Archive | Canning (Food Prep)

Chia Seed Freezer Jam

Everyone says making jam is so easy. I’ve asked many people about making my own jam and when I ask what recipe they follow, I always get the same response “use the recipe on the back of the Certo box”. But what if you could avoid this step and incorporate a super food as a substitute? You would probably think this is a good idea. . .  especially when you can easily make Chia Seed Jam and subtract the pectin, sugar and preservatives.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

– 100% maple syrup
– Fresh lemon
– Chia seeds
– Fresh Berries
– Canning or glass jar for storage

The only thing I needed to purchase for this recipe was fresh chia seeds – I picked the Barleans brand for convenience.


Soak 3 tablespoons of  chia seeds in 1/2 cup water. <picture below of how the chia seeds form a gel>
When seeds turn into gelatin form (happened in about 15 mins) add in 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
Wash 2 cups of berries. I used 1 cup of strawberries and 1 cup of blueberries. With the grainy texture of the chia seeds, using raspberries might have been too overwhelming with a ‘seeded’ texture for our first batch.
Put chia gelatin mixture and berries into the blender – mix until well blended like a smoothie.
Let the jam gel overnight in the fridge and start using.

I’ve done some research on using lemon juice as a preservative and because this recipe contains this ingredient, it could be frozen to be used as freezer jam. It’s not appropriate as a canning jam. This recipe honestly took a total of 20 minutes to make and 2 cups of berries makes the perfect amount so this jam could be made fresh.

What do I love about this jam? The amount of refined sugar called for in traditional jam recipes is GMO and very sweet. I was expecting to at least need honey, but the syrup was enough. I’ve been wanting to use my new Weck glass jars so this was a fun added bonus! Enjoy making this jam while the berries are fresh, local, and in season!



Close Your Eyes – What Do You See?

Welcome to 2013! It’s been a year of evolution for me personally and I know you are taking a journey with me. The Maya Angelou quote “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” is the quote that sums up this year perfectly for me. 5 years ago I would have scoffed about food being the answer to my journey with parenting. You see, I grew up with a really healthy lifestyle – my mom ensured we ate everything needed, plus more! I don’t ever remember take-out and we ate what we were given without complaint. When I first wrapped my mind around the chemical exposure my children were surrounded with, I only thought plastics, pesticides, cleaning supplies, toys, etc. But after learning more (and perhaps the industry is cleaning up their act too) my focus is in the kitchen. Not a place I feel comfortable or look like I belong, but when I close my eyes, I see a mom that knows how to make apple pie, has a crock pot or soup ready throughout the day, and always has muffins or home cooked baked goods on hand. That is not happening in my house. And I’ve spent 2012 re-developing my relationship with food – kinda like setting the stage for 2013 as I now understand the importance of organics and supporting a local food system.

In 2013 I have a focus board in my mind when I close my eyes and it includes a mom that gets up before the kids to make breakfast, that doesn’t scream at the little things in life, has taken the time to expand dinner options, has already removed GMO convenience options, but needs to replace those foods with home-made versions. What do you see when you close your eyes? Sometimes you need to sit in peace, close your eyes, and envision how you need life to be. If you see trees, chickens, cows grass feeding, trying out juicing/dehydration, leaning towards living low-plastic, finding time to appreciate and love our wildlife – we are going to ROCK 2013 together. Get ready, get set, GO – it’s a monster year of opening our eyes and seeing the world we’ve envisioned come to life. Come and join the conversation for more organic parenting options at the Mommy Footprint fan page. Peace and kindness for 2013. xo ~Suzanne




Teachers Gifts for Christmas

Every year I put a lot of thought into teacher’s gifts. Why? How else do you thank a person that takes care of your children for the majority of the year? All teachers have strengths and impact our children in more ways than just teaching them abcs. Here are the gifts that are going out my door this week for the special teachers in my children’s lives. Not pictured are gift cards that we’ve already done thoughtful gifts for over the last few years. My favourite thing is to get a number of parents together and collect for a group gift. Even if everyone contributes $10 – you quickly get past the $100 mark and can get them something substantial. This means there is much less waste with little knick knack gifts that they don’t really need. Baking from the kitchen and homemade cards are also special.


I think green minded people love practical gifts and most teachers are environmentally focused in their own lives which I love!  If you want to incorporate the symbolic apple in your gift to a favorite teacher – pickup this apple parer, slicer, and corer from Lee Valley Tools. It has a suction base and both kids & adults love using this machine.

Here is how the machine works.

Talk about making apple sauce a snap! You take an apple, place in on the prongs of the machine, turn the handle and are left with apple rings that can be baked, eaten right away, or made into apple sauce/pie filling/desserts, etc. All teachers would love this gift!  And include a jar of apple sauce with the machine with a custom mason jar lid insert for a special touch! The options with a gift like this are practical and endless. Thank you to Lee Valley Tools for working together on this gift idea!


