Home Made Soft Drinks

Home Made Soft Drinks

The urge to share some delicious, simple and easy recipes for soft drinks came the same way most of my recipes do these days… My newest project is to make my own versions of popular convenience products, because the price of them is so much more than I want to pay… and the prices are getting higher and higher!

“Healthy” soft drinks are now sold everywhere, from green tea blends and vitamin water to fruit drinks with just enough “natural” content to justify the label ‘contains real fruit juice’ and charge $2 to $4 per can or bottle. Think about it, they’re all mostly water. YOU can do better than that, save a pile of money and impress (or attract!) your loved ones.

Below you’ll find out how to make a few of the more popular recipes I’ve been testing out on family and friends. After some started telling me that they started making their own, I knew it was a “Rough Times” worthy concept.

I store mine in recycled glass bottles (plastic can make things taste funny). As always, feel free to use whatever you have hanging around your kitchen and your imagination… enjoy!

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

Gramma Willi

Ginseng-Green Tea Energizing Soft Drink

Makes about 2 quarts.

Ingredients

* 2 quarts boiled water

* 2 bags or 1 tsp. dried green tea (or mix green tea with mint, clover, fruit/herbal tea blends)

* 3 tsp. Honey

* 1 tsp. or 1 vial ginseng extract or 1 packet of ginseng tea or ½ cup ginseng root infusion (½ in. piece of ginseng root simmered in ½ cup water 15-20 min.

* ¼ tsp. Citric acid (for a nice tart flavor and added vitamin C – don’t add too much or it will be too sour)

* extra sweetener to taste (raw/brown/white sugar, stevia, rice or maple syrup, etc.)

Preparation

Bring the water to a boil in a metal, enamel or ceramic pot big enough to hold the water, turn the heat to low. Add the green tea, ginseng, your choice of spices, juices and herbs and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a little and add citric acid, honey and sweetener to taste. Drink hot or cold.

If you’re using herbal teas only, add 1 tea bag for each 2 cups of water; other than that, balance the fruit, juices, sweeteners etc. that you add to make a delicious drink… it’s okay to taste it as you go along!

You can make your soft drinks as simple or as complicated as you like; reading the labels on ‘store-bought’ drinks will give you pretty good recipe ideas and the knowledge that you don’t need much to make a really great drink yourself. It’s a great way to use all those forgotten herbal teas in the back of your cupboard!

** NOTE: I avoid aluminum and ‘non-stick’ cookware; to me, they make things taste weird.

A few suggested soft drink mixtures

Cranberry – Apple:

Some like it hot! A batch of hot apple or cranberry flavored drink is delicious, welcome and warming on a cold or damp day; I like it cold too.

This recipe is really good served simmering hot into cups from a pot with a few cinnamon sticks and ginger floating in the drink… a real winter warmer!

Ingredients: Use herbal tea already flavored with these fruits, add citric acid and sweetener, and add or substitute:

– cranberry and apple juice or – make your own ‘juice’: boil a chopped, skin-on apple and a handful of cranberries (or dried fruits) for 30-60 minutes before straining it and adding with your other ingredients). (Yes, you can eat the leftover fruit… or put mash it and put it on ice cream or toast.)

– add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon) and sweetener to taste

Lemon-Mint: A cool, refreshing drink on a hot summer day – simmer herbs together lemon balm, lemon peel, lemon juice, garden sorrel, and dried or fresh mint (a can of frozen lemonade will do for a base if that’s what you have). Sweeten to taste. Ginger and honey are really nice additions to this drink blend. Dress up with sprigs of fresh mint, thin slices of fruit for a gourmet touch!

Jordan’s Amazing Spicy Chai Soft Drink: (adapted from Gramma Willi’s early recipes):

1or 2 chai tea bags (or loose chai tea blend, or make your own!), 1 or 2 bags/pouches Ginger tea mix (or 1 tbsp. chopped or grated fresh ginger), cinnamon powder, grape jelly 2 tsp, 1 can of frozen cranberry juice. Add everything but the grape jelly in one big pot to 2 quarts of boiling water and simmer, stirring constantly until everything’s dissolved. Add 2 tbsp. grape jelly and/or mango chutney. Sweeten to taste. Enjoy hot or cold. This is amazingly delicious both hot and cold, I plan on making it for winter holiday drinks!

Wild Women’s Nourishment in a Glass: Use ½ cup of the most nourishing herbs in your cupboard or straight out of your garden – approximately flowers, leaves and fruits of raspberry, strawberry, lemon balm, mint, nettles, red clover, sweet fern, violet, yarrow, dandelion, motherwort. Sweeten to taste, bottle and keep at the front of the fridge.

