fresh corn mexican salad, enchiladas, mexican rice and carrot cake cupcakes

city people vs farmers… I can talk about both of these varieties of humans because I was a city girl and now I’m a farmer… so I am well versed in both worlds (according to myself)

city people think they are smarter than farmers… farmers think city people have no common sense… city people like to tell farmers how to farm… farmers like to tell city people how to vote… city people have unions… farmers have no union… city people get to go to restaurants and theatres… farmers get to hide from the wind in their homes…

my farmer was recently talking to a ‘policy maker’ who is in charge of telling high school kids when they are allowed to resume playing sports… particularly football… I know the conversation took 30 minutes, while the farmer was driving a combine, and I know the farmer didn’t get the answers he was looking for…

here is the ‘Coles Notes’ of the conversation… legal disclaimer: this is the farmer’s rendition of said events… not entirely accurate… possibly made up portions of it for effect

to start things off, the farmer told her that he wasn’t ‘one of those farmers that has a low opinion of teachers’... I think that’s a real great ice-breaker to ease into a conversation… he went on to say ‘I married into a family of teachers and I can see things from both sides’...

there you go dear… start with an insult and then compliment yourself

fresh corn mexican salad

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
zest if you like
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp finely chopped white onion
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Salad:
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 large ripe mango, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 large avocados, diced
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions:
I used a Vitamix to make the dressing so it go nicely blended – you can shake it in a container as well
for the salad, chop everything and add it to a bowl except the avocado and tomato
I set the tomatoes to the side on paper towel to get the moisture out
for the corn, you can use cobs from the garden and boil for a few minutes and then plunge in cold water in the sink and dry
cut off the cob and use in the salad (or use frozen)
add the dressing and let sit in the fridge for a few hours
when you go to serve, add the tomatoes and avocado and serve

then the conversation started to get into the ‘nitty-gritty’... the ‘meat of it’ as you would say…

farmer: “it says here that the start of football is delayed because these teenagers have done nothing for 5-6 months are not in good enough shape ‘mentally or physically’ to come back to sports and competition… I would argue that delaying the start of football and waiting until the weather gets worse would cause more injuries”

policy maker lady: “we are very concerned that these kids are behind in their studies and want them to concentrate solely on schoolwork right now… sports can come later”

farmer: “we practice football at 7 am… and not a single boy on my team would be doing homework at 7 am… also, I have two boys and I can tell you they are not spending 5-6 hours a day doing homework”

farmer: “SHSAA says we can start practicing in September and have a ‘mini-league’ in October… now you are saying you don’t think that’s a good idea… care to elaborate?”

policy maker lady: “we don’t want kids from your town playing football against kids from a different town”

farmer: “you do know that they are playing hockey together and going to parties together… but you would rather them occupy their time by unsupervised parties as opposed to supervised football games?”

policy maker lady: “oh and we aren’t going to allow community coaches”

farmer: “you do know my daughter goes to school? and every teacher is a community member? and every bus driver and custodian lives in this community?”

policy maker lady: “we aren’t allowing volunteers to read to grade 2 students so obviously the next step is to not allow farmers to coach football… I’m sure that some teacher at your school will be able to step in and do it… on top of her teaching duties…. we are looking for more ways to make teachers have panic attacks”


policy maker lady: “instead of allowing a mini-league, we have renamed this time to ‘skill development’

farmer: “no one is concerned with skill development … they come to 7 am practices in the cold and dark so they can win the game on the Thursday night… this school division has put maybe 1-2 boys into football programs beyond high school… the overwhelming majority play football just for high school and this is the grade 12 boy’s only chance to play in their senior year”

policy maker lady: “yes but now that we took away the games and the coaches, I’m sure they will love developing their skills”

policy maker lady: “for every call I get from a person like you that wants these high school students to have their sports back, I get a call from someone who is afraid we are moving too fast”

farmer: “I don’t believe that… I haven’t spoken to or seen one person that wouldn’t want their kids playing sports again” (in her defence, he hasn’t been off the farm since the start of August)

