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What’s new at McDonald’s & A Giveaway.

What’s new at McDonald’s & A Giveaway.

Have you stopped by McDonald’s lately? You should.

There are a lot of new things happening with McDonald’s. From the cool new additions on the My McD’s McDonald’s app to the fantastic Create Your Taste table service burger experience. It is definitely worth a trip. If you have a smart phone take a few minutes to download the new McDonald’s app before you do. To download the app search My McD’s or McDonald’s Canada in the Apple and Android App Stores.

The app has a plethora of information and setting up an account is super easy. Once your account is all set up you can explore all the app has to offer.  It has the nutritional information for all the menu items to help you make more informed decisions. It will show you where the closet McDonald’s locations are. And best of all, there are Mobile Offers to help you save money when you are eating on the go! You can redeem the mobile offers at the drive thru, the front counter and at the kiosk.

There is also something new happening at McDonald’s you MUST check out. You have probably seen the commercials for the new table service burger experience called Create Your Taste. Using the kiosk you build your burger from scratch starting with the bun or lettuce wrap, through the amazing list of condiments to the fantastic toppings, like caramelized onions or crispy fried onions to sauted mushrooms, guacamole or the spectacular sundried tomato pesto (seriously try the pesto, they should sell it by the jar!) You can add additional paddies, each one a 1/3 pound of Angus Alberta beef and bacon to finish it off. The kiosk makes it vey easy to create your burger and you have options for sides like poutine, regular McDonald’s fries or salad.

Once your order is placed and paid for you take a tracker and head to your table.

Create Your Taste table service burger experience at McDonlds from Nutmeg Disrupted

Your order is now being prepared in a special Create Your Taste section of the kitchen and will be brought to your table along with your drinks.

Create Your Taste build a burger table service experience at McDonalds from Nutmeg Disrupted

I have to say the burgers are fantastic! You really have to try it. These are not the McDonald’s burgers you have had in the past. I have had to opportunity to try the Create Your Taste experience twice now, once at a Gastropost Outpost event when they rolled out the program and once last week. The new Create Your Taste burger is comparable to the big box sit down restaurant burgers……only better. Seriously, I can’t say enough about it, tasting is believing.

If you are on Instagram do a quick search of the #createyourtasteCA hashtag to see how creative people are getting with their burgers.

We would loved you try the My McD’s App and the Create Your Taste table service burger experience. We have one $25 gift card, supplied  by McDonald’s to giveaway so your next visit will be on them! All you need to do is be a Twitter follower and share this post on Twitter! The winner will be announced on the 21st of September.

disclosure: The opinions in this post are my own. I was given a gift card to try out the My McD’s app. McDonald’s is supplying the gift card for this giveaway. This contest is only open to my Canadian readers.

 

 

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Char-Broil Gratitude Post & the birth of a smoker.

Char-Broil Gratitude Post & the birth of a smoker.

I have been wondering how to start this post for a while now. It came to me quite clearly  a few days ago to just simply share the story I have been telling so many in the journey to build this smoker. Because how else do you let the world know of a company with customer service so outstanding that you want everyone to own their products? Of a company that stepped up way way above and beyond. A company I had the pleasure of working with last spring when they rolled out their Life Is Better Bbqed campaign.

Of course I am talking about Char-Broil.

My replacement Char-Broil BBQ on Nutmeg Disrupted

In the spring of 2015 I did a 3 post project for Char-Broil. They had a Spring campaign going on with Lowes and I was honored to be a part of it. As you know we love BBQ on Nutmeg Disrupted and to work with such an amazing team was a dream come true. I received a gorgeous Char-Broil BBQ from Lowes to review and grill with for the campaign. The BBQ was mine to keep.

Flash forward a few weeks after the campaign wrapped up standing in line at Starbucks…

My phone buzzed, it was a text from my son. A huge storm was rolling into town and a tree was down in the backyard. As I was standing there I was struck with a bit of panic. Tree down. Which tree. No way it could be the 1000+ pound tree beside the deck. Then he sent a photo from the inside of the house through the patio door. All you could see was leaves.

Indeed it was said tree.

I paid for my coffee then quickly made the 70 minute trip home.

A huge maple tree down from a summer storm.

Massive tree down during a summer storm on Nutmeg Disrupted

A bbq crushed by a massive tree on Nutmeg Disrupted

That was what I found when I arrived home.

I was devastated. Yes that is a bold statement to make about a BBQ, but in that moment I was completely devastated. It took a couple of days to get the tree bucked up and retrieve the crushed grill. Almost every inch of it was damaged.

The evening the tree fell I had Tweeted about the storm and the sad fate of my BBQ. I was thankful no one was hurt, had anyone been grilling out back I can’t even imagine how that would have ended. The smoker that was on the deck took a hit and was damaged but the full weight of the tree was on the BBQ.

