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


  • 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


  • 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
  • Print


  • 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


  • 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
  • Print


  • 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


  • 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

dream crusher


as I cooked this casserole and took pictures with my iPhone… I was not pretending to be on a cooking show…

ok… that was a lie… I pretended the entire time that I was on a cooking show and actually talked to my live audience a little bit… out loud…

I have a rather large imagination…

I even joked, bantered really, with the audience and told them how crazy it was that even if you just eat one piece of asparagus your pee will have a distinct odour…

and then I wondered if the production crew would cut that ‘bit’ out…

this imagination also tends to lend itself to me being able to picture myself in just about any line of work…

every class I’ve ever taken or situation I am in I’ve pictured myself leading it…

Victoria Secret just had their swimwear one hour special on TV and the farmer and I settled in with our popcorn for what we anticipated to be a riveting hour of thought provoking television…

a little background knowledge is needed to understand where it all went so terribly wrong…

I tend to think I could do just about any job in the world (and by world I mean televised world) and do it well…  even though my resume would only list A&W, caretaker at a senior citizen’s home, mini-golf attendant, teacher’s assistant and homemaker…

I watch shows and then look over to the farmer like ‘see… missed my calling’… and he usually  obliges with ‘you should have been a lawyer… you like to argue’ or some comment that keeps allowing me to believe that I could have been a CIA agent if not for the farm holding me back…

I watch cooking shows and say ‘why am I not on this show?… am I right kids?’… as my seven year old had just snuck upstairs to dump half her supper into the trash bin…

every season of Amazing Race I am always trying to figure out if I would do the challenge or if I would defer to the farmer to do the challenge…

to which he generally comments ‘I would go with one of your brothers… the kids can’t have us both gone for that long at the same time’… and I agree, knowing he’d go with me if the kids weren’t in the picture…

so as we settle in to watch what no couple should ever watch together, supermodels in the swimsuits rolling around in the sand and surf, my thoughts carry me to my missed Victoria Secret modelling career…

got scooped up too early by the farmer and didn’t have enough time to be discovered obviously..  in his heart he has to know he squashed my dreams of traveling the world as a supermodel…

I can’t remember what comment I said that brought upon his awful reaction but my guess is it had something to do with ‘if I was there, I would do it this way’ type of thing…

and the farmer decided to shatter my daydreams… for apparently no good reason other than he doesn’t like the fact that I can daydream way better than him…

‘you are as close to being a Victoria Secret swimsuit model as I was to making the NHL’

as soon as he said it he began to backpedal… especially when I had to quickly push under the bed the swimsuits I was planning on modelling later on and making him convince me I am just a skip and a hop away from being on the show…

his recovery was fantastic and involved statements such as…

‘it’s not because of your looks, it’s because of your age’


‘having three c-sections doesn’t really help your chances’


‘these models look like they aren’t far from your son’s age’


‘maybe you could be on it if they can air brush television like they do in magazines’


‘if they did an older mom’s episode maybe you could try out for that’

gruyere, asparagus and pea baked pasta with chicken


  • 1 pkg (500 g) penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cups peas, frozen
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 cups 3% milk
  • 2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon (optional)
  • 3 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • bring a large pot of salted water to boil
  • cook pasta until al dente (roughly 3-4 minutes shorter than normal)
  • drain pasta
  • in a frying pan, add olive oil and onion
  • saute and then add asparagus and garlic
  • add white wine and reduce
  • in a large bowl, combine chicken, peas, pasta and onion mixture
  • back in the frying pan, add butter and flour and whisk until you have a paste
  • gradually add the milk, whisking the entire time so you don’t allow for lumps
  • add dried mustard, salt, pepper and tarragon
  • when mixture is slightly thickened (it will be a bit runny), turn off the heat and add the cheese
  • pour over the pasta mixture in the large bowl
  • grease a 9×13 pan and pour mixture into it
  • mix olive oil and bread crumbs and sprinkle this over the pan
  • bake at 375 for 30 to 35 minutes
  • let stand for 10 minutes before serving, for it to thicken up

I’m just so excited now for the next time we watch a NHL game and I get to, without being provoked, mention that he was the farthest thing from making the NHL as a person could get and I can’t believe he dreamed of it as as kid…

he might argue the dreams of a 9 year old boy and a 36 year old woman should not be focused on the same type of unrealistic dream job.. but I’m going to have to bring it up none-the-less…

and see how he likes having his dreams crushed…



meal to the field #11

combining canola… and needing buns for the kids lunches… so I made Tracey’s cheese buns she has told me about… I did not tackle making them in the figure eight shape she does…  I am not that talented… but you should try it because I think it would taste better that way…


