farmer runner

I will be happy if running and I can grow old together…

Instagram would have you believe that running is only for those who get to take pictures on the top of mountains or after getting a medal at a race…  Saskatchewan farmer runners know better…

in Saskatchewan there are only two marathons… one in the spring in Saskatoon and one in the fall in Regina… I have to drive 2 hours to get to one and 4 hours to get to the other…  so ‘Medal Monday’ is not a realistic thing for most of us farmers…  also, mountains tops…  not an option… dirt road selfies anyone?

the solitude of running here is something that I have made peace with… it has made running very personal and my ‘why’ behind running has to be for myself… no one else knows what I am doing or sees where I am going…

when I was younger and I discovered sports – most importantly basketball – the feeling of running up and down the court, sweating – with my face turning purple… that feeling was the closest I had to knowing myself…  it was the most comfortable I have ever been in my own skin…  (although a purple face might not look comfy – believe me I was right where I needed to be)

orange, black bean quinoa salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 can black beans, strained and washed
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1-2 oranges, segmented
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • avocado (optional)

Dressing:

  • 4 tbsp lime juice (1-2 limes)
  • zest of one lime
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

  • begin with the quinoa by rinsing 1/2 cup dry quinoa in a strainer and then add to 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil… when it is boiling, turn heat down and put on lid… cook for 15 minutes until done
  • add the other salad ingredients to a bowl and add the quinoa when cooked
  • shake together the dressing ingredients and pour over
  • chill in the fridge before serving

then when I moved out to the farm and had my kids, I just took care of them and the farmer and forgot how good it feels to be depleted, sore and sweaty…  when I first started running again, the fatigue in my legs felt like a welcome old friend…

I love dogs… they love running with me and we can experience flying around together, the breeze in our face and the sun beating down on our backs…

and when we return to our yard and I watch them happily lay in the shade I think to myself that they get it… they get how great it is to travel somewhere on your own 2 or 4 feet

find someone that loves seeing you purple in the face, sweating and exhausted and you know you have found the right person…

I made the farmer come watch me play basketball when I was in college… I think I needed him to see me in my happiest state of being… no makeup, no hair done up nice, no nice clothes on to hide who I truly am…  (oh wait – that is how I looked in college)

running strips that all away from you… it strips you of your pretences and the image you are trying to create for yourself and you feel pretty naked and vulnerable… it exposes how determined and positive you are…  you cannot run well and at the same time tell yourself that you suck…  I’ve tried… you have to be kind to yourself…

if you ever are starting to doubt human character, you need to go watch the finish line of a marathon… (set your calendars if you are in Saskatchewan – there are only two of them)… better yet, the Beaver Flat 50 is this weekend – go watch the finish line of an Ultramarathon and you will believe in the human spirit again…  you will see tears, love, support, courage, compete, and community…

you can’t be cool and run… you can’t be pretty and run… you can’t hide anything and run…  you see someone for exactly who they are… and it is beautiful…

I’ve watched parents this time of year at cross-country meets sobbing as they see their little ones running around and it begs the question… why does running bring that out?  I think the answer is determination…  when little Junior’s lungs and legs are screaming, it is their brain that has to decide to keep pushing

one of my favourite movies growing up was Chariots of Fire…  my family watched it over and over again…

the line that always stuck in my head was when Eric Liddell says “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

beef and olive empanadas

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup green olive, sliced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • water

Directions:

  • for the pastry – process butter, cream cheese and cream in the bowl of an electric mixer… add flour and salt and mix just until combined and dough holds together in a ball… turn the dough onto a well-floured surface… divide into three pieces… flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but ideally overnight…  take out 15 minutes before rolling if chilled overnight
  • for the filling – heat oil in a pan and add onion and bell pepper and salute for 3-4 minutes… add the beef and strain when it is done cooking to remove the fat…  place back in pan and add the olives, raisins, syrup, salt, pepper, cumin and hot sauce…  cool completely in the refrigerator
  • dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out… using a 4 inch circle cutter, cut the disks…  scoop around 2 tbsp of the filling into the center fo the dough circle…  wet the edge of the dough with a finger, turn over and crimp edges with a fork or folding over in a decorative pattern
  • place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with saran wrap and place in refrigerator… (or I froze mine)
  • when ready to bake, brush egg yolks/water mixture over them and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes (a bit longer if frozen but cook from frozen)
  • let rest and serve with lime wedges

now I’m not running at any paces that would make someone feel pleasure to watch… but I relate to this quote for how it feels inside of me…   we were made to run… your body knows that and when you run, you are rewarded

there is also pie…  you could reward yourself with pie

I will be happy if running and I can grow old together… 

have you ever compared yourself to Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson and I share a birthyear…  1979…  that’s not where the comparisons end… blonde – check… three kids (2 boys and 1 girl) – check… amazing mothers (her’s a strict Buddhist and mine a strict Christian) – check…  love for stretchy, yoga style clothing – check…

this is where the comparisons start to take a bit a curve… she seemed to find a way to make money from her love of stretchy clothing…  I seem to lose money with a similar love for the stretchiness…

as I’m sitting in my hotel room in the Home Inn and Suites Airport – Regina, SK, I was scrolling through my Instagram and saw that Kate’s whole weekend was devoted to the Avenger movie “End Game”