P.S. Check your herb books for healing combinations, which can probably all be made into delicious recipes.

(Safety alert! Remember that herbs should only be used fresh or completely dried, not half way dried.)

Options:

Instead of separate ingredients, combine a bag or two or a few teaspoons of your favorite herbal teas… or use up some that’s been hanging around your cupboard waiting for you…

No fresh fruit in the house? Use a few tablespoons of fruit jam, frozen fruit, a can of frozen lemonade or fruit drink and mix half-half with your herbal tea. Simmer dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries in water to make a flavored drink, go ahead, make your day… be creative!

Want a home made vitamin drink?

You can use your blender or the back of a spoon in a bowl and blend mild tasting vitamins like, chewable vitamin C, calcium and raw food supplements like kelp, beet and seaweed powder and green food supplements. Mix these well with a little liquid (water, herbal tea, etc.) before adding it to your soft drink recipe.

If you’ve already used citric acid in your soft drink, remember that it contributes to your vitamin C intake… you might want extra vitamin C if you’re fighting or nursing a cold.

How to Make Plain Black Teas Into Specialty teas!

Strawberry tea – plain black tea, add a spoonful of strawberry jam, strain into cups (or not), and milk and sugar to taste. Substitute apricot, blackcurrant or peach jam, or make combinations, use your imagination! How about s spiced fruit tea? Add marmalade with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg? Make a batch of your own iced tea with plain black tea and a little lemon, sweetener and other flavors?

Hints and Tips:

Citric acid can be found in the baking section of your supermarket or bulk foods store (and some drug stores). I pre-ordered a large quantity from my bulk food supplier for the same price as one of those little bottles – if kept dry in storage, that’s enough for years!

For less mess serving loose teas, use a tea ball, recycled cloth tea bag (make your own with a bit of organic cotton and string), a few layers of cheesecloth… or a fine strainer. Toss any bits in the bottom of your cup into the compost… or around outdoor plants… what a treat for the Earth!

Save travel containers for taking your own soft drinks with you instead of buying them on the road. Fill a small cooler with your own recycled bottles, travel cups, an ice pack, use a thermos for hot drinks… over a year you will find yourself saving hundreds of dollars!

TAGS

soft drink, ginseng, tea, Ginseng Green Tea Energizing Soft Drink, chai, budget, saving money, home made, vitamin C, seaweed, green food supplement, green food, beet greens, dandelion, convenience food, fruit drink, spice drink, cookware, aluminum, plastic, root, herb, ginger, cinnamon, green tea, Gramma Willi, Rough Times Cooking, recipe, hot drinks, apricot, cranberry, apple, blackcurrant, peach, lemon, stevia, raw sugar, brown sugar, honey, apricot, kelp, herbal tea, raspberry, strawberry, lemon balm, mint, nettles, red clover, sweet fern, violet, yarrow, motherwort, vitamin drink, vitamins, healing, holiday drink, recipes

……

as published 1Nov2012

Home Made Soft Drinks

The urge to share some delicious, simple and easy recipes for soft drinks came the same way most of my recipes do these days… My newest project is to make my own versions of popular convenience products, because the price of them is so much more than I want to pay… and the prices are getting higher and higher!

“Healthy” soft drinks are now sold everywhere, from green tea blends and vitamin water to fruit drinks with just enough “natural” content to justify the label ‘contains real fruit juice’ and charge $2 to $4 per can or bottle. Think about it, they’re all mostly water. YOU can do better than that, save a pile of money and impress (or attract!) your loved ones.

Below you’ll find out how to make a few of the more popular recipes I’ve been testing out on family and friends. After some started telling me that they started making their own, I knew it was a “Rough Times” worthy concept.

I store mine in recycled glass bottles (plastic can make things taste funny). As always, feel free to use whatever you have hanging around your kitchen and your imagination… enjoy!

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

Gramma Willi

Ginseng-Green Tea Energizing Soft Drink

Makes about 2 quarts.

Ingredients

* 2 quarts boiled water

* 2 bags or 1 tsp. dried green tea (or mix green tea with mint, clover, fruit/herbal tea blends)

* 3 tsp. Honey

* 1 tsp. or 1 vial ginseng extract or 1 packet of ginseng tea or ½ cup ginseng root infusion (½ in. piece of chopped ginseng root simmered in ½ cup water 15-20 min.

* ¼ tsp. Citric acid (for a nice tart flavor and added vitamin C – don’t add too much or it will be too sour)

* extra sweetener to taste (raw, brown or white sugar, stevia, rice or maple syrup, etc.)

