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beets On my way into the grocery store this weekend, I came across a steal of a deal ingredient that wasn’t in my meal plan for the week, but I just couldn’t pass it up.

What is this wondrous ingredient, you ask?

It was a … wait for it … 10 pound bag of beets for $2.97!

No, they’re not organic, but beets aren’t on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, so I snapped them up.

You’ve probably come across a similar ingredient that was an amazing deal, so you bought it on impulse. Then you get home, and think “what the f@ck am I going to do with 40 pounds of heritage tomatoes?” or some other non-ordinary ingredient that you don’t normally cook for an army of 100.

So I’m going to walk you through my process, on the fly and in real time, of exactly how I’m going to use 27 beets.

And yes, I counted them. How else was I going to figure out how many recipes I could make?

Remember that I’m not going to actually eat all 10 pounds. Most of it I’ll freeze for later in single servings, a la my “freezer cooking” method.

Without further ado, here are the 6 ways that I’m going to use up all 27 beets:

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veggie viagra We’ve all opened our veggie drawer to find a bag of carrots or some celery that we bought a month ago. The only word that comes to mind is flaccid.

I don’t think there’s anything in your life that you should be happy to describe with that word, ifyouknowwhatimean.

Worst case scenario, I usually try to use up any veggies before they go bad to make free veggie or chicken stock, but sometimes a rogue zucchini or head of kohlrabi escapes me.

Even though I meal plan every week (with this pretty planner), sometimes life gets in the way and we have to skip a meal (and use freezer meals that I always have stockpiled).

So I’ve come up with a way to plan to use up all the veggies that ultimately would turn into sludge in the bottom of that damn crisper drawer.

Seriously, it’s a see-through drawer, it should be so hard to forget about!

Come Wednesday or Thursday, I make what’s affectionately called “Everything but the Kitchen Sink”. It’s really just a veggie stir fry that uses up any veggie that’s on hand, plus some other pantry staples. I serve it over quinoa if I’m pressed for time, or brown rice if I’m on the ball and have 50 minutes for it to cook (using my rice cooker, of course! I’d just burn it on the stovetop).

This is really more of a non-recipe recipe that tastes different each time I make it, but I managed to eye-ball the ingredients for all of you and your limp veggies sakes. Have fun with this recipe, and tweak the ingredients until your family can’t get enough of it.

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there are octobers How is in-season produce and Miley Cyrus the same?

They’re both cheap and ready to go right now.

Ba-da-bum-ching!

But for serious, fall practically calls you back into the kitchen, kinda like how a full-bodied shiraz from Australia calls my name after a 12 hour day with a teething one year old.

 You break out the trusty crockpot after months of exclusive monogamy with your BBQ, and turn the oven on for the first time since it’s broken 75°F.

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and my thoughts go back to the good ole days when I could actually eat my mom’s homemade stuffing (one year I actually ate so much that I threw up afterwards. Give me a break, I was 14 … and it was so good).

Back in the summer, I wrote the summer edition of what’s cheap and in season where I linked to this incredibly handy (at least if you live in Ontario) produce availability guide. Even if you don’t live by me, I can bet that at least some of the list will still apply to you. When you buy what’s in season, it’s cheap and it tastes great. How could you go wrong?

So here’s some new ways to use up the best-of-the-best (and cheapest) in season produce, inspired by my new love of scouring Pinterest for all the recipes that make me drool:

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sex and avocadoes The last of the summer bounty is in stores right now round these parts, and a few weeks ago I found the most beautiful, juicy, locally grown, organic peaches. 2 litres of organic peaches (about 10) for $3.98? Sign me up!

They were already ripe, so I thought I’d put them in the container that they came in (conveniently … and because I’m sometimes lazy) onto a shelf in the fridge, right?

Wrong.

Dead wrong.

Within a day, they were all mealy, with absolutely no juice and no taste. I seriously wouldn’t even feed them to my dog. If I had a dog. Which I don’t.

 I ate them anyways, because I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them out, but I despised every second of it. It’s in my experience that hating what you’re eating always makes for bad digestion.

Couple that with getting a whole head of cabbage for the last 3 weeks in our CSA delivery, and all the potatoes we ever buy going bad in a matter of 2 weeks, and I’m sick of throwing out formerly perfectly good food because I have no idea how to store it.

*UPDATE: Omagarden is no longer offering a CSA, so we’ve switched to River Bell, which is certified organic. Click here to find out more info.

My husband says that when he was a kid, his dad used to buy 20 lb. bags of potatoes and they would last months. Super kryptonite potatoes? Probably not. He just knew how to store them.

So, I’ve hit up the interwebs (aka Google) for you and compiled a list of the most common produce that most people (myself included) have no idea how to store properly.

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reading food labels Picture this: it’s back to school time, and you’re in the snack aisle of the grocery store. Your toddler is in the grocery cart screaming, and your 5 year old is running up and down the aisle, grabbing every box and putting it in the cart. A 60-year-old Grandma nearby is watching this scene unfold, silently judging you, wondering why the hell you can’t keep your kids under control. You may or may not want to maim her.

Wait, are those granola bars peanut free? What the hell is soy lecithin? Why is there FD&C Red #40 in that juice box?

Your own “Mommy Meltdown” is just seconds away, and who can blame you (except Judgy McJudge Grandma over there in aisle 4)?

Reading food labels and ingredients nowadays basically requires a Masters degree in biochemistry and food science, and it’s more frustrating than peeling a hard boiled egg.

Not only that, but there’s Health Check symbols, endorsements from celebrity personal trainers, and lovely colourful banners from the front of the package yelling “Pick me! I’m trans-fat free/low sodium/natural/healthy/won’t kill you (immediately)” to maneuver through, too.

No wonder everyone hates grocery shopping.

When I do my grocery store tours, I teach everyone that you don’t have to understand absolutely everything on food labels. You just need to know the basics, because:

- you might be shopping with kids, and have about 2.5 seconds to ignore their pleading to buy you Fruit by the Foot while you decide if it’s healthy enough or not
- food labelling laws change all the time
- you have better things to do … like just about everything else on your to-do list

To help you sort through all the info, and make a quick decision to buy a pre-packaged or canned good, here’s a cheat sheet that you can print out and take with you to the grocery store: 

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