I don’t get very jealous very often…  but when I realized she was able to – with basically the same life as me – dedicate an entire weekend to a movie it made me question everything about my life…

and if she posts on Sunday that they just ‘got over’ their private screening of Avenger’s End Game (as I couldn’t even get tickets today and scraped together three for tomorrow but we are all sitting separately in the theatre and I am row 1)  (oh, and my mother-in-law who is in a different part of Saskatchewan tonight with my oldest boy stood in line for over 1 hour to get tickets for her and him only to be told as she was fifth in line that they were sold out)…  I feel like I need to recap my first thought – so, if Kate Hudson even mentions on Sunday that she is now ready to slowly, lazily go from their private screening of ‘End Game’ to a relaxed viewing in their media room of the most important Game of Thrones episode in history… I might – I just might – delete her from my Instagram…

salmon and strawberry grain bowl salad

Ingredients:
– Pickled Onions:
– spiralize one red onion (or use a mandolin to thinly slice)
– 1 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 cup red win vinegar
– 5 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds (optional)
– 1 (8 oz) fillet wild-caught salmon
– 1 heaping cup cooked quinoa
– 2 cups arugula, chopped
– 1 cucumber, chopped
– 1 small pkg strawberries, chopped
– 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
– Dressing:
– 1 lemon juiced and zested
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 tsp dijon mustard
– 1 tsp maple syrup
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
– place spiralized red onions in a non-reactive bowl with vinegar sauce for at least 30 minutes
– place salmon fillet on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper
– turn broiler on high and broil salmon for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through
– allow to cool
– in a mixing bowl, combine quinoa, arugula and dressing
– to assemble place quinoa and arugula on the bottom
– add the cucumber, strawberries, pickled onion, goat cheese and salmon
– serve room temperature or cold

Avengers tickets aside…  it did make me think – are we all the same?  Kate Hudson and I? you and whoever you think is your equal?

and I quickly came to the conclusion – NO – what a stupid question… Kate Hudson does not have to deal with the neighbours I have in this hotel tonight while my daughter has spiked a fever… Kate Hudson would have a doctor to call to get meds for her little Rose… not have to make her go the night with a terrible sore throat…  while listening to the neighbours bang their door and not make any sense…

Kate Hudson doesn’t have to meal plan on the weekend and plan to hit up Costco so she can cook for farmers all week – and try to get her kids to baseball and hockey…  (now I feel like I’m bullying Kate Hudson… and I don’t want to… I love her… her and I are the same)

so  – NO – we aren’t all the same…  even if we have basically the same birthday… my mom and Oprah turned 50 the same year…  I remember because my mom was mad I didn’t throw her a bash like Oprah’s… (now I’m getting why I compare myself to Kate Hudson)

spiralized scalloped potatoes

Ingredients:

– 3 lbs peeled, russet potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes)

– 1 cup heavy cream

– 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling

– 1 head garlic, minced

– 2-3 shallots, sliced

– salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

– preheat oven to 375 degrees

– grease baking dish with cooking spray

– using an inspiralizer or mandolin, thinly slice the peeled russet potatoes

– keep the sliced potatoes in cold water so they don’t brown

– in a mixing bowl, combine cream, shredded cheddar, Parmesan, garlic and shallots

– add the spiralized potatoes to the cream mixture

– if using a mandolin, stack potatoes in the baking dish and our cream mixture onto it and repeat until you’ve used all potatoes

– sprinkle with salt and pepper

– cover and bake for 35 minutes

– remove from oven, uncover potatoes, sprinkly more Parmesan on top and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender

– remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving

now – do you ever know if someone truly loves you unless you are poor with them?

or unless you have to work really hard with them – through good times and bad – to build a farm and a family and do it in hotels that have slamming doors and terrible breakfasts?  (sorry – it was)  

one thing farming together will teach a family is how to love each other – and how to go through hard times and times apart and busy April/May’s…

and our absolute favourite times – during all of this work and sports and pushing ourselves – is our Sunday evenings where we get to sit together and watch Survivor or Amazing Race or Blacklist…  and then of course the special Sunday’s we get to watch Game of Thrones (adults only) (although the 17 year old has read all the books)

crispy chicken thighs in mushroom sauce

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

– 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

– 2 tbsp unsalted butter

– 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms (or more if you are like me!)

– 4 garlic cloves, minced (or more!)

– 2 shallots, minced

– 1/2 tsp thyme, ground

– 1/2 cup dry white wine

– 2 tsp Dijon mustard

– 1 cup low sodium chicken stock

– 1/2 cup greek yogurt

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

– preheat oven to 375 degrees

– place large skillet or frying pan on medium-high heat – once hot add olive oil

– season chicken well with salt and pepper

– add chicken to frying pan – skin side down

– sear for 5 minutes

– flip chicken and cook for and additional 5 minutes

– remove thighs from skillet to a baking dish

– melt butter in frying pan and saute mushrooms, garlic and shallots for 4 minutes

