Browsing: Food Products

Canola Connect Community Summit 2017

April27

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I am blessed to be a part of a special community. Canola Alumni events take place on a regular basis so that the community can reconnect and share our passion for food and the farmers and scientists that are supporting the effort of producing a nutritious product for our families.  If you think that listening to futurists, sustainability excerpts and policy writers is boring, think again! The presentations were dynamic and they were interspersed with delicious food samplings and (new this year) progressive craft making sessions.  All this along with a mindfulness session and team-building drumming opportunity!

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This was our mid-morning snack as we commenced our first crafting session.

What I appreciate the most about attneding a Canola Connect event is having the opportunity to speak directly to Manitoba’s farmers. They answer my questions carefully but with passion. I met Pat and Paul Orsak a number of years ago when I visited their farm with Canola Camp. Paul spoke again at the recent Canola Community Summit. He got me thinking….

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Inventory for our crafts.

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Lunch of raw vegetable salads and tuna bowls with rice or spiraled zucchini.

I was reminded that organic standards leading to certified organic are NOT about nutritional value, food safety, or end use quality. Organic standards are about production methods and marketing. The setting of those standards is led and designed by the organic industry itself NOT by independent health regulators or science based third parties. Does this seem reasonable?

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Our afternoon snack of parsnip, carrot, beet and lotus chips with sweet potato hummus.

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Bruschetta made from three cold-pressed canola oils: Prairie Sky, Northern Lights and Heartland-all delicious in their distinct ways.

Innovations in plant genetics and precision farming practices ensures that land use is optimized. Natural wilderness areas can be preserved. Harmful tillage can be avoided, reducing the amount of silt going into rivers and streams. We should all be for this, shouldn’t we?

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Meat + Bread appetizers.

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Three salads for our salad course.

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Chicken with a fruit sauce and a savouring potato patty.

So if farmers want to produce the same amount of food organically, where are they going to get the extra land? Should farmers choose a production method that would require using more land? What do we think about deforestation? Clearing wilderness?

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The gang called these snowmen, I didn’t sample them…two desserts was enough!

Do we want to knowingly and willingly price food out of reach of some consumers? Are we concerned about food prices for those less privileged here at home, or for those who live in the third world?

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A cream puff filled with a chunky chocolate.

Can the global agriculture and food industry afford not to use all the tools in the tool box while still trying to feed a growing world population?

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Lemon Meringue Tarts

Farmers like Paul want to be sustainable. They  want to leave a legacy. They don’t want to squander the land resource they’ve been entrusted with and they want to leave the land in better condition than they got it. The farmers I have met through Canola Connect want to produce food that is affordable, safe, and abundant.

A couple of weeks later I am still rolling these questions over in my mind. The thing is, I know Paul, I know his wife, I know his daughter. I make decisions with my heart (that is pretty obvious if you spend any time on my blog space) and I know that Paul wants what is best for his family and ultimately for us all. Do I trust what I read on line? Do I trust the scare tactics that are promoted by extremists? Or do I trust Paul to make the best choices for his family and the world? I think that you know my answer to this…

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I was so proud that the beer poured that evening was son J1’s 1919 from Little Brown Jug.

Kath’s quote: “I love food. Farmers love food. I love farmers“. -Me

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Love never fails.

 

2017 Food Trends for Optimum Health

January26

A couple of times per year I have the pleasure of working for and with Michelle Book of the Canadian Health Food Association. Recently she was in town to make live appearances on the morning shows of both Global and CTV to present the 2017 food trends for healthy living. As her food-stylist, I was invited to purchase items for her in advance, deliver them to the stations and set them up in a pleasing fashion. Since she jetted off to her home base right after her last appearance, I also had the opportunity to try some of the new products that she left with me.

Sprouts

Sprouts are low in calories and fats but high in digestible protein and essential vitamins and minerals. They are actually able to hold onto loads of vitamins and minerals that many foods often lose through processing. We used the leftover alfalfa and mixed sprouts in our sandwiches but I understand that they are also good in smoothies. Leftover beans sprouts will go into a pad Thai. Almost any seed or grain can be sprouted in a moist environment making sprouting super easy and affordable.

Plant Based Dairy Alternatives

Most of us are familiar with almond, hemp, soy and coconut milk but this year you’ll be seeing some delicious new additions at your local CHFA Member health food store such as Vita Health. I used the cashew milk in a Moroccan Stew with excellent results. New products are being made with everything from flax seeds, hazelnuts and cashews. The dark chocolate was tasty and you couldn’t tell the difference between the no butterfat cream cheese and regular cream cheese. The many products were super creamy and a great source of calcium and vitamins A, D, and E without added calories, saturated fat or cholesterol, making them a good choice to help with our New Year’s resolutions.

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My favourite was the coconut yogurt which I loved for breakfast with pineapple and papaya. It was superior in taste to regular yogurts and has antibacterial properties which help to balance gut bacteria and rid the gut of toxins to help improve both digestive and immune health. D really liked the shredded Monterey Jack dairy free cheese. We have enjoyed it on omelets and flat breads.

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Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes give our body a head start on digestion to break down all the goodness in the food we eat, such as carbohydrates, protein and fats. Little did I know that consuming the pineapple and papaya with my yogurt was aiding my digestion and improving nutrient absorption.

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Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been used for their health benefits for centuries. I made a Four Mushroom soup with red onions and wheat berries that was out of this world! Two of the mushrooms in my recipe-white and cremini are a rich source of B-vitamins and minerals including selenium and copper.

