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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Foodie Glee



Now, a few days I probably would not have known what these two items are.  Now, not only do I know, I have them!!

Yesterday, Mom wanted to go to the valley so the kids and I went with her.  This time of year, the farm stands are all closed but I thought it would be a good time to go to Ran-Cher Acres.  The last few times, we did not have time to stop since it is a ways in from the main road (as most treasures are).  So I asked her if we could go.  I think she was kind of hesitant since it was more than 8kms off the main road and everyone had to pee (lol!) and when we got there, "it's just a house" but we made it.

Randy, one of the owners, came down and let us in.  I was asking for kefir grains since I knew they had them.  When he was showing them to me, he mentioned something about kombucha.  Well, I nearly jumped out of my skin in excitement and asked if they sold scobys!  He went upstairs and came down with a huge pickle jar filled with brown liquid and a huge scoby on top.  There was one on the bottom and he (ever so carefully with gloves) peeled it off for me!  It was all I could do not to explode when he said I could have it!

He asked how I got interested in this stuff and I said that I have been sick and I'm trying to eat for health, including lots of probiotics (well, it probably didn't come out that way since it was like the first time I got to talk to a real person about these things).  He gave me a Weston A. Price foundation brochure as well as the number and email address of their local chapter leader (it's the closest one to me, over 2 hours away).

As I said, it was so nice to talk to a real live person face to face about these things.  I could tell he was just as excited as I felt.  Mom and the kids probably weren't too happy I was taking so long, lol!  Randy was so nice, I wish I could of talked to him all day and afforded to buy tons of things.  He only charged $3 for the grains and I left feeling so blessed!  I have bought some of their products at other markets and I will continue to knowing that the people who made them are wonderful and kind who love what they do.

I forgot to mention, the grains were used with goats milk.  He told me to divide them by half, half for milk and half for water kefir and they should be fine.  I am so excited to be making real kefir, especially water!  I never thought I would have access to these things.

Usually I come home with a lot more produce (I bought 3 bags of dulse, 4 or 5 squash, bananas, carrots, spinach and a few things I forget in addition to the kefir grains and scoby) but I feel like I came home with a lot more!

Now, I just need to get cracking on doing something with them!  I am a little timid about the kombucha.  Being LDS, we don't drink tea (other than herbal) but I think I will get either green tea or roobios, I'm not sure yet.  I need to clean my disastrous kitchen before I do anything.  Not feeling well and recovering from our trip yesterday (in addition to not being home much for almost three days straight, broken washing machine and some other crisis-es) have left the cleanliness of our apartment much to be desired!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Note To Self:

Follow the instructions!

We were going to make vanilla frozen yogurt tonight and I wasn't thinking of the proper order of doing things.  So I put the ingredients in and put the top on, turn it on and nothing.  In the couple of seconds it took to put the cover on, the outer layer of ingredients froze making the paddle impossible to turn.  So it was a wasted batch.  Grrrr.  At least now I know and will remember for next time.

I also learned how to fix the pop top button when it fell off and I was in a panic that I broke our brand new ice cream maker!  The downside to ordering online is if something doesn't work, it can be a hassle to return.

Tomorrow I am planning on making a batch of pumpkin pie ice cream in the morning (made with buttercup squash instead of pumpkin) and egg nog ice cream around supper time.  The annual Christmas parade is going on tomorrow and I want to treat our family who watch it with us with hot chocolate and yummy homemade ice cream.  These are two pretty festive flavours and I can't wait to try them!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vanilla & Ice Cream

20 Rich Aromatic ORGANIC Bourbon vanilla beans/pods (eBay item 350413984313 end time 15-Dec-10 21:23:40 AEDST) : Home Garden: "This vanilla is of the V.Planifolia variety which is like the Madagascan bourbon"

I finally found locally made vanilla. It is made in West Pubnico which isn't too far from here (Gavel brand, I believe). I was so excited! It was also only $2.05 for a big bottle. I scooped it up and planned to buy it but then thought to read the ingredients. Propylene glycol, one of the ingredients I wanted to avoid. Sigh!

So this morning, after at least a month of looking, I finally broke down and ordered vanilla beans off ebay. I decided on the ones in the link above mainly because I didn't want to commit to a big order of half a pound since finances are tight.

