Wholly Canadian is a social enterprise promoting whole-life local living
...a breath of fresh air for those with a heart for local /fair-trade living, & inspiration for those intrigued...
                                     

Wholly Canadian Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Butter, Sourdough Crackers. . .And a SOURDOUGH COURSE coming to Winnipeg

Are grains your friend or foe?

Are you looking to maximize nutrition and minimize your food budget? 

(Hint: sourdough products make the minerals and vitamins bio-available to you in a way that conventional bread cannot. . .they especially increase Vitamin B (the kind that is very helpful to manage stress!)

Click here for a course coming to Winnipeg. . .

This afternoon we had a delightful treat in our home. . .homemade sourdough crackers with a slice of organic pastured butter (yes, I did say slice and butter in one phrase), with garden-fresh heirloom tomatoes and chiffonade basil.

It's almost difficult to absorb all that goodness in one bite. . . yum!

So here's the story:

Crackers:

We eat sourdough spelt crackers in our home. . .one more aisle we can skip in the grocery store. {grin}Why sourdough? Ever find that your stomach aches or feels bloated after eating grains?  Well, that's the grain's phytic acid (a natural membrance around the grain). Not only does does the phytic acid make digestion difficult, it also prevents you from absorbing the nurtrients. The solution? Well good ol' fashioned wisdom: soaking /sourdough

I decided to give these crackers some natural flavor: I added dehydrated basil from my garden, Canadian feta cheese, and local garlic I purchased at a farmer's market, to the crackers. . .it's a Mediterraean-Canadian love affair. Instead of using an oil, I used a traditional fat tallow that I rendered from pastured beef suet. 100% Canadian ingredients. Love it!

This cracker is a real winner for our family. At 18 months my first baby was introduced to grains, and was ready for his first cracker. (He brushed off the basil and tomato and went straight for the cracker. . .and then he tasted the butter!)

Want to make these crackers and learn how to make sourdough crackers, bread and more for your family?.

Click here for a course coming to Winnipeg. 

Butter:

I enjoy my Canadian butter that is produced the way nature intends it . . .This week I reached out for Organic Meadows butter. It's particularly special this season. . . want to know why? Because it's pastured! When Canadian weather permits, the cows are out in the sunshine and eating fresh greens in the pasture, making a creamy, nutrient-dense milk for us. When our grandparents grew up they didn't call pastured cows eating natural food, organic. No, it was just the way it was done. Unfortunately, that traditional praxis is now unique. . .

Quality butter is an investment. Nutrition and taste far outweigh the cost.  I recently read, don't ask why organic food is so expensive, ask why cheap food is so cheap.

Butter is a basic staple in traditional food. It's only in recent times that vegetable oils have become the "go-to" in cooking, and it's not for nutritional reasons.  Olive oil, butter, and traditional fats (tallow and lard) have traditionally been used for cooking through the centuries.  However, a recent industry shift has encouraged "vegetable" oils. . .but not because of nutrition, but because of efficacy in production and cost.  But you see there's a huge problem in that paradigm.  When we cheapen food, and make decisions devoid of food's purpose, it becomes fuel. Yet, food is not fuel. When food is viewed as fuel we begin to cut corners. . .

No, food's purpose is nourishment and enjoyment (I could write a whole article on how nourishing pastured butter is, and how heavenly it tastes).  I choose real butter for the same reason I grow real food. It would seem, given recent articles on the come-back of butter, that the pendulum is swinging again. This is why traditional food is such a rich and deep well in which we can dip into era after era--the facts still remain the same: Real food is good food.

When doing some research about Organic Meadows, I realized that one of their Manitoba dairy farms is close to where I grew up! In fact, many years ago, when local neighbours could still buy raw milk from the farmer, my parents used to purchase milk from that farm. As I was spooling through those dusty memories, another one came to mind. The "Mrs." of that farm, many years ago, also had a hair studio in her home, and that is where my late-mother took me for my first perm in Grade 8!  My school pictures look more akin to the hair of the cabbage-patch cornsilk dolls. . .but it was fashionable!  Ah the memories that rise to the top when biting into a slice of butter {pun intended!}



Heirloom Tomatoes

I topped my crackers with heirloom tomatoes and chiffonade basil from my garden.

