Beyond the Pickle

There’s nothing quite like a dill pickle fresh from the fridge! Crunchy, juicy, refreshing, the perfect snack or addition to your sandwich or salad. Not only are dill pickles delicious, but they’re also quite easy to make at home and a perfect way to stock up on preserves for the winter. But why stop at pickles? Here are six of the many vegetables that are just perfect for pickling.

Fresh organic radishes

Carrots. A perfect addition to salads and coleslaws and great on their own for snacking or as part of a party platter, carrots can be sliced or diced for the perfect pickling vegetables.

Beets. Ideal when you’re looking to add color to a wide variety of dishes and a great way to enjoy the amazing health benefits of beets.

Radishes. Tacos, anyone? Toss pickled radishes into your tortilla for a great addition to Mexican night! Also great for adding some crunch to your favorite salad or sandwich without overpowering other flavors.

Organic Green Jalapeno Peppers

Asparagus. Give your Bloody Mary a stir! Pickled asparagus is not just for drinks, salads and sandwiches can greatly benefit from their taste and texture.

Red onions. Sometimes adding raw onions to a dish can prove to be a bit too harsh. Pickled onions have less of a bite but plenty of taste, a spectacular substitute.

Jalapenos. When you’re looking for some spice, jalapenos are quite nice! Pickled for a bit less of a punch, they’re great for garnish.

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St Patrick’s Day Meal Ideas

Corned beef and cabbage is all well and good, but when you’re looking for a delicious St Patrick’s Day dinner that’s just a little bit different, try one (or all) of these fine ideas.

Guinness beef stew. Who hasn’t enjoyed a Guinness or two on St. Patrick’s day? The time honored tradition doesn’t have to be relegated to the pub, Guinness can be a great part of dinner when it’s incorporated into beef stew.

Homemade Irish Potato Pancakes (Boxty) / St.Patrick day food

Coddle. While it was originally conceived as a way to use up leftover meat before the Catholic tradition of meatless Fridays, coddle has evolved to become a family favorite for any occasion. Often made with meat scraps from bacon and sausage, along with a whole lot of veggies, this hearty stew makes for the perfect Irish meal.

Boxty. Essentially an Irish version of a latke, this delicious potato pancake uses a combination of mashed and chopped potatoes for texture, and makes for the perfect accompaniment to any delicious dinner.

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Blaa. While it’s often served with breakfast or used for sandwiches, blaa is the Irish equivalent to the American dinner roll and makes a great compliment to any meal.

Yellowman (Irish Honeycomb). When it’s time for dessert, it’s hard to go wrong with Yellowman. Often compared to honeycomb toffee, the crunchy rind and sweet interior are a time honored treat in Ireland.

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In Praise of Slow (The Slow Cooker, That is)

It may seem like a bit of a paradox, we live busy lives that by all accounts are fast paced, how can something called a slow cooker make our lives any easier? Well, yes, the appliances are aptly named as a slow cooker is just that: Slow. But oh what a wonderful world of possibilities they open up. Here are three reason why a slow cooker is perfect for your busy life.

beautiful girl with slo-cooker

Set it and forget it. Not many of us remember Ron Popeil’s infomercial for his “Showtime Rotisserie,” but the phrase lives on in kitchens throughout the globe thanks to slow cookers. It really is that simple, you set your meal to start cooking in the morning, forget about it as you go about your day, and when you get home? Bam! A piping hot home cooked meal ready to serve.

Batch cooking for your busy week. Batch cooking is one of the many perks of the usually amply sized slow cooker. Rather than slave over the stove to cook a single meal you can spend the same amount of time on prep and have meals for the rest of the week. Pretty much a no brainer.

verticle slow cooker meal

Batch prepping is a thing too. If you’re willing to devote a day to chopping, why not prepare several batch meals in advance? Ingredients can be stored in a ziplock in the freezer and pretty much cooked from frozen in most cases. Just imagine, a month’s worth of food prepared in a single day!

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The Benefits of Eating Eggs

Eggs! They’re not just delicious, they’re also good for you, and eating eggs on a regular basis comes with a load of benefits. Here are just five of the many benefits of eating eggs.

bacon and eggs

They’re quick, easy, and versatile. Cooking an egg is quite literally a matter of minutes, and few other cooked foods are quite as easy. To top it all off, eggs are incredibly versatile and can not only be cooked a number of different ways, they can also be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes.

They’re loaded with vitamins. A single egg contains vitamins A, B5, B2, B6, B12, D, E, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, selenium, and folate. Need we say more?

