Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Food Revolution Day & Sobey’s Potluck Challenge-Our Tastes from Home Dinner

May13

We were delighted to host a potluck in conjunction with Sobey’s Potluck Challenge.  When we invite this particular group of friends over, I am not sure who is the most excited: the parents because they get a breather from their kids (we take the kids off their hands for the evening) or the kids who are anxious to see each other and head down to our play area in the family room.

potluck2

But we always start the evening off with a family dinner.  The contributions to our “Tastes from Home” potluck were homemade chicken noodle soup, green bean casserole (a classic modified to be made without cream of mushroom soup) to accompany the macaroni and cheese that I had prepared,

potluck1

a make-it-yourself spinach salad and watermelon and brownies for dessert.  The hit in the dining room where D, myself and Sister #3 were supervising the little ones was the chicken noodle soup.  The noodles were lovely and fine and the broth had a hint of what we guessed was fennel in it.  We couldn’t confirm because the home cook that contributed it had to attend another event, but she sent a stock pot full of soup over with her husband and girls. We grown ups in the room loved the green beans and the spinach salad.

potluck6

My contribution of Mac and Cheese was modified from an old family favourite.  We have been preparing Best of Bridge’s Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese for years.  But recently, we had been saving the dish for special occasions because it was anything but low fat and low calorie.  I performed a test run of the recipe for Daughter #2’s birthday dinner.  When the original recipe and my version were tasted side by side, no one could tell the difference.

Gourmet Mac and Cheese, Healthied Up
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • canola spray oil
  • 2½ c fibre enriched elbow macaroni
  • ¼ c canola
  • ¼ c whole wheat flour
  • 2 c 1% milk
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 T monkfruit extract, 100% natural, 0 calorie sweetener
  • 8 oz. fat reduced old cheddar cheese, grated
  • ⅔ c fat free sour cream
  • 1 1 /3 c 1% cottage cheese
  • Topping:
  • 2 c grated fat reduced old cheddar cheese
  • 1½ c breadcrumbs made from whole grain bread
  • 2 T canola oil
Instructions
  1. Prepare a 2.5 litre casserole dish by spraying with a canola spray.
  2. Cook macaroni until el dente. Drain.
  3. Blend canola oil and flour over medium heat until it begins to bubble around the edges
  4. Add milk and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
  5. Add salt and monkfruit extract. Blend pasta, sauce, cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese.
  6. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

potluck8

The moist, dense brownies for dessert were perfection.  One bite could truly satisfy a chocolate yearning.

potluck4

Now, who wouldn’t want to cook for these adorable kids? They are well mannered, taste everything and have sophisticated palettes for children their age. This is, I am quite sure, because of the example and encouragement of their parents.  All the parents in our circle, simply place wholesome, home prepared foods in front of their families and let the kids take it from there. Soon there will be another little guy around the table, as they have a brand new baby brother!

potluck5

In the foreground are three sisters.  They all help their parents in the kitchen and one of their favourite pastimes is flipping through pages of cookbooks.  I kid you not.  When we were invited there for dinner recently, all three of them were on the floor by the cookbook shelf in the kitchen, oohing and awing over various recipe photos, sharing them with each other and then requesting of their Mom that they make the most popular items.

potuck6

The Wee One (our Granddaughter) is also a part of this group.  This weekend she tried grilled eggplant for the first time!

potluck9

After our successful potluck, the kids donned t-shirts which served as painting smocks and made painted terra-cotta pots for their Moms for Mother’s Day.  These children are truly blessed with amazing Moms who know that time invested in the nurturing of these little ones is their most important work.

So as far as a Food Revolution is concerned, the need is not great amongst our particular circle.  But please do not misunderstand me; we know that we are a privileged group.  We have the luxury of time and can afford a variety of wholesome ingredients to prepare for our families.  Such is not the case the world over and indeed not even throughout our own neighbourhoods and communities.  We try not to take our blessings for granted and know that our responsibility is to share our knowledge with other families by example, with hospitality and with contributions of money and time to organizations that help feed families nutritious food.

I applaud Jamie Oliver and his efforts through Food Revolution Day-a global day of action celebrating the importance of cooking good food and inspiring in children a love of healthy food that will last a lifetime.  Sobeys wanted all Canadians to get involved and show off their cooking skills and that is why they created the national potluck challenge.  I encourage you to host your own potluck but also to tweet and/or post to Instagram about your potluck event with the #PotluckChallenge hashtag.  Sobeys will be donating $1 to the Cooking Towards Independence Project-a joint initiative between Sobeys and the Children’s Aid Foundation that will set up cooking workshops with children across Canada.

Kath’s quote: “As soon as I was old enough to peer over the worktops, I remember being fascinated by what went on in the kitchen. It just
seemed such a cool place, everyone working together to make this lovely stuff and having a laugh doing it.”-Jamie Oliver

potluck10

Love-that is all.

