seeding 2019 begins!!!

I thought I might be done blogging…  it takes a considerable amount of time and effort… with trying to run more and keep up with all the farm and kids sports/lives I just felt like I should let it go…  but then I was at my Grandpa’s funeral and his sister told me that her husband loves reading my blog…  and it made my day…

so here it goes!!!  and I have so much excitement for cooking this spring and sharing it – but also getting back to writing as well…

I also upgraded my phone for a trip I took to Costa Rica in February and now I don’t need to spend any time editing my photos because they just look great  #nofilter (my 15 year old told me I need to use more hashtags… not sure if this is what he meant… or if he is mocking me… its tough to tell when he is being sarcastic)

 the farmer brought me a 5 gallon pail of chickpeas after harvest last year and I usually make up a batch every week – being a vegetarian, this is a lovely source of protein…

Instant Pot is perfect for these…  soak them for 8 hours, drain and add water again until it covers them by around 1/2 inch and set on manual for 10 minutes…

drain again and they are good to go

in this case – for this salad – they were getting roasted with some chili powder…  and that is my son adding the seasoning as he has a school project where he was supposed to cook a meal with a slow cooker (guess how much I love my kids in the kitchen with me?  …  scale of 1-10? …  I’d say a 2 …)

spring apple cauliflower salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or make your own!!! see note below)
chili powder, salt and pepper
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and ‘riced’ (or buy as ‘rice’)
2 apples, cut into little cubes
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
a bunch of parsley and mint, chopped
2 firm avocados, cut into chunks (optional)
Dressing:
2 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest of one lime
salt and pepper (to taste, if necessary)

Instructions:
– preheat oven to 400 degrees
chickpeas – cooking them in the Instant Pot – soak in water for 8 hours if you can, then drain and add enough water to have around a 1/2 inch over the chickpeas
on manual, cook the chickpeas for 10 minutes and release
drain – I like my chickpeas a bit on the crunchy side…
on a baking sheet covered in tin foil, add the chickpeas, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper
roast for 20 minutes and let cool and dry
cauliflower prep – if you weren’t able to buy cauliflower ‘rice’ – you can rice your own in a food processor or Vitamix… but work in very small batches
for the dressing – shake everything in a jar
to assemble, add everything except for the chickpeas together and stir well
place chickpeas on top of the salad and enjoy!

this part of the salad prep I did not allow him to help on… ricing the cauliflower… I pictured him turning it into a paste and finding cauliflower all over the kitchen for weeks to come…  it is a tricky thing to do and I sure wish Costco had been open for me to buy riced cauliflower there!!!

when you are giving the farmers chocolate cake – a nice light apple/cauliflower salad is in order… (if you look hard you can see his foot and my foot)

top with the roasted chickpeas and it is light and yummy and satisfying!

then I was able to get the kitchen to myself… and began the sandwiches…  the farmer loved roasted garlic and so I’m trying to find ways to include it…  this time it went into the whipped butter – which my 17 year old told me he could have ate the entire bowl with no bun…

the pork tenderloin gets cut up and roasted and my daughter told me she loves anything pig…  the farmer asked me how much I spent on it as apparently China is killing pigs and the price is on the rise… I must have gotten in on it before the price hike??? pork is cheap

pork caesar salad sandwiches with roasted garlic whipped butter

Ingredients:
1 fresh Pork Tenderloin
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
onion powder
garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
romaine lettuce, shredded
creamy Ceasar dressing
parmesan cheese
long buns or sourdough baguette, split down the middle lengthwise

Directions:
preheat oven to 375
line a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil
slice the pork tenderloin in to 1/2 inch slices and line the slices on the baking sheet
sprinkle with salt, pepper and onion powder
add the garlic cloves (make sure they have oil on them)
roast pork for 15-20 minutes or until slices have just cooked through
continue to cook garlic if it is not done
in a mixing bowl, whip the butter, onion powder, salt, pepper and roasted garlic
in a bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, dressing and parmesan
to assemble: butter the bun with the whipped garlic butter, add pieces of the pork and top with caesar salad

now for the real reason I love seeding and harvest…  cakes and pies…

you kind of need a reason to bake…  seeding and harvest is a great reason…  even though farming isn’t quite as labour intensive as the good ‘ol days…

blackberry, cherry chocolate cake with blackberry buttercream icing

Ingredients:
Cake:
12 oz (2 pints) blackberries, plus more for decorating
1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp espresso powder or 1 tbsp instant coffee
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup reserved blackberry syrup
(milk if needed to get it creamy)

