pesto potato salad, teddy bear chili and blueberry polenta scones

the farmer’s alarm clock goes off at 3:40 am… then 3:45… then again at 3:47…  he gets out of bed, gets dressed and brushes his teeth using the flashlight from his phone so he doesn’t wake me up…  I consider that I should tell him that I am totally awake due to his three alarm system…

but this is his routine so I let him continue on with the exact same thing every morning… he will go upstairs and make a coffee and pack his lunch with more often than not the leftovers of the meal to the field the night before…

he wanders back downstairs to kiss me goodbye and wish me a good day…

and then I generally get the best sleep of the whole night… for some reason, that 4 am-7am sleep feels like an extra nights sleep… generally filled with crazy dreams and waking up every half hour but getting to fall back asleep again…  nothing better…

I tried one time last spring to get up when he did and I accomplished so much by 8 am that I had no work left to do for the day…  not making that mistake again this seeding… I only have a certain amount of work to do in a day and I don’t need the 3 extra hours in the morning to complete it…

this morning I got the kids breakfast and lunches done and began meal prep…  potatoes boiled and crockpot chili made…

I call this ‘Teddy Bear chili’ because the beef I am using for it is from my friend’s daughter’s 4H cow named Teddy Bear… I feel like my kids need to know that they are eating Teddy Bear when they eat chili… circle of life etc…

teddy bear chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz) pinto or kidney beans
  • optional toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, avocado, sourdough bread

Directions:

  • heat oil in a pan and saute the carrots and onion for around 5 minutes
  • add salt and green peppers
  • place this mixture into your crock pot
  • add meat to pan, drain off fat and then add seasoning to meat
  • add the meat to the crockpot
  • add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours (or keep on warm)

after the meal prep and then an hour of bookwork I paid my first visit out to the seeders…  this is a common sight this time of year… the seed trucks and fuel truck…

the farmer picked me up and I comment on things like ‘I think that seeder is very pretty’… I ask him every year the same questions I think…  I can’t remember…

these screens in his tractor are very interesting… it boggles my mind the technology that is involved in putting a crop in…

but more things than not boggle my mind so who knows… maybe it’s not that amazing…

today the wind here was gusting from 50-70 km an hour…  you couldn’t even tell in here but I barely made it back to my vehicle…

if I was the farmer I’d race Gerald – who is driving the other tractor – but he doesn’t seem to play that game…

power poles… this is why I’m the cook and not operating machinery! (well it’s on a short list of 8 reasons I’m the cook)

so I head home to run on my treadmill as opposed to the tornado outside and then finish up the meal… these blueberry polenta scones were about the easiest desserts I’ve ever made… simple and I enjoyed eating one with an afternoon coffee…

ok two… I ate two…

blueberry polenta scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • mix the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl
  • add the milk, oil and vanilla and combine
  • fold in the berries
  • pour out on well floured counter
  • pat into a rectangle – it will be a sticky mixture
  • cut into 8 wedges
  • with a spatula, scoop and place on the baking sheet
  • brush the tops with almond milk and sprinkle with brown sugar
  • bake until golden on bottom – 12 to 15 minutes

I made the arugula pesto in my Vitamix because I do not own a food processor (perhaps this Mother’s Day I’ll strike it rich and get one!!! fingers crossed…)

my kids loved this potato salad and I have my fingers crossed that a few of the farmers enjoyed it… we’ll see when I get the dishes tomorrow!

it does look green and scary so I’m not holding my breath… we have one farmer who has told my husband he loves salads so I get very excited to think of him eating it!

pesto potato salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup Arugula Cashew Pesto
  • ground black pepper

Pesto:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 cups tightly packed arugula
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

  • boil potatoes in water with salt until they are just tender – but not mushy
  • drain and cool
  • to make pesto, place ingredients in a food processor (I had to use my Vitamix) and pulse until slightly chunky
  • add pesto to potatoes until you have as much on the potatoes as you like
  • store the rest of the pesto in the fridge
  • sprinkle salad with black pepper and serve

the farmer’s shift on the seeder ends around 3 pm and he begins the running around making sure things are going smoothly…  he generally has time to stop in and pick suppers up to deliver them…

and I head to my son’s hockey practice for the evening…  it seems to be either baseball or hockey but evenings are generally filled…

 living in an area where you see others working so hard this time of year is exciting and inspiring… and you know days are filled with ups and downs… I’ve come to see that farming is one good thing mixed with about four difficult things…

but if it’s in your blood it’s in your blood…

and when I take his picture every year in the tractor I feel like it’s similar to a 16 year old boy with their new truck…  boys like to play in the dirt… and this farmer is no exception…

seeding meal #1

I listen to a lot of podcasts…  it used to be audiobooks and then I’d tell people I read the book…  but now I’ve moved on to podcasts…  and let me tell you, it is taking an afternoon in the kitchen to a whole new level…

