Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inspired by Starla: Draya's Homemade Summer Treats

I have several challenges when it comes to planning my meals:
- I’m sensitive/allergic to soy and avocado.
- I’m lactose intolerant.

I am often very low in energy and have little appetite; I need things that are easy and fast. Food needs to have a lot of flavor.

I’ve struggled with obesity, weighing 265 pounds at my biggest: 5 years ago. I lost a hundred pounds and was feeling great! I could do so many more things than before. I’ve gained some of that back and as I inch up back up towards 200 lbs I am starting to realize that, once again, I’m easily out of breath and my body hurts more.

Sugar is a particularly difficult thing for me to say no to. But I’ve decided it’s time to bite the bullet and once again give up refined white sugar, bread and pasta. No more cookies, cake, candy.

In an effort to make healthier choices I like to try making my own versions of treats.

On a hot summer day sometimes all you want is a popsicle or creamsicle.
Using a regular or immersion blender puree:
• frozen mangoes - about 1/4 of the bag
• pureed passion fruit - about 1/5 of the container
• 1 package of stevia
• enough water to come to the top of the fruit

At this point you’ve got what you need for a great fruit slushy or enough to fill a bunch of popsicle molds. If you want to make more of a creamsicle experience add several large spoonfools of some ice-creamy type dessert. My options are limited. What I had in the freezer was a tub of Rice Dream Vanilla. Blend once more before filling the molds.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food Drive @ Cranked Sports Supplements in Surrey

Support Quest Food Exchange by bringing your extra food to Cranked Sports Supplements in Surrey. All food collected during this food drive will go to individuals and families who shop at Quest's Surrey location.

From August 1st to August 9th, Cranked Sports will be collecting non-perishable goods for donation to Quest and will be giving a 15% discount for every five items donated. So come to Cranked Sports and drop off your non-perishables and help reduce hunger.

Cranked Sports Supplements located at #119, 7130 120th Street in Surrey BC, carries sports supplements, protein powders and bars and a wide selection of healthy meals and shakes made in store. Cranked Sports President, Aman Basra, supports Quest and its mission to reduce hunger and believes Quest is for a “good cause”.

Monday, July 26, 2010

(Nearly) Everything I need to know about food I learned from WoW

A World of Warcraft guide to safe and healthy eating

Variety = vitality. Although not all players are required to eat or drink in WoW, you are in real life. Yes, even if you’re preparing for a battle with Kel'thuzad. On Azeroth, the main food groups are bread, fish, fungi, meat, cheese and fruit. On Earth, the main food groups are grains, vegetable, fruit, dairy and meat. Eating a balanced diet allows your body...

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Starla's Tips Keeping Cool on a Dime

Come summer we are all a bit sweaty and could use a refreshing treat.

Right now Quest has some great organic Banana and Strawberry juice and Peach Nectar. They also usually have frozen bananas on hand in the store, and Tofu dessert.

You can take all of these ingredients and throw them in your blender to make an icy blended drink.

There is no need to add ice since you are using frozen fruit.
For the kids, use the juices and blended fruit to make home made Popsicles. If you need to find the plastic container to make them in, check out your local dollar store or second hand shop. The up side is that your not feeding you or your kids refined sugar and food colour. You are feeding them the best food this earth offers, full of essential vitamins and minerals and protein to keep the body healthy in this hot weather.

I loved it when my mom would do this for my sister and I.

Downtown Eastside market almost ready to go legit

One of the organizers of a new street market in the Downtown Eastside says it's an ideal way for binners to sell the treasures they find in their everyday travels.

"It puts money in people's pockets," said Tami Starlight of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council. "Instead of criminalizing vending, we should give them a place to legally sell their goods. A lot of binners find great stuff, but can't afford to pay the fee at flea markets."

Starlight said the neighbourhood council is purchasing required insurance, which is the last hurdle for approval for a city permit to hold the market. The neighbourhood council, which formed in January, is a group of Downtown Eastside residents who lobby for the "needs, interests, and aspirations" of their neighbourhood.

Quest Donates Grapefruit Cups to Gather & Give

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Boston Pizza and Maple Leaf Rescue Ham

Quest's newest Board Member and Board Secretary, Pearl, is making great strides in rescuing food for Quest from the restaurant industry.

As the Distribution Manager for Boston Pizza, Pearl has worked with Maple Leaf to divert 30 cases of surplus ham to Quest.

Each case has 640 slices!! That makes 19,200 slices of sandwich-ready ham. Think of all those meals.

If you make a meat-loaded sandwich of four slices of ham than we would be able to make 4800 SANDWICHES.

Thank you for your generous donation!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Transformed Downtown Eastside could be a global model: report

Vancouver could lead the world by transforming the Downtown Eastside into a community where everyone has a home, drug treatment is available on demand and drugs are decriminalized, according to a report created by the Carnegie Community Action Project.

