lemon chicken with egg salad and pistachio raspberry cupcakes 

the farm house was quiet today as I prepared the meal… school is back!  I have to say, I am usually so, so ready for the kids to go back to school… but this summer, we actually pretty much got along…  there were moments…  of me screaming… and my middle son always seemed to find a way of videoing me in those moments and replaying them over and over and over again…  (parenting is far harder with teenagers with phones)

but overall, it went really well as far as enjoying being around each other…

summers are different for farm kids…  with an anti-social mother…  they really don’t see their friends all summer…  in fact, my boys went for a three hour walk one day just to go visit a friend…  

so it was very quiet and very peaceful in the house as I cooked…  but I actually missed them a bit… for the first time ever on the first day of school…

my father-in-law requested no desserts in his suppers because of some cholesterol or blood pressure thing… (I try not to get bogged down by the details)…  but I was feeling sorry for him and decided to make a healthy cupcake he could have and not keel over and die consuming…

I almost killed him at the end of last harvest and don’t want a repeat of that this year… (something to do with chicken and salmonella…  I like to call it a way to ‘drop the pounds’ after harvest)

I began by attempting to grind pistachios in this…  mostly because I had thrown out my stupid food processor yesterday…

and then I read a comment from someone that said ‘why don’t you just use your Vitamix instead of the food processor?’…  

and it was like a light from heaven…  so I plopped the pistachios into my Vitamix…  and let me tell you… game changer…

makes me wonder what else my precious Vitamix can do?   (I like to be surprised so I tend to throw out the owner’s guide)

ground pistachio raspberry cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries (preferably fresh ones you’ve frozen)
  • milk chocolate chips (for sprinkling on the top)

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • line muffin tin with paper liners and coat with a cooking spray
  • in a food processor (or VITAMIX!!) finely grind the pistachios
  • add sugar and salt and grind
  • transfer to a mixer and add butter, vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides
  • add flour and pulse until just combined
  • gently fold in raspberries with a spatula
  • divide evenly to make 15-16 muffins
  • sprinkly on chocolate chips
  • bake for around 28 minutes or until golden brown
  • (they might look a little ‘wet’ on top but are done…  don’t burn them)
  • transfer to wire rack to cool

on to egg salad…  I saw on a food show to put egg salad with arugula…  so I did and the farmer approved…

(again, I do need to get someone else’s opinion other than his overly happy, non picky opinion)

egg salad on arugula

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/8 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • arugula

Directions:

  • in a bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing, mix and set aside
  • in a large bowl, gently combine the eggs, celery, green onions and radishes
  • pour dressing on and fold in with a spatula gently
  • serve over arugula

the same wonderful people who have their children raise cows to feed us also raise chickens to feed us…   I forgot to ask them if they name their chickens too…

the before and after of these 7 pound beauties…  after 1  3/4 hours in the oven and sitting for 20 minutes…

garden potatoes were boiled, drained and smashed with butter and half/half milk…

the chicken drippings were kept for gravy…  I pour off some of the fat… into my mouth… (I’m kidding…  that is disgusting… I do eat a tonne of chicken skin though)

lemon garlic whole chickens

Ingredients:

  • 7 lb roaster chicken (fresh or thawed out completely)
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, cut into 4 each
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup potato water with chicken bouillon mixed in

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection
  • pat the chicken dry with paper towel
  • under the skin on the breasts, shove the garlic in
  • pour the butter over the chicken
  • sprinkle the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper on
  • pour the white wine in the bottom of the pan
  • add the lemons
  • bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the chicken is fully cooked
  • let rest for at least 20 minutes in the pan
  • lift out chicken and slice
  • pour the drippings into a ‘gravy separator’ (something that will strain the chunks of lemon etc and then let the fat come to the top)
  • pour some of the fat off and place in a pot and bring back to a boil
  • mix the cornstarch with a little cold water and add to the gravy
  • add as much potato water with chicken bouillon as you need to make as much gravy as you need
  • season with salt and pepper if necessary
  • serve with cooked carrots and smashed potatoes (with butter and cream milk)

we set up an assembly line to dish up the suppers and the kids were home by then so I could quickly put them to work!

and off I went to get ate alive by mosquitoes…

plus 30 degree days with very high humidity is apparently exactly what trillions of mosquitoes love…  it’s like a plague…