Preparation

Bring the water to a boil in a metal, enamel or ceramic pot big enough to hold the water, turn the heat to low. Add the green tea, ginseng, your choice of spices, juices and herbs and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a little and add citric acid, honey and sweetener to taste. Drink hot, warm or cold.

If you’re using herbal teas only, add 1 tea bag for each 2 cups of water; other than that, balance the fruit, juices, sweeteners etc. that you add to make a delicious drink… it’s okay to taste it as you go along!

You can make your soft drinks as simple or as complicated as you like; reading the labels on ‘store-bought’ drinks will give you pretty good recipe ideas and the knowledge that you don’t need much to make a really great drink yourself. It’s a great way to use all those forgotten herbal teas in the back of your cupboard!

** NOTE: I avoid plastic, aluminum and ‘non-stick’ cookware; to me, they make things taste weird.

A few suggested soft drink mixtures

Cranberry – Apple:

Some like it hot! A batch of hot apple or cranberry flavored drink is delicious, welcome and warming on a cold or damp day; I like it cold too.

This recipe is really good served simmering hot into cups from a pot with cinnamon sticks and ginger floating on top… a real winter warmer!

Ingredients: Use herbal tea already flavored with these fruits, add citric acid and sweetener, and add or substitute:

– cranberry and apple juice or – make your own ‘juice’: boil a chopped, skin-on apple and a handful of cranberries (or dried fruits) for 30-60 minutes before straining it and adding with your other ingredients). (Yes, you can eat the leftover fruit… or put mash it and put it on ice cream or toast… or back in your cup with a spoon.)

– add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon) and sweetener to taste

Lemon-Mint: A cool, refreshing drink on a hot summer day – simmer herbs together lemon balm, lemon peel, lemon juice, garden sorrel, and dried or fresh mint (a can of frozen lemonade will do for a base if that’s what you have). Sweeten to taste. Ginger and honey are really nice additions to this drink blend. Dress up with sprigs of fresh mint, thin slices of fruit for a gourmet touch!

Jordan’s Amazing Spicy Chai Soft Drink: (adapted from Gramma Willi’s early recipes):

1 to 2 chai tea bags (or loose chai tea blend, or make your own!), 1 or 2 bags/pouches Ginger tea mix (or 1 tbsp. fresh ginger), cinnamon powder, grape jelly 2 tsp, 1 can of frozen cranberry juice. Add everything but the grape jelly in one big pot to 2 quarts of boiling water and simmer, stirring constantly until everything’s dissolved. Add 2 tbsp. grape jelly and/or mango chutney. Sweeten to taste. Enjoy hot or cold. This is amazingly delicious both hot and cold, I plan on making it for winter holiday drinks!

Wild Women’s Nourishment in a Glass: Use ½ cup of the most nourishing herbs in your cupboard or straight out of your garden – approximately flowers, leaves and fruits of raspberry, strawberry, lemon balm, mint, nettles, red clover, sweet fern, violet, yarrow, dandelion, motherwort. Sweeten to taste, bottle and keep at the front of the fridge.

P.S. Check your herb books for healing combinations, which can probably all be made into delicious recipes… if you haven’t already, try Gramma Willi’s Ginger Drink.

(Safety alert! Remember that herbs should only be used fresh or completely dried, not half way dried.)

Options:

Instead of separate ingredients, combine a few bags or teaspoons of your favorite herbal teas… or use up some that’s been hanging around your cupboard waiting for you…

No fresh fruit in the house? Use a few tablespoons of fruit jam, frozen fruit, a can of frozen lemonade or fruit drink and mix half-half with your herbal tea. Simmer dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries in water to make a flavored drink, go ahead, make your day… be creative!

Want a home made vitamin drink?

You can use your blender or the back of a spoon in a bowl and blend mild tasting vitamins like, chewable vitamin C, calcium and raw food supplements like kelp, beet and seaweed powder and green food supplements. Mix these well with a little liquid (water, herbal tea, etc.) before adding it to your soft drink recipe.

If you’ve already used citric acid in your soft drink, remember that it contributes to your vitamin C intake… you might want extra vitamin C if you’re fighting or nursing a cold.

How to Make Plain Black Teas Into Specialty teas!

Strawberry tea – plain black tea, add a spoonful of strawberry jam, strain into cups (or not), and milk and sugar to taste. Substitute apricot, blackcurrant or peach jam, or make combinations, use your imagination! How about s spiced fruit tea? Add marmalade with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg? Make a batch of your own iced tea with plain black tea and a little lemon, sweetener and other flavors?

Hints and Tips:

* Citric acid can be found in the baking section of your supermarket or bulk foods store (and some drug stores). I pre-ordered a large quantity from my bulk food supplier for the same price as one of those little bottles – if kept dry in storage, that’s enough for years!

