beet cake – take 2

Mondays are supposed to be my alone days… they are supposed to be a day that I get the housework and laundry done in silence…  a day where I can ponder the events of the weekend and decide all the ways I should become a better person…

everyone should get to be alone on Mondays…

but in our area…  the school thinks they can cancel school on Mondays!  I know!  the audacity…  how dare you take my Monday from me!  I don’t care if you are learning how to be a better teacher… I need the pitter-patter of little feet to be in the hallways of the school, not my home…

thankfully…  Papa steps in and takes my son hunting (although this happens from 5:30 – 8:30 am.. and then he is back at home for the whole Monday)

and the other son has football practice in the morning…  and the daughter has her iPad and Netflix…

but this all comes to an end around 9 am and we are stuck with a whole awkward Monday together…

so I make a list of my jobs and realize that I have 3 workers that can do them for me!  they still accept a pop for payment for just about anything…

but even the list of jobs runs it’s course and it becomes boredom…  with me cooking in the background…

and notes like this are passed from an eight year old girl to her 12 year old brother…

she ‘borrowed’ these precious CFL pins from him 2 years ago…  thing is, they both actually deeply care about things like this… the older boy and I cannot understand it but my 12 year old was distraught for 2 years about the absence of these pins…

which mysteriously show up in her backpack…  and prove what he has been accusing her of for 2 years now… thievery…

this made it so I had to take her with me when delivering meals to the field tonight… I could not, with a clean conscience, leave her alone with him…  I was worried for her safety…

and when I speak of meals… they have not been overly glamorous lately… and I blame the farmers for taking too long to harvest the crop…

chicken ceasar salad is my kids favourite…  although I shudder to think about how gross it is when the farmers actually eat it…

this is about as easy as it gets…  store bought gnocchi with Prego pasta sauce, deer sausage and cheddar cheese… but oh so tasty…

(although a lot of dishes to scrub… oh the struggle of dishes)

but I took the time and was extremely excited to try this cake for the second time… first time was last harvest and I love to try recipes again and see how I can improve the recipe…

I remember seeing this when one of my favourite cookbook authors, Ina Gartner, said she would test a recipe over ten times before putting it in her cookbook…

so I can promise you this is a good cake… I’ve made it twice and loved it both times…

beets act like zucchini in the same way of making it moist…

and the salt and lemon juice in the frosting give enough tart and tang to make the cake not too sweet…

the beets making the frosting pink were a crowd pleaser for my 8 year old daughter…

frosting the cake is always the worst and best part of it…

and worst if you are rushing and trying to frost a warm cake…  it still tastes incredible but does not hold up the way a room temperature cake would hold the icing… instead it melts the icing…

and then the food gets packed up… and my daughter and I head out hoping that it can survive the journey it will take before it is consumed…

she might not have been too worried…  and she also is the one that insisted on having the umbrella in the trunk…  you just never know…

beet cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

– 2 medium beets, cleaned and unpeeled

– 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 regular salt

Directions:

– wash and cut beets into large chunks… place in tin foil with olive oil 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 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

– spread frosting in-between the two cake layers and all around it and on top

– put in fridge for an hour and then slice it and serve it

– to freeze, slice and put individual pieces in containers to freeze

 

Opa in the Field

yay…  a few hours of combining took place!  on the menu tonight was Opa pitas with pork souvlaki, greek salad and nectarine upside down cake with whipped cream…

when we go to the mall, my favourite food court go to is Opa…  and did you know that you are able to purchase their pita bread (which is heaven) and their tzatziki sauce…  so I was so excited to take the food court to the field tonight!

all that is required is to brush this beautiful bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and brown on both sides in a pan…

bbq the pork souvlaki and then assemble!  I used two of their tzatziki sauces for 16 pitas and it was lots…  wrap them in tin foil and then you don’t even have dishes…

