Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shara's Adventures in Breadmaking...

Yesterday was pretty busy- Our Farmer's Choice I think will be a regular shopping place during the challenge, and it's good to know that they also have other local things their too- like the yummy cherry tomatoes I got there.

We also decided to try making bread in our new breadmaker. It was interesting to say the least! (Both attempts!) We got some hard wheat bread flour earlier at Oak Manor, so we used that with local honey, water, yeast & salt to make our first loaf. Of course, I got talking to the husband and forgot how many cups of flour I'd put in. Since it could have been the right amont, we baked it anyway but it was a sorry hard little loaf that we found when we came home that night- not enough flour I guess!

Loaf #2 fared a little better- used a different recipe which called for flour & a cup of oats, plus the other goodies. It was ok, but still underproofed- Rick declared it a success but it's a far cry from the light fluffy loaves you get at the bakery. I dunno, while I am a bit dissappointed (I thought the machine would make better loaves than the one's I'd made by hand), I haven't given up yet! Maybe the hard wheat is harder for breadmachines? Wrong setting? Guess I have 100 days to find out! I also want to try pizza dough and buns sometime which it'll also do (along with freezer jam for some reason which I thought weird).

Next week I hope to take a trip to Herrle's to pick strawberries just in time for Canada Day- yum!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My 100 Mile Diet Starts Tomorrow!!!

Yep, that's right- we're starting early. When our house is full of local goodies and we've finished nearly all of our non-local perishables, why not? We'll be phasing it in over the next 3 or 4 days, but by the 1st we'll be up to 95% local!

Tomorrow's gonna be a busy day. We still need to get butter & meat from the butcher, sausages, apples and hopefully some local hothouse cherry tomatoes from the market.

I think I'm going to check out a new meat place- Our Farmer's Choice out on Courtland. I've heard a lot of good things about it (link). We also picked up our 2nd order from Bailey's Local Foods. We're still figuring it out (I'm still having trouble figuring out what sizes I'm ordering- for ex. how big is a quart vs a pint of strawberries?), but I'm learning what 2lbs of dried beans (not much to look at but are more than you'd think) and 10 rainbow carrots (they're HUGE!) look like. Thankfully the nice checkout volunteers are very patient, and there are always people around to point you to where things are.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Almost to the starting line!

So it looks like we're going to be starting the challenge somewhat early as our stores of non-local food now consist of:
1/4 carton milk (me) & 1/2 carton soy milk (the husband)
1/3 box brown sugar miniwheats (good thing we have the milk!)
1/2 bag tortilla chips
part of a jar of pickles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
part of a box of ginger cookies
2 hamburgers & 2 buns
and a bag of frozen spinach

What kind of insight that gives into my eating habits I probably don't want to know! Luckily, our second order from Bailey's Local Foods comes in friday-- including local strawberries!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Info Overload!

Since the planning began for the 100 mile challenge, I've become a little obsessed with food. Until the last couple of days I thought this would mostly a fun thing that might require a little more work as far as planning menus in advance. Hmm, now that we're nearly out of non-local food in our house and I'm having to replace items we've used up with local ones I'm starting to realize how much this is going to affect our day to day lives.

Pasta? gotta make it myself, Tomato sauce? ditto, although that'd require tomatoes which are only hothouse right now (and cost lotsa $$!). Olive oil? No dice. My basil's still kinda small too.

This is June in Ontario folks. That means fresh local produce is basically rhubarb, asparagus, some greens (lettuce & such) & green onions. Apples and other root vegs are also around but most are starting to be a little rough around the edges due to the fact many were harvested back in the fall.

This does not a filling menu make. Having nothing but asparagus omlettes until my garden starts producing (although I do have 3 tiny peppers and a lot of flowers on my tomato plants) did not sound good.

In my panic though, I did find a GREAT site for 100 mile recipes and other things here. Not only recipes posted by people following the 100 mile diet, but meal plans too! Mind you, not everyone is from the same 100 miles, but I'm hoping it'll help. With only 2 weeks until start, I have my work cut out for me.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I totally forgot about this place. We used to go see them farming the peanuts when I'd visit my grandparents in Simcoe.

I LOVE peanuts! Too bad the husband can't eat them- guess more for me.

