With crisper days, stormier nights and the colours of leaves changing all around us, you definitely know that summer is behind us and winter is not far off. In my heart I am a summer girl, but there is something comforting about the sighs and smells of autumn days.
As much as I love my warm summer days, I do look forward to one of my all-time comforts: curling up under a cozy blanket with my pups to a good book and the soothing aromas of pumpkin spice wafting throughout my home. From candles to lotions to the smell of a delicious pumpkin pie baking in the oven, I can't seem to get enough.
I used to make pumpkin butter in my Instant Pot all the time and add it to my yogurt or coffees, but it never got to the consistency I wanted. Tasty, for sure, just never thick enough. So when I got my Thermomix, I found a recipe in the integrated digital cookbook for Pumpkin Butter.
Cookidoo® is probably one of my favourite features of the TM6 because it's the largest digital cookbook in the world and it's build right into the machine, easily accessible via WiFi. Not only that, I can do my weekly meal planning, create my own recipe collections, and create my own shopping list, thanks to such an easy touch screen set up. But, I digress!
Well, this Pumpkin Butter was a clear winner. It was fairly thick and smooth. Most of the butters you find elsewhere are loaded with sugar and they are high in carbs, but not this one. I replaced the regular brown sugar with Sukrin Gold, an all-natural low-calorie alternative to brown sugar with an aroma, sweetness, flavour and texture of brown sugar.
I've been making this aromatic mixture on a weekly basis and keep it in a mason jar for easy access. I love to add a spoonful to my goat milk yogurt, but it has become a regular addition to my morning coffee.
What?!? Pumpkin Spice Americano for a fraction of the cost of going to Starbucks, let alone healthier and tastier? Sign me up!
How to make my Pumpkin Spice Americano
The fact that I can use my Thermomix as a kettle, mixer, food processor and to simmer and thicken foods makes it that much more versatile and magical; and that's not all! I'd love to share more about how this amazing kitchen appliance can rock your world too. Let's chat!
What a week it's been!
From work to appointments to coaching, it's been one of those weeks where it seems I was always playing catch up. The weather has actually been sunny and decently warm, and it really only took a turn to what we are more used to here on the west coast over the past 24 hours: rainy, damp and darker days. These rainy days definitely have me missing summer, especially burgers on the patio.
Fret not - Thermomix and Sous Vide to the rescue!
As a matter of fact, these were probably some of the best burgers I've had in a long time. The key to a delicious and healthy burger is the quality and type of protein you choose to use. I do love turkey burgers, but nothing beats a satisfyingly juice grass-fed grass-finished bison burger. One thing I absolutely love about my Thermomix is that I can throw the meat into the mixing bowl and with the magic of the Turbo setting, can turn chuck style meat into minced meat, to the exact consistency I desire. Not only that, all of the spices and ingredients are evenly distributed. But since I already had ground meat, I was able to skip this part.
As for the rest of the burger making process, I just threw everything into the mixing bowl: onions, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg yolks, mustard, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and ground meat. After 15 to 20 seconds of mixing, I had my burger mixture ready to form 6 patties about 160g each. They then went into a freezer ziplock bag and into the fridge to rest.
Time for Joule to heat up the water to an optimal temperature of 56ºC (133ºF)! The burgers ended up taking a 30 minute long hot bath to cook to an optimal but safe medium rare. Please note - I would only ever recommend cooking beef burgers to a medium-rare if you source the highest quality fresh protein available.
While the burgers were cooking, I also made some delicious BBQ caramelized onions, prepared my homemade truffle aioli and toasted up some delicious homemade brioche buns I had made the night before. And yes, these were also made in my Thermomix.
The patties were given a quick sear in a hot cast iron pan and basted with some sizzling hot free-range duck fat for an additional burst of flavour!
And voilà - lunch/dinner was served - the process was simple, the meal was satisfying, and the flavour bombs were exploding in my mouth, left, right and center! For less than $20 and maybe 20 minutes of hands on work, I've got myself 6 servings of delicious, clean, healthy burgers. Bye bye Skip the Dishes!
Side note - when I formed the brioche buns, I was not thinking about the size of the burger patties. So my meal ended up being more of a deconstructed burger. Less mess - same amazing taste!
For as long as I can remember, dogs have been a part of my life. My parents had an amazing German Shepherd before I was born. Years later we got a German Longhaired Pointer named Jenna. She was a bit of a crazy pup, had loads of energy but she was a big love bug. Much to my discontent, my parents decided to re-home her with family friends, as she was not well suited for the city lifestyle; she spent the rest of her days living happily on over 100 acres, lakeside, in a more remote part of our province.
It didn't take long before we welcomed another pup to the family. Fibs was our first miniature schnauzer. Having a small dog was a first for our little family, but not the last. In fact, when Fibs was 5 or 6 years old we decided to get a female miniature schnauzer. Xena was a spitfire and definitely brought the puppy energy back out of Fibs. To this day I attribute my love for this breed to these two pups.
