Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

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‘Tis the season to warm up with a mug of hot chocolate – we like to mix up a big batch of our own, rather than rely on packaged instant hot chocolate, to stir into warmed milk throughout the winter. It’s also an easy thing for kids to measure and stir together – no chopping or heat required – to package up and give to their friends, relatives, even teachers and coaches to say thanks during the festive season. All you need is some good cocoa, powdered sugar (which will dissolve more easily than regular sugar) and a handful of mini marshmallows. Set the kids up with some markers to make labels, and your holiday gift giving is halfway done!

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Chocolate-ginger Molasses Crinkles

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‘Tis the season for holiday cookies, and this year these chewy Chocolate-ginger Molasses Crinkles have become one of our go-to recipes for Christmas cookie exchanges. They’re easy to make, fun for kids to roll in sugar, and combine warm cinnamon and ginger with deep chocolate flavour. The recipe makes over 2 dozen, so there’s enough to package up and give away, plus a few to nibble on! Cookies are also perfect for teachers, coaches and other people kids want to thank at this time of year.

Make sure you don’t overbake these; they need to stay chewy. They should be set around the edges, but still soft in the middle – they’ll firm up as they cool.

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Bacon Jam

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We love a good bacon jam — it’s so easy to make in the slow cooker. Make a batch over the holidays and serve it with baguette slices as an easy party food and then spread the leftovers on a flatbread crust for a pre-Christmas pizza night. Read More

Best of Bridge Hamburger Soup Slow Cooker Style

Best of Bridge Hamburger
This slow cooker version of one of the most popular Bridge recipes of all time is just as easy and just as delicious as the classic. And (sacrilege!) we’ve phased out the can of cream of tomato soup. But not to worry, we’ve also included instructions on doing it the much loved, old-fashioned way if you’d still like to use the  tomato soup. 

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Almond and Cherry Granola

Almond and Cherry Granola
Slow cooking makes it easier to avoid burnt granola than with traditional oven versions
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup whole almonds 250 mL
  2. 5 cups large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats 1.25 L
  3. 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 250 mL
  4. 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar 125 mL
  5. 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
  6. 1⁄4 cup butter 60 mL
  7. 1 tbsp vanilla 15 mL
  8. Nonstick cooking spray
  9. 1 cup dried tart cherries 250 mL
Instructions
  1. Coarsely chop almonds, aiming to cut each almond into only 2 or 3 pieces (so they won’t burn as easily).
  2. In a large bowl, combine almonds, oats and coconut. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together brown sugar, salt and butter. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, tossing until everything is well combined and evenly coated.
  3. Spray the bowl of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour in the oat mixture. Cover and cook on high for 30 to 60 minutes or until granola is hot throughout. Stir and cook, uncovered, on high for 1 to 11⁄2 hours, stirring every so often so the edges don’t get too brown. Toward the end of the cooking time, you’ll need to stir more often. Once everything is a couple of shades darker, stir in cherries. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely. Store in a glass jar at room temperature for a few weeks. Makes about 8 cups (2 L).
Notes
  1. Tip: The granola will toast a little faster if you push it up against the side of the slow cooker, leaving a well in the middle.
  2. Variations: Granola adapts well to almost endless variations. Try pecan halves or whole hazelnuts in place of the almonds, or other dried fruits, such as cranberries or chopped dried apricots, instead of the tart cherries. You can even add chunks of dark chocolate to the finished (and completely cooled) granola.
  3. “A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”
  4. — P. J. O’Rourke
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  2. 2 to 3 green onions, chopped
  3. 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  5. 2 tsp grated fresh ginger 10 mL
  6. 1⁄2 cup hoisin sauce 125 mL
  7. Butter or leaf lettuce leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine chicken, green onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger and hoisin sauce in the bowl of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until chicken is very tender.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks. Serve in a bowl, with lettuce leaves alongside to fill, wrap and eat.
Notes
  1. Serves 4 to 6
  2. Variation
  3. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Ditch the ginger and swap 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) Buffalo-style hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot) and 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) butter for the hoisin sauce.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/