Archive for home grown food

too many cooks in the kitchen ?

Even though they spend hour upon hour with me each day, my children never seem to tire of my company and always want more of it. One of the places they love to seek me out is in the kitchen and having four kids means it’s a place I spend a lot of time.

The thing is, I really like to be alone in the kitchen. My kids are always eager to help and I’m always shooing them out of my space. Lately, I’ve started to feel guilty about it. Cooking together is such a great thing; learning the importance of healthy choices, working on math skills, practicing cooperation, inheriting family recipes, creating memories.

And I know this because as a child I spent a lot of time standing beside my mom during dinner prep. She wasn’t a Betty Crocker – all bake sale items were bought from the grocery store and dumped into tupperware for disguise – but she is an excellent authentic chinese cook. And I absolutely loved standing beside her sizzling wok, handing her spices or throwing chopped veggies into the sparkling oil.

I was her “taster”, the one who told her if there was enough flavour in the dish-of-the-night before she brought it to the table to be served. I doubt she really needed my input, she made those dishes hundreds of times, after all. But I’m sure it was her way of teaching and I did learn.

Years later, I’m making many of her signature dishes for my family and take great pride in knowing how much they enjoy them. One of our family favourites is my mom’s steamed pork and egg dish (recipe and photo provided by

Just the aroma of this dish is enough to bring my kids running in anticipation.

And so I’m going to use it as my inspiration to take my ear buds out (okay, so sometimes I like to bring my ipod into the kitchen for company) and pull up some chairs and start the teaching.

What about you? Do your kids join you stove-side?

Louise Gleeson is a freelance journalist and mother of four. Her professional portfolio can be viewed at and you can follow along as she shares stories from everyday life on her blog at You can also find her on twitter @louisegleeson


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Processed Food – What’s in your Cupbord

Go through your cupboards, don’t worry I’ll wait. Take a short inventory on what you have in stock. How much of that is processed? Be honest with yourself and don’t be ashamed. As a promoter of urban homesteading and an advocate of trashing the “crap”, I still have boxes of Kraft Dinner stashed away for those emergency days.

tyfn / Free Photos

Processed and pre package food were brought to North America for conveniences. During the wars, food supplies were low as products were being shipped to the front line. Everyone did their part and soon we were faced with a shortage. Lucky rural dwellers could depend on their own produce, but many families relied on new canned ingredients. The trend continued into the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when modern appliances catered to a new lifestyle. Women weren’t always in the home and the need for a fast meal was met with the microwave. Mass marketers convinced us that this was the way of the future and it was a low cost opportunity to feed your hungry family, fast.


Dannerzz / Free Photos

Why are we now under a food revolution then? With convenience comes a price. Slowly we’ve realized that a lot of these time-saving chemicals are actually harming us. With obesity, cancer and heart disease on the rise we can’t really afford to take chances with what we put in our bodies. We’re hurting ourselves.

When I’m not blogging here, I run a blog called Diet Eats which explores current diet trends and whether they’re worth the investment. During the past few weeks I’ve been exploring some popular diet readymade meals. This is the first time in years that I’ve ate these and I must admit the experience is educating. After getting over the ingredient list and lack of flavor, the price at the end really didn’t justify what I was eating. The saddest thing was that I know people who eat these every day. Frozen fake food, nuked on high. Lovely.

As a working mom and full-time wife, I understand we all can’t put a gourmet meal on the table every night. I have on more than one occasion succumbed to the siren call of pizza on a Wednesday and yes, I do like Kraft Dinner and will serve it as the odd weekend lunch. Processed food is not good for you, but it’s there as a convenience when you need it. When you eat it every day it’s not convenient, it becomes your lifestyle.

Before you throw in a microwave meal for your toddler, stop. Remember that a few carrot sticks, a peanut butter sandwich and an apple sauce will be quicker, cheaper, better tasting and healthier – and you don’t need to be a chef to make it.

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added six new meals

Have you heard Baby Yums has added 6 new meals to choose from. Please note they are not added on our website however they are listed in our July newsletter. I have also posted them on our fan page . Now I’m promoting them here so that everyone will have a go to spot to check them out quick.

Here is a list of the new food choices: (if you would like the ingredients all you have to do is e-mail to ask and I will provide  you with all the info) just in case of allergies.

~Chicken sliders
~Cottage Pie
~Turkey Meatballs & Spaghetti
~Chicken & Apricot Curry
~Carrots & Broccoli
~Chowder Soup

**Extra Extra** We are only 15 Fans away from our 50% off Summer deal! Once we reach 700 fan we will offer half off our prices! So don’t forget to tell all your pals that have wee-ones

Summer Sale!

When we reach 700 fans you will be able to get 50% off!!!

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Introduction to Urban Homesteading

Urban Homesteading in Ottawa can be tricky, especially when you live in a condo. You’re limited by by-laws and the rules of your condo corporation, but there are plenty you can do to help kick start your way to agricultural bliss.

If you feel limited by size, start growing your own herbs indoors. Fresh herbs can add amazing flavour to any dish, as well as add beautiful colour to your kitchen. Plants like Basil are incredibly easy to grow and cheap to maintain, as is Thyme and Parsley.

Once you’ve mastered your herbs, you can replicate and plant vegetables. If you don’t have garden space, just get a big planter (Wal-Mart or the Dollar store will have these on the cheap), fill with soil and plant your seeds (or starter plant if it’s later in the season). For a small family of four, one or two plants per planter should be able to feed you. These planters can fit well on a balcony or in a kitchen. They look pretty nice to boot. As your green thumb grows, think about renewable containers around your house you can use. Invest in a good grower’s book to help you with common plant issues. I suggest The Canadian Edible Garden.

The easiest way you can be assured of your local and homegrown product is to talk to your local farmers. In Ottawa, the Farmer’s Market is located at Brewer’s Park and hosts a variety of sustainable local foods and products. Speak to the stall workers and find out how they get their products to you. Because Ottawa prohibits the use of livestock on your property (such as owning your own chickens or a goat), this is a great way to get products such as meat, milk and eggs to your door without going to the big grocery stores. It may not be true homesteading, but you can still get that fresh, homegrown flavour you desire.


Dani is a local Ottawa area mom and writer who ventured into homesteading when she was pregnant with her daughter. When she’s not fighting earwigs in her garden, she can be found writing at home on her computer, or working on her comedy bit on Twitter @IncredibleMsDee

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