– add thyme

– place mushrooms in baking dish

– deglaze pan with white wine

– pour yourself a glass of wine

– stir in mustard and stock, lower heat and simmer until reduced by half

– stir in yogurt and add salt and pepper if needed

– pour over chicken and mushrooms

– bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked

which brings me to my son having to cook with me again – thank you school projects – and watching Vladimir Guerrero Jr. play in Toronto for the first time tonight…

he mentioned that his first bat, his first ball – it all is going to his dad…

so I guess that is the ONLY thing we have in common with successful, rich, famous people…  is we have a bond that our family matters the most…  whether it is Goldie Hawn or Donna Reed (not the famous Donna Reed by the way)

but I bet it is easier to enjoy each other if you have private viewings of “End Game” or get paid to wear stretchy fabric…

strawberry oat crumble bar

Ingredients:

– 2 cups rolled oats

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp ground ginger

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

– 10 oz strawberry jam

– 1 cup chopped strawberries

– zest of one lemon

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and cooking spray

– make the crumble: combine oats, flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt

– cut in the butter cubes, then use fingers to incorporate butter – it should be crumbly

– scoop two thirds into the baking dish and press down

– spoon jam over the bottom crust

– add strawberries and lemon zest

– cover with crumble and gently press the crumble into the jam mixture

– bake for 35 minutes or until bubbling and done

– let rest for at least an hour or longer so it sets

need any help?

the farmer got upset with his oldest son who is driving the grain cart for not helping combine drivers clean their headers out…  he was just telling him the other night how it is his job as a cart driver to get out and help them…

so yesterday, my sixteen year old, trying to be as helpful as possible, tore across the field to be of assistance to a combine driver who was stopped…

and we haven’t stopped laughing/crying ever since…

because this particular combine driver’s header was not plugged… that was not the reason for the combine sitting motionless… ‘nature had called’ and my son got there just in time to witness it…

I remember when I first married the farmer and asked him, a few years into farming, what happened if he needed to ‘use the facilities’…  if he would have to jump in his truck and go knock on a door of the closest farm house and hope they didn’t mind him destroying their bathroom…

I did not grow up even peeing outside…  in fact I was just running in a race last weekend and needed to pee the entire 2 hours but with no outhouse in sight I nearly wet myself finishing the race to get to a bathroom… so the idea of doing the other thing outside seemed barbaric and outlandish to me…

apparently sometimes it can’t be helped…

and, much to the farmer and myself’s enjoyment, our oldest son got to experience one of these times…  just trying to be helpful…  when no one needed him to help…

I had to quickly get that story out of the way before I discussed food… but it for sure is the highlight of harvest for the farmer and I… we are pretty sure nothing will top the amount of enjoyment and laughter we have had over this awkward moment…

continuing with the farmer’s Grandma Swan recipes, and seeings how when you make pie crusts it is in batches of four, I had enough crust for two more pies…

I generally have had to go to the farmers Grandma’s old yard to get some of her rhubarb but I actually planted my own rhubarb this year…  so the raspberries and rhubarb are from my own garden… my daughter and I were pretty pleased with ourselves…

I tend to overfill pies so I have learnt to place them on parchment lined baking sheets

Grandma Swan's Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sour cream
4 cups rhubarb, cut into small chunks
1 cup frozen raspberries

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter, cut into chunks

1 unbaked pastry shell

Directions:
in a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and sour cream
add the rhubarb and raspberries and combine
pour into an unbaked pie shell
in another bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter until crumbly
sprinkle over the pie
bake at 425 for 15 minutes
lower heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender

this was an odd day that the smoke from all the forest fires in BC was not actually blocking out the sun so my daughter and I enjoyed some deck time in the sun while husking corn… I always call it shucking corn… the farmer told me I was wrong… but I just did a little google search and found out we both are correct… take that…

the nice thing about the old recipes I find is they are simple… generally have a very short list of ingredients…

Grandma Swan's Scalloped Corn

  • Servings: one casserole
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. can cream style corn (I used fresh corn on the cob cut off)
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cheddar cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  • combine all ingredients
  • pour into greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish
  • bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until top is lightly browned and center is set

this was one of those days that I didn’t get started on cooking until after lunch and it was a full on panic and scramble to get everything done… I could not have done it without my ten year old daughter being a huge help…

also the laughter that kept welling up inside me also assisted in getting me through the stressful afternoon of cooking and dishes…

thinking of my son taking the tractor over to the stalled combine only to find someone attempting to have some privacy… I’m giggling as I write this

Grandma Swan's Mandarin Orange Lettuce Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 can (bag now) mandarin oranges, drained
  • chow mein noodles
  • 1/2 sunflower seeds (optional)
  • green onions
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard

Directions:

  • for the dressing, blend in a Vitamix or shake very well in a Mason Jar
  • there actually were no directions for this salad…  I guess you just make the salad!

this dish is a harvest classic and one of the farmer’s favourites…  I made it into casseroles and covered them to cook them… generally I would have just made the beef/soup mixture up and poured it over the egg noodles but I found this way was a bit easier for packing up…

Grandma Swan's Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb round steak or stew meat, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 pkg white button mushrooms, cut up into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg egg noodles

Directions:

  • for the meat, dredge in flour/salt/pepper mixture
  • place in heated butter in a frying pan with lid and brown
  • set to the side and cook onion and mushrooms
  • in a large bowl, combine the steak, onions, mushrooms, soup and sour cream
  • place in a 9×13 dish in an oven at 325 covered in foil to keep warm
  • boil egg noodles and serve over the egg noodles

 just remember, it is always good to help out… even if it ends up not being helpful… and your family laughs at you for the remainder of harvest

