burritos for the win

 Quesada Burritos & Tacos … it is a little bit of fast food heaven … and if you haven’t ventured into one of these establishments you are missing out … I have tried at least ten burritos at different Quesada’s this summer and left each time feeling satisfied, full and with a tummy full of food that gives you energy instead of making you want to take a nap

ever since I was little and my mom made her homemade cornmeal taco shells I have known that tacos were the most perfect food item anyone could dream of… but this summer that paradigm began to shift with each burrito I consumed … what if, just what if, burritos are better than tacos???

I am still using up bacon that I purchased for this summer at the cabin (the farmer likes to do pitchfork bacon over the fire up at the lake) … and I find if you put bacon on a salad, farmers suddenly eat their salads … strange how that works

it is super easy to make vegetarian burritos…  but when delivering to farmers you must include your neighbours 4H steer in the burrito …  and it was fitting as we were combining said neighbours land …  city folk have no idea what farm to table really is 🙂

strain the beef, saute up the onions and garlic and then add everything back in … I had a bunch of limes left and put lime juice into this beef mixture and Sienna has told me that it really was yummy …

only issue is the time it takes to assemble 24 burritos …  I think after this I could get a job at Quesada …

starting with spreading some sticky refried beans, you add rice, then the beef mixture and top with tex mex cheese and sour cream …  then comes the rolling and folding up in tin foil …  I put these on cookie sheets and into the oven at 200 degrees to keep them slightly warm before packing them up for the field …

I ended up making a few extra to use up the toppings and think these will be great for the farmer’s lunches …  burritos really are the perfect food … perhaps tied with tacos

beef burrito

Ingredients:

For the Ground Beef:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (156 mL) tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Toppings:

  • 1 15 oz can refried beans
  • 2 cups prepared rice of your choice
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or tex-mex cheese
  • sour cream
  • beef mixture
  • 8 large (10 inch) flour tortillas

Directions:

  • cook your rice and set aside
  • in a large skillet over med-high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef
  • pour over a strainer in the sink to drain the grease
  • in the same skillet, saute the onion and garlic
  • add back the beef and add the seasoning, tomato paste, lime juice and enough water to bring it to the right texture for putting in a burrito
  • let stand for at least 15 minutes or longer before assembling burritos
  • lay tortillas out on a flat surface and spread the refried beans, then add the rice, beef, cheese and sour cream
  • fold each into a burrito and wrap with tin foil
  • if you like them hot, place in oven at 200 degrees until you are ready to pack up or serve

I like to think of all of these happy farmers with their burritos…

lastly – Sienna and I slaved away making pie all day, only to realize it was not going to be set by the time we needed to cut it up and quickly made my chickpea chocolate chip cookies as a replacement … the pie will have to wait till tomorrow (mental note – always make pies that have to firm up the day before)

chickpea chocolate chip cookies

  • Servings: 18 large cookies
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Nutriblend ‘Tastes Like White’ flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 14 oz (398 mL) can chickpeas (I use Eden Organic ones)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • mix the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a blender until well combined
  • mix in a separate bowl the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt
  • rinse the chickpeas, then place in a large ziplock bag and seal without the air in in
  • with a rolling pin, smash the chickpeas until they are a paste
  • add the dry ingredients to the blender and combine
  • add the chickpeas and combine
  • fold in chocolate chips and coconut
  • with a medium sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
  • press down with a fork that has been dipped in water to prevent sticking
  • bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes
  • let cool on a rack
  • freeze individually wrapped in plastic wrap for lunches

zucchini 8 ways

I have for you 8 zucchini recipes… yes 8…   this time of year is all about zucchini cakes, muffins, loaves and cookies…  oh there are healthier ways to eat zucchini…  chop it up and grill it or fry it… spiralize it (although these zucchini tend to get a bit large)...  but with harvest in full swing now, best to bake it up…

