In April I received a Gluten-Free Vanilla cake mix and a recipe card for a London Fog Gluten Free Blueberry Cake in my April White Willow Subscription Box. This was perfect for baking something Gluten Free. It was easy to follow and the cake turned out beautifully.
It was in the earlier years when we decided to go on a day trip to Chilliwack to explore the self guided Chilliwack Circle Farm Tour. I remember that it was a cloudy day and we stopped at around five different places on the Chilliwack Circle Farm tour which included Anita’s Certified Grain and Flour Mill, Rustic Soap, Happy Days Dairy, Chilliwack River Natural Honey, and we ended with lunch at Hofstede’s Country Barn. This is a great way to explore the Fraser Valley with Circle Farm Tours.
I enjoy baking but the one thing I never really made was bread. So here was my chance to learn how to make bread from a trained executive pastry chef, Marco Ropke. He’s the instructor and owner of the Vancouver Pastry School. I love the small class size (average of 8 students per class). It’s wonderful to not only take home the bread and recipes, but baking tips about how to make bread in your own kitchen with what you have. The practical hands-on lessons give you the confidence to try at home.
Sharla and I both have learn how to make bread on our lists so we went to the Introduction to Bread Baking course together. We learned how to make bagels, whole wheat toast bread, hard or petite rolls, carrots onion herb bread, cheese bread, baguette and fougasse.
First step is to make a well with the dry ingredients and put the wet ingredients inside to combine.
Then comes the hard part and the upper body workout. You knead the dough until the gluten has been worked and the dough is ready to double in size.
Your hard work pays off with fresh bread.
Last year after having a very unique Kraft Dinner Christmas dinner, it’s not surprising that this year I went all out to buy a turkey and all of the trimmings on Christmas eve so I would be prepared to cook a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner.
It’s not that difficult and is an excellent couple activity. Better still, you can eat the leftovers all week long. My partner and I made an 8 pound turkey and filled it with homemade stuffing. Our side dishes were mashed potatoes, peas, roasted vegetables and gravy. It was definitely a memorable experience and a Christmas I won’t forget!
Well, Canadian thanksgiving came and I decided to grab the turkey by its legs and cook the whole meal myself. Just over a year ago I bought this cookbook called ‘The Healthiest Meals on Earth’ on the recommendation of a close family friend who told me the black bean brownie recipe was amazing. The book is phenomonal and every recipe we tried was fantastic. In the book there is a menu for a full holiday meal that is healthy and vibrant. It is a great departure from the meal my family usually has at holidays and I decided I would one day like to take on the challenge.
Now that I have this list and the family was coming to my home for Thanksgiving the opportunity presented itself. I asked my parents if it was okay with them if I departed from our usual recipes and did this on my own for ‘my list’ and they agreed(although I think a little reluctantly, but the love me so they indulged). I must add they weren’t hesitant because I can’t cook but because they are very attached to tradition.
The menu for the evening consisted of:
Citrus Stuffed Herbed Turkey
Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus and Broccoli with Toasted Hazelnuts
Holiday Waldorf Salad
Cranberry Orange Relish
Sweet Potato Pie with Almond Oat Crust
With a little help from my sous chef (AKA my sister) at serving time everything turned out perfectly. It was a delicious meal and even my Dad raved about the vegetables. I was extremely proud of this accomplishment from the brined turkey to the homemade pie. I can’t wait to do it again!
I used up all the leftovers too! I made soup, quiche and muffins. I can’t wait to be the chef at another family gathering now!