2019 harvest begins

for farmers… August is not summer…  August is harvest or waiting for harvest (the latter option being worse on the farmer’s family) … so we are very thrilled to begin our harvest this year…  seeding went well and then no rain in the spring made us question whether harvest 2019 would be necessary…

harvest is always a time to be grateful that the crop made it through the season and now we can try to get it in before who knows what weather comes our way… this year in particular, with the poor rainfall and the uncertainty of selling our grain (or worse selling it and not being paid for it), there has been a bit more I would say than the normal stresses of farming…

when my older son talks to me about what to pursue in college and his future possibly in farming, I tell him not to ask us this year our opinion 🙂

the tricky part of cooking for farmers is knowing whether or not meals to the field will be needed…  I have been told many times that they won’t be combining in the morning, only to receive a text at 4:30 pm saying that they are going and need twelve suppers…  if it’s not too much trouble…

living in the middle of nothing also has it’s challenges as far as meal planning and grocery shopping… I need to plan my meal for the week and do one big haul of groceries… and then I need to use them, no matter if they are combining or not…

so I’ve developed the habit of no matter what, if it is my day to cook I just go through the motions like we are combining and cook everything up and either have leftovers for days or the freezer gets full…

this was a new take on a broccoli salad for me… I have a son that hates mayo and so I thought to do a tahini based dressing for the broccoli salad… cooking for twelve men also has it’s challenges when planning the menu because my guess is they don’t all love the same food… some are on diets, others don’t eat vegetables, some could put back two suppers and others live on next to nothing…  one common factor they all have is that by 6:30 pm when suppers arrive at the field they all tend to be hungry and this can make cold food, bad food or new food taste wayyyyyyy better…

there is some motivation for me to make salads that I am interested in or enjoy with the thought in mind that if I don’t get it out to the field, I might be eating quite a few of these salads in the next few days and they better be yummy!  the boys tasted it and said it was good, but they also are basically starving in August around here…  I have a rule they do their own breakfasts and lunches and I will provide supper…  so the boys just starve…  I told them I heard intermittent fasting is actually a very popular diet right now… you are welcome…

broccoli blueberry salad

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
1 bag Costco broccoli, cut up into finely chopped pieces
4 cups shredded carrots
1 cup (or more if you like them) dried apricots (or your preference for dried berries)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
3 cups fresh, firm blueberries (or use frozen and add on the top)
For the Dressing:
3/4 cup drippy tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice (around 2-3 lemons)
1/2 cup warm water (to thin it, maybe more)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
cut up the broccoli into very small pieces
place in a large mixing bowl
add the grated carrots, dried apricots, onion, cilantro and parsley
in a blender (Vitamix), add all the dressing ingredients and blend until combined and pourable
pour over the broccoli salad and mix
you can store this in the fridge overnight if needed
when you are ready to serve, add the almonds, pumpkin seeds and blueberries

it might take 2 hours to get to the closest Costco, but it only takes minutes to grab some produce from the garden…  (feels like even less when you make your kids do it for you)

they always like seeing who can find the largest beet…

so on the days that they really don’t know if they will be combining, this is always a great option because it costs me nothing and you can whip up a dinner with beets, carrots, potatoes and some meat in just a few hours or less…

in my opinion, straight from the garden, these veggies taste like candy they are so sweet – how could anyone not eat veggies!?!?

we’ve done this method of taking suppers out for quite a few years now and still loving it…

noted: if your chocolate zucchini cakes comes with sprinkles, there is a good chance that an eleven year old girl made it for you

chocolate zucchini cake with sprinkles

Ingredients:

For the chocolate zucchini cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (or you can sift with the flour)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray
  • in a medium bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder and add the baking soda and salt… whisk together and set aside
  • in a mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, canola oil, butter and buttermilk and beat to combine
  • add eggs, one egg at a time and then add vanilla
  • add the dry ingredients in two batches and lightly combine – do not overmix
  • add the zucchini and chocolate chips
  • pour the cake batter into the 9×13
  • back for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • let the cake cool completely
  • for the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and scrape down
  • sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder and add
  • slowly add the milk and vanilla and salt
  • beat until fluffy
  • frost the cooled chocolate zucchini cake and add sprinkles on the top!!!!
  • cut into squares and serve – freezes well

from my viewpoint upon delivering suppers, it did look like they might still be working some of the kinks out that come with the start of harvest… we thought it slightly resembled bumper cars…  six combines all running into each other…

wishing everyone a safe, yummy and speedy harvest… with many pies and goodies to keep you awake during the long days…

zucchini 8 ways

I have for you 8 zucchini recipes… yes 8…   this time of year is all about zucchini cakes, muffins, loaves and cookies…  oh there are healthier ways to eat zucchini…  chop it up and grill it or fry it… spiralize it (although these zucchini tend to get a bit large)...  but with harvest in full swing now, best to bake it up…

