I could hibernate

Everything about the idea of hibernation seems wonderful to me.  The eating excessively to ready the body for the months of sleep where it will need to sustain itself off my fat reserve. The deep sleep for a few months when it is dark and cold outside.  The giving birth while asleep in my fat induced coma.  (I’m not expert but this is what I believe hibernation entails.)

Where I live the sun sets at 5:30 pm or so and doesn’t rise until 8:30 am.  My brain is programmed to wake and sleep according to the sun. This has something to do with my cave-men ancestors I’m sure and nothing to do with laziness or seasonal depression.

Needless to say for about a month here I’ve been getting  very angry when my alarm goes off in the morning.   I love how Oprah says to wake up in a spirit of gratitude.  Try living in darkness where everyone starts looking like they are from a horror movie with giant black eye bags due to the fact that we never see sunlight and see how grateful you are Oprah.  Not possible.

The children are not allowing me to hibernate.  First of all I had to birth them awake… drugged but awake. Then they have the audacity to demand breakfast and lunches made for them before they go to school.  Furthermore, they need to be driven to hockey practices every evening in the dark.  They are not understanding my longing for the deep sleep of winter.

My mind wanders to what our ancestor farmers did back when there was no TV or electricity or reason to live.  They obviously made babies due to the fact that every family had about 12 children living in 400 square feet of house. With no TV.   Wouldn’t be my first thought in the lonely darkness of winter to have yet another child to discipline, provide for, pay attention to and share square footage with.

I’m assuming they slept a lot.  I realize they had to worry about keeping the family fed and animals alive and wood supply stocked and clothing sewn and maple syrup tapped.  (now I’m purely referencing Little House on the Prairie)

I’m more into being a modern day farmer’s wife.   I appreciate what those that forged the trail ahead for us did but my guess is I would have starved to death and so would my 14 children.  Which might have been the kindest thing I could have done for them given our circumstances.

Next best thing to sleeping is eating freshly baked bread.  So I am making Grandma Swan’s bread recipe today in hopes to forget that I wish I was sleeping.

All winter… just sleeping. Or at least from 5:30 pm – 8:30 am.  Is 15 hours of sleep good for you?

grandma swan's white bread


  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp quick rising yeast
  • 5 cups potato water (or regular lukewarm water)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 13 to 14 cups all purpose flour


  • mix 1 cup water and sugar together and sprinkle yeast over it
  • let sit for 10 minutes
  • in your Bosch machine (or dough machine) add warm potato water, oil, sugar and salt
  • add yeast mixture and combine
  • add flour, 3 cups at a time and mix well after every addition
  • when it comes together, turn out onto a clean surface and work with hands into a ball
  • place in a greased bowl and let rise till double
  • punch down and let rise again
  • shape dough into 7 balls and place on a greased baking sheet covered with a tea towel
  • take one ball and roll out with a rolling pin to approximately 7×11 inches
  • from upper edge, roll dough towards you, jelly roll fashion, sealing dough with the heel of your hand after each roll
  • after roughly 4 turns it will be at the edge and seal the final seam
  • seal ends of the loaf with the side of your hand to get a thin sealed strip
  • fold sealed ends under and place in a well greased (I use shortening) bread pan, approximately 7×11 inches
  • let rise until double with a tea towel over the loaves in a warm area
  • bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes
  • take out of oven and brush tops of loaves with margarine
  • remove from pans and cool on rack

meal to the field #9

in the past fifty days or so we have only combined around seventeen of them… this means there has been more days not combining than combining which doesn’t make for happy farmers… in fact my farmer  has lost weight just from the stress of not combining…  I told him fad diets like that never work but he did it anyways…

so this meal I did on Friday and then it promptly rained again so we couldn’t finish up…  we have a lot of canola still out there waiting to get combined… Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming weekend and it looks like it will be turkey to the field… I have done this only one other year in my 15 years of cooking for farmers…

and this is why farmers talk about the weather… a lot…


cucumber dill salad


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 large cucumbers, sliced with a mandolin
  • 6 green onions, chopped