I’m surprised you don’t see the farmers looking like bee keepers… I know I would have bought a mesh outfit by now if I was out there.. and I’m tough and not dramatic…  imagine what they are going through?

seeding meal #4

I don’t like to enjoy my yard…  I like to work in it…  at the beginning of spring I get almost giddy… I make lists of jobs, then I go do the jobs… then I notice more jobs that need doing… I put them on the list… then I do them and cross them off the list…

if the list looks like it’s not long enough, I either buy something from Costco online or Ikea that we have to assemble just to add another job to the list…

there is something thrilling about seeing the job on the list and then doing it and then crossing it off…  addictive really… and if you know anything about me…  ‘bit of an addict’…  (I like to through ‘bit’ in there so it’s not so harsh)

the farmer will play in the yard… baseball, football, monster on the trampoline, ‘horse’ on the basketball court…  I like to pick rocks off the pavement pad and re-seed dead spots on the lawn while he does this…

deck staining was in order today… due to the fact that it was over 30 degrees out on May 4… kinda fun to set a record for the earliest I have even treated the decks… really felt like a winner…

my deck staining skills are poor to terrible…  I have followed the rules, taken advice, read the instructions and every single time my decks are sticky…  they never set…  until now…

and I am giving all the credit to this brush… life changing really… Simms 5″ brush that you put on a telescoping handle and then think to yourself ‘where have you been my whole life?’…

I don’t want to write about it anymore… words cannot begin to express my love for this brush… I bought 5 of them and plan to buy more… just in case there is a rush on them or they go out of business…

just try it…  or if you have tried it… don’t speak to me because you didn’t tell me about it and I’ll be mad at you…

the gorgeous weather and deck staining left very little time to get supper ready…  I started at 3:45 pm and had it done by 6….  so this is a good meal plan for someone who works (other than deck staining) and only has 2 hours to whip together a supper…  for 10…

I did have a plan…  Asian…  this is another weird quirk about my personality… I like to theme meals (or outfits) if at all possible…

vinaigrette in a mason jar is super easy, cheap, healthy and oh so good…

 

asian cucumber green chickpea salad

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tbsp green onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds (or plain sesame seeds)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 large English cucumbers, julienned
  • 2 cups frozen green chickpeas
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 small red cabbage, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • make the dressing in a medium mason jar and shake well
  • in a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the salad
  • pour the dressing and toss well
  • salad is best cold

 

have you ever had a day where everything is working out perfectly and you start to find it a bit creepy?  spooky? like you might still be asleep?

morning run went well… kids were good getting on the bus…  I went to pressure wash the decks and I started the pressure washer first try… all three times…  (this has never happened)…

and then when I quickly went to the local store to pick up a few items… there were packages of Udon noodles… just sitting there in the cooler…  calling my name…

I bought all of them… mostly because my daughter has been craving these for awhile now and I have not seen them anywhere else…

but I was still a little weirded out by how the day was going… it was like the very few experiences I have had playing basketball when every shot went in… in fact I distinctly remember this happening twice… but when I shot I knew it was going in…

Steph Curry type of day…

Sienna and I found no instructions with the noodles… so we made our own up…  she was in charge…  she cut open the packages… massaged them under hot water… and the divided them up into the supper containers… awaiting their toppings…

she also ate enough to make herself a tad bit ill…

chicken with oyster sauce and cashews

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 8 chicken breasts (thawed, patted dry and cut into chunks)
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch (in 1/2 cup cold water)
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups unsalted cashews
  • 4 (454 g) packages Udon noodles (Shanghai Noodles)
  • chopped green onions

Directions:

  • in a bowl, mix soya sauce, vinegar, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil and canola oil
  • set this aside
  • in a large skillet or wok over high heat add chicken in two batches (once the second batch is cooked, add the first batch back in with it)
  • brown the chicken and cook thoroughly, adding a bit of water as you go if the pan gets too dry
  • add garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes
  • add green peppers and cook for a few minutes
  • add chicken broth, cook and then turn heat down to add the cornstarch in the water
  • take off the heat and add the cashews and water chestnuts to the thickened mixture
  • serve immediately over the udon noodles, which you have taken out of the packages and in a strainer ran hot water over and pulled apart
  • top with green onions if you have some

