Category: Ottawa

Clean Water For Your Kitchen & Healthy Spring Salad Recipe

Clean Water For Your Kitchen & Healthy Spring Salad Recipe

Hey guuyyys and welcome to my new 2-part post about clean water for your kitchen plus a refreshing and healthy spring salad recipe that I created a couple of days ago.

In the first half of the post I’m going to ramble a bit about how important it is to use clean tap water for cooking and how you can get an unlimited supply of it. In the second half of the post I’m going to present to you my new recipe for a healthy spring salad, which is so refreshing and delicious and can be done in under 10 minutes; easy as pie!

Part 1: Clean Water For Your Kitchen

Living in Canada, I somehow always expected that our public drinking water would be superb. Very recently though, I found out that it’s not. It REALLY isn’t. Agricultural fertilizers and heavy metals in our tap water; how is that even possible? Pesticides and herbicides; I thought that stuff was “only” in our food. You’ve got to be kidding me!

The only good thing about this is that we’re not living in the “best-in-the-world” country south from us, where the situation is clearly far worse (I told you that I was going to ramble)…

Okay, let’s be real here for a second. What’s the state of the affairs?

  • Pesticides that were banned in Europe were found in Toronto’s tap water.
  • Every year, 300,000+ Canadians contract a stomach bug by consuming municipal tap water.
  • A few years back, thousands of Canadians were warned to not drink their tap water. 2 reasons for this were that it may have been contaminated with E. coli and inadequately disinfected.

To be honest with you, I don’t like the sound of this. When did our precious Canadian tap water get so bad? Did I miss a meeting? The situation seems to be out of hand and it’s getting worse each week. What is our government doing about this? Not much as far as I can tell.

Anyway, it is what it is and as long as it doesn’t change, you have to get active yourself. If you want to protect your family from dirty drinking water like I do, I recommend you to do the following: Filter your tap water. It’s the only solution.

You could buy bottled water for drinking, but then there still is the problem that you also need a lot of water for cooking. Otherwise, what water are you going to be using to boil your potatoes or your whole-grain rice? It doesn’t stop there. How are you going to wash your carrots and apples and pears and beans and peas? You would have to place a big water tank right in the middle of your kitchen, if you don’t want to be using water from your tap.

But I’m getting a bit lost here; sorry! To get back on track, I want to talk about the only solution for this imminent problem, which I already mentioned and which is filtering your tap water yourself. If you do this right, you won’t have to worry about E. coli, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers anymore. The approach is pretty straightforward, because there is only one type of water filter that can eliminate all these dangerous substances in our water. They are called “Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems”.

You can be rest assured, the most complicated thing about them is their overlong name. You can find them literally everywhere online, they are affordable for the average Joe and if you have a husband who’s fingers are not all thumbs, he will be able to attach it to your home’s water system in less than a day!

I’m already about 650 words into this post, so to keep things short, I’m not going to write about what exact filter systems I like, how much they cost and where you can by the. What I’m going to do instead is give you this list of resources that’ll allow you to do your own research on the topic.

Please understand that this is not a buy-and-forget-about-it issue. This is about your health. If you don’t want to be using polluted tap water in your kitchen anymore, you have to sacrifice next Saturday or Sunday or another day off and read up on this stuff. When you are done, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What contaminants do you want to remove from your tap water?
  2. What is the best reverse osmosis water filter system for the job, what does it cost and where can you buy it?
  3. Is it possible to self-install the system in your kitchen?

I think we can agree that improving the quality of your tap water by means of a filter is no rocket science.

Okay, enough on tap water. Now it’s time for the fun part!

Part 2: Healthy Spring Salad

I had the idea for this refreshing and healthy salad when I came back from the gym earlier this week and didn’t feel like eating a lot of calories. I mean, I just burned some of my belly fat, so why put it right back on?

I had some salad, spinach and cucumber left in the fridge as well as 1 avocado that was almost overripe, so I added everything together and put a nice dressing with extra virgin olive oil, some seeds and fresh herbs on top. Viola.

Healthy Spring Salad

  • Crispy green lettuce
  • Spinach
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or other oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Cut the lettuce, spinach and cucumber and add into bowl. Cut avocado in half and spoon out. Cut into tiny cubes and add to bowl.

Chop fresh herbs and mix with seeds and your oil of choice. Add dressing into bowl.

Enjoy!

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

Prepare For Getting Outside And Into The Garden

Prepare For Getting Outside And Into The Garden

Hello everyone!

The weather is starting to get just a tiny bit warmer and I’m looking forward to be getting outside and into the garden to grow all my favorite herbs and veggies this year.

The prep is coming along quite nicely. I’ve ripped up my back yard, which involved a lot of hard work, to make room to plant all those tomatoes, beans, peppers, radish… you name it.

