I’m not crying… you’re crying

Cecil Day-Lewis wrote in the poem ‘Walking Away’ ~ “selfhood begins with a walking away and love is proved in the letting go”…  turns out – there are many resources online to help you navigate the murky waters of your children moving out of your home…  and I have been pouring over these resources this last week hoping that it would patch and heal something that feels completely broken in my heart…  my heart hurts…

our sons, Brandon (17) and Ethan (15) both moved into their dorm rooms last week in Caronport, SK to attend high school there, play for Prairie Hockey Academy and also play football there… easily this has been the hardest parenting decision for the farmer and I to make… also a terribly hard decision that each boy had to make… it is a decision that many kids have to make in high school and now I begin to understand the weight of it…  you are losing your child and no one can prepare you for it…

I headed with the boys to Moose Jaw and left Sienna at home for her first day back to school (which broke my heart that I wasn’t there for it)… it had rained so the farmer was able to coach his football practice and then drive down to help with the orientation and moving in process… as I sat through the grade 12 meeting (the farmer went to the grade 10 meeting) I started to feel like I was going to throw up…  I used to battle anxiety attacks (mainly due to storms), but really have not had one in over 10 years at least… I still know what one feels like and I was worried that I was about to black out and really embarrass my son on the first day…

we were able to get out of the meeting with nothing horrible happening and had to go through class selections, finances, ID pictures, sports sign ups, campus tour, hockey meeting, first football practice and dorm setup…  it felt like four days all piled into one after a decently relaxing summer…

the saving grace for me was that the boys were busy and I was able to set their rooms up all on my own with no arguing with them over where things were going to go…  the entire time I still felt like I couldn’t swallow due to a lump in my throat and again the feeling of dizziness and possibly throwing up was always there… (if you see pale faced moms on the first day of school, watch out for vomit)

I was telling myself that I had no time to truly prepare for this…  well, I suppose I have had 17 years but you never really are preparing for them to leave… and of course Facebook hits me every day now with updates of how fantastic harvest used to be with the boys at home…

losing two in one day is almost more than I could take…  the farmer was so wise, as we were leaving town and the sobbing had begun, he came out of the convenient store with an ice cream bar for me…  this is proven – one cannot sob and eat ice cream at the same time...  genius…

that day was more draining than any marathon or ultra marathon I have ever been in… but I didn’t realize that some of the hard days are yet to come…  the daily reality of living with your child no longer at home and worrying about their welfare is depleting and draining… I texted a friend today that has been through more stress than anyone I know “have you ever lost your hair and eyelashes?” …  she replied that she has had just about every side effect of stress except for that one…  so I am still searching for how to keep my hair and lashes on my head…

I have been a stay-at-home mom with these boys for all their years…  it was a decision the farmer and I made when Brandon was born and we decided that I could do all the work of bookkeeping, raising the kids and all the other things that come along with farming…  it hasn’t always been easy being a stay-at-home mom…  it has come with many struggles but now that they are gone and it is just the farmer and Sienna left with me, I feel fortunate to have been here with the boys for every step of their journey – literally 🙂

having a job outside of the house can provide structure and distraction, but by no means immunization from the loneliness and sadness a parent will feel when their child moves away…  I have seen this with the farmer…  he has enough distraction and work that you would think he wouldn’t notice that the boys are not home…  yet it has been just as hard on him as it has been on me… coaching a football team without them on it, farming without them, watching the NFL opening Sunday football games without them…  it is all such a change and everyday I feel like something is missing…

a good friend said it so well to me “our kids are so much a part of us and we spend so much time ‘parenting’ when they’re younger.  and then when they are older we get to relax a bit and really appreciate who they are as people and that place they hold in our hearts expands.  they each have their own piece of your heart because they are a part of you.  so when they leave, they take a part of your heart with them.  but I think they can feel that piece they took with them – where they are.”

now at this point of my sob story, I’m sure it is crossing your mind… ‘but did you not pay for this schooling?’  and  ‘are they not excited for this change and opportunity to do new things and meet new people?’ … yes, of course we all decided this was something we wanted and are very excited about…  and that does trump the sadness and loneliness of missing them…  but it doesn’t mean that it’s not there…

corn slaw with peanut butter lime dressing

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Lime Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tbsp cold water (or more)

Corn Slaw:

  • 3 cups corn
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (or I use a spiralizer)
  • 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely sliced
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

  • I made the dressing in a Vitamix blender (because I tripled it) but you can either make it in a blender or just shake it together… it should be runny
  • combine all of the corn slaw ingredients except the peanuts
  • pour dressing over and add salt and pepper as needed
  • you can keep this is the fridge, when ready to serve add the peanuts on top

I’m not sure exactly how this parent-child separation thing is supposed to work… but ideally I get to be as sad and miserable as I want to be and they need to be loving life and happy and joyous and constant pillow fights… ok, now it’s sounding like a summer camp I went to…  I actually think they are still in school and it’s decently hard work they are doing…  along with two sports…  so maybe no energy for pillow fights…

the main point is me = sad, boys = happy…  is that too much to ask?  and then I realize I have my little side-kick here at home with me…

not only did Sienna lose her brothers but she inherited all of their jobs…  and add to that a mom who possibly has alopecia…

so she is slightly ruining my pity party… one of the big changes for her is she used to get away with everything because I was focused somewhat on the boys… and now all I have to focus on is her so I notice everything she does… or doesn’t do…  and I want to hover over her and do her hair and nails and have a girls evening where we can watch Netflix and eat ice cream… (to prevent crying)

korean beef sloppy joe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup hoisin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbps soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 4 buns

Directions:

  • in a large skillet, brown the beef and strain
  • add sesame oil to the skillet and garlic
  • add back the beef and the rest of the ingredients
  • serve over a bun (with a slice of havarti cheese, optional)

one of the parenting resources said “never pass the weight of your own grief on to your child”... now, I’m not sure how ‘expert’ this advice is… I personally think my children should suffer in grief with me… every time I fight with the farmer I like the children to be a part of our argument… when I’m mad at someone in town, I like my children to join me in my anger…  how are they going to be able to deal with ‘adult problems’ if they don’t start now dealing with my ‘adult problems’???

