Healthy-ish Halloween Treats

Remember being a kid and getting popcorn balls in your halloween treat bags?  Yah, I do too.  And then some asshole put a needle in them and kids weren’t allowed to eat anything that wasn’t pre-packaged.  I swear Hershey and Nestle got together and started that whole movement…  Anyway, I’m bringing it back and if you don’t like it then step right up and tell me not to.  I dare you.

The youngest daughter is having her little Halloween party at preschool tomorrow and there’s 14 kids in her class so we thought we’d make something a little festive for them.

I remembered I had these super cool Halloween bags tucked away too so they were put to good use before they expired for another year.

I started out by making a little label for each bag that says “Happy Halloween” from my sweet little girlie so they all know she rocks whatever she does (her Mom is also rather competitive but that has nothing to do with this).

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I wasn’t sure how to hold them together because my candy thermometer is broken and I just didn’t want to chance making syrup and having it be too runny or rock hard so I went digging through my baking drawer to see what I had in there and found white chocolate squares.

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And my BFF did me a solid and picked me up some Scaries when she went into town this afternoon.  Wicked good friend she is, these would be nothing but popcorn without those!

I popped all the popcorn in our popper using coconut oil, it makes it taste super amazing and just like theatre popcorn! Plus there’s no added garbage like the microwaveable stuff.  I’m sure you can use that microwaveable stuff too but if you’re not aware it can cause something called “Popcorn Lung” which has been compared to asbestos.  You can read more about Bronchiolitis obliterans here.

ANYWAY.  I popped the popcorn and laid it onto a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.  Then I melted the white chocolate in two batches and added orange colouring to one and black colouring to another.  I drizzled them over the popcorn and let them dry.

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It only took about 10 minutes for the chocolate to harden and after that I just started packaging it.  Two little boxes of Scaries into each back, twist tie and done!

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The two bags in the middle are for the daughter’s teachers, she’s so sweet on them.  I put an apple in there for each one of them since they’ll probably have their fair share of candy coming at them tomorrow anyway.

Halloween Popcorn Bags

40 cups popped popcorn (that was 6 rounds of my machine going, 1/4 cup of kernels each time)
4 squares of white chocolate, melted (food colouring optional but I used 2 squares for each colour)
40 mini boxes of Halloween coloured candies

Happy Halloween Everyone!  Have a spook-tacular day!  Kim.

4th Annual Mo Sista’s Soiree

Country mouse ventured into the city last night for the 4th Annual Mo Sistas Soiree.  It was right downtown in a swanky little basement space on 104 street. I loved the decor, the food, the atmosphere, and, of course, the reason we all gathered: to raise funds and awareness for Movember through the Mo Sistas Edmonton organization.  (My apologies for the crappay pictures, my camera batteries were almost dead).

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There was a nifty silent auction that the Movember tiles went into along with tons of other great stuff; a boudoir shoot from Nicole Ashley Photography, a pair of tickets to see Cher in June from Up 99.3, various gift baskets, a Movember ski trip package from 92.5 Fresh FM, and so so so much more.

Something I was super interested in was the cleanse package from Glow Juicery, Edmonton’s only fresh juicery that opened October 1 in Whitemud Crossing.  Unfortunately, everyone else was too so I’m going online today to order myself one!  Everyone needs a reset now and then, right?

There were a handful of local celebs In attendance too.  I met Sarah Chan, wife of Edmonton’s newly elected mayor Don Iveson and Edmonton’s new first lady, Carrie Doll from CTV News and Ryan Jesperson from Breakfast Television who was the emcee for the night.

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There was a table of smooth-talking Edmonton Firefighters in the corner selling really cool Movember swag too. Yours truly got asked into a picture with them too. (Haaaa, still got it!)

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Sparkle Entertainment was there with all these beautiful and super fun hostesses doing all the bartending and serving.

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They had amazing hors d’oerves like pulled pork sliders, poutine, corn dogs and MINI CUPCAKES.  Here’s one. And yes, those other three wrappers are mine too. They were delicious.  That flower on top tasted like grape.  Amaze balls.

