Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Lunch Break: A Successful School Fundraiser – and a Tasty, Healthy Lunch

Preparing a packed school lunch can be monotonous – for parents and kids. A school lunch fundraiser gives everyone a break and provides schools with needed funds. But finding the balance between raising money and promoting healthy food choices to students can be challenging. Enter Cathy Langdon and The Lunchbreak Catering Co.

Cathy Langdon is a Registered Dietitian – but she’s also a parent – and she knows that there’s no point serving healthy food if kids won’t eat it. She’s combined her parenting expertise with her food service and dietitian background to deliver a school lunch menu that features familiar and popular kid favorites that also meet the nutrition guidelines for Saskatchewan schools.

“Parents and schools want healthy food for their kids,” Cathy says. “I’m trying to help by delivering hot, healthy meals that kids like at a price that is competitive with other school lunch options.”

Lunch Options
Main dishes include Blueberry Pancakes & Syrup with a Turkey Sausage, Turkey and Cranberry Focaccia Sandwich, Pasta and Meatballs and Classic Mac & Cheese. Parents can feel comfortable knowing the house-made focaccia and pancakes consist of 30-40 % whole wheat flour. (Cathy used to sell her focaccia bread at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market and I can vouch for its deliciousness.) There’s plenty of healthy, flavourful goodness in the other options as well.

Side dishes include Fresh Apple Slices, Fresh Veggies & Dip, Milk, and Juice.

Meals are prepared in a public health-inspected kitchen, packaged and labelled individually, and delivered in insulated catering bags that maintain safe cold or hot holding temperatures.

The Lunchbreak Catering Co. accommodates any food allergies or intolerances. The Baked Pasta and the Classic Mac & Cheese are both vegetarian and The Lunchbreak can meet requests for vegan options.

With every lunch sold, Cathy makes a small donation to Hands at Work, a charity working to provide access to food, education, and basic health care for orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa.

Order Online
Schools book a hot lunch date, deciding for themselves how much they would like to add to the cost of the meal for fundraising purposes. Parents then go online to choose and pay for their child’s meal.

Meals can be ordered directly from The Lunchbreak website or from Healthy Hunger, an online management system for school lunch coordinators and restaurants.

Find Out More
 The Lunchbreak Catering Co. is a Saskatoon-owned and –operated company focusing exclusively on providing flavourful, healthy school lunches.

Lunch catering services that provide nutritious meals to school children have become very popular across Canada,” Cathy says, “but The Lunchbreak is the first of its kind in Saskatchewan.”

If you’d like more information about The Lunchbreak Catering Co, email them at to get started. They’ll be happy to send some information to your school and schedule a short presentation with your principal or school council.

Additional Resources
Healthy Foods for my School: Nutrition Standards for Saskatchewan Schools

Dish It Up – eliminating waste and preparing hot school lunches with reusable dinnerware

Monday, August 22, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 22, 2016

Nelson Farmers' Market

Mini Night Market, Sept. 3 
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is hosting a Mini Night Market in conjunction with the Potash Corp Fireworks Festival from 4-8 pm, Sept. 3.

Dining Al Fresco, Sept. 4 
Dine al fresco with the Saskatoon Food Truck Association from 4-8 pm, Sept. 4, on Spadina Avenue West between Avenues A and B.

Fruit Harvesting, Sept. 15 
The Glen at Crossmount’s horticulturist will share tips on what fruit to plant in Saskatchewan, how to care for it, and how to harvest it for the best results from 6-10 pm, Sept. 15.

Saskatoon Food Bank Warehouse Dinner, Sept. 23 
For the first time ever, the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre will be hosting a dinner in their warehouse on Sept. 23 to celebrate community and raise awareness of the food insecurity faced by thousands of Saskatoon residents every day. There’s an option to pay for a ticket for someone who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

Wanted – Collective Kitchen Leaders 
CHEP Good Food Inc.’s Collective Kitchen Partnership is looking for leaders to help coordinate and organize groups that want to participate in a collective kitchen. Responsibilities include: managing money, setting meeting dates, and assisting the group members through the planning, shopping, and cooking. Leaders receive an honorarium.

For more information contact Janet Phillips, the Collective Kitchen Coordinator, at 306-655-4575 Extension 223, or

Gail Vandersteen 
Urban farmer and compost coach, Gail Vandersteen (Wally’s Urban Market Garden) is profiled on the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council’s website.

Food Films 
Food Tank has put together a list of 19 films about food and agriculture. There are films about everything from gleaning and dumpster diving to our sense of smell.