but, alas, I have decided to take this parenting advice and hide it from them how melancholy I am… until they see my eyelashes… then the cat’s out of the bag…

they cannot bear the responsibility for my sadness…  it’s not their fault that they spent 9 months in my belly, I spent night after night feeding them in the darkness of the house, when they were sick I laid there awake listening to see if they were breathing, I cried at their first hockey practice and most definitely cried on their first goal, I loved every moment of school lunches and hearing the stories when they got home, car rides (even when they slept), watching them play basketball and football in the yard…

ok – I digress… moral of the story is they can’t feel guilty for how sad their mom is

it has always been very important to the farmer and I to raise kids that were independent and didn’t need us around them to find joy…  we cultured this over the years by traveling and leaving them a lot 🙂 … so I know they are ready for it… and I know it will get better…

but I also know I love being their mom… equal to loving the farmer it has been my greatest joy to be their mother, to fold their laundry, to tell them when a joke is not funny, to cut their hair and tell them they stink and need a shower, to run with them and watch movies with them… to say no to them and tell them why… to watch them succeed and fail and get to be there afterwards…

I know I’m still their mom…  it just feels like they are far away and the way I mother them has to change…  but I am so proud of them and excited for them and hopeful that this will be a good thing… because as parents – that is all we hope for – for our children to find their purpose and joy and hope in life…

strawberry rhubarb crumb bars

Ingredients:

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam:

  • 1 lb (@ 4 cups) rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 lb (@ 4 cups) strawberries, hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the Bars:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (or more) strawberry rhubarb jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

  • prehead oven to 350 degrees
  • line an 8” pan with a sheet of greased foil
  • for the jam: combine the ingredients in a medium pot over low heat… stir regularly for 10-15 minutes…  cool in a bowl
  • combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl
  • stir in the butter until the mixture is consistent
  • pack 2/3 of the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan and press down
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • when finished, spread the jam on top and add the berries
  • mix the pecans with the remaining oat mixture and crumble on the top
  • bake for 25 minutes
  • allow to cool completely before cutting
  • keeps in fridge but does not freeze well

tortellini broccoli chicken casserole and lemon zucchini cake

on Saturday I was told no suppers at 10 am…  then I proceeded to make up suppers anyways because I had all the ingredients bought and had to use them up…  at 3:45 pm I see a train of green combines whir past my place and sure enough they are combining…  I smile and think “Catherine, you are so smart… you are ready for this”...

then it rains at 6:00 pm… I can handle this a few times but really hoping we start to get some days where their meal actually reaches the field!

if you are ever in a pinch for a salad – I had bought this chickpea/pasta salad from Costco and my family always loves it…  I also get some grape tomatoes and cut them up to put in it to make it look and taste a bit more homemade…

I have been getting chickens and beef from a neighbour of ours for years now and my little friend Edie raises the best little chickens… well not so little as this one was 9 lbs… I have been a vegetarian for over two years now, but I still have to have meat for the farmers and my family… so sourcing out fairly treated animals is very important to me and little Edie treats these chickens very well…

this is the part of the meal that I don’t love… well that and the dead chicken…  for some reason I hate tortellini pasta…  but it is an absolute favourite of my children…  I used it for this dish as it holds up well to being in a casserole

now these I do love… mushrooms…  nothing better than mushrooms with butter and onions and garlic…  mmmmmm…. (mine were very runny so I had to drain these before putting them in the bowl with the rest of the casserole ingredients to mix together)

blanching the broccoli keeps it in good shape for going into a casserole dish…  this means you boil it for no longer than 2 minutes and then immediately get it nice and cold again to stop the cooking…

and now… for the ooeeee-goooeeeyyyy sauce I made up…  cream cheese goodness

finished product that headed to the freezer…  I am pretty sure this will freeze and cook up well but I will let you know if for some reason it doesn’t!!!

tortellini chicken broccoli casserole

  • Servings: one casserole
  • Print

Ingredients:
8 oz pkg uncooked pasta (I used tortellini, rotini is also a good choice)
1 lb of broccoli florets (around 2 heads of broccoli), cut into bit size pieces
2 tbsp butter
1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 a block)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Directions:
for the chicken, I just cook up a whole chicken and use the leftovers for lunch meat
for the pasta, boil a large pot of water with salt and add the pasta until al dente – do not overcook… strain and place in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together
for the broccoli, boil for a few minutes and then strain and cool in cold water – you cannot overcook the broccoli
in a saucepan, saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in the butter (strain this if it is too runny)
add the broccoli and onion mixture to the pasta in the large bowl
in the saucepan, melt butter and add flour and whisk… then add the chicken stock slowly and then the cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper
add one cup of the grated cheddar cheese to melt and pour over the pasta mixture in the large bowl and add the chicken and mix well
using a spatula, scrape out all the contents of the bowl into a greased 9×13 pan
sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top
bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes

garden zucchinis go well with chocolate – but also with lemons!!!

this is one of my favourite things…  mixing together sugar and lemon zest with my fingers… the smell of it is so great and I know the taste will be even better

I’m not exactly sure when we decided that putting zucchini into cakes somehow made the cake healthy… but I have it in my mind that here is a healthy form of a cake… even though I see the amount of sugar, butter and cream cheese going into it…

this makes more than enough icing to cover up the ‘healthy’ cake

I put this iced cake in the fridge overnight and it cut up nicely the next day…  and now my freezers are officially full…  fingers crossed the combines can be in the fields for a few suppers this week!

lemon zucchini cake with cream cheese icing

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

For the Icing:

  • 8 ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×13 pan
  • in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt
  • in a mixing bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest (rub together with you fingers until fragrant)
  • add the oil and beat… add one egg at a time and then lemon juice and vanilla
  • add the dry ingredients and then the zucchini – do not overmix
  • pour into the greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes or until done
  • for the icing, in a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter and scrape down
  • add the icing sugar and combine
  • add the lemon juice, lemon zest and salt
  • spread the icing over the cake when it is completely cooled
  • I like to put plastic wrap over this cake and put it in the fridge and cut it the next day

