listening to teacher

new shoes… birthday shoes… these beauties might only ever see my treadmill… I’m not fast enough or pretty enough to be wearing them but here we are…
what inspired you, Catherine, to make such a healthy meal and run in your fast shoes and shave your legs? was it the super sexy farmer you’ve been quarantined with for 2 straight months? (by the way… thanks for asking… it has been going really well)
or is it that soft voice you hear every time your son, Ethan, opens his laptop to do his Math lesson and you get to hear the Voice…

almond beet blueberry muffins


Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup grated, raw beet (peeled)
1 cup frozen blueberries
Directions:
preheat oven to 350
line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups (spray if you usually do)
in a large bowl, combine almond flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
in a mixing bowl, mix eggs, molasses, butter and add beets
add the dry ingredients
fold in frozen blueberries
using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the paper lined muffin tin
bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are browned on top and a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean
at first I was laser focused on Ethan paying attention to what he was doing and making sure he gets a good grade in his Math class… but then something started to change… as I listened to this soft voice on the other side of the laptop, gently telling Ethan how to figure out the parallel line or the cosign or sum of ‘blah-bitty-blah’… it all started to run together for me and I could not get this voice out of my head…
(ok – side bar – I know margarine is not healthy apparently… but this is a game changer on sweet potatoes in my eye… absolute heaven)
(no recipe for this – it is baked sweet potato… wash the skins and bake for 45 minutes or until soft… let them rest and then cut open, squish down and put margarine, black beans and shredded cheese on and broil)
back to McDreamy Voice… I found I was starting to plan my day around getting to hear this smoky voice discussing integers… I would make sure it was time to bake or clean out the dishwasher or stand in the kitchen with a coffee and stare off into the distance…
don’t get too worried about my intentions with the Voice… or how invested I have become in Math Foundations 20… I should also mention that I was ‘pocket-dialed’ by Cabelas today (I did a phone-in, curb-side pickup yesterday) and I listened to this for over 7 minutes… they were chatting in the background about a co-worker not showing up on time and then getting orders wrong… I found it riveting …. and I would have been mortified if someone had suddenly said ‘hello?’ and figured out I had been listening for far too long…

to all the teachers out there… doing their online courses… just know that there could be a mom in the background… hiding in the kitchen… wondering what your hobbies are…
(no recipe for this dish… it is just butter lettuce, rice noodles, steak in a soy/fish sauce with ginger and then cucumbers and carrots on it… it was delish)

black bean protein brownies

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes.”   – Jack Handey

I like to start each day with an intention or inspirational quote…  this one will have to do for today…

so last year I was all about the chickpea brownies…  this year it is all about the black bean brownie…  and my taste testers are approving…

with two teenage boys and myself not eating meat, the pursuit of protein is always at the forefront…  I sometimes lie and say a dish I made has copious amounts of protein in it just to watch the boys gobble it up…

but this is no joke…  protein… fibre…  oh ya – sugar and fat as well…  it is a brownie… eat one at a time, not all on the same day…

I had do use my trusty Vitamix for this recipe because I do not own a food processor…  I believe it might be easier to do this in a food processor…  but I put my Vitamix on around a 5 speed and used the plunger thingy and kept pushing the sides down until I had this gooey mixture…

for this recipe I used Casein protein powder… the Peanut Butter/Chocolate flavour… a side note – this is often my bedtime snack… I mix in a bowl one scoop (34 g) of this powder with some water to form a pudding, drop a few pistachios and raspberries on it and put it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour…  it is one of the tastiest ‘ice cream’ treats…  

here is another free tip – when you have that gooey mixture left in the bottom of your Vitamix, add some very hot tap water and put the lid back on and pulse the Vitamix to ‘loosen’ the bottom sticky mixture… that way when you go to clean it, it takes no time at all… perhaps this is a trick all Vitamix owners use and now I look stupid for handing it out for free…

combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, mix and then fold in the chocolate chips…

spray a 9×9″ baking pan with cooking spray and pour the mixture in…  heat up 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave and place in ‘dollops’ on top…  with a knife, spread the peanut butter so it looks pretty!

my oven took around 18-20 minutes to bake these till the middle was done…  but you don’t want to over bake it as the sides would get rock hard…

cool and slice into 16 brownies… or smaller brownies, they are very filling… they freeze well… I would know because I ate one out of the freezer last night and I might have enjoyed it even more slightly frozen!

black bean protein brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (19 oz) can black beans (if you have 15 oz can, just use that), strained and rinsed
  • 2 scoops (34 g scoop) of Casein protein powder (or whatever protein powder you have kicking around) 
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

