Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberries in Ginger Cream

I work Saturdays, a fact that would be a major downer except that where I work just happens to also be the site of one of the best farmer's markets in the city that day. 

Last Saturday, I didn't mean to buy anything, we had our CSA box coming and we didn't really need anything, but I just couldn't help myself when I was walking through and caught the strongest whiff of strawberries imaginable that stopped me dead in my tracks. Most supermarket frankenberries shipped from California look beautiful but have almost no smell, even with your nose pressed right up on them. These fresh local strawberries by contrast smelled of sweet fields still kissed by the sun. They were irresistible and I bought two pints.

After eating them straight up, this recipe is my second favorite way to enjoy strawberries. Due to the strawberries and honey, this tasty little number is suitable for babies over age 1. 

Strawberries in Ginger Cream

- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 2/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp good quality honey
- 1-2 tbsp very finely chopped crystallized ginger

Mix all of the above ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide into individual serving bowls and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where Food Comes From: Visiting the Urban Farm

If you've been following this blog, you have probably already noticed from this post's book round-up that I feel strongly about importance of kids making the connection between farm and fork. This is knowledge that has become increasingly lost as we become more urbanized. In 2008, humanity passed an important milestone that for the first time ever, globally more people now live in cities than not.

Although we should make the effort to get our kids outside of the city once in a while, many cities have urban farms of various types, from historic showcases to real working farms (even our family's CSA produce comes from within our city's limits!), to help give children a sense of where food comes from. The photos below are from our weekend visit to Riverdale Farm, a 7.5 acre slice of downtown Toronto that is a representation of a historic Ontario farm complete with cows, goats, horses, a donkey, chickens, turkeys, pigs, geese, ducks, and rabbits -- but it was the tractor that was Luc's favorite part!
Below are a few samples of other urban farms that you can visit with your family, and with a little reseach I'm sure you could find near you!

Riverdale Farm  Toronto, Canada
Maplewood Farm Vancouver, Canada
Vauxhall City Farm London, UK
Phillipsburg Manor New York, USA

The Girls


It is Luc's opinion that nothing runs like a Deere

Pastoral perfect in downtown Toronto

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cows Producing Human Breast Milk-- WHAT!?

I just HAD to share this super creepy news article. This just sounds like science fiction to me. I don't know that if you were one a woman that couldn't produce enough milk, if this would be a better alternative to formula?

If you get a chance, it's worth a read and the comments are also really interesting to read through.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peachy Keen Creamsicles

It's been a really cool and insanely rainy Spring around here and I couldn't be looking foward more to the arrival of Summer. Because we don't really have the funds to go on a proper vacation this year, we're going to spend the Summer making an effort to explore our own city and surrounding area. While it's natural to be curious about new places, I think its easy to fall into ruts and routines about what's familiar. I'm actually really looking forward to pretending to be a tourist in our own town.

Now that Summer is officially just around the corner (YAY!), it's time to whip up some nice cool treats. Commercial popsicles, creamsicles, and ice pops are full of artificial colors and flavors and since its just so darned easy to make your own, why bother going to the store? This is really a great treat or dessert for the whole family.

These can also be made appropriate for munchkin's under age one and vegans by substituting agave syrup for the honey and using unsweetened rice milk instead of cow's milk.

Peachy Keen Creamsicles

- 1 cup peach slices, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 orange juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Divide mixture into 6 ice pop molds (depending on the size of your mold, you may have a little left over -- that's just a little smoothie for the person doing the blending). Freeze overnight.

To unmold, just dip into a cup of warm water for a few seconds to loosen and enjoy!

* makes 6 creamsicles

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Amazing Play Kitchen and Market Stall Ikea Hack

Check out this amazing play kitchen and market stall hack over at IKEA Hacker using the RAST bedside tables! I'm currently looking for a great play kitchen for Luc and if only I had more time on my hands and were as ambitious as this DIYer I would totally make these! 

Snack Stations

This is an idea from Real Simple for creating snack stations to make grabbing snacks for your kids a snap. I'm contemplating preparing stations like this to streamline snack time...that is if I can get my organizational act together. I'm trying to decide what I would include in my snack stations, as some of the choices below wouldn't be my choices. 

So far, I would definitely include: 

- mixed dried fruit
- a healthy savory cracker
- a healthy sweet cracker or cookie
- hummus or homemade yogurt ranch dressing
- peanut butter
- cut up raw or lightly steamed veg
- cut up fresh fruit

Please share you ideas of what would you would add as a must-have to keep on hand for quick snack prep? 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Whole Grain Honey Sesame Cookies

I've been feeling stressed because our dog sustained a head injury and cost us a fortune in vet bills and when I'm stressed, cooking and baking help me to relax. I find it relaxing to not have to think too about anything for a little while besides what I'm doing with my hands and getting into a rhythm of washing, chopping, rolling, stirring... Plus, there's always a little thrill of accomplishment when things work out well.  

These cookies are one of things that I made recently and they were a big hit with my son. These uber-healthy cookies are adapted from the granola muncher's classic, Diet for a Small Planet. Full of whole grains, healthy fat, calcium, and fibre these are cookies that you don't have to feel guilty about eating or feeding them to your little ones. 

Whole Grain Honey Sesame Cookies

- 1/2 cup honey 
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk (cow, almond, coconut -- your choice)
- 1 1/4 cup oats, ground to a flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/2 cup dried currants (or chopped raisins)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over med-low heat stirring regularly until lightly toasted and nutty smelling. Meanwhile, grind the oats into a flour using either a coffee grinder or a food processor. 

In a large bowl, blend together the honey, coconut oil, and egg. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Dough should be quite stiff.

Drop batter in approximately 1 tbsp size amounts onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten each gob of batter with moist fingers and bake in your preheated oven for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container. 

*TIP: measure the oil first and add to bowl and then use the same measuring cup to measure the honey -- it will slide right out into the bowl.

* Will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container or freeze for one month.
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