Posts tagged with organic:
We seem to have stumbled into a warm spell over the last few days. The weather keeps calling for rain and thunderstorms but we’ve yet to have more than a light morning drizzle to quench our thirst. And the humidity remains. I’m not really complaining; after all, this past winter in Ontario was one of the most brutal that I can recall in my 25 years and I’m happy to be back in the sunshine. My uncle from the Shillington area was around for a visit over the weekend and even he and my father - two cold-hardy Canadian men - were commenting on the brutality of this winter season; not so much the temperatures (though 20 or 30 below zero is nothing to scoff at in my opinion) but the length and darkness that can really affect your overall mood.
So to say the least, I’m soaking up the sun when I can and enjoying the perks of the season. I’ve been adventuring to the markets and local farms a lot more and this weekend I picked up a flat of some gorgeous strawberries from Heeman’s Strawberry Farm and have been putting the delicious lil suckers to good use!
Last night’s dinner spread was a light combination of a few local flavours and some personal favourites. On Saturday I picked up some local asparagus and onions from the market, and so I chopped and lightly sautéed those together with some lemon juice and pepper to pair with some organic brown rice. But the best part of the meal - in my humble opinion - was the Seasonal Strawberry Salad and Sweet Orange & Basil Tea!
Sweet Orange & Basil Tea
It’s like the nectar of the gods! You can have it chilled on ice to ease the humid effects of these hot summer days - or hot and freshly steeped for getting cozy by the camp-fire! The recipe is simple: just brew a fresh pot of your favourite organic tea - for this particular round I chose a hibiscus and blood orange blend - then toss the following ingredients into your cup for added zest and flavour!
- 1 valencia orange, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1 handful of fresh mint
- 1 tsp of raw agave
I put one bottle in the fridge for an hour or so to cool and tossed in a few ice cubes before serving.
If you’re not a tea drinker or just simply want to switch it up in a healthy way - you can opt for water instead of tea and have a refreshing vitamin-infused glass of H2O!
Seasonal Strawberry Salad
This is why I love eating seasonal foods! By narrowing the distance between the farm and your plate you’re not only helping the environment by reducing the carbon-emissions via the transportation of the food, but the freshness of flavour is undeniably superior! I mean, who in their right mind can say no to fresh local spinach and strawberries picked the morning of?!
Thanks to the spinach and strawberries, this meal is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits! As with all my recipes, feel free to opt in or out any particular ingredients you wish - food is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed after all! ;)
- 4-6 cups of red stemmed spinach
- 1 cup of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1-2 cups of strawberries, halved
- handful of cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/4 cup of diced dried apricots
You can blend up some cherries and lemon juice for a simple, light and refreshing dressing. Or top it off with your own house favourite.
What are some of your favourite seasonal, summery meals? Do you like to venture to your local farms or farmer’s markets? Let me know what you think in the comments below! <3
If you’ve been following my Instagram account or Facebook feed over the last few months, you probably noticed the influx of food haul pics on and around Wednesday afternoons for a while there. For a few months I was working with Globally Local - an new organic food distribution company based here in London, Ontario, that provides people with cheap and affordable organic produce. The organization is the brainchild of James McInnes; a long-time business entrepreneur with a passion for healthy and primarily affordable food. His company offers pick-up bins of quality organic produce at cost and connects customers with other health and eco-friendly products made by local artisans and craftsmen in the area (handmade natural soaps, vegan energy bars & deserts, olive oil etc.) By keeping the produce cheap, the company earns revenue from the sales of the add-on items.
How It Works:
Members pay a $20 bin deposit when you sign up (which you get back whenever you choose to dis-continue the service and return the bins). When you arrive on pick-up day, you are given a full bin with pre-arranged organic produce. The exact items and number of each vary from week to week depending on price, season and availability. The members are notified of the selections ahead of time via email, but occasionally last-minute substitutions might need to be made. A typical selection in a large bin might be: kale, chard, peppers, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts/living greens, cucumber, zucchini, potatoes, bananas, mushrooms, onions, beets, squash, celery etc.
Small boxes are $35 and large shares are $50. All members have agreed that each option is a hearty amount of produce for their needs; the large bins are usually enough for a family of 3-5 and small boxes are suited for couples and individuals. There are also individual items (such as lemons, avocados, blueberries, ginger, garlic etc.) available to purchase as add-ons when you order and purchase online. For those who wish to order in bulk, you can buy items like fair-trade bananas, oranges, kale and pretty much anything that you like by the box or half-box. I bought several boxes of kale and enjoyed them thoroughly! And with the prices being so cheap, ordering bananas in by the case is a no-brainer!
