Trinity Bellwoods Farmer's Market

Last week, I scored all these wonderful locally produced goods at the Trinity Bellwoods Farmer's market: smoked sheep-milk cheddar cheese, red pepper mushroom raw seed crackers, savoury cheddar spelt crackers, wildflower honey, royal jelly face cream, carrots, lettuce, and parsley. I hadn't been to this market since last year, and was happy to see it growing with more new vendors selling topnotch delicious fare.

...and then I met a lovely woman (Ashley) who gave me one of her delicious homemade vegan apple muffins, and a talented raw chocolatier who let me sample a couple of his new rich chocolate creations. Sweet :-)

ChocoSol Chocolate

Here's some absolutely exquisite rustic hand-made (healthy!) chocolate I scored at the Toronto Dufferin Grove Farmer's Market made by the talented folks at ChocoSol, whose motto is:

"Pedal-Powered, Stone-Ground, Socially Just and Made Fresh! "

They really do make their chocolates with human-power, grinding and delivering their goods using pedal-power. At the market they were making hot chocolate with a hand-crank blender - very cool! The varieties I brought home were (clockwise from left): dark chocolate with vanilla and cocoa nibs, Mexican spiced chocolate, chocolate with sesame seed and sea salt.

Learn more about ChocoSol's ethical horizontal trading practices, cocoa varieties, drinking chocolate and amaranth. Awesome :-)

rich dark chocolate spread

As a child, I absolutely loved spreading nutella on my toast. These days, I'm more into dark chocolate, as well as natural healthy whole ingredients. I came up with this exquisite silky dark chocolate spread to satisfy my craving:
Recipe: Noir Chocolate Spread

It's perfect for slathering on toast, crackers, rice cakes, or for enjoying with strawberries or other fruit. This sweet decadent raw vegan treat is good for you too: rich in healthy omega-3 flax oil, full of antioxidant-rich cocoa, and sweetened with raw agave syrup.

The bread in the photo is gluten-free quinoa bread from Little Stream Bakery, a superb moist almost-cake-like sourdough bread, my current favorite :-)

the alchemist's shortbread

The Alchemist's Shortbread
sweet! and savory shortbread: mmm...

Behold a stack of lovely savory and sweet shortbread from Alchemy Baking.
(Not exactly healthy... but they were really good :-)

The varieties, from top to bottom, are:

  • berbere (my favorite!)
  • cheddar thyme
  • rosemary lemon pepper
  • lime caraway
  • hemp vanilla
  • fair trade coffee

Revised: Canada's Food Guide

Canada's Food Guide
Canada's Food Guide (2007)

The Canadian government has just released (on February 5, 2007) a revised version of the Canada's Food Guide.

This guide was first published in 1942 (during WW2) to inform Canadians on how to eat a healthy balanced diet. There have been several revisions of this guide, the last version was released in 1992.

Upon first glance, I think it's pretty good. It provides eating suggestions based on sex, age, and physical activity level. It also states that physical activity is important for healthy living, and provides some guidelines. It's friendly, colourful, and displays the foods in a rainbow - rather than a hierarchical pyramid. It includes "ethnic" foods like kefir and bok choy...

Interesting :-)

beautiful breads...

Came across this nice little description and pictorial on how to make a light rye bread: George's Light Rye Bread Recipe.

I actually haven't made a real yeasty bread yet - though I'm most interested in the whole-grain sourdough variety... (I have made many a quick-bread, flat-bread, cracker, and even whole-wheat soda bread on the BBQ)

I read an amazing book that I borrowed from the library on the topic called
The Bread Book: A Natural, Whole-Grain Seed-to-Loaf Approach to Real Breads by Thom Leonard.

This guy Thom is very hard-core. He basically describes how to source out good seeds, grow your own patch of wheat, mill it yourself, and make your own sourdough bread! I was impressed :-) Now this book is out of print and consequently very expensive.

Back to the web:

This recipe sounds good: Black Bean and Chipotle Bread
(from Sourdough Home: "A Exploration of Sourdough")

~ more on bread later!

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market

Early this summer, I had the pleasure of attending the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market in the Okanagan Valley.

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: tasty healthy baked goods

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: fresh local produce

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: Quail's Farm

One of my favorite stands: Quail's Farm. I picked up some delicious baked goods here including a hearty 9-grain bread, and exquisite berry pie. I also bought some fresh stone-ground spelt flour which I made into brownies with my great little baking helper Noah. I also scored some fresh arugula and mustard greens. Thanks guys!

Quail's Farm: 9 grain bread and berry pie

There was a variety of wonderful local honey. I chose some delicious fireweed and lotus blossom (trefoil) honey: lovely mild delicate flavour.

Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market: honey

Other good things:

  • free samples!
  • a chance to chat with the farmers and producers
  • home-made preserves, hot pepper and wine jellies
  • healthy organic ostrich meat
  • art, crafts and jewelry
  • natural toiletries
  • plants and flowers

More on other farmers' markets later...

Bikes and Blenders

The Byerley Bicycle Blender, or B3

I'm obviously not the only one who loves both bikes and blenders.

The blender: indispensable for smoothie making and great for pureeing and combining ingredients for baking.

The bike: excellent mode of transport. Great for bringing home ingredients to put into the blender.

Some clever fun-loving folks down in Berkeley California have come up with a new way to enjoy both: The Bike Blender!

Yes, it's funny. Fun too!


I often bring my own home-made snacks to work. For the times when I can't, I'm thrilled that it's now easy to find a good nutritious snack at many Toronto convenience stores.

Almond Delight almond bar

I popped into a magazine store steps from my studio looking for an afternoon snack. After scanning the selection of protein, nut, seed, grain and fruit bars, I picked up an "Almond Delight" almond bar - currently my favorite nut bar. Here's why:

  • It has only 3 great ingredients: almonds*, honey, malt
  • It has 9 grams of protein and 183 calories
  • It's produced locally (Markham, Ontario)
  • It's under $2
  • It's delicious

*Almonds are high in calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, protein, fiber, and cholesterol-lowering fat. Here's the full nutritional breakdown. Yay almonds!

Panne Rizo

While in Vancouver recently, my lovely sister-in-law bought some gluten-free baked goodies. The tasty treats were from Panne Rizo, a gluten and wheat-free bakery/deli/cafe - especially good for those with a gluten or wheat intolerance (celiac disease).

When tasting gluten-free versions of wheat-based baked goods, there will usually be a difference in texture (more granular) and sometimes flavor.

gluten-free treats from Panne Rizo

We tried three traditional treats - all made with rice flour:

  • Walnut brownies: iced and very sweet - almost as sweet as fudge, very similar to a traditional bakery brownie, great texture
  • Ginger cookies: crunchy and chewy, nice spice blend, slightly granular texture
  • Banana bread: tasty and moist, very similar in taste and texture to a traditional wheat-based banana bread, slightly granular

We also tried the rice bread, and it was surprisingly light and moist. many other tasty nutritious grains, nuts, and seeds to try baking with: Amaranth Shortbread? Chocolate and Chestnut Cake? Bring it on! More on gluten-free goods another time.

Bon weekend :-)