almond hemp hearts granola

would you like to know what people say behind your back? or live in sweet oblivion…

for years I have gone through life clueless to the fact that anyone might be talking about me…  I have gone into situations believing no one has an opinion about me…

recently it was brought to my attention, and not in a malicious way but a kind way, that someone might have something to say about me… and it might not be favourable…

and it shocked me…

not that I don’t talk about people… oh I do…  but only when it’s fair and just and they brought it on themselves…

I have lived with a mindset that I have never done anything to anyone that would warrant them talking behind my back about my bad personality traits

but, alas, it has happened…  and most likely has happened way more regularly than I would ever have imagined…

I know what you are thinking…  what would this innocent farmer’s wife who merely cooks, cleans, manages the occasional hockey team, runs, watches Netflix and tends to her garden ever be able to do to another human being to warrant them destroying her behind her back?

her children and husband might have another story to tell…  but so what?   do we want their opinion? no…

I was telling them about the slander directed my way and their responses were…

‘you are very friendly to people you want to be friendly to… and then really distant and mean to everyone else’

‘you are really judgemental… of us and everyone else’

‘we are afraid of you most of the time… that is why we laugh at your jokes and eat what you cook for us’

‘when you aren’t laughing at one of your own jokes, you look really mad’

but again, these are the options of a farmer and his 15 and 12 year old boys…  not to be taken too seriously…

you know what you can do once you realize people talk negatively behind your back?

either stop caring or change your behaviour…

third option is to let everyone know you don’t want anyone to tell you the truth about what is being said about you… this is the option I am going with…

I don’t like hugging and I don’t like hearing bad stuff about myself…

there I said it…  only rainbows and lollypops please…

and I’ll do the same for you… I will offer you a cup of coffee and some granola and lets chat about everything other than the garbage other people are saying about us…  or about our kids… or our husbands….

which doesn’t leave a whole lot of options so perhaps don’t come for coffee and granola and just let me eat it alone and watch Netflix…

(I really can’t believe anyone would have any negative vibes coming from me)

almond hemp hearts granola

  • Servings: 1 baking sheet
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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • set oven to 325 degrees
  • in a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, flaxseed, hemp hearts, cinnamon and salt
  • combine the dry ingredients and add the other ingredients and mix well with a spatula
  • spread granola mixture on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  • bake for 30 minutes, until it is golden brown
  • let cool completely on baking sheet
  • will keep in an airtight glass jar for up to one month (or 8 hours in my house)

 

Pat Toner’s Baked Lentil Oatmeal

it’s been awhile since I’ve given an update on how hugging is going for me…  about a year ago I shared my struggles with hugging… my short-comings, anxiety, avoidance and strategies…  so thought it was high time for a report…

I still don’t get it…  don’t understand the motives behind it or the pleasure in doing it… I miss the signals to hug someone and I misinterpret other signals and end up hugging at the wrong time…

the farmer and I had been visiting his grandmother last weekend and I was doing my usual sneaking along the wall trying to get my shoes on and avoid a hug as I was leaving her apartment…   and she caught me and reprimanded me and made me hug her…

I thought to myself – ‘what kind of awful human being have I become?’

I told myself I need to grow up and hug people…  stop being so frigid and closed…

a few days later, it is Valentines Day, and I am taking cupcakes to the bake sale at the library… freshly showered with Martha Stewart cupcakes in hand I head out to deliver them to the lucky recipient that will spend $1 per cupcake to eat this homemade delicacy…

I enter the library and set down the pans of cupcakes and see a lady heading over to chat with me…  I have known this lady for quite some time now and really enjoy our conversations together…

I turn to face her and as she talks she begins to put one arm behind my back... with the fresh memory of being awful and not hugging the farmer’s grandmother, I decide that this must be a universal sigh to hug someone…

I generously put my arm behind her back and swiftly put my other arm around her and completed the hug… with my wet hair ending up in her face and not entirely sure how long I should hold the hug for or if I should continue talking while hugging or if I should pat her on the back while hugging… I felt like I was having an out of body experience…

I released the hug when I felt sufficiently awkward and satisfied that she had got what she had come across the room for…

this is when I started to second guess my actions…  what if, just saying, what if…  she had come across the room to put a hand on my back and that was it?  just an open faced conversation where someone has a hand on your back… at the most you would put your hand on their back and leave it at that…

the moment this idea entered my head I started to fumble my words and blush and feel like I had just made things very uncomfortable for her and the two other women at the library…  and now she was having to be gracious and chat about cupcakes and the weather…

this is when I started to plan my exit…

 perhaps with my self-awareness of my body and what hugging is all about, I should stick with a solid hand shake or a fist bump or nothing… probably nothing…

the best way for me to show love I’ve realized is to make cupcakes… or oatmeal…

cook… this is how you know I love you… no more hugs… just food… 

this baked oatmeal recipe is THE BEST baked oatmeal I have ever made…  my friend had shared it with me and my kids absolutely loved it and it is packed with nutrition and superfoods!!!

