Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

These Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are Grain (And Guilt) Free

Just because you’re paleo or grain-free doesn’t mean you should miss out on all of the spectacular baked goods the fall season has to offer.  Pumpkin muffins are classic, but they’re usually made with white flour and white sugar.  Replacing those ingredients with coconut flour and coconut sugar adds a great kick of fibre and a subtle sweet taste that marries well with the spiciness of the ginger and cinnamon. And who can resist a muffin that combines both pumpkin and chocolate? After all, a baked good that can transition from breakfast to dessert is one you want in your repertoire.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 14 muffins

Grain-Free Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips.
3. Lightly melt the coconut oil and then whisk together all of the wet ingredients in a bowl.
4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir well, so a smooth batter forms.
5. Using your spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
6. Line a muffin tin with liners or oil them with a little coconut oil and scoop the batter in.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Looking for more paleo-friendly recipes? Check out these 5 Eggless Paleo Breakfasts (Plus an Epic Grain-Free Granola)

Here’s How Long You Can Eat Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Once you’ve enjoyed a couple days of hot turkey sandwiches, and maybe made some turkey soup,  how long can you keep eating those Thanksgiving leftovers before it is time to toss? Here’s your ultimate guide for how long you can keep Thanksgiving leftovers like potatoes, turkey, stuffing, how to store them properly and how to know if they’ve gone bad.

lemon-sage-butter-roasted-turkey_888embed

How Long Leftover Turkey Lasts

Leftover turkey needs to be stored in the fridge within two hours of cooking in order to minimize the chance of bacteria growth. The meat should be cut and deboned from the bird before being placed into shallow storage containers and cooled completely in the fridge. Once it’s cool, seal tightly and store in the refrigerator for two to four days. If you’re not sure if leftover turkey is safe to eat, check for a rotten egg smell or a slimy texture. If you notice either of these things, discard the meat immediately.

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes should easily last three to five days in the fridge if stored correctly and within two hours of cooking. This means ensuring there isn’t any moisture buildup under the lid that could encourage the growth of bacteria. If your leftover mashed potatoes have an off smell or appearance, throw them out without tasting. Cooked potatoes can be frozen in an airtight container for up to one year.

Oven Baked Stuffing

How to Store Leftover Stuffing

Because stuffing is moist and slow to heat up and cool down, it provides an ideal place for bacteria to grow and is best consumed within two days of cooking. If you want to enjoy stuffing long after the main event, you can easily freeze it for up to four months and reheat when you’d like a festive side of comfort food.

How Long  You Can Keep Leftover Gravy

Gravy has a short shelf life at just three to four days, but like stuffing, it can be frozen for up to four to six months for increased enjoyment. In order to maintain food safety, gravy should be brought to a rolling boil before serving in order to properly kill any bacteria that may have started growing.

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Sweet Potatoes in the Fridge

Just like regular potatoes, leftover sweet potatoes are safe to eat for three to five days after your Thanksgiving meal, whether they’ve been baked, boiled, or cooked in a casserole. Again, refrigerate within two hours of cooking, and store your cooked sweet potatoes in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. They can also be frozen for up to a year, just be sure to sprinkle them first with a small amount of lemon juice in order to prevent discolouration. If they smell strange or are discoloured (some browning is fine and is just the result of oxidation) you’re best off tossing them.

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce should keep in the refrigerator for anywhere from 10-14 days, so long as it’s stored in a covered glass or plastic container. You can also pour the sauce into freezer-safe bags and freeze for use later in the year. If you’re using canned sauce and open the can only to discover brown or black bits inside, do not eat the sauce. If your homemade cranberry sauce has an off smell, flavour, or appearance, or you see any mould on top, toss it.

Blue-Ribbon-Apple-Pie-slice

How to Store Leftover Apple Pie

Pie made with fresh fruit, such as apples, usually only lasts a day or two in the fridge, so it’s best to gobble up any leftovers (or share with friends and family) as soon as you can. Un-cut apple pies can stay on the counter for about two days, so you should be good to make dessert ahead of time. You can tell your leftover apple pie has gone bad if the crust is soggy, which is a sign that it’s absorbed the moisture released by the fruit, or if it’s discoloured in any way.

How to Freeze Leftover Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is generally safe for two to four days in the fridge, and should be covered loosely with aluminium foil or plastic wrap. Leftover pumpkin pie can last for about six to eight months in the freezer if stored properly. Store bought pies will keep for longer on the counter than homemade versions. Because pumpkin pie is an egg-based dessert, it is best eaten within an hour of cooking or being removed from the fridge, and can cause serious health issues if eaten after being left out for too long.

Have lots of leftovers? Try these great recipes for leftover turkey.

Thanksgiving Sides Pairing

10 Perfect Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving dinner is about more than just the turkey — we also come to expect to see the table creaking under the weight of all manner of delicious side dishes paired with the juicy roast bird. From old standbys such as creamy garlic mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce to new favourites like roasted, caramelized Brussels sprouts, check out these drool-inducing ideas to pair with your turkey on Thanksgiving day.

1. Ree Drummond’s Best Ever Green Beans

cooked green beans with sauteed onions and red pepper in white bowl on table

Few vegetables pair so perfectly with turkey as green beans, and Ree Drummond’s version gives the humble vegetable something to brag about. This kicked-up recipe adds butter (or bacon grease), onion, red pepper and garlic, cooked to perfection in a skillet.

Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Best Ever Green Beans

2. Guy Fieri’s Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are practically a given at any Thanksgiving dinner, and there are seemingly endless variations on how to prepare this tasty tuber. Rather than simply baking or mashing, Guy Fieri serves up this twice-baked recipe that adds extra texture thanks to chopped pecans, all topped with a brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon crust.

