On Sunday morning, after we unloaded our kids, Richard and I
What we discovered on Sunday at Jean Drapeau was pretty cool. They have an outdoor playground just for adults! How fun is that? Right next to the pool and the kiddy playground is brand new outdoor gym equipment provided by Trekfit. I read about this in the Gazette the week before and so I came prepared to do some training. The objective is to do a circuit workout. Pictures were posted with explanations at all the stations. They also have workouts on their websites in PDF. format that you could easily follow. This equipment is really just a modern twist on old school exercises. The tried and true chin up, push-up and squat are all just a little bit more fun when done outside on some pretty cool equipment in a gorgeous park.
I think this a trend that needs to catch on in our city. People are biking for transportation,
recreation and for exercise more than ever before (think Bixi). So why not install adult equipment in various
locations? I just heard that the City of
It’s August in
This time of year reminds me of a corn roast I was at when I
worked in Kanesatake. It was the best
corn ever! The Mohawks of Kanesatake and Kahnawake use corn as a staple
food. Even in today’s modern society
corn is always served during feasts and gatherings. Corn is used to make traditional bread and
corn soup which is actually an entire meal in a bowl. Traditionally, corn was (and still is!)
gathered and braided ensuring food safety throughout the cold winter months.
Natives also use corn in medicine and in crafts. The husks are used for doll making. If you would like to learn more check out
this interesting website by turtle island native network. I credit this information to my friend Robin
Sky who lives near
My favourite thing to do with August corn is make peach, corn salsa. I have never actually written this down before but it gets a lot of compliments. Here goes: I cut corn off several cobs depending on how many people I am serving it to. I guess you can say a ½ a corn per person. I dice in some fresh August Ontario peaches and again it’s about a ½ a peach per person. Then I toss in some freshly diced tomatoes, at least a ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, for sure 1 fresh red pepper diced, ½ a red onion diced, 1 ripe avocado diced and if I am in the spicy mood I will throw in a finely chopped green jalapeño. The piece de la resistance has got to be the fresh lime juice I squeeze over the entire bowl just before serving. Actually, you should let the recipe sit on the counter for a while so the flavours can mellow into each other.
Now you know how I really cook. I make things up with foods I guess will go well together. It’s all visual. I just open the fridge and see what I can toss into a bowl or pot. I am not even sure I wrote down all the stuff that goes into my summer seasonal salsa. This is the time of year to experiment. I love going to the outdoor markets and getting fresh ingredients. Then I come home and create something interesting.
After I wrote this blog and took pictures of the salsa, I threw in a can of rinsed black beans, chopped Swiss chard and a dollop of Balkan style yogurt and ate it for supper.
I was picking up some fruit and vegetables at the local Fruiterie in deep Cote Saint Luc with my son Trevor the other day. Whenever we go in there, he wants a chocolate chip muffin because his mother never bakes anything. We were looking through the selection when I came upon a new flavor zucchini, carrot and pineapple. I picked it up and saw that it wasn't a house muffin it was from a new supplier called Dessert Par Angela. I looked at the ingredients and found them to be what I would deem homemade. I bought a few of these muffins and ate one when I got home. It was very moist, dense and with a hint of sweetness. All what you would expect from a muffin made with whole wheat flour, fruit, vegetables and sweetened with a bit of fruit juice and baked with a relatively small amount of oil. In my opinion, this was a perfect muffin. (Sorry no picture I ate it before I thought to photograph it)
I tracked Angela down to a
small storefront in
What I found in her store was a plethora of home baked goodies and wonderful homemade salads. I brought home a just out of the oven banana chocolate chip loaf to Trevor's delight. I had to stop him from eating the entire thing. Jason doesn't love chocolate (very weird) so he enjoyed the apricot-cranberry cookie instead.
Angela makes several fresh salads every morning for the lunch crowd. I sampled the carrot-raisin, coleslaw and potato salad which I enjoyed with my veggie hot-dog for supper. I picked up some cream cheese brownies, carrot cake and pecan pie. Apparently, Angela specializes in pies but was all sold out of the fruit ones by the time I got there. I put those treats into the freezer to enjoy at a later date with Richard or whoever might drop by. Hint.
