Slow cooker cider ham | Simple Bites #recipe

Slow Cooker Cider Ham {giveaway}

After a busy few weeks of traveling, I’ve been getting reacquainted with my kitchen, inviting Clara to wrap on her apron and join me at the counter.

Our Montreal winter has been bitterly cold and the snow keeps piling up higher and higher around the house. I’m sure many of you on the East Coast can relate. There’s never been a better time to delve into comfort food, so we’ve been simmering pots of chili, baking bread and roasting vegetables by the tray-full.

This cider ham was the first dinner I pulled together for my family this week. It’s from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars and, incidentally, this is the very first recipe I’m sharing on the blog from the cookbook. It’s one of my favourites, and simple enough to put together while jet-lagged, tired, and suffering from a head cold. Be sure to click through for the recipe, plus a giveaway for a KitchenAid 6-quart slow cooker.

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Beef Stroganoff with Roasted Mushrooms & Meyer Lemons | Simple Bites #dinner

Sunday Dinner: Beef Stroganoff with Roasted Mushrooms & Meyer Lemons

I think my Monday may have gotten the upper hand, had it not been for my Sunday dinner leftovers.

Soft egg noodles, bits of buttery beef in gravy, roasted mushrooms and slivers of Meyer lemon to cut the richness. I ate them from a bowl with a kid’s fork, standing in my kitchen looking out at the bare trees brushing a blue sky. It was a moment of quiet; a reset in a day that was rowdy, hectic and loud.

The beef stroganoff had graced our table for Sunday dinner, our main meal of the day, and everyone had murmured their approval between bites. Fortunately, I had the big camera handy before we ate, and through its lens, this dish is now conveyed to you. I think you’re going to like it.

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Veal Pot Roast with Root Vegetables (slow cooker) | Simple Bites #recipe #slowcooker #dinner #eatseasonal

6 Slow Cooker Recipes for Winter Days

If your slow cooker has a permanent place on the counter during these cold winter months, you’re doing things right.

Mine hasn’t vacated its post either, turning out batches of beans, chili, oatmeal and pea soup. January is flying by, and sometimes I feel as though our slow cooked dinners are the only way I am surviving the busy days.

In case you’re looking for a few new ideas, allow me to spotlight a few recipes from the archives. Simple Bites is coming up on five whole years of recipes, and there are plenty that are well worth remembering. Here are six of my favourites for cold days.

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Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili | Simple Bites #dinner #vegan

Eating the Pantry: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili Recipe

Last night we enjoyed dinner at my in-law’s place and during the meal, Noah informed his grandmother that at home we were ‘eating the pantry’.

Her eyelids fluttered for a second and then she politely inquired what ‘eating the pantry’ meant, exactly. It does sound strange, I will admit, but it was rewarding to hear my boys explaining the very practice I’ve been teaching them. Apparently, they do listen and understand.

Other than a milk run and a bag of produce from a local market, we haven’t bought groceries yet in 2015. We’re living off the kitchen stores…that well-stocked pantry with its grains, legumes and pasta, the canning shelf of fruits, tomatoes, applesauce and jams, and the freezer, with its jars of stock, frozen summer berries and vegetables.

There are plenty of ingredients to cook from; it just takes a little more planning. It’s a lot more vegetarian eating, which is a welcome change after the excess of the holidays (four turkey dinners).

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Sheet-pan turkey dinner

Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner

The other night I complained to Danny “I just want to get in my kitchen and cook for two days solid”. And I completely meant it.

This month is among the most exciting for whipping up tantalizing appetizers and show-stopping desserts, but I’m way behind. Yes, we’ve been back and forth from the hospital with Clara a lot, getting interrupted sleep and trying to prep for Christmas, too. It’s been okay, really; I know others are far worse off than we are, but man, I miss my kitchen.

So when I recently had an afternoon to throw something together for dinner, I put a spin on a familiar favourite. This new recipe is a direct result of craving holiday comfort food yet having limited time to prepare it (like last year’s Slow-Cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk).

I tend to stress eat and can’t subside on granola bars and wraps from the hospital cafeteria when times get tough. I need a meal. Well, enter the sheet pan turkey dinner.

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