2019 harvest begins

for farmers… August is not summer…  August is harvest or waiting for harvest (the latter option being worse on the farmer’s family) … so we are very thrilled to begin our harvest this year…  seeding went well and then no rain in the spring made us question whether harvest 2019 would be necessary…

harvest is always a time to be grateful that the crop made it through the season and now we can try to get it in before who knows what weather comes our way… this year in particular, with the poor rainfall and the uncertainty of selling our grain (or worse selling it and not being paid for it), there has been a bit more I would say than the normal stresses of farming…

when my older son talks to me about what to pursue in college and his future possibly in farming, I tell him not to ask us this year our opinion 🙂

the tricky part of cooking for farmers is knowing whether or not meals to the field will be needed…  I have been told many times that they won’t be combining in the morning, only to receive a text at 4:30 pm saying that they are going and need twelve suppers…  if it’s not too much trouble…

living in the middle of nothing also has it’s challenges as far as meal planning and grocery shopping… I need to plan my meal for the week and do one big haul of groceries… and then I need to use them, no matter if they are combining or not…

so I’ve developed the habit of no matter what, if it is my day to cook I just go through the motions like we are combining and cook everything up and either have leftovers for days or the freezer gets full…

this was a new take on a broccoli salad for me… I have a son that hates mayo and so I thought to do a tahini based dressing for the broccoli salad… cooking for twelve men also has it’s challenges when planning the menu because my guess is they don’t all love the same food… some are on diets, others don’t eat vegetables, some could put back two suppers and others live on next to nothing…  one common factor they all have is that by 6:30 pm when suppers arrive at the field they all tend to be hungry and this can make cold food, bad food or new food taste wayyyyyyy better…

there is some motivation for me to make salads that I am interested in or enjoy with the thought in mind that if I don’t get it out to the field, I might be eating quite a few of these salads in the next few days and they better be yummy!  the boys tasted it and said it was good, but they also are basically starving in August around here…  I have a rule they do their own breakfasts and lunches and I will provide supper…  so the boys just starve…  I told them I heard intermittent fasting is actually a very popular diet right now… you are welcome…

broccoli blueberry salad

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
1 bag Costco broccoli, cut up into finely chopped pieces
4 cups shredded carrots
1 cup (or more if you like them) dried apricots (or your preference for dried berries)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
3 cups fresh, firm blueberries (or use frozen and add on the top)
For the Dressing:
3/4 cup drippy tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice (around 2-3 lemons)
1/2 cup warm water (to thin it, maybe more)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
cut up the broccoli into very small pieces
place in a large mixing bowl
add the grated carrots, dried apricots, onion, cilantro and parsley
in a blender (Vitamix), add all the dressing ingredients and blend until combined and pourable
pour over the broccoli salad and mix
you can store this in the fridge overnight if needed
when you are ready to serve, add the almonds, pumpkin seeds and blueberries

it might take 2 hours to get to the closest Costco, but it only takes minutes to grab some produce from the garden…  (feels like even less when you make your kids do it for you)

they always like seeing who can find the largest beet…

so on the days that they really don’t know if they will be combining, this is always a great option because it costs me nothing and you can whip up a dinner with beets, carrots, potatoes and some meat in just a few hours or less…

in my opinion, straight from the garden, these veggies taste like candy they are so sweet – how could anyone not eat veggies!?!?

we’ve done this method of taking suppers out for quite a few years now and still loving it…

noted: if your chocolate zucchini cakes comes with sprinkles, there is a good chance that an eleven year old girl made it for you

chocolate zucchini cake with sprinkles

Ingredients:

For the chocolate zucchini cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (or you can sift with the flour)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray
  • in a medium bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder and add the baking soda and salt… whisk together and set aside
  • in a mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, canola oil, butter and buttermilk and beat to combine
  • add eggs, one egg at a time and then add vanilla
  • add the dry ingredients in two batches and lightly combine – do not overmix
  • add the zucchini and chocolate chips
  • pour the cake batter into the 9×13
  • back for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • let the cake cool completely
  • for the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and scrape down
  • sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder and add
  • slowly add the milk and vanilla and salt
  • beat until fluffy
  • frost the cooled chocolate zucchini cake and add sprinkles on the top!!!!
  • cut into squares and serve – freezes well

from my viewpoint upon delivering suppers, it did look like they might still be working some of the kinks out that come with the start of harvest… we thought it slightly resembled bumper cars…  six combines all running into each other…

wishing everyone a safe, yummy and speedy harvest… with many pies and goodies to keep you awake during the long days…

meal to field made simple

for tonight’s seeding meal to the field, Costco was a big time saver…  they have a new item in the freezer section that will make your black bean/corn salad making days a dream!

this Vitality Blend was perfect for making a salad in a flash…

I made up a simple dressing for this and the salad took around 15 minutes to make

Vitality Blend Black Bean/Corn Salad

Ingredients:
– 8 cups Vitality Blend frozen edamame beans, black beans, kidney beans and corn
– 3 red peppers, chopped
– 8-10 tbsp lime juice
– lime zest
– 6 tbsp canola oil
– 4 tbsp maple syrup
– salt and pepper

Directions:
– in a large bowl, combine all the ingredients
– ready to eat once the frozen beans and corn have thawed
– keeps well in the fridge

with the Instant Pot – cook skinless, chicken breasts for 10 minutes on manual with some bbq sauce, drain, shred and place back in the pot with some bbq sauce on slow cook for the perfect shredded chicken

I used Harvarti cheese for the Quesadillas… and sautéed peppers… super simple and very tasty…  on spring evening full of baseball, homework and weekends to get ready for, simple meals like this are wonderful

my first flip of the quesadilla I burnt my wrist… I packed little containers of sour cream with these and you could also add Pico de Gallo or Salsa if you had that kicking around

Instant Pot shredded chicken quesadillas

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs skinless chicken breasts

– bbq sauce

– 12 large flour tortillas

– cooking spray

– 2 1/2 cups grated cheese (Havarti)

– 3 bell peppers, sliced(whatever colour you have)

– 1/2 large red onion, sliced(optional)

Directions:

– in an Instant Pot, place raw chicken breasts with some bbq sauce

– on manual, cook for 10 minutes

– strain and shred

– place back in pot with more bbq sauce and some hot water

– place on slow cook mode to keep warm

– place the bell pepper slices and red onion (if you are using it) in a saucepan and saute until soft

– in a large saucepan, bring temperature up to med/high heat

– spray with cooking spray and add one flour tortilla

– spread the cheese, chicken and peppers

– place a shell on top

– when it is time to flip, lightly spray the tortilla shell with cooking spray

– flip and cook on the other side until brown

– transfer to a cutting board and continue on with the other quesadillas

– using a pizza cutter, cut the quesadilla into eight wedges

– serve with pico de Gallo or salsa and sour cream

and now for an easy dessert… kinda the theme of today… seeings how I am nursing an ankle I am getting x-rayed tomorrow…  carrot cake… sugary and satisfying…

carrot cake with streusel topping

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake:

