The count down is on, only 5 more sleeps until Christmas! Many of us will be visiting our community grocery stores this weekend to pick up fresh ingredients for the festivities ahead - which bring some of my favourite aromas and flavours of the entire year .... soft warm buttery perogies topped with carmelized onions, tender sweet cabbage rolls and slow cooked apple pie with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and a golden flakey pastry crust flecked with a dusting of sugar... its sensory overload in the best way imaginable.
Working closely with spice afficianados, vegetable growers, recipe mavens and more we've compiled 5 favourite Christmas recipes (+1 bonus!) that incorporate regional foods and ingredients. Dive in and pick one to add a little sparkle to your holiday dinner. Look for these regional producers as you navigate the grocery aisles, their heart and passion is infused into their products which come with a story of their own - and it's these stories that make for delicious conversation over a little mulled wine & cheese at merry gatherings. Enjoy!
Category: Festive Beverage
Splendor Garden Mulled Cider
"After my journey through breast cancer and my quest to become healthier I realized there was a need for a full organic line of spices. I wanted to help people live a healthier life style and to create a company that could give back to society". - Colleen Hausecker. Splendor Garden is based in Watson, Saskatchewan, find out more about Colleen's story here.
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp Splendor Garden cloves
- 1 tsp Splendor Garden cinnamon
- 1 dashes of Splendor Garden allspice
- 1 whole orange
Pour apple cider and brown sugar in crockpot also orange sliced in half. Add spices and turn on high for 2 hours and enjoy!
Category: The Merry Mingler "The Perfect Finger Food"
Jewelled Hummus with Martin's Marvelous Date and Olive Tapenade Crisps
"Food should contain recognizable, real food ingredients. Ingredients from a farm, not from a laboratory. We were tired of eating glutenfree products that either tasted like cardboard and/or had lots of junk ingredients. Our products taste so great, you won't know they are glutenfree! I named Martin's Marvelous Naturals after my best friend...my husband! This product line arose from our love of food, pure and simple, no junk, ever." - Kalpna Solanski, President and Founder. Find out more about Kalpna's story here.
- 2 cups drained garbanzo beans or navy beans (cooked at home or canned)
- 1 cup full fat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley and/or chopped mint
- 3 Tbsp tahini
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove freshly crushed garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
In a bowl, using a fork, mash up the beans coarsely. Add in all the ingredients except the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Mix well. Place a spoonful on each Crisp (we like this with Martin’s Marvelous Date and Olive Tapenade Crisps). Garnish with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.
Tip: "The Crisps are marvelous on their own, but even more spectacular with cheese, dips, or hummus." - Kalpna
Category: A Side Dish that steals the Spotlight
Windset Farms Stand Alone Stuffing
In 1996, the Newell family constructed a four-acre greenhouse on their Abbotsford farm. Windset Farms has since expanded to greenhouses in North America. "Feeding people the freshest and most flavorful produce possible is what we do. A simple idea that drives a complex process." John & Steven Newell, Owners. Fruits and vegetables from Windset Farms are all hydroponically grown and Non-GMO Project Verified. Find out more about Windset Farms and their story.
Made with oven-dried Allegro® tomatoes, roasted Maestro® red bell peppers, BC cranberries and BC hazelnuts, this savoury stuffing can be made a day or two ahead of time and also makes for stellar turkey/stuffing sandwich leftovers.
- 2-3 full size loaves of your favourite bread (try a mixture of sourdough, rye and brioche) crusts off and diced into ½ inch by ½ inch pieces
- 4 Maestro® red bell peppers (oven-roasted at 375˚ for 25 minutes, peeled and chopped)
- 2 lbs Allegro® tomatoes (to OVEN DRY - cut in half, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place the tomatoes halves on a baking tray and oven dry for 1 hour at 300˚)
- 2 cups toasted and skinned hazelnuts, rough-chopped
- 2 cups frozen cranberries
- 2 cups dried cranberries
- 1 cup honey and
- 1 cup orange or cranberry juice
- Pre-heat oven to 325˚. In a pot, combine cranberries, honey and juice. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss bread with dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, hazelnuts and cranberry mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roll stuffing into a cylinder, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and again with tin foil. Make sure no plastic wrap is exposed outside of the tinfoil. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour. Unwrap and slice into one-inch (or thinner) rounds.
