zucchini lemon loaf and chicken thigh mushroom ravioli casserole

September is for zucchini recipes… there are a billion of them floating around out there and they basically are all the same… until now… this one – I am telling you – is my all-time favourite…

I do not lie… this one is so yummy – I’m not pretending it is healthy – but it is delicious and I found it pairs well with morning coffee, morning tea, afternoon coffee, afternoon tea… (yes, I doubled the recipe and made three loaves and ended up having basically an entire loaf for myself)

zucchini lemon loaf

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, dried on paper towel
1 1/4 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
preheat oven to 325 degrees
grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non stick cooking spray
in a mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest
add canola oil and eggs and beat
add buttermilk and lemon juice
in another bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt
add the flour mixture and zucchini to the mixing bowl in stages
don’t overmix
pour into the loaf pan
bake for 50-55 minutes
using a toothpick see if it is cooked through
let sit and then take out of the pan and cool on a rack
mix up the glaze and pour over when the loaf is cooled down

this week I was in need of some simple recipes as I am training my dogs with their new and improved GPS collars to keep them in my yard… I needed to simplify the meals that were going to the field so I had time to monitor how my dogs were doing with these collars and go for walks with them around the boundary…

and let’s be honest – after a month or whatever of harvest – I would be looking for simple meals anyways…

hello Costco – I grab a few of their pre-made salads and I think to myself, if I add one fresh ingredient to them (cauliflower, tomatoes etc) then it is basically my homemade salad!

this main course I did is my daughter’s and son’s favourite… I used boneless chicken thighs, mushroom ravioli, mushrooms and then made an easy cream sauce

it can be tricky cooking with these little foil containers… they do tend to burn on the bottom and you need to grease them up so everything doesn’t just stick…

easiest thing is to have everything pre-cooked… so I bbq’d the chicken thighs (I used my favourite chicken bbq spice but just use whatever you love) and chopped them up…

then for the mushrooms, sliced them and sauted them to get the moisture out and seasoned them as well…

this left the noodles and sauce… I made up the sauce (your basic butter with flour and then add milk, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese or whatever cheese you like in a white sauce) and poured it into a large measuring cup so I could easily pour it over each dish…

having all of this ready, you then can boil the noodles, they don’t take long, and I just use a strainer and put directly on top of the first layer of chicken… I used 6 raviolis per container…

the order I assembled in was chicken, raviolis, mushrooms, chicken and then sauce…

we did put some parmesan cheese on top and cover and into a 350 degree oven for roughly 20-25 minutes until bubbling and warmed through… if you are using cold ingredients or they have had to sit for awhile, you might need to lengthen the cooking time…

at this point in harvest I am employing not only a 12 year old girl but a 7 year old cat… I make the cat count forks to make sure we aren’t missing any… this cat runs a pretty tight ship and doesn’t miss a thing…

greek salad, chicken prosciutto roll-ups and peach seed cobbler

back to school today and harvest is chugging along… although it froze to minus 4 last night and probably ended most of my garden that I’ve worked so hard on all year… it’s 2020 – that’s not going to make me cry… (hoping the farmer covered my tomatoes like I reminded him to about 7 times)

this greek salad dressing is my absolute favourite and I’ve shared it I believe around 6 times but I just love it… this year we let the tomatoes sit on paper towel (replacing it a few times) so they wouldn’t water down the salad and then put them on top so we could have it sit in the fridge all afternoon without getting watery…

greek salad

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Crisco oil
4 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp minced red onions
1 tbsp minced garlic clove
2 tbsp minced red pepper

Directions:
in a shaker, mix ingredients and shake until completely combined
pour over red, yellow and orange peppers, red onion, feta cheese, romaine lettuce and tomatoes

I’ve been excited to try this out for the farmers and it is a little finicky to get them all made up (notably if your farmer tells you supper for 14), but again you can do these up a few hours early if need be and let them sit in the fridge…

for these rollups, it worked out perfectly to use 1 package of Costco chicken thighs, one package of Costco prosciutto and one bag of Costco asparagus… (this is not a paid sponsorship from Costco… but I am open to offers)

the mix of all these good flavours with the dijon mustard is fabulous

I did these on my bbq – but you have an option to fry them as well… if you are bbq’ing them, keep an eye out so you don’t burn the asparagus ends

