Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Adding CBD to Your Routine? These Foods Can Help Boost the Benefit

When it comes to taking cannabidiol products with your daily routine, most people would recommend doing so with foods that are capable of increasing the overall bioavailability of the product. Bioavailability is the body’s ability to properly absorb and experience effects of certain types of drugs - it is the reason why some medications are recommended to be taken with food, and why some others tend to cause nausea and a stomach ache when taken alone. 

In the case of CBD, there are plenty of ways to help boost the overall bioavailability alongside the product. Considering the many touted health benefits, it is no wonder why weed edibles and many other products are so popular. Here are just some foods that can help boost the benefit.

The perfect spices
First and foremost, for those who want to make the full use of cannabidiol, it would be a good idea to make use of specific types of spice that can be sprinkled on your food - in some cases, it might even be used on tea. Water soluble cannabidiol products can be mixed with turmeric tea, for example.

In the case of spices on food, the aforementioned turmeric, as well as the use of rosemary and black pepper can make it much easier to absorb the effects of CBD products. When you consider how common it is for food products to have the above spices, it is quite easy to incorporate and reinforce the effects of CBD.

The impact of emulsified fats 
When it comes to general foods that can help provide a reinforced effect for CBD products, emulsified fats would be one of the ideal foods to utilize. For example, chocolate is an excellent choice for those who want a stronger effect and more bioavailability, as well as mayonnaise.

Going nuts for CBD
If you want an even stronger effect when you enjoy chocolates, you can go for chocolates with nuts such as almonds and the like, as nuts are known to help boost the overall effects of cannabidiol products. Sweet treats generally taste even better when paired with tea, so one of the best ways to make use of a CBD edible, oil, or any other similar product, would be to take turmeric tea, and chocolate with nuts.

The healthy fats found in fish
Nuts are known to have healthy fats, which is why many other products with healthy fats are effective in bringing out the full potential of CBD. Those who are fond of fish will have plenty to enjoy when making use of CBD products, as it is undoubtedly a meal that is not only healthy, but can also improve the many touted health benefits of cannabidiol.

When it comes to food and CBD, the two go together extremely well. There are so many examples of excellent food products that can increase the bioavailability of CBD products that it is quite easy to make the most out of the situation.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Cabernet-Salted Vanilla Caramels

These rich, buttery caramels are kissed with Cabernet infused sea salt for a grown up twist.

I have many fond memories associated with caramels. My grandfather was a die-hard Werther's addict, and many an afternoon he would come to pick me up from school and sneak me a piece before we would get home. As the years went on, these caramels became the everlasting memory I have of him. 

Now, I don't know what grandpa would have thought about these homemade caramels - they are soft, not crunchy, and are definitely a different flavour experience than those gold-wrapped morsels - but nevertheless I really enjoy this confection. I seem to always make some form of my wine-infused salt each year (Cabernet is what is usually consumed, hence what usually provides the dregs for me) and I wondered what effect it would have on a double-vanilla, buttery caramel base. I found a recipe for a small batch on Dessert for Two and tried it out once... only to lose all the caramels to company (and a few to a caramel apple pie) before I took a photo. So the next time I doubled the batch and swapped out the corn syrup for honey and added a vanilla bean in addition to the wine-y salt. Cause you know... excess.

I think I hit the jackpot! The floral honey and vanilla pod really added a complexity to the sweet caramel, while the salt added a tiny bit of bitter tannin as well. The batch also doubled beautifully, which is generally rare with candy. The only downside was wrapping every... little... piece. If you make a full pan, definitely enlist some free (or candy-paid) labour to help - children would easily volunteer I think! Keeping the candy cool while you wrap it really helps, I suggest a stone board or even a cookie sheet over ice packs to keep it firm. After they're wrapped, a cool place is best for storage (I used the fridge and it worked fine). At least, until you eat them!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

PCB Jam - Toast Topper #91

When Ontario produce is abundant (and relatively cheap!) It's jam making time! This batch is full of peaches, cherries and blackberries, promising Summer in every bite.

Wow - this is what happens when life shoves things to the back burner - or in this case, the drafts folder! Luckily, this jam is so good that I make it almost yearly, so please forgive the shoddy photo but enjoy this Toast Topper!