Here's the thing, since I hate baking but know I should provide my kids with wholesome treats in their lunch box, this the alternative. I am happy to let someone else do the baking and include it in my weekly grocery budget. I would rather use my time to focus on home cooked meals. Angela's treats are kid friendly and very traditional. However, if you prefer non-traditional, organic, and are not picky about what you get perhaps you might like the folks at Sweet Revenge. I do both. I get a delivery every two weeks from those guys and I supplement with baked good from Angela's. Just remember these are treats. Portion size is important and moderation is the key.
To get in touch with Sweet Revenge click here. Angela delivers to 5 Saisons in Westmount, National in Westmount, The Verdun Hospital, Quality Fruits in Cote Saint Luc or you can drop by her store in Outremont at 1570 Van Horne.
I suck at baking. I have had more baking disasters then I care to mention. I have actually scraped cream cheese for a cheese cake that flew out of my bowl and landed on the floor, back into the bowl and served it. I have ruined homemade granola, cookies, cakes, icing, muffins, premade challah dough and even rice Krispie squares. I tried to candy maple syrup once and it boiled over the pot, over the stove and on to the floor. I can’t properly whip butter even with a Kitchenaid.
The reason why I am such a terrible baker is because I don’t like following directions and have no patience. I also hate using more than one bowl. I really detest mixing the dry ingredients in one and the wet in another. I enjoy making recipes up and not following directions. You can not do that with baking. It’s a science and everything needs to be measured properly, put into the bowls in the correct order and baked at the right temperature for the right amount of time. As you can see, there is a lot places where one screw up the recipe.
I really wish it weren’t this way. I really want to be a baker. I want to make my own wholesome snacks for my children. I want to stop buying junk in little packages for their lunch boxes. My kids beg for me to bake for them. This winter I even tried to become a half baker. I bought this muffin mix from Loblaws. It’s reasonably healthy and fairly easy to make. But, after a few batches it became boring and no one was eating them.
I know several people who are ‘bakers’. They make wonderful homemade baked goods for their kids effortlessly. I like going to their houses. Unfortunately, we don’t get too many invites these days because my kids devour all their homemade goodies.
In the olden days there was no such thing as store bought baked goods. Granted, women used to keep house and part of their daily work was creating the family meal plan from scratch. Today it is all about convenience and time saving techniques. I have grown up that way too. My mother worked and baked only on occasion. My grandmother didn’t work but also only baked on occasion.
Ironically, as I sit here writing this my kid just got dropped off by my mother with a tin of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that she made. From a nutrition perspective, regularly eating a ton of baked goods will surely end up on your waistline. It’s all about moderation. I just ate 2 of my mother’s cookies and tossed the rest into the freezer. I will put them in my kid’s lunch boxes instead of those dreaded Bear Paws.
The question is, would you pay a premium to have someone else bake for you? I would! Stay tuned for Friday and to find about a new supplier.
Women of child bearing age and specifically those women trying to conceive need to include folic acid in their daily meal plan. All women who could become pregnant should take a daily vitamin containing 0.4mg of folic acid. Taking a daily supplement does not replace healthy eating. Consuming foods containing folic acid have other benefits, including promoting heart health and reducing the risk for stroke. Foods high in folic acid are whole grain breads, liver, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, orange juice, beans, lentils and foods fortified with folic acid such as cereals.
This week’s Friday find is nut butters. Before you read any further you should know that this is a very high fat, high caloric food. I am not even going to bother posting the nutrition label. But, will you eat it?
We live in a fat phobic society and people are literally afraid to eat fat. The common belief is that if they eat fat they will get fat. The truth is if you eat high caloric, high saturated/trans fat and high sugar foods often enough you will get fat.
