‘What A Waste’ Campaign: Halting Unnecessary Food Waste

I came across this campaign online for introducing a new law in Canada that prevents grocers from throwing out edible food.

They already have such a law in France.

Check it out and please consider signing the petition. Food banks in our region (and many others) are suffering a donation shortage.  To me, it just makes sense.

We don’t have a food shortage problem. We have a food distribution problem.

http://www.wawcampaign.ca

hungry

 

You can sign the petition here  https://d18kwxxua7ik1y.cloudfront.net/product/embeds/v1/change-embeds.js

 

 

 

 

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: Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

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The beginning of this moist and sweet morsel began with a journey just down the street.

We’ve been living here a year now and we have stopped at just about every Farmer’s Market… except for the one that is literally 1 minute away. It always looked so tiny and I assumed they must not have much there for variety.

Wrong I was.

morse's

Morse’s Farm Market, Berwick, Nova Scotia

Quaint isn’t it?

This place is full of beautiful fruit and veggies and they have such friendly service…which can be found pretty much everywhere here in the Valley. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much they had in this small store. Besides produce, they had some baked goods and some lovely local honey and jams. They had the best garlic I have ever purchased – you can’t get fresh, juicy and sharp garlic like that at a grocers. They also had beautiful zucchini and pumpkins available. This time, I took home the zucchini. Next time, pumpkins I think.

Lately I had been thinking about making my first ever zucchini loaf. When I seen the offerings at Morse’s Farm Market I was determined to just do it.

My Aunt Lorraine makes wickedly good zucchini loaf. When I was a kid, whenever we visited, she had a loaf made and ready to cut into. Always. I don’t think we visited even once that she was without her signature dessert. It was something I looked forward to on the road trip to my Aunt and Uncle’s.

I remember the first time I found out I was eating zucchini loaf. I was shocked. I thought it was banana bread.

My Aunt’s version is a straight up traditional zucchini loaf. Some recipes add chocolate chips and nuts to them. I didn’t want nuts in mine, and instead opted for more chocolate… why not!

So, after perusing through dozens of recipes, I borrowed a little from here and there. I found Paula Deen’s chocolate chip zucchini bread inspiring. My recipe is heavily influenced by hers.

My kids watched me grating the zucchini and preparing the batter, and asked, doubtfully, “the zucchini…is going….in there?”

Yes, and I promised them it would be delicious.

…They almost looked anxious.

Once they seen the finished gooey chipped, chocolatey loaves, they forgot all about the healthy ingredient hidden inside. They loved it even though they “HATE zucchini!”

This makes 2 scrumptious loaves (if I do say so myself).

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Ingredients:

2 cups grated zucchini (1 large zucchini )

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

Grate zucchini and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugars, vanilla, and oil. Beat in cocoa until well blended.

Slowly pour flour mix into the large bowl, mixing the dry and wet ingredients well (if it looks a bit dry at this point, don’t fret. Don’t add water as the zucchini adds a lot of moisture) . When combined, blend in the zucchini followed by the chocolate chips.

Pour into 2 lightly greased and dusted 9×5″ loaf pans. Bake in center of oven for 50 minutes or until fork comes out clean.

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This is easy to make and tastes great, lots of chocolate flavour with subtle warm spice. Lovely with Chai tea!

: Recipe for Clean (A Starter kit for Students)

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My eldest recently packed up, stuffing her car to the roof, and drove off to university. Instead of living in the dorm this year, she and some other ladies are renting a house together. And that means they have to clean it.

My daughter is sensitive to the harsh chemicals found in typical cleaners. And she can’t afford the steep price of most commercial green cleaners.

So I am making her a starter kit and recording the ingredients for each cleaner so she can make more when it runs out.

You know that old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”? This is kind of like that. She’s learning how to do this the cheapest way possible. All the ingredients came from the Dollar Store.

I thought I would keep things small and compact for her. This whole thing is small enough for her to tuck away under her bathroom sink.

In this small basket she has gloves, sponges, magic erasers, a micro fiber duster, a small broom and dust pan, cleaners for almost any job, and a cute ducky scrubber.

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Best thing is that everything (including the ingredients such as peroxide, liquid soap, and lemon juice) were between $1.00-$2.00 each. The basket I already had.

So this all came out to around $17!  There is still plenty of the soap, lemon juice, and peroxide left over to make several more batches.

Along with the cleaners I made, I had to add something with more power. I am her mamma after all. You never know when a nasty cold will sweep through the house.  Or swine flu.  Or a zombie apocalypse. I can’t help but think of every possible scenario (ok,..maybe I have seen every episode of The Walking Dead. At least once).

What I am talking about is the cleaner used for generations. It cleans house like nothing else. Dettol. It will kill any germ or zombie out there. Back in the olden days, when people bathed once a week, mothers actually put this stuff in the bath water. Because they only bathed once a week.

It’s potent stuff. But it gets things CLEAN. And it even treats cuts or nasty pimples. A little goes a long way. So I have filled a small spray bottle.

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If you want to commit to shunning commercial cleaners, you will need to use lots of elbow grease. And good ‘cleaning house’ music. Yup, they have a Songza playlist for that.

Make your own cleaners. Not just to save money. Because as it turns out, most commercial brands labelled green, aren’t that green after all. Or they aren’t that effective. Here is an eye-opener of an article on top selling ‘green’ cleaners by Adria Vasil, if you care to read :

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I mixed my batches to yield 1 cup each of cleaners. That was all her small spray bottles would hold. You can triple these recipes to fill most spray bottles.

