Honey-sweetened Sweet Chile Sauce

You’re going to love me for this one.

Wanna know why? Cause I just took a condiment off of the guilty list for ya.

What? I’m patting myself on the back? Yea, it feels pretty good. Almost like a nice back rub.

I saved the link (Pinterest, how do thee use thou?!) on my desktop for a sweet chile sauce months ago and finally got around to trying it when we ran out of the bottle we had. Have you seen whats in the storebought I-call-myself-sweet-chile-sauce-but-im-really-just-sugar-sauce? Read the bottle next time and I promise you it’s little more than water, sugar and corn starch or xantham gum.

SO! I needed a lunch for Marius ASAP, as in, he’d already gone to work with only yogurt and granola for coffee break and without going to the grocery store I had to figure out what I was going to make to bring him. My sister Molly to the rescue…I stole some of her spring roll wrappers and rice noodles. I knew I was up to the challenge of figuring out the sauce to go with it. I made them with thick rice noodles, salad greens and julienned cucumber and zuchinni. Pretty much make them with whatever fresh raw veggies you want. I skipped the meat as I knew they weren’t going to be kept in a cooler if there was leftovers.

Shaye shows you how to make spring rolls here, cause I don’t feel like doing a tutorial at this point.

Back to the sauce, right?

sweet chile sauce

 

I can’t wait to have this with chicken…fish…pork…pot stickers…fried spring rolls…ummm, anything else I’m missing?! It’s the new ketchup!

You can use coconut sugar or a minimally processed sugar such as rapadura or panella, and I guess if you’re in a real pinch you could use regular sugar…but thats not how I try to roll. This is tastiest with honey!

As far as vinegar…go for the rice vinegar if you have it, it’s milder. But I used plain ol’ white vinegar for a equally tasty dip. I also imagine apple cider vinegar would add a nice note!

 

Sweet Chile Sauce

1/3 c honey (1/2 c of other sweetener as honey is sweeter)

1/4 c rice vinegar

1/4 c water

2 tbsp minced garlic (less if you don’t like garlic as much as I do!)

1 tsp red chile flakes (I used smoked from Mountain Rose Herbs)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp arrowroot starch (if using other sweetener use 1 1/2 tsp. Alternatively substitute for organic corn starch, but you’ll need to use 1 tbsp), made into a slurry in equal amount water

(If extra heat desired, add 1 tsp sriracha)

Bring honey, vinegar and water to a boil, add in garlic, chile flakes and salt, turn down and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add in arrowroot slurry and simmer until thickened. You may need to up it to a boil to get it to thicken properly if your simmer was a lazy one. Cool and enjoy!

 

 

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Render your own Lard

Lard feels like one of those scary things. Every aspect of it really. We’re told it’s horrible for us, it comes in shelf stable packages in the baking aisle and it’s just plain weird.

Allow me to change your mind! We love us some lard up in here. Our favourite uses for it are, but not limited to;

Cooking the best eggs or hashbrowns, making soap, pie or tarts, empanadas, seasoning cast iron and this afternoon I’m making old fashioned donuts and frying them in lard. I’m so excited it’s not even funny.

Lets start with sourcing. The shelf stable package in the baking aisle? Step away. Thats not lard. Thats margarine in disguise. I can’t get organic pastured pork fat, but I can get it from not quite pastured but not penned up tight antibiotic free pigs. Which is better than nothing and I work with what I have! I get it through the butcher counter in our grocery store. It’s super frugal at $14 for 10 pounds of back fat. I can pay $18 for kidney fat/leaf lard but I don’t find a big enough difference to pony up the extra few bucks. Leaf lard is supposed to have a cleaner taste, but is it wrong if I don’t mind a bit of a piggy taste in my pie crust? If it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. Anyways, I have to order it by Monday and it comes on Wednesday. Also try farmers, farmers markets or health food stores. Don’t be afraid to ask about how the pig was raised! I can get fat for free from the butcher, but it’s just from feedlot pigs and I don’t want that. I feel like $14 is so reasonable it’s not even funny. I sure think things aren’t even funny today.

I find the crockpot the most hands off way to make it. It’s not the fastest, but it’s the laziest. I choose the latter. My 5 qt crock fits 5 pounds of chopped up fat. I have my Moms old crock as well so I can use a whole 10 pound bag at once. This will yield you 8 pounds of lard! (Don’t hold me to it as all lard is cleaned up differently)

IMG_5082I start the crock off on high for half an hour or so until some of it is melted, then turn onto low. My crockpot runs hot, so after a few hours, I turn it onto the keep warm setting. This takes close to all day. You really only need to stir once mid day, but I can’t keep my paws off and therefore it takes me hours longer as I always take the lid off and stir. I can’t help it’s like a nervous tick or something…

My Mom did Tallow (from the milk cow we butchered) all day on low once and I just went up to her place at lunch to stir it and it was done when she got home from work.

