Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grilled tandoori chicken skewers


Sitting shoulder to shoulder in a dark theatre, sharing a bag of salty popcorn, Mr. Feedbag and I watched The Hundred-Foot Journey with the delightful Helen Mirren on a recent date night. The film is about a Michelin starred restaurant in the French countryside that sees a family-run Indian restaurant open up across the road. While the precision and flare in the scenes of classical French cooking was impressive, I was stuck on images from earlier in the film of Indian grilling with yogurt-marinated meat and fragrant spices. I suspect the director wants you to get stuck on those images so you'll root for the lead character, a young chef called Hassan played by Manish Dayal, to not stray too far from his culinary roots as he rises ever higher in the world of haute cuisine.
 
After the show we debated where to go for dinner, and when Mr. Feedbag said he'd actually be up for Indian I didn't blink or ask if he was sure. We went straight to my favourite little spot and ordered a couple simple dishes with rice and naan, and by the end of the meal there was a slight but significant shift on the other side of the table. Mr. Feedbag decided he liked Indian flavours now. 
 
No longer is my love of tandoori, butter chicken, korma and tikka masala limited to girls' night out! The day after we watched the film, I made these chicken skewers at home. So good. And after dinner Mr. Feedbag reconfirmed that he indeed likes Indian food now. Let there be grilled tandoori chicken...


Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers
Makes 4-5 servings

1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime or lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) cooking oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp  (10 mL) freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp (30 mL) chili powder
2 tbsp (30 mL) garam masala
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground turmeric
2 1/2 lb (1.125 kg) skinless, boneless chicken thighs

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, garlic, ginger, chili powder, garam masala, cumin, salt and turmeric. Chop each chicken thigh into about three pieces. Add the chicken pieces to the yogurt marinade and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Thread the pieces of chicken onto 4 to 6 skewers, depending on the length of your skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes beforehand to reduce scorching). Grill the chicken skewers about 10 minutes, then rotate and continue cooking another 10 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through.

Do you love some foods that your family isn't crazy about? How do you get YOUR fix?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lunch box granola bars


This isn't a recipe post. It's more of a... coming soon post. Now that I've submitted my cookbook manuscript to the publisher (yay!), things have really settled down around here. My weekdays are still filled with kids and parks and picnics and noise, but I'm no longer spending my weekends working on the book. So I'm getting back to some of my favourite hobbies that I had put on hold during the months when I was canning my bum off and writing like a madwoman. I've finished a knitting project and started another, read a couple novels, become completely obsessed with a Spanish TV series on Netflix, and now I'm starting to turn my mind to fall and school and everything else that comes with that time of year.

I'm particularly excited about fall this year because my youngest boy is starting preschool. He's a big snacker, so it's no surprise that one of the preschool activities he's looking forward to most is bringing along his own snack. Since he loves granola bars, my latest kitchen quest is to develop a quick and easy granola bar recipe that I can whip up at the beginning of the week that is healthy and nut-free for school. My first batch with apricots, sesame seeds and honey was really tasty, but I'm tempted to use butter instead of oil in the next batch to help the bars set a little firmer when they cool. I might throw in some dried cherries too. We'll see. Lots of options. And when I narrow down a lovely little recipe you can count on me sharing it here.

How are you feeling about fall coming? Do you have kids going back to school or starting something new? Are you planning any changes to your kitchen routine with the change of season? Leave a comment, and feel free to share any granola bar ideas...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The SECRET to clean stainless steel

 
Fingerprints. Smudges. Food smears. Streaks. They get all over my dishwasher. That's life with stainless steel in the kitchen. Whatever mess you've got going on with your hands, it's bound to end up all around the handles and edges, marking up your beautiful appliances. I've tried it all in the past; various cleaning products from the hardware store, wipes, sprays, even homemade concoctions involving baking soda and lemon juice and whatever else Pinterest suggested. Nothing worked. I started to wonder if stainless steel was a bit of a misnomer. But then something came in the mail that changed all that.

I swear to you I'm not being paid to write about this. It's just SO GOOD.

