Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beef Pot Roast with Button Mushrooms

Every meat-eater loves a pot roast. I mean, c'mon. Meaty, beefy goodness. Especially when it's served in a thick gravy with whole button mushrooms scented with rosemary. Who says Sunday dinner has to wait until Sunday? Not me. In my house, this kind of dinner is welcome at our table any day of the week.

It's cold and rainy on the south island right now. Bright and warm fall days are better, of course, but a little break from the perfection of clear skies and colourful fall colours twinkling through sunlit branches always makes me appreciate the nice days even more. So, to pass the time and make our home cold-weather cozy, I use the grey days to go a little nuts in the kitchen. I'm using the time this week to give things a deep clean and whip up some eats that are about taking my time in the kitchen.

This pot roast actually comes together pretty quickly on the stove top, then finishes in the oven for two hours until tender and delicious. The cooking juices are then turned into the most incredible gravy, then the beef is sliced thick and added back to the gravy and mushrooms in the pot. It's fall, and this is fall eating.

Scroll down for the simple and delicious recipe...

Beef Pot Roast with Button Mushrooms
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
2 1/2 lb (1.125 kg) beef pot roast
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh rosemary, plus one extra sprig
A pinch of salt
1 lb (450 g) whole button mushrooms
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Warm the oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot with lid that can go from stove top to oven (such as a Dutch/French oven). Brown the pot roast on all sides, allowing about 1 minute per side. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in the same pot, still over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, rosemary and salt. Cook 5 minutes until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Clear room in the middle of the pot by moving the vegetables to the edges. Return the beef to the pot. Arrange the mushrooms around the beef. Place the extra sprig of rosemary on top of the works. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes. Meantime, transfer about 1/4 cup of the cooking juices from the pot to a small bowl. Stir the cornstarch into the removed juices. Pour this slurry back into the pot, along with the soy sauce. Set over high heat and bring just to the bubble to thicken. Remove from the heat. Slice the beef into thick slices and return to the pot. Stir to coat the sliced beef in gravy.

What are some of your go-to family favourites this time of year?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Disaster Dining: In-a-Crunch Cranberry Almond Oatmeal

It happens at least a couple times a week. I'll be sitting in the living room, knitting or writing on my laptop or doing some other ordinary Amy thing, and I'll hear it - a rumbling sound. My head pops up from what I'm doing and I freeze in silence, waiting to see if the rumbling sound is followed up by actual rumbling in the earth.
In reality, it's just another big truck driving down our street, sounding more threatening inside our old house than it really is. Until one day when it wasn't, and the rumbling sound WAS followed by actual rumbling. My youngest boy was home with me that day and he froze too. We both knew what it was. My mind jumped to the backpack of emergency supplies I would grab from the hall closet. And then, just like that, it was over. Mere seconds. No damage done. We thought it was exciting, my son and I. I jumped onto Twitter and Facebook to find out the magnitude and see if my friends had felt it too. They had.
We kind of expect earthquakes on the west coast. It's just part of life here, but in the ten years I've lived out here I have only felt that one. It's easy to become complacent, even though we hear predictions of the Big One and what will happen to our homes, our bridges and our communications systems when, not if, it happens. How long will we be without power? How will we feed our family? These are important questions for parents or anyone responsible for the lives of other people, really.
Planning for emergencies can be fun, though! And that's why I'm so proud to be telling you about the #DisasterDining contest with the Canadian Red Cross and Walmart Canada. From October 3rd to the 13th, you can share a photo, video or recipe using non-perishable foods using the #DisasterDining hashtag for a chance to win a $25 Walmart gift card or an emergency preparedness kit. See some other non-perishable cooking creations and enter the contest on the #DisasterDining contest page.
Since 2003, Walmart Canada has raised and donated nearly $29 million in disaster relief funding. In the last year alone, some of those funds helped the Canadian Red Cross support flood relief operations in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as other crisis situations affecting Canadian families.
For my part, I'm sharing this absolutely delicious recipe for In-A-Crunch Cranberry Almond Oatmeal. It's quick and easy to make on a camping stove, which you can set up outside if you are without your usual cooking facilities in an emergency. It's made with simple non-perishables you can keep in your emergency kit - dried cranberries, almonds, oats, bottled water, honey and small cartons of shelf-stable almond milk. You can even trim off the top of the almond milk container to measure your water and oats.
Find the recipe below...


In-a-Crunch Cranberry Almond Oatmeal
Makes 2 servings (can be doubled, tripled or more)

1 small carton (250 mL) shelf-stable plain or vanilla almond milk
1 cup (250 mL) safe water such as bottled
1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats
1/3 cup (75 mL) dried cranberries
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup (75 mL) sliced almonds
2 tbsp (30 mL) honey

Pour the almond milk into a medium saucepan. Add the water, oats, cranberries and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue cooking for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon the oatmeal into two serving containers. Top with the almonds and drizzle with the honey. Serve hot.

Tips: Small almond milk cartons are usually sold in packs in the juice box aisle. After you pour the almond milk into the saucepan, you can trim off the top of the carton and use it to measure your water and oats since it holds 1 cup (250 mL).

Are you prepared for a disaster? What would you make with the non-perishables in your emergency preparedness kit? Good luck to everyone entering the #DisasterDining contest!
Disclosure: I am being paid my usual recipe development fee by the Canadian Red Cross for this post.

Friday, September 18, 2015

GIVEAWAY: KitchenAid Ceramic Bakeware

Disclosure: I was provided with a set of ceramic bakeware from KitchenAid Canada for my own kitchen at no cost to myself, plus another set to give away here on the blog.