What happened next was something so unexpected and wonderful.

Within 24 hours of my BBQ misfortune I had been contacted by the marketing company that represented Char-Broil during the Lowes campaign.

Char-Broil had heard about what happened and they wanted to make it right and send me a new BBQ to replace the one that was crushed. Talk about a company standing behind their product! Because I had done some work for them they were willing to replace their product, not because they had to, simply because they wanted to. Now that is a brand I want to stand behind and do business with.

I may have cried a little when I received that news. BBQ is a passion and to have not only my smoker but my BBQ also taken out in a brief moment was a huge loss.

Char-Broil customer service on Nutmeg Disrupted

After the tree was cleared away we took apart the BBQ to salvage any of the good parts. It felt like a such a waste tossing out such a new piece of equipment and the goal now was to repurpose what we could. Immediately it was decided that we would build a smoker. The only pieces not damaged were the handles off the doors, the temperature gage, the logo and the heating element area of the grill, though bent it was still functioning. With the salvaged bits stored away we set off with a plan of building a smoker. We had an idea of what we wanted for the body of the smoker and scoured the ads for upcoming auction sales. Everything we looked at was just not quite what we had envisioned until one day while in Canadian Tire after a year long search we found the perfect body for our new smoker.

Shopping for a new smoker body on Nutmeg Disrupted

The vision has always been to build a large smoker. Something substantial so that we had the area to do a large cook. Having catered weddings and hosted pig roasts we have had the opportunity to use some very large BBQs and we wanted our smoker to not only be impressive but have the power to do the job.

Adding the Char-Broil details to the new smoker on Nutmeg Disrupted

From there everything started to fall into place. In conversation with Brian our butcher we mentioned that we were building a smoker and he gave us a great idea as to what we could use for the racking inside the unit. The heating element was a close fit and with a bit of work the smoker started to coming together.

Fitting the heating element into the new smoker on Nutmeg Disrupted

We did a few small trial runs to work out the kinks and cooked for an event mid summer.

The first offical cook with the new smoker on Nutmeg Disrupted

The smoker has been getting a lot of attention, it is a gorgeous piece of equipment and with every inquiry I share my Char-Broil story.

In closing I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Char-Broil. Not only have you made this girls BBQ dreams continue, you make a product that I love and your customer service is unmatched. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Caesar Salad

It all started when I spotted a photo of a Grilled Caesar salad on Instagram from the Canola Eat Well team. I had heard of grilling romaine before but had never tried it. I love Caesar salad and I BBQ as often as I use the stove so it was high time I grilled some lettuce.

Grilling the romaine makes it very tender and gives the salad an amazing texture. The dressing is so fresh with the perfect hit of garlic and fantastic tanginess from the balsamic vinegar and grainy mustard. The buttery fruitiness of the reggiano is the perfect finish to compliment the dressing.

The recipe looks long with a lot of ingredients but it is actually quick and easy once the mise en place is done. Arranging the ingredients takes more time then preparing the actual salad. You will find that after you make the salad once you will be able to get it together and plated within 15 minutes.

A quick note: make extra croutons. They are so good you may find yourself and anyone else hanging around the kitchen snacking on them while dinner is getting prepped!

Grilled Caesar Salad

Romaine Hearts

2 lemons – zested

2 tablespoons of canola oil

croutons:

cheese bread sticks – cubed

2 tablespoon of canola oil

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

pinch of dried parsley

pinch of dried basil

salt and pepper

dressing:

2 cloves of garlic – grated

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of grainy mustard

2 tablespoons of grated parmigiana reggiano

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1/4 cup of canola oil

 

For the croutons: Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a pan over medium. Add the cubed bread sticks, tossing to coat. Cook until nice and toasty, 5 – 6 minutes. Add the garlic powder, a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of grated parmigiana reggiano and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and the dried herbs,  stirring well.  Pour into a large bowl and let cool.

making croutons for grilled caesar salad on Nutmeg Disrupted

For the dressing: In a small bowl combine the grated garlic, balsamic vinegar, grainy mustard, 2 tablespoons of grated reggiano, Worcestershire  and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. Whisk in 1/4 cup of canola oil. Set aside.

Drizzle the romaine hearts and halved lemons with 2 tablespoons of canola oil.