See this post on what makes these tomatoes so special.


Want to eat real food? Interested in lowering your gluten while still enjoying real Canadian grains?  Wholly Canadian is offering traditional food courses with a special emphasis on incoporating local and fair-trade foods.

Sign up now, as space is limited.



Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 3 Comments

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Naosap Wild Rice: More than Gourmet

Naosap Organic Wild Rice sent us some wild rice & wild rice flour to review. . .and what a treat!

I decided to try out one of her recipes with the product we received. But before I share a wild rice burger recipe, I thought it would be helpful for Wholly Canadian followers to get to know Naosap a bit better.

I asked Tracy, the owner, some questions. . .

What products do you provide?

Our main product is our certified organic, non-gmo verified Canadian, lake-grown wild rice. We do also offer wild rice flour, wild rice linguine and gift baskets.

What's your mission?

Our mission is to get wild rice into as many homes as possible.  While many view wild rice as a gourmet food, we believe it should be more of a staple based on its nutritional content.  It is also more economical than most people realize as wild rice triples itself when cooked, compared to "regular" rice which doubles itself.


Why should Canadians buy from your company? What makes you unique compared to your competitors?


We are unique because our family-based business is rooted in sustainability and quality. Harvesting wild rice is indeed an art that is not easily learned. My husband and his brothers have over 30 years experience harvesting; they know how to get the highest quality of wild rice. Because Naosap Harvest ONLY uses Anderson Brother's green wild rice for processing, we have the optimal control over the quality of our product. Our long summer days of sunshine produces a long, dark kernel that is sought after. Our customer service is second to none and we pride ourselves on that.


What does local living mean to you?

Local living is eating, working and "playing" using as many local resources as possible.

Where can Canadians purchase Naosap organic wild rice?


Wholly Canadian chose the above dish, Naosap organic wild rice, as baby's first rice dish at 18 months. See this post on why.

I decided to make Naosap's wild rice burgers that are both vegan and gluten-free.  But I did it with a twist incorporating:


See our adapted recipe here:


You have got to try this recipe with Naosap's wild organic rice!

It's power-packed! What amazed me most is the amount of protein wild rice has. . .boasting 7g of protein in a 1/4 cup. That's what makes these burgers so great. . .they're vegan with a healthy does of protein! You can feel good giving your family these wild rice burgers.

I'm also looking forward to trying the wild rice pizza crust recipe.


Naosap wild rice is simply one of Canada's great products.

My encouragement for Canadians is to re-think rice as Canadian. . .and choose local.


Have you tried Canadian wild rice?


Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 46 Comments

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Cream always Rises to the Top

The last few years I've been on a quest for wholly natural food. Real food. . .

  • food like my grandparents produced on their farm
  • food that comes from animals that lived in a natural habitat suitable to Canadian weather just like my grandparents would have given them. . .outside in the summer, inside in the winter
  • food that comes from animals that ate real food themselves. . .food that is historically rooted in tradition (GMO free & checmical-free)

 

You see, I'm not after an (organic) label, I'm after wholly natural food

Can you see the difference in colour between these two whipped creams? Neither have any sweetener in them; they were simply whipped.  One is from coventional cows that lived inside a barn; and one from pastured cows that grazed outside this summer. Which appeals to you? Snow-white cream? Or buttery-yellow cream?


But now most wholly natural food is labelled as organic.

While a great deal of conventional food is GMO and chemical-laden--not because any organization is aiming to feed Canadians this, but because consumers are demanding cheap food. . .food that is cost-efficient, travel-friendly, has prolonged shelf-life, etc. This is why I am now buying a great deal of organic--I just want wholly natural food. I want real food.


Don't ask why wholly natural food is so expensive, ask why cheap food is so cheap. . .

I want my apples to rot on the shelf after a few weeks versus GMO fish-infused apples with pro-longed shelf-life & reduced Vit C. I want food that encourages bio-diversity. I want food that comes from seeds that are naturally derived. I want food that doesn't put farm workers at risk--chemicals that have poison signs and are sprayed on food seems like a strange practice.


