Homemade Marshmallows

As the days get colder, the girls request hot chocolate when we get home from school often, especially when the snow comes!  I’ve perfected a dark and delicious “haute” chocolate mix and was on a mission to find decent marshmallows to add to the mix as part of a Kids in the Kitchen workshop we ran with the library last winter.  There are a few available on the market with nicer ingredients but when it came right down to it, the reality was that in order to guarantee my marshmallows didn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup, canola oil or refined white sugar, I was going to have to make my own!  So, here you have it….fluffy, sweet, soft and delicious marshmallows using grass-fed gelatin, raw local honey and pure vanilla!  They melt delightfully into hot cocoa, can be used in other desserts (a crispy treat square perhaps!) or are super fun to eat just as they are!!

prep

20 minutes

set time

4-10 hours

makes

25-40 depending on shape and size

Ingredients

  • 1C filtered water, room temperature, divided in half
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed gelatin (I use Greatlakes Gelatin but use any one you trust!)
  • 1 C raw honey (try and buy local if you can – support your local ecosystem and local beekeepers!)
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/8tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 C arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
  • coconut oil (for oiling pan)

Instructions

  1. Place gelatin and 1/2 cup of water in the bowl of a stand mixer to soften.
  2. While gelatin is softening, add honey, salt, vanilla and remaining 1/2 C of water to an 8 Cup multipurpose pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. While liquid is heating, line a 1/4 sheet pan with silicone liner.  Generously oil the liner with coconut oil and then sprinkle with arrowroot flour.  If you don’t have 1/4 sheet pan and liner, use an 8X8 pan lined with parchment paper (stack the paper in both directions and allow to overhang the edges of the pan for easy lift out later).
  4. When liquid begins to boil, continue boiling until it reaches soft-ball stage (235-245F).  This will take approximately 8-9 minutes of rolling boil.  Watch closely and use a candy thermometer if you have one.
  5. When it reaches soft-ball temperature, remove immediately from heat.
  6. Start stand mixer on low and gently drizzle hot liquid into the gelatin.
  7. When completely combined, increase speed to high and whip until light marshmallow fluff begins.  This can take 6-10 minutes.  Watch it closely.
  8. When it gets light and fluffy, remove from mixer and spread quickly into your prepared pan.  It starts to set FAST!
  9. Smooth surface with an oiled spatula or you can oil your hands or cover with arrowroot flour so you don’t stick.
  10. Set in a cool dry place for 4-10 hours to completely set.  Remove from pan and cut into shape and size you prefer!

Notes

A stand mixer is not necessary for this but I find it easier because of the heat and length of time to reach the fluffy stage.  Drizzling the hot liquid into the bowl with one hand while holding a hand mixer over the hot bowl can be tricky/uncomfortable!  But it is doable.  The Multipurpose pot is also very helpful here because it has a pour spout and handle making the drizzling much easier.

Be sure to have oiled/lined pans ready to go before you start!  Once you reach the soft fluffy marshmallow stage and remove from the mixer, you want to be able to transfer the fluff to the pans quickly as it will start to set very FAST!  Complete setting takes hours, but you won’t be able to spread or flatten into your pan after about 60 – 90 seconds!

When cutting into desired shape, oil or cover knife/kitchen scissors with tapioca starch.  They will stick to the marshmallows if you don’t!  I find scissors to be a bit easier to work with or a pizza cutter.  You may have to play around to find what works best in your kitchen.

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).

Baked French Toast with Chia Jam

As a Culinary Nutrition Expert I get asked for breakfast ideas all the time! Breakfast is one of those meals we all know we should pay more attention to and one that should likely contain more than just dry toast and a cup of coffee…but my clients are often strapped for time. This one is a kid-approved fave but is also full of great stuff for grownups! Use up all those bread ends that are in the freezer, some farm fresh eggs, sad bananas and make a delicious fruit-filled, sugar-free chia jam! Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse – they’re high in calcium, magnesium, and iron. They’re high in fibre and minerals. They’re also a complete source of protein and full of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They are also soothing to your digestive tract and help your body to excrete toxins! Thanks to Epicure’s time-saving cookware this comes together quickly and will quickly become a family fave!

prep

10 minutes

Bake time 

Jam: 5 minutes, Set time 15 minutes

French Toast: bake 6-8  minutes

makes

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 C cubed bread
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 4 jumbo eggs (or 6 regular eggs)
  • 1 tsp Apple Pie spice or cinnamon
  •  
  • For the chia Jam:
  • 2 C fresh or frozen fruit of choice (berries and cherries are great!)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp Summer Berry Sweet Dip  or pure maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare Chia Jam first: Place all jam ingredients in rectangular steamer, stir and cook, uncovered, in microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. When done, mash with a potatoe masher, or blast with a hand blender for smoother jam.
  3. Let sit 15 minutes to set.
  4. While jam is setting, mash banana with eggs.  Add apple pie spice or cinnamon.
  5. Fill multipurpose steamer with bread.
  6. Pour egg, banana and cinnamon mixture over bread.  Stir to mix completely.
  7. Cover steamer with lid and cook in microwave for 6-8 minutes.
  8. Serve with plain Greek yogourt and chia jam.

Notes

Don’t have a steamer?  Or don’t like cooking in the microwave?  Add all chia jam ingredients to a small saucepan, mash slightly and bring to a low boil.  Simmer 6-8 minutes.  Mash or puree with hand mixer and allow to set for 15 minutes as mentioned above. 

