My new morning friend…

raspberry smoothielr

And now for something completely different…I’ve started making my own kefir at home and I have to say, I’m hooked.

Imagine yogurt in a drinkable form and with even more nutritious goodness. Kefir (pronounced ka-FEER) is made by fermenting milk using bacteria and yeast.

In both yogurt and kefir, bacteria ferments the lactose found in milk into lactic acid, giving these products a tangy flavour.  But kefir has three times the probiotic content — the “healthy” bacteria that block harmful bacteria from living in your gut — that yogurt has, so it is great for digestion. This can also boost the immune system.

Kefir is also a fantastic source of calcium, B vitamins and phosphorous. It’s a low-fat source of protein, too.

It is super easy to make, requiring only milk (or coconut milk or even water) and kefir grains or starter. You don’t have to heat it as you do yogurt. Just let is sit on the counter at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours. Mine was ready in 12. It is milder in flavour than yogurt and makes delicious smoothies.

There is a great deal of research going on these days pointing to the connections between the health of our digestion system and our health in general, and the micro biome is receiving lots of attention. One fascinating area of research is also looking at how the health or our gut affects the health of our brain and our moods.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’


Chardonnays from all over the world...

Chardonnays from all over the world…

One of the highlights of summer so far was attending the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4c) in Niagara.

Spending a weekend eating and drinking right in the vineyards of the region was the perfect way to love and appreciate summer!

This is what I FaceBooked right afterwards: “What a wonderful wine-soaked weekend in the Niagara region at the Cool Climate Chardonnay event! Can’t thank the organizers, winemakers, wineries, volunteers and all those involved enough for all their effort.
A new Chardonnay monster has been created.”

For those whose only experience of chardonnay is that cloying, overly oaky stuff, chardonnay made in cool climates is a revelation! I think I sampled chardonnays from most countries represented and my mind and palate were opened.

At the dinner for 800 under a massive tent on Saturday night we sat with the winemakers, who proudly poured their wines for us and shared fascinating details about how they were made.

Not only did I become a fan of cool climate chardonnay, but I also discovered how well oysters and champagne go together.

The celebration takes place every year. You can’t beat it as a fabulous summer experience for wine lovers.

See more pics here.

Thanks to the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration for featuring this blog post!

Photostory: A taste of Prince Edward County

–Thanks to the Ontario Culinary Tourism Daily for mentioning this article in their August 23, 2012 edition. 

As sailors, we’ve spent many a happy day sailing out of Waupoos Marina on beautiful Lake Ontario.

Waupoos, near Picton, is in Prince Edward County, which has long been known for its history, scenic shorelines, unique island character, and fresh local produce.

Today, the county is an up-and-coming Ontario wine region boasting scads of wineries and Canada’s newest viticultural designation.

The area still attracts families with its friendly rural character — where else can you buy veggies on the honour system? — and 800 kilometres of beaches, but now it’s also a premier food and wine destination.

In fact, the Globe and Mail has called it “the Gastronomic Capital of Ontario.” World class chefs and award-winning wineries as well as gorgeous views make for a sensory treat second to none.

We try to go at least once a year to check out the new wineries and sample the county’s delights. It is also a seriously photogenic region! I was charmed and delighted by so many things….

We indulged ourselves, tasting wines and spirits at Karlo Estates, 66 Gilead DIstillery,  LaceyLighthall Vineyards, Exultet, By Chadsey’s Cairns and eating at Portabella,  Milford Bistro and Blumen. We had to drop by Vicki’s Veggies as well for organic produce. There’s nothing like it!

In the past we have enjoyed the Merrill Inn, the Carriage House, Huff Estates, Long Dog, Sandbanks, Closson Chase, Rosehallrun and the County Cider Company.

Truly, it’s all good.

Karlo Estates grapes on the vine. These are a new varietal you probably haven’t seen called Frontenac Gris. Karlo uses these for their rosé. They can withstand temperatures down to -40 C.

The barn is old; the winery is new and Exultet is already winning awards in Canada!

Karlo Estates tasting room and sales are located in an old barn.

Liquid sunshine, bottled.

Heirloom tomatoes at Vicki’s Veggies.

Vicki’s heirloom tomatoes in a salad at the Milford Bistro matched with wine from Exultet.

Lavender adds to the ambience at Closson Chase.

A huge old tree stands guard By Chadsey’s Cairns.

Richard Johnston, the owner of By Chadsey’s Cairns, was there to introduce his wines and share his passion for wine-making.

My mother had a grand old time time swinging on an old-fashioned swing at 66 Gilead Distillery. She hadn’t been on one in a long time. She’s a young 84, isn’t she?