 

Harmony Organic cream:  We purchase this at Organza Market in Winnipeg because it is: 1)Canadian, 2)un-homogenized, 3)and grass-fed in season (I don't know of any dairy company that can boast these three for their cream). And the colour, oh, the colour it is such a rich buttery-yellow.  Note: This cream is nearly 3x the price of conventional cream; which is why we budget accordingly, and savour every spoon.

I'm particularly after grass-fed meat, dairy, and meat. Why?

Because of Vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2 is found in animal products, as opposed to K1 which is found in leafy greens. But here's the clincher. The eggs, dairy, and meat we consume only contain natural Vitamin K2 when it is . . . you guessed it . . . grass-fed (or pastured).


"Grass-fed" or "pastured" isn't a sought-after label of some idealistic dream. . .eating grass-fed products is critical for normal health.

However ever since the 1940s, farmers realized that livestock could be cheaply fed a diet of grains fortified with synthetic vitamins A and D, and could thus survive without ever having to see the sunlight.

Weston A Price Foundation, an educational organization committed to ancient wisdom in food and farming, states that vitamin K2 is synthesized from the chlorophyll ingested by cows, chickens, or pigs when grazing in lush green pastures. This means that they must be in the sunshine to get it! When animals are left confined to dark spaces without movement and fed processed grains, there is little chance for K2 to be created.

Why the concern about Vitamin K2?  Well, research indicates that Vitamin K is vital:

  • for the utilization of minerals,
  • protects against tooth decay,
  • supports growth and development,
  • is involved in normal reproduction,
  • protects against calcification of the arteries leading to heart disease,
  • and is a major component of the brain.
  • Vitamin K2 works synergistically with the two other “fat-soluble activators” that Price studied, vitamins A and D. Vitamins A and D signal to the cells to produce certain proteins and vitamin K then activates these proteins.

Got children? Vitamin K2 is esesntial for normal bone & neurological growth! Grass-fed animal products should not be luxury foods. . .they weren't for my farming grandparents.


So which cream appeals to you? The conventional cream? Or the grass-fed cream?

 

Look for the words "pastured" or "grass-fed."

Labels that say cage-free or free-range are not sufficient. These labels cannot be correlated with grass-fed/pastured, thereby, Vitamin K2.

For example, eggs that come from a carton that state their chickens are solely fed a vegetarian diet, don't get my purchase. Why? Because chickens are not naturally vegetarian. Chickens, like many other birds, when living in their natural habitat eat mice, insects, etc. "Cage-free" eggs come from chickens that while they live free of a cage, are contained indoors year-round and fed a vegetarian diet--and then are marketed as a "natural" choice. Indoors means no Vitamin K2.

My Manitoba supplier of free-range pastured eggs? Check them out: Luna Field Farm.

As Canadians we're also fortunate, that Canada Organic has standards that mandate farmers to pasture their animals seasonally, in order to receive their organic certification.

I have also found many farmers that are not organically certified, but have similar high standards of pasturing their animals. The key it to get curious; and contact the farmer!


My grandparents on the farm would't have labelled real food as organic; they simply practiced traditional wisdom.

Cultured cream, a type of clotted cream. Served on a brownie made of fair-trade chocolate, and Manitoba oats, pastured eggs, & honey.


But grass-fed cream & milk is not where the goodness stops in our home. . .we culture our cream. Using dairy kefir grains, we culture sour cream, sweetened clotted cream, and kefir cheese.

All of these creams and cheeses are laden with probiotics--the good bacteria that lines your gut and builds up your defenses against flues and diseases.

A healthy gut belongs to a healthy person.

So get your gut healthy!

A healthy gut also aids in weight management.


Wild rice burger on traditional sourdough bread laden with traditional kefir cheese


Interested in taking a course on cultured creams and cheeses? See our upcoming class in Winnipeg.

Want to give your family an immune boost? 

Interested in making rich creams and cheeses that are full of probiotics right in your kitchen?

Want to get the synergestic benefit of cultured food rich and real ingredients rich in Vitamin K.

Register nowSpace is limited.