Get the recipe for Guy Fieri’s Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

3. Bobby Flay’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Thanksgiving recipes Bobby Flay_Roasted-Brussel-Sprouts

Once upon a time, Brussels sprouts were those soggy, boiled-to-mush vegetables that kids would try to hide under their napkins — but no more. Bobby Flay turns that idea on its head with this Thanksgiving-ready side dish of perfectly caramelized and crispy mini cabbages with rich pancetta bacon. Don’t be surprised if this fall side becomes your family’s favourite new holiday side dish.

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

4. Ina Garten’s Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

Instead of the same old dinner rolls, kick your Thanksgiving dinner into overdrive with Ina Garten’s easy-to-make biscuits, delectably infused with the taste of sharp cheddar cheese.

Get the recipe for Ina Garten’s Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

5. Ree Drummond’s Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving Ree Drummond cranberry sauce recipe
Thanksgiving turkey without cranberry sauce is like a ski vacation without snow, and Pioneer Woman host, Ree Drummond offers her own creative take on this time-honoured sauce. With orange juice and maple syrup adding extra sweetness and some grated orange rind for extra zest.

Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Cranberry Sauce

6. Giada De Laurentiis’ Roasted Root Vegetables

No Thanksgiving table should be without a healthy serving of colourful, roasted root vegetables. Giada serves up a simply prepared but undeniably delicious combo of potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and carrots, roasted together to mouth-watering perfection.

Get the recipe for Giada De Laurentiis’ Roasted Root Vegetables

Sausage and Herb Stuffing; Ina Garten

7. Ina Garten’s Sausage and Herb Stuffing

Stuffing is a Thanksgiving dinner favourite, and everyone seems to have their own unique tried-and-true recipe. It’s pretty much a given that the Barefoot Contessa would have a killer stuffing recipe up her sleeve. If you’re looking to try out a new recipe to pair with your turkey this year, look no further than this savoury sweet stuffing by Ina Garten featuring diced apples and spicy Italian sausage.

Get the recipe for Ina Garten’s Sausage and Herb Stuffing

8. Ree Drummond’s Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Simple but delicious, Ree’s recipe for mashed potatoes adds half-and-half cream, butter, cream cheese and tons of roasted garlic for a savoury side dish that will pair perfectly with any turkey. But be forewarned: don’t be surprised if guests come back for a second helping of these fluffy, flavourful spuds, so you’ll want to make plenty!

Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving-Tyler-Florence-gravy

9. Tyler Florence’s Roasted Turkey Gravy

Nothing on the Thanksgiving table pairs more perfectly with everything than gravy. Whether it’s mashed potatoes, stuffing or turkey, a classic gravy is a tasty addition to dress up any dish. Tyler Florence’s drool-worthy sage- and thyme-flavoured gravy recipe will produce about three cups of aromatic sauce for your lip-smacking pleasure.

Get the recipe for Tyler Florence’s Roasted Turkey Gravy

10. Ree Drummond’s Mushroom Pilaf

In addition to recipes that offer new spins on old favourites, this filling side dish by The Pioneer Woman is bursting with the rich, savoury flavour of shitake mushrooms.

Get the recipe for Ree Drummond’s Mushroom Pilaf

Looking for some main-spiration? Look no further than our best Thanksgiving turkey recipes and the most delicious uses for leftover mashed potatoes.

pumpkin-spice-cookie-cups-with-caramel

Caramel Pumpkin Spice Cookie Cups Are a Fall Must-Bake

Pumpkin spice season is short and sweet, which is why we’re excited to make the most of it. Filled with pumpkin spice — the irresistible combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove, these soft and chewy cookie-cupcake hybrids are a must-bake this fall. Perfect for entertaining, these two-bite cookie cups are filled with salted caramel and topped with a light, whipped cream cheese frosting. Serve with a piping hot latte and you’ve found pumpkin spice perfection.

pumpkin-spice-cookie-cups

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cookie Cups with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Chill Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 24 cookie cups

Ingredients:
Cookie Cups
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Caramel
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Frosting
1/2 (250 g) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups icing sugar
2 tsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Garnish: ground cinnamon

pumpkin-spice-cups-with-cream-cheese-icing

Directions:

Cookie Cups
1. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin, egg yolk and vanilla extract until combined.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until chilled.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Scoop dough one tablespoon at a time and roll into balls. Roll in sugar mixture and place in muffin cups. Gently press back of 1/2 teaspoon measure into centres of dough balls to flatten slightly.
5. Bake 10 minutes, or just until lightly golden brown. Press 1/2 teaspoon measure once again in the centre to maintain the hole. Let cool 10 minutes, transfer to wire rack and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Cool completely.

Caramel
1. For the caramel, combine water and sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar turns a medium amber brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, carefully and gradually stir in cream. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let cool completely.

Frosting
1. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the heavy cream and vanilla until combined. Beat in the remaining icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. To assemble, fill frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Fill another piping bag with cooled caramel (slightly heating if too thick). Fill cookie cups with caramel and pipe with frosting. Drizzle with additional caramel and sprinkle with cinnamon. Best served the same day.

Need your pumpkin spice fix? Try these tasty recipes.

This Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette is the Perfect Meatless Main

Thanksgiving and the holiday season can often be a challenge if you’re a vegetarian – or if you’re entertaining vegetarian guests.  I always like to make sure my non meat-eating company is offered more than a “meal” consisting of a bunch of side dishes. The good news? This hearty and appetizing galette is sure to please. An all-butter pastry filled with roasted butternut squash, onions, sage and goat cheese is both filling and festive, and would make the perfect addition to any holiday table. It’s actually a wonderful main dish for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! It’s also great to prepare ahead of time – and to make things even easier, you can substitute a store-bought shortcrust pastry.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette

Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus chilling time)
Cook time: 65 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch flaky sea salt
1 stick (8 Tbsps) unsalted butter
1 large egg
2-3 Tbsps ice cold water

* You can also substitute for store-bought pastry crust

Filling:
1 lb (450g) peeled and cut into 1-inch (2 cm) cubes butternut squash (approx. 1/2 medium butternut squash)
3 Tbsps olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions (approx. 200 g each), thinly sliced
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Assembly:
150 g firm goat cheese, sliced into 1/2 cm rounds
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg washing the edges of the tart
1 cup baby arugula, loosely packed
4 Tbsps pine nuts
Olive oil, for drizzling

Directions:

Pastry:
1. Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas. You can also use a pastry blender for this job.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg into the flour until completely combined.
3. Add the water and mix until the dough is firm enough to form a ball when you press it together with your fingers—it might be a little crumbly, but form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days in the fridge. You can also freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before you roll and bake.

Filling:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 425˚F.
2. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and spread the butternut squash in a single layer on the tray.
3. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with the flaky sea salt and pepper.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the squash starts to brown.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
6. In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
7. Cook the onions for about 5 -6 minutes until they start to soften and colour slightly.
8. Stir in the chopped sage and allow to cool.

Assembly:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Remove pastry from the fridge and let it sit for about 10 minutes so it’s easier to work with.
3. Roll out the pastry to approximately 14-inches (35 cm) in diameter. Place the pastry on the parchment-paper lined baking tray.
4. Spread the cooked onions evenly around the pastry base, leaving approximately 2-inches (5 cm) around the edge.
5. Layer the cooked squash in a single layer over the onions.
6. Tuck the goat cheese rounds around the tart (some of them underneath the squash).
7. Fold the pastry up and around the edges of the filling, crimping slightly with your fingers as you go, and brush the edges of the galette with the egg wash.
8. Bake until the cheese is melted, the edges of the tart are golden brown and the bottom is cooked through, 45 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with the arugula, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

Looking for more crowd-pleasing vegetarian dishes? See these 24 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes (Including Stuffing!). And since the holidays are nothing without dessert, we’ve got you covered with these Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts Everyone at Your Table Will Love.

Eggs Benedict Casserole

Crowd-Pleasing Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole

Thanksgiving weekend can be one of the most hectic times, especially with a house full of visitors. Make your life easier with a simple, make-ahead breakfast casserole. Enjoy everyone’s favourite brunch dish with no need to poach, toast or fry. Just wake up and bake. The rich, buttery hollandaise sauce whips up in a snap and is drizzled over a dish filled with soft baked eggs, toasty English muffins and smoky Canadian bacon. It’s a dish that delivers bold flavour and gives you that extra time with your family and friends.

Eggs Benedict Casserole

Eggs Benedict Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Casserole
6 English muffins, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 slices of Canadian bacon, sliced into 1-inch strips
10 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
⅔ cup melted butter
¼ chopped parsley
2 Tbsp chopped chives

Directions:

1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place English muffin cubes and bacon slices into the baking dish. Whisk eggs with milk and onion powder, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into baking dish covering the bacon and bread cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap from dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake casserole for 30 minutes.

Related: Best Brunch Recipes to Feed a Crowd

3. Remove foil and bake until eggs are set and and top is beginning to turn golden, about 15 minutes.

4. While casserole is baking, make the hollandaise sauce. Place egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard in a heat-proof glass bowl and whisk to combine.

5. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler. Slowly pour in a few tablespoons of melted butter while whisking vigorously. Continue to whisk while gradually adding melted butter. If mixture looks like it is about to split, whisk in a few drops of ice water and then proceed adding butter.

6. Drizzle hollandaise sauce over casserole and garnish with chopped parsley and chives. Serve immediately.

Published October 3, 2016, Updated September 11, 2018

An Easy, No-Bake Pumpkin Trifle That’s Right at Home on Your Thanksgiving Table

This lovely layered dessert is complete with all of the spice and flavours of pumpkin pie, minus the hard work of rolling, crimping and baking. Layers of rum-soaked ladyfingers, spice-infused pumpkin, sweetened whipped cream, crunchy toasted walnuts and white chocolate come together for delicious flavours and perfect textures. Simple to toss together for the everyday but special-occasion-worthy, this showstopper pumpkin dessert is a spectacular recipe to make for Thanksgiving.

This dessert doesn’t stop at the end of pumpkin season. It can easily be made into a springtime treat by folding ½ cup lemon curd into the whipped cream in place of 1½ cups pumpkin puree; and omitting the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Add 1 cup raspberries or blueberries (or a mix) to each layer instead of 1½ walnuts, and you’ve got an entirely new dessert!

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Pie Trifle Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 12 to 16

Ingredients:
1 L 35% heavy whipping cream
⅔ cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp allspice
2 (150 g) pkgs ladyfinger cookies
3 Tbsp rum
1½ cups chopped toasted walnuts
1½ cups shaved or grated white chocolate

Directions:
1. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream until it holds soft peaks. Slowly add icing sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold in vanilla. Transfer 3 cups of whipped cream mixture into a separate large bowl and fold in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Reserve pumpkin cream mixture and plain whipped cream mixture.

Trifle prebuild

2. In a 9-inch trifle dish, arrange one-third of the ladyfingers on the bottom of dish and brush with 1 tbsp of rum. Layer with about a third of the reserved pumpkin cream mixture, ½ cup (one-third) of the walnuts, one-third of the plain whipped cream mixture and ½ cup (one-third) of the white chocolate shavings. Repeat this process twice, finishing with chocolate shavings. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one 1 hour before serving.