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Snacks and name drops aside, this event was put together fantastically. My congratulations to all 6 of the Mo Sistas Edmonton committee: Kari, Jackie, Teri, Amy, Nikki and Wendy, you did a phenomenal job!

A memorable portion of the evening was hearing Brian Anderson speak. He is a survivor of prostate cancer and had a wonderful and informative story to share about his journey. It was inspiring and reminded me of the reason all these people were gathered in this one room; to bring awareness to prostate cancer and encourage the men in their lives to BOOK THEIR EXAMS. It’s part of your annual physical and although uncomfortable for a few moments, consider the alternative – uncomfortable for a few (or more) treatments.  There’s no one in your life that wants to see you go through that so please just book the exam or one of the Mo’ women in your life WILL do it for you.

This really was a feel good event. Every person, item, and service there last night was donated in the name of awareness for Movember; that was truly incredible.  Pay it forward at its finest.

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A huge thank you to my high school pal Teri for the VIP invitation (here she is really enjoying the poutine), I had a kickass time!

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Below is a brief list of FREE Movember events (donations accepted) going on in Edmonton next month. For more information on registering or joining a team (there’s still time!), rules or local partays please visit http://www.Movember.com.

Movember 2 – Workout with your Dog at this Fit4Pup Session at the Edmonton Humane Society

Movember 6 – Train like a UFC fighter with a TURF Class at SVPT Fitness & Athletics

Movember 13 – MOVE with Blitz at this HIIT Class at Blitz Conditioning

Movember 14 –  Have some fresh air fun with a guided nature walk and family tobogganing (weather permitting).  Leaving from Alfred H. Savage Centre on Fox Drive

Movember 19 – Sweat it out with a Moksha Hot Yoga Session at the Southside location

Movember 21 – Get in shape with a ViPR Class at Infinite Fitness

Movember 28 – Get out that tutu for a men’s barre class at Barre Body Studio

Applause, applause Mo Sistas.  I look forward to November 1; ready, set, shave and GROW!  With kindness, Kim.

As a result of date night…

You thought I was pregnant didn’t you?  Ha!  Negative.  Been down that road twice and these two are enough for me to handle.

I’m talking about the dinner we had the other night.  It was so amazing; drinks, salad, soup, chicken with scallops and prawns, steak and roasted veggies and a piece of ginger cake for dessert.  I love food.  I love food.  I love food.

The soup of the day was Lemon Rice Chicken and surprisingly, the Farmer ordered it.  I thought it a little out of character for him but I was really excited to try it because I love anything lemon.  Lemon cake, lemon cookies, lemon teas…my nails are even painted Lemon Lolly right now!

Anyway, the soup was so delicious we were writing down everything in it to see if I could re-create it when we got home.  I had no idea what I was going to make for supper last night so I decided to try my hand at this soup and I did not too bad.

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I started out with some celery and onions, diced, and frying in a little butter with a clove of garlic and some tarragon, salt and pepper.

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I let that fry for about 10 minutes until I could smell nothing but delight in the kitchen.

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 I then added water to the top of the pot (exact measurements are not in my vocabulary) and let it boil.  After it started to boil, I grated the rind of one lemon into the pot and added in the juice of one lemon.

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Then I diced my raw chicken breasts and added them to the water.  I let it all boil for about 20 minutes then turned it down to low.  I added the rice and let it simmer for another half hour stirring it every so often since I have a bad habit of burning everything.

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I gave it a little taste test right before I was going to eat it and decided it needed a little more flavour so I added some liquid chicken stock.  Perfecto!

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
8-10 cups water
1 lemon, juiced and rind grated fine
3 large uncooked chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup dry rice
2 tsp liquid chicken stock

Fresh baked bread and we were set; it was savoury, lemony-goodness!  Kim.

Mo’ for the Cause

My office is my favorite room in our home.  It’s full of all the things that bring joy and happiness to me and I love spending time in it.

This is my Ikea Hemnes dresser. It’s the best thing I ever did for my office.  It looks great, is just the right height for me, has the perfect amount of storage and is the perfect fit for this wall space. Plus I got a lovely gift card from the Farmers Mama for my birthday so it was almost free – bonus.

