Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Faegan likes to play outside with his dad on the weekend.  This frees me up to do what I like best - cook.  Once again pears are featured in this recipe and the result was outstanding.  By far one of the best soups I have ever made.

SWEET POTATO SOUP with Roasted Garlic and Pear

600 grams organic  sweet potato
1 ripe organic pear, cored and diced
1 head of organic garlic
1 Tbsp organic salted butter
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 cups water or stock
1 cup organic whole milk
1 tsp sea salt

Method:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Roast sweet potato in it's jacket until soft.  At the same time, slice the top off the head of garlic and roast it in the oven by placing it in a covered oven proof pot or in some foil.  It is done when it is mushy and easy to squirt out.  
Saute the onion in the butter in a large soup pot until the onion is soft.  When the roasting is complete, add the sweet potato, garlic, water, thyme, salt, pear and pepper to the pot.  Bring to a light boil and then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until pear is cooked.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme or minced chives.

RAW WILTED KALE SALAD with Pepitas, Arame and Carrot

1 small bunch of organic kale, deveined and chopped
1 organic carrot, shredded
1/2 organic red pepper, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup arame seaweed, soaked in warm water
1/8 cup organic sunflower seeds
1/8 cup organic pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbsp organic sesame oil (not toasted)
1 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp organic tamari soya sauce
Method:  In a large bowl, drizzle the tamari over the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands.  Add the other ingredients and toss.

20 g organic butter
1 large onion, chopped
250 g organic whole wheat flour
250 g organic unbleached white flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp pepper
125 g organic butter
125 g shredded organic cheese
1 organic egg, lightly beaten
300 ml organic whole milk

1 organic egg beaten with 2 Tbsp organic whole milk for glazing
1 1/2 Tbsp organic sesame or poppy seeds

Method: Preheat oven to 425* and grease a cookie sheet.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook onion over a low heat for 10 minutes without browning.
     Put flour, salt, baking powder, mustard and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the cheese then add egg and milk. Stir until mixture clumps around spoon, then continue mixing by hand until a rough dough forms. Knead on a floured surface until smooth.
     Divide dough in half, then divide each half into three.  Roll each portion into a long rope about 45 cm long.  Press three rolls together at one end then braid.  Join final ends .  Make second loaf the same way.
     Transfer braids to the tray and brush the surface with the egg/milk, and sprinkle with the onion and sesame seeds.  Bake until golden brown about 30 mins.

Autumn Sunday Brunch

Most Sundays we tend to eat a hearty brunch.  It is the only morning of the week that Scott is home for breakfast so I like to prepare something special.  Since we live kind of far from the city and the great brunch restaurants like Jane's on the Commons, Saege and Fid, we like to eat food that makes us feel like we've gone out for breakfast.


2 organic eggs
1/8 cup organic whole milk
4 slices homemade organic whole w
heat bread
salt and pepper
organic salted butter
Optional Fillings- dijon mustard, sliced red onion, olives, chutney, pesto, hot peppers, green or red peppers, capers, smoked salmon, smoked turkey, ham, bacon, tomato, variety of cheeses, salsa, pepperoni, salami

For this brunch I made two kinds of savoury sandwiches:
 1) smoked turkey breast, organic swiss cheese, dijon, thinly sliced red onion
2) dijon, swiss cheese, red onion thinly sliced, cherry tomatoes

Method: Whisk the egg, milk, salt and pepper together in a medium size bowl.  Assemble the sandwiches, making sure that there is dijon on both pieces of bread and that you start and end with cheese when you are layering.  The dijon and melted cheese keep the sandwich from falling apart when you dip and fry.
     Preheat oven to 200*.  Heat a medium sized cast iron skillet over med-low heat.  When hot, melt 1/2 Tbsp of butter in the skillet.  Dip assembled sandwich in the egg mix and place one face down into butter and cook about 5 minutes over a moderate flame until the cheese starts to melt, the toast is nice and golden.  Flip over and cook another 5 minutes until melted thouroghly.  

