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September 2016

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Sweet Cornbread Muffins

Sweet Cornbread Muffins

You’d think that since I am an aspiring amateur chef and food blogger that my husband and I eat home cooked meals 7 days a week. Unfortunately that’s not true, as there are days that I just don’t feel like cooking. I don’t feel like cooking after a long, difficult day at work, I don’t feel like cooking when 35 weeks of pregnancy has sucked all the energy out of me, and sometimes I don’t feel like cooking for no specific reason at all. I’d say my husband and I go out for dinner once or twice a week. That’s a little too much for the frugal side of me to justify, but I figure once this baby comes we won’t be going out that often so I might as well enjoy it now.

If it’s a Wednesday and I let my husband pick where we are going, he would undoubtedly pick Montana’s every single time for the all-you-can-eat ribs. I don’t have a favourite dish at Montana’s, but I do have a favourite drink (their spicy Caesars with horseradish) and I have a favourite side (their cornbread).

I have tried so many times to recreate their cornbread. I’ve tried cast iron cornbread recipes, I’ve experimented with fine cornmeal versus coarse cornmeal, I’ve varied the types of sweeteners and fat used, I’ve tried so many things, and I think that this is the closest I’m going to get to recreating Montana’s cornbread recipe. The taste is pretty close, which I credit to the use of both sugar and honey. The texture is a little off though, and I have a feeling the restaurant must use whole milk and/or a little bit of lard, but these are two ingredients that I don’t have in my kitchen so this is the closest I’m going to get.

Cornbread Muffins

I don’t have mini bread loaf pans to recreate the look of Montana’s cornbread, so I make cornbread muffins instead. This recipe makes exactly 12 medium-sized muffins that are best served warm with a pat of butter. These cornbread muffins are a perfect side to chilis and stews, and last night I served them as the starch alongside honey lime chicken drumsticks and organic corn on the cob from Body Fuel Organics.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Sweet Cornbread Muffins

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 muffins Cooking Time: 20

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 & 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin pan with paper liners.

2

In large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients - cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

3

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk up the eggs, then whisk in the honey and milk. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and then add the melted butter.

4

Whisk everything together until just blended.

5

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin pan, and bake for 20 minutes.

6

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve warm!

Beer and Wine Pairings/ Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Irish Beef Stew

I was in Calgary for the past week, prepping for and celebrating my little sister’s wedding. My sister married an Irish guy, and I had the pleasure of meeting his relatives who came straight from Ireland to attend the wedding. These charming people were legit Irish, complete with the lilting accents, the European kisses on the cheek when greeting each other, names like Seamus and Finn, and one aunt even wore a stylish fascinator to the wedding!

The wedding day was perfect with gorgeous sunny weather. But now that my husband and I are back in Regina, the weather is cool and drizzly and I’m wanting something hearty and comforting for dinner. In honour of my sister’s Irish in-laws, I decided to make an Irish stew for dinner tonight. I did check with my new brother-in-law first and asked him if Irish beef stew is actually a thing in Ireland. He assured me that it’s the “real deal”.

It was good timing for the frugal shopper in me as well, as stewing beef is currently on sale at Sobey’s for $6.99/lb. I bought approximately 2 lbs of stewing beef for just over $14. This recipe calls for 1 lb of stewing beef, so I froze the pound because I’m sure I’ll be making this again very soon!

This recipe calls for a dark stout beer, and the obvious choice would have been to go for an Irish Guinness. However, I decided to add some fusion to the recipe by going for a Canadian stout beer, the Cobblestone Stout from Mill St. Brewery. It is a creamy Irish-style stout, with notes of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel – perfect flavours to use and pair with a beef dish.

Cobblestone Stout Beer

I served this stew over a bed of buttery garlic mashed potatoes and it was warm, comforting and hearty. There was a little bit leftover and I’m already looking forward to having it for lunch tomorrow!

Irish Beef Stew

Irish Beef Stew

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

  • FOR THE STEW
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb of stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup dark Irish-style stout beer (I recommend Cobblestone Stout or Guinness)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR THE GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
  • 8 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Season the cubed beef with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the beef to the stockpot and sear on all sides, about 3 minutes. Set the beef aside, but leave the beef juices in the pot.

2

Add the garlic, onion and carrots to the pot. Cook and stir occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the vegetables evenly.

3

Stir in the beef broth, beer, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and the beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low until the beef is tender, about 90 minutes.

4

Take your time and make the garlic mashed potatoes (I mean, you have 90 minutes while the stew cooks. I usually start the potatoes when there's 30 minutes left for the stew). Place potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and return to the pot (the pieces of garlic too!)

5

Stir in the half and half and butter. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Set aside until the stew is done.

6

In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour for the stew. Add the mixture to the stew and stir until thickened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the frozen peas and corn and stir until they are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

7

Serve the stew over garlic mashed potatoes with an Irish style stout beer!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Easy Snickerdoodles

Easy Snickerdoodles

There are two types of people in this world – people who like thin, crispy cookies and people who like thick and chewy cookies. I am the second type of person. I like my cookies to be nice and soft, with a nice chew. Thin and crispy cookies remind me of store-bought  or vending machine cookies, while thick and chewy cookies seem more homemade and substantial to me.

Another way I like my cookies – easy to make. Sometimes I want a cookie within 30 minutes, and I do not have time to wait for dough to chill or rise or whatever. I also don’t want to make a cookie where there are unusual ingredients that I have to make a special trip to the grocery store for.

And this is where my Snickerdoodles recipe comes in. It uses pantry staples and only takes about 10 minutes prep time and 15 minutes bake time.  Definitely quick enough to satisfy those sudden cookie cravings. Our cookie jar at home is usually stocked with Snickerdoodles for easy snacking.

The trickiest part of this recipe is probably ensuring the correct dough consistency. It can’t be too crumbly and it can’t be too sticky – it just needs to hold together. Take your time and sprinkle in an teaspoon of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky, or a teaspoon of water at a time if the dough is too crumbly.

When scooping 1/4 cup of dough at a time in a ball, you’re going to think that these are way too big and there’s no way this will cook through. Don’t worry about it – I guarantee they will cook through into thick, soft and chewy cookies!

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Do you like your cookies thin and crispy or thick and chewy?

Easy Snickerdoodles

Easy Snickerdoodles

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-15 cookies Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

1

Mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (I just used my hand mixer)

2

Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

3

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and whisk to combine

4

Add flour mixture to butter mixture, a cup at a time, mixing well between each addition.

5

The dough should not be sticky or crumbly. If it is too sticky, add a tsp or so of flour at a time until it is not sticky. If it is too crumbly, mix in water a tsp at a time until the dough holds together.

6

Mix cinnamon and sugar together into a small dish or plate.

7

Measure the dough with a 1/4 cup measure and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat well and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

8

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

9

Let cool for a few minutes before eating!