They’re packed with protein. Eggs are an excellent source of complete proteins, containing all nine amino acids that the body can’t synthesize naturally, and help promote muscle recovery and development.

Served fried eggs

They’re good for your health. Eggs raise HDL (good) cholesterol and help make LDL (bad) cholesterol less harmful. They also help manage weight, contribute to better eye health and mental acuity, and may help reduce the risk of stroke.

They’re portable and make great snacks. Rather than spending extra money on vending machine snacks that are full of salt and sugar, hard boiled eggs can help satisfy those mid-day craving and make for a much healthier alternative!

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Easy Dinner Ideas for Those Lazy Nights

You may have had a busy day, or a busy week, or maybe you’re just tired from a long night, but whatever the reason once in a while you just don’t feel like cooking an elaborate meal, and it’s totally understandable. It may be tempting to order in, but a healthier alternative (not to mention a way to prevent overeating) would be something quick and easy. Here are three quick and easy dinner ideas you can make tonight.

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One pot beef and broccoli. A little bit of beef, a little bit of broccoli, chopped up and thrown into a single pot. What could be easier? Get the beef started a bit before the broccoli as it will take just a little longer to cook, and season with your favorite sauce and spices, or just a bit of salt and pepper if you’re craving something simple.

Roasted veggies and sausage. All it takes is a bit of chopping time and a bit of patience for it to cook, but roasted veggies and sausage is otherwise effortless. Cut the veggies and sausage into equal pieces, toss in some oil, salt, and pepper, and pop it in the oven until done. A delicious and hearty meal that isn’t too much work.

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Savoury salsa omelette. If you’re all about no fuss, look no further than a tasty omelette! Beat a couple of eggs and get them cooking, then throw in some salsa, sliced olives, grated cheese, and any other nacho fixings you have in the house. Top with more grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream, et voila!

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The Joys of Cooking With Cast Iron

It’s time to cook dinner, and when getting started there’s any number of different tools at your disposal for your favorite dish, especially when it comes to cookware. From aluminum and non-stick to copper, enamel, and stainless steel, the choices can be dizzying. But tried and true, cast iron is often still king! Here are three reasons why cooking with cast iron is still the best!

Cast Iron retains its heat. Need to step away from the stove for a second? Need to swap pans or perform other complex kitchen maneuvers? Pre-heating your pan a second time around is the least of your concerns with cast iron, as it’s conductive nature keeps your pots and pans hotter for longer than most modern cookware.

Sizzling hot Bouillabaisse,a traditional Provençal fish stew, with lots of seafood such as fish, shrimp, clams, mussels and enhance with saffron in a black cast iron pan served with Rouille.

You can use metal utensils without worry. Unlike Teflon or other non-stick coated cookware, your metal utensils won’t scratch up and ruin the cooking surfaces of cast iron pots and pans. Good news for anyone who’s looking to scrape the bottom of the pot when making a sauce or trying to flip a heavy roast. As an added bonus, there’s no need to worry about consuming any toxic particles from non-stick surfaces.

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From stove to the oven in an easy step. Cast iron is oven safe, so as long as your pots and pans don’t have any plastic handles and parts they can go straight from the stove into the oven. Absolutely ideal for searing meats and cooking the perfect roast or for keeping your food warm once it’s done cooking.

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Comfort food: Simple winter warmers

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Weather may change with the season, but our busy hectic lives don’t and so what winter warmers can we whip up when the time is in short supply? The desire to make something comforting and warming can sometimes be dimmed by digging out all kinds of ingredients and then trying to find the time to cook it all. However, you can still do quick comfort food that hits the spot. Here are a few suggestions.

Crockpot Stew

The ultimate low maintenance winter warmer. Throw some chopped up beef fillet, root vegetables like carrots and swede, potatoes, a slice up onion and some broth into a crock pot and put on a high for 5-6 hours. Then go about your day and you’ll have a nice, comforting dinner to look forward to.

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Shepherd’s pie

Traditionally made with lamb, you can also use ground beef or turkey if you like. Mix the meat with some broth or chopped tomatoes and vegetables until cooked. Spread out in an oven dish and top with mashed potatoes and cheese (optional) for about 35 minutes.

Fruit crumble

The traditional apple crumble is something of a winter staple, but a slight twist on it can go down even better on a wet and cold evening. Along with apples, you could try adding winter berries such as blackberries. Spice up the fruit mix with some cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. For the crumble, try adding some crushed nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, with the flour and biscuit mix for added crunch. Serve with warm custard.

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