* For less mess serving loose teas, use a tea ball, recycled cloth tea bag (make your own with a bit of organic cotton and string), a few layers of cheesecloth… or a fine strainer. Toss any bits in the bottom of your cup into the compost… or around outdoor plants… what a treat for the Earth!

Save travel containers for taking your own soft drinks with you instead of buying them on the road. Fill a small cooler with your own recycled bottles, travel cups, an ice pack, use a thermos for hot drinks… over a year you will find yourself saving hundreds of dollars!

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

How Bad is What We’re Eating, Anyway?

Relatives,

Food safety and security is finally on almost everyone’s radar.

I hope you’ll take time to check out Food Inc. and Hungry For Change. These marvelous young people have done a great job of providing the rest of us with the facts and opportunities to take action at home, in our communities, our countries and with our relatives across the earth.

The more we share our good works and inform each other, the sooner we’ll all have access to clean, healthy foods. … so please share this!

All My Relations
Gramma Willi

Email Gramma Willi Post Your Comments

Good Food For Everyone!

~~~~~~~

Food Inc – The Movie
http://www.foodincmovie.com/

Food, Inc. exposes the highly mechanized north american food industry, that often puts profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of farmers, the safety of workers and our environment. The film reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become and where we are going from here.

Hungry For Change – the Blog
http://www.takepart.com/news/tag/hungry-for-change/

Food, Inc. exposes America’s industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers’ rights. Learn about these issues and take action through the Hungry For Change cafeteria and check out the 10 Simple Tips for making positive changes in your eating habits. Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on Takepart.com.

Here are some excerpts from the Food Inc. web site:

About the issues

Find organic, local foods
Sustainable foods can be found in your community by purchasing organic and/or locally grown produce and products. It’s easy to find farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, restaurants and more with the user-friendly Eat Well Guide. Simply type in your zip code to find out what’s in season near you.

Diabetes and Obesity
High calorie, sugar laden processed foods coupled with our sedentary lifestyles is growing our waistlines and contributing to serious health issues like diabetes, heart ailments and cancers. One-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Tell Congress that kids should be served healthy meals, not soda and junk food.

Factory farming
Approximately 10 billion animals (chickens, cattle, hogs, ducks, turkeys, lambs and sheep) are raised and killed in the US annually. Nearly all of them are raised on factory farms under inhumane conditions. These industrial farms are also dangerous for their workers, pollute surrounding communities, are unsafe to our food system and contribute significantly to global warming.

Pesticides
Cancers, autism and neurological disorders are associated with the use of pesticides especially amongst farm workers and their communities. Learn about what pesticides are in your food and their effects.

Environmental Impact
Did you know that the average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store? And that transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year?

The Global Food Crisis
Approximately 1 billion people worldwide do not have secure access to food, including 36 million in the US. National and international food and agricultural policies have helped to create the global food crisis but can also help to fix the system.

Genetic Engineering
Some of our most important staple foods have been fundamentally altered, and genetically engineered meat and produce have already invaded our grocery stores and our kitchen pantries.

Farm Worker Protection
Farm workers are the backbone of our agricultural industry, bringing fresh food everyday to our tables. They deserve basic workplace protections like good wages, access to shade and water.

Cloning
In January 2008, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the fact that Congress voted twice in 2007 to delay FDA’s decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies could be completed.

….

10 simple things you can do to change our food system:
Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on Takepart.com

1 Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).

2 Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.

3 Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.

4 Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

5 Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.

6 Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

7 Protect family farms; visit your local farmer’s market.
Farmer’s markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

8 Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

9 Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

10 Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

~~~~~~~

Good Food For Everyone!

Email Gramma Willi Post Your Comments

2010 is here… Happy New Year!

Now that I survived the last decade (and come to think of it, nearly 6 decades), I know that one of the most important things that I’ve learned is to be grateful.

I am grateful that I am part of the communications revolution – 10 years ago it wasn’t so easy to set up a blog and reach millions!

I am grateful that the big economic collapse didn’t mean we’d all starve, and that it woke so many of us up to what’s really important in life… living a good life!

I am grateful that my last new Year’s resolution (to do and be the best that I can) taught me two important things. First, to take it easy on myself and lastly, to pay far less attention to unsolicited opinions and advice from others, however well meaning that they may be. In the end, knowing that I did the best that I could within my own strengths and limitations, is always enough.

Happy New Year – Enjoy the ride!
Good Clean Food for Everyone!

All My Relations,
Gramma Willi
December 31, 2010

Gramma Willi’s Chili

This is one recipe that I really love. Friends and family are always asking me to make it for big and small gatherings. Easy on the budget and packed with goodness, it’s best when made with love, tastes even better the next day and it freezes well. A special treat served with Corn Bread or Bannock.

