Caramel Sauce from a Can? What Sorcery is This?!

When I saw MyFridgeFood.com’s Facebook post earlier this week explaining how to make caramel sauce by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water for two and a half hours, I was intrigued. Well, intrigued and hungry. I love caramel!

MyFridgeFood.com's Facebook post that started this whole story.
MyFridgeFood.com’s Facebook post that started this whole story.

Our Facebook fans pointed out that my caramel sauce would likely end up chock full of BPA – a very real concern. But I wanted to try this so badly! I figured… just once.

Here are the instructions I followed (courtesy of the Facebook post, and verified by several fans:

No Work Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

One can sweetened condensed milk, label peeled off

Instructions:

  • Place can in pot of boiling water, ensuring can is completely submerged. Use a large pot, full enough that it can boil for two and a half hours without boiling dry, and with enough water that the can will stay completely submerged for the same.
  • Boil for 2.5 hours. Check periodically to ensure can is completely submerged.
  • Remove from water and allow to cool completely. This will likely take a few hours.
  • When you open the can, you’ve got dulce de leche!

We ate ours with Granny Smith apple wedges.

Our bedtime snack (I hadn't factored in cooling time) of apples and dulce de leche.
Our bedtime snack (I hadn’t factored in cooling time) of apples and dulce de leche.

Now, our good friend Jen does this often, but without the added chemicals leaching from the can’s lining. Here’s how. Keep in mind we’ve yet to try this, but we do trust Jen!

Almost No Work Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

Sweetened condensed milk (you can open the can)

Instructions:

  • Divide the sweetened condensed milk into canning jars (small ones if you’d like to resist eating it all at once when it’s done). Secure lids. Place jars on top of a tea towel in the bottom of a tall crockpot. Fill with water and heat overnight on low.
  • In the morning, turn off crock pot. Allow to cool completely.
  • Same result as the other recipe!

This is amazing. Dare I say… life changing? Did I mention I love caramel?

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Happy Birthday Nasturtium Smoothie (recipe)

Not looking for any celebration here, but yesterday was my birthday. I went to visit my parents over the weekend and came into a large amount of garden produce – including some nasturtiums. I had this idea that I would use them in a smoothie, and save enough for garnish, so I could have what should feel like a pretty special smoothie on my birthday.

Well, circumstances were against me and I didn’t get around to making my birthday smoothie on my actual birthday, but gosh darnit, I was going to drink that smoothie while the nasturtiums lasted! So, we had it today. The following recipe is totally flexible – feel free to substitute similar flavours or consistencies – but the key for me was keeping the flavours light so that the flower flavours could show through, and keeping the colour nice and peachy-organge so that it would look pretty with the flowers. Your priorities might be different!

Happy birthday or merry unbirthday to all of us!

Happy Birthday Nasturtium Smoothies
Happy Birthday Nasturtium Smoothies

Happy Birthday Nasturtium Smoothie (makes enough for two adults and three kids)

Ingredients:

  1. One frozen banana
  2. 1 cup frozen cantaloupe
  3. 1 pint apricots canned in water
  4. 1/4 cup strawberry/rhubarb butter
  5. 1/4 cup elderflower cordial
  6. Handful of frozen strawberries
  7. Handful of nasturtium blossoms (don’t forget to save one as garnish for each cup!)
  8. 3/4 cup greek yogurt
  9. 1/3 cup hemp hearts

Blend in a blender. Or your fancy-schmancy Vitamix, show-off. Pour into cups, pop a nice straw in there, garnish each cup with a flower. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Guest Post: Liquid Sunshine (with recipe)

When our friend Angela (check out her blog at http://deliciousandhealthfulfood.blogspot.ca) described her Liquid Sunshine recipe to us, it sounded so delicious (and full of magical whole-food properties) that we asked her to write a guest post for our blog, so that we could share it with all of you, too! Here’s what Ange had to say. Enjoy!

I am so thrilled to be doing a guest post for Lindsay and Nicole. I love their on-line store and I have purchased some different lids and straws which have gotten a ton of use this summer. The kids fight over them, they are so well loved.

This spring I discovered a beautiful shop called The Light Cellar which is located in Bowness, Calgary. They have a wonderful selection of herbs, health and super foods, as well as what they call an “Elixir Bar”. This thing is magic. You can order truly scrumptious hot and cold drinks that are just busting with goodness for body and soul. It’s really a gift that we have this place in our city.

