Easy Biscuits and Gravy

I almost always make eggs of some kind for breakfast; fried, scrambled, poached… you name it, I’ve probably made it!

But, from time to time, it is nice to change things up with something different.

For me, biscuits and gravy are a treat because I don’t make it often.

Don’t ask me why!

Maybe I just get into a rut of making the same things over and over again…

Or maybe I make eggs so much because our chickens have been such prolific producers!

Either way, this biscuits & gravy recipe is always a hit.

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The Biscuits

Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then cut in cold butter using a pastry blender.

Depending on how flakey you would like your biscuits, you can add anywhere from 1 – 3 tablespoons of butter. The more butter, the flakier the biscuits.

Pro Tip: Using cold butter helps make the biscuits fluffier and flakier.

Next, add the milk and gently mix until the flour is fully incorporated.

Make sure not to overwork the dough.

Then roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into biscuits.

This recipe makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits, which I find is a perfect serving size.

I use my biscuit cutters from Amazon to get perfectly shaped biscuits with pretty scalloped edges.

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Pre-heat your oven to 400º and bake your biscuits on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper so I have as little clean-up as possible.

You can cover the biscuits and allow them to cool or serve them hot!

The Gravy

Mom always used Jimmy Dean Italian sausage, however I recently discovered that a local business carries Mild Italian beef sausage – AND delivers to our acreage!

For those of you who have never lived in a rural location, you likely don’t understand the excitement of actually being able to get delivery…

Where we live, we can’t even get the mail delivered to our house – so this is a big deal.

Oh! And the beef is also high quality and ethically raised.

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While the biscuits bake, start the gravy by frying the sausage until fully cooked, breaking it into small chucks as it cooks.

Salt & pepper to taste (I like to season my meat now and then add more to the gravy later; this gives the meat great taste without the gravy getting too salty).

If you are using pork sausage, you will have plenty of drippings to mix the flour into, however if you are using a lean meat, you may need to add 1 tablespoon of butter.

Once the meat is fully cooked, sprinkle the flour on top of the meat and mix it in.

Allow it to brown slightly, string occasionally on medium heat (this step is the key to good gravy; browning the flour before adding the milk gives it a rich flavour).

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Add 1/3 cup of milk and stir until the mixture has thickened.

Add the remaining cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of beef stock; stir until it is combined and starts to simmer.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Remove from heat once it has reached the desired thickness.

Cut your fresh biscuits in half and scoop the gravy over both halves.

Enjoy!

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Biscuit Recipe

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cold butter (up to 3 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

Directions

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in cold butter.

Stir in milk and incorporate ingredients (do not overwork dough).

Roll out dough on floured surface.

Cut & bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits

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Gravy Recipe

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 teaspoon butter (optional)

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/3 cup whole milk

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Fry the sausage in a large pan, breaking it into chunks as you stir.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Stir in flour and allow to brown slightly (add melted butter if you are using a lean meat that does not have drippings).

Add 1/3 cup milk and stir until thickened.

Add remaining cup of milk and the beef stock.

Stir until thickened to desired consistency.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Scoop onto biscuits & enjoy!

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Mom’s Baking Powder Biscuits

What is better than Mom’s home-cooking?!

This is a recipe I grew up on and still love making to this day!

These tasty biscuits are great with butter, hot out of the oven.

Or you can add fresh, homemade jam…

… or you can make biscuits and gravy…

… ooor, you can use the dough to make Pigs in a Blanket!

This recipe is the foundation for so many yummy options.

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Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then cut in cold butter using a pastry blender.

Depending on how flakey you would like your biscuits, you can add anywhere from 1 – 3 tablespoons of butter. The more butter, the flakier the biscuits.

Pro Tip: Using cold butter helps make the biscuits fluffier and flakier.

Next, add the milk and gently mix until the flour is fully incorporated.

Make sure not to overwork the dough.

Then roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into biscuits.

This recipe makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits, which I find is a perfect serving size.

I use my biscuit cutters from Amazon to get perfectly shaped biscuits with pretty scalloped edges.

