we just had; ours was a busy one.  Jon was busy with Laurier University Homecoming Weekend while our Little One started ballet lessons Saturday morning, throw in there a birthday party and some apple picking and busy we were.

Thanks to my friend Tina for taking this family photo.
Sometimes busy just sneaks up on you, when you are not even looking BOOM there it is.  It's 6:30pm and you are finally making it home (late of course) thanks to the traffic jam/late conference call/child meltdown, who knows what really made you late, but you are late, frazzled and hangry (yes that is hungry and angry combined).  Who really wants to make dinner on a day like that?

This is exactly why I ALWAYS give my family "permission" to eat out once a week.  This eat out day is typically planned for Friday because face it that is usually the day you just don't want to cook, but we allow flexibility on this one.  If Tuesday is suddenly a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day then I say eat out and just push your planned dinners ahead a day.

Enjoy this week's meal plan and remember to use your eat out day on any day of the week you might need it.

For Recipes follow these links: Green Eggs and Ham