Grill the romaine hearts and lemons over medium high heat flipping as needed. The romaine is done when it has a nice char on the edges.

grilling romaine hears for grilled caesar salad on Nutmeg Disrupted

To serve place a romaine heart on a plate, slice in half length wise. Top with croutons, dressing, freshly grated parmigiana reggina and finish with squeezing the juice of half a grilled lemon over everything.

grilled caesar salad from Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

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Nourish – Quinoa Crunch Cereal

Nourish – Quinoa Crunch Cereal

Welcome to the Nourish cookbook review, blog hop and giveaway! Join myself and 18 Canadian bloggers as we share some spectacular recipes and a chance to win your own copy of Nourish.

Nourish cookbook review on Nutmeg Disrupted

I was beyond thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Nourish. When I heard about the premise behind the recipes for Nourish I was excited. If you have ever wanted to get more seeds, nuts and beans into your cooking this is the book for you! I cook with all 3 and to have a book dedicated to whole food recipes incorporating them, that is a cookbook I know I am going to use and enjoy.

Snack from the cookbook Nourish on Nutmeg Disrupted

Enjoy some Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, Curried Tomato & Lentil Dal Dip, a Frozen Fruit Smoothie and some Spicy & Sweet Toasted Seeds! (pictured above)

This fantastic book is a collaboration from Nettie Cronish, chef, instructor and cookbook author  & Cara Rosenbloom, Registered Dietitian. And what a spectacular collaboration it is!

Nourish is packed full of information about seeds, nuts and beans. From preparation methods to cooking times, descriptions of seeds, nuts and beans and the health benefits they all bring to the table. As well and a handy shopping list and how to shop for a healthy kitchen and pantry. I found it very informative and took a lot away from the suggestions.

Nourish is a combination of regular, vegetarian and vegan recipes, which I love. We are meat eaters in my home but enjoy vegetarian and vegan dishes often. If you have never tried vegan dishes before I encourage you to try a few. In my experience they are some of the most flavourful dishes I have eaten. It is easy to eat healthy when you have amazing recipes.

Quinoa Crunch Cereal from Nourish on Nutmeg Disrutped

Always looking for new breakfast ideas I had to try the Quinoa Crunch Cereal. If you have never tried toasted quinoa you are missing out. It gets a unique nutty flavour and the crunch is fantastic. Mix that with almonds and sunflower seeds with a touch of maple syrup and you have a sweet toasty almost buttery topping for yogurt, as a cereal or just by the handful! This far exceed my expectations. I keep opening the container for nibbles and the aroma is fabulous.

Quinoa Crunch Cereal

2 cups (500ml) quinoa, rinsed

1 cup (250ml) sliced, raw almonds

1/4 cup (60ml) raw sesame seeds

2 tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons (30ml) organic canola oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Line a rimed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together quinoa, almonds, sesame seeds, maple syrup and oil. Spread on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake until toasty and fragrant, 10 – 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
  5. Store cereal in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Serve atop yogurt or with milk.

Quinoa crunch cereal from Nourish on Nutmeg Disrupted

Be sure to check out the entire amazing #NourishBloggers team below to see more amazing dishes from Nourish and multiple chances to win your own copy of Nourish.

Heather from The Tasty Gardener

Kelly from Kelly Neil Photography

Tiffany from Eating Niagara

Hilary from Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable

Regina from Leelalicious

Gwen from Devour and Conquer

Erin from How to Eat

Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Stephanie from Kitchen Frolic

Caroline from Do it All Working Mom

Libby from Libby Roach

Katrina from Kitchen Trials

Laureen from Art and the Kitchen

Emily from Best of this Life

Lauren from Lauren Follet Nutrition

Zannat from Food for Happiness

Sarah from Kiwi and Bean

Charmian from The Messy Baker

Thank you Whitecap Publishing for supplying the complementary copy of Nourish for this review and for the giveway!  All opinions are my own. And a big thank you to Heather for asking me to participate.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Best of luck to all who enter.

To enter: Post a blog comment below answering the following question – What is your favourite dish using nuts or seeds?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside.

No purchase necessary to enter. 

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 12:01am to end on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 11:59pm. Winner is chosen at random via Rafflecopter. Winner will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to respond.  If not, a new winner will be chosen. Winner selected MUST correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question. Winner’s name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. 

Prize value is approximately $30CDN.

 Spicy Roasted Chickpeas from Nourish on Nutmeg Disrupted

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Making Bacon

Making Bacon

You have to wonder who thought it was a good idea to take a chunk of pork belly, rub it with sugar, salt and spices and after allowing it to rest for a few days decided it needed a nice layer of smoke with a few hours spent in the smoker.

Making bacon at home with Nutmeg Disrupted

Pretty damn delicious decision.

It has been an interesting process of learning and research since deciding to make bacon at home. It was spurred by a recent visit with some of our oldest friends out at their farm. They have been raising pigs for a while now and after spending time out at their place it brought back many memories of when we had pigs of our own. We raised 2 kinds of pigs. Over the years we had both domestic pigs and we also had a large herd of wild boar. We would have pig roasts of wild boar that would turn into weekend long events!  And it was those events from which my passion for BBQ began.