If you have no idea about when to plant different veggies in the Ottawa area, here’s a little guidance for you:

Late Winter

Feb:

  • 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost you should start to grow stuff inside, onions for example

March:

  • 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost you should start to grow everything that takes a long time to germ

Early Spring

Mid March:

  • Cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers

April:

  • If it’s already warm, which is not always guaranteed at this time of the year, you can start planting radish, spinach, peas, all sorts of lettuce, beets

May:

  • Time for potatoes, beans, cucumbers. Possibly tomatoes (check weather forecast first).

Summer + Autumn

June/July:

  • If you like kale, you can put it into the ground now. The same goes for sprouts, sweet potatoes, your peppers, tomatoes.

September + October:

  • You should have harvested most by now. Plant up what will be overwintered and take cuttings. Polytunnels are great for fall crops. If father frost turns up, remember to put plants inside over night.

All in all, there are many different sources that will tell you different things about when to plant, grow and harvest what kind of crops. And the weather also varies from one year to another. So take these instructions with a grain of salt and always do your own thinking about what would probably be the next move going forward.

The Community Garden Council of the Waterloo Region has also created this really cool planting calendar, which tells you exactly when to plant seeds in Ontario – or Southwestern Ontario to be even more precise.

It has literally saved my crops many times over the years and has prevented me from planting too early or too late. The calendar also tells you when to start indoor and outdoor seeding, when it’s time to transplant any how many grams of seeds you are going to need for growing carrots, garlic, pumkin, delicious cucumber, cauliflower…

Why Planting Your Own Vegetables?

Here are a couple of reasons why I plant vegetables in my own garden and why you should do so, too:

  • Lawn is pretty much good for nothing, except if you have kids and they want to play outside. Veggies and herbs feed your family and they are much more healthy than stuff from the supermarket, unless you stick to buying organic food only.
  • What better way is there to get access to food with all the nutrients that you need on a daily basis and without pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.
  • Bees are endangered and they love diversity. You are doing them a huge favor.
  • In the grocery store the offer is usually very limited.
  • Planting your own vegetables is also great to learn new stuff, teach your children about it, and have a great conversation starter with your neighbours.

Enjoy!

J.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

Vegan Donuts and Bike Rides (and no, we’re not in Portland, OR)

Vegan Donuts and Bike Rides (and no, we’re not in Portland, OR)

Last week Ottawa had its first “Tour La Nuit” as part of Capital Velofest (Bikefest for you anglophones). Tour La Nuit was basically an hour-long evening bike ride with a bunch of major roads in Ottawa closed to cars so the cyclists could take over. I went with my friends Magi and Krishna (and their three terriers who love riding in a bike trailer!) and since they were good enough to pick up my ride pennant for me, I made some donuts for us all to eat before the ride (well, for the humans to eat, anyway.)

I baked the donuts in my handy donut pan, which meant, as the Man of Science pointed out, they were basically just pieces of cake with holes in them. However, the pan gives them do a nice firm edge all around them and their cuteness can not be underestimated. Plus, if you use the right recipe (hold tight for that) the cakey part of the donuts will turn out dense and not overly sweet, and the frosting will add the perfect sugary compliment. Listen to me, going all Food Network on you. Really all you need to know is that these are VEGAN CHOCOLATE DONUTS! Make them. That is all.

Chocolate Baked Donuts

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Egg replacer for 1 egg (normally I use ground flax seeds, but I was out. I used Ener-G instead)
  • 4 tbsp vegan margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and salt.

Over medium-low heat, combine all other ingredients, stirring gently until the margarine has melted and everything is smoothly combined.

Mix wet ingredients into dry, don’t over mix.

Pour batter into lightly greased donut pan. Working with a donut pan takes a bit of practice, but the most important thing is to ensure that the dough is distributed evenly around the ring, otherwise you’ll have wonky donuts that are thicker on one side.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until donuts spring back when you poke them.

I put quite a bit of batter in the pan for each donut, and ended up with 8 donuts total. I think I might have been able to get 12 if I’d been more conservative with the dough.

For the frosting I melted about a 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips with one tablespoon of coconut oil and dunked the top of each donut in that mixture, then let them sit on a sheet of parchment paper until the frosting cooled enough to be solid, not sticky. If you want to add sprinkles (like some kind of overachiever) then you’ll want to do that before the frosting cools.

Some Notes (Ottawa Edition):

  • Ottawa people who want to know where I got my donut pan (and there are many of you apparently, judging from Twitter messages) can go find your own at Kitchenalia in Westboro. It’s one of my favourite kitchen shops in the city, even though the service is a bit snotty. I’m willing to overlook that because the store is so well stocked.
  • The other thing I’ve gotten a few questions about lately is where to find pre-made seitan in Ottawa. I’ve never bought the pre-made stuff, since I usually make my own (using the Vegan With a Vengeance recipe). But I do want to report that I saw pre-made, unflavoured seitan (by the Noble Bean company) at both the Wheat Berry and at Market Organics.
  • Hey, do you live in Ottawa and like Punk Rock? Then you want to check out The Ottawa Explosion this coming weekend. Four days of awesome bands (like The White Wires, Statues, The Johnnies, Zebrassieres, The Visitors, and so many more) and fun with lots of good people and lots of good beer.

J.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!