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

listening to teacher

new shoes… birthday shoes… these beauties might only ever see my treadmill… I’m not fast enough or pretty enough to be wearing them but here we are…
what inspired you, Catherine, to make such a healthy meal and run in your fast shoes and shave your legs? was it the super sexy farmer you’ve been quarantined with for 2 straight months? (by the way… thanks for asking… it has been going really well)
or is it that soft voice you hear every time your son, Ethan, opens his laptop to do his Math lesson and you get to hear the Voice…

almond beet blueberry muffins


Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup grated, raw beet (peeled)
1 cup frozen blueberries
Directions:
preheat oven to 350
line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups (spray if you usually do)
in a large bowl, combine almond flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
in a mixing bowl, mix eggs, molasses, butter and add beets
add the dry ingredients
fold in frozen blueberries
using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the paper lined muffin tin
bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are browned on top and a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean
at first I was laser focused on Ethan paying attention to what he was doing and making sure he gets a good grade in his Math class… but then something started to change… as I listened to this soft voice on the other side of the laptop, gently telling Ethan how to figure out the parallel line or the cosign or sum of ‘blah-bitty-blah’… it all started to run together for me and I could not get this voice out of my head…
(ok – side bar – I know margarine is not healthy apparently… but this is a game changer on sweet potatoes in my eye… absolute heaven)
(no recipe for this – it is baked sweet potato… wash the skins and bake for 45 minutes or until soft… let them rest and then cut open, squish down and put margarine, black beans and shredded cheese on and broil)
back to McDreamy Voice… I found I was starting to plan my day around getting to hear this smoky voice discussing integers… I would make sure it was time to bake or clean out the dishwasher or stand in the kitchen with a coffee and stare off into the distance…
don’t get too worried about my intentions with the Voice… or how invested I have become in Math Foundations 20… I should also mention that I was ‘pocket-dialed’ by Cabelas today (I did a phone-in, curb-side pickup yesterday) and I listened to this for over 7 minutes… they were chatting in the background about a co-worker not showing up on time and then getting orders wrong… I found it riveting …. and I would have been mortified if someone had suddenly said ‘hello?’ and figured out I had been listening for far too long…

to all the teachers out there… doing their online courses… just know that there could be a mom in the background… hiding in the kitchen… wondering what your hobbies are…
(no recipe for this dish… it is just butter lettuce, rice noodles, steak in a soy/fish sauce with ginger and then cucumbers and carrots on it… it was delish)

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

goose for dinner

goose hunting… the farmer has been up at 5 am a few mornings this week to head out and hide in this little shelter and attempt to shoot the poor geese flying overhead…

a rule we have around here is that you must eat what you shoot… so I used my father-in-law’s recipe for what to do with goose breast… how do you cook goose?

“cut the breasts into little strips…  coat in shake-and-bake (I used almond flour with Italian seasoning)…  wrap bacon around it and toss in the oven…”

 as I delivered suppers out tonight and was so excited for them to partake, I was told then end of the recipe…

“take them out of the oven… throw out the goose and eat the bacon“…  apparently goose meat is not loved by many…  I drove away hoping someone enjoyed it….

begs the question – if it tastes so awful, why do I have American hunters knocking on my door every night to see if they can hunt on our land?

I am now going to ask these hunters why they are shooting the geese in the first place… are they just salivating over eating it or are they worried about the goose population?

 if the goose wrapped in bacon was a no-go they at least would enjoy some fluffy potato mounds…

*** side note: I just love this Tupperware egg yolk separator… I tend to not have many kitchen gadgets but this is one that I use on the regular***

only issue with my potato mounds and bacon wrapped goose breast was oven space…  I’ve jealously seen kitchens with two ovens – always wondering how much those two ovens are put to work…

scooped whipped potatoes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs (around 10 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:
in a large pot, cover potatoes with cold salted water by 2 inches
bring to a boil… reduce to rapid simmer and cook till tender, around 15 minutes
drain
let sit 5 minutes
in the bowl of a standing mixer add the potatoes, butter, 2 egg yolks and heavy cream
whip until combined, adding more cream if needed
preheat oven to 450 degrees
line a baking sheet with parchment paper
scoop potatoes onto the sheet
freeze until firm (around 15 minutes)
whisk together the remaining egg yolk and 2 tsp of heavy cream
brush the potatoes and bake until golden – around 15 minutes

classic layered salad…  it is just one of my favourite ‘throw back’ salads…  according to the farmer’s grandma’s cookbook, there was a time where you had two options for salads… one involved jello and one involved mayonnaise

layered lettuce salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 head lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup chickpeas, strained and rinsed
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • layer the first 6 ingredients
  • mix up the dressing ingredients and smooth over the top
  • when ready to serve you can either mix it up or if you are taking it to the field just leave it layered

chickpeas was a new addition to the recipe and I have to say – it was delicious…   I wonder if I can throw some chickpeas in jello and call it a day?

cheesecake…  ahhhh…  a great dessert to include in a meal that you aren’t sure if everyone will enjoy…  because if they didn’t eat the goose, they at least can fill up on cheesecake…

this is a layered cheesecake – with carrot cake on the bottom and cheesecake on the top… it is a great idea to whip this up in the evening – as I did – and then pop in the fridge overnight and put the toppings on the next day to serve…

this cheesecake couldn’t have been easier to assemble…  I set everything out in the afternoon to get it to room temperature and then after taking out suppers I was able to quickly assemble it in the evening… with enough time left to watch some Netflix with my daughter…  what is good for the goose is good for the gander… am I right?  (I was just trying to use that saying because it had goose in it but I really don’t think I used it properly)

in order to get the perfect size for my containers, I came up with this method to cut the cheesecake…

carrot cake cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Cheesecake:

  • 24 oz (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temp
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp
  • 6 tbsp heavy whipping cream, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the Carrot Cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, barely melted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots

For the Topping:

  • 2 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup heaving whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • wrap the exterior of a 9” springform pan in a sheet of foil – lightly grease and set aside
  • in a large bowl of a standing mixer, cream the cream cheese with a paddle attachment
  • add the remaining cheescake ingredients and cream until no lumps
  • scoop into a bowl and set aside
  • in the same standing mixer, combine the carrot cake ingredients
  • in the springform pan, pour the carrot cake batter down first, flatten and then pour the cream cheese mixture – do not combine the two
  • bake for around 1hour
  • if the cake is already dark by 35 minutes, gently cover with tin foil
  • the cheesecake is done when the centre appears to be set
  • let the cake cool completely (I do this overnight in the fridge, covering with plastic wrap)
  • before serving, mix up the topping and smooth over the cheesecake
  • garnish with pecans and serve

oh… and to finish things off just a little photo of my two favourite quarterbacks ever…

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

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…