Sunday, 23 August 2009

Trail-Mixing It Up

When I was a kid I wasn't a big fan of trail mixes, likely because the mixes I knew and sampled had raisins in them. I tolerated raisins when I was really young, but for most of my life I've done my best to avoid them especially after I discovered dried cranberries, or more precisely, Ocean Spray's Craisins. Of course, it came across my mind that I could create my own batch of trail mix that suits my particular tastes. So, armed with a sale on certain convenient items at Bulk Barn, which finally opened a store in Brandon this year, I decided to make myself a trail mix that I was at least fairly certain I would enjoy.

I used six ingredients for my mix, coincidentally three types of nuts and three types of dried fruit, all equal in weight. In this particular case, the nuts consisted of hulled raw pumpkin seeds, hulled roasted sunflower seeds and unsalted Virginia peanuts (with the skin on and certainly unblanched). For the dried fruits, I absolutely had to go for one of my favourites, those Craisins. Of course, living in Western Canada meant I had access to some fruits more unique to the local geography, including Saskatoon berries. So, seeing that this store had dried Saskatoons available, I gladly helped myself to some of those dried berries. Lastly, just for kicks and the spirit of experimentation (until now I'd never made trail mixes), I got myself some dried pineapple pieces.

After putting all the ingredients together and tossing them like a salad, it was quickly done and ready to be eaten or stored for later consumption. I was tempted to add something chocolatey to the mix, but I realized that if I were to bring the mix out with me on warms days for hikes, Ultimate or any other outdoor activity, chocolate would not be a good ingredient to be in a trail mix lest it becomes a sticky mess. As you can see in the photo above, my concoction ended up to be a colourful mix, and it turned out to be a tasty one as well.

With trail mixes being created just by mixing various ingredients, usually combinations of nuts, dried fruits and sometimes chocolate, one can easily make them with little kids, and these snacks can be as healthy as you make them to be. Go ahead, and make yourself a batch that you're sure you'll enjoy!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

No Train Stations Left Downtown, but One Good Stop Exists

Until recently I haven't had the opportunity to write a review of a place to eat in Brandon, MB, now my hometown for over three years. Many of the restaurants here are either franchises or independents that cater more to the moderate price range. That said, there are nonetheless neat little independent restaurants that should earn some honourable mentions, and one of them is a recently opened sandwich shop.

Grand Central Sandwich Deli recently opened for business in the downtown core of Brandon, and as its name implies, its focus is on sandwiches. The sandwiches this place offers aren't your lunchbox-packed-by-mom types. There are various kinds avaialble combining different meats and dressings or sauces, and this place is very generous in adding on the various raw vegetables between the slices of bread. It is no doubt cheaper to make your own sandwiches, but if you especially work in the downtown area and for one reason or another you can't bring a homemade lunch with you, it is wonderful a new place like this, arguably offering generally much healthier fare than the existing restaurants downtown or other fast food joints in town. is now available as an option. Furthermore, the sandwiches here do taste homemad, unlike franchise sandwich places like Subway or Quizno's where you can taste a bit of the mass production factor in their sandwiches.

Name: Grand Central Sandwich Deli
Address: 904 Rosser Ave., Brandon, MB
Cuisine: Sandwiches
Price Range: $7-$11/sandwich
Accessible: Yes