– 2 cups shredded, peeled carrots

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 2 eggs, whisked

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1 cup flour

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Streusel Topping:

– 4 tbsp butter, cubed

– 1/3 cup flour

– 1/3 cup brown sugar

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– in a bowl, combine sugar, eggs and butter

– in another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt

– combine all together the egg mixture, flour mixture and shredded carrots

– in a 9” round greased baking pan, spread the thick carrot cake dough

– in a bowl, mix the streusel topping mixture until it resembles small pebbles of butter

– sprinkle the streusel topping on the cake and bake for 30 minutes

– cool and cut to eat

save it for Facebook

when you are sitting by yourself, watching your daughter’s hockey practice (#girlscanplaytoo) (I forever will find this hashtag humorous) … and a strange man plops himself down beside you and begins the conversation with “I don’t believe we’ve met”…  you know you need to buckle yourself up for a wild ride…

just when you think we have evolved as a species… conversations like this occur…  where someone has not figured out that the only place that people brag about their offspring anymore is on Facebook…

it used to be we had a few options – annual Christmas letters, prayer chains, family reunions – but now I hope most self-aware parents realize the only avenue for pumping little Timmy’s tires is Facebook…

this being said – it did occur to me that Little Timmy most likely is not on Facebook – this is a crucial flaw in what would seem to be the perfect outlet for comparing the accomplishments of our young ones…

“so, which one is yours out there?” I politely ask… this way I am avoiding him telling me his name which I was never going to remember

he points to a girl and then, for context, describes her “the tall, athletic one with the hard shot”  …  before I could point out and describe my daughter, he quickly adds “gets her height and ability from both sides of the family”  

this I was comforted by, as you hate to see the competition ensue when one side is so obviously better than the other side of the family… (no offense to the farmer’s side)

a few things I learned during the 28 minutes I was held hostage in the stands… he was a bit of an ‘athlete’ in his day, still runs but not as fast as his superstar daughter…  he coached his daughter her whole life until now because no one else can get the full potential out of her…  refs hate him… the daughter hasn’t seen a sport that she didn’t dominate at…

I was doing fine handling my end of the dialogue… adding my ‘oh really, oh wow, oh geez’ when it seemed timely…  but when he said these words “we are so active we got rid of cable a few years ago and don’t watch any TV”… I thought I was going to lose my mind…

really?  pardon?  you just bike and rollerblade all evening long? haven’t seen a professional sporting event in three years? you missed Harry and Meagan’s wedding? do I dare bring up Game of Thrones or the 23 seasons of The Bachelor I have consumed?

blueberry pancakes

Ingredients:
– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup milk
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
– zest of one lemon

Directions:
– sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda together in a bowl
– add the salt
– in another larger bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sour cream, butter and vanilla
– add the flour mixture and fold in
– add the blueberries and lemon zest
– in a saucepan, heat some butter
– pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot skillet (generally 3 pancakes per pan)
– cook until bubbles begin to form and pop, around 1 1/2 minutes and then flip and cook for another minute (serve with bacon that has pepper and maple syrup on it)

I could not contain myself anymore and had to say “if my life every got to the point where I had no time for the odd TV show – I would know something had gone terribly wrong”

parenting is a tough gig…  and I for one would not have wanted to do it without the help of ‘the Simpsons”…  #ittakesavillage … when the kids get home from school, ever since the age of Kindergarten, they have tuned into the Simpsons

the farmer and I have always felt that whatever we missed in teaching the children about life would be covered in the hundreds of Simpsons episodes they have viewed…

I was totally with him, the boasting, the ‘one-upping’… I was fine with it all… maybe this is how he chats when he gets nervous or maybe he doesn’t have access to Facebook... 

but when he said his family had no use for a TELEVISION…  he lost all credibility to me… 

instinctually I just can’t trust someone that hates TV…  what has TV ever done to you?  other than entertain you?

worst part is – we live in Saskatchewan!!!  and unless you are at your cabin – it is not overly interesting to be outside…  its not like you are in the mountains of BC…

two questions to ask someone when I meet them

1 – do you love TV?

2 – how do you feel about hugging?

only two things I need to know about someone

matcha raspberry sponge roll cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

– 1 cup sifted cake flour

– 2 tbsp matcha

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

– 1 cup sugar, divided

– 1 tsp vanilla

– icing sugar for dusting

Raspberry Cream Filling:

– 1 cup raspberry jam

– 8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature

– 4 tbsp icing sugar

– 1 pkg raspberries, plus more for garnishing

Directions:

– preheat oven to 375 degrees

– lightly grease a half sheet pan (18”x13”) with baking spray, line with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper with baking spray

– sift the cake flour, matcha and salt together

– in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites

– whisk on high speed until light and foamy

– sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk till medium peaks

– transfer to a clean mixing bowl

– wipe the stand mixer bowl down and add the egg yolks

– whisk until light yellow

– add 1/2 cup sugar

– fold together with egg whites – try not to lose the volume

– sprinkle over the flour mixture and fold together

– pour into the prepared baking sheet

– bake for 10-12 minutes

– dust a clean linen towel with icing sugar

– while warm, turn the cake out onto the linen towel

– remove parchment and roll up

– cool on a wire rack

– for the filling – whip the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth

– add the raspberries

– unroll the cake and spread with raspberry jam

– spread the cream cheese over

– roll up again without the linen towel

– wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the fridge

– dust the cake with icing sugar

– slice into pieces and serve with raspberries

meatloaf & potatoes

“modern love is the enterprise that everyone wants to be a part of, yet there’s a fifty percent divorce rate in round one and a sixty-five percent divorce rate in round two.” (Esther Perel)

I was sick of listening to my normal podcasts that deal with running and vulnerability…  so I ventured out of my comfort zone to listen to some discussing relationships… and I was not disappointed…  if you have not heard of Esther Perel – give her a quick YouTube  – and you will be intrigued to say the least…

“it’s our imagination that’s responsible for love, not the other person” (Esther Perel) … this is what I was listening to while peeling potatoes… full disclosure – I was imagining I was in prison and assigned to peel potatoes…  not even a normal prison – I was imagining I was in the prison that the Apple Dumpling Gang were in… I’m assuming she wants me to imagine something better than prison to keep love alive…

the farmer and I are approaching our 20th wedding anniversary this December… I can distinctly remember 21 years ago thinking to myself – ‘there is nooooooo way I can actually be in love with him and desire him for longer than a year – tops” 

