Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is it! Day 100 is here!

Wow! This is day 100 of our 100 day, 100-mile challenge. For the last week or 2, both my husband and I have been getting a lot of 'are you going to back to eating the way you did before now?'. Since doing this for the last 4+ months, it seems like kind of a weird thing to ask. After learning about all of the local families and business around here working hard to make healthy food, after moving towards buying more organic and fair trade food instead of conventionally produced products, I don't think we could just go back to shopping 90-100% supermarket food.

As I'm writing this, I'm sipping from a large glass of apple cider from Martin's Family Fruit Farm, and thinking there's no way I'm going back to no name apple juice again. Or non-local cheddar, or non-organic milk. Sure, there will be some things that we'll go back to buying that we didn't all summer, but even those are a little different. When I ventured into the grocery store yesterday to pick up some things for this week (the first time I'd done an actual 'grocery shop' rather than running in to buy toilet paper or something), my cart definitely looked different. Instead of cereal, we're sticking to our Oak Manor oatmeal and maple syrup, (although I bought organic ground flax seeds and cinnamon for it). I did buy canned beans (we never did get the hang of cooking the dried ones properly), and some other things- but they were mostly organic, with no added weird unpronounceable things on the label. There was no produce, since we're sticking with our well-loved Kitchener Market-Bailey's Local Foods- Herrle's triumvirate for as long as possible.

So, no- we're not going back to what we ate before. Because once you've had fresh, natural food- how can you go back?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Harvest Home

With October here and a definite chill in the air, you can say without a doubt that autumn is here. Fall's my favourite season by far- no boots & heavy coats yet, but sweaters and warm socks get to come out of the closet. I've also found that this is the time when my taste buds turn from sweet, lighter foods towards warm and savoury fare. Pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes and apples- yum!

All week as I've been finishing off the last of my late summer borscht, I've been craving something more thick and creamy, so today I (and my very helpful assistant Rick), made 2 batches of yummy soup. Our house now smells delicious thanks to the black bean soup and squash, sweet potato and apple soups which are cooling on the stove. Tomorrow's plan is to add some crock pot chilli as well with the last of our Stemmler's ground beef. Yep, we're still eating our way through our 50lb box of freezer meat we bought right before the challenge started. Still probably 3 or so weeks worth of meat still too.

Speaking of yummy fall treats, I had to make a recommendation for my new favourite snack- toast & apple butter with pumpkin from Hergott's Cider Mill which I just bought recently at Seven Shores. It's so good!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things I can't wait to eat:

Seafood- I had salmon for the first time at a wedding this weekend, and I totally remembered how much I like fish! Sure, there's local lake fish around, but with the husband allergic it's a lot of effort & expense to get it now. Although, the absolute best fish I ever had was on a boat coming back from the Skelligs in Ireland- it'd been swimming around 20mins before it was grilled on the boat. Now that's local!

Pasta- with parmesan cheese (we can get the cheese locally but it's pretty cost prohibitive). Mmmmm. I dream about this sometimes. We did make a giant batch of sauce and had some with spaghetti squash, but it isn't the same.

Fluffy bread- we just can't make it like the bakeries do, and while we have gotten the 100 mile loaf from Golden Harvest, it's just too expensive to buy it weekly. City Cafe's sourdough is calling my name!

Not planning every meal over a week in advance. Yeah, that'd be nice! Also looking forward to being able to follow a recipe without making substitutions for non-local ingredients.

Ok, so the above sounds like once thanksgiving comes around we're going to be going back to normal which isn't our plan. I'd just be nice to be able to choose quality non-local ingredients from time to time. I have to say that after concentrating on everything we eat for the last 12 or so weeks I don't think mindless eating will be possible (for some reason, fast food ads have been grossing me out which isn't a bad thing), but man- a banana would be really good!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trying new things is part of what this is all about!

Like tomatillos. To be honest, until a couple of weeks ago I'd never even heard of them, but when they showed up as an option to order from Bailey's after a friend mentioned them when we were camping, I figured they'd be worth a try.

So today I made Salsa Verde to bring to my book club tonight. You can find the recipe here. So yummy! Even my husband who despises cilantro gave it the green light! (pun completely intended). I did have to get non-local tortilla chips to go with it, but the tomatillos, cilantro, jalapenos, and onions were local. I omitted some of the sweetner, and threw in a (local) red pepper I'd roasted along with the tomatillos. I think it worked out ok. Guess we'll see what the gals at book club think tonight!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The seasons, they are a changing...

One of the things I like most about this journey of seasonal 100-mile eating definitely has to be the transitions. From strawberries (yum!), garlic scapes (yuck), and asparagus at the beginning, on to lettuce and peaches, we're now getting clear signs that autumn is just around the corner.

Squash, apples, and pumpkins are now making an appearance, along with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber and corn. I have to say- is there anything that says the end of summer more than sliced tomatoes and cucumber on the dinner table? A little salt and voila! August is here.

With the beautiful weather we're having now, I can't say I'm quite ready for my apple, sweet potato and squash soup, but this weekend does involve making a GIANT batch of tomato sauce, as well as some zucchini muffins. I think in a couple of weeks when it gets cooler I'll break out the soup recipes. I already have lots of borscht and leek soup in the freezer, but fall does also call for some heartier fare.

I can't believe how quickly time flies! Just over a month to go of the challenge, and thanksgiving will be here before we know it. I'm already planning our end of challenge feast: I'm thinking turkey with stuffing, candied sweet potatoes (with maple syrup), mashed potatoes, roast carrots, green beans, maybe? and of course some pumpkin pie! I've already found a recipe for the pastry which calls for a mix of butter & oil instead of the shortening I usually use. Mmmmm, this is going to be a yummy fall!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Drinks, anyone?

Some hope for people missing beer because the local stuff doesn't have local hops. Link

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Halfway there!

Wow- time flies, doesn't it? I have to say that so far, the 100-mile challenge has been an adventure to say the least. There have been some ups and downs, but I'd say that overall it's been a good experience.

Right now I'm listening to my husband make 2 loaves of 100-mi. sourdough in the kitchen. We've come a long way from the first breadmaker loaf (aka the brick!)

I can't honestly say that we've done as well as I'd hoped (on average, we're doing around 70% local), which is less than the original all local except fair trade coffee & chocolate, but we're still in the game at least. We're still making our own bread, buying 100% local veggies, meat and dairy, and trying our best to eat as local as possible whenever we can.

I think the hardest things for us has been eating out- we did go for chinese food more than was good for us before the challenge, and although we've resisted the siren song of Lai Lai's more than not, there have been a couple of times when we couldn't resist. Another problem has been at work- when I don't bring enough food for lunch (which has happened from time to time), or people ask me to go for coffee, it's hard to resist grabbing something. Luckily, the dining hall carries fair trade coffee, and since switching, I have to say Tim's just isn't tasty anymore. Candy is another problem as I have a coworker who likes to wander the halls on afternoons offering people licorice and other sweets. So hard to resist! The candy issue got so bad that I'm essentially in day 3 of sugar-detox. It was a stressful 2 weeks and there were skittles involved, what can I say? It's tough though, because with sugar, once I start eating it, I feel horrible for a week or so afterwards unless I eat more.

This afternoon we went to Herrle's to pick up some fruit and vegs (incuding corn which they grow on site). Yum! Let's hope the corn and nectarines in my house will help fight off the skittles cravings at least until I go camping next weekend!