I'm excited to be participating in the HomeBase fall show here in Fort Saskatchewan in a couple of weeks- September 13 and 14! I've been prepping my booth giveaways and am really looking forward to seeing a lot of new faces Will you be coming? Pop over to see me!
The entrance fee is a donation to the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society. I can't wait to meet you!
Last Thursday was a great week for finding fresh foods. I love being a meals maven in the summer! A friend stopped by Thursday morning with yet more zucchini and green beans fresh from her garden, and Thursday night I hopped over to our local Farmers Market to pick up some carrots from the Scotford Colony and some bison from a local producer and supplier, Neil Hochstein, from Alberta Bison Ranch.
Today is our 17th wedding anniversary, so to celebrate I'm going to cook that beautiful piece of bison in my crockpot. If the recipe turns out as mouthwateringly amazing as I hope, I'll post a recipe and pictures. I'm also going to make the best green beans side dish I've ever eaten, and a fresh vegetable stir fry featuring carrots and zucchini.
I wish you an excellent weekend!
Husband and I really enjoy watching the show Leverage on Netflix. Last night's show had Eliot talking about his passion for food. His character had this to say about cooking:
"Alright some people could look at it and see just food but not me. I see art. When I'm in the kitchen I'm creating something from nothing, you know what I mean? Sometimes I crush it and sometimes it's crap but either way, it makes me feel something. Just, feel...I share it through my food. This is my art; it's like letting a stranger in your head, just for a second, when you allow them to feel what you're feeling"
That sums up my feeling about food pretty well.
Although I myself do not have a pop addiction (coffee's more my problem), I lived with someone who did, and it was not any fun. If we went to visit anyone, that person would bring at minimum a litre of diet pepsi with them. If we drove anywhere, there had to be a bottle of it with us. That person didn't drink anything else- not water, not milk, not juice. Their teeth suffered enamel loss. Travelling was limited, because we had to not only bring pop with us for the journey (which impacted packing space), this person drank so much we had to always be close to another source of it. The more of it they drank, the more of it they needed to function. That person spent a ridiculous amount of money on feeding their addiction.
One day, that person woke up and decided they didn't want to live like that anymore, and quit it. Cold turkey. I was so impressed- having quit the coffee habit more than once, I could well understand the cravings, the headaches, the brain-fog, the crankiness, and the tiredness.
I'm not saying that everyone can quit cold turkey, and no one can force anyone to change an unhealthy behaviour. Everyone needs to come to that realization themselves.
Like any addiction, your brain needs to be re-wired to work without the substance. I believe it took about a week to 10 days for them to feel functional again. That person carried around a water bottle and filled it up constantly so that dehydration didn't add to the withdrawal symptoms.
One of the ways you can help end an unhealthy addiction- whether to sugar, aspartame, caffeine etc- is to go gradual. Much like weaning a breastfeeding baby, start with one change a day. Perhaps not your morning jolt of java, but maybe the one you have in the middle of the morning.
Have a glass of water or a hot cup of rooibos (full-bodied, but not caffeinated) tea instead, go for a quick walk around the block or up and down the stairs, and/or have a healthy snack such as a handful of almonds and a cheese string or a hardboiled egg and avocado sandwich.
Once that mid-morning fix is easy to miss, try another one, such as your mid-afternoon one, and follow the same procedures. It's not an easy process, and it won't happen overnight, but you will feel more empowered and energetic once you conquer it. Good luck! I'm rooting for you!
I know, I'm a day behind in posting. We took the kids to the zoo yesterday, so I had to get the lunches packed and ready to go as soon as I was done baking. What a great day. My second son made a kookaburra laugh. If you haven't heard that, you should check it out! It will make you laugh too.
As I was getting ready to make my pineapple zucchinni loaf, my second son looked up at me with his big blue eyes and asked me to make something that he likes to eat, which is why we made these muffins.
And I had a childhood friend this week tell me all about making mini omelettes in the oven, so I played around with this meal idea for me. They worked out so well- I'm going to freeze the rest in different ways to figure out the best way to freeze and reheat, and then get back to you.
Enjoy your day!
