Sunday, October 24, 2010

Date Cocoa Balls and Nova Scotia Masters Men's Soccer

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Nova Scotia Masters 

Mike's soccer team made it to the over 35 men's national tournament representing Nova Scotia.
I love it that Mike is so healthy and fit - he was the oldest player in the tournament!
Imagine, my Ontario boy representing Nova Scotia - ain't that special!!

Whenever this team has a tournament I like to offer them a few tips on food choices between games. Several tournaments ago they asked if beer was o.k. the night before the final game(s). They asked my opinion, so I  recommended: no beer. I guess the fellas thought that I was being too prudent, so they asked me, the dietitian, whether sex was allowed - so, my final answer was: sex OR one beer, but not both! I believe they have been abiding by this 'rule' as it always comes up during tournaments.

This was an important tournament, so I decided to make some post- game snacks for optimal glycogen reloading of their muscles right after the games ended.

A good post-game snack will be carbohydrate-rich with some protein.

Dates are high in energy and potassium and the sunflower seeds lend some protein. The jalapeno peppers are there just for a kick!


1 banana
3 cups dates - soaked in water for 20-30 minutes and drained
1/2 cup oat flour (rolled oats ground in coffee grinder)
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, minced
flaxseed and / or wheat germ on a plate

Combine all ingredients- except the flax and wheat germ, in a food processor.

Process until it is a homogeneous mixture. If it is too sticky to form into balls, add a little more oat flour.
Form into balls and roll in flaxseed and wheat germ.

Put in freezer to firm

Mike looks pretty pleased about their bronze medal win!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Humbled and Crushed Tomatoes

I am starting to panic!

After a summer full of fresh, local, organic greens, tomatoes, berries, I am wondering how we will make it through the winter without. The chipmunk in me is taking over and I have been filling my freezer with wild blueberries, cranberries, pureed pumpkin and now....tomatoes.

On Saturday morning I kissed hubby and doggie good-bye (boys still asleep), and headed to the market before the big crowds.

My mission: To buy 20 pounds of tomatoes to make sauce to freeze for the winter. I have decided to prepare crushed tomatoes to freeze so that I can eliminate buying the canned versions to make spaghetti and pizza sauce, stews, soups and chili.

I stopped by one of my favourite stalls, Elmridge Farms to see if they have large quantities of romas.

Here are a few of my cute neighbour buddies that work at the Elmridge Farm stall!

The next day I settled into tomato chopping while listening to my neightbour Niki Jabbour's gardening show on 95.7 fm radio.
I called in a question and subsequently won the book "Locavore", a book that I had wanted to read - so that was great!!

I've only read the first three chapters thus far - but it has deepened my awareness of the importance and the impact of our food choices. What an exciting time for food and farms - people are interested in knowing the farmers who grow their vegetables and fruits and raised the chicken on their plate.

The second chapter highlights an intimate interview with a husband and wife who farm in Annapolis Valley; Greg and Suzanne of Elmridge Farm! They share their struggles and heartbreaks of owning and operating a family farm - years of low income, 85 hour work weeks, no vacations for years,  a truckload of spoiled broccoli due to a refrigerator breakdown. And they continue to farm - thank goodness!

Mike's Grandad Ernest Greenley was a farmer. In 1969 he decided to sell the farm....but only to someone who was committed to continue farming the land. He had two offers; one for $100,000 from a developer, the other for $30,000 from a family that was going to farm the land. He chose the farmer. He had the dedication to farming and the foresight to know that urban sprawl could take over arable land. That land is still farmed  - but is surrounded by suburbs and developments. I never met Ernie Greenley, but he is a hero of mine.

Finally, here is the method to crushed tomato sauce:

Crushed Tomatoes (freezer-ready)

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and cut out the stem.

Now, many tomato sauce makers will suggest that you boil and then peel the tomatoes and take out the seeds - I say, why?  The skins will disintegrate with stewing and pureeing - and they add colour and flavour. I am 'all about' making it less tedious.
Dice up the tomatoes into approximately 1-inch pieces.
Chop up some onion and garlic if you wish and throw this in batches into a food processor - pulse until a chunky puree.

Add to a large heavy pot and stew on low heat for a couple of hours.

Let cool completely before you portion into freezer bags

When you pop these out of the freezer and put them into a pot to make a sauce or soup, use as you would a can of crushed or stewed tomatoes. Isn't that great?!
You could also just freeze whole or diced tomatoes.

My freezer is filling up - but I am still in a bit of a panic about the greens! Am thinking about a cold frame to grow some hardy greens. .....stay tuned!!