I wanna hug with somebody

I was walking with a friend the other evening… as we were saying our good-bye’s, a strange feeling came over me… I have been close friends with this person for over twenty years now and this was a new feeling I had never experienced around her… I found my arms raising, my heart pulling me towards her, a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth… and then I almost did the unthinkable… I almost hugged her…
I shyly laughed and told her that I didn’t know what came over me… that I had these strange new feelings and I was overcome with the urge to give her a hug… is this how all the freaks that I’ve avoided hugging over the years feel???

my whole life I’ve avoided saying goodbye at get-togethers and just slipping out in order to forego the inevitable hugs that ensue… now, my body is betraying everything I know by drawing me towards her
this is when I know that Corona has cracked me… broken me down and spit me out…

she was kind about the awkwardness that ensued… I could tell she didn’t need to hug me as much as I was longing to wrap my arms around her… maybe she was worried that a hug that was 20 years in the making might be a let down… perhaps she thinks I am showing visible signs of losing my mind…. it could be the fact that showering once a week is not working out for me as well as I thought it was… whatever it was, she politely laughed as said ‘oh I sure wish we could hug too… darn Covid’

potato gnocchi

  • Servings: 2-4 people
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Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes (around 2 cups mashed)
1 tsp salt
cracked black pepper
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour (more if needed)
Directions:
boil potatoes – either peel first or pull peels off after
boil them for 20-25 minutes and drain
mash or use a potato ricer
let cool a bit and then in a bowl, add the salt, pepper, egg and then the flour until you can form a ball
on a floured surface, roll parts of it into a log and chop into small ‘pillows’
in batches, place in boiling water and as soon as they float, let them float for 30 more seconds and then remove
put in a dish with a bit of olive oil so they don’t stick to each other
use immediately or keep in the fridge to use later
I’m not sure what this isolation is doing to me but I’m worried that it’s turning me into one of the most annoying/inconsiderate types of human beings… a hugger…
the meal I was making, as I mulled over these new urges I had been having as of late, is one of my absolute favourites… gnocchi… little pillowy mouthfuls of potato heaven… they are a bit laboursome, but so delightful and so much better than the store bought version…

I like to use the potato ricer to get really fluffy mashed potatoes for the dough… my daughter and I had a lovely little assembly line going of me rolling and cutting the dough and she was boiling and straining them…

the plan was to add a mushroom cream sauce on them with a parmesan topping and bake… but after all that work, I curdled the milk and ruined the entire sauce… my guess is the temperature was too high for adding the milk…
so Sienna had to go dump it in the back trees in the yard and we settled for store bought pasta sauce and parmesan cheese and baked the gnocchi at 375 degrees until it was bubbling and gooey… we gave each other a hug and said we ‘can’t cry over curdled milk’
this little girl’s schedule is full of school in the morning but then I can employ her for the afternoon in my kitchen… the salad we made is super simple and classic but we thought delicious with the homemade French dressing…

iceberg lettuce chopped salad with french dressing


Ingredients:
Salad:
1 head iceberg lettuce, core removed and chopped
4 radishes, chopped
4 scallions or green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
Dressing:
3 tbsp white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste (not needed)
Directions:
put salad ingredients in a large bowl
shake up dressing
pour over and serve immediately
we finished the meal off with an easy peach cobbler…

and I have to say that I am mortified if I have made ‘spurned-huggers’ feel the way my lovely friend was ‘forced’ (we’ll say that) to make me feel the other night… all these years, I never knew the anguish I was causing so many by not just giving them a hug… however awful it used to feel for me to hug, the feeling of having an unrequited hug is worse!

I do have a suspicious feeling that this lure to hugging I am having right now is purely founded upon the fact that we are not allowed to hug and throughout the course of my life, I am generally only attracted to things I am not supposed to be doing… similar to the critically acclaimed Netflix show “Too Hot to Handle”, where couples are not allowed to kiss (etc.) and find themselves even more attracted to each other than if they could kiss… this was an old Bible School trick… one I fell for ‘hook, line and sinker’ and ended up marrying a farmer at the ripe old age of 20…

who knows – only time will tell if this pull to hugging is merely an act of rebellion or a step forward in becoming a nicer human being… after the pandemic, if you don’t get the open faced sandwich hug, the shoulder to the throat hug, the middle school dance hug or the burping the baby hug but instead it is replaced with a soft, delicious ‘hugging your grandmother’ type of hug, you will know something deep down has been switched in me… and you might want to read my old blog on how to avoid hugging – cuz I’m coming for ya…

peach cobbler


Ingredients:
3 quarts canned peaches, strained (or 12 fresh peaches, sliced)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold shortening, cut into small cubes
1 cup whole milk
Directions:
mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan on medium/high heat
add peaches and boil and gently stir for 1 minute
pour into a 9×13 greased dish
cut shortening into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt mixture
add milk and mix until sticky
spoon over the peaches and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
serve warm if possible