2 C. dried kidney beans (substitute pinto, romano, Jacob’s cattle or other big beans, or mix 3 or 4 together)

water

1 or 2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp. Garlic powder)

oil or fat for frying

1/2 – 1 pound ground beef (or use TVP – see below)

3-4 T. chili powder

2-3 T. cumin

1 T. dried coriander (cilantro), or 1/2 C. fresh

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional, add 2 or 3 times as much for a hot, spicy chili)

dash of cinnamon

large can crushed tomatoes (2 1/2 cups fresh)

1 tsp. brown sugar

2 T. vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider or balsamic)

small can peaches in light syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans in water about 2-3 inches above the beans in a non-metal bowl for 6-8 hours or overnight. Discard the soaking water, add beans to a large pot and cover with fresh water an inch or two above the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are soft (1 1/2 to 3 hours).

Cook the ground beef (or dry fry the TVP) until nicely browned and crumbled, set aside. Sauté the onions in a little oil until soft, then add cooked beef, garlic and spices and cook covered, for 5 more minutes. Add the meat mixture, tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar and peaches to the beans and stir well. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least an hour to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally to prevent burning; this is a good recipe to cook all day in a slow cooker or in the oven. Serve over rice.

Suggestions: Vegetarians and Vegans can substitute TVP dry-roasted with cumin for the ground meat to give a meaty texture and lots more protein. Offer crushed red pepper or Tabasco sauce at the table for people who like hot chili.

Hints: The beans will be more digestible if you add a piece of seaweed (kombu or dulse) to the beans while they cook, or you can add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to the soaking water to make the beans less “gassy”.

Time saver: For a quick chili, use 2 or 3 large cans of cooked kidney beans.

Note: Because this is such a good winter meal, we planned to make you a video of this recipe not too long ago when Brian and I were both in Toronto… didn’t work out. We will be getting to that asap, so stay tuned!

Much love, All My Relations, Gramma Willi

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

Magic Muffins

This is a great quick recipe, perfect for those times when you’re being careful with your money or don’t feel like shopping, but need to satisfy a craving for something a little sweet. I give recipes like this the name “magic” because they can be made with a wide variety of ingredients (Magical Options) and they come out a little different every time, depending on what you have in the kitchen…. they’re a nice dessert, a great snack, a quick breakfast and a super gift for friends and neighbours… enjoy!

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

2-3 Cups Muffin mix and a few Magical Options (see below)

Wet ingredients:

1 C water, 1-2 T cooking oil (or melted margaine or butter) and an extra cup of water

Mix your wet and dry ingredients separately, then make a ‘well’ in the middle of the dry. Add the wet mix to the well, stir it through to coat the dry mix; keep adding water a little at a time until the mixture is moistened all the way through, but not too stiff to stir. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease your muffin tins well. Fill to 3/4 full of muffin batter, bake for 20-28 minutes or until they spring back to the touch and smell just right.

Magical Options (pick a nice combination from below and use your imagination!):

1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 C raisins or currants, chopped dates, dried cranberries, papaya, apricots…

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, almonds, walnut or pecans

1 tsp. powdered ginger 1 tsp. cinnamon powder

1 plain chocolate bar, chopped (or 1/2 C chocolate chips, or 2-4 T. cocoa

1 small apple, chopped or 1/2 C blueberries, strawberries

Muffin Mix

1) Store bought mix: you can find cake or muffin mix on sale and add “Magical” stuff from your kitchen

2) Homemade mix: 3 cups flour (or 2 Cups flour and 1 cup oats) 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 3/4 C of sugar, or more or less to taste

Suggestions

Fruit Filling: Fill each muffin tin half-way and add 1/2 tsp jam, jelly or soft fruit in the middle. Fill the cups 3/4 full with the muffin batter and bake!

Time Savers:

1) Keep half of the batter in a clean jar in the fridge to make fresh muffins quickly anytime; the batter will keep for 4-7 days.

2) Make a big batch of dry muffin mix and keep it in the freezer – When you’re ready to make muffins, shale out what you need into a big bowl, add your wet ingredients and magical options and bake.

Sweet combinations:

“Fruity” explosion: Add chopped apple and a few raisins and berries to the dry mix; put a spoonful of jam in the middle of 2 layers of batter.

Ambrosia: Add coconut, ginger, cinnamon, almonds and orange essence, diced orange rind or mashed banana.

Gourmet ideas: You can blend a whole orange with the seeds removed into the wet mix, add some chocolate chips or cocoa to the dry and make a nice chocolate orange muffin!) How about lemon, poppy seed and cornmeal?