Get Cooking-Food Revolution Day is Coming

May9

Research released recently by Sobey’s Inc. includes data that is contrary to our own family’s experience. The study reveals that there is a generation gap when it comes to food knowledge and confidence in cooking (only 31% of 18-29 year olds feel confident in the kitchen).  The survey also revealed that Canadians are consuming too much processed food as opposed to made from scratch food.  This I know is true, even though I make it my mission to not be so with my family.

frd3

The findings do not match up with our family or our immediate circle of friends and I was wondering why this is the case.  I have discovered two primary reasons also through Sobey’s research: 1) “When cooking skills are passed down from generation to generation, there’s more enjoyment and collaboration in the kitchen.” In my parents’ house, I recall from as far back as I can remember, being included in the joy of cooking for our large family.  It started with pretty simple tasks: how to peel a potato and shuck corn, to pinching down the edges of a perogy and cutting out the form of a biscuit with the edge of a glass and finally how to make my Mom’s cinnamon buns and blueberry pies and how to perfectly grill a medium rare steak.

frd2

2) “Canadians who cooked with their parents (57%) are much more likely to love coking as adults and are more likely to involve others in their own cooking, fuelling a virtuous circle.”  So too from a young age, the kitchen has always been the centre of our home.  First toys were Tupperware, measuring cups and spoons and pots and pans.  Water play at the kitchen sink was much loved as well as playing with a piece of leftover pizza or cookie dough.  Our families’ favourite meals have always been: make-your-own salad, make-your own-sub and make-your-own pizza.  Now that our children are adults, together with their spouses and significant others, we can see the fruits of this atmosphere.  We get invited to their homes for dinners; everyone takes turns making meals at our family cottage and they contribute courses for special celebrations like our birthdays. Heck, in our house, we’ve even had family cook-off competitions.

FRD1

But we know that we are not typical and that is why Jamie Oliver (a fav in our house)  created a global day of food action called Food Revolution Day to inspire persons the world over to stand up for “real” food.  In recognition of FRD, Sobey’s has launched Canada’s Biggest Potluck Party challenging Canadians to host a potluck leading up to FRD on May 16.

If you want to register your own potluck event, invite friends and plan your potluck luck items, go to http://betterfoodforall.com. You can also access Jamie Oliver & Sobeys recipes, as well as tips and tricks for hosting the perfect potluck party at http://betterfoodforall.com/potluck-inspiration/. You’ll find tons of information there!

kids4-300x168

Our potluck is scheduled for tonight when we host our monthly Young Families’ Group-a time for parents to socialize with other parents, while I, D and Sister #3 take their kids off of their hands for an evening.  We always start with a family supper-kids in the dining room with us and parents in the living room, eating off their laps.  Our potluck theme is ” Tastes from Home” and we plan on sharing family favourites.

Kath’s quote: “The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.” -Judith Martin

BeFunky_14-Lovely-Hearts-for-St-Valentines-day-bread

Love-that is all.

Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup

October22

Today my Guest Blogger is my much loved daughter in law, J2, married to my son (J1).  She is a successful blogger in her own right and has started up her own business and can you tell, I am so very proud of her?

“I wouldn’t classify my husband as a picky eater. His palate is very wide and he is no stranger to trying new things (we both tasted fertilized egg embryos when we lived overseas…). There are a few things though that he strongly dislikes. He dislikes beans, or more specifically anything with a chalky texture – lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans. He dislikes most foods that are overly pungent (he also dislikes when I eat them, but I LOVE them) – olives, blue cheese, black licorice. He dislikes broth-y soups. Chicken noodle, minestrone, hamburger…if you can see through the broth, he will probably decline. I love soup, so I try to be creative in finding thick and creamy soup recipes that we will both enjoy.

One soup that we can both agree on is Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup from Jamie’s Food Revolution. This happens to be one of the recipes on our weekly meal plan this week and it was a perfect fall meal after raking the front yard.


Jamie Oliver's Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
From Jamie's "Food Revolution"
Ingredients
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1¾ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 7 ounces chorizo sausage
  • a small bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1¾ quarts of chicken or vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon curry powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 fresh chile
Instructions
  1. Peel and roughly slice the carrots.
  2. Slice the celery.
  3. Peel and roughly chop the onions.
  4. Peel and slice the garlic.
  5. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes.
  6. Slice the chorizo.
  7. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stalks.
  8. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling.
  9. Put a large pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  10. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients with the curry powder and mix together with a wooden spoon.
  11. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden.
  12. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables.
  13. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil.
  14. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked through.
  15. Season with salt and pepper.
  16. Using an immersion blender or liquidizer; pulse the soup until smooth and scatter over a little finely chopped chile.
  17. Divide between your serving bowls and tuck in.

I have used a regular blender in the past (before I received my beloved immersion blender as a gift), but be sure to let the soup COOL OFF before you blend. Otherwise it will end up all over the walls.
I modified slightly and blended the soup before I added the sausage for a little more texture. Delicious!

Jen Grisim, Providing Pre & Postnatal Services in the Heart of Winnipeg www.specialdeliveriesfitness.com Check out my blog: www.babyladyoftheprairies.com

From Kath: By coincidence, Jamie Oliver was in Toronto this weekend and so was I.  He was there for a Jamie Junior T-Fal event.  Jamie is our families’ favourite chef and I would love to meet him.  Maybe next time…..

Kath’s quote:

“Said Aristotle unto Plato,
‘Have another sweet potato?’
Said Plato unto Aristotle,
‘Thank you, I prefer the bottle.’”

Owen Wister

Love-that is all.

posted under Entrees | No Comments »