Directions:
add the blackberries, cherries and 1/4 cup sugar to a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil
turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes – smashing the blackberries
let cool
preheat oven to 350 degrees
line two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease with butter or lard
in a large mixing bowl, combing the flour, sugar, instant coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt
in another mixing bowl, mix the oil, milk, egg and vanilla
slowly add the flour mixture and the blackberry mixture – making sure to keep 1/2 cup of the blackberry syrup for the icing
divide the batter between the prepared baking pans, and smooth in to an even layer
bake for 35-35 minutes until a cake-tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean
let cool on a rack
for the buttercream, beat butter, scraping it down, until light and fluffy
add the sifted cocoa and icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until the frosting is thick and creamy
add the blackberry syrup
the buttercream should be spreadable, but thick enough to hold its shape on the cake
assemble the cake
store leftovers in a covered container at room-temperature or refrigerated if longer than a day

it is Easter break here in Saskatchewan so kids in the kitchen seems to be inevitable…  and this 10 year old needs to put sprinkles on everything…

ok – maybe its ok having kids in the kitchen – once in awhile

happy seeding!!!

how do you lasagna?

I make lasagna about six times a year I would guess… I am 39 years old…  I only have been cooking since the farmer tricked me into it at the young age of 20… so by that math, I have made 114 lasagnas…

it most likely is closer to 100 as I know I have bought lasagnas at Costco when life got busy and I didn’t have a few hours to mess my kitchen up…

but let’s just say I have made a significant amount of lasagna thus far…  I love it… and I feel like this version that I have been doing lately has combined all of my favourite flavours into one delicious lasagna…

each to their own with lasagna… you might not prefer all these things in it… you might like the more traditional type…  but if you are looking for a creamy, feel good in your belly version… here you go!

I start by cutting sweet potatoes in half, seasoning with salt and pepper and wrapping in foil with some olive oil… placing them in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes to get them all gooey…

then I move on to prepping the ricotta mixture…  in the past I have used cottage cheese but it doesn’t hold a candle to ricotta in my eyes!  I add to the ricotta some eggs, pepper and chopped spinach and then will add the sweet potato mash when it is done

for the meat sauce (you can make this vegetarian… I always make one little vegetarian lasagna for myself… I just keep aside some marinara sauce)  … I use some local ground beef, cook it up with onions and garlic and strain it… then add the spices

this is a new spice I have been using for the last year in my lasagnas that I am just loving…

when the sweet potatoes are done, I use a spoon to peel off the skin and potato masher… I add this hot to the spinach, ricotta, egg mixture and give a good stir… it wilts the spinach nicely

next… I believe I have shared this before but it is new to me – probably have only done it in the last year or two – but you do not have to pre-cook your noodles… you also do not have to buy the kind that say ‘no boil’…  it is all a scam!

if you have enough marinara sauce they cook up just fine in the oven… if you can’t tell, I am still excited about this because lasagna is hard enough with enough dishes let alone boiling the noodles and having half of them stick to the bottom of your pot or rip… really this was life changing for me…

I always double my lasagna when I make it…. even if it is not seeding or harvest… I feel like if I go to the effort to get this many things dirty I might as well have leftovers for lunches or the dreaded ‘fourth supper’ my boys seem to always want at 9:30 pm…

see?  you just go ahead and plop those dry noodles in the pan and then add marinara sauce and you are good to go!

one last thing about lasagna…  I spell it lasagne but my autocorrect kept changing it so I gave up trying…  but in my mind it is lasagne