Grandma Swan Week

the best cook I have ever met has to be the farmer’s Grandma Swan… she created two cookbooks and handed them down to all of her children and grandchildren… I even have copies to give my children someday… so I decided this week to only use her recipes in my meals to the field and make it into a ‘tribute’ week to Grandma Swan…  I intend to do this every year out of respect for the way she cooked and what she taught me…

there are a few interesting recipes as ideas around what can be called a salad have changed and I didn’t realize that you could make pie came in flavours such as ‘Flapper’, ‘Mincemeat’, ‘Raisin’, ‘Apricot’ and ‘Sour Cream’

my hope was that these recipes would help the farmers remember the ‘good old days’ as they were out there…  even though I cannot re-create them the same way that Grandma Swan made them…

my daughter has been growing pumpkins this year and was so excited to use one for a pie…  and her favourite, roasted pumpkin seeds…

for the seeds she had to pick every seed from the ‘guts’ of the pumpkin

then she boils them for 10 minutes

finally roasted them with some salt in the oven and they were so delicious… it made me think if everyone had to work this hard to eat food, would we pay more attention to what we are eating?

the pumpkin got roasted and you can tell when it is done by piercing them

for the filling I scooped the pumpkin flesh into a strainer to drain any excess liquid off

I used the Vitamix to blend the pumpkin into a great texture to use for baking and pies… I froze what I wasn’t going to use and I will see if that works out or not!

both Grandma Swan and my Grandma Reed (who was an amazing pie maker at her own restaurant) used lard in their crusts…  so I have always used their recipes and lard…

the colour of fresh pumpkin pie is decidedly different than if you are using the canned pumpkin… it also has a fresher, lighter taste to it…

and the smell in the house is something I figured Grandma would be happy with…

this was another trick she taught me…  and I buy Whip It at our local store to put in whipping cream…  my daughter has a bit of a weakness for real whipping cream so she tends to volunteer to make it…  the key is to put the bowl and whisk in the freezer for awhile before you whisk up the cream…

I let the pies rest for about an hour after I cooked them and then put them in the fridge for a few hours before slicing them up…

Grandma Swan's Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 1 lb lard
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • milk or water

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup hot milk
  • pastry for 10” pie shell

Directions:

  • for the pastry, cut up the lard and add to flour, salt, and baking powder
  • using a pastry blender, mix the lard in with the flour
  • beat the egg in a measuring cup and add 1 tbsp vinegar and water or milk until you get 1 cup
  • add to the lard/flour mixture and combine into a ball
  • cut into four and form four separate dough balls
  • wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge to cool
  • for the pie filling, beat the eggs slightly
  • gradually beat in sugar, spices and salt
  • stir in pumpkin and hot milk
  • pour into pie plate lined with an unbaked pastry
  • bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
  • lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes until you can insert and knife in the center of the filling and it comes out clean

it was actually a little difficult to find a salad recipe that didn’t sound like a dessert…  apparently in 1987 it was totally fine to have salads named ‘Pistachio Salad Surpise’, ‘Molded Salad’, ‘Orange Sherbet Salad’, ‘Sunshine Jello’, ‘Creamy Pink Salad’, ‘Jello & Rice Salad’, ‘Strawberry Jello Delight’, ‘Jellied Shrimp Salad’ and then something novel sounding called ‘Vegetable Salad’

I settled on ‘Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad’… I used a product called Thieves to wash veggies and fruits that need it and it works really well…

the fun part was buying Miracle Whip and using it in a dressing… brought back many good memories… and makes a yummy dressing…

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small chunks
  • 2-3 bunches broccoli florets, cut into small chunks
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Directions:

  • in a large bowl, add the cauliflower, broccoli, onion and cheese
  • mix the Miracle Whip, vinegar and sugar
  • pour over the salad and combine
  • put in fridge for 1/2 hour to let the flavour set

one of the dished Grandma Swan was most famous for was THE BEST hash brown casserole ever… the men in this household filled the freezer with deer sausage this last winter so I used some of that to go with the hash brown casserole…

one of the best things about paying tribute to Grandma Swan is when I look through her cookbooks and cook the recipes from them I get to think about how it made her happy to cook for all the farmers in her life and how serious she took her role as the provider of great food in her household…  she was and is inspiring… love you Grandma… I hope my children use your cookbooks well someday…

hash brown casserole

  • Servings: one 9x13 casserole
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pint whipping cream, unwhipped
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine

Directions:

  • mix together 1/4 cup margarine, salt, pepper, onion, whipping cream, soup and cheese
  • butter 9×13 inch pan and place hash browns in bottom
  • pour liquid mixture over hash browns
  • mix 1/4 cup margarine and corn flakes and put on top of potato mixture
  • bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