After much discussion it was decided that we would buy a pig to butcher once they grow to a good sized weight.

And with pork on our mind our thoughts naturally turned to bacon.

Many things have graced the racks of the smoker but we have yet to make bacon. So with that in mind the research began. Any new smoking adventure always requires some research. in some cases you are working with expensive cuts of meat and while trail and error is a good way to learn it is always a good idea to do some research to find a starting point.

The first thing you need to find to make bacon is curing salt. The second thing you will need is time because as we quickly learnt it takes time to make bacon. It is easy to make, but after a few batches in there are step that definitely affect the final product. Taking your time is imperative to a superior end result. Do not rush, rushing will only leave you disappointed. The goal here is bacon, not seasoned side pork.

Curing salt should not be hard to find. It is available in stores that carry wood chips, smokers and BBQ products. We could not find just curing salt but we did find a bacon cure kit which has a mixture of curing salt and maple sugar. If you can not find that specific kit there are jerky making sets available that contain the curing salt required to make bacon. You can also search for online sources if you have trouble finding it locally.

Curing bacon on Nutmeg Disrupted

The pork belly is available in the meat section where I shop. If it is not on the shelf just ask your butcher. Be sure to get it with the rind on.

Pork belly being prepped for curing and smoking to make bacon from Nutmeg Disurupted

The list of ingredients is short. You will also need some large Ziplock bags.

pork belly

cure – 2 tablespoons per pound

brown sugar – 2 tablespoons per pound

Place the pork belly on a cookie sheet with an edge. (this is purely for easy clean up) Rub the pork belly on all sides with the cure. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of brown sugar and rub all over the pork. Place each piece of pork belly into individual ziplock bags, removing as much air as possible and seal. Place in the fridge.

Now the next part depends on the thickness of the pork belly. In doing the research for this we discovered variations of how many days you want to brine the pork bellies for. The idea is the thicker the cut the longer the brine time.

For the first batch the pork was an inch thick. We brined it for 2 days, flipping the pork over every 12 hours. We did a short brine as the pork was quite thin and we were concerned that the bacon may end up being too salty. The second batch was much thicker at close to 2 inches. We brined those for two days, flipping the pork every 12 hours. At the end of the entire smoking process we found that the second batch did NOT brine long enough. It definitely should have been left for another 2 days. It was good but there was definitely room for improvement. This is the part you do not want to rush. It takes the meat from being side pork to bacon.

A good rule of thumb is to brine it for 2 days per inch of thickness.

*notes: Some sites say to keep the pork in the brine for up to a week to 10 days. My main concern is having too salty of a product leaving it that long. My suggestion is too experiment and see what works for you.

Once the pork has been brined for the adequate period you can move to the next step.

Remove the cured pork bellies from the bags and rinse well under cold water. Place the pork, rind side down in a container and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the pork for 24 hours. This step is very important. During this stage the pork is forming pellicle, the proteins are forming a skin over the meat for which the smoke will adhere to. Do not skip this stage, it is what gives the pork belly the smoky bacon flavour.

 

Getting the smoker ready!

 

Applewood is the preferred wood of choice in most of our smoking. If apple is not available cherry is the second choice. Use the kind that you like! We like the smaller wood chips and we do not wet the chips. We like a fast heavy smoke and from our experience wet chips take longer to get smoking at the level we want.  The liquid used in the smoker this time around was water. The smoker is always preheated and the meat does not go into the smoker until there is smoke. We want the meat cooked with the heat of the smoke not the heat of the smoker.

While you are waiting for smoke, get the pork belly ready for the smoker.

Have the racks in the kitchen so you can quickly get the meat into the smoker with minimal smoke loss. You want the portions of belly to have space between them so they get smoke on the entire surface of each piece. Place the pork with the rind side on top.

Making bacon at home. Smoking pork belly from Nutmeg Disrupted

Place the rack(s) into the smoker and turn down to maintain a temperature of 185 – 200 degrees. We replaced the wood chips once at the one hour mark and smoked the pork for a total of 2 hours. When it was done the racks were pulled out of the smoker and placed on paper towels to cool completely. Once cool the bacon was vacuum packed and placed in the fridge overnight to firm up and absorb the smoke. The longer you can hold off trying it the better the smoke flavour will be.

Frying applewood smoked bacon made at home from Nutmeg Disrupted

Remove the rind and slice to fry. Be sure to take note of the two bacon ends and save them for yourself. They are the smokiest most flavourful part of the bacon. If you sample a slice or two then go back to the saved bacon end you will taste the difference.

 

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