Whole Wheat Pancakes

Pancakes… Who doesn’t love pancakes? They always invoke a sense of lazy morning awesomeness, where you get to basically eat a hot cake in a pan smothered with maple syrup, because its the weekend, and what else do you really have to do anyway? Sigh, with these crazy weeks I’ve been having, I wish that I could just sleep in and make pancakes every day.

This recipe post is from last weekend, by the way. Ha! Don’t I wish I had time to make pancakes on weekdays?

I served these tasty whole wheatie pancakes with local pears from Steve and Dan’s at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. (FYI, they also sell their amazing fruit through eat local’s good food box, which is delivered straight to your door! Living local made easy? Yes please!!)

Hmm sirop d’érable! Canada’s gift to the world. Delicious. In recognition of les temps des sucres (sugar month) in Quebec, I will be doing a few more maple inspired posts, which will be as local as possible! Enjoy!

Jacquie’s tasty whole wheat pancakes (courtesy of allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
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Cold weather food: Chicken Fajitas and Guacamole

Hello dear Edmonton readers! I know. You’re sick of winter already. I am too. And so, I am keeping upbeat and optimistic with some recipes that will make you feel like its tropical and warm all around you, even when its not.  Today’s selection: Home-made Chicken Fajitas and Guacamole. It will warm your soul and your toes until the earth finally decides to rotate enough for us to get a little tiny bit of warm weather up in this frozen tundra.

Unfortunately, this recipe is not very local (I apologize, my localista readers. Wait until May and you can make this recipe using 100% local ingredients! I promise!)

Full disclosure: I like Old El Paso. I know what your thinking: Who features a recipe online when they are not prepared to use their own original spice mix?… Me, unfortunately. I actually don’t have a special blend of spices that I use when I cook Mexican food (which I should, considering how much I cook it and love to eat it.) If anyone has any suggestions for a blend of seasoning that they love to use while cooking Mexican, please share!! So I use Old El Paso seasonings for tacos and fajitas. They are actually really tasty, and go a long way. This one has reduced sodium, SCORE!

I followed the instructions on the package, and sauteed veggies and chicken together in my wok (I know, I’m probably the only one who uses a wok while cooking Mexican, but hey, it worked.)

For the Guacamole, start by slicing the avocados in two, removing the nut by stabbing it, and discarding it, then slice it like this! (It helps with the mashing and smashing part of the recipe.)

Place the delicious avocado bits in a bowl…

Add some finely chopped red onion, dried cilantro, salt and pepper and lime juice, and squash, squish and mash it all together!

Serve the Fajitas in whole wheat flour tortillas, with some shredded cheese and a side of guacamole (and sour cream and salsa if you want to go all out!) It made for the perfect Friday night meal. Delicious!!

 

Jacquie’s Cold Weather Chicken Fajitas and Guacamole

One large red onion

Two bell peppers (whatever colors you want!)

Two chicken breast

One package of Old El Paso Fajita or Taco seasoning

Whole wheat tortillas

2 ripe avocados

A pinch of cilantro

Salt and pepper

A tablespoon of lime juice

 

For the Fajitas, julienne (as in slice into thin strips) the bell peppers, half of the red onion and chicken. Cook chicken with a tablespoon of cooking oil before adding the veggies. Add Old El Paso seasoning mix and follow the instructions (I always use only half a package for a meal, so not to over-power it.) Serve with whole wheat tortillas and shredded cheddar cheese.

For the guacamole, slice the ripe avocados in half, remove the pit and cut the avocado meat in squares (as shown), prior to removing it from the skin. Throw it into a bowl. Slice and dice the rest of the red onion and add it to the avocado. Add cilantro, salt and pepper and lime juice. Mash, mix and squash it all together. Serve as a side to fajitas!

Enjoy! And stay warm!!


Thinking about food a little differently…

My apologies folks, this post will not be a recipe post. Rather it will contain my rambling thoughts about, well… food!

I am going to put forward a question to you, dear readers: Do you ever sit down with your morning cereal, or your afternoon banana snack, and think about the food you are eating? I don’t mean thinking about the food in terms of tasty factor (although that is always important too), but I mean really think about the food you’re eating. Do you every ask yourself where exactly the food came from, how it was processed, how many people it took to make the finished product of cereal, and what truly is the cost (environmentally, nutritionally, ecologically, geographically…etc) of the food you’re eating? No? You don’t think about those things? Unfortunately, I tend to forget about these things as well, as I’m running out the door to work in the morning, or scarfing down a snack in the afternoon between events. These questions are very important though, and here’s what got me thinking about them:

I attended a lecture last night at the U of A called “Taking Charge of Dinner: Growing, Knowing and Loving Food” (I find the title so inspiring that I just had to head to my alma mater after working a 10 hr day.) There were two wonderful and inspiring guest speakers: Nettie Wiebe and Jessie Radies, that challenged the audience to think a little differently about their relationships with food.

