Green Living Show even greener this year

Where do you go if you want Tibetean vegan momos, pants made out of tree fibres, and lectures about how cannabis can help you heal?

The Green Living Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is one of the largest environmental events of the year, featuring organic and delicious food, exercise, and how to build sustainably among many other things.  It is a festival that takes all things green and turns it into a massive trade show in support of an environmentally friendly world. The festival provides an opportunity to network, share, and learn about how many industries are involved in the ‘green’ trend that is growing in popularity every year.

So, how was the Green Living Show compared to last year?

It was definitely better for one main reason; the food! This year, the food pavilion had a centralized theme of ‘around the world’ fare. It had a range of options and also specified foods that were vegan and vegetarian, which was a fresh change of pace. The previous year, I struggled to find vegan options and this was frustrating at a green festival. The beer options were impressive as well, with a wide variety of craft brews, wines and ciders available.

The emphasis on medical cannabis was a new development, probably due to impending legislative changes around marijuana in Canada. The Green Living Show hosted the Weedmaps speaker series about Cannabis. The topics discussed by the panel included understanding which strains can help certain ailments, how to understand current marijuana laws, and how to cook medicinals. The Green Living Show is the perfect venue to educate and discuss the future of cannabis in Canada and its medial relevance, which is a very hot ‘green’ topic at the moment.

Another educational panel attended by Women’s Post was the urban farming speaker series that brought out Aquaponics start-up Ripple Farms, Holly Ray Farms, Orchard People, and Toronto Urban Growers, moderated by David McConnachie of Alternatives Journal. The panel explained various ways that urban farming can be implemented in the city. There were several vendors selling products related to indoor or urban farming, including sprouting containers and even indoor mini-hydroponic systems.

There were some return favourites as well, including the classic Canadian green car awards (Cheverlot Bolt won) and the beautiful set-up celebrating tree stewardship in Ontario.

The Green Living Show is an annual favourite of Women’s Post. The sheer size and popularity of the event really shows how much the green lifestyle is growing. It would still be nice to see more specifically vegan food options and vendors, but kudos to the ones that were there (including Live Wild Love Free). It will be exciting to see what happens next year.

What was your favourite part of the Green Living Show? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.


Is Toronto stuck as the child poverty capital or can it raise a village?

Toronto is one of the most liveable cities in the world, but if you live in poverty with your children, it’s quite a different story. Ranging from long daycare subsidy waitlists, high rent, extraordinary transit costs, and expensive food, raising a family can seem nearly impossible.

Child poverty is a difficult pill to swallow and Toronto has been dubbed the Canadian capital in a report called ‘Divided City’ that was released in early November 2016. The report said that Toronto has the highest rate of low-income children in an urban area at 26.8 per cent.

Two years ago in November 2015, Toronto approved its first-ever poverty reduction plan after a report was released entitled ‘The Hidden Epidemic’, which outlined the impacts of child poverty in the city. Though child poverty has decreased from 29 per cent in 2009 to 26.8 per cent, it still impacts specific neighbourhoods in Toronto. The 2016 report is the first update since ‘The Hidden Epidemic’ and shows that child poverty has decreased overall, but is now concentrated to particular areas such as Regent Park, where 58 per cent of children live in low-income households. Families struggle to pay rents, using over 30 per cent of their income on rent (the threshold to be considered low-income) and children end up missing out on important recreation activities and parents struggle to feed their kids.

Unfortunately, with budget cuts the poverty strategy has been put on the back burner and important investments for children such as affordable housing and funding for recreation and daycare subsidies is facing debilitating cuts. The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Family Service Toronto with Ontario Campaign 2000, Colour of Poverty and Social Planning Toronto came together to create the updated report to emphasize the need for City Council to stick to their poverty reduction goals and avoid cuts as much as possible.