The hardest part will be going to the liquor store to buy either vodka or bourbon for the base for the vanilla extract I plan to make. I do not drink alcohol at all and have literally not touched the stuff in about 15 years (except, of course, in extracts).

I am also planning on making other extracts for ice cream making so I hope it turns out. Mint would be nice, as would orange. It will also be a lot cheaper than buying those tiny little bottles which also contain questionable ingredients.

I think I mentioned making ice cream a couple of times.  Yes, I finally got an ice cream maker!  I'm so excited about it :).  So far we've only made old fashioned vanilla but today I'm making pumpkin pie ice cream and Saturday I am making egg nog ice cream.  Mmmmm!  This is the one I got, Hamilton Beach and it was $46 something Canadian on Amazon.ca.  I had $40 in amazon.ca gift certificates from swagbucks so I didn't have to pay much at all!  I really wanted a Cuisinart but when I put it in my cart, they jacked u the price.  Then it went down when I ordered this.  It seemed strange.  Then they went on sale at Canadian Tire for $59 but I am not going to complain.  I have what I want and I'm going to be happy with it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy and Healthy Holidays E-Course @ The Healthy Home Economist

Link: Giveaway! Happy and Healthy Holidays E-Course | The Healthy Home Economist

Two things I really love, The Healthy Home Economist and The Nourished Kitchen. Make that three things, add in an e-course :)

Click the above link to find out how to enter to win a fabulous prize, an all encompassing healthy holiday cooking e-course offered by Jenny of The Nourished Kitchen. I have come to love e-courses and wish I could sign up for every one (but can't due to lack of funds).

So, while I really would love to win, I will also spread word of the contest around since it would be awesome for anyone who is interested in healthy holiday cooking to win!

Check it out!!

Basmati Rice

I am going to ease back into writing again because being depressed is taking a toll on me.  I know it is related to health in some way but I don't have a doctor to whom I can go to so we can figure out what the heck is wrong.  I am trying to be more diligent in changing how we, and especially how I, eat because it is taking its toll.

So why did I decide to write about basmati rice today?  Well, I need to write about something, don't I?  ;)

Actually, it started with me trying to find things to put in the kids lunches.  Boy, they are hard to pack for.  I always fall back on tomato soup because it's easy, cheap and they will eat it all.  But when they eat something too often, they get bored.  So I have been exploring options.  Rice is something they said they would like to bring.  I can butter it up so they have a nice healthy fat to go with it.

I have always thought brown rice was the healthiest.  Never mind it tasted a little odd but you do what you do.  The long cook time puts me off making it very often and when I do, I make a large pot.  Most of it goes to waste that way since it gets shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.  Plus everyone in my family likes white better.

Then I was reading the Healthy Home Economist's blog saying that brown rice may not necessarily be the best.  Apparently the phytic acid in brown rice is really hard to break down which means you do not absorb the minerals.  Hmmmm!  She also talks about how the fiber in whole grains is actually really bad for our bodies.  Fruit and veggie fiber = good, grain fiber = bad.  That makes sense to me based on how I feel when I eat either one.

Sarah says that her family eats basmati rice, which is more nutritious than plain white rice.  Well, if that's the case, I decided to give it a try.  We better like it because I bought a 4.54kg bag of it today on sale!  (approx. 10lbs).  The best before on it is August 24, 2012 so we have time to use it up, although I may store it in the freezer.

(Update: Mark and I had some for lunch with our taco soup {recipe to come} and I LOVE it!  It is the best rice I ever had!  I soaked it for an hour and it took about 10 minutes to cook to tender perfection.  With salt and butter, it can stand alone for taste. )

On the package it still suggests soaking it for at least half an hour.  I'm sure it is to improve the taste or cook-ability.  I could always soak it overnight, cook in the morning and put it in their thermos's.

Amazon.com has basmati rice if you want to check out these links (yes, I am an affiliate).  I did not buy organic as the store did not have it:
Village Harvest Organic Basmati Premium Aromatic Rice, 30-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)
Rice, Brown Basmati, Organic, 25# Bulk
Rice, Basmati Brown Lundberg, Organic, 3lb
Laziz Basmati Rice, 10-Pound BagSBR White Basmati Rice - Certified Organic Gluten-Free Kosher Certified- 2LB


photo credit: http://www.freeclipartpictures.com/clipart/pages/00pics.shtml?food199.jpg

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meal Plan: Sunday Nov. 14th to Nov. 20th

Saturday I actually cleaned out my fridge, sat down and made a meal plan for the week.  I am trying to get some of this stuff eaten up.  I love shopping then I have all kinds of things I don't know how I'm going to use it up!