at times it is a level of missed ingredients, forgetting something is in the oven or too much knowledge going into my head and not enough retention…

but it does make it so I get all excited to get my house chores done, go get the mail and do some banking, hit up the store to pick up a few items, go for the run my calendar tells me I have to go for that day and finish up some yard work… all the while I am thinking that I am going to reward myself with hours in the kitchen listening to podcasts…  while I cook for farmers…

and I think to myself… dream job…  seriously, I have never been more happy…

there is a range of podcasts that I like to listen to… and sometimes it takes around 15 minutes for me to decide on which one to go for…

krista tippett, timothy keller, the longest shortest time, bill simmons, nomad, serial, rob bell…  I held back the urge to listen to ‘game of thrones the podcast’…

the only issue is when I go to take pictures of the food I’m half concentrating on cooking, it pauses my podcasts… and I’m not going to lie…  it has forced me to take fewer photos of food… possibly is forcing me to learn how to use a camera… just so the podcasts go uninterrupted…

beef pot roast with peppercorn gravy

  • Servings: 10 +2 dogs
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Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, broken up
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 500 mL dry red wine
  • 250 mL beef broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 4 lb boneless beef chuck roast (trimmed and tied snuggly with kitchen string)
  • kosher salt
  • lemon pepper
  • rosemary

– 1 pkg bacon, cooked

Directions:

  • in a medium pot, add the first ingredients and bring to boil
  • reduce heat and simmer while getting roast ready
  • in a dutch oven, heat olive oil
  • pat dry the roast and then season with salt, pepper and rosemary
  • sear on all sides
  • pour the vegetable and wine mixture over the roast
  • place in oven at 300 degrees for 3 1/2 hours
  • lift out roast and put on cutting board
  • cover with foil
  • strain liquid and pour the remaining liquid into a medium pot
  • add 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 all purpose flour
  • whisk until the gravy thickens
  • add seasoning as needed to gravy
  • serve with potatoes and a slice of bacon!


garlic roasted white potatoes

Ingredients:

  • around 4 lbs medium white potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 head garlic, minced

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • in a large bowl, add cut potatoes
  • add the rest of the ingredients
  • let sit for a bit and then place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • bake for 25-30 minutes until done and slightly crispy

whole wheat biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Robin Hood ‘Tastes Like White’ flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for brushing)

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt
  • add butter and with a pastry blender cut the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal
  • pour in buttermilk and gently pull together with a spatula
  • dump out onto floured counter top and gently roll out till it is 3/4 inch thick
  • dip a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the biscuits
  • do not twist, as this prevents the biscuits from rising evenly, but just press down
  • place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with butter
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • best served warm

Brandon, my 14 year old who lost all brain function about 3 months ago, actually suggested the sour cream on the side to go along with the roast, potatoes and burnt bacon… (but I learnt a lot of life lessons from the podcast I was engrossed in while the bacon was burning…  so in the end I think a good thing)…  I was proud of him… prouder than I have been in ages…  months actually… I almost included him in the picture that was interrupting my podcast…

first meal during seeding…  I thought I’d include bacon twice…  just in case nothing else tasted good…

mixed greens with orange balsamic vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed (removed before serving)
  • mixed greens
  • bacon (cooked and cut up)
  • cashews (roasted and unsalted)
  • mandarin orange slices (canned… drained)

Directions:

  • in a salad shaker, combine ingredients except for the garlic and shake until well mixed
  • add the garlic and store in refrigerator for a few hours
  • make individuals salads
  • take out garlic, shake dressing again and pour over the salads

lemon bundt cake

  • Servings: 1 bundt cake
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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest (around 3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (around 2-3 lemons)
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all  purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • using Crisco or butter, butter a bundt pan and flour it
  • place in the fridge to cool
  • in a mixer, combine sugar and butter until well mixed
  • add eggs, one at a time
  • add lemon zest and lemon juice
  • combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and add to mixer
  • add yogurt to mixer
  • pour into the bundt pan
  • bake for 1 hour 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean
  • cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for one hour
  • turn cake out and cool for another hour
  • mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over room temperature cake

this is what happens to a cake when you put it in the oven and then forget you did and go for a run… and then are rushed for time so you put the glaze on before it is cool…

the farmer told me it was shockingly moist and good… so apparently you cannot wreck this cake…

I spent the weekend in Calgary with a little girl that is dear to my heart…  she is a miniature Brene Brown or Oprah… everything that comes out of her mouth is a ‘life lesson’ or ‘a-ha’ moment…  and I feel close to her as I listen to podcast after podcast and wonder when I am going to be able to handle my kids coming home from school and not screaming at them to put their lunch kits in the proper spot…