Friday, January 28, 2011

Quest Partners with Gardein!


Garden Protein International, Inc. (GPI) produces an award-winning line of tasty and healthy plant-based foods with a ‘meaty’ texture marketed as gardein™. These meat-free and dairy-free foods are sold throughout the United States and Canada in the produce cooler and freezer sections at more than 10,000 grocery stores. GPI also provides a line of meatless foods for universities and food service organizations across North America.

The Vancouver-based company was founded in 2003 by Yves Potvin, a chef and innovator behind the first convenient health food – the veggie dog, and is a strong supporter of local charities. In 2010, GPI provided more than 180,000 meals to less fortunate members of the community through donations to agencies like Quest Food Exchange. GPI and its employees are honoured to work with Quest to help feed local residents with quality foods and are working together to reduce hunger. For more information, please visit www.gardein.com.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gardein-ing!

As an environmentally conscious citizen of Vancouver I am overjoyed to find Gardein products available for sale at Quest Food Exchange. While we are increasing our demands on the planet’s resources it is great to see socially responsible organizations like Quest and Garden Protein International, Gardein products manufacturer, collaborating to bring healthy vegetarian foods to those less fortunate. I never expected to be in economic hardship; however, since I am currently unemployed and under financial duress I feel blessed to have Quest offering the Gardein products in their stores.

The Gardein products are a delicious meatless, dairy free, vegan protein source which I have been regularly using for a long time. I am impressed with the variety of their product line and I love their convenience. Gardein products allow me to eat healthy while saving me “meal preparation time” that I can then use to focus on job hunting and learning new skills which I hope will help me to find a job in the near future. Whatever the future holds, I am grateful to Quest and Garden Products International for making this vegetarian protein available to those of us who are less fortunate. May your continued partnership be an example to those us in need that there is hope for a better future.

Sincerely,

Ann Marie

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Having fully cooked meals on hand is an asset to anyone. The catch is making time to cook. Often I find it beneficial to make a large meal and freeze the leftovers into individual portions.

This week at Quest, I came across some tasty and versatile wraps. Initially, I planned to freeze them and use them on a later date. Once I did my shopping, I realized I had more than enough for a mid-week cooking session! For me, food preparation is a labour of love. I am truly in my element when I’m in the kitchen.

I proceeded to make three different wrap combinations. First up was Mexican style. Ingredients included refried beans, red peppers, mushrooms, onions and rice. Next, I made a huge pot of chicken curry with cauliflower, various vegetables, and coconut milk. Panic whacked me when I realized that it had the consistency of soup which, of course, is not suitable for a flat bread wrap. I rummaged through the pantry, assessing different ways to thicken the sauce. I eventually decided to try using the dried hummus package I previously purchased at Quest. This was so much better than using flour or cornstarch to thicken, and it added flavour, fibre, and protein. I was very pleased with the result. Lastly, I whipped up some breakfast wraps. I used ham (from Quest), eggs, home made hash browns, and salsa that I had frozen last week. Only one ingredient for this project was purchased outside of Quest. My yield was 18 wraps and now I have healthy and handy lunches for the rest of the week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Muffin Madness

Muffin Madness!

This weekend my nephew came for his inaugural sleep over at Auntie Starla's house.
Unfortunately, my current budget doesn't allow much for extra curricular activities, so we decided to fins some fun things to do indoors. My newphew and I both share a love of food, so thanks to Quest enabling me to fill my cupboards, I was able to pull together some fun cooking projects for us.We were lucky to be joined by fellow adventurous cook and "Questie," Draya.

Muffins are one of those foods that hold endless possibilities and flavour combinations. I hauled out anything and everything that could possibly be used as a muffin ingredient and placed it on my kitchen table. My nephew was perplexed by the amount of white containers I had stacked around us, all from Quest, of course. The most effective use of Quest is to buy what is in the store even if you don't need it right away. A full pantry always comes in handy!

We made three different types of muffins, which Draya photograped for Quest's blog. Keep in mind that all of my ingredients, with the exception of three eggs, came from Quest.

Each of us chose a different combination for one batch. I went somewhat traditional with chocolate chunk zucchini. My nephew chose to go with white chocolate, walnuts, and dried cranberries infused with orange. Draya and I used our collective brains to come up with walnut, currents and a touch of Eggnog flavoured coffee syrup. Our yeild was 30 muffins.

Once the muffins were cooling on my windowsill, Draya and I used the remaining white and dark chocolate to make nut and fruit truffles. Not only did this leave us with no waste but we got an extra little treat. I sent my nephew home with his muffins to share with the household. I hope everyone enjoyed eating them as much as I did making them.

Introducing Julie, Marketing Representative Intern!

The Psychology of Quest

Sometimes you walk into a new place and know instantly that this is a place where good things happen; this is a place inhabited by respect, cooperation and vision. The first time I stepped through the doors at Quest, I knew this.

My name is Julie and I am so excited to begin working with Quest! I am a counselling psychology grad student at Adler School of Professional Psychology doing a part-time practicum placement at Quest for the next six months.

I feel so fortunate to be working with Quest, especially since we share the same passion and values. I strongly believe that protecting and building a sense of self-empowerment is vital for all of us to be the best we can be for ourselves and loved ones. Plus, as a bit of a health nut, I also believe that a nourishing diet and having choice over our own fuel is the basis of an energized and focused way of living life. Empowerment, respect, energy, choice and a sense of community all existing in one organization; what more could a practicum student ask for?

I will be spending the bulk of my time working on one specific project. This food security project will entail connecting with many social service agencies in Vancouver that could potentially be utilizing programs that Quest offers, such as the bulk ordering program and the stores. In addition to gathering data about the agencies, the core idea is to inform and familiarize these agencies with Quest so that they realize how beneficial it would be for them to use Quest as their main food supplier. If these hardworking agencies can save time and money on feeding their clients, then they will have more resources to put towards fulfilling their own mandates. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t…everybody wins!

I will be blogging regularly and keeping everyone on the edge of their seat, waiting to hear about the sure-to-be ground breaking discoveries and progress that will be made. I will also be doing a bit of research on food security programs from a psychological perspective and will be posting any interesting tidbits of information I uncover there.

Thanks for reading!

Julie