Brazil Nuts
They’re not actually a nut and more of them come from Bolivia than Brazil – but that’s not all the brazil nut’s surprises.

Brazil nuts are “considered seeds since they come in large pods about the size of a baseball in groups of 10 to 24. In fact, they’re more closely related to blueberries and persimmons than they are to walnuts or pecans. . . . While there are some plantations, most of the production comes from harvesting the pods in the wild, which takes place from December to March. It’s a dangerous profession since each pod weigh up to five-and-a-half pounds and drop without warning from trees the height of an 18-story high-rise building. The pods hurtle toward the earth at 50 miles per hour with such force they can drive themselves deep into the ground.” 

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, August 15, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 15, 2016

Urban Agriculture 
Interested in urban agriculture? Attend one of Action on Saskatoon’s Urban Agriculture Plan’s community meetings from now until Sept. 1.

Bokashi Composting, Aug.24
The Saskatoon Compost Coaches will be giving a free workshop on bokashi composting at the Garden Patch on Aug. 24. Bokashi uses inoculated bran to ferment food waste in buckets before adding it to the soil. You can add everything from the usual fruit and vegetable waste to cooked food, meat, and dairy.

Ciderday Sunday, Aug. 28 
Crossmount Cider Company is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. They’re currently selling three kinds of local cider. Their first Ciderday Sunday is from 12-3 pm, Aug. 28, with a barbecue, dessert, tastings, and tours.

Sustainable Gourmet Dinner, Sept. 17 
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society’s Sustainable Gourmet Dinner is Sept. 17. If you’ve never attended, you’re missing a treat – great food from great chefs and excellent vegetarian options.

A Taste of the Arts, Oct. 14
A Taste of the Arts, Persephone Theatre’s fundraiser on Oct. 14, will feature a tasting of over 30 different wines paired with appetizers and desserts.

Local Veg. at the Co-op 
“As part of Co-op’s Grown at Home initiative, local farmers will harvest more than 500 acres of vegetables grown exclusively for Co-op in 2016. That’s almost 100 acres more than last year, when the Prairie Fresh Food Corporation (PFFC), a group of 17 Saskatchewan producers, grew over one million kilograms (2.3 million pounds) of fresh vegetables for Co-op members and customers.”

Eugénie Brazier, 6 Michelin Stars 
Eugénie Brazier was the first chef to hold 6 Michelin stars simultaneously. It would be 65 years before Alain Ducasse achieved the same distinction. And yet Brazier’s name is almost forgotten – what a shame.

Let’s Demand a Better Banana 
“Anyone who likes bananas deserves to have good bananas, and the best bananas are so far superior to the Cavendish that a higher price, even a much higher price, would probably be acceptable to a lot of consumers. We just have to do a little work to make it happen. Bananas are like politics, I guess, or social justice. You don’t get change without demanding it.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, August 8, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 8, 2016

What a view from a shopping mall parking lot!

Canning 101, Aug. 17
CHEP Good Food Inc. is offering a canning workshop from 6-9 pm, August 17. Space is limited. Call 306-655-4575 ext 232 or email to register.

Ethical Eats! Mystery Box Challenge, Aug. 17 (Regina) 
Chef Jenni and Chef Mariana Brito will be participating in an outdoor cooking competition using local, fair trade, and organic ingredients on Regina’s Scarth Street Mall, Regina, Aug. 17.

YXE Farmers’ Market Anniversary, Aug. 20 
Help the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market celebrate its 41st anniversary on Aug. 20.

Dinner with Chef Francis, Aug. 23 
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is hosting a dinner with Chef Rich Francis on Aug. 23.

7 Steps for Composing Your Salad like a Chef
“Salads often double as dumping grounds. Half a head of romaine from a week ago? In. Some kale? In! Cherry tomatoes? Get in there! Celery? In! Chickpeas? In! Curry powder? In she goes! 

But our Test Kitchen Chef Josh is delicate-footed with his valuable summer produce: Rather than close his eyes, toss everything in a bowl, and hope it works, he's figured out a salad schematic that will make one hero vegetable its very best self—that features it without manipulating it.” 

BC blueberries

Community Ovens Making a Comeback
Community ovens have a long history, particularly in France, and they’re making a comeback.

