Memories of Summer in Every Jar of Peach Jam

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“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.” ~ Helen Hunt Jackson

Every year we make up a batch of jams and preserves so that we can capture the taste of summer in a jar. When we taste the sweet peach jam on toast, even in the dead of winter, we remember the fresh, juicy peaches of summer. We remember sunny days and lazy afternoons. We remember picnics in the park, sailboats dancing across the water, and children playing in the yard. Each bite brings back a moment that we will not forget.

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This was my first year making Peach Jam. The Niagara peaches are so full of flavour and when they are in season, I cannot get enough of them.

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I found this recipe in the Canadian Living Test Kitchen book called The Complete Preserving Book. It is an excellent source of information for those who are new to jam making and preserving since it contains sections on canning basics, equipment and techniques.

Peaches-0984

When I took a bite of the fresh-baked scone covered in peach jam, I just smiled and remembered. So long summer… till we meet again.

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“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Peach Jam

Makes about 5-6 1 cup jars

Ingredients:

6 cups sliced and peeled fresh peaches
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 package light fruit pectin crystals (49 g)
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven and using a potato masher, crush peaches. Measure 4 cups of fruit.

Add lemon juice. Mix pectin with 1/4 cup of the sugar, stir into the peaches. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often.

Add remaining sugar, return to full rolling boil. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Fill hot 1-cup (250 ml) canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch (5 mm) head space. Cover with prepared discs. Screw on bands until resistance is met, increase to fingertip tight.

Boil jars in the canner for 10 minutes.

Turn of heat. Uncover and let jars stand in the canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars from the canner and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

Recipe from-The Complete Preserving Book-by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen

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Ricotta Cheesecake with Late-Summer Fruit in Niagara Ice Wine

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“Summer always ends with good memories”- anonymous

Can you feel it slipping away? Another summer is ending with the cool, crisp promise of autumn.

I had an unusual summer this year. What is typically the time of year to take things a little slower, ended up being the busiest it has been in a long time. I had so many unique projects on the go that filled me with anticipation and excitement.

Ricotta-Summer-Cheesecake-top-Edit

The most interesting project of them all was shooting a wedding for a dear friend of mine. I never realized how much responsibility one takes on when agreeing to shoot a wedding. The thought of missing the special moments or having equipment glitches was enough to make me even more obsessive about planning than usual. Thankfully, the day went off without a hitch and the bride is very pleased with her photos; all 1475 of them.

Since I decided to add more lifestyle photos to my portfolio, I have been on a constant cycle of learning and planning and shooting and editing. It has really been wonderful and has helped me to feed my passion for photography.

Ricotta-Summer-Cheesecake

I made this cake for a pre-wedding party by adapting two very different recipes from two different magazines. The cake is adapted from Bon Appetit and the Late-summer Fruit is adapted from Gourmet Traveller. I decided to use Niagara Ice wine instead of the Marsala wine in the original recipe. It was an easy decision because I had some on hand and I knew it would be a perfect pairing with the fresh Ontario stone fruit that was from the same region.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Late-Summer Fruit in Niagara Ice Wine

Makes 8-10 servings

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ingredients:

2 900g (15 oz.) containers fresh ricotta
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. unseasoned dry bead crumbs
2 450g (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. ground almonds
2½ tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
icing sugar for dusting

Directions:

Place ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Drain for 30 minutes
Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8 inch springform pan with butter.

Mix 1 tbsp. sugar and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over buttered pan. Tap out the excess crumbs.

Puree the ricotta in a food processor for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides, puree until smooth. Add cream cheeses and puree until smooth. Add remaining sugar and all other ingredients, puree, scraping down the sides until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape batter into the springform pan.

Bake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool in the pan. The cake will fall slightly.

Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 3 hours. Then cover and chill overnight.

To serve, remove from pan by releasing sides and dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit- May 2011

Late-Summer Fruit in Ice Wine

Ingredients:

250 ml white ice wine
100 g fine sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) orange juice
6 (mixed) plums, peaches and nectarines cut into wedges

Directions:

Combine ice wine, sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until it thickens to a syrup, 15-20 minutes and set aside to cool.
In a medium sized bowl pour the cooled syrup over the fruit wedges and mix gently.
Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.

Serve a slice of ricotta cheesecake topped with some late-summer fruit and syrup.

Recipe for Late-Summer fruit adapted from Gourmet Traveller-March 2014

Loving the Windy City and Cantaloupe, Peach and Strawberry Smoothies

Chicago-head

The other weekend my best friend and I went to Chicago for the first time. We had heard so much about the architecture, the food and the lively music scene. Since Chicago is only a one and a half hour flight from Toronto, it is an easy place to visit for a long weekend.