Anyways, I like to try to replicate the drinks at home. They sell the ingredients right there and I do my best to mix up my own elixirs for my family.

The cold drink that we really love I have re-named “Liquid Sunshine”. It is called “Solar Charge” at the Light Cellar, and I highly recommend you go try the real thing if you are in Calgary.

I make a big batch of this drink and then store it in cute, small mason jars. The kids like that they are a similar size to store-bought drink-boxes and we throw a couple in the picnic basket when we rush off to this or that. I can also put them in lunches which is a bonus. If I also throw in a couple reusable mason jar drinking lids the kids can drink them in the car, or switch out the lids and sip them at the park or on the go.

I get all the ingredients at the Light Cellar. I did a little editing and had to estimate the proportions. I also added “Amazonian Jungle Tea” as a base, which is a lovely tea to just have in your house. I love it on its own, hot or cold. Because it is a “stick” tea, you need to simmer it for 15 minutes, which means it’s easiest (for me) to make a big batch and store it concentrated in the fridge and then add hot/cold water as needed.

Sea Buckthorn is one of those super foods that is high in Vitamin C and so many other wonderful things that are hard to find elsewhere. Camu Camu is a fruit from South America that is ridiculously high in vitamin C. The flavor is sort of bitter so use a little at a time. It’s also great for smoothies.

Liquid Sunshine. Sunshine in jars!
Liquid Sunshine. Sunshine in jars!

Ingredients: (again, I rarely measure and just sort of plop ingredients in and then taste it and adjust…)

⅓ cup Sea Buckthorn Puree
1.5 T Camu Camu Powder
6 cups cooled Amazonian Jungle tea (must be cooled or it will affect the Sea Buckthorn flavor)
6-8 drops Orange essential oil
6-8 drops Tangerine essential oil
Honey to taste (dissolved in hot water and then cooled again)

To make this, I usually boil a little water to dissolve the honey because it mixes better. Also, the Camu Camu does not really dissolve so I really mix it in, or put a bit in the Vitamix and blend it. You really have to cool the honey/hot water because the Sea Buckthorn tastes rancid if it gets warm at all. This is also true of the puree and the juice. It’s lovely when it’s cool, but be sure to keep it in the fridge. That said, I do take it in the picnic basket and as long as we drink it in a few hours before it gets warm it’s always fine.

 

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Bring It On, Zombie Apocalypse! (About Lindsay)

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that this all started with an intense interest in the apocalypse. A lifelong love of mysteries had led me to books about 2012, which led me to books about peak oil, which introduced me to permaculture and topics like peak soil, the plight of the bees, the state of the economy (this was before the 2008 crash), and on and on. Ever the pragmatist, I accepted that while the poles were likely not going to flip, and we have only a small chance of being buried in ash from a volcanic eruption in Yellowstone, it’s only prudent to be prepared for any eventuality. And thus, a prepper was born.

I do like to joke about the zombie apocalypse, and I feel our world is changing fast in many ways, but rest assured – I’ve got a good head on my shoulders. After about five years of preparing for whatever may come, I’ve learned that preparedness (food storage, financial preparedness, carrying a first aid kit in the car, and knowing how to react in emergency situations) can reduce life stress in general.

Canning and preserving is a great example. My plunge into canning came about as a natural melding of several interests – prepping, of course, but also foraging local wild edibles, learning drying skills, and cooking/food. I have loved learning the skills involved in canning and preserving, but I have also discovered just how nice it is to have shelves and shelves full of home-canned, healthy foods in the basement. During times of financial stress, illness, or when I’m just too lazy to run to the store, being able to walk downstairs and choose a jar as the base of our dinner or snack is comforting, to say the least.

Assorted jars in the basement.
Assorted jars in the basement.

Now that I’ve been canning for a few years, I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. In fact, when for some reason the summer of 2013 proved very overwhelming for me and I was tempted to can hardly anything, my husband begged me to still can tomatoes and salsa – he couldn’t go back to store bought, he said. Indeed, now that we have become accustomed to our favourite home recipes, we’d be hard-pressed to find anything comparable in a store.

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