  • in a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt
  • mix with a whisk
  • cut cucumbers with a mandolin into thin slices and place in bowl
  • add green onions, mix and dish into containers
  • chill in fridge for at least one hour


pot roast in beer and onions


  • 2 1kg cross rib pot roasts
  • salt and pepper on roasts (season well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 white onions, chopped
  • 14 crushed garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 bottles of beer
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence


  • turn crockpot on high
  • heat oil in a large dutch oven on medium/high heat
  • season the roasts and one at a time sear each roast (all sides) for 2 minutes per side
  • place into the crockpot
  • in dutch oven, place onions and garlic
  • season the onions and garlic with thyme and herbes de provence
  • add beer and broth
  • pour over the roasts in the crockpot
  • cook on high in crockpot for 4 hours or longer
  • take meat out and slice and put back in crockpot and serve

roasted carrot sticks with dijon dressing


  • 8 large carrots, cut into sticks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped


  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • cut carrots into sticks and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • roast for 15-20 minutes until tender
  • mix up olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme and rosemary
  • pour over the carrots and serve

basically if you are eating a roast or any sort of beef dish that has a gravy, you need to make yorkshire pudding…  the farmer’s family called them ‘pop-overs’ but I grew up knowing and loving them as ‘yorkshire pudding’…  my love for them has never faltered… I love them fresh out of the oven with nothing on them…. or with the meal with some butter and gravy in the centre of them… or later that evening, cold from the refrigerator…  oh I love them so… that’s why you need to make 36 of them even if you are not feeding a whole crew of farmers…



  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 2/3 cup homo milk
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour


  • using three muffin tins, place dollops of butter in each well and place in 400 degree oven
  • whisk up eggs and add salt and milk
  • add flour to mixture
  • take out smoking hot muffin tins and pour batter into them, filling each well half way up
  • bake for 20 minutes
  • serve warm, with gravy and butter


these brownies are so easy to make and moist and delish… the reason I sprinkled them with icing sugar is because I forgot to put parchment paper in the baking pan and half the cake stuck in the bottom of the pan and it was a bit of a disaster…  so icing sugar covers all wrongs…

zucchini brownies


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • in a standing mixer, beat sugar and oil
  • mix flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl
  • add flour mixture to sugar and oil
  • beat and add zucchini
  • fold in chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan
  • make sure the baking pan is well greased and has parchment paper lining the bottom of it so cake does not stick
  • bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until centre of cake is done
  • let cook in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes and then take out of pan and let cool
  • cut into 12 brownies and serve

yellow squash banana bread 

ahhhhh the weekend… I’d suggest having a nice bath with some Epsom salts, listening to Enya and reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington … oh and make this loaf using up either your squash or zucchini that has taken over your kitchen… 


yellow squash banana bread

– 1 1/2 cup Robin Hood Nutri flour blend (tastes like white)
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 2 bananas, mashed (around 1 cup)
– 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
– 1 large egg, room temperature
– 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 3/4 cup shredded yellow squash (or zucchini)
– 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
– 1 tbsp turbinado sugar for top, optional
– preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8×4 inch loaf pan
– mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside
– in a mixer, combine bananas, sugar, egg, coconut oil and vanilla
– add flour mixture until combined
– fold in squash and chocolate chips
– pour batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle with sugar
– bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean
– cool for 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool
– freezes very well


getting your hair done is odd… looking at yourself in a mirror for the better part of four hours can almost be seen as a form of torture… so I just stare at my hairdresser instead… and as she tends to my mane, I grace her with my witty stories, stemming back to my childhood but all the way through college and giving birth to my children…  sometimes she has stepped out of the room but I didn’t notice with the blow dryer going and it’s humorous as I’m still weaving a story and the only one listening is her dog…

 by the end of our four hours together, she usually says something to the effect of “don’t you dare try to pay me… our time together is payment enough”…   and then she makes sure that I knew she was joking… she wants to get paid…