(I’m a little too excited about this meal)

at Opa they give you wonderful fries and greek salad to go with your pita…  I didn’t get around to the fries… which I do regret…  but the greek salad with the farmers grandma’s salad dressing is the perfect side for your pita…

grandma swan's greek salad dressing

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

and to wash it all down…  cake…

I did this cake last harvest, but changed the recipe slightly today…  and was happier with the result…

fruit and cake like each other…  almost as much as butter and sugar… 

my daughter absolutely loved making this cake with me and told me it is going to be her birthday cake request this year!

nectarine upside down cornmeal cake

  • Servings: 2 - 9 inch cakes or 16 pieces
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Nectarine Upside Down Cake with Whipped Cream

Ingredients

For Cake:

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 4 cups nectarines, cut into slices (around 6 nectarines)

– 3 cups all purpose flour

– 1 cup cornmeal

– 3 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp kosher salt

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

– 1 cup melted coconut oil

– 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

Directions

– preheat oven to 325 degrees

– place 1/4 cup butter into a 9 inch round cake pan 2 inches deep (this recipe is for two of these pans)

– 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, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt

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

– add yogurt and combine

– beat in vanilla and then dry ingredients

– with a spatula, spread the cake mixture over the two cake pans with the nectarines in them

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

– 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

happy harvest everyone…  let’s hope for sunny days…

 

seeding meal #3 

this has been the hottest seeding on record… and by that I mean I have not kept any records and I actually don’t know how warm it got today… nor do I know the history of how hot the temperatures in late April/early May traditionally have been…  that statement was more of a ‘hunch’…

but it seems dusty and hot… mid-summer type of heat… on May 2…

so I gave all the farmers chilled watermelon with their suppers…

if this weather keeps up, the next meal will be hot dogs and freezies…

have you ever seen the movie Pollyanna? I would have to ask my mom but I believe I watched it over 20 times..  and there were many moments in it that I remember vividly, but one of my favourite moments was when the cook made cakes for the Bazaar that Aunt Polly had told Pollyanna she could not go to…

the cakes were layered chocolate and vanilla cakes and I thought they looked like the most delicious food item I had ever laid eyes on…

cake does not have to come out of a box…  and if you have the time to make a chocolate cake, try this recipe out…  I promise it will not disappoint…

and it even gets very close to what I imagined the Pollyanna cakes tasting like as a little girl…

catherine's pollyanna layered chocolate cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • butter 2 8 inch cake pans, place parchment paper in bottom of each, butter parchment paper and then flour the pans
  • sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  • in a mixer, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla
  • with mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to it
  • take off mixer and fold in the coffee
  • pour evenly into the two cake pans
  • bake for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean
  • let cool in pan on racks for 15 minutes, then take out of pans and let cool completely before frosting
  • for the frosting, chop the chocolate and put in a bowl on top of a pot with simmering water (double boiler)
  • melt the chocolate and let cool to room temperature
  • in a mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy
  • add egg yolk and vanilla and continue to beat
  • scrape down and add icing sugar and beat
  • add chocolate and instant coffee powder and beat again until fully combined
  • to ice the cake, put first layer down and put a small amount of icing on
  • place the top layer of the cake on and add the remainder of the icing to the top of the cake
  • using a small spatula, slowly bring down the icing while turning the cake to ice the sides of the cake
  • then even out the top of the cake and the sides

meal to the field for the farmers (although my supper was just watermelon and cake)… was caesar salad, garlic bread and lasagne… along with the watermelon and cake…

possibly two meals and no one lost weight today…

grandma swan's caesar salad dressing

  • Servings: 1 large salad
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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh if you can
  • 3 small cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • you can either blend this dressing for a creamier version or use a mason jar and shake it
  • this is enough dressing for one large salad – I used two large heads of romaine lettuce or three small heads and around 2 cups of parmesan cheese and 3-4 cups of croutons
  • toss well and serve immediately

I seem to come up with a new variation for lasagne every time I make it… so this recipe is this month’s take on lasagne…  all I know about lasagne is: the kids love it, it is expensive to make, it is filling and every dish in your kitchen will get dirty…

