Cool Facts About World Refrigeration Day!

A cartoon refrigerator surrounded by images of fruits, vegetables and the earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that June 26 is World Refrigeration Day?

Refrigeration is one of the most important engineering initiatives of the last century and is at the very heart of modern day life. Just think of the many ways in which this technology improves our lives:

  • Food safety: Bacteria can grow quickly in food at temperatures between 4°C to 60°C, potentially causing foodborne illness. But the cooling provided by refrigerators and freezers in our homes, restaurants and retailers slows bacterial growth, keeping foods safe to eat. Not to mention the cooling technology that allows perishable foods to be harvested and transported to their final destination.
  • Food waste reduction: One way to reduce food waste at home is to use up leftovers. Thanks to refrigeration and freezing, most cooked meals can keep about 3-4 days in the fridge and between 2-6 months in the freezer. For a detailed guide to storing leftovers, check out Health Canada’s info about Leftovers: How Long Will They Last? or this Cold Food Storage Chart.  
  • Food availability and nutrition: Freezing allows fruits and vegetables to be picked at their peak ripeness and then frozen – often within hours – to lock in maximum nutrition and flavour. When fresh, seasonal produce is not available, frozen is an excellent, nutritious and affordable option.  
  • Planetary health: Cooling reduces one of the largest contributors to climate change – the emission of greenhouse gases from food that is lost due to spoilage and waste.

Dr. Leslie Oliver sitting at his deskDr. Leslie Oliver (pictured), a member of the HVACR Heritage Centre Founding Committee and his father Howard Oliver were pioneers of early refrigeration in Canada.

The HVACR Heritage Centre is a volunteer driven heritage organization whose mandate is to preserve and record the history of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technologies and how they’ve changed our lives. Dr. Leslie Oliver, a professional engineer appraised historic artifacts as well as documented the contributions of the industry’s work since its early years. By 1928, his father T. H. [Howard] Oliver became one of Canada’s first high tech workers in the field of internal combustion, radio and refrigeration. Howard started the family business T.H. Oliver Ltd. which Leslie later took over as Vice President and General Manager. Read the inspiring stories behind cooling technology and its impacts on society at their virtual museum.

 

This post was sponsored by the HVACR Heritage Centre to raise awareness of World Refrigeration Day and recognize the invaluable contributions of this technology. Opinions are my own.

Meet the McKennas!

McKenna family photo

Last month, I was kindly invited by CropLife Canada to meet the McKenna family who are 4th generation farmers in beautiful Prince Edward Island (PEI)! Gordie and Andrea McKenna shown above with their family, grow potatoes, carrots and turnips on the red, iron-rich soil which helps to retain the right amount of moisture for the crops.

But it takes so much more than just perfect soil and climate to grow food. Along with hard work and perseverance, the McKennas must navigate issues such as:

  • Land management – Preparation for this year’s potato planting actually began 3 years ago with a SWAT analysis (soil, water, air and topography), crop rotation and pest management.
  • Soil health – Grid sampling is conducted to test soil samples for nutrients.
  • Impact of world events on supply and cost of resources – For example, much of the fertilizer was previously sourced from Russia. With the world events, the cost of fertilizer has risen by 85%!
  • Technology – Modern day farmers need to invest in technology and digital tools.
  • Labour shortage – It’s a challenge to find staff who understand the machinery and technology required for farming. The shortage of truck drivers in our country is escalating a competitive marketplace between Canadian and European farmers.
  • Weather –  Climate uncertainties such as early frost or heat domes can pose major challenges.
Gordie and Jason on the farm

Gordie McKenna describes the precision needed in growing carrots.

I had a chance to ask Gordie, “What’s one thing you would like to say to Canadians?”

His reply, “I want Canadians to know just how challenging it is to produce perfect food. It’s a constant pressure on a food producer in Canada to try to be perfect every step of the way. Farmers need more respect from consumers, better understanding and more education in the classrooms for children to see what farming is like today.”