Chicago-architecture-3A

We took in the architecture by taking a boat cruise offered by the Architectural Society. I strongly suggest one of these cruises since the tour runs through the city along the river and features evidence of the historic transformation of Chicago from its rebirth after a major fire burned it to the ground in 1871. The city planners have done a wonderful job of protecting the river front by ensuring that all new buildings and renovations feature a river walk area that meets their standards.

Chicago-Art-Institute-2

A visit to The Art Institute of Chicago was a great way to spend the afternoon taking in the contemporary art and photography exhibits.

Chicago Architecture 1

When not touring the river front area, we found great places to eat that could accommodate my friend’s gluten-free, vegan diet and still provide a great variety for my tastes. One place that I really loved was Eataly, a gourmet Italian food experience that was like Disneyland for food lovers. The large space is filled with a variety of delicacies from Italy from wines to pasta and wood fired pizzas. There are 9 mini restaurants nestled in between each department of this store. Since they were able to accommodate my friend’s diet, we had lunch there twice. I understand that there is also and Eataly in New York City and that they might be opening one in Toronto. I cannot wait.

Another thing that is well worth doing is taking in some of the local music scene. We went to a local club called Kingston Mines to hear blues bands one night. This low-key, earthy bar hosts 2 acts per night and rotates sets between two different rooms until 5 AM. It is really worth the short drive from downtown to see these talented blues artists.

Chicago-Bean

We also saw Motown the Musical as part of the Broadway in Chicago line up. The musical revue acts out the history of the Motown music scene from the beginning to the 25th anniversary. It was a great evening filled with the music made famous by groups like the Temptations, the Supremes and the Jackson 5.

We tried to see as much of Chicago as we could fit into a long weekend so like most tourists, we made sure that we visited the famous Bean in Millenium Park. It is difficult to really see a city in four days, but my first impression was that I would like to go back and see more of this lively place.

After a weekend of food and wine and fun I though I should get back to my healthy diet at home. A great way to help get back on track is to drink smoothies for breakfast or lunch. This smoothie recipe is really light and fresh while also being very healthy.

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Cantaloupe, Peach and Strawberry Smoothie

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, without stems
2 cups chopped peaches, peeled
1 cup coconut water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 tbsp. honey, to your taste

Directions:
Blend the cantaloupe into a juice.
Add the strawberries, peaches, coconut water and lime juice.
Blend again until smooth and frothy.
Add honey to sweeten to your desired level of sweetness.

Recipe modified from Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris

Celebrate the Strawberry Season with Strawberry Charlotte

strawberry-charlotte

Have you ever had a day when technology was not your friend?

This morning I was reading one of my favourite blogs on my ipad, while eating breakfast. I tried to comment on the blog using the WordPress App and instead of posting the comment on their blog it created a post for my blog including only my comment. If that is not bad enough it posted it to Twitter and emailed it to all of my email followers.

When I realized what had happened, I ran into the other room to fix my mistake on my computer, vowing to never post anything before having my morning coffee again.

To all who received this poor excuse for a blog post I hope to redeem myself by sharing this wonderful recipe with you. Now you might ask, “How that is going to earn redemption?”

It will, because it is one of the best looking and best tasting cakes I have ever made and you don’t even have to bake it! That is correct; no baking.

Strawberry-charlotte-styled

I found the recipe online at the website of a popular French Canadian chef, Ricardo. I was looking for a way to use up some wonderful fresh Ontario strawberries from my local market. We are only able to enjoy the local strawberries for a few weeks each year, but the wait is worth every bite. You can taste the difference between the locally grown berries and the ones that have come from other countries. The flavour is more intense.

This Strawberry Charlotte is like a cross between Tiaramisu and Strawberry Mousse Cake. The mousse-like centre is creamy and light and the lady fingers create an interesting crust that looks like a fence post circling around a pool of strawberry heaven. Then you top it all off with fresh strawberries and tie it up with a pretty bow. So simple!

I think it would be a great dessert to serve at a Canada Day or the fourth of July BarBQ wrapped in a red or blue ribbon.

Strawberry Charlotte

Ingredients:

Lemon Syrup
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
2 tbsp. (30 ml) lemon juice

Filling
4 tsp. (20 ml) gelatin
6 tbsp. (90 ml) cold water
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) strawberry sauce (see note)
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
1 1/2 cup (375 ml) 35% cream
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (500 ml) hulled fresh strawberries
22 store-bought ladyfinger cookies

Directions:
Lemon Syrup
In a saucepan, bring 60 ml (1/4 cup) of water with the sugar and lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining water.