another thing about her is her humility… when I see her ‘out and about’ around town and I’ve styled my own hair that day, she’ll say things to me like ‘you don’t need to tell anyone who does your hair’… and I say to her ‘stop it Roselle Burton… you deserve all the credit you’ll get for this’…  she laughs and I laugh
last time I was there… we were discussing the garden and cooking and I asked her if I could feature one of her recipes on my blog…  my idea was to come to her house ‘off the clock’ and have her cook her favourite recipe for me and I’d eat it…  turns out she’s really busy… but she did tell me about beetniks…

fall time here and all us farm ladies bring in the garden the day before a big frost…  things like spaghetti squash, zucchini, corn, onions, garlic… all of that needs to get brought in… so I also grabbed beet leaves… and made up these beetniks as best as I could remember her telling me how to do…


– bread dough
    – 5 cups all purpose flour
    – 2 tsp sugar
    – 2 tsp salt
    – 2 tbsp instant rise yeast
    – 4 tbsp canola oil
    – 2 cups warm water
– 24 big beet leaves, wiped clean
– 1/4 cup butter
– 1/2 onion, finely chopped
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 cup cream milk
– fresh dill, chopped
– make the dough and let rise for 45 minutes
– grease two 9×13 pans
– wash the beat leaves and pat dry with paper towel
– pinch off a piece of the dough and roll into the shape of a fat thumb
– wrap the beet leaf around it and place in the greased pan
– continue until done and cover with a tea towel and let rise 1 hour
– bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
– for the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan
– add onions and garlic and cook till soft
– stir in cream and dill
– bring to a slight bubble and then remove from heat
– pour over top of the cooked beetniks and cook for 5 more minutes
– serve warm (they freeze well)

I might have ate about four of them fresh out of the oven…  then rued the day that I ate four of them fresh out of the oven…  the kids have been loving having them after school… they just heat it up and away they go into doughy, creamy heaven…

meal to the field #6

 I feel undesired… not by the farmer… I feel sufficiently desired by him…  just realizing that I’m at an age where the older men that used to creepily check me out no longer do… I’m too old now to make it fun for the creepers…  and I’m not quite old enough to be a Cougar yet… getting there but not quite… so I’m in ‘no-man’s land’… literally… no man wanting this…  other than the farmer of course…

so this leads to me getting a tad ‘sloppy’ with my look once in awhile… it is freeing knowing that no one is looking at you… it also means you might wake up and not actually look in the mirror until you are driving and see a glimpse of yourself in the rear-view mirror and think ‘I look tired’… or you might get sloppy with the shaving of the legs or the curling of the hair or the general hygiene desired women  attend to…

recently I had an appointment to get my knee, which I partially tore my MCL in, looked at by a doctor to decide what to do about a brace and physio…  It is a 2 hour drive for me to get into the doctor and I decided that morning to get a few more minutes of sleep instead of getting up to shave my legs…  didn’t really think anything of it as the last three doctor’s I had visited with regards to my knee it would not have bothered me to have them cut their hands on my leg hair…

sure enough, I get there… slightly late, sweating, hairy… with my three kids… the daughter wearing long white gloves and a crown and the boy’s looking like they had made special effort to find the worst outfit combinations possible for the big outing to the doctor’s office…  I see my doctor and I start to sweat more…  he is young, good looking and I know he’s going to have to touch my leg…

turns out he touched both my legs… had to check the ‘good knee’ to see how it compared to the bad one… both of my legs were hairy…  and my back was drenched with sweat and I was trying to make small talk hoping he wouldn’t notice his hands were bleeding…

I get home and tell my farmer about this… about how it’s like when you clean your house and no one comes over but sure enough when it’s dirty you get three visitors that day… he felt bad for me I think… he also mentioned something about how he liked it when I shaved my legs and maybe I could just do it for him and not some stranger doctor guy that I will never see again…

this was the meal I took out that night… I hope you can’t sense all my anxiety and frustration through the pictures of my cooking… but it was there…

no recipe for this salad as you can see all the ingredients that are in it! but it is yummy and easy…