Love to layer? There are more seasonal trifle recipes right this way.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream

Pumpkin-flavoured everything defines the fall season, and pumpkin pie, the original, is no exception. This vegan version (in mini, bite-sized form!) uses coconut in a few different ways – flour, milk and sugar – to achieve a tender dairy-free crust, trademark custardy interior and must-have whipped cream topping. But rest assured, even with all of that coconut, the flavour is loud and clear: pumpkin pie with whipped cream!  The coconut is used for butteriness and richness, which vegan desserts require in order to achieve the familiar texture, taste and appearance of traditional baked goods. Spelt flour lends a nutty, wholegrain note to the pastry, but doesn’t have a too-strong flavour, like whole-wheat flour can. Spelt flour is also lower in gluten (not gluten-free), which means a more tender, flaky pie crust, naturally.   

Prepare the pastry the day before so it’s ready to take form in your muffin tin the day you want to serve these miniature vegan treats. Leftover pumpkin pie cups will last for one day at room temperature, or for a few days in the refrigerator. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Chilling and Cooling Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Total Time:
 60 minutes (not including chilling and cooling time)
Servings: 10 to 12 pie cups

Ingredients:

Spelt Pastry:
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups light spelt flour, plus more for rolling
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
Pinch, salt
1/3 cup cool coconut oil (solid but still scoopable); or cold unsalted vegan stick butter, cubed
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 to 5 Tbsp ice water

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp pumpkin spice, plus more to garnish
Pinch, salt
1 cup canned coconut milk (not light or reduced fat)

Coconut Whip:
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours, unshaken
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish:
1/4 cup crystallized ginger pieces

Directions:

Spelt Pastry:
1. In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt until combined. Distribute pieces of coconut oil or butter over top of flour and pulse until incorporated and a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle over vinegar followed by 1 Tbsp of water. Briefly pulse dough until it begins to hold together. If it’s too sticky, add more flour; if it’s too dry, add water 1 Tbsp at a time.
2. Tip dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 1 day.
3. Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and rest at room temperature until still cool but you are able to roll, about 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Sprinkle a large clean surface and rolling pin with additional flour. Unwrap dough and roll into a large, 1/4-inch-high round. Using a 4- to 5-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut circles of dough, re-rolling as needed, for 10 to 12 circles. Fit circles into a 12-count muffin tin, removing any air pockets from the bottom. The pastry should be almost or just touching the top of the muffin rim.
5. Refrigerate formed pastry cups for at least 1 hour, or until completely chilled. Meanwhile, prepare the filling and coconut whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine pumpkin and sugar. Sift over coconut flour, pumpkin spice and salt, and then whisk again until smooth. Slowly whisk in coconut milk until fully incorporated.

Coconut Whip:
1. Remove coconut milk can from refrigerator (don’t shake) and open. Spoon only the thick creamy top into a bowl and reserve watery liquid below for another use (in baking, smoothies, soups or sipping).
2. With electric beaters, whip coconut cream until it begins to get fluffy with soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Once desired texture has been reached, beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day.

Baking and Assembly:
1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fill chilled pastry cups to the top with filling, smoothing slightly to flatten.
2. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until filling is dry to the touch and both the filling and pastry are beginning to brown. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of each cup to loosen, and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, about 5 hours.
3. To serve, dollop cooled pumpkin cups with coconut whip and sprinkle with crystalized ginger and/or additional pumpkin spice, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Looking for more vegan pumpkin recipes? Try these Vegan Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze or Vegan and Paleo Pumpkin Blondies.

How to Make Vegan Apple Spice Cake with Maple Buttercream

Fill your home with the warm, delicious smell of cinnamon by making this heavenly double-layered vegan apple spice cake!

It’s easy to make and combines fresh apple, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, molasses, and brown sugar with a fluffy and sweet maple buttercream frosting. You’ll feel quite proud of yourself after making this and your sweet reward is eating it!

Easy Vegan Apple Spice Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:
Apple Spice Cake:
1 ¼ cup soy milk, room temperature
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp all-spice
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup shredded apple
1/3 cup coconut oil (soft at room temperature)
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ Tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup pecans, roughly chopped

Maple Buttercream Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 Tbsp vegan butter or margarine, room temperature
6 tablespoons maple syrup

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, and sea salt.
  4. In a third bowl beat together coconut oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Then beat in molasses, vanilla extract, and soymilk and vinegar mixture until smooth.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients and shredded apple to the dry ingredients. Fold the batter until it’s just combined, ensuring not to over mix it.
  6. Lightly oil 2 x 7 ¼” cake pans with a little bit of coconut oil. You can also bake one at a time if you only have 1 pan.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Spread out the batter so it’s even and to the edge of the pan.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes on the centre rack. The cake is done when a toothpick comes out of the centre of the cake clean.
  9. Transfer cakes out of the pans onto wire racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting beat together vegan butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup until fluffy and smooth.
  11. Place one cake bottom side down on your serving plate and spread frosting evenly with a spatula across the entire top of the cake. Place the other cake, bottom side down, on top of the frosting. Use remaining frosting to cover the entire cake.
  12. Using the palm of your hands gently press small handfuls of roughly chopped pecans along the entire side of the cake until well coated.

Looking for more sweet seasonal desserts? Try our Best Apple Recipes.

