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Wholly Canadian Blog

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Baking: No Need for New Year's Resolutions

Christmas Baking that does NOT require New Year's Resolutions

This year I had a toddler to inspire me with my Christmas baking. . . he loves helping me, well, I mean tasting.  We use our Mama's helper stool, and then he "helps" his mama. Every ingredient I pull out, he sweetly says, "Mama, I love honey," or "Mama, I love cocoa," or "Mama, I love butter". . .hoping I will give him a spoon to lick. But our joy was not just in the preparation. . .

We made our Christmas cookies with some neighbors and community members in mind. . . but not just people we knew, we kept in mind the faces of farmers we had never met--both Canadian and farmers in far-away-lands.  All our ingredients were either local or fair-trade. What a delight to think that the joy went further than our eyes could see, further than our tastes could savour, and beyond the gratitude of our loved-ones. 





Here's what we did. . .


Upgraded Egg Nog Cookies: 

We took a simple egg nog recipe  and upgraded it to include some traditional & wholesome ways of preparing food.


"Cow Pies": Unbaked Cookies & Probiotic-infused

  • wholly nourishing organic oatmeal grown by Manitoba farmers: grown by Deruycks (We soaked & dehydrated oatmeal we had prepared earlier--See why  soaking grains is so important to optimize digestion & health, and why some nutrients only become available through this ancient food preparation method) 
  • Camino fair-trade cocoa
  • homemade kefir milk (see how we make kefir milk in this course or order your milk kefir grains here) made from Stoney Brook Creamery unhomogenized milk. . .
    • How's that for adding probiotics in Christmas baking.  Oh, so necesssary to combat all the viruses this winter!
  • raw Manitoba honey by John Russell
  • fair-trade Level Ground coconut oil
  • Canadian processed Nuts To You peanut butter


Sunbutter Thumb Prints

  • organic spelt sourdough (see how to make sourdough baking in this course)
  • homemade organic sunflower butter (We soaked & dehydrated the oats--See why  soaking seeds is so important to optimize digestion & health, and why some nutrients only become available through this ancient food preparation method)
  • homemade strawberry jam from Manitoba strawberries we purchased in summer at Jardin St Leon
  • Luna Farm farm fresh eggs
  • fair-trade Level Ground unrefined sugar


Decadent Fudge: Good-for-you-Fats

  • fair-trade Level Ground coconut oil
  • Canadian processed Nuts To You peanut butter
  • raw Manitoba honey by John Russell
  • Camino fair-trade cocoa
  • sprinkled with wholly prepared nuts: (We soaked & dehydrated the nuts--See why  soaking nuts is so important to optimize digestion & health, and why some nutrients only become available through this ancient food preparation method)

And then we packaged these in some used Christmas tins we picked up a thrift store.

What joy it was to think local, fair-trade, used (tins) for our Christmas Baking . . . (Click here for a post Why this matters)




Intersted in learning more about preparing food in a naturally wholesome manner that will optimize your health for the New Year?  Click here to learn about some of our upcoming courses:


We'll be preparing some festive drinks in our next "Bubbly & Creams" course!


How have you incorporated community into your Christmas traditions? Share with us . . .

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 11:22 PM 0 Comments

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Top 14 Valentine Ideas. . . Loaded with Love & Goodwill

"How do I love thee . . . let me count the ways . . ."

Or at least let me show you ways of displaying love. . . But not any kind of love.

Let me show you a way towards a love that is enveloped with goodwill . . . a love that is deeply rooted in action, a love that says "I love my neighbour as myself," a love that includes community (versus what is cheapest for me).

All these carefully picked Valentine gift ideas are loaded with love because they are either:


Wow, now that's active, true love!

So without further adieu, let's begin. May these ideas be a catalyst of love. . .

1. Organic Fair-trade Hot Chocolate: Camino

Organic Dark Hot Chocolate

Ah yes, let's start with chocolate. Chocolate stirs up passion. . .ensure your passion is interwoven with goodwill by purchasing fair-trade chocolate. This organic fair-trade hot chocolate can be purchased at a variety mainstream supermarkets as well as Ten Thousand Villages.

Guaranteed to satisfy the most intense chocolate needs, Camino Dark Hot Chocolate offers a smooth, rich chocolatey taste with just a hint of sweetness. Made with Fair Trade and organic cocoa from the Dominican Republic and organic sugar from Paraguay, this luxury beverage is both GMO-free and certified Kosher.



2. Splat & Co: Valentine's-themed dryer balls

Free dryer ball scent, Valentine's special, set of three wool dryer balls with free vanilla scent,100% Canadian wool dryer balls

Here's a gift for the sentimental pragmatic in your life! Valentine's-themed dryer balls.