 

 

Which cream appeals to you?

As they say, the cream always rises to the top. . .

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:54 AM 38 Comments

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nice! It's Sweet Rice for Canadian Babies

As per historical tradition, we waited until after a year to introduce our baby to grains. 

Historically babies refrained from grains until at least a year (note: molars can be an indication of readiness for grains) because babies do not have  sufficient digestive enzymes to digest grain. The enzyme, amylase, necessary to digest grains, is generally produced after a baby is a year old. Historically, babies were not fed grains until at least a year, despite ancient people's lack of knowledge about this enzyme. Talk about intuitive wisdom! Yet it's interesting how current North American conventional practice encourages grain as baby's first food, and ironically, many adults then suffer with irritable gut issues later on in life.

Read more about preparing grains and the gut issues that surround improperly prepared grains


Organic sourdough spelt bread.  Gentle on baby's tummy. Gentle on mama & papa's tummies.

At 18 months we started baby on his first grains. We started him out with mama's sourdough spelt bread and sourdough granola. He is loving it! Of course, like all kids, he liked to lick mama's homemade jam off of the toast. {It made me giggle} Then he started biting into the bread, and devoured his first slice.

sourdough granola spelt

Organic sourdough granola (spelt & oat) ready to serve! So nourishable and easy to digest.

After his introduction to spelt sourdough,  I decided it's now time for rice. But not just any rice! Canadian-grown rice. For serveral years, we have been patronizing Naosap Harvest organic wild rice. They are on the edge of the Canadian Shield, surrounded by boreal forest.  Naosap's organic wild rice is grown in the pristine, isolated lakes of northern Manitoba, Canada.   So of course, his first rice had to be Manitoba rice. I love re-thinking of rice as Canadian. Yes, rice does grow in Canada!
I decided to make his first dish a treat. In fact, it's a treat for the whole family!

A wild rice dish laden with a "clotted-honey" cream. . .and topped with fruit and a dash of fair-trade cinnamon. Yum! And it's a super nutritious dish laden with antioxidants, probiotics, protein, minerals, etc!


Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Wild Canadian rice
  • Organic cream--as close as you can get to real cream the way nature delivers it.
  • Milk kefir grain
  • Raw honey--always wait until baby is a year to introduce raw honey
  • Fruit--Canadian-grown, fresh or frozen
  • Fair-trade cinnamon

Instructions:

Step 1: Wholesome Preparation 

1. Soak wild rice with water & apple cider vinegar. Click here for a guide.

2. Culture your cream with a milk keifr grain for 24-24 hours. (Note, you cannot use a water kefir grain for this.) Cream is already heavenly. Now add probiotic strains to it, and you've got a match made in heaven!

Step 2: Putting it together

1. Cook your soaked rice according to grower's instructions--you will need 20% less cooking time and less water

2. Strain the milk kefir grain from the now "clotted" cream

3. Blend in some raw honey into the cream--per taste.

4. Generously top the rice dish with the "honey-clotted" cream.

5. Add some seasonal or frozen fruit.

6 Sprinke some fair-trade cinnamon on top

Enjoy!


I used:

Care to learn more about traditional foods?

Want to deliciously eat your way to health?

  • Interested in learning more about sourdough?  Want to turn grains from a foe into a friend! Want to lower your gluten intake? Check out these learning opportunities!

Register soon!

baby eating rice for the first time

18 months. Eating rice (Naosap Harvest wild rice grown in Manitoba) for the first time. . .and loved it!

Baby eating his Wholly Canadian rice-dish using his Mally Bib in his second-hand high chair. We love this made-in-Canada bib for so many reasons . . . especially the pocket. I put pieces of dried fruit in it as treats. That little extra time it takes in digging out his treat, gives mama few extra minutes.  It's to the point now that when I put on his bib, he immediately checks the pocket, hoping against all hope that there might be a treat! {It always makes me giggle}

We chose the bear bib, because right from pregnancy, we always called him "Baby Bear."  So here's to "Baby Bear" enjoying his first rice. . .

 

What's your favourite traditinally-prepared dish?  Let us know!

