Upcoming Workshop: Permaculture 101 – Working with Nature

The Campus Roots Garden Club presents Permaculture 101 — Working with Nature; Wednesday, 2012 January 25 @ 7pm at the University of Lethbridge, room AH116 .

Learn the fundamental concepts behind permaculture and how it can be applied in daily life with Jason Baranec of Southern Alberta Permaculture (SAP). There is no question that this session will get you thinking about confronting cultural, environmental, and energy-supply change and provide new perspective in becoming a more sustainable and energy efficient member of the community.

All the information here.



2011 Recap- Food & Foraging

As 2011 comes to a close (and 2012 is actually here) everyone seems to have a list of faves, experiences and plans for the future.  The more I think about it, my 2011 list involves a lot of food, drink and travel.  I’m still saying that stalking the wild asparagus was one of the highlights of the year:

And certainly our 2 trips down to Montana for a plethora of local craft beers, nosh and skiing was memorable.  Alberta, why can’t you relax your liquor laws so we can have more small-scale breweries & wineries? 

my fave

A recent trip to Mexico also involved a lot of food for me… and since I’ve now got a little bean incubating in my ever expanding tummy, I couldn’t partake in the alcohol component.  Though, I’ve gotta say, the virgin pina colada I had with fresh pineapple was quite tolerable.   As was the freshest pineapple and cantaloupe I’ve ever had paired with fresh queso blanco.

And, luckily, baby bean hasn’t been too fussy; despite a brief aversion to anything tomato earlier in the fall (which could have also been a result of me just dealing with too many tomatoes), we’ve been lucky.  In 2012, I will take charge of labeling the tomato seedlings so we don’t end up with buckets of cherry and grape tomatoes… which, you can really only do so many things with other than eat fresh.

2011 was also the year of the cabbage fail.

I may or may not attempt another cabbage crop this season.  I’ve heard a few ideas that sound promising, such as nylons.  We’ll see!  I’d love to be able to make my own kraut with homegrown cabbage; as the organic stuff is hard to come by.

What else is in the works for 2012?  Possibly more peppers and another attempt at eggplant, which I started from seed too late in 2011.  By the end of September, there were tiny little purple eggplants growing, but nothing substantial to harvest.  We seem to do well with hot plants so we’ll continue to roll with those.

I’d also like to bake more bread.  Lethbridge suffers from a lack of artisan bakeries- wouldn’t it be great to have some nice seedy, Austrian bread? We make our own pizza crust and focaccia lots, since these don’t suffer if you don’t achieve a decent rise from the yeast, which is usually the problem when I make bread.  This no-knead bread article and recipe have created lots of buzz on the internet over the last 5 years, so I’ve gotta give it a try.  And it sounds like a good recipe to have handy with a baby around-  you just mix the ingredients and let ferment at least overnight and bake. In fact, it claims to be so easy, people actually let their kids make it!

Image from steamykitchen.com

I can’t wait to see what 2012 holds- with that in mind, I may be posting less as we prepare for baby bean.  I would like to extend an invitation to any readers who’d like to share something unique on the Lethbridge Veg- whether it be recipes, your favorite local haunt, information on gardening, an event notice, or whatever you see fit.  Feel free to drop me a line!

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2012 full of lots of fresh, local food and a reminder to slow down and enjoy the little things!

Savouring Pulses- Nov 21-27

The Alberta Pulse Growers along with three local restaurants will be featuring pulse-based dishes from November 21-27 to celebrate Savouring Pulses week.  Did you know that pulses such as beans, lentils and peas are all grown around the Lethbridge area?  Now the question is, are the pulses we buy in grocery stores produced locally?  Hmmm.. time to do some investigating!  Pulses are a staple for many vegetarians and healthy eaters for many reasons:

  • Very high source of fibre
  • Free of fat and saturated fat
  • Free of sodium
  • Excellent source of folate.
  • Good sources of iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin
  • Gluten free
  • High fibre, low fat foods such as pulses are part of a healthy diet which may control blood cholesterol and blood sugars. Pulses may also help people feel full longer and help with managing weight
  • Pulses are the perfect meat alternative for vegetarian diets

To learn more about what’s being served in Lethbridge restaurants, click here (some are vegetarian friendly, and some not).  Or, if you don’t feel like going out and want to try a pulse recipe at home, try my Veggie Lentil Pot Pie or check out the recipes on the Alberta Pulse Growers page!

Do you have any favorite pulse-based recipes?  Have you ever grown any pulses, and if so, what are your favorites to store and use for the winter?

Lethbridge Restaurant Reviews- from a Vegetarian Perspective

Part of the reason I started this blog was to share information on not only how you can make and grow your own food, but where to go if you don’t feel like cooking (or harvesting) one day.  As much as I’d love to be writing more restaurant reviews, I find I haven’t been going out to eat a lot lately or when I do go out to eat, it is usually because I am tired and don’t really feel like writing a review or taking photos!  But with the onset of winter, I predict I may be venturing out a little more than usual.