Savory Combinations: Leave out the sugar and add one or a combination of: Shredded cheese, chopped sundried tomatoes, cooked beans, diced carrot, fried minced onion, celery

Add herbs and spices – chili powder, oregano, rosemary, parsley , olive oil

Rough Times Bacon ‘n’ Egg Muffin: (you’ll never want to stop at a fast food place for breakfast once you’ve tasted these! ) Put a small piece of cooked bacon (vegetarians can use soy bacon), a bit of grated cheese and a spoonful of stirred raw egg in the middle of each muffin, fill the muffin cup with no-sugar batter (you can add a few herbs too!) and add a little grated cheese on top. Bake as usual.

Tip: Don’t have a muffin tin? Well, use a cake pan, a frying pan with a heatproof handle, small tart or other baking dishes – or get to the second hand store and find a nice muffin tin… it’s still probably cheaper than buying those store-bought muffins.

Much Love, Gramma Willi

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

Good Clean Food For Everyone! The Food Security Revolution and Environmental Health

by Gramma Willi

Relatives – like so many of us, I find myself more and more pleased that being an activist has become an easier road to walk. Victories for human rights and for the Earth increase in number and significance and we hear about them sooner than we used to. Everyone’s talking about green jobs. Our hopes are up, we may actually have an activist leading the free world – Yes We Can! It’s quite a time to be a part of it all, isn’t it?

One of my favorite stories about the changes in public attitude towards environment and health concerns feeding our children. So much has changed in my lifetime. As a young mother, it was almost impossible to find, let alone afford, organic baby food; it was tricky to find a place to breast-feed a baby in peace. These days, parents can find a wide variety of organic baby foods and formula in almost any supermarket; my grand-babies were all breast-fed (even the twins!) and fed organic baby foods. Now that the monopolies have more “natural” offerings available to consumers, are we happy with the production? Is there a next step that we need to take?

IICPH (International Institute of Concern for Public Health), whom I have worked with for many years, has a stellar reputation for providing independent, thoughtful analysis and corroborating community environmental health concerns. Most of our works for communities report on contamination of the air, land and water. It has always given me sadness when we report arsenic, tritium, mercury, lead or other highly damaging pollution where people have food gardens or farms. Food discussions at our youth and elder gatherings took on sad notes when realizing how very careful we must be where we grow our food, where it comes from and how it is prepared. We can make sensible choices when we consider our health.

The good news is, learning to choose, grow and cook good food provides not only sound environmental education, but when applied, benefits everyone’s health and saves people money! The truth is out there, people want clean food and groups like IICPH are uniquely positioned to help them to learn about it. Never has environmental health education been more timely and important… and good food is a delicious place to focus.

Perhaps the silver lining of the economic collapse is that the cards are on the table. Finally, the voices of old hippies and tireless activists are welcome and needed. The public continues to become informed and grows in wisdom as the next generation begins making its mark in history books and business reports. Let’s fill their bellies and minds with good things.

Remember that I love you

All My Relations,

Gramma Willi

~~~~

Gramma Willi has been working with IICPH since 1997. Expressions of her dedication to the clean food revolution can be found at http://roughtimes.ca and http://YouTube.com/roughtimescooking.

~~~~

Here are a few more resources to get you started if you want to do more about clean food:

http://www.foodsecurity.org/
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC)
is a non-profit 501(c)(3), North American organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times.

http://www.toronto.ca/health/tfpc_index.htm
Toronto Food Policy Council
, 277 Victoria Street, Suite 203, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1l: Wayne ““Taking control of our food” Roberts, Project Co-ordinator: 416-338-7937. Friends of Toronto Food Policy Council is on Facebook.
Their aim “is a food system that fosters equitable food access, nutrition, community development and environmental health.

http://www.foodsecuritynews.com/Resources.htm
The Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador
have a great page full of links to action going on all over!

Please email to Gramma Willi if you know of any more independent and reliable resources to help our Rough Times mission:

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 2:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Rough Times Cake

Rough Times Cake

Watch a video of this recipe at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_aMmz_nhhE

This is a simple and not-too sweet cake, sometimes called “Depression Cake”. So easy to make, it is free of eggs or milk, so it’s vegan friendly, easy on the budget and delicious.

Ingredients

2 Cups Raisins

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Water

1/3 Cup Margarine

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

1/8 tsp Allspice

2 Cups Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Round Tbsp Baking Powder

Sift dry ingredients together or stir well. Mix the wet ingredients in a big cup or bowl, add to dry mixture to make an easy-to-stir dough. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry.