One of these goals needs to be affordable housing. Currently there are nearly 100,000 people on the affordable housing waitlist and helping families to obtain housing needs to be a first priority to help reduce poverty for families. If most of your money goes towards paying rent, it is nearly impossible to escape the spiral of poverty. One third of families with children under the age of 18 live in unaffordable housing. The report also highlights that a lone parent living on Ontario Works would have to pay 107 per cent of their income in order to live in inner-city Toronto. This pushes families out to areas with less transit and away from many of the jobs in the city. Affordable housing in inner-city Toronto needs to become a priority immediately.

One solution that City Council discussed in the Executive Committee is the poverty reduction goal of providing low-income TTC fare cuts. This will help transit users to better afford their commute to more available jobs and help alleviate the pressures of living a low-income lifestyle. Executive Committee passed the ‘Fair Pass Program’ that would lower the adult single fare by 33 per cent and the adult monthly pass by 21 per cent unanimously. The program, if approved by council, will be implemented in March 2018.

Though the city is working towards implementing small measures as a part of their poverty reduction program, all cuts that involve children-led programs including housing, recreation and daycare subsidy, need to be avoided. Oftentimes, it seems that children get left behind in the wake of transit-focused initiatives when it comes to the city council budget. Most importantly, affordable housing solutions need to be offered immediately, including portable housing, recognizing the need for affordable housing based on using more than 30 per cent of a parent’s income on rent and changing rent control guidelines.

Children are the city’s most important priority and putting them first is the only way to make Toronto Canada’s best city. Every child deserves to play in a safe home without pests, and learn how to swim or play tae kwon do. Families also need access to healthy food and equitable employment opportunities where their children are in safe daycares so that parents can obtain employment or go to school. Only when Toronto loses its reputation as the child poverty capital will it be a safe place for families to live. Only at that point will the city of Toronto truly be a considered a village that raises a child.

5 new ways to spice up your coffee

Mornings can be rough. The nights are short, the kids are off from school, and frankly, it’s too nice outside to even think about spending your day in the office. If you’re like me, you’ll need that cup of coffee before you say your first word. Why not try something new in your daily brewing routine and try these five different ways to spruce up your coffee. You’ll thank us later.

  1. Stir in some black sesame powder:

Black sesame seeds are highly nutritious, packed with vitamin B1, fibre, magnesium and calcium (just to name a few).  Add in a teaspoon to give your coffee a rich, nutty flavour.  This tastes especially good with coconut or almond milk.

  1. Sprinkle on some spices:

You don’t need a trip to Starbucks for that gourmet kick in your cup of joe. Add in some ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or cardamom directly into your cup before you pour in your coffee for a refreshing spice kick. Alternatively, you could sprinkle on the spices after you have poured your coffee for a lighter taste. These spices are a great alternative to sugar!

  1. Try using a different type of milk:

Swapping out your usual milk and creamer can add a new unique taste to the coffee. Try using variations such as almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, hemp milk or cashew milk. You can even pick between sweetened or unsweetened.

  1. Blend in some coconut oil:

Yes, that’s right, coconut oil.  Similar to the “bulletproof coffee,” this interesting add-in brings creaminess to the drink and can keep you full all morning.  Make sure you blend in the coconut oil so that is incorporated properly with the coffee!  This also makes it frothier – almost like a latté mmm!

  1. Try sweetening with maple syrup or pure vanilla extract:

Maple syrup contains 54 antioxidants and makes a healthy, low-calorie swap for your regular sugar.  Alternatively, you could add vanilla extract; just a few drops will do to add some sweet vanilla flavour.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can also try using almond extract.

You’re welcome.

How do you spruce up your coffee? Let us know in the comments below! 


How to make unpopular vegetables delicious

Fruits and vegetables are vital for your diet, and most people enjoy them in some form or fashion. Peppers and cucumbers, for example, are family favourites in a salad or a stirfry. But, what about the less popular vegetables such as radishes or rutabaga that aren’t so well-loved at the dinner table? These vegetables still have nutritional value and can be cooked to be delectable so that picky eaters will still enjoy them. Read below to find out how.