“Lovens—which says it promotes “ovens without borders”—has not only sought to teach about the scholarly qualities of community ovens, but the charitable reach of the practice. They’ve built metal, wheeled ovens to serve the homeless in Brighton Beach, and launched the Ovens for Peace program, which repurposes discarded Bulgarian military ovens into mobile wood-fire units for use at refugee camps and orphanages.” 

Edible Flowers 
Check out this list of 10 edible flowers.

Bar Crawl to Save Chicago Bus Route
I’m a great believer in promoting local businesses and public transit, so the idea of holding a bar crawl to get people using a bus route sounds like a great idea to me.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Karma Conscious Café and Eatery, Saskatoon

Newly arrived from Rajasthan, it was hard for Roshni Patawari to head off to work at 5 am on a dark, cold winter morning in Saskatoon. With various culinary and pastry courses under her belt, it was even harder to be confined to using pre-mixed ingredients. “I like taking a recipe and making small alterations,” Roshni explains.

An airline magazine article about boutique coffee shops sparked an idea in Roshni’s head. How much would it cost, she wondered? Her husband, Vivek Patawari, dismissed the idea at first, even when a friend told him about a local coffee shop that was for sale. When Roshni heard about it, however, she encouraged him to obtain more information, and the purchase quickly fell into place.

“It was like matching dots,” Vivek says. “It was laid out for us.”

Roshni’s dream now had a home at Karma Conscious Café and Eatery on 2nd Avenue North. With help from Unite Digital Marketing Co-operative, Karma began to come to life around four specific themes.

Super Foods 
“We want to nourish our customers,” Roshni says. And they certainly do. Beautifully presented, the food tastes great and provides a healthy meal, even on a busy work day.

As both Roshni and Vivek are vegetarian, the café serves vegetarian and vegan food. Their Indian heritage provides the foundation for many of their dishes, but always with a twist. The naan bread sandwiches include Banh Mi and a Mexican option as well as a classic Tandoori Paneer. You can choose a Maki Bowl, an Asian Buddha Bowl, or a Vegan Butter Chicken.

Healthy ingredients are key with many superfoods finding a place on the menu. There’s bullet-proof chai and coffee as well as kombucha, and you can substitute quinoa for rice in the bowls. The mango lassi (vegetarian and vegan options) is topped with chia seeds. Fermented foods have their spot on the menu with vegan kimchi in the Banh Mi, while the Very Yogini sandwich combines tzatziki, falafels, and arugula with a topping of nutritional yeast.

“Lots of our customers are corporate people who start their day very early,” Vivek says. “We want to offer them healthy breakfast options.” Oatmeal Latte combines two shots of espresso with brown sugar oatmeal. You can fix your own Power Bowl with a choice of cereals, nuts, fruit, and “milk.” The Scone Sliders and Breakfast Sandwich options change frequently so regular customers won’t get bored.

The emphasis on healthy food doesn’t stop you from enjoying a few treats. The Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake has a creamy mousse filling topped with a layer of rich chocolate and there’s often cake as well as freshly baked scones, supersonic energy balls and bars.

Social Conscience 
“Our parents emphasized the importance of doing good deeds and that is what we try to practise every day,” Vivek explains. The cafe donates 3% of its profits to a different charity every three months and holds one or two events that directly support the charity.

The Khichdi fundraiser for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre in May was surprisingly tasty – simple ingredients prepared well – and it was great to know that 50% of the profits went to help our local food bank.

Community Partners 
Working with community partners is particularly important for Karma Café’s owners. They serve locally roasted Road Coffee, cold-pressed juices from Thrive, and purchase their samosas and falafels from River Nile Oriental Foods and Handcrafts at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

A partnership with Saskatoon Ferments led to an afternoon of workshops and demonstrations followed by a potluck supper during the annual 2nd Avenue Sidewalk Sale.

There are yoga classes every Tuesday evening with proceeds going to the Saskatoon Food Bank.

Local musicians add a welcome note on Fridays and Saturdays.

Good Karma 
You feel welcome the minute you walk in the door of Karma Conscious Café and Eatery. Brightly coloured cushions and hanging plants encourage you to sit down and relax. The outdoor tables and benches are a choice spot on a sunny day.

Vivek and Roshni greet their regular customers with a hug and always check to make sure you’re enjoying your food.

“Having a storefront has exposed us to so many great people. We’ve had so many champions and everyone is very willing to share their ideas,” Vivek says. “It gives us so much enthusiasm to keep going.”

