Posts filed under ‘Healthy food’

Local eating events abound in Toronto… and beyond

Last weekend I took in the Picnic at the Brickworks, an annual event held by Evergreen and Slow Food Toronto. It’s hard to imagine an event nicer than this — dozens of local food producers each teamed up with a top chef to serve up delicious bite-size num nums, complemented nicely by a splash of local wine or beer. I was in local food heaven!

Another local dining opportunity is coming up: Localicious is a WWF event offered at restaurants in many Canadian cities. The participating restaurants will serve up dishes made with local food, and a portion of the proceeds will go to WWF Canada.

Aside from these kinds of delicious events, I just hope I can take in a few more farmers’ markets before they close for the year.

How are you enjoying local food this year?

October 7, 2009 at 11:25 PM Leave a comment

Gift from Grandma: glass mixing bowls

iStock_glassbowlWhile mixing up ingredients for Homemakers magazine’s Fresh Tomato Lasagna (mmm, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, my favourite combination!) last week, I opened my drawer of too-rarely-used baking dishes and mixing bowls to pick a dish for the wet ingredients. If the recipe isn’t too large in volume, I pick my mom’s mom’s glass Pyrex mixing bowls (stamped “Made in Canada” on the bottom), bowls she used to make many many dishes, bowls with some light scoring from all the baking whipped to form within, bowls that are thick and heavy and hard to break.

Sure, I could get a set of matching plastic or ceramic bowls for a surprisingly small sum at any home store. They would be lovely. They would get used. They would chip, crack and eventually be tossed out. But grandma’s bowls stood up to everything she could dish out, so they’ll have no problem with my occasional baking whims. If anything, I’ll be hunting around antique shows (including the Odessa Antique Show, on west of Kingston this weekend) for a larger bowl to go with grandma’s set.

Do you have a favourite kitchen item, at home or at the cottage, that has stood the test of time?

August 7, 2009 at 10:55 AM 3 comments

A better water bottle

Otterbottle

Otterbottle

SIGG bottle

SIGG bottle

As I noted in my earlier post about bottled water, it seems there is a link between education and deciding to consume bottled water. And as I’ve learned in reading health research for Homemakers magazine, a reuseable bottle isn’t a reuseable bottle. While the bottles that bottled water comes in are safe to drink from, they become less so over many refills, since it’s hard to clean the narrow-necked bottles thoroughly. And, of course, there’s the concern over the health effects of long-term exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) from some types of plastic food and drink containers.

Luckily there are lots of great reuseable water bottle options on the market. I really like stainless-steel bottles, since it’s a durable, food-safe material I can scrub away at and put in the dishwasher as well. I have an “Otterbottle”, which is from an Alberta-based company (although the bottles are manufactured in China), and I also have a larger SIGG bottle, made in Switzerland, which is aluminum, made with a can liner that’s BPA and phthalate free. I’ve even seen glass bottles shaped like plastic water bottles!

What’s your favourite way to tote refreshment on the go?

July 7, 2009 at 12:21 PM 9 comments

Local asparagus: a recipe for delicious!

Asparagus spears emergingI’ve sunk my teeth into that most anticipated event of spring: that first bunch of sautéed local asparagus. It will be official when I buy it direct from a farmers’ market, but that first clutch of asparagus stalks I bought from the grocery store did have the authentic earthy taste of home-grown goodness. My partner and I ate about half of it sauteed with a bit of butter, then the next night I tossed sections of asparagus stalks, chunks of zuchinni,grape tomatoes and mushrooms in olive oil, then threaded them onto skewers and grilled them within a couple of minutes on my super-hot ceramic grill. Perfection!

For a terrific guide to selecting and preparing asparagus, as well as some to dine for asparagus recipes, check out this article on Homemakers.com by our food editor, Andrew Chase.  

What’s your most anticipated fresh local food?

May 27, 2009 at 10:02 AM 1 comment

Should all tea be certified organic?

brewed teaWhile looking at the tea offerings at the grocery store recently, I was pleased to see a few organic tea options from several companies. I picked up some organic black and green Earl Grey from Stash — I love their regular Earl Grey variety, so I thought I’d give the blend a try.

(I’m still transitioning to loose tea — I have to find a good place to get it!)

It struck me that, since we’re soaking the tea leaves in hot water in a time-worn method of drawing out components of the plant into the water, organic tea makes a lot of sense. I have no idea how much pesticide coverage is typical for tea plants, but a quick look at an online study shows that the residues do come out when brewed in hot water. If drinking organic tea helps keep chemicals out of my tea cup, I’ll do it!

I think I’m pretty good at eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (since editing health and nutrition stories for Homemakers magazine over the past three years, I’m certain that eating your fruits and veggies is key to living a healthy life). I have looked at Canada Food Inspection Agency data on pesticide coverage on the food we produce and import, and I pay attention to the reports on top foods to eat organic published by the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports. There are a few things I always buy organic: strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries and bell peppers (although sometimes I go for hot house peppers). Given all this, I’m not sure why I didn’t seek out organic tea earlier.

When I helped set up an organic food information area at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show a few years ago, I learned about the standards farmers have to adhere to. They have to be ready for rigorous soil testing with regular review, and most can’t even become organic farms for three years after conventional farming – that’s how long it takes for the soil to clear. So “organic” does mean something to me. What does it mean to you?

Are there foods that you always try to buy organic?

April 8, 2009 at 10:30 AM 1 comment


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