Category Archives: Food

The Choices We Make

Friends of ours used to always say, as a harsh reality check, “People make choices.”

Yup we do. But not always.

Marc and I made a choice to try and have a child. We didn’t choose who the child would be. Or how her heart would be. But yup, we made choices.

We chose to move to the Gulf Islands, where food is a bit more expensive, but houses are cheaper. Ferries are inconvenient but there are no Walmarts. We made choices.

We also try very hard to make conscious choices about how we move through our day, with Gabrielle, with each other, in the spaces we occupy. We try to remain mindful and simple in our day to day. We try not to add unneeded stress to our lives. We try to be small. For me, being small in stature already, this isn’t so hard. But it does take practise.

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So I try to teach Gabrielle where are food comes from. And how to make good food. I try to involve her as much as possible as we move through our chores.
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She doesn’t need much encouraging right now to join us in the garden. We answer her questions (a million times) and we ask her questions about what she sees. We show her which plants are weeds, which plants are babies and cannot be disturbed. We invite her to imagine the garden as her jungle. Of course toddlers take very little time to imagine and own what is before them.

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We say, these green balls will turn yellow and grow and then turn red and we can eat them. And she sees the processes. Mixing dough, letting it rise, punching it down, letting it rise and bake and then we get to eat it all up! She is learning the process of these tomatoes. She asks if when she is a big girl they will be ready, we tell her we hope they are ready before she is much bigger. We say this to echo both our longing for her not to grow up too quickly. And also to teach her about days and weeks.

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Even though she squishes the parsnips a little when she helps harvest the radishes, even though she spills flour everywhere when she helps bake bread. Even though it is a messy thing teaching a little one. Even though it doubles the time needed for a single chore, we slow down and let her learn. Because these choices we make, to bring her along with us on what we deem important, this is what life is about!

 

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Spring comes and goes.

Today we have a fire. Yesterday we were having coffee on the deck after dinner. ‘Tis the time where the warm weather shows hints of itself then hides away under a wooly sweater for a few days.

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This is Marc’s elaborate sifting the compost project. The compost was more of a garbage dump for many years and everything you can imagine is resurfacing as we dig through it. Everything. Cigarette packs, bones (lots of bones) plastic, cds, tinfoil, spaceships, time machines, you get the idea.

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Out barbecuing, Marc prepares his pallet for his first taste of sausages from Homestead Hams. Yum!

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….These curls. They kill me.

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When the day dissolves into rain, this is where you’ll find us. Munching popcorn, reading books. Not so bad for Spring.

The Pork has Arrived!

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The pork has arrived from Homestead Hams and has adequately filled our freezer. The winner of the giveaway on the blog was Gail who won herself 10 lbs of pork in addition to her order. Congratulations Gail!

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When we went to pick up the pork, Gabrielle insisted on going down to the yard and seeing the chickens. She kept asking where the pigs had gone. I tried to explain but the concept of 9 pigs turning into brown paper packages that go in our freezer is a bit abstract for her. So we talked about it nonetheless in the hopes that someday it will click.

These pigs had a wonderful happy clean life eating lots of yummy veggies and getting to run in a huge pen together. It is such a joy eating happy meat raised by such a dear friend. Thank you Wade for all your efforts!

You can read about the company on this blog post I did here.

Happy as a Pig in Mud -A Giveaway!!-

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We have a very dear friend named Wade. I’ve known Wade for at least 10 years and Marc has known him for even longer. This year he started a new venture. Pig farming.

It’s an ironic turn of events that both Marc and Wade are now farmers. Wade has a bachelor of science in psychology and though he says it doesn’t directly help him learn to farm pigs, he says he uses his psychology skills to assess his pigs’ mood when he enters their pen.

I asked Wade, what made him turn to pig farming?

Wade said, “I saw how bacon factories are run. Pigs are often mistreated, with barely room to move at all. They are fed hormones and antibiotics, tainting the quality of meat. I know how smart pigs can be and wanted to offer them a happy little life. I also saw how much vegetables are thrown away at grocery stores and thought I could make the perfect marriage. TurningĀ  vegetables into bacon, what could be better?”

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Wade was also suffering from depression. He started his Masters at University of Victoria but was unable to continue because his depression was interfering with his ability to participate in the classes. Wade was living at his brother’s place outside of Edmonton working at a construction site when he decided to go visit his parents in Victoria. He found that they had started raising chickens and he thought of ways to expand their livestock. As he began reading about farming, he was so busy, his depression began to subside. He began researching pigs and soon found a place to buy piglets in Langley. He woke up smiling again, looking forward to seeing his little piglets.