48 days of cooking in quarantine to get excited to cook for seeding

seeding 2020 is upon us… and never would I have thought that I would have been quarantined at home for 48 days before I had to take a meal to the field… nothing like cooking for your family for that long to get you in the mood to cook for farmers… 
the shelves at the grocery store are stripped bare of yeast and flour and as a farmer who has been gardening, making buns, doing all of these ‘primitive’ behaviours for over 20 years now, it is pretty humorous to me to see how people actually think that by having a tiny little garden in their yard and getting flour and yeast they could possibly survive…  get a grip people – you aren’t Hutterites… you will not survive… 

I am actually so excited for the change in pace for May here, because it gives me the excuse to tell any straggler kids around here that on the ‘off days’ of not taking out meals, it is cereal or ramen noodles for supper… 

we have gotten into a depressing little routine here on the farm… wake up, school work and run or workout, clean, cook, yard work and then stare at the TV (or play video games) until the sweet release of sleep comes and we can repeat the exact same thing the next day

the kids have been helping me with some spring jobs here that they never knew happened…  Sienna mentioned to me ‘when did you do this before?’ and I tell her ‘when you were at school’... 

for the first month or so, I would receive emails everyday with things that were being cancelled…  hockey for Sienna, hockey camps for Ethan, baseball, school, dental appointments, Easter, vacations, graduation for Brandon… 

you know what wasn’t cancelled?  home schooling, yard work, house work, dishes, laundry, the WIND, bills, spam emails, subscriptions to things I accidentally signed up for… and apparently the social pressure to clean and paint your entire house…  

spinach salad with strawberries

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, (optional – toasted)

Dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onions
  • 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

Directions:

  • chop the spinach and toss the spinach, strawberries and almonds into a bowl
  • in a mason jar (or whatever you use to make dressings), shake up the dressing ingredients
  • pour over and eat immediately

 

I certainly went through all the stages and then invented a few during my grief cycle…  denial and isolation (well, I bought hand sanitizer every week for a month going into this so I wasn’t in denial… definitely in isolation)anger (nailed that… still nailing that)… bargaining (tough to bargain when you are alone)depression (is this the feeling you get in the morning when you want to suffocate yourself with a pillow??)acceptance (I also like to call this despair… has a nicer ring to it)

the ones I added were – replacing every good habit that took me 40 years to develop with a bad habit…  worrying about not having anything to worry about… not shaving… talking to strangers like they are life long friends… googling Zoom backgrounds for 3 hours before I realize how long I’ve been staring at my phone for… starting group chats with anyone that will have me… then leaving the group chats because I can’t stand anyone on them… crying while running… thinking cake and peanut butter marshmallow bars are a breakfast food… 

pickled creamy onions

  • Servings: around 8 cups
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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • miracle whip (or mayo)

Directions:

  • slice up onions and place in a big bowl
  • heat water, vinegar, sugar and salt
  • pour over sliced onions
  • cover and place in a fridge for 3-4 hours minimum or overnight
  • drain
  • add celery seed and miracle whip until onions look creamy

but ENOUGH WITH THAT…  here we go… SEEDING…  the hope every year that we will plant seeds into the ground and new life will come…  (oh yes – I have gotten very spiritual during this time as well… tough to miss church when it is virtual and you are can’t possibly say that you are busy)

I have never been more excited for seeding in my life... we are fortunate to have freezers full of beef (I cut this blade roast in half for this shredded beef recipe) and deer sausage and chickens…  the Farmer’s only way of ‘prepping’ for this was to come home every few days with giant burlap sacks of rice – so we are set in the rice department…  

seeding usually feels so rushed with sports going on – but this seeding I get to experience the sheer boredom that my ancestors got to go through during this time of year… I am excited to see what creativity and inspiration comes from this (more sleeping is my guess)

I feel grateful that I came to terms years ago with the fact that I would be cooking massive amounts of food for the foreseeable future and started to really love and enjoy it (it is one of those mind tricks you can do – where if you tell yourself enough times that you like something, you will start to like it – kinda like quarantine)

instant pot shredded caramelized beef

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs flank steak 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup Mexican beer, (or root beer or water)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • buns and toppings

Directions:

  • cut the steak into four pieces
  • pat steak pieces down with the chili powder, onion powder, paprika and salt
  • in the Instant Pot, put olive oil and then steak pieces
  • add the rest of the spices (if any leftover) and add garlic, juice and zest of lime and beer
  • cover and cook on high pressure/manual for 8 minutes (more if a larger steak/roast)
  • once done cooking, use the natural or quick release function and release the steam
  • preheat the broiler on high
  • remove the steak and shred – place onto a baking sheet
  • add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid
  • drizzle honey over it
  • broil for 2-5 minutes, until the steak caramelizes
  • toss with additional cooking liquid if desired
  • serve on a bun with toppings of your choice (this can also be used in a taco)

so here it goes… meals to the field

experimenting with new recipes, new ways to cook and enjoying one of the only fun things left for us to do… EATING

here is hoping that everyone has a safe and happy seeding – that it rains on our crops and we all start to see new life coming out of the wreckage the last two months has been

I will supply recipes for you to try – not all will be great but I hope there are a few that you enjoy along the way here…  and we will get through seeding and spring together

coconut lemon muffins with honey butter

  • Servings: 12 muffins
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Ingredients:
Muffins:

  • 2 cups sweetened coconut flaked or shredded 
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk, (stirred up with a fork)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Honey Butter:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp slated butter, melted
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • spray lined muffin cups 
  • spread coconut on a baking sheet and place in oven for 5-10 minutes until toasted
  • in a bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt and zest
  • in a mixing bowl, combine eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, br sugar, coconut milk and oil
  • add in the flour mixture
  • place a scoop in each muffin tin
  • bake for 16-18 minutes or until set
  • cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes
  • drizzle with honey butter generously

 

meal to field made simple

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

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

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

Vitality Blend Black Bean/Corn Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Instant Pot shredded chicken quesadillas

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs skinless chicken breasts

– bbq sauce

– 12 large flour tortillas

– cooking spray

– 2 1/2 cups grated cheese (Havarti)

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

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

Directions:

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

– on manual, cook for 10 minutes

– strain and shred

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

– place on slow cook mode to keep warm

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

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

– spray with cooking spray and add one flour tortilla

– spread the cheese, chicken and peppers

– place a shell on top

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

– flip and cook on the other side until brown

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

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

– serve with pico de Gallo or salsa and sour cream

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

carrot cake with streusel topping

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake:

– 2 cups shredded, peeled carrots

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 2 eggs, whisked

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1 cup flour

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Streusel Topping:

– 4 tbsp butter, cubed

– 1/3 cup flour

– 1/3 cup brown sugar

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– in a bowl, combine sugar, eggs and butter

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

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

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

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

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

– cool and cut to eat

save it for Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

blueberry pancakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

two questions to ask someone when I meet them

1 – do you love TV?

2 – how do you feel about hugging?

only two things I need to know about someone

matcha raspberry sponge roll cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

– 1 cup sifted cake flour

– 2 tbsp matcha

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

– 1 cup sugar, divided

– 1 tsp vanilla

– icing sugar for dusting

Raspberry Cream Filling:

– 1 cup raspberry jam

– 8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature

– 4 tbsp icing sugar

– 1 pkg raspberries, plus more for garnishing

Directions:

– preheat oven to 375 degrees

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

– sift the cake flour, matcha and salt together

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

– whisk on high speed until light and foamy

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

– transfer to a clean mixing bowl

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

– whisk until light yellow

– add 1/2 cup sugar

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

– sprinkle over the flour mixture and fold together

– pour into the prepared baking sheet

– bake for 10-12 minutes

– dust a clean linen towel with icing sugar

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

– remove parchment and roll up

– cool on a wire rack

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

– add the raspberries

– unroll the cake and spread with raspberry jam

– spread the cream cheese over

– roll up again without the linen towel

– wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the fridge

– dust the cake with icing sugar

– slice into pieces and serve with raspberries

meatloaf & potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

quinoa cabbage salad

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

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

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

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

Instant Pot Whipped Potatoes

Ingredients:

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

– 1-2 cups water

– 1/4 cup butter

– 4 oz cream cheese

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

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1 tsp garlic powder

– freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

– put trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot

– lay cut, peeled potatoes in it

– add water

– set to Manual for 8 minutes

– when done, pour into a strainer in the sink

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

– add the strained, cooked potatoes

– sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

– mix until smooth

– pour into a greased baking dish

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

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

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

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

meatloaf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

orange cookie cake

Ingredients:

Cookie Crust:

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

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

– 4 large eggs

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

– icing sugar for dusting

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– grease 9×13 pan

– stir together flour, sugar and salt

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

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

– bake for 20 minutes

– for the filling, stir the ingredients in a bowl

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

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

– cut into 16 pieces

feeling the love

I prefer to do things for other people than have them done for me…  with the exception of the farmer…  he can keep doing things for me and I have no guilt associated with that…

so when my friends threw a party for my 40th birthday it was pretty overwhelming…  you always hope your friends like you – that they aren’t just tolerating you and then chatting about how awful you are when you leave the room…  and at my party yesterday I truly felt loved… really loved… and it was amazing

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the party as my three children and husband all decided to shower before they left to go to church and left me to 2 inches of lukewarm water to bathe in…  just to give you a full mental image, as I was trying to wash my hair in the few inches of water in the tub, I threw my neck out…  I then started to cry – whimper really – and then cursed my family on their way to church and thought that 40 is not so great… I eventually pulled myself together in time to head out…

first off, you know you are 40 when you go to yoga on a Sunday at 2 pm to celebrate!!!  this is at the Hotroom in Kindersley, SK and in my humble opinion the best hot yoga studio in the world…  Michelle did an amazing job with us – starting with couple yoga that had me mounting my friend Mandy (any chance I get to mount her I take it), then into some flow style of yoga and then wall Yin and stretching – my favourite…

moments like this remind me of how lucky I am to have known these friends of mine for over 20 years now and raised children with them, cried with them, cheered with them and gone through life with them… (and also the friends in my life not pictured here as well)

I realized that the friendships I have been fortunate enough to be have been able to form in this small community have really sustained me and brought me through many ups and downs on the farm here…

when I moved out to rural Saskatchewan to start a life with the farmer, I didn’t really know what it would be like in a tiny little community…  and I feel like I struck GOLD with the community I moved into… everyone here truly cares for each other and each other’s kids…

it is a safe place to raise a family, with lots of support and encouragement…  there is an attitude of hard work and respect that permeates life in this farming community…

so when my friends took the time, during a busy seeding season, to take me to yoga and have a potluck meal with presents – it just floored me…

broccoli cashew salad

Ingredients:
– Dressing:
– 1 cup mayonnaise
– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
– 2 cloves garlic, minced finely (optional)
– 1 tsp granulated sugar
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– cracked black pepper
– Salad:
– 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
– 1 pkg cooked bacon, chopped
– 1/2 cup chopped, roasted cashews
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
– 1/4 cup diced red onion
– 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:
– place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together
– mix salad ingredients with the dressing
– refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving
– keeps really well in the fridge

one of the things I have been noticing as I age is that the friendships I have in this small town continue to bring wisdom, strength and encouragement into my life…  women here challenge each other to keep improving themselves and growing…

I wasn’t sure I’d like a small farming community – I liked cities and the anonymity that goes with city life…  I really didn’t want everyone to know my business all the time (although I’m not sure exactly what I was hiding… the fact that I like to watch Netflix and eat chips and dip???)

but I have grown to love it and when I get home after a long weekend away, I love driving on the lonely back roads to our farm and knowing who lives in each house as I go by… as the fields and sky stretch on and on… and I feel like “I am home”…

it isn’t a tourist destination spot – that is for sure – unless you are a hunter I suppose…  but for me it’s home…  it is where my friends and I have all built our lives together… it is where we have prayed for rain and celebrated rain… it is the people here in this tiny community that make it beautiful…

tuna casserole

Ingredients:

– 12 oz egg noodles

– 4 tbsp butter

– 1 med onion, diced

– 6 oz button mushrooms, chopped

– 1/4 cup flour

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 3 cups warm milk

– salt and pepper

– 3 cans tuna in water, drained

– 1 red bell pepper, chopped

– 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

– shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

– 4 tbsp butter, melted

– 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

– preheat oven to 400 degrees

– boil noodles, till al dente, then drain and place in large mixing bowl

– in a saucepan, melt butter and saute the onion and mushrooms

– sprinkle with flour and stir

– add the white wine and cook down

– add the milk and salt and pepper and cook down

– add this sauce to the noodles

– add the tuna, red bell pepper and parsley to the noodles and sauce

– pour into a 9×13 pan sprayed with baking spray

– sprinkle with shredded cheese (optional)

– combine butter and breadcrumbs

– sprinkle over the noodles

– bake for 25-30 minutes

so I am feeling all the love today and I hope to keep that love going and support others in their farming, small town life journeys…

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

seeding 2019 begins!!!

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

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

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

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

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

drain again and they are good to go

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

spring apple cauliflower salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pork caesar salad sandwiches with roasted garlic whipped butter

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

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

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

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

blackberry, cherry chocolate cake with blackberry buttercream icing

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

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

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

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

happy seeding!!!

…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!