I have pictures of the two zucchini recipes I have used this week…  apple/zucchini muffins and chocolate frosted zucchini cake…  but while I was typing these recipes out I realized I had so many others from by-gone years and thought I’d share those with you as we went…

they all involve the same culprits…  adding zucchini to sugar and flour to somehow convince yourself it’s ok…  oh – and it does make baking moist!  there’s that too…

the first muffin recipe I have for you is a gluten free version… not as fluffy and lovely but apparently some of you aren’t mentally strong enough to digest gluten… 🙂

zucchini, apple, carrot gluten free muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini, drained
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup grated apple (with skin on)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oat flour (ground up oats in Vitamix)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grate zucchini, carrots and apples and set aside
  • melt the butter and combine with honey, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla
  • in a Vitamix, grind up 1 cup of large flake oats into oat flour
  • combine oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder
  • pour the butter mixture in to the flour and stir
  • add the grated zucchini, carrot and apple and fold to combine
  • add the chocolate chips
  • line muffin tins with baking cups
  • using an ice cream scoop, place batter in the baking cups
  • bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how large of muffins you are baking
  • makes 18 muffins

then there are Zucchini Spice Frosted Cupcakes…  use as a dessert this harvest!

zucchini spice frosted cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (around 2 large oranges)
  • zest from 2 large oranges
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

Frosting:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar

Directions:

  • in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil on medium/high speed
  • add orange juice and zest and beat
  • in another bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cloves
  • add flour mixture and zucchini to sugar mixture
  • don’t overmix
  • in two muffin tins, use cupcakes liners and spray the liners with Pam
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out cupcake mixture into the lined muffin tins
  • bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cooked in the middle
  • cool and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool
  • for the frosting, in a saucepan combine sugar, butter and milk
  • bring to a boil over medium/high heat and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened
  • remove from heat and stir in vanilla
  • cool and beat in icing sugar until frosting reaches a spreading consistency
  • frost the cupcakes
  • these freeze very well

and now for the apple/zucchini version I made this morning… this a great one for lunches (or breakfast if you like!)

apple, zucchini muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 granny smith apple, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into chunks
  • 2-4 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cinnamon

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • line muffin pan with paper liners and spray with a cooking spray
  • in a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt. cinnamon and allspice
  • in a mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla until well combined
  • add dry ingredients and grated apple and zucchini
  • fold in apple chunks
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into muffin tins
  • sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top
  • bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown

now for dessert (I’m pretending those muffins weren’t dessert)…  here is a moist, quick brownie recipe…

chocolate chip zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease either a 8×11 baking dish with cooking spray or a 9×9
  • in a stand mixer, combine sugar and oil
  • in a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda
  • add to the sugar and oil
  • add zucchini and vanilla
  • fold in chocolate chips
  • pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes (based on the size of your pan)

if a loaf is what you are in the mood for, here you go…

coconut chia seed zucchini loaf

  • Servings: 2 medium loaves
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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (drained)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease (I used Pam spray) 2 medium loaf pans or 3 small loaf pans
  • in a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and chia seeds
  • in a mixing bowl, combine sugars, oil, yogurt and eggs until well blended
  • add zucchini and dry ingredients and blend
  • add vanilla and coconut
  • divide evenly among the loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • let it cool in pans for 10 minutes
  • carefully remove and completely cool on a rack

for the bundt cake fans out there (I am included in this) here you go… this is personally my favourite zucchini recipe… ever…

zucchini cardamom bundt cake with lemon glaze

  • Servings: one bundt cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup ricotta, room temperature
  • 1 cup grated yellow zucchini
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of ground cardamom

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • butter and lightly flour pan and cool in fridge
  • in a standing mixer, combine sugar and butter until smooth
  • add lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed
  • in a separate bowl, combine flour, cardamom, salt, baking soda and baking powder
  • add flour to butter mixture and combine
  • add ricotta and zucchini
  • take pan out of fridge and pour cake batter into the pan
  • bake for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean
  • cook cake in pan for 1 hour
  • transfer to a plate and cool completely
  • whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice and cardamom together and drizzle over cake and serve

and here is the frosted chocolate zucchini brownies you see featured in the pictures!

chocolate frosted zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

For the Chocolate Frosting:

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

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside
  • in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk
  • in a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, butter, eggs and vanilla
  • stir the dry ingredients into the wet until combined
  • add zucchini and chocolate chips and fold in
  • pour into baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes
  • let cool completely
  • for the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth
  • add the rest of the ingredients and beat and scrape down until a nice frosting is formed
  • spread on the cake and serve
  • this cake can store, covered, on a counter for up to 3 days

and if you need something to wash all this down with, here are some cookies!

zucchini cherry coconut cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped up