I didn't include breakfast as for me it's usually eggs.  This is also mainly for me.  The kids usually bring different things to school and Mark brings whatever for his work meals.  During the week I will be posting some of the recipes of the things I have eaten.  As you can tell, I am kind of gluten free/low carb/paleo kind of diet.  I'm trying to eat more veggies because it is hard for me, even though I love vegetables.  Also, everything is open to change if something isn't going to work.

Sunday
Lunch: sandwiches (whatever everyone wants.  I'll soak the flour tonight and bake in the morning), soup
Supper: Crockpot chicken, potatoes, corn, brussel sprouts

Monday
Lunch: fried collard greens (in bacon grease), onions and sausage
Supper: steak, rice (soaked rice for family, riced cauliflower for me) and carrots

Tuesday:
Lunch: cabbage fried in coconut oil, broccoli salad, leftover chicken
Supper: noodles for kids, mixed veggies, pork loin chops

Wednesday:
Lunch: Onion leek soup with coconut flour garlic cheese biscuits
Supper: Pizza (soaked flour for family, cauliflower crust for me)

Thursday:
Lunch: baked sweet potatoes, leftovers
Supper: Spaghetti and meatballs (I'll have spaghetti squash)

Friday:
Lunch: stew with coconut flour garlic cheese biscuits
Supper: hamburgers with fries and carrots

Saturday:
Lunch: an all dressed salad (big salad with meat or tuna and hard boiled eggs)
Supper: Taco Bake

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Recipes (not mine)

This blog was originally a placeholder for recipes I used and didn't want to lose or recipes I found online that I probably would never find again so I would place them here.  These recipes are in the comments of a Kelly The Kitchen Kop blog post so if I don't put them here, I will probably never find them again.  I want to go gluten free and eventually want my family to join me so I need all the recipes I can find!

I have not made these but I plan to!  The lady who posted these recipes  can be found blogging here: http://sustainablefirstfruits.blogspot.com/



Paula Runyan October 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm




Here is the chocolate recipe.
Please head the cooked bean part, and DO NOT grind and use dry beans.
Because this cake is made with honey, you must let it set a good 12-24 hours prior to eating, to let the sweetness set in.
If you eat it before that, you will be disappointed for sure.
Black Bean Chocolate cake.
24 hours prior to making this cake, soak 2 cups of black beans in water, with a little bit of raw whey added.
Cook and cool the beans in fresh water, prior to making the cake.
(Beans may be cooled quickly by rinsing with cold water)
This method assure that your beans will not cause gastric issue of any kind.
If you do not have dry beans available to you, you can use one can of rinsed black beans,
However, I cannot vouch for their not causing gastric distress.
On to the recipe!
In your blender, combine the following.
1 1/2 cups of cooked and cooled beans
3 farm fresh eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of sea salt
6 Tbls of cocoa powder
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda.
Blend until smooth.
Add the following ingredients.
3/4 cup of honey
7 tbsp of warmed butter
2 eggs.
Blend again till smooth.
Pour into a buttered 9x9 pan that has also been “floured” with a bit of cocoa.
Bake at 350 degrees until center just springs back when pressed.
Allow to fully cool, and ideally, let sit for a few hours prior to serving.
Serve with a dollop of fresh raw cream and a few sliced strawberries.


15Paula Runyan October 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm




Banana Bread
This recipe is adapted from my grandmothers recipe, to make it gluten free.
Preheat oven to 350
Butter, and then flour with rice four, one bread pan.
1/2 cup butter
1/2
3 bananas (frozen and thawed are best)
2 eggs
2 cups of brown rice flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of kefir
1/2 cup of soaked.dehydrated nuts (optional)
Soak flour with kefir overnight, or all day.
Mix rest of ingredients in, pour into pan, and bake till done.
Allow to cool. Loosen the sides prior to dumping out.
You will find that this recipe is very similiar to the wheat version of banana bread.
Very little difference in texture or flavor.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vegetable Oils


"When making generic vegetable oil, the goal is to create a flavorless, odorless, mostly colorless product as efficiently as possible. That’s done using a process called solvent extraction, in which the base plant (e.g., soybeans) is ground up and mixed with a chemical solvent. The most commonly used solvent is hexane, which boils at a low temperature. The hexane dissolves the oil, then the solid plant matter is removed and the remaining mixture is heated so that the solvent evaporates, leaving behind only the oil. The oil is flavorless and odorless because the volatile compounds responsible for the taste and smell also evaporate when heated. Taylor says only trace amounts of solvent are left behind, if any."