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I love that I can use it as a workspace too.  It’s just the right size for making smaller things like hair pieces, cards and headbands but today the project involves my vinyl word art.

In my Movember post I mentioned I am going to the Mo Sistas Soirée this Thursday.  They’re having a silent auction so I wanted to donate something.  I love using vinyl decals for auctions because they’re so versatile and affordable and everyone loves them.

I wanted to make something relevant so I asked Anita (the owner of Wordplay) if she could come up with something for me and of course she did and it was better than I imagined. Where else can you get something this unique? The answer to that is nowhere but Wordplay Designs.

Movember_Tiles

I know I say this a lot but these are really some of the easiest projects to do.  It takes a tile, some vinyl art and about 10 minutes of your time.

I picked up some beautiful 13×13 tiles from Home Depot a few weeks ago and this is what my vinyl is going onto.  Wipe down the tile and make sure it’s dry.  Step one – done.

Step two – the vinyl decal.  When you receive it, it will come rolled up with a backing piece, the vinyl decal in the center and a masking tape top.

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Peel the backing away from the vinyl and masking tape first.

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Center it onto the tile carefully.  If you don’t push down you can easily lift it up and adjust it if it’s not quite where you’d like it.

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Once it’s positioned the way you’d like it, take a plastic scraper (or plastic credit card) and gently push down making sure there’s no air bubbles under the graphic.  After it’s secured with no air bubbles, press harder to secure the vinyl permanently.

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Now it’s time to peel off the masking tape top.  Start in one corner and work your way down and across to the opposite corner lifting carefully to ensure all portions of the vinyl are attached.

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That’s it, you’re done!  The tiles pictured are done in gold sparkle and silver sparkle vinyl and they made a really cool item for a really cool cause.

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The Soiree sells out every year so if you want to go, make sure you visit their Eventbrite page to get your tickets.

Let the Mo’ craziness begin – it’s almost here so register a team and start raising awareness today.  Every bit helps and the men in our lives deserve it.

I must ‘stache for now, but I’ll see you Thursday at the Soiree.  Kim.

Baby Necessity: Bucket Seat Cover

Today I had the absolute pleasure of babysitting my BFF’s brand new little girlie.  She was the perfect little gal for the entire 3 plus hours I was watching her.  I don’t think you can get any luckier than sleeping in the car seat for almost 75% of the time can you?!

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When I picked her up this afternoon, the little blankie she had over her carseat kept blowing away because it was so windy out.  There was also a chill in the air so I wanted to keep her as snug as I could but it was hard with no hands (since one is on the carseat and the other is carrying the diaperbag and maneuvering my own purse) so I decided she needed a car seat cover.

The oldest daughter was out for the afternoon so when we got home, I got the youngest daughter down for a nap and since Baby A was still sleeping I got to it.

I got into my fabric stash and picked something super fun and girly out (you can never go wrong with black and pink) and started measuring and cutting.

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When I say measuring and cutting I really mean guessing and cutting.  I’m not super big on following patterns, I usually just make them up as I go and this was no different.  I took out the fabric I liked and just cut it in half because that size looked about right and fit perfect over the carseat.  It measured 44″x34″ (roughly 1.1m x 0.8m).

GOOD INFO: The standard width for a bolt of fabric is 44″ so  if I was headed to the fabric store looking for material I would have just asked them to cut me a 0.8m piece from a bolt and that’s all you’ll need for the front panel.

After I had that piece measured out, I cut off a 4″ piece for the straps that hold the cover to the carseat handle.  Because this fabric had a colour sample strip along the end of it I ended up cutting off another inch of the strip so my final size is 3″x34″ for the strap piece and 40″x34″ for the front panel.

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For the backing, cut a second piece the same size as the front piece (40″x34″).

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TO MAKE THE STRAPS:

Cut the strap piece in half so you have two 3″x17″ pieces.

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Fold them in half again, right sides (patterned) together, and start sewing around the edges.  Leave a small opening so you can turn it inside out.

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Once it’s inside out, push a pencil into the corners so the corners are squared off.  Iron it flat and top-stitch around the outside edges.

