Mar 31, 2010
Mar 27, 2010
Elmira is known for hosting the world's largest maple syrup festival...yup, it was pretty darn large. There were many, many, many people there and many different types of food vendors. And, of course, there were pancakes! And they were HUGE pancakes. Luckily we only ordered two doubles (2 each) and our daughter ate off both of our plates. It was enough to fill our tummies for the remainder of the afternoon.
What I really loved about this particular festival though was that it wasn't overly commercialized at all. There was no entry fee, no parking fee, and we only paid for our pancakes and a couple of other things that we decided to buy. Plus, maple syrup was being sold for CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP prices!!! Normally I buy 1L bottles for roughly $20 or so--at the Festival these were being sold for only $14. Most vendors were also selling 4L jugs for only $40. That's a steal! Next year I plan on bringing more cash along to buy my year's supply of syrup there.
Of course, I would never tell you how many liters of syrup we go through in a year. That, my friends, would be embarassing. Let's just say that we go through a lot of it. We go through a lot because I like to use it (as well as honey) as an alternative to regular sugar or brown sugar. I use it in my oatmeal, to make granola bars, for pancakes/waffles (obviously) and in my baking--use 3/4 of the amount of sugar asked for in the recipe and reduce the liquid by 1/4. My guilty pleasure, though,.....just taking a slice of bread and dipping it in some syrup. Shhhh....nobody needs to know!
It's a good thing that maple syrup is actually good for you--yes, it is! I think the next picture says it all...
Maple syrup is sap from a maple tree that has had the water boiled out of it. That's it! Compare this to a popular commercial processed version: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, water, cellulose gum, caramel color, salt, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, artificial and natural flavors, sodium hexametaphosphate. Hmmm....which one would you prefer to put into your body?
Mar 17, 2010
Pot-Pie with Sweet Potato Crust
Another pretty cool recipe that I tried out was a meatloaf pizza. I found this recipe in the free magazine that can be picked up at Sobeys (called 'Inspired' I believe).
My Take on Spanakopita
And last, but not least, I managed to make Spanakopita on Saturday. I've had Spanakopita many times (thanks to my 'greek' co-workers) and had been meaning to give it a try. Plus, I am super excited that greenhouse spinach is available so I had tons of it in my fridge. Coincidentally, the most recent issue of the 'Clean Eating' magazine had the recipe in it. Of course, it wasn't as good as my friends' versions but I was proud of myself for giving it a shot.
To begin, I sautéed some diced onion, red pepper and garlic. I then added lots and lots of spinach in batches until the spinach shrunk down (the recipe asked for 3 bags of spinach or 36 cups of loose spinach). Put the spinach mix into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add 1 tbsp of dill, 1 egg white, and fat-reduced feta cheese (from Smith's cheese at Covent Garden Market) and combine with spinach. Cut 4 sheets of phyllo dough into 4 sections. Brush sections with melted butter and make layers in a 9x9 baking dish with sides overhanging (i.e., put three sheets down overlapping and then turn dish clockwise and do another layer, and so on). Once the dough has all been used add spinach mixture on top and spread out. Then, fold the overhanging dough over the spinach and brush with melted butter. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes and then let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Mar 13, 2010
Since started my locavore journey I dreaded the winter months but I'm happy to say that it really wasn't that bad. We've likely eaten more apples and carrots than we'd care to remember, of course, but there was a lot more variety out there than I thought there would be. I think we've also gotten over the January/February hump because now that March is here there is already more food being made available--like greenhouse peppers, spinach, arugula and tomatoes. And rhubarb and asparagus are just around the corner. It's just so exciting!
Here is my loot from my market expedition today (Covent Garden Market & Western Fair Market):
I got: 2 loaves of fresh bread (one 100% whole wheat, the other French bread), cremini mushrooms, white mushrooms, Ida Red apples, pepperettes (for my husband mostly), small red potatoes, shallots, free-range eggs, chicken breasts, turkey sausages, pork tenderloin, fresh cheese and spinach tortellini (from Glenda's), soy garlic spread (Hensall, ON), spinach/artichoke dip, dried apple slices, tomatoes, red peppers, spinach, celeriac, sandwich buns, arugula, yukon gold potatoes, and chocolate milk. And, it's all local in the Southwestern Ontario area--with the exception of the milk--from Hagersville which is closer to the Hamilton/Niagara area.
The only non-local food purchased today: bananas, sucanat, and my Bulk Barn purchases of Almond Butter, baking powder, etc... --who really knows where Bulk Barn gets their stuff!
I'd say that I was able to remain at least 80% local over the last few months and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I did cave and buy romaine lettuce and celery a few times and have continued to purchase bananas, pineapple, and grapes. Once spring/summer brings in a larger variety of fruit I'll likely cut those out from my list until next winter--except the bananas. We love bananas!
Bring on Winter 2010/2011!! I think we'll be well-prepared for it next time! I've gotta freeze more fruit this time!! I was out by mid-February! I'll blame that on my daily fruit smoothies though. Oops!
Mar 8, 2010
Mar 4, 2010
- Put buttermilk (or milk with lemon juice) into the first bowl
- Put some flour and your choice of seasonings in the second bowl
- Put bread crumbs, seasonings (salt, pepper, dillweed), and grated parmesan cheese in the third bowl
Then, coat the fish and onions by putting them one piece at a time into the buttermilk mixture, the flour mixture, the buttermilk mixture again, and finally, the crumb mixture. Put a small nub of butter on each piece of fish.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
For this recipe I used haddock fish and vidalia onions
Since we're on the topic of bread crumbs....the times that I've made this recipe I've always wondered--why is it that people will throw out their stale (or older) bread but yet will go to the grocery store and buy bread crumbs???? I don't get it! Doesn't it make sense to use the bread and make your own bread crumbs? It's so simple--take the bread, throw it into a food processor and you have bread crumbs. That's it... And, it's freezable so it can be used whenever they're needed. By avoiding the grocery store bread crumbs you're also avoiding the additional preservatives in them that prevent them from going moldy. Plus, it likely saves a person loads of cash in the long run!
****Another use for stale bread is homemade croutons. Cut the bread into cubes, drizzle with olive oil, season, and toast in the oven. They are soooo yummy!
Mar 2, 2010
A spiral slicer cuts vegetables into really cool angel-hair pasta strands or paper thin slices; vegetables like carrots, zucchini, potatoes, radishes, and cucumber. If you're into eating raw foods it's a great tool for making raw spaghetti-like dishes or coleslaw salads. For instance, tomato sauce could be added to zucchini strands for a low-calorie/nutrient-rich main course pasta dish or the slicing mechanism could be used with potatoes to make homemade baked potato chips.
The other day I made a celeriac and apple salad (celeriac remoulade). The celeriac worked very well in the spiral slicer.
- 1 medium celeriac - peeled and spiraled (or cut into thin julienne slices)
- 1 tart apple (like Granny Smith) cut into thin julienne slices
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp crushed fennel seed
Combine the ingredients listed and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
If I were to make this recipe again though I think I would use honey-mustard instead of dijon mustard. We really like the grainy mustard here but it overtook the other ingredients. Otherwise, it was very good.
Another plus: celeriac is widely available during the winter months throughout Southwestern Ontario and has been a god-send because I am getting soooo tired of eating carrots!! Bring on Spring!!!!