Posts filed under ‘In the Kitchen’

Thrifty LOVE

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Yesturday was a beautiful sunny day. Cool and crisp but the sun…oh the sun…it was so nice to see you. The sun called me outside and I ventured  down the hill to the local thrift store to see what was in store.

I love thrifting. I love looking through all of the items that people have decided to pass on and wondering what the story is. I love that this is recycling…the whole someone elses trash is my treasure type of idea. I love finding just the right item. I have a running list of items that I’m on the look for. I tend to only buy things that I have an immediate use for (and a place for) in my home. Today was such as day.

I remember when I was younger my mom had a pasta maker and we would make pasta together. It was magical to watch the dough transform into noodles and then to cook an eat our delicious creations. Today I found a barely used Atlas Pasta Maker very similar to the one my family had. It was also on for 50% off and cost a whopping $7.

I know what I’m going to be making my sweetie for Valentines!

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February 14, 2008 at 6:01 pm 2 comments

Things I LOVE – Home Grocery Delivery

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I have a confession…I like to buy my groceries in my pajamas while sipping a hot cup of tea generally well after the little one has gone to bed. I do my grocery shopping online and have it delivered right to my door. Well most of it…less in the summer months when the farmer’s market is in full swing.

I’m able to buy fresh organic produce as well as my favourite items from local bakeries and local dairy items. This saves me a lot of time and gas running around the city and a side benefit I’ve noticed is it really reduces impulse purchases as I can see the total and adjust it before I pay. I can also login to my account and add/remove from my order until the cut off. I love that each item I order is clearly marked with how far it has travelled allowing me to easily select local items whenever possible.

I also love that I don’t have to worry about doing a big grocery shop with my little one. We still go to the local grocery store every once in a while but it’s usually for a few items and takes very little time. I was talking with a group of mamma friends about the stress that is grocery shopping with their little ones in tow and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d done it….and I definitely don’t miss it!

January 19, 2008 at 5:44 pm 1 comment

Autumns Arrival

Fall is truly here, little E had her first day of school this week. Our teacher is very calm and inviting and the other kids and parents were interesting in the best ways. I look forward to feeling inspired once again in gentle, creative parenting. We found an immediate flow of play, song and a shared snack time.

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This weekend also provided a lot of time for canning and preserving some of the richness of summer. From left to right – Apple sauce, tomatoes with basil, veggie salsa and wild blackberry/blueberry jam. I still have some pears to can and perhaps a small batch of pear ginger jam.

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September 10, 2007 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

Greening My Kitchen(ware)

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No, I’m not painting my kitchen green…though that might be a nice change. I have been working to replace many of my not-so-environmentally friendly kitchen items with items that are more “green” and healthier for my friends, family, community, and ultimately the earth. This is an ongoing process as I am not greening my kitchen overnight. I’m scouring local thrift stores for second-hand alternatives and at the same time purging the unhealthy items as I go.

Cookware
The first to go was all my Teflon™ coated pans. Why oh why were these in my house in the first place???

It has been reported as far back as 1997 that tetrafluroethylene – a major component in Teflon™ – causes “carcinogenic activity” in rats and mice. Apparently this chemical doesn’t leach into foods from cookware but to be on the safe side I am getting it out of my kitchen. You can read more about this here.

I am moving to cast iron for my cookware. I have found a few second hand cast iron pans and love them. Don’t be scared by the idea of having to season your pan, it’s actually really easy. For my baking needs I am moving to glass dishes such as these new ones and these great vintage ones.

Glass, stainless steel, and cast iron are all tried and true for safety. In fact, cast iron can add needed iron to your diet.

Reusable Kitchenware
Durable, reusable and longlasting kitchenware will significantly reduce my consumption of resources saving us a great deal of money (getting items second-hand only adds to this cost savings). The following are some ideas for reusable and longlasting items to use instead of disposable kitchenware:

  • Reusable Coffee Filters – I love my reusable filter that I have been using for over 6 years. Yes, it gets washed. Paired with my favourite organic fair trade coffee makes for a great morning ritual.
  • Cloth towels and napkins – I’ve mentioned this one before. To cut down on excessive washing we share one napkin (the family napkin) during casual dinners with the hubby and little one. When we have guests everyone is offered there own.
  • Glass baking dishes – I’ve found a number of these at my local thrift store.
  • Cloth bags for shopping – don’t forget to take your produce bags too!
  • Reusable lunch and water containers – Love the laptop lunch bento box and Kleen Kanteen for the little one. I am enjoying my Sigg water bottle.
  • Glass or stainless storage containers – I’m working on replacing my vast Tupperware collection with glass storage containers and stainless steel bowls with lids
  • Rechargeable Household Batteries – are there any other kind!

Any other suggestions or ideas for me?