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Take a small piece of velcro cut to the same width as the finished strap size and sew it on.  Remember to sew the furry side and the scratchy side to opposite sides of the strap so when you fold it around it makes a circle.

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MORE GOOD INFO: You can get velcro anywhere too, I got this stuff from the fabric store and you can buy as much or as little of each kind as you need.   It comes in adhesive backed and non-adhesive backed and for sewing I recommend the non-adhesive backed so the glue doesn’t gum up the needle on your sewing machine.

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TO MAKE THE MAIN COVER:

Cut the large piece of fabric you have for the top in half so you have two 20″x34″ pieces.  Put the right sides back together again and measure across the fabric to 11″ and 22″ and mark with a stick pin.  That’s approximately one third and two thirds of the way across the fabric and you want the straps attached equi-distance apart.

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Start sewing the two large pieces back together again and when you get to where your pins have marked 11″ and 22″, open up the fabric, fold the two loops in half and stick them between the two front panel pieces to attach them.

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This is what it should look like when you’re done.

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After you have the main piece sewn back together again, pin the backing to the front panel piece.  As you can see, I have no pins here because I usually don’t pin anything.  I’m lazy.  Or I work smarter – one or the other.  Either way, I recommend if you’re comfortable, don’t pin it but if you’re not comfortable, pin the pieces together.  I was also short on time because the sweet Baby A started to squeak so I had to hurry to get it done.

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Start stitching around the outside leaving another small opening about the size you can fit your fist through in order to turn it right sides out.

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Turn it inside out and top stitch around the outside.

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Following the seam in the middle, top stitch across the centre as well so the back piece stays attached to the front piece when it’s attached to the carseat.

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And you’re done!  Perfect timing too because the little monkey woke up for a cuddle just as I finished.

 

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Wind in your baby’s face?  Problem solved.  Love!  Kim.

 

Black Forest, the Cookie

There are three men in my life that I absolutely adore; the Butcher, the Fabricator and the Automobile Maker.  And yes, maybe I’ll write a nursery rhyme about it one day.  The Butcher is of course the Farmer, the Fabricator is the Farmer Sr. and the Automobile Maker is Papa.  They are always on my mind and I love to do little things for them to just make them smile.  This is usually some form of baking since they all have a soft spot for something delightful like buns, apple pie or chocolate cake.

Here they are on a fishing trip this past summer when Papa caught a record size salmon, 31 pounds!  The Farmer caught the biggest ling cod and the Farmer Sr. caught the biggest halibut on the trip too.  I was so proud of them I could have spit.

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Today is Papa’s birthday and I adore him.  He is everything a Dad should be and more; he is my hero and I am just so lucky to be his daughter.  His favourite is Black Forest Cake but I found out this morning that Nana already beat me to it (drat and blast) so I had to make him something else…  Papa loves cookies so I thought, why not Black Forest Cookies?  I took my favourite double chocolate chip cookies and just added dried cherries.  Mind blown.

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Start out mixing together your dry ingredients in one bowl.

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Mix your butter/margarine, brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla in the mixer (by the way, if you don’t have a mixer, don’t count yourself out, get out a bowl and a spoon and use some elbow grease to get it going, I did it for years).

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Add the eggs and keep beating it until it gets nice and fluffy like so.

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Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and watch the chocolate magic happen.

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Fold in your chocolate chips.  I used a mixture of semi-sweet chips and milk chocolate chunks for two different flavours but you could also use white chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks, any combo of chocolate is good.  I don’t discriminate.

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Drop them by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (also not a big deal if you don’t have it, just cooks them a little more evenly and makes cleanup easier) and add two dried cherries to the top.  I contemplated putting cherries in the mix but decided to just put them on top in the end.  Next time I’ll try them in the batter.

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Bake in 350F oven for 7-9 minutes.  Keep your eye on them since they can burn easily.  While they’re baking, lick out the bowl.  And spoon.  And beaters.

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7-9 minutes might seem like a long time but when you’re trying to get every last bit of batter off the spoon, bowl and beater, it goes by really fast.  Before you know it, the cookies are done!