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Pre-heat your oven to 400º and bake your biscuits on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper so I have as little clean-up as possible.

You can cover the biscuits and allow them to cool or serve them hot!

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Recipe

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cold butter (up to 3 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

Directions

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in cold butter.

Stir in milk and incorporate ingredients (do not overwork dough).

Roll out dough on floured surface.

Cut & bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits

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Be sure to join my mailing list to get my recipe for the gravy I make for biscuits and gravy as soon as I publish it!

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What is your favourite way to eat biscuits? Drop a comment below!

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No-Knead Bread

Easy 4 ingredient, no-knead bread recipe

The smell of baking bread filling the house is one of my favourite scents!

On cold winter days, fresh bread with a hardy stew really hits the spot.

This no knead recipe turns out perfectly every time – the main challenge is the patience it takes!

In order to ditch kneading the bread, extra rise time is required.

18-24 hours of rise time, to be more specific.

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I will usually start a batch Saturday morning so we have fresh bread for lunch on Sunday.

Aside from the rise time, this recipe requires very little of your time to prep and bake.

Oh! And did I mention that it only has 4 ingredients?!

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Start with a large glass bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water, then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of yeast on top.

Allow the yeast to develop for about 5 minutes before adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 3 cups of flour (if you are in a rush, you can skip the 5 minutes and the loaf will still turn out fine).

Mix everything together until the flour is all incorporated; you shouldn’t have to work too hard and can add a bit more water if you find you still have dry flour.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place on the counter to rise for the next 18-24 hours.

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Unlike many bread recipes, this loaf does not need to be in a particularly warm spot; during the winter months, my concrete counters can be quite cool and we usually keep the heat in the house fairly low.

The extra rise time is to thank again!

Fast-forward 24 hours… Now the dough is ready to bake!

Pre-heat the oven to 450º with your dutch oven inside the, um, “real” oven.

I have an old-school cast iron dutch oven that I scored at a garage sale years ago and it works great!

Lodge EC6D43 Color 6-Quart Dutch Oven (Island Spice Red)

If you don’t have a dutch oven, Amazon has tons of great options. Some even have an enamel coating that helps eliminate seasoning the cast iron and makes cleanup much easier.

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Once the oven and dutch oven are pre-heated, sprinkle some cornmeal in the bottom of the dutch oven to keep the dough from sticking to the bottom.

The cornmeal also gives the loaf a rustic, artisan feel.

Next, gently scoop the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface.

The dough will be quite sticky at this point, which is exactly what we want.

Try to disturb the dough as little as possible; this helps keep that nice, fluffy rise that we just waited 24 hours for.

Gently fold the dough from the right side into the middle, then from the left side into the middle. Repeat with the other 2 sides.

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This helps shape the loaf into a nicely rounded ball.

Once you have shaped the loaf (remember, do not over-work the dough!), place it seam-side down in the dutch oven.

Bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. The moisture the lid holds in helps give the loaf the soft, chewy inside and the crusty, artisan exterior.

Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes so the loaf gets that nice, golden finish.

Once it has finished baking, remove your loaf from the dutch oven and place on a cooling rack; cover it with a towel to allow it to cool at a slow enough rate that it doesn’t get dried out.

When you cut into your fresh loaf of bread, the crust should be fairly hard and the inside should be moist and chewy with large air pockets.

Be sure that your bread knife is sharp so it cuts the loaf well, rather than crushing the bread before it cuts through.

TUO Bread Knife – 9 inch Serrated Bread Cutter Cake Knife – German HC Steel Bread Slicer – Full Tang Pakka Wood Handle -Black Hawk Series with Gift Box

This is by far my favourite one-loaf recipe because of how quick and easy it is! At least “quick” in the sense that I only spend about 5-10 minutes of my time total making it.

And, it turns out perfectly every time!

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You can add different finishes to your crust; this is just the most basic, easiest method to get you started.

Some people will brush the crust with melted butter or an egg wash (before baking) for different effects.

You can also get creative with the ingredients; do you want jalapeño cheddar loaf? Just throw some diced jalapeños, shredded cheddar cheese, and some cayenne powder in when you mix up the dough!

