Training to Live

living and learning, one day at a time

what do you do with over 10 lbs of squash?

a lot, that’s what.

(warning: very orangey post ahead. i got at least a week’s worth of beta caratene today)

this squash was twice as big as my head! it dwarfed the squash at the grocery store- they looked like miniature toy breeds. my squash was a manly man squash. i have two more, just like it!

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it was $2 from the apple orchard we frequent in waterloo. my favourite farmer from my farmer’s market told me he plants squash in the rows between his fruit trees, so i imagine the martins do the same. it’s efficient use of the land. most of their squash go for a dollar each, but these were monster-size, so we paid two. still, what a deal!

first there was soup:

butternut-apple-pear soup. i decided to go with a veggie stock that i made last night instead of my usual chicken broth. i cubed half the squash and put it in a pot with 3-4 pears that were on their last legs and several glugs of apple cider and let it boil away. when everything was nice and tender, i went at it with my favourite immersion blender. for blended soups, there’s no comparison! it is quick, easy and the cleanup is a breeze (compared to a normal blender, which also sometimes is tricky when dealing with hot soup!). along with some crackers and mamapea chickpeas, we called it lunch! i still have half a gallon of soup left over!

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with the second half of the squash, i decided to try something completely different. butternut squash crumble. what a novel idea! squash and some tomato instead of apples. parmesan cheese and parsley instead of sugar in the flour/butter crumble topping. brilliant! i won’t be able to report on the taste until tomorrow (jon’s parents are coming over), but it sure smells good and looks gorgeous! i’ll give it one thumb up so far. i found the recipe on twitter from @freerecipeguide which has so far been a pretty good source of interesting food tidbits for me lately. you should check it out.

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i still have 3 cups of cubed (uncooked) squash left over – not sure what to do with that yet. maybe some squash butter? squash oats? we’ll seeeee.

i’m going to go do some dishes, throw in some laundry and try and squeeze in some yoga before bed. tomorrow is going to be a big day.

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November 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm Comments (16)

eat local challenge and other weekend adventures

this week’s meal was kind of the opposite of last week, in that it was sadly shared with no one. i tried to make it every bit as delicious though, even though i was just cooking for myself, as too often when it’s just me, i will supper on the random ingredients of what would be a meal without bothering to properly assemble anything onto a plate.

this ended up taking longer than i planned, but i didn’t have much else to do so i didn’t mind a time-intensive meal. i also made a whole pile of dirty dishes!! thank goodness for the dishwasher.

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yikes.

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the map: green pin on the right – Brockville (onions), dark blue pin – Markham (raspberries), turquoise pin – Richmond Hill (me! bell pepper), yellow pin – Guelph (eggs, zucchini), green pin on left – Innerkip (corn), purple pin – London (wheatberries), red pin – Jordan Station (heirloom tomatoes, peaches)

the raw materials:

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red bell pepper, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, onion (with dirt from the field!), wheatberries, corn on the cob, another tomato

an “extra gros” (extra large, en français) brown free run egg, peach, raspberries that we picked last weekend

process: sautéed veggies (all except bell pepper) until soft and cooked, grilled corn and simmered wheatberries until satisfactorily chewy. shaved corn into pan of veggies, stirred in wheatberries.

dropped the hollowed out bell pepper into some boiling water for a few minutes until it was soft. preheated the oven (well. it was already on from another project), filled the pepper with the stuffing (and topped with some canadian “parmesan” cheese shavings) and put it into the oven to warm through and have the cheese melt.

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meanwhile: i peeled and sliced up 6 peaches (no easy task!) and cooked them on the stove for about 10 minutes with some (non-local) sugar, water + some ginger for zing. puréed in the blender, chilled in an ice bath, and then threw into the ice cream maker to create some sorbet.

when you’re as much of an ice cream maker as i am, you often find yourself inundated with egg whites. there are only so many omelettes you can handle (though i may have to have one for an eat local meal!) and angel food cake is a fantastic way to use up a whole bunch (12) at once. only the eggs were local, but i figured since they comprised the biggest volume of the entire recipe, the cake could kind of count as a local dessert. i used this recipe. after the cake had cooled, i cut myself a piece, scooped some sorbet on the side, and sprinkled a few of my remaining unjammed, unfrozen freshly picked raspberries. what an end to my meal! (low fat to boot plus LOADED with protein. this makes up for the lack of protein in my main)

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last weekend, in the midst of all our labour day relaxing (a much much needed weekend of rest from a summer’s worth of running around madly), we decided to have another mini farm adventure. we got up bright and early, stopped at our local chez cora’s for some breakfast waffles and hit the u pick farm as soon as it opened for picking (9am). on weekends, the picking rows tend to get really crowded and if you get there too late, you could be out of luck for finding good berries. plus you have to deal with lots of people in and out of your rows and this can sometimes make me cranky!