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Black Forest Cookies

1 & 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter/margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar, packed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups chocolate chips/chunks (or a mixture to equal 1 & 1/2 cups)
1 cup dried cherries

This recipe made me 3 dozen perfect little bites of double chocolate cherry bliss and I had every intention of giving them all to Papa.  Then I took them out of the oven and ate 4 so he gets 3 dozen, plus-or-minus.  It’s a new baking term I just made up.

Peace, love and chocolate to you, Kim.

Organization = Total Fulfillment

I love organizing. I love the challenge it presents, I love playing real-life Tetris with boxes and furniture and I love how the end result always gives me this intense feeling of accomplishment.  I redid my office this past summer (which I’ll blog soon) and that insane feeling of AHHHHHH! is exactly the feeling I got when I regained my corner and set up my papasan chair – total zen.

Yesterday I spent the day with one of my BFF’s organizing her in-home photography studio.  She’s that amazingly wonderful gal responsible for all the beautiful memories in the Farmer’s Aunt’s wedding of the summer and I love her dearly.  She is always the positive shining light in a room and has this infectious spirit that I am always drawn to.

She needed help organizing her studio because she felt like she wasn’t making the best use of her space.  Since she shoots out of a home office, she’s limited to begin because her and her family have to share their home with her business so we needed to make this space the best one possible for her and her clients.  She was constantly taking down and putting up backdrops or setting up her beanbag frame which was cutting into her shooting time and when you’re shooting little babies, you only have so much happy time to work with!

This is what the room looked like before we started (and as we had just moved the desk in the corner out of the room).  I was so excited to start I forgot to take before pictures!

Before1  Before2

In picture one, there was a desk in the corner, a tall shelf beside it, the backdrop holder beside that, the newborn beanbag frame in the middle of the room and props everywhere (as you can see the youngest Daughter playing in the midst of it all).  In picture two, there’s a monster prop cabinet, two wall hooks with all the photo “flooring”, baskets, lighting gear and one backdrop for shooting set up.

Her hope was to have at least two, hopefully three, shoot areas set up, a small clerical area for her business cards and portfolio, a change table and a clean and neat appearance to it all so it exuded a professional appeal.  Oh and none of the windows could have anything in front or around them.  No big deal.

There was a great deal of sorting, a bit of exiling to the basement and a lot of heavy lifting and cleaning (plus one quick trip to Ikea) but we totally did it!

We took apart a tall shelf to make two smaller shelves and a change table, moved the prop cabinet to the opposite wall, took down one of the wall hangers of material, set up a second shoot area and organized all the baskets of props she had to make room for more in them so there was less around the room.

We only spent about $50 on some velcro stripping, a magnet board, some grippy drawer liner and a magazine file for the wall and her studio looks amazing now.

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There’s three shooting areas, lots of natural light, a change table, room for her to work and all her props are in easy reach, sorted and labelled.  She’s booking up fast and is ready to put this new studio to good use!  Take a look at some of her work, she’s incredibly creative and talented, make sure you visit her Facebook page and like her work!  If you’d like to setup and appointment, check out her website, www.loveandlaughphotography.com, and contact her.

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fallL&L   boyL&L

She’s got a Christmas special on right now as well so if you like what you see, contact her and book a session because she’s filling up fast.

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If there’s a room in your house you absolutely despise, make the time and get in there to clean it out.  Goodwill is always a great place to drop off your unwanted, not-used-in-years items so someone else can make good use of them and the feeling you’ll get when you’re done is like none other (in my opinion).

Love and inspiration to you all!  Kim.

Thanksgiving Staples: Stuffing and Cranberries

I’m having Thanksgiving dinner here today for my family but instead of turkey (we’re getting one of our FARM RAISED turkeys tomorrow at the Farmer Sr.’s place, yum) we’re having a smoked prime rib roast.  Booyah.  I love prime rib, I could eat it all the time.  I obviously got Papa’s genes because he loves it too and if you love something, why not break tradition just to eat it?  That’s what I said so that’s why we’re having prime rib.

We’re also having roasted garden beets and carrots, homemade buns, mashed potatoes and gravy, curried cauliflower, stuffing, a ginger pear tart, and pumpkin pie.  Mmmmmmmmmm.  I’ve been busy in the kitchen today and I’ll share a few more of those recipes when I have a few more free moments.  Right now, here’s two staples you can’t eat turkey without.

