Slow-Cooker Five Spice Pork Roast

Slow-Cooker Five Spice Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes

Slow-cookers have acquired a bum rap for turning out bland, homogenous, texturally lacking food. Why-oh-why do people have this misconception? I want to whisper a little theory because it’s not a very popular one… I think it’s because people thing you can dump any old thing in there along with a can or two of condensed cream of something soup and it’ll magically turn out a delightful meal. There’s a little more to it than that. Not much, mind you, but a lot of folks balk when you say such a thing. The truth is that like most other things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you start with frozen chicken breasts and a can of cream of mushroom soup, you’re going to get a nice, shreddy, cafeteria style food. If you start with a fresh pork loin, some chopped sweet potatoes, and a little attention to detail, you’re going to end up with something that is worthy of being served to company. I suppose my life analogy falls apart a bit there, much like boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow-cooker. Ba-dum-bum! The point remains. Fresh foods going into the slow-cooker equal fresh tasting foods coming out of it. There’s a little science to it, too… Not all fresh foods make it through the slow-cooking process equally. A good rule of thumb is that if it tastes good in something you’d stew, braise, roast, or otherwise cook for a long period of time in anything else, it’ll probably work well in the slow-cooker. Whether you’re cooking for Sunday dinner, a … {Read on...}

Coconut Cream Lime Pops

Just 5 ingredients and a blender are all you need to make these creamy Coconut Cream Lime Pops from

It's hot out; ninety degrees in the shade hot is what it is with about eighty percent relative humidity. My boys -who aren't usually given to running around shirtless- haven't had a shirt on in days. Well, the sixteen year old has, but that's because it's nearly impossible to throw eight hundred bales of hay sans shirt unless you really like to itch. You can be certain, though, that within mere minutes of reentering the house, his shirt is lying in a hay-riddled heap in the middle of the floor at the base of the stairs. These 5-Ingredient, blender-made Coconut Cream Lime Pops are EXACTLY what the meteorologist ordered. These creamy (no dairy!) and tart quiescently frozen treats are made of two kinds of tropical coconut milk, coconut cream,  tangy and refreshing lime juice, and (appropriately) coconut sugar. You put the lime in the coconut. Ahem. You couldn't REALLY expect me to get through an entire blog post espousing Coconut Cream Lime Pops without breaking that line out at least once, could you? Are you singing it yet? How about now? It is a serious coconut lover's treat that is rich  enough to taste dairy laden without even a smidgen of dairy milk in there. People... I love my full fat dairy ice cream like wow, but I also adore coconut milk. It's so refreshing and SOMETIMES you just have to change things up a bit to keep life interesting, right? Why use two kinds of coconut milk AND coconut cream? That's a good question! The reason is that each of those … {Read on...}

Cool Ranch Dorito Cheese Curds

You like Cool Ranch Doritos? Like cheese curds? How about Cool Ranch Doritos Cheese Curds on All natural! No MSG!

I have a dear friend who told me she has never tasted cheese curds. I am not going to lie; I gasped. Perhaps it's living where I live -in the heart of New York dairy country- that makes cheese curds so ubiquitous. Even the rinky dink grocery store in our town ("What's a vegetable?" they seem to say) carries box after box of cheese curds. If you -like me- are a hard core cheese curd lover, you've probably had 'seasoned' curds before, too. They come in a variety of flavours: Cajun, sweet and spicy, garlic and chive, and more... One flavour I've never seen anywhere, though, is Cool Ranch Dorito Cheese Curds. Why, I ask you! Why? It's a natural pairing. Cheese + cheese = delicious. It doesn't get a whole lot easier than this... You whisk together a batch of homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix (no MSG!) and then use some of THAT to whisk together a batch of homemade Cool Ranch Dressing Seasoning and then you toss some of THAT with some handy-dandy cheese curds and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to bloom. I suppose you could purchase a packet of ranch dressing mix from the store, but there's no getting around it, you're going to have to make the Cool Ranch Dressing Seasoning if you want to eat Cool Ranch Doritos Cheese Curds. Bonus: You'll have enough of the seasoning left to make a big old batch of homemade Cool Ranch Doritos or giant Cool Ranch Dorito Baked Salad Shells and that is never, ever a bad thing. Why spice up cheese curds when I can buy them … {Read on...}

Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken for Recipes {Make Ahead Mondays}

Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken for Recipes on #MakeAheadMondays

It's been a while since I did a dedicated "Make Ahead Mondays" post, and quite a few people have mentioned that they miss them on the reader survey. I listened! Today I'm sharing a fantastic meal-starter with you: Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken for Recipes. Use your slow-cooker to whip up a batch of this flavourful, fully-cooked shredded chicken, shred with a couple of forks (or chop on a cutting board) and divide into meal-sized portions in freezer bags. I'm not leaving you hanging with a bunch of cooked chicken in the freezer, though; I also have a handful of quick recipe ideas that take advantage of your bounty of chicken. When you have Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken for Recipes tucked away in the freezer, you're just moments away from a home-cooked meal! There really isn't much effort involved in making Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken for Recipes. It's a recipe at its most basic; combine boneless, skinless chicken thighs with this and that in a slow-cooker and let it rip for 8 hours on low. At the end of 8 hours, remove the meat and shred it. Use part of it for the evening meal, and portion out the rest in meal-sized servings in freezer bags, squeeze the air out, seal, and freeze. The magic of this recipe is not just in the fact that it's about as simple as it can get, but also in the fact that there are almost infinite ways to use the chicken! Here are a few of our favourites: as taco meat in quesadillas in fried rice on entrée type salads (like taco salad, … {Read on...}

Russian Pickled Cherries {Simple Food Preservation}

Russian Pickled Cherries from

Cherry season is cruelly short, but we can preserve some of their sweet, juicy goodness for the winter months in jams, jellies, juices, pie fillings, and pickles. Pickles? Yes! Russian Pickled Cherries are a fabulous food preservation project for those who are intimidated by the canning process and veteran canners alike. There's no boiling water bath or pressure canner involved, rather this is an old-fashioned method of putting up cherries in a vinegar based liquid. The result is a tart, sweet pickled cherry that is divine with venison and pork roasts or a roast turkey. A grand bonus from this project is amazing, vibrant red, cherry infused vinegar that is wonderful in vinaigrettes, other salad dressings, and drizzled on roasted vegetables. Think Thanksgiving! Why would you pickle cherries? You don't have to tell me that when you think "pickles" the first thing that pops into your mind is quite probably NOT cherries. I get it. Let me tell you something, though... These classic Russian Pickled Cherries are going to make you a believer. Bursting with sweet cherry flavour that gets a boost in the tart department from cider vinegar, these deep, dark red orbs are a wonderful accompaniment to roast pork, venison, or turkey or roasted root vegetables. The tart/sweet, light, freshness helps cut the richness of strong flavoured or fatty meats. This is a clever strategy borrowed from the Dutch by the Russians to make some of those cheaper cuts of meat that require longer cooking … {Read on...}