Jalapeno Popper Dip Recipe copy

Jalapeño Popper Dip is Your Favourite New Make-Ahead Appetizer

Everything you love in a jalapeño popper is whirred into a cheesy, party-perfect dip. Spicy jalapeños, crispy bacon, cream cheese and a crunchy topping come together for a delicious, ultra-indulgent dip. Serve this up with veggies and tortilla chips at your next party for a crowd-pleasing riff on the new-classic appetizer.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients: 
6 strips bacon
2 (250 g) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
3 green onions, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Sliced veggies or tortilla chips for serving

Dip prechop

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning occasionally, until crispy, about 10 min. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve 2 Tbsp bacon grease in a medium heat-safe bowl. Once bacon is cool, chop or crumble into pieces.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese until smooth. Gradually mix in mayonnaise until fully combined. To cream cheese and mayonnaise, add Cheddar, jalapenos, green onions and bacon pieces and mix to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly into a 9-inch round ovenproof dish.

Jalapeno Popper Dip Recipe

4. Stir panko into reserved bacon grease and sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbling at the sides. Serve warm with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping.

Make-Ahead: You can make this dip ahead of time (without the panko topping, and prior to baking) and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Warm refrigerated bacon renderings in the microwave until liquefied and stir in panko. Sprinkle cream cheese mixture with panko mixture and bake, adding 5 minutes to the cooking time (40 to 45 minutes instead of 35 to 40 minutes).

Nothing gets a crowd going like a good dip, so here are over 25 party-perfect options to dive into.

3 Sourdough Stuffing Recipes

Move Over Turkey, These 3 Stuffings Are Bound for Thanksgiving Stardom

Holiday meals just wouldn’t be the same without turkey’s best sidekick: stuffing. Soaked in gravy and flavoured with herbs and spices, it’s a holiday essential. Some home cooks follow recipes that have been passed down for generations, while others try their hand at new recipes every year, searching for a modern classic. Here, using one loaf of humble sourdough bread, we’ve created three different stuffing recipes to suit any menu. Try one or try them all, and add something a little different on your table this year.

Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base 
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Tear 1 (454 g) loaf sourdough into 1-inch pieces and divide between two baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Toast bread in oven until golden and dry, about 15 minutes. Use in stuffing recipe of choice (below).

Date Walnut Stuffing

Date, Walnut and Cinnamon Stuffing
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add in 1 recipe Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base (recipe above), 3/4 cup torn pitted dates and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Stir everything to combine, transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and bake until crisp on top and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Sausage Stuffing

Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, deep skillet, cook 400 g Italian sausage (casing removed), breaking up meat with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add in 2 ribs diced celery, 1 finely chopped onion and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 recipe Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base (recipe above), 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage and 1/2 cup of roasted chestnuts (homemade, canned or vacuum-packed). Add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, stir everything to combine, transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and bake until crisp on top and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve.

applecranstuffing

Apple Cranberry Stuffing
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1 thinly sliced onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 1 large diced apple and cook for another minute. Stir in 1 recipe Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base (recipe above), 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary. Add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 tsp salt, stir everything to combine, transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and bake until crisp on top and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Turkey and stuffing are best buds, so we’ve compiled our best holiday bird recipes to pair with these newfangled stuffing centrepieces.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

These Pumpkin Pie Bars Belong on Your Thanksgiving Menu

Pumpkin pie bars take your favourite fall slice and transform it into an easy, yet elegant, three-layer dessert These beautiful baked bars start with a buttery shortbread base, which is then topped with a creamy pumpkin pie filling before being covered with a generous nutty brown sugar crumble. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or a homemade pumpkin spice latte, and slide into fall.

PumpkinPieBars-10

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Makes: 15 to 18 bars

Ingredients:
Shortbread Base
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

PumpkinPieBars-1

Pumpkin Pie Filling
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin purée
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pecan-Hazelnut Topping
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1⁄4 cup brown sugar

Directions:
Shortbread Base:
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour and mix on low speed until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until dry to the touch. Reserve for second baking with filling.
3. Increase oven temperature to 350°F.

PumpkinPieBars-4

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1. In a blender or food processor or large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and blend until smooth.

PumpkinPieBars-5

2. Evenly pour filling over the baked shortbread base and smooth top with a spatula.
3. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Reserve for third baking with nut topping.

Pecan Hazelnut Topping:
1. In a medium bowl, combine nuts and brown sugar. Mix well.

PumpkinPieBars-8

2. Sprinkle pecan hazelnut topping in an even layer over baked filling layer. Bake for a final time for 15 to 20 minutes, until pumpkin pie filling has set.

PumpkinPieBars-12

3. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour at room temperature. Lift the parchment out of the pan using overhang, and transfer onto a cutting board. Cut into 15 to 18 bars or squares. Serve.

PumpkinPieBars-17

Of course, pumpkin pie bars are begging for little whipped cream. Master the basic technique (or fix an over-whipped batch) with this tutorial.

ina-gartens-Perfect-Roast-Turkey

Your Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist

The first time I cooked a traditional Thanksgiving meal from scratch, I can say for a fact that I used every single cooking vessel — pots, pans, roasters and Dutch ovens — in my reasonably well-equipped kitchen. Although I had lists upon lists and every step mapped out well beforehand, it still took three days of intensive cooking and resulted in my exhausted-self, muttering in an exasperated tone, “How the heck do people do this every year?” Experience has shown me the value of starting well ahead — a month or more, ideally. If this seems excessive, think of it as trading a frenzied few days for an hour here and there, resulting in a relaxing Thanksgiving. Here is a foolproof way to space out your Thanksgiving feast and make sure everything is on time, right up to the moment guests take their seats.

Make-Ahead-Deep-Dish-Apple-Pie

Thanksgiving Menu (Serves 8)

Greek Mezze Platter
Mulled Cider
Perfect Roast Turkey (10 to 12 lbs.)
Cauliflower Gratin
Spinach Gratin
Stuffing
Dinner Rolls
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Apple Pie
Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

One Month To Go

Order Your Turkey From the Butcher
You definitely don’t want to be the recipient of last-minute turkey on the big day, when selection is sparse and crowds are full. Ordering ahead — especially if you’re asking the butcher to do something more involved such as spatchcocking or you have a specifically sized bird in mind — will give you time to discuss your menu and get some cooking tips.