Karma Conscious Café and Eatery is open Monday –Thursday from 7:30 am – 6 pm, Fridays from 7:30 am – 9 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 9 pm, and Sundays from 10 am – 5 pm.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 1, 2016

Fernie, BC - such a fun place to visit

Winemaker Dinner, Aug. 13 (Regina) 
The Backyard and Merawine are hosting a dinner with Spanish winemaker Assis Suriol of Sunol Organic Vineyards on Aug. 13 in Regina. There will be two sittings at 5 and 8:30 pm.

Merawine is trying to improve Saskatchewan’s winescape by promoting natural, biodynamic, and organic wines.

YXE Beer Fest, Aug. 26-27 
There will be over 40 beer vendors, food, and music at the 2016 Beer Fest in Rotary Park, Aug. 26-27.

YXEats, Aug. 31 – Sept. 4 
Riversdale restaurants will be offering set-price menus during YXEats, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. In addition, there are several special events:

HUE – Yum Yum School, Aug. 31 
Cook alongside Chef Jenni while enjoying cocktail samples from Tierra del Sol on Aug. 31 when Yum Yum School presents HUE, a celebration of colour with peak of the season ingredients, at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.

Long Table Brunch, Sept. 4 
YXE Eats’ Long Table Brunch to be held on Sept. 4 “combines a funky indoor location at The BLOK, fabulous brunch catered by Fresh Dish, music by Justice Der, and door prizes all at one long table.”

Award-Winning Flowery Gin 
Black Fox Farm and Distillery received three medals at the recent International Wine and Spirits Awards for their Honey Ginger Liqueur and Gin #3, which contains calendula flowers and rhubarb grown on the farm.

A Downtown Grocery Store? 
Save-On Foods plans to open 6 stores in Saskatoon and is considering opening a branch downtown if they can find a viable spot.

Can a City Go Vegetarian? 
The plans of Turin’s new mayor to move the city towards a vegetarian diet were met with groans and astonishment. “The current tension in Turin perhaps derives from the fact that many people do not equate meat consumption with climate change. . . . while governments around the world have been quick on the uptake in implementing campaigns and regulations designed to reduce energy use and carbon emissions — from encouraging people to turn out the lights to banning cars on the road for certain days out of the year — administrations have been skittish about extending that oversight to diets. . . . But it’s growing increasingly impossible to ignore how our carnivorous preferences are tangled up in the fate of the planet. Agriculture and food production currently account for about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, 80 percent of which are livestock-related”

Is This the Healthiest Grocery Store? 
Aldi, a German-owned grocery store, is banning pesticides harmful to bees, artificial ingredients, and growth hormones and expanding their line of organic products.

Fabulous bean-to-bar chocolate and delicious gelato

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan naturecentric initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, July 25, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 25, 2016

New Saskatoon Farmers' Market vendor

Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner, July 26 (Regina)
Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner at 1221 15th Avenue, Regina, will be open to the public at 7 am, July 26. Hours of operation will be Monday-Saturday, 7 am – 8 pm and Sunday 9 am – 3 pm. Hours will be extended once they have a liquor licence.

Seed Saving Workshop, July 27
Join the Saskatoon Seed Library at 7 pm, July 27, at the Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch and find out how to save tomato and other seeds.

Superfood Energy Ball Class, Aug. 14
Find out how to make healthy food taste like dessert at Intuitive Path SuperFoods’ Energy Ball class at 4 pm, Aug. 14.

Prairie Veg Fest, Sept. 3 & 4 (Frontier)
Forever MicroRanch Sanctuary is hosting the first annual Prairie VegFest, Sept. 3 & 4. There will be art, music, merchandising, barter, and more.

Campus Farmers’ Market, Sept. 16
The Campus Farmers’ Market will hold its first market from 9 am to 1 pm, Sept. 16. Vendor applications should be sent to

Awesome mango lassi at Karma

Indigenous North American Foods
From acorns to wild ramps, here are 20 indigenous foods that are historically and culturally important to North America.

Next Big Food Trends
Here are the next big flavour trends according to the Institute of Food Technologists: soursop, harissa, spices (cayenne, caraway, saffron, horseradish, turmeric), coffee and tea-flavoured food, and regional flavours (e.g. "It’s not just Indian food; it’s not just Southern Indian food; it’s Andhra Pradesh”).

North America’s Appetite for Organic Food
“The time and expenses required to get organic certification present major roadblocks for increasing the amount of organic farmland in America. . . . The concern for a shortage of organic produce and ingredients is so acute that several corporate businesses and nonprofits launched new efforts recently to give growers better incentives to go organic.”

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).