making corn salad with the kids at Leslieville Farmer’s Market

Kid’s Corn Salad

3 cobs of cooked corn, kernels removed

1 small cucumber, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 yellow zucchini, diced

1 green zucchini, diced

1 small red onion, diced

3 small tomatoes, diced

sprigs of fresh thyme, minced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (use this instead of regular white vinegar because ACV is health promoting and a very good digestive aid. Use one with ‘mother’, such as Braggs or Filsinger’s – if you want more info on this, come visit me at the market, at the kid’s table and I can explain it in more detail)

2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Add everything to a large bowl and toss gently or do it à la Leslieville Market and add all the ingredients to a plastic bag and gently massage to incorporate all the ingredients.

We like the bag method because kids love adding all the ingredients to the bag and doing the massaging!

Seems that when kids make it – they eat it and love it! (some kids ate 3 bowls!)

Have you been to the Leslieville Farmer’s Market this year? Tell me what you think about the farmer’s, vendors, kids’ table, or your experience – I’d love to hear your feedback!

fixin’s for the corn salad

the corn’s ready to have the kernels cut off

corn kernels in the bowl, ready to add the fixin’s

‘massaging’ the salad to mix all the ingredients

Xav is a big helper, getting the corn ready for cooking

YUMMY! loving the corn salad! have to get every last kernel

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a big discovery…

making ice cream in a bucket

This past summer (sad to say ‘past’ – it is indeed fall now) I discovered something.
I wasn’t looking for it; it found me.
In June, I starting volunteering at my local farmer’s market, working with kids, food and nutrition, as the market’s nutritionist.
At first there was a bit of a scramble on my part to plan what to do. I was even a little nervous. I don’t have kids and really, before this market, had few interactions with them.
I had to consider that we were outdoors, there was no timetable set, kids just came to the Kids’ Corner with their parents, sat at my table and did whatever activity I had planned.
This meant, if I was working with food, I had to think of ways to have kids interact with it, while learning about the value of local, organic food, the soil it’s grown in and just how hard our farmer’s work to produce it and bring it to us.
Every week, I found new ways to do this. My first week, we tasted honey and compared pasteurized processed honey, with raw, unpasteurized honey. It was sticky, messy, fun!
Another week we made ice cream in a bucket. Yes, in a bucket. It was simple…coconut milk with a bit of sugar was added to a cookie tin. This was encased in a bucket full of ice and duck-taped shut. Kids rolled, pushed, kicked and tossed the bucket around. Even my dog got in on the act, and despite his chewing the tape off the bucket and it springing a leak; the end result was indeed, sweet, creamy ice cream. The kids all tried it and loved it. Imagine it was made with 2 ingredients, and the kids loved it.
One week the kids tried kohlrabi. Instead of all the ‘yucks’ you might expect – kids tried it and many really liked it. (If you’re unfamiliar with kohlrabi, check it out here).
Every week we make new things, we made bean dip in a bag with our secret ingredient – peaches. Another hit. Kids couldn’t get enough of it. Last week we made applesauce in a bag. I called it SQUISH-A-LICSIOUS apple sauce because along with the apple in the bag, we added a bit of cinnamon, maple syrup and honey and the kids squished everything together until it became apple sauce. I explained that there are so many varieties of apples that we don’t see in our grocery stores. Some are red, some green, there are even yellow and almost white apples. Some are sweet, some are tart, but they have a natural sweetness and it’s not necessary to add maple syrup or honey. We tried it plain and we tried it with those sweeteners because kids love to participate in the process and have choices. Another hit. The kids loved the applesauce that they made. One little boy ended up laying across the table trying to get more. So wonderful to see children engaged like this and eating food that isn’t packaged or processed and doesn’t have preservatives, artificial ingredients or colours added to it.

As a holistic nutritionist, this is what I’m all about. Real food, as close to the source as possible.

Parents can learn a lot from their children. They are not as artistically challenged as they might think, and they love to try new foods. They also really enjoy having choices, making food and then trying their creations.

I learned a lot from these kids too.

And that brings me to my big discovery.

I love kids and I love working with them.

Teaching them the qualities of good foods, where they come from, how farmers are so important to us, experimenting with new ingredients.

Apparently, (based on feedback from my fellow volunteers and parents) I’m a natural at working with kids. I guess that’s because they offer me so much. Insight and honestly about their likes and dislikes and their sense of adventure when it comes to food.
I’m now looking at working with kids and nutrition as a new branch of my services, as well as continuing to see groups and individuals as a nutritional consultant. I would love to work at schools, community centres or anywhere else where kids and food meet. If anyone has any contacts or connections I would be very grateful.

I couldn’t be happier about this new discovery.

p.s.-  to all my Kids’ Corner regulars, newcomers and all the parents; I can’t wait to see you at the market. I know it will be a day of fun and discovery for all of us.

must have more bean dip!

fun at the market

super easy salad

I was running late today, just got home from the gym and had 30 minutes to shower, style my hair, get dressed and make this salad before heading to the office. What make this salad super easy for me, is that I stock my fridge with seasonal veggies, so I just pull out a variety that suit me and can whip up a healthy salad in minutes. Today’s variety of veg also included some leftover, cooked spaghetti squash I made on the weekend.
This salad was made from start to finish in about 20 minutes and it took that long because I’ve included the prep and cooking  time for the quinoa. The chopping of the veg, while the quinoa cooked, took about 5 minutes.
I guess what I’m trying to illustrate is that bringing your own nutritious lunch to work is doable, even when you’re pressed for time, if you stock your fridge with the right ingredients. (including leftovers!)

1/2 cup quinoa (cooked as per the package directions)

1 cup raw kale, chopped medium fine

1/2 yellow zucchini, julienned

1/4 a of cooked spaghetti squash

1/4 of a hot red pepper, minced

12 black olives, pits removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

I prepared this right in my glass storage container, but you can also put all the ingredients into a bowl.

Scrape the ‘spaghetti’ from the squash into the storage container.
Add the garlic, olive oil, zucchini, olives and hot pepper and mix together.
Add the raw kale on top, but don’t mix it in. (this is because you’re going to add the hot quinoa on top of the kale and the heat will ‘cook’ the kale by the time you’re ready to eat your salad)
Add your quinoa on top.
Don’t mix together yet.
Put the lid on your storage container.
When you’re ready to eat your salad, mix everything together.
That’s it.
Told you it was super easy!

stunning Sunday at Leslieville Farmer’s Market!

tons of kale

beautiful broccoli tree display – STUNNING!

the Highmark Farm family are so nice and work so hard

baby pumpkins

corn

garlic and parsnips

peppers, these are sweet, but they have hot ones too!

mushrooms and cranberry beans

lots of beans

carrots and potatoes

lots of tomatoes

love the colours!

I’d love to buy the whole bushel!