  • combine black beans, protein powder, oats, peanut butter, coconut oil, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla in a vitamix or food processor and combine until no chunks
  • in a separate mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • add eggs
  • using a spatula, add the thick bean mixture to the cocoa powder and eggs
  • mix until combined
  • fold in chocolate chips
  • in a sprayed or greased 9×9 baking pan, pour the brownie batter
  • melt 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave and pour in a few dollops on the brownie batter
  • using a knife, cut through the peanut butter dollops to make a pretty pattern
  • bake for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is slightly firm but the sides are not overdone
  • let cool and cut into 16 brownies
  • these freeze well

greener grass

I cheated…  I was in a rut, looking for something new, different and exciting… I was itching for change… after doing the same thing for so many years I told myself I needed to mix it up… find out what is out there…

it happened this last summer…  the ‘grass’ around me was looking pretty dead and the ‘grass’ on the other side was looking awfully green…

I don’t think this qualifies as a mid-life crisis due to the fact that I am 38 and the other fact that I hope I do something even crazier during my mid-life crisis…  but it definitely goes against my personality to cast aside the known and the faithful and try something new…

so I cheated on her…

I went to a new hairdresser… at first I justified it by telling myself that my hairdresser generally takes off the month of July to head to the lake so I could just go to someone else… just this once…

it was supposed to be a ‘one day stand’…  nothing about it felt right…  the tea that was offered or the way she washed my hair making me hold my own head up with my neck instead of propping me up… it all felt ‘off’

but then the unthinkable happened… she took a picture of me and posted it on Instagram… I was sure I was caught… I live in a small town… you just can’t hide from stuff like this…

I nervously went through the summer, hoping that my hair would not grow and my grey hairs would stay away and I would never have to get a cut or colour again in my whole life…

but alas, the grey hair began to inch it’s way back… and I saw a picture of a Victoria Secret model that got bangs and figured I would look just like her if I got bangs… and I was faced with the fact that I would need to see a hairdresser again…

so I was faced with a decision… go crawling back to my hairdresser that I have known and loved for years… or roll the dice on the new girl and avoid the awkward conversation I knew I would have with the one I cheated on…

so I did what I’m assuming most people that get themselves into these lucid affairs do… I justified going back to the new girl for a second time… the only issue was when I went in to get my bangs and colour done, it was not the girl I had the first time… it was another complete stranger…

the thoughts went through my mind on how I was going to explain not one deviation but now two to my past hairdresser… I pushed those thoughts back into the deep recesses of my brain and allowed the second affair to begin…

when I got home that evening, the looks on my children’s faces said it all… I wasn’t comfortable with this ‘double life’ I was leading and it was not working out for my hair…  it was the first time my kids have noticed my hair and one lesson I’ve learnt is that if they notice that means it is shocking…

after a trip to Mexico a large portion of my hair turned orange… this was the deciding factor and I knew what I had to do… I texted my original hairdresser… I kept it brief, asking to see her again, and was hoping that by the time that date rolled around I would have the words to smooth things over and patch things up with her…

the day came sooner than I had planned and I was still fumbling over what to say… I felt like I couldn’t pretend that nothing had happened in the last 9 months… last time she did my hair it was blonde and long… I was now walking in with orange bangs… it would be akin to trying to tell your husband that you’ve always had chlamydia…

I contemplated buying her jewelry… that seems to work for NBA players… but then I decided that might be a bit ostentatious… everyone in town would know exactly why she was sporting new diamond earrings… especially when they noticed my orange bangs looked different… they would put it together and realize we were back together…

I decided to tell her the truth… that I had made mistakes… I had a wondering eye and it came back to bite me…  in the front of my hair…

she was gracious… told me I wasn’t the first that has cheated and probably won’t be the last… but I most likely was the one who felt most guilty

time heals all… I know it will take time to earn her trust back but after my 9 month roller-coaster experience I am fine with that… it will most likely take a few more cuts and colours to repair what was lost (I’m speaking mostly of my hair)… but I am confident we can get back to where we were before… perhaps even a more beautiful version of what that was… (again, completely referring to my hair)

zucchini, carrot, apple gluten free muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini, drained
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup grated apple (with skin on)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oat flour (ground up oats in Vitamix)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grate zucchini, carrots and apples and set aside
  • melt the butter and combine with honey, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla
  • in a Vitamix, grind up 1 cup of large flake oats into oat flour
  • combine oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder
  • pour the butter mixture in to the flour and stir
  • add the grated zucchini, carrot and apple and fold to combine
  • add the chocolate chips
  • line muffin tins with baking cups
  • using an ice cream scoop, place batter in the baking cups
  • bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how large of muffins you are baking
  • makes 16 muffins

to all the hairdressers out there – you have a tough gig – we all know it…  people bring in a Pintrest picture of a model that looks nothing like them and expects you to wave your magic wand and not only be a hairdresser but a plastic surgeon, dentist, stylist, life/fitness coach, financial planner and therapist…

you have to deal with the unrealistic expectations… and you get cheated on if you can’t reach those expectations…

stay strong – you are wonderful and just trying to make the rest of us look a tiny bit more tolerable…  fight the good fight…

side note: the farmer was just grateful that this round of cheating was on my hairdresser…  (and he’s pretty confident with these orange bangs that my chances of ‘real’ cheating are on the back-burner for awhile)

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