Filling
In a saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let bloom for 5 minutes. Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of strawberry sauce, 180 ml (3/4 cup) of sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the gelatin has dissolved. Let cool and stir in the remaining sauce. In a bowl, whip the cream with the remaining sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the strawberry mixture, using a spatula. Set aside.

Assembly
Line the bottom of a 20-cm (8-inch) springform pan with parchment paper. Line the edge with a strip of parchment paper.
Cut each cookie into 7-cm (2 ¾-inch) long pieces. The smaller pieces will be used to line the bottom of the pan. Quickly dip the smaller cookie pieces in the syrup and cover the bottom of the pan. Repeat the soaking with the long cookie pieces and place them upright, flat side inward, along the inner walls of the pan. Fill with the strawberry mixture and garnish with the strawberries, pressing them lightly in the filling. Gently cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Cook’s Note:
For about 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) of strawberry sauce, just puree about 1-litre (4 cups) of strawberries in the food processor until smooth and strain through a sieve.

Recipe from http://RicardoCuisine.com

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Pear Tarts with Caramel Sauce

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 How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?- Satchel Paige

I spent this past week celebrating the birthdays of my mother, myself and my grand daughter. We have 3 generations born within 5 days of one another in the month of June.

I really don’t like acknowledging my birthday any more, having just entered a pre-milestone year. I plan to hang on to this decade with all of my might.

You know we cannot stop getting older in years but we can always stay young in our hearts and minds. I plan to be the hippest, most active lady at the nursing home, when I get old. Attitude is everything!

I do plan on making the most of my life. My bucket list is constantly refilling with new places to see, things to learn, people to meet, and new experiences to try. Life is for living and enjoying each day as if it were our last.

One of the things that I have tried over the past 3 years was to become a better baker. I have tried a number of recipes while writing this blog that featured cakes, tarts and even pies. This pear and caramel tart is one of my favourites, so far.

 

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When I was in Seattle last year I was lucky to stay at a hotel that was across the street from Tom Douglas’ famous Dahlia Bakery. The cookies and pastries were so decadent and delicious at the bakery I had to buy the cookbook so I could bake them out at home.

The cookbook offers 125 of the best loved recipes from the bakery complete with loads of helpful baking hints. The book offers wonderful instructions on making a Dahlia style breakfast of English muffins and breakfast sandwiches, or granola, or egg strata. There are chapters on baking doughnuts, on pastries, on a variety of cookies, making tomato soup and gourmet grilled cheese, ice cream and ice cream sandwiches,and preserving jam and jellies. For a bakery cookbook it has a nice variety of recipes, each complete with photos and step by step instructions.

If you are really adventurous the book also includes instructions on how to make your puff pastry and caramel sauce from scratch. For my tarts I used frozen puff pastry and a good quality store bought caramel sauce. The tarts were wonderful with the warm pears and almond cream. I added a dollop of ice cream to offset the sweet caramel drizzle. They were so decadent.

 

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Pear Tarts with Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

3 small to medium pears, ripe but firm

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

Six 4 1/2 inch squares of store bought frozen puff pastry, very cold or frozen

3 tbsp. almond paste

2 tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into ½ inch dice

1 large egg yolk

Caramel sauce for drizzling

Whipped cream or Ice cream for garnish

Directions:

To poach the pears, peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Trim out the stem and blossom end and remove the core using a melon baller or paring knife. Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Add the vanilla bean and pears. To keep the pears submerged while they poach, put a piece of parchment or wax paper on the surface and weigh it with a plate or small lid. Place the saucepan over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. As soon as the pears are tender, but not mushy, approximately 15-20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Allow pears to cool in the liquid.

Place the puff pastry squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and set in freezer. Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended on the puff pastry package, depending on the brand 375-400 degrees F.

To make the almond cream, mix the almond paste and sugar  using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. The mixture will look crumbly. Beat in the butter, bit by bit. Add the egg yolk and mix until creamy and smooth, set aside.

Remove the baking sheet of pastry squares from the freezer. Place about 2 teaspoons of almond cream in the centre of each square and spread gently using a small spatula.

Remove the pears from the liquid. Dry them on a clean kitchen towel. Slice each half into ¼ inch lengthwise slices. Lift the pear half with a spatula and place it on the almond cream on each pastry square. Gently fan the slices, leaving a ½ inch border of pastry around the pears.

Bake until the tarts are puffed and evenly golden brown, approximately 50-55 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven. Serve one tart per plate. Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with whipped cream or ice cream. Serve warm.