…as Apple Pie

my grandma made pie making look easy… her and my grandpa ran a restaurant in Three Hills, Alberta that was called ‘The Coffee Break’… I was still in Elementary school when they had it so my memories of it are a bit foggy, but the pies I witnessed her make have always stayed in my mind…  that a cinnamon buns…

these two items are apparently go well with coffee…

my grandma used lard… Martha Stewart uses butter…  I’ve used both and find the lard easier to work with but the butter taste is better in my mind…

pie takes patience to make…  and it is messy… if you can get over these two elements it is quite relaxing and enjoyable to make…

a friend of mine has this magical solution that gets rid of the nastiness on apples so I don’t have to peel them!  I read somewhere (by that I mean Facebook) that most of the nutrients in fruit and veggies are in the skins…  this is why I zest everything I can and don’t peel if I don’t have to… but the chemicals my farmer husband sprays on things are also in the skin so it is nice to at least pretend to myself that I am removing the harmful bits off!

bacon has made a re-appearance in the house for seeding and the family is very excited to see it again… there are only a few things I miss being a vegetarian…  bacon is one… chicken skin is the other…

I added bacon and cheddar cheese to the pie crust to give it a savoury taste

look at how beautiful it looks in the crust…  and look at the mess I am making!

I remember when I used to watch Martha Stewart and her constant words about pie were ‘keep everything cold’…  the more you can accomplish this the better your pie crust will be…

apples with sugar and cinnamon… oh and lemon zest… cuz I love zest

apple pie with cheddar/bacon crust

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (more if necessary)

Filling:

  • 7-8 granny smith apples, washed, cored and sliced into small chunks
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, with zest
  • 1/2 cup packing brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  • for the bacon, preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • line a baking sheet with tin foil and place bacon on it
  • bake for 15-18 minutes
  • transfer bacon to paper towel to cool, finely chop the bacon
  • in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt
  • add the butter and cut into the flour
  • add cheese and chopped bacon
  • pour in the buttermilk and combine into a ball
  • divide the dough into 2 portions and knead into a disk
  • wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least an hour
  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • for the filling, in a large bowl combine the apples, lemon juice and zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch
  • roll out the bottom pie crust until it is 1/8 inch thick and 12 inches in diameter
  • transfer to a pie dish and trim the edges almost even with the edges of the pie dish
  • roll out the top crust
  • place the apple mixture in the shell, dot with butter and top with top crust
  • trim the edges again and crimp the border with a fork
  • brush the top of the pie with the egg and sprinkle generously with sugar
  • put the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees
  • reduce the temperature to 350 and continue to bake for 35-40 minutes until the pie is bubbling
  • transfer to a rack to cool for around 4 hours
  • serve warm with vanilla ice cream

I used to be able to take the farmers vanilla ice cream to put on their pie when we would do the type of meal in the field where everyone gathers around my vehicle to eat it…  but alas they all had to eat their apple pie without ice cream… which is a sin…

I just never know, when I pack their suppers up in bags to take out, when they will get around to eating it so I can’t put a dollop of ice cream on a warm pie slice…

this winter I really got into spiralizing and my favourites are zucchini, sweet potato and butternut squash…  this sprialized butternut squash is the perfect addition to this salad…

butternut squash asian pear salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, spiralized and trimmed
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large asian pears, sliced thinly
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds or pecans
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • pepper

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • spread out the butternut squash noodles
  • coat lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper
  • roast for 10-12 minutes
  • to make the salad, add the ingredients and top with the dressing
  • serve immediately as the pear will brown

lastly, because I had spent so much time making pies, it was a quick and easy burrito that I decided to go with for the main course…

the kids and I love eating at Mucho Burrito and this was my quick version of it…

I sauted some peppers, used ground beef (because that was what I had), white rice, shredded cheese and salsa…  I gave each guy two big burritos and the farmer, who can eat just about anything, could only get down one burrito and saved the other one for his lunch today…

happy seeding!!!   here’s hoping it is a time to try out some new fun recipes and perhaps get to make some pie!

greek chickpea salad, beef & broccoli and rhubarb cornmeal pie

after having six conversations yesterday…  which was six more than I had participated in for most of the week… I came to the conclusion that moms are stressed out right now...

I only talked to women so I have no idea the stress level men are at…  

farming 18 years ago was romantic…  harvest in particular was very romantic…  being a city girl and moving out to a farm I was pretty enamoured with farm life and the urgency of harvest…

I would cook all day and then take suppers out, set up a table in the field and have all my dishes set out for the farmers to scoop some up… I would then pack it all back up into the trunk of my Kia car and get into a combine or grain truck with the farmer…

and I would stay with him until they were done for the night…  we’d watch the harvest sunsets, see northern lights and the night sky filled with stars… the smell in the air even was romantic to me…

then we decided to have children

not quite so romantic trying to cook with babies and toddlers around your feet… and not nearly as romantic in a combine or truck with small children…

then, as these children get older, even less romantic when the farmer is harvesting and the mom is stuck running the kids from rink to cross country to football…  and bedtimes are a struggle – no matter the age of the child…

this is why we need school to start up again

to all the teachers out there eagerly awaiting tomorrow when school resumes, thank you for bringing the romance back to farming!

you are giving moms everywhere a chance to not be angry all the time… or worried that we are not raising our children properly (because you get to raise them now)…

things in the house will not get moved – for a whole day – and the sound of children fighting will only happen for the evening now…