(I did forget the berries in the morning when I was assembling it and they still loved it)

some of us were made to hug… and some to cook…  I figure – know your place and stick with it…  

so if you see me coming, please don’t send me any signals that you want to hug…  it will end poorly and you’ll wonder how something could get so weird so quickly…

Pat Toner's Baked Lentil Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground flax meal
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup frozen berries

Directions:

  • in a square baking dish, mix up dry ingredients night before
  • in the morning, mix milk, syrup, egg, butter and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients and stir
  • add berries
  • bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes
  • serve with some almond milk

zucchini three ways

 

I warned you that all I can think of lately is how to cook with zucchini…  while others are pondering the Hip’s last concert, the end to the Olympics or perhaps the Blue Jays attempts to win the division…  I am solely focused on zucchini…

in fact, I’m already planning the zucchini coconut chocolate cake to make for the men tomorrow night…

anyways, if you are obsessed to use up your zucchini like I am… here are three recipes for you!  happy baking!

the first is a loaf…  coconut chia seed zucchini loaf…

 I’ve told the children that ‘loaves’ or ‘muffins’ are just fancy words for cake…  little cakes…  they all need eggs, sugar and oil to come alive…  so get over it…  and throw healthy ingredients in if possible… but enjoy your little sugar high from your slice of loaf…

 

coconut chia seed zucchini loaf

  • Servings: 2 medium loaves or 3 small loaves
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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (drained)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease (I used Pam spray) 2 medium loaf pans or 3 small loaf pans
  • in a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and chia seeds
  • in a mixing bowl, combine sugars, oil, yogurt and eggs until well blended
  • add zucchini and dry ingredients and blend
  • add vanilla and coconut
  • divide evenly among the loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  • let it cool in pans for 10 minutes
  • carefully remove and completely cool on a rack

these are the healthiest baking item on the menu today… apple zucchini muffins… and they tasted the healthiest too…

apple zucchini muffins

  • Servings: 15 muffins
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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 granny smith apple, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into chunks
  • 2-4 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cinnamon

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • line muffin pan with paper liners and spray with a cooking spray
  • in a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt. cinnamon and allspice
  • in a mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla until well combined
  • add dry ingredients and grated apple and zucchini
  • fold in apple chunks
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into muffin tins
  • sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top
  • bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown

lastly, and the kids favourite, carrot zucchini hemp heart muffins…   it is an attempt at throwing healthy items into a very unhealthy recipe… and it worked!

carrot zucchini hemp heart muffins

  • Servings: 24 muffins
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line muffin tins with paper trays and spray with cooking spray
  • in a bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and hemp hearts
  • in a mixing bowl, add oil and eggs and beat
  • add dry ingredients, applesauce, vanilla and then zucchini and carrots
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into muffin tins
  • bake for 20-25 minutes

love signals

 

I’m currently watching season 20 of the Bachelor… didn’t say I was proud of myself… or that it’s been a good use of my time…

Ben, the Bachelor, had to hand out a first impression rose on the first night… it went to a woman named Olivia…

now that we are on to episode 3 we have discovered that she has issues with her ugly toes, cankles and thighs…  poor girl brought this up right after Ben had said he was struggling after hearing that day that two people he knew had died…

his reaction to her bringing up body issues wasn’t what she thought it would be… but she was able to pick up on some ‘love signal’ that he was giving out to her that comforted her…

other ‘love signals’ she picked up on were…

he put his hand on her leg when he was getting up off the couch… after giving a different girl the date rose…  not to balance himself… no… to signal to her he wished he could have given it to her…

when he handed her the last rose during the rose ceremony he brushed her arm slightly during the hug… another signal that she is going to be his wife someday…

perhaps she battles some mental issues…. perhaps…

or, perhaps, she is on to something… and there are these love signals out there that the majority of us are just not picking up on quickly enough…



I can remember playing a game of pickup basketball with my brothers and their friends when I was in grade 9… I was currently crushing on one of my older brother’s friends and was sending out a good amount of ‘love signals’ in his direction… hoping he’d pick up on them…

I made a pretty impressive move to the hoop and scored and he stuck his hand out… I thought ‘here we go’… ‘loud and clear’… ‘message given and received’…

I gave him a not too hard but not too soft high five…  slightly holding at the end for emphasis…

and then he asked me for the ball…

here he was just wanting the ball… not to hold hands mid-game…  my bad… my mistake…

love signals can be difficult to pick up sometimes…  sending out the vibe and receiving the vibe is a tricky dance…

Lloyd sending the vibe out at the bar and Mary not catching it…  (I can tie jus about anything in life to a moment from Dumb and Dumber or a Simpsons episode)… I am now wondering how many love signals/vibes have been sent and not noticed…