I need to include a side note here… I cut the ginger into little sticks because I thought it looks nice…  bit of a bite and unless you love ginger like that… grate it…  I picked it out of the dishes before I sent them to the field…

other note… oyster sauce is the bomb…

now… if you are waiting for dessert pictures… just scroll on back to seeding meal #2 when I made some little cream cheese things that took me 5 hours…  I had frozen them and let them thaw today and put Smucker’s caramel sauce on them… leftover dessert… perfect for on a 30 degree day…

seeding meal #2 

 

lesson learned…  when you see something on Pintrest or Facebook that looks amazing but doesn’t come with a detailed recipe… keep looking… unless you enjoy wasting your time…

the salad was fine…  basically just added what I had in the fridge to make a carrot salad and the reviews from the 12 and 14 year old were good so I think it was a success…

carrot pistachio salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions:

  • grate the carrots and place in a large bowl
  • in a small mason jar, add dressing ingredients and shake until well mixed
  • add to the carrots
  • add cilantro and using tongs toss the salad
  • top with pistachios and serve cold

and the crockpot Mexican Chicken over rice is an excellent recipe to have kicking around if you have a busy day and want a nutritious supper…  I served it over Basmati Rice which is my favourite type of rice…

crockpot mexican chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.4 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (1/2 a bunch)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (or put slices of lime beside the dish)
  • optional toppings: chopped green onion, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream
  • serve over rice

Directions:

  • in a slow cooker, combine tomatoes, black beans, chicken broth, green chiles, onions and garlic
  • add chicken on the top and season
  • cook on high for 4-6 hours (or on high for 2 hours and then low for 6 hours)
  • when the chicken is cooked, add cilantro and lime juice
  • serve over rice with toppings or also great on tacos or in burritos

but…  if you want to waste about 5 hours of your day wasting your time… try doing this…

first of all, you view a video of someone making something in fast forward on Facebook… many of them are called ‘Tasty’ or ‘Little Things’…

then you look for the recipe only to not be able to find it…

so you pause the video and write down the recipe as it flashes up on the screen…

you go buy all the ingredients and proceed to cook it… only to figure out that it didn’t tell you how many cheesecake cupcakes it was supposed to make… or it left out details about cooking time or temperature… or exactly how to make a caramel sauce…

or you buy 4 packages of cream cheese only to find out that you didn’t need that big of a cheesecake recipe for the little muffin tins you are filling…

and 1/3 of it goes to waste…

when you finally get to the last step which only took 20 seconds on Facebook but has taken you 4 hours to get to…  you realize it might be a bit tricky to make a caramel sauce…

this is after you have burnt sugar onto two pots and ran out of pots and had watched two YouTube videos on making a caramel sauce…

you resort to melting a chocolate bar to pour over the top of the cheesecakes because your supper was running late…

they were delicious… so go for it if you so choose… just don’t expect it to go as quickly as the video you saw on Facebook!

salted pretzel cheesecake cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted (3/4 cup)
  • 4 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup pretzels, slightly crushed

Directions:

  • mix the crushed pretzels, sugar and butter
  • press into 24 foil lined muffin trays, around 1 1/2 tbsp per muffin cup
  • bake at 350 for 5 minutes
  • beat cream cheese and sugar until combined
  • add flour and combine
  • add eggs, one at a time, until combined
  • add heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla
  • pour mixture into the muffin cups, filling them to the top
  • there will be left over cheese cake mixture – I greased a pan and poured the mixture into it and baked it separately
  • bake at 350 for 22 minutes
  • chill in fridge for 2 hours
  • to make the caramel sauce, put sugar and water into a pan
  • do not mix with a spoon or whisk, but give the pan a shake occasionally
  • boil until the mixture turns an amber colour
  • using a pastry brush and water, brush down the sides of the pot so the sugar does not crystallize on the sides
  • take off the heat and pour in heavy cream, while standing back as it will react
  • whisk this together and add the butter
  • pour the caramel sauce on the cooled cream cheese cupcakes
  • add some crushed pretzels and serve

zesty chicken salad

 when I leave the farmer alone for the weekend I generally try to have something in the fridge for him to eat…  now don’t get all feminist on me…  when he leaves me alone for a weekend he makes sure the water in the cistern is full, that the oil in my vehicle is changed and everything around the house is running properly…

so this is more of a thank you for that so I’ll make you a salad that you can eat every day until you are sick of it…

this is a salad I use to take out to the farmers during seeding or harvest and is one of my favourites…  it would be great to make on a Sunday and then have it in your lunch for Monday and Tuesday…

it starts with marinading some chicken breasts…  which is super easy to do and adds a lot of flavour to the chicken and the salad…

peanut chicken marinade

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp minced ginger (or from a can)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • zest of an orange
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half)