I think that the sage would taste better fried so if you are just doing this for your family, I might try that option… our sage this year was fantastic and I couldn’t wait to use it for this

chicken thigh prosciutto rollups

Ingredients:
Rollups:
1 pkg boneless chicken thighs from Costco
1 pkg prosciutto from Costco
Dijon mustard
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 bag asparagus from Costco
22 sage leaves (or however many you need for the rollups)
Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine (or more chicken broth)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
if doing on the bbq, preheat the bbq
if frying and then putting in oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees
have the ingredients out so you can assemble
place chicken thigh out and season lightly with salt and pepper
using a spoon, put a dollop of dijon on the chicken and then with another spoon spread over the thigh
place 2-3 asparagus on the chicken and then roll up around the asparagus
roll once slice of proscuitto around the chicken and place a sage leaf on it
secure with a toothpick
set aside in a dish and continue until you have rolled all of the chicken thighs
place, covered, in fridge until you are ready to cook
if on the bbq, place on grill and flip once… check to see if they are cooked through
for the sauce, in saucepan roast the garlic cloves, add the broth and wine and cook down
add the lemon juice at the end and serve over the chicken rollups after they are bbq’d
if you are frying and then putting in oven, place chicken in frying pan with the olive oil (don’t overcrowd) and fry on both sides, placing in a dish when done
after frying all of them up, add garlic cloves, broth and wine to the pan and cook down
add the sauce to the pan and place in oven until cooked through
add the lemon juice at the end before serving
remove the toothpicks if you are a nice person before serving – or serve like I did and have your son stab himself twice with the hidden toothpicks

I like to use chicken thighs for this as opposed to chicken breasts because the flavour is just so much ‘more better’… I think I need to go back to school as well…

this recipe was inspired by the classic goose recipe everyone uses… and I recently used on the boys geese breasts they brought home… it’s the goose breast with flavoured cream cheese if you have it and jalapeño slices wrapped in bacon… I now add dijon mustard to these as well because I am obsessed with that flavour…

my family is now going to think the only way to eat anything is to wrap it in proscuitto or bacon…

I served the chicken rollups with some mashed potatoes I had made up earlier and these garden carrots my daughter did up…

which leads me to thinking she should only go to school in the mornings and help me cook in the afternoons… she’d love that idea

for dessert – I used some of the peaches my mom had just brought out for me, but fresh peaches is also great for cobbler… I actually didn’t have a recipe for this and just “winged it”… so I have no recipe to show you…

I know I made a bit of a sauce with the peach juice from the cans, adding some tapioca starch to it… and I used oats, almond flour and whatever else was in my freezer along with butter to make the cobbler topping…

my daughter thought it was awful that would couldn’t send out ice cream with the cobbler… it is essential to have with a cobbler but the farmers had to go without…

happy happy back to school everyone and happy freezing cold harvest!!!

carrot and ginger salad, fried chicken with lemon and capers, cherry cheesecake sheet pan dessert

garden carrots – is there anything better? in my opinion only tomatoes… this salad is all about the dressing… and it is a strange dressing so I was nervous to send it out but I wanted to try it myself… this dressing is so delicious… not exactly sure what the farmers thought but I could put this dressing on just about anything…

carrot ginger salad

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 large carrots, roughly chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soya sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salad:
arugula
spinach
grated carrot
roasted beet, cooled and sliced
pumpkin seeds, toasted (from Costco)

Directions:
in a Vitamix or any high-powered blender, combine the carrots, onion and ginger and process until very finely blended
add the olive oil, soya sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, salt and pepper
blend until very smooth
mix up salad and pour dressing over right before serving

as you can see, it is a thick dressing and I was wishing I had little condiment containers to put it in so the farmers could just add it to their salads when they were ready to eat… I need to buy some of those…

I am not alone in the farm cooking world… I get a lot of inspiration from some very young (now that I am old) farm ladies out there and this is one of them… she had posted about using her Instant Pot for potatoes and it sure saved me dishes and time and headache…