I thought this even though I had great examples of long lasting love in my life, mainly in the form of my parents… I still had a nagging feeling they might be faking it because they knew they had to stay married…  I was under the impression everyone had their fun days while dating and then thought that wasn’t sustainable so they got married and signed the contract and became business partners and had children…

for instance – the farmer knew full well that he needed himself a wife and that is why he went to College – sure, he played hockey and took classes he has no memory of… but the main focus was ‘wife-hunting’…  business transaction… he needed help on the farm…  it was either College or an ad in the Western Producer…

“For erotically intelligent couples (her words not mine – but I plan on using this term in front of my children), love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries in life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning. They know that they have years in which to deepen their connection, to experiment, to regress, and even to fail. They see their relationship as something alive and ongoing, not a fate.  It’s a story that they are writing together, one with many chapters, and neither partner knows how it will end.  There’s always a place they haven’t gone yet, always something about the other still to be discovered.”  (Esther Perel)

quinoa cabbage salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
– 1 cup quinoa, cooked
– 2 cups grated carrots
– 2 cups spiralized purple cabbage
– 3 green onions, sliced
– 1 cup packed mint leaves, chopped
– 1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped (optional)
– 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
– 1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Dressing:
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
– lime zest from one lime
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp fish sauce

Directions:
– cook quinoa (1 1/2 cups water with 1 cup quinoa, bring to boil, turn heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes)
– in a glass jar, mix and shake dressing ingredients
– in a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients except for the peanuts
– add the dressing and toss
– sprinkle the peanuts on top to serve
– this salad stays fresh in the fridge for a few days

her ideas on the luxury of time and how imagination in a long relationship/marriage is the key really had me thinking… as I was peeling potatoes and slicing onions…

in the course of the 20 years so far with the farmer it has felt like we have had perhaps two or more marriages…  with the same person… we are so different now than when we started…

Instant Pot Whipped Potatoes

Ingredients:

– 5 lbs red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into even sizes

– 1-2 cups water

– 1/4 cup butter

– 4 oz cream cheese

– 1/2 cup half-and-half (or whole milk)

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1 tsp garlic powder

– freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

– put trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot

– lay cut, peeled potatoes in it

– add water

– set to Manual for 8 minutes

– when done, pour into a strainer in the sink

– in a standing mixer bowl, add the butter, cream cheese and milk

– add the strained, cooked potatoes

– sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

– mix until smooth

– pour into a greased baking dish

– bake in oven, covered, for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

and I can only imagine that we will be different people again in ten years, twenty years…  so perhaps that is where the magic is…  the comfort of the past 20 years but the knowledge and excitement that we don’t know who we will be in the future and getting to know each other as we grow (hopefully metaphorically) and change…

“Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery” (Esther Perel)

there is so much to learn about ourselves and the relationships we are in…  which brings me to how excited I get when learning something new and how I need to quickly phone the farmer and let him know what I’m learning…

meatloaf

Ingredients:
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 cups chopped white or spanish onion
– 2 cups small-diced celery
– 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
– 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
– 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
– 1 tsp ground thyme
– 1 tbsp kosher salt
– ground black pepper
– 3 large eggs
– 2/3 cup whole milk
– 2 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
– bbq sauce for topping (good quality)

Directions:
– preheat oven to 350 degrees
– in a large saute pan, heat olive oil and cook onion and celery for 5 minutes until soft
– place the remainder of the ingredients in a large bowl and combine
– add the onion and celery and combine everything
– press into 2 loaf pans
– top with bbq sauce
– cook for 45 minutes or until the middle of the loaf is done

I’m not sure why he doesn’t realize that a phone call from me is optional to pick up on…  you would think he should know this by now…  I will phone him to let him know that my toenail hurts, or that I cut the lawn, or that I think the dragon that just died in Game of Thrones might not really be dead… totally optional conversations… yet he still picks the phone up even while completely busy filling a seeder…

so this afternoon when I excitedly phone him and begin the conversation with “hey – so I’m peeling potatoes and listening to a podcast on sex that says I need to use my imagination more”...  and he interrupts my thoughts with “you are on speakerphone”… 

I wonder why, after 20 years, he doesn’t understand that I don’t want to be on speakerphone…  phone conversations were made to be between two people… not two people and three guys in your truck…

I lie… it was just one person in his truck…  unfortunately this was not the first time I have done something inappropriate in front of this poor man…  around 12 years ago I sent the same man explicit sticky-note messages in his supper meal (the meal was of course intended for the farmer)… 

mistakes will be made in the attempts to keep a marriage alive and not turn into a business arrangement…  and failures and loss and hardships and grief and loss of trust and figuring yourself out as well…

but it was so good today to hear a reminder that love and mystery and desire all can happen in a marriage and that we don’t have to be perfect…  there is an ebb and flow to relationships… the relationship we have now looks far different than before…  (with the exception of making farm workers really uncomfortable)

now, to imagine something better than prison… (unless that is your ultimate fantasy)

orange cookie cake

Ingredients:

Cookie Crust:

– 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cut into small cubes

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

– 4 large eggs

– zest and juice of 4 oranges (around 1 cup of juice)

– icing sugar for dusting

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– grease 9×13 pan

– stir together flour, sugar and salt

– add the butter and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter in

– when it resembles small crumbs, pour into prepared baking dish and press firmly down

– bake for 20 minutes

– for the filling, stir the ingredients in a bowl

– pour over the crust and bake again until filling is set, about 20 more minutes

– allow to cool for a minimum of 2 hours, then sift the icing sugar over the top

– cut into 16 pieces

seeding 2019 begins!!!