When it’s all melted and there is ‘cracklins’ floating in the top, strain it through fine cheese cloth or a dish towel you don’t care too much about. It will be yellow-ish at this point. Pour it into canning jars for easiest storage, or whatever you want to freeze it in if you’re not going to use it up within 3 months. This will be about 4-5 quart jars worth. Are you excited yet?!

lardDon’t worry! I won’t leave you hangin’! I’ll be posting up some recipes on how you’ll use it in the mean time. Now go forth and source your pork fat!

 

 

3 ingredient Laundry Detergent

Q: Whats more fun than saving money, with very little time output, on something you need to buy anyways?

A: NOTHING. Thats what.

I knew I should be making my own laundry detergent, but I just never did. Why did I not? Did I feel like I needed to spend more money or something? Sheesh. Get on this band wagon already!

We use this on: cotton flanelette cloth diapers, nice clothes, manure or blood covered clothes. (Note: If there is LOTS of blood, soak/scrub with an enzyme eater first). We use it for everything. J’adore. Maybe one day I’ll try soap nuts, it is on my to try list, but for now I’ve got boxes of borax, washing soda and soap flakes, so I’ll keep on keepin’ on.

Please note that Borax is NOT boric acid, so don’t get your panties in a wad.

laundry detergent

Laundry Detergent:

1 large bar of soap such as Dr. Bronners, homemade soap or Fels Naptha (latter not available in Canada) OR 1 cup soap flakes (I have a box my sister gave me that she got at a health food store)

1 c washing soda (NOT baking soda, BUT if you have loads of baking soda, you can make your own washing soda from it.

1 c borax

Grate the soap. Mix all three together. You’re done. Now use 1 tbsp per load. Good in cold or hot water, front load or top load machines.

This is how I wash my diapers: They all pile up in a bucket with NO water. When it’s full, I dump them in the washing machine and they go on a warm or hot rinse then spin. I have a very large washing machine, so while they’re doing that, I fill up the diaper bucket with the babies clothes that are in the regular laundry hamper. When the rinse is done, I top the machine up with the clothes, and then put it on a heavy warm wash with an extra rinse and spin. They then get hung or chucked in the dryer if I’m feeling Lay-zee. We didn’t have a dryer for the first 5 months of Hamish’ life. Those suckers all got hung!

Tender, Tasty, Teriyaki Marinade

I’m in love with this marinade.

balsamic teriyaki

It was really hard to get this picture. I had Marius standing over my shoulder grabbing bites inbetween photos asking “Can we eat yet, can we eat yet?” You’d swear he was the three year old.

Get yourself some venison soaking in this, and you know you’re in for a delicious meal. Best part? Its amazing cold. So I love to make extra and have it on a salad the next day.

In the photo I did venison tenderloins (Not the big backstrap tenderloins that are more common, but the inner rib cage melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter ones. I think you have to butcher your own meat to know the difference.) and it was so worth it. This is a marinade you need in your back pocket to wow people!

The amazing thing is that you buy the cheapest balsamic you can…because you’re just going to be reducing it! I love fancy meals that are easy on the budget.

While I’ve never used any meat but venison for this, I KNOW it would be amazing with any other meat. Especially red meat or chicken! It could easily pair up with pork or salmon.

Balsamic Teriyaki Marinade

adapted from Steamy Kitchen cookbook. (Get it! Just do it. Now. And no, that’s not an affiliate link) (She also has a blog)

Marinades about 5 pounds of meat. I like to freeze portions as it’s a bit more labour intensive marinate to make)

3 tbsp butter

1 onion

9 cloves garlic

2 c balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp tamari (Or soy sauce. Do yourself a favour and get a decent healthy brand)

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp sweet rice vinegar

1 tbsp honey

Sauce onion and garlic in butter over medium heat. Add balsamic vinegar, get it bubbling, then turn down and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add tamari, salt, rice vinegar and honey.

To use, pour some over meat in a liquid tight container. You don’t need to cover, just coat. 1/2 c per pound of meat approximately. The longer it sits the better, but atleast 2-3 hours. I have some chicken breasts sitting it it right now for 36 hours. They’re going to rock my world.

To cook, look up specific time directions in a book such as Better Home and Gardens for what cut and type of meat you’re using. These tenderloins did 3 minutes per side on a medium-high heat grill. I find with red meat, teriyaki is best good and rare!