I still think the texture and taste of a boiled potato is preferable to in the Instant Pot but the convenience won the day… I loaded the Instant Pot up (using the trivet as per Laura’s instructions) and added 2 cups of water and set manual for 8 minutes… you strain this and then what I do is put cream cheese, butter, garlic powder, salt and milk in the bottom of my mixer bowl… then add the potatoes and mix… pour these out into a greased baking dish and sprinkle with seasoning salt… when ready to cook, place in the oven covered with tin foil

this could not be easier to get some garden potatoes all creamed up and ready to use for the meal

on to the chicken part of the main dish!

you will see in the picture that I am using Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour… I have enjoyed using this lately instead of cornstarch but you can also use arrowroot powder… for doing big batches I pound the chicken and then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and the tapioca flour… this crisps up nicely in butter and olive oil…

I really need to come up with a better idea for browning meat before putting it in pans because this is so time consuming… easy if you are just doing it up for your family but in big batches this just takes so long… I’m open to ideas!!!!

fried chicken with lemons and capers

Ingredients:


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, made into cutlets and pounded till flat
    1 tsp kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch or cornstarch)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp butter or ghee
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
    1 cup chicken broth
    2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    lemon slices
    1 tbsp fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:
cut chicken breasts so they lay flat and place parchment over them and pound (not too hard) until an even thickness
sprinkle with salt and pepper
sprinkle both sides with starch
in a medium/high heat pan, melt butter and olive oil
place chicken in pan and brown on both sides
transfer to a baking dish
when chicken is all browned, add the garlic, capers and chicken broth to the pan
pour this over the chicken in the baking dish and add the lemon juice and lemon slices
place in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through
serve with potatoes or whatever side you would like

finally got all the chicken browned and in the pans and in the oven… I was feeling bad for myself because my trusty 12 year old helper was gone and I had to do all of this on my own… I was one hour late getting suppers to the field… horribly embarrassing rolling in at 7 pm…

if you don’t enjoy capers – just omit from the recipe – it is still a great recipe for lemony fried chicken

the farmer loves himself some cheesecake so I knew it was time to get that out to them (enough chocolate cake with some sort of vegetable in it) I combined these two cookies for the crust… but use whatever you can find in the cookie aisle and blend it into a fine crumb like mixture…

lining the dish with tin foil makes it easy to work with once cooked and chilled… this is the cup I use to stamp down the butter/cookie crust mixture…

I was hoping to get fresh cherries but didn’t have that luck at the grocery store (not sure how I missed that season)... so I resorted to canned cherries… for this I strained them to removed most of the goo…

cheesecake making is simple… get out your ingredients and go do some other jobs that morning while they get to room temperature… once the cream cheese, eggs, sour cream are all at room temperature, they make a creamy (not lumpy) cheesecake mixture for you… I dropped the cherries on and then covered with a streusel topping before baking…

cherry cheescake with cookie crust

Ingredients:
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of kosher salt
Cookie Crust:
3 cups finely processed cookie crumbs
6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
pinch of kosher salt
Cherry Cheesecake Filling:
3 pkgs cream cheese (24 oz), room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 (540 mL) Eddie Light and Fruity cherry pie filling, straining (not rinsed, just set in a strainer)

Directions:
Streusel:
combine ingredients and using a pastry blender or your fingers, crumble
place in fridge to keep cold
Crust:
preheat oven to 350 degrees
I use a Vitamix and crush the cookies in batches… if you have a food processor it would work better to do it in there
mix until cookie crumbs are basically powder
add the butter and salt
for the 9×13 dish, line with foil both ways so that you can pull it out when cooled
press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan, using a cup to push it down
bake for 10 minutes
Cheescake Filling:

  • set oven at 325 degrees
    in a electric mixer, whip up the cream cheese… scrape down with a spatula and whip again
    add sugar and whip
    add eggs one at a time, using spatula to scrape down
    add sour cream
    pour into the pan with the the cookie crust
    top with streusel
    bake for 50-60 minutes
    the outside should be set and the middle will jiggle a bit
    place on a wire rack for 30 minutes
    cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a few hours before you cut and serve