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a mixing bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla
  • in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  • add to the sugar mixture and then add zucchini and oats
  • fold in the coconut, chocolate chips and cherries
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • flatten with a large fork and bake for 12 minutes
  • allow to cool on a wire rack

black bean protein brownies

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes.”   – Jack Handey

I like to start each day with an intention or inspirational quote…  this one will have to do for today…

so last year I was all about the chickpea brownies…  this year it is all about the black bean brownie…  and my taste testers are approving…

with two teenage boys and myself not eating meat, the pursuit of protein is always at the forefront…  I sometimes lie and say a dish I made has copious amounts of protein in it just to watch the boys gobble it up…

but this is no joke…  protein… fibre…  oh ya – sugar and fat as well…  it is a brownie… eat one at a time, not all on the same day…

I had do use my trusty Vitamix for this recipe because I do not own a food processor…  I believe it might be easier to do this in a food processor…  but I put my Vitamix on around a 5 speed and used the plunger thingy and kept pushing the sides down until I had this gooey mixture…

for this recipe I used Casein protein powder… the Peanut Butter/Chocolate flavour… a side note – this is often my bedtime snack… I mix in a bowl one scoop (34 g) of this powder with some water to form a pudding, drop a few pistachios and raspberries on it and put it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour…  it is one of the tastiest ‘ice cream’ treats…  

here is another free tip – when you have that gooey mixture left in the bottom of your Vitamix, add some very hot tap water and put the lid back on and pulse the Vitamix to ‘loosen’ the bottom sticky mixture… that way when you go to clean it, it takes no time at all… perhaps this is a trick all Vitamix owners use and now I look stupid for handing it out for free…

combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, mix and then fold in the chocolate chips…

spray a 9×9″ baking pan with cooking spray and pour the mixture in…  heat up 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave and place in ‘dollops’ on top…  with a knife, spread the peanut butter so it looks pretty!

my oven took around 18-20 minutes to bake these till the middle was done…  but you don’t want to over bake it as the sides would get rock hard…

cool and slice into 16 brownies… or smaller brownies, they are very filling… they freeze well… I would know because I ate one out of the freezer last night and I might have enjoyed it even more slightly frozen!

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

chocolate chips to the rescue

I hate green tea…  it makes me sick to my stomach (which maybe could be used as a weight loss tool I suppose)…  but I know it is great for you…

so when a friend introduced me to the world of ‘matcha’ the other day, I quickly scooped up a bin at Costco and decided to try to put it in everything possible…

lattes, homemade granola, cookies… we’ll see where tomorrow takes me with it!

this recipe seems to be too healthy to be yummy… so I thought as I dove headlong into making these cookies…

I have had so many baking/cooking disasters lately I wasn’t sure my heart could handle another one…

it begins with grinding up oats to make ‘oat flour’

then I found this coconut sugar in my cupboard (which I have only used once and swore never to again because I thought it was awful), dusted it off and added it to the mix

I find it easier to make applesauce when you need it for a recipe rather than buy it and have it go moldy in your fridge…

this was two smaller Macintosh apples with a little lemon juice added

using my Vitamix for the second time, I added the apples, coconut oil, and vanilla to it and blended… when it cooled down a bit I added an egg

I don’t know if it was fate… but I received a text from a friend this evening asking me which Vitamix I like because her 14 year old son would like one for Christmas…

I know what you are thinking – typical teenager…   boys will be boys…

I told her she will never regret buying a Vitamix and her son and I are kindred spirits…

you combine all these healthy, awful ingredients together, scoop some matcha powder onto it, and throw in some chocolate chips

place in the fridge for around half an hour so the dough settles down (this is what I like to believe at least)

and then scoop out onto a silicone lined baking sheet

flatten with a fork and bake

set your timer for 10 minutes and cross your fingers that they actually will be edible

anxiously anticipating the kids getting home to try a bite, I decided to sample to see if they were as terrible as the ingredients I used to make them…

something incredible happened – they were ok…  more than ok, they were satisfying!  I thought perhaps my tastebuds are just too old to tell the difference anymore so I put them in front of the kids that came through the door at 3:40 pm…  (a few kids that were not my own even… and not fully brainwashed)

apparently, if you put chocolate chips in something you cannot notice anything else going on… you have no clue something is actually good for you if there is even a whiff of chocolate in the air… (it helps if you yell out ‘happy St. Patrick’s Day’)

