Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife

Now I know I just said yesterday that I don't normally promote products - and I don't - but this one needs to be shared. Honestly, it has saved my garden this year. I don't know what I did before I had Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife.

I think I mentioned that I let the weeds rule this year. I got busy - and so did they. I didn't go up to the garden for at least 2 weeks, and when I returned it resembled something out of The Day of the Triffids. This handy little tool really made taking the Triffids down that much easier. It has a sturdy handle - trust me, I've lost too many garden tools to count. It has a serrated edge, perfect for cutting those vines that crept up my deer fence. It has a blade on the opposite side, perfect for cutting tougher roots or unwanted weeds. Perhaps my favourite part of this tool, though, is its forked end. The edges are sharp and the shape of the blade makes getting it deep into the soil a breeze. Once there, you can actually use the forked blade to cut the roots of extra tough weeds. My garden has never looked better and I never would have been able to do it without this handy tool. Yes, it resembles something out of a Klingon's armoury, but it works. So I have to give a big shout out to Fiskars for making this Big Grip Garden Knife. Favourite garden tool, hands down.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Garden fresh tomato salad

If you’re a tomato lover, like most Canadians, then this is probably one of your favourite times of the year. There is really nothing better than popping a delicious cherry tomato, fresh from the vine, into your mouth. My garden’s full of them and they’re just starting to ripen.

The first time I popped up to the garden and located a ripe and ready to eat tomato, I was thrilled. I’ve been making daily appearances ever since, making sure that I don’t miss the exact moment that they’re ready to eat. It’s an exciting time for a tomato lover. I’ve got 9 varieties of tomatoes in my garden, along with cucumbers, basil, beets, carrots, radishes, squash (summer and pattypan), fresh greens, spinach, Swiss chard, peppers, snow peas and eggplant. I never tire of walking the aisles, inspecting their progress. Last week, I had just barely enough of everything I needed to make my first garden fresh salad. It’s hands-down my favourite and I’d like to share it with you.

Tomato, Cucumber & Basil Salad (Serves 2)

In a salad bowl, mix ingredients for salad dressing. Add salad fixings and mix.

Salad Dressing

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp whole grain mustard
fresh ground pepper, to taste
pinch of sea salt, to taste

Salad Fixings

4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1-2 small cucumbers, depending on their size
1½ cups of fresh picked cherry tomatoes, cut in ½ depending on size
¼ feta cheese
½ cup Nature’s Path Heritage Heirloom Whole Grain cereal*

*Now I don’t usually do any sort of product promotion, but this cereal is perfect for this recipe and it’s extremely healthy to boot. It’s very high in fibre and uses grains like kamut, wheat, oats, spelt, barley, millet and quinoa. Sounds like a weird salad addition, but trust me on this one, it tastes delicious!

* This recipe is also found on the Moving Mum website - helping seniors downsize to smaller living spaces.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Celebrate National BBQ Day the Locavore Way

August 6th is National BBQ Day and people all across Canada will be firing up the grills and entertaining friends and family. This year, why not make National BBQ Day not only about food, but food awareness as well. If you think about it, it's the perfect time to discuss how and why we make the food choices that we do, especially since our food choices impact important aspects of our lives, including:
  • Our health
  • The environment 
  • Local farmers and food producers
  • Our local economy
  • Food politics
Many of us make conscious and informed food choices, but have friends who do not. Why is that? Is it that they simply aren't aware of the impact of their choices, or are they simply not concerned? Our choices indirectly say that we are okay about certain things. For example, if we choose to regularly eat fast food we are indirectly saying that we're not concerned about our health. If we choose to eat genetically modified foods sprayed with chemical pesticides and herbicides, we're saying that we're not concerned about their impact on the environment. And if we choose to buy cheaper commodities without considering why they're so cheap, we're saying that we're not overly concerned about fair trade in other nations.

Here's a thought: let's talk about it. Let's turn National BBQ Day into something more than just a meal. Let's inform our friends and family about our choices and tell them why we've made them. We don't have to get all pedantic about it. We can do it indirectly and subtly, without ramming it down their throats, by making the right choices ourselves. Make it into a game. Why not implement an all-local menu and see who can come up with the most creative 100% local dish? 

Participate and possibly WIN WestJet Tickets while you're at it!

In support of local food economies across Canada, Meal Exchange is calling on Canadians to host a BBQ of locally-grown food. Here's what you can do if you're interested in participating.

2. Buy local food fare - luckily, the event is hosted on Saturday, the same day that your local farmer's market is open! Why not try something you've never tried before - a new vegetable, a local cheese, or locally raised meat. 

3. BBQ!!! Invite your friends and family and enjoy fantastic local food and drinks. 

4. Possibly win 2 WestJet tickets. How? Easy. 

a) Share your BBQ pictures and stories with
b) Post on
c) Live Tweet your BBQ using #nationalBBQday 

I can't wait to register my BBQ. Why not register yours today too?