I have a few rules for lasagnes..  if I am asked to bring one to a community function or my child has volunteered me to bring a lasagne, expect to receive a frozen Costco lasagne…

it is only smart and economical…  and delicious…  you are a fool to do anything else…

also, if you are taking the time to make one lasagne – and I don’t care how many people you are feeding – make two…  it is not worth your time or effort to only make one when they freeze so well…

but if you are making it for those that you love or employ… then go ahead, roll your sleeves up and sink into this recipe for lasagne…  it was tasty!

bison turkey spinach lasagne

  • Servings: 2 lasagnes
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Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs ground bison meat
  • 1 lb ground turkey meat
  • lemon pepper
  • kosher salt
  • dried basil
  • dried parsley
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 3 (398 mL) tomato sauce
  • 2 (156 mL) tomato paste
  • 2 (500 g) ricotta cheese
  • dried basil
  • dried parsley
  • 1 bag (454 g or 16 oz) of spinach
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 24 lasagne noodles, boiled, strained and cooling in water
  • 2 (320 g) bag of Mozzarella shredded cheese
  • 1 (320 g) bag of Italiano shredded cheese

Directions:

  • on medium-high heat, brown meat in a pan with olive oil
  • brown the meat in three batches, season every batch with lemon pepper, salt, basil and parsley
  • in a large bowl, transfer each batch of cooked meat
  • in olive oil, cook the onions till transparent and add to meat
  • to the meat and onions, add the tomato sauce and paste and mix well
  • in another medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese with some basil and parsley
  • in the saucepan, add the spinach and garlic
  • saute until the spinach wilts and strain off the excess juices
  • add to the ricotta mixture and combine well
  • boil the lasagne noodles, strain and then keep moist in water
  • spray two lasagne pans
  • to assemble, place three noodles in the bottom of each pan
  • add meat, then dollops of ricotta cheese and then some mozzarella cheese
  • continue to layer (3 layers in each) and finish with the Italiano cheese on top (ricotta mixture only on bottom two layers)
  • cover with tin foil to freeze or bake at 350 uncovered for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbling

seeding meal #1

I listen to a lot of podcasts…  it used to be audiobooks and then I’d tell people I read the book…  but now I’ve moved on to podcasts…  and let me tell you, it is taking an afternoon in the kitchen to a whole new level…

at times it is a level of missed ingredients, forgetting something is in the oven or too much knowledge going into my head and not enough retention…

but it does make it so I get all excited to get my house chores done, go get the mail and do some banking, hit up the store to pick up a few items, go for the run my calendar tells me I have to go for that day and finish up some yard work… all the while I am thinking that I am going to reward myself with hours in the kitchen listening to podcasts…  while I cook for farmers…

and I think to myself… dream job…  seriously, I have never been more happy…

there is a range of podcasts that I like to listen to… and sometimes it takes around 15 minutes for me to decide on which one to go for…

krista tippett, timothy keller, the longest shortest time, bill simmons, nomad, serial, rob bell…  I held back the urge to listen to ‘game of thrones the podcast’…

the only issue is when I go to take pictures of the food I’m half concentrating on cooking, it pauses my podcasts… and I’m not going to lie…  it has forced me to take fewer photos of food… possibly is forcing me to learn how to use a camera… just so the podcasts go uninterrupted…

beef pot roast with peppercorn gravy

  • Servings: 10 +2 dogs
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Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, broken up
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 500 mL dry red wine
  • 250 mL beef broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 4 lb boneless beef chuck roast (trimmed and tied snuggly with kitchen string)
  • kosher salt
  • lemon pepper
  • rosemary

– 1 pkg bacon, cooked

Directions:

  • in a medium pot, add the first ingredients and bring to boil
  • reduce heat and simmer while getting roast ready
  • in a dutch oven, heat olive oil
  • pat dry the roast and then season with salt, pepper and rosemary
  • sear on all sides
  • pour the vegetable and wine mixture over the roast
  • place in oven at 300 degrees for 3 1/2 hours
  • lift out roast and put on cutting board
  • cover with foil
  • strain liquid and pour the remaining liquid into a medium pot
  • add 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 all purpose flour
  • whisk until the gravy thickens
  • add seasoning as needed to gravy
  • serve with potatoes and a slice of bacon!


garlic roasted white potatoes

Ingredients:

  • around 4 lbs medium white potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 head garlic, minced

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • in a large bowl, add cut potatoes
  • add the rest of the ingredients
  • let sit for a bit and then place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • bake for 25-30 minutes until done and slightly crispy

whole wheat biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Robin Hood ‘Tastes Like White’ flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for brushing)

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt
  • add butter and with a pastry blender cut the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal
  • pour in buttermilk and gently pull together with a spatula
  • dump out onto floured counter top and gently roll out till it is 3/4 inch thick
  • dip a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the biscuits
  • do not twist, as this prevents the biscuits from rising evenly, but just press down
  • place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with butter
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • best served warm

Brandon, my 14 year old who lost all brain function about 3 months ago, actually suggested the sour cream on the side to go along with the roast, potatoes and burnt bacon… (but I learnt a lot of life lessons from the podcast I was engrossed in while the bacon was burning…  so in the end I think a good thing)…  I was proud of him… prouder than I have been in ages…  months actually… I almost included him in the picture that was interrupting my podcast…

first meal during seeding…  I thought I’d include bacon twice…  just in case nothing else tasted good…

mixed greens with orange balsamic vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed (removed before serving)
  • mixed greens
  • bacon (cooked and cut up)
  • cashews (roasted and unsalted)
  • mandarin orange slices (canned… drained)

Directions:

  • in a salad shaker, combine ingredients except for the garlic and shake until well mixed
  • add the garlic and store in refrigerator for a few hours
  • make individuals salads
  • take out garlic, shake dressing again and pour over the salads

lemon bundt cake

  • Servings: 1 bundt cake
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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest (around 3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (around 2-3 lemons)
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all  purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • using Crisco or butter, butter a bundt pan and flour it
  • place in the fridge to cool
  • in a mixer, combine sugar and butter until well mixed
  • add eggs, one at a time
  • add lemon zest and lemon juice
  • combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and add to mixer
  • add yogurt to mixer
  • pour into the bundt pan
  • bake for 1 hour 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean
  • cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for one hour
  • turn cake out and cool for another hour
  • mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over room temperature cake

this is what happens to a cake when you put it in the oven and then forget you did and go for a run… and then are rushed for time so you put the glaze on before it is cool…

the farmer told me it was shockingly moist and good… so apparently you cannot wreck this cake…

I spent the weekend in Calgary with a little girl that is dear to my heart…  she is a miniature Brene Brown or Oprah… everything that comes out of her mouth is a ‘life lesson’ or ‘a-ha’ moment…  and I feel close to her as I listen to podcast after podcast and wonder when I am going to be able to handle my kids coming home from school and not screaming at them to put their lunch kits in the proper spot…

meal to the field #10

I’m in Calgary watching Food Network with two of my children in a hotel room… while the farmer is combining canola… and we aren’t in Austin… yes, Austin… if you have been anywhere near me lately you have heard me complain… and then I complained on Facebook today just to really make sure I didn’t miss anyone in my complaining of missing my vacation…

the farmer and I like to do a once a year trip that makes up for the fact we have zero date nights all year long… we have visited baseball and football stadiums, hockey arenas, beaches and concerts…  this was a festival we were going to attend… Austin City Limits… and it sure looked amazing…

food, music and being in a city… doesn’t get much better than that… farmer’s like to vacation to cities… the joy of riding someone else’s subway/metro is just so exhilarating…  instead I had to drive over 5 hours in my Suburban today wreaking of hockey equipment… with a seven year old asking every 13 minutes ‘how long until we get there?’….

now I know everyone reading this would love me to go on and on about how angry I am at the weather for ruining my lovely vacation with my husband… but alas I must talk about food… because we are still combining and the food is still getting made…

black bean salad… this is one of my all time favourites… and so great to make up and take in your lunch until everyone around you is like… ‘how much salad did you make?’… and you say… ‘enough for 2 weeks of lunches… get used to it’…

again… I am a stay-at-home farmer’s wife so I have no idea how lunch conversations go…

my cats and dogs never bug me about what I’m eating…

black bean salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cans (19 oz) black beans, strained and rinsed
  • 25 oz frozen corn
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced
  • 1 can pineapple chunks, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Directions:

