Local Food

Aug. 26th, 2015 11:10 pm
siglinde99: (Default)
I think a lot about food security, partly because it's what I do at work, but also because it's a local issue that I connect with. I live in a fairly wealthy neighbourhood but some of the poorest people in the city live nearby (including residents of one of the city's largest homeless shelters, right on my bike route to work). Food insecurity and access to healthy foods are two of the biggest problems people face here. At the same time, local family farms are struggling, and grocery stores are importing produce from across the world even though the same products are available locally.

Community gardens have become very popular as a way to provide healthy food (some donate a lot of produce to local food banks, as well as giving many families the chance to grow a little for themselves). I have been lucky enough to have a plot for three years now. With the pots of plants at my house, I am able to provide at least a few meals for my family - plus I get hours of entertainment as I try to save my own seeds and re-use them the next year, weed, and chat with people I meet at the garden.

This year, I gambled and bought in to a community-supported agriculture box. I share a small box with a colleague from work who happens to live nearby. At first I worried about the initial outlay and whether I would be able to use everything. After about 10 weeks, I am hooked! I have been learning to make new things (last week it was salsa verde), and I'm eating less meat because I need to save room for the veggies. Plus, the lady who owns the farm where I get my produce employs 16 people, which makes me very happy.

I also love harvesting local wild foods. Some are just greens (ie weeds) from my garden, but I also collect apples, rose hips, and sometimes other fruits or berries. This year, I finally got to volunteer with Hidden Harvest Ottawa, a local social business that harvests fruit and nuts from city-owned and private properties, with permission. So far I have made crab-apple preserves


and verjus (a medieval alternative to vinegar), given a bag of crab-apples to a friend for her cooking projects, and I have a bag of apples waiting to be turned into cider. 1/4 of all the fruit harvested goes to local food banks, 1/4 goes to the fruit tree owner (if there is one and they want it), 1/4 (if the harvest is at least 80 lb) goes to Hidden Harvest to donate to small food preservation kitchens, and 1/4 is divided up among the volunteer harvesters. I have volunteered to be a neighbourhood leader so that I can organize harvests for others. I love meeting interesting people outside my usual circle, and this is proving to be a great way to do just that.
siglinde99: (Ballet)
Tonight I cooked up more pumpkin - double batch of chicken and pumpkin (one of my go-to recipes for winter lunches), plus a double batch of elegant pumpkin bisque. I still need to make curried pumpkin puree with the last bit of cooked pumpkin, and a butternut squash soup with coconut (using pumpkin, of course). I still have a whole pumpkin on the counter, to be dealt with later.

I feel like I have enough pumpkin-based dishes on hand to survive the zombie apocalypse. As a bonus, my kitchen has been tidied so my counters no longer look like the are covered in brainnnnsss.
siglinde99: (Default)
I'm thinking about trying Live Below the Line fundraising and awareness campaign that challenges participants to live on the equivalent of $1.50 ($1.75 Cdn) for food and drink for five days. It starts April 28 and goes until May 2. Geoff leaves the morning of the 29th. I'm pretty sure I can live on rice, beans, home-baked bread, eggs, local vegetables and bananas for a week.
siglinde99: (Default)
Barbecued chicken, corn on the cob and baked potato with sour cream. Even without the planned asparagus, and far to late at night, dinner was ambrosia.

Lent

Feb. 28th, 2012 09:16 pm
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I have decided to use Lent as an opportunity for moderation and reflection, in the hope it might help me build some long-term behaviours.

I have given up alcohol, most sugar, and have promised I would do a minimum of 30 minutes walking per day. The walking was inspired by this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo.

The thing I find most interesting is how much I want sugary treats, even though I don't normally eat them. Also, I am really resenting the walking, even though I feel much better once I have gotten some fresh air and exercise. I wonder what the psychology literature has to say about people who crave the exact opposite of what we know what is good for us.
siglinde99: (Default)
http://www.chow.com/recipes/29302-pepper-crusted-filet-mignon

For a moment there, I seriously considered this for my son, who loves good beef and pepper. Then I remembered he is a huge, athletic adolescent and I could not possibly afford enough filet mignon to feed him. Maybe for his birthday, though.

12th Night

Dec. 27th, 2011 06:12 pm
siglinde99: (Default)
Don't know when it's happening, or where, but if I can go, I want to make gebrannte Mandeln and wrap them in a papiertute. I remember them from Kermisses and the beginning of the school year in Germany. I wish I could find documentation. I have found one reference to them being written about since the 1500s, the it's extremely sketchy and I don't read German well enough to find anything more. 
siglinde99: (Default)
I tried to sleep in, but failed. Instead, I used the time to clean the kitchen, do laundry, read for a bit, start supper (pulled pork in the slow cooker) and get rid of junk.

Then it was off to riding, which went fairly well. It may be the first time EVER that I have had a lesson without getting yelled at about loopy reins or no leg on, or both. I remembered a lot of stuff from the dressage show last week and was able to apply it. Sadly, dressage does not teach on how to grab mane when going over jumps. This is something I always struggle with, but today I watched how ShuLing does it and finally figured out where some of my problems are. For next time, I need to remember that "grab mane" really means "dig your knuckles into the horse's neck, do a mane release as required, and do not let those knuckles leave the horse's neck until he/she has landed."

Next up was a trip to the barn where ShuLing helps out. I had been all set to read a book, do some spinning, or maybe drive into Kemptville to pick up a few things, but they needed Buddy exercised, so I got to ride him. He is a nice tall thoroughbred, about six years old. He is also incredibly bouncy and a bit lazy. I have heard my instructors telling me for at least the last year that I need to get the horse balanced. Balanced means the rear end is working at least as hard as the front end, and the horse isn't pulling down into its bit. Buddy was not/not balanced! After my lesson where Shi had been beautifully balanced for once, it was a shock to the system. But I was really able to feel the difference and figure out how to correct it.

The evening has been spent doing homework (they both understood!), cooking (lasagne, brownies, merengues, and finishing the pulled pork - which Geoff liked), bottling the blueberry melomel, and still more house cleaning in preparation for garbage day tomorrow.

Every weekend should be this good.
siglinde99: (Default)
Sor far today:

- curried chicken muffins (delicious)
- poverty meal (a 1930's version of Hamburger Helper)
- cheesy bread pudding (an old stand-by from the 2nd edition of Laurel's Kitchen)
- Swedish meatballs

Still to go:
- roasted root vegetables with maple syrup (and this time, I am NOT sharing with the dog!)
- tacos
- brownies

That should put me in good shape for lunches, at least until Geoff gets back from his ski trip. I wish I had a live-in maid on days when I do this to my kitchen.

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