*** side note: I used salsa instead of enchilada sauce because I was lazy… go ahead and be lazy too

so there is the ‘farmers notes’ on how the conversation went… slightly biased to his side to be sure… and he also commented that he would not want her job right now… but he would make different decisions if he had her job…

we are very grateful for all of the brave teachers heading back to work and having to completely change how they are teaching and handle all the emotions that come from 6 months of ‘flattening the curve’… it is so much we are asking of them… I love teachers… I don’t have any skills to homeschool… heck, when schools shut down in March I made my retired teacher parents homeschool Sienna…

which makes me wonder why the powers that be would think they should heap sports on top of teachers as well? small towns have always used parents or community members to coach teams… it is what makes it all work…

I know you are limiting the amount of people in the schools, and rightly so… the days of me wandering the school hallways and spying on my kids are sadly over… it was good while it lasted… but you are not supporting your teachers by saying no community coaches… you are handicapping your teachers…

keeping ‘helicopter moms’ out of the hallways is one thing… keeping the football coaches off of the football field is another…

mexican rice

Ingredients:
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup uncooked white long-grain rice
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with liquid

Directions:
in a large saucepan heat up oil
add onion and garlic
add the salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, paprika and cumin
add the rice, paste and chicken broth
add the diced tomatoes (I ground up the tomatoes in a Vitamix)
bring to a boil, reduce and cook for roughly 25 minutes until the rice is done

side note: had to show a picture of the rice bag that I am almost done… the farmer bought 6 of these at the beginning of quarantine… pretty sure that we were going to have to survive on rice like they do on Survivor… I’m finally on the last bag…

second side note: due to a suggestion from super farm lady Laura – I found these condiment containers at the Dollar Store… sweet

enchiladas

Ingredients:
Enchilada Sauce:
2 tbsp butter or ghee
2 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
Enchiladas:
1 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 (4 oz) can chopped mild green chilies
1 cup finely diced white onion
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
options: corn, black beans, fried zucchini
8 (8”) tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 tsp kosher salt
Toppings:
lime wedges
avocado
sour cream
chopped cilantro

Directions:
for the sauce, in a saucepan melt the butter
add the arrowroot and whisk
add chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper
whisk for two minutes
add tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of the broth
whisk until the sauce thickens
remove from heat and add the remaining broth and salt
set aside
for the enchiladas, brown the beef in the oil (strain if the beef is too fatty)
add the chilies, onions and pepper and fry
to assemble the enchiladas, heat the shells up in the microwave in a wet dish cloth
to assemble, place some sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish
dip the tortilla in shallow bowl that has some sauce in it (both sides) and then place ingredients into the shell
roll up and set into the baking dish
repeat until all 8 are done and pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas
spread some cheese over top
bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 325 degrees
serve with whatever toppings you choose

I will give city people this on farmers… no farmer is going to come up with a vaccine… we need a city person to do that… so, farm and city people, let’s agree to listen to each other, take suggestions and look for the common sense in each other’s way of thinking, and push forwards to a better future for our teenagers, our communities, our schools and ultimately so we can all go back to Hawaii at some point…

to all the teachers right now – who are being so brave – we support you and we will follow all the rules so you feel comfortable teaching our kids… because heaven knows I’m not gonna do it!!!

carrot cake cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 1/2 cups crisco oil
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups grated carrots
2 tsp vanilla
Frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
4 oz cream cheese, room temp (I use a bit more)
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Topping:
pecans

Directions:
beat oil and egg together very well
stir in dry ingredients
fold in carrots and vanilla
pour into a greased 9×13 or until greased muffin cups (should make close to 24)
bake for 45-55 minutes for the cake and 24 minutes for the cupcakes, or until done in the middle
for the frosting, whip up and frost when the cake has completely cooled
top with pecans

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…

meal to field made simple

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

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

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

Vitality Blend Black Bean/Corn Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Instant Pot shredded chicken quesadillas

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs skinless chicken breasts

– bbq sauce

– 12 large flour tortillas

– cooking spray

– 2 1/2 cups grated cheese (Havarti)

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

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

Directions:

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

– on manual, cook for 10 minutes

– strain and shred

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

– place on slow cook mode to keep warm

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

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

– spray with cooking spray and add one flour tortilla

– spread the cheese, chicken and peppers

– place a shell on top

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

– flip and cook on the other side until brown

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

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

– serve with pico de Gallo or salsa and sour cream

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

carrot cake with streusel topping

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake:

