Jan 30, 2010
I went to Chapters today to use the remainder of my Gift Card that I got for Christmas (and my $5.00 coupon). I was there a while and was trying to decide between Laura Calder's "French Taste", Anna Olson's "Fresh with Anna Olson", and Barefoot Contessa's "Back to Basics". Instead, I ended up getting "The River Cottage Family Cookbook" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & Fizz Carr. The author is the same guy that I blogged about last week ("Chicken Out"). This cookbook reminds me a lot of the other cookbook that I received for Christmas "Food to Live By" from Earthbound Farms, except that this is from a farm located in the UK. I was so excited about my purchase that I ended up sitting in my car afterwards to flip through the pages and read up on a few recipes. In it, he shows the reader how to make their own butter, yogurt, cheese, etc... There is also a recipe for making ice cream without an ice cream maker and even how to make homemade marshmallows. This book was totally written just for me!
Speaking of Hugh, I am watching another series of his on the Food Network as we speak - "The River Cottage Treatment". On the show he invites junk-obsessed people from the city to live with him on the farm for one week. During that week he attempts to create their take-away or ready-meals from scratch to show them how different the taste is compared to their convenience version. It's very interesting and I definitely recommend it. It looks like the series will be on for the next few Saturdays (8pm).
Speaking about living on the farm,....I also picked up another book today - "Homegrown Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs". I'm hoping to plant a few things this year so this book will definitely come in handy. I'm sure there will be many blog postings about this in the months to come; about my successes and my failures I'm sure! So far, I'm hoping to grow strawberries/raspberries, peas, beans, peppers, lettuce, herbs, and pumpkin (my daughter's request).
- 4 cups oats
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/8 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
Combine the oats, walnuts, wheat germ, almonds and coconut (omit raisins until later). In a saucepan, on medium heat, stir butter, sugar, honey, oil, extract, syrup and salt together until mixed. Pour over oat mixture and stir to coat evenly. Pour onto a well-greased pan. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and add raisins (or cranberries). I love making this recipe. It's so versatile. Sometimes I'll eat it with milk as cereal (and mix in some Rice Krispies) or sometimes I'll eat it with yogurt. In the evening I sometimes add chocolate chips for a special treat--YUM!
So....since this is turning into a breakfast food post I may as well talk about another dish that I've tried recently--Cream of Wheat Pudding. I got this out of one of my Eat Clean Recipe Books (Tosca Reno). It was so simple to make. It's a matter of soaking some raisins and dried currants in some hot water and while those soak, cooking some cream of wheat and brown sugar with milk. Once the cereal has thickened, mix in the fruit and refrigerate. The idea is to use a bowl or teacup so that once it's ready to be eaten you can flip it and have a pretty little bowl-shaped pudding (Tosca suggests covering the 'pudding' while it refrigerates so that you don't end up with a film on top).
I am hoping to try out a homemade bran flakes recipe soon. I'll be sure to post about this one when I do!
Jan 23, 2010
With the "Chicken Out" campaign Hugh hoped to make the residents of Axminster (UK) the first 'free-range' town. He reached out to consumers, politicians, food producers and retailers to put an end to the 'factory' farming of chickens. For one week he challenged everyone to try free-range; including the take-aways, pubs and restaurants. In the end, Tesco (the largest grocery store chain in the town) said that they were selling a lot more free-range chickens and were selling 50% less of the standard chickens.
Jan 20, 2010
He has many foods available. He has free-range beef/pork/chicken/eggs, dried beans, and a large variety of vegetables and apples to choose from. He also has the soup of the week, which I love. It's what we have for lunch on Saturdays when we get back home. Last week it was Leek and Potato soup and this week it's Cream of Tomato soup. Yum!
