Conscious Consumer Project

You guys already know that I love good food. I really, really love good food. I also love discussing communities: how they work, how they can work better, and how I can be more involved in making our community a better place to live. When these two topics converge, I just can’t contain myself.

In the spring of 2016, Laura Sapergia and Diandra Oliver came to Burns Lake with their Home Sweet Home Field School and presented their incredible ideas to a group of VERY interested community members. They talked about how to grow the local food economy and why it matters, and this conversation sparked something for me. It was shortly after that talk that I enrolled in nutrition school at CSNN, which was been the driving force behind my new business (and new life!). Clearly, this brief session on local food had an impact on me. Suddenly I wanted to know more about my food, where it comes from, who grows it, how it is grown, and most importantly, what my role is in our food system. While I am not a food producer, I do want to be a more conscious consumer. To accomplish this, I decided I needed to engage with local farmers. Which, frankly, I find a little bit terrifying!

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As a city-girl, there has always been a middle-man between producers and consumers for me; generally in the form of big box stores and nation-wide supermarkets. I have always felt more comfortable with this arrangement because I don’t need try and make small talk with anyone, I can always get the specific groceries that I need, and I know what to expect every single time. However, once I started paying more attention to the importance of eating veggies grown in nutrient rich soil, eating well raised animals that are happy and cared for, ensuring that producers are adequately compensated for the hard work that they do, and mitigating any of the potentially negative environmental impacts of farming, I knew that I needed to face my own discomfort and start getting out there.

I tiptoed into my first farm this summer at Tranquility Farms, where we buy our beef. We took our sweet girls across the ferry and had a wonderful time with Darrell and Louise, getting to know how their farm works. And it wasn’t scary! I had a blast doing something totally different, loved introducing farm life to the girls, and loved getting to know ‘our’ farmers. Since starting this blog, I keep thinking about that link – the one between producers and consumers, and I want to help make the gap a little less scary and local food a little more accessible. So, I’m going to get over my fears and start visiting farms myself so I can share all the good stuff with you in the coming months. Stay tuned!

PS: Are you a farmer or food producer in my local area? Email me! I would love to come meet you and do a write up.

Photo Cred:
Top Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash
2nd Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash


Crumbly Bumbleberry Breakfast Bars

In my quest to find desserts that double as acceptable breakfasts, I revamped Cam’s grandma’s tasty Raspberry Bars. They are one of my most favourite treats; but they are super addictive because of all the sugar. I have quite a sugar addiction, and when I made them the original way, they would actually call my name alllll day and I found them so irresistible that the batch would be gone before dinner time. Then I would feel shaky, super thirsty, and irritable for days. Not a good thing.

So I changed them up: I got rid of the conventional sugar, made it gluten-free and amped up the fibre. I also subbed the conventional jam filling for a homemade chia jam that has no added sugar, but has chia seeds to bind it together and increase the fibre even more. The result: amazingly delicious breakfast bars that could double as a healthy dessert :)! They are super tasty, but not addictive. There is no post-raspberry bar energy crash and no ensuing irritability. They leave you satisfied instead of insisting that you eat all of them, immediately. Hope you like them too!

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Crumbly Bumbleberry Breakfast Bars

Delicious, crumbly, fruit forward breakfast bars. They also happen to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free (but no one would notice!).

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (just grind the oats in your food processor until they resemble a course flour)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 batch chia jam (recipe to follow)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375

  2. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.

  3. Mix the oats, oat flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, palm sugar, baking powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl.

  4. Add melted butter/ghee/coconut oil and mix together using a spatula.

  5. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the parchment lined baking pan.

  6. Top with chia jam. Using a spatula, spread the chia jam all over the oat mixture.

  7. Mix the almonds with the remaining 1/3 of the oat mixture.

  8. Use your hands to crumble the remaining oat mixture over the berry filling.

  9. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until the top is begins to brown.

  10. Let cool before cutting into the bars (if you can stand waiting!)

 

Bumbleberry Chia Jam

Versatile, delicious, protein and fibre-rich jam for your morning oatmeal, fancy dessert, or eating with a spoon!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the berries and chia seeds.

  3. Stirring frequently, cook until the berries begin to burst and release their juices.

  4. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Mix together.

  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until you have a thick, jam like sauce.

  6. Dig in!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

I have been trying to come up with some fun sample ideas to lure folks down to see me at the GreenZone Grocer on Saturday mornings. Last week, we used vanilla chia pudding and chocolate chia pudding samples to encourage folks to stop by. When we offered folks the cute little samples that were sitting on the counter, I was completely surprised by the number of people who had never even heard of chia pudding (what!??!). Then, lots of folks on Facebook confirmed that they, too, had no idea about this scrumptious (and healthy!) treat. I was, again, flabbergasted. So this recipe is for all of you who are brand new to chia pudding. You can start out with something more basic and layer it with apples and walnuts. Or, you can go really crazy and puree the pudding wth nut butter and chocolate (which is what I am going to show you how to do today). But first, why should you even eat chia pudding (besides that it is delicious)?

Chia seeds are super nutrient dense, with a good amount of protein and fibre, and omega-3s. So they are going to help keep your blood sugar stable and your brain healthy. Plus, they gel up when soaked and have a soothing effect on your digestive system. And a fun fact: chia seeds aren’t only good for you – they are also good for growing chia pets. Yep, they are the same seed!

