Whew! It’s been a hot minute. The camp has been closed up and I’ve been sulking here on mainland for about two and a half weeks. I’m not one to fangirl over fall– legit don’t think I’ve ever ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte. But I do love a good mushroom hunt, and we’ve had a steady snow covering since beginning of October. So I’m just kind of over it.
What has kept me going, is one of my longstanding dreams came to fruition earlier this week. I was called for jury selection. Now, before you say “Girl, you’re crazy”, just listen. Beyond it being a very important civic duty and all that, I just feel like jury duty is one of those few experiences in life that you cannot purchase or work for. You could go your entire life hoping to serve on a jury– you could have millions of dollars in the bank, know this that and the other guy, and work your butt off, but it still ain’t gonna get you on that jury roll. It’s dumb luck, my friends. And I was chosen.
But alas, just as my dream of 28 years was about to be realized, it was viciously snatched out of reach once more. Now, I had walked into the courtroom with a strategically selected outfit. I had packed snacks and books. I had researched. Come hell or high water I would be on that jury. But what I had not prepared for was for the defendant to change his mind and go with a trial by judge-alone. Siiiigh.
One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.
Henry Ward Beecher
And so, like after any great tragedy, we rebuild. I cheered myself up immensely with a trip to the Lake of the Woods Museum later that afternoon, and honestly, it was so wonderful and I enjoyed myself so much that I think I’ll go back with my camera and dedicate an entire post to it.
After we closed up the camp we had some private family time over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, as my dad was able to come home after over 100 days in the hospital. He’s now back in Winnipeg, though discharged, and he’ll stay in the city with my mom over the Winter. Lily and I will likely join them in Winnipeg for the next couple of months and so we’re trying to soak in as much forest as we can before heading to the city. She’ll be a city slicker soon enough.
Seriously, I don’t know whether to put up Halloween or Christmas decorations. Fall or Winter though, they both call for warm, hearty food– particularly after a day spent in the woods or having your childhood dreams crushed. And while soups and stews are great, I’m also really into Harvest Bowls right now.
So what’s a Harvest Bowl? Wellllll, basically a seasonal macro bowl. Buddha, Nourish, Hippie, Harvest Bowl… Call it what you want. A macro bowl is a dish that’s comprised of the 3 macronutrients– carbs, protein, and fat. They typically have a grain or pseudo-grain base, cooked and/or raw vegetables, a good protein source, and a fat such as avocado, cheese, or a homemade dressing. And then often topped with such things as seeds, nuts, dried fruit, or seaweed.
Why are they so great? Because they’re essentially a pile of really good food. They’re super flexible and allow for whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. This bowl uses leftover Thanksgiving turkey and seasonal vegetables from the last farmers’ market of the year. To compliment the turkey, I threw in cranberries and pecans and some rescued garden sage. They really are a mix-and-match kind of thing.
When building a Harvest Bowl or Macro Bowl, I typically try to incorporate a grain or pseudo-grain, a cooked vegetable, a raw vegetable, a green (either raw or cooked), a protein, a fat, and nuts or seeds. This ensures I hit my macronutrients and get a variety of micronutrients as well.
Since we’re out of turkey season here in Canada, swap in some leftover roasted chicken or keep this recipe in mind for your Christmas turkey leftovers. Enjoy!
A hearty bowl of seasonal feel-good, good-for-you, delicious food that can be eaten warm or cold. This packs well and holds up to a few days in the fridge, so it's perfect for your Fall meal prep.
Make the Roasted Butternut Squash & Crispy Sage. Directions below. While squash is roasting, cook the quinoa. Directions below. While quinoa is cooking, make the Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing. Directions below.
Prepare the rest of ingredients for assembly. Wash and dry kale (curly or dino/black) and slice into ribbons (as best you can with curly kale) to break up the fibres. Add to a bowl and add the tbsp olive oil and massage into the kale, 5 minutes. Set aside.
Wash and/or peel a carrot, and using a vegetable peeler, peel along the length of the carrot to create "ribbons". (Or simply chop.)
Dice, shred, or set aside about 1 cup of leftover turkey. (Chicken, beans, or chickpeas would be other great protein options.)
Finely slice red onion and set aside.
Once Roasted Butternut Squash and Crispy Sage and quinoa have finished cooking, and the rest of the ingredients have been prepared, the bowl can be assembled. Spoon the quinoa into meal-sized bowls and top with kale. Layer butternut squash on top.
Add on turkey and carrot ribbons. Top with dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and sliced red onion. Crumble goat cheese and top with the crispy sage leaves. Finally, pour over the Creamy Garlic Tahini Dressing and toss.
Pre-heat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pour olive oil into large mixing bowl and add fresh sage leaves. Coat the leaves on both sides with the oil and place on baking sheet.
Add the cubed butternut squash, salt & pepper, and dried sage to the mixing boil with the remaining olive oil and mix thoroughly.
Spread on the baking sheet with the fresh sage and place in the oven. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through if desired, until squash is tender and colour has begun to form. Time will depend on size of squash. Remove from oven and set aside.
Note: This is an optimal time to pop in any nuts for toasting.
Bring to a boil 2 cups liquid (plain water, vegetable stock, chicken stock-- I prefer chicken stock), and 1/4 tsp salt. Add pre-washed quinoa. Once it has returned to a boil, cover and turn down to low.
Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes-- until quinoa is tender and water has evaporated. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.
Mix together in a small bowl tahini, lemon juice and dijon.
Add garlic, salt & pepper, and maple syrup and mix well. Drizzle in olive oil while mixing.
Slowly incorporate water while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. Dressing may thicken a bit over time, particularly in the fridge, and can be thinned out with a bit more water. I go for a consistency that can just be poured. If you prefer a smoother consistency, blend in a blender or food processor.
"When a mysterious illness sidelined my original plans in life, I packed up and moved home to Kenora, Ontario, Canada. With little money, the inability to work, and a whole lot to figure out, I moved into my family’s cabin on Lake of the Woods. So these are the moments, the recipes, the occasional heartache, and the adventures of a life starting over on the little island between Fox and Hare." Between Fox and Hare is the on-going saga of a 20-something Canadian whose heart is anchored in Lake of the Woods. With her love of all things wild, Alyssa chronicles her journey learning and developing her skills in hunting, fishing, foraging, and outdoor cooking. Providing culinary tips and recipes, a peek into the Northern lifestyle, and the insight of a life lived with a chronic illness, Alyssa tells her story of putting back the pieces against the backdrop of the beautiful Boreal forest. Alyssa can be found during the open-water season on the unnamed island between Fox and Hare with her two dogs, Storm and Lily. She spends the frozen months in the little city of Kenora, mostly in the kitchen, and enjoys winter hiking and ice-fishing excursions when the temperature hasn’t dropped below -30°C.