Oct 28, 2010
Me: What did you guys do first?
Her: We got off the bus and we even got to feed some of the animals - cows, pigs, goats, sheep. We fed them corn.
Me: What else? Did the owner talk to you guys?
Her: The owner told us stuff about animals. What kind of stuff? Just stuff.
Me: Did you visit the enchanted forest?
Her: We were playing the three little kittens who lost their mittens and couldn't eat their pie. The mittens were yellow, blue and the last one was red. We found the mittens in the enchanted forest.
Me: Did you see anything else?
Her: We saw 3 kitties - one mommy, one daddy and one baby. And that baby was cute. Oh, they were cute. The kitten was having a nap in her hole of the hay.
Me: What else did you do?
Her: We played the grocery game. We get to choose an item and we hold it up and we have to say where it came from. I chose yogurt and that's from milk. All different kinds of stuff.
Her: You know, they're still growing strawberries. We saw them when we were on the tractor ride. Until the end of the Fall.
Me: What else did you do before you left?
Her: The last thing to do was get a pumpkin. I got to choose the pumpkin. I chose this one because it looked the most specialer. I'm going to draw a face and I might cut the top.
Me: What do you know about pumpkins?
Her: Pumpkins are healthy. They are kinda like squash even though I hate squash. I really hate squash. We can make pumpkin pie, pumpkin candy, and pumpkin apples (??). Yeah. Pancakes and Waffles. Ice Cream too. Carving pumpkins.
Cause they're healthy treats.
This was a very interesting conversation to say the least. You never know what a 5-year old will remember about their day. Luckily, I had visited O'Sheas in the past so I was able to lead the conversation a bit to get a little more information out of her. True or not, I'll never know!
To get the real facts about the farm check out their website at http://www.osheasfarmfresh.com/
Oct 22, 2010
My most recent 'borrowed' cookbook was Alice Waters' 'The Art of Simple Food'.
- Eat locally & sustainably
- Eat seasonally
- Shop at farmer's markets
- Plant a garden
- Conserve, compost, recycle
- Cook simply
- Cook together
- Eat together
- Remember food is precious
Was this book written for me? I agree (and live by) each one of those principles.
I think that people who are new to local or simple foods should really read this book. The recipes are geared to the beginner cook and teaches the most basic techniques (i.e., homemade chicken broth, a 1-2-3-4 basic cake recipe, making dough, omelets, and tips on grilling vegetables). She then includes more recipes or variations on those to create more complicated recipes.
In her Vegetable chapter Alice Waters lists a couple of simple recipes for each vegetable, such as steamed broccoli with garlic, butter, and lemon, braised savoy cabbage, glazed carrots, creamed spinach--all traditional methods of using these vegetables. For someone who isn't used to cooking simply and using fresh ingredients this book is definitely a great resource; not just for the recipes but also because she does give a lot of tips on living sustainably as well.
Anyways, I think I may end up eventually buying this book....especially after trying out the brussel sprout recipe below. Yum!
Brussel Sprouts Gratin
Trim the outer leaves and stems from 1 pound of brussel sprouts. Cook them until tender in salted boiling water, about 10 - 12 minutes. Drain the sprouts well and chop coarse. Into a heavy pan over medium heat, put 2 or 3 slices of chopped bacon. Cook until just rendered and limp. Add the chopped sprouts. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Butter a baking dish. Add the sprouts and bacon mixture and spread evenly. Pour 1/2 cup of cream on top and then sprinkle 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs. Top with a few thin shavings of butter. Bake in a 400F oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
The recipe turned out really well. I don't like the taste of plain ol' boiled or steamed brussel sprouts (yuck!) so I'm always on the lookout for some tasty sprout recipes. I'll definitely make this one again.
Now, if only I could get my daughter to like brussel sprouts.....
Oct 19, 2010
Low-Fat Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
- 1 and 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin (or 1 can pumpkin puree)
- 1 can low-fat sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I'm sure honey or maple syrup could be used instead)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
In a saucepan gently heat the condensed milk, yogurt, and sugar until small bubbles form around the edge, stirring often. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Beat the pumpkin puree, cream mixture and spices together until well combined. Put mixture into the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. When ready, put pumpkin mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze for 20 minutes or so.
(Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats - http://www.annies-eats.com/)
- 1 and 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- dash of ground ginger and cloves
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp melted butter
In a mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
On a heated griddle or pan add 1/3 cup or so of batter and cook once side until bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook the other side. Serve with maple syrup and eat!
Pancakes don't make a pretty picture on their own so here's a picture of my daughter enjoying her pancakes instead.
Oct 13, 2010
What foods do you think about when you think of the month of October? Pumpkins, apples, squash, cabbage, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes? How about raspberries? Yes, raspberries!