- Serve to awestruck family and guests.
Tip: Watch a video on how to make Windset Farm Stand Alone Stuffing
Category: A Sugar Plum Fairy's Pick (Two Contenders!)
Chef Rick's Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookies
Rick's Rub was created by Red Seal Chef Rick, to add flavour back into the kitchen using premium herbs and spices that are blended in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. Rick's products are low in sodium, have no MSG, and no extra fillers so you know exactly what is going into your food with Rick's Rub. It all started because "Chef Rick wants everyone to feel good about what is going into your body, getting back to Real Food!" Find out more about Rick's Real Food.
Makes: 6 dozen cookies
(Note: to make Gluten Free, use Quinoa flour)
- 1 cup butter & 1 cup margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 cups cake flour or 3 cups all purpose flour
- (Gluten Free: 4 cups Quinoa flour)
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 tsp Rick's Rub Original
- 3/4 tsp Rick's Rub Heat
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees F (Gluten Free: 340 degrees F).
- Blend butter and margarine well. Add vanilla.
- Add sugar and blend well.
- Combine flour, Rick's Rub Heat, & Rick's Rub Original.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually until dough is quite stiff.
- Form dough into balls with your hands, place on greased cookie sheet and press down with a fork.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown (Gluten Free: 10 minutes).
Daksha's Gourmet Chai Latte
Daksha taught Indian cuisine 22 years ago. Students insisted on recipes and spices to enjoy in their home. Daksha created blends and mixes and Daksha’s Gourmet Spices was born in 1996 in Saanichton, British Columbia. Together Daksha and Bhaskar have a passion for creating high quality Indian spices and spice blends, which are all sieved and cleaned by hand, then blended and ground using recipes passed down through generations in their family. Find out more about Daksha's story and products.
This festive drink is warming and very tasty, caffeine free and gluten free.
1 teaspoon Daksha's Gourmet Spices, Chai Latte mix in an 8 oz cup. Add steamed or boiled milk (soy, almond, skim, 2% or 3% milk). Stir. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Bonus Category: A Holly Jolly start to the Morning
Everland Natural Foods Pumpkin Brown Butter Pecan Pancakes
"We created the Everland Natural Foods because we wanted to feed people the right way. We wanted to provide customers with organic, locally made products at affordable prices. Together with my Everland family, I am committed to working towards further success and the pursuit of health and well being for all." - Everland Foods - Rajinder Bagga - CEO. Everland Natural Foods story began back in India in 1960 where confectionary manufacturing was a family business. Upon moving to Canada Kulwant and Rajinder came together and took a risk, opening a new store only a small flourmill, a grinder and an oven, to produce their own brand of affordable plant based organic foods. The family business has continue to grow and thrive over the years, in Burnaby, B.C. Find out more about Everland products and their story.
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ vanilla bean
- ¼ cup Everland organic pecans
- ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 egg
- 3 Tbsp Everland organic maple syrup
- ½ cup pumpkin purée
- ½-3/4 cup milk
- For brown butter, carefully slit half of bean and scrape out as much of the insides as you can into a medium skillet. Toss in the butter and scraped out vanilla bean into the pan. Heat over medium heat. Once butter has melted, continue stirring while butter foams up. Once brown flecks appear at the bottom of the pan and the butter has a nutty aroma, remove from heat and set aside, let cool slightly and remove bean shell.
- In a food processor, pulse pecans until meal consistency (but not nut butter). Combine with whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg. Whisk in 2 tablespoons slightly cooled brown butter, maple syrup, pumpkin purée and ½ cup of milk.
- Combine wet mixture in to dry mixture and stir until batter is combined. Stir in more milk if consistency is slightly pourable.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. When skillet is hot, take about ¼ cup of batter and pour onto skillet. Let cook for 1-2 minutes until the pancakes begins to bubble slightly. Flip and let cook for another 1-2 minutes until pancake is cooked through.
- Top with remaining brown butter, maple syrup, and pecans.
Merry Christmas from the entire Localize Team!
- Meghan, Michael, Pablo, Nathan, Kelly, Eric, Ashley, Caleng, Naiomi, Sarah, Spencer & Rob