Similarly, place all French toast ingredients in lightly buttered glass or metal baking dish or multipurpose steamer if just not using in the microwave. Bake in a 400 oven for 15 – 20 minutes until egg is completely cooked.  

If using light-fleshed fruit like apples or peaches, keep in mind the chia seeds will be visible in the jam and can effect the overall aesthetic of the jam.

If using fruit like plums, apples or peaches, peel them!

Lemon Chia Pudding

I’ve been bored with breakfast lately….the girls will eat the same thing over and over and never seem to get bored! Food is love to me and I’ve been feeling meh about breakfast for weeks (perhaps the Covid loop we’re living more than anything….) so I decided I needed something exciting to change it up! 
Enter chia pudding! This one can be made ahead and kept in the fridge so it’s there and ready when you’re not feeling breakfast inspiration!  Double the batch if you’re making enough for multiple people, or so you can have something ready for multiple days!  Change the whole thing by changing the toppings!
Did you know chia is a nutritional power-house seed?
They’re high in calcium, magnesium and iron. High in fibre, protein and minerals. A complete protein source full of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants and are soothing to your digestive tract and therefore help the body to excrete toxins. That’s a whole lotta awesome for a teeny, tiny little seed! And in this super simple recipe, they’re also delicious!!

prep

5 minutes

set time

2 hours or overnight

makes

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2C milk of choice 
  • 6Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch (no more than 1/8 tsp) of turmeric or  Mango Lassi  

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a 4C bowl, whisking to get the lumps out.
  2. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
  3. In the morning give it a stir, and split between 4 bowls. Top with fresh or frozen fruit, nuts or granola.  If not using all at once, scoop out 1/2C per serving.
  4. Get fancy and you can top with whipped coconut cream, toasted coconut and fresh lemon curd too and serve as a dessert!

Notes

Coconut and cashew milk are both smooth and creamy and delicious in this recipe!  But any milk will work depending on your preference, allergies or availability.  Want to get really fancy and add some gut-loving kick?  Use 1 C of plain Kefir + 1 C of milk instead of the 2 C of milk.

Use pure maple syrup not imitation.  If not available, raw honey or coconut sugar make a great alternative.  Coconut sugar will require more stirring to dissolve.

Pure vanilla or vanilla bean.  Again, no artificial stuff!

The turmeric or Mango Lassi helps give it a glorious yellow colour (often something we expect with Lemon flavoured food??) and a little bit of extra anti-inflamatory goodness!

Orange Infused Granola

This recipe is inspired by a pal I met through IG! Nourish by Rebecca is based in Kelso. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s the Scottish borders. About 4 hours drive south of where Mr Fab Food is from and where my youngest sister-in-law is from.   Rebecca is also an alum of the Academy of Culinary NutritionCulinary Nutrition Expert Program!! Small world, right?

When I came across one of her yummy offerings on IG I commented that I wished I could try some and too bad it would not likely survive shipping from the UK all the way here! Enter my mother in law, who was coming to visit for March Break. Rebecca sent some of her fantastic Fig, Orange Oat & Seed bars by post to my MIL’s house so she could pack them in her suitcase and deliver them to me!! How amazing is that!?!
Well, I devoured them! The next time the girls ran out of granola I decided I wanted to try and make some for them that would resemble the flavours Rebecca has in these bars! It’s not quite the same because I will only be adding chopped fruit for serving rather than packing it all together to make a bar, but I think it’s close!! I tweaked a recipe I already had and used inspiration from Rebecca’s bars for flavour! I’ve added some power-house seeds for added Culinary Nutrition benefits – sesame for calcium, hemp, flax and chia for omega-3s and protein! Try it and let me know what you think!!

prep

10 minutes

Bake time

30-40 minutes

makes

20 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 C (500 ml) rolled oats
  • 1 C (250ml) steel cut oats
  • 1/3 C (80 ml) sliced almonds
  • 1/4 C (60 ml) shredded coconut
  • 1/4 C (60 ml) raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) hemp hearts
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) ground flax
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) pepitas
  • 3Tbsp (45ml) chia seeds
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Apple Pie Spice or cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste)
  • 2/3 C (150 ml) honey (melted) or pure maple syrup
  • 2Tbsp (45ml) coconut oil (melted)
  • 2-3 drops Sweet orange oil (if you don’t have an edible orange oil, use orange extract to taste)
  • 2/3 C (160 ml) dried fruit of choice (chopped figs, raisins, cranberries, goji berries etc)

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 325° F (160° C).

2.Stir together oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax, pepitas, chia, sesame, Apple Pie Spice, coconut sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. Heat honey (or maple syrup) and coconut oil in a saucepan until liquid. Mix orange oil (or extract) into honey. Pour over granola mixture and stir until very well combined.

4.Spread granola on Sheet Pan lined with silicone liner or parchment paper.

 

5.Bake for 15–20 minutes and stir. Continue to bake 10-15 minutes more depending on your oven until lightly golden and fragrant.  Don’t overcook!

 

6.Cool completely on Sheet Pan. Stir in dried fruit.

Notes

Store in airtight container. Double or triple the batch if you want and you can freeze it for later.

Be sure to cool completely before storing.  If it continues to cool in the container, condensation may develop and can result in your granola spoiling.