moral of the story:  if you are looking to use up some unpalatable ingredients in your pantry… combine them and add chocolate chips and call yourself a genius

matcha chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups oat flour (ground large flake oats – around 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  • in a Vitamix, grind up oats to make oat flour
  • in a bowl combine oat flour, baking soda, salt and coconut sugar
  • in the Vitamix, combine coconut oil, applesauce, egg and vanilla
  • pour into the oat mixture and combine with a spatula
  • add matcha powder and combine well
  • add chocolate chips, put plastic wrap over the bowl and put in the fridge for around 1/2 hour
  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • scoop out balls and flatten onto a parchment or silicon lined baking sheet
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • transfer to wire rack to cool

check you for ticks 

I felt something crawling down the side of my forehead… I lifted my hand up and grabbed it…  took one look and placed it in the sink and crushed it with the backside of a spoon that was in there…

I had a silent scream inside me but was in the middle of making a soup for supper and was on a time crunch so I put it out of my mind and continued on…

the old me would have thrown things, screamed, possibly cried and for sure freaked out on the farmer for the fact that we lived somewhere that had ticks…

I almost don’t even recognize this new version of myself… this is what having dogs, kids and living on a farm does to someone… nothing seems to startle me anymore…

a little background information – it was supposed to rain that night so I decided it was time to get my garden in…  we have a new little puppy, Winter, who was very excited to plant it with me…

my other two dogs tend to go on adventures and upon realizing the amount of ticks they were coming back to the yard with I promptly got them some medication that kills the ticks when they bite the dogs…  I’m pretty sure it is really terrible stuff but when it’s the option of 30 ticks on your dog or possible liver damage,  I chose the miracle pill for them…

my little puppy has a vet appointment coming up so I was waiting to chat with the vet about what to do for her…

as I began seeding the front of the garden, Winter had wondered off into the back of the yard where the longer grass and trees are… I was so absorbed in planting my Kohl Rabi that it did not occur to me she was frolicking around in prime ‘tick’ grounds…

upon her return to the garden plot, she was in a playful mood…  I was seeding potatoes by then and she was attempting to steal my potatoes from me…  I thought this was cute and adorable and decided to play along with her…

so we wrestled for the potatoes, me pushing and tickling her and her getting her nose and face in every hole I dug to place a potatoe in…  during this play time, I made the decision to head butt her a few times… I even growled at her for fun…

rubbing my head all over her face and ears and neck…  

looking back on this decision now I perhaps deserved the tick on my forehead… I perhaps was even willing a tick to be on my forehead…

mistakes were made… I shockingly still have much to learn about this farm life…

when my children arrived home, I was just about done making the soup and going to head to burn my clothes and have a shower…

I called to my 15 year old boy something that perhaps ruined a few country songs for him… “quickly come check me for ticks”…  the pale look on his face told me that perhaps I should have not ruined our already fragile teenager/mom relationship and should have enlisted the 8 year old… but I couldn’t trust her to be thorough enough…  he gave a quick check though my hair and behind my ears and then went to his room to daydream about moving away someday…

this soup is so delicious it was worth it for me to stick it out making it…  it was in the farmer’s lunch the next day and he texted me that next to Clam Chowder, this is the second favourite soup he has ever had…

I had seaweed in my one basket with sushi making supplies (this has not happened in years but I don’t think this stuff goes bad… I could be wrong)… so it was exciting to use it in a soup – similar to how you use a bay leaf…  to season the broth…

the dill flavoured olive oil I purchased at a school fundraiser tastes unreal… I drizzled it on the cauliflower and roasted it… the kids almost ate all of it off the pan before I could put it on the soup…

imagine a distraught 15 year old slurping this seaweed died broth and spilling it onto his white baseball pants right before we had to leave to go to a game…

I didn’t have to imagine it…

curry lentil coconut soup with charred cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can unsweetened full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup lentils (red or green)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 3 inch strip kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 3 cups arugula or kale (stems removed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped

Directions:

  • in a soup pot, on medium/high heat, add oil, carrots, onion and salt
  • saute for 5 minutes and add garlic
  • add broth, coconut milk, lentils, curry powder and seaweed strip
  • cover and let simmer until lentils are soft
  • remove seaweed strip and add arugula and lime juice
  • serve with charred cauliflower spears on top
  • for the cauliflower, heat oven to 450 degrees
  • chop cauliflower and place on parchment covered baking sheet
  • drizzle olive oil (I loved the dill flavoured olive oil) on
  • sprinkle with salt and cumin
  • mix and spread out to bake
  • bake for 25 minutes

for a simple dessert (I had put these in the farmer’s suppers), cocoa coconut macaroons are easy and quick…

and when your entire world has been shaken by a tiny little tick, you need some simple dishes you can send out to the farmers…

as calm as I was, I am now considering telling my vet I lost one of the pills for my dogs and need another one… and consuming it myself…

if only they made pills for mosquitoes we’d be invincible!

cocoa coconut macaroons

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • in a bowl, combine ingredients
  • using a medium sized ice cream scoop, press coconut mixture firmly into the scoop and release onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes
  • macaroons should be slightly hard on the outside and soft inside
  • if you would like, melt some chocolate in the microwave and drizzle over the macaroons and sprinkle with salt

chickpea protein bites

two things get me out of bed in the morning…  well, other than the need to pee, my phone alarm beeping, the farmer getting a little too ‘handsy’, the need for 4 glasses of water, children to feed and pack lunches for and two dogs to kick out of the porch…

but there are two main things that excite me the most…  (apologizes to the ‘handsy’ farmer)

food… cooking, creating, eating…

and running...

(or other forms of exercising… weights, pilates, yoga… as long as I am sweating by the end of it)

so today was just about the perfect day...  I woke up knowing I was going to attempt my fourth try at a recipe I had been tweaking that a friend had sent me…

and I was going to get a run in on my treadmill while watching Netflix…

describe to me a better day… please try…

in my mind the best recipes involve fantastic ingredients…  the Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt bar is hands down the best chocolate bar out there…

and this raw almond butter is so good you don’t want the taste to ever leave your mouth…

I have three active kids in the house along with a farmer and myself who are attempting to eat well lately, so the food I’m making needs to taste good and provide sufficient fuel for the day…

we were going through so many protein bars, I figured I’d make a homemade version of a protein bar...

something I could have as a snack that would not only quench my sweet tooth but feel good in my belly and power me through my run while watching Grace and Frankie...

this was the epiphany I had… putting the chickpeas, maple syrup, almond milk, almond butter and vanilla in the Vitamix...  the consistency it beats it up into is perfection…

a few years back I came across a chocolate chip chickpea cookie recipe that changed my life… well my kids lunch kit life really…

so you can understand the level of excitement that flooded over me when my friend sent me a brownie recipe with chickpeas!

this is easily the best way I have ever incorporated chickpeas into my baking…

transfer the wet mixture to a bowl and fold in the brown rice flour, baking powder and chia seeds to bind it…

place in a greased square baking dish and think to yourself of all the power foods you just put into a brownie pan!!!

this is when the chocolate comes in… you might notice one square is missing… I attribute this to having to go to Parent Teacher Interviews last night and needing to make myself not feel like such a failure when I got home…

chocolate with salt has a way of making everything better…

who cares if my 15 year old is still hiding in different spots in the school to avoid class and eating his pencils?

chocolate made it seem just fine…

I had to showcase the decorative measuring spoons my mother brought me on her last trip out here…  they are so cute and remind me of her… (and sadly her hoarding habits)

once you sprinkle the chocolate and a smidgen of love on the brownies, pop them in the oven and allow yourself to feel the pure joy of making something that is good for you to eat… so good

gluten free almond butter chickpea protein bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1 bar dark chocolate, crushed

Directions:

  • blend chickpeas, almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla in a Vitamix or food processor
  • transfer to a bowl and add flour, baking powder and chia seeds
  • fold flour mixture in and transfer to a greased square baking dish
  • chop up chocolate bar and sprinkle over the top
  • bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes
  • let cool before cutting
  • freezes well

special snowflake syndrome 

one of the best sermons I’ve heard… and this has nothing to do with the fact that I only get to listen to about ten a year…  was last Sunday…

I even took notes…  although I was wondering if fellow church goers were thinking

‘oh… she’s finally here and she’s texting the whole time’…

kinda like when my Dad used to close his eyes to pray during a sermon…  we had our doubts…

the Pastor was addressing the fact that the new generation is full of narcissists…  we like to think we should find happiness, every job should be fulfilling, every thing is about us…

wikipedia describes narcissism  as ‘the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes’…

and the Pastor termed our generation with having the ‘special snowflake syndrome’…  we all like to think we are a special snowflake and life should center around us…