Radishes are a root vegetable that is often eaten raw. The radish is crunchy, with sharp flavour. If eaten in certain salads, the radish can actually be quite delicious, so don’t write off the strong taste quite yet! Radishes can be sliced or diced, and are full of vitamin C. The vegetable also has fibre, riboflavin and potassium. Radishes pair well with strong cheeses and are also yummy when doused in pepper and salt, with olive oil to balance the sharp taste.


Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are another commonly unpopular vegetable, but are delicious when cooked in oil and spices until they are tender. Brussel sprouts have vitamin C and K, with folic acid and a lot of fibre as well. If you slice the center of the Brussel sprout prior to cooking, it will help tenderize the sprout. DO NOT overcook Brussel sprouts or the buds will become grey and soft, releasing an organic and smelly compound that contains sulfur. Cook with Dijon mustard to brighten the taste of the sprouts and add maple syrup for a sweet kick. Brussel sprouts also pair well with pinto beans in a burrito to add extra fibre to the wrap.

Mashed Turnips


People often turn their noses up at turnips, but they are another food that is full of nutrition. Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, folate and calcium are just a few of the healthy components in the vegetable. Interestingly, turnips contain cyanoglucosides that release small and non-lethal amounts of cyanide. Sensitivity to the cyanglucosides is controlled by an gene in each individual person, and some people have two sets of the gene. This makes turnips taste twice as bitter for some and delicious for others. If you are one of the lucky few, mash them and douse the mixture with olive oil, and chives for  yummy dish.


Rutabaga, also known as a Swedish turnip is a hybrid root vegetable that is a cross between cabbage and a turnip. Similarly to other root vegetables, the rutabaga is full of vitamins and fibre. It also acts as an antioxidant if you have a cold. Rutabaga can be roasted, baked, boiled and used in a soup. Rutabaga julienned and sautéed in a red wine vinegar makes a delicious side dish that will have your taste buds flying. Mashing the rutabaga and mixing it with pepper and olive oil is also an option.

Beet lemon cupcakes. By Dennis Wilkinson.
Beet lemon cupcakes. By Dennis Wilkinson.


Beets are often overlooked in meal planning, but they can be cooked in a variety of ways that can hide the texture that most find unpleasant. Beets have zero cholesterol and very little fat content. Betaine in the vegetable lowers the chance of heart disease, and stroke, along with essential folate. Beets can be used in salads as a grated vegetable, and even in cupcakes, which adds a natural sweetness.

By preparing and cooking the root vegetables listed in a new and fresh way, you get a delicious new meal. The plus side: these veggies are often cheaper as well because they aren’t in as high of demand, so it is a way to save on groceries.

How do you like to cook any of the vegetables listed above? Let us know in the comments below.

Gardening 101: growing fruits and vegetables to plant now!

Planting fruits and veggies is a great way to spend time outside soaking up the sunshine — not to mention the delicious produce you’ll get out of it. Garden lovers know that Ontario has certain fruits and veggies that thrive in the region and many of them have to be planted, well, about now.

Gardening may seem time consuming but it teaches the value of patience and generates a newfound understanding of the hard work that goes into growing your own food. It is an initial investment but once you are in the swing of things, it is easy pea-sy!

First off, it is essential to determine when the last frost date is in your area so that you don’t accidentally kill your plants prior to their growth. The general date for Ontario is May 15th,, but last frost can range anywhere from May 15 to May 21. The farmer’s almanac, or otherwise known as the gardening bible, has a handy online tool to help out with the timing of seed planting. You can plug in your specific city, and it will lay out the specific plant times for various vegetables and fruits according to the weather that year.

Making a gardening plan or chart helps to plan out a planting schedule, so that you can ensure your plants are compatible. Tomatoes, for example, should not be planted beside potatoes because the soil quality weakens the sensitive tomato plants. Leafy greens are often compatible with most plants. In your plans, also remember to assess which plants need sunnier spots as opposed to more shade. Leafy greens can thrive in the shade, which allows you to plant vegetables like peppers, peas and carrots in the sun.