Directions:

  • whisk the marinade ingredients together
  • in a large ziploc bag, place the chicken
  • pour in the marinade, seal the bag and squish the chicken around with the marinade
  • put in a glass dish and into the fridge for 2 hours, flipping once in that time
  • if you are rushed, you can only marinade it for 20 minutes and never longer than 2 hours
  • bbq the chicken

  
bbq’ing the chicken is the best way to go for flavour…

the salad is simple to make as well and if you aren’t opposed to shopping at Costco, their Feta cheese is the best I’ve ever tasted…

not that I go around to Feta cheese tastings, but it is delicious…

 

I also cheat a bit with the ginger…  if I know I am making this salad and am gong to a grocery store I’ll use fresh ginger…  but I always keep a jar of it in my fridge in case I just want to make it and don’t want to drive 45 minutes to get ginger…


zesty chicken salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lime juice (usually around 2 limes)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, bbq’d and cut into slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 10 oz snow peas, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup Feta cheese, diced

Directions:

  • in a shaker, combine dressing ingredients and shake till combined
  • in a bowl, combine salad ingredients
  • pour dressing over and combine gently
  • this salad keeps for a few days in the fridge nicely

this salad is fantastic fresh and is also delicious the next day or day after in the fridge…  a great salad to take to work with you for lunch… or to leave for a farmer when you are gone for three days…

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’

or

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

or

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

or

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

or

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

gruyere, asparagus and pea baked pasta with chicken

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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…

 

 

it won’t be boring

 

I don’t know where I’m going from here but I promise it won’t be boring. – David Bowie from Madison Square Garden on his 50th birthday

David Bowie passed away… people were leaving flowers and candles outside his home on Lafayette Street in Soho, New York and here myself and the farmer were wandering around outside that building a few months ago and you have no idea who lives in these beautiful buildings…

so I did what so many others I’m sure did this morning… listened to Best of Bowie while cleaning and doing laundry…  and considered his quote ‘it won’t be boring’ as I folded the same underwear as I did last Monday morning…

I also took the time to read a little bit about Bowie’s life and career…  I assume everything on Wikipedia is the truth…

he became Ziggy Stardust for awhile… similar to Beyonce becoming Sasha Fierce… I need an alter ego… this is something I need to add to my things to do in 2016… alter ego… and my main reason for wanting it is to have someone to blame when I falter…  Naughty Nicki did it…  I saw her do it…

songs I enjoyed listening to this morning…

Space Oddity (released in 1969), Changes, The Jean Genie, Rebel Rebel, Fame, Let’s Dance, Young Americans, Dancing in the Street with Mick Jaggar and of course Under Pressure with Queen.

the farmer came home for lunch and told me he had been listening to Lazarus which was off of Bowie’s latest album released when he turned 69 called Blackstar…

when asked about religion, Bowie had a few opinions but one was ‘you should follow music’…  this one I found the most interesting out of what he said… mostly because a good portion of his thoughts were rather scrambled…  this is what makes music so timeless and important and makes us mourn artists… even though the artists might look a little different or talk a little different than anyone you have ever seen in your own life… they make songs that resonate with us or make us question things or wonder or disagree… but it affects us and draws us out of our day-to-day hum…

for instance, yesterday I left the house at 10:30 am to go to Prince Albert for a hockey game and got home at 10:30 pm in the evening… around seven hours of being in a vehicle… and this is a pretty normal Sunday for us…  so music becomes very important…  new music, old music… basically anything other than 80’s music…  it feeds the soul and lights the imagination…

it reminds you of how you felt when that song came out, what you believed about the world, about our society, about love…  and new music inspires you to be more creative and gives you insight into what direction our world is heading…

so today, as I listen to more Bowie, I will cook, clean, make chilli, take my daughter to a hockey practice, pay bills, watch tv, go to bed…  but it was not a boring day…. why?  because I was transported by music to New York, to London, to a different time… a odd time… artists make life less dull… make us think… make us love…

from all the farmwife’s out there… thank you Bowie and thank you artists for making my life less boring!

chicken and navy bean chili

  • Servings: one small pot
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • lemon pepper
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 2 cans (398 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (398 mL or 14 oz) navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • toppings: cilantro, lime wedges, hot sauce, sour cream