I Eated A ButterHmmm, I don't think this makes me want to eat vegetable oil anymore, lol!   Solvent in oil, ew!!  It has been a long time since I have purposefully used it, although I bought some to use in soap making to see how it works.  

The problem is, it is so prevalent in foods. How to avoid it?

Don't eat packaged foods!

Simple but efficient.


Canola especially is becoming a real problem. It is everywhere and being touted as the healthiest fat there is. Sally Fallon wrote an article about this that should be read if you haven't already:  The Great Con-ola by Sally Fallon

I grew up thinking that fat was bad. Butter was bad. Real mayo was bad. We ate fakey margarine and fakey mayo, low or no fat. Skim milk. Fat and skin cut off meat (although we secretly ate it and loved it!).

What I am now learning is that fat is good. Our cells need it, our brains need it, it is healing and nourishing *IF* you eat the right kinds. Kids need fat to develop. We need it to be satiated. Fat does not make you fat.  I don't claim to be an expert on it but I do know that we've been duped. I still have a lot to learn because even though I read and read, the science is hard for me to understand. However, I do not need to fully understand the mechanisms of how our bodies need fat in order to know how much better I feel and how much better things taste with good healthy fats.

A quick list of the best fats are as follows (I do not have all the healthy fats listed as many are unavailable where I live):
-butter
-olive oil (best if not heated)
-coconut oil
-lard
-tallow

Animal fats are best from grass fed, organic sources but I know for me, it is literally impossible to find (other than what fat comes on the meat, and it isn't much). Coconut oil is great for the metabolism and it is food for high temperature cooking, such as frying (I can't afford enough of it for that purpose since it is very expensive here). No fats should be hydrogenated. That is a whole other kettle of bad news for health.

So basically, don't be scared of fats as long as they are the right kind! They are good for you and your body will thank you for nourishing it :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real Food In An Emergency Situation

I had hoped to blog more but I have been rather distracted.  My county is in a state of emergency due to incredible amounts of rain over the weekend.  Roads are crumbling, bridges are collapsing and being washed away, homes are flooded to the point of being like little islands in an ocean, people are being evacuated and it is getting worse by the day with more rain on the horizon.  This picture is an aerial shot of a close by community to show how extensive the damage is.  Photo Credit: (November 8, 2010 Aerial Photo by Peggy D'Entremont).   Fortunately, I live in town on a hill so we are not in a danger flooding zone unless the ocean rises a few meters.

With disaster, my thoughts often turn to having emergency food on hand.  My church places great emphasis on being self sufficient and prepared for times of emergency.  My family should have 72 hour kits but we currently don't.  The premise is you have a backpack for each person with clothes, food, medication and comfort items that would last for 72 hours, which is the average length of an emergency.  Water is a good idea too, especially with flooding situations where bacteria counts in water systems may be compromised.

This brings to mind, what real food can one put in a 72 hour kit?  It needs to be something that stores well, doesn't take up a lot of room, something that is easy to eat without heat, nourishing and filling.  This is my dilemma.

Since I haven't given it a lot of thought and I'm still kind of new to real foods, here are some ideas off the top of my head:

-peanut butter or other nut or seed butters (commercially bought as home prepared do not have a long shelf life)
-soaked and dehydrated nuts/seeds
-canned tuna or wild caught salmon or other meats (maybe less than ideal but still life sustaining)
-homemade jerky
-home dried fruits and vegetables
-soaked flour hardtack (sounds good in theory, would it work?)
-coconut oil
-vitamins, cod liver oil

See, I kind of struggle with ideas.  Most real food isn't meant to be stuffed in a backpack for long periods of time to be grabbed in case of emergency.  It is meant to sustain life during a time of emergency, not be a long term way of eating.  These items could be rotated out ever 6 months (more or less depending on the shelf life of the food item).

