Spring is on its way (supposedly) and nothing says it’s time to spend time in the outdoors like a bowl of fresh greens. Unfortunately, the rainy weather is keeping everyone from eating cold foods and during these weird rain/snow storms, sometimes it’s necessary to have a delicious warm meal instead of a chill-inducing salad. Luckily, there is a solution: warm salads! This mouth-watering mealtime option brings together fresh vegetables and fruits with a heart-warming grain option. It is the perfect thing to eat as the seasons change. Feel free to play around with this recipe and add your own preferences.
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced strawberries (optional)
3/4 cup fresh peas
1 bunch of spinach
1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt & lots of pepper, to taste
Cook the quinoa (1/2:1 ratio with boiling water) and allow to cool slightly while prepping the rest of the salad.
Combine strawberries, peas, spinach, and parsley in a bowl and toss.
Mix olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper in a separate bowl to make the dressing. Taste and spice until satisfied.
Add to the plant mix to the warm quinoa and add dressing.
Enjoy while warm!
A warm salad will make you feel cozy while at the same time completely refreshed. It is easy to make and will fulfill your nutrient requirements, especially with a protein packed quinoa. Enjoy while the weather is rainy and cold!
Pairs wonderfully with a light beer or glass of white wine!
Making back-to-school lunches can be tedious business. Who wants to eat the same sandwich every day? Instead of falling into those bad (yet speedy) habits, why not start the year with a kick and make fun lunches for your kids can brag about at school. On the first day of school today, my daughter was expecting a sandwich and when I told her on the way to school that she as going to be eating soy chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs, she was so excited. Seeing her smile — that’s what makes the effort worth it.
Lunchbox Quesadilla Pizza
The homemade quesadilla pizza is an easy meal that kids will love. It is also a simple way to conceal vegetables in your child’s food. Simply fry a tortilla with cheese (or vegan cheese), spread on some pizza sauce, and then place cheese and the desired toppings. Cover with another tortilla. Make sure to flip it and brown on both sides. Pitas or tortillas work well enough for these pizzas (or pizza sandwiches), but homemade dough is also a tasty option enjoyable.
Kid’s trail mix
If you are having a tough time cramming all of the snacks into one single lunchbox (and wasting Ziploc bags), why not mix them all into one container? A kid’s trail mix can be made up of several different options including yogurt raisins, goldfish crackers, grapes, nuts and crackers. This is a fun snack option because you can change it daily, which always makes it a surprise for your child.
Lunch “fun due”
If your child is getting bored of sandwiches (and it is still too hot for warm lunches), a “fun due” is another way to make a creative meal. By tearing up bread into pieces and then providing a variety of dips, it makes a kid-friendly version of a fondue. It is important to make healthy and filling dips, including blending fruits and veggies with almond milk to make a thick sauce that can be dipped into. Include cheese cubes and other finger foods to complete the meal.
Lady Fruit Face
When I was a child, I loved playing with my food. I even went so far as to melt marshmallows into little statues. For this creative snack idea, take different fruits and make fun fruit faces with them. Using an orange slice as the face, take an carrot stick for the mouth, grapes for the hair and raisins for eyes. Kids love seeing the various creations and it will make them excited to eat fruit and vegetables every day.
Mini Pancakes with vegetables and fruit
Instead of using lunch foods to make a meal, try a breakfast option instead. Make small pancakes and freeze them. They pair well with fruit. Include a little bit of syrup and several different types of fruits for a well-rounded and yummy meal. Pancakes are also another food that is easy to hide healthy ingredients such as flax seed, zucchini, or chocolate hemp protein powder.
Getting kids to enjoy food can be a difficult task sometimes and making creative lunches helps keep them interested in eating well. Using fun foods as a way to conceal healthy items in lunch is another way to ensure your child keeps their energy up and is excited to eat something fresh every day.
What are you packing in your child’s lunches? Let us know in the comments below!