Suggestions: While it’s still warm, spread a thin layer of corn syrup over the top for a nice glazed, elegant-looking cake. Freezes really well if it’s wrapped twice; since it’s such a big cake, I usually freeze half for later). Add nuts, raisins, currants, sweet cranberries, chopped apples or coconut to the dry mix… use mashed bananas, a little less water and make it a banana cake… forget the spice and add chopped strawberries, peaches or blueberries… use less water and a beaten egg or two for a rich texture – there’s no limit when you use your imagination!


Baked Beans

Home Style Baked Beans

Click here for Baked Beans Video recipe

An all-time, slow-cooked favorite with country and city folk alike. It’s amazing how many cultures claim to have the best baked beans – and how mouths can be fed from one little bag of dry beans – this is Rough Times Cooking at it’s finest! To make sure that you get complete protein without eating meat, add a “grain” food to the meal (flour-bread/cookies/pie/cake, rice, corn, etc.). I like to serve mine with Corn Bread or Bannock.

2 cups navy beans soaked in water to cover 3-4 in. above beans, overnight
1 cup molasses
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp. Prepared mustard or 1/2 tsp. Mustard powder
1-2 strips of bacon (or small piece of pork fat) – optional
1 tsp. Salt (added after cooking, so the beans cook nice and soft)

Discard soaking water from beans, add water to cover and cook until almost tender (Hint: adding boiled water at this stage speeds up the cooking.)
Add rest of ingredients, mix well, and place in an oven proof dish. Bake all day or overnight if you can, or at least 3-4 hours. Serve with home made bread or bannock.

Options: Vegetarians can skip the meat entirely and add a little soya sauce, smoke flavoring and/or tomato sauce. Keeping kosher? Use smoked turkey for that nice smoky flavor. Yellow eye or other small, light colored, mild flavored beans work well too.
Hints: Some folks add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water to make them less “gassy” – the beans will cook quicker, but tend to get mushy. I like to put a little piece of dried seaweed (kombu, kelp or dulse) in the soaking and cooking water, and remove it before baking – I find that it makes the beans more digestible too!
If you don’t have time to soak the beans, add them slowly to boiling water, keep them at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, simmer until tender.

SPIN-farming – Let’s Grow Our Own Food

The info in this article for city and town folk who want to buy local or farm their own Small Plot Intensive (SPIN) food is a beautiful gift – they’ve even considered how to minimize pollution! I hope that some of you take the opportunity to try it out… and share your stories with us.

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

SPIN Farming and Soup Service Are Yielding Profits

by Elaine Morin; Alternatives Magazine, 35:1 (2009); www.alternativesjournal.ca.

What happens when food production moves to the city and downsizes in the process? Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen of Wally’s Urban Market Garden, a Saskatoon farming operation, are showing that some 30 backyard plots totaling less than half a hectare can be as profitable as, and more ecologically sustainable than, their old eight-hectare agribusiness in rural Saskatchewan. The program they’ve developed, Small Plot Intensive or SPIN farming, aims to maximize crop yields of smaller gardens. “The key,” Satzewich says, “is to produce high-quality niche crops.” The enterprising duo grows garlic, spinach, salad greens and other produce, which they sell at city markets and to local restaurants. Reduced transportation costs and less food spoilage help boost profits, as does their low overhead since they have no tractor or paid work crews. Another advantage of co-opting backyard gardens is that many urban homeowners don’t have time to till, and will often rent their backyards for little or no fee.

“One acre [less than half a hectare] is about the right size for one couple to farm,” says Satzewich, who has no plans to expand. “You can always intensify production, if necessary.”

With the majority of Canadians living in cities, urban agriculture makes sense. Shrinking the distance between food production and markets means fewer trucks on the road and thus fewer carbon emissions. At a time when most food travels vast distances to get to the table, local food production can drastically cut the need for processing, packaging, refrigeration and hauling. And local, just-produced food can be fresher too, an important benefit.

Market gardens scattered throughout the inner-city, on abandoned lots for instance, can improve air quality and help offset urban heat buildup. Captured rain and wastewater, if deemed safe, can be used in place of treated municipal water, and organic solid waste can be composted to fertilize crops. And then there’s the issue of food security. More local agriculture reduces dependence on uncertain global food and fuel supplies.

Small-scale farming has its challenges. Urban gardens compete with municipalities for freshwater supplies. Rain and wastewater can help, but must be free of toxins. Abandoned lots must also be cleared of contamination before food crops are grown. And uncertain tenure on abandoned lots and borrowed backyards makes long-term projects a challenge. Satzewich’s and Vandersteen’s success comes from competence, dedication and hard work, but what they produce is a drop in the bucket beside the capacity of massive agribusiness. Still, city gardens have a long precedent and small plots are plentiful. Toronto’s Annex Organics, for instance, uses a warehouse roof for its garden.

