Food Education Thursday February 22nd, 2018

How much education is out there on healthy eating, and how much of it is easy to access? The reality this should be a focus on our education, and what better place to start then in schools? Children should know how the food they eat effects them, and what are some healthy alternatives.

Children our the future, and they should be learning what is best for them. We owe it to them to do what we can to give them he best life possible, and this should be the goal of the government as well.

“Children who go to school without eating a nutritious breakfast are less likely to succeed in school, and face bullying, anxiety and depression, impacting their mental health.”


Canada national school food program

Imagine if we had a national school food program? if students were learning about more that effects them on a daily basis. Skills like math, writing, and reading are great of course, but they should also learn about their health, and how what they eat actually has an affect on them. access to healthy food at the schools should also be increased.

Children should be learning these necessary skills at school, because parents don’t always have the time. Simple steps like this can go a long way to helping improve the overall health in our children, and society as a whole.

“In Finland’s national food school program, children are fed a balanced, healthy meal every day while sitting around a table in a communal way, as a supervisor teaches them about nutrition, healthy eating and about table manners.”

We should be able to learn from other countries about what works, and what doesn’t. Not everything that works somewhere else might work here, but we can always use it as a starting point to find out what works best for us. The main thing is always improving how we do things. Here is an article on the the benefits, and all quotes in this post are from there.


Fruit of the Week: Lemon pt. 3

Selection and Storage:

– When selecting lemons, choose those that are firm, plump and feel heavier
– Avoid selecting lemons that feel soft and spongy, and those that have bruised soft spots on the skin
– Store the lemon in a plastic or paper bag inside the fridge and it should keep for 1-2 weeks
– Lemons sealed in plastic ziploc bags and stored in the fridge can keep for even longer
– Lemons can also be stored outside of the fridge if you intend to use them between 2-5 days after purchasing them

Preparation and Serving:
– Wash lemons in cold water before using, particularly if you are using the skins for zest
– Lemons can be sliced in order to be used as garnish
– Otherwise the lemon can be cut in half in order to squeeze for juice, either by hand or with small juicer
– The skin can also be used for zest, and lemon can be zest by using a hand-held peeler or grater
– But when zesting a lemon make sure not to cut into the underlying white skin beneath the yellow as this part is very bitter.
– Lemons can be used for many different purposes including: in salads, soups, on pasta, meat, on vegetables that have been baked, steamed or raw, rice, for lemonade and much more!









Parmesan Lemon Zucchini
Makes 4 servings

– 3 tablespoons butter
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 4 zucchinis, thinly sliced to 1/2-inch thick rounds
– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
– Zest of 1 lemon
– Salt and black pepper, to taste
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more, to taste

1. Melt butter in a large frying pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Working in batches, add zucchini, thyme and lemon zest. Cook, flipping once, until golden, about 1-2 minutes on each side; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan and lemon juice.

Note: Ingredients for today’s recipe can be found at the St. James campus Good Food Market (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday 11:45 am – 3:00 pm)! Lemon ($0.40 each or 3 for $1.00), Garlic ($0.50), Zucchini ($0.50)

(Recipe adapted from

Fruit of the Week: Lemon pt. 2


– One of the major health benefits of lemons is their high Vitamin C content

– One lemon can contain between 36% and 50% of daily Vitamin C requirements, depending on the size of the fruit

– Lemon juice is among the juices containing the highest amount of antioxidants

– Lemons contain up to 8% citric acid, which helps digestion and can assist in dissolving kidney stones and gallstones







Avgolemono (Greek Lemon and Egg Soup)

– 4 cups chicken broth (if prefer can also use vegetable broth)
– 1/3 cup uncooked white rice
– 2 eggs
– Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
– 1/2 cup cold water
– 1 cup warm broth (from the cooking soup)

1. Bring broth and rice to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is very tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Separate 2 eggs (whites in one bowl and yolks in another). Whisk the egg whites till creamy and fluffy. Add the egg yolks to the egg whites and mix them until creamy.
3. Slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs .
4. Mix half of a cup cold water and half of a cup warm broth/soup together in a medium/large bowl (making one cup of lukewarm water/broth so the eggs do not curdle)
5. Slowly add the lemon/egg mixture to the water/soup mixture. Stir slowly till blended. Then add another half cup of broth. Stir slowly till blended.
6. Slowly pour the mixture into the rice soup and stir till blended.