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Recipe adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook-Sweetness in Seattle by Tom Douglas and Shelly Lance.

I bought my copy here:

http://www.amazon.ca/Dahlia-Bakery-Cookbook-Sweetness-Seattle/dp/B00BXU9R50/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403050153&sr=8-2&keywords=the+dahlia+bakery+cookbook

Warm Spring Salad

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What a wonderful holiday weekend! The weather is beautiful and we have 4 days off to enjoy it.

I have been car shopping for the past few weeks and I must say that it is an arduous task. It takes days to compare all of the models and brands and then consult all of the review sites.

Do I buy new or save and buy a few years old?

Do I want a car to move things around or something more sporty?

Do I care about what colour it is?

All of these questions and more have been running through my head, endlessly. It’s driving me crazy!

Since I live in downtown Toronto I could almost get by without a car. There is public transit that will get me anywhere within the city. Then there are the car-by-the-hour places that can supply wheels to go, if I choose to venture further.

I have decided to walk away from the car shopping and the big decision, for a while. I will take my new bicycle for a ride. I will turn off the computer and get outside to enjoy the sun.

I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful season and that you are having a great weekend!

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On holiday weekend like this, it is easy to over indulge on sweets and heavy foods so I try to serve healthy side dishes to my meals.

I am featuring a vegan recipe that is simple to make, beautiful to look at and delightful to eat.

I found this recipe on a local vegan blog called Oh She Glows. I modified it by blanching the asparagus and adding sugar snap peas which are also blanched. I love how blanching brings out the rich green colour while leaving a bit of a crunch in the vegetables.

The salad would be great as a side dish or as a main dish. Either way, it is delicious and healthy,

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Warm Spring Salad

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 leak, sliced into rounds or half moons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped in to 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced strawberries
¾ cup sugar snap peas
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tbsp. pure maple syrup
Salt and pepper
Lemon zest for garnish, optional

Directions:
Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
Blanch the snap peas and asparagus in separate batches by inserting them in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, sate leeks and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the asparagus and snap peas and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsley and strawberries. Heat for 1- 2 minutes and remove from the heat.

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Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, ¼ tsp. sea salt). Pour dressing over the cooked quinoa.
In a large bowl, toss the quinoa and the skillet mixture together. Can be served warm or cooled.

Recipe adapted from http://www.ohsheglows.com

Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-Fry with Coconut Rice

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Spring is coming!

At this time of year I start to look forward to spring. I have had my fill of snow, slush, freezing rain and cold.

One way that I get myself geared up is to start planning some spring activities that will get me out of the apartment and feeling good. I stopped in ay my local running store and got fitted for a pair of shoes. Rather than staring at them and wishing for sunny days I have started climbing the stairs at my office building. I work on the 10th floor so this is a good start to my fitness plan. The next challenge will be to climb the 23 floors to my apartment. Hopefully, by the time I am ready for that challenge, the spring weather will be here.

The Toronto Bike Show is on this weekend and I have been dreaming of a new bicycle all winter. I plan to go and check out the different hybrid bikes that are discounted as last year’s models. Those of you who know about my current bike, Victoria, will be surprised that I am even thinking of an upgrade. Victoria is a lovely bike, after all. I almost feel as though I am cheating on her by looking at newer models.

I am also trading in my beautiful car, Grace. I named her after the late Princess Grace because she is Monaco Blue, sophisticated and elegant. My lease is up and I have decided that instead of sporty elegance I really need a car that I can haul stuff around in. Practicality is winning over, this time.

Spring is time for new beginnings. For me that will mean a new car, possibly a new bicycle and hopefully a fresh attitude.

Another way to get ready for spring is to eat lighter meals. Many of my friends and family escaped winter by heading for tropical destinations so I thought it would be fun to feature a tropical recipe that creates that island feeling. I found this one in a Fine Cooking Cook Fresh magazine. Not only is it light and healthy, it looks so inviting on the plate.

 

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Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-Fry with Coconut Rice

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups jasmine rice
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup golden rum
1/3 fresh lime juice
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 1/2 inch thick rounds of peeled and cored pineapple cut into 8 wedges
1/3 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Directions

In a microwave safe 8-10 cup bowl, combine the rice, coconut milk, and 3/4 tsp. salt with 2 cups water. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Let stand in the microwave until the water is absorbed, 5-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the rum, lime juice, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper until the cornstarch dissolves.

Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until partially cooked, about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple and continue to stir-fry until heated through. Whisk the sauce, add to the skillet, and stir until the shrimp are just opaque in the centre and coated with the sauce.

Stir in the mint and remove from heat. Serve on top of a bed of rice.

