need any help?

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

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

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

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

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

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

apparently sometimes it can’t be helped…

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

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

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

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

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

Grandma Swan's Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie

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

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

1 unbaked pastry shell

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

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

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

Grandma Swan's Scalloped Corn

  • Servings: one casserole
  • Print


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


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

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

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

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

Grandma Swan's Mandarin Orange Lettuce Salad



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


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


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

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

Grandma Swan's Beef Stroganoff


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


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

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

stroganoff for the win

the kids love seeding and harvest time because they know they will be getting desserts…  and I love making desserts…

this is carrot cake in cupcake form… in my mind easier for the farmers to handle

the key to cupcakes is to use an ice cream scoop and it is quick and easy

this is when I wish you could smell pictures…  so good…

the classic cream cheese icing with a hint of orange

and topped with candied carrot slices

because farmers love fancy looking cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes



  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


  • 1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp whole milk (if needed to thin the frosting)


  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners
  • in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
  • in a mixing bowl, beat the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla
  • add the carrots
  • add the flour mixture
  • fold in the walnuts and cranberries
  • divide the batter between the prepared cupcake pans
  • bake until a wooden pick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean, around 20-25 minutes
  • let cool completely
  • in a mixing bowl, beat the frosting and spread over the cooled cupcakes

for the salad I am a bit obsessed lately with roasted nuts with nutritional yeast on them… if you haven’t used nutritional yeast in your cooking yet, it is a delicious element to add to it… I have a friend that puts it on her popcorn!

the kids were not as into this nutty, garlicky, yeasty crunch as I was so perhaps it is an acquired taste…

using a microplane for the garlic is perfect for not overpowering this recipe

I used the bag of kale mixture from Costco for this salad and topped it with a delicious lemon juice vineagrete

Kale Walnut Salad

Roasted Walnuts
2 cups raw walnuts
2 large cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane
6 tsp nutritional yeast
6 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Salad and Dressing
2 large bunches kale, stemmed (or one large Costco bag)
2 large cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and zest
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
dried cranberries
goat cheese

to make the roasted walnuts, head oven to 300 degrees
chop the walnuts into small pieces
spread over a parchment lined baking sheet
toast in oven for 10 minutes
in a medium bowl, whisk garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil and salt
add the walnuts and coat thoroughly
for the salad, finely chop the kale into thin strands
for the dressing, in a mason jar shake the garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest, oil and maple syrup
add to the kale and toss
serve the kale with roasted walnuts, dried cranberries and goat cheese

the farmer tells me that you can never go wrong with stroganoff… so I winged it a bit and made an Instant Pot version of beef stroganoff

I saluted some onions, carrots and celery… then I added the frozen (yes frozen!) beef roast with some dijon mustard, tomato paste, mushrooms and homemade beef broth

because the beef was frozen I set the timer for 80 minutes…  if it wasn’t frozen I would have gone with 60 minutes…  I set the beef aside to slice and strained the mushroom mixture…

on saute mode, I melted some butter and added flour… then I added some cream milk and sour cream, placing the beef and mushroom mixture back into the pot… you can add more sour cream or broth or milk depending on how you like your sauce to look

serving it over egg noodles and you have a classic meal to the field dish!

Instant Pot Beef Roast Stroganoff


  • 2 lb beef blade roast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 lb button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or more to taste)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • egg noodles


  • set the Instant Pot to saute and allow to preheat for 4-5 minutes
  • season the beef with salt and pepper
  • add the canola oil to the pot and then add the beef
  • sear for 3-5 minutes on each side and then set aside
  • add the onion, carrot, celery and italian seasoning and state for 4-5 minutes
  • stir in the mustard and tomatoe paste
  • create space for the beef in the middle and add
  • add the mushroom and beef stock
  • set the machine for 60 minutes
  • when done, remove beef and slice into bite portions
  • strain the mushrooms and veggies
  • on saute, add the butter and flour
  • whisk and then add the milk
  • add the sour cream (more or less depending on how much sauce you need)
  • add the mushrooms and beef back to it and season with salt and pepper
  • serve over egg noodles with green onions sprinkled on it