The bottom line is that farming is incredibly hard work. Farmers take pride in growing safe and nutritious food that feed us and families around the world. Watch the Real Farm Lives documentary series to peek into the daily lives of our amazing Canadian farmers!

Other Fun Facts I Learned on My Trip to PEI

  • Prince Edward Island is the largest grower of potatoes in Canada, supplying about 25% of all potatoes grown in Canada. There are 200 potato producers in PEI, and 96% of them are multi-generational farmers.
  • Plant science includes tools that protect crops from insects / weeds / diseases as well as innovations to develop stronger varieties of crops. Farmers use these innovations to grow food sustainably.
  • Cavendish Farms were the first potato producer in North America to convert solid waste to bio-methane gas for energy. The Cavendish Farms plant processes 4 million pounds of potatoes every day and produces 270 bags of French fries every MINUTE – that’s 388,800 bags of French fries each and every day! It can take 9 years to clone a new potato variety. The Cavendish team of researchers developed the Russet Prospect potato which requires less fertilizer and soil fumigation.
  • Harrington Research Farm houses a field and greenhouse research facility as part of the Charlottetown Research and Development Centre. Scientists conduct research on integrated crop systems with a focus on crop rotations, soil health, water quality, agronomy of new crop species, crop nutrient cycles and pest / disease management.

Thanks again to CropLife Canada, Farm and Food Care PEI and the PEI Federation of Agriculture for organizing this fantastic trip and educational event! Until next time!

Group photo of tour participants on the farm

Friends and colleagues on the McKenna family farm!

The event was sponsored travel and this blog reflects my own learning experiences.

 

 

 

Does diet affect erectile function?

A man in a blue shirt sitting on a sofa and speaking to a health professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the question you may have always wondered, but were too shy to ask!

June is Men’s Health Month, so let’s take a look at some of the research on this topic.

A study published in the Journal of the American Association Network Open journal suggests that a healthy dietary pattern may play a role in maintaining erectile function in men. Researchers from the University of California and Harvard University looked at the food and nutrient data from over 21,000 healthy men aged 40 to 75 who had no previous diagnosis of erectile dysfunction or diabetes or heart disease. The men were part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The researchers found that men at all ages who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had the lowest risk of erectile dysfunction. A Mediterranean-style diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and fish.

Fruits and vegetables contain special plant nutrients called flavonoids.  Researchers in Greece found that eating fruits and vegetables lowered the risk for erectile dysfunction by 32% in men aged 18 to 40 years.

Another study from researchers in Spain looked at 83 healthy men aged 18-35. For 14 weeks, these men were asked to follow their usual diet and were divided into 2 groups – one group also ate 60 grams (about ½ cup) of nuts a day such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts; the other group of men did not eat nuts. The study found that a healthy diet supplemented with mixed nuts may help to improve erectile and sexual desire.

Bottom line: Fruits, vegetables and nuts are the foundation of an overall healthy diet that can benefit not only your heart health but also your sexual health.

 

Garlic Shrimp Linguine

A plate of shrimp linguine with broccoli florets.

Garlic Shrimp Linguine

Calling all pasta lovers! This fast and easy dish is perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight or lazy weekend!
Course Dinner

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package (454 g) uncooked linguine
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 400 g frozen shrimp (thawed, peeled and deveined)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta ccording to package directions. Add broccoli florets during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and broccoli, and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, toss shrimp with minced garlic.
  • Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Add shrimp and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another 2 mnutes or until shrimp beginsto turn pink.
  • Add cooked pasta and broccol. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in lemon juice. Toss until pasta is well coated.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese just before serving.
Keyword Garlic Shrimp Linguine, Linguine, Pasta, shrimp, Shrimp Linguine

Best Shrimp Fried Rice

 

2 bowls of shrimp fried rice

Best Shrimp Fried Rice

The secret to making the best fried rice is to use cold, leftover cooked rice. The grains are drier, giving you just the right texture. (Using freshly cooked rice results in a soggier fried rice!)
Course Dinner, Lunch
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, rinsed
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups cold, leftover cooked white or brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
  • 1 cup cooked shriimp

Instructions
 

  • In a large fry pan, heat 2 tsp oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add peas and cook all of these veggies for another minute.
  • Place veggies aside in a bowl while you cook the eggs.
  • Add 2 tsp oil to the pan. Pour in the eggs and scramble to cook. Place cooked eggs aside in the bowl with the veggies.
  • Crumble the leftover rice with your hands and add to the pan. (Add a bit more oil if needed.) Mix until thoroughly heated. Add soy sauce and mix well.
  • Stir in the cooked onions, mushrooms, peas, eggs and shrimp.
Keyword Fried rice, Shrimp fried rice

Caprese Pasta Salad

 

Bowl of bowtie pasta salad with mini bocconcini cheese and tomatoes.

Caprese Pasta Salad

My familiy loves bow-tie pasta! This recipe takes minutes to make and travels well for picnics and potlucks.
Course Salad

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 2 cups cooked bow-tie / farfalle pasta (or any other smalll pasta shape)
  • 226 grams (1 container) mini bocconcini cheese
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, toss together the salad ingredients.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving.
Keyword Picnic recipes, Picnic salads, Salads, summer recipes, Summer salads

Watermelon Salad

 

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad

You can't have a picnic without watermelon! This Watermelon Salad is so flavourful and refreshing - enjoy!
Course Salad

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 1/2 small watermelon, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more if you'd like)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Add watermelon pieces to a large bowl. Sprinkle in feta cheese and mint.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and gently toss.
Keyword Picnic, Picnic recipes, Picnic salads, Salads, summer recipes, Watermelon, Watermelon Salad

Shrimp Quinoa Bowl

 

Shrimp Quinoa Bowl

The orange juice and hit of hot sauce make a delicious marinade and dressing for this nutritious bowl!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Marinade & Dressing

  • 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided: 4 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp white miso (optional)

Toppings for Quinoa Bowl

  • 1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Place water and quinoa in a pot. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • While quinoa is cooking, place Florida Orange Juice, hot sauce, honey, soy sauce, 4 Tbsp vegetable oil, lime juice and miso (optional) in a bowl. Whisk together.
  • Pour half of the orange juice mixture over the shrimp. Marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining half of the orange juice mixture to use as a dressing.
  • Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to a skillet or wok and sauté, cooking approximately 2 minutes per side until pink and cooked through.
  • Place 1/2 cup quinoa in a bowl and top with shrimp, avocado, cucumber, pepper and green onions.
  • Drizzle with dressing that was set aside, and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Notes

Recipe from Florida Orange Juice.
Keyword grain bowl, orange juice, quinoa, shrimp, Shrimp Quinoa Bowl

Chicken Quinoa Salad

 

Chicken Quinoa Salad in a white bowl with 2 small white side plates

Chicken Quinoa Salad

The peppery arugula blends wonderfully with the quinoa and chicken for a delicious salad! The salad measurements are flexibile - use more or less, depending on what you have!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked quinoa, and cook according to package directions)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken (or search for my recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add cooked quinoa and salad ingredients into a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together salad dressing ingredients.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently to coat.
Keyword arugula, avocado salad, Chicken kebabs, Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs, quinoa

Fluffy Orange Pancakes

 

Fluffy Orange Pancakes

My family's favourite recipe! Perfect for brunch, Mother's Day or a weekend at the cottage! If you have any leftovers, freeze them between sheets of parchment paper.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Mother's Day
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cups orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (or a mix of both)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • butter or oil for cooking

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whisk egg and milk. Add orange juice, melted butter, vanilla extract and orange zest. Whisk to combine.
  • In another bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add to the orange juice mixture and stir just enough to moisten.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter or heat oil over medium-high heat, to coat the pan.
  • Pour in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter (for small pancakes) or 1/2 cup batter for large pancakes. Cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until small bubbles begin to appear and the pancake begins to set. The bottoms should be golden. Flip the pancake and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute or until set.
  • Enjoy with your favourite toppings! Makes 12-16 small pancakes or 8 large pancakes.