When I moved away to begin teaching, not having a dog around was quite the adjustment. The new career, moving to a new city and living on my own for the first time definitely didn't leave time to add a fur-ball to the mix, but alas, a mystery cat named Misty joined my small little home. Cats are in a league of their own, but Misty quickly made herself a home in my bungalow. It was during this time I was also volunteering as a dog walker with our local SPCA. I loved going to our local shelter and taking the dogs for a walk around the block, although it felt more like the dogs were walking me at times, especially during the dead of winter and icy streets.
Had it not been for my time with SPCA, I'd have never adopted my first dog, Buster! Buster the Beagle was my best friend, my sidekick and he had such a gentle soul. He was stubborn and challenged me to get him through his separation anxiety. But he taught me so much more about the meaning of life, happiness, forgiveness and just enjoying the simple things in life. He came into my life when I most needed him and we went through countless adventures together, including 3 moves. When it was his time to cross the rainbow bridge, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It was difficult to comprehend just why he left me, but his time had come to live to be free and wild, chasing rabbits and who knows what else.
I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and that the universe sends us signs all the time. Fast forward 6 months later, I had a dream of Buster playing with Xena and somehow that evening came across a Kijiji listing of the cutest little schnoodle puppy, now known as my little Tikah. She sure has been a blessing in my life and I am grateful to have jumped on the chance to bring her home in 2014. Over the past 6 years, Tikah and I have made sure to continue those traditions that Buster and I had started - beach days, hiking up mountains, road trips, park trips and a lot of couch snuggles. She makes the best adventure buddy and Buster's spirit surely lives on in Tikah.
But why have 1 adventure buddy, when you can have two? Loki is the newest addition and we couldn't be happier. It didn't take long for Tikah to accept him into our pack, although she was a little hesitant for the first couple of days. These two spend their days wrestling fiercely, stealing each other's toys and sometimes even sleeping snuggled up side by side. There are times I've most certainly forgotten what it's like having a puppy around, especially when the little monster leaves me a little puddle on the living room floor or when he thinks anything and everything is a chew toy. The last month has felt like a rollercoaster of a ride, but I wouldn't turn back the clock and I'm excited to see what this new phase of life brings.
Our special friends
A blog post about the fur-balls wouldn't be complete if some of our special four-legged friends didn't make an appearance.
Happy Saturday, folks! I'm excited to kick off my first blog post by sharing some yummy creations I've made with the help of Rémy, my sous chef! Wait, what?!? My very own personal sous chef? Enter the amazing Thermomix!
Rémy is still fairly new to my kitchen. We have gotten to know each other quite well over the past 6 weeks and he just keeps getting better and better every single time. Quite honestly, he's been an integral part of elevating my cooking. Don't get me wrong, I've loved cooking for as long as I can remember and have enjoyed experimenting and trying new things in the kitchen. But it was time for a change and that change was going to be bring my creations to the next level!
Eggs benny has become a regular weekend brunch item
I don't eat a lot of grains or wheat as I generally follow a lower carbohydrate, higher fat and moderate protein regimen. As a matter of fact, grains contain a fair amount of lectins, which have been linked to digestive distress and gastrointestinal bloat. Having said that, I do enjoy a little bit of rye sourdough on a weekly basis. The wild yeast and fermentation process of sourdough has actually proven to help my gut and digestion, as long as I don't overdo it. Actually, grains are best consumed when sprouted or fermented, and definitely not refined or processed.
Rémy has made making English muffins a breeze! Just add your ingredients step by step and watch the magic unfold in front of your eyes. He weighs out my ingredients as I add them and knows exactly how long to kneed the dough for. After letting the dough rise with the help of some unfed sourdough discard, I just have to roll it out and use my pastry cutters to make those beautiful English Muffin shapes, then pan fry them in a hot cast iron pan and voila, we have restaurant-quality English Muffins!
But what about the hollandaise sauce, you ask? I'm stoked to be able to make this delicious creamy sauce from scratch within minutes. No more packaged and chalky, artificially yellow, powdered nonsense you find on the store shelf. When I've tried making it from scratch in the past, it was either lumpy or the sauce broke - and trust me - I know my way around the kitchen. Just add the egg yolks, lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper, push the start button and in less than 15 minutes, you have 5 star thick and silky hollandaise sauce that will make any restaurant chefs come knocking on your door.
And fat is not your enemy! I'm not going to tell you to go out and eat pounds and pounds of butter and bacon, but it doesn't mean you need to avoid these foods either. Did you know that when food manufacturers market their products as being "low fat", they often replace the fat with increased amounts of sugars and other horrible food preservatives? Fat is what makes food taste good. So go ahead and eat those yummy avocados, put some grass-fed butter on your veggies, consume plenty of sustainably caught wild seafood, opt for the high quality meat like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry and yes, even a bit of bacon from time to time. If you can source your dairy and meat from a local farm, you're well on your way to nourishing your body with the best nutrients available to you. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing family-run farms that pride themselves in providing ethical and sustainable food sources - it might cost me a little bit more than going to the conventional supermarket, but my health is worth the extra pennies!
I'd love to know what you love to indulge in for your weekend brunches? Are you an eggs benny fan?
Stay tuned for more delicious creations coming your way soon!
This is me
Just a simple gal living on the West Coast of Canada, sharing her love and passion for food and fitness... and her puppy dogs.