Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How do I love lentils...

... let me count the ways.

#1 - Lentil sprouts on a tuna salad sandwich. Sprouting the lentils adds a whole lot of nutrition to an already nutritious food, plus turns a tuna salad sandwich into a vector for my local diet.

I discovered this lovely combination last week while taking the Food Bank Challenge. My food hamper included a tin of tuna and enough lentils to feed a battalion.

Want to sprout your lentils? Follow these instructions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lentils Anyone?

Someone asked me recently, "Where do you source Saskatchewan-grown lentils?" The good news is, any lentil for sale in the grocery store (canned or dry) that is labelled a 'Product of Canada' is primarily grown in Saskatchewan. Currently, there are three kinds of lentils in my pantry:

Red split lentils (centre)
Diefenbaker Seed Processors of Outlook packages lentils under its label Kashmir Valley. I purchased these at the Medina grocery store on Central Avenue in Sutherland. See the Kashmir Valley product list

Small green lentils (right)
These were included in my food basket when I took the Food Bank Challenge earlier this month. According to the Food Bank, they were donated by a local farmer.

In have also sourced green lentils from Grandma Lou's, which are grown and packaged on the McDougall farm near Moose Jaw.

Black 'beluga' lentils (left)
These were a gift from a farmer. However, you can buy these and other lentils at the SaskMade Marketplace on 8th Street in Saskatoon.

Tomorrow... one of my favourite ways to enjoy lentils!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Food Bank Challenge

It's over (at midnight)! We ended our one-week Food Bank Challenge with lentil burgers. Pretty darn good and appropriate to this blog, since the lentils came from a local farm.

So, here are some guidelines for the next time I'm asked to donate an item for the Food Bank:

1. Avoid foods that have to be cooked. No Stove Top Stuffing.
2. The exception to 1. is foods that are cooked simply in boiling water. Pasta is good. Include a sauce.
3. Give tinned fruit. There was no fruit in my food basket. What I wouldn't give for a tin of peaches right now.
4. Don't give food you wouldn't eat yourself. That goes for cheaper quality brands.
5. Don't give food that is about to expire. I've eaten a lot of old bread this week.
6. Include something quick and filling for that bread - peanut butter, jam, cheeze whiz, nutella...
7. Think of the children. Give them a healthy treat - raisins, cheese sticks, etc.
8. Energy bars might be a nice touch. Tasty, quick, filling, easy.
9. Desserts. [Cancel #9 - I've since learned there are no cookies or other desserts in Food Bank baskets.] I haven't eaten sweets for a whole week, except in pre-sweetened oatmeal poridge. My sweet tooth is pouting...
10. Be generous.

Want to know more? Read the Food Challenge blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food Bank Challenge

Day 3 of the Food Bank Challenge and I'm snacking on uncooked Stove Top Stuffing. Sheesh... Tonight I canned 10 jars of corn salsa. Thankfully the Food Bank diet lasts just one week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Food Bank Challenge

It's Day #1 of the great Saskatoon Food Bank Challenge! For one week, participants are eating off the contents of a typical food basket. It looks like plenty of food -- but the wrong food. Lots of bread but no fruit. Quite a few veggies but little protein. (It's a misconception that every food hamper contains peanut butter!) No sweets what-so-ever.

As for locally-grown food, I'm pleased to see potatoes, carrots and lentils. Still, I've pretty much exchanged my local diet for a poverty diet. But just for a week. Check out the Food Challenge blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Season for Chocolate Zucchini Cake

There is one very large zucchini left in my garden. I'm seeing how big it will grow before frost forces it indoors. And then I can make even more zucchini chocolate cakes!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups grated zucchini

1 tsp grated orange peel (optional)
Handful of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into bowl. In another bowl, beat sugar, butter and oil until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk, with three additions of each. Mix in zucchini and orange peel. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.

Monday, September 05, 2011

I'm enjoying a daily cup of chaga tea. I've read that it will cure many ailments, but I'm mostly enjoying the woodsy flavour. One sip and I think instantly of waking up on a spruce covered island somewhere north of La Ronge.
My friend Curtis (who picked this chaga in northern Saskatchewan) told me to grate the chaga before boiling it, but it's hard to grate, so I've been plunking the whole chunk in a pot of water and boiling it whole. I wonder how many times I can boil it before I boil out all the goodness? And the taste of the forest...   

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Patio Party at the Farmers' Market

You know it's local when the Saskatoon Farmers' Market hosts a party. It's this Sunday 5-8 pm. The number of patio days left this summer are numbered, so take advantage of this opportunity!