There is nothing better than a delicious BBQ. The smell of the smoke, eating barefoot in the grass, drinking wine out of plastic cups — plus, everything tastes better when cooked with fire! But, as a vegan and strict environmentalist, my planning typically includes a lot of eco-friendly adaptations.
You may be asking: what do you mean by an eco-friendly barbecue? Is that even possible? Well my fellow readers, I am here to tell you that it is. To help you out, here are a few tips:
Use in-season vegetables and fruits
Hit up your local farmer’s market and grab organic cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon and any other refreshing options to include as inexpensive and healthy side dishes at your BBQ. I always fry zucchini drizzled in chilli powder and olive oil. It is quite the with party guests.
Keep it simple
Planning and attempting complex recipes hours before guests arrive is a fast-track way to give yourself a heart attack. No need for unnecessary stress! Keep things simple with fresh foods that can be easily chopped or thrown on the BBQ. Provide kettle-cooked chips or sweet potato fries as an easy appetizer. Keeping it simple can also be said of decorations. Grab a vase or a floating dish with flowers from the garden and use homemade candles at night instead of outdoor lightings.
Use your own dishes
Paper plates and plastic utensils are my mortal enemy. They are wasteful and often difficult to recycle. Instead use your own dishes and convince your lovely party guests to help with dishes once the drinks are flowing and their bellies are full. I always enjoyed doing dishes after a great meal with my cousins while sipping a beer.
Another option instead of hosting a BBQ solo is to challenge guests to bring a healthy side dish along with them. Something small such as a light dessert or wine also helps. This creates and fosters a sense of shared community and makes meals versatile and fun for trying new foods.
Make your own BBQ sauce
BBQ sauce is often full of sugar and preservatives. Instead, making a personalized sauce adds individualized taste to the meal. Try this: add one can of chopped tomatoes, 75 ml unsweetened apple juice, 2 tbps brown sugar, 1 tbps apple cider vinegar and ¼ tsp tabasco sauce to a pan and heat until boiling. This also makes your BBQ vegan for your animal-loving friends!
Remember to enjoy yourself. Planning a BBQ shouldn’t be a stressful affair. ALSO, don’t forget to have a vegetarian hot dog in the fridge just in case you get a surprise vegan guest! Bon Appetit!
Planting fruits and veggies is a great way to spend time outside soaking up the sunshine — not to mention the delicious produce you’ll get out of it. Garden lovers know that Ontario has certain fruits and veggies that thrive in the region and many of them have to be planted, well, about now.
Gardening may seem time consuming but it teaches the value of patience and generates a newfound understanding of the hard work that goes into growing your own food. It is an initial investment but once you are in the swing of things, it is easy pea-sy!
First off, it is essential to determine when the last frost date is in your area so that you don’t accidentally kill your plants prior to their growth. The general date for Ontario is May 15th,, but last frost can range anywhere from May 15 to May 21. The farmer’s almanac, or otherwise known as the gardening bible, has a handy online tool to help out with the timing of seed planting. You can plug in your specific city, and it will lay out the specific plant times for various vegetables and fruits according to the weather that year.
Making a gardening plan or chart helps to plan out a planting schedule, so that you can ensure your plants are compatible. Tomatoes, for example, should not be planted beside potatoes because the soil quality weakens the sensitive tomato plants. Leafy greens are often compatible with most plants. In your plans, also remember to assess which plants need sunnier spots as opposed to more shade. Leafy greens can thrive in the shade, which allows you to plant vegetables like peppers, peas and carrots in the sun.
Let’s begin with leafy greens, which can be planted the earliest due to their hardiness in the colder Canadian climate. Lettuce, spinach, kale and cabbage can be planted in mid-march and harvested as soon as the beginning of June. If you get a head-start (no pun intended) on your these vegetables, you could be enjoying a homegrown salad just as summer arrives. Chard is also a great choice for a hardy leafy green. It will survive until hard frost and is more resilient than spinach. It’s important to remember that the soil temperature must be at least five degrees for the leafy greens to thrive. This can be easily determined by purchasing a thermometer and ticking it into the soil prior to planting.