I have pictures of the two zucchini recipes I have used this week…  apple/zucchini muffins and chocolate frosted zucchini cake…  but while I was typing these recipes out I realized I had so many others from by-gone years and thought I’d share those with you as we went…

they all involve the same culprits…  adding zucchini to sugar and flour to somehow convince yourself it’s ok…  oh – and it does make baking moist!  there’s that too…

the first muffin recipe I have for you is a gluten free version… not as fluffy and lovely but apparently some of you aren’t mentally strong enough to digest gluten… 🙂

zucchini, apple, carrot 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 18 muffins

then there are Zucchini Spice Frosted Cupcakes…  use as a dessert this harvest!

zucchini spice frosted cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (around 2 large oranges)
  • zest from 2 large oranges
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

Frosting:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar

Directions:

  • in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil on medium/high speed
  • add orange juice and zest and beat
  • in another bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cloves
  • add flour mixture and zucchini to sugar mixture
  • don’t overmix
  • in two muffin tins, use cupcakes liners and spray the liners with Pam
  • using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out cupcake mixture into the lined muffin tins
  • bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cooked in the middle
  • cool and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool
  • for the frosting, in a saucepan combine sugar, butter and milk
  • bring to a boil over medium/high heat and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened
  • remove from heat and stir in vanilla
  • cool and beat in icing sugar until frosting reaches a spreading consistency
  • frost the cupcakes
  • these freeze very well

and now for the apple/zucchini version I made this morning… this a great one for lunches (or breakfast if you like!)

apple, zucchini muffins

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

now for dessert (I’m pretending those muffins weren’t dessert)…  here is a moist, quick brownie recipe…

chocolate chip zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease either a 8×11 baking dish with cooking spray or a 9×9
  • in a stand mixer, combine sugar and oil
  • in a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda
  • add to the sugar and oil
  • add zucchini and vanilla
  • fold in chocolate chips
  • pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes (based on the size of your pan)

if a loaf is what you are in the mood for, here you go…

coconut chia seed zucchini loaf

  • Servings: 2 medium loaves
  • Print

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

for the bundt cake fans out there (I am included in this) here you go… this is personally my favourite zucchini recipe… ever…

zucchini cardamom bundt cake with lemon glaze

  • Servings: one bundt cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup ricotta, room temperature
  • 1 cup grated yellow zucchini
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of ground cardamom

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • butter and lightly flour pan and cool in fridge
  • in a standing mixer, combine sugar and butter until smooth
  • add lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed
  • in a separate bowl, combine flour, cardamom, salt, baking soda and baking powder
  • add flour to butter mixture and combine
  • add ricotta and zucchini
  • take pan out of fridge and pour cake batter into the pan
  • bake for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean
  • cook cake in pan for 1 hour
  • transfer to a plate and cool completely
  • whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice and cardamom together and drizzle over cake and serve

and here is the frosted chocolate zucchini brownies you see featured in the pictures!

chocolate frosted zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside
  • in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk
  • in a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, butter, eggs and vanilla
  • stir the dry ingredients into the wet until combined
  • add zucchini and chocolate chips and fold in
  • pour into baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes
  • let cool completely
  • for the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth
  • add the rest of the ingredients and beat and scrape down until a nice frosting is formed
  • spread on the cake and serve
  • this cake can store, covered, on a counter for up to 3 days

and if you need something to wash all this down with, here are some cookies!

zucchini cherry coconut cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped up

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a mixing bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla
  • in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  • add to the sugar mixture and then add zucchini and oats
  • fold in the coconut, chocolate chips and cherries
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • flatten with a large fork and bake for 12 minutes
  • allow to cool on a wire rack

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)

the kitchen island

the kitchen island…  breakfast, after school snack, homework and supper all revolve around it and it has been privy to many a good discussion…

the latest involved some deep insights from a 15 year old teenage boy…  he was telling his mother how he saw her… and it was hard for the kitchen island to hear…

you have to understand – this island has seen it all…  the early mornings where this mother has provided bacon, smoothies, oatmeal, chia seed/hemp heart muesli, teff seed pancakes and almond butter bananas…

the island has seen the after school muffins, cookies and buns….

it has witnessed suppers full of laughs and math competitions and steak and noodles…

so it has a bit of a soft spot for the mother…  it has been there for the preparation and aftermath of every meal and has seen the mother listening to her podcasts… elbow deep in the sink scrubbing the burnt pieces of egg off of the pan…

the island watches as groceries are set down beside it and slowly designated to the areas that they belong…

it feels the food fall on to it and then as everyone leaves it feels the sudsy, warm cloth held by the mother scrubbing and gathering the crumbs….

the kitchen island will always believe that the mother is in the right…

but this day… this after school conversation… the boy has actually spoken some truth to the mother….

this day had involved an angry phone call from the boy to his mother… he screamed at her on the phone and she hung up and cried…

the tears fell onto the kitchen island…

when he got home from school…  the mother was sitting beside the island with her tea and asked her boy to sit and chat….

