Summer eats year round

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How is it almost September?  I seriously have no idea how this happened!  Well I do but you know what I mean.  With late summer comes some serious food storage business here, though this year I cut back on what I am saving based on last years experimentation.

I started in July with Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries – all of these I washed, flash froze and than popped in to freezer containers for use in smoothies and baked goods all winter long!

Corn and green beans were next on the list and those I froze as well.  Both of these I blanch which is a bit of a pain 😉 but really easy.  I prefer to use frozen kernels of corn in the winter vs cobs so I cut the corn off before blanching.  This also saves a lot of space in the freezer because there are no bulky cobs to accommodate.  Half of the green beans I cut to make things easier when it comes to soups and such.

*Not everyone blanches these things but I do, it helps preserve both the flavour and colour by stopping the enzymes in their tracks!  Do your research to see what is best and what meets food safety guidelines*

The last item I will be freezing is peppers, I’m expecting them soon!  They are really easy to store.  I just wash and cut them up in to desired sizes, toss them in to freezer containers and they are ready to add to chilis, soups, stews etc.  Last year was the first year I did this – Natalie and Stam Farms recommended it! – and I used them up rather quick it worked so well!

The only food I bothered canning this year was tomatoes!  33 jars of them to be exact.  I like to keep a large amount on hand because they are so versatile.  I didn’t add any herbs to them, I will add herbs I have dried from my garden and garlic I have saved from local farmers as needed.

As for where these foods I have stored came from?  All wonderful local places of course!  Most organic but not all – sometimes the budget just cannot reach an additional $30 for a bushel of something.  And this year things like tomatoes have really suffered thanks to late blight which also claimed the lives of all my plants so naturally the cost is going to be higher.

But for the most part the organic items I have gotten my hands on – with a little help from my friend Krista at Harrington Lane Farms 😉 – have been the same or better priced than the conventional bulk items.  Like the beans I just did.  Best beans ever.  SO GOOD!  And they were from a co-operative type farm system Guelph way.

I’m so happy that much of my summer favourites will be enjoyed by my family through much of winter.  It’s a true labour of love but as someone who believes strongly in supporting our local food growers I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way!

Happy Monday!

cbde7-jessica

 

 

 

 

 

For the love of hair + butterflies

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It was bright and cheery August morning, perfect for exploring nature so I headed out with the kids to the RBG to enjoy the gardens.  We walked past some gentlemen chatting on our way in to the gardens, said hello and carried on.

The gardens are exploding with life – full of butterflies, bees and other happy insects going from flower to flower carrying on as nature intended.  We are always on the look out for different bugs, plants and critters we haven’t noticed previously.  Today we took note in a wee little butterfly as it floated effortlessly (well in my mind – I imagine it actually takes a fair amount of effort on their part 😉 ) throughout mounds of summer blooms.

It was time for us to head on home so we said our goodbyes to the flowers, trees and insects and made our walk back to the truck.  We passed the same gentlemen as we returned and this time they commented on my sons hair.  He has a glorious mop of light blonde locks that he loves.  At first I thought they admired it but than it dawned on me that the general feeling was that I should be cutting it.  These men were not mean and I’m certain it wasn’t ill intended but it made me think of they way we as a society have raised our boys.

For the most part the reaction to my sons hair is really good.  I would say 95% of the time people genuinely love it and think it’s great that he has it exactly how he wants it.  But there is this other group of people who really feel I as a mom need to “put my foot down” and tell him his hair is unacceptable.  He is 3yrs old.  And even if he was 13yrs old, it is ultimately his hair and his body.  What am I supposed to tell him – your hair is too… too what?  Feminine?!  Because it is not.  And if that handful of people think there is something wrong with it, well than it’s on them and not me.

The sad reality is that when he starts school there is a very real chance some other child will make fun of his hair and he will want to cut it.  It hurts my heart to think of this possibility, to know that the words of his classmates will have an edge so powerful they just might alter how he perceives himself.

But this attitude is learned and we can change it.  It starts with acceptance.  Accepting that someone else’s attributes whether genetic or chosen do not affect your life in any possible way.  That long hair on a boy or short hair on a girl does not make one more feminine or masculine than the other.

So, I think back to that little butterfly and I envy it a little simply because it exists as it should fluttering about with no external criticism inhibiting it’s natural duties.  As humans I think we could all learn a lot from the butterflies that pass us by all summer long.  No matter their colour, size or shape they dance harmoniously over the gorgeous landscape.

If a butterfly choses to go left when the others go right it will be just fine.  And you know what?  So will my son and daughter and anyone else who goes against the grain (or with it!).  We are all in this together.

Go chase the butterflies!

cbde7-jessica

 

 

 

 

Honest Field Farms

 

IMG_9562I’ve been following Honest Field Farms (Erin, Ontario) for quite some time, I really enjoy their Instagram stories and watching their farming adventure unfold.  Also, being a dog lover, I really appreciate all the hard work Rosie the farm dog does 😉 .

This past week I was lucky enough to get my hands on a large CSA share so I too could experience all of the local deliciousness others get to throughout the growing season!  The entire experience was so pleasant – from communication to the beautiful bounty, it was all wonderful.  As an added bonus I was able to pick up my share from Harrington Lane Farms in Waterdown, which is always a favourite spot to shop.

This share included familiar items like carrots, cucumber and dill but also kohlrabi which I had zero experience with.  This is part of the CSA fun, trying things I would never consider, it forces me to get creative in the kitchen.  After some research, I decided to make fritters with them and they were so good!  Maybe next time I can convince my children to enjoy them too 😉 .

Honest Field Farms can be found at the Waterdown, Milton and Georgetown Farmers markets if CSAs are not your thing but if you are interested in a CSA program, this is definitely a farm worthy of your support.

Happy shopping!

cbde7-jessica