I connected with these thoughts both as a parent of ‘special snowflakes’ and also feeling a bit like I am a ‘special snowflake’ myself…

when I met the farmer seventeen years ago in college, he was of course first blown away by my staggering beauty… but a close second to the earth shattering beauty was an air of confidence…  he could not believe how confidently I approached every situation…  no matter my lack of talent or intelligence or athletic ability…  I was confident completely with no relation to how well I did at things or my credentials…

what he didn’t know is that I grew up feeling ‘special’…

my childhood was all about being special… I was special because God created me for a purpose and reason and my life revolved around serving and worshipping this Divine power…  who made every human being special…

I was put here to create, serve, work, love, contribute and give…

I was also told over and over again that I was special (I wish they had known to call me a special snowflake)…

I was special, not for what I did but for who I was…  I was a child of God, created by God, with work to do for God…

I was never under any assumption that life was supposed to be about me…

this message gave me freedom to succeed or fail and not worry that I was loved any differently based on the result… because no one cared… not really… not deeply…  there were bigger concerns in the world than if I won my intramural football game…

out of my three children, the daughter is definitely the one who believes she is a special snowflake…  and this sermon made me think I need to let her in on the secret that she is special because every human being is special… but she’s not a special snowflake…  big difference…


and man, it really frees you up as a parent to not need to give them everything that they think they need…  and to even ignore them so that they get bored and have to remember how to play… by themselves… in the yard…  with a cat or a dog… or imaginary friend…

the boys were playing basketball out in the yard and wanted me to watch them…  just as I was heading over to do so, I stopped myself and yelled out the window…

‘not interested… you’re not a special snowflake… go ahead and shoot your hoops and do your jams on your own and I’ll just keep ignoring you’

(full disclosure… I watched them because it’s too comical not to watch but I didn’t want them to know that I had taken time to do so…  again… they need to know they are special… not special snowflakes)

when you go surfing, one of the rules they tell you is ‘your board goes where your eyes go’ …  I remember this very well because as I was colliding with the farmer on my board I was yelling at him ‘I’m not looking at you… I’m not looking at you’…

the Pastor said this is what we are to do with our lives… in order to get away from being special snowflakes…  and back to being just special…

‘where you look is where you’ll go’ … if we look at ourselves, our accomplishments, our failures, our results… we’ll never get outside of ourselves and we’ll never see a bigger vision or world…

if we focus on something other than ourselves we’ll see a bigger picture… we’ll see ideas and opportunities… we’d cheer for our peers instead of constantly competing…  we’d eagerly help those in need… we’d share our time and experiences… because we’d realize we are all in this together…

the hymn we sang during the service brought back many nights when I would wake up scared and my mom would come to my room and sing to me…  (which arguably was more frightening than the nightmare itself)

‘turn your eyes upon Jesus… look full in His wonderful face… and the things of earth will grow strangely dim… in the light of His glory and grace’

sometimes we need the things of this world to grow strangely dim…  and we do need to focus on something other than ourselves…  we need to see the Divine…

not because it makes us feel less… but because it can make you feel so much more…

you are special… very very special… just not a special snowflake… unless you are a Kardashian… then you are a special snowflake…



chia seed applesauce cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted and room temp
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  • combine oats, br sugar, flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  • stir in applesauce and coconut oil until dough is evenly mixed
  • fold in cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, spoon out dough and flatten with a fork
  • bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie
  • they will be soft and need to sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes before being transferred to a drying rack
  • these cookies will harden and freeze really well

a tale of two cookies

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

and it’s all in the eye of the beholder…  in my attempts to produce healthy options for my kids lunches I have completely altered what they will grow up knowing as a ‘cookie’…

case in point… Miss Sienna was making cookies with me the other day… part of the process is I make her guess as to what the ingredients are and then we discuss their health benefits…

we cannot use peanut butter or nuts as our school is ‘nut-free’ so hemp hearts and Wow Butter are substitutes…

and when it comes time for the best part for every kid making cookies – that is licking the beater – Sienna kindly takes a pass…

this is when it hit me that I need to show them and the farmer that I remember how to make cookies that have more than 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of oil in them…

