Beef Jerky

For as long as I can remember I have always loved Jerky. I remember my mom buying it when I was young and dividing it up so that we would each get our equal share.

When I got my dehydrator a couple of years ago, I knew that I needed to make jerky, but somehow I kept putting it off.

A few days ago I had a craving for Jerky and when I got to the store I couldn’t bring myself to buy the small bag with a few scraps for 5.99. It was just too expensive for what it was. So, a couple days ago when I when I was picking up some meat I decided to buy an extra eye of round that was on special and vowed to myself that it would be in the dehydrator becoming jerky in the near future.

I found a couple recipes on the web but I am not the type to just follow a recipe so decided to just make my own.

I started with a 2-3 lb roast and trimmed all the visible fat and then cut the beef thinly with the grain. I like a chewy jerky so cutting it that way makes it a bit more chewy. It is very important that you choose a meat with little fat and trim all of the fat that you can. The fat can not dehydrate and will become rancid over time.

Place the cut slices of beef in a large Ziplock bag with the prepared Marinade

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup worcestershire,
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup soy sauce,
  • about a tsp of liquid smoke,
  • 1 Tbsp of Honey
  • 3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp each or so of onion powder, garlic powder and freshly ground pepper.
  • I almost added some hot pepper flakes but decided not to in case some of the no-spicy kids wanted some but I think I will add some next time.

I let the beef marinate for nearly 24 hours and then put it in the dehydrator in a single layer filling up about 3 trays of my Excalibur and then started the dehydrator at 155 degrees. After about 2 hours the more thinly slices were done and then over the next hour or two I started to take out more and more. So the thick slices took about 4 hours total.

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*note: cooking time will depend on the dehydrator you use and how thinly the meat is sliced. Some dehydrators, like the stacked ones without a fan might even take 12 or more hours. You can also make this in a oven at 150 if your oven goes down that much and you need to leave the oven door slightly open.

Whatever method you use, keep an eye on it. If you leave it in too long it will become very very tough. It will still be good but you will need a strong jaw and good teeth. Also remember that it will harden even more once out of the dehydrator.

I Store all of my dehydrated foods in Mason jars for easy access and to then be air tight. It should last a couple of months.

I don’t think it will last more than a week or so in my house though.

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I don’t know why I have been holding out on my myself over these last years that I have had a dehydrator. Not only was this easy to make and much cheaper than any jerky you could buy, it was also the best jerky that I have ever had!

Hope you enjoy!!

By |September 18th, 2013|Snacks|1 Comment|

Jardins des Anges

I have been waiting for this moment for years and it has now finally arrived.

In the summer, we have access to quite a bit of local food from stands that can be found all around the city.  It is not organic but it is local and fresh. However, in the winter, like many places the prices goes up, the quality goes down and we even though most grocery stores now carry a few organic choices, there are very little actual choices, and what it there, is not very fresh, and often looks pitiful.

I am always in awe when I go to grocery stores in Montreal. So many options…  quality and quantity…

We only have one grocery store that carries Kale around here and they often don’t even have it! We simply don’t have options. I miss being able to go to fruit and vegetable stores and come out with plenty at reasonable of cheap prices.

I think it was one of the things that I missed most when we moved here.

But now, we have an option. We can get organic vegetables and fruits delivered to our door!

Jardins Des Anges is a Laval/Montreal based company that delivers Organic Vegetables and Fruits right to your door. They say that their mission is to provide the largest selection of Organic/local/ethical products all year round. Yes, I sound like an ad, but I am so excited that they are now in my area. I don’t mind giving them the spotlight!

So today I got my first order. We are a family of 6, soI took the largest basket, made a few substitutions (you can do that in your cart for things that you may not use) and I added a few extra fruit, a jar of raw honey and a bag of raisins. It came out to just over 80$ with the delivery included in the price. I think that it pretty amazing! I have been wanting to eat more veggies and this will force us to eat more and give us more choice then I can usually find. It will also force me to add a bit more variety to our meal plan to incorporate the foods that we receive.

Here is the order as it arrived… yes, plastic, but at least they are 100% bio-degradable (within 12 months)

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Here it is all laid out…

This week, I got a braising mix (kale, mizuna, mustard or swiss chard), baby bok choy, parsley, carrots with greens, celery, green beans, lettuce, leeks, mini-peppers, radishes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pineapple, bananas, coconut, grapefruits, pears, oranges, green apples, red apples, kiwis (a lot) lemons, avocados, kale and clementines… (+ raw honey and raisins)

 

 

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I just have to buy a few things to complete meals and that is it…

Again… I am so happy about this!