A general rule of thumb is a half pound to one pound of meat per person, but you want to err on the side of being lavish — leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. For a foolproof turkey measure, the Turkey Farmers of Canada offers an online turkey calculator that will tell you the size of turkey you should buy, depending on the number of guests.

Sit Down and Plan Your Menu 
Right down to drinks and appetizers! Decide on how many people you’re looking to invite and send out invitations with an RSVP time of next week. If your friends and family are notorious for bringing unexpected guests, budget space and food accordingly. Be practical: do you have enough seating and table room for everyone to comfortably eat?

Clean out Freezer Space
This is the time to start using those meals you’ve put aside for a busy day or ditch that crystallized ice cream — you’re going to need that room in the weeks ahead.

Three Weeks To Go

Finalize Your Menu
Now’s your opportunity to whittle down your menu from all the things you optimistically wanted to make. Be ruthless in your planning — do you really need eight appetizers and five desserts for a party of eight? (The answer is no).

Make Two Shopping Lists
Read all your recipes carefully and make two shopping lists: one for non-perishables (you’ll be buying those this week) and one for perishables to be purchased closer to the big day.

Go Shopping
Beat the crowds and head out to the grocery store to stock up on your long-storing items in bulk: store-made or canned/boxed stock for gravies and soups, flour and sugar for baking, cocktail napkins, and juices and pop for drinks. Also, think about buying ingredient staples, such as garlic, onions, apples, potatoes, carrots or parsnips, which all keep well and will save you from an overloaded cart later on. Buy ingredients for stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy to make next week. Consider purchasing wine and mixes for winter cocktails, such as a festive mulled cider.

Take Inventory
Open your cupboards and review your platters and serving dishes that can go from freezer or fridge to table and assign them to each dish: appetizers, turkey, stuffing, sauces, vegetables, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, and desserts. Have a spare handy in case you misjudge the volume.

Simple-Oven-Baked-Stuffing-Recipe

Two Weeks To Go

Make Your Pie and Cheesecake Bites
Store them in the freezer on pretty plates that you can place on the table.

Time to Think Savoury Thoughts
Make-ahead gravy will take a last-minute item off your plate on the big day and let you focus on other things. Using roasted chicken wings builds a flavour base, so all you have to do is add the drippings when you’ve cooked your turkey and you’re all set. Cover and store in the freezer. Cranberry sauce is easy to make ahead, as well. Store it in a small microwavable dish that can go straight from the freezer to the table to save a plating step.

Get ahead of the game by making stuffing and storing it in the freezer and oven-safe dishes to make reheating a snap. Instead of one big container, consider making two portions to avoid having to pass big platters around the table (and upping the potential of using a toaster oven to reheat it on the big day, freeing up precious oven space).

Now’s also the time to par-bake dinner rolls to store in freezer bags (make sure to get out all the excess air) and whip up some make-ahead mashed potatoes to store in the freezer in oven-ready dishware.

One Week To Go

Grocery Shopping Round Two
Back to the grocery store with your second list of perishables, including vegetables such as cauliflower and spinach, dairy such as butter, milk and eggs, coffee and tea and any ingredients you need for appetizers. Consider some pots of fresh herbs for garnishes and aromatic table decorations.

Time for a Kitchen Inspection
Clean out space in the refrigerator for leftovers, and give it a quick wipe down so that new food doesn’t absorb the odours of last week’s takeout. Check your oven, toaster oven, stovetop and range hood to ensure they are clean and ready to go. Pop out greasy filters to give them a soak so that your fans work effectively. Locate your fire extinguisher (better safe than sorry), warming trays or chafing dishes and check that you have enough power outlets to run everything — a power failure is the last thing you need.

Check your Dishware and Cutlery Situations
Do you have enough matching plates, forks, spoons and sharp knives, coffee cups, and wine and water glasses? Locate your cloth napkins and tablecloths, and wash them if necessary.

Related: Turkey Cooking Tips to Roast the Perfect Bird Every Time

Three Days To Go

Pick up Your Fresh or Frozen Turkey
If it’s frozen, now is the time to start defrosting it in the refrigerator (for a 10 lb bird, Turkey Farmers of Canada recommends two days and two hours of defrosting time in the fridge).

Two Days To Go

Veggie Time
Make your veggie side dishes in table-ready serving ware, cover them securely and store in the fridge.

One Day Before

Get Your Gear Ready
Assemble serving platters for the turkey and rolls, as well as serving implements for each dish. Check how many trivets you have for warm dishes going to the table to preserve your tablecloths. Put together your smaller items, such as corkscrews, pie servers, gravy boats, ladles, electric carving knife, strainers and hand blenders for last-minute gravy adjustments, etc., to have on hand so that you’re not searching for them at the last minute. If you don’t use your coffeemaker or espresso machine regularly, pull it out of storage. Assemble appetizer and dessert plates with cocktail napkins.

Set the Table
Cover the whole table with another tablecloth or bed sheet to keep it dust-free, and watch out on removal so you don’t end up performing an inadvertent, unsuccessful, magic trick.

Prepare and Truss the Turkey
And store it uncovered in the roasting pan in the refrigerator to let the skin dry out for crispness.

Related: Delicious Uses For Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Gather Your Garnishes
A bit of watercress or other greens is a pleasing contrast to the turkey. Put butter into serving dishes, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Assemble your appetizer platters and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Chill white wine, juice and soda. Print out the game plan below so you can check items off as you go.

