29 August 2016

Campfire Quesadillas - a summer fire-pit favourite #BornOnTheFarm

By Ed

A few years back, friends introduced us to campfire pie irons. Life improved on that day - especially for those (like us) who camp or have backyard fires on a regular basis. We have experimented with many possible things to put in these amazing, cast-iron pie irons since then and one of the best is -Quesadillas!

Quesadillas are pretty great to begin with, but pie irons kick them up a notch further. At their heart, both linguistically, figuratively and literally is Cheese! So you want to make sure you make a good choice. We opted for Ivanhoe 'Salsa' cheese - a Tex-Mex-tastic blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese with a salsa kick. This cheese could likely stand alone in the quesadillas, but we added a few other things - roasted red peppers and mango salsa specifically.  Here's how it goes together.

You'll need:

  • Campfire Pie Irons (at least 1, but we've found more than one to be a good idea in order to meet demand)
  • Flour tortillas
  • CHEESE (several varieties or the aforementioned Ivanhoe Salsa Cheese - they also have a Smoked Gouda - which would also be amazing!)
  • Cooking spray
  • Roasted red peppers, jalapenos, or any other favourite fillings
  • Optional: precooked chicken, beef or bacon. We went vegetarian this time but go with whatever inspires you.
  • Salsa - we love the one we can every year.

  • Preheat the pie irons: After years of practice, we've found that putting the empty pie irons into the coals to preheat is the best way to start cooking. A couple minutes heats them through and gets them ready to go.

  • Build your quesadillas: We use a slab of old wood on top of our picnic table to assemble the pie iron fixin's. You'll want something that can take the heat and char to avoid messing up your nice table. Open up the pie iron, spray the inside with cooking oil and place a tortilla on one half.  Fill it with your favourite quesadilla stuff (lots of cheese - don't forget the cheese. Did we mention it's in the name?).

  • Fold it up and get cooking: Fold your quesadilla up like a square burrito (this makes it look a little different than your standard quesadilla), carefully close and lock the pie iron and transfer it to some nice warm coals in your fire pit.

  • Check your work! Since every fire is different, monitor the cooking carefully, We pull the pie irons out, sneak a peak inside and turn them over every few minutes depending on the fire. When they look browned and delicious on the outside, they're done. 

  • Transfer to a place to cool and eat! Return to your trusty board and open up your pie iron. Move the quesadilla off to a plate (and build another one - no point in wasting that hot pie iron and nice coals). After cooling for a couple minutes, cut into it and enjoy. Enjoy even more with a bit of sour cream on the side...

Disclosure: We are a part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and we receive special perks as part of our affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are our own.

10 August 2016

How to make a hot tub deck for $250 and 2 hours work (for our very portable Swift Current spa)

By Ed

Several months back, we tried out the Canadian Spa Company's Swift Current model. Our intention had been to try it, drain it and when the weather permitted, move it to our mobile home makeover property.

We liked it so much, it ended up staying in its 'trial spot' for 2 months.

So when we finally got around to draining it for the move, we thought we would add some more details and talk about why we opted for a deck this time too.

We drained it easily.  We used an old garden hose and siphoned it down the driveway. Science! It does have a built-in drain as well, but we had it facing in a less desirable direction, so siphoning it was.

We were thrilled that things once again worked out as described by Canadian Spa Co; the hot tub disassembled, moved and reassembled easily. All of the parts are easy to manage and again - the whole move was accomplished in the back of our RAV-4. This is a huge selling point based on how difficult/expensive it is to move a conventional hot tub.  We didn't need a team of Clydesdales or lumberjacks to move this spa.

The Disassembled Swift Current - post-move. If you could fit all the stuff on this picnic table into your car, you too can singlehandedly move a hot tub

Our intention all along with buying this hot tub was to bring it up to our weekend retreat.  We've been making over our mobile home on the river - (you can read more here.) The kids love playing in the river - catching fish and kayaking - but the place really needed a water feature you could immerse yourself in. And really, who doesn't love a hot tub?

So on to how we built the deck...

27 July 2016

Easy Baguette Recipe (with buttery Spreadables) #BornOnTheFarm

By Ed

Is Robin the only woman who fantasizes about riding her bike with a baguette in the basket?  Ladies, is this a universal female fantasy?

By the time you read this, it will already be done, so I'm not ruining any surprises. In fact, the way we run this here blog, I'll actually have done the surprise, written it up, have Robin proofread the post and then it goes live, so all the spontaneity needs to be up front.

What on earth am I talking about? Well, I'm going to surprise my wife with a picnic in the park. I've got her bicycle basket loaded up.  We will hop on our bikes and pretend we are in France. Her wicker bike basket is ready, loaded with red wine, good cheese, strawberries, chocolate and a fresh, homemade baguette (recipe follows).

I've tucked a tub of Gay Lea Spreadables Butter in the basket.  It's such a great choice when you want to be spontaneous.  Butter seems to be the one item that doesn't go from fridge to table very quickly.  When it's cold (and food safe) butter is really tough to spread on bread.  Spreadables is always ready to go, whether it's to the dinner table with rolls or to the local park in a bike basket with a fresh baguette. It also has heart-healthy canola oil, no preservatives and is a source of Omega 3 (perfect for that Parisian diet you're trying to copy in your local green space).

Et Voila!  Here's the easy baguette recipe I promised...