I make no secret of the fact that I love freezing my produce when it's at it's peak in the Summer, or if I can't get out to the farmer's market (like - ahem - this year), purchasing my berries and stone fruit conveniently IQF. For me, you can't beat the flavour in the middle of the Winter, since here you're lucky to find anything but mealy apples that are $3 a pound by the time November rolls around! That said, I am also completely guilty of buying too much fruit when it's on sale and thus, overburdening the freezer (especially when it's competing with cookie dough, turkeys, stock and pies). When I start getting attacked by bags of it when I open the door, I know it's time to break out the large pot, the pectin and the canner and get preserving.

This jam is perfect in it's simplicity, not needing spices or extracts to make the flavours pop. Rather, the sweetness of the peaches and cherries is balanced by the blackberries, which also add a tiny bit of texture (because I'm lazy and don't strain seeds). This jam also comes together lightning-fast, meaning that you need to make sure your waterbath canner is almost boiling and your jars are sanitized before you start the process. If canning isn't your thing (and I'll be honest, I haven't done any this year), fear not - you can keep a jar unopened in the fridge for a month or so or freeze it for up to six (use a plastic container though, broken glass is no fun!).

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Norwegian Butter Cookies

You can't beat a great butter cookie - and these Norwegian Butter Cookies are some of the best! Using a high-fat European style butter is crucial here since you taste it in every bite, and the tiniest bit of almond extract rounds out the whole thing. Beware, they are addictive!

It's generally held in my family that the best butter cookies belong to my mom - no ifs, ands, or buts, if we buy butter for baking between November 1st and January 1st, its almost exclusively earmarked for shortbreads. However, the type of butter we buy for those perfect cookies is (almost hilariously) specific, and pedestrian. I am not kidding - the fanciest we get for those cookies is the ubiquitous grocery store staple butter, if not the "no name" discount brand. We have tried "fancier" or more expensive brands, but none of them work quite right.

That said, I am a sucker for gourmet ingredients every once in a while, and when I was at the farmer's market last year (yes, pre-COVID) I splurged on a $6, 8-oz brick of high fat, European style butter. I originally planned to make croissants with it, but life and school and work got in the way and I wound up tossing it into the freezer and admittedly forgetting about it. Only when our fridge freezer's door guiderails broke and we had to de-bulk the baskets to try and lighten the load did I "rediscover" it - still in it's own little zip-top bag and foil wrapping. Since the holidays are coming nigh (though I think I am dangerously overloaded with cookie dough at the moment) I decided to try out another recipe from my mom's Reader's Digest Recipes from Around the World (the one this lovely loaf and these cookies came from) for Norwegian Butter Cookies.

Now, what makes these Norwegian, I cannot tell you. Is it the almond extract? No clue. What I can assure you is that there are absolutely no trolls or maelstorms in these tender, decadently rich yet simple cookies! You absolutely taste the butter in every bite, so unfortunately skimping on the quality / butterfat will not do you any favours here, and because they are so spartan in their ingredient lists it really is key to make sure every single ingredient is the best it can be. It sounds ironic to be harping on quality ingredients when there is also shortening in the ingredients list, but I believe that it's inclusion (and I used a good quality, non-hydrogenated brand) helps the cookies from becoming too flat or greasy. The cookies I made are not lily-white either, as the vanilla I used is naturally dark and I opted for unbleached flour, but when it comes to taste who cares?

I will have far more cookies coming to the blog in the next few weeks, but suffice it to say these are some of this year's favourites! 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Apple Onion Rosemary Jam - Toast Topper #90

Apple Onion Rosemary Jam is sweet, sour, savoury and an excellent condiment alongside cheese and crackers or topping roast beef. No pectin and very little sugar needed - it all comes from the produce!
Are you a condiment person? I, for one, was always a huge fan of spicy, tangy accompaniments to a traditional Sunday roast dinner, and if I was at a party with a platter of cheese and relishes - heaven! My mom is also a fan of sweet-sour-savoury condiments, especially things like chutney. So, while our family gatherings this year have been quite scaled back, it just means that I don't have to share everything I make! (Just kidding, I love to share).

