Organic Produce Delivery and Rental Garden Plots

I’m so excited about spring this year, which is crazy!  I don’t like the heat and I don’t like bugs so normally spring and summer are pretty…well…”meh”.  This year is different.  I hope.  I’m testing two new things (to me) this year that I’m hoping will make life that much better. 

The first new thing I decided on was finally signing up with a company that delivers produce to your home weekly or bi-weekly.  They do their best to provide local grown, organic produce whenever possible.  I got my first tub of food yesterday evening!  I signed up for the medium box, which is $50 (including delivery) and am getting bi-weekly delivery.  I probably end up spending over $100 on produce in a month anyway and at least this way I get a nice variety, can try new things, and don’t have to leave my house. 

These are the contents of the box I received last night:

2 apples

4 pears

3 kiwi

1/4 seedless watermelon

2 navel oranges

1 valencia orange

1 grapefruit

2 potatoes (yes…only 2…I was disappointed, lol)

1 yellow onion

7 carrots

1 bunch of asparagus (some of the stalks were over a foot long!)

1 bunch of celery

1 head of romaine lettuce

2 zucchini

2 tomatoes

Overall, a lot of it I would’ve bought anyway, but I will still have to purchase some veggies from the grocery store, specifically mushrooms, peppers and potatoes.  I’m fairly sure it will last me two weeks.  One of the really cool things about the whole process is that when you sign up you can specify things you love and things you never ever want.  You can also make substitutions and add other items from their grocery store to be included in your box.    You can find more information here.

The second activity I’m wanting to get involved with is Renting a Garden Plot.  Some community centers have them, and the city of Winnipeg has a few locations that have garden allotments.  Unfortunatly they are all taken so I’m on the waiting list for next year.  Since people who are renting this year have first choice next year, I doubt I’ll get one next year either!  Thankfully the guy I spoke with at the Parks division of the city directed me to a contact from the Lord Robert’s Community Center.  Apparently they’re starting to rent out garden plots this year and might have something available.  I called and left a voice mail with my contact information, hopefully they have something and I can maybe start this weekend, it’s almost getting too late to plant!

Quinoa and Garlic Veggie Bowl

Sometimes you want something easy yet still tasty and healthy.  Something where you can spend a whole 20 minutes cooking and eat all of it without feeling guilty.  Something that doesn’t heat up your kitchen anymore then it already is because it’s +25 C outside and your apartment doesn’t have A/C.  Yesterday was that day. 

Enter Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa).  An ancient grain that’s full of  protein (12-18%) and amino acids, making it one of the few complete protein sources among plant foods.  It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. (Source here)  Quinoa is also gluten free if you care about such things.  It’s very easy to cook and can be served instead of rice or for breakfast instead of oatmeal.  It has a very nice, subtle nutty flavour.  You can buy organic quinoa at Bulk Barn or health food stores.

Quinoa and Garlic Veggie Bowl

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed

1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth

1-2 tsp olive oil

1/2 large zucchini, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced or diced

1/2 red pepper, sliced or large dice

5 button mushrooms, sliced

1 medium bunch Kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

5-7 stalks Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring the quinoa and vegetable brother to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Lower heat, cover and let simmer until broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes and onion, sautee untill onion is soft.  Add remaining vegetables, cover and cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over quinoa in a bowl.  It’s also great in a wrap with bbq sauce, or other stir-fry sauce of your choice (teryaki, honey garlic, sweet thai chili, etc).

Vegan Multigrain Pancakes (AKA Pannycakes)

I’ve been meaning to post this all week but I first had to take the time to figure out how to get pictures off my cell phone without having a phone plan.  I made pancakes on Wednesday for supper and they were super tasty.  They were Vegan Multi-grain Pancakes layered with bananas, real maple syrup and mini m&m’s.  Next time I’m going to use bittersweet chocolate chips as the mini m&m’s were too sweet, which is weird for me.

Vegan Multi-Grain Pancakes

1 1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/3 cup Oats

1/3 cup Yellow Cornmeal

2 tsp Sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 cups Soymilk or other non-dairy milk

2 tbsp honey

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bown, whisk together the soymilk and molasses until blended.  Add the dry ingredients, mix untill just blended.

2. Heat a griddle or large heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour approximately 1/2 cup batter per pancake and cook until many bubbles appear, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook until the 2nd side is golden brown.

3. Layer pancakes on plate with bananas, pecans, chocolate chips and maple syrup.  You can freeze leftover pancakes in ziploc bags and reheat in the toaster.