Splat & Co has a Valentine's day special:  one set of red dryer balls with a free 10ml bottle of vanilla essential oil.

The locally-sourced wool on these dryer balls is sure to set this gift apart from the typical imported gifts.  Feel great giving a set of three Canadian wool dryer balls, handmade with  approximately 50 grams of durable wool... that will last for years.

See why Wholly Canadian loves Splat & Co dryer balls.

3. Naosap Wild Rice

Oooh la la! A gift for the gourmet in your life. . .or else for one who loves eating gourmet: Canadian-grown organic wild rice.

See why Wholly Canadian loves Naosap and our recipe for a "Wholly Canadian meets fair-trade" recipe of gourmet wild rice burgers! These burgers sizzle with local & international goodwill!

This gift nourishes the inside, and is surprisingly an incredible source of protein. 

We just made some wild rice organic pancakes infused with local raspberries and laden with butter and local birch syrup.  Yum!  See the recipe we adapted here.

Display your love to your sweetheart by supporting local farmers.



4. Heirloom Heritage Flowers: Heritage Harvest Seed

Instead of purchasing  cut flowers (that are definitely not local given our winter season!), give your sweetheart some flowers that will bloom for years. . .in fact they they can become part of your family's heritage. Purchase some heirloom flower seeds. While they may not be blooming now. . .spring is, finger's crossed, just a few months away. Oh, joy! 

Here are some of my heirloom favourites: morning glory (don't you just love the name?), heirloom poppies (some of whose seeds you can use for baking), heirloom sunflowers (nothing says "You are my sunshine" quite the same way), heirloom sweetpeas (aww, imagine how your sweetheart would be be impressed with the promise of the sweet fragrance of sweetpea flowers), and heirloom Sweet William flowers (I've got a very special reason why I love these. . see pic here.)

This Valentine's season, support this local business located in Carmen, MB that is dedicated to saving rare and endangered heirlooms vegetables and flowers. Also see why Wholly Canadian believes in seed saving.

Heirloom Flower - Morning Glory 'President Tyler' Heirloom Flower - Poppy 'Giganteum' Heirloom Flower - Sunflower 'Arikara' Heirloom Flower - Sweet Pea 'Grandiflora Mix'



5. Prairie Barnwood

Sustainably-sourced, locally-made furniture says love!  Imagine giving a gift with such a rich story.

Elias table

Who wouldn't enjoy giving the gift of a barnwood table over which to enjoy a romantic meal? 

Here are some other alternatives that are more moderately priced but spell sustainable luxury: end tables, bar stools, and benches.

Made in Morden, MB, Prairie-Barnwood is one of the leading Canadian producers of barnwood furniture.


6. Icelandic Wool Socks

Okay, nothing says love like warm feet! I love warm feet! The Canadian-made Icelandic wool socks are available from Egli's Sheepfarm. I've written about my favourite Egli's product in October's "Top Ten."  Egli Sheep Farm was also mentioned in the "I love Ewe, Baby" blog post.

These socks would pair well over skinny jeans and worn with muk luks or ankle boots. They are available in both men's and women's sizes.



7. Pure Cashmere Lace Scarf: Mountain Masche

Pure Cashmere Lace Scarf / Shawl for women This Canadian-designed and handknit lace scarf is light yet cosily warm, perfect for the lady in mind who takes pleasure in owning a special and unique piece in her wardrobe that cannot be found everywhere.

A double and two individual leaf panels travel along the length of the scarf, broken up by small cables.
The colour is a broken white; the natural creamy colour of the cashmere goat. No aggressive chemical dye products were used which makes this scarf ideal for those who are sensitive to itchy and prickly wool.

This is a gift that supports a local artisan, while keeping your loved one warm and uniquely stylish.

Read about Mountain Masche in the "I love Ewe, Baby" blog post.

8. Vintage Jewellery: Pre-loved!

The best places to find vintage jewelry for your special-someone is your local antique store, kijiji, etsy, or thrift stores. Say "I love you" with a piece that has a story. . .it glimmers all the more!  New is not always better. Love with a pre-loved gift!




9. Green Beaver Castile Soap

Castile soap is a lovely but pragmatic gift--a techique passed down from the ancients.


Green Beaver's soap bar is an authentic Castile-type soap, made from the traditional method of using plant oils. They chose to make their Castile soaps using locally harvested organic sunflower seed oil instead of the olive oil that is traditionally used in Castile soap recipes.

