Nosh

Chia Pudding Cups…Routine doesn’t have to equal Rut!

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It happens to me every time around this year…I get in a rut with my mornings.  By this time after Christmas the only thing I’m consuming in the morning is coffee, coffee and more coffee.  And if E is lucky we’ll switch up his cold cereal for some oatmeal or if I’m feeling really crazy maybe some reheated weekend pancakes.  It’s sad.  And lets be real, these dark winter months we all need a little less sad!  Insert these pretty little gems!  My Chia Pudding Cups!

Whole grains or seeds of any kind are so incredibly good for us.  They give us a much needed nutrient packed punch, help keep us regular and might be just what the doctor ordered to get out of this rut! Chia seeds are high in omega-3 as well as fiber, iron and even calcium.  They have been known to reduce cholesterol as well as promote a healthy gut.  They are easy to find at most grocery or health food stores.  I get mine from Bulk Barn and store them in the fridge in a mason jar.  I like to add them to an array of dishes such as cookies, granola, oatmeal, on top of salads, in muffins, breads and even mixed into breadcrumbs for coating chicken or pork.  Here’s another great way to get in more of these health-rich seeds; my Chia Pudding!

Here’s how you make it:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups milk or dairy alternative such as almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Mix all of these ingredients together and let sit overnight.  The chia seeds will absorb the liquid and you’ll be left with a rich pudding, much like tapioca.
  • In parfait cups or mason jars layer the chia pudding with your favourite yogurt and/or fresh or frozen fruit.  Top with nuts, more berries, coconut and a sprig of mint if you’re feeling fancy.  These jars can be served immediately or will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.
  • You can also add in cocoa powder, peanut butter powder or even some almond extract to change up the flavour base.  Mmmmm Peanut Butter Pudding topped with bananas and vanilla yogurt!
Nosh

Feeding the Farm…easy meal ideas.

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Harvest means beating the clock and beating the weather to bring in the crops.  It means early mornings to get the other chores done, grease everything up to get out in the fields again and it means late nights.  It means long hot, sticky hours in the equipment.  It means dirt and dust, stubble and flies.  It means rough roads and turkey trails.  It means parts runs, loads to the elevator and anticipation to see the yields.  It means missing daddies (and mommies).  It means everything in terms of what we’ve worked hard for all year long.  The farm life is busy and full of hard work..sweat and tears and even blood.  It is being at the mercy of Mother Nature.  It is a gamble and it is faith.  It’s teaching the next generation.  It is our life and most of the time I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world!

I feed our farm crew during harvest and I often imagine how much a good meal can brighten up the monotony of each day so I take a lot of pride in what I do.  I try and create something each night that our cherished farmers can easily eat on the go but that is hearty and substantial and in some small way shows how much they are appreciated.  Here are some easy make-ahead ideas that can help all you other field meal workers out there…never underestimate the value of your position to the farm.  Food is an immediate ticket to the soul! (And if you’re not busy on the farm, these ideas are also great for back-to-school or quick staples to have in your freezer for busy weeknights!)

 

Savory Rolls:

All you need is your favourite bread dough recipe…Roll it out like you would for cinnamon rolls and then top with one of these creative savoury fillings:

  • Pizza: tomato sauce, diced pepperoni, ham, cooked sausage, or bacon (or all of the above), grated mozzarella, diced peppers or mushrooms.
  • Honey Mustard Ham: honey mustard (I mix up yellow mustard with honey and a bit of brown sugar), diced ham, grated cheddar.
  • Alfredo Chicken: Alfredo sauce, diced or shredded cooked chicken, cooked and drained spinach, grated mozzarella and grated parmesan.

Spread the sauce then the chopped meat and vegetables and finish with the grated cheese, roll and slice like you would cinnamon rolls, let rise and then bake.  Delicious served hot or cold!

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Meat Pockets or Hand Pies:

Roll out the dough (recipe as follows) and cut into circles, or squares, top with filling then cover with another circle or fold over half the square (to make a rectangle), crimp the edges with a fork and freeze on parchment lined cookie sheets (then toss into plastic air-tight containers or bags to be cooked from frozen later) or bake(at 375* for 20 mins or so…ovens vary) until golden immediately.  These can be made in any shape or size!

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp lard or butter
  • 1 whole egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cold water (plus or minus to bring dough to proper consistency.)
  • Mix lard into dry ingredients until course crumbs, add eggs then slowly add water to combine.  Can be make in the food processor as well.  Add everything at once except the water, whiz up then slowly add the water until a ball is formed.  Chill half hour or so then roll out and fill. (I love this dough, it is so easy to work with!)

Filling ideas:

  • chicken pot pie
  • taco
  • pizza
  • chicken alfredo
  • broccoli and cheese

 

 

 

 

Nosh

Veggie Burgers for the Win!

 

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Veggie burgers are such an easy “make-ahead” menu item that ensures you are getting a load of yummy, plant-based vitamins and nutrients! I keep a stock in my freezer so I’m ready for a busy meatless Monday.  I encourage you to try these and although they may be messy on the grill pull out your cast iron pan and you can still cook ’em up outdoors!

Here’s how I make mine:

  • 2 cups brown lentils, cooked
  • 2 cups red lentils, cooked (or 2 cups cooked/canned beans partially mashed)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 md onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, drained well (optional)
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute, I’ve used 1 heaping tbsp chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • spice blend option 1: 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley
  • spice blend option 2: 2 tsp fresh chopped chives, 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp lemon zest

Sauce mushrooms, onion and grated carrot until tender and moisture has evaporated.  Cool and add to cooked and cooled lentils/beans.  Add remaining ingredients and form into patties.  I like to place the patties in between squares of parchment paper and freeze them on a cookie sheet before transferring to ziplock bags.  They freeze amazingly well!

To cook, panfry them in a touch of oil until golden crisp on both sides. They are fairly soft and somewhat messy to fry so try to only flip them once so that they firm up in your frying pan.

Serve with your favourite burger toppings.  I like mine with lettuce, tomato, sprouts and cilantro or basil mayo.  (Mayo with fresh chopped basil or cilantro, salt and pepper).  A great healthy burger alternative to try out this summer!  I can’t wait for my garden produce to be ready so I can experiment loading them with other yummy veg! (Think grated beets, fresh dill and topped with pickled apple slaw, or leek, mushroom and spinach topped with brie).  Just make sure to keep your lentil and bean base the same and they sky’s the limit!

***Side note: make them into cute little sliders for an easy appetizer friendly for herbivores and carnivores alike!!!***

 

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Nosh

Fabulous Falafels…a meatless monday!

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Falafels are such an easy meat-free little nugget of flavour! They’re high in protein and can be made gluten free so they’re very accessible for a lot of diets! What’s even better is this quick and easy recipe I’ve created where they’re baked, not fried!  Make a double batch and freeze them to reheat for a quick snack on their own or put them in a pita like we did for an easy meatless Monday meal!

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Here’s how I made them:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 md onion, quartered
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp flour (I typically use quinoa flour or all purpose flour)

All you do is throw the ingredients in your food processor and pulse until a course paste is made.  I dropped them by scoop full onto a parchment lined baking sheet then pressed them down into puck-like nuggets and baked them at 375* until they were golden and crisp. (10-15 mins).  At this point you can serve them or let cool and freeze them to reheat later!

We served ours for supper in whole wheat pitas with tzatziki sauce and lettuce.  I made a greek salad and oregano spiked shredded potatoes to accompany them and today’s Meatless Monday supper was a hit! (To be fair, E ate his pita deconstructed and dipped his falafel in ketchup and balsamic dressing…whatever works!).

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