This jam was inspired by a cheese board spread I saw in the local wine store's magazine, where they had a little bowl of onion jam alongside oozy Brie and sharp Cheddar, toast points and crackers. I still had a bounty of apples hanging out in the fridge and I always have onions in the pantry, so I gave it a go with a recipe I found on Just a Pinch. I added a pinch of rosemary that I had dried from this summer's herb garden, which really lent a savoury note to the mixture and played off the sweet apples and brown sugar well, in addition to the garlic and black pepper. 
It is worth noting this is a small batch recipe - it only makes two cups or so - but because there is no pectin to mess around with it is fairly scale-able. It is also a weapon to have in the fridge or freezer all year round, since while it's great on roast beef it would also play nicely with a hearty beef burger or even a grilled cheese sandwich. Whatever you feel needs a pop of flavour, this will suffice!


Monday, November 16, 2020

Beetroot and Poppyseed Sourdough

This Beetroot and Poppyseed Sourdough is cooked in a Dutch oven for an unbelievably crisp crust, and the long fermentation makes for the most amazing flavour and texture. You will never have a loaf quite like it!

The only (and I repeat: the only) good things about the cold weather coming around here are these: my root vegetables are finally ready to harvest, and I can turn on the oven and not get whined at for heating up the house. I proudly grow a variety of beets and carrots in my little plot every year, and take great pleasure incorporating them into things like chutney, soups, cake, pickles and bread. 
Now, beet bread is nothing new to me. I have made beet-enhanced bread on this blog before, and it is always a hit given it's natural sweet earthiness. That said, I never made one of the sourdough or Dutch oven baked variety! I came across this gorgeous idea while scrolling through my feed reader shortly before World Bread Day, and I immediately bookmarked it. Not only did it use up one of my large beets, but I didn't have to pre-roast and puree the vegetable - a simple grate is all that was needed. As a result, the bread baking process draws out the sweet liquid in the shreds, infusing every bite of the crumb and making it impossibly tender. A couple spoons of poppy seeds add crunch while the hot Dutch oven made the crust crisp and relatively thick (read: chewy!).
One of the reasons this bread was such a win for our family is that it was a sourdough recipe. This means that the bread takes a while to make, but it is almost completely hands off and while you sleep at night, making for fresh bread in the morning! The slight tang from the fermentation balances the nuttiness of the seeds and the sweetness of the beets as well, so every bite is sheer perfection (trust me: my mom ate a portion of this loaf without even butter). If you have a sourdough starter languishing after the bread boom of the summer, break it out and give it a few feeds before using it so it's lovely and energetic - the dough is rather heavy so the yeast needs to do a lot of work!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Cran-Apple Butter - Toast Topper #89

Cran-Apple Butter is a sweet-tart spread that is perfect in its simplicity - nothing more than diced apples, fresh cranberries, apple juice, honey and brown sugar with a big pinch of time!

I'm going to make a confession here - I had to look up when American Thanksgiving was. Even though I live in Canada, and we absolutely have Black Friday and all the network feeds from the States, we aren't that crazy about the holiday (or sales) in my household. That said, I now know that it is November 26, which means that if you are still wondering what to cook up as a twist on this anything-but-normal holiday you have time to try this lovely Toast Topper on for size! 

Since I still had apples from our orchard adventure sitting in the fridge, I had to start thinking of ways to use them before they turned into vinegar (the basement was starting to smell like a brewery due to the other bags in the not-so cold cellar). Along with a compote, an apple-onion jam, a batch of this lovely conserve and a classic apple butter, I tried a twist on the cranberry butter I saw on The View from Great Island, adding one to add even more pectin and a little more of a mediating smoothness to the mixture. Like most fruit butters, this one is really easy to do, but it is also very time consuming. You can't really wander off while it cooks in the second half, since you need to stir it every so often, but it is great if you can pop a movie or something on for the afternoon and just bask in the aromas of the holiday. 

The resulting puree is a perfect blend of tart and sweet, with a gorgeous crimson colour and just a hint of vanilla. I canned one jar to gift at Christmas, but the other I stuck in the fridge for toast. Turns out it is also a perfect addition to sandwiches with sharp cheese and roast chicken, as well as adding to a balsamic vinaigrette base for a pop of flavour (we also added fennel and black pepper). It definitely gets better overnight, which is great for planning ahead!

Here is hoping everyone can bring a taste of the holidays to their table this year. Be safe and have fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh

This salad is fresh, light and healthy with a tangy lemon garlic dressing infusing chickpeas, quinoa and a host of vegetables. Homegrown lemon balm adds interest to the standard parsley as well!