I loved cooking this up for the farmers but found myself talking to thin air as my lovely assistant was not with me… I certainly will miss her dearly when school starts!!!

taco quinoa salad, greek fried chicken with parsnip puree and new potatoe wedges and beet cake

oh my word, here we go… harvest 2020… some absolutely gorgeous hot weather (the farmer told me that it felt like the hottest day he has ever combined on… not fun to work in but great for drying out crops) has us able to get combining the peas

we truly feel like a ‘family farm’ for the first time this fall as we have all been stuck together for the last 5 months and are still stuck together but at least with some big jobs to do now! I shouldn’t be surprised why the farmer is able to function on at least 4 hours less sleep than me normally and can log big days when I realize now that he was doing this ever since he was 16… which is my youngest sons age who has been suddenly thrown into 16 hours days…

quinoa taco salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
iceburg lettuce (1 head)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 (14 oz) can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips (or as much as you like)
for topping: chopped avocado and sour cream
Dressing:
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp ketchup
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
the taco meat and and quinoa can be made ahead
season the taco meat with the cumin, garlic powder and chilli powder
for the salad, mix everything in a big bowl without the tortilla chips
for the dressing – I use a Nutribullet to whisk up the dressing… you can also shake it up
add the tortilla chips and dressing right before serving

you would think not eating out once in a restaurant in 5 months and cooking for my family for that long that I would be less than excited to start taking meals out to a bunch of farmers… you would be wrong… this is far more exciting than cooking for my family… (which I had kind of given up on doing anyways)

part of the excitement was the pleasure of the season right now… some good farmer friends of ours delivered chickens and also parsnips from their pasture and I was able to use these to cook up a meal… I then got to deliver it to the field we were combining which we rent from these farmers… days like this make me truly feel like a farmer living off the land or a hippie in Seattle living in CHAZ… perhaps farmers were ‘autonomous’ before it was cool to be?

really interesting some of the things they have planted in their pastures this year and the parsnips were excellent!

I feel like this chicken looks similar to how I felt this summer in my bathing suit… even the farmer didn’t pretend that I hadn’t put on a few pounds… in college I called it the ‘freshman 20’ (I think it was supposed to be 15)... now I’m calling it the ‘covid 20’... I find weight gain easier to deal with when you name it… kind of how all the Big Brother contestants have to ‘name’ their alliances…

in true autonomous farmer style – no part is wasted and these carcasses ended up in my freezer to later be boiled for broth… (life hack – use the word ‘autonomous’ as much as you want… if someone corrects you just tell them ‘you govern your own vocabulary’) I kept these other ‘do-dads’ I found as well… I’m not even going to guess what they are… I’m just hopeful the one thing is not a human thumb

I was very worried this was not going to be enough chicken for the crew and I’m sure two pieces each perhaps was not enough for some (just my sons maybe), but it cooked up nicely with the yummiest seasoning on it…

what I have left out so far in describing this first meal to the field is that my daughter is now 12 and she actually basically made this meal… I just stand and take photos now… it’s really nice and I pay her ‘her age’ by the hour… so basically she’ll want to live with me till she is 40 and get $40 per hour to do my work for me…

parsnip puree

Ingredients:
4 cups parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the parsnips and chicken broth
bring to a boil and reduce heat
simmer for 15 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender
transfer the parsnips and remaining cooking broth to a blender
add the coconut milk, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper
blend until smooth

she does remind me of my Grandma Reed… loves cooking and not extremely interested in dishes… so I find myself doing a lot of the ‘grunt labour’ in the kitchen… guess who had to wash the potatoes?

garden potatoes are huge by this time of year and slice perfectly for these yummy greek wedges… I don’t know why I do this – but I like to slice them into the wedges, throw the wedges in cold water and then pat dry on a tea towel before putting them on a pan… perhaps I have seen this somewhere before?