Tracey's cheese buns


  • Tammy’s Bun Recipe
  • 2 tbsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic salt


  • use Tammy’s Bun Recipe and add the onion flakes and garlic powder to it
  • let rise three times, punching down ever 15 minutes
  • roll out in a figure eight shape transfer to a parchment paper to rise
  • mix the parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese and sprinkle over the buns
  • sprinkle Maldon sea salt flakes and garlic salt over the buns
  • bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes or until browned and done

I love this salad…  my kids not so much… but it is everything I like in a harvest salad… packs well, transfers well, sits well…

frozen pea salad


  • 6 cups frozen peas
  • 4 small heads broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg (500g) cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, chopped


  • in a large bowl, mix together the peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and cheese
  • mix Ranch dressing and sour cream together and add to the salad
  • place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours
  • dish into containers and add bacon and cashews on top

the farmer requested this… beef stroganoff… a favourite from his childhood…


beef stroganoff


  • 6 round streaks, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 carton (320 g) button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 pkgs Egg Noodles


  • heat olive oil in a pan
  • in two batches, place steak in flour, salt and pepper and then to brown on med-high heat in the pan
  • in a large pot, whisk chicken soup and sour cream together
  • transfer first batch of meat to the large pot with the soup mixture and brown the second batch of meat
  • transfer second batch of meat to the soup mixture
  • heat olive oil and add onions, garlic and then mushrooms
  • add this to the soup/meat mixture
  • keep on very low heat until you are ready to serve (at least 1 hour simmering)
  • serve over egg noodles

my mother cans peaches every fall… so I make peach cobbler every fall… as well as eat canned peaches for breakfast at least twice a week until they run out… I can remember blanching the peaches, getting the skin off of them, slicing them and putting them in the sugary juice in the canning jars… messy work and I’m grateful she still does it on her own so we can enjoy them…

peach cobbler

  • Servings: one 9x13 pan
  • Print


  • 3 quarts canned peaches, strained (or 12 fresh peaches, sliced)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold shortening, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan on medium/high heat
  • add peaches and boil and gently stir for 1 minute
  • pour into a 9×13 greased dish
  • cut shortening into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt mixture
  • add milk and mix until sticky
  • spoon over the peaches and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  • serve warm if possible

baked chicken penne – take that boston pizza

 have you ever ate at Boston Pizza?  I’m giggling as I ask this question… a tiny giggle… because I eat there just about every weekend during hockey season… which hockey season is now Sept-June… yes I know, it used to be Nov-March…  but then some people decided that kids should no longer play more than one sport and changed it to an all consuming lifestyle…  and in this lifestyle you eat at Boston Pizza… because McDonald’s is a no-no… don’t even speak to me about KFC or A&W… nope – it’s carbs and pasta for these young stars…

so after a few weekends of lovely team meals… where you have to wait at least an hour to get your food, you chew down your 1470 calorie pasta meal and then pay $58 plus 15% mandatory tip that is already on your bill and me not knowing an extra 20% tip…  so after my $72.50 meal with my son we head back to the hotel at 11:30 pm to drift off into a carb and butter induced coma… I have an idea… I could make this meal for about $10 at home and bring it with me…

now don’t peg me wrong… cheap is not my middle name… it is Marie… because that is what everyone used in the late 70’s/early 80’s for a middle name… it was that or Ann or Lynn… I got Marie… so did my best friend Shannon… but her’s was fancier because it was ‘Irene-Marie’… my parents decided that plain old Marie would suffice for me… keep her humble… I forget what I was talking about… oh right, I’m not cheap…

but I’m also not a fan of spending a crazy amount on food that is not getting ate, is not good for you and takes 2 hours of an evening I could have enjoyed in a hotel room watching JFK documentaries…

so I make it ahead… take it on road trips… and say ‘take that Boston Pizza’ as I’m in a hotel eating my re-heated pasta dish with my son that loves just hanging out with his mom wearing a robe that I’m sure no one else at has worn at Tisdale’s Canalta Hotel …  it’s a three star hotel and I feel free at a 3 star to put on the robe and slippers …  I would never dream of it at a 2 star …

so here you go… this recipe makes two casseroles and I love to make two and then either freeze one or dish the other one up into individual dishes for taking on road trips… this is for all those introverted, frugal, used robe wearing, documentary watching freaks like me out there… your kid will love it…

baked chicken penne - take that boston pizza

  • Servings: two 9x13 casseroles
  • Print


  • 500 g Garofalo Organic Penne (Costco)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 L half & half milk
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 tsp salt and ground pepper
  • 7 oz (200 g) white mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
  • pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 340 g Italiano Black Diamond cheese (2 cups into sauce, remaining on top)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