Want a garlic rosemary loaf? Add some fresh rosemary leaves and a dash of garlic powder!

You get the idea… This is the building block for all kinds of different options.

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Recipe

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 cups flour

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Directions

Sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water in a large, glass bowl.

Allow to develop for 5 minutes.

Add salt and flour.

Stir until incorporated.

Cover with plastic wrap and set on counter to rise for 18-24 hours.

Pre-heat oven & dutch oven to 450º

Sprinkle corn meal into bottom of dutch oven.

Scoop dough onto floured surface and fold all 4 sides into the middle to shape loaf. (DO NOT OVERWORK DOUGH)

Place loaf into dutch oven, seam-side down.

Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then another 15-20 minutes without the lid.

Place loaf on a cooling rack and cover with a towel.

Allow to cool, then enjoy!

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Fire Roasted Salsa

As summer draws to a close and fall sets in, my tomatoes typically begin to come ripe in the basket-full!

I use lots of the fresh tomatoes in meals like sourdough pizza, zucchini pizza boats, and chunky salsa – but there is always more than we can use without preserving the tomatoes!

Some of my favourite ways to preserve tomatoes is by making spaghetti sauce, sun dried tomatoes or this fire roasted salsa recipe!

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I often will make a couple of these recipes at the same time; in the photo above, I have a batch of tomato rounds in the dehydrator and the off-cut tops will be used for the fire roasted salsa.

That keeps my sun dried tomatoes in nice rounds, while the flesh left over from cutting the woody centre of the tomato out gets blended into the salsa.

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Why is fire roasted salsa better than raw salsa?

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good Pico De Gallo (chunky salsa) on my fried tacos, but fire roasted salsa is much better for preserving because of its thick, even consistency.

Roasting the ingredients before blending them not only brings out the heat in the peppers, but it also enhances the flavour in the tomatoes and reduces the water content (no one wants watery salsa!)

PRO TIP: Using beefsteak tomatoes will also help achieve the desired consistency because they naturally have lower water content than other varieties of tomatoes.

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Start by lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper and cover it with a layer of chopped tomatoes and onions, whole garlic cloves, and whole jalapeños and cayenne peppers.

Drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and mix well, then sprinkle a bit of salt to taste.

You don’t want the layer of veggies to be too deep or you won’t get the ideal results of an evenly roasted salsa.

Place the baking sheet on the top rack of a pre-heated oven, set on broil.

Watch your batch to make sure it doesn’t burn and flip once the peppers start to blister and the tomatoes start to brown.

This should only take a few minutes.

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Once the other side of the peppers blister as well, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow to cool.

Next, cut the stems off the peppers and add the roasted ingredients to the food processor, along with the cumin, fresh lemon juice, and cilantro.

Blend well and give it a taste test!

The beauty of making your own salsa is that you can decide just how mild or spicy you would like it to be; if it isn’t spicy enough for your taste, just add a bit of cayenne powder to kick it up a notch.

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This recipe only makes about a pint, so you will need to roast multiple pans of veggies if you want to can large quantities of fire roasted salsa to use up the bounty from your tomato harvest.

If you just want a jar of fresh, homemade salsa to enjoy you’ll find this is the perfect size batch to whip up quickly!

Start to finish, this recipe only takes 15-20 minutes to make – including the roasting time!

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Recipe

2 cups tomato, chopped

1/2 white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, whole

3 jalapeños , whole

2 cayenne peppers, whole

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon cilantro dried or 1 cup fresh

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Salt & pepper to taste

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Instructions

Drizzle olive oil on tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cayenne peppers – mix well.

Roast on a lined baking sheet in a pre-heated oven set to “broil” on the top rack.

Flip vegetables when the peppers start to blister.

Remove from oven when second side of peppers blister and allow to cool.

Cut pepper stems off and place all ingredients in food processor.

Blend well.

Add cayenne powder to reach desired spiciness, if it is not hot enough for your taste.

If canning the salsa, place in sanitized jars and process in hot water bath.

Enjoy!

