Archives for October 2011

How to Keep Your Freezer Cold

Written by Danny Bourque.

Rotten food stinks. Bad.

You know how you feel when someone gets you a surprise present?  Pretty good, I bet.  Now imagine if you got a present, and when you went to use it a few days later, it was broken, spoiled, just turned into garbage.  Just awful, I’m sure.

A few years ago, I knew that when Aimee got me half a cow for Father’s Day, she had to break the news a little bit early so we could prepare appropriately.  That meant finally getting a chest freezer to put it in.  We had been talking about preserving and storing food, buying in bulk and the like, but actually purchasing the freezer was a first step to making that a reality.  A somewhat expensive step.  It would have been really crappy if the freezer broke, or did not adequately freeze the food that we were to put it in.

Hence, I did all the research, read the manual (both French and English versions, of course), and then instructed the store’s moving guys on how to properly move it down the stairs, keep it level, etc.  They guys looked at me like I was some kind of nutcase.  They probably move 20-30 freezers EACH DAY, and here was this engineer telling them the “right” way to move it.  Well, *sulk* just because they’ve been doing it all their life, doesn’t mean that they necessarily are doing it the right or best way.

And so, since those movers wanted nothing to do with my advice, I bottled it all up. Now that I have a larger, (slightly) more interested audience, I propose to share the wisdom I gleaned from both versions of the user’s manual, the sales guy, about 20 websites, and the guy up the street who came to watch.  This, of course, to ensure that your FREEZER DOESN’T DIE and spoil all your hard work and frugal, bulk savings.

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Unprocessed Week Recap (Recipe: Cream of Potato-Leek Soup)

To say that our week of eating only unprocessed foods went by without much ruffling of feathers would be a fair statement. If you remember, we had pledged to one week of ‘hard core’ unprocessed eating and the entire month of October as ‘soft core’, meaning we might indulge in chocolate chip cookies or hot cocoa once in a while.

Saturday wrapped our week of serious wholesome eating, and today I’ve brought you the highlights from that week, with a few recipes and tips for beating the cravings.

If you are smack in the middle of October Unprocessed and need a little inspiration for the week ahead, or just want to improve your diet in general, then hit the jump.

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How to Join Real Food and Real Kids

This week my family and I are smack dab in the middle of our little ‘October Unprocessed’ challenge, as inspired by the annual project from Andrew at Eating Rules.

Yes, the chocolate cravings have kicked in, but other than that, we’re feeling excellent and excited about whole foods!

Today I am guest posting over at Unprocessed central, with ‘7 Ways to Survive October Unprocessed with Kids. Whether or not you are participating in the challenge, this post is for you. I also give a recipe for Maple Apple Chips, a great grab-and-go snack that is helping to stave off the sugar cravings.

My tips are for anyone who wishes to increase whole foods in the family diet and successfully move away from highly processed products.

From the post:

“Participating in ‘October Unprocessed’ is one way to build a healthy food culture. Why? Because it narrows our food choices down to real, whole foods. Food should be recognizable, change with the seasons, and come from known sources – and I don’t mean a supermarket shelf.

While you may think that taking on a challenge such as Unprocessed will be tough on your kids (and partner, potentially), remember that you’re sowing seeds for future healthy food choices. Who knows? This month could be a turning point for your family’s eating habits.”

Head over to Eating Rules to read 7 Ways to Survive October Unprocessed with Kids….

I’ll be hanging out there to take your questions in the comments. Happy Friday!

The Beauty of Braising {Recipe: Apple Cider Braised Brisket}

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

Leaves change color and fall to the ground as the market fills with the bounty of summer. These weeks are my favorite at the market, where a sweater alone keeps you plenty warm and there’s a certain nip in the air that invites hot apple cider as vendors rearrange their goods and offer up the season’s best.

While seasonal shifts in this direction always have me feeling a bit melancholy with the thought of winter to come, pausing time right here in this moment is a thought I’ve welcomed often and freely. The mix of warm and cold, summer and autumn and the slow shift from salad to soup on the dinner table causes me to breathe deeply and enjoy.

Along with soup will come an increase in baking, a return to warm breakfasts and a desire to hole up in the kitchen creating. Let’s not forget, however, roasted meats.

Where summer had me turning off my oven and looking towards the grill and the smoker to provide the heat for the family’s meals, the fall will bring the meat back inside simmering away, especially if you, say, purchased a good portion of a whole cow that is coming to a freezer near you.

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Canadian Thanksgiving Menu Ideas: A Round-Up

Thanksgiving for us Canadians is just one week away; this is good news for me as I’ve been craving a full-on turkey dinner since June – or about the onset of this pregnancy. However, regardless that the baby has been ordering turkey for prenatal take-out, it’s obviously the season to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Fall comes a little sooner here in the north and already signs of its arrival are showing on the forest floor, in the country markets, and around my front door. Gone are the flip-flops and Frisbees in the entrance; instead boots, hats and scarves are mushrooming like a seasonal fungus. There’s also excited talk of snow by the boys.

Planning a complete Thanksgiving (or any holiday menu) is half the fun, especially now that we have such fun online tools such as Pinterest. In preparation for the holidays, I’ve got several boards dedicated to Thanksgiving & Christmas Dinner, Holiday Baking, Pies & Tarts, and if you want to get really organized for the holidays, Edible Gifts.

Here’s a sneak peek:

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