July 18th, 2018

From Our Table: Connecting our community and learning new recipes

By Medicine Hat News on May 23, 2017.

Some of you may have heard of an amazing project that came out of the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank this past year. It was called Food First and they partnered with Community Food Connections Association, Community Foundation and Starks Plumbing. Each of the 11 families identified by the food fank received a freezer and crockpot.

Each month they gathered together at Hillcrest Church and made multiple meals and learned about nutrition and cooking skills. I had the incredible privilege of leading the group and together we made some delicious meals, made sweet and dill pickles as well as freezer and canned jam, which won first prize at the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede!

We took all the things we learned from running that group and started up a new group this year with 10 families. This time we decided to meet each week for 12 weeks and St. Barnabas generously opened up their doors to us. This group of families is absolutely amazing. They love to learn, share openly, are keen to cook and best of all have developed this incredible sense of community and helping each other out. They are kind and respectful to everyone and are more then willing to lend a helping hand. They have developed friendships and valuable support systems with each other. Some are happy to give rides to those who don’t have a vehicle, others deliver meals everyone made to a group member who had a crisis and couldn’t make it. Lots listen to each other’s challenges sympathetically and everyone shares triumphs with the whole group to resounding cheers and applause. We met to learn about cooking and nutrition and something so much bigger happened.

We have made some really delicious recipes. Many of them come from our main cookbook and concept called “The Basic Shelf Cookbook” created by The Canadian Public Health Association. The premise is to stock your shelves with a list of basic ingredients and the recipes focus around these with just a few added ingredients. This way you can prepare healthy, low cost recipes with ingredients that are readily available at home.

I will have to talk more about it in the future but for this week I’d like to share a couple dip recipes we’ve made. With the warmer spring weather it’s a great time to invite guests over to sit outside and have a cold drink and a delicious dip with tortilla chips or pita wedges.

The first recipe was made by someone in our group and everyone just raved about it. The recipe was her own creation but she did manage to write it out for us. The other recipe is from the cookbook I mentioned, The Basic Shelf. It’s very versatile and can be spiced up to your liking.

Enjoy this warmer weather!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Guacamole a la Angela

5 avocados

2 Tbsp coriander paste or fresh cilantro

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 onion, diced

3 Tbsp jalapenos, diced

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Serve with taco chips.

Bean Dip from The Basic Shelf Cookbook

1 19 oz can black beans drained and rinsed

1/2 cup salsa

1 clove garlic crushed or 1/8 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

Pinch of pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and use a fork or potato masher to to mash the ingredients. You can make a chunky dip or mash it more to make it smoother.

Serve with raw veggies or or pita bread cut into wedges.

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