This gift takes a bit of time to coordinate because it’s personalized. We’ve ordered necklaces before from Moo and the Bear Jewelry and although her store is closed for the holidays – you’ll want to bookmark her Fan Page on Facebook for next Mother’s Day or end of year teacher’s gifts. I love the necklace for my girls’ teacher made by Moo and the Bear owner Eleanor this year – thank you so much!

Group Gift:

No it’s not too late – trust me on this one. We’ve been at home with snow days and sick kid days all week so I still haven’t collected contributions to teacher’s gifts yet. But it always comes together – even if it’s last minute. Gift cards that capture an interest in the teachers’ life are perfect. If you don’t know the teacher well enough to know their interests – ask other teachers or the principal. . . they will love to help you!




Mommy Footprint Meets The Premier

Last week I had the privilege of sitting down for a round table discussion with the Premier of British Columbia. There was a great mix of blogger/mom type media with great thoughts on issues facing BC mothers. The issues of childcare, work, living expenses was discussed at great lengths and while I know these are important topics, I was bursting to deliver an important message to Christy Clark about my views on one basic need in my own life that is not being met – the issue of food labeling and GMOs.  When I started talking about my concerns my ears tuned out because I was so focused on remembering the key points I had practiced so Christy’s response cannot be taken word for word – but I’ve included the gist of her response under my speech. What did I think of the Premier? She definitely listens. Very well. She was super attentive to everyone speaking at the roundtable and was personable and relatable.  Since I didn’t tape record myself speaking off the cuff – I thought I’d show you the speech I had practiced so you get a glimpse of my passion heading into the room that morning. My key points were 1) GMO food and labeling in Canada 2) More coverage for Naturalpathic Care 3) Listening to Autistic parents and the issues these families face – I actually recommended the next round table discussion include parents of autistic children. There isn’t anyone that understands the effect of foods, proper holistic therapy and care, more than families with autistic children. Here are the words I had written and followed at the roundtable with Premier Christy Clark:

It might be hard to believe, but as a mom of 4 kids I find food to be my biggest challenge. I’m worried about North American food. I’m unhappy to learn that Canada is a large supplier of Genetically modified canola and grains. I’m stressed to learn that over 80% of a traditional grocery store is filled with genetically modified foods. My husband started grocery shopping after my twins were born and he feels like his hands are tied because I keep restricting what he can buy at traditional grocery stores.  All of the money I make goes to food. Every penny and through the process of understanding where my food comes from, meeting local farmers and asking questions I have changed my relationship with food. I feel grateful to find food sources I can trust that are / aren’t using GM grain to feed the cows, chickens, and pigs I eat. I trust the local farmers that are using organic farming standards to grow produce and I’ve learned to shop with what is in season, but I can’t continue to keep up this level of consumer awareness. The time, stress, and financial strain of trying to minimize genetically altered food is a struggle and moms need you help.

The West is always talking about how ‘green’ we are. Let’s show the rest of Canada that we want to follow California and the 20 other states that have labeling in front of their gov’t bodies and ask that our food be labeled. Then parents that want to avoid GM food can spend less time researching and more time preparing, canning, juicing, and cooking their food.  We live in a world were we’ve realized that convenience is our downfall . Having a seed that is resistance to the pesticides being sprayed in the fields to grow food from this seed is not healthy for the environment or our health. Over 95% of all soy manufactured is now genetically modified. How many more food sources do we want to contaminate? Think of the connections to disease spikes in the last 20 years (when GM food was first introduced). Cancer, infertility, digestive issues, diabetes, auto immune, allergies, asthma…the list goes on and we are parenting during a time like no other. We are raising children as scientists with a prayer that they won’t get cancer. Parents have had to do the work to protect our children against chemicals and we’re asking for your help with our food sources . . . this is just too big an area to tackle alone.

Canada is now behind China and Russia with food labeling. There are so many countries that have banned GM food – all we are asking for is labeling so that we can decide what our families eat. If companies choose to use GM ingredients – they need to stand behind their products and be proud to label them.

The topic of labelling GMOS lends into two other side issues because of so many gut issues – more and more families have to see naturopaths. Post on my facebook page also thought that more coverage for naturopathic care would be mentioned. Traditional medicine and doctors simply are not able to treat these issues because so many are food related.

And families with autistic children really need your help. I’m not sure if there is a voice in this room and although I don’t have an autistic child, they need a voice here. Currently kids under 6 years of age get $22k per year in BC for services and that drops to $6k a year after the age of 6.  If the reason the money drops b/c children enter the school system –shouldn’t children and parents help allocated the support were they see fit?  Traditional treatments for autistic children might not work for all and ABA Applied Behavior Analysis might not work for every autistic child and that is the scientifically proven method used in schools & therapies.