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • on a parchment lined baking sheet, lay chicken thighs and drizzle olive oil over them
  • season with salt and lemon pepper generously
  • cook until done, around 20-25 minutes
  • in a deep saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and add onions
  • then add red pepper and garlic and saute on low heat
  • add the spices and the sauce and beans
  • cut up the chicken and add to the chili
  • let sit for a few hours (no heat) for flavours to combine
  • turn heat back on to low and heat up to serve
  • top with your favourite toppings and serve with a slice of bread


chicken and rice noodles with peanut sauce and slaw… take that wok box…

growing up I talked to myself a lot… due to the fact that I was  a middle child, only girl, awkward socially and had a vivid imagination…

it began with Cabbage Patch dolls… then straight into Barbies… I kept my Barbies in a closet in my room, fully dedicated to them, and as soon as I would get home from school I’d go to my room, lock myself in it, open the closet door and enter my made up world that was far superior to what was going on in grade 4 at school…

beginning of grade 5 I sold every Barbie… I had over 50 of them… in a desperate attempt to make myself cooler and more involved in reality than my fantasy world…

but it is almost like an addict… where you quit some vice only to replace it with another…  and for me it was a fake boyfriend I made up…  long distance of course…  we wrote each other a lot…  I’d write him, then write to myself from him…  Brian… he was quite the catch… I eventually broke it off with him because it was just getting too weird…

grade 6 involved me setting up an ‘office’ and going there after school every day to keep my fake company going…  I would even dress up in my Aunt Linda’s old power suits to head to my ‘work’…

then along came my obsession with turning black…  yes, my skin colour… my mother had told me there were no limits when it came to prayer… so I would pray every night that my skin would turn black so I could eventually play for North Carolina in their basketball program… and I’d wake every morning and look at my hands to see if it worked…  and they were still white… borderline too white…

as teenage years came I was able to stifle the urge to imagine and create my own little worlds… although there was the time in grade 8 where I would put makeup on in the morning listening to the Green Day and talk to myself in the mirror and pretend to be a groupie…

 

this is why I can’t ever be too judgemental of my kids… because I was about as weird as it gets growing up so nothing they can do would shock or disappoint me…

now in my thirties, the imagination is not quite as vivid and the talking to myself has significantly lowered… it is reserved mostly for the dogs and cats now…  but the dogs in particular I believe understand what I’m saying…  and if the cats do they’ll never give you the satisfaction…

which brings me to a Thursday night last week…  it is the night I love to cook because it is the only night out of the entire week generally where we have no hockey…

so I cooked this ode to Wok Box meal… had Brandon my oldest come set the kitchen up like we were at a Wok Box… take orders… and then put the order sheet up for me to fill…

he asked ‘what protein do you want?’ … Ethan said ‘beef’ and Brandon wrote down chicken…  what sauce?  ‘teriyaki’ and Brandon wrote down peanut sauce…  our options were slightly limited…

 

recently, at a pilates class, I even tried to pretend like I was the instructor…  I tried to count and crunch at the same time… I have no idea how she does it…  I ran out of breath…  and this is why I always place myself at the back of the class…

  

you can cook this meal without pretending you are running a wok box… but I don’t know why you would…

 

chicken and rice noodles with peanut sauce and slaw

Ingredients:

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Chicken:

  • 1 kg chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • sesame oil

Slaw:

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped diagonally
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced into matchsticks

Noodles:

  • 400 g rice sticks (or rice noodles), cooked to package directions

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted peanuts
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Peanut Sauce:

  • in a small saucepan, combine ingredients and cook on medium/high heat for 10 minutes

Chicken:

  • in a large bowl, combine ingredients
  • pour sesame oil into a large saucepan or wok
  • cook on high heat in two batches

Slaw:

  • combine ingredients for slaw and set aside

Noodles:

  • follow package instructions
  • bring a large pot of water to boil and turn off heat
  • place noodles in, stirring and cook for 5-8 minutes until soft
  • strain and serve


meal to the field #12

if I’ve decided I’m going to fight with you on the phone… nothing you do or say will stop it… no amount of patience, reasoning, intelligence or common sense will quell my anger…

over the past few weeks I have been blogging and posting pictures of either myself or my food… and my internet has been so painfully slow that I’ve resorted to turning it off completely and linking my phone to my laptop to write my posts…  this took considerable effort seeings how a 36 year old like myself has no idea the difference between ‘hotspot’ and ‘bluetooth’…

the farmer would tell you that I like to let my anger get to a level where I can’t be reasoned with, before I start a fight… this allows me to always win… because the other person gives up…