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the island knew she was at her breaking point with this child…  she was hurt and angry…

and then he said, “you make me feel bad about myself…  you make it seem like my school work is not as hard as what you did and yet you expect me to do well… you are condescending about my workouts and make your workouts seem way harder…”

the island cringed as the mother replied “well someone learnt a new word….”  (it was intended as a joke but didn’t go over very well)

the truth is… the mother needed to hear this…  even though the island knew she was being manipulated ever so slightly by the teenage son….

he kept going and told the mother that he had gone through some rough days at school lately and totally took it out on her…. but also pointed out that when she went through rough times she tended to take it out on either her children or husband…

this is what the island knows – we have to let go of our frustrations….  and that is what loved ones are for…. you should never feel more loved than when someone is letting go of every frustration on you… it means you are the closest love they have in their life… 

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the island could tell the mother was upset…  and humbled… it was the truth…  she had a way about her that was giving but with so many strings attached … do this, be this, accomplish this and succeed at this…

guess what… the old kitchen island got to witness something truly transformational that day… the mother told her son she was proud of him, loved him and was completely confident that his future was bright and full of possibilities… 

it’s a shame kitchen islands are not capable of writing…. oh the stories they would be able to tell…  there are tears, triumphs, laughter, studying, writing, planning, Amazon packages, potlucks, parties, decorations, water bottles… the list is endless…

they know a family perhaps better than the family knows itself…

lately this mother has been insisting on meals at the island, not in front of the TV….  mostly because she values what the island is more than she values the TV….

the island is therapy….  more time spent with it the healthier your family will be…



coconut curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basamti rice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced or spiralized
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced or spiralized
  • 4 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced or spiralized
  • 6 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • juice of 3 limes
  • lime zest
  • 1 1/2 cups grated coconut
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can coconut cream
  • 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Directions:

  • cook rice according to directions
  • prep all the veggies
  • in a wok or large saute pan, heat oil and add onions
  • add garlic and jalapeño
  • one at a time, add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini
  • add spices and lime zest and juice
  • add coconut, water and coconut cream
  • serve curry over the rice and top with cilantro and a lime wedge

‘teddy bear’ sandwiches

I’m not sure the extent of it… but I feel like there might be a significant amount of lying going on…  by the farmer…  and it’s spiralled into  something he sees no way out of…

for the meal to the field tonight I made coleslaw, honeydew melon and strawberries, steak sandwiches with onions, provolone and arugula, corn on the cob and zucchini coconut loaf…  

and the farmer texted me… ‘great coleslaw honey’…  

he texted this to me as I’m sitting with some friends at a football game and in the middle of telling them what an awful coleslaw I made for the men tonight…

so awful, I said, that I might not even put the recipe on my blog…

as you can imagine, there were gasps and statements like… ‘no, Catherine, put it on… I’m sure you are just exaggerating’ … ‘oh Catherine, you can’t withhold a single recipe from us’…

it all started with a coleslaw I ate this summer, at the farmer’s mothers house made by his youngest sister Jamie…  I felt like it was the best coleslaw ever known to man…  so I got her to send me the recipe and away I went to re-create the party in your mouth coleslaw that I had experienced…

I recently had purchased a new, very cheap, food processor… after making zucchini relish and grating every ingredient by hand I felt like maybe I should own one…

so I began putting the cabbage into the food processor…

to say it was ‘finicky’ is an understatement…  and it also smelt like metal and burning rubber…

and it ground the cabbage into something you could serve at an old folks home…  (assisted living… not sure the right venacular to use for a place where people don’t have teeth but still enjoy cabbage)

the consistency of the cabbage was off-putting to me but I plugged ahead and made the rest of the salad, poured on the dressing I had found (although different than the dressing my sister-in-law used and not homemade… gasp)

 

and then I sampled it…  shook my head… sampled again… and considered throwing it out…  but then thought about the few hours I had spent making it and decided that I would just throw a note in with every meal saying…

‘sorry about the crappy coleslaw…  I know it’s gross…  I’ll do better next time’

but then faced with the task of writing this out 12 times I decided that I’d just let them come to the obvious conclusion that the coleslaw was garbage…

and then I get the text… “great coleslaw honey”… 

and I begin to wonder what else he has lied to me about…  I’m assuming other food dishes I’ve prepared are garbage and he raves about them…  perhaps the daisy dukes and ripped white jeans I wear don’t make me look great…  what if my ass really has cellulite all over it? I would never know!