Sienna once again got the glamorous job of harvesting the fresh herbs to place on the potatoes and chicken… it is a small miracle everything stayed alive this year! silver lining of Covid? I perhaps will refrain from telling the farmer’s poor Grandma who has been locked in her room for 5 months how well my parsley is doing…

greek chicken thighs with potatoe wedges

Ingredients:
Potatoes:
1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Chicken:
2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I just cut up a whole chicken)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Potatoes:
preheat oven to 400 degrees
place potato wedges in a 9×13 baking dish
add the rest of ingredients
mix and spread in an even layer, not touching
bake for around 1 hour and toss every 20 minutes
Chicken:
line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
arrange chicken thighs in a single layer, not touching
pat dry the tops and drizzle each thigh with olive oil to coat
mix together the seasoning
sprinkle over the thighs
bake until cooked through and skin is crispy and golden brown, 35-45 minutes (depending on size) at 400 degrees
let cool for 10 minutes

to continue with the root veggie theme of the dinner… we made beet cake… I’ve posted this and made it a few times for previous harvests and it is still one of my absolute favourite cakes… Sienna struggles to see why I must put beets or zucchini in cakes, but even she was a believer after eating a piece… so moist… (also, realizing I hate that word but cannot think of a different way to describe how moist it is)

I roasted up way to many beets but actually love having these for leftovers to cut up and put on a salad or something… (or eat whole like I also did and then pee and quickly google to see if red pee was a Covid symptom) it appears I am fine and that one pees red after consuming large amounts of beets… Dwight Shrute would have been disappointed in me…

cake is easily my favourite thing to make… and then eat…

frosting is easily Sienna’s favourite thing to make… and then eat…

we are no pros at the icing of cakes… but we know you wait till the cake is cool and then you proceed to eat half the frosting while you ice it… this recipe is great because it makes way to much frosting for the cake so eat away while you ice!

root veggies for the win… (oh – cream and sugar as well)

#staysafe… this I mean to all my farmer friends… lots of big machinery and big hours… stay safe out there! happy harvesting!

beet cake

Ingredients:
For the Cake:
– 2 medium beets, cleaned, unpeeled and cut in half
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
– 1 cup packed brown sugar
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 large eggs, room temperature
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
For the Frosting: (I only used half this frosting recipe)
– 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
– 4 cups powdered sugar
– 2 tbsp finely grated cooked beets
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tsp milk
– 1/2 tsp lemon juice
– 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
– wash and cut beets into half… place in tin foil with olive oil, cover with more tin foil and bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 1 hour
– remove from oven and open up tin foil and let cool
– in a mixer, combine butter and sugar… add eggs one at a time and then vanilla
– combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt
– alternate flour mixture and buttermilk into the sugar mixture
– finally, add 3/4 to 1 cup grated beets
– put into two 9 inch cake pans that have been greased and parchment paper in the bottom of each
– bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until centre of cake is done
– let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack and cool
– for the frosting, combine all ingredients and whip
– make sure the cake is room temperature and then spread frosting in-between the two cake layers and all around it and on top
– to freeze, slice and put individual pieces in containers to freeze

tortellini broccoli chicken casserole and lemon zucchini cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tortellini chicken broccoli casserole

  • Servings: one casserole
  • Print

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lemon zucchini cake with cream cheese icing

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

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

For the Icing:

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

Directions:

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

meal to field made simple

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

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

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

Vitality Blend Black Bean/Corn Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Instant Pot shredded chicken quesadillas

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs skinless chicken breasts

– bbq sauce

– 12 large flour tortillas

– cooking spray

– 2 1/2 cups grated cheese (Havarti)

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

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

Directions:

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

– on manual, cook for 10 minutes

– strain and shred

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

– place on slow cook mode to keep warm

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

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

– spray with cooking spray and add one flour tortilla

– spread the cheese, chicken and peppers

– place a shell on top

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

– flip and cook on the other side until brown

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

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

– serve with pico de Gallo or salsa and sour cream

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

carrot cake with streusel topping

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake:

– 2 cups shredded, peeled carrots

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 2 eggs, whisked

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1 cup flour

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Streusel Topping:

– 4 tbsp butter, cubed

– 1/3 cup flour

– 1/3 cup brown sugar

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– in a bowl, combine sugar, eggs and butter

