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)

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!

I’m the farmer’s Cato

the farmer has the kids out hunting this morning and I am researching and dreaming up vegetarian meals for the week…

I feel like our relationship is a constant plot against one another

to me, fall time is a celebration of vegetables…

the farmer is ruled by a primal need to stock the freezer with meat for the winter…

my discovery this summer of spiralizing vegetables has forever changed my cooking…  there was a big craze quite a few years ago where you would roast or steam veggies, puree them and then secretly add them to your recipes…  Jessica Seinfeld led the way in this with her cookbooks that influenced a lot of mom’s attempts to feed their families more vegetables…

but I always thought it wasn’t the right way to do it as you are not really teaching your children to enjoy the texture and taste of the vegetables if they are hidden…

 ‘noodling’ your vegetables appeals to me more as my kids enjoy the texture and taste of the vegetables and are curious about what they are eating

one thing I do need to ‘hide’ in my cooking around here is quinoa… I’m not sure which word my family hates more… toss-up between quinoa and kale…

now, you can buy these stuffed peppers at Costco…  but if you have about an hour you can whip these up at home and give yourself a pat on the back

these are easy to make-ahead, go watch a football game and come home to pop them in the oven for 30 minutes…

I realize you might be hungry right when you get home from the football game and not want to wait around 30 minutes… but I know that my kids have supplemented their diet with burgers and pizza so I feel good about them coming home to stuffed peppers!

so the farmer keeps on hunting and I keep on gardening and we agree to disagree… I compare our relationship to the Pink Panther movies where Inspector Clouseau has his manservant surprise attack him all the time so he doesn’t lose his ‘edge’…

I like to think of the farmer as Clouseau and myself as Cato

by disagreeing constantly we keep each other sharp

Quinoa and Spiralized Sweet Potato Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 6 bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and spiralized
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, strained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • salt
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish or rimmed baking sheet
  • spray the peppers lightly with cooking spray and lay out in dish
  • in a large skillet, add olive oil
  • add sweet potato noodles and season with salt and pepper
  • cook for 5-7 minutes or until mostly wilted (not fully cooked)
  • add the quinoa, tomatoes, and seasonings
  • add black beans and corn
  • mix together and stuff the peppers with the mixture
  • sprinkle each pepper with cheese and bake for 30 minutes
  • remove from the oven and serve with cilantro and avocado