Pomander Spiced Orange Jam

When I was growing up, one of my very favorite holiday-time projects was making pomander balls.

My mom would put out a bowl of oranges and give both my sister and me small dishes filled with cloves. We’d use toothpicks to pre-prick the oranges with patterns and then would poke cloves into those spots. When they were all done, we’d roll them in a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and then set them around the house in small saucers.

10 oranges in a bowl

They were time consuming, but I loved making them. Nothing smells quite so much like the Christmas season to me than the combination of orange and spice.

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Spiced Brown Rice Pudding

We’ve been graced with a mild fall this year; most days are sunny and balmy, the brilliance of the orange trees enhanced by the watercolour blue skies.

The warm weather has  been a bit of a mixed blessing, making it all too easy to ignore the approaching winter. So last week when the first frost struck, it left us quaking in our boots, literally.

A bowl of comfort food was in order and rice pudding was the obvious choice.

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How to Cook Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oats in a Slow-Cooker

This week I wholeheartedly embraced the slow-cooker challenge along with dozens of other bloggers. I stewed beans all day, simmered a vegetable stock, and combined ginger, coconut and chicken into a fragrant dinner.

I even used my slow-cooker for breakfast, something I’m going to be doing a whole lot more of, thanks to an ingenious technique discovered via Food 52 for overnight steel-cut oats.

As you’ve read, oatmeal in all its forms is one of my pantry essentials. We use rolled oats in our Overnight Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal, stir steel-cut oats for Brown Butter-Toasted Oatmeal with Roasted Pears, and often cook a pot of quick oats on those hurried Monday mornings.

Of all the varieties of oatmeal, my affections lie with steel-cut oats. However, I am less fond of the 30 or so minutes of cooking time that they require in the morning to reach the perfect creamy, yet toothsome texture. I had tried a few overnight versions, but found that, although convenient, they left the oats with a gummy consistency.

Fortunately, I have come across a completely new method that has – yes, I dare to say it – revolutionized our breakfasts. [Read more…]

A Healthier Autumn Cookie (Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Snaps)

When developing this particular recipe I had two goals in mind: to create a healthy cookie as equally desirable to my children as their beloved (yet overly sugar-filled) gingersnap, and to make a prettier pumpkin cookie than the standard lumpy brown drop cookie versions.

These pumpkin spice snaps are a success on both accounts.

I’ve eliminated the white sugar, reduced the butter, added whole-wheat flour and incorporated pumpkin for extra flavor and beta carotene. Raw ginger and freshly ground cinnamon kick in to make these spice snaps live up to their name.

These cookies are soft on the inside, thanks to the pumpkin purée, but are not cakey; they still have that chewy factor that is always desirable in a cookie. Still, don’t expect the same texture as a traditional gingersnap, as the caramelizing of all that white sugar is what give the gingersnap its ‘chew’.

Still, these cookies snap with flavor, and most importantly, my kids are crazy about them. As a bonus? They’re kind of pretty in an old-fashioned way. [Read more…]

Stocking Your Pantry for Success

One of the very first keys to successfully eating as a family and cooking meals on a regular basis is having a good base to start from in your pantry. Having food on hand and available makes this process less stressful and much less work.

Can you imagine if you had to purchase every spice and herb and tablespoon of ingredient in each and every recipe you make every time you make it? The task of shopping just to make one meal could feel a bit overwhelming, much less trying to plan a week’s worth of meals. This is just one reason why having a well-stocked pantry is so important.

Stocking your pantry…

  • helps you steer clear of prepackaged and processed foods.
  • saves you money by allowing you to stock when food items are on sale.
  • keeps food on hand in case of an emergency (remember all those snow days last winter?)
  • helps maintain a healthy diet full of real foods.

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