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The 100 Mile Dinner

Hello! I am back after a day off from blogging yesterday. Weekends are always low-key around here anyways, but I got a dog on Friday and he sucked up every ounce of my attention over the weekend!

I did manage to tear myself away from the puppy long enough to attend a 100 Mile Dinner with my sister on Sunday. I’ve been intrigued by the 100 mile idea ever since watching the “100 Mile Challenge” show on the Food Network Canada. Basically, a group of people in British Columbia committed to eating only food produced 100 miles from where they lived. It was a lot harder than they expected it to be! One hundred miles isn’t very far if you think about it…

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Eating locally is not really something I’ve done a whole lot of until this past summer. Namely because local goods are often more expensive than the imported stuff in the grocery store. But when the cancer diagnosis came, I shifted around my priorities. Buying quality food, and knowing where it’s grown, became important to me and the healing process. No fancy green elixirs here, just straight up, close-to-home food.

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Plus, the dinner was a fundraiser! We started off with whole wheat biscuits. Very soda-y, just the way I like them. I’m curious as to how many of the ingredients were local. Every last one of them? The journalist in me needs to get to the bottom of this…

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Our soup course was a delightfully spiced cabbage soup. I was expecting it to be bland by the looks of it, but it was quite the opposite.

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The main course stole the show for me. Beef with a mushroom ragout, mashed potatoes, and roasted root veggies (beets, turnip, parsnip, carrots). The beef was soft and full of rich flavour. The mushrooms added a wonderful heartiness to it. The gravy mixed in with the buttery potatoes was to die for. Of all the local foods out there, beef is one of my favourites to splurge on. You can really taste the difference and it’s the kind of meat that leaves you feeling good and energized after.

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Finally, dessert! Apple crumble. A little predictable, but always a crowd pleaser. The dishes were all served in the cafeteria at the local community college and prepared by the culinary students there. I was quite impressed by how good everything tasted for such a large event and at the speed of the service. Despite feeling kinda crappy on Sunday, I’m happy my sister and I were able to pop out of the house to experience it.

I wouldn’t have predicted my diagnosis would spark a local food lover in me. One would probably guess a health-nut like me would have gone for seaweeds and veganism. But there’s something about the idea of meeting the people who grow my food, seeing the soil it’s grown in, and knowing it only took 20 minutes to get to my plate. It gives me more piece of mind than something that was handled a million times flying across an ocean to get here.

Don’t take that the wrong way though. There will always be room for Guatemalan coffee ;)

The dinner was also my first time away from Buster since I got him on Friday. He was at his Nana’s the whole time (ie my mom’s). We’re already quite attached and it took everything I had not to text my mom every 5 minutes to see how he was doing.

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Archie the poodle is my childhood dog who lives with my mom. He is quite offended by the new addition. Buster just wants to play and Archie is all like “What are you doing here?” Archie is 14 years Buster’s senior and my mom keeps comparing it to bringing a new baby home to an only child. Poor Archie!

From Farm To Plate

As I’ve mentioned many times already, this is my first year signing up for a Community Shared Agriculture program. At the start of the summer, I paid into the program from a nearby farm, then every Wednesday I pick up a box of vegetables that’s brought into town from that farm. It’s the best way to get farm-fresh goods without going to a market or the farm itself. It has been a HUGE benefit to have throughout this whole chemotherapy experience. For one, it saves me from going to the crowded and germ-infested market. But most of all, the vegetable box has forced me to eat vegetables when I want to eat them the least, but need them the most.

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And on Sunday, my sister and I got to tour the farm!

In about half the time it took me to commute to work in Toronto, my sister and I arrived at Amarosia farm in the small French town of Grande-Digue, New Brunswick. I like that math.

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We arrived to 26 different kinds of tomatoes on display for those of us participating in the “open house.”

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I thought this was so cool! I tried tastes of all of them, my favourite being the black cherry tomatoes. Super sweet and the perfect size for popping in your mouth.

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Then we walked all over the farm learning about the crops, how they’re harvested, and the ins and outs of organic farming.

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A lot of people were surprised by how many weeds there were between the crops. Best quote of the day came from the farm owner who said “Weeds are only a problem if you make them a problem.” Touche.

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Carrot eaten straight from the ground – so good!

I’m actually not that interested in farming and gardening myself, but the whole thing fascinated me because I love food so much. I liked seeing first hand where the vegetables I’m eating are coming from and what they look like before they make it to my weekly vegetable box. It makes me feel that much better about putting them into my healing body.

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Apart from being interesting, it was just a gorgeous day to be outside in the countryside. Once the tour was over, I wanted to check out the water off in the distance!

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The Northumberland Straight, same body of water my cottage is on.

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Sister Sara!

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What is happening in this photo? I love ridiculous candid shots like this.

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Also a good example of how I still can’t straighten my broken left arm. I always look like a tool.

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Some extra goodies brought home from the farm! That giant german striped tomato is destined for toasted tomato sandwich glory.

Some other things I’ve been doing with the CSA goodies…

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Double Tomato Bruschetta using this recipe as a guide. What makes it special is there are sundried tomatoes added to the mix. It was killer.

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Toasted on multigrain baguette, topped with CSA green onions and goat’s milk feta cheese.

We’ve also been getting a ton of cabbage, which I love. Instead of making the same ole coleslaw, this week I cooked the red cabbage.

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My family has been eating at a lot of German restaurants lately (we are part German after all). So I wanted to go the cooked route when I saw it in this week’s box. I opted for this Martha Stewart recipe over a more traditional German recipe though. Just because I like the idea of apples in it too.

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Served with my dad’s bbq pork chops, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

Overall, I’m really happy my sister and I decided to go despite the chemo fatigue that day. If the farms outside your community host “open house” days, I highly suggest you check it out! I’m always so interested in the preparation process of food, it was neat to see just how important the growing process is too.

Linking Up

Happy Friday friends! I have some links for you today!

First, if you want a blog post written by moi, click here to read my contribution to Project Think Positive over on The Chic Life.

Meanwhile, The New York Times had a very interesting article about the discoveries being made on the cellular make-up of cancer. Basically, researchers are learning more about how cancer grows, and in turn are becoming more confused about how to exactly treat and prevent it. There is a handy-dandy video at the top of that article that explains it much better. The more you know the better I say!

The good news is that scientists announced they successfully were able to destroy leukemia cells by modifying the patients own cells and putting them back into their body. The first time they’ve been able to kill cancer using the body’s own resources and not scary outside treatments. Very cool!

On the flipside, we are also experiencing a chemotherapy drug shortage. Very, very not cool.

Finally, I have a call to action for my New Brunswick readers!

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Please visit the Campaign for Coverage website to send a letter to your MLA asking for a catastrophic drug plan. Without the plan, people like me who require expensive medications to keep them alive are being left in the dark while every other province in the country (excluding P.E.I.) are dedicated to providing coverage for those life-saving drugs. If Canada has nationwide Medicare, why are just two provinces not taking care of sick people who aren’t covered by private insurance and can’t afford the drugs they need to thrive? Basically, it’s just not fair. It’s had me think twice about choosing New Brunswick as my place to settle down in.

Sending the letter is really, really easy. I know doing this stuff sometimes seems helpless, but I’m a true believer that if you put up a big enough stink, and bug politicians enough, they’ll realize how important an issue is. Let’s make sure they know this for when they return to the Legislature in November.

And with that, I bid you a great weekend!!

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