The Story of Hubbard and The Adventures of a First Time Vegetable Seeder

Once upon a time, there was a squash. Let’s call him Hubbard. A farmer grew him to sell at the Strathcona Farmer’s market, and grew throughout the summer of 2013. He was a medium sized squash destined for a tasty meal. Harvested in the fall and set out for sale, Hubbard was picked over for other squash. Time rolled on and Hubbard was still at the Market, waiting to be bought and taken home.

One day, a girl named Jacquie bought Hubbard and took him home. Finally, his destiny of turning into a tasty meal would soon be realized. Jacquie opened him to make a meal for her family. Inside were seeds – lots of seeds. Then she realized that because Hubbard had sat so long on his own, that the seeds inside his belly has begun to sprout! Much to Jacquie’s delight, Hubbard wanted to live, and by golly, she wasn’t going to stop him. She removed all of the seeds and picked through the ones that were most likely to survive.

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She cleaned the seeds, wet a paper towel and left them to warm in the sun.

DSC05142Here are all of Hubbard’s seeds that Jacquie saved.

DSC05144Then, one day, when Jacquie had the day off from work, she went out and bought seeding supplies. By then, Hubbard’s seeds had begun to sprout even more.

DSC05145She filled four small planter boxes with soil and planted Hubbard’s seeds into each pot, approx 2-3 per pot. She watered them and placed them in the sun. Every 1-2 days, she’d check on them, speak kind words of encouragement to get them to sprout out of the soil and waited.

DSC05208In about 2 weeks, the first baby bud poked his head out of the soil, happy to greet the first warm rays of spring sunlight.

DSC05246The baby buds grew stronger and larger every day, soaking up the sun’s rays and turning them into energy. DSC05249More buds poked their heads out the soil to greet the early spring sunshine. They were happy to be here.

DSC05250Some had even grown upside down, making it rather difficult to capture the right amount of rays.

DSC05251This guy is even trying to invert himself, to join his brothers to catch some rays of glorious sunshine.

DSC05252Hubbard is excited to join us for another season.

… To be continued.


Baked Eggs

Ah daylight savings time. It sure has its pluses and minuses, eh? Pluses, it means spring and longer days are coming. Minuses: you end up waking up super early for no reason, or at least I do. Ugh. I was up at 6:30 this morning (so actually 5:30), for no reason at all, so I decided to make a fancy breakfast: Baked eggs with roasted potatoes. Hmm!

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I’ve seen baked eggs in several magazines, and they’ve always seemed like a good idea, but altogether too much work in the morning when you’re hungry. But when you have tons of time, it’s the perfect opportunity to make something elaborate.

DSC05204First things first, I preheated the oven, then chopped up some peppers and onions. I baked them for a while before adding the other ingredients.

DSC05205For the potatoes, I used roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning, with some olive oil. Hmm!

DSC05207Once the peppers and onions had a chance to cook a little, I added canned tomatoes, garlic and rosemary. Then I cracked 2 eggs on top and popped them in the oven.

DSC05213Out they came, 20-25 mins later, cooked to perfection. I grated some Sylvan Star Grizzly Gouda on top, for some added awesome. You can serve it with crusty bread to soak up the awesome, or dip some roasted potatoes in the tomato goodness.

Baked Eggs

You will need:

1/2 small bell pepper

1/2 small onion

1 can of diced tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic and rosemary, crushed together.

4 eggs

Aged cheese, grated.

Preheat your oven to 400. Dice peppers and onions and add to a ramekin. Cook for 10 mins. Mince garlic and rosemary. Add tomatoes, garlic and rosemary to ramekins. Crack egg on top and bake for an additional 20-25 mins, until eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!


Freezer Burritos

Ah Pinterest. You always give me such good ideas that fill my fridge (and freezer) with yummies. Here’s a perfect example: Freezer Burritos! Now, do you ever have days where you’re running out of the house, with no leftovers in the fridge, on your way to work and you’re not inspired by another sandwich? In steps freezer burritos: saving your mornings and taste buds!

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I opted to make mine cheesy and full of rice, to make as a full meal.

DSC05127First things first, I browned an onion with the ground beef, with plenty of seasoning for flavour.

DSC05129While the beef is browning, cook your rice. (I used an Uncle Ben’s package of Spanish rice. Super simple.) Throw in some black beans and frozen corn for good measure. I also added some salsa for more flavour.

DSC05128Next, the cheese. I would argue this is the most important part. Add lots of cheese. You want it to be ooey gooey when you heat up your frozen burrito another day!

DSC05130Fill the burritos, and roll then up tight. Then, in a non-stick pan, heat those bad boys up to seal the goodness inside.

DSC05131Tada! You now have a beautiful burrito to run out the door with!

DSC05132This recipe made 10 burritos (I froze 7, and we ate three 🙂

Freezer Burritos

You will need

1 lb ground beef

1 onion

2 tbsp taco seasoning (I used chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika)

1 package of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice

1 cup frozen corn

1 can black beans

1 cup salsa

1 bag of shredded tex mex cheese (or cheddar!)

10 whole wheat flour tortillas

Begin by cooking your rice according to package instructions. Then, dice your onion and brown it with the ground beef. Add seasoning and let simmer for about 10 mins, until fully cooked. Let cool a little then transfer to a large bowl. Add corn, beans and salsa. Once rice is cooked, add to bowl. Add cheese. Mix until fully incorporated. Fill tortillas and roll burrito style. Using a hot non-stick pan, seal the burrito. Let cool before transferring to a freezer bag. You can freeze up to 3 months.