It is essential to have some fat in your diet to absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. However, it is the type of dietary fat that is important. Saturated fast like that found in animal based products (meat and full fat dairy) should be consumed in moderation. Plant based fats are healthy and can be eaten more often. Sprinkle nuts and seeds into couscous. Enjoy olive oil in salads and poured from the bottle over whole grain pastas. Use fresh avocado in salads and dips. Spread nut butters on crackers and thick whole grain breads.
Fat does other stuff besides absorb fat soluble vitamins. It helps you feel full and helps regulate blood sugar especially if you are diabetic.
It would be remiss if I did not tell you that fat contains 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates. That is pretty much why fat containing foods are high in calories. If you are watching your weight there is no need to avoid fat, simply watch the portion size. That means don’t eat peanut butter from the jar with a spoon.
The nut butters featured here are delicious and wonderful. They are all natural without any additives or emulsifiers. An emulsifier keeps liquids from separating. Without an emulsifier natural nut butter has a film of fat that sits on top. I keep my nut butters in the fridge and mix them well each time before spreading. I never use more than 2 tablespoons for my sandwiches. I always have nut butters on hand and can therefore always make a quick healthy sandwich or snack in a pinch.
p.s. This company is from Ontario and does NOT have a website or an email. I bought these nut butters at my neighborhood IGA.
The truth is my brain is too fuzzy, sweaty and hot to write any thing profound about nutrition. I have no ac in my house and all I want to do is drink water and look for a breeze. I can barely concentrate and am craving carbohydrates.
It seems my clients are feeling the same way. Giving into abandon and eating what ever they feel like because it’s just too hot to think. At the very least stay well hydrated so water and fruit are your best bets. Personally, I like a little ice coffee here and there. Speaking of iced coffee I tried to get one the local Tim Horton’s this week. Apparently, they don’t make them anymore!? They only debuted last summer!!!!! Anyway the girl at the counter offers me an iced cappuccino instead and knowing how much junk is in there, I say sure but make it a small and use milk instead of cream. She says ok and then a few minutes later returns with this soupy grossness. I say to her “isn’t this supposed to be made with slushy ice?” With attitude she responds that they have been making a lot of them and this how they are coming out of the machine and that it tastes good if not better. Ya right. Without the slushy ice it just tastes like cold, sugary, over processed Coffee-mate. It’s amazing how slushy ice can alter the flavour, mouth feel and enjoyment of a food or beverage.
In other new, I was sitting outside drinking my 20th glass of water of the day when a strange looking tattooed man jogged by with bare feet. He was going at a snail’s pace but jogging nonetheless and talking on his cell phone. I wasn’t sure if it was inspiring or like looking at a train wreck.
Finally, I got Richard a bike today for his upcoming birthday on Sunday. He needs to get more active and I always say you got to do something you love and that is fun. Good luck to him. He just rode off to Scrabble club.
I was grocery shopping at the IGA in Cote St-Luc last week when I found myself in the frozen foods section. I was standing there daydreaming at 9:30 at night when I turned around and was confronted by the RYVITA shelf. I thought to myself, hmmmm these crackers are known to be healthy why haven’t I ever tried them? I am not a big fan of the flavour of rye which is probably why I have overlooked these gems for so long.
I am always on the look out for healthy portable non-perishable snacks. I don’t usually buy granola bars, which is a popular choice for most, because they are mainly filled with sugar and other garbage. Most crackers are over processed too.
The muesli on the box appealed to
me (as did the color) so I picked up the box and scanned the ingredients and
the nutrition facts label. 2 slices of
Muesli Crunch gives about 2 teaspoons of sugar, 3 grams of fibre and 2 grams of
healthy fat. 2 slices are equivalent to
1 serving of grain product (1 slice of bread for example) according to
While I was spending way too much money at the supermarket I picked up some almond/hazelnut butter and macadamia butter and some superfruit spread. I use these delicious spreads over the Ryvita and it is killah! Couple this flatbread with a protein like nut butter, cottage cheese, a cheese slice or even some tuna. It’s a good combination rather than eating the flatbread alone because it makes you feel full.
Listen to you hunger cues. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full!