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

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

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

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

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

– cool and cut to eat

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

what do you want to be when you grow up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

  • Servings: one chicken
  • Print

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

{/recipe]

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

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

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

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

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

chili

Ingredients:

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

Directions:
– heat oil in a large pan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

strawberry-spinach wheat berry salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

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

Dressing:

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

Hazelnuts:

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

black bean protein brownies

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

September Overload

when my ten year old daughter comes home from school and asks me if I think she needs “those kneepad things for my ankles”, I begin to wonder if she should have signed up to play volleyball after all…

ahhhh… school is back in session… and with it every mom is completely overwhelmed…  we were just getting used to summer…  for our household, baseball takes up most of July and we finally seem to get into a lovely rhythm in August of slower days and then all of a sudden I am supposed to be filling out twenty seven permission slips for my children…

approving of them being in photos, school fees, sports waivers, bus waivers, and insurance forms…  I actually am so in denial of it all right now I believe I only have signed 3 out of the 27 permission slips and now am dreading tomorrows task of completing this!

then there is the inevitable new Apps that you need to get…  so you can remind your children to do their homework and have them lie to you that they have already done it

I was recently listening to a Podcast on a lady named Debra Searle that rowed a boat 3,300 miles across the Atlantic Ocean…  she commented how after 111 days at sea she could not walk on land without assistance and the sounds of people, cars and horns all was too much for her at first…

this is how I feel every September when school starts again… like it’s all too loud and I want to run away from it all and hide!

german chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 tbsp fresh brewed coffee
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
4 extra large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with paper liners (roughly 16 cupcakes)
in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes
scrape down the bowl
add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla
finally add the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee
in a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt
with mixer on low, add to the wet ingredients
scrape down and make sure the batter is well combined
using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into the lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes
cool completely before frosting
for the frosting, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat
whisk in the evaporated milk, brown sugar and egg yolks
bring to a simmer, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened
take off the heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extract
add the coconut, almonds, pecans and salt
all to cool for about an hour
frost the cupcakes

I can’t imagine how teachers feel if I feel like it is all too loud… I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks…

I feel like I finally get the kids all getting along with each other and more importantly with me!… then they get shipped off to school again and come home hungry, tired and cantankerous…

really cantankerous

it also is the time of too many sports all happening at once…  cross-country running, gymnastics, hockey, football and volleyball…

oh and harvest… harvest is still happening…

quinoa-stuffed peppers

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
ground pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
1 tsp basil or 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded mozza cheese
4 large red peppers, cut in half, seeds removed
more cheese for on top

Directions:
cooked the quinoa in the vegetable broth – bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover and cook around 15 minutes – let stand 5 minutes
preheat oven to 350 degrees
in a big bowl, mix quinoa with the rest of the ingredients
place the cut peppers in a baking dish
fill each pepper with roughly 1/2 cup of filling
sprinkle with cheese
cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes or until soft

this is when I like hum the Green Day lyrics… ‘wake me up, when September ends’

so I decided to add to this mayhem training for a 50 km trail race…  just so I could join the rest of the family in knowing their exhaustion…

I know this sounds like a lot of complaining… but I say all this so I have an excuse for all my poor behaviour at the beginning of school…  I forget a lot of stuff… my daughter still doesn’t have a lunch kit…  or a backpack…

buffalo chicken melts

Ingredients:
3 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 1/2 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
8 slices bread
8-16 thin sliced tomatoes
8 slices pepper Jack cheese

Directions:
- mix together in a large bowl the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, mayo, hot sauce and cayenne pepper
on a parchment lined baking sheet, spread out the bread (use margarine if you would like on the bread)
place tomatoes on if you are using them
using a 1/3 cup scoop, scoop out the chicken onto the bread and smooth out evenly
cover with cheese slice
broil and serve

I feel like everyone should give each other a break this time of year…  ease into it…  expect people to forget things…  not show up at the right time…  be missing pieces of the sporting equipment… bring their lunch in a plastic Walmart bag that I paid 5 cents for…

October will be better… I promise…