Beef, Sweet Potato Lasagna

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
6 cups jarred marinara sauce
1 lb (9 pieces) lasagna noodles (no need to precook)
1 bag baby spinach, chopped
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potato (around 2 sweet potatoes)
1 container whole milk ricotta
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb mozza cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
preheat oven to 400 degrees
place a 9×13 dish on a foil lined baking sheet
for the sweet potato, cut the sweet potatoes in half and wrap in foil with some olive oil and salt and pepper
bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes
for the meat sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan and add onion and garlic
add the ground meat, cook and strain if necessary
add spices and marinara sauce to the meat
in a large bowl, add the ricotta, spinach, eggs, sweet potato and black pepper
to assemble the lasagna, put a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the pan
add three noodles, no need to have pre-cooked them, and then add another layer of meat sauce over top of the noodles
then add the ricotta/spinach/sweet potato layer and sprinkle with mozza cheese
add more noodles, meat sauce, ricotta layer and mozza
for the third layer, add noodles and then mozza and parmesan (the ricotta/spinach/sweet potato is only in two of the bottom layers)
cover with foil
bake for 25-30 minutes
remove the foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes until it is bubbling and the cheese is golden
let sit for at least 15 minutes before you cut into it to allow everything to settle

I asked the farmer what his favourite dessert is… he told me ‘crisp’...  any type of fruit with a crisp topping… strawberries are on sale right now so this is what I went with…

I tossed the strawberries with some freshly grated ginger and powdered ginger…  topping it with a buttery, pecan, oat topping and there he has it… his ‘crisp’

Strawberry-Ginger Cobbler

Ingredients:
Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Filling:
4 lbs (around 8 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (more if you want, I did more)
1-2 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp cornstarch

Directions:
preheat oven to 350 degrees
lightly butter a 9×13 baking dish
for the topping, in a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter
use your fingers to work the butter into the flour
add the oats and pecans and toss
for the filling, in the prepared baking dish, toss together the strawberries, fresh ginger, sugar, ground ginger, and cornstarch
toss well
add a handful of the topping to the strawberries and toss
place the rest of the topping on the top
bake until the fruit juices are bubbling and top top is golden brown, 40-45 minutes
let cool for 30 minutes prior to dishing out

for the salad, these guys just have to eat what I am wanting to make myself for a salad… I decided awhile back when I would get supper bags home to clean them out and saw salad after salad being left, untouched in the bags that I would no longer make salads with the farmer in mind but with myself in mind…  and perhaps they would end up enjoying it but at least I would have leftover salad to enjoy

so bring on the chickpeas and quinoa…

I was going to make this with kale but spinach is on sale right now so we go with spinach…   (the older I get the more frugal I get…  and the more I turn into my mother)

 

 

Quinoa, Spinach, Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 cup uncooked red quinoa (or regular)
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups spinach (finely chopped)
3 carrots, julienned and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
Dressing:
– 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
– 2 tsp dijon mustard
– 1 large clove garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon
Topping:
toasted pumpkin seeds
hemp hearts

Directions:
for the quinoa, rinse and then bring to a boil with the water in a pot
reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 13-16 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy
remove from heat, uncover and fluff with fork
in a large bowl, add the chickpeas, spinach, carrots, green onions, parsley and tomatoes
add the quinoa to the salad
for the dressing, add the ingredients to a mason jar and shake well
pour over the salad
garnish with pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts and serve

 

and there you have it… one more meal to the field in the books!

chickpea protein bites

two things get me out of bed in the morning…  well, other than the need to pee, my phone alarm beeping, the farmer getting a little too ‘handsy’, the need for 4 glasses of water, children to feed and pack lunches for and two dogs to kick out of the porch…

but there are two main things that excite me the most…  (apologizes to the ‘handsy’ farmer)

food… cooking, creating, eating…

and running...

