Slower pace gives families time to enjoy food together

As we begin our journey through 2021, given the past years’ experience, I think that I have been reminded of the quote, “when one door closes, another one opens.”

We have had to stay home, slow down and find comfort in our immediate surroundings. Our world as we knew it was fast–paced and for many, chaotic. I ran to the store on a whim, without ever planning for weeks in advance or making sure the pantry was completely stocked.

Now organization and planning are key to keeping the household running smoothly.

People are heading outdoors for wellness and entertainment. Kids who have had busy schedules before COVID-19 are taking time to build snow people and families are out walking, skating, cross country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing — the list goes on.

This has been a reminder of how important the simple things in life are, and how precious our time together is.

The slower pace has also given families time to enjoy food together, lingering at the table.

Slow Cooker Juicy Beef Rib Roast

I am famous for serving dry overcooked roast of beef. Now I use the slow cooker function in my Instant Pot, although you can use any slow cooker. It is so convenient and tasty.

The trick is preparing the roast the day before and roasting the next day. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes.

  • 3 tsp. salt 15 mL
  • 2 tsp. pepper 10 mL
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. finely choppedgarlic 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (or herbs of your choice like parsley or rosemary) 15 mL
  • 1 c. beef or vegetablebroth 250 mL
  • 5 lb. bone-in beefrib roast 2.3 kg
  • 1 tbsp. oil 15 mL

Sprinkle the thawed beef roast evenly with salt and pepper. Place in a bag or container and chill for 12 to 24 hours.

To begin, remove roast from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for one hour. In a dish, combine the softened butter, garlic and herbs. You could also increase flavour with a dash of Montreal Steak Spice if desired. Set aside.

In an Instant Pot pan or a skillet, sear the beef on all four sides in oil until lightly browned.

Transfer to slow cooker roasting dish. Rub butter mixture on top and sides of roast. Add the broth.

Cover and cook on low heat setting three to five hours or until desired temperature in centre is reached.

For medium-rare, cook 3.5 to four hours, or until meat thermometer inserted in centre reads 135 F. For medium, cook 4.5 to five hours, or until meat thermometer inserted in centre reads 145 F. Transfer roast to cutting board. Cover roast loosely with foil; let stand 30 minutes before carving.

While the roast is resting prepare if desired:

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

  • 1 c. sour cream 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. preparedhorseradish 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or green onions 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL

Combine the above ingredients into a smooth sauce to accompany roast.

Roast serves six to eight. Source: adapted from www.BettyCrocker.com

Make Ahead Broccoli Salad

A fresh green side dish is always great with a roast of beef. Instead of lettuce greens try a green vegetable for variety.

  • 5 c. broccoli florets 1.25 L
  • 3 c. seedlessred grapes 750 mL
  • 1/2 c. sliced celery 125 mL
  • 3 green onions,sliced
  • 1 c. mayonnaise 250 mL
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c. (depending on how sweet you like your combination)sugar 60 to 80 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar (you could use plain) 15 mL
  • 1/2 to 1c. slivered almonds, toasted 125 mL to 250 mL
  • 1/2 pd. sliced bacon, cookedand crumbled(optional) 225 g

In a large salad bowl, combine the broccoli, grapes, celery and onions. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat.

Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Just before serving, toss in almonds and bacon if desired. Serves eight. Source: www.tasteofhome.com.

Note: I have substituted some blueberries for some grapes with excellent results.

Simple Apple Spice Sauté

Such a quick dessert that uses up apples that may be softening or bruised. Great over vanilla ice cream, waffles or pancakes.

  • 1/4 c. butter 60 mL
  • 4 large tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. cold water 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL

In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about six to seven minutes. Serves eight.

Dissolve cornstarch in water; add to skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat stir in vanilla extract and serve warm. Source: www.allrecipes.com

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This is a recipe that caught our eye because it uses leftover chocolate pieces rather than chocolate chips. A fun chocolate twist that uses up holiday chocolate.

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar,packed 175 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted 125 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 300 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/2 c. milk chocolate chunks, broken into smallpieces 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chunks, broke into smallpieces 125 mL

Note: you can use all milk chocolate pieces or all dark chocolate, just be sure to use solid pieces that are just chocolate.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugars, salt, and butter until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking soda, then fold the mixture with a spatula. Fold in the chocolate chunks, then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. For a more intense toffee-like flavour and deeper colour, chill the dough longer.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Prepare a baking sheet and drop the dough in the size of an ice cream scoop.

Leave about four inches between cookies and two inches (five cm) of space from the edges of the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges have started to barely brown. Check at 12 to start. Cool.

Makes 12 cookies so feel free to double the batch if necessary. Source: www.tasty.co.

Earl Grey London Fog

Copy-catting gourmet foods from restaurants and coffee shops has been a hobby over the past several months.

Making warm coffee or tea recipes has created a comforting satisfaction.

In fact our favourite is making London Fog, and we like ours more than any takeout options. You will need a vanilla syrup such as Torani (not sugar free), available at some grocery stores and London Drugs locations. Make this an opportunity to dig out a fun and colourful mug or antique teacup to brighten your day. Maybe it is time to replace your old mugs with something new to update your surroundings. This is a great time for winter sales. Small changes can really make a difference.

Directions for one serving:

Infuse an Earl Grey teabag in 100 ml of freshly boiled water for two to three minutes. I prefer Twinings of London.

Remove the teabag.

Fill one quarter to one third of your favourite mug with the Earl Grey tea.

Add three to four tsp. (5-20 ml) of Torani vanilla syrup.

Top with steamed or frothed milk and serve immediately. Garnish with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired. Source: www.twinings.co.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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