I know so many of you are hoping to get this awesome prize into your own kitchens in time for our return to fall comfort foods and holiday cooking. Thanksgiving sneaks up on me every year (it's only 3 weeks away, Canada!), but this year I'm ready with this gorgeous 6-piece set of ceramic bakeware from KitchenAid Canada that goes from freezer to oven to table with ease and serving style.

I love great bakeware, especially when it's sturdy and great-looking. These new casseroles from KitchenAid fit the bill, and they are already in regular use in my kitchen. The latest dinner I made in these was in the large square casserole - baked chicken thighs with creamy leek and mushroom rice. So delish, and with the size of this casserole there was plenty for leftover lunches. I'm enjoying these beauties and I know you would too. So, let's get right to it.

These are the pieces I'm giving away:

The KitchenAid Streamline Ceramic 4.2-Quart Casserole in Empire Red
  • Ideal for lasagna, noodle casseroles, shepherd's pie, baked beans and more
  • Made of non-porous vitrified porcelain so it won't absorb oils, odors or sauces. It also resists staining, chipping and cracking.
  • Comes with matching ceramic lid in Empire Red.
  • Strong enough to handle the extreme temperatures of the freezer, oven and microwave, yet beautiful enough to go straight to the table as a serving dish.
The KitchenAid Nesting Ceramic 4-Piece Set in Empire Red
  • Includes casseroles in four quart sizes, 0.3, 0.7, 1.5, and 3.5 that nest for easy storage.
  • Attractive contemporary-styled casseroles that retain heat longer than standard bakeware and are ideal for lasagna, noodle casseroles, shepherd's pie, scalloped potatoes and more.
  • Made of non-porous vitrified porcelain so they won't absorb oils, odors or sauces. They also resist staining, chipping and cracking.
  • Strong enough to handle the extreme temperatures of the freezer, oven and microwave, yet beautiful enough to go straight to the table as a serving dish.


To enter, leave a comment on this blog post (please include your email address so I can contact you if you win) sharing what you look forward to making this fall in ceramic bakeware.

For one extra entry, you can Tweet the following: "I entered to win ceramic bakeware from @KitchenAid_CA on @FamilyFeedbag and you can too"

Contest closes Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific. Open to Canadian residents only. One entry per person, per day. Winner will be selected randomly and announced on and associated social media channels.

Good luck to everyone!
UPDATE: The winner is Rebecca Gunderson of Langford, BC. Congratulations, Rebecca! You are going to love this bakeware from KitchenAid.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In my kitchen with KitchenAid's NEW ceramic bakeware

Disclosure: KitchenAid provided me with a full set of bakeware at no cost to myself. A second set is being provided for a giveaway to one of you! This is not the giveaway post yet, so stay tuned and try not to hyperventilate until then.

I love new things in my kitchen, but they've gotta be worth the shelf space. All you people with small kitchens know what I'm talking about. I could bring in new stuff all day everyday, but unless they're going to be a useful part of my cooking routine, I just can't justify it. Trust me, there is a whole world of NICE kitchen stuff out there that I'd love to get my paws on. But in reality I know there's a good chance new stuff would just hinder my cooking mojo by taking up precious counter space and getting in the way of my rolling pin handles when things are getting real in the kitchen.

But here's the thing. If you're going to keep the gear to a minimum, you might as well go with quality. I'm talking about the stuff you depend on all the time in the kitchen like pots, pans and bakeware. These are the workhorses that you use to pump out meal after meal, so it's helpful if they are durable and well-made. When I was offered KitchenAid's new ceramic bakeware for my own kitchen and another set to give away here on the blog, I was like YUP and I'm in. Some of my old stuff is going to the donation centre and these beauties are moving in.

The ones you see here are the nesting set of 4 ceramic bakeware dishes. They have a pleasing oval shape and come in four handy sizes. That way you always have just the right size baking dish for whatever you're making, whether it's a roasted chicken for Sunday dinner, scalloped potatoes for a crowd or an apple crumble for one.

In the fall and winter, I could make dinner in these dishes nearly every night. There's something so deeply comforting about baking dinner in the oven and letting the wonderful aroma fill the whole house. These dishes are sturdy, can handle going from the freezer to the oven, and even come with a 5-year no chip warranty. The best part is they look great on the table, and I love the white interior because it lets you appreciate the natural colours of your food.

With these dishes, storage isn't a problem. All four bakeware dishes take up the storage space of just the largest dish because they nest so conveniently. Beautiful design meets smart function - just like my beloved stand mixer - that's what I think of when I think of KitchenAid.

There's another great piece that's part of the KitchenAid ceramic bakeware giveaway, and I'm going to tell you about that one next time Stay tuned to see that beauty, and then you'll be able to enter to win ALL of the bakeware pieces for your own kitchen!

Leave a comment! What are you making in bakeware this month? Do you need to add some new pieces to your collection?


Monday, September 7, 2015

Zucchini Pizza Crust

One of the most fun things I get to do as a food blogger is develop a recipe that showcases a particular ingredient. Chicken, mushrooms, mustard - whatever the focus ingredient is, I love the creative challenge of writing a recipe that shows off how delicious and beautiful it can be.

That is why I love partnering with Produce Made Simple. They tell me the fruit or vegetable they want to highlight on their site, and I write and photograph a simple recipe that demonstrates the beauty and versatility of that ingredient.

This time the request was all about zucchini, and a gluten-free pizza crust was the goal. I'm happy to say the result is a gluten-free zucchini pizza crust that is delicious, quick to make and sturdy enough to hold all your favourite toppings.

Head on over to Produce Made Simple to get the recipe.

What have you made with zucchini lately?