Serving size: 1 pint

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Rhubarb Steak Sauce

Fall-time in Alaska has the richest smell – one that is hard to fully describe to someone who has never experienced the amazingly overwhelming combination of a thousand scents…

The ever-present sappy smell of evergreens…

The musky scent of rotting leaves, scattered across the ground in the chill breeze…

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But most of all, the rich tang of ripe cranberries wafting through the crisp air.

Of all the mountain smells, ripe cranberry is the scent I miss the most!

I have always loved picking wild berries, so much so that my mom would have an extra task on her “to do” list when I would show up unexpectedly with a bucket of berries before I was old enough to process them myself.

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Cranberry meat sauce has been a traditional family recipe since before I was born – and I love it to this day!

We typically would use the sauce when we had fried moose steaks – I mean, how much more Alaskan can it get?!

BUT, living on the prairies is very different than mountain living in many ways.

We lack the wild cranberry plants and I hate buying something I grew up picking, catching or growing (buying salmon is a huge no-no!)

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Plate family original cranberry meat sauce recipe
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Without cranberries, I realized that rhubarb has a similar amount of tartness and decided to give this recipe a make-over to use my abundance of homegrown rhubarb!

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Highbush cranberries have much more water content than lowbush cranberries (did you even know there were other kinds of cranberries than your typical Thanksgiving spread..?) or rhubarb, so I added more water to the mix than the original recipe called for.

I cooked the rhubarb on low heat while I chopped and added onions and fresh celery.

Next came the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and cloves.

But I didn’t have the allspice the recipe called for on hand!

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Oh! Guess what? Allspice is a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg – so I simply added the cinnamon and nutmeg to get the proper taste.

I love the flavour profile some garlic adds, so I threw in a couple cloves.

And while I was changing the recipe a bit, why not add a few drops of liquid smoke?

I mean, I was substituting rhubarb for cranberries anyway – may as well go all in with my intuitive cooking style!

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Once all the ingredients were combined, I brought the mixture to a low simmer and turned it down so it barely bubbled.

Slow and steady wins the race here!

Trust me! If the mixture burns on the bottom, the entire batch will have a dark, burned taste that will ruin the sauce.

Thick sauces are prone to burn easily (even if stirred regularly) if the heat is too high.

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PRO TIP #1: The thicker the bottom of the sauce pan is, the less likely the batch is to burn.

Slowly cooking the sauce down to the right thickness also helps the flavours to blend and enhances the end result.

PRO TIP #2: Place the sauce in a crock pot on low heat to allow it to reduce to the desired consistency.

Once it has cooked down to the thickness of applesauce, place the meat sauce in sanitized jars and process with a hot water bath.

This recipe makes about 2 pints.

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Rhubarb meat sauce pairs extremely well with wild game, lamb, and other meats with its spiced tartness; it can also be used in wine reduction sauces and baked beans.

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Recipe

8 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup water

1 onion, chopped

1 1/3 cup white vinegar

2 2/3 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

6 drops liquid smoke

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Directions

Combine rhubarb, garlic, celery, onion, and water. Cook until soft.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low simmer.

Cook on low heat, making sure not to burn, until mixture has reduced to a consistency similar to apple sauce. (NOTE: this can be done in a crockpot)

Place sauce in sanitized jars and process with water bath.

Serve with wild game, lamb or other meats. Can be used in wine reduction sauces and baked beans as well.

Enjoy!

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What recipe brings a “taste of home” to your cooking? Drop a comment below!

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Devilled Eggs

If you have ever been to a potluck, you know that devilled eggs are the star of the show!

They are usually cleaned out well before the last person makes it through the line.

And the person who brought them? Well, they practically get hero status!

Devilled eggs seem to have a reputation for being a tough appetizer to make, but if you know how to peel the eggs with ease you’re set!

The trick is to cook the eggs correctly.

This is KEY!

If you don’t cook them correctly, you will wind up with shells that don’t want to peel off or over-cooked, rubbery eggs that have green yolks.

It has taken me many batches of practice to get this part down, so here are my secrets to perfect devilled eggs!

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Eggs in the ice bath.
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I grew up believing that boiled eggs need to be started in cold water and brought to a boil.