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 1 Comments

Friday, September 05, 2014

Preserve & Serve--Local Style

This year I've had the most joyous time putting away preserves! Care to know why?

I'm employing the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation/ culturing. No canner. No heat. No sweat!

I just simply place my veggies in a jar with whey & salt. I let them cutlure for a period of time, and then place them in a fridge or cold room. Simply put, this is traditional food. . .this is the way my great grandmother would have preserved her food prior to modern conveniences.

Traditional Foods are becoming a part of my rhythm. Are you interested in learning more about Traditonal Foods?

made in canada cucumbers

These jars of pickles tell a story. . .through two aspects of Wholly Canadian's shopping paradigm of goodwill:

Local:

Firstly, local. My garden: heirloom cucs, onions, cabbage leaf to hold the cucs down, and oak-leaf to keep the cucs naturally crisp.  Garden marketJardins St-Leon Gardens--I purchased some cucs, dill, and garlic at this local garden market. 

(Side note: anyone know if one can obtain mustard seed grown in Canada?) 

cucumbers made in canada

Used: 

Secondly, used. All my canning jars are from MCC thrift shops. All my jars are made in Canada.  Canada no longer makes glass jars, so these vintage jars are are a real keeper. Instead of using the rust-prone snap lids, I use the original glass tops along with the rubber rings. While the first objective of preserving food is to nourish my family during the long winter months, I also am so amazed how much I enjoy the beauty of preserves. During these last 24 hours I have marveled over and over again at God's gracious bounty towards us when I look at the simple beauty on my kitchen counter.

 


Lacto-fermented veggies are not only a simple way of preserving food, but is also nutrient-dense compared to canning.  Did you know that canning destroys the nutrients in food, whereas culturing food increases enzymes? You are eating live food! But not just live, but also rich in probiotics--the kind of stuff that makes your gut healthy! And a healthy gut belongs to a healthy person!

  • Interested in adding some traditional food skills in your diet?
  • Care to unearth some practices your great-grandmother would have used in her kitchen? 
  •        Want to deliciously eat your way to healthy?

Right now Wholly Canadian is offering two traditional-food courses

1) bubbly drinks and creams for the whole family; and 
2) sourdough: goodness gracious grains!

Space is limited, so make sure to register soon!

made in canada cucumbers

 

Back to Jardin St-Leon Gardens. . .

The customer service their is top notch. Each person (and I've been there countless times), is so friendly, and they look like you are doing them a favour if you have a question! I always drive away amazed because we live in a day and age when pleasant customer-service is the exception. I recently took my father there,  and he was of course  pleasantly rewarded with many friendly youthful smiles and chit chat. He really hit it off with a young male personnel when discussing apple pastries. {It made me giggle}.

I just bought a case of peaches from Jardin St-Leon Gardens that I want to put into the freezer--but only after blanching the peaches. My mother-in-law is going to come over and show her tried-and-true method of blanching peaches. A few years back, I put peaches in the freezer without blanching and without a syrup. I thought this treatment was for those who wanted extra work. Ha! Mush in the freezer. . 

Well, I was deciding how many peaches to purchase while talking with a few Jardin St-Leon employees, and a young gal really impressed me with her customer service by offering me a variety of options for pick-up, ordering organic, etc. As she rung me through, she chatted with my baby in the cart, and then offered to help me to my car with my purchases. I asked her what her name was, and she said, Jen. So Jen, here's to you!

Update: Here's a pic of the peaches. . .blanched and in a light honey syrup ready for the freezer!

What's the name of your favourite garden market?

Posted by Proof Reader at 7:00 AM 13 Comments

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wild Rice Burgers

Naosap Wild Rice Vegan Burgers

Sponsor: Naosap Harvest Wild Rice

These burgers are packed full or protein and are incredibly nutrient-dense! Each ingredient adds a boost to this power-packed vegan, gluten-free burger.

Naosap wild rice is a great choice when selecting your Canadian wild rice, see why here.