Provided by Slow Food Nation
Provided by Slow Food Nation

Let’s begin with leafy greens, which can be planted the earliest due to their hardiness in the colder Canadian climate. Lettuce, spinach, kale and cabbage can be planted in mid-march and harvested as soon as the beginning of June. If you get a head-start (no pun intended) on your these vegetables, you could be enjoying a homegrown salad just as summer arrives. Chard is also a great choice for a hardy leafy green. It will survive until hard frost and is more resilient than spinach. It’s important to remember that the soil temperature must be at least five degrees for the leafy greens to thrive. This can be easily determined by purchasing a thermometer and ticking it into the soil prior to planting.


Peas, onions and potatoes can be planted once the soil reaches an internal temperature of 10 degrees. These veggies can be planted in mid-may and will yield successful crops. Excluding potatoes, the rest of the veggies also grow quickly and can be harvested as early as July. Potatoes can be harvested in late August and are often used in yummy fall harvest soups. Potatoes are very resilient and can grow in a variety of climates, which makes it a safe bet for any type of garden.


More sensitive vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as most fruits, should be planted later in the season to ensure they obtain enough sunlight. Plant strawberries and tomatoes indoors first and transfer them outside in mid-June. Once you get them outside, make sure to tie them near a sturdy structure. Tomatoes are a vine-stalk vegetable and need to be propped up to thrive well in the garden. Though tomatoes are finicky, they grow very well in Ontario. The soil must be minimum 20 degrees for tomatoes.

If you want to try something a little more adventurous, try planting watermelon in late June. Be sure to have enough room for watermelon because it is a sprawling plant.

With fruits, insects may become an issue and natural pesticides can help keep bugs out of your garden. Vegetable or canola oil and garlic are natural repellants that can be mixed with water and applied. If cared for, strawberries can yield fruit for the whole summer and blackberries will provide a yummy supply of treats come fall.

Get that green thumb out and try your hand Get outside and try your green thumb out for a great outdoor experience this summer season. Whether you stick with just growing easy-going leafy greens or attempt the more specialized fruits and veggies, the outcome will be delicious. Trust me, there is nothing better than eating and sharing fruits and vegetables you grew yourself.

What’s your favourite fruits and veggies to grow? Let us know and post in the comments below!

RECIPE: Crustless Quiche Lorraine

I love eggs. I don’t know why, but when I’m tired and just don’t want to cook, I go for eggs. But sometimes, a plain omelette isn’t enough to satisfy the craving. That’s when quiche is perfect. Feel free to play with the recipe below — add in a few extra vegetables or some fancy cheeses. Do you have company coming over? Make your quiche a little fancier with some spinach and brie.

Here’s a basic quiche recipe to get you started:

  • 12 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 c. heavy cream (can substitute half & half or milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 c. Swiss cheese
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook until tender; add cooked, crumbled bacon and heat through.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, cream, and flour and mix well.
  3. Stir in salt, pepper, and cheese.
  4. Add onion and bacon from skillet and stir to combine.
  5. Pour into a greased 10 inch pie plate or similar sized baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffed up.
  7. Remove from oven; garnish with fresh minced chives.
  8. *Quiche can be eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Repost from Cathy Trochelman and Lemon Tree Dwelling.

5 things to do with leftover ham

Your Sunday Easter dinner turned out perfectly — the scalloped potatoes were cheesy and creamy, the vegetables were crisp, and the ham was cooked to utter perfection. But, your guests didn’t eat as much as you expected. Instead of having enough leftover ham for a day or so as planned, you have enough for a few weeks! What to do?