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A quick note on the other ingredients: I used peanut butter here because I was out of almond butter. I should say here that I don’t think peanut butter is the best nut butter in the world (more on that another time), but I went ahead with good old PB this time. But, hear me out, if you are going to use peanut butter, please use one that has peanuts and salt as the only ingredients. You don’t need sugar and trans-fats in your PB. To sweeten this, I used maple syrup (the good quality stuff!), but you could also try mashed bananas or dates instead. I used raw cacao for the chocolate-y goodness. Raw cacao is unprocessed chocolate and it is high in magnesium (to help you chill out) and antioxidants. You can sub it with regular cocoa, which is easier to find in BL,  but you’ll lose some of those nutrients. Anyway, on to the recipe!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Gooey, creamy chocolate chia pudding topped with sliced bananas, nut butter, and chocolate chips.

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups nut milk (I used homemade almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cacao
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on your preference)
  • 2 tbsp nut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • pinch or two of sea salt

Top with sliced bananas, a dollop of nut butter, and some chocolate chips!

Instructions

  1. Put everything into a medium sized mixing bowl.

  2. Mix. This will take a bit because the cacao is hard to stir in, but it will eventually come together.

  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours, until it resembles a pudding-like consistency).

  4. Stir it up! 

  5. If you like a more tapioca pudding-like consistency, then keep it as is (my personal choice. Plus, I am kind of lazy), dish up, and top with the fun stuff. 

  6. If you like it creamier, then blend it up until it is smooth and creamy, adding a bit more milk if you need. Then dish up and sprinkle with toppings.

 

 

 

 

 


Fluffy Spelt Pancakes

I was chatting with my brother and sister-in-law over Skype the other morning and they were making pancakes. And I remembered how much, much, much I love pancakes. I love that they are sweet, I love their fluffiness, I love the crisp edges,  I love slathering them with butter and drowning them in maple syrup. I never eat them though. First of all, I don’t feel good about buying pancake mix (lots of additives, refined sugar, weird dairy) so making them from scratch seems like a lot of work. Second, I always feel guilting for eating ‘sweets’ for breakfast. But this morning, I just couldn’t shake the idea. So, I came up with a super fast, easy recipe that I can feel good about. I used:

  • organic, whole grain spelt flour (light enough to lend fluff, yet whole grain enough to feel good and keep my energy levels stable)*;
  • full fat yogurt (to ensure blood sugar stability and satiety – please tell me that you aren’t still eating low-fat foods!);
  • and mashed banana to lend sweetness AND fibre (you know why).

They turned out even more delicious than I anticipated! Even Grace (who is 3) loved them. Hope you like them too!

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Fluffy Spelt Pancakes

Fluffy pancakes made with organic, whole grain spelt flour (light enough to lend fluff, yet whole grain enough to feel good and keep your energy levels stable), full fat yogurt (to ensure blood sugar stability and satiety), and mashed banana to lend sweetness AND fibre (you know why).

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spelt flour (organic & sprouted, if possible)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 3/4 cup full fat greek yogurt (please, please, please don't use low-fat instead)
  • 1/4 cup water or nut milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder

Nut butter, butter, and maple syrup for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat your pan on medium-low heat, add a bit of butter to grease the pan so the pancakes don't stick.

  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl.

  3. Mix all wet ingredients together in another bowl.

  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be quite thick. Don't over mix!

  5. Use a measuring cup to scoop about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Allow each pancake to brown nicely before flipping. They do take a bit of time to cook because they are just so darn fluffy!

  6. Enjoy with butter or your favourite nut butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

*Just an FYI that spelt flour does contain gluten. There are lots of folks out there who claim that spelt flour doesn’t bother them as much as wheat flour, but if you are celiac or gluten-sensitive, this isn’t the recipe for you.


Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro-Caper Chutney

Have you tried roasting your cauliflower yet? If you haven’t, you should start. And this recipe is the perfect place to start. It is divine. Really. Plus, cauliflower is chock-full of all of the good stuff: fibre (we all need more, you know why), antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. We should all eat more. But I get that anything is hard to eat if it isn’t tasty, and historically, cauliflower has always been on the low end of my list of favourite veggies. But this cauliflower recipe will change your mind (and your life) forever. I promise. The edges are crisp and buttery, the flavour is perfectly salty with just enough spice to keep things interesting, and the cauliflower melts in your mouth just a little.

Even more, while this cauliflower alone is really tasty, the cilantro-caper chutney really takes it over the top. This is great as an appetizer or side dish. Did I mention that it is great for your colon, friendly to your good gut flora, and anti-inflammatory? Hope you like it!

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Roasted Cauliflower

Great as an appetizer or side-dish, this roasted cauliflower is sure to please!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower (chopped into bite sized pieces)
  • 1/4 cup ghee or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Line your largest baking sheet with parchment paper

  3. Dump the cauliflower bites onto the parchment paper. Top with the rest of the ingredients.

  4. Use your hands to rub the ghee or avocado oil and spices onto every piece, ensuring they are evenly coated. Spread them out as much as possible so they aren’t touching one another.

  5. Roast for 20 mins. Stir around, roast for another 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower begins to turn brown with caramelized bits.

  6. Let sit for 5 minutes before adding the chutney (see recipe for chutney below). Chutney can be drizzled over the cauliflower, or served on the side for dipping.

 

Cilantro-Caper Chutney

This chutney carries a big punch and is a wicked dipping sauce for anything. Specifically, roasted cauliflower.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 big pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place everything in a food processor and process until chopped and combined, but still chunky.