I’m going to include the recipe… because it was so good… just not the way I made it… the way she made it…

and a side note… instead of cleaning the cheap, piece of crap food processor that destroyed my coleslaw… I threw it away…

you heard me… tossed it… it’s going to the burning pit…  all $18 of it…

Jamie's Party in Your Mouth Coleslaw

Ingredients:

  • fresh purple and green cabbage
  • corn (I bought frozen organic sweet corn)
  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • Renee’s Brand Coleslaw Dressing

Directions:

  • don’t mess it up

on to the actual pleasant tasting food item… the steak sandwiches… which I had the steak in the freezer marinated from the big meal prep I did earlier this month…

but there was a lie involved with this as well… I was unaware until tonight at the football game, an 8 year old girl brought me the sweetest thank you card… and thanked me for buying her 4H award winning Steer ‘Teddy Bear’

and here all along I thought I had bought her brother’s cow…

she was quite proud to point out to me that her ‘Teddy Bear’ was far superior to her brother’s and won for being the fattiest…

so let me tell you, ‘Teddy Bear’ is delicious… 

the sauce from the marinade gets put in a pot while the steaks are on the bbq and you boil it until it thickens… ours did not thicken a whole lot… but was very tasty…

we served ‘Teddy Bear’ with some mayonnaise, provolone cheese, sautéed onions and arugula…

wrapped them up in tin foil, put them in the oven at 250 degrees for a bit to warm up and away they went…

my eight year old daughter picked 12 cobs of corn, husked them, boiled them, put butter and salt on them and wrapped them in tin foil for the supper bags…

her reward was that good feeling you get when you do a job well…

I had to set the supper bags outside the shop to be picked up so I didn’t miss my middle son’s first regular season football game…

it was also a test to the farmer’s self control how long you can make a meal last…

this was at 4:10 pm… I’m guessing his was done before 5:30…  because he “loved” the coleslaw right around 5:10…

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
  • Print

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

zucchini relish … a hot dog’s best friend 

summer to me is a celebration of the hot dog…  generally reserved for ball games, initiation hockey tournaments or Costco, the hot dog takes centre stage during many summer get-togethers…

what gets overlooked I feel is the toppings for the hot dog…

what I see most of the time is the Wal-Mart three pack combo of Heinz Ketchup, Mustard and Relish… a pile of napkins and possibly a pop to chase it down with…

fortunately for me the farmer is a bit of a hot dog snob and requires certain items to be present while truly enjoying one…

he will absolutely eat any hot dog at any time, no matter what condiments are placed alongside it, don’t get me wrong…

but if you asked him what he would like to see when ‘dressing’ his hot dog, zucchini relish is at the top of the list…

this time of year I have to buy zucchini at the grocery store…  but if you are smart and plan ahead you have made this in the fall with the over-abundance from your zucchini harvest and are all set to go…

I refuse to buy a food processor, seeings how I have a deep fryer, juicer and rice cooker all stuck in the back of my pantry and I just can’t buy another large kitchen appliance I use twice a year…

so it took forever with this grater but it gave me time to listen to two podcasts so that was the silver lining…

the process involves getting your ingredients grated, add the salt, stir and let stand overnight… I put mine in the fridge because it feels wrong to me for some reason to leave it out on my counter… but I believe you can leave it out on the counter… in fact the recipe tells you to…

in the morning, you rinse and strain…

spices are added, along with vinegar and sugar and then you slowly boil it while stirring it….  this is when I take the time to boil my lids and get the canning jars I’ve cleaned in the dishwasher out and put them in the oven…

I’ve been told that the key to canning is a hot jar, hot lid, hot ingredients and a hot cook…  I actually have not been told that and I made it all up but it worked…

I take one jar out with a tea towel, then scoop the cooked zucchini pepper mixture into it until it is just about full… I clean the sides of if needed and then with tongs scoop out the lid and place it on the jar and screw it shut with a tea towel…

repeat until all jars are filled… I doubled the recipe and made 9 jars…  but it varies so just have a few extra ready to go to play it safe…  you listen as each lid will ‘pop’ and make you feel like a homesteader…  if it doesn’t, just put it in the fridge to use first…

and ‘wa-la’…  the farmer’s favourite topping for a hot dog…  if you have sliced onions it would be nice as well…

it’s not that he’s picky… he just appreciates the finer things in life… like a quality relish on a fire roasted hot dog…

grandma swan's zucchini relish

  • Servings: 6 small jars
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Ingredients:

  • 10 cups unpeeled zucchini, seeds removed (if large)
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1/3 cup pickling or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

  • put zucchini, green peppers and red peppers through a food processor
  • add pickling salt and let stand overnight (I put it in the fridge)
  • rinse and drain
  • mix turmeric, nutmeg, cornstarch, celery seed, ginger and pepper
  • add to the zucchini mixture
  • add vinegar and sugar
  • stir and place into a large pot
  • boil for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring all the time
  • seal in jars

zucchini coconut cherry cookies

cookies have come a long way… they used to be some variation of flour, sugar, egg and butter… now you wouldn’t dream of not adding a vegetable or chickpea to the cookies… makes you wonder why obesity is on the rise…   my guess is it has nothing to do with the cookies and more to do with Netflix… 


zucchini coconut cherry cookies

  • Servings: 30 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped up

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a mixing bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla
  • in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  • add to the sugar mixture and then add zucchini and oats
  • fold in the coconut, chocolate chips and cherries
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  • flatten with a large fork and bake for 12 minutes
  • allow to cool on a wire rack

meal to the field #9

in the past fifty days or so we have only combined around seventeen of them… this means there has been more days not combining than combining which doesn’t make for happy farmers… in fact my farmer  has lost weight just from the stress of not combining…  I told him fad diets like that never work but he did it anyways…

so this meal I did on Friday and then it promptly rained again so we couldn’t finish up…  we have a lot of canola still out there waiting to get combined… Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming weekend and it looks like it will be turkey to the field… I have done this only one other year in my 15 years of cooking for farmers…

and this is why farmers talk about the weather… a lot…

  

cucumber dill salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 large cucumbers, sliced with a mandolin
  • 6 green onions, chopped

Directions:

  • in a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt
  • mix with a whisk
  • cut cucumbers with a mandolin into thin slices and place in bowl
  • add green onions, mix and dish into containers
  • chill in fridge for at least one hour

  

pot roast in beer and onions

Ingredients:

  • 2 1kg cross rib pot roasts
  • salt and pepper on roasts (season well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 white onions, chopped
  • 14 crushed garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 bottles of beer
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence

Directions:

  • turn crockpot on high
  • heat oil in a large dutch oven on medium/high heat
  • season the roasts and one at a time sear each roast (all sides) for 2 minutes per side
  • place into the crockpot
  • in dutch oven, place onions and garlic
  • season the onions and garlic with thyme and herbes de provence
  • add beer and broth
  • pour over the roasts in the crockpot
  • cook on high in crockpot for 4 hours or longer
  • take meat out and slice and put back in crockpot and serve


roasted carrot sticks with dijon dressing

Ingredients:

  • 8 large carrots, cut into sticks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • cut carrots into sticks and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • roast for 15-20 minutes until tender
  • mix up olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme and rosemary
  • pour over the carrots and serve


basically if you are eating a roast or any sort of beef dish that has a gravy, you need to make yorkshire pudding…  the farmer’s family called them ‘pop-overs’ but I grew up knowing and loving them as ‘yorkshire pudding’…  my love for them has never faltered… I love them fresh out of the oven with nothing on them…. or with the meal with some butter and gravy in the centre of them… or later that evening, cold from the refrigerator…  oh I love them so… that’s why you need to make 36 of them even if you are not feeding a whole crew of farmers…

“auntie

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 2/3 cup homo milk
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Directions:

  • using three muffin tins, place dollops of butter in each well and place in 400 degree oven
  • whisk up eggs and add salt and milk
  • add flour to mixture
  • take out smoking hot muffin tins and pour batter into them, filling each well half way up
  • bake for 20 minutes
  • serve warm, with gravy and butter


  

these brownies are so easy to make and moist and delish… the reason I sprinkled them with icing sugar is because I forgot to put parchment paper in the baking pan and half the cake stuck in the bottom of the pan and it was a bit of a disaster…  so icing sugar covers all wrongs…

zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • in a standing mixer, beat sugar and oil
  • mix flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl
  • add flour mixture to sugar and oil
  • beat and add zucchini
  • fold in chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan
  • make sure the baking pan is well greased and has parchment paper lining the bottom of it so cake does not stick
  • bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until centre of cake is done
  • let cook in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes and then take out of pan and let cool
  • cut into 12 brownies and serve