I’ve wanted to make sourdough bread ever since the farmer and I went to San Francisco a few years ago and we could not get enough of it…  this is a easy way to start with making it and I am going to learn the ‘over-night’ version at some point…  but this was good for on a day you didn’t have time shave your legs but you did have time to start dough fermenting…

Quick Sourdough Bread


  • 6 cups all purpose flour or best for bread flour
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt containing active cultures


  • in a Bosch dough machine or a mixer with a dough hook, mix all ingredients on medium speed until the dough comes together
  • if dough is too dry (it should be sticky) add another tbsp of yogurt
  • cut the dough in half to form two balls and put each dough ball into a greased bowl to rise
  • cover the bowl and let ferment at room temperature for 6-10 hours (6 is the minimum)
  • the dough should almost double in size
  • dust the counter with flour and dump the dough out
  • fold it over on itself, turning it as you do, but not crushing the air out of it
  • form into a ball and put onto a piece of parchment paper
  • do this with the other ball as well and let proof for 1-2 hours
  • it should almost double in size but be firm to the touch
  • 30 minutes before dough is ready to be cooked, put two heavy bottomed pots with lids into a 450 degree oven to warm up
  • add the dough by lifting up the parchment paper and setting into the pot
  • cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes
  • then remove the lid and let bake until crust is golden brown
  • take out and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before cutting
  • butter and wrap in tin foil for the field

Beef Stew


  • 1.8 kg Costco stew meat, cut up into small bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth, hot
  • 2 large onions, cut into chunks
  • 5 regular red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 lbs carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and minced
  • 4 bay leaves


  • in two or three batches, take stew meat, drop into flour with the salt and pepper and paprika and then shake excess flour off
  • brown the meat at medium/high heat in the olive oil and butter
  • set aside in a pot that you will cook it all in or a crockpot
  • in the drippings, add balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and beef broth
  • pour over the stew meat
  • add to the stew meat the onions, potatoes, carrots and garlic
  • put bay leaves in and cook at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours

my mom told me that when she had given birth to me in the hospital, a lady had made her a Homemade Angel Food cake… and that she ate the entire thing and did not share it with anyone… not even me… her new-born baby looking all hungry…

Homemade Angel Food Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (12 eggs)
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp table salt (fine salt)


  • mix the icing sugar and flour
  • beat room temperature egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until slightly foamy
  • add sugar 1/4 cup at a time and then add vanilla, almond extract and salt
  • beat until stiff and smooth
  • sprinkle the icing sugar and flour into the meringue and fold in, 1/2 cup at a time
  • gently spread the batter into an angel food cake pan that is clean and dry
  • bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes
  • cake is done when the cracks in the cake feel dry and the top springs back when touched
  • turn the pan upside down on three cups around the edge of it and let cool for 2 hours
  • this cake is great to make ahead, cut up and put in container and freeze for when you need it

Rhubarb Sauce


  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  • in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, stir all ingredients together
  • let come to a boil and then turn down and simmer until rhubarb is slightly broken down, 10-15 minutes
  • remove from pan and let cool
  • this sauce stores well in the fridge

meal to the field #3 

my days are spent with mundane chores that I try to value and appreciate… making lunches, organizing plans for the day, making beds, cleaning bathrooms…. and then I get to cook…  now I didn’t always love it… but when you have to do something – you make a choice – love it or get through it…  I have found it to be my artistic get-a-way from the ordinary of life…  and the fact that it is my job is really nice…  

Amie Chalmer’s gave me this recipe for 9 Grain Bread many years ago… I was so horrible at making bread that I have not attempted it until this harvest…  and even though it wasn’t well crafted it tasted great!

