All Those Leftovers

You have unbuttoned your pants and physically can’t move because of all the delicious Thanksgiving food, but you still somehow managed to have tons of leftovers! Fear not, there are loads of creative ways to use up those leftovers to whip up a simple meal.

There are endless ideas for inspiration! We are big fans of turkey wraps, soups and salads. Most of these recipes require some additional ingredients, and this is where we would like to remind you of those incredible farmers markets that are just around the corner!

 Fall is harvest season, so make sure you take advantage of this before the frost starts to set in. (we like to prentend that day with never come)

We hope our thanksgiving inspired posts this week remove a little bit of the stress associated with planning big family dinners!

Happy Thanksgiving FreshFoodFeeders :)

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

For us, October is strongly associated with pumpkins, and when we think of pumpkins we get all warm and fuzzy inside. Pumpkins are great for a number of reasons, we love how versatile they are and how well they work with both savoury and sweet dishes.

After you have used your pumpkin as a centrepiece, you can cook up the flesh, turn it into a pie, and even roast the seeds! The opportunities are endless. You can add some pumpkin puree to oatmeal or pancakes. Pumpkin can also make a great sauce and soups!

Here are some tips on how to roast your pumpkin.

Its nearly impossible for us to narrow down one recipe, so rather, we are going to provide with an overwhelming amount of ideas and inspiration, and then you can make the tough decision on choosing what to make. Good luck :)

Centrepieces with a Function

Cranberries and pumpkins are two great centrepiece ideas that you can pick up at the farmers market! Not only do they help set the mood, but the best part is you can use them even after they do their job sitting on the table.

Cranberries still on the branch, or even bunches of them are simple yet effective  thanksgiving themed decoration. We really like the deep colour of cranberries placed with     silver items. A bowl or ribbon works well! After the big thanksgiving dinner you can make some cranberry sauce.  Actually, there are a ton of cranberry inspired recipes. Check here for some more inspiration.

Pumpkins are a also a bright and fun way to welcome in Thanksgiving. We love arranging  different shapes and colours of pumpkins and gourds! You can totally pick all these items up at the farmers market and make something delicious with them after. Our next post will include some pumpkin recipes. Stay tuned!

Thanksgiving Inspiration

Oh hi there! It is has been a while since the last time we have seen have spoke, so lets skip the small talk and dive right into it.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and your local farmers is the best place for some one-stop shopping! This weeks post will be your go to spot for Thanksgiving inspiration. From food ideas, to decorative centrepieces and even what to do with all those left overs.

Here is a creative way to use up those peppers you just purchased, while being both kid friendly and festive! You can even use this idea as part of your hors d’oeuvres.

 

Pumpkin, Gourds and Squash? What’s the Difference?

The simple answer to the question posed in the title of this entry is ‘no’. They are all related but have stark differences.

Lets start with squash.You have summer and winter squash. Summer squash include veggies like zucchinis. They are mild in taste, have edible skin and require little to no cooking to enjoy.

Then we have winter squashes. These include butternut and acorn. Winter squashes require more cooking time and don’t need to be refrigerated. They are also a great source of vitamin A and C!

Pumpkins are part of the gourd family and include watermelons and the traditional Halloween pumpkin. Depending on the type of pumpkin, they can be stored for long periods, like up to a month, without refrigeration.

Gourds, although a part of the squash family, are for the most part inedible. Their main use is decorative. They are often featured in Thanksgiving centrepieces and otherwise used as fall decorations. No two are identical and they come in delightfully crazy shapes and colours. Another bonus, as a decoration, is that they are long lasting. But do not store for the next season. They will eventually deteriorate and rot.

So here is nitty-gritty. Squashes, gourds and pumpkins are all a part of the same genetic family, cucurbita, but the difference between the three are the stems. For loads of additional information check out this incredible resource!

We are Nuts for Butternut Squash

I guess you already know by this post’s title that we are seriously in love with one particular type of squash! Butternut squash! It is part of the winter squash family and is sweet and nutty, similar to a pumpkin.

The size and shape of this squash could sometimes make it seem a tad daunting to prepare, but let us assure you, all you need is a good sharp knife and you are in the clear!

This type of squash is best enjoyed roasted. To prepare, take your best knife and cut the top off, near the stem, and then cut in half. Scoop out the seeds and the membrane, dress with some olive oil and roast at 400 for about 45 minutes. Maple syrup works really well with this squash, so feel free to substitute that for the olive oil. Some other spices that work well include cinnamon, nutmeg or cayenne pepper!

Our favourite way to use butternut squash is to  serve it as a side, or make it a feature in a soup. Apple and butternut squash soup is our ‘go to’ fall recipe. It is SO easy and you can get the main ingredients at any farmers’ market.

This soup is hearty and packed with nutrients. Its fun to experiment with different type of apples in this recipe until you find your favourite. We have been whipping up this soup so often that we don’t really have a step-by-step recipe. Its more like cook up the squash, throw some things into a pot, experiment with spices and poof, it somehow always works out. But for some any newbies out there, you may want to start here. But in no time you’ll have a recipe of your own!

 

Squish that Squash

Fall is just around the corner, the leaves are starting to turn and mornings have that perfect crispness to them! We love the fall and all the delicious food that is associated with this season. This week’s posts will focus on squash. Different varieties and all the things you can do with it.