*If you like you can add a little dill, parsley, pepper to taste or green onions for extra flavour

Note: Ingredients for today’s recipe can be found at the St. James campus Good Food Market (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday 11:45am – 3:00pm)! Lemon ($0.40 each or 3 for $1.00), Green onion ($0.50 per bunch)

(Recipe adapted from

Fruit of the Week: Lemon

– A lemon is a small citrus fruit about 5-8 centimetres in diametre
– Lemon trees are classified as evergreens and originate from southern China/northern India
– Lemon trees typically grow to stand between 10 and 12 feet tall and grow best in tropical environments
– One study on the lemon’s genetic origins demonstrated that it was likely originally a hybrid between the citron (larger citrus fruit) and the bitter orange
– Most citrus fruits, the lemon included, originate as natural hybrids from one or more of four original citrus fruits: citron, mandarin, papeda and pummelo
– Because of its low pH balance, lemon juice is also antibacterial
– China and India are the world’s top lemon producers









Buttery Lemon Parsley Noodles
Makes 6-8 servings

– 1 pound Pasta (according to preference, for example fettuccine, Linguine, Angel Hair)
– 4 Tablespoons Butter
– 1/4 cup Finely Minced Parsley
– 1 whole Lemon
– Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. (If using angel hair, stop just short of the al dente stage.) Drain and set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the cooked pasta and cook it around in the butter for a couple of minutes so that a few of the noodles get a little bit of a pan-fried texture to them.
3. Zest the lemon. Squeeze in the juice, then add the zest of half the lemon.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss around and serve.

Note: Ingredients for today’s recipe can be found at the St. James campus Good Food Market (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday from 11:45 am to 3:00pm)! Lemon ($0.40 each or 3 for $1.00)

(Recipe taken from

Vegetable of the Week: Spinach pt. 2

– Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamin A with 56% of daily values contained in 1 Cup
– Spinach is also a great source of Vitamin K with 181% of daily values contained in 1 Cup
– Spinach also contains significant amounts of Vitamin C, Manganese, Magnesium, Folate and Iron







Creamy Avocado and Spinach Pasta
Makes 4 servings

– 10 oz. spaghetti or fettuccine
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 avocado
– 1 cup fresh spinach
– 1/2 cup pecans (optional)
– 1/4 cup basil
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 3/4 to 1 cup pasta water
– Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
2. While pasta is cooking, add the rest of the ingredients to your blender and blend until it turns into a smooth sauce. Start with ¾ cup of pasta water and add more as needed to get the consistency you want.
3. Toss the pasta with the sauce in a bowl and serve immediately. This sauce is best served the day it is made, as it uses avocados which will turn a brownish colour.

Note: Ingredients for today’s recipe can be found at the Good Food Market at GBC St. James (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday 11:45 am to 3:00 pm)! Spinach ($1.25), Garlic ($0.50), Avocado ($0.75), Lemon ($0.40 each or 3 for $1.00)

(Recipe taken from

Vegetable of the Week: Spinach

– Spinach is an edible flowering plant native to ancient Persia
– Spinach is an annual plant, meaning that its life cycle lasts one year (versus a perennial plant that comes back again the next year)
– The spinach plant can grow up to 30 centimetres in height and is 3-4 millimetres in diameter
– In Ontario, locally grown spinach is available between the months of May and October.
– However, winters in Ontario are too harsh for spinach to be grown all year round, although this is a possibility in nations with more temperate winters.
– Between 2006 and 2011, spinach acreage within the Ontario Greenbelt increased by 30.6%
– But spinach crops still make up only a small percentage (1.3%) of dedicated vegetable crop acreage in the Greenbelt when compared with other crops like sweet corn (10.7%) or carrots (21.3%)
– China and the US are the two largest spinach producers in the world.










Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms and Caramelised Onions
Makes 2-4 servings

– 3 onions, sliced
– 3 cups spinach
– 10 mushrooms sliced
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon preferred oil (original recipe calls for coconut oil, however, olive oil or other preferred oils can also be used)
– 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
– Salt and black pepper to taste

1) Heat the oil and butter over a high heat in a pan or skillet.
2) Add the sliced onions and garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking the onions for 20 more minutes, still stirring frequently.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.
4. Add the sliced mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper; cook until the mushrooms are tender but not mushy.
5. Add the spinach. Stir on low heat just until the spinach wilts, and serve.

Note: Ingredients for today’s recipe can be found at the Good Food Market at GBC (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday from 11:45am – 3:00pm)! Onions ($0.75 per bag or $0.10 per onion), Spinach ($1.25), Mushrooms ($1.75 per package, $0.25 per brown mushroom or $1.00 per portobello mushroom) and Garlic ($0.50 per head).

(Recipe adapted from:

Fruit of the Week: Avocado pt. 2

– Avocados are a significant source of monounsaturated fat, associated with reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and potentially helping to protect against coronary heart disease
– Avocados are very rich in vitamins, with 53% of daily Vitamin K values, 33% Vitamin C, 26% Vitamin B6, 21% Vitamin E among others.
– They are also very high in Potassium at 26% of daily values. 1 avocado contains more Potassium than 1 banana.








Chickpea Avocado Mash with Lemon

– 15 oz. can chickpeas
– 1 ripe avocado
– Juice from 1/2 lemon
– Salt/pepper to taste
– Optional toppings/add-ins: sprouts, tomato, spinach, green onion, etc.

1. Rinse and drain chickpeas and place in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher or a fork.
2. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop out the avocado and place in bowl.
3. Mash again to combine avocado with the chickpeas.
4. Add lemon juice and stir. Salt/pepper to taste if desired

Note: Ingredients from today’s recipe can be found at the Good Food Market at GBC (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday from 11:34am – 3:00pm)! Avocados ($0.75), Lemons ($0.40 each or 3 for $1.00), Plum tomatoes ($0.50), Spinach ($1.25 per bunch), Green onions ($0.50)

(Recipe taken from

Fruit of the Week: Avocado

– Avocados are a fruit/large berry that grows on an avocado tree (Persea Americana)
– The avocado tree is a flowering tree with greenish-yellow flowers approximately 5 to 10 mm wide
– Avocado trees can grow as tall as 20 metres or 66 feet
– Avocado trees are best grown in sub-tropical or tropical climates that do not reach sub-zero temperatures, that are without frost and have very little wind
– Avocados are native to Central America and the earliest evidence of human avocado use dates back to approximately 10,000 BC in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico
– The avocado was introduced to the US in the 1800s, but its production is largely limited to southern California due to the fact that avocados require a very specific climate to grow
– Michoacán, Mexico leads global avocado production and produces approximately 92% of Mexico’s avocados.
– The primary cultivar commercially grown in Mexico is the Hass cultivar, but other cultivars include Fuerte, Bacon, Criollor, Reed and Zutano
– Avocados are grown all year round in Mexico, meaning they are always in season
– However, the best quality avocados are grown between December and June
– Approximately 85% of Mexico’s avocado crop remains in the country while the rest is exported
– The majority of Mexican avocado exports go to the United States, but they also export to countries like Canada, Spain, France, Japan, Hong Kong and China








Avocado Quesadillas

– 1/2 avocado, more if you prefer
– 1 small tomato of your choice, diced
– 1 green onion, sliced
– 2 tsp. nutritional yeast
– Seasonings of choice (Paprika, cumin, garlic powder, etc.)
– Salsa (optional)
– 1 large tortilla

1. Smash avocado and spread out on one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and any seasonings. Add tomato, green onions, and salsa. (Or save the salsa for dipping!)
2. Fold over the top half of the tortilla, and place on a skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
3. Heat for a few minutes on each side until warmed through.

