Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day reduce, regrow and rethink

 It's EARTH DAY today and it's a great time to think about how we use our resources every day.   Some environmental experts have said that by 2050 there will be shortages of certain foods in the World.

Lately my focus has been Food Waste because I have noticed I have wasted more food than I could afford to for the cost and what the effects on the environment are.  I struggle with this every time I take a bag full of expired food to the garbage or a bag full of plastic containers to the recycle bin.

Donald Trump likes to say that there isn't any truth to Climate Change and it's not cause by people.  But it's hard to see what's happening in the world and not wonder what's happening.  It's now the 22nd of April and we are finally getting normal spring temperatures after an extremely long winter but we almost had an ice storm as crippling as the one in 2013 in Toronto.  Many people lost power from downed trees but it didn't last as long as the last time but just as crippling for the people affected by it.  Around the world the droughts, floods, hurricanes, tsunami's, earthquakes and more are getting more extreme each year and the polar ice caps, the coral reefs and the shore lines are decreasing.  It's really hard to see the big picture when you are just trying to live your life everyday but what kind of world are we leaving for our children?  A life of GMO food and constant environmental disasters that become normal life?

What can we do?   Try and make decisions that will have lasting effects.  If corporations produced less plastic products that never break down and pollute our landfills and oceans maybe they can think about innovative ways to change their products and productions and people have to choose products that have less of an environmental impact if they can.  I know this is challenging because sometimes we don't have a choice on how the products we use are sold in stores.

We can also teach our children about food.  Yesterday I showed my friend's 3 year old daughter how to regrow vegetable scraps in water by letting her help fill the containers of water.  Hopefully she will watch it sprout over the next few weeks and get excited about it.  Even if we don't grow our own food it's important to be mindful of where it comes from and who is producing it.  If you can go to a great Farmer's Market where the farmers are on hand selling their food then that's a great step in supporting the people that make your food.   If you have a balcony or garden and can grown some food then that's a great thing because you will purchase less packaging and will waste less food.

At the beginning of April I placed a carrot top in a small bowl of water and now 3 weeks later you can see how much it has sprouted.  It can be planted in earth when the weather is a bit warmer.  I tried to see if I could get avocado seeds to sprout but that hasn't been successful.  I am going to try and see what happens to a sprig of cilantro.  The easiest one to regrow is Green Onion.  There isn't much to do except make sure it has clean water at about the height of the white end of the onion and placed in sunlight it will just regrow and sprout up from the centre.

Tomorrow I have organized an Earth Day event to do the same thing and have my coworkers learn how to regrow certain vegetable bits that would normally get discarded  I will turn the wasted bits into the food waste soup I have been making through the past year and we will also attempt to plant some seed packets into one of the small greenhouse boxes that I picked up from Canadian Tire.  This is new to me so I don't know how well it will do but I wanted to try and plant a seed or start something in our current office before all of us move to a new office in May and hope to have a communal little food area that we tend to that can feed the soups and lessen the waste produced by our office.  The building we are going back to is a Leed certified building so we should consider what we contribute to it.

I am constantly trying to improve my bad habits about what I buy, toss and repurpose and hope that more people be mindful of the impact to our future generations from our daily actions.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Day of Pink Potluck

April 11, 2018 marked the International Day of Pink
It is a day where communities across the country, and across the world, can unite in celebrating diversity and raising awareness to stop homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, and all forms of bullying.
The International Day of Pink was started in Nova Scotia when 2 straight high school students saw a gay student wearing a pink shirt being bullied. The 2 students intervened, but wanted to do more to prevent homophobic & transphobic bullying. They decided to purchase pink shirts, and a few days later got everyone at school to arrive wearing pink, standing in solidarity. The result was that an entire school took a stand and began working together to prevent homophobic & transphobic bullying.
As one of our Healthy Workplace events at my office I organized a Day of Pink Potluck

To ensure success I started with the Pink theme and picked up plates, napkins, flowers and a pink tablecloth from the dollar store.  I thought about pink foods and found some Lucky Elephant pink popcorn from the bulk store and brought in some pickled beets and red onions that I had made previously.  I also found pink foil wrapped Hershey's kisses and while I was at the grocery store I found strawberry flavoured pink wafer sticks.  I also made a cauliflower puree soup and tried to use beet greens to color the soup but that didn't work so I added food coloring to turn the soup pink, I don't know if that was successful as I think it confused people so they didn't really try it but they were curious about it.

 I started an online sign up sheet and added my Pink food items to get it started and I didn't know if I would have any other pink foods but some of my coworkers got creative and we had a raspberry chocolate cake, some sprinkled sugar cookies, red cabbage slaw, strawberry bars, pasta and salmon.  I would say it was a pretty successful Potluck that the theme worked well with.
I had pink nail polish and some string to make bracelets for anyone who wasn't wearing Pink and wanted to sport something but they weren't really interested in that but I did get my manager to wear a pink string bracelet.
We had a few videos followed by a group discussion on how LGBTQ issues might impact our office and we got into a lengthy conversation about bathroom rights.

After the food and the discussion we took this group photo of some of the people that popped in for the whole thing and it was later posted on the OPS (Ontario Public Service) twitter account as they were sharing different Ministries events of the day.

It's great when you can organize a fun Potluck and raise awareness on some important issues at the same time.

For more information about the Day of Pink organization check out their website:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Great Shellfish Cookbook Launch

Who:        Matt Dean Pettit
What:      The Great Shellfish Cookbook
Where:    Paintbox Catering & Bistro
When:     April 12, 2018
Why:       Cookbook Launch

Matt Dean Pettit is one of the nicest Toronto Food Industry guys I have met over my past few years of blogging and when I got an invite to attend his 2nd cookbook launch of The Great Shellfish Cookbook, of course I was going to be there to support him.  When I first met Matt at an event the first thing he said was "I need a hug, I'm a hugger" and yes he is and he is one of the most friendly and fun loving guys who also happens to have been the former owner of the Rock Lobster restaurants and now has his own Matty's Seafood of various products sold in grocery stores all over.  He is a huge sports fan and traveller and loves to go to exotic locations and get inspired. 

Matt's roots are in the Seafood world so his 2nd cookbook The Great Shellfish cookbook continues in his interest in all things seafood.  The cookbook has beautifully photographed images by Ksenija Hotic a local photographer who has captured the beauty of Matt's seafood dishes.  There are some collaborations from some local food industry people as well.  It is published by Appetite by Random House and they are very experienced in the cookbook genre so this is one beautifully created cookbook.

Now about the Launch Party, as I mentioned Matt is a real fun loving guy so the party had a table set up in the middle of the room ready for a massive crab boil, complete with the classic Old Bay Seasonings.

There were Pimm's cup drinks and local beer and wine to drink and the thing everyone was addicted to was the Hot Matty's Seafood Dips with Fantastic Black Bird Bread.  The Dips come in Crab and kale and Lobster, beer and cheese flavoured.  I don't even drink beer but that Lobster beer and cheese dip was so good I couldn't stop eating it.

There was also Lobster Mac & Cheese and Calamari being passed around.   My favourite thing was the cheese dip because I am a cheese head with a bread addiction.

The Dips and Mac & Cheese are available from the Matty's Seafood in stores and the recipes for the rest are in the cookbook which is now available at bookstores and on Amazon etc.

Twitter @mattysSeafood