A commercial market garden within Calgary would be a boon to Carmie Nearing’s business. A professional chef and owner of Spoon Fed Soup Company, Nearing uses local organic ingredients as often as possible, but with growing demand for her soups, it’s not always easy to find suppliers. In the last five years her company has burgeoned from a tiny home operation to a viable, thriving business. “At each step of the way, I’ve thought long and hard about how to expand,” says Nearing. For instance, she’s kept her original mandate to minimize the size of the area she services. She delivers her soup three times a week, up from once weekly, and only to inner-city Calgary addresses. And on one delivery day, soup will one day be shuttled to downtown customers via cargo bicycle.

In the beginning, Nearing developed recipes in her inner-city home kitchen, peddling them to friends and neighbours. She then borrowed a catering company’s kitchen, producing soups on weekends and delivering Mondays. Since then, she’s moved to a brand new kitchen. As the scale of her operation has increased, Nearing has worked hard to uphold the same principles of sustainability. For instance, she still uses one-litre canning jars, and the $1 deposit encourages a high rate of return. Though she’s careful about expansion, Nearing expects to make her soups available at two local food markets.

Can local, small-scale food producers replace massive agribusinesses and factory-food manufacturers? For a generation habituated to fast-food joints and big-box supermarkets, and with little knowledge of gardening, it’s hard to imagine. Yet the benefits of local food production are difficult to ignore. Interestingly, Satzewich and Vandersteen have been welcoming interns to their operation, some of them families with young children. Interns provide manual labour in exchange for learning the techniques of small-plot farming. Perhaps for the next generation, a major shift is on its way.

Elaine Morin is a Calgary-based freelance writer and recipient of the 2007 Brenda Strathern Writing Prize. She has been frequenting inner-city markets since she was four years old.

Start your own SPIN-farm! Check out http://www.spinfarming.com for do-it-yourself guidelines and examples of several SPIN cities and neighbourhoods. Visit http://www.cityfarmer.org and http://www.metrofarm.com to plug into urban agriculture communities from coast to coast. And if you live or work in Calgary, don’t forget to visit http://www.spoonfedsoup.com to order a healthy and sustainable soup-lunch.

Corn Bread

Quick to make and soooo good! Make it instead of popcorn for movie night, serve with chili, soups, stews or toasted for breakfast, lunch or snacks. A big hit with old folks, children, teens and the growing numbers of people known as “foodies.”
The following recipe gets you started into the wonderful world of corn bread; you may find yourself surprised at the long history of corn bread, from ancient, old-fashioned and traditional peoples to the settlers in native lands who expanded the uses of this amazingly simple and very nutritious staple food of the ages.

Watch how to make Corn Bread on video!

1 C. corn meal
2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 –2 C. milk or 1/2 milk 1/2 water, or part canned or powdered. (Hey you vegans! – you can replace the milk with plain water and 2 T. cooking oil.)

Mix dry ingredients together, add milk or water, stir well, adding enough liquid so that the mixture is not too thick, like a cake batter. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan (or pie tin) and bake 35-50 minutes until done (a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and quite dry). Cornbread should be nicely browned on the sides, but not too brown on top. Great as is, buttered, and with jam for breakfast and snacks.

Suggestions: Add canned corn and/or jalapeño peppers for a Mexican flavor; make it Italian-style with a few finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Add soy flour to the dry mix or grated cheese to the wet for extra protein. For corn cake, increase the sugar, add an egg or two, mix in a little oil or vegetable shortening, beat the batter very well until smooth. I love using frozen berries in my corn “cake-bread” in wintertime. Tastes really great toasted and buttered; try it under poached eggs. Mini cornbread pizza slices? Garlic corn bread? – why not?
Hints: Instead of plastic, use a clean kitchen towel for wrapping leftover corn bread to keep it soft. You can make a double batch and freeze one for later. Great for pot luck suppers and a really nice gift for your favorite friends and neighbors.

Corn kernels remind me of nature’s generosity – so many seeds from one corn cob! Corn plants will grow well with good earth (shred and add last year’s stalks to the earth – nitrogen!) and some care and give you many more seeds to feed many more people. The best whole brown corn husks can be harvested and dried – pull back the husk, tie and hang until the seed kernels are hard, then twist them off and store a non-plastic bag or envelope – want to grow your own popcorn or grind your own cornmeal?
Good seed growing and saving information is easy to find – e.g., check out the Long Island Seed Project. Share and trade your seeds to keep them strong.

~ Sometimes I pray that it becomes impossible to contaminate corn;
I am careful about it. ~