Korean Venison

This recipe is a twist on one I found at The Elliott Homestead. 

 

I’m not sure it gets easier than this for a ridiculously tasty dinner?

I texted my Mom when I was done eating: “The dinner I made tonight would make Doug bow to your feet while you were doing fist pumps at how easy it was. No kidding Mom it was 6 ingredients and 15 minutes plus cooked rice”

Marius always gets second when I make this, and he isn’t usually a seconds kind of person.

I think that about sums up this recipe? You could use canned stew meat or canned ground meat, and any other thawed or fresh ground meat other than venison. We ate it with local sugar snap peas that were delish!

Korean Venison

 

 

Korean Venison

1 lb ground venison

2 tsp microplaned ginger

5 cloves garlic

1/4 c soy sauce mixed with 1/4 water (If using canned meat, use the liquid from in there!)

3 tbsp honey

Green Onions (1 1/2-2 minced per person)

s+p to taste

 

Brown the venison, add in ginger and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then add in soy sauce and honey. Simmer 10 minutes until most of the liquid is gone.

Serve over rice of choice (I’m loving this purple rice) with LOTS of green onions. Chives will work in a pinch too!

 

Five Fast Toddler Snacks

If you know me, you’ll know I am not into prepackaged snacks, especially processed. I hate the ingredient list, and I hate the price!

 

Here is 5 of Mac’s favourite snacks, but more than anything, they are FAST snacks for when your child screams

 

“I HUNGY!!”

 

Clockwise from left:

Fruit Leather:

This is homemade, simply dehydrate applesauce with the addition of cinnamon and vanilla. I made tons in the summer to have bounty in the winter. There is many options for storebought fruit leather, just be careful of additives or sneaky ways they add sugar, such as concentrated white grape juice.

 

Peanuts:

Or any nuts, Mac loves peanuts, cashews, almonds, as well as seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin. Yes they’re roasted and salted, which makes it a fun snack for him, and fast for me.

 

The Spoon:

Represents Peanut Butter, which we ran out of yesterday and it’s on my grocery list for tomorrow. Best power snack ever, is a spoonful of peanut or other nut butter. Mac adores it.

 

Frozen Peas:

I buy Stahlbush Farms frozen peas, which are so beautifully grown that they taste sweet and as if you’ve just plucked them from the garden.

 

Crackers:

Yes these are just plain old Stonewheat thins. Sometimes we have good rice crackers, but mostly, these are the crackers of my childhood and one of the few ‘processed’ things we have around.

 

 

Other not as quick ideas:

-Cheese cubes (Although Mac doesn’t like eating cheese)

-Popcorn lightly buttered, with REAL, LOCAL butter. Popcorn is a darn good high fibre snack for you.

-Fruit Smoothie (Yogurt/Milk, frozen/fresh fruit, good juice/water, in the blender)

-Warm Applesauce with Cinnamon (no sugar added PLEASE! Even make your own from some on sale apples?)

-Chips and Salsa (Good quality corn chips+Organic Salsa)

 

 

 

These are obviously his favourite snacks…

Yesterday’s Valentine

Just a quick pop in to show you what I did yesterday as a part of “Honouring my Valentine

Heart shaped Rice Krispie Squares! Cowboy LOVED them, he said they were so tasty, and they are a ‘reminds him of childhood’ treat. I don’t make them much so he really appreciated it.

 

The heart cutter cost me 89 cents at the kitchen store! It’s a sturdy metal one that will last me years and years.

 

You could fancy them up with red icing or sprinkles, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to buy some just for this.

 

When we were making them, Mac said “I so cite-ing give krispie Daddy!”

Translation: I’m so excited to give Rice Krispies to Daddy!

 

He knows that I’ve got a little something for him everyday until Valentines day, and he’s super stoked for it. I haven’t decided what to do today, I think I will write a little letter, and instead of putting it in his truck, I’ll put it on the floor where he shucks his work pants when he gets home. (I have a hook there, I swear! He just WONT put them on it. But alas, this is honour your valentine fortnight, not ‘change the things that buy you about your spouse week’ so I’ll ignore and take advantage of it).

 

Happy close to Valentines day!

 

Heart Rice Krispie Squares

3 tbsp butter

40 large marshmallows

1 tsp vanilla

6 c Rice Krispie

 

Melt butter on low in a large pot. Add marshmallows stirring until there is no chunks. You don’t gotta stir the whole time. Add in vanilla. Take off heat and mix in cereal. Spread out onto a greased cookie sheet, the thickness of your cookie cutter. Cool, do the cut outs and serve!