Roasted Cauliflower Soup

What do you do when you’re stuck in the house thanks to a snow and ice storm? If you’re me, you make a hot pot of soup.

ImageYesterday, we were fortunate enough to have had our first Christmas get-together with family before the storm hit (with the exception of a few who were hit with the storm a little early and couldn’t make it), so our house was full of people and of course platter after platter of fabulous holiday treats. Knowing that it will just be a couple more days before the next celebration, we are trying to keep tonight’s dinner on the lighter side. So given the storm outside, the chill in the air, and our house full of leftovers, soup seemed like the perfect solution.

Some time ago, I stumbled upon this recipe for a cauliflower soup that uses roasted cauliflower and garlic with bacon. Yum! Thankfully, I stocked up on groceries before the storm and had all the necessary ingredients to make the soup this morning. The only adjustment I made to the recipe was to use olive oil instead of almond oil, and I cut back on the amount of bacon: I added two strips of bacon to the pot and left out the remaining slices that the original recipe uses for garnish. I used Herbes de Provence instead of Italian Seasoning, and opted to use vegetable broth. This soup comes together easily and quickly and has incredible flavour. And thanks to the addition of bacon, even my kids love it!

Homemade Mincemeat


The Christmas baking has finally begun in our house and it wouldn’t feel like the holidays without mincemeat. 

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Last year I made my own mincemeat, and after discovering just how easy it can be, I now consider it to be an annual holiday tradition in my kitchen. The finished jars of dried fruit, nuts, and spices will sit in the pantry, developing their flavour until it is time to turn them into pies, tarts, palmiers, stuffed mini croissants, and so much more. If you make your own, be sure to do so a few weeks before you need it so as to give the flavours time to mature.

My recipe comes from an older holiday edition of BBC Good Food magazine and it comes together in about 20 minutes (10 minutes cook time). Honestly, nothing could be easier or tastier.

HOMEMADE MINCEMEAT

This recipe uses butter in place of the more traditional suet. The butter makes the mincemeat look slightly cloudy, but this will disappear once its cooked.

175 g/6 oz currants

175 g/6 oz raisins

175 g/6 oz sultanas

175 g/6 oz dried cranberries

100 g/4 oz mixed peel

1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (I used Granny Smith)

125 g/4.5 oz butter, cut into cubes

50 g/2 oz whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped

225 g/8 oz light muscovado sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice*

zest and juice of 1 lemon

200 ml/7 fl oz brandy, rum or Sherry

Put all of the ingredients except alcohol into a large pot. Heat the mixture gently, allowing the butter to melt, then simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Image

Allow the mixture to cool completely and then stir in the alcohol.

Spoon the mincemeat into sterilized jars. Seal tightly and store in a cool place.

*To make your own mixed spice: combine 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tbsp allspice, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp nutmeg, 2 tsp mace, and 1 tsp cloves.

Homemade Granola Bars

I have tried a lot of homemade granola bar recipes over the years but never found one that had the texture and flavour we were looking for without using a pile of sugar. Thankfully, one day I stumbled upon this one from Brown Eyed Baker and decided to try it. It instantly became a family favourite.

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Unlike so many other homemade granola bars, this recipe does not use a lot of butter or sugar, you can easily substitute gluten-free ingredients, it has a tasty chewy texture, it’s peanut-free (which means it can go in my kids school lunches), and everyone in our house loves it. Even better, it comes together in less than ten minutes and requires no baking.

My kids love chocolate chips in their granola bars, but you can substitute any of your favourite add-ins. Try raisins, nuts, dried cranberries, or whatever your family favourite add-in happens to be. Whatever you choose, these non-processed granola bars are sure to be a hit in your house. Go ahead and try them. Chances are you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now.