Note: Ingredients for today’s recipe can be found at the Good Food Market at GBC (200 King Street East, main lobby every Thursday from 11:45am – 3:00pm)! Avocados ($0.75), Plum Tomatoes ($0.50), Green Onions ($0.50)

(Recipe adapted from

Vegetable of the Week: Potato pt. 5

Preparation and Serving:
– Before using, thoroughly scrub potatoes under tap water to get rid of dirt
– If potato eyes have begun to sprout, cut out the sprout as these are toxic
– If portions of potato skin or peel are starting to turn green, cut these areas out as they are also toxic
– Similarly, any bruises can also be cut out
– Potatoes can be peeled or left unpeeled according to preference, but peeling them removes a considerable amount of their nutrients
– Potatoes can be baked, roasted, boiled, mashed, steamed, fried and can be eaten whole, chopped, sliced, in soups, salads, pierogis, dumplings, pies, casseroles, pancakes and many other ways

potato bread

Potato Bread

– 3 medium russet potatoes, cooked, mashed, cooled
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 2 cup reserved potato water, lukewarm
– 7 g or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 4 3/4 cups high gluten flour (flour for making bread)
– Optional: spoonful of dry oregano or dill

1 – 3. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm potato water for 5 mins. Then mix it with potato, salt and olive oil. Gradually add in flour, knead, it looks dry and crumbly in the beginning, but it’ll come together soon. For a while you feel the dough very sticky but don’t be tempted to add too much extra flour; later on it turns out just slightly sticky but not wet. Knead the dough until smooth, cover and rise for 30 mins. It will have risen noticeably, although it may not have doubled. Pre-heat the oven 375F, place a baking stone in.
4 – 6. Cut the dough in half, take one half, flatten, start rolling from one end until almost to the other end, gently pull that end, stretch it gently, dust its edge with flour, and finish rolling. Rock back and forth a little to taper the ends. Repeat with the other half of dough.
7. Place the doughs on the floured towel, seam side down, covered, rise for 20 mins.
8. When ready to bake, throw three ice cubes onto the oven’s flour, shut the door immediately. Transfer the doughs by using the peel (baking sheet for me), let it roll onto the baking stone, seam side up. Before you last shut the door, throw two more ice cubes in. Bake the bread until the crust is very brown, 45 – 50 mins, you should hear the hollow sound when you tap the loaf bottom. Cool them 20 mins before slicing.

(Recipe taken from

Vegetable of the Week: Potato pt. 4

Selection and Storage:
– Select firm, dry potatoes that do not have wilted/shriveled peels, dark bruises or soft spots
– Avoid potatoes with substantial green spots and eyes that have started to sprout
– Potato sprouts and green skin are toxic, so they should never be eaten!
– Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry, ventilated, dark area (for example in a kitchen cabinet, drawer or closet)
– Potatoes should not be stored in the fridge as they will get too cold
– When storing, try to keep potatoes in their bags or otherwise loosely covered
– Potatoes can be stored for many weeks between 7-10 degrees Celsius, but no more than a week in temperatures greater than 10 degrees Celsius


Papas Chorreadas (Colombian Potatoes with Cheese and Tomato Sauce)
Makes 4-6 servings

– 12 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
– Salt
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
– 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and cut into 1/4-inch strips
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 6 ounces shredded/grated cheese, preferably mozzarella or any other mild, white melting cheese

1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Salt water generously, then place over high heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are completely tender, about 20 minutes after boiling is achieved.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost no liquid remains, about 15 minutes. Add heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce comes together and has the consistency of light paint.
3. Drain potatoes and transfer to a serving platter. Season sauce to taste, then stir in grated cheese, heating until cheese just barely begins to melt (it should stay chunky in light curds). Spoon sauce over potatoes, and serve immediately.

(Recipe from