I thought I might be done blogging…  it takes a considerable amount of time and effort… with trying to run more and keep up with all the farm and kids sports/lives I just felt like I should let it go…  but then I was at my Grandpa’s funeral and his sister told me that her husband loves reading my blog…  and it made my day…

so here it goes!!!  and I have so much excitement for cooking this spring and sharing it – but also getting back to writing as well…

I also upgraded my phone for a trip I took to Costa Rica in February and now I don’t need to spend any time editing my photos because they just look great  #nofilter (my 15 year old told me I need to use more hashtags… not sure if this is what he meant… or if he is mocking me… its tough to tell when he is being sarcastic)

 the farmer brought me a 5 gallon pail of chickpeas after harvest last year and I usually make up a batch every week – being a vegetarian, this is a lovely source of protein…

Instant Pot is perfect for these…  soak them for 8 hours, drain and add water again until it covers them by around 1/2 inch and set on manual for 10 minutes…

drain again and they are good to go

in this case – for this salad – they were getting roasted with some chili powder…  and that is my son adding the seasoning as he has a school project where he was supposed to cook a meal with a slow cooker (guess how much I love my kids in the kitchen with me?  …  scale of 1-10? …  I’d say a 2 …)

spring apple cauliflower salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or make your own!!! see note below)
chili powder, salt and pepper
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and ‘riced’ (or buy as ‘rice’)
2 apples, cut into little cubes
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
a bunch of parsley and mint, chopped
2 firm avocados, cut into chunks (optional)
Dressing:
2 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest of one lime
salt and pepper (to taste, if necessary)

Instructions:
– preheat oven to 400 degrees
chickpeas – cooking them in the Instant Pot – soak in water for 8 hours if you can, then drain and add enough water to have around a 1/2 inch over the chickpeas
on manual, cook the chickpeas for 10 minutes and release
drain – I like my chickpeas a bit on the crunchy side…
on a baking sheet covered in tin foil, add the chickpeas, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper
roast for 20 minutes and let cool and dry
cauliflower prep – if you weren’t able to buy cauliflower ‘rice’ – you can rice your own in a food processor or Vitamix… but work in very small batches
for the dressing – shake everything in a jar
to assemble, add everything except for the chickpeas together and stir well
place chickpeas on top of the salad and enjoy!

this part of the salad prep I did not allow him to help on… ricing the cauliflower… I pictured him turning it into a paste and finding cauliflower all over the kitchen for weeks to come…  it is a tricky thing to do and I sure wish Costco had been open for me to buy riced cauliflower there!!!

when you are giving the farmers chocolate cake – a nice light apple/cauliflower salad is in order… (if you look hard you can see his foot and my foot)

top with the roasted chickpeas and it is light and yummy and satisfying!

then I was able to get the kitchen to myself… and began the sandwiches…  the farmer loved roasted garlic and so I’m trying to find ways to include it…  this time it went into the whipped butter – which my 17 year old told me he could have ate the entire bowl with no bun…

the pork tenderloin gets cut up and roasted and my daughter told me she loves anything pig…  the farmer asked me how much I spent on it as apparently China is killing pigs and the price is on the rise… I must have gotten in on it before the price hike??? pork is cheap

pork caesar salad sandwiches with roasted garlic whipped butter

Ingredients:
1 fresh Pork Tenderloin
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
onion powder
garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
romaine lettuce, shredded
creamy Ceasar dressing
parmesan cheese
long buns or sourdough baguette, split down the middle lengthwise

Directions:
preheat oven to 375
line a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil
slice the pork tenderloin in to 1/2 inch slices and line the slices on the baking sheet
sprinkle with salt, pepper and onion powder
add the garlic cloves (make sure they have oil on them)
roast pork for 15-20 minutes or until slices have just cooked through
continue to cook garlic if it is not done
in a mixing bowl, whip the butter, onion powder, salt, pepper and roasted garlic
in a bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, dressing and parmesan
to assemble: butter the bun with the whipped garlic butter, add pieces of the pork and top with caesar salad

now for the real reason I love seeding and harvest…  cakes and pies…

you kind of need a reason to bake…  seeding and harvest is a great reason…  even though farming isn’t quite as labour intensive as the good ‘ol days…

blackberry, cherry chocolate cake with blackberry buttercream icing

Ingredients:
Cake:
12 oz (2 pints) blackberries, plus more for decorating
1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp espresso powder or 1 tbsp instant coffee
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup reserved blackberry syrup
(milk if needed to get it creamy)

Directions:
add the blackberries, cherries and 1/4 cup sugar to a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil
turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes – smashing the blackberries
let cool
preheat oven to 350 degrees
line two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease with butter or lard
in a large mixing bowl, combing the flour, sugar, instant coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt
in another mixing bowl, mix the oil, milk, egg and vanilla
slowly add the flour mixture and the blackberry mixture – making sure to keep 1/2 cup of the blackberry syrup for the icing
divide the batter between the prepared baking pans, and smooth in to an even layer
bake for 35-35 minutes until a cake-tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean
let cool on a rack
for the buttercream, beat butter, scraping it down, until light and fluffy
add the sifted cocoa and icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until the frosting is thick and creamy
add the blackberry syrup
the buttercream should be spreadable, but thick enough to hold its shape on the cake
assemble the cake
store leftovers in a covered container at room-temperature or refrigerated if longer than a day

it is Easter break here in Saskatchewan so kids in the kitchen seems to be inevitable…  and this 10 year old needs to put sprinkles on everything…

ok – maybe its ok having kids in the kitchen – once in awhile

happy seeding!!!

what do you want to be when you grow up?

is our only opportunity to be an athlete when we are young and in school/college?  or can we continue the quest of athletics as we age?   should athletes only be the best of the best or does anyone applying themselves and working at a sport get to call themselves an athlete?

I grew up loving sports…. it started in Elementary School with an excellent Intramurals program…  (this is what our school called noon hour sports… in grade 6 I got to be the captain of the Bears…  highlight of my Elementary experience… low-light was the 52 detentions I received in grade 6.. after school – did not interfere with my Intramural pursuits)

I went to a different school for Junior High and my love of basketball really took off…  this was back in the day when you could basically play every sport offered and no one was playing one sport all year round – unless you counted the pick-up basketball games we played year round… it was fun to have the season change and try out something new… and remind yourself why you loved basketball with your lack of talent in other areas… 

heading to yet another school for High School, I was still very driven with sports and basketball in particular…  it was exciting to keep this going and get to play in College…

and then I got married, started working and became an ‘adult’…  which I thought meant sports quit for me…  not for the farmer I should add… men seem to do a far better job of remaining an athlete than women do… 

having kids was really the icing on the cake – cementing my ideas that athletics for me were part of my childhood… never to be revisited again…

I remember the joy I felt when I could finally put my oldest boy in baseball, hockey, you name it…  I even cried at his first hockey practice…  this should have been a hint to me that I was missing being an athlete…

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

  • Servings: one chicken
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • one whole chicken (mine was 6 lbs)
  • trivet
  • butter, melted
  • kosher salt
  • cumin
  • lemon pepper
  • paprika
  • carrots
  • yellow onion
  • celery

Directions:

  • use a fresh or defrosted chicken – I defrost mine in the bag it is in, in cold water in the sink – this generally takes around 3-4 hours
  • pat dry with paper towel
  • place trivet in Instant Pot bowl
  • add 1 cup water
  • add chicken
  • pour butter over the chicken
  • add the carrots, onion and celery around the chicken
  • sprinkle with spices
  • place lid on and set manual high pressure for 40 minutes (basically, 6 minutes per pound)
  • allow for a natural pressure release (around 15-20 minutes) when done cooking
  • transfer the chicken to a cutting board
  • put a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquid and contents into it
  • use the liquid for recipes needing chicken stock and the meat for lunch meat!