General Gentle Cleaner:

1 cup of water +  ½ tsp liquid soap + 3 drops essential oil (optional).

This is for light cleaning of surfaces. A few drops of essential oil, like lavender, or orange can be added to make it smell nice (lavender also has antibacterial properties). For scrubbing power, sprinkle the surface with a bit of baking soda before spraying. If some grit is left on the surface, respray and wipe with towel.

Bath and Kitchen Disinfecting cleaner:

½ cup water + ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide + ¼ cup lemon juice.

Peroxide kills germs. This, lemon juice, and water is all that’s needed in kitchens and baths.

* A natural cleaner for toilet bowls (which I did not make) is a 2 step method. First, spray toilet and bowl with a mixture made from 1 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup water  and several drops of  essential oil (optional-for pleasant smell). Leave sit for several minutes, then shake about ½ cup baking soda into bowl and scrub. If you don’t want to use commercial toilet bowl cleaner (which has hydrochloric acid and bleach), then you will have to do this at least twice weekly if you don’t want your toilet getting gross.

Degreaser:

½ cup lemon juice + ½ cup water, + 1 tsp liquid soap.

Good for grimy surfaces in kitchen or shower stalls. Lemon juice, coupled with soap, is effective at cutting through grease. Sprinkle with baking soda and then spray. If you have burnt spots to contend with, you can sprinkle on table salt for more scrub power.

For really nasty pots, heat some vinegar and pour in, letting it sit an hour before scrubbing.

Laundry stain remover:

1 part liquid soap + 1 part hydrogen peroxide.

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Peroxide is a safe alternative to chlorine bleach and also loosens dirt. It’s color safe as well. The dish detergent cuts through oil based stains. You use 1:1 ratio of peroxide and liquid soap such as Dawn dish soap. Dawn is not a natural soap. If you want to be totally green, you can purchase a pure liquid castile soap like Bronner’s brand.

Let mixture sit on your stain for about an hour, gently scrub by rubbing fabric together, toss in washer and launder as usual.

Zombie Killer:

Definitely not green, but sometimes you need a powerful germ killer. This is it.

Image from Google search

Image from Google search

Dettol is concentrated and must be diluted with water. Use a 1:20 ratio solution by mixing 20 ml of Dettol with 400 ml of water. **This is an antiseptic, so keep away from pets and children**

Alternatively, a spray bottle of alcohol works too

Here is one final tip: when cleaning with vinegar, use it as a ‘chaser’. If you mix vinegar with soap, it (being an acid) cancels the effectiveness of the soap. Use vinegar after the initial cleaning. Also, vinegar kills 80% of germs. Almost as effective as peroxide.

But neither will kill zombies.

: Feeding the hungry. A crime?

I recently came across this disturbing news article about an elderly man and 2 pastors arrested in Florida. They were charged for feeding the homeless. Public food sharing is a crime in Fort Lauderdale.

Sounds too ridiculous and inhumane to be true, but it is. To clamp down on the homeless and do-gooders that feed them, the law bans anyone from sharing food in public places…Cancel that romantic picnic on the beach.

It’s unimaginable that we have come to this point in society. How can a governing body find fault in caring for the needy? what harm is in that?

Martin Luther King said,

“There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”

While homelessness and hunger is more of an serious issue in the USA, we certainly have this in Canada too.

Having once worked in a social assistance office, I have seen first hand the meager amounts that are doled out to the poor. They really do feed from our crumbs. There was a time in my life when I had to use a food bank to supplement the little food I could afford.

Food banks receive what we are willing to part with –  a lot of damaged goods, near or passed expiration, highly processed foods. Rarely does a person with little means enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Rarer still are special holiday foods, ones from years past when they used to enjoy them in a warm home, in the bosom of their family. For the very poor, like in the story Little Match Girl, those are all but memories.

Perhaps as the holidays draw near, those of us who can do more, should (I include myself here). When we do our Christmas baking we can make some extra cookies or a nice cake and donate it to a shelter. Or buy an extra turkey for a neighbour who is down on their luck.

Just in case these generous men have inspired you to act, here are links to some worthy organizations:

http://www.shelternovascotia.com/

http://outofthecoldhalifax.org/

http://www.raisingtheroof.org/

http://www.feednovascotia.com/

: autumn hospitality

The honour system in use at Wheaton's farm.

The honour system in use at Wheaton’s farm.

Thanksgiving weekend we all jumped in the car to take in the Fall beauty. And to avoid cleaning the house. You couldn’t have asked for a better day. The sky was blue. The weather called for just a light sweater. And the colours, while not yet at their peak, had left their mark on nearly every tree.

First we headed over to Wheaton’s in Berwick – the original location as well as their homestead. During our last time shopping there we had noticed they had pumpkins in the parking lot  for $1, along with a lock box to drop your money. It’s refreshing to see the honour system still being used.

Even though it was Thanksgiving and their stores were closed, the pumpkins were still there, greeting us with their cheery orangeness. As was the lock box, so I made my purchase.

As we left, I imagined the Wheaton family somewhere inside their farm, enjoying their holiday. It’s a testament to the kind of family business when people can drop by during a holiday and not get turned away or met with suspicion.

All over Berwick we notice a real spirit of sharing this time of year. My fridge is full of apples right now because prices are so low during the harvest. They are practically given away. In fact, ‘giving away’ of one’s bounty is something witnessed regularly here. Whether it’s for corn boils, Halloween parties, or bins of free apples outside a workplace, neighbours share what they harvest.

berwick pumpkins

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beautiful October colours

berwick horses