Saturday, July 28, 2012

natural superfood smoothie

I bought kelp meal awhile ago from Ecollegy with stars in my eyes: "it's so full of minerals!!". But actually I hate seaweed. So here is my compromise:

Boil 250 mL of water in the kettle. Pour this over 4 tbsp of kelp meal and 2-4 tbsp green tea (for extra antioxidants). Cover immediately and let steep for at least one hour. Let cool completely, then strain out solids. Tea will be very strong.

In a blender, put 1 banana, 1 peach, a handful of blueberries, a small handful of flax seeds, some yogurt, kefir or coconut milk, and your crazy tea mixture. Blend it until no chunks remain. Taste - if you need it sweeter, use raw honey or some dates. If you really want to go all out, throw in some freshly peeled ginger and/or oats. Add peanuts or other nuts if you want... mmm peanut butter. Drink it cold.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Super Supper Scrambled Tofu

- 1 onion, thinly sliced

--> Fry in bacon fat (or vegetable oil, or a mix, but bacon fat is best - just keep it in the fridge when you make bacon)  over low-medium until soft and transparent, then add:

- 2 potatoes, thinly sliced & boiled (or if in a hurry, add them raw with 1/3-1/2 c water and add about 10 minutes cooking time, until water is absorbed/evaporated)
- 1 package firm or extra-firm tofu

--> Fry together with the onions, turning up the heat to medium-high, adding more oil as necessary. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add:

- 1 1/2 tbsp thyme (or whatever you want)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- about 1/4 grated cheese
- 2 tomatoes, sliced roughly

--> Cook 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are soft but not disintegrating. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Which would you pick?

As most (or all) of you know, I work in the daycare business, and when it comes to the food given to the children, 'j'en ai vu des mûres et des moins mûres'. There are no regulation as to what exactly we give children to eat in a daycare setting, apart that it has to have one starch component, one dairy component, and one vegetable component. And in the 9 years of witnessing terrible lunches and snacks, I have never seen the government come into the daycare to check out our food. They content themselves with a typed menu sent by the director of the daycare.

I have seen some nasty shit pass into the gullets of unsuspecting and unknowing children. Things like frozen 1.00$ Michelina meals, pizza pockets, rocky road ice cream (twice in one week), goldfish crackers, cherry chip flavored cupcakes, etc. Delicious, 18 months to four year old appropriate right?

Now I know some people might say, goldfish are great (the particular brand we use has 20% of their total sodium in one portion), or Ive served pizza pockets to my kid and its OK once in awhile, or something else along those lines. While I completely agree that you as an adult make your own food choices and 'it ain't nobody else's business', and that you as a parent also make the choices for your children in your home, I stand firm in the belief that daycares have a sacred trust, and a duty to provide their charges with the best care we can possibly administer. That, to me, involves no pizza pocket to two year olds. Fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, healthy dairy sources should ALWAYS be part of the menu, not left behind because of this ideology of 'feed-them-crap-make-more-money' which is pretty much a constant in most educational buildings I have been to.

My position right now is that of assistant to the director, which puts me in a place that I can use to hopefully influence the daycare. I requested a meeting with the director and the other assistant as well as the parent council to talk about the food we serve and what we could do. This is how I went about it: on one plate, I had a muffin (the type that comes from a bag and you add water), and on the other, a cantaloupe slice, half sliced kiwi, quarter cored apple, and a handful of multigrain cheerios. Could I have shocked the parents by showing them what their children mostly eat? Yes, but I didn't want to lose my job, so shock wasn't the point. So back to the plates, I showed them what I had and I asked them which they would pick. Surprisingly, a little under half of them picked the muffin over the fresh fruit.. WHAT? A mother explained that the fruit is obviously more expensive and the time it took to peel, cut, etc would result in mess and tantrum from hungry child. All I had to say to that was ....... Then, I pulled my secret cards, the nutritional facts from each plate, and the price per plate. The difference in price was maybe 75 cents more. The difference in nutritional values, however, was ridiculously staggering. 0 vitamins and nutrients in the fake muffin plate (apart from 1% calcium from somewhere), the starch component came from modified EVERYTHING, and there was 11 unpronouncables in the list (I'm not even joking). That and many other factors quickly won out everyone but one mother, the same who dissed my fruit. Her final argument was that no kid would go for fruit over muffin, and that hers wouldn't even touch it.

That's when the secret weapon came out. I had actually taken pictures of my class (including her son) eating the fruit. They all ate it, and her son actually asked for more cantaloupe (but didn't like kiwi, which was fine). AWESOME!

Why do parents insist their children wont eat fruit and vegetables? I just really don't get that. Their bad habits are mostly a reflection of their parents. If mama and daddy do not present baby with fresh real food, or they themselves do not eat it, then their kids will most likely do the very same thing and immediately qualify veggies and fruits as weird and undesirable. Its such simple logic, and yet one that eludes so many of parents! Instead of giving goldfish to your children and habituating them to processed, over salty, fake food, why not just let them experiment with natural earth growing food and the things we can make directly from it, with as few ingredients as possible? Let them taste, touch, feel, and discover what they like and don`t within our rainbow spectrum of fruits and veggies, involve them in the process of cultivating it (if you do so), and/or going to a farmer`s market, and/or preparing a meal! Guaranteed that involving children within the whole process will make them so much more inclined to accept freshness as delicious, rather than something to be forced down or pushed to the edges of the dinner plate.