I feel like tomorrow morning around 8:30 am you will be able to hear a sigh of relief echo over the land…  as moms everywhere – whether heading off to work or working at home – are left alone for the first time in months…

I am so sorry for the moms that have children too young to go to school… there is no shame, even if you work from home, to check your kids into a daycare for a few hours of sanity…  I know I will not judge…

steph dipple's rhubarb cornmeal crostata

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Filling:

  • 5 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 3 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt

Garnish:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (or whole milk)
  • sugar for sprinkling
  • whipped cream

Directions:

  • for the crust, whisk together the egg yolk and buttermilk
  • in another bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt
  • add the butter to the flour mixture and using your fingers or pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour
  • pour the egg yolk and buttermilk over the flour/butter mixture
  • combine, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in fridge to chill
  • for the filling, toss the rhubarb, orange juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt
  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • put well chilled dough on a well-floured counter and roll it into a circle
  • transfer to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper
  • pile the filling in the middle of the crust
  • fold the crust up and around the fruit filling and press the edges together to seal
  • whisk the egg white and milk and lightly brush over the edges of the crust
  • sprinkle with sugar and bake for 35-45 minutes
  • let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving
  • serve with whipped cream

there is no amount of sleeping in that makes up for having to take care of your children all day…

I’m not generally a morning person but I will wake up at whatever time I need to in order to get my kids shipped off for the day!

greek chickpea salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cups cooked penne pasta, cooled
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 cups quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 or 2 chopped cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  • in a large bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, zest and salt
  • to that add the remaining ingredients and chill in the fridge

the farmer thinks it is so easy to take care of kids all day… his advice – ‘work them, give them jobs all day, take their phones and iPad away, tell the boys to play football together and enjoy it, have them help you’

this is more how the days go… I wake up and tip-toe around hoping to not wake anyone else and have a few precious moments to myself…  I spend the rest of the day trying to hide from them…

there is a reason people get jobs outside the home…  it’s because they don’t want to be at home…  why don’t they want to be at home???  because children live there…

I’m convinced that my kids wake up and decide which out of the three of them is going to make a consistent effort that day to ruin my day…

I picture their conversation going as such… over the breakfast I supplied for them…

‘who’s turn is it?…  are you up for it?… she did mention this morning that it was going to be a great day and nothing was going to get her down… you’ll have to bring your ‘A’ game…  and can you beat yesterday’s record by making her cry before lunch?’

oh sure… they are helpful with the manual labour around the farm… and the oldest can now do a lot of the driving around and moving vehicles etc…

but you can have them teachers…  oh you can have them…  and thank you! if you need anything you know where to find me…  blissfully sipping tea in silence catching up on bookwork I’ve been too mentally plagued to do for the last two months…

beef and broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine (or rice vinegar)
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 3-4 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 lb sirloin steak (I used T-bone), trimmed of fat, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 medium green onions, sliced

Directions:

  • in a shallow glass container (9×13), whisk together the cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, brown sugar and oyster sauce
  • add the steak and let marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • in a large wok or frying pan, add broccoli and 1/2 cup water and steam until just barely done
  • transfer the broccoli to a large bowl
  • saute the beef on med-high in sesame oil
  • add the beef to the broccoli – add more soy sauce if you prefer
  • serve the beef and broccoli over some brown rice with green onions to garnish

(less romantic also due to the fact that there are this many trucks in the field… was a lot more romantic when it was one)

fresh fruit salad, ’empty the fridge’ meatballs, lemon buttermilk pie with blueberry maple sauce & corn on the cob

in my opinion, a lot of time and money is wasted when I allow others to make decisions… or be in control…  you know what they say – ‘two steps forward, one step back’…  if only I could take complete control over every aspect of my life and others (if they want their lives to run smoothly)...

if only an ordinary day could go as follows…

I take my vehicle to the service shop… I tell them how to fix my vehicle, how extended warranty should work and when I will be picking it up…

I then get to go to the clinic to have my hurt knee observed and I get to assess it, prescribe the proper medication (which my good friend tells me is always Mexican penicillin)  and set up the following tests that need to be done… within the week preferably and getting the results of the tests the same day…

heading to the school with some muffins disguising my true intentions of telling the teachers how to teach… I begin to tell them how to teach and what subjects they should focus on and which should get tossed…

then I continue on to watch my son’s football game… and instead of being a pointless fan I get to pick who plays where, what plays are called and how the officials call the game…

now some might be thinking… wow, control issues…  I like to think, instead, that everyones time is valuable and if I know the answers, then why are we playing this cat and mouse game…

that being said, if the farmer ever interrupts my lovely mornings of pie making with his opinions or requests for bookwork, vehicles to be moved or parts to get… I tend not to handle it well…

so, the only way this is going to work is if I’m allowed to tell everyone else my thoughts but if everyone else doesn’t mind keeping their opinions and ideas to themselves that would be great…

if you are doubting this… just ask my kids how their summer went… they’ll tell you how smoothly this system works!