The Premier’s response to my concern over GM food?  She supports eating GM or conventional food but is also in favour of labeling it. She also said it’s a Federal issue not Provincial and gave me a contact James Moore who is local to me to chat with the issue of GMO labeling. I’ll continue to try and contact him regarding this issue that is clearly troubling for many families.

I appreciated the opportunity to join the discussion on concerns that affect BC moms and hope I can contribute again in the future. Thank you to the many people that posted comments or questions on my Fan Page before I attended the roundtable. I’m more used to writing about my passions, rather than speaking so preparing for the roundtable took time. I’ll keep you posted via the Mommy Footprint fan page on any developments on the topics I proposed to the Premier. Please follow us there if you’re not already.



Finding Our Way Back

I think our generation is trying to find our way back. We are trying to peel back the layers with 50 years of changes and sort through what were good decisions and not so good decisions by our countries, government, and family. I think people born in the 30s and 40s hold the key to opening many doors for us we just need to make them feel treasured enough to share it. Finding out from an older generation – how did you manage in the kitchen without plastic or non stick to help you? How do you butcher, chop, freeze and prepare a carcass of meat? How do you preserve and can seasonal fruit and veggies? How to you batch cook and freeze so you have meals planned for the week rather than worrying about dinner each day? Don’t you want to know the answers? I do, and I’m pretty sure the grandparent crowd knows the answers and somewhere – the knowledge transfer didn’t happen. I think the 2nd generation of women trying to have it all, working full-time, having kids, and trying to find that balance plays into things. I think this generation is more kindred to our grandparents with not wanting it all and yearning to just have one constant thing to concentrate on and feel truly blessed if they are able to stay home to raise children full-time or have enough support to also work.

The problem I see is the knowledge transfer. Our generation is dealing with things unheard of in the world to date. We are having to battle for a clean food supply. This is something no other generation can relate to. Other generations had to battle for food, with wars and food shortages, which must have been horrifying, but we are dealing with a truly unique problem with our food because of genetically modified manufacturing. If you haven’t heard about GMO food and the health problems we are having because of chemically tainted food, you need to start listening. The rates of every disease is sky rocketing and the time periods of man-made chemicals from 50 years ago and the more recent introduction of GMOs 20-30 years ago seemed to have kicked every disease into overdrive: cancer, allergies, diabetes, autism, Parkinsons, heart, kidney, thyroid disease, infertility, asthma, and more.

I watched a documentary tonight called Genetic Roulette and it’s really well done. It is scary but you should be more scared to ignore the issue of GMO and our food source. The only thing that washes away feelings of being scared, bullied, or feeling like you have no voice is to empower yourself with knowledge. The biggest message I took away from this movie is if I can inspire one person with talking about GMOs I am helping to solve this problem. You might remember the farmer in Food. Inc. that looks into the camera and tells us “you the consumer dictate what farmers will grow – tell us to do it a different way and we will!” This documentary has the same hopeful message; rather than waiting for government or the FDA to regulate the problem of GMOs, stop participating in it’s growth. Purchase organic or from a local farmer you trust. Be relentless at the grocery store and ask questions. Tell your grocer or any food source (school cafeteria, any source of food for children) that if products or food was labelled GMO free, you would be appreciative of that information. You want the right to know what is in your food. Because once the 3 huge food companies that own all the GMO brands see a dip in the American market, they will consider changing American food since they already have to do it for Europe. We have the ability to inspire the change we want to see with our food.

So call upon the generation that knows how to get around the GMO trap by harkening back 50 years ago. Just explain to them that a company called Monsanto has hired the same lawyers the tobacco industry did to convince everyone that smoking isn’t harmful and we need to get back to basics with real food. Wouldn’t it be great to navigate the perimeter of the grocery store so that you are buying very little packaged food? For the next little while we’re going to have to research our food or just purchase organic to avoid bio-engineered food, but after Prop 37 is approved and California forces labeling of GMO food, we can look at eliminating what has become a wide-spread genetically engineered problem. Use your consumer dollars and case a vote for the world you want to have – a world where food is not a science experiment with ripple effects of sickness. We need to get back to having a basic necessity of food for our children so that we stop the cycle of disease and research. The Genetic Roulette documentary was free when I watched it – I hope you still have access when you find this article. If not, it’s worth ordering with a bunch of friends or family – you will feel empowered and feel like you have some changes to make.  Sometimes a visual is best – here is a great quote by Anna Lappe and how consumers can change the world. Close your eyes and visualize the world you want your grandchildren to have – then go make it happen!


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