August 29, 2007 at 9:18 pm 2 comments

Adventures in Canning

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In an effort to eat as local as possible and savour the bounty of summer well into winter, I’ve been picking, purchasing and preserving large amounts of my favourite fruits. I’ve made strawberry jam, blueberry/raspberry jam and today my neighbour and I canned 40 lbs of peaches (20 lbs each).

The How:

1 – You can use a “syrup” to can the peaches or you can simply use water. Sugar has no preserving qualities and is used mainly for taste. I decided to use a very light sugar syrup. To 6 cups of water add 2 cups of sugar (yes this is the light version!). Heat to simmering. Next year I would like to try a honey based syrup.

2 – Wash peaches while you boil water in a large pot, enough water to cover a the peaches. Reduce water to a simmer after it boils.

3 – Dunk the peaches in the hot water for 20 – 45 seconds. Move them into a bowl of ice water. Skins will come right off after they cool for a few more seconds.

4 – Cut and pit peaches into whatever size you would like.

5 – Hopefully you have started your canner water to boil and washed your jars. If you haven’t, now is the time. Simmer the jar lids and rings, then cover and set aside. Scald the quart jars in the boiling canner water or run them through the dish washer.

6 – Pack your peach slices into the jars as tightly as possible, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top.

7 – Using a ladle or large spoon, fill the jar with the syrup to ½” of the jar top.

8 – Using a small spatula, try to remove as many air bubbles as possible from the jar. Slide the spatula down the sides of the jar to remove the bubbles.

9 – Remove a ring and lid from the hot water and tighten on the jar.

10 – Place in the boiling water canner and process for 20 minutes.

11 – Remove the jars and let cool overnight. In the morning, check the seals, remove the rings, label and store in a cool dark place.

I can’t wait to open a jar on a rainy day in December and think back to summer.

August 11, 2007 at 11:45 pm 1 comment

A 100 Mile Meal

Last night the hubby and I prepared a 100 Mile Meal for 25 people. It was simple, delicious, challenging and a lot of fun to prepare.

Many items came right from our Community Garden (zero miles) or the local Farmer’s Market. We went out to Driediger Farms and picked the raspberries and purchased the blueberries and potatoes. 

We served an appetizer of baked spinach balls and mushroom caps with pesto…thanks Tara for making them they were delicious. We sampled local wine from the Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery. Dinner was local Sockeye salmon in a honey garlic glaze with scalloped potatoes, seasonal salad and a minted dill yogurt dressing. For desert we had raspberries and blueberries with whipped cream. YUMMY!

What I learned:

  • Eating within a 100 mile radius is challenging.
  • Recipes have to be altered slightly…sometimes for the better.
  • You have to really search things out and read labels.
  • You have to ask a lot of questions.
  • Knowing where your food comes from feeds the soul.

July 16, 2007 at 1:42 am 4 comments

Local Food Month

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Crunch Chicken of Low Impact Week fame is at it again. This time she has christened July as Eat Local Month 

First, I should recap on my not-so-stellar Low Impact Week. In all honesty I just didn’t follow through on the challenges I set forth for myself. I chose the challenges that I have been struggling with and I simply didn’t do it. Lame, I know. I can do better.

Let’s look to the positive side. I have been successful in using my reusable bags when I go shopping and very few of their plastic counterparts have slipped into my house. I have cut our dryer use in half by hanging most of our clothing to dry. I have diligently been ordering most of my food from our local organic home delivery company where I have been focusing on making local choices and reducing my families food miles.

Crunchies new challenge is very much in line with where my passion is at the moment – local, yummy and organic food goodness. So during the month of July (and August, September….) I’m going to further increase my consumption of locally and sustainably grown food and decrease my consumption of imported and packaged food.  Specifically I’m going to: 

  • Choose only BC fruits and veggies (no more bananas, mangos, avocadoes, etc).
  • Reduce my food miles by choosing local where possible.
  • Shop at the local farmers market.
  • Limit pre-packaged food by making my own bread, pizza dough, etc.
  • Fill my pantry with jams, jellies and canned seasonal and local fruits to last through Winter.
  • I live in a cohousing community and we often share community meals. I have committed myself to preparing a 100 Mile Meal for the community on July 14th.

The great thing about Local Food Month is that you choose the level of participation you want to do. For more info visit Crunchy Chicken and read through her FAQs.

Also check out this really interesting photo essay, What the World Eats, online at Time magazine. It showcases photos of 15 families around the world and their weekly food supplies. Very visual, interesting and telling. 

June 20, 2007 at 4:05 pm 1 comment

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I am passionate about reducing my impact on the environment and am learning to live simply and live green. I am learning the age old arts of home food preservation and cooking from scratch. This is yet another eco-blog and a place for me to really channel my passions for writing, photography and sustainable living.
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