Amie's 9 Grain Bread


– 1/2 cup lukewarm water

– 1 tsphoney

– 2 tbsp dry active yeast

– 3 1/2 cups warm water

– 1/4 cup honey

– 1/2 cup canola oil

– 2 tbsp lemon juice (around 1 lemon)

– 4 tsp salt

– 2 cups Roger’s 9 Grain flour

– 10 cups Roger’s all purpose flour (more if needed)


– dissolve yeast and 1 tsp of honey in water and let stand 10 minutes

– in mixing bowl, add water, honey, oil, lemon juice and salt and mix

– add yeast mixture and mix

– add about half the flour and mix with dough hook

– add remaining flour (up to the 9 cups of all purpose) and mix until it is just together

– turn out onto floured surface and knead by hand and form into a ball

– grease a bowl and place ball of dough in it and grease top of dough

– cover and let rise for 50 minutes

– punch down and shape into 8 round balls

– place on a baking sheet (greased or parchment paper lined)

– cover with tea towel and let rise 45 minutes

– bake at 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until bread is done

– cool on a wire rack

this salad is very easy to get together and is a staple around our house – nothing to do with our love affair with bacon – but it is very yummy…

Tossed Salad with Bacon, Tomatoes, Croutons and Ranch Dressing


– 1-2 bags mixed green lettuce

– Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

– 2 pkg bacon, cooked and cut up

– 1/3 block of cheddar cheese, grated

– 1 container grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

– croutons or peanuts or pecans chopped


– assemble salads in individual containers in the order of ingredients listed

– keep in fridge until ready to pack up

I have made this cake just about every harvest… partly because my mom would bring out peaches from BC that I would use instead of nectarines… partly because cake and fruit is the perfect combination

Nectarine Upside Down Cake with Whipped Cream


For Cake:

– 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

– 4 cups nectarines, cut into 1 inch chunks (around 6 nectarines)

– 3 cups all purpose flour

– 3 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1 1/4 cup sugar

– 4 large eggs, room temperature

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

For Whipped Cream:

– 500 mL whipping cream

– 1 pkg Whip It


– preheat oven to 325 degrees

– place 1/4 cup butter into 9 inch round cake pan 2 inches deep

– melt in oven, remove and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter

– arrange fruit over the brown sugar mixture in pan

– in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt

– beat butter with sugar and then beat in eggs one at a time

– beat in vanilla and then dry ingredients

– with a spatula, spread the cake mixture over the nectarines

– bake until cake is dark golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean…  1 hour 10 minutes

– let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes

– run an knife around the edge and invert cake onto serving plate

– cut and scoop into containers

– for Whipped Cream, chill beater and bowl in freezer if possible

– pour whipping cream in bowl and the package of Whip It and beat on med/high until it forms soft peaks

– put a large dollop on room temperature dessert in container

main course… again a classic to take the the field…  if you have time make your own meatballs… if you don’t, buy them from a good meat store and it saves you a lot of time…

Meatballs with Peppers & Pineapple and Rice


– 2 1/2 ground beef

– 1 whole onion, diced very finely

– 2 whole eggs

– 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

– 2 tsp kosher salt

– ground pepper

– 1 tsp crushed red pepper

– 1/2 cup all purpose flour

– canola oil, for frying

– 6 green bell peppers, diced large

– 3 cups fresh pineapple chunks (or 2 cans of pineapple chunks and juice)

– (I used a whole plastic container from Costco of pineapple)

– 3 cups beef broth

– 4 tbsp soy sauce

– 1 cup white wine vinegar

– 2/3 cup sugar

– 3 tbsp cornstarch

– kosher salt

– Basanti Rice


– combine beef, onion, egg, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and red pepper flakes

– mix in a large bowl with hands

– roll into small balls and put on a cookie sheet

– freeze for 15 minutes or longer (they are fine totally frozen)

– (in a pinch, use frozen store bought meatballs)

– pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

– cook meatballs in two 9×13 pan for 20 minutes

– strain the meatballs

– add half of the peppers and pineapple chunks to the bottom of the pan

– place half cooked meatballs on them and then the remaining peppers and pineapple chunks

– add sauce and return to oven for another 20 min

– serve on cooked rice

 and there goes the farmers…  I quickly hand them and the truckers and grain cart drivers their suppers that I have so carefully packed… only to see a few of them swinging them around like they are trying to hook them through a peg to help them get back up into their combine… or hear that a trucker didn’t eat his until 4 hours later…  but I tried… I gave it my best attempt and do with your supper as you see fit…