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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

For Your Information

Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [March 19, 2020] - Effective Mar 17, this blog will no longer accept advertising. The reason is very simple. If I like a product, I will promote it without compensation. If I don't like a product, I will have no problem saying so.
  • [March 17, 2020] - A return to blogging! Stay tuned for new tips, resources and all things food related.
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures! [Update: 4ever Recap appears to be out of business.]

Popular Posts

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Cooking Oil Shortages

The newest report is we will be seeing cooking oil shortages due to current events.  Some shoppers are reporting that sunflower oil is very difficult to find.  The food industry is sounding the warning over palm oil shortages.  Both of these oils along with canola oil are cause for concern because the food industry relies heavily on these oils for commercially produced baked goods.  Shortages therefore can have a huge impact for that industry.  Substituting another oil is not easy as it would likely increase price something that really isn't desirable given the high inflation rates right now.

If you are a home baker/cook, shortages of these oils likely won't affect you.  If you can't find one oil, you can likely substitute another oil  If you also make your own soaps, then palm oil may or may not affect you.  I use palm oil for soap making so expect to see an increase in price when I next order.  Other than that, I'm really not concerned.

Oils can be purchased in larger quantities but should be stored in a cool, dark location.  At higher temperatures, oils can become rancid.  Do not ingest or use rancid oils for cooking.  If you do not have a cool, dark location, oils can be stored in the refrigerator to extend their life.  Some oils will get a bit cloudy if stored in the fridge but that is perfectly normal. 

Garden Gnome
©2006-2022


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Grain Price Increase?

We all know prices are going up.  I ordered wheat berries at $22 per 10 kg a couple of weeks ago but now they are up to $26 per 10 kg.  So within a span of about 2 weeks, it was a price increase of $4 from that particular source.  It could be their local adjustment though as I'm not seeing huge increases elsewhere but rather mild increases.

For those who do not use wheat berries or other whole grains for longer storage or home milling, I'm not seeing a huge increase in commercially ground flours.  Most have gone up verry little or by a few pennies  if at all.  Certainly store brand flours seem to be staying the same price.  Rice has increased by pennies but oat meal and cornmeal is the same.  An 8 kg bag of jasmine rice is on sale at No Frills this week for $12.88 member price.  Dried legumes, split peas and beans have all increased about $1/900 kg bag so it's best to watch for sales of these even though they are still a good bargain for your food dollars.  If you prefer canned beans, keep an eye on No Frills.  I think it was last week they had selected varieties of canned beans on for $0.49 so that sale will be repeated likely next month since sales tend to be cyclic.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2022


Monday, May 16, 2022

Much Needed Break - Road Trip

A little over a week ago, we took a much needed break.  At the same time we took advantage of stopping at some of the many food growers/producers/suppliers scattered throughout southwestern Ontario.  The first day of our journey, we stopped at:  a whole sale food distributor, a cheese factory, a grain mill, a fish monger  and a few smaller venues.  While there, time spent in nature meant renewing the spirit while discovering new plants and doing a bit of foraging.  We enjoyed several lovely meals and the turkey carcass was carefully packaged for the ride home.  Our final stop was a lovely Asian meal at our daughter's.

Looking back, we were away 5 days and yet every day I was able to do something that would help our pantry and preparedness at home.  I personally don't feel that now is the time to do nothing so my goal is do something daily but at the same time a change of scenery is restorative and good for the soul.  

It's always fun for us to discover new food suppliers too.  Two of the places we stopped at, I have ordered from several times online so it was really nice getting to meet them!  One was a totally new discovery but definitely a keeper on our list of local 'must stops' when we are on a road trip.  Speaking of road trips,  we're already planning a foodie road trip now that asparagus and rhubarb is running.

The next morning, I was up dealing with what was left of our purchases.  The following morning, I made a beautiful turkey stock with the carcass and canned most of it but froze a couple of bags.  Good thing, because we only had one jar of turkey stock left!  Our days of finding cheap turkeys in the US have been dampered by the current events and quite frankly, turkeys are so expensive on the Canadian side you almost have to take out a second mortgage to buy one.  At any rate, our daughter found a great turkey deal so we got one.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2022


Thursday, May 05, 2022

Grow What You Can

During both World Wars folks were encouraged to grow whatever they could.  Victory gardens were encouraged.  Many folk across Canada still have a home garden while many more have turned to indoor hydroponic gardening.  Given the current geopolitical events, high inflation rates heading towards  hyperinflation, quickly rising food prices, and increasing warnings of food shortages the advice is to grow what you can.   My belief is everyone should grow whatever they can.  A surprising amount of food can be grown in a 4' x 4' raised bed or containers on balconies.  Herbs and salad greens can be grown on window sills.  Both sprouts and microgreens are easy to grow indoors and require very, very little space.  

My gardening efforts are both indoors and outdoors.  I grow outdoors on the deck in containers mainly using the Kratky method (passive hydroponics) that is very low maintenance, high yield gardening perfect for greens, tomatoes and some herbs.  A large pots of herbs, strawberries, beans and peas I use 2 wide mouth mason jars for my sprouts and grow microgreens in a 10" x 12" tray.  Two repurposed clear plastic take-out clamshell containers serve as mini greenhouses to start seeds or grow extra microgreens as needed.  The lower bathroom bathtub is filled with deck plants overwintering soon to be moved outside.  The lighting for those is tied into our home automation system.  I use watering spikes in some outdoor pots but others are on an automatic watering system while the indoor pot are on a watering system tied into our home automation as well.  I also have a 6 pod Aerogarden that is also surprisingly quite productive. 

Seeds are by far, less expensive that the starter plants so I tend to start whatever plants I can from seed.  I prefer heirloom seeds to hybrids as they breed true so can be saved from mature plants and I prefer organic seeds for sprouting or microgreens.  Seeds at Home Hardware, Canadian Tire and Walmart range in price $0.99 to $3.50 per package.  Seeds at Dollarama (Canadian origin) are 3 pks/$1 or $0.33 each.  Dollar Tree seeds (USA origin) are 4 pks/$1.25 or $0.31 each.  Sprouting and microgreen seeds are exactly the same as what you would plant in the ground or containers but they are bought in bulk.  I buy from organic sprouting seeds from Mumm's (Saskatchewan) and organic mustard seeds from Splendor Garden (Saskatchewan).  Splendor Garden also has bulk herbs and spices.  I get grains like wheat berries, kamut kernels, and etc., directly from organic flour mills.

Garden Gnome
©2006-2022