By |March 6th, 2013|Food|1 Comment|

Vanilla cupcakes

When I asked Willa what she wanted for her birthday cake she said pink cupcakes. I could have easily used my Butter cookie vanilla cake recipe to make the cupcakes but I wanted something different. See, I have the perfect cupcake in mind. It is light and fluffy and  not at all dry with a delicate crumb. So I searched…

And then I found this recipe. It looked great so I had to try it…

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose flour, took out 2 tbsp of flour and replaced it with 2 tbsp of cornstarch)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oil (light tasting)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup soy milk with 1tsp lemon juice)

 

Directions-

  • Preheat oven to 350*F.
  • In a medium bowl, add  flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
  • In another bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds until they are pale in colour.  Add sugar and continue to beat for about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil and beat again.
  • Slowly add about half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold. Add half of the milk, fold and then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Mix until just combined but do not overmix.
  • Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  • Let cool before adding icing.
For the icing I used my vanilla bean buttercream and added some beet juice into the cream to give the icing the beautiful pink colour that Wilhelmina had asked for.

The cupcakes were delicious and baked perfectly. But if I am honest, it still was not what I am looking for, but they could easily be someones perfect cupcake.

So I am still on the hunt for the perfect vanilla/white cupcake recipe. Any suggestions?

By |February 20th, 2013|Cakes, Recipes|1 Comment|

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Powder

I have been wanting to make this for ages. I love the convenience of a bouillon cube or broth powder to add to soups, stocks, sauces or many other dishes. What I don’t like about the commercial powders are the ingredients. Too much sodium, to many preservatives, too many products with miles long lists of chemicals and artificial ingredients. The natural products are of course better ingredient wise but they are so expensive and I can’t justify paying the steep price for so little amount of powder.

In the past I have made stock that I have frozen in ice tray cubes and have used them from frozen but they are not the most convenient and they are not concentrated enough so they add water along with the flavour. I have also tried a variation of Annie’s recipe  but it wasn’t what I was looking for which was something dry and easy to store and use and with flavours that I enjoy more.

While looking through the Blendtec recipe book that I got with my blender I found the perfect recipe. I of course adapted it to my liking but it is exactly what I was looking for. It is made with dehydrated vegetables, nutritional yeast, herbs and aromatics. It adds a wonderful depth and the perfect amount of saltines without the salt overpowering the flavours.

You can start with fresh vegetables that you already have around the house and dehydrate them on your own or you can buy dehydrated vegetables from the store (often sold in bulk near the soup broths etc) . I have a dehydrator, so of course I used it, but instead of starting from fresh, I bought a bag of frozen vegetables. All you need to do is put them on the tray still frozen and dehydrate as usual. This mix had peppers, onions and asparagus and I added some leftover raw broccoli that I had in the fridge. I also dehydrated my own mushrooms but you can also buy them dried if you wish and use a bit less in the recipe.

I love how little space dehydrated veggies take and thought I would store the extra, but Willa decided to snack on them and I didn’t have an extras afterwards.

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  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup Kosher or Sea salt
  • 1/3 c dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1 c dehydrated mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried green onion
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried lemon zest
  • 2 tsp of poultry seasoning
Of course, these herbs and aromatics are what I like to use, but you can change it up to make different flavours. Have fun with it!
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Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend to a fine powder.
Store in a tight closed container (I use a mason jar)

Use a tsp of powder for each cup of water to use as broth, or add it directly to foods for a bit of seasoning. 

 

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I love lemons, they are fresh and tart and slightly sweet and delicious.

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I also love desserts made with lemons, especially when they retain the qualities of the lemon that inspired them. These cookies are just that.

They are sweet, fresh, slightly tart and simply lemony all in a soft chewy cookie. What more could you ask for?

Oh, I know…  They are also one of the quickest cookie recipes and come together in minutes.

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies

makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter, softened
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 drop of natural lemon zest extract (optional… use it if you have it on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cups powdered sugar

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Excluding the powdered sugar, Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined. With the powdered sugar in a plate, take a heaping teaspoon of dough, make into a ball and roll in the powdered sugar and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the bottom barely browns and cookies look dull. Remove from oven and let sit on pan for about  3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Enjoy!

 

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By |January 19th, 2013|Cookies, Recipes|1 Comment|