Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze

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I can hardly believe it but Christmas is almost here!

I've been working a lot - writing my three columns for The Chronicle Herald, working on a number of national campaigns with clients, as well as the project I'm maybe most excited about, Baked - the blog.

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I was contacted by Kris Osborne from 80Twenty a couple of weeks ago. We had a video call one evening and Kris got straight to the point.

"The other members of Baked and I have been talking, throwing around ideas of who we wanted to invite to be our eighth contributor, and you're name kept coming up, so I was wondering - would you be interested?"
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Baked is made up of a group of seven incredibly talented Canadian women food bloggers from across the country.

So let's see, I get to bake delicious food, style and photograph it however I want, and be a part of an amazing and inspiring team of women?

Um.

YES.

I'M INTERESTED.

For the full Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze recipe (my very first post on Baked!) please visit Baked - the blog.

Make-Ahead Savoury Breakfast Bake with Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains

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You know what I love? 

Anything that makes my life easier.

When I was brainstorming recipes for Rogers Grains, one thing I kept coming back to was - how can I make holiday prep easier? And ta-da! The recipe for my Make-Ahead Savoury Breakfast Bake with Rogers Original Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains was born.

Essentially, it's a risotto, using oats instead of rice. With butter, parmesan, cooked crumbled sausage, cherry tomatoes, and fresh rosemary, they are so simple to make and, you only use one pot and a muffin pan. Less dishes definitely makes my life easier

Even better? YOU MAKE THEM THE NIGHT BEFORE. Just spoon the cooked mixture into the greased muffin apn, cover it in plastic wrap, take it out of the fridge the next day whenever you're ready, and bake.

And something else I discovered over the course of testing the recipe? 

After they're baked, they freeze beautifully. Every morning, I take one of the individual bakes out of the freezer, re-heat it, and serve it as a side with my daughter's scrambled eggs.

WE'VE BEEN EATING THEM EVERY MORNING.

Saving time and prepping ahead is, in my opinion, a key component for a stress-free holiday season. Make these versatile little guys ahead of time and fire them in the oven for Christmas Day breakfast with scrambled eggs and coffee, on a platter for Boxing Day brunch gatherings, or, as a New Year's Eve appetizer. 

Let's make your life easier shall we?

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Make-Ahead Savory Breakfast Bake with Original Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains, Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, and Fresh Rosemary

Ingredients :

1 ½ cups (375 mL) uncooked pork sausage

4 cups (1 L) chicken stock (no-added salt chicken stock optional)

2 cups (500 mL) ROGERS ORIGINAL PORRIDGE OATS & HEALTHY GRAINS

½ tsp. (2.5 mL) salt

½ cup (125 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated

3 tbsp. (45 mL) butter

1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 tbsp. (15 mL) fresh rosemary, chopped

Cooking spray or butter to grease muffin pan

Directions :

Generously grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or butter. Squeeze sausages out of their casings into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, breaking up with a spoon. Cook sausage pieces over medium-high heat until browned, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pot and set aside.

To the same pot, add chicken stock and turn heat to high. Bring chicken stock to a boil then add Rogers Original Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains and salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook oats 8-10 minutes or until chicken stock is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Add Parmesan cheese and butter to cooked oats. Stir a few times until cheese is mixed through and butter has melted.

Add cooked sausage, cherry tomatoes, and fresh rosemary to oats. Stir well to combine. Divide oats evenly between prepared muffin cups. Cover muffin pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350º F (180º C) and bake, 23-25 minutes. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in refrigerator or freeze for later use. Baking option - Bake oats family-style in a 9x13 oven-safe dish instead of a muffin pan

Prep time : 10 minutes

Cook time : 45 minutes

Servings : 12

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*I was compensated financially by Rogers Grains for my recipe, photographs and blog post, however, that being said, I truly enjoy their products, as does my daughter Elodie, we truly have been eating the Make-Ahead Savoury Breakfast Bake cups every day!

Festive Espresso Bark with Rogers Porridge Oats & Ancient Grains

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I'm trying to get ahead of myself this holiday season.