Have you ever heard of spaghetti squash?  It really is quite fantastic! It is extremely healthy and a great alternative to real spaghetti, particularly if you are trying to limit your carb intake. This particular squash gets its name from the stringy, spaghetti like consistency it gets when cooked. The best way to cook it is to roast/bake it, but if time is an issue the microwave will do. To prepare, cut in half, toss on some olive oil and salt in pepper. Roast in the oven at 375  for about 40 minutes. Once it has cooled off you can take a fork and scrape at the fleshy part to unravel the “spaghetti” part! You can also cut it in half and pop it in the microwave for about 8 minutes.

We are a fan of keeping it simple and easy. You can treat your cooked spaghetti squash just like real pasta. Some high quality olive oil, fresh basil or pesto, salt and pepper and fresh parmesan cheese and you are good to go! But for some more inspiration and creative ideas to incorporate that local spaghetti into meals check here.

What did you have for lunch today?

Fresh Ontario produce makes for easy as well as nutritious living!

Here’s what we had for lunch today!

Fresh Pumpernickel bread spread with delectable ‘fresco’ cheese topped with a slice of field tomato! (We really should have added a sprig of basil to this!)

Couldn’t be simpler or more delicious!

You will find all of these ingredients at Sherway Farmers’ Market tomorrow, held in the far northeast corner of Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you!

Peppers for the Little Ones

Getting your children to actually enjoy eating vegetables can sometimes be a daunting task. This is where your creativity should kick in. But fear not, we have done all the hard thinking for you! Here are two simple ways to make eating peppers a ‘kid friendly’ experience.

The first idea is really simple and a great way to introduce the kids to eating peppers. Next time you serve up some fried eggs, slice the pepper horizontally and cook the egg inside the circumference of the pepper. It looks pretty and makes eating peppers for the kidlets fun! Here is a link to help visualize it.

Another way to make peppers more fun is to involve your kids in the preparation of the meal. Make it an interactive process. A Stuff-Your-Own-Pepper night is great way for your children to take pride in what they make, and chances are they will be looking forward to enjoying their own creation.

You will find all kinds of stuffed pepper recipes by searching online or looking through your cookbooks. Choose one that has ingredients that most appeal to your kids. Here is a recipe that I really like because it includes Quinoa, which I am absolutely in love with. When you find the recipe that works for you with regard to ingredients and simplicity, prepare the stuffing and divide into little bowls and lets your kids do the “hard” work.

Hope you and the family enjoy!

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

This post is dedicated to ensuring that you can enjoy local peppers all year round. It is possible to capture and savour that freshness which is an essential part of shopping at a local farmers market. Its also a great incentive to buy in bulk. There are a few ways to preserve peppers, but the two most popular are to pickle or preserve in oil, in addition to freezing. We searched the net to share tips with you from some of the ‘experts’ who have had experience in ‘putting up’ peppers!  We hope these straightforward recipes will inspire you to preserve the harvest!

 

We love these quick and easy techniques as presented by Gardeners.com!

To Freeze Peppers:

Cut sweet peppers (green, red, yellow or purple) in half and remove the core and seeds. Slice into julienne strips or small 1/4″ chunks. Pack these into a freezer bag, squeeze out the air and toss them in the freezer. Frozen peppers are best used in a cooked dishes such as a stir fry or omelet.

 

To Pickle Peppers:

Prepare your peppers as above, for freezing. Then fill a clean pint or quart jar to within an inch of the top with the prepared peppers. Pour in white vinegar to cover all the pepper pieces. Cover with a plastic lid as the vinegar will gradually corrode metal lids. You can store these in your refrigerator for up to 12 months. The peppers will stay crunchy for a few months before being softened by the vinegar. You can mix up the colours and enjoy through the fall and winter in pastas, on sandwiches and in bean salads.

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PEPPERS PRESERVED IN OIL

We really like the simplicity of this method and the clear instructions from Diana’s ‘A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa‘s blog.

Ingredients:

  • Red Peppers
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Kosher or Celtic Sea Salt

Method:

  1. Wash, dry and lightly oil your peppers.
  2. Roast your peppers over an open burner on a stove, a grill or broil in the oven. Turn to evenly roast.
  3. When the peppers are blackened, put them in a paper bag and seal to retain the steam for 20 to 40 minutes.
  4. Once the peppers have cooled, remove their skins, stems and seeds and put them in a bowl.  DO NOT run the peppers under water as they will lose their flavor.
  5. Fill a second bowl with some raw apple cider vinegar.
  6. Dip each pepper individually into the vinegar and place it into a separate bowl, then add salt to the peppers and toss with your hands like a salad to evenly coat.
  7. Your original bowl should have juice that has accumulated from the peppers.  Add some salt to that juice.
  8. Gather clean canning jars and add enough raw apple cider vinegar to cover the bottom.
  9. Pack with the peppers leaving 1/2 inch space at the top.
  10. Using a butter knife, run it down the sides of the jar to release any air bubbles. You will notice the level of the liquid will drop.
  11. Add some of the salted pepper juice from the original bowl and again use your knife to run it down the sides of the jar to remove any additional air bubbles.
  12. Now add olive oil to cover everything but leaving 1/4″ head space.
  13. Screw the lids on the jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
  14. Once you open a jar, keep it in the fridge. These can be stored, before opening for approximately a year, but the peppers tend to soften over time.

As with all canning and preserving be sure to adhere to the strictest rules with regard to cleanliness and sealing instructions and do not consume any preserved foods that seem off in any way once they have been opened.

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