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Recipe Swap: Raising the bar

Recipe Swap: Raising the bar

It’s been about a year since we told you about Colleen Dyck, the Manitoba farmer launching her GORP energy bar made with the hemp, oats, flax, sunflower seeds and honey and other ingredients grown on her Niverville farm.

Colleen was gearing up production after more than seven years creating the recipe and marketing strategy for GORP bars, and she had high hopes her product would score. So did we, so it’s been great to hear of her recent marketing successes, including finding customers among the Winnipeg Jets, who now nibble on GORP bars as they train.

“Someone got it into their hands… and then the Winnipeg Jets just started ordering,” she said in a recent CBC interview, adding that she’ll happily take credit for their recent wins.

GORP bars also fuel the team Manitoba sends to the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships. “We just love them,” said Team Manitoba’s skip Dennis Thiessen. “We chew on them during our game or between games and the energy in them is fantastic.”

More GORP is around the corner. They’re about to go national with a big shipment going out in January to Mountain Equipment Co-op stores. Colleen said she’s also targeting other small chains across the country. Right now about 40 stores and gyms, plus chiropractors’ and naturopaths’ offices are stocked with GORP.

That’s ramping up production to anywhere from 2,800 to 5,000 bars a week, but Colleen isn’t making them all herself anymore. Demand has created about six new jobs in Niverville, offering flexible hours in the small food-processing plant she had constructed in the lower level of her home. A mother of four herself, Colleen knows working parents need hours that fit with the rest of their lives.

“It’s mostly stay-at-home moms working here, so we try to make the hours really flexible so that they can get their kids off to school, come in, work a shift and then be back home before the kids are off the bus,” she said.

The story of this bar, and the farm family behind it is as good as it gets. ‘The Great Gorp Project,’ as she’s called it on a blog, is about what it’s like to raise a family, build a house, farm and generally embrace life with joy and energy. I encourage you to stay tuned with what’s next for this big little company, and log on to And try one of these bars yourself. The Peanut Butter and Apple is my favourite.

There’s a saying that if we were really meant to pop out of bed in the morning, we’d all sleep in toasters. You’ll want to get up early these frosty early days of winter when there’s a hot breakfast waiting. Here’s a few recipes and breakfasts and mid-morning snacks to get you moving.

Quinoa-oatmeal breakfast

Carol Morris sent us this made-in-a-crockpot breakfast porridge made from quinoa and steel-cut oats. I tried it recently and it gently cooks overnight into a warm mash that’s really good with some prunes, raisins or apricots, and honey added the next morning. You could try substituting Red River cereal if you don’t have quinoa. Thanks Carol!

  • 1/2 c. steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 c. quinoa
  • 1 apple (unpeeled, cut up)
  • 2 c. water
  • Generous amount of cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt

Add a handful of dried apricots, blueberries, raisins or nuts such as walnuts or slivered almonds or pecans to the mix in the morning. Fresh fruit is great, too. Serves about 4.

Flax molasses muffins

A flax snack of any kind will deliver excellent omega-3 and fibre nutrition — along with great taste. Did you know that one tablespoon of milled flax contains as much total dietary fibre as a slice of whole wheat bread? I love anything made with molasses and these muffins are yummy.

  • 1/2 c. dark raisins
  • 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c. milled flax
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1 c. skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover raisins with hot water and soak for 1/2 hour. Combine flour, milled flax, baking powder and salt; mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together brown sugar and egg until sugar is dissolved. Add molasses; mix. Add skim milk and mix. Add dry ingredients to liquid; gently stir until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Drain raisins. Add raisins to batter and stir. Spray muffin tin with non-stick vegetable spray. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack for five minutes. Remove from tin and cool to room temperature. Yields: 12 muffins. Source: Flax Council of Canada.

Sunrise egg sandwiches

I found this recipe among Egg Farmers Favourites, a recipe booklet of Egg Farmers of Canada. It’s from Curtis Somerton, whose family is third-generation egg farmers in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. If you think this is a little “fussy” to make on a weekday, keep it as a treat for the weekend, or serve it as a simple meal any other time of day.

  • 3 tbsp. light mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices multi-grain, French or Italian bread

Place mayonnaise in small microwave-safe bowl; whisk in milk. Microwave on medium just until hot, about 45 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds. Whisk in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and rind until smooth. Set sauce aside. Spray large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet. Break yolks with edge of spatula. Cook eggs to preferred doneness. Place tomato slices on two slices of bread. Top with fried eggs. Spoon about 1 tablespoon warm sauce over each egg. Cover with second slice of bread.

Smoothies for the breakfast challenged

Kim Rempel sent us this recipe recently with a note that eating first thing in the morning doesn’t help her digestion, so she drinks smoothies instead. Kim sends this recipe for all the other non-breakfast eaters out there. Thanks, Kim.

Her morning mix includes…

  • 1 c. frozen berries
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 scoop chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

Yours can include…

  • 1 c. fruit
  • 1 c. liquid (water, milk, fruit juice)
  • 1/2 – 1 c. thickener (a banana, avocado, yogurt)


About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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