PS, my motion for the daycare was vetoed by the big boss. You win some, you lose some. Maybe I made just one parent rethink something, and that would be worth it all.

How about you, do you have a philosophy when it comes to food and children?

Saturday, July 14, 2012


photo credit:

Oh, camera.

My DSLR has been missing since my dad's birthday in April 2012.

My phone camera is not focusing properly.

I want to post.

So. Badly.

So I just will.

I've been trying to incorporate more veggies into my diet in general, and I've noticed that breakfast has been bereft of any legumes délicieux. I'm not terribly crazy about omelets these days (runny yolks ftw, folks), and sauteeing spinach as a side dish gets old.

So, friends, I turned to kale. But kale? Really? That crunchy, chewy stuff that's annoying to eat?

Yes. And it's heavenly. And super easy.

What You'll Need: 

-1 pack good quality sausage (I highly recommend Rheintal)
-1 bunch kale, rinsed well, cleaned of stems, and chopped into 2-3 inch sections)
-1-2 cups chopped leek (I like the leafy part of the leek)
-cracked black pepper (optional)
-a pan with a lid

Do It: 

1) Slice sausage into coins.

2) Let sausage sautée on medium to low heat, and watch it release bacon-fatty goodness. Om.

3) Add leeks. Lower the heat maybe 1 notch. Watch leeks carefully as they burn quickly! Let them slow cook for a bit--it's worth the wait. Your kitchen will smell divine. My dad always knows when there's leek cooking!

4) Top the sausage and leek with kale. Cover pan with lid. Let the steam cook the kale, about 3 minutes. Then mix the kale into the sausage and leek. Cover again, and let cook 1 minute or so.

Enjoy piping hot! What I love about this recipe is that the kale comes out delicate and buttery, not at all chewy or hard like it may when cooked otherwise. I will often crack an egg in the middle and make some kind of breakfast skillet out of it. Alternatively, you can also fry a slice of yummy multigrain toast in the remaining bacon-fatty-(and now leek!)- goodness.

Yay breakfast veggies!!

How do you incorporate veggies into your morning meals? What are your favourite vegetables to cook with for breafkast?

Friday, July 13, 2012

some housekeeping...

The more apt among you will have noticed that our little banner up there still reads "Spring". I feel quite sloppy in not having implemented our summer layout yet, so I thought I would explain that my camera is having some issues - namely, our PC died months ago, and the laptop doesn't recognize the camera card for long enough for a transfer, it's maddening (I still have pictures with TULIPS on my memory card!). I should be able to finally transfer some pictures this weekend at my mom's - but if any of you ladies have suggested shots for the summer layout, let me know. I am thinking, outdoorsy, picnics, barbeques, popsicles, that kind of thing. I can do the usual font & editing, just send me suggested shots. Thanks!

Monday, July 2, 2012


I am now cane sugar-free (and maple, honey, xylitol, molasses, etc-free, for the time being), except my mayo has sugar, and I realized after asking the nice man to slice my roast beef that it probably had sugar - I checked the package and yep, it has two kinds of artificial sugars, grr. From now on I guess we'll have to DIY our mayo and stick to real meat... I mean, cold cuts kind of freak me out anyway. Are you sugar-free? Would you take the plunge? I am still eating fruits and things - while I am trying to be aware of the glycemic index of various foods, my diet isn't really low g. i. as such. I just really have been wanting to cut sugar for a long time and decided it was time.

Maybe in the long term I will re-introduce natural sweeteners that I can visualize gathering - that is, probably honey and maple syrup, but probably not xylitol (while it has a low g. i., and is very natural, and wonderfully good for you, it is undeniably artificially and industrially processed) or coconut sugar (unless I move somewhere with local coconuts). I think blackstrap molasses might make it in, though it can't really be done in a home kitchen (or maybe I am just lazy/intimidated!).

I am also hoping that my new commitment will mean Ambrose will also be eating better. It is really extraordinary, how far-reaching "just sweeten it" has become the standard advice for parents looking for foods for their little ones. And I'm not just referring to the mainstream baby foods and toddler snacks, though yes, they tend to be appallingly filled with sugar (and all kinds of other crap), but also in the "natural" sections, as well as in the trenches. You really realize this when you tell people that you (and/or your child) are sugar-free. Ambrose has a great-grandfather whose "thing" is giving him a piece of dark chocolate every time he sees him. To create a positive association, you know. I have heard other relatives express their desire to systematically condition my child into liking them by using sweets. Most snacks that well-meaning relatives buy have either processed grains or sugar (my mother is terrible about this, she is infamous for NEVER READING LABELS).  It is so hard (but so important!) to fight for your child's relationship with food - to ensure that food and meal times are not about power, control, guilt, etc., but about pleasure, taste, hunger, community. The psychological aspect is already quite a thing to keep in mind (it can be very frustrating to encourage a picky eater, and very tempting to use force, though it must be avoided) - adding the insistence that your child eat healthy, whole foods, and you start to feel like a bit of a crazy villain to those who aren't on the same wavelength. Maybe I'm just sensitive, still? Ambrose isn't even technically sugar-free, yet - that would be a big step to take, and Tony and I haven't even gone there - but as I've been sugar-free for a week now, and am feeling great, and am happy to be leaving behind the ill effects of sugar, I do feel bad giving Ambrose things to eat that are likely to make him crash, give him headaches, etc, where he could be eating good, fresh, filling, nutritive alternatives... maybe the writing is on the wall...!

Some articles...

Is Sugar As Addictive As Alcohol?

Sugar-Free Parenting