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i tried to get a picture of my awesome picking getup, but apparently clearly failed (see top right). i had a rainbow belt on my (belt-loop-less pants) holding up a white 4L basket with two quart plastic ziploc containers inside the basket leaving both my hands free for picking. i was advised to do this by my expert picker (top left) who managed to get at least twice as many berries as me (hey, he has had more practice!). this is a fantastic trick and i highly recommend you try this out for any kind of berry picking that involves standing up (i’m not sure it would work so well for strawberries). i remembered my ipod, and rocked out to some feist and imogen heap while i piled my baskets full of fruit.

we got about 12 pounds of berries. i froze 5, made a raspberry pie, 7+ jars of jam (4 all raspberry, 3 raspberry/ginger/peach, inspired by bella eats) and kept a couple quarts out for eating (in smoothies, on yogurt, with granola, on top of angel food cake). yum! at $3.50 per pound, this was a whole lot cheaper than buying raspberries from the farmer’s market, where a pint (approximately half a pound) can go for $4-6 depending on the month. frozen raspberries and the jam will keep me happy through the winter until we can go pick again. it was the perfect way to spend a sunny morning.

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September 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm Comments (11)

R&R

for an only 4 day week, this one was intense! just when i thought it was at the peak of insanity, work got just a little crazier. i cry a little* when i think of all i have to do in the next month or so.
i did get an awesome voicemail message on my phone. it went something like this “hi. we need our report from you. we’ve got our contractor and are ready to go. thanks. bye”. it was golden! she didn’t leave her name, her number or give any indication of the title of the project she was referring to. as far as i know, it could be one of at least 10-15 different reports.

in addition to all the work crazy, my week was also pretty exercise-heavy:
monday – 13km long run
tuesday – pyramid speedwork
wednesday – 45 minutes of biking on my new pedals
thursday – bike 16 miles + 8km tempo run
friday – 30 minutes of swimming
saturdays are supposed to be the day for my long run, but i’m giving my muscles a rest. besides, it is COLD. and also very windy. i’ll wait till tomorrow to bang out the next 15km.

swimming was fantastic. i discovered an olympic size swimming pool a 5 minute walk away from work. admission ranges from 2.50-3.00$ which is a whole lot cheaper than for me to pay $52 a month for the gym membership of which i was only interested in the pool (since i loathe working out at the gym on machines. i just can’t make myself do it) which turned out to be silly small (18 metres??) and not that nice. a 50 metre pool is far more awesome AND there is a lovely big hot tub/jacuzzi thing and a sauna (which i didn’t have time to check out). it melted all of the friday morning stress right away. i plan to go at least once a week from now on. this will be good for cross training and also for any potential triathlons i decide on a whim to do.

i am finally happy and safe with the clipless pedals. if you bike a lot, you should really give these serious consideration. it seems scary at first (and you’ll fall off a couple times, like i did) but once you get it, you’ll have twice as much power! thumbs up.

the boy requested coconut sorbet and roasted pineapple for dessert tonight, so that’s what i’m working on, in addition to the weekly batch of cookies (martha oatmeal/chocolate chip/skor bit) and some granola. we got a bunch of not-so-jumbo pineapples on sale for $2 this week, so i’ve got the dehydrator stacked, and the rest in the fridge waiting for roasting time. i piña coladaed-up the sorbet recipe with a little malibu rum.

the recipe made approximately 1 quart

even though we’re going back into negative celsius territory this week, we’ll be able to pretend we’re in the tropics. coconut sorbet is so freaking easy. 3 ingredients! no ice cream maker required (though i will obviously use mine). i have made it no less than 10 times to varying degrees of fancyness/whimsy (like here). when coconut milk was 57 cents a can, it was by far the cheapest, creamiest treat we could have. cans are up to $1, but for at least 5 servings of delicious sorbet, that’s still pretty good.

my grocery challenge is not going so well. it seems like every time i go to the store, things are more expensive than they were the last time. sticking to $30 has been hard! i am keeping it close to 40 though, which i think is not too bad.

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they turned out a little thin this week. maybe i’ll up the flour and dial back on the butter as per these instructions

dried pineapple rings waiting to be used in homemade meusli, coconut rice, more muffins, or just eaten plain!

*it’s not because i don’t love my job, it’s just that there’s only so much one girl can handle. you know?


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April 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm Comments (6)

what's the story, morning glory?

it’s my favorite oasis album AND a really yummy muffin. ever since i saw them on kerf a couple weeks ago, i’ve been wanting a really good morning glory. i’ve never made them myself and i’ve only actually had them on a few occasions so i didn’t have much to work with besides kath’s brief list of ingredients and vague memories. i only consulted one recipe before setting to the kitchen. as i am very loyal to local eats, foodland ontario is a good source of everything for me, so this is what i turned to.
i suspect i had approximately double the amount of shredded carrot and diced apple required, though i followed their instructions for 2 of each. i skipped the cinnamon/sugar topping and made a few other substitutions (skipped the raisins and threw in dried cranberries instead, no pecans, and added diced dried pineapple). the batter was extremely thick. fruit/veg only thinly bound together by the wet flour mixture. i wasn’t banking on success.

as it happened, the muffins turned out extremely delicious and probably super healthy, given all that fibre and fruit/veg. next time i’ll cut back on the oil because i doubt it’s necessary (apple sauce sounds great). they are extremely moist and super flavourful and have been the perfect wake up second breakfast for when i arrive at work. (yes, i did use ontario apples and carrots, as specified). i only ended up making 10 large muffins and i had to cook mine for a lot longer than the 22 minutes suggested, but still. thumbs up, foodland. you win!


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April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm Comments (9)