  • mix all ingredients together
  • let chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving
  • keeps very well in the fridge

my earliest memories of cooking… taco shells… growing up I swear we had tacos once a week if not more… and my mom was so great at letting me make a mess of the kitchen to make the taco shells…

in a time period where packaged food and Costco were just new… this was the one thing my mom drew the line on… we had homemade taco shells… and if you ever taste one… or make one… you will never go back…

mom's taco shells

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

  • mix ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes
  • in a 12” saucepan on medium/high heat pour just under 1/2 cup of batter into the saucepan
  • turn the saucepan until the batter has covered the entire bottom of the pan and cook that side until it starts to lift
  • flip and cook the other side for another minute

and the meat that you put in them… well this is what I do… but really go ahead and fill them with whatever you so desire to…

the ground deer is from my son Brandon’s first deer he shot last year…  the bison is from my husband running one off a cliff and recovering the meat…  I made the kids winter boots out of the hide…

oh wait… that’s a lie… Bennett’s have bison and I get it from them… I’m not sure if they run them all off a cliff or not… I haven’t asked…

taco meat

  • Servings: 12-14 taco fillings
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground deer
  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp Club House Taco Seasoning (more to taste)
  • 1/2 (398 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup salsa

Directions:

  • fry up meat and onion and add taco seasoning
  • if meat is fatty you will have to strain off the fat before you season it
  • add tomato sauce and salsa


beet cake is my favourite cake…  happy no vacation to me…

  

“beet

Ingredients:
For the Cake:
– 2 medium beets, cleaned and unpeeled
– 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:
– 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 kosher salt
Directions:
– wash and cut beets into large chunks… place in tin foil with olive oil 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 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
– spread frosting in-between the two cake layers and all around it and on top
– put in fridge for an hour and then slice it and serve it
– to freeze, slice and put individual pieces in containers to freeze

meal to the field #5

disclaimer… this meal is not very healthy… unless you are a pro-athlete and burning insane amounts of calories per day you should not eat like this all the time… but it’s harvest time… the time of year that farmer’s finally make money and gain weight… (or this year just gain weight) and we get to eat dessert at home – that is if there is enough… I for instance have gained 5 pounds so far… I feel like it is an instinct from way back when the settlers (and I’m purely imagining all of this… no homeschooling going on around here) would try to gain weight and a layer of body fat for protection from the harsh Canadian winters… I am just instinctively following suit… it can’t be controlled when it is your heritage… 

the salad is decent for you…  if you want to stay away from the pasta… the gluten… the energy… then just omit the pasta and put it on romain lettuce instead…

Greek Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

For the Dressing:

  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 tbsp minced red pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic clove
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup crisco oil

For the Salad:

  • 1, 500 g bag Garofalo Gemelli Pasta, boiled
  • 2 containers cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 500 g Feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 2 yellow peppers, diced
  • 2 cans black olives, drained and chopped

Directions:

  • in a salad dressing shaker, add all the ingredients for the salad dressing and shake well
  • in a large bowl add all of the salad ingredients
  • pour dressing overtop and chill for at least 3 hours before serving


now we move on to the good stuff…  true story… when the farmer and I were first married… at the ripe old age of 20… we would split a pan of these breadsticks (I have doubled this recipe but you can imagine it’s more than two breadsticks each) while watching Ally McBeal and think we were living the dream… found out it was the dream… in your 20’s eating whatever you want and your body just being like ‘keep it coming… eat more… good idea… I can handle it’ …. then your 30’s hit and you have to eat half of one breadstick and run 4 miles to keep the muffin top at bay…  not sure what 40’s will have to offer but at this rate I’ll only be able to smell the food…