Not only does this take longer, but the eggs also are difficult to peel with this method.

Pro tip #1: place the eggs in a large pot with HOT water.

Salt the water and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

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Pro tip #2: simmer for exactly 12 minutes!

I have tried different cook times to find that perfect balance of being fully cooked through to the yolk without getting that weird green tinge.

If you are hosting a Saint Patrick’s day event, green yolks may be a hit – otherwise it just looks gross.

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Pro tip #3: IMMEDIATELY scoop the eggs out and plunge them into an ice bath.

This stops the cooking process and is the key for eggs that are easy to peel.

Allow them to cool fully in the ice bath before peeling.

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Perfectly cooked eggs with bright yellow yolks.
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Pro tip #4: peel the eggs under cold, running water.

Gently crack the egg on the counter (you don’t want to make the shells puncture the egg) so the shell is shattered on all sides.

Peeling the egg under running water helps pull the shell away from the egg.

Plus, you were going to have to rinse the egg anyway to make sure there are no surprise crunches when eating them.

So basically you are getting two birds with one stone… or should I say eggs..?

I find it easiest to start peeling at the rounded end of the egg rather than the pointed part.

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Overcooked eggs with a green rim in the yolk.
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Once the eggs are all peeled, cut them in half and carefully remove the yolk.

Pro tip #5: place the egg yolks directly into a ziplock plastic bag.

This makes for less dishes, which is ALWAYS a win in my books!

Add the Miracle Whip, mustard, salt, and a splash of pickle juice (not too much though, you don’t want the yolk mixture to be runny).

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For you loyal Hellman’s Mayonnaise supporters out there, go ahead and ditch the Miracle Whip for your Hellmans.

Zip the bag shut and mix the ingredients together with your hands until you have an even mixture with a creamy consistency.

Snip a small hole in one corner of the bag and squeeze the mixture into the egg whites.

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Classic devilled eggs.
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Sprinkle with paprika and chill.

Enjoy being the hero who brought the rare delicacy to your next gathering!

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Pro tip #6: Egg freshness

I know many people believe that older eggs are easier to peel, which may be true.

However, I would rather use the freshest eggs because the yolk color is so much better and – more importantly – are centred in the egg!

Older eggs tend to have the yolk more to the rounded end of the egg, which gives you a very thin egg white on that edge to hold the yolk mixture.

If you want the very best yolks, go with free-range eggs.

The difference in color is amazing!

Plus, free-range eggs are packed with nutrients.

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Recipe

6 large eggs

1/3 cup Miracle Whip

1 tablespoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon pickle juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

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Directions

Add eggs to large pot with hot water.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 12 minutes.

Immediately remove from heat and place eggs in an ice bath.

Allow to cool fully, then peel under running water.

Cut in half and remove yolks.

Combine yolk, Miracle Whip, mustard, pickle juice, and salt and mix until creamy.

Use a plastic bag to squeeze the yolk mix into the egg whites.

Sprinkle with paprika.

Chill fully, then serve!

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Makes 12 devilled eggs

Enjoy!

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Classic devilled eggs.
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If you liked this recipe, don’t forget to subscribe and check out my potato salad recipe that is a hit for BBQ season!

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Shrimp Street Tacos

While this Taco Tuesday recipe is similar to my Spicy Shrimp Taco Lettuce Wraps, it has its own unique taste with the variation in vegetables and the soft flour tortillas.

The cucumbers add a nice chill crunch and the bell peppers bring a wonderful pop of color as well as its distinct flavour.

When I cook, I think in colors.

Why?

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Not only does it make a beautiful presentation, but each color veggie has different nutrients that your body needs for a well-balanced diet.

But cabbage on a street taco? What’s that all about?!

The first time I ate at a taco stand in Mexico, I though cabbage was a very odd choice of toppings; lettuce is what is supposed to go on tacos!

But I was open to trying new things, so I gave it a shot.

And guess what? The crunch of cabbage is much more distinct than that of lettuce.

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Texture is the second thing I think of when I cook; if the texture isn’t appealing, you won’t appreciate the taste in the same way.