4 slices homemade organic whole wheat bread                      
1 organic pear, cored and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp organic chocolate hazelnut spread
2 organic eggs
1/8 cup organic whole milk
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
a few blueberries or other fruit for garnish

Whisk the egg, milk, 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.
Coat one side of each slice of bread with the chocolate spread.  Add a layer of the sliced pear. Sandwich the bread together and dip in the egg mix.  Melt the butter in the skillet and fry each side until golden brown and warmed through (about 8 minutes).  Drizzle with maple syrup and fresh blueberries.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Real Deal BBQ

We love fire.  All winter we warm our home with a woodburning stove, and all summer we gather around the outdoor firepit.  We also love to cook outdoors on the fire using our grill from the gas bbq we rarely use now.  

This afternoon Scott and I decided tonight would be a good night to grill over the coals.  So as Scott finished up repairing out chimney for our winter fires, I got the campfire ready.  The thing with cooking over the fire is you need to get it going at least an hour and a half before you want to begin cooking.  You need a good base of coals, not flames so your food doesn't catch on fire or burn.
     Seeing as I had that lamb that I purchased this morning at the market, we decided on a menu of lamb with roasted potatoes and vegetables.

Lamb Chops or Lamb Shoulder
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Smash the garlic with the rosemary and thyme in a mortar and pestle.   Drizzle in some olive oil and salt and pepper.  Smear this all over your lamb.  Let rest while you get the firepit started.

Onion, Beets, Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, String Beans, Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes

Cut all the vegetables in chunks.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme) and toss into a large cast iron skillet.  Cover with foil and cook on grill over coals.  Turn and stir often to prevent sticking and burning.  (About 40 mins)

Urban Forage (otherwise known as grocery shopping)

Every Saturday Scott takes over at home, watching Faegan and sometimes he cleans the house! Relieved of my parental obligations, I head out to the city to take care of some errands.  My first stop is always the Halifax Farmer's Market where I load up on provisions for the week.  The vendor I always go to first is Selwood Green, growers of an amazing assortment of organic vegetables.  They also sell organic eggs which I always buy, but I can't wait until our chickens start laying eggs so I don't have to spend $5.50/dozen!  My next stop was to Alex's table which I think is also called Highland Farms.  He grows amazing garlic, so I purchased some so I can plant them in the garden in mid October.  I also really like Pasture Hill Farm's stand, they offer mushrooms and today they had some really nice red peppers an  d sweet potatoes.  Parcels were starting to get heavy, but I thought I would add to the load with some organic cortland apples from Boates Apple Farm.  They also make a balsamic style apple cider vinegar which I thought I'd try out seeing as we are out of the real deal.  If it is good I will gladly substitute the Italian stuff for a local product.
    Seeing as we have yet to receive our organic lamb from Bruce Family Farms, I thought I'd go for second best by passing by Getaway Farms.  They offer pasture raised meats that are really good and pretty reasonably priced. 
As I was walking away with 3 lovely pieces of lamb shoulder I happened to notice that there were still some fine looking organic blueberries for sale.  I picked up one pint of those because Faegan loves snacking on them.  One of my goals is to remember to pick up as much local fruit as possible while it is in season.  Fresh local fruit is only available in the summer and fall so we try to savour and enjoy it while it's here.  It will be a long winter of apple eating.  Luckily I stocked up on frozen strawberries and a few blueberries.  Unfortunately I didn't notice anyone selling boxes of organic blueberries at the market this year.  Good thing Home Grown Organics found a source for them so I know I can buy a box from them anytime I want to in the winter.  I was done at the Farmer's Market so I decided to go to Home Grown Organics and see if they had any hook and line fish available.  I support people who choose to sustainably harvest fish and seafood from our oceans.  For more information on this
Home Grown is a really neat little space.  Tucked in behind a residential street off Quinpool Road, they offer home delivery of organic and local foods.  It reminds me of an old school health food store, the kind I used to work and shop in growing up.  Luckily they had some pollock in stock.  I also picked up some organic local feta cheese and placed an order for a pasture raised turkey.  I have had a heck of a time tracking down an organic turkey in this province.  No one offers them.  So I emailed Home Grown and he assured me these turkeys are mostly pasture fed and their minimal feed contains no GMO's. Good thing because I really wanted to eat turkey for Thanksgiving. 
     My last stop was to Planet Organic where I usually by organic chicken.  While I was there I also got some ginger from Ontario....who knew you could grown ginger in Ontario?  And what else...oh yeah some drug free smoked turkey slices for Scott.  He isn't nearly as particular when it comes to what he eats, so although it isn't organic, I figured he wouldn't mind.  He trys to take a lunch with him to work and so when we don't have any leftovers, this will make a good sandwich filling.  
     So that was my morning.  I did make a few other stops but that was it for food..........can't wait to eat lamb for supper..