So, do you have any ideas of food items that could easily be stored for long term use?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Market Report November 8th

Well, I don't have pictures and I don't have a total accounting of what I spent and what I bought.  I am trying to set some real food goals and this month I wanted it to be to buy nothing with any more than 5 ingredients.  I failed with tomato soup.  It is so hard to find things the kids will eat in their lunches and they always eat tomato soup, but, of course, there are more than 5 ingredients (8 to be exact).  In the mornings it is so rushed and I like putting something hot in their lunch so they usually have it two or three times a week.  I am not going to beat myself up over it as overall I'm doing much better.

At the market, I bought a large lovely leek, a big bunch of green onions, a bag of zesty salad greens, a bag of sweet potatoes, 4 of the most delicious red delicious apples I have ever had, a big bag of cranberries and something else that is not coming to mind.

At the grocery store, I loaded up on marble cheese (for the kids lunches), bought some eggs, milk, raisins, natural cheezies, chips, and french fries,  Gah!  I get in the store and I am totally like the girl from "Confession of a Shopaholic" (I am currently reading the whole series and I can totally relate to her, except for me it's food shopping).  It is crazy.

I really want to get into meal planning.  It is FlyLady's habit of the month.  I hate to say it but we waste a lot of food because either I forget we have it or I poorly plan our meals around what we have on hand.

Today I spent around $60 grocery shopping, but $30 of that was for boots for Shaylee and a notebook and pens that I bought (half my shopping trouble is you can buy everything you need at the grocery store!) and $10 for boxes of  Pot of Gold chocolate for Christmas.  I am going to try not to buy any thing else this week, even though it will be haaaaaarrrrrd!  I will have to force myself to use up what we have on hand.

(clipart from http://www2.free-clipart.net/ )

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Day Of Win

Today was another rainy, windy day but it did not stop the hoards of people from attending our towns Fall Harvest Fest.  We would of walked since it is only four or five streets over, but we drove due to the weather.  The cars were lined up and down the entire street, both parking lots full, no where to park!  Wow, this was pretty amazing!  I eventually found a spot and we headed in.

By the front door was a man with a hand cranked cider press.  It was kind of crowded so we decided to check it out later.  A nice lady at the door told me where everything was going on and we chatted a little bit.  Then we headed into the fray.  Wow, wall to wall vendors.  So much locally produced goodies as far as the eye could see.  The canteen was serving up yummy local fare, there were booths talking about topics of interest such as community gardens, school edible gardens, composting and more.

A lady announced the class was starting for edible wild greens soon so I made a quick run through the market to get some things I wanted then we headed over.  There was a children's activity room right next door.  After we wrangled them in there, we went to the class, which was just starting.

The class was being presented by Tony Papadogiorgakis, a local man who originally came from the Isle of Crete in Greece.  He had pretty extensive knowledge of edible wild greens and was very descriptive.  I scribbled lots of notes in the booklet they gave us.  We didn't stay for the whole class (about 45 minutes) because we could see it would take a long time, but I really learned a lot.  I will not look at weeds the same again!

We tried to get the kids out of the activity room but they were having too much fun!  They made tons of play dough sculptures, they played games, dug for potatoes, painted, read and so on.  They were having a blast so Mark and I ended up browsing the market a little more. We saw some people we knew and picked up some more fruits and vegetables.  I noticed a fellow local blogger was there, but I was too shy to introduce myself (I am an extremely shy, insecure person in real life.  Plus I didn't want to feel like a stalker :) ).

Most exciting of all is I signed up to be part of the Tri-Country Local Food Network!  I talked to someone there about it, telling them I don't grow or produce anything but I want to support local food as much as possible.  She said that was great!  They need people who are willing to give input, to give support and to help the network grow.  I am really excited about it :).  I figure if I am going to talk the talk, I better be ready to walk the walk.  Food security and the future of local foods depends on communities for support.

So then we tried some apple cider and the kids got to take turns turning the apple cider press, which they thought was a blast.

We all left happy, having had a great time.  I love the sense of community that I feel when we go to the farmers market.  I love knowing where my food comes from and being able to talk to the people who grow it.  They have more invested in the food they sell than the grocery store does and it is worth supporting.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Big Mac Salad


This is a throwback to my low carb days where on a message board I participated in, we would come up with all kinds of concoctions to help us over come our craving for the foods we were giving up. Fortunately, this is a winner that is easily adaptable to real food. It is tasty and fills the tastes that one may crave if they don't have fast food out of their system.