Sunflower oil is rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids, and we blend it with coconut oil for a gentle, silky lather that leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft. It’s so pure, you can use it to bathe in lakes and rivers! Also see their Liquid Castile Soap.

Give a gift that supports Canadian farming industry and artisans. . .

See our favourite Green Beaver product here in our September's "Top Ten.


10. Canadian-made Clothing

Womens dresses cotton dress waisted dress short sleeves belt  AH13RMC-Tissé

Why not support a Canadian seamstress or tailor when saying "I love you?"

Check out this cotton dress by Eve Lavoie of Montreal.

This dress makes me swoon. The 1950's flair of simple elegance makes this dress a versatile choice.

Browse through local boutiques to find "Made in Canada" clothing, or else use the refined search in Etsy. 


11.  Wool Filled Pillow for Heavenly Sleep: Shepherd's Dream

 This company has been one of my favourites for a while, and I wrote about them in September's "Top Ten" products when I shared one of my favourite memories. You can also read about them in the "I love Ewe, Baby" blog post.

Standard Sleep Pillow

My family sleeps on wool pillows (I use both their pillow and neck roll) because, wool:

  • Helps relieve back pains, arthritis pain, and painful pressure points
  • Biodegradable and healthy for the planet
  • Completely breathable
  • Warms without overheating, never clammy
  • Naturally flame resistant and safe for kids
  • Naturally hypoallergenic & dust mite resistant

Shepherd’s Dream produces the finest natural wool bedding available in Canada. They are committed to healthy sleep; they offer all the ingredients to create a breathable, supportive sleep system.

Say "I love you" with a pillow that will help the body regenerate each night, while also giving a gift that supports a Canadian business that uses sustainably sourced materials.


12. Constance Popp Chocolate

Of course we have to add some more chocolate to the mix. What's Valentine's Day without chocolate. . .oh, chocolate. I love chocolate.

Who is your favourite local chocolatier? My husband has repeatedly turned to Constance Popp (when purchasing his sweetheart a gift!)--Constance Popp is known for her fresh premium chocolates made with whole ingredients, and without artificial ingredients and preservatives.

award-winning-manitobar-chocolate-barTwo of my favourites from this local chocolatier is the Manitobabar: cut into the shape of the Province of Manitoba. Ingredients include Manitoba Harvest hemp seed, Ecofarm sunflower seeds, John Russell lemon honey, Manitoba Flax. Delicious and a source of omega-6 omega-3 and fiber!  Crunchy chocolate goodness for a local-lover!

And one of their chocolate bon bons: the Manitoba red beet with pepper, caraway seed and sea salt.  Unique-pairing of ingredients make for an unusually mouth-savouring experience.



13. Traditional Foods Course: A Gift of Health

Does living well resonate with your new year goals? Are you or your loved ones interested in regaining health and whole eating?

This is a gift that is an incredible investment!

Check out Wholly Canadian's courses:



  • Searching for ways to live healthier? 
  • Interested in a cleaner diet to boost your immune system?  
  • Interested in weight management?
  • Check out our courses!


14. Pure Anada Lip Gloss: Kiss worthy!

Give a locally-made gift that is naturally good for all involved. . .a natural lip gloss! Made of natural oils, plant waxes and shea butter, Pure Anada's gloss will not only protect your lips, it will heal them too!

No sticky silicones here! It is said the average woman consumes over 5 pounds of lipgloss in their lifetime!  Make sure yours is edible.

Pure Anada liquid glosses are highly pigmented. A small amount goes a long way! You’ll love their creamy consistency.

Many of the shades coordinate with a matching lipstick.  This makes it great for layering gloss on top of lipstick for long lasting wear and high shine. I recommend the "Morden's blush" colour for a lipgloss that works with both cool and warm skintones.

Made in Morden, MB., this company has made an impression nation-wide.  See our favourite Pure Anada product here in our September's "Top Ten."


Interested in showing love with an act of service?

Make a drink fuelled with love & goodwill! Try this local & fair-trade exotic passionate Valentine's drink. . .serve this strawberry margarita! (using Level Ground Trading dried fruit)

sed Level Ground Trading exotic dried fruit purchased - See more at: http://whollycanadian.ca/food/recipes/view-recipe.cfm?Title=Passionate_Strawberry_Smoothie#sthash.oo0qnolh.dpuf



Make this amazing fair-trade chocolate bark (Level Ground Trading & Camino)

When Wholly Canadian husband asked what I wanted for Valentine's Day. . .I told him him to peruse this blog post for ideas! {grin}

What do you think he should purchase?

What would you love to give? What would you love to receive?



Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 1 Comments