Many people don't realize that local raspberries are still available. There are a few places still picking; Heeman's, for instance, still has their Fall raspberries and strawberries for sale. Another farm still picking is Sheldon Berries out in Lakeside (between London and St. Mary's).
I had the day off work on Tuesday and since it was such a beautiful sunny day I thought I'd go check them out. Here's a picture of the beautiful foliage on the way to the farm.
I really wanted to make it out to Sheldon Berries before it would be too late. There have been many threats of frost recently so I knew that the chance of getting some berries were becoming less and less. At this farm, however, berries are likely to survive a little longer since many of the plants are located beneath high tunnels which keep them dry and protect them from the cold. As long as everything works in their favour berries should be available until early November.
Oct 8, 2010
- cranberries are good for heart health - it's high in antioxidants, resveratrol, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting agents which means that fat and cholesterol have a hard time sticking to the arteries. This lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) cholesterols.
- 100% natural and sugar-free cranberry juice is good for your mouth too - it reduces bacteria that causes decay and rids your mouth of germs. It also stops urinary tract infections.
- the antioxidants reduce the likelihood of many cancers.
- a cranberry has more antioxidants than larger fruits like apples, strawberries, bananas, or oranges.
- the resveratrol contained in the cranberry has been linked to anti-aging, heart health, and reducing cancer risks
- cranberries are high in vitamin C and and vitamin K
- they're also high in manganese, which helps fatigue and improves memory, as well as potassium and calcium
- one cup of cranberries yields only 44 calories
for more info see: http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/
For years we have seen the signs on the highway going North for Johnston's Cranberry Marsh and have always wanted to stop. We finally made a point to stop there on our way to Northern Ontario today.
Johnston's Cranberry Marsh is located in at 1074 Cranberry Road in Bala, which is just 1 1/2 hours north of Barrie, Ontario. (see: http://www.cranberry.ca/)
We picked the perfect weekend to visit because they are currently harvesting the cranberries. Harvest began September 25th and will last until mid-October.
While we were there they were picking cranberries using a mechanical picker which combs the cranberries off the vines.
From the marsh the cranberries are cleaned/dried and then brought into the shop for sorting and packaging. It was neat to be able to see the whole process from the field right into my hand. In this shot, the ladies were picking through the cranberries prior to packaging.
After being checked the cranberries travel up the conveyor belt and are then packaged for sale in the shop. What a sight!The shop itself was pretty amazing. As soon as we walked in the smell of cranberry just took over. There were candles, fudge, bath soaps, chocolate covered cranberries, dried cranberries, cranberry-wine jellies, cranberry hot sauce, cranberry marmalade, jams, teas, coffees, cranberry juice, apple/cranberry pies and crumbles, etc.. There was also a good selection of wines to choose from. We chose a white cranberry wine to bring over for Thanksgiving dinner.
We also bought some cranberries, of course! And lots of them! I love using them in my smoothies over the winter! They're also great in muffins, apple/cranberry crisps, and as cranberry sauce.Check out this exerpt from Rick Mercer's trip to Johnston's Cranberry Marsh back in 2007. It's hilarious!!
Oct 7, 2010
Like anything else, the less ingredients listed, typically the healthier the product is. Let's compare:
Ingredients for a strawberry-flavored yogurt include: skim milk, cream, fructose, concentrated skim milk, strawberries, sugar, milk and whey protein concentrate, corn starch, gelatin, natural flavour, modified corn starch, active bacterial cultures, natural colour, pectin, calcium lactate.
Yogurt tubes have skim milk, cream, sugar, modified corn starch, whey protein, fructose, active bacterial culture, natural flavours, agar, guar gum, carrageenan, locust bean gum, citric acid, natural colour, vitamin D3, and potassium sorbate. Where's the fruit?
Even worse are the ingredients for a banana-flavored kids' yogurt (advertised as a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids): skim milk, sugar, cream, modified milk ingredients, corn starch, fructose, banana puree, natural flavors, refined fish oil (bonito, gelatin, sodium polyphosphate, sodium ascorbate, soybean oil, tocopherols, transglutaminase), calcium citrate, modified corn starch, gelatin, natural dyes, malic acid, potassium sorbate, active bacterial cultures, vitamin D, sodium citrate. WHAT? Why is it that the yogurt being advertised as 'healthy' and good for kids has the most crap in it?
On the other hand, ingredients for plain yogurt includes skim milk, cream, skim milk powder, and active bacterial cultures. (my favorite organic brands are Liberte, President's Choice, and Astro--Astro being the most economical).
The list of ingredients for the plain yogurt sounds much better. Although it doesn't taste all that great on its own it's easy to add many different flavours. Typically I'll add some frozen blueberries or raspberries with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Is it really so hard? Why do people insist on buying the worst, most processed yogurts on the shelves? Would they still buy them knowing what was really in them?
How do you dress up your yogurt?
I'm thinking about pumpkin purée and spice! Yum!