Originally found here, I slightly modified the recipe based on a friend's review of this recipe- I added an extra tbsp of vanilla, and 1/4c. less flour. I used whole wheat flour, because I don't know what white whole wheat flour is. My second son enjoyed them- "not really like a cookie, mom," he said, "more like an oatmeal muffin". We ate 2 this morning, so the full recipe made 24 cookies. I did measure them, but there's no way I could have gotten 30 as the original recipe states.
Getting these cookies done was not the easiest task today. I started them, remembered it was swimming registration day, and (because online registration doesn't work for me anymore) tried unwisely to make a run for the door since registration fills up ridiculously fast. I then tripped because my feet caught in a turkey lifter which I had left next to the stairs to remind me to give it to someone- whereupon I fell down the stairs. Mike had to rescue me, as I was clinging to the hand railing, my feet caught up in that turkey lifter, and I couldn't move without falling more.
Luckily though, the kids got registered (and they'd better be thankful!), I registered myself in yoga, the cookies got done, and I'm going to have another cup of coffee before I even attempt anything else requiring dexterity, such as housework. Apparently my fine motor skills are taking a break.
Have an excellent day!.
One of the reasons I started Meals Maven is to encourage the most efficient use of our personal resources, be it time, money, food, or health. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges we face globally is the massive amount of food waste here in the west, and extreme famine elsewhere. We toss so much food into our landfills even while people are starving. The juxtaposition of these two extremes- having so much more than we need, when so many don't have enough- is staggering. Maybe if each of us take deliberate steps to minimize our waste and maximize the use of our resources we could do more for someone else, be it here in North America or across the oceans.
Let's discuss bananas. Many years ago someone told me to just toss an old banana still in the peel in the freezer when it got too ripe to eat, and then use it later to make banana bread or muffins. Being young and impressionable, I did the first part of that- but the bananas were so nasty when they came out of the freezer, too slimy when thawed to peel and too cold to handle when frozen- they just got tossed in the garbage. Every time I had ripe bananas I followed the same procedure, and every time I couldn't bring myself to use them.
Several years ago I got the bright idea of peeling the bananas. I know, right? Seems simple enough. But how to peel and freeze so you can use them when you need them in the easiest possible way? Five simple steps:
It's not earth-shattering or even that genius of an idea, but it has helped me for years to stop wasting food. It's also helped to stretch my grocery budget. Now I gleefully buy bags of overripe and marked-down bananas. Do you have any tips to share that have helped you to waste less?
I doubled this recipe so I could make a batch of mini muffins for the kids to eat for breakfast this week, and send a loaf to my brother and his family.
These loaves and muffins have broccoli and carrot puree in them, but you can't taste it. I adapted a recipe from Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld.
My first baking day didn't get underway as early as I'd hoped, because I actually slept really well and just didn't wake up when the kids did. Still, it's done with, and not even 8:30am yet. Stay tuned for more baking tomorrow!
Whether I like it or not, this is the week I need to bake to get ready for school. The boys have daycamps the last two weeks of August, and I need to stay with my second son at his, so I won't get much done in the way of baking. It's going to be so hot this week, and I don't want to have to use the oven very far into the day, so here's my plan. Let me know yours!
I hope to get up just a little earlier than I have been so that I can get whatever it is into the oven before I even eat breakfast. My baking plan is to make one item each day for the week. Here's my list:
One of the ways I save money when grocery shopping is to limit the store-bought desserts and treats. Everyone likes cookies, for example, but making them from scratch at home is usually cheaper and a little less unhealthy. Likewise, loaves and muffins. They are easy to make, easy to freeze, and an appreciated addition to a school lunch. I can also hide multiple vegetables in them to give the kids an extra nutritional boost. For example, the gingerbread spice loaf contains broccoli and carrots! Sshhh. They don't know it, and I'm not going to tell them.
Another way to save money on groceries is to take advantage of seasonal vegetables and fruits. Always buy in season, whenever possible, because you will get the best value for your money. Freeze the extra vegetables and fruit you don't need while they're fresh- we waste too much food in North America. Consider planting a garden -even container gardening, if you don't have the space for a full garden, or a community garden plot. You can plant many vegetables and fruits that freeze very well, such as zucchinni and berries.
What kind of baking do you enjoy sending to school or taking to work?