  
  

around the farm here I find love signals all the time…

the kids love me so much they like to leave a trail of what they have done all day just so I don’t miss out on a moment of their existence…   it starts with three sets of underwear on the floor with three damp towels in the morning beside the shower…

then it continues to urine in the toilet so I know they had to pee in the morning…

as I go upstairs I find toothbrushes sitting in a puddle of water/toothpaste and am so happy they brushed their teeth…

then I find something different than urine in the upstairs commode and I get to play a guessing game as I flush it as to which of the three apples of my eye could actually have had that in their body…  it is always a shock when I find out it was my seven year old princess…

as I enter the boys bedroom I have the pleasure of picking up 4 sets of socks thrown about…  and each of them the I have to unfold…  it gives me time to think about them more and how much I love them…

then I find some yogurt containers and granola bar wrappers…  the growing boys were hungry last night I think as I giggle to myself and feel so much love…

I find in the kitchen 7 glasses, 3 of them half full of water… and smile as I know everyone left that morning hydrated…

there is two sides to love…  verbal and physical…  we pronounce our love but possibly more importantly we demonstrate our love through our actions…

the farmer got in from work today…  took his work boots, work overalls, socks and pants off and left them in a heap directly in front of the door…

I pick them up, hang up his overalls and put the rest in the laundry like I do everyday…

I made these banana bread muffins as a signal of my love for the family that has left so many signals for me…

and possibly something to do with what I found in the upstairs commode this morning…  we need more bananas in our diet…

I suggest that everyone looks for these love signals…  what the world needs more of is people reading into every situation… looking for the underlying meaning of what is happening…

but as you do… assume the best… assume it is a love signal…

 

banana bread muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Nutriblend tastes like white flour (or white)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled a bit
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line two muffin tins with paper liners and spray with PAM cooking spray
  • in a medium bowl, blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
  • in a mixer add brown sugar, coconut oil and egg
  • beat and scrape down
  • add yogurt and vanilla
  • beat and scrape down
  • add flour mixture and beat slightly
  • add bananas and mix
  • add hemp hearts and chocolate chips and fold in
  • scoop into muffin cups with a large ice cream scoop
  • makes roughly 21 muffins
  • bake for 23 minutes and let cool on rack

a tale of two cookies

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

and it’s all in the eye of the beholder…  in my attempts to produce healthy options for my kids lunches I have completely altered what they will grow up knowing as a ‘cookie’…

case in point… Miss Sienna was making cookies with me the other day… part of the process is I make her guess as to what the ingredients are and then we discuss their health benefits…

we cannot use peanut butter or nuts as our school is ‘nut-free’ so hemp hearts and Wow Butter are substitutes…

and when it comes time for the best part for every kid making cookies – that is licking the beater – Sienna kindly takes a pass…

this is when it hit me that I need to show them and the farmer that I remember how to make cookies that have more than 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of oil in them…

flaxseed and cherry cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a large bowl, combine oats, flour, flaxseed, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  • wisk to combine
  • in a mixing bowl, combine bananas, coconut oil, egg and vanilla
  • mix until frothy and well combined
  • add to the oats mixture in the large bowl and stir
  • add dried cherries and chocolate chips and mix
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough out onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper
  • bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes

and show them I did…

now, in the winter months I consume a lot of tea…  mostly black or herbal as green tea makes me feel like throwing up…  which could maybe be considered to be some sort of detox I suppose.. similar to the juice cleanses some go on in January… except you throw up a lot…

on this particular wintery day, I was drinking Glitter & Gold from David’s Tea…  just lovely…

and in the afternoon, over a cup of tea, I was craving a sugar cookie… dilemma… do I make a cookie that requires 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of oil…  or do I munch away on flaxseed and oats like a horse? I concluded that it was high time for me to bring a little sugary goodness back into our home…

in moderation of course… something I am really, really good at… moderating myself…  really have had a lot of success at this trait in my life so far…  might as well add 60 sugar cookies to the list of things that tempt me…

and part of the goal was to make a dough batter that a seven year old girl would actually want to lick… I feel like I can’t fail as a mother creating this memory for her…

I did use coconut oil instead of canola oil… telling myself it is so much better… and I had to use hemp hearts instead of nuts… but I actually enjoy them in a cookie… other than those healthy changes, these are old school, unhealthy but ever so tasty cookies…

 

turns out at 3 pm when I am having a cup of tea that I do just fine with the sugar rush that comes from a lovely little sugar cookie…  these ones aren’t as delicate as a regular sugar cookie… thus me calling them ‘crunchy’… but the quick boost to your mood will be the same…

my boys received Fit Bits for Christmas… and I told them that I made cookies that require them to get over 20,000 steps in a day to consume…

so far they’ve had three days this week they are rewarded with the sugary goodness…

my synopsis after considering the cookie options… make both… you will find times where it is appropriate to eat the sugar ones and then other times where you should dive into the flaxseed ones.. keep hitting your system with a rotation of sugar and then flax and keep it guessing… this might even boost your metabolism… it just might…

crunchy sugar cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 cups flour

Directions:

  • mix in order given
  • mix baking soda and cream of tartar with flour before adding to mixture
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • flatten with a large fork
  • bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes