When somebody puts themselves out there – taking a risk, seeing an opportunity to start a little business…I love supporting them. I admit that when I go to my local farmers’ market I feel a little tinge of guilt because I can’t buy something from everyone. I don’t need that much food in a week and really am working at curbing food waste to do my little part.
I’m lucky that my town seems to be a magnet for opportunities to buy from little local startups. And I love to hear the backstories. When I don’t know them, I sometimes just imagine what aligned the business plan, prototypes and marketing ideas to bring something to market.
I don’t have to drive or walk for more than 15 minutes to get clothes, shoes, local food groceries, amazing sourdough bread, locally-grown flowers, beeswax candles, rustic signs on barnboard and now…pizza.
I’ve been in marketing and advertising for decades, and I love watching these startups use simple, smart and free social media tools to spread the word to attract consumers that will hopefully take them to success – however they measure it.
Completely by accident (not really if you are Instagram) I heard about @piebynightguelph. They describe themselves as four young cooks making great pizza in the heart of Guelph. They are using the local bakery’s space on a Sunday to whip together amazing pizza pies.
I hope Sunday night’s pizza pies get this startup where they want to be. It’s deliciousness and hard work that I’m happy to pay for.
I love sharing food. And I am also trying to do my bit to reduce the ridiculous levels of food that gets wasted. Sometimes it’s as simple as making enough food to pass around to a few others. I read somewhere recently that 40% of food waste happens at home. That’s a staggering number, but I can believe it.
A friend of mine shared some of her roast chicken and vegetables with me recently. Another friend brought over lentil soup. The chicken and veggies merged with the lentil soup for a meal for me, and there’s enough to make mini chicken pot pies for another friend.
Here’s how I made the pot pies:
Make a simple cream sauce with 2 Tbsp flour and 1 cup milk – simmered gently til thickened. I added chopped cooked chicken, frozen veggies, a little seasoning (salt, pepper, herbs de provence), white wine, sherry and a little parmesan. Spoon the mixture into little tart shells and top with mashed potatoes.
My town held its annual studio tour over the weekend. I pace myself on how often I go because, well, I just can’t help myself. I love local art. I think there’s a recurring theme for me about supporting the community you live in whether it’s food, clothes, books or shoes.
I wanted to buy a lot more than the 3 (smallish) pieces I bought this weekend. I’m at the point where I need another addition for more wall space…or start lending out my art to make room for new pieces. I even had a fleeting thought about…wouldn’t it be a great job to buy big art for big public spaces…I would be in heaven.
As I talked to the artists about their technique and what inspired them, I thought about how much courage it must take to put yourself out there — carefully placing your pieces around your studio space, and watching an endless stream of people wander through gazing up and down…or right past…your heart and soul.
So it made me endlessly happy to pick up these three pieces to add to my collection…grateful to the artists who adorn my walls and make me smile.
Read more about Tiffany Horrocks who painted the barn, and Helen Hoy who created the other two new additions to my collection.
It’s taken me until the middle of August but I finally made homemade burgers this week. It was so worth the wait.
Homegrown beef from my friend Jeanine, tossed with local grated two-year old cheddar, and a heaping spoonful or two of my cousin Pat’s homemade pesto. I rounded out my summer backyard feast with lots of fresh veggies from my local farmers’ market – sautéed cremini mushrooms, diced tomatoes and fresh carrot sticks.
100% Simple. Local. Yum.
Before we learned to cook, we baked. We’d bake for our brothers who could gobble up a pan of brownies before the pan cooled. And endless batches of chocolate chip cookies placed in alternating rows of 3s and 2s to maximize space on the baking sheet.
Then we dreamed, like so many others, about having our own bakery/coffee shop. But wise folks have reminded us over the years about the delusional allure of rising at the crack of dawn every day to make the same muffin recipe. So….we are good and loyal patrons to many bakeries. Here are a list of some of the ones we love:
Guelph – Polestar Hearth Bread and The Bakery
Worcester – Birch Tree Bread, On the Rise and Crust
Boston – Tatte
New York City – The City Bakery and Levain
It appears that many of our readers made and/or wore pussyhats for the various marches around the world. Here are a few pictures that make us smile!
Saturday January 21st is the Women’s March on Washington, the day after the inauguration.
“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
A friend sent me a link to the Pussyhat Project. It’s a grassroots project with a mission to provide the people at the Women’s March with a unique, collective visual statement – pink hats that look like pussy ears! Check out the link, the pattern for the hat is provided. If you are a knitter, they are asking you to make a hat or two and send them for people to wear as they march. I have several friends going to the march and I think I can make one or two in time for them to wear them.
I just finished one for myself to wear this winter. Anyone want to join me? Send us a picture of you wearing your pussyhat and we will post it on the blog!
Full disclosure. I have never participated in a soup swap but it sounds like a great idea. I just read about it in the Food section of the Boston Globe. “A soup swap is dedicated to the idea of entertaining and building community though sharing pots of soup.” The article describes it as a healthy version of the cookie swap.
The article included some tips for hosting your own soup swap:
The hosts provide a side dish (usually salad), bread and a simple dessert.
Guests bring a pot of soup and empty containers to take home a taste of all the soups.
Invite as many people as you have burners on your stove so all the soups can be heated at the same time.
Have everyone bring their own ladle to serve their soup.
Email or print out the recipe for everyone.
Sounds like fun. Let us know if you try it!
Most nights, I’m cooking for one but I love to make enough to share. I always make enough for leftovers but there is something entirely more satisfying about making a meal that can be shared and savoured with other people. Even if I’m not at the table.
I’ve been cooking for a friend for a little while. A meal (or two) a week to help get everybody fed quickly in between school and endless evening lessons. It puts a smile on my face every time I do it. I try out new recipes than will hopefully be a hit with younger palates, and keep the ingredients in the general arena of kid-friendly.
Some of the recipe favourites (that you might like too) are farmers sausage baked with BBQ sauce, maple syrup and apple chunks, sweet and sour meatballs (baked not fried), any variation on homemade mac and cheese (sometimes with broccoli, often with bacon), and even tater tot casserole.
It’s getting cold and dark and I know winter is coming. These homemade meals have even more appeal as we get ready for pseudo hibernation.
What’s your favourite meal to share?
I have been on the board of our local library foundation for the past six years and helped with the planning of the signature fundraising event – A Celebration of Authors.
Each year we invite four authors to participate in a panel discussion. They tend to be from New England since we have a small budget for travel. This year we had Anita Diamant, Joseph Finder, Lily King and Ann Leary. It is a terrific event and I would encourage you to attend author events if your library or local college host them. Then borrow their books from the library.
It’s fascinating to learn a little about the inner workings of a writer…how they motivate themselves, where they get their inspiration, and what they like to read! Our event has a terrific moderator who asks interesting and unusual questions that makes it a great evening. Over the years I have listened to at least 15 authors at the Celebration of Authors and it makes reading their work so much richer.
Support your library!