– 2 cups shredded, peeled carrots

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 2 eggs, whisked

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

– 1 cup flour

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Streusel Topping:

– 4 tbsp butter, cubed

– 1/3 cup flour

– 1/3 cup brown sugar

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

– preheat oven to 350 degrees

– in a bowl, combine sugar, eggs and butter

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

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

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

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

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

– cool and cut to eat

Nellie’s potato salad, black bean enchilada bake & carrot cake muffins

once or twice a year I make potato salad… salads in general can take a long time to make and potato salad is up there for wrecking most of your afternoon…

this summer though I discovered THE best way to cook potatoes from the garden… 12 minutes on manual in the Instant Pot with about a cup of water…

I like to imagine (seeings how I’m not a scientist) that this is the best way to preserve all the goodness of the potato and guarantee all the goodness is getting into your belly…

like a marriage made in heaven for potato salad lovers, the Instant Pot is also THE best way to hard boil eggs…  5 minutes on manual with 1/2 cup water or so and they are perfectly done and the shell peels off like Clark Kent changing into Superman…

(I’m attempting to get better at sayings… the farmer says I’m terrible… until he reads that)

another summer experiment with bacon that I have to share… THE best way to cook bacon… if you don’t have an open fire and a pitch fork…

cut the bacon into chunks, toss in a pot and cook!  I strain it once and then again at the end and place on paper towel…  perfect bacon…

the nice thing is you can use this strainer for the bacon and potatoes and then throw it in the dishwasher…

I realize I’m making a lot of bold claims as far as best ways to cook things… but get ready for another claim…

THE best potato salad dressing recipe… the farmer has always considered himself to be the best judge of two things… potato salad and chowder…

and he insists that the best recipe for potato salad dressing is Nellie’s…  (don’t tell him but I tweaked it…  and he has no idea)

the way I like to stack up the potato salad is in layers… with each ingredient and dressing and repeat… then into the fridge with it (preferably 6-8 hours or overnight… poor planning only allowed mine to be in a few hours before I had to dish it up)

THE best potato salad

  • Servings: you decide
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Ingredients:

Salad:

  • red potatoes, preferably fresh from the garden
  • hard boiled eggs
  • green onions
  • red onion
  • dill pickles
  • radishes
  • cooked bacon

Dressing:

  • 2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard (not dijon… just the good old yellow stuff)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 white vinegar
  • 1 tsp tarragon

Directions:

  • cook similar sized potatoes (or cut them to similar size) in Instant Pot on manual for 12 minutes with a cup of water
  • cut the potatoes into chewable chunks (carefully so you don’t mush them… mushy potatoes in a potato salad is wrong)
  • cook eggs in Instant Pot with 1/2 cup water on manual for 5 minutes
  • in layers, place ingredients and dressing
  • allow to cool in refrigerator 6-8 hours or overnight

I had leftover cream cheese frosting so the obvious solution was to make carrot cake… the farmer’s solution was to keep taking spoonfuls of icing during his sleepwalking/eating episodes in the night…

we are having a pretty dry spell this summer and my carrots are not getting any larger than this I believe…

exhausted from making potato salad I opted for making these into cupcakes instead of cake…  easier for me and easier for the farmers…

***notice I used orange muffin cups to match the carrots???  cooking for farmers is all in the details***

carrot cake muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups loosely packed, grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line muffin tins and spray with cooking oil spray
  • whisk oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla
  • in a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices
  • add carrots to the dry mixture
  • add to the egg/sugar mixture and fold
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop batter into muffin tins
  • bake for around 20-25 minutes or until firm in the middle
  • remove and allow to cool on wire rack completely
  • when cool, ice with cream cheese frosting

I sliced up some garlic bread from Costco to go with probably my favourite casserole I have ever made.. black bean enchilada bake…

yes… I promised the farmer meat but I bet he didn’t notice I forgot this meal…

scooping this up for 14 farmers tonight I was thankful my kids are gone right now with their grandparents to Kelowna…  no leftovers around here!

this time of year in harvest it gets a little scary to run on the gravel roads as semi’s and tractors and sprayers go ripping by, covering you in dust if they don’t hit you first…

so it’s a great time to get out in the coulee’s with the dogs… harvest sunsets are the best