This is a pretty loose recipe. You may love onions or hate them. You may want lots of pickles or not. Play with it and adjust to your taste. All ingredients are somewhat local, organic and the beef is pastured .  It is better than the "real" thing because this is the real thing!

Big Mac Salad
  • lettuce or other salad greens (darker are healthier)
  • sliced white or red onions
  • slices of tomato and pickle if desired
  • "special sauce" (check out this thousand island dressing at Kelly The Kitchen Kop's site, it is what I used)
  • a slice of real cheddar cheese or grated (I used extra old Cows Creamery cheese)
  • 2 hamburger patties or desired amount of crumbled ground beef 
  • a sprinkle of sesame seeds (optional; I didn't have any on hand)

Layer the ingredients in your bowl or on your plate in the order listed.  It is a very yummy salad that is flexible to your tastes.  So very very good and it satisfies the need for a fast food fix.  I made mine from leftovers so it went together in no time.  I like chopping it all up and eating it all mixed up.  Yum!! I'll have to make it again soon :)


Part of gnowfglins Tuesday TwisterKelly The Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday, and The Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Locavore

This is a book I read recently that I meant to blog about but never got around to it.  I just became an Amazon Affiliate and decided to give a review of this book while I give this new feature a test drive!

First of all, I love the title: Locavore: From Farmers Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians Are Changing The Way We Eat.  I am a Canadian and very proud to be so.  It was nice to read a book about local eating geared to a country that has locations with very short growing seasons and not just eat potatoes and turnips.  Canada is becoming very diversified in terms of food.   I am constantly discovering new foods that are local that I never thought would grow or be processed around here.  It is exciting!

Now, it's been over a month since I read this so I can't remember all the details, just that her journey started with a cookie her daughter was eating.  When she found out where it came from and how many food miles that one little cookie had on it, how many parts of the process of getting that cookie to them,  she knew there was something wrong with this picture.  Sarah though of how she could have gone to a local bakery and supported a local business and have a healthier product for her child to eat.  I think some of us have these lightbulb moments and that is how we start the process of change.

I was very excited to read about one of my favorite places to stop, Noggins Corner in the valley (what we call the stretch from Digby to Windsor; this is more in the area of Greenwich).  They are no spray and have a good variety of food.  It is the first place I was brave enough to buy garlic scapes.  I've bought lots of fruits and veggies there over the years.

It really highlighted to me that we all have a hand in the future of our food.  We can do small bits on our own with home gardening but ultimately, we need to support our neighborhood farmers and eat as locally as possible as much as possible.  Local food depends on community support.  We need to think about what we are eating and where it comes from.

The local food economy - News - The Vanguard

Brian Noble, chair of the Yarmouth Farmers Market, sees “nothing but bright things in the future.”  Belle Hatfield photo

Link: The local food economy - News - The Vanguard

I had to share this link because it shows that even in small towns, the food dynamic can change if there are people who are passionate enough about it. I wholly support what they are doing. It is great that there is a place in the market now for small farms to start out and grow.  This article is part of a series that will be run in our local newspaper and I really hope it gains lots of exposure!  If a small area like I live in can support 4-5 farmer run markets, it shows that the demand is there.

This is the market I usually visit in my little town.  I love it!  The kids and I have been getting to know the people there and it is such a positive atmosphere (just a side note, Brian Noble, the fellow in that picture, was one of my teachers when I was in school.  Now I buy my Jacobs Cattle beans from him!).  Some know what I want when they see me coming :) (especially the lady who the kids always buy a muffin and a doughnut from, lol!  Her son is the one who cut our meat).  It is a place where it is about more than just the food but it is a place of community.

On Saturday they are having workshops and I am planning on taking some.  I am very interested in the edible wild greens course.  I love greens and would love them even more if I foraged for them.

I keep posting these things on my facebook page hoping to spread the news to my local friends.  I would love to see my local food network grow and I will do what I can to support it.

Part of GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Best Feeding

If there is one thing I ever did right, it would be breastfeeding. It truly is the "Best-Feeding" for a baby.

Not only did I nurse both my kids but I did it for an extended period of time. I nursed Ethan until he was 4 years and 3 months old and Shaylee until she was 4 years and 6 months old. I can vividly remember the last time they each nursed.