I think this is what was mentioned to the farmer and I years ago at marriage counselling…  what I heard was that I should share all my thoughts and opinions… and it was optional for him to, dependant on my mood…

sometimes as I write these thoughts I wonder if the reader is realizing I’m giggling as I write…  but then I decide that I shouldn’t have to write ‘just kidding’ after statements because if someone doesn’t catch on to the fact it might be said ‘tongue and cheek’ then perhaps I don’t really want that person to get it anyways…

I’m speaking mostly to my brothers when I say this… they always have struggled picking up on a joke…

some people like the process of making pie shells… some don’t… it depends how much you love pie I’ve decided…  this is a buttermilk pie crust and is very flaky and buttery…

if you make the shell dough first thing in the morning (or the night before) and place it in the fridge, it will be nice and cold to roll out after you have worked on the filling for the pie…

zest is the best… if you ever are wondering if you should add zest to a recipe…  think about my saying…

inspired by lemon meringue pie (which I have made and taken to the farmers but due to it’s delicate nature tends to end up being lemon meringue pudding by the time the farmers eat it)…  this lemon buttermilk pie holds up better on it’s journey to the farmers…

I accidentally rolled the dough out in the shape of a heart… not recommended…

done and ready to sit for the day in anticipation of the berry topping

remember zest is best???  yes, even for the maple orange blueberry sauce…

fresh orange juice is the best as well…  and by fresh I do understand that I live in Saskatchewan… most likely these delicious oranges are not exactly fresh…

this sauce went in the fridge before it was poured over the pie pieces…

lemon buttermilk pie with maple blueberry sauce

Ingredients:

Buttermilk Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp cold buttermilk

Lemon-Buttermilk Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Maple Blueberry Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • for the crust, in a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt
  • using a pastry blender, combine the butter into the flour mixture
  • add buttermilk and stir together with a spatula
  • knead with hands and turn out onto a floured surface
  • form into a ball, cut into two pieces and form those pieces into discs
  • wrap those discs in plastic wrap and place in fridge
  • for the filling, mix the sugar and zest in a bowl
  • add the flour, salt and nutmeg to the sugar
  • in a mixing bowl, whisk buttermilk and eggs
  • whisk in lemon juice and vanilla
  • add to the sugar/flour mixture and whisk to combine
  • on a floured surface, roll out the pie shell and place in shell
  • pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell
  • bake until the pie no longer jiggles in the centre, around 50-55 minutes
  • cool completely on rack
  • for the sauce, in a saucepan heat up orange juice, cornstarch, maple syrup, brown sugar and salt
  • add blueberries and bring to a boil
  • turn the heat down and continue to cook until it thickens
  • remove from heat and add vanilla
  • cool sauce in the fridge until you need to use it
  • pour sauce over cut pieces of pie when ready to serve

on to the main event of the meal… the most liked salad I have ever taken to the field…  yes, you heard me… most liked ever

it even got complimented by a man named Andy, who has never said one word about my meals in all the years I have been taking them to him…  ever…

so either he was having a great day or this salad is actually that good

when farmers are used to caesar salad, potato salad or some version of a tossed salad…  they really enjoy something different… this is when you break out the fruit salad…

this fruit salad has cilantro, jalapeños and pickled red onion…

you can even toss avocado with black pepper on at the end… I did not for the farmers because I was worried about when they would eat the salad and that the avocado would turn colour before they got to it…

fresh fruit salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • zest of 1-2 limes
  • 4 oranges, peeled into segments
  • 2 mangos, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 honeydew melon, cut into chunks
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • put the onions in a large bowl and season with salt
  • add olive oil and lime juice and allow to marinate for 5-10 minutes
  • cut up the fruit you have chosen to go in the salad and layer on top of the onions
  • add everything except the avocado, toss and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill
  • when ready to serve, add avocado and black pepper, toss and serve

this summer I started spiralizing as many different veggies as I could think of… and continued the fun on into harvest meatball making…

 my daughter and I ended up tossing just about everything we found in the fridge and pantry into these meatballs…

when you spiralize… you need to then chop to get them the right size for the meatballs… and then have good help to crush some Arrowroot cookies to bind the mixture

seriously… even mint from the deck got tossed in…

in canola oil – because we farm canola so I better use some canola oil – fry the meatballs and then place on a parchment covered baking sheet and into the oven to finish them up

the kids raved so much about my oh-so-hard mushroom soup/brown rice combination I made it again to go with he meatballs…

empty the fridge meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground meat (turkey, bison or beef)
  • 1 cup spiralized zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red onion, spiralized and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup crushed arrowroot crackers (or breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, room temperature

Directions:

  • in a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well with your hands
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop the meatballs and form with your hands – if you are picky!
  • saute in canola oil to brown
  • place on parchment paper covered pans
  • cook in oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through
  • serve over brown rice (with mushroom soup if you so desire!)

to top it all off… garden corn is ready to go!!!  exciting times on the farm!

getting back to my control issues…  if you are struggling with your day-to-day routine and need someone to come in and boss you around while making you feel small and insignificant…  you know where to find me!  I’d be happy to tell you what to do!

buffalo chicken salad, spaghetti squash with meat sauce and almond butter cream pie

if there is one healthy ingredient in a recipe, does that make it a health food?  if your answer to that is yes, make this pie and celebrate sticking to your New Year’s resolutions…

also, if you are lactose intolerant, this might send you for a loop…

my daughter was able to eat two bites before setting it in the fridge,  labeled ‘Sienna’ so the farmer doesn’t eat it in the middle of the night…  and she felt great…

my teenage sons on the other hand ate their pieces of this almond butter cream pie in roughly 4 bites… and then paid the consequences…

my suggestion is to make this pie first thing in the morning and put in the fridge all day… then when ready to serve, whip your whipping cream and top with chocolate or pretzels and serve…