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pastry, Two Ways

Part of the challenge of living "in the country" is that we have limited access to food supplies. There is an Atlantic Superstore in Porter's Lake which is 10 minutes away, and they do offer some organic foods, but no organic meat.  So when we run out, we make do with what we have until I make my weekly trip into Halifax to restock.  That is why we place bulk orders with local organic farmers for beef, lamb and chicken.  We are in the process of organizing one of these orders at the moment, so until then, we buy in small quantities.  Today was one of those days where the only thing I could think of to make with what we had on hand was quiche. Which led to me making whole wheat pastry, tripling the recipe so I could make a pie too.


1 3/4 cup organic unbleached pastry flour
1 cup organic whole wheat or spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
90 g (6 Tbsp) chilled organic unsalted butter
120 g (8 Tbsp) organic palm oil
8 Tbsp (120 ml) ice water

     Combine the flours and salt in a bowl.  Cut in the butter and palm oil until it resembles coarse meal.  Sprinkle in the ice water and mix until the dough holds together.  Form into two balls and place in a covered dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
     Lightly flour your counter surface and then pat the dough out and flatten about 6".
     Roll out the dough to a size slightly larger than your pie plate.  Press the dough lightly into the plate.  Trim any excess dough, leaving just enough to slightly tuck under once we assemble the pie.  
    ** If you are using this pastry for a recipe that only requires a bottom crust, divide recipe in half and fold the overhanging pastry inwards, leaving a double crust along the side and a rounded edge on top.

QUICHE with Broccoli, Mushroom, Zucchini and Swiss 

1 cup chopped organic broccoli
1/2 cup organic mushroom, sliced
1/2 cup organic zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup organic onion, chopped
5 organic eggs
1/3 cup organic whole milk
1 cup organic Swiss cheese, grated
1 tbsp olive oil or organic butter
sea salt and pepper
1 pastry dough, uncooked in a pie plate

Preheat oven to 350*.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the oil.   Saute onion, broccoli, zucchini and mushroom for about 5 minutes or until soft.  In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs well until adding the milk and salt and pepper.
Fill the bottom of the pastry dough with the cheese.  Add the sauteed vegetable on top of the cheese.  Then pour in the egg mixture.  Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until the egg has set and the quiche is lightly browned.

Prep time: Crust takes 10 minutes to make, 30 minutes to chill.  Filling takes 15 minutes to make.  

AUTUMN PEAR PIE with Crystallized Ginger

8 medium sized organic pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 cup organic brown rice syrup
6 pieces crystallized ginger, diced
grated zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
double crust pastry

Method: Make the pastry and preheat oven to 325*.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon filling into pie shell.  Gently place remaining dough circle on top of filling.  Roll edge of top crust gently under bottom crust and press edges to seal.  Pierce top crust decoratively in several place to allow steam to escape.  Bake 45-60 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is beginning to brown.

Prep time: Crust takes 10 minutes to make, 30 minutes to chill.  Filling takes 5 minutes, assembly takes 5 minutes.

We needed a little salad to go with the quiche so I decided to use up some leftover quinoa we had in the fridge.  Scott warned there may be frost tonight, so I went into the garden to harvest all the red tomatoes, green pepper, green onions and cucumbers so they wouldn't die in the cold.

3 cups organic quinoa
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup minced endive
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 parsley, minced
olive oil
umeboshi vinegar 
red wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper

Combine the vegetables and quinoa in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, vinegars, salt and pepper.

The dinner I missed

Last night I was not at home.  I teach yoga every Thursday evening in Seaforth and so last night Scott was on his own for deciding what he wanted to eat.  I arrived home to the most amazing smelling concoction, and luckily some leftovers.  Left to his own devices Scott decided to make salmon melts.  It is like a tuna melt, only he used canned salmon. We were out of mayonaise so he decided to use some hummus.  I had also left some foccacia on the counter which I had picked up from Dobbit Bakehouse in Musquodoboit Harbour.  I think he mixed in some cherry tomatoes from the garden, sprinkled some dried oregano and cheddar cheese on it and baked it in the oven.  Magnificent!  I should let him cook more often!  No pictures though, I ate it before I had a chance...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Basic Homemade Bread

There is a really good French bakery here in Nova Scotia called Boulangerie La Vendeene. Hands down they make the best bread around.  But I eat their bread when I want a nice meaty loaf for soups or dipping in greek salad. Hunky bread.  When I need sliced sandwich bread, nothing beats homemade.  Good thing I like to bake because Halifax is seriously lacking in good sandwich bread.  I like to slice the loaves and freeze them so we always have fresh bread.