The Big Day

Treat yourself and sleep in! You’ve earned it, and you’ll need the energy as the day goes on. Make sure to have some lunch, so you’re not starving as the day goes on. Look over your lists and recipes again. Take the apple pie out of the freezer to defrost.

1 PM: Carefully remove the cover from the table setting and add any last-minute touches (the pots of herbs for an informal centrepiece, candles, fresh flowers, etc.).

2 PM: Pull turkey out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.

3 PM: Turn on the oven to 350 ° F to preheat. Add aromatics such as onions and apples, if desired, to the cavity of the turkey.

3:30 PM: Put the turkey into the oven.

4 PM: Open or decant wine. Put mulled cider on the stovetop to simmer.

5 PM: Bring your appetizer platters out of the fridge to serve, adjusting any seasonings or last-minute garnishes. Bring the mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetables out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.

6 PM: Guests arrive. Serve appetizer platter, wine and mulled cider. Take the turkey out of the oven and cover with foil to rest. Pour off juices to add to gravy (reserve a 1/4 cup) and put on stovetop to heat. Put mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetables into the oven. Carve the turkey. Take reserved juices and pour on top of the slices to keep them moist and plate them on your prepared platter with watercress.

6:45 PM: Take out potatoes, stuffing and vegetables and put them on the table. Put dinner rolls in the oven to finish baking and melt butter on a low heat on the stovetop to brush over. Call everyone to start getting ready to eat. Pour wine and drinks. Bring the rolls and turkey to the table.

7 PM: Dinnertime! Turn the oven off. Put pie in the oven to warm for dessert and bring out the cheesecake bites. Turn on the coffeemaker.

8:30 PM: Serve desserts and coffee and tea.

10 PM: Relax… the dishes can wait until tomorrow.

Turkey Sandwich

A New Thanksgiving Tradition: Braised Turkey Sandwich

This year, instead of roasting a whole turkey, flout tradition and go straight for everyone’s favourite next-day dishl the turkey sandwich. While we love the iconic moment of carving the bird, this hassle-free recipe delivers all the moist, tender flavour, minus the intimidation factor.

Turkey legs are braised low and slow in a bath of milk, and the result is fall-off-the-bone meat with a subtle sweetness from the milk. Pile it high and top with a slather of mustard, cranberry sauce and a pickle for a sandwich worth giving thanks for.

Braised Turkey Sandwich

Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 turkey legs
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 shallots, quartered
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups milk
2 sprigs thyme
8 slices sourdough bread, toasted
1/4 cup bread and butter pickles
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cranberry sauce

Directions:
1. Season turkey legs with salt and pepper.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large heavy bottom pot over high heat. Place 1 turkey leg in pot and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer leg from pot to a plate and repeat with other leg. Transfer other leg to plate.
3. Place shallots and cider vinegar in pot. Using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to lift any brown bits.
4. Reduce heat to medium and cook shallots until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
5. Return turkey legs to pot and pour in milk with thyme sprigs. Increase heat to medium-high to bring milk to boil. Quickly reduce heat to medium-low and cover pot. Let cook, rotating leg every 30 min until turkey is cooked through and falling off the bone, about 2 hours.
6. Transfer turkey legs to a bowl and pull the meat off the bones using a fork. Discard tendons and bones. Shred meat using two forks.
7. Pour 1 cup of cooking liquid over pulled turkey meat and stir to combine.
8. Spread dijon mustard over two pieces of toasted sourdough bread. Place desired amount of meat on one piece of bread and top with pickle and cranberry sauce.
9. Close sandwich and serve immediately.

Wild rice

Delicious Ways to Enjoy Canadian Wild Rice This Fall

As the leaves turn colour and the air gets crisper, it’s the perfect time to bring the harvest’s bounty to your table. Along with fall classics like butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie, why not include wild rice on the menu? This quintessential autumn dish has been a staple food for indigenous communities for thousands of years, and it’s traditionally harvested in the fall season.

“In late August and early September, people would gather together at the rice beds, and harvest it in canoes,” says Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, a member of Alderville First Nation who often harvests rice. “There’s nothing more beautiful than being out on a lake in the fall, gently knocking the grains of wild rice into the canoe.”

Surprisingly, this chewy, elongated grain is not actually a member of the rice family. It’s a semi-aquatic grass that grows annually from seed, mostly in the upper freshwater lakes of Canada, and produces a valuable grain that’s low in fat but high in protein, fibre, B vitamins and minerals.

It’s also incredibly tasty; when cooked properly, wild rice gives off nutty and smoky flavours that blend beautifully with soups, salads, stuffing or as a stand-alone dish.

Wild Rice

“I really like that you can get earthiness out of it, but also an umami flavour,” says Chef Rich Francis, a member of the Tetlit Gwich’in and Tuscarora Nations, and a former Top Chef Canada contender.

As Francis says, wild rice is a longstanding delicacy among indigenous peoples, usually mixed with bear grease or duck fat and then added to soups or stews. Aside from being delicious and nutritious, this flavourful food holds cultural significance for many indigenous communities in Canada, many of which celebrate the crop with traditional songs, stories and dances.

“A lot of our food is based around tradition and ceremony,” says Francis. “Every harvest, they’ll be a rice ceremony. We could trade [the wild rice] and it could be used as currency for our people. It was something that was valued, because it was plentiful.”

Of course, there are many ways to eat this versatile grain, and Francis has created some sumptuous dishes that fuse old and new culinary traditions.

“I’ve used it in sushi, as an Asian-Aboriginal fusion,” says Chef Rich. “Or I’ll make a stock out of sweet grass and medicinal sage, and then cook the rice with the stock and water in the oven.”

Wild Rice Pancakes

Ree Drummond’s Wild Rice Pancakes.