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of this delicious looking organic produce, you can head on over to shop.globallylocal.ca to place an order and sign up for the weekly mailing list here. There’s been a big response from the community here in London and so many folks have offered their time and support to keep the project moving forward. A few volunteers get together each week to help out with filling and organizing the boxes and if you’re available and willing to lend a hand on Wednesdays, feel free to add yourself to the volunteers mailing list or contact James directly for more information.
Stay In Touch:
You can also keep in contact with the organization via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more frequent updates and info about what they offer. Check out and use the hash-tag ‘#GloballyLocal’ to connect and see what other folks are doing with their gorgeous greens and fabulous fruit!
Where do you choose to buy your organic produce from? Is cost the main factor in your decision making when it comes to stocking your fridge?
Hey guys! Apologies for the lack of updates recently, all I can really say for myself is that I’ve been busy! Life has thrown a lot of curve balls my way over the past few weeks and months and I’ve been spreading myself a little too thin trying to manage it all. There’s soo much to catch up on and share with you guys!
If you were to ask me a year ago what my ‘dream job’ might be, I would probably have told you something involving copious amounts of fruits and veggies, clean food and helping people get healthy! Somehow, through the power of intention and a little personal magic, I found a way to make that a reality. Without even realizing it! I found two amazing ways to fuel my passions; volunteering with a local organic food distribution company called Globally Local (more info coming in the next post!) and working at the brand new, 100% raw, organic & cold-pressed juice shop; Pulp & Press Juice Co.! Life is so juicy sweet and I am very thankful for these opportunities that are so in line with my passions and allow me to fuel my creative fire.
My studies, personal goals and relationships had taken a back-seat to the madness and excitement of it all for a while there, but things are settling into a new pattern of organization now, and it feels refreshing. This winter was especially long, hard and drawn-out and now that the warmer weather has finally started springing up here in London, Ontario, I’m excited to start fresh with my healthy habits.
And my writing habits for that matter! I began writing an ebook
several months ago, but have neglected it quite a lot since. So in a mild effort to get some work done on the project, I’m committing myself to writing a page a week - which should be easy enough to sneak in, even when I’m feeling lazy or uninspired. Slow progress is better than no progress, the way I see it. I also promise to post on the blog at least once a week from now on, even if it’s just a quick little blurb like this one letting you know what I’m up to. :)
Three links I love week:
- Be Social Media Savvy in Rural Ontario via Ruralist
- 50 Ways to Stop Letting Food Waste Happen in Your Kicthen via the Organic Authority
- Why You And Your Family Need to Avoid Chemicals by Megan Elizabeth
Hope the weather is clearing wherever you are in the world too! What are some fresh habits you’d like to start up now that Spring has sprung?
I went to the Western Fair Farmer’s Market yesterday with a friend to stock up on a few weekly essentials. We had a great time; bought some delicious juices and checked out the new organics. I was also pleasantly surprised to find some organic rainbow carrots and purple kale among the stalls and as soon as I got home I felt inspired to create some sort of violet, magical concoction with my dark, leafy friends!
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make a juice or a smoothie, so I got creative and went for a little bit of both! I juiced the kale, with some beets, a carrot, apple and an orange, then blended up some bananas with sprouts, kiwi, lemon juice, blueberries and a few leaves of basil. Mixed ‘em together and this vibrant super-drink was created!
Chop up the following and run through your juicer. Alternatively, if you don’t have a juicer at home you can use a blender and strain it through a cheesecloth after. Be warned: this juice will be very deep in color and stains easily - if you’ve juiced beets before you know what I’m talking about - just be a lil extra cautious about where you wipe your hands. This should yield ~500mL of fresh juice depending on the size of your produce.
- 2 beets
- 1 bunch of purple kale
- 1 carrot
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
Next, mix the following ingredients in your blender (keeping the greens on the bottom to eliminate any big leafy chunks) and slowly add the juice to the mix to even out the consistency.