For Ethan, it was at an outdoor summer party. He swallowed one of those big ice cubes and it got stuck in his throat and he couldn't breath. When we finally cleared it, I instinctively started nursing him, even though he hadn't nursed at all for a couple of weeks. In that short of time, he had a bit of trouble remembering what to do with his mouth and I knew it would be the last time I would take him to my breast.

For Shaylee, she was going through a period where she wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY!! I mean she was getting up through the night and she was like a newborn again. I was going crazy. So one day, I laid down with her in the family bed, let her nurse and told her that although I love her like crazy, it would be the last time she would have "Boo" (our word for nursing). Instead, we would do more things together. I guess that's all she wanted because after a couple of days, she never asked again. We started doing tons of things together and still do. She is my wonderful little helper. I love both of my kids so much!

We probably won't have any more kids and that is the thing I miss most (and cloth diapers ;) ). I have an ache when I see my sister in law nurse her tiny little babe. I get sad when I see people who don't even try because there is still a stigma on it. I can't tell you how many people have said it is gross.

Nursing is not "gross". Is the nectar of early life. God made us perfect, including giving us the ability to feed our babes until they are able to feed themselves (like all mammals), then feed them as long as we can to build and strengthen their immune systems.

Another misconception is that it was easy for me. It was NOT easy. Ethan had a terrible latch that took forever to fix. Cracked, bleeding nipples are no fun. He also wanted to nurse constantly. I didn't know it at the time but he probably had food sensitivities as he was always fussy. Shaylee couldn't handle milk, which was easy to figure out (she got over it though starting with yogurt around a year old). I had thrush that would not go away until I stopped nursing (The kids didn't though, which was odd but I have yeast problems anyway). It hurt right up until the very last day I stopped after more than 6 years straight of nursing. I had little help, little support, I spent hours bawling because it hurt but no one could help me (doctors, useless, no LLL or lactation consultant at time), sleep deprivation, I was laughed at, pointed at, talked about, made to feel like I was abusing my kids but I would not trade it for anything.

In short, my real interest in food began when I started nursing. It is the best start for babies and highly recommend it to everyone :)

Note: The above picture is a series of posters my province released as part of their breastfeeding promotional campaign that wasn't around when I was starting out. There is also one of a lady tandem nursing at our hospital that I love but can't find it. Some parts of Nova Scotia are more accepting of nursing than others (it isn't as common in my town as I wish it would be).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Approved!

Recently I stepped out of my comfort zone. I have been linking to more blog sharing events and thought I would take it a step further. I signed this blog up for Real Food Media and I was approved!

I'm very excited about it. I hope it will help me stay more on task and in turn try harder in my life to be more focused on nourishing my family with real foods, supporting small farmers and greening our lives. I know I could not even do this without my online support community and I thank you all for your part in my growth :)

I am not feeling well today so it was nice to get good news. I had planned to make a turkey dinner tonight for supper but instead we're having hamburgers from our grass fed freezer supply and caesar salad. Mark and I had donair sausages from Meadowbrook Farms with eggs and veggies for lunch.

We have been pretty heavy in the Halloween stash so it is nice to eat real food. I have been hinting to the kids I'm willing to buy their candy but they would rather have the candy. It has been making them pretty cranky and hard to put to sleep. I've been helping them a bit but I know it is making me feel bad too. They have way too much stuff, even without trick or treating.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Ramblings

I wrote a while back how I was going to try root cellaring in our apartment basement. This is the second time I tried and the second time I've failed due to unseasonably warm weather. I live on the south western tip of Nova Scotia, Canada and although it has been snowing in other parts of our province, it has been rather warm here. The basement is retaining a lot of heat.

Because of this, things are rotting and fast! Our carrots turned to mush in a few days (I have completely given up on them as I bought more to try again and they went bad right away), our squash is rotting faster than we can keep up with it and everything else is just going. Sigh. It was a noble attempt but I guess you can't fight mother nature. I hope to go to the valley soon to get more cheap squash and keeping it under the deck in a large tote. We love squash and I'd hoped it would at least last until Christmas. I will probably have to bake it all and try to cram it in our overstuffed freezer!