If you’re like me, you can only eat ham and potatoes for so many days before starting to feel sick. Here are five alternatives for those who don’t want to waste all of those fantastic leftovers:


Eggs: Nothing goes better with ham than some good old eggs and cheese. Put some of the ham in an omelette or make little hashbrown nests with some shredded potatoes. After spraying some muffin tins, line it with the potato, crack an egg, and top with diced ham, cheese, and some spinach if you’re feeling healthy. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees.

Betty Crocker
Betty Crocker

Casserole: What’s the easiest way to use leftovers? Throw them all in a casserole dish and let it warm up in the oven. Personally, I like to combine some cooked pasta, peas, corn, onions, ham, and cheese with some mushroom sauce. If you want some more vegetables, feel free to add some carrots or broccoli. This is comfort food at its best.



Soup: One of my favourite meals on a rainy day is split-pea soup, with yellow peas, onions, ham, and bacon. Put all of these ingredients into a pot with vegetable stock, pepper, and garlic, and let simmer for a few hours. I like to puree the soup slightly so that it’s not as thick.


Stirfry: Most of the time I use chicken or beef in my stirfry, but it’s easy to substitute that with ham. Put some cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, bok choy, and pineapple in a skillet with your leftover ham. Cook in some water until the vegetables are mostly cooked and then add some soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. Serve on top of rice.


Pizza: Pineapple, ham, and cheese (extra cheese!). Those are my absolute favourite things to put on a pizza. If you want to make this at home, try it on some large flatbread or on a tortilla wrap. If you aren’t a pineapple fan, try substituting some tomatoes or green peppers. Top with olives, chilli flakes, and onions. Enjoy!


What do you plan to do with your Easter leftovers? Let us know in the comments

4 misleading promises you should check on food labels

In the quest to eat healthier foods, “read the nutrition label” has become a new mantra. It is possible to get all the information you need to make an informed buying decision, the key is getting past the marketing buzz and down to the facts found in the listing of ingredients.

Trans fat free

Trans fat free doesn’t necessarily mean that there are no trans fats in the product. If the product contains “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils, then there are trans fats. The amount can be determined by looking at the total fat content on the Nutrition Facts Label and subtracting the saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are indicated. If the numbers don’t add up to the total fat, the difference is the amount of trans fats in the food.


By Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) standards, a natural food or ingredient has nothing added to or removed from it except water. Some minimal processing such as grating, milling or blending is acceptable so the food can still be labelled as natural—for example, whole grain rolled oats.

Natural ingredients may include substances such as flavour components derived from natural foods, but if anything has been added to the substance, e.g. preservatives, then it can no longer be identified as a natural ingredient. Of note, those substances added to a flavour preparation do not have to be included as an ingredient on the product label.


Organic can apply to single ingredient foods such as apples or multi-ingredient foods if 95% or more of the ingredients are certified organic. The logo on the side of the page affirms that the product has met the requirements of the Canada Organic Regime.

If less than 95% of a product’s ingredients are organic, the whole product cannot be labelled as organic and it cannot bear the logo.

Whole grains

Whole grains are promoted far and wide and are a step up from refined ingredients in products such as cereals and crackers. It’s important to closely read the ingredients, as often you will find signs that the product is not as healthy as the manufacturer wants consumers to believe. Crackers will often include hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Cereals may contain several different types of sugar (e.g.  sugar, corn syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, dextrose, etc.). Ingredients are listed in order of their weight, the heaviest shown first. Look past the first ingredient to see what else is in the product and, as a general rule of thumb, put it back on the shelf if there are unnatural or more than five ingredients.

There is so much that can be said about food packaging and labels, the above is just the tip of the iceberg. I will tell you more in future articles, but I hope that this gives you something to chew on in the meantime.

RECIPE: Hamburgers – kitchen style

It is summer time, which brings barbecue season. I always look forward to cooking hamburgers on the Barbie, but now that I live in an apartment the chances of doing any backyard barbecuing is gone, except when I am invited to a friend’s backyard barbecue. I do miss the smell of hamburgers cooking and the aroma lingering right to the front door. Often, the smell of the delicious food would be just after a run. I could hardly wait to finish stretching so I could enjoy a hamburger, garnished with ketchup, onions and cheese. That would hit the spot after a hard workout.