Which brings me to the very first thing I think of; FLAVOUR!!!

Yes, the main ingredients play a huge part in a tasty meal, however I keep a fully stocked spice & herb cabinet because that is what (in my opinion) really takes a good meal to the next level.

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We are talking everything from spicy cayenne powder to sweet stevia to mild thyme.

I’m guessing the interesting element spices (and herbs) add is where the expression “the spice of life” came from…

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So let’s get cooking!

Start by thawing your frozen raw shrimp in cold water; this method helps thaw the shrimp more quickly than just setting it out to thaw and prevents it from cooking if you were to microwave it or use hot water.

If you have fresh raw shrimp, it will be that much better!

NOTE: pre-cooked shrimp will not have the ideal flavour or texture, so try to get raw shrimp if at all possible.

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Next, collect all your fresh veggies; cabbage, red onion, yellow bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, lemon, lime, and radishes for garnish!

Slice the vegetables in thin slivers (quarter the tomatoes).

Next, prepare the crema sauce by adding 1/4 cup sour cream to a bowl. 

Zest 1/4 of the lime, then juice 1/4 of the lime into the same bowl.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

The crema sauce really makes all the flavours pop, so don’t skip this step!

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By now your shrimp should be thawed; devein and shell them if they are not already prepared this way.

Place in a bowl and juice 1/4 fresh lemon, then add the cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

Mix well, making sure the spices are rubbed into the shrimp well (I use my hands).

Allow to sit for about 5 minutes so the shrimp absorbs as much flavour as possible.

Fry in a pre-heated pan on high heat with butter until just cooked.

You do not want to overcook shrimp; it makes them chewy.

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You can tell they are ready to be flipped when they start turning pink on the bottom. 

Once the second side turns pink and the center is white (and not translucent)you know they are ready.

Plate the tortillas and add the sliced vegetables (reserve the radishes for a garnish at the end).

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For street tacos, you want to use small flour tortillas.

A little bit goes a long way, so don’t overdo the toppings.

Finally, add the shrimp and drizzle with crema sauce.

Garnish with radishes.

If you are a cilantro lover, by all means – sprinkle a few leaves on top!

This tasty recipe is a fun way to switch up Taco Tuesday – so give it a try!

It pairs well with chips and chunky salsa and guacamole dips on the side.

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Recipe

18 large raw shrimp

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 lemon, juiced

6 small flour tortillas

Shredded cabbage, to taste

Thinly sliced red onion, to taste

Thinly cucumber, to taste

Thinly sliced yellow bell pepper, to taste

Cherry tomatoes, quartered

Thinly sliced radishes for garnish

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Crema Sauce

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 lime, juiced

1/4 lime zest

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Directions

Devein and shell thawed, raw shrimp and combine with cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and lemon juice.

Marinate for 5 minutes.

Thinly slice vegetables (quarter the cherry tomatoes).

Make crema sauce by combining sour cream, lime, and lime zest.

Fry shrimp in pre-heated pan on high heat with butter. Do not overcook!

Plate the tortillas, then add vegetables. Place 3 shrimp on each taco and drizzle with crema sauce.

Garnish with radishes and cilantro.

Makes 6 tacos

Enjoy!

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Spicy Shrimp Taco Lettuce Wraps (with crema sauce)

Tacos of any kind are always a hit, and with summer weather this light, tasty taco recipe is a favourite! (Not to mention healthy!)

The mixture of creamy avocado, crunchy cabbage, and zesty shrimp are an explosion of flavour, texture, and color!

They are so fast and easy to make that it begs the question why I don’t make them more often!

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One of the other perks is the minimal heat that it adds to the house during a sweltering, summer day.

Start by thawing your frozen raw shrimp in cold water; this method helps thaw the shrimp more quickly than just setting it out to thaw and prevents it from cooking if you were to microwave it or use hot water.

If you have fresh raw shrimp, it will be that much better!

NOTE: pre-cooked shrimp will not have the ideal flavour or texture, so try to get raw shrimp if at all possible.