Well it is a new month and a new try for the Monday Market Report starting today! I didn't keep tally last week. I am fighting a bit of depression related shopping lately and I seem to spend more than I planned. I did stock up on butter on sale for $2.88 a pound (we must have about 20lbs floating around between the freezer and fridge!), 3 bags of 1.5kg (roughly 6lbs) local frozen wild blueberries for $5.99 each, eggs $1.88 a dozen (of course after I bought them, I read Joel Salatin describe store bought eggs in his "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal") and some other things that aren't coming to mind. The kids and I went to the Farmers Market on Saturday but all I bought were a big bag of organic leeks I plan to dehydrate ($2.50) and a bag of organic beet greens ($2). I only had $5 otherwise I would of bought more.

I struggle a lot between what we can afford and what is optimal. We have no options at all for local butter or grass fed and raw dairy is totally out of the question (we have no where to pasture a cow!). Organic is shipped in from far away but what we do buy is produced rather locally (within province). Eggs are impossible to find locally lately. I know (now) they are a seasonal food and while the eggs are from within my province, they are still factory eggs and I don't know if the conditions are better than what I see are going on in the United States.

Milk, well my whole family agrees that the local dairy tastes better. The last few cartons of organic milk I bought were terrible and I'll never buy it again. Truly disgusting. I don't know what they did to it but it used to taste fresh and delicious but the last few times, it tasted burnt and old. The organic chocolate milk is always curdled and after throwing away a couple of cartons, I said no more. We do sometimes buy it from another dairy from the province, but I always feel guilty that I do it to save some money (local milk doesn't go on sale but milk shipped in from other parts of NS does).

I sometimes drive myself crazy trying to be food aware. Once you start, it's hard to stop. I want to know where everything comes from and from under what conditions. We are what we eat and I don't want to be an amalgamation of chemicals and artificial junk.

I am seeing how Halloween candy is affecting my kids and I have been pointing it out to them. Hyperactivity, sensitivity, melt downs, ect... Halloween managed to be stretched over a week because everyone felt bad we weren't Trick or Treating due to the Sabbath. Well, the kids made up for treats in spades. I struggle because the kids don't want to give up their treats and I don't expect them to. I know what it's like to be a kid and have lots of goodies. They are good and ask before they eat though. They ask to do everything anyway and while it sometimes drives me crazy, I also appreciate they are respectful enough to ask, even if they are cranky when I say no, lol! No need to eat junk right before a meal.

Well, those are some of my ramblings. It is 2am and I couldn't get back to bed so I thought I'd write. Last week I wrote up a bunch of posts and scheduled them so I wouldn't have to write every day. I'm glad I did. I will probably do this until I get through all the things I wanted to post, even though I'll have to start coming up with more new recipes soon!

Whole Foods 365 Organic: Made in China. An ABC Expos�. | elephant journal

Link: Whole Foods 365 Organic: Made in China. An ABC Expos�. | elephant journal

We don't have Whole Foods here but it brings to light the fact that we need to be aware of what we eat. Always read labels, even if it is something that you have bought a hundred times before!

There was a veggie blend I used to love that was made in Canada. I knew it was so I stopped reading the label. One day I was putting the packages in the freezer and noticed it said "Product of China". What??? I had another bag already in the freezer and that too was from China. This was about a year ago. I think I passed the bags of veggies along because I couldn't bring myself to eat them.

The kids had a favorite brand of fruit snack that I didn't feel too bad about buying them. Last year I noticed they had a "Responsibly Made In China" label on the bad. Really? I mean....Really? I just don't feel good about that, especially since they can tag anything with the by-line of "Responsible". Hey, I'm responsibly drinking and driving (not me, since I don't drink period, but you know what I mean).

Almost every brand of pickles in the store are made in India. It's really cheaper to make them there and ship all those heavy bottles over here only to sell them at half the price of Canadian pickles? I can't make a good dill pickle to save my life and now I have to wait until the ones from my country go on sale when I want pickles.

It's disgusting that food from overseas is cheaper and we are blind and oblivious about where our food is coming from, the environmental footprint of what we eat and the safety concerns due to lax safety regulations in other countries.

It really bothers me that we are so removed from our food.

And finally, on a related note, I am writing a NaNoWriMo novel about my struggles with food . It will be taking a lot of my time but I feel it's important. It's called: " Is This Going To Kill Me?"

Synopsis: My life and relationship with food, from growing up being forced to diet and being fat anyway to being OCD and physically unable to eat and what brought me to that point.