Chia Jam

Fresh, fruity jam ready in minutes!  No added sugar and no pectin necessary!  
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse!  A complete protein source full of antioxidants, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.  Their mucilaginous texture is a benefit to your digestive system and in this recipe is the main binding factor for holding the jam together without the need for pectin! Use this jam on toast, in desserts, on pancakes, parfaits and anywhere else you want a pop of flavour and colour!

prep

6 minutes

Bake time

15 minutes

makes

10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • Juice from 1/2 a medium lemon

Instructions

  1. Place mixed berries, chia seeds and lemon juice in a rectangular steamer or 4 Cup microwave safe bowl.  Stir to combine.
  2. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a resealable container (a wide mouth glass jar is ideal!) and blast with an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Allow 15 minutes to cool and for the chia to set.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes

If a microwave is not available or not your preference, bring all ingredients to a low boil in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Simmer 10-15 minutes until berries begin to break down and release liquid.

If no immersion blender is available or a chunkier jam is preferred, mash all hot ingredients with forks or potato masher before transferring to resealable jar to allow chia to set.

Prepared jam will last in the fridge for 10-14 days.

If additional sweetness is required add 1 tsp pure Maple syrup or to taste.

Nana Stanger’s Savoury Cheese Biscuits

These biscuits are a classic in our family. One of the first things I learned to make entirely on my own and something that was ALWAYS on the dinner table when we went for dinner at Nana and Grandpa’s house!  Nana’s classic recipe is really simple and I have tweaked it only a little bit over the years!  The dough comes together in minutes and the final product bakes in 10 so they can be on the table hot and delicious with everything else!  

These are also a great recipe to do with kids! Like I said, one of the first recipes I learned to make entirely on my own and my sister and I always got to help Nana!

prep

10 minutes

Bake time

10 minutes

makes

15

Ingredients

  • 1.5 C flour
  • 1/2 C hemp hearts
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 C buttermilk (don’t have any on hand?  See notes below!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C shredded sharp cheddar (or more!  We measure cheese with our heart!)
  • For even more depth of flavour add 1 Tbps Herb & Garlic, Nacho Cheese or 3 Onion dip mix

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Mix vinegar with milk as noted below and allow to sit.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (or a large mixing bowl) combine flour, hemp hearts, baking powder and dip mix if using.
  3. Add butter in chunks.  Pulse in food processor until mixture resembles course sand.  This can also be done by hand, it just takes a bit longer.
  4. Crack egg into buttermilk and mix well.
  5. Add cheese to food processor/mixing bowl and mix until just combined.
  6. Turn on food processor and pour in milk/egg mixture and allow to combine fully with dry ingredients.
  7. Pour dough onto well floured surface.  Flour hands and rolling pin.  Knead dough roughly by folding and flattening 12-15 times.  The nice thing about this dough is that you can’t really over knead which is why it’s a great one to do with kids! The folding is what will give the biscuits their layers and make them flaky and fluffy when done!
  8. Roll dough to approximately 1/4 inch thickness.
  9. Cut using a round cookie cutter or a drinking glass if you don’t have a cookie cutter.
  10. Place biscuits on a lined baking sheet and bake 10 minutes until fluffy and golden.

Notes

Don’t have buttermilk just hanging around?  That’s ok! Most of us don’t!  To make 2/3C for this recipe add 2/3Tbsp apple cider vinegar to your measuring cup and pour in milk to reach 2/3C.  Let sit 5 min while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

A food processor is not necessary for this recipe but makes it much easier!  If you don’t have one, you can mix the butter with the flour using a pastry cutter or 2 forks or knives to cut it into the flour until it looks like coarse sand. 

These go really well with my Roasted Tomato and Pesto soup, 5 bean chili and Savoury Beef stew!

Easy DIY Ketchup

We’re not a huge Ketchup family….I’ve never really liked it, even as a kid.  It’s good on a grilled cheese and possibly a hotdog roasted on a stick over an open campfire, but beyond that I could take it or leave it.  And, now that I read labels and am more conscious of ingredients like sugar, salt and hydrogenated oils, it has even less appeal.  The girls will eat it on burgers and hot dogs and with grilled cheese as well.  And it’s practically unavoidable at a backyard BBQ.  And really, once in a while it is what it is.  We won’t beat ourselves up about it.

That being said, it is often a base “ingredient” in a lot of slow cooker recipes or sauces.  A number of Epicure meal solutions designed for the slow cooker will even call for ketchup in the prep mode.  So I set out to create an alternative that gives great flavour and doesn’t rely on packaged ketchup because I just don’t want to be using a cup of that stuff in an otherwise delicious recipe!  

I get asked for this one often so I figured I might as well share it here!

prep

5 minutes

Bake time

 

makes

1.5 Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 can organic, no salt added tomatoe paste.
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C water 

Instructions

  1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients.
  2. Add enough of the water to reach desired consistency.
  3. If more sweetness is required, add 1 tsp more maple syrup.
  4. Add chipotle aioli mix or cayenne if more spice is required. 

Notes

Store in a glass jar with lid in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Add salt to taste if required.

Try smoked paprika, garlic aioli or minced onion for a more BBQ sauce flavour.

Use anywhere traditional ketchup is called for. It may take time to adjust to the flavour/texture if your family is a hardcore store-bought ketchup crowd.  Especially if using it in place of store bought ketchup on its own (like for dipping French fries, on burgers or hotdogs or with grilled cheese).

Southwest Chipotle Ranch Salad

Did you like that southwest salad in a bag from the refrigerated vegetable section in the grocery store like we used to? Until I read the ingredients in the dressing anyway…..  
It’s been 5 years since I bought one, but on Monday Mr Fab Food asked if I could make one with some grilled chicken and all our Farmer’s Market  delights!
Challenge accepted and I CRUSHED it if I don’t say so myself! It’s funny how recipe development often comes from inspiration from something we’ve previously enjoyed but want better ingredients in.

prep

20 minutes

cook time

15 minutes to grill chicken

makes

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C plain Greek yogourt
  • 1Tbsp Creamy Ranch mix
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Chipotle aioli mix depending on spice level required
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp raw honey 
  • 1 medium vine tomato, diced

Instructions

  1. Whisk first 5 ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a cruet.
  2. Mix chopped tomatoes with dressing.  The liquid from tomatoes helps to thin dressing.
  3. Grill chicken breast or thighs with chipotle, fajita or other preferred seasonings.
  4. While chicken is cooking, Shred your favourite vegetables – carrot, peppers, radish, purple cabbage all work well.
  5. Toss dressing with lettuce and shredded veggies.
  6. Serve with tortilla strips or chips, sliced avocado and grilled chicken.

Notes:

Don’t like chicken?  Serve with roasted corn, black beans and flavour infused quinoa for a balance plate!