I love stuffing, it’s one of my favourite dishes during the holidays and it’s so simple to make.  I’ll show you how plus how to make cranberries for your turkey.  The Farmer isn’t a fan of cranberries but I am so I always make and take them to his dinners because I love something sweet on my turkey and I prefer it to the canned gelatinous version from the store.

We’ll start with stuffing.  I had some hot dog buns on the counter that I have no intention of eating (they’re Wonder buns and I hate the taste of them but they’re the Farmer’s fave so he buys them) so I will use those for my stuffing.  Tear them up and put them in a bowl.

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Fry your onions and celery with the butter on the stove.

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When they’re soft and smelling delicious, add them to the bread mixture with the pepper and poultry seasoning and mix.  Add enough chicken stock (or juice from the turkey if you’re cooking one at the same time) to moisten.  Add back into your baking dish (usually a 2 quart at least) and then bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.  There, done!  Too easy…

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While the stuffing is in the oven baking, put some fresh (or frozen) cranberries in a saucepan on the stove.

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Add the water and sugar and I also added lemon zest and juice to give it a nice flavour.  You could also use an orange or orange juice or add some berries like raspberries or blackberries too and it gives a great flavour.

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Get it on medium heat to a rolling boil and watch it or it’ll burn.  Once you see the cranberries start popping and some of the water has evaporated away to make it saucy and thick, remove it from the heat.

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Taste it, if it’s too tart add some more sugar while it’s hot so it’ll dissolve but if it tastes good then it’s ready to serve!  I put it in a jam jar to take for dinner tomorrow plus any extra I can keep in the fridge for at least a month so I can eat it on my leftover turkey.

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Holiday Bread Stuffing

12 hot dog buns, torn up or bread cubes (5-6 cups)
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning or sage
1 cup (plus or minus a bit) chicken stock

Lemon Cranberry Sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest

Happy Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones and please remember what this holiday is all about.  If you forget, read my family post and refresh your memory.  Love, Kim.

Farming, Decoded

So we got some less than desirable news today, typical when you’re a farmer, but this is a little more devastating than usual.  An entire bin of our canola seed is rancid so all that profit is down the drain – five figures worth.  News like this is not uncommon when you have a farm but it never gets easier to handle.  There’s nothing you can do to prepare for it.

Even at the best of times it’s still a lot of work.  We might have a bumper crop one year but we’re still racing against the weather to get it off and in the bins.  And if that crop goes in the bin and even just a small portion of it isn’t as dry as it needs to be…you know what they say about one bad seed, right?

My heart sank for a moment when I heard that news today.  I was sad because of the money we lost, I was sad because an entire bin of seed that was babied since it was planted is now garbage and it can’t be used in our economy (wastage is something I just don’t do), but mainly I was sad because I know the Farmer will feel it.  I see the stress on his face and I can feel the burden on his shoulders and it makes my heart break.

But the bad news didn’t stop there.  There’s a monster pipeline going in around here and it seems like it’s crossing every piece of land we rent.  We weren’t able to get a second cut of hay off at least two fields and a few weeks ago, some of the workers left a gate open and all our cattle from our rented pasture escaped into a two square mile radius.

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I had to pick the Farmer up from one of the fields they’re crossing this afternoon and when I got there, this is what I saw.  photo 2_new

Some of you may think it’s just a bale but it’s more than just a bale.  It was a perfectly wrapped bale that was just waiting to be loaded when a pipeline worker hastily moved it with a track-hoe and tore it open.  You know what that means?  It means we just kissed the profit from this bale goodbye.  And he didn’t just do it to one, there’s an entire row of them that are not saleable now.  His response?  “My foreman told me to.”

It’s just too much to handle sometimes.  I see someone I love struggling to provide for our family and right after he finds out an entire bin of profit has gone bad he encounters an ignorant pipeline worker that tosses our bales aside as if they’re nothing more than yesterday’s trash.  News flash asshole – THAT’S OUR LIVELIHOOD.  IT PUTS FOOD ON OUR TABLE AND PAYS OUR BILLS.