Nettie Wiebe, a international food activist, eloquently painted a picture about our personal relationships to food that I will not soon forget – She spoke  about how our individual relationships to food, here in North America and in the Canadian Prairies, should not be one of just eating to eat, or food as a commodity that is marketed and bought and sold, but rather, food is about a personal relationship that you have with others and with yourself. Food is about so much more than just sustenance; it is the cultural construct of our lives, and (just to embellish a teeny bit), it feeds our creative souls. I loved the image that this created for me, as this is how I feel about food. Sure, I am persuaded once in a while by a beautiful commodity food item, however, it is the relationship I feel to my food, and my desire to share it with those around me, that I cherish when eating.

Nettie painted another picture for me that I wanted to share with you all: Currently, the way most people think about food is a linear food chain, that goes from growing a product, harvesting it, processing it, distributing it and finally, having it land on your table after you purchase it from the grocery store. Instead of this image, Nettie got us to think of a more interconnected world where our relationships to food are much integrated, and rather it being a linear chain, it is viewed as an interconnected web, where customers have personal relationships with producers and farmers, and who are conscientious about the food they produce and consume and how it benefits the local food economy and their individual health. Beautiful thought, no?

Jessie Radies, founder of live local Alberta and Original Fare, was able to paint an entirely different picture of food for me, that, after being engrossed in Nettie’s beautiful picture, was much more tangible and accessible to me as a local food consumer. She started off my illustrating to the audience how, if we as Edmontonians, were to dedicate only 20% of our food spending to the local food economy, it would generate 1.5 BILLION dollars within the local food system. (*Note, these numbers are from Seatle, but can you imagine the impact that it would have here?!) These dollars directly come back to you, as the consumer, in original local products (you’ll never find a product like happy camel anywhere else, would you). This can happen simply by eliminating the middle part of the linear chain Nettie previously discussed. This is honestly done so easily, and the benefits to the local economy are enormous!- Make yourself a deal to go to the farmer’s market once a week to get local fruit and a loaf of bread. Done. That’s 20% right there.

As a volunteer for live local Alberta, I appreciated Jessie’s shameless plug of live local’s good food box, because they have honestly made it so simple for you to support the local food system by buying local products through them, and they will deliver it to your door!!

Needless to say, I was inspired last night to continue to live as local as possible, and to encourage those dear to me to really think about the food that they are eating (try it, it’s fun!). Stay tunes for more locally inspired recipes, and more ramblings about food thoughts.

Yours in food solidarity,

Jacquie


Coconut shrimp curry

What is better on a disturbingly freezing, frigid, bone trembling cold winter’s evening than a steaming bowl of pipping hot coconut shrimp curry? Probably nothing, at all. Nada. It’s most likely the best thing to warm your cold winter’s soul, at least until the slow slow rise to human livable temperatures begins in about a week or so (I SWEAR, Spring will come at some point! If not soon, it will come eventually. And despite all you nay-sayers, I will will strive to remain positive.. Although I’m increasingly finding it difficult to do myself…)

This shrimp curry recipe is unbelievably easy. In fact, I only used two ingredients for the base: Coconut milk, and Thai kitchen red curry paste.

Just mix the two ingredients together in a saucepan (or wok, in my case), add veggies and shrimp, simmer until all ingredients are delicious and tender, and serve on rice!

I used Jasmine Rice. Hmmm Jasmine rice. I’ve been having quite a love affair with this rice. It’s got such a tasty light flavor. Serve it with your next stir fry. Trust me, you’ll love it!

I used pre-cooked shrimp for this recipe, as it was ironically cheaper than the uncooked shrimp at save-on foods. You can really use whichever protein you like, like chicken, or even tofu.

This recipe will be sure to warm your belly (and taste buds) until spring decides to grace us with its presence once again…

 

Super delicious (and quick!) Coconut Shrimp Curry (courtesy of Steamy Kitchen)
2 tablespoons red curry paste
12 ounces coconut milk (I used 1 whole can)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound uncooked, peeled shrimp (pre-cooked worked just as well!

cooked Jasmine  rice, to serve

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, once hot add in the cooking oil and red curry paste. Whisk for about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk and continue whisking. Add in the mushrooms and the red peppers and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp to the curry and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.


*Tip: Make sure to make extras, or within seconds, your bowls will look like this!