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When the piglets were 7 weeks old, he brought them home to live in the garage while he built them a spacious pen in the backyard.

“The pigs have 10 times more room to run around than factory pigs with the pen more than 1000 square feet for only 9 pigs. The vet recently came to do a check-up and said that these pigs were happier and healthier and cleaner (parasitically) than any pigs I’ve seen for years. And she promptly ordered some pork.”

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The grocery stores throw out so many vegetables every day. The vegetables aren’t rotten or beyond consumption, but they are beyond being pretty enough to sell. These stores were paying to have someone come and pick up all this “garbage.” Now that Wade picks up their vegetables, (600lbs every second day) one of these stores are saving enough money that they hired a full-time employee. Pig farming is creating jobs, not only for the farmer himself but for others in a trickle-down effect.

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Wade let us come by the farm to feed the pigs. Gabrielle was tickled pink as she threw the produce into the trays and watched the piggies gobble them up.

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She talked about going back to see the piggies for weeks after. Don’t worry, we will be going back to visit. Especially when Wade gets his next batch of piglets.

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Now the pigs are nearly full size (about 350lbs) and it is time to send them to the butcher. The pigs have lived a happy healthy life and as a meat-eater myself, it eases my conscious greatly to know that my meat was treated well during it’s life. Seeing these pigs in such a humane environment makes me thankful for Wade’s work at raising meat I can feel good feeding to my child.

Wade said that raising these pigs has given him such meaning to his life. He wakes up energized and happy in the morning to see their eager faces. He says it has helped so much with his depression and given him a purpose.

Because the pigs have given him so much, he wants to give back to the community. For every pig he sells, he is giving money through World Vision to send a pig to a third world family.

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And if all this isn’t enough for you to want to jump onto the pork bandwagon, Wade is doing a special promotion through this blog. When you order pork and mention As A Bee blog, you will be automatically entered into a raffle to win 10 extra pounds of meat.

 

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Click on this link Homestead Hams, and you will be directed to a PDF order form where you can order Wade’s pork for yourself. One quarter is approximately 60lbs of meat for $300. Remember, you will be automatically entered to win 10 extra lbs of pork if you mention As A Bee Blog.

This offer is only available to people on Vancouver Island, Vancouver mainland and the Gulf Islands.

This giveaway is only available while the product lasts so order soon so that you don’t miss out on this great deal!

Homemade Sushi

I love making homemade sushi. I find the whole process fairly relaxing, if I am not dealing with a toddler at the same time as prepping this meal. The rolling of the sushi and choosing what deliciousness can go inside, then cutting open these pretty round rainbows, all of it is restoring, somehow.

If you haven’t done it before, it really isn’t hard and I encourage you to try.

First you’ll need a sushi mat for rolling, or you can use saran wrap that is folded into a mat shape.

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Get some sushi rice, and I do the ratio 2 cups of rice to 3 cups of water. I wash my rice first under hot water always. Then I turn it on medium heat and stir often. When the rice has soaked up most of the water, I add rice vinegar, 1 TBSP to every cup of rice.

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While the rice is cooking, I prepare the other fillings for the sushi. The great thing about making homemade sushi, is that it is a good left-over user. We add eggs (scrambled or omlet style), carrots, avocado, cucumber, tuna, salmon, asparagus. We’ve done yam before. Whatever you happen to have laying around, try throwing it in there.

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When the rice is still warm, I take a flat paddle utensil (but you can use a spoon) and I spread the rice on the nori paper (the seaweed) to the corners, leaving about an inch at the very top.

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Then I place the fillings at the end of the roll closest to me. I’ve seen other sushi rollers place the fillings in the middle but whenever I’ve tried that, it ends up being messy when I roll it.

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Then I start with the end closest to me, and roll, being careful to move the sushi mat out of the way when I roll it.

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I keep my hand on it to make sure the tension of the roll stays tight.

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When it is rolled up like a little cinnamon bun, I give it a squeeze equally along the length of the sushi roll.

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Then I open up the roll, and voila! A little sushi cocoon.

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Then I take a very sharp knife (I have an expert sharpener in my house so I’m very lucky that there are always sharp knives around.) And I cut into the rolls, which results in these cute little sushi rolls.

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I stack them on a plate beside a pot of green tea, some soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger and we go to town.

Delicious and easy. The cooking of the rice takes 20 minutes, rolling the sushi takes 20 minutes, depending on how many rolls you’re doing. Eating them all takes 10 minutes in this house with two sushi-eating monsters.