I’m a little hot still but I’d like to have something good come from the bad today so some backhanded education is in order.

When the price of beef goes up in the grocery store, this is why.  When a loaf of bread goes from $4 (an already hard-to-stomach price) to $5, this is why.  When it’s cheaper to order McNuggets from McDonald’s than it is to cook a roast chicken at home, this is why.  When you have to pay $10 for a pound of bacon, this is why (I know bacon isn’t that much yet but believe me, that day is coming).  Every time you curse and fill up with diesel at $1.08/L, think of how much it costs to fill a 400L combine tank or a 300L tractor tank – all so there’s bread on the shelves and meat in the cooler.

We’re not asking for recognition, applause or a standing ovation.  All we really want is respect.  We respect this land and farm it to keep the economy in this province and country going.  We respect our animals and feed them the best feed because they’re living beings and deserve to eat good food too but also because the best feed helps to make the best meat for the market.  There’s some things that are out of everyone’s control, like the weather, the condition of every single seed we auger into our bins, and the genetics of our cattle but those conditions that aren’t determined by nature or bad luck are in everyone’s control.

If your foreman tells you to roll some bales over with a track-hoe, use your brain before you do it.  If he asked you to move a $50 bill with a lighter would you do that?  Probably not.  A few phone calls would have put you in touch with the Farmer and he would have been more than happy to head out out there and get his profits out of your way.

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“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
-Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Pickles Part Deux.

You’d think after being with someone for almost twelve years you’d know everything you possibly could about them right?  Wrong.  Don’t go all Jerry Springer on me now either, it’s not like that, what I’m talking about is pickle preference.

I thought the dill pickles I posted a few weeks ago were the Farmer’s favourite kind.  WRONG.  For those of you wondering, the Farmer’s favourite kind of pickles are these ones made in a bucket.  I had no idea and I think he liked it that way.  He just assumed I was blaming myself for the declining level of pickles in my bucket when really he was the one eating them the entire time.

Nana has been making these since I was really small and I’ve always called them bread and butter pickles or bucket pickles.  Now that I’m older and I’m allowed to form my own opinion about things I also like to call them “lazy as hell” pickles or “the best way to get rid of a large bunch of cucumbers when they’re coming at you from all directions” pickles.  Seriously.  All you need is 10 minutes, an ice cream pail and a few things for brine and you’re all set.

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Funny story, I made these a few weeks ago with Nana (the same day we made the sweet relish) and she made a joke about anyone being crazy enough to cut the cucumbers by hand when they can use a food processor and get it done in a fraction of the time.  Yah really, who is that sucker?!  Right here.  I cut my cucumbers by hand because I am intimidated by my food processor.  I figured out how to use it once to turn almonds into dust and make magical almond swirl buns but that was a few years ago and using a food processor is like riding a bike – if you don’t get back on, you’ll forget.  Anyway, I cut all these cucumbers by hand but if you want to save some time, use a food processor as long as you’re not scared of it.

Slice all your cucumbers and onions and layer them in the ice cream pail.  You can also add things like cauliflower and carrots to make a pickle mix as long as cucumbers make up about 75% of the veggie mix and it all fits in one pail.

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Get the other ingredients going in a saucepan on the stove and bring to a slow rolling boil to dissolve sugar and salt.  The turmeric makes it that awesome golden colour, it looks and smells so good!

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Once everything is dissolved and mixed well, pour the brine over the pail of veg and put the lid on.  Sit it in the fridge right away and stir it once a day until all the cucumbers and onions have turned a golden colour.

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I’ll share one more piece of random information with you too – my favourite way to eat these pickles is on a plain saltine cracker with a piece of marble cheese.  One cracker, one piece of cheese, one pickle.  Repeat.

Nana’s Bucket Pickles

Unpeeled cucumbers, sliced
2 onions, sliced (plus other veggies like cauliflower and carrots if you’d like)

Brine:
3 cups white sugar
3 cups vinegar
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp pickling salt

And the townpeople proclaimed,”let them eat pickles!” Enjoy.  Kim.