Saturday, 29 September 2012

Thoughts for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve been talking quite a bit in school about food – and, unfortunately, about people who don’t have enough to eat. Did you know that Edmonton’s Food Bank alone provides food hampers for more than 15,000 people a month? That’s a lot of food!

I’m one of the lucky kids who has never had to worry about not having enough to eat. My Grandparents are farmers and while that doesn’t necessarily guarantee an abundance of food (even Grandpa has had a couple of years where his crop yields haven’t been great), I do have a good understanding – and great appreciation – for what’s on my plate.

Which is why I want to help out.

Grandma and I looked on the Edmonton Food Bank website and found out the top food items needed – not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but ALL of the time:
  • Beans
  • Canned meat
  • Peanut butter
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Cereal and oatmeal
  • School snack items

...and in honour of the farmers of Alberta, maybe some canola oil, small cans of barley soup, or the occasional small bag of flour or oatmeal. 

I thought about volunteering at the Edmonton Food Bank warehouse, but you have to be 14. So, Grandma and I brainstormed some other ways I can help. Maybe you want to try some of these ideas, too?
  1. Start a food collection challenge at the school. I’m competitive on the track, so I bet I can fire up the competition in the cafeteria, too.
  2. Go through your own pantry and pull out some of those canned goods you haven’t thought about in a while - well the last 4 months or so, not something that's been there for years. Who needs food that's been stored in a pantry for 3 years anyway? Blech.
  3. Do you get an allowance? I’m going to donate a small percentage of mine every month to the food bank. Even 10% will add up soon enough.
  4. Mom’s always picking up 2-for-1 deals at the grocery store. I’m going to ask her to donate the second “1” to the food bank.

What do you think? What am I missing?

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 21 September 2012

Falling into my favourite season

Whoot! Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, which means Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas are right around the corner.

This is my favourite time of the year. The leaves are changing colour, grandma’s harvesting her garden (which means lots of chocolate zucchini loaf for me!), the weather is perfect for track training, and Dad pulls out all stops on the barbecue. Yep, the winter cover doesn’t go on the grill until the first snow flies.

Tomorrow night we’re having Spicy Orange Pork Chops – one of Dad’s barbecue specials. Here’s the recipe:

Spicy Orange Pork Chops

1⁄2 cup orange juice 125 mL
1 Tbsp canola oil 15 mL
1 tsp freshly ground pepper 5 mL
1⁄4 tsp chili powder 1 mL
1⁄4 tsp paprika 1 mL
2 dashes hot pepper sauce 2
4 boneless pork loin chops  4
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro  30 mL

1. Combine orange juice, canola oil, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and hot pepper sauce in a double plastic bag. Remove 2 Tbsp (25 mL) of marinade; set aside.

2. Add pork to remaining marinade and squeeze bag to coat pork with marinade; seal bag. Let stand 30 minutes.

3. Remove chops from marinade and pat dry; discard marinade. Grill chops over low heat for 30 minutes or until done, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serves four.

Recipe from ATCO’s Blue Flame Kitchen

If you like this recipe, you should download this brochure:

There are ideas on everything from marinades to grilling vegetables. But you’d better hurry – barbecue season is coming to an end.

Have a great first weekend of fall. I know I will!

Gotta Jet!

-       Chase Superman Duffy

Monday, 17 September 2012

Hey you! Wash your hands!

I’m late posting on my blog this weekend because I spent most of it in bed. I even missed school on Friday.

No, not because I’m lazy – though my Mom sometimes says I am when I don’t clean my room.

I’m sick.

It happens almost every year at the start of school. Maybe it’s because we’re not sleeping enough or eating right, so our immune systems are down. One kid gets sick, and BOOM! It’s a whole school problem.

This year, I thought I was doing everything right – 8 full hours of sleep (even though I was so excited about my first day), a well-balanced and nutritious lunch (thanks to Mom), and I’m always washing my hands.

Even our health teacher says that’s the key.

But we must have some strong germs at my school.

Monday (today) is a professional development day for teachers, so at least I get some of my weekend.

What about you? Any tips to keep healthy this school year? I can’t afford to miss school…or track practice.

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 7 September 2012

How will you celebrate Grandparent’s Day?

Did you know that this Sunday is Grandparent’s Day?

Don’t worry if you didn’t – it’s not as well known as Mother and Father’s Day. Apparently, way back in 1970, a lady from the United States came up with the idea to set aside a day to encourage families to visit their elderly relatives. It took eight years for it to become official, but now there’s even a song.

No, I won’t be singing it to my Grandparents this weekend, and I don’t need a special day to visit my Grandma and Grandpa, but I think Mom is going to make a big dinner on Sunday night to celebrate her parents.

I feel kind of sad for my Dad. His Mom and Dad passed away before I was even born.

Dad says I’m lucky to have such a great relationship with my Grandparents, and he’s right. My Grandpa and I do everything together. Like go to the car races, or hang out in his tractor. I don’t even mind doing chores around the farm with him.

And of course, Grandma spoils me and my sister with her baking and giant hugs.

Grandpa has never missed one of my track and field meets, and he’s always the loudest person cheering from the stands. If anyone in my family believes I’m going to make it to the Olympics, it’s him!

I don’t know what yet, but I’m going to think of something special to do for my Grandparent’s this weekend – more than include him in my blogs! Maybe I’ll ask my friend Sophie for some help, she always has great ideas.

How about you? Are you planning anything special for your Grandparent’s this Sunday?

Gotta Jet! Have a great week.

- Chase Superman Duffy

Sunday, 2 September 2012

School starts Tuesday!

You might think I’m crazy, but I can hardly wait for school to start on Tuesday.

It’s been a great summer – filled with festivals, hanging out with friends, spending time with my grandparents at their farm, and running. Lots and lots of running.

I think all of my training this summer will even impress Coach Taylor.

Both of my parents are working this weekend, even though Monday is Labour Day, which means my sister and I will be going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a couple of days.

That’s fine by me. While Grandpa is harvesting, and Grandma is baking, I’m going to get in my last couple of practices outside by running around the canola field. Maybe I’ll even hit my personal best – under 10 minutes!

It’s tradition for me to help out around the farm, too. So unless it’s raining, or there’s too much morning dew, Grandpa and I will be in the field. And of course, I’ll be out in the garden helping Grandma harvest her vegetables. She says her peas didn’t do very well this year (my Mom’s neither!) but there’s  the last of the beans to pick, herbs to dry, and corn to freeze.

Sounds like a perfect weekend. How about you? What do you have planned for Labour Day Monday? Oh, and don’t forget to check out the BLUE MOON!

Gotta jet.

- Superman Chase Duffy
P.S. Speaking of school…check out the alternate ending St. Vital Grandin DEENA wrote for Gotta Jet. Pretty cool!


As Chase was racing, Gordon Lightening Smith, he saw a dark cloud coming towards them. But…

Both of them blacked out, and they both traveled back in time. And Chase saw Frank. And Frank was cheering Chase on, and Chase…