Coffee Pods: What’s The Grind?

Gosh, I love coffee. It’s not just an “I must have caffeine” addiction: I really enjoy drinking it. I love the warmth, the roasty aroma, the cultural routine around “meeting for coffee” and the intimacy that brings. At home, I make a latte every morning. We have this gorgeous old Jura espresso machine that cost us a bloody fortune somewhere around 10 or so years ago, and over the years I’ll easily say it’s made 10,000 cups of coffee, give or take a few hundred. 10,000! That’s a lot. And we drink what I would call an average amount of coffee.


Toronto Green Living Show – April 25 – 27

GLS14-lockup-400x115Spring means it’s time for the Green Living Show in Toronto! This is the premier eco-show in Canada, with over 400 exhibitors, 5 main stages and loads of fun. Hosted at the cavernous Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, this show will not only feature tons of new products and innovations in the eco-space, you will also find something for absolutely everyone in your family from the youngest to the youngest at heart. (more…)

Organic wines in Canada

It’s kind of one of those days. One of those “two bottle” kind of days, you know?

But you aren’t sure what kind of bottle to open. You’d like to be ecofriendly. And you’d like a Canadian wine, because it then has less carbon footprint than a wine flown in from sunny Italy or Australia.

Well, it’s good fortune for you that I just came across this excellent list of organic wineries in Canada.  The page has a thorough description of the terminology – such as the difference between an “organic” wine and a wine made with “organic grapes”.  Favourites such as Frogpond Farm and Summerhill Farms are on the list, but if you scan it perhaps you will find a new favourite. Enjoy!

Credo bags: Reusable bags for any need!

These are brilliant.

You know when you’re at the grocery store, and you need apples, but you don’t want to take a plastic bag because, well, we all know what the deal is with plastic bags, but picking up a dozen or so apples and trying to carry them loose is just a pain, and the checkout person is trying to roll them all around on the scale and half of them fall off and gaaah.

Solve that problem but quick with Credo Produce Bags. I’ve been using them for a year, and they kick all kinds of butt. They come in various sizes, from “I need a couple of tomatoes” to “I need a dozen apples” to “I need three heads of romaine”.  Coming in regular and organic cotton, the produce bags have a drawstring closure and are fully washable in case your tomatoes get squashed. And: Made in Canada, whoop!  The bags start in price as low as $5, so are an easy budget addition to your reusable bag rotation.

You can buy Credo Produce bags as well as any of their other awesome stuff from their online store as well as at various locations across Canada.

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

The phenomenon of celebrities becoming activists is becoming increasingly more common. Bono campaigns for Africa and runs Edun. Sean Penn has made himself a thorn in the side of many. And now, Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame has recently jumped into the fray as a spokesmodel for PETA, and recently releasing her cookbook The Kind Diet. I was recently offered a copy of several books from publisher Rodale Books to review, including this one. Always one to try out a new book (much to my husband’s chagrin), I eagerly said “yes please!” and have spent the last couple of weeks flipping through the pages of some great texts.

The Kind Diet is a combination of vegan treatise, instruction, and cookbook. The book covers a lot of ground including why a carnivorous/non-vegan diet is not “kind”, and a vegan diet is. On one hand, Silverstone doesn’t seem to have strayed far from her Clueless background, with phrases like “soooooooo good!” and “organic apples are so cute!” peppering the book. There’s an air of, “save the animals because they’re just so sweet!” in the book, and while someone less cynical or more enthusiastic than myself may find it energizing, I found the tone slightly grating.

On the other hand, if you can get past the ditziness, the book has an excellent amount of informative content. If you’re a carnivore who’s interested in changing your diet, either whole or in part, the book gives you good information on how to make that change as well as what to expect as you’re making the transition. And the best part: Lots of delicious looking recipes and mythbusters about food that will make switching to a more Kind Diet something to look forward to. She’s documented lots of interesting foods including legumes, grains and meat substitutes for you to easily incorporate into your new menu and created meal plans so that the new vegan has some help navigating their meals. Personally, while I’m not planning on going vegan, I do want to cut down on our meat intake and this book is going to be exceptionally valuable to this household in doing that – I’m heading to the grocery store today to pick up the fixins for a Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew, Pumpkin Bread and Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash stew (if I can find a Kabocha squash – like I said, this book is introducing me to lots of interesting new foods!)

The Kind Diet
would make an excellent gift to someone who’s looking to make a diet and holistic lifestyle change, especially for someone who’s got the same kind of energy and perkiness as Silverstone herself. You can pick up a copy at Chapters and other retailers.

Front Door Organics – local urban produce, to your door!

You want to eat well. You want to ensure you’re consuming organically grown produce, from local sources. But you’re also busy. Really busy. And you don’t have a whole lot of time to grocery shop, let alone seek out local, organic produce.

Well, you’re in luck, because Front Door Organics will bring it to you. All you do is simply sign up as a new customer and then you can decide which of their offerings you’d like delivered to your door every week. The delivery always consists of 10-15 delicious, local organic items, configured how you choose – a basic fresh box, or a custom fresh box that will allow you to pick and choose what comes in your delivery – including letting you specify what to *never* send you (turnips begone!)

Delivery is available on various days to various regions in the GTA – check here to see if you’re in range. Enjoy!

Two Monkeys Coffee and Tea House: Coffee with Monkeys!

Not that long ago, I said that there is an underserved market out there. That market is the parent market. The people who have young children but still want to get out and be in a place that has things adults like (ethical products, good food, comfy chairs) as well as being kid friendly (toys, place is pretty indestructible, nobody notices/minds if your kid makes noise). Rob Kay and Jill Sheppard obviously thought the same thing (great minds) and have seized on that market opportunity and opened up Two Monkeys Coffee and Tea House in Barrhaven, just outside Ottawa.

What’s in it for grownups? Organic coffee and tea, fresh soups, Cinnamon Pecan sticky buns, homemade food by Grandma, squashy chairs, and other grownups.

What’s in it for kids? A cleverly divided big play area with toys, bright colours, and other kids.

The best of both worlds, finally.

Located on Strandherd drive, Two Monkeys is just minutes from downtown Ottawa and virtually anywhere in the west end. See you there soon!

The Stop Community Food Centre: Growing Together

Once upon a time, The Stop opened in Toronto as one of Canada’s first food banks, providing food to those who couldn’t otherwise get it. Over the years, The Stop has expanded both its real estate and its mandate, because they believe that simply providing handouts doesn’t solve the underlying problems causing people to go hungry. To that end, they have created an entire list of services, all with the aim of allowing the community to work together to provide the necessities of life – including food – for all. The Stop now provides community services including a drop-in, food bank, perinatal program, civic engagement, bake ovens & markets, community cooking, community advocacy, sustainable food systems education and urban agriculture.

The latest addition to The Stop’s formidable army of services includes their absolutely wonderful Green Barn – a sustainable food production and education centre housing a greenhouse, food systems education programs, a sheltered garden, community bake oven, compost demonstration centre and market. This amazing initiative has become a community focal point to allow people to develop relationships as well as healthy food attitudes and eating habits, and is worthy of heaps of praise – in fact, I would be surprised if this initiative doesn’t get copied in cities from coast to coast. If you’re interested in touring the Green Barn at The Stop, they have public drop-in hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

And, if you’re looking for something to do tonight (November 4th) – The Stop’s Annual Fundraiser, What’s On The Table, is taking place at the Green Barn itself. Enjoy the works of loads of fantastic local chefs and bid on wonderful auction items, all to raise money for The Stop. Get more information or buy tickets here.

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