Golden Italian Breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp instant rise yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Golden Italian Dressing
  • 1 bag or 320 g Italiano Grated Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmeson Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast till combined in a Bosch dough mixer or a mixer with a dough hook
  • add warm water and oil and mix for around 5-7 minutes until well combined
  • turn into a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel and let rise till it has doubled it’s size, around 45 minutes
  • line a 18×12 baking sheet with parchment paper
  • dump dough out onto baking sheet and press out with hands to the edges of the pan
  • spread with a spatula the golden Italian dressing over the dough
  • sprinkle the grated cheese
  • top with the seasonings
  • bake at 425 degrees for 16 minutes or until golden brown
  • let cool and slice into breadsticks
  • wrap in tin foil to put in supper bags

I made this casserole so many times… have it ready for after a football game, take to a potluck or after a long day at an initiation hockey tournament …

Perogy Casserole with Deer Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages perogies (Baba’s Homestyle Perogies 3 kg)
  • 5 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 green or red peppers, sliced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 3 cans mushroom soup
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 packages deer sausage (I used 1 package cheddar smokies & 1 package hot Italian smokies), cut up 1” thick

Directions:

  • turn oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9×13 pans
  • drop frozen perigees into boiling water and remove with a strainer when they float – I did one package at a time
  • put into greased pans
  • saute onions and peppers in butter and then pour over the perogies
  • whisk soup and milk together and pour over perogies
  • put sausage in with the perogies and then sprinkle with cheddar cheese
  • bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling

  

hint for serving this cake… small portion size as it is dense, sweet and could send a farmer into a slumber that might cause a combine to be driven into a slough…

Chocolate Zucchini Coconut Cake

  • Servings: 1 9x13 cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut, to sprinkle on top of cake

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan
  • whisk dry ingredients for cake
  • in a mixer add butter, coconut oil and sugar and beat until smooth
  • add eggs and vanilla and beat, then add yogurt
  • mix in the dry ingredients
  • fold in zucchini, coconut and chocolate chips
  • pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean
  • for the icing, beat butter until smooth and then add icing sugar
  • add the coconut extract and beat until smooth
  • spread the icing and sprinkle the cake with the toasted coconut

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

Ingredients

– 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)

Directions

– 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

Ingredients

– 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

Directions

– 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

Ingredients

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

Directions

– 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

Ingredients

– 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

Directions

– 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…

meal to the field #1

 the first meal to the field is always a little ‘hairy’…  not sure when to cook things, when to pack them up…  when to cry because I’m overwhelmed…

the first meal plan was:

  • Hot Corned Beef Sandwiches
  • Tammy’s Buns
  • Garlic Roasted Potatoes
  • Fresh Corn Casserole
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Saskatoon Berry Crumble Cake

the other wrinkle thrown into my plans was a 2 hour wait in a doctor’s office to get my knee looked at… during this time I left my children (child labourers) to tend to the cooking and packing…  

I had made this Saskatoon Berry Crumble Cake earlier on in the morning… I made it in a square baking pan and realized as it was flowing over the sides and making a mess of the oven that a 9×13 is a better idea…  I like to learn by mistake – every time – only way I learn anything

Saskatoon Berry Crumble Cake

Ingredients

For the Cake:

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 cup white sugar

– zest of 1 large lemon

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

– 2 large eggs, at room temperature

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

– 2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

For the Streusel Topping:

– 1/2 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Directions

– preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 9×13 pan

– whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon

– cream the sugar, lemon zest and butter

– add eggs and beat until smooth

– add vanilla and Greek yogurt and mix until combined

– add dry ingredients and mix until just combined

– fold in blueberries with a spatula

– for the streusel topping, combine ingredients and work it until the mixture resembles oatmeal

– pour the cake in the pan and top with the streusel

– bake until golden and toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean

(approx. 40 min)

this Macaroni Salad is delish…  I remember being in Oahu and my farmer went out to pick up a cheap supper so we didn’t break the bank on a meal out with our kid’s whom neither of us enjoy a meal out with anyways…  so we were left watching ‘River Monsters’ and he came back with ribs, rice and macaroni salad…  this is when I discovered that Hawaiians loved macaroni salad as much as people that like to eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken…

Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

– 4 cups dry elbow macaroni

– 3 roasted red peppers, chopped

– 1/2 cup (200 mL can) black olives, chopped

– 1/2 cup dill pickles, chopped

– 6 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)