- sprouts (here I used pea tenders)
- 4 bananas
- handful of basil leaves
- 1 kiwi, with skin
- 1/4 cup of blueberries
- juice from 1 lemon
Pour it into a big glass and enjoy! The recipe takes a bit of extra work but it’s surprisingly smooth & rich! Has a nice, light Earthy flavor & I really am pleased with it! And it definitely packs a nutritional punch! ;) Let me know if you give it a whirl and what you think! What’s your favorite way to use purple kale?
The world has been tricked into thinking that the only way to get a sparkling clean kitchen is to wipe and spray every inch of our eating and living surfaces with toxic chemicals. But a few natural ingredients can do the trick for a fraction of the cost to your health and budget!
To start with, begin looking for and avoiding harsh chemicals in your cleaners. Familiarize yourself with some of the following culprits:
- Chlorine bleach: Even short-term exposure can cause mild asthmatic symptoms or serious respiratory problems.
- Ammonia: Used in many window and glass cleaners, it is a serious eye irritant that may cause headaches and lung irritation.
- Nitrobenzene: In furniture and floor polishes, it has been associated with skin discoloration, vomiting, cancer and birth defects.
- Petroleum: Many conventional detergents, solvents and polishes contain paraffin, mineral oil, diethylene glycol, perchloreothylene or butyl cellosolve - all of which are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource whose refining process causes major pollution.
- Phthalates: While they make those perfume smells last longer, they are also linked to cancer and disease of the reproductive system in laboratory animals.
- Phosphates: Encourages algae growth in water systems, which damages other marine life.
Choose Some Eco-Friendly Alternatives
- Clean your sink with a sprinkle of baking soda and rub with a damp cloth.
- Nylon sponges are derived from petroleum, which means they are not recyclable or biodegradable. That Muppet-green sponge will live forever in a landfill somewhere. You can reduce the waste by using natural scrubbing options such as Cellulose sponges or natural sea sponges. Just pop them in boiling water for three to five minutes to disinfect.
- Use a simple homemade natural antiseptic and antifungal spray by filling a bottle with water and ten drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil.
- For a variety of around the home cleaning uses check out: 51 Fantastic Uses For Baking Soda, 23 Ingenious Uses For White Vinegar, 22 Uses For Lemon Peels and How To Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit.
Here is a short list of a few companies I have tried or heard good things about. The top two are my personal favs featured in the pic above. :)
What are some of your personal environmentally-friendly cleaning tips or tricks? Which green companies are your favs?
For vegans, vegetarians, or people who just want to cut back their meat consumption, eating more salad is usually a no-brainer. Everybody likes at least one kind of salad and you can always discover new combinations that make your taste-buds twirl. Salads are the most versatile, customizable & nutritious meals; right up there with fruit smoothies! In my experience though, especially when eating out, not all salads are inherently healthy.
The key to a healthy salad is in the dressing. Most people are shocked to learn that most dressings heavy in oils & fats (like nearly all store bought varieties - check your labels) make your healthy green dish into the fat equivalent of a big mac with cheese! Nasty! You can avoid these fatty & over-processed dressings fairly easily though. For example: when I eat out with friends & family, I ask for dressing on the side so I can put on only as little as I want, or I get a small bowl of lemon, tomato and lime wedges to use instead! It sounds like slim pickins, but acidic and flavorful fruits can make the best light & healthy dressings! Some restaurants will go above and beyond and bring you whole bowls of fruit
Then there is Caesar salad. I love Caesar salads, truly. When I went vegetarian, I learned not long after about the animal products & bi-products in most Caesar dressings and I was crushed. There are some brands that are vegan or vegetarian friendly, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack if you’re a label-checker like me.
So what do you do if you crave the Caesar-style but want to keep it clean? Check out this new completely raw, gluten-free & nut-free vegan dressing by RawFoodz!
It’s called Sea-Zar Serenity and it is 100% organic, raw, vegan, gluten and nut-free! Sounds pretty good right?Well to top it off it’s made in Toronto from a company that promises "no short cuts, no fillers, no preservatives and no regrets!" Now there’s a bottom line that I can get on board with! :)
I was straight up impressed with the taste. For only 50 calories a tablespoon I was expecting something a little on the bland side, but it was light, zezty & full of the Caesar flavor that I know and love! I think I’ll be trying out a few other styles of dressing from these folks.
If you’re interested in giving this healthier alternative a go, you can order their dressing with Eco-Place Organics Delivery this summer and The Meatless Market in London has started selling RawFoodz products as well!
Spring really is the perfect time for salad, don’t you think? ;)