3 cups warm water

2 Tbsp local honey

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast granules 

1 Tbsp sea salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, organic sunflower oil or melted organic butter

3 cups unbleached organic white flour

6 cups organic whole wheat flour

Method: Pour 1 cup of the water into a large, warmed bowl.  Stir in the honey and yeast.  Let stand 10 minutes until the yeast is completely dissolved and foamy.  Stir in the remaining water, salt, oil.  Then add the flour, a few cups at a time.  

Knead the dough by hand: Scrape the dough onto a well floured surface, sprinkle it with flour and knead it. Gather the dough together in your hands and push it away from you with your palms. Fold it in half towards you, then turn and turn and repeat pushing, folding, and turning, sprinkling flour on the dough to keep it from sticking, this may take up to a cupful more. Keep kneading for several minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

After kneading, put the dough in a large oiled bowl, and flip to coat both sides with oil. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place (near a woodstove or in a gas oven that has a pilot light).  Let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled. Punch the dough down to remove air bubbles, then divide into 2 parts. Shape each into a loaf and place into a greased loaf pan. Cover the loaves with the same plastic wrap you used earlier and put in a warm place again to rise the second time. The loaves should double, about 1 hour. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. When bread is golden brown on top and bottom and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, it is done.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soup Season has Begun

When I was speaking to my mother this morning she was in the process of making this soup which inspired me to copy her.  A hearty Greek dish that reminds me of my childhood meals that mom always lovingly prepared for us.

FASOLADA (fasolatha)
2 cups  dried organic navy beans 
2 tbsp olive oli
1 onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes diced or 1 1/2 Tbsp organic tomato paste
2 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
6 cups stock or water
1/4 cup parsley
about 1 tsp salt and black pepper

Method: Soak beans in water overnight or for at least 6 hours.  Drain the water and either precook in a pressure cooker until soft or boil in a pot for a couple of hours until soft.  Drain the beans and reserve.  
In a large soup pot saute the onions, carrots, and celery in the olive oil.  Add the garlic, beans, stock or water, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a light simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the soup thickens and the beans are nice and soft.  Add parsley in the last 5 minutes, reserving some for garnish.  Serve with feta cheese and a hunk of really good bread.

Prep Time: once the beans are soaked it takes 10 mins to pressure cook the beans.  Otherwise the actual soup takes about 10 minutes prep time.

Family Secrets

My mother really likes my blog.   And she reads it :)
After last night's post she emailed me and requested that I not disclose the recipe for Grandpa's Spice Blend, telling me that it was a family secret.  I promised her I wouldn't.  Sorry folks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The same question every night..."What shall I make for dinner?"

Last night I roasted an organic chicken.  We like to do a whole chicken every now and then so we have left overs for sandwiches or soup.  There is this neat trick when roasting a chicken where you lift up the skin on the breast and even the the legs if you want and stuff it ... in our case I just gathered some fresh herbs from the garden (parsley, marjoram, thyme and basil), chopped them up and stuffed it under the skin.  It is also a good idea to sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper and rub some on the skin with olive oil.  Around here we use my grandfather's spice blend (I will post the recipe tomorrow) which is white pepper, granulated garlic, sea salt, onion powder and mustard powder.  We use it on everything.
     Anyway so we needed to eat tonight and I knew I wanted to cook a spaghetti squash from the garden.  I needed something that would go with that......this is what I came up with.


1 medium organic spaghetti squash
1 organic green onion, sliced
1 organic red pepper diced
1/2 organic jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
1 cob of organic corn, decobbed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbsp organic sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil, the raw stuff)
1.5 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp honey
salt and pepper

Method: Preheat oven to 350*.  Split the squash in half, seed it and place in face down in a large cast iron skillet or other pan.  Roast for about 45 mins or until you can easily prick the skin with a fork.  Let cool slightly and then scoop out the filling and let it drain in a colander.  Place in a bowl with all the other ingredients.  Toss and serve.