Living in an apartment there is no barbecuing allowed. The next best option is to take my culinary skills to the kitchen and make my hamburgers perhaps not barbecue style, but certainly decadent. I call it the kitchen style barbecuing.

After a run last week, I decided to make hamburgers kitchen style. Like with all meats, I am careful in how I handle the meat.

Here is some information from Be Food Safe:

Use a food thermometer – you can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces.  If you use cloth towels, WASH them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cool running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.

Here is how I make my hamburgers (patties are ready made):

160°F (71°C) Make sure the hamburgers are cooked at this temperature.
I use extra lean Canadian ground beef.
I put a bit of water in a skillet and a pinch of extra virgin olive oil.
I add the burgers, and I cook on low temperature. I let the meat slowly cook until ready to turn over.
I add mushrooms and onions.
When I see the hamburgers cooking fairly well, I turn the patties over again.
I cook the hamburgers until there is no pink in the meat and the mushrooms and onions are well done.
I put cheese on top of the burger until it melts.
I keep the burgers cooking on minimum.
I butter the buns with mayonnaise and cook in the toaster oven.
I place the burger on the bun and add whatever condiments.

The taste is delicious, and the burgers are basically cooked in water with a bit of oil. A healthy choice for me. My partner loves my burgers and I am ready to have my friends taste it.

As an avid runner, I watch my diet and I also make sure to include red meat because of my iron levels. Here is some information I received from Canadian Beef.

Happy grilling.

Everyone loves chicken wings

By Marcia Barhydt

How could there be a football game on TV without chicken wings? Or a poker night for the guys? Or any impromptu party for either guys or girls?

This year, however, this culinary treat was severely threatened for the Super Bowl, possibly the ultimate wing event of the year.

According to WSB-TV, “Two storage workers in Georgia are accused of stealing $65,000 worth of frozen chicken wings amid a high nationwide demand for the delicious Super Bowl snack. Dewayne Patterson, 35, and Renaldo Jackson, 26, allegedly used a rental truck on Jan. 12 to steal 10 warehouse pallets of frozen wings from Nordic Cold Storage.”

Ten pallets? I have no idea how many wings a pallet holds, but 10 pallets certainly seems to be a plethora of wings to me.

Don’t you have to wonder just how these two stored those 10 pallets to keep them frozen and in top black market condition? I think this may have been more wings than would fit into my little kitchen freezer. Did they borrow freezers from their pals? Maybe they rented freezers the way you can rent tables and chairs for a banquet. I just think that 10 pallets of wings would be a hefty amount to secretly store and I’m not sure that DeWayne and Renaldo would have been up to the task.

And there’s another question here. Wings come, of course, coated with various sauces: zesty, hot, super-hot, blow-your-head-off hot. Were the stolen wings pre-coated in their pallets of storage boxes? That just seems unlikely to me. So did these two bright bulb thieves also steal the sauces? How did they decide which strength of sauce would be the most popular for their…clients? Do purchasers of stolen wings even have a preference or are they just delighted to have a huge stash of these chicken delights?

How much would you pay for a box of heisted wings? Or a pallet of them, for that matter? Would you buy wings out of the trunk of someone’s car parked at the side of the road advertising “Wings – Cheap”?

Maybe I need to stop laughing at this ridiculous heist, because the brazen theft took place on January 12 and the date of the news article is January 28, so there was some wiggle time there for the sticky-fingered thieves to dispose of their wings in the most profitable manner before this year’s Super Bowl Sunday.

These two innovative thieves did the nasty deed in broad daylight with little concern of being caught – so caught they were. They were later released on $2,950 bond.

The wings, however, were never found. Pass the napkins please.