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Next, collect all your fresh veggies; cabbage, red onion, avocado, jalapeño, lemon, lime and, of course, the butter lettuce to wrap it all up!

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Slice the avocado, jalapeño, red onion, and cabbage into thin slices.

A slightly firmer avocado makes them easier to slice and keep the pieces together, rather than accidentally mashing them in the process.

Prepare the crema sauce by adding 1/4 cup sour cream to a bowl.

Zest 1/4 of the lime, then juice 1/4 of the lime into the same bowl.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

The crema sauce really makes all the flavours pop, so don’t skip this step!

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By now your shrimp should be thawed; devein and shell them if they are not already prepared this way.

Place in a bowl and juice 1/4 fresh lemon, then add the cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

Mix well, making sure the spices are rubbed into the shrimp well (I use my hands).

Allow to sit for about 5 minutes so the shrimp absorbs as much flavour as possible.

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Fry in a pre-heated pan on high heat with butter until just cooked.

You do not want to overcook shrimp; it makes them chewy.

You can tell they are ready to be flipped when they start turning pink on the bottom.

Once the second side turns pink and the center is white (and not translucent) you know they are ready.

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Plate the lettuce, garnishing it with the cabbage, red onion, jalapeño, and sliced avocado.

A little bit goes a long way, so don’t overdo the toppings.

Finally, add the shrimp and drizzle with crema sauce.

If you are a cilantro lover, by all means sprinkle a few leaves on top!

This will be the life of the party next time you host dinner!

It pairs well with chips and chunky salsa and guacamole dips on the side.

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Recipe

24 medium sized raw shrimp

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 lemon, juiced

8 leaves butter lettuce

Shredded cabbage, to taste

Thinly sliced red onion, to taste

Thinly sliced jalapeño, to taste

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

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Crema Sauce

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 lime, juiced

1/4 lime zest

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Directions

Devein and shell thawed, raw shrimp and combine with cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and lemon juice.

Marinate for 5 minutes.

Thinly slice cabbage, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado.

Make crema sauce by combining sour cream, lime, and lime zest.

Fry shrimp in pre-heated pan on high heat with butter. Do not overcook!

Plate the lettuce leaves, then garnishing with cabbage, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado. Place 3 shrimp on each taco and drizzle with crema sauce.

Makes 8 tacos

Enjoy!

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Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Summer is the time for cold, tasty drinks – and what better thing to sip on than a fizzy beverage with homemade rhubarb simple syrup?

This recipe is a yummy way to use the abundant amounts of rhubarb coming out of the garden this time of year – and has a zero-waste sister recipe to use the leftover rhubarb stalks once you have your juice!

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And, as the name indicates, this is so simple to make with minimal time and ingredients.

The first step is obviously harvesting your rhubarb.

The leaves are poisonous, so discard them in a safe place where no little ones or critters will be tempted to try nibbling on them.

You want the stalks to be relatively young so they are nice and dense; old woody stalks will not have the peak flavour you are looking for.

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Wash well, then chop 4 cups into roughly 1 inch pieces; this part does not need to be anything fancy or precise as they will simmer down into a sauce as you cook the rhubarb.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot (if you live in the city and have chlorinated water, you will want to filter it or used bottled water for the best taste).

Add the rhubarb and 1 cup of white sugar.

For a sugar-free option, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of powdered stevia in place of the sugar.

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Return the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, the rhubarb should be very soft and falling apart.

I personally love to add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 lemon (juiced) at this point for a bit of extra flavour.

Place a large colander inside a large bowl and line the colander with cheese cloth.

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Carefully pour the hot mixture into the colander and allow to drain, then lift the cheese cloth and give it a gentle squeeze to get a bit more of the remaining juice.

NOTE: do not squeeze all of the juice out.

Place the rhubarb pulp back into the original pot to use for rhubarb leather later (this is where the zero-waste comes in!)

Remove the colander; you will be left with beautiful, bright red juice in the bowl!

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Using a funnel, ladle the juice into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a month.

For a fizzy, refreshing summer drink, try mixing 1 part rhubarb simple syrup with 3 parts sparkling water.

