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

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!

 

The Return of the Foodie PenPal

Those of you who have been around for awhile may remember the Foodie Penpal program. Basically, it’s like the pen pal thing you did when you were a kid. But for adults. Who like food. As adults it seems that it is far too infrequently we do something just because. No reason other than because it is fun and we want to. Well, the Foodie Penpal program is one of those things for me. Fun. Just because. Continue reading

The terrible two’s, a Blogiversary & a contest.

Two years ago I started this blog. I wasn’t totally sure why, I just knew it seemed like the right thing to do. Life was changing and that called for a new adventure. Ah, be careful what you wish for…. In two years life has changed a lot. I stopped personal training and left a job I had been doing for several years, I began volunteering with three different food based community organizations, I started tap classes (after almost 25 years!), and I got a greenhouse. Friends have gone to school, changed jobs, had children be born and move out (not the same child), divorces have happened and weddings are planned, I’ve made new friends and rediscovered old ones. And, I acknowledged that a lot of what has worked for me health and fitness wise for the past 40ish(cough) years really doesn’t work for me anymore. And while yes, this is a random selection of happenings, it highlights that life keeps moving on and I’m testing the waters.

Audrey testing the water

Life lesson: when testing the water always wear a life jacket

In thanks to all of you who have been part of my journey I’m giving away some presents. Three lucky people will get a mostlynoodles gift pack containing some homemade goodies! Here’s how to get in on the celebration:

  • Comment below telling me your favourite post or recipe in the last two years;
  • If you’re on Facebook or twitter send me some love (I want to double my followers this year!);
  • Don’t be related to me or live somewhere other than Canada (you actually have to do one of the first two to qualify… this is just a random rule).

Then on July 1st (I figured I’d choose another holiday to celebrate) I’ll put the name of everyone who qualified in a mixing bowl and have a draw. (Yes, I get that this might not play according to official lottery rules, but heck, how many lotteries give away jam and pickles?)

So please, let me know what you liked, what you didn’t like and what you want to see more of as the next year unfolds. I am honoured and humbled that you have joined me on this journey so far. You have all made the two’s not that terrible after all.

but always, mostlynoodles

but always, mostlynoodles

UPDATE: Thanks so much to all of you beautiful and generous people who commented (not many), tweeted (lots) and posted (tons!) on Facebook about my blog. Sadly, at least as far as the giveaway was concerned, most of you weren’t Canadian (I find that odd). But, in a highly unofficial and random draw names have been chosen and winners will be contacted soon. Here’s to another year filled with food, friends and family.

Kale salad with Gado Gado dressing.

We’ve all heard of the actor who is an overnight success despite the fact that in reality they have been slaving away in summer stock, movies of the week, and children’s theatre for decades. Kale is kind of like that. Relegated for years as one of those vegetables that the “healthy” types eat, over the last few years it has been making a resurgence and, dare I say it, become rather trendy.

Hmmm….there’s a lesson in there. Just keep doing your thing, work hard, keep your head down, be honest and genuine and it will happen for you. Like the actress. And kale.

IMG_5314

I love kale (which is a good thing since it seems to be the one thing I can reliably grow in my garden) and eat it quite frequently. I steam it, make chips and add it to soups and stews. Lately though I’ve been eating it raw. My favourite variation to date is in a simple chopped salad with beans and a spicy peanut dressing. It has shown up so frequently at meal times lately I might even be tempted to call it an overnight success.

How do you eat kale?

For the dressing:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 Tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tsp. Braggs (or low sodium tamari)
  • 4tsp dried ginger (or grated 1″ piece of fresh)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • Optional: splash of fish sauce

Method

Simply mix all ingredients together in a mason jar (or other sealable container). Refrigerate. Remove from fridge at least one hour prior to use to allow peanut butter and coconut milk to liquify. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

For the Salad:

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of mixed kale, cored and chopped
  • Gado gado dressing
  • Sprouted chick peas
  • toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds

Method

Wash, rinse and finely chop kale.
Place kale and chickpeas in bowl and lightly toss with dressing.
Sprinkle with seeds. Add salt, pepper and chili’s to taste.

Kale salad

Cook (those) books. Spring edition.

Social media is a funny thing. It’s a superficial entity filled with soundbites and pictures of the perfect moments of our lives. (Lets not even talk about all the pouty lipped “selfies” out there) Arguments could be made that it both brings societies and people closer together and yet somehow manages to isolate us even further. After all, we’ve all seen the table filled with people using their smart phones rather than having an actual conversation. I like to think though that used the right way social media is a great way to make new friends and keep up with old ones.

Spring dogwood

And that’s just what happened. A couple of weeks ago I had the great fortune of meeting an online twitter and blog friend Jeanette Ordas from the delicious website Everybody Likes Sandwiches. In our brief (in person!) chat we, not surprisingly, talked about blogging and cookbooks. It got me thinking that it had been awhile since I had written a Cook(those)books post about the recipes I’ve been trying from my cookbook collection. So, with thanks to Jeanette, a blog post was born. Continue reading

The sting of spring.

I think I can, without jinxing myself, say spring has officially arrived in Vancouver. The morning air is still a bit cool, and there will still be monsoon rains to come, but the sun has a warmth to it that we have been missing for a long, long while. Trees and flowers are blooming, the birds are devouring the seed from the feeder daily and neighbours are stopping to say hello as I dig in the dirt. Yes. Hooray for spring.

Spring Chalk Continue reading

Leftovers and Lunch.

Confession time. I hate leftovers. They make me a bit crazy. I’m impressed by people who can eat the identical thing for lunch that they ate the night before. But seriously? Don’t they get bored? To each their own, but when I sit down to a meal I want the food on my plate to look (and taste) differently than the last time I saw that same food. The challenge is that it makes life a whole lot easier (and usually healthier) if once or twice a week you prep and cook large batches of food for future eating. So what is a leftover snob supposed to do? For me, the answer (aside from keeping a well stocked pantry) is to prep and cook individual items rather than meals. Cut the vegetables, but don’t make the salad; cook and rinse the beans, but just store them for easy portioning; and cook the protein with just enough seasoning to keep it tender. Cook extra ingredients, not meals. That way there is always something to grab and go. Or, if you have time, lets you create something a bit more involved. Continue reading