1 cup leftover chicken, in small pieces
5 slices homemade whole wheat bread (or if you must, store bought :S)
3 Tbsp basil pesto
3/4 cup grated organic cheese
10 slices organic tomato (we used a lovely yellow one)
1/2 sliced onion
grandpa's spice blend

Method: Slather the bread with pesto.  Layer with onion first, then chicken, tomato, spices, and finally with cheese.  Melt in 350* oven for 15 mins.  


So Scott's dad
 was coming into town the other morning.  As a courtesy, Scott decided to make his father a cup of tea and set in on the table for when he arrived.  He placed his own breakfast of nicely warmed biscuits and molasses down as well and when his father arrived he let him know that his tea was on the table.  Greatly appreciative, Glen sat down to a meal of Scott's breakfast and washed it down with tea!  Poor Scott, he had to eat cold biscuits and molasses.  Faegan really likes them too...

2 cups organic whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder (non aluminum variety and gluten free
 will mean no GMO cornstarch)
2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup organic palm oil
4 tbsp cold unsalted organic butter
2/3 cup organic milk

Method: Preheat oven to 450*.  Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Cut in the palm oil and butter.  Stir in the milk.  Knead 4-5 X.  Pat out dough 1/2 " thick.  Using a long sharp knife, cut dough into squares or rectangles.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until golden, about 10-12 mins.

Clean out the fridge Lasagna, or what should I do with this ground beef?

Scott's parents were coming over for dinner the other night and I had already taken out some pasture raised ground beef from the freezer the night before.  The dilemma - how do you make 1 pound of meat feed 4 adults and one toddler?  So I decided to make up a lasagna.  There were a couple of challenges with this one - 1) I didn't really have enough mozzarella 2) I didn't have ricotta or cottage cheese or even tofu in the house to fill the lasagna with.  No problem though, I just used feta cheese blended with whatever yogurt I had and when I ran out of enough mozzarella for the topping, I just grated a whole bunch of romano cheese to fill in the blanks - it turned out really well!  I ate the rest for lunch today :)

LASAGNA (from my head and I didn't record measurements so modify as required)
About 18 lasagna noodles ( I used a combo of organic kamut and organic white lasagna noodles)
1 jar organic pasta sauce
organic mozzarella cheese
1 bunch organic swiss chard
About 10 organic button mushrooms
1 organic onion
organic feta cheese (found local organic goat feta at Homegrown Oranics in Halifax!)
organic yogurt
1 pound organic pasture raised ground beef

Method: Preheat oven to 350*.  Put a big pot of salted water onto boil for the noodles.  As you wait wilt swiss chard in a pot with a lid over medium heat.  Strain and squeeze all the liquid out and then chop into small pieces.  Slice mushrooms and onions and saute in a skillet with some olive oil.  After about 3 minutes, add the ground beef and brown.  Set aside.  When water is boiling, add the noodles in 2 batches, cooking 3/4 of the way so they are still slightly undercooked.  Be sure to add oil to water to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.  Drain and cool.  Add about 1/4 cup water to the pasta sauce to dilute.  Pour some of the sauce on the bottom of your big roasting tray.  Layer some noodles on top.  Now is when you can mix some yogurt with the feta to make a ricotta like cheese sauce which you spread onto the layer of noodles, followed by some ground beef mix,  some chard,  some more sauce and ending with a sprinkle of mozzarella.  Repeat.  End with another layer of noodles, then the rest of the sauce and cheese.  Sprinkle with romano and cover with pod lid or aluminum foil.  Bake covered 1 hour, uncover for 20 minutes and serve. 


We moved into our house in January 2009.  One of the first things we did once the weather warmed up was put in a vegetable garden.  Scott and I don't really have much experience growing our own food, so we were delighted when this first attempt produces some lovely vegetables. 
     Our lettuce did very well and we have only now begun to buy lettuce at the market now that that crop is pretty much done.  The radishes grew really well, as did the spinach.  We were a bit too early planting our tomatos outside, but they survived.  The only problem is the lack of sun this summer has left us with many GREEN tomatoes that don't want to ripen.  Luckily though, we are getting some fine grape tomatoes.  The biggest excitement for me though was growing potatoes!  They are so much fun, and EASY!  I want to plant even more of those next year.  I seem to have only planted one zucchini plant, but that one plant has produced just enough zucchini that we aren't getting overloaded and sick of zucchini which I have heard can happen easily.  The garlic were planted in the spring which didn't work out for us, so we will plant some soon for next summer's harvest.  The cucumbers are only now producing, and thus far we've harvested 3 that were crispy delicious.  The pumpkins are just about ready to pick and look as good as the spaghetti squash we ate a couple of weeks ago.
The other vegetables we grew were:
carrots , beets, endive, peas, turnips, cabbage, brocolli, green onions, herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, calendula, thyme, oregano, marjoram, chives, cilantro, mint, lemon balm)
Looking forward to growing again next year, and maybe even expanding into the backyard with another plot.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Welcoming Autumn One Bite at a Time