Recipe from Fine Cooking Cook Fresh-Winter 2014 Magazine

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Apple and Provolone Risotto Fresh From the Farm

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In support of eating locally, my daughters and I decided to go apple picking this fall. I consulted our local pick your own website and found dozens of farms offering apples. Since we also needed to buy some bake goods we decided to go to Chudleigh’s Apple Farm in Milton, Ontario. It is only an hour from downtown Toronto, where we live.

Chudleigh’s offers a number of activities for families including a petting zoo, hay stacks for climbing, and hay rides to the picking site. Most importantly, they offered a very large selection of apple varieties. We decided to pick Honey Crisps for eating, Galas for cooking as well as a bag of Northern Spy for baking pies.

When we arrived we were already hungry so we ordered an apple bumble and some coffee at the snack bar before heading out to the fields. Once we were ready we were driven out to the fields on a tractor pulled hay wagon. It was very well organized. Every section of the orchard was segmented for a specific apple variety. Depending on the time of year that the apples are ready for picking, you are able to pick the varieties offered during that week.

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We had so much fun riding around the orchard and seeing the families wander up and down the rows. Children were so excited to be able to pick an apple and taste it right away. We spent the day enjoying the crisp fall weather and the charming surroundings.

it had been years since the last time we went apple picking. I enjoyed the day so much I think I will make it an annual event. Next year I will try a different orchard.

apple-pie-styled

The thing I liked the best was bringing home 3 large bags of apples. First, I baked some apple pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. Then, I made some pork chops with grilled apples and finally, I made this delicious Apple and Provolone Risotto. I modified the recipe to use apple cider as part of the liquids which gave the risotto a sweet and salty taste with the cheese. I would serve it on its own or as a side dish with lamb or chicken.

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Apple and Provolone Risotto

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
2 firm, sweet apples (such as Gala or Braeburn), peeled, cored, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 3/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 cup aged provolone cheese, coarsely grated
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine onion, 1 tablespoon butter, oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes.

Add apples; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes more.

Add rice; cook, stirring frequently, until rice is translucent, about 4-6 minutes.

Add white wine, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, then add 1/2 cup apple cider. Cook, stirring constantly, until broth is mostly absorbed.

Continue adding the rest of the apple cider and then the broth in 1/2 cupfuls, stirring constantly, and allowing each addition to mostly absorb before adding the next, until rice is tender yet firm to the bite (you may have broth left over).

Remove pan from heat. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter, cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and generous pinch pepper, then cover and let stand 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe modified from La Cucina Italiana-November 2013

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Marinated Raspberries with Lychees and Greek Yogurt

marinated-raspberries

Someone very close to me said that I spend too much time trying not to fail, instead of trying to win. I had to stop and think about it. If I don’t fail; then am I not succeeding? Then I realized that if you spend your time trying not to fail, you never become a winner.

I never played competitive sports as a child. I was always drawn to the arts and dance so I was much more interested in creating something special rather than winning. Now that I am trying to succeed in business and trying change my lifestyle I know that winning can be a good thing. I find myself trying to reprogram my brain.

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”-Rabindranath Tagore

Sometimes I feel as though my goal of being physically fit is a long way off. I get so overwhelmed by the effort that I need to put in to get there; I end up being stuck.  It is very much like staring at the sea and wishing I was at the other side.

I need to take action. I am not going to let the distance get to me. I am going to get there.  So I here am, pushing off from shore. I am going to reach my goal and feel great about it.

As I travel on this journey I will keep you posted about how I am doing. I will share my successes and my disappointments. I hope you enjoy the ride. I will be featuring some healthy food options and as well as some good home cooking recipes. I believe that eating well is part of living well.

It is hard to keep on track during the holiday season, but I am determined. After eating so much heavy food over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday I decided to make a nice light dessert of Marinated Raspberries, Lychees and Greek yogurt. We can still have treats while eating healthy and light fruity options are my favourite. I have also developed a passion for yogurt.

It is easy to eat well if you can make your food taste good and look delicious.

Marinated Raspberries with Greek Yogurt

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

22 oz. (650g) container Greek yogurt
1/3 cup (75g) castors sugar
1 cup (250ml) water
20 fresh or tinned lychees, peeled and seeds removed.
2 lb. (500g) fresh raspberries
1 tbsp. lime juice
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Peanut or cashew brittle or granola bars, broken into pieces

Directions:
Place the castor sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to boil for one minute. Remove from the heat, add the lychees and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the raspberries and lime juice.
Place the raspberry mixture in a bowl and add mint leaves. Serve with Greek yogurt and granola bars or nut brittle.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine-Issue 66