Archive for Slow Cooker

Citrus Caramel Apple Cider

It’s December, and that means it’s the season for twinkly lights, yummy food, gatherings and good drinks.

Obviously, a bunch of those things will not be happening this year, but I’d argue that this year, more than ever, we need some extra cheer.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this in your neighbourhood, but it seems like people are putting up Christmas lights and decorating earlier than ever. I get it. We all need some cheer, and more than that, something to look forward to.

Parties (unless they’re virtual) will be a thing of the past this year, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to at least eat Christmas dinner with a small group of family. I’ve also booked a staycation on the Island for Michael and I, though we both know it’s very possible that may be cancelled.

Citrus Caramel Apple Cider

We are badly in need of Christmas cheer, and I have just the thing.

I recently attended a virtual workshop put on by Simply Bare Organics, where we made three different cider recipes. This one was my favourite, and Michael really loved it, too.

It’s a citrusy mulled cider with a sweet kick.

You could, by the way, make this more adult by adding booze. I would consider rum, bourbon, or something orangey like Grand Marnier to play off of the citrus notes in the cider.

It makes for a very pretty drink when you use a transparent glass to serve (I am loving these new double-walled glasses I recently bought), and drizzle the inside of the glass with the caramel before you pour in the cider.

For this recipe, we just melted down regular caramels over a double boiler, but you could also use a bottled caramel sauce or you could even make you own. You just want the consistency to be thick enough that it sticks to the walls of the glass, at least for a while, before dissolving.

One last thing: this would make a great virtual Christmas activity to do with family or friends. Just buy multiple ingredients, then put together boxes, one for each household, and drop them off. Then book a zoom date when all of you can make the cider and enjoy it together virtually.

Citrus Caramel Apple Cider

recipe courtesy of Travis Peterson for Simply Bare Organics

Makes one serving


  • 12 oz apple cider (I love Taves)
  • 4 oz orange juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • caramel to drizzle


  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, place the cider, sugar, orange juice, lemon and spices. Bring up to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  3. An alternate way to do this is to put all the ingredients into a slow cooker (in this case, quadruple the recipe and make multiple servings), and allow to cook on low for about an hour.
  4. Melt the caramel over a double boiler, if using solid caramel. Drizzle the inside of a pretty glass with the caramel drizzle/sauce.
  5. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the cider into the glass.
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.


Vegan Tamales {Instant Pot}

As the days tick down towards the end of the school year, and the temperature rises, I’m finding myself spending less time in the kitchen.

It’s the natural order of things, I guess. The hotter it gets, the less time I want to spend in the kitchen over a hot stove or a hot oven.

I’ll spare you my rave about how much I love my Instant Pot (god knows I’ve done it enough already), and simply offer you this: now is the time to turn to your IP or your slow cooker.

I know most people think of their slow cooker as a winter thing, slow cooking soups and stews all through the cold months. But these appliances are great for summer, too, because they cook without creating the same kind of heat in your kitchen.

Vegan Tamales Instant Pot


But now, let’s talk tamales.

Mexican cuisine has a million ways to use corn, and tamales are just one of them. They’re a bit time-consuming, but as with anything that requires a little assembly, the key is to do a lot of them all at once, and then freeze the results.

If you’ve never had a tamale, it’s kind of like a package made of masa (or corn) dough, rolled around some kind of centre. Often this is meat, but of course, mine are not. The entire thing, dough and filling, is rolled in a corn husk, which keeps it all nicely together in a lovely package, and then steamed or cooked. The end result is a portable, delicious meal.

Lots of cultures use a similar method; here, we eat a lot of sticky rice; rice, wrapped around an either sweet or savoury filling, and then wrapped in banana or lotus leaves and steamed. It’s super popular at dim sum.

What’s great about making these in the IP is that it takes just 20 minutes to cook them, which is about half what it would take you to steam them on the stovetop.

A quick word about vegetable shortening, which this recipe calls for: some folks consider palm oil (which most vegetable shortenings contain) to not be vegan, as, even though it doesn’t contain animal products, it isn’t harvested in a sustainable way, and is contributing to deforestation and possibly the extinction of orangutans. It’s not an ingredient that I use very often, and I almost never buy it, but I think in this case, it’s needed. Feel free to try subbing in vegan butter if you prefer

Vegan Tamales

Vegan Tamales


  • 3 cups masa flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (1 cup) vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • Filling of your choice: you could use refried beans, sautéed veggies, etc, I used BBQ Pulled Jackfruit
  • Corn husks/tamale wrappers


  1. In your mixer (could also do in a food processor, or with your hands), combine the dry ingredients, and then, with the motor running, slowly add in chunks of the shortening, one at a time, until it starts to resemble pea-like crumbs.
  2. Again, with the motor running, slowly start to add in the vegetable stock, a little at a time, until everything is incorporated. You want the texture to be similar to hummus.
  3. Cover and place in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes or so, while you prepare the filling.
  4. To assemble: take a large bowl and fill it with warm/as hot as you can stand water. Place the corn husks in it, and allow them to sit for 5 minutes or so to soften. Place a kitchen towel on your work surface, and put one of the husks on it, the wide end facing you. Place a dollop of the masa dough (around 1/4 cup?) on the husk, and then spread it out until it’s a flat layer, about 1/2″ thick. Place a dollop of the filling on the centre of the dough, and spread it out in a line. Then roll the whole thing up, from one side to another, making a kind of cigar with it, with the filling in the middle. Twist up the narrow end, and use a scrap of leftover corn husk to tie around the entire tamale to hold it in place. Place 1-2 cups of water or stock in the bottom of your Instant Pot, and place the trivet on top. Load the tamales, open end up, on their ends in the Instant pot, packing them in so they stand up. Place the lid on, and set for manual 20 minutes. When the pot has finished its cycle, release the pressure and remove the tamales. Unwrap and enjoy–serve with salsa!
« Older Entries