Canadian Food Experience Project: Raspberry Pistachio Cake

As part of the Canadian Food Experience Project, we are writing about regional food this month. I can’t think of a more regional food than raspberries. I remember when I was growing up, my Baba’s house had a huge raspberry bush that we would pick every summer. She would can her raspberries with sugar and we would serve them over ice cream. Some of my fondest memories are from summer evenings at the lake with a big bowl of Baba’s raspberries, all soupy, sweet and delicious.

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So to celebrate one of the best regional food our province has to offer, I made a raspberry pistachio cake. It was lovely, and while the raspberries are obviously not local this time around (it is currently -35 outside), I will certainly make this again this summer from the raspberries that will bloom from our backyard bush once we plant it! (Stay tuned for exciting posts on our garden!)

DSC05160First things first, ground up some pistachios in your food processor.

DSC05163Then make your batter.

DSC05165Add the pistachio meal,

DSC05166and mix it all up!

DSC05167Spray your pan, and add the batter.

DSC05168Then top it with more crushed pistachios, as well as some tasty raspberries.

DSC05169I pushed down the raspberries to make sure the cake baked around them.

DSC05170Bake, until batter is set in the middle. Enjoy, with thoughts of glorious summer sunshine!

Raspberry Pistachio Cake (Courtesy of Sips and Spoonfuls)

You will need:

  • 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp pistachio meal
  • 1 1/2 cup whole grain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crushed pistachios
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease your baking dish. Using your electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients (including pistachio meal) and stir to evenly combine. Add milk and fully incorporate. Pour into a baking dish, cover with crushed pistachios and fresh raspberries. Cook until middle is set and if you insert a toothpick or knife, it comes out clean (about 50 mins.) Enjoy!


Salted Caramel Overnight French Toast

I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds a little extravagant, doesn’t it?” Why yes, yes it does. But what else are you going to make on the coldest day of the year? That’s right. When you’re freezing your butt off, there’s nothing much you can do other than pack on the carbs, butter and caramel and hope that you survive until spring decides to rear it’s beautiful, green head. So, on the day that I decided, unequivocally, not to leave the house in protest of the season, I treated Justin and I to an over-the-top extravagant breakfast. So worth it!

DSC05171I’ve only ever made homemade caramel once before, and it didn’t turn out so well the first time. I had better instructions this time, courtesy of the queen of caramel herself, Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen.

DSC05174She said to melt the butter, sugar and salt in a pan until it begins to bubble and turn brown.

DSC05176Take it off the stove just as it turns brown, as the pan will continue to cook it for a little while off the heat.

DSC05177Deb used a nice brioche for hers, so I decided to go for a multigrain loaf, to try and make myself feel a little better for eating desert for breakfast 😉

DSC05178I sliced and diced it all up.

DSC05179Next, make your egg batter. I used one extra egg, and an extra 1/4 cup of milk for this recipe, because I like my french toast extra saucy.

DSC05180Dunk your bread into the egg batter and leave it there for about a half hour, while the bread soaks up the egg and your caramel cools in the fridge. Stir every once and a while to evenly coat the bread.

DSC05181Dump it all into the pan on top of the caramel.

DSC05182Now here’s the fun part. Cover it with saran wrap, then squish it with a plate, to get the bread to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible.

DSC05183In the morning, bake it at 375 for about 50 mins.

DSC05184You can see the ooey, gooey caramel bubbling up the sides of the pan. Hmm!

DSC05185Flip it over onto a plate, to showcase the caramel glory.

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Tada! Perfect over the top breakfast for a morning that is colder than a witch’s bosom.

Salted Caramel Overnight French Toast (modified, from Smitten Kitchen)

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 or 3 pinches of a coarse salt
1 loaf multigrain bread.
9 large eggs
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (I used ricotta because I couldn’t find marscapone…)
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large cast iron skillet, place 3/4 cup sugar, butter and sea salt and heat over medium heat. The butter will melt and, after 7 to 10 minutes, the sugar will dissolve and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a spoon or spatula so that it browns evenly. You will find that the butter separates from the melting sugar and this is just fine. Do your best to keep them stirred together but know that it will all work out in the end even if it’s split. Stop cooking the caramel once it’s reached a medium brown colour; it will continue cooking and darkening for a minute off the stove.

Place pan in refrigerator and chill until caramel is cold and solid, about 30 minutes. While the caramel is cooling, make your egg base and cut up your loaf of bread.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs and 1/4 mascarpone or ricotta cheese, until very smooth. Add milk and vanilla extract. Dump bread into your egg bowl, making sure to saturate all of it. Once your caramel is completely cool, pour bread over top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. If you bread seems too high in the pan to get a good soak, you can weight it with a plate in the fridge.

In the morning, heat oven to 375°F. Take dish from fridge, remove plastic, and bake 50 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and run a knife around edge of dish, loosening bread from sides. Place a serving plate over top of dish (bottom side up), and, using potholders, hold pan over sink and flip french toast onto it. Lift baking dish off plate; scrape any extra caramel from pie dish over french toast. Serve, warm with a mug of coffee.