If it’s your first time cooking wild rice, start simply by boiling a batch in water. Just follow Francis’ advice and have “lots of time on your hands” — wild rice requires ample water (approximately 2 cups of cold water per half cup of wild rice) to cook, and it takes anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour for the grain to split and become tender.

“Coming into the fall season, cook up a little bit more and then store it in the fridge,” he says. “Then incorporate it into a soup, or serve it in a cold presentation, like in a salad with blueberries.”

One of his signature ways to enjoy it is as a Wild Rice and Steel-Cut Oat Risotto. Rich and creamy, it’s cooked with wild game stock, double smoked bacon, wild mushrooms and herbs, and is best served with a fillet of herb-crusted salmon on top.

Looking for more easy entrée ideas? Shake up meals by adding cooked wild rice to a main, like this Wild Rice Chicken Skillet simmered in mushrooms, spinach, basil, and chili flakes. Or, try a Wild Rice, Artichoke and Kale Salad topped with a protein, like grilled halibut or chicken. You can even add wild rice to pancakes or stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey. But no matter how it’s served, wild rice is sure to be a fall favourite at any table!

How to Use Leftover Pumpkin Purée for Cookies

By Kacey Joanette

Pumpkins always remind people of autumn and Halloween, but if you grew up in a household like mine, there was never any inkling of pumpkin recipes. Over the years I have seen just how popular pumpkin recipes are and have delved into them head on, trying to win myself over with the whole love affair. At first, I assumed pumpkin recipes could be made using ordinary carving pumpkins, but that isn’t the case! Pumpkin pie or cooking pumpkins are picked specifically for cooking.

I finally experimented with homemade pumpkin purée when my daughter was old enough to pick her own pumpkins and would always pick the small cooking pumpkins to work with. We used them to make homemade pumpkin purée. To cope with the abundance of pumpkin purée, we decided chocolate chip pumpkin cookies were in order.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, Courtesy of Kacey Joanette, thecookiewriter.com, Bowmanville, Ont.

After an afternoon of pumpkin picking, forget the traditional pumpkin pie and bake these chunky, bite-sized cookies instead.
Chocolate-Chip-Pumpkin-Cookies_888embed

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 30 cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup (125 mL) salted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whole-wheat flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground allspice
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground ginger
1/2 – 3/4 cup (125 – 175 mL) chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Add pumpkin purée, mixing until just combined.
3. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Scoop 1 tbsp (15 mL) of batter per cookie onto baking sheet and roll into balls.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack.

Click here here to print, save or share this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies recipe.

Do you have a delicious dish to share with the rest of Canada? Submit your recipe for a chance to be featured on Great Canadian Cookbook and Food Network Canada!

TheCookieWriter
The Cookie Writer is all about sharing recipes that can easily be adapted to suit dietary and lifestyle restrictions without anyone feeling left out.

SpicedAppleCheesecake

A Savoury Apple Cheesecake to Finish Any Meal

By Shayna Murray

We grow a lot of really great things here in the prairies. We have fields full of lentils, oats and wheat and the most amazing Saskatoon berries. But we aren’t known for our apple orchards. Right on the top of my culinary bucket list is to head either east or west and pick myself baskets and baskets of fresh apples, right off the tree. In the meantime, we are fortunate enough here to have an ample supply of delicious apples from across the country.

Apples are amazing to cook with, and easy to incorporate into sweet or savoury dishes. Nothing (except maybe pumpkins) says fall quite like apples. Sweet or tart, juicy and crisp – I think every cook loves working with apples.

Spiced Apple Cheesecake, Courtesy of Shayna Murray, MommyOutsideTheBox.ca, Regina

While any kind of apple will do, opt for Novaspy apples if you’d like your cheesecake to have a good balance of sweetness and acidity.

SpicedAppleCheesecake

Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 2 hours
Yields: 1 pie

Ingredients
Crust
½ cup (125 mL) graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (125 mL) gingersnap crumbs
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) butter or margarine, melted

Filling
3 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese
½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (125 mL) apple juice
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
3 eggs

Apple Topping
3 apples, sliced 1/4 (5 mm) thick
¼ cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) apple juice
2 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
¼ tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
Brown sugar

Directions
Crust
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Spray a 9-inch (2.5 L) springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, gingersnap crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter and mix well.
3. Scrape crumb mixture into pan, pressing firmly against bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.

Filling
1. In large bowl with electric beaters, or using stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
2. Beat in sugar. Add apple juice, salt and vanilla and beat until combined.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
4. Scrape cream cheese mixture over crust. Wrap bottom of pan tightly in tin foil and set in a larger pan or roaster. Add hot tap water to larger pan until it reaches about halfway up side of springform pan.
5. Bake for 40 minutes.

Apple Topping
1. Meanwhile, toss apple slices with granulated sugar.
2. In medium saucepan, bring apple juice to boil over medium-high heat. Add apples; simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off and apples are just tender.
3. Add butter and cinnamon to apple mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, until caramelized and no liquid remains. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4. After 40 minutes, check cheesecake for doneness. It should be mostly set and able to support apple topping. (If not set, bake another 10 minutes and check again.)
5. Carefully scoop apple topping onto cheesecake. Sprinkle with brown sugar and return to oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
6. Turn off the oven and prop door open. Leave the cheesecake to sit in hot water bath for 1 hour. before removing from oven.
7. Gently run knife or metal spatula around edge of cheesecake to loosen it from side of pan. Do not remove side from pan.
8. Allow cheesecake to cool at least 2 hours before removing from pan.
9. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

MommyOutsideTheBox
Shayna Murray is married and mother to an exhausting but adorable five-year-old girl. She works outside the home, blogs, and is always cooking and doing her best to balance it all.