Picard's Peanuts- this page lists all of their Ontario grown peanuts.

Also, they have a store on the way to Elmira so it's close to home!

New Additions

Hey All,

I've added a new item in the sidebar so I could list some of the blogs I read. Most of them are KW- centric and many are also on topics related to this blog.

Check 'em out!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why didn't I think about the bbq sauce?

Below are a few of the things I'm going to miss eating this summer:

1) Chip Dip- for some reason, this is a new food (well, food-like substance) for me and I've become completely addicted to this vaguely onion scented goo.

2) Chinese Food- if Lai Lai's restaurant goes out of business, it's probably our fault. Oh, how am I going to live without your yummy steamed dumplings and hot & sour soup?

3) Marshmallows- camping sans these toasted morsels will be a challenge in itself.

4) BBQ Sauce- make that sauces and condiments in general- my husband passed a comment tonight that we'll need to get more bbq sauce if we're going to spend the summer eating local meat- especially since we were planning on buying in bulk to save on costs. Then it occurred to me- condiments count! What IS in bbq sauce anyway?

Friday, June 12, 2009

How cool are bike-powered smoothies?!?

This place has yummy local & fair trade food & is a business with a conscience! I haven't tried the smoothies, but it's a neat idea ;)
Check it Out!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Country Adventures

On our way back from London, we decided to take a short detour to visit Oak Manor Farms- an organic mill near Tavistock which is committed to getting their grains & other foods from farms that are as local as possible which means that while not all of their products are 100 mile, a lot are (all are from farms in Canada & the US). Many of their products are available in stores here in KW, but since we're trying to do this as economically as possible, I thought it'd be good to visit their store on site to buy some of our staples in bulk.

Unfortunately, we decided to visit on a day when it was completely pouring rain- which made driving down the stretch of dirt road to the mill pretty bumpy! It was definitly worth the drive (and dirty car) though, since we picked up a large bag of oatmeal, some whole wheat bread flour, and some wheat berries for less than $15. The oatmeal is a brekkie staple in our house, so we were both excited to be able to replace our Quaker! Since I haven't been able to find any local rice and I'm not too hopeful about finding any), the wheat berries I think'll be a nice alternative sometimes.

Right now, I'm flipping through a new book on preserving while counting down the days until strawberry season- geesh, I'm turning into such a 100-mile nerd!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Let the Phasing-in Begin!

Since July 4th (also known around here as 100-mile d-day) quickly approaches, we're starting to see some small changes being made around the house. We've decided that it'd be better for us (and our budget) to make the transition a gradual thing. This means that we're not only trying to use up the non 100-mile food we have, but also replacing things we need to buy with their 100-mile alternatives when this makes sense.

Some of the things I figure we should have ready before July are: meat in the freezer, flour & oatmeal in the pantry, honey & maple syrup. I still plan to buy more asparagus this week to freeze too (since I'm now practically an expert!)

This means some trips to local farms & other places coming up, and since we're going out of town this weekend for our anniversary, we're going to be making some stops on the way home to visit a couple of places- more to come about that soon!

So far, this journey is pretty exciting, but then again it's really not even started yet! Still, it's nice to dig out the bread-making book again, and to start really thinking about what this is going to really mean. No quick runs to pick up a snack, no Tim's with the gals at work, and no restaurants!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Motivation (rant?)

When we first heard about the challenge put forward to go 100 days only eating food from within a 100 mile radius, I was intrigued. After reading The 100-Mile diet last summer, I'd started taking a closer look at the signs in the produce section and it was surprising. By looking at the selection there, you'd think there was no such thing as seasonal produce anymore.

Strawberries, which as a kid I'd seen as a sign of the end of school and the coming summer, can now be bought in January. Even 'special' imports like clementines, once a Christmas treat, can be bought year-round at almost any grocery store around.

We all look for the signs of the seasons. Crocuses in spring, red and gold leaves in fall- I've always been excited to see the first changes, but never realized until recently how we're missing such a huge part of the changing wheel of the year.

For myself, this challenge is about re-connecting to ideas our predecessors considered facts of life- that we're all connected to the bigger picture, that to everything there is a season, and that good things are the ones you have to wait for.