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Smart Carbs

Carbohydrates are often a source of confusion for many people. Foods made with refined carbohydrates like pastries, white breads and most starchy pasta noodles can put stress on your body’s systems and spike insulin levels. Since I have recently been cautioned about a high sugar reading by my nurse practitioner, I am very interested in this particular category. I have found out that by making simple changes like choosing complex carbs more often, including legumes, buckwheat, quinoa, fruits & vegetables and whole grains I can stimulate fullness and increase my “feel-good” hormones, including serotonin.

We have yet to try our black bean rotini or edamame & mung bean fettuccine but I understand that they will provide a gluten-free, protein and fibre packed alternative to traditional pasta. This evening we are supping on zucchini spiral noodles and I can attest to the black bean tortilla chips being oh so tasty especially when dipped into a fresh salsa.

Check out CHFA’s website to learn more.

Kath’s quote: “Beans are neither a fruit nor musical“.- Angela Cartwright

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Love never fails.

 

Foraging for Wild Asparagus-By Guest Blogger: Alice Kulyk

November14

Last year, as I was driving around the countryside, I discovered many wild asparagus ferns growing along ditches, railroad tracks and road sides. Unfortunately I realized this too late in the season, but I made a mental note that I would stop in these spots next spring and see if I could harvest some.

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Sure enough in the spring there were ferns growing and I would stop every couple of days to harvest. I used a knife to cut the stalks at ground level and harvested all that I could. Wild asparagus in my opinion is more tender and tastier than store bought and worth the effort it takes to pick it.

Asparagus grows really quickly so you can harvest all the new stems but it is important to leave some stems to encourage more growth for the following year. I didn’t harvest lots that first year but enough to get excited for more. This year, I found a couple more stretches of asparagus ferns and by the end of the summer I found fields with up to 20 or more clumps growing just waiting for me to harvest next spring.

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The best time to look for asparagus is in the fall as the clumps have turned yellow and are very visible. I make notes on my phone as to where I see them because I know I will forget a couple of spots. I also take a picture of the spot hoping the clumps show up in my photo like a treasure map.

I get great satisfaction in finding the beautiful and delicious bounty that nature gives us. This is still a great time to keep your eyes open during your travels, find spots for yourself, and make notes of where you find them.

Kath’s quote: “I look forward to the spring vegetables because the season is so short. Mushrooms, edible foraged herbs, wild leeks, early season asparagus”. -David Chang

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Love never fails.

 

Mushroom Foraging, Final Thoughts for 2016-by Guest Blogger Alice Kulyk

October31

It’s the last week of October and I have, with a heavy heart, come to the realization that mushroom picking season is over for 2016. This year was very gratifying and successful for certain varieties but also disappointing. I went foraging for chanterelles about 5 times and came home with 2-3 pounds each time. It was only enough to share with friends and enjoy them for breakfast and suppers during the growing season.

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From friends, I heard that there were huge quantities of chanterelles and peepdenky growing in Dryden and Kenora. I discovered a new, incredible spot for peedpenky which yielded more boxes of mushrooms than I could handle. We picked 8 full boxes and several bags in two hours. They weren’t buttons but they were very solid, meaty and delicious.

If conditions are favorable next year this new spot will be amazing. I will have to remember not to leave town in the first week of October as I almost was panicking that I would miss the peedpenky picking completely. What was disappointing was that I did not find any boletes. I did go out to my never-fail spots 5 or 6 times to find none growing.

The other very sad event that almost made me cry, was to arrive in my favorite picking spot for 30 years in the Belair Forest only to find that the vast section of the forest was being clear cut. But maybe this is to rejuvenate the forest with young trees. Next fall I will be hoping that the stumps left behind may grow wonderful and abundant mushroom gardens.

Whether you are in the forest for picking mushrooms or quadding, enjoy the beautiful ferns and mosses growing there. There is nothing more refreshing than a walk in the forest and taking in the natural beauty. I will spend the winter researching mushroom books and watching videos on mushroom picking. Can’t wait till spring.

Kath’s quote: ”It’s the forests where silence has lease; It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder, It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”-Robert W. Service

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Love never fails.

Looking for New Spots when Mushrooms are Growing: by Guest Blogger-Alice Kulyk

August22

Guest Blogger Alice Kulyk has suggestions for the best time and places for mushroom foraging.

A good time to look for new mushroom picking spots is when that variety of mushroom is growing. I also mark the date I first found them growing in my gardening journal. This year I first found chanterelles on July 23 and have been going out once a week to search for more and scouting potential new spots for next year. Last year, I first found honey fungus mushrooms on Oct 4th. They were beautiful buttons probably just a day old so this year I will start looking for them a bit earlier, maybe mid September. Last year I found lots of honey fungus in Birds Hill Park and found a couple of new spots where no one had been picking. The mushrooms were big and old but there were LOTS of them.

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A warning to pickers: there may be poison ivy where mushrooms are growing.

Make sure you wear long pants with ankles covered, even rubber boots wouldn’t hurt and be careful when you are picking with bare hands. I did end up with a small case of poison ivy last year. A preventative measure when you get home is to wash your hands and arms with sunlight soap. For me, Birds Hill Park is a great place to pick mushrooms even though there may be poison ivy, as it is only 10 minutes from home. I did notice there was a big sign saying that every car should have a park pass even though the front ticket booth was closed. You could buy tickets at the park office.  I took a chance without a pass and was not towed or ticketed in the middle of October.

Find out more:

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/treating-poison-ivy

Kath’s quote: “If you want to go foraging into the wilds of Canada without proper gear, you deserve what you get, even if that happens to include being attacked by an undead moose”.

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Love never fails.

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