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Small food choices can make a big difference

We are all settled in to a new year full of promise and good food. Not the processed stuff full of salt and added sugars, but whole food. There has been lots of conversation in the kitchen regarding the mindset of diet – it’s never easy to make those life-changing decisions.
For me, it’s narrowed down to smaller, individual decisions. Questions to ask might be has the food been handled by machine? Are there preservatives or words that I can’t pronounce? Whole? Local? Fresh? Those are the starting points for us.
Try putting a plate together with three quarters of it being plant based. Not only is the protein portion of the plate hard on the pocketbook but also the environment. Producing meat for the masses can create some irresponsible practices for the wellbeing of animals and farmers. As consumers, we can demand better and work with a trusted farmer or supplier.
Making choices, however small, will have some impact. My daughter is reading about this in Grade 2: it’s nothing we don’t know. Yet our society’s actions include running to the grocery store for pumped up vegetables and meats on special.
At the risk of dating myself, I have seen a lot of product in the past 25 years. Some inspires and gets the juices going, and some makes me sad. As a team we are constantly sending produce back that doesn’t meet the standard and spend so much time finding the quality ingredients that help create a dish from scratch. The cost is great but the rewards are satisfying. I have great pride in knowing when a loaf of bread leaves our store it contains only natural ingredients, and the dinner is made by hand with a whole lot of love. Our lattes are made with beans responsibly grown, and are locally roasted.
What small choices can we make to better our wellbeing and health in 2015? Consider the possibilities for your hard-earned money and look for alternatives to make a difference. Happy cooking!

Crumb Cakes
Cranberry Oat and Flax

2 cups yogurt
1-1/3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp orange zest
2 cups of oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp ground flax (+ 1 tbsp for garnish)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda and salt

In a bowl, whip together sugar, oil, and eggs, fold in other wet ingredients.
In another bowl, measure out the dry ingredients. Then mix the dry and wet together.
Place batter in a lined muffin cup until three-quarters of the way full; sprinkle with extra flax seeds.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for approximately 15-20 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

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