I sliced each pie into eight pieces and still thought each piece looked insanely large…

the farmer told me it was perfect size so I guess we have different ideas on how much pie one should eat…

I topped the pie with whipped cream and my absolute favourite Lindt dark chocolate bar with sea salt…

almond butter cream pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt (I like it salty)
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-natural almond butter

Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar

Garnish:

  • coarsely chopped salted pretzels or dark chocolate with sea salt or peanut butter cups

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the upper third of the oven
  • in a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and butter
  • spray a pie pan and press crumbs into it
  • bake for 12-15 minutes
  • cool on rack completely
  • for the filling, in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks, 4-5 minutes
  • transfer to a bowl
  • in the same mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and almond butter
  • fold the almond butter mixture with the whipped cream mixture
  • pour and press into the graham cracker crust pie shell and cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving
  • whip the whipping cream (in a frozen mixer bowl with the whisk attachment) and icing sugar
  • spoon out over the pie and sprinkle with the topping you prefer

this salad started out with the idea it was going to be buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese dressing…  upon making the blue cheese dressing (which I love), I decided to have my boys taste test it before finishing up the salads…

their overwhelming response was…  ‘you already hit them with goat cheese last week, I think you better not throw blue cheese at them’ … so we decided to use Hidden Valley ranch dressing instead… and save the blue cheese dressing for my personal use!

no recipe necessary for this salad…  just lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumbers with ranch dressing and buffalo chicken (chicken breast with chili powder, garlic powder and Frank’s Red hot sauce)

to balance off the pie, I decided to go with a lighter main dish for the men…  Ethan gathered 4 spaghetti squash from the garden for me and I cut them and roasted them…

I drizzle olive oil over the parchment covered pan and roast at 350 for roughly 1/2 hour or until they are soft and done…

I topped the squash with a meat sauce and cheddar cheese… spaghetti squash straight out of the garden is a lighter colour than the ones you find in the grocery stores… and tastes lighter and of course, more delicious…

it is so dusty and dry out right now that harvesting barley is an itchy procedure… and delivering suppers to the farmers can be an itchy ordeal as well!

it is key to get on the proper side of the combines to not get covered in barley dust… I get this wrong every single time…

and this combine driver does not care who she covers in barley dust… or that she has a princess blanket in the combine with her…

I changed my mind

I guess I want my boys to fall in love…

this was in question earlier this winter…  I was more of the mindset that they would always love me the most and even if there is a little lady in their lives someday, she would pale in comparison to their mother..

my reasoning was that I have done everything for them…  including making them their choice of cake/pie on their birthdays…  how could they ever find another who would compare to the love we share for each other???

(and by ‘we’… I am taking some liberties with that statement)

 

then I watched the movie ‘Brooklyn’…  and sobbed through most of it…  the kind of cry at times where my throat hurt and I wished I could stop…

it is a love story about an Irish girl coming over to Brooklyn and falling for an Italian boy… and as I watched it and it brought back a flood of memories of when I fell in love with the farmer at age 19… I was struck with the thought that I want that for the boys…

yes, it means I will have to let go… and be replaced…

but my goodness, the idea that they could find the type of love where it consumes them and changes them and makes them into the men they should be…  well, I guess I can give up on my dreams of morning runs with them at age 25… and them showing up for breakfast and coffee every morning… and re-watching all the Bond movies once again… you know, all that normal stuff well adjusted adult men do with their moms…

this still doesn’t not mean they need to have children…

I’ve told them they need to consider the type of world they are bringing a child into and if it is necessary…  having the child…

and don’t do it for me… I don’t need to be a grandma…

mostly because I’d get all competitive with the farmer to see who the grandkids liked more…  or try to sabotage the other grandma so they like me more…

this was Brandon’s 14th birthday…  making me realize I only have 4 more years with him in my house…

4 more years where he loves me the most… before I set him free to the world and then he might find someone he possibly could love more than me…

and I’ve come to terms with that… because the movie reminded me how amazing it was to find the love of my life… even though I never thought I’d find someone who could hold a candle to my dad… I found someone that did…

and I can only imagine how excited I’ll be someday to see it happen to them…

I do hope she can’t cook better than me right off the bat… I’d like to at least have that over her…

lemon meringue pie

Ingredients

  • 1 baked 9 inch pie shell (a large pie shell)
  • Filling:
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp margarine
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • Meringue:
  • 5 egg white, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 6 Tbsp sugar

Directions

  • Filling:
  • in a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt
  • gradually stir in water
  • over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly
  • cook for 3 minutes, stirring
  • whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks
  • whisk mixture back into saucepan
  • cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes
  • remove from heat
  • stir in margarine, lemon juice and zest
  • let sit for 3 minutes
  • pour into baked pie shell
  • Meringue:
  • beat egg whites with cream of tartar until it holds soft peaks
  • gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until mixture holds stiff shiny peaks
  • spread over hot filling right over the crust
  • bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes
  • let cool at room temperature