I make the phone call… I am on hold for over four minutes… this only fuels the fire… when Trevor finally gets off his coffee break and can field my call, the first question he asks me is my phone number… I give him my cell number but no he wants my old land line number… which I can’t remember due to the fact I have a poor memory… he was kind enough to ‘dig around’ and found my account which I have been paying $74 a month for…

I tell him my side of the story… “I’m trying to download 6 pictures and it takes me 3 days and I eventually just shut off my internet and hook my laptop up to my phone because your internet service is so horrible”…

Trevor pauses and then says in his nerdy, cocky, early 20’s voice… “our internet service looks like it’s functioning well in your area”…  I said “how would you know? I’d like you to send someone out here to check on it”…  Trevor replies “I can check on it from here and everything from our end is functioning well but you are completely tapped out for uploads and downloads on your end… do you have other devices running in your residence?”…

Sienna… crap… she has three iPads and two mini iPads…  before you judge…  they are all hand-me-downs and out of date… only one doesn’t have a cracked screen… and we won two of them at prize tables at hockey tournaments… whew… I can sense the judgement going away…

and she loves Netflix

but I found the next words out of my mouth to Trevor were “no… I put all devices in the house on airplane mode already… I think it is something on your end”…  he paused and his next words had a bit of a scorning laugh added to them “I can see our end and your end and it definitely is your end that is the problem”…

I did not go down without a fight…  I stuck to my story… told him I was possibly going to cancel my services with them… told him I felt like he could work on his customer service…

as soon as I hung up… I went and looked at all of her iPads… she has them stashed all over the house so it took me a bit… I turned them all on to airplane mode… came back to my laptop and ‘waa-laa’ (the farmer tells me that’s not how you say it)…  pictures downloaded or uploaded… not sure which… and everything working at lightning speed…

in that moment I just about called Trevor back… but I couldn’t (even though I knew I was wrong) apologize to a early 20’s cocky nerd…  it wouldn’t be good for his ego…

cauliflower taco salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 2 green peppers, small dice
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small portions
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag Doritos

Directions:

  • in either a large bowl or in individual containers, place lettuce and green peppers
  • mix the mayo and sugar and spoon and smooth over the lettuce and green peppers
  • add cauliflower, green onions and cheddar cheese
  • chill for at least 2 hours
  • when ready to serve add crushed Doritos on the top
  • if serving in a large bowl, mix ingredients together before serving
  • if putting in containers to take to the field, leave unmixed

chicken pot pie with biscuits

Ingredients:

Chicken Filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, cubed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 cups shredded chicken
  • olive oil
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups carrots, small dice
  • 3 cups celery, small dice
  • 3 cups frozen peas

Biscuit Dough:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion or chives
  • 1/2 cup cold, cubed unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, for egg wash

Directions:

  • in a saucepan, thicken buttter, flour, broth, cream cheese, salt and pepper and lemon juice
  • add the shredded chicken and pour into a large mixing bowl
  • in the same pan, heat olive oil and add onions, garlic, carrots and celery
  • cook until softened and add to the chicken mixture
  • add peas to the chicken mixture
  • in two 9×13 inch greased baking pans, spread out pot pie mixture
  • for the biscuits, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and pepper
  • add green onions and mix
  • cut in with a pastry blender the butter and cream cheese
  • add buttermilk and combine
  • turn out onto floured surface and knead very lightly
  • roll out till 1/2 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter
  • place biscuits on top of chicken filling
  • beat one egg with a splash of water and brush on the biscuits
  • bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until chicken filling is bubbling and biscuits are browned


apple crisp with pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 15 macintosh apples (washed, cored and cubed – peel on)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios

Directions:

  • put brown sugar, lemon juice and zest and cinnamon in a large bowl
  • add apples and mix
  • pour into a 9×13 baking dish
  • in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter
  • blend with a pastry cutter
  • add oats and pistachios
  • sprinkle evenly over the apples
  • place 9×13 on a baking sheet in case of it spilling over
  • bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until bubbling and browned
  • serve warm and with vanilla ice cream 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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…