– 1/2 cup radishes, sliced

– 1/2 cup mayonnaise

– 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

– 3 tsp sugar

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

– freshly ground black pepper

– 1/4 cup milk

– small splash of pickle juice

Directions

– cook macaroni in lightly salted water, drain and set aside

– to roast the red peppers, put whole peppers on a sheet pan in the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes

– cover with tin foil and let sit for 30 minutes

– cut the top off and remove charred skin and seeds

– mix mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper

– add enough milk to make it pourable

– splash in the pickle juice for extra flavour

– mix macaroni and dressing

– stir in olives, roasted red peppers, pickles, green onions and radishes

– chill for at least 2 hours before serving

the potatoes are curtesy of my garden… and the boys made them for me while I was at the knee appointment…  they even blanched them first, then paper towel dried them off and then coated them in the olive oil and spices and then lade them out on the pan individually… I informed them later that it was awesome they did that but didn’t need to go to that much work!

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients

– 5 pounds red potatoes (sliced into wedges and enough for 2 sheet pans)

– 1/2 cup olive oil

– 2 tsp kosher salt

– 1 tsp ground pepper

– 2 tbsp minced garlic (around 6 cloves)

– 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (or 1tbsp dried parsley)

Directions

– boil salted water and put half of the wedges in for 3 minutes or until water is back to a boil to blanch them

– remove with a strainer and put immediately into a ice water or cold water bath (I put mine into the sink filled with cold water)

– repeat with the other half of potatoes

– dry potatoes wedges on a tea towel

– toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic

– transfer onto a sheet pan with parchment paper lining it

– roast in oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crisp

– flip once while roasting

– remove from oven and add parsley

we also went to the garden for some corn on the cob and made it into Garden Corn Casserole…  it is one of my favourite ways to take corn to the field…

Garden Corn Casserole

Ingredients

– 12 ears of corn (still in the husk – 10 cups after cut off)

– 1 1/3 cups heavy cream (half & half works)

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 2 tsp kosher salt

– ground pepper

Directions

– remove corn from husks

– in a large deep bowl, slice off the kernels of corn

– with the dull side of the knife, press and scrape out the creamy milk of the rest of the cob

– add butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper

– put into a 9×13 baking dish

– bake at 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes

 lastly…  the Hot Corned Beef Sandwiches… I bought the corned beef at Prairie Meats in Saskatoon, SK…  and it was excellent…  this is my oldest boy’s hand in the picture… my other boy is taking the picture with his phone… they learn from their mom pretty quickly that everyone likes to see every move you make documented on Instagram…   they had to make and wrap in tin foil all 20 sandwiches…  for boy’s that spent most of August playing Clash of Clans this is quite the undertaking… but they pulled it off!

Hot Corned Beef Sandwiches

Ingredients

– Tammy’s Buns (see following recipe)

– Corned Beef (I bought seasoned at Prairie Meats)

– 1 pound Provolone cheese

– 1/2 cup mayonnaise

– 6 tbsp grated onion

– 1 tbsp poppy seeds

– 2 tbsp spicy mustard

– 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce

Directions

– cook corned beef at 325 degree oven with beef broth and apple cider vinegar in the pan for 3 hours

– slice the corned beef thinly

– slice buns

– mix mayo and other ingredients

– spread the dressing on both the top and bottom of bun

– place meat and cheese slices in

– wrap each sandwich in foil and either put in fridge to heat up later or bake right away

– 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes

Tammy's Buns

Ingredients

– 3 cups warm water

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 6 tbsp (90 mL) crisco oil

– 1 tsp salt

– 2 tbsp Fermipan instant rise yeast

– 2 eggs, room temperature, beaten

– 8 3/4 cups all purpose flour

Directions

– in a Bosch dough mixer (or any mixer with a dough hook) add all ingredients except for flour and mix

– add half of the flour, mix and then the other half and mix

– beat for 7 minutes

– let rise in a warm place, covered with a tea towel and punch down 3 times every 15 minutes

– form buns and allow them to rise for 45 minutes covered

– bake at 350 for 17 minutes