Peas, onions and potatoes can be planted once the soil reaches an internal temperature of 10 degrees. These veggies can be planted in mid-may and will yield successful crops. Excluding potatoes, the rest of the veggies also grow quickly and can be harvested as early as July. Potatoes can be harvested in late August and are often used in yummy fall harvest soups. Potatoes are very resilient and can grow in a variety of climates, which makes it a safe bet for any type of garden.
More sensitive vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as most fruits, should be planted later in the season to ensure they obtain enough sunlight. Plant strawberries and tomatoes indoors first and transfer them outside in mid-June. Once you get them outside, make sure to tie them near a sturdy structure. Tomatoes are a vine-stalk vegetable and need to be propped up to thrive well in the garden. Though tomatoes are finicky, they grow very well in Ontario. The soil must be minimum 20 degrees for tomatoes.
If you want to try something a little more adventurous, try planting watermelon in late June. Be sure to have enough room for watermelon because it is a sprawling plant.
With fruits, insects may become an issue and natural pesticides can help keep bugs out of your garden. Vegetable or canola oil and garlic are natural repellants that can be mixed with water and applied. If cared for, strawberries can yield fruit for the whole summer and blackberries will provide a yummy supply of treats come fall.
Get that green thumb out and try your hand Get outside and try your green thumb out for a great outdoor experience this summer season. Whether you stick with just growing easy-going leafy greens or attempt the more specialized fruits and veggies, the outcome will be delicious. Trust me, there is nothing better than eating and sharing fruits and vegetables you grew yourself.
What’s your favourite fruits and veggies to grow? Let us know and post in the comments below!
There’s nothing like a good farmers market. The smell of fresh produce, the friendliness of all the vendors, and the general atmosphere a farmers market creates is just something that can’t be replaced by a grocery store. Farmers markets are also important in fostering a sense of community through the buying and selling of local products.
If you are looking for a market to visit in Toronto, here are our picks:
The Junction Market (2960 Dundas St. W) is a farmer’s market on the Junction Train Platform that is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. It opens on May 28 and closes on Nov. 5. This market showcases some delicious produce, but it also has extra perks that make it worth a visit. There is a kids area at the market with ukulele lessons and face painting. There are also local musicians. The Junction Night Market is held on July 16 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. with beer, wine, and cider for five dollars.
If you want a weekday market for some fresh food after work, the John Street Market (197 John St.) is right downtown. This market is held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 7pm, starting on June 5 and running until Oct. 30. It is located at St. George-the-Matyr Anglican Church, which is between Queen and Dundas St. close to the AGO at Grange Park. This market facilitates the delicious Big Wheel Coffee, which is yummy to sip on while shopping for local downtown products.
Sorauren Farmer’s Market (50 Wasbash Ave.) at the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse and is located near Roncesvalles. It is run by the West-end Food Co-op, which is a community-run grocery store in Parkdale that only sells local products and produce. I personally shop at West-end Food Co-op and am a huge fan of the farmer’s market as well. The market is run year-round and alternates products weekly on Mondays. Last week, the vendors included Earth & City, a vegan dessert company and De la Terre, which makes amazing sour dough bread.
Trinity Bellwoods becomes a happening place in the summertime with families and friends dotting the inner-city park. Trinity Bellwoods Farmer’s Market (790 Queen St. W) is a large outdoor market that is very popular with hot downtown vendors. The market runs on Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m, from May 3 to Nov. 1. The farmer’s market becomes a place for celebration with music and kids as well as delicious local food.
If ever there was a king of markets, St. Lawrence Market North (92 Front St. E) would have the reigning title. It opened in 1803 and is widely considered the best in the city. This market is permanent and is open every day of the week except Sunday. The best day to go is on a Saturday morning and it is open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. St. Lawrence has several artisans, great local produce, and amazing bagels (with vegan cream cheese). The North Market Redevelopment, the original location of the market, is in its second phase of construction and still has several steps until its completion. But never fear, they opened up a replacement dome to keep everyone in business.
What is your favourite farmer’s market in Toronto? Let us know in the comments below.