Garden Protein Feeds Appetite for Meat-Free Diets

For many, eating a meat-free diet is more than a dietary choice, it is a way of life. This does not change depending on the size of one's paycheque. A vegetarian is a vegetarian. So for those living on low-income, finding a balanced diet that fits withing budgetary limits can be even more challenging. 
On July 20, Quest became the happy beneficiary of 10,000 pre-made, meat-free meals from Garden Protein International. Garden Protein International is committed to the communities in which they serve, especially British Columbia where they are based. "We’re pleased to donate healthy meat-free food to Quest Food Exchange and applaud its ongoing efforts to reduce hunger in our region," says a company representative.
Starla, one of our volunteers and clients, takes opportunities such as these to stock up her fridge. "Purchasing meat free products from Quest  allows me to maintain my values, as well as meet my healthy lifestyle," she says. "Its great to have pre-made meals."
Garden Protein International ( makes an award-winning line of tasty, high-protein plant-based foods that are good for you and the planet. Our premium line of meat-free foods made with vegetables, grains and plant-proteins (pea, soy, wheat) is marketed under the gardein™ brand and sold across Canada and the United States in the 'produce cooler' and 'freezer' at thousands of natural food stores and grocery stores. gardein™ foods are free of animal and dairy ingredients and have zero cholesterol, and many of their foods provide a good source of fibre and are low in fat too. That’s why they like to say Goodness Grows!

Food Brings us Together

During the summer, there seems an endless parade of back yard parties and occasions to attend.

The main event is always dinner; someones husband standing over a hot grill beaming as we stuff our faces with his edible masterpieces. Usually these meals are potluck, I tend to shy away from these events since I just can't afford to prepare a lovely dish to take with me. I also miss out on socializing with my friends and feel disconnected from my peer group.

Since I have become a volunteer and shopper at Quest I no longer have to say no to these invitations. I am able to create something tasty and unique.

I have to say it has been nice to be part of the crowd again, my friends welcome me with open arms and I get to leave them with a full tummy.

Thanks Quest,


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meet Draya, Volunteer Office Assistant

I like Monday mornings.

I get up and out of the house earlier than most days. It’s easier for me to leave when I have somewhere to get to that I enjoy being at. Monday is my Quest day. I come at 10am and my friend Starla is usually already there.

Starla and I share a common Job Developer at Gastown Vocational Services (who told me about her other client she thought I’d get on well with), but it wasn’t until I had been coming to Quest for a few weeks that I actually met Starla. We have a lot in common and our friendship grew quickly. She’s like a sister to me. We get together and talk, cook and eat.

After saying hello to Kyle, Starla and others in the office I take my camera and wander around the warehouse and store taking photos of volunteers or the food. I’ve always loved taking pictures and I appreciate being able to do it and have them serve a purpose- and , of course, be seen.

Today Kyle said I get to blog too, about whatever I want. Woohoo! This may well be the best job I’ve had! I appreciate the flexibility, being creative, having the opportunity to take initiative, the opportunity to accomplish something and make a positive contribution, and most importantly to me: I feel valued in a way I never have at any paid job.

After a 4 hour shift Starla and I go home, each of us carrying a couple bags of groceries we buy with our volunteer voucher. Often we go to her house or mine, unload our groceries, have a snack and yak it up for a few hours.

Quest is about distributing food in a new way. Community is the people around you and sharing food is a vital aspect of community. Quest is about so much more than food, it brings people together and changes lives for the better.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Support Quest and Watch BC Lions Football

Special Ticket Offer to Quest Food Exchange

Purchase a discounted ticket through Quest and the BC Lions for:

Saturday, October 16 vs Edmonton Eskimos
Sunday, October 31 vs Saskatchewan Roughriders

Contact Jeff at 604.930.5453 or to purchase your tickets.

$3 from each ticket sold goes to Quest Food Exchange!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daily Shopping at Quest with Starla

I am planning to go to a family dinner and have found some lovely things to take with me: Green Salsa and Corn chips, and a fresh and fantastic fruit with Almond Cake.

Today at Quest Food Exchange I found...
Italian Almond Cake
Hot sauce
Corn Chips

Recipe for my Green Salsa


* 8 tomatillos, husked
* 3 shallots - I used green onions instead
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers - Quest has hot sauce as an alternative
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded
* salt to taste


1. In a food processor, place tomatillos, shallots, garlic, green chile peppers, cilantro, jalapeno pepper and salt. Using the pulse setting, coarsely chop. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Fruit and Cake


* Prepared Almond Cake
* Cantaloupe
* Peaches
* Strawberries
* Grapes
* Sugar


1. Clean and cut Canatloupe into one inch squares
2. Cut peaches into wedges
3. Cut Strawberries and grapes into halves.
4. Take 3 tablespoons of sugar and blend with fruit
5. Set in refrigerator
6. When you are ready for dessert, cut almond cake in to wedges and lay flat on plate. Place a liberal portion of chilled fruits on the cake and serve.

*** You can also add a dollop of whipped cream of yogurt.

Starla is both a volunteer and a client at Quest

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Almonds are both great tasting and good for your health. The monounsaturated fats in almonds have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. One study showed that women who ate at least 1 ounce of nuts each have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones. A handful of almonds as an afternoon snack may have great health benefits.

A quarter-cup of almonds have more protein than an egg! They are a very good source of Vitamin E and Manganese.

Serving suggestions: add almonds to yogurt, salads, vegetable dishes or a small handful with apple slices.

Corinne Stockford, RHN
Realife Nutrition