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Holiday Cooking Shortcuts with Bonne Maman Jams

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about cooking for a family, it’s that you’ve got to have a few shortcuts up your sleeve. And that there is no shame on relying on some quality pantry staples to make food tastier and life easier. A good jarred salsa, for example, is an excellent shortcut to weeknight fajitas, and a tasty (and much quicker) stand in for scratch-made enchilada sauce. And a decent boxed chicken broth is the key to mastering one pot weeknight meals, quick flavourful soups and slow cooker stand-bys.

But I will admit that jam has long been in my kitchen-shortcut blindspot. Sure I spread it on toast or tuck it into a school day sunbutter sandwich. And maybe drop a dollop onto yogurt or oatmeal at breakfast time. But it had never crossed my mind to use it as a flavour base for sweet and savoury meals.

That is until last weekend when my dear friend and food blogger Julie Miguel invited me to share in her festive Bonne Maman Holiday brunch. (That’s me wearing a toque, like the classy brunching lady that I am.)

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Even if you’ve not had Bonne Maman jam before, you’ve probably seen it in the grocery store. It’s the one topped with that nostalgic red and white gingham lid. (I.e. look for the picnic blanket and you will know you have found it). The jam is made in France (which automatically gives it fancy cred) and from the same handful of simple ingredients that you (or your Maman) would use to make your own homemade jam: fruit, sugar, pectin and lemon.

In Julie’s kitchen, Bonne Maman Cherry Jam found its way into a salad dressing, the sweetness of the cherries nicely balancing the acidity of the vinegar, the pepperiness of arugula and the rich cream of crumbled goat cheese. And the Cherry Jam also created a flavourful glaze for a quick stove top pork loin.

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The Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Jam was paired with maple syrup and cinnamon, and then drizzled on whipped ricotta crostini. A perfect little shortcut hors d’oeuvre for last minute holiday guests.

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Julie also turned Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade (a breakfast table fixture in my childhood home) into an Indian-style chutney by adding pears and fennel, and then served it over little ingenious inside-out samosas.

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And then came dessert–a Belgian waffle topped with a bourbon-banana-caramel compote made from Bonne Maman Caramel Spread, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and toasted pecans. If you’ve ever had a snafu-ed attempt to make your own caramel (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything), this pretty little jar is a welcome snafu-free shortcut to a sweet creamy perfect caramel.

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I left this brunch with a happy tummy and lots of ideas to shortcut my own holiday entertaining. I’m going to take a page from Julie’s book this weekend and pair a sharp cheese with some fancy crackers, fresh fruit and a little Bonne Maman Cherry Jam.

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For more information about Bonne Maman and recipe suggestions for some of their products, visit the Bonne Maman website. For Julie’s own recap of the brunch, some super helpful tips for holiday entertaining, and the recipe for those inside-out samosas, visit her blog Daily Tiramisu.

**This post was created in partnership with Bonne Maman, but I only ever write about products that I enjoy and can stand behind, and this is one of them. As always, all writing and opinions expressed here belong to me. 

**Photography by Jeffrey Chan, courtesy of Bonne Maman.

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Summer Recap and Fall Reset

I promise I’m not ignoring you. I will be back soon with a whole bunch of new recipes, notes on feeding my youngest little Bean (including a tell-all on his scary diagnosis), and some other fun stuff.

In the meantime, I’m still recovering from this:

Beach

And this:

Sunset

Continue Reading →

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For my blogger friends: Canada’s new anti-spam law

So I’m taking off my foodie hat and putting on my lawyer hat today, to talk about Canada’s new anti-spam laws! Exciiiiting, right? Those of you who come for the recipes, I apologize. This is just a short little break from regularly scheduled programming, and I will be back with food stuff, I promise!

If you are still reading, then you are probably a blogger type or a web type, or else just really really bored and looking for something to read. For those in the latter category, might I suggest this.

For those in the former category, welcome! If you are confused or panicked or just plain curious about the new anti-spam law, and how it might affect your blogging activities, you have come to the right place!

Now before I begin, a disclaimer: I ain’t your lawyer, and this is not legal advice, y’hear? This is what we call legal information. If you have questions about how the new law applies to your particular circumstances, or you find yourself caught in an anti-spam pickle, you will need to retain a lawyer to help you.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with what will hopefully be the quickest and dirtiest, but most helpfully simplified, summary of the anti-spam law that you will find on the interwebs. Continue Reading →

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What’s Cooking on the Web This Week (May 9)

Cappucino

Happy almost Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! And happy spring too! I’m doing a happy dance for warmer temperatures, flowering trees, singing birds, and looooong sunny days. Boy oh boy do we deserve it.

Since I introduced my weekly “what’s cooking” column to the blog, I’ve missed about 427 weeks. But I’m back! With a little variation on the theme: instead of posting a meal plan, I’ve got a round-up of some of the most awesome family-food-related (and sometimes not so food related) content on the web.

Did you know that May 16 is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day? (Did you know that I double heart Jamie Oliver? Sigh.) It’s all about getting our kids excited about cooking and eating REAL, wholesome food. I’m in.

I am just a little obsessed with making chicken breasts taste good (as you might know), and this Pretzel Chicken with Creamy Mustard Sauce from Family Bites just might do it!

Have you ever been at a dinner party or restaurant where everyone is glued to their phones?

I almost bought this.

Would you consider joining a family dinner co-op?

A 3-step plan for travelling with kids.

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