You know, no more last minute rushing around, stressing about what I haven't bought, or haven't made, for the people I love. And let me tell you, this chocolate bark recipe I developed and wrote for Rogers Grains is going to help me BIG TIME in that department.

First of all, it is SO EASY to make. Did you guys know how easy it is to make chocolate bark?! I didn't, and now it will be one of my go-tos of gift giving FOR SURE.

Secondly? It's delicious. I mean, let's get real. It's DARK CHOCOLATE. I adore the combination of bright and chewy dried fruit and the crunch of Rogers Porridge Oats & Ancient Grains. Plus, with the added bonus of rye, barley, khorasan flakes, flaxseeds, oat bran, spelt, millet, and quinoa, dare I say, this bark is healthy(ish)?

Best of all? I can make the bark ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, or even the freezer, long before the holidays arrive. For gift giving, I'll package the chocolate bark in cute jars tied with ribbon, and no one will be the wiser that finally, after all these years, I was ahead of the holiday game.

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Festive Espresso Bark with Porridge Oats & Ancient Grains

3.5 cups dark chocolate

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1 cup mixed dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, mango, or any other you prefer)

1/4 cup ROGERS PORRIDGE OATS & ANCIENT GRAINS

0.5 tsp coarse sea salt

1 tsp butter for prepared baking sheet

  • Grease a 9x13 baking sheet with butter and line with parchment paper.
  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate over medium-low heat. Once chocolate has melted, stir in espresso powder until well combined.
  • Remove the top pot of the double boiler and, with a kitchen towel, wipe the bottom of the pot to prevent water from dripping on the chocolate while pouring.
  • Pour chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and smooth evenly with an offset spatula. Rap pan on counter a few times to break up any air bubbles. 
  • Allow chocolate to set at room temperature for five minutes then sprinkle with dried fruit and Roger Porridge Oats & Ancient Grains. Wait five minutes more then sprinkle chocolate bark with coarse sea salt.
  • Place baking sheet in refrigerator for a minimum of one hour or until it is hard. Break or cut into pieces and serve. This bark is perfect to place in Mason jars and/or cello bags for holiday gift giving.

Prep time : 5 minutes

Cook & set time : 75 minutes

Servings : 18 servings (two 2-inch pieces per person)

*I was compensated financially by Rogers Grains for my recipe, photographs and blog post, however, that being said, I truly enjoy their products, as does my daughter Elodie, and I am excited to share the second recipe I've written for them with you soon, as we've been eating them all week!

Molasses Baked Beans

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This recipe, courtesy of my friend Kathleen O'Donovan, first appeared on my blog June 17, 2012. My dad's favourite, they've been in my regular rotation over the last 5 years and they are divine.

Molasses Baked Beans

1 pound dried yellow eyed beans

5 cups cold water

½ tsp. baking soda

1 cup ketchup

½ cup molasses

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. ground dry mustard

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

6 strips bacon, diced

  • Place beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak overnight.

  • Drain and rinse beans. Place in medium, heavy-bottomed pot and cover with 5 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, add baking soda, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

  • Drain beans, reserving 3.5 cups bean liquid (if you don’t get 3.5 cups, just top with water). Rinse beans with cool water and allow to drain.

  • In a large bowl, combine ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ground dry mustard and pepper. Add bean liquid and mix well. Add chopped onion, diced bacon and beans and mix well.

  • Pour beans into a large pot with an oven-safe lid (I use a cast iron Dutch Oven) and bake, covered, for 8 hours at 250ºF.

ROAD TRIPPIN' : Tatamagouche

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ROAD TRIPPIN' is the first of four new food-related columns I am writing for The Chronicle Herald. Every two weeks, I'll hit the road, take pics, eat, drink, and then write about my adventures for the paper.

Pretty sweet huh?

We are heading to Tatamagouche on a misty and cool September weekend morning. Driving along Highway 102 out of Halifax, I ask my friend, “Have you ever stopped at the Mastodon?” It may sound strange, but Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke is a symbol of home to me. Since I was a child I’ve watched that giant roaring creature zoom past numerous car windows, whether leaving on a road trip or returning home.

To read my column in it's entirety, click here.

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