Category Archives: community

startups

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.

CJR

 

 

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pay it forward with food

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.

CJR

 

 

doing our bit for the local economy

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.

CJR

 

burgers

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.

CJR

 

bakeries

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

BostonTatte

New York City The City Bakery and Levain

CJR

pussyhat project

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.

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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!

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HAR