One of my favourite things to do in the spring when the snow finally starts to melt is head out to the sugar shack to walk through the maple tree forest and show the kids where and how the iconic Canadian maple syrup is made. Even with warmer weather on the horizon, you can keep that feeling by using maple syrup in these delicious cookies - year round.
This year, as part of our #CanadaWithKids adventures, we ventured about 7 ½ hours north to St. Joseph’s Island, Ontario to visit Gilbertson’s Maple Products. As the largest producer of Maple Syrup in Ontario, every maple syrup season, the Gilbertson family taps 45,000 trees over 500 acres. That's a lot of trees that get drilled by hand. But they need a lot of trees because it takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup!
The kids loved walking through the bush, checking out how the maple sap runs through blue lines (gone are the days of buckets except for a couple set up for the kids to check out) and taking a wagon ride.
Of course, we also stuffed ourselves full of pancakes and maple syrup before heading through the gift shop where we stocked up on Gilbertson’s Maple Syrup, maple sugar, maple tea and my favourite maple sugar candies made right on site.
With all this maple product at home, the kids and I keep coming up with new combinations for cooking and baking but these Maple Syrup Chocolate Chip Cookies are hands-down the winner!
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup real maple syrup
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (the minute oats variety)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
With an electric mixer, mix together eggs, butter and maple syrup.
In separate bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine.
Add chocolate chips and stir gently to combine.
I like to roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet, but the dough is very sticky, so if you prefer, simply use a teaspoon to drop the dough onto a cookie sheet.
Bake in pre-heated 350F oven for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven, when cookies are still soft, but edges are starting to brown/turn golden.
Let cool completely on baking rack.
Adapted from Gilbertson's Springtime Maple Traditions Cookbook
Looking for more kids favourite things to put Maple Syrup on? Check out my Baked Pancakes (with or without chocolate chips) and this Make-Ahead Baked French Toast (just use milk instead of egg nog if it's not egg nog season).
There’s absolutely nothing to say about this BBQ Beef Stir Fry except it’s fast, easy, working mom approved, and can easily be adapted to your kids’ tastes by using their favourite sweet or kicked up BBQ sauce.
Simply toss your veggies in a sauté pan.
Cover and let steam.
Add your beef.
Add your BBQ sauce.
Serve over rice and enjoy!
1 medium head of broccoli, florets only
1 red pepper, sliced
½ onion, sliced into large pieces because my kids pick them out
¼ cup water
1 lb beef, sliced (I often buy the pre-sliced stir fry beef but you can also use ribeye or flank steak, sliced)
½ cup BBQ sauce (any kind your family likes)
4-6 servings of rice, cooked according to package directions
Note: If you don’t feel like chopping veggies, just dump in a bag of your favourite frozen stir-fry blend vegetables, add the water, cover and steam until de-frosted.
Cook your rice according to package directions (sometimes I forget this part when we’re super busy with homework and getting ready for dance/cheer/Taekwondo/baseball/etc… so that’s why I’m putting it up top).
Place vegetables and water into your sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cover and steam veggies approximately 5-6 minutes, checking occasionally to toss and check for doneness.
Remove lid, add beef and sauté for approximately 3 minutes.
Add BBQ sauce, stir to coat until beef has cooked to desired doneness (my kids prefer their beef cooked to medium so I’m always careful not to overcook the beef).
Serve over rice and enjoy!
PS: Looking for a few of my kids’ other super-fast dinners? Try my Meat Lovers Pizza Skillet Pasta, my Easy Cheesy Weeknight Perogies, my One-Pan Chicken and Feta Bake or my Chicken Parmesan Casserole.
There’s something about meat on a stick that makes dinner more fun for the kids. My son wants to eat the meat right off the stick and my girls prefer I slide the meat off and cut into pieces. Either way, this Peanut Butter Chicken Satay recipe (aka Chicken on a Stick) is a hit!
I also love that I can do all the prep-work before heading out the door for the day and when we get home I can just pop them in the oven, make some rice and steam some veggies.
Simply mix your sauce.
Slice chicken into strips.
Put on skewers.
Coat the chicken then refrigerate or bake right away.
Place on baking sheet.
... and enjoy!
2 large chicken breasts, sliced into strips
½ cup peanut butter, we use smooth but crunchy would work too
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
Note: This recipe can easily be doubled for entertaining or freezing.
Add peanut butter, honey and sesame oil into a bowl and stir until combined.
Put chicken strips onto skewers and coat with peanut butter sauce. I use my hands because it’s the fastest way to do it, but it’s definitely a bit messy.
If desired, put the coated chicken into a dish, cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours. This is not a requirement, but I like to do the prep work before school/work and then all I have to do before dinner is bake!
Place chicken onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in pre-heated 350F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through and flipping at the half-way mark.
Serve with rice and veggies and enjoy!
PS: Looking for some of my other ridiculously easy chicken recipes? Try my One Pan Chicken and Feta Bake, my Weeknight Chicken Fried Rice, my Chicken Parmesan Casserole and my Easiest Slow Cooker Roast Chicken Dinner (yes - an entire chicken in the slow cooker!).