After getting my lovely new dishwasher from KitchenAid Canada, I was sent a dishwasher care package in the mail. Inside the big basket were some stainless steel cleaning wipes as well as a spray and cleaning tabs to bring a sparkle to even the inside of my fancy machine. I was skeptical at first. But the package said KitchenAid recommends this stuff. Hmm, I thought, okay let's give it a go.


Oh my WORD!

It's sooo good. Like, we're talking miracle cleaner here. The smudges and streaks and smears were gone. Completely. All those homemade pastes I'd tried and perfectly good lemons wasted, and now I finally know how to keep my stainless steel clean.  

So, what is this big secret?


Affresh!

I love it. It is incredibly effective. And now I want you to have some too. So the company has agreed to give one of my readers:

A ONE-YEAR supply of affresh products!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post telling me how dirty your stainless appliances are. And be sure to include your email address so I can reach you if you win.

The winner will be selected on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 6 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Eastern.

Good luck!

For anyone wanting to rush out right now and get some affresh wipes, they are available at Lowes, Leons, Home Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Outfitters, Coast Wholesale Appliances, IGA, Sobeys Atlantic, Highland Farms and online at Whirlpool.ca and Amazon.ca.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bernardin prize pack WINNER!

Disclosure: Bernardin provided me with these products at no cost to myself.

It's always fun to do a giveaway on Family Feedbag. This time it's a prize pack from the company that Canadian mason jar fans all know and love - Bernardin. This collection of mason jar beverage accessories makes sipping on the go extra fun and functional. American readers will also recognize the giveaway products as Bernardin is the Canadian branch of the Jarden Corporation, which also operations the Ball and Kerr brands in the United States. So, even if you don't win today you can find these products throughout North America where canning supplies are sold.

The winner today gets 4 Mason Jar Mugs, a package of Sip & Straw Lids and a Mason Jar Infuser.

Alas, there can only be one winner and that lucky person is:

Melissa @ Miso Crafty Knits
 
Congrats, Melissa! I will contact you soon to get your mason jar goodies delivered to you.
 
What do you use your mason jars for? Leave a comment and share your good ideas...


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blackberry Sparklers & Bernardin GIVEAWAY

Disclosure: Bernardin provided me with product for review and for giveaway at no cost to myself.
 
There's that moment of cold sweats when a company you love comes out with something new. I've got to have it. Excitement quickly mixes with trepidation. Please don't change too much. You're committed to this brand, you follow them on social media, and you don't want what you love best about them to get watered down into something... less. Please don't sell out to the trends. In the case of Berdardin's new mason jar drink accessories, however, we're talking about a literal watering down, with fresh fruit, fun straws, sippy lids and an adorable infuser. Phew. This is good change.
 
I mean, it just makes sense for Bernardin to come out with these things. We're all drinking out of our mason jars anyway. At home, in bars, restaurants, we're seeing a renewed love affair with this classic jar as a drinking glass. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe it's a fondness for simplicity. Or maybe it's just appreciating mason jars for what they are: sturdy and useful.
 
Bernardin recently sent me a package of drinks accessories, and since it's the perfect time of year for blackberries around here I created this very simple recipe for blackberry sparklers to enjoy in my new mugs. Get the recipe below. If you simply want to enjoy fresh fruit in your drinking water, the infuser is a fun way to do that. You can fill it with fresh ingredients like blackberries, raspberries and strawberries then immerse it into a water-filled wide mouth mason jar with the nifty green lid.
 
Now, here's your chance to WIN your very own set of Bernardin mason jar accessories! Leave a comment on this blog post, including your email address, to be entered to WIN:
 
4 Mason Jar Mugs
1 set of Sip & Straw Lids
1 Mason Jar Infuser
 
The draw will be made on Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 6 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Eastern. Good luck, everyone!
 

Blackberry Sparklers
Makes 6-8 mason jar drinks

1 cup (250 mL) fresh blackberries
1 cup (250 mL) water
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
ice cubes (optional)
lemon slices (optional)
sparkling water for mixing

In a small saucepan, combine the blackberries, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a heat-proof container, discarding the pulp. To mix, add a few ice cubes and a slice or two of lemon to each glass. Pour 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the blackberry syrup over the ice and top up with about 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of sparkling water per glass. Store leftover syrup in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Want your own mason jar beverage accessories? Leave a comment to WIN the Bernardin giveaway! Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!
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