In our house we take food seriously.  Food to me is more than a way to stave off hunger, it is a celebration of life each day as we gather around the table at supper.  It is the only time in the day that our family is all together.  Over a delicious meal we reconnect as a family, sitting in a circle with a candle lit and sometimes when the mood strikes me, I cut some seasonal flowers to bring to the table.  I try to remember to slow it down, take the time, relax and commune with the energy I am about to receive.  It is from this place of love that I invite you to journey with me as I share recipes, stories and images with you from our kitchen on our little homestead by the sea....  
     Admittedly, it is me who takes food the most seriously.  I love food - cooking it, eating it, shopping for it, growing it, harvesting it, sharing it and on and on.....Food for me is also my activism.  My aim is to be socially responsible by supporting organic agriculture, local seasonal producers and businesses that are conscious about the impact our food choices have on the health of ourselves and generations to come. Actions speak way louder than words, and where we spend our money has a big impact.  There are a few guidelines I have created to help me make good choices when it comes to food: 
1. Avoid non-organic corn, soy, canola and wheat.  Odds are if it isn't organic, it has been genetically modified.  This also applies to meat and dairy products- farmers feed animals food that contains GMO's.  For more information about why GMO's are best avoided please visit
2. Avoid hydrogenated and modified vegetable oils.  These foods cause heart disease.  For more info visit
3. Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
4. Eat locally
5. Eat organically
6.  Eat more raw foods.
7. Make your own food as much as possible.
8. Grow your own food, raise your own animals.
9. Eat seasonally

     I've recently begun the ritual of giving thanks for our food before we eat.  The idea of blessing our food before we eat has always appealed to me.  Now that I have a child, it is especially important to me that we take the time to appreciate all that has gone into the creation of this food.  That means we remember and acknowledge the farmers, we give thanks to the animals who have been sacrificed so that we may eat, to the elements of earth, sun, wind and rain, as well as the person who took the time to create a delicious meal for us to enjoy.  Most of all we acknowledge that awesome creative energy that is behind everything which can only be described as "Wahe Guru" ( I am in ecstasy when I experience that indescribable wisdom!) which takes place with each and every bite.
Blessing on the blossom, blessing on the root
Blessing on the leaf and stem, blessing on the fruit.

Recent autumn recipes:

Although these can be enjoyed anytime of year, I made these a couple of days ago and I can't stop eating them.
1/3 cup organic salted butter
1 cup organic natural peanut 
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (or any biscuit crumbs)
3 generous tablespoons organic agave syrup or honey 
1 cup organic milk chocolate
1/4 cup milk
12 cup paper muffin shells

In a small pan over medium heat melt the butter.  Then stir in the peanut butter, cookie crumbs and sugar.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of this mixture into muffin tins lined with the paper shells.  Put in the freezer until hard.  In anot
her pot melt the chocolate and milk together, stirring often.  Then spoon the warm chocolate mix onto the hardened peanut cups. 
 Set in fridge 6-8 hours before serving.

Last Saturday at the Halifax Farmer's Market I picked up two huge bags of organic pears from Boate's Apple Farm.  This is the third year in a row that I have done this.  They are such delicious pears once you let them ripen on the counter.  But what do you do with sooo many?  Every year my Excalibur dehydrator gets a workout when I slice tray after tray of pears for making dried pears. Great on their own or in trail mix.
By the way this picture only shows half of the pears I bought, the rest are in 
the fridge in the basement to slow 
down the ripening process.

Method: Peel and core pears.  Slice each paper vertically into 4-6 slices, place on dehydrator tray and dry at 105 * for about 10 hours or until they are dry!
Store in a mason jar.