We adapted Naosap's wild rice burger recipe.  But we did it with a twist incorporating:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked Naosap Harvest Wild Rice
  • 1 cup cooked organic black beans 
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 flax egg (mix 1 TB of flaxmeal with 2 TB warm water, mix, & let stand for 2 minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (I used American unrefined salt)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked fair-trade Arayuma black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of fair-trade Arayuma  turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fair-trade Arayuma chili peppers (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano--finely chopped (if using dried, using 1/3 the amount)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme--finely chopped (if using dried, use 1/3 the amount)
  • 2 TB Three Farmers camelina oil, as well as some more for your skillet
  • 1/2 cup Naosap Harvest Wild Rice Flour for coating the burgers


Step 1: Wholesome traditional preparation (Day 1)

1. Soak black beans & wild rice traditionally. See our guide for instructions and why this is a whole-health choice.

  • If you do not wish to soak, cook beans and rice according to label directions and skip to Step 3.

2. Make sure to pre-measure your rice, so that you know how much water to cook it in later.

  • I always prepare more than the respective recipe requires for additional meals or freeze for later use.

Soaking the beans & rice the night before

Step 2: Cooking (Day 2)

1. Bring soaked black beans to a boil. And then simmer covered for 2-3 hours.

2. Cook the wild rice in broth or water.

  • Soaked wild rice takes less time to cook, and also requires less liquid than unsoaked rice. 
  • rinse the soaked rice
  • add water: 1 cup of soaked rice rice requires about 2.5 cups of liquid
  • bring to a boil, and simmer for about 40 min or just until kernels puff open; be careful not to overcook as with any rice it gets mushy. For chewier texture cook less time.
  • Drain any excess liquid.  
  • 1 cup yields 3-4 cups of cooked wild rice.

Cooked beans & rice the next day: digestable & nourishing

Step 3: Putting it all Together

1. Dice the onion and mince the clove of garlic.

  • using Three Farmer's camelina oil, in a large skillet (preferabley cast iron pan), sautee the onion & garlic on low-medium heat until golden but not burned

2. In a food processor, add all ingredients including the oil, except the wild rice flour.

  • blend, but leave some texture of the wild rice and beans. It just takes few seconds to get a crumbly but sticky mixture.

3.  Transfer the mixture into a bowl. Taste the mixture and adjust any seasoning to your liking.
  • if you have small kids you may want to omit the chilli pepper, or just add it to some of the mixture for adults.
  • you may want to add more salt or pepper according to taste.
4.  Create the patties:
  • set a plate next to the bowl with Naosap Wild Rice Flour.  Create a firm patty with your hands and drop into the flour, flip over to coat completely. 
5. Cook the patties:
  • heat some camelina oil in the same pan you sauteed the onions & garlic, and carefully drop the burgers into the pan
  • cook for about 2 -3 minutes on one side on medium heat, or until slightly golden and firmed up. Then flip over to the other side to cook until slightly golden.
  • you don’t want to touch them too much while they’re cooking or else they could break and crumble or stick to the pan. Leave them on the spot they are placed until ready to flip.
  • add more camelina oil if needed and continue with the rest of the batch.
Creates about 5 medium burgers

 

Vegan, Gluten Free, Meatless Burgers

Step 4: Serving

Here are some gourmet options for serving your wild rice burger:

  • Grain-free option: stacking the burger on some grilled slices of eggplant with kale, pickled red pepper, vegan mayo, grain mustard and organic ketchup. Serve with a basket full of carrot and cucumber sticks and eggplant fries.

  • Traditional Foods Option: Wholly Canadian served this burger on traditional sourdough bread, garden tomato & kale, mayo, and cultured garlic-basil kefir cheese.
Want to boost the eating choices and health of your family? We're offering traditional food learning opportunities  . . . Incorporate wholesome traditional foods steeped in probiotics and whole-food digestable nutrients in your diet! Start today by investigating.

 

Wild rice burger on traditional sourdough bread laden with cultured garlic, basil kefir cheese


This burger is a bit of a marvel in it's own right. It's a mixture of fair-trade and local ingredients with some of the most nutrient-dense ingredients on planet earth!  It's laden with goodwill in every sense.

It also provides a mouth-watering, gourmet sensory experience. {grin}


 

 



Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 0 Comments