{/recipe]

don’t get me wrong – watching my kids play sports is very fulfilling and exciting – but when I realized I was living through their experiences I knew I had to try to get back to being an athlete myself… I needed to let them have their athletic experiences for themselves and I needed to see what was out there for me…

it had been roughly 17 years since I had done anything other than ‘exercise’… there were many reasons why I let things get like this I believe…

I didn’t think I was athletic enough to warrant the amount of time and money it would take for me to be involved in my own adventures…  we were busy enough with the farmer’s hockey and then my children’s hockey and other sports…  I needed to be the one to keep everyone going…  maybe – if I was a ‘gifted’ athlete – I would have made the time…  but I was always middle of the pack and I thought middle of the pack people should just enjoy school sports and then settle into a life of cheering for those more talented… 

I was a yo-yo exerciser…  I would do some exercises for awhile and then quit…  with no accountability, competition, coaching or purpose, I found exercising very difficult to be consistent or even motivated with…

I was also worried about judgement from other people… I felt like it would be selfish and almost spoiled if I spent time working towards some sort of athletic goal in my late 30’s… I didn’t have a lot of influences in my life or examples of moms that were pursuing athletic goals…

chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled (if old) and finely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium – preferably homemade)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:
– heat oil in a large pan

  • add carrots, onion and salt
  • cook on medium heat for a few minutes and add green peppers, beef and garlic
  • season with spices and turn heat off when meat is cooked
  • in your slow cooker, add the meat/veggie mixture and then add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and beans
  • simmer on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6 hours
  • if you want more greens, add spinach or kale at the end

everyone has the money goal down…  we all are pursuing money… security…  but I just didn’t see women going on adventures or training for a sporting event… I saw moms dedicating their lives – nobly – to their families and it confirmed my beliefs that to be a good mom you sacrifice your life for your family…

moms are pros at scheduling… and we schedule all the kids activities and our husbands lives but forget to schedule in ourselves… or feel too guilty to do so…

and now, after two years of scheduling myself in, I can tell you I wish I had done it earlier…  I know everyone would have had a better time and I wouldn’t feel like I neglected myself for years…

in January of 2017, a friend of mine at the rink told me about a running coach she had and how much she was enjoying being coached…  it was like a lightbulb when on… I contacted this coach and started letting her train me…  it made me feel silly at first – I was too embarrassed to tell many people – but slowly I started to see the benefits in my own life… having a coach give me a ‘game plan’ for the week and then being able to schedule it in somehow gave me there permission to train and take the time for myself…

that fall, after hurting my knee, I thought I’d try some Hot Yoga/Pilates for rehab…  and I fell in love with it – even though, again, I was not very good at it…

it did feel very selfish to be spending the money and time twice a week to do this and then running four times a week…  my family has had to change they way we do things in order to accommodate for my schedule at times, which feels ridiculously self-involved

 but I started to ponder, what am I living this life for?  so I can be exhausted, depressed  and unfulfilled, complaining about how busy I am?  live comfortably, not facing my fears and anxieties?  never find out what potential my body had or where it could take me?

I had to tell myself that I am worthy… we all are worthy… it is what God put into creation and why we are created in the first place…

I am worthy of having a running coach… worthy of taking the time for long Sat/Sun runs and practicing yoga…  worthy of trips and adventures that fill me with anxiety and leave me feeling strong…  worthy of feeding my body healthy food and getting the sleep I need to have the energy for big training days…  worthy of pursuing all these things no matter what my talent level is(that was the biggest hiccup for me)

because sports, athletics, competition and adventure is not just for the super-athletes…  it is for everyone…  I have won a race and almost lost a race – and the fact of the matter was I trained for both those races and the training had made my life full of purpose and joy…  I remember being on different teams and coaches often saying ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’… and it only really made sense to me as I got older…

strawberry-spinach wheat berry salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and rained (2 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 cups spinach
  • 2 cups sliced, washed strawberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts (or see recipe)

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard

Hazelnuts:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts

Directions:

  • for the wheat berries, bring 4 cups of water to a boil
  • add the wheat berries and salt and simmer, covered, until soft – around 50 minutes
  • transfer to a large salad bowl and allow to cool
  • just before serving, add the other ingredients – you won’t use all the dressing
  • for the dressing – shake well in a jar
  • for the hazelnuts – preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment
  • melt butter in a small saucepan
  • add cinnamon, cayenne and honey
  • take off the heat and add hazelnuts and coat
  • pour onto the baking sheet and spread out
  • sprinkle with salt
  • bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes
  • cool completely and break apart into chunks

it is the journey… it is the training and the dedication – no matter your skill level – to a craft, sport or cause that matters…  keep asking yourself – ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’  never stop asking yourself this and never stop going after the next thing that it is for you…

don’t feel like any dream is too big for you… set some outrageous goals and see how many you can check off and then enjoy the process… and realize that the secret to it all is that the process is what we are all seeking…  a reason to get up in the morning and attack the day…  a reason to be happily exhausted when you go to bed, sore in the morning and nervous at a start line…

there are too many people out there battling for their lives… whether it be cancer, depression, poverty, loss, addiction…  the list is endless and you have no excuse to not live the best life that you possibly can… you are not guaranteed anything but death…  and you owe it to yourself to explore why you are here and what you are capable of… and you owe it to the people that love you

because there is nothing more inspiring that watching someone attempt scary things, work extremely hard for a goal, conquer a fear…  no one wants you to hate your life…  so you must dedicate yourself to living it in a way that gives energy and life to those around you…

it is not just for the super-athletes…  in fact, the middle-back of the pack people generally have the most fun anyways!  (but I only watch the super-athletes on YouTube… so they should keep being super!)