flaxseed and cherry cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a large bowl, combine oats, flour, flaxseed, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  • wisk to combine
  • in a mixing bowl, combine bananas, coconut oil, egg and vanilla
  • mix until frothy and well combined
  • add to the oats mixture in the large bowl and stir
  • add dried cherries and chocolate chips and mix
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough out onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper
  • bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes

and show them I did…

now, in the winter months I consume a lot of tea…  mostly black or herbal as green tea makes me feel like throwing up…  which could maybe be considered to be some sort of detox I suppose.. similar to the juice cleanses some go on in January… except you throw up a lot…

on this particular wintery day, I was drinking Glitter & Gold from David’s Tea…  just lovely…

and in the afternoon, over a cup of tea, I was craving a sugar cookie… dilemma… do I make a cookie that requires 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of oil…  or do I munch away on flaxseed and oats like a horse? I concluded that it was high time for me to bring a little sugary goodness back into our home…

in moderation of course… something I am really, really good at… moderating myself…  really have had a lot of success at this trait in my life so far…  might as well add 60 sugar cookies to the list of things that tempt me…

and part of the goal was to make a dough batter that a seven year old girl would actually want to lick… I feel like I can’t fail as a mother creating this memory for her…

I did use coconut oil instead of canola oil… telling myself it is so much better… and I had to use hemp hearts instead of nuts… but I actually enjoy them in a cookie… other than those healthy changes, these are old school, unhealthy but ever so tasty cookies…

 

turns out at 3 pm when I am having a cup of tea that I do just fine with the sugar rush that comes from a lovely little sugar cookie…  these ones aren’t as delicate as a regular sugar cookie… thus me calling them ‘crunchy’… but the quick boost to your mood will be the same…

my boys received Fit Bits for Christmas… and I told them that I made cookies that require them to get over 20,000 steps in a day to consume…

so far they’ve had three days this week they are rewarded with the sugary goodness…

my synopsis after considering the cookie options… make both… you will find times where it is appropriate to eat the sugar ones and then other times where you should dive into the flaxseed ones.. keep hitting your system with a rotation of sugar and then flax and keep it guessing… this might even boost your metabolism… it just might…

crunchy sugar cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 cups flour

Directions:

  • mix in order given
  • mix baking soda and cream of tartar with flour before adding to mixture
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • flatten with a large fork
  • bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes

chickpea chocolate chip cookies

 there was a time where I attempted to hide vegetable puree in every item of food I made…  it was a phase of my life brought on by the two cookbooks Jessica Seinfeld  had published where she hid spinach in brownies and cauliflower puree in just about everything…

it was quite the process with the steaming of the vegetables, pureeing them, measuring and bagging them and then remembering to use them in the recipes…

and then I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment… maybe I should be making my snotty little kids actually eat vegetables instead of doing this sneaky ‘song-and-dance’ routine with them… hiding what is good for them and what they need to learn how to eat for the rest of their lives…

that being said…  this recipe has stuck with me and is the only way I make chocolate chip cookies now…  because when it comes to cookies, if you are able to shove some protein in them without the little spoiled brats knowing, you feel like you are winning…  as a mom… as a parent… over them…

and you are able to take them with you on hockey road trips without all the other parents judging you… another win…

and teacher’s will appreciate your kid not just having a hit of sugar but also of fibre and protein…  the teachers haven’t told me this yet but I imagine they have talked about it at school… probably in the teacher’s lounge…  about my healthy cookies…

really, making these cookies will make you feel like super-mom or super-dad…  and anything that your child does wrong now cannot be blamed on the nutritional value of the food you are supplying said child…

I would blame it on the teachers…  it takes a village and I can only do so much… cookies is it…  teachers need to fill in the gaps…


  
  

chickpea chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Nutriblend ‘Tastes Like White’ flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 14 oz (398 mL) can chickpeas (I use Eden Organic ones)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • mix the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a blender until well combined
  • mix in a separate bowl the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt
  • rinse the chickpeas, then place in a large ziplock bag and seal without the air in in
  • with a rolling pin, smash the chickpeas until they are a paste
  • add the dry ingredients to the blender and combine
  • add the chickpeas and combine
  • fold in chocolate chips and coconut
  • with a medium sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
  • press down with a fork that has been dipped in water to prevent sticking
  • bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes
  • let cool on a rack
  • freeze individually wrapped in plastic wrap for lunches