Spring and radish greens pesto.

Polar vortex or not, it is officially spring. To celebrate I spent my spring break holiday in northern Canada where it is definitely still winter. Despite the winter weather I kept warm with bundled up walks along the ice covered river, days spent on the couch in my pajamas reading and a glass (or two) of restorative red wine.

SNOW

But, after a relaxing week of warming holiday comfort food, and with optimism in mind, I’m craving the tastes of spring. One of the first crops that is poking up out of the ground this year are the radishes. Continue reading

Pancakes for dinner.

Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday. Whatever you want to call it, I call it Pancake day and it’s here!

Traditionally, pancake day is the last day before the beginning of Lent. During Lent, it is customary to give up things we love (think drinking pop or alcohol, tv, or eating chocolate) so historically families would try to use up things like meat, butter, and flour, and thus the tradition of Pancake Day began. As a kid for Shrove Tuesday my family usually went to a Pancake dinner at the church, which was always an awesome excuse to see friends in the middle of the week. These days, as someone always looking for an excuse to have friends around the table, Pancake Tuesday dinners seemed like a great tradition to start in my house.

Pancake batter Continue reading

Winter Grapefruit and Greens Salad

I remember as a kid we always seemed to be fundraising for something. Girl Guide cookies, raffle tickets or boxes of citrus for band trips. I was never a massive fan of the fundraising but was a huge fan of the arrival of those big boxes of Florida oranges and grapefruit. Growing up in Ontario, Florida was a pretty common winter vacation spot for most of my friends. Maybe my friends got their fill of citrus on holiday, but the closest I ever got, or have been, to Florida was getting those big boxes of oranges and grapefruit. Makes me, almost, miss high school band…

I was a lot older, when I first saw grapefruit growing on a tree. I could not believe my eyes. Tree after tree so overloaded the fruit was falling on the ground around me. I gourged myself on that first trip. It was divine.

Growing Grapefruit Continue reading

Foodie PenPal – the January edition

Have you ever missed something, but not noticed that you missed it until you had it back? Well, so it was for me with the Foodie Penpal program. Those of you who have been around for awhile will know exactly what that is, for you fabulous newcomers scroll down further for all the details. After a lengthy hiatus from the program I decided it was time. This month I got to exchange food packages with Kim from Toronto. As always, I had a great time prepping a package for her, but the coming home in the middle of a week filled with exams and papers to find a parcel waiting was amazing.

FPP January 2 Continue reading

Marinated Feta and After School Snacking

When I get home from school I need to eat something. It’s been a few hours since lunch and I’m hungry. But deciding what to eat is the challenge. Too much and I will still be full come dinner hour, too little and I’ll still be hungry wondering why I even bothered. My snack choices usually include something like hummus and cut vegetables, maybe a couple dolmathes and some almonds, or sometimes just a hardboiled egg. But, I can’t lie, what I really want is crackers and cheese. I’m not saying I have it, but that’s what I am usually craving.

Dream snack Continue reading

Potluck beet, blueberry & collard salad.

Potlucks. Do you love them or hate them? My feelings are mixed. In some ways they make things easier – you don’t have to cook as much, there is less clean up and there are more options for picky eaters. But, it is also possible to end up with a table full of desserts or five macaroni salads. So what’s a girl to do? How do you decide what to bring?

The usual potluck Continue reading

Thanksgiving Skillet Cornbread.

Lately is seems as if every time I write a blog post it is a change of season. The last time I wrote it had just changed from summer to fall . Suddenly fall is here and it is Thanksgiving. But what a fall it has been. I have had some great adventures the last few weeks. I started school, I’ve winterized the garden and I went to the Yukon for my sisters birthday where my sister and Mom took me on my first helicopter ride! Needless to say with all this activity this poor little blog has been sadly neglected. But, with a long weekend upon me and only one exam looming I decided that needed to change.

The magical view from the helicopter!

The magical view from the helicopter!

Continue reading

What I learned this summer.

It seems impossible to me that Labour day is here and yet another summer has come and gone. But, rather than cry into my fall clothes I thought I would take a moment to look back at a few of my summer highlights and the things I learned the last couple of months.

Sunflower

I learned…..

… that I really love pesto made from radish tops and I still really don’t like parsnips.

…that while watching a baby coyote sleep under the hedge is adorable it probably isn’t desireable (and freaks the cats out).

… that the Yukon is amazing. Getting to explore it with my sister is twice as amazing.

… that taking an outdoor cooking class from Michele Genest, writer of The Boreal Gourmet, beside a northern BC lake, while at a music festival with said sister is pretty much my idea of heaven.

… that mint and spring pea rissotto made by my husband is divine.

… that a greenhouse makes an amazing bar for summer parties (but if that’s the case we may need a bigger greenhouse…).

… that it is actually possible to eat your fill of fresh figs.

… that I will miss the community, friendship and food created this summer in the Community Kitchen.

… that when making pierogi, even when using the identical batch of dough and filling, once cooked you can always tell which ones the Ukrainian Grandma made.

Summer memories

Most importantly I (re)learned that summer is far too short but when there is food, friends and family involved life is grand. What did you learn this summer?

My Eat Local Challenge

Eating local. What does that mean? The 100 mile diet, only food from your own garden, city, province or country? To everyone it means a different thing. And if you ask me (I know you didn’t) I would say it doesn’t matter. My personal belief is that if you have even bothered to think the phrase you are probably doing more for the planet, your environment and your health than a lot of people.

A Growing Chefs classroom garden.

A Growing Chefs classroom garden.

Now most of you know I can get a bit on my high horse about avoiding prepackaged food and chemicals. But trust me, even I fall of the wagon sometimes (no comments from the peanut gallery please). So when I saw an email from Growing Chefs BC talking about a fundraising drive called the Growing Chefs Eat Local Challenge I thought, perfect. What a great way to remind myself and (hopefully) inspire others to “eat local”.

For those of you who don’t know Growing Chefs, it is a wonderful organization that goes into classrooms and teaches them about urban food gardening. This past spring I was lucky enough to get to volunteer in one of their grade three/four growing classrooms. Kids learned how to grow peas, lettuces, radishes and beans. They got to learn about composting, knife skills and recipe reading. Throughout the program we had snacks and meals we made from the food we had grown.

Sometimes it's okay to play with your food

Sometimes it’s okay to play with your food

Now I have a garden and live in Vancouver so it is pretty easy for me to eat locally. My downfalls are things like lemons, salt, pepper, olive oil, fancy vinegars, cheese and booze. So for one week I am committing to eating local. For me this means I will be eating food produced locally, sustainably and ethically. Fruits, vegetables, fish and meat will all come from my garden and various local BC producers. I do have two confessions … first that on day one of the challenge I’m at a wedding, I can’t predict that meal and number two, I will be using salt, olive oil, vinegar, lemons and drinking coffee. They aren’t local. I know… but a girl has to have her vices.

tomato and burrata

I admit I had a bit of a question of conscience, wondering if it was weird to have my first blog post in ages a request for support and donations. But, after a bit of conversation with others I realized no. Eating healthy food close to the source and teaching young people about growing and eating real food is important to me. I’m making the assumption that if you read my blog it is probably important to you too. If you would like to make a small donation you can go here. If you can’t spare a penny or two I totally understand (especially if it’s because you spent them at your local farmers market!), but even $5 helps. Donation or not, I challenge you to see if for a week you and your families can be inspired to eat, if not totally local, a little closer to the source.

Happy eating!