  • put pasta into boiling salted water and cook until al dente, then strain and put into a large bowl
  • heat oil in a skillet and add chicken with salt and pepper and cook until done, add to the pasta
  • in the same skillet, melt butter and add flour and garlic
  • whisk and add milk
  • add mushrooms and tomatoes
  • pour the sauce into the pasta/chicken mixture and add cheeses
  • mix and pour into two 9×13 greased pans
  • sprinkle remaining cheese over the casseroles and put into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes
  • freezes very well… freeze it before you bake it…
  • to bake from frozen, bake at 400 degree with tin foil on… place the 9×13 on a baking sheet with parchment paper on it to catch any drippings…  bake for 1 1/2 hours like that until the center is hot and then remove the tin foil and bake until the cheese is golden, around 15 minutes

now… I did not say I made a healthy version of this… it is still over 1000 calories I’m sure… so take into account if you actually played the hockey game or just yelled in the crowd and annoyed everyone around you… you don’t burn as many calories yelling so eat half of what your hockey player eats… or substitute cauliflower for the cream milk and see how yummy it is… and zucchini for the noodles… and see how your hockey playing child reacts to first of all watching tv with you in a hotel room instead of hanging with his friends and then eating vegetable puree… and then let me know how it went over…

meal to the field #7

thanksgiving 2004 I made potato salad and 5 people got food poisoning…  since then my oldest son cannot eat mayonnaise…  he literally eats everything else imaginable – just not mayonnaise…  it did not affect my farmer husband the same way…  this was not his first time contracting food poisoning from potato salad and I’m going to guess it won’t be his last…

he actually had to check into the hospital the last time potato salad took him down… of course he had bought it at a 7-Eleven and it was past the expiry date and it was grey… but his love affair with potato salad remains…  

Potato Salad


  • 5 pounds red potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces
  • 12 hard boiled eggs, cut up
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste


  • in a large pot, cover the cut up potatoes with cold water and add 2 tsp kosher salt
  • bring to a boil and reduce to simmer
  • simmer until tender, around 15-20 minutes
  • do the same process with eggs but when they come to a boil they let them boil for a few minutes and then they are done
  • drain the potatoes in a strainer and put into the bowl with the celery, green onions & dill pickles
  • make the dressing and add to the potatoes
  • gently mix in the eggs, paprika, salt and pepper
  • chill for a few hours or for up to 2 days in fridge

a friend of mine gave me these apples … and rhubarb … thus allowing me to not have to plant apple trees or rhubarb in my garden … thank you Erin … so I thought I’d put them in pie crust with sugar …

now don’t be shocked by the next picture…  it is my attempt to demonstrate how I crinkle the outside of the pie crust… but it turns out that my hands up close are wrinkly and hairy … my mom always told me I had hands that should play the piano …  she also told me that I could swim like a fish and run like a gazelle and sing like a bird … so it shouldn’t come as a shock that she thought I had hands for the piano …  watch an episode of ‘The Goldbergs’ and you will see who my mom is …  

that is an apple peeler and slicer passed on to me by my Grandpa Reed …  and it is a lovely invention

the farmer texted me tonight after eating this pie and I quote “that pie might be my favourite one of yours” …

Cream Cheese Apple Pie


  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts (see recipe for Coffee Break Pie Crust)
  • 2 pkg (250 g) Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 Gala apples, peeled and sliced thinly (makes 8 cups sliced)
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut up


  • line 2 9” pie plates with pie crusts
  • beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla and put into the 2 pie shells
  • cut up apples, put in a big bowl and add flour and cinnamon and toss until well coated
  • place apples on top of cream cheese filled pie shells
  • cut with a pastry blender the butter into the oats and brown sugar and place on top of pies
  • put in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes
  • serve at room temperature

and now … drum roll … I made something healthy … this is a classic around here for ‘Meatless Mondays’  … tonight a friend asked my curly haired son ‘what did your mom make for supper?’ and he said ‘something orange’ … he must really love it …


Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake

  • Servings: one 9x13 casserole
  • Print


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen kernels
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce (salsa works if you do not have this)
  • 2 cups shredded Tex Mex cheese (1/2 cup for mixture and 1 1/2 cups for topping)


  • add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil over a medium heat
  • boil for 5 minutes then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes
  • remove from heat, fluff and pour into large bowl
  • in a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, jalapeño and peppers
  • in the large bowl that has the quinoa in it add corn, black beans, pepper mixture, enchilada sauce and /1/2 cup of the Tex Mex cheese
  • put in a 9×13 greased baking dish and cover with the rest of the Tex Mex cheese
  • bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  • toppings: sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream (optional)
  • freezes well: take out in the morning and allow to thaw all day