Jan 13, 2010
To start, margarine contains the following ingredients: canola and sunflower oils, water, modified palm and kernel oils, salt, whey protein concentrate, soy lecithin, vegetable monoglycerides, potassium sorbate, vegetable colour, artificial flavour, citric acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Butter, on the other hand has...wait for it....cream and salt. Hmmmm...let's see...this is a pretty easy choice to make. Obviously butter is natural and margarine is not; margarine is a very highly processed food no matter how you look at it. If the ingredient list didn't convince you, check this out - http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090713102544AAlw74K It explains how margarine is actually made--scary!
I found a great article today about the benefits of butter vs margarine (see: http://www.bodyecology.com/07/07/05/benefits_of_real_butter.php In the article, Donna Gates from BodyEcology.com lists the 20 health benefits of butter. Here is the list:
- Butter is reach in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
- Butter contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida
- Butter contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism
- Butter contains antioxidants that protect against free radical damage
- Butter has antioxidants that protect against weakening arteries
- Butter is a great source of Vitamins E and K
- Butter is a rich source of the vital mineral selenium
- The saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties
- butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
- Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium
- butter proteccts against tooth decay
- Butter is the only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints
- The anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland
- Butter is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals
- Butter is a source of iodine in a highly absorbable form
- Butter may promote fertility in women
- Butter is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue
- Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children's brain and nervous system development
- Butter contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes
- Butter protects against gastrointestinal infections in the young or elderly
I especially like #17 -- apparently, 15% of the fatty acids in butter are of the short and medium chain variety which are NOT stored as fat in the body, but are used by the vital organs for energy (www.besthealth.com.au/butterbetter.htm). This goes against the main reason most people have stayed away from butter; that it will make them fat (saturated fats).
My belief is that healthy eating is not about counting calories or reducing one's fat intake. It's about eating food that the body needs to perfom its functions effectively. Many foods are low in calories, low in fat, high in fiber, or may even contain probiotics, but it does not mean that the food is actually healthy or good for you. For instance, avocadoes and nuts are very high in fat but are very well known for their health properties. Butter falls into the same category.
Conclusion? The same as all of my other posts about processed foods -- eat whole foods and stay away from processed crap ;-)
Jan 6, 2010
The lettuce is from a company called 'Lettuce Alive'. They are located in Norwich, Ontario, which is just south of Woodstock. They produce hyrdoponic lettuce (aka greenhouse lettuce). It comes packed in a plastic container and the roots are left on the head for freshness. Pretty darn cute, I must say! Of course, nothing beats spring/summer lettuce but this will do for now. It's nice to have a salad every once in a while, you know.
I did a bit of research on this company and found that Lettuce Alive was profiled in a 2006 article in collaboration with Second Harvest in Toronto. (see:http://www.secondharvest.ca/UserFiles/File/SHT_FALL06_Sept26-2.pdf ) In the article, it states that Lettuce Alive was supplying three major grocery store chains in Ontario: Loblaws, Sobeys, and A&P (now Metro). And from 2003 to 2006 (when the article was published), the company donated over 20,000 lbs of fresh lettuce to Second Harvest. They must have a pretty big greenhouse!
Jan 2, 2010
I've frequented Crunican Apples many times since the Fall and will continue to do so until Spring (apparently, they are open for business from late August until June). The orchard is located 10 minutes north of Masonville Mall on Richmond St. They sell many varieties of apples, as well as apple cider, apple butter, apple syrup, apple cider vinegar, etc.. They also sell pears and squash. And, best of all, these products are grown and/or produced in the area which is another plus.
Speaking of locally grown produce...I've noticed that the some grocery stores aren't selling local apples even though Ontario (or Canadian at the very least) apples are still widely available. Why are we importing apples from the United States? Who knows really...it all comes down a question of why any of our food is being imported--like peppers being shipped from Spain (??). Don't they have peppers growing in Florida or California? Were are the hothouse peppers? Do we need to import from as far away as Spain?
Whoa...I'm getting a little off topic, aren't I?
Anyways, make sure to go to the Crunican Apple Orchard to pick up a bag of apples! Not only are they delicious but they're good for you too! Plus, you'll be supporting a local farmer. If we don't support them, who will?