When the colours of fall turn to gray, it is time to start preparing for the cold. Back to comfort meals cooked in the oven, and while it’s hot, why not throw in some baking treats?
For many years now, I have banned white refined sugar from my grocery list. In all my recipes, I replace sugar with maple syrup and the result is spectacular. For example, I always make my holiday ginger bread cookies with maple syrup. Maple syrup is not only delicious, it is produced locally and it brings a unique and subtle sweet taste to any preparation. Japanese call it the 5th taste or « umami ».
10 Amazing Things to Know About Maple Syrup
1. It is our nation’s pride and joy—the maple tree leaf is on our Canadian flag!
2. Canada is responsible for 82% of the global production—75% of it comes from Quebec.
3. Maple syrup is distributed in 52 countries around the world, including Asia, where it is growing in popularity.
4. Maple syrup contains 54 anti-oxidants, including the newfound Quebecol, which is unique to this product. (A research now in progress will soon reveal that maple syrup also carries anti cancer elements.)
5. It takes 40 pints of maple sap to make 1 pint of maple syrup.
6. Maple syrup is good sugar and it is full of great minerals. 2 tablespoons of maple syrup provides 100% Daily Value of manganese, 37% of riboflavin, 18% of zinc and 7% of magnesium.
7. The first modern wooden sugar shacks was opened in 1868.
8. 2013 was a record year in terms of production, our national reserve now holds 60 million pounds of maple syrup.
9. There are 7,300 maple producers in Quebec only, and the industry creates 10,000 jobs every year.
10. After 7 years of research to market the product, pure maple water is now available for sale in SummerHill Markets and health food stores across Canada. For more info: eauderablenapsi.ca
Maple syrup is great all year round, especially when it gets cold because it is such a heart warmer and a family pleaser. It is also great to try other maple products such as maple butter, which is great for maple truffles or another one of my favourite for the Holiday Season, is Maple Mendiants with maple sugar nuggets.
This is one of my favourite recipes for the Holiday Season.
10 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Maple Syrup
8 oz. of dark chocolate (70% cacao), broken into pieces 250 ml
1 cup maple sugar nuggets
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup whole walnuts (or sunflower seeds), toasted
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
Take a spoonful of melted chocolate and form a disk about 4 cm (1 ½ in.) in diameter on a sheet of parchment paper set on the work surface. Repeat to create 24 mendiants.
Top with the maple nuggets, cranberries, and nuts.
Let set for 2 hours before removing from the paper.
Mendiants will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for two to three weeks.
For more great holiday recipe with maple syrup and other maple products go to ILoveMaple.ca
Running out of ideas for dinner? Try this simple and healthy soup. It is a meal in itself, with chicken, vegetables and pasta. Children just love it because it triggers their imagination. My best friend’s 5-year-old daughter asked me once: “Shooting stars? Does it mean we can make a wish?” So cute!
Heat the oil and sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery for about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and the branch of thyme and let simmer for 7 minutes.
Add the mini corn on the cob and chicken at the end.
Let simmer another 2 minutes and serve with a star shaped crouton.
Tip: While the soup is simmering, get your children involved by letting them make the star-shaped crouton by using a star shaped cookie cutter and a piece of toast.
Health note: Thyme is the number one of all allies of the immune system and kids respond very well to it. Use it a lot, especially during this season when we are more vulnerable to catching what goes around.