(or other forms of exercising… weights, pilates, yoga… as long as I am sweating by the end of it)

so today was just about the perfect day...  I woke up knowing I was going to attempt my fourth try at a recipe I had been tweaking that a friend had sent me…

and I was going to get a run in on my treadmill while watching Netflix…

describe to me a better day… please try…

in my mind the best recipes involve fantastic ingredients…  the Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt bar is hands down the best chocolate bar out there…

and this raw almond butter is so good you don’t want the taste to ever leave your mouth…

I have three active kids in the house along with a farmer and myself who are attempting to eat well lately, so the food I’m making needs to taste good and provide sufficient fuel for the day…

we were going through so many protein bars, I figured I’d make a homemade version of a protein bar...

something I could have as a snack that would not only quench my sweet tooth but feel good in my belly and power me through my run while watching Grace and Frankie...

this was the epiphany I had… putting the chickpeas, maple syrup, almond milk, almond butter and vanilla in the Vitamix...  the consistency it beats it up into is perfection…

a few years back I came across a chocolate chip chickpea cookie recipe that changed my life… well my kids lunch kit life really…

so you can understand the level of excitement that flooded over me when my friend sent me a brownie recipe with chickpeas!

this is easily the best way I have ever incorporated chickpeas into my baking…

transfer the wet mixture to a bowl and fold in the brown rice flour, baking powder and chia seeds to bind it…

place in a greased square baking dish and think to yourself of all the power foods you just put into a brownie pan!!!

this is when the chocolate comes in… you might notice one square is missing… I attribute this to having to go to Parent Teacher Interviews last night and needing to make myself not feel like such a failure when I got home…

chocolate with salt has a way of making everything better…

who cares if my 15 year old is still hiding in different spots in the school to avoid class and eating his pencils?

chocolate made it seem just fine…

I had to showcase the decorative measuring spoons my mother brought me on her last trip out here…  they are so cute and remind me of her… (and sadly her hoarding habits)

once you sprinkle the chocolate and a smidgen of love on the brownies, pop them in the oven and allow yourself to feel the pure joy of making something that is good for you to eat… so good

gluten free almond butter chickpea protein bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1 bar dark chocolate, crushed

Directions:

  • blend chickpeas, almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla in a Vitamix or food processor
  • transfer to a bowl and add flour, baking powder and chia seeds
  • fold flour mixture in and transfer to a greased square baking dish
  • chop up chocolate bar and sprinkle over the top
  • bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes
  • let cool before cutting
  • freezes well

chickpea chocolate chip cookies

 there was a time where I attempted to hide vegetable puree in every item of food I made…  it was a phase of my life brought on by the two cookbooks Jessica Seinfeld  had published where she hid spinach in brownies and cauliflower puree in just about everything…

it was quite the process with the steaming of the vegetables, pureeing them, measuring and bagging them and then remembering to use them in the recipes…

and then I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment… maybe I should be making my snotty little kids actually eat vegetables instead of doing this sneaky ‘song-and-dance’ routine with them… hiding what is good for them and what they need to learn how to eat for the rest of their lives…

that being said…  this recipe has stuck with me and is the only way I make chocolate chip cookies now…  because when it comes to cookies, if you are able to shove some protein in them without the little spoiled brats knowing, you feel like you are winning…  as a mom… as a parent… over them…

and you are able to take them with you on hockey road trips without all the other parents judging you… another win…

and teacher’s will appreciate your kid not just having a hit of sugar but also of fibre and protein…  the teachers haven’t told me this yet but I imagine they have talked about it at school… probably in the teacher’s lounge…  about my healthy cookies…

really, making these cookies will make you feel like super-mom or super-dad…  and anything that your child does wrong now cannot be blamed on the nutritional value of the food you are supplying said child…

I would blame it on the teachers…  it takes a village and I can only do so much… cookies is it…  teachers need to fill in the gaps…


  
  

chickpea chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Nutriblend ‘Tastes Like White’ flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 14 oz (398 mL) can chickpeas (I use Eden Organic ones)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • mix the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a blender until well combined
  • mix in a separate bowl the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt
  • rinse the chickpeas, then place in a large ziplock bag and seal without the air in in
  • with a rolling pin, smash the chickpeas until they are a paste
  • add the dry ingredients to the blender and combine
  • add the chickpeas and combine
  • fold in chocolate chips and coconut
  • with a medium sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
  • press down with a fork that has been dipped in water to prevent sticking
  • bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes
  • let cool on a rack
  • freeze individually wrapped in plastic wrap for lunches