So I signed up for an account on UrbanSpoon- a site that often pops up when I’m searching for restaurant information.  I’ve written a few honest reviews on the places I have eaten and I hope they are helpful for the vegetarians in this city and I’ll be writing more as time goes on.   Let’s face it- Lethbridge is a tough place to eat out if you’re vegetarian- and I think my reviews reflect this- but that being said, there is no reason to lose all hope!  I think it’s important to ask what options are available in restaurants even if they don’t appear to have m/any.  Restaurants need to know there is a demand- so be sure to always ask!  Often times these items may not appear on the menu but can still be made by the chef.

Check out my reviews here, or click on the link on the side of the page.

Have you ever reviewed any Lethbridge restaurants on urbanspoon or a similar site?  What are your favorite veggie-friendly restaurants in our area?

Creative What?

Today’s special Halloween post…

Yes, I know, this is going to sound ridiculous- even contradictory and maybe some of you will even take me as a ‘sell out’…

I visited the Creative Cleaver shop after reading on a fellow local healthy foodie blog, LivingMintGreen, that they didn’t just carry meat- but also organic dairy and vegetarian items too.  This past Saturday, we left the last day of the farmer’s market for the season, (which, was a little bit sad as it seemed to still be hopping), and headed over the the Creative Cleaver.

My husband, unfortunately, eats meat.  He often gets tempted by slimy, cheap convenience meats and so we’ve both sort of been on a mission to find ‘ethical meat’ (not my terminology) for him to eat.  Anyway, there was plenty of that at the Creative Cleaver, and even some for our dog (better than chalky milk bones, right?).  Organic, free range, grass fed..

I was pleasantly distracted by the dairy cooler placed near the front entrance of the door.  It was nice not to have to walk through aisles of meat to get to what I was interested in.   They carried local organic milk products from Vital Green Farms, goat milk products, some cheeses I recognized from the farmer’s market, frozen vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, breads, hemp hearts, energy bars, and lots more!  I ended up with a tub of organic vanilla yogurt, a container of organic cream cheese, a tub of hemp hearts, and a frozen entree- sort of a nut loaf- turkey breast looking thing (I can’t remember what the company is called, but it is a local company).  Win for me!

The woman at the counter was happy to provide us with further information on any of the products we chose.  So all in all, if you are looking for local (mostly dairy) products, and can bear the sights of meat everywhere, the Creative Cleaver isn’t such a bad place.  I like to support local when ever I can, and I’d much rather support a store that carries products that don’t come from factory farms, even if that means coming into close contact with dead flesh.

1010 Mayor Magrath Dr S
Lethbridge, AB T1K 2P8
(403) 329-3354
Do you have any favorite places to shop in Lethbridge & area for local or veggie-friendly foods? 

Fresh Greens in October

We currently have 2 cold frames from which we’ve been enjoying fresh greens from lately- lettuce, spinach and chard.  They are fairly basic, just a frame angled slightly to the sun with an old window fitted to the top.  When it’s really warm out, we’ll open them up, and when it gets really chilly at night, we’ll put a blanket over them.

It’s so nice to enjoy some tender young greens this late in the season!  Its been a beautiful fall in Lethbridge, and we’ve only just pulled out the garden this weekend.  Many of our flowers are still in bloom too!  Hubby just finished picking & drying out bunches of hops for winter beer brewing, and next up, we’ll be drying mint for tea.

As for canning, I’m definitely DONE for the season- major canning burnout!

What’s happening in your garden and kitchen?  Are you still growing or preserving anything?

Workshop: Preserving your Garden for Year-round Eating

I know I have been posting about a lot of events lately- there’s just too many great things going on not to!  (and be sure to check out the other events they are hosting at the bottom of the page)

I stumbled upon this upcoming workshop, put on by the CampusRoots Community Garden Association (CRCGA) on October 26:

The CampusRoots Community Garden Association (CRCGA) is pleased to invite you to the second workshop in our series.

In this workshop, Barb Whitelaw of Saucy Ladies Inc. will demonstrate how to make Red Pepper Jelly while she covers the basics of preserving and canning. After the demonstration, Barb will answer any remaining questions you have about preserving your produce for year-round eating enjoyment.

Barb Whitelaw has owned and operated “Saucy Ladies Inc. since the year 2000. Barb started working out of her home producing 5 products and only sold at markets, Christmas shows, and craft sales. Today, she operates out of a certified kitchen and produces up to 17 different canned items as well as cabbage rolls and several flavours of perogies. She uses all fresh vegetables with no added preservatives. Each of her recipes all have their own unique flavor.

Date: Wednesday, October 26
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Details to be provided upon confirmation of registration.
Cost: Free to CRCGA members; $3 for non-members

TO REGISTER: RSVP to Leona Jacobs, CRCGA Director & Workshop Coordinator (email = jacolm@uleth.ca; please include the Subject Line: CRCGA workshop RSVP) by Tuesday, 2011 October 25.

For more information see: http://campusroots.ca

Mark your calendars for other upcoming CRCGA workshops:
November 23: Vermicomposting – Putting Worms to Work!
December: No workshop! Happy Holidays to you!
January 25: Permaculture 101