black bean protein brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (19 oz) can black beans (if you have 15 oz can, just use that), strained and rinsed
  • 2 scoops (34 g scoop) of Casein protein powder (or whatever protein powder you have kicking around) 
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

  • combine black beans, protein powder, oats, peanut butter, coconut oil, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla in a vitamix or food processor and combine until no chunks
  • in a separate mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • add eggs
  • using a spatula, add the thick bean mixture to the cocoa powder and eggs
  • mix until combined
  • fold in chocolate chips
  • in a sprayed or greased 9×9 baking pan, pour the brownie batter
  • melt 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave and pour in a few dollops on the brownie batter
  • using a knife, cut through the peanut butter dollops to make a pretty pattern
  • bake for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is slightly firm but the sides are not overdone
  • let cool and cut into 16 brownies
  • these freeze well

day in court

nothing I love to do more than fight the system… the farmer never lets me know of protests going on for fear that I will get involved…  recently, a neighbour’s yard is being threatened by a road going through it and I went to town council to put a protest in about it… I was in a Cabelas store in Phoenix and I went to the ‘customer care’ counter to put a complaint in about the giant fish tank filled with fish trying to commit suicide…

basically, if you want someone to join you in a cause… contact me… I will… it’s exciting…

so recently when a police officer decided to pull me over to give me a speeding ticket I did what every law abiding, tax paying citizen should do…  I told him I would see him in court…  he informed me most likely I would not as it is a Crown attorney I will see… but it felt good to loudly say that to him…

the farmer told me this was a giant waste of time and I should just pay the ticket… it was only $162…  but it was the principle…  they – the cops that is – think they have all the power and can just hand tickets out ‘willy-nilly’…  if they are having a bad day, mad at their kids or spouse, they can just drive around and hand out a bunch of speeding tickets and feel better about themselves…  NOT TODAY…

so I went to court…  it was in the town of Rosetown and apparently they were in a ‘temporary courthouse’… it was in the basement of this old building beside a daycare… yes a daycare…  it seemed odd to me to have court going on with small children in the same area… using the same bathrooms… surely if we were all such terrible criminals breaking the law they would not want us to be near small children…

Lemon Coconut Cake with Berries

  • Servings: one 8 inch cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

Lemon Coconut Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (mixed thoroughly before measuring)

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Berries:

  • mixed berries (such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums)
  • toasted coconut flakes
  • freshly grated lemon zest

I arrived early and dressed in attire fitting for an old Matlock show… when I walked into the makeshift courtroom, I realized I had perhaps over-dressed for occasion…

what you need to know about me is that my life long dream was to be a lawyer…  the farmer ruined this dream for me… and this was my chance to pretend for a few hours that I was a big city lawyer, driving my Jaguar (yes that is the car I wanted… in green) and arriving at the courtroom to fight the system…

but to my surprise, the courtroom was filled with people in their pyjamas… everyone apparently smokes (found this out during the first ‘court is adjourned’) and it seemed to me to be a place that showering before you come is not essential…

one police officer ushered in a few men in shackles, who shockingly resembled the cast of ‘Con Air’… again, they used the same bathrooms as daycare children…

from what I could gather the main show of the day was going to be the battle between the young gentleman behind me who had to cough and snort every 17 seconds and the family seated on the far wall that kept mouthing terrible words at the cougher behind me… I was praying my speeding ticket would come up before their argument over some stolen tires and rims…

summer tortellini salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 20 oz cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ear sweet corn, kernels removed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded parmesan cheese and basil to garnish

Dressing:

  • basil vinaigrette or homemade greek salad dressing
    • 1 tsp dry mustard
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 2 tbsp parsley
    • 2 tbsp minced red onion
    • 1 tbsp minced red pepper
    • 1 tbsp minced garlic clove
    • 4 tsp lemon juice
    • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup crisco oil

Directions:

  • cook the tortellini according to the package instructions
  • rinse with cold water and drain well
  • place the cooked tortellini in a big bowl
  • add the tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, cucumber, and green onions
  • drizzle with basil vinaigrette and stir until the ingredients are well coated
  • season with salt and pepper
  • finish the salad with parmesan cheese and fresh basil
  • salad will keep well in fridge for 3 days

the judge called court in session and requested that everyone there pertaining to a ticket would line up… when it got to my turn, my feet killing me from the heels I was saving to wear when I became a lawyer someday, the judge asked me ‘are you pleading guilty or not-guilty’…

seemed like an odd question to me… guilty would mean I pay the ticket… not-guilty means I am standing in my power suit ready to argue…

after establishing that I felt I wasn’t guilty, he continued on to tell me they could not see to my ticket today and I would be getting a letter in the mail letting me know when my court date would be…

at this I commented that I still wished to plead not-guilty but I would just like to pay my ticket so I didn’t have to come to court again…  he laughed, in tired way that let me know how awful it must be to be a judge in the basement of an old building in Rosetown beside a daycare…  and told me to expect a letter in the mail…

this was all pretty eye opening…  the farmer never told me ‘I told you so’… but I could see it in his eyes later that evening as I recounted the days activities… this is when I told him I payed for a single mom’s ticket because I was so overtaken with the story she told the judge…  instead of paying a $162, I am now paying $536 because it was not right what was being done to her…

and possibly still paying my ticket

I discovered that my life goal should never have been to be a real life lawyer…  what I truly wanted was to be a TV lawyer

drama school… not all that lawyer learning… is what I should have pursued…

perhaps it was best that I met a farmer in college that ruined all of my life goals… stuck me on a farm with kids and cooking and time to run…  perhaps I am right where I am supposed to be…

but I will never admit this to him… and I will keep fighting the system…

Instant Pot Stuffed Italian Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground turkey (not beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1, 200 g package cocktail size (mini) Bocconcini cheese balls

Sauce:

  • 769 mL can crushed tomatoes (not diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Meatballs:

  • mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a bowl (except for the cheese)
  • form meatballs around cheese ball
  • set meatballs aside
  • place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet in freezer overnight or in fridge

Sauce:

  • add all of the sauce ingredients into the inner liner of the instant pot
  • stir to combine
  • place meatballs in the sauce (it is ok to stack them)
  • spoon sauce over the meatballs
  • if you are doing rice as well, pour the 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water into your oven proof bowl
  • place the trivet over the meatballs and bowl on top
  • put the Instant Pot lid on, set to sealing, and set on manual, high pressure for 10 minutes
  • do a quick release after the pressure cycle