I know, I know... it's the second week of November - what right do I have posting a lovely salad like this? Well, I have succeeded this year in maintaining a tiny kitchen herb garden (for how long, I don't know) and with the unseasonably warm weather in the later half of our growing season we still have plenty of just-picked tomatoes on the counter! I wanted to use up as much as I could with my older Home Ec class, and when I came across a partial bag of quinoa in the freezer I was inspired to make a version of one of my favourite salads from college: tabbouleh. 

Normally, you'll find a rather bare-bones ingredient list in tabbouleh - parsley, mint, bulgur and maybe some lemon and olive oil. This recipe takes the idea and runs with it, swapping in the nutrient dense (and gluten free) quinoa for the bulgur and adding in extra veggies - including deliciously nutty chickpeas and home grown lemon balm. A few twists on the traditional dressing pop up the flavour even more! While this was made and enjoyed the same day by my students and colleagues, the leftovers were even better - my mom began raiding the leftovers in the fridge as a snack and said the mixture just kept getting better with time. 

Of course, if quinoa isn't your thing, the standard bulgur is still perfectly fine here. You can also use couscous, amaranth, millet, rice or farro for different flavours and textures - just make sure they're all cooked before adding them! The possibilities are endless, but if you don't have lemon balm I do suggest adding some lemon zest to the mix for that bright citrus flavour. You wont regret it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Sweet Potato and Apple Braid #BreadBakers

 Now this is Fall on a plate! A rich, slightly sweet whole grain yeast dough (fortified with @nakednutrition Naked Rice protein powder) is braided over creamy sweet potato apple butter custard and diced local Honeycrisps tossed with raw sugar. Enjoyed for breakfast or with ice cream as dessert, its a decadent twist on a classic pie.

This year has been weird on many levels, but for me the strangest part so far is that the holidays have been a lot easier for me to deal with. I am a total introvert, and the traveling and packing food (cause aren't allergies fun?) and worrying about getting home in the dark on roads in various states cause the joy to be sucked out of the time a little bit. However, I did always pride myself on coming to every holiday event (Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter) with dessert. My dad loves pumpkin pie, for instance - especially this pumpkin apple butter concoction - and since N and I had gone apple picking I had a batch of apple butter hanging out in the fridge in preparation for our holiday.
Obviously, 2020 had other plans for us, but N had mentioned a desire for sweet potato pie a few months ago and I had to indulge him! The first one was pretty plain-Jane and stuck to the script I found on One Dish Kitchen with the exceptions of using a pastry (not graham cracker) crust, slow-roasting the sweet potato to draw out the caramel notes and using evaporated 2% milk for the dairy. Since that was a hit (to say the least - it competed and tied with my mom's apple pie) I decided to make another one with a few of my own tricks. I amped up the sweetness with my choice of sweet potato (a purple-skinned, white flesh one, which is candy-sweet with slow roasting) and added in a touch of tang with my homemade apple butter. Naked Collagen added a boost of protein and kept the filling lusciously smooth even with the low-fat dairy and since it's tasteless the maple and spices were allowed to shine.

I used the same formula the next weekend to make a baked custard (having leftovers of pretty much everything on hand) and was wondering what to do with it. At least, I wondered until I was scrolling through Facebook where my friend had shared a caramel-apple braided loaf. I decided I'd take that idea and use what I had - my baked custard and diced apples left over from making mini apple pies for my sister's rats (yes, I spoil them, but they are ADORABLE). The bread dough (of course) became whole wheat and laced with Naked Rice protein (which helped the overall conditioning of the dough and rise imho) and flaxseed, making it a more flavourful and healthy wrapping than the sweet white bread that is traditional. I had to balance out the rich filling somehow! 

Braiding the loaf over the filling is really easy and looks more difficult and impressive than it is. Once it bakes, the plaits separate just slightly allowing the steam to escape and preventing a soggy crust, while adding just a touch of crisp and chew. I had no difficulty slicing the loaf in half to store (it took up my whole cookie sheet) and the baked loaf froze and thawed well without any weeping of the filling. I may try this again for the winter holidays!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is breadbakers%2Bfor%2Bpost.png 
Welcome to Bread Bakers! This month, our theme is Stuffed Baked Breads and our host is Renu of Cook with Renu. #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.