Yum!

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Zero Waste

The whole point of pairing rhubarb simple syrup with my rhubarb leather recipe is to make full use of the whole stalk and literally not throw anything away!

So, now you get to go back to that original pot with the rhubarb pulp and get started on the rhubarb leather recipe! (CLICK HERE)

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Recipe

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

4 cups water

1 cup sugar (or 1 teaspoon powdered stevia)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 lemon, juiced

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Directions

Chop 4 cups rhubarb and add to pot with 4 cups boiling water.

Add 1 cup sugar or 1 teaspoon powdered stevia.

Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and lemon juice.

Strain well.

Ladle into airtight container and store in the fridge up to 1 month.

Enjoy!

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Rhubarb Leather

Ditch the highly processed and sugar-packed snacks with this tasty homemade recipe!

Who wouldn’t like a healthier option than your standard almost-completely-sugar fruit roll-ups?!

Especially when it is so fast and easy to make homemade rhubarb leather?

While this recipe does call for some sugar, there is a sugar-free option to use stevia powder instead.

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If you have already made my rhubarb simple syrup recipe and want to skip right to the rhubarb leather go for it!

If you haven’t made my rhubarb simple syrup, check out the recipe here and continue reading for the full directions to make rhubarb leather.

(These two recipes together use all of the rhubarb, thus creating zero waste!)

The first step is obviously harvesting your rhubarb.

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The leaves are poisonous, so discard them in a safe place where no little ones or critters will be tempted to try nibbling on them.

You want the stalks to be relatively young so they are nice and dense; old woody stalks will not have the peak flavour you are looking for.

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Wash well, then chop 4 cups into roughly 1 inch pieces; this part does not need to be anything fancy or precise as they will simmer down into a sauce as you cook the rhubarb.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot (if you live in the city and have chlorinated water, you will want to filter it or used bottled water for the best taste).

Add the rhubarb and 1 cup of white sugar.

For a sugar-free option, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of powdered stevia in place of the sugar.

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Return the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, the rhubarb should be very soft and falling apart.

I personally love to add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 lemon (juiced) at this point for a bit of extra flavour.

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Place a large colander inside a large bowl and line the colander with cheese cloth.

Carefully pour the hot mixture into the colander and allow to drain, then lift the cheese cloth and give it a gentle squeeze to get a bit more of the remaining juice.

NOTE: do not squeeze all of the juice out.

Place the rhubarb pulp back into the original pot.

You will use the juice later to make rhubarb simple syrup (this is where the zero-waste comes in!)

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Using an immersion blender, blend the rhubarb into a fine paste.

(If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender; this just makes for less dishes to wash)

If you left a little juice in the pulp, you shouldn’t have to add any liquids.

The consistency should be a little thicker than apple sauce.

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Spread evenly on the dehydrator fruit leather tray and turn onto about 140º F for 4-5 hours.

(Oh! On a side note; remember that juice we saved earlier in this process? Now that the rhubarb paste is in the dehydrator and working on turning into rhubarb leather, we get to start on rhubarb simple syrup!)

The time will vary depending on how thick the paste is spread and how much liquid you left in the mixture.

You will know it is ready when it is no longer gummy feeling.

Pro tip: use the tip of a knife to work the edge of the rhubarb leather up if it gives you trouble removing it from the tray.

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Roll the rhubarb leather and cut into pieces.

Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a longer shelf life (if it doesn’t get eaten as soon as it comes off the dehydrator!)

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Recipe

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

4 cups water

1 cup sugar (or 1 teaspoon powdered stevia)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 lemon, juiced

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Directions

Chop 4 cups rhubarb and add to pot with 4 cups boiling water.

Add 1 cup sugar or 1 teaspoon powdered stevia.

Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and lemon juice.

Strain well, leaving a little juice in the pulp.

Return to the original pot and blend with an immersion blender until it turns into a paste a little thicker than the consistency of apple sauce.

Spread evenly on a dehydrator fruit leather tray and place in dehydrator at 140º F for 4-5 hours or until thoroughly dry.

Roll and cut into pieces.

Enjoy!

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