Wednesday, September 28, 2011


After two people suggested I just freeze my tomatoes instead of canning them, I decided to give it at try.  I have no idea if I did it right because I did absolutely no research, but common sense tells me it will probably work out just fine.  Some of the tomatoes were pureed and then frozen in mason jars, while the rest were quartered and frozen.  I don't have enough tomatoes to last me the whole winter or anything, but it will be very nice to reach into the freezer in the dead of winter and pull out a nice sampling of the summer's harvest, frozen in time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Winner!

Wow, that took alot less time than I thought it would to pick a winner....I did it the old fashioned way and picked it out of a hat...or rather a bushel basket......Anyway, congrats Sandie Troop!  Can't wait to see what books you pick.


It took me a little bit longer to remember all the things that I am diggin this week, but once I got started I realized how many things there were to be happy about...
Loving that my hair is now long enough to tie back into little knots instead of using hairbands to keep my hair out of my face.  Good thing too because the hair band look really wasn't working for me.  I was all set to get my usual hair cut when I came across this article.  The information presented in the article is very similar to the yogic technology Yogi Bhajan always talked about and so I decided that now is the time to grow my hair again.  I need all the intuition I can get.  I guess teaching Kundalini Yoga again has got me back into the yogic groove because I've started to take cold showers in the morning.  As hard as they are to do, I am really diggin them.
     The hair looks especially lovely with my new knit poncho that I found at the Salvation Army a while back.  It is from a company in New Zealand called Waimate, located in, Waimate of course!.  It is a lovely soft knit made with Possum and Merino fibres and is incredibly cozy and warm.  It is the perfect coverup for the Autumn, and I really enjoyed wearing it to the Farmer's Market yesterday because it was warm and it kept the rain from soaking through.  What more can you ask for $2.99!  Love it.
I was delighted to discover a new source for toilet paper that isn't wrapped in plastic packaging.  I made a trip to the wholesale store just behind the Walmart at the Halifax Shopping Centre the other day and came across a Cascades product that is made from recycled paper and is individually wrapped in paper.  The best part is that they sell for about $.75/roll versus the $2.25 that Planet Organic sells Seventh Generation ones for.  So I stocked up and bought a case.  Love it.
Stocking up on Halloween treats was really easy this year now that Shopper's Drug Mart offers their Nativa Organics brand of sea salted potato chips in small Halloween sized servings.  How exciting is that.  I guess I don't need to tell you that I bought a case.  Now we just have to make sure we don't eat them before the 31st......
I'm also pretty excited about the new boots my mom and dad bought Faegan for Christmas this year.  I know it's a little early for Christmas presents but better to give the gift when he can really get a use out of them instead of waiting until winter is half over.  We just discovered Bogs boots and at first I wasn't so sure if we should 1) spend that much money on boots for kids with fast growing feet 2) buy more made in china crap 3) buy more stuff period that will just end up in a landfill 4) bypass my general pledge to buy used goods.  But after reading this post I decided to go for it.  I think the ultimate reason was because they aren't made from plastic.  Lucky boy.  Oh, and my mom, the wonder shopper even found a pair for me at Winners for $70.  They're on their way to me in the mail as we speak.  Thanks mom!
What's this?  More tomatoes?  Oh yes, many more tomatoes have arrived thanks to "my source" at the market.  These were a completely unexpected surprise when I arrived to shop yesterday.  I happily brought them home and set to work making MORE salsa.  This time around I added more chiles because Scott likes it hot.  Hey, that rhymes.

Alright everyone, so that's it for this week's installment of Diggin it Sundays.  I am now going to officially CLOSE the Keeping it Real Book Giveaway contest and sift through the entries and pick a winner!  Woo hoo!  Catch you later.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I love it when I am kind of stressing about what to make for supper, and then end up making something so yum it kind of blows me away.  Tonight was one of those nights.  Plan A was to make Braised Short Ribs, but that idea was short lived because I didn't have any red wine in the house (how could I when I live with a wino?) and didn't feel like making it without.  So at the last moment I thought, hey, why don't I make something with that can of black beans I have sitting in the cupboard?  And so I did, and it was good.  Even better served with garlic cheese bread.  I can still taste the garlic and I've brushed my teeth.

1 can organic black beans (I like Eden Organic, they use BPA free cans)
1 organic red pepper, diced
1/2 bunch organic parsley, minced (about 1/4 cup when all is said and done)
1 organic tomato, diced
1 small organic cucumber, diced

1/4-1/3 cup organic e.v olive oil
1-2 Tbsp organic tamari
2 tsp umbeboshi vinegar
3 Tbsp organic balsamic vinegar
2 tsp local honey
1 clove organic garlic, minced
juice of half an organic lemon

Method:  Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing and serve.  It also tastes great if you let it sit for a bit.
We've been snacking on some pretty tasty Zucchini Parmesan Loaf.  It's a nice alternative to your typical sweet zucchini bread.  At snack time today we enjoyed some toasted with melted swiss cheese. Yum.
I kind of overdid the snack time today and also served apples which we dipped in honey.  We were so full we barely ate lunch.  

There are only 3 days left in the Keeping it Real Book Giveaway Contest!  Wow, how time flies when you're having fun......

For those of you who have already subscribed to the blog and entered the contest, THANK YOU!  It is so great to be a part of a larger community committed to sustainable living.  I love reading your comments and getting to know you all better.  For those of you who haven't entered the contest to win 3 books of your choice from the Keeping It Real Amazon bookstore, what are you waiting for?  It will just take a minute to visit the contest page, read the details and subscribe to the blog.  If you'd like some extra chances to win, all you have to do is visit the blog and click the Facebook "Like" button.  For those people who really want to win, you can also enter again by posting the contest on your Facebook page.  Be sure to leave a comment on the blog letting me know that you did all these things so I can enter your name into the contest.  Alright, good luck y'all.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Late summer is one of my favorite times of year.  The sun is still hot, but the cooler temperatures make me actually want the sun shining on me, instead of making me run for cover (oh the woes of being pale skinned).  There is also the pleasant discovery that the mosquitoes have died down a bit.  I can still hang up loads of laundry to dry in the sun, which is good because nothing pleases me quite so much as seeing laundry on the line.  So as you can see, I am diggin this time of year.
Some other tantalizing treasures from this week include:

* Many thanks to Nicole over at One Hook Wonder for organizing a nature table craft swap.  Last night I completed 13 Leaf Spirits to contribute to the group trade.  I found the idea for these charming wool felt dolls at Twig and Toadstool.  Eventually, Nicole will mail back to me 13 different items for our Nature Table.  Can't wait!
* Really enjoying a hot cup of Egyptian Licorice tea from Yogi Teas.  The Yogi Bhajan quote for today was "Listening provides comfort to others."  Just what I needed to hear right now.
* My new snack love is toasted rye sourdough smothered in almond butter and topped with ripe peaches.
*  Other new snack love is trail mix made with coconut.  When you get a mouthful of coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, and almonds, you think you're eating a chocolate bar.
 * Counting down the last days of summer as we watch the flowers follow the sun's journey across the sky.
* We've been enjoying some magical moments in the forest next to our house.  It is hard to capture the tranquility and peace of this place in pictures.  There are so many big mushrooms growing there amongst the moss and ferns.
Now I'm off to do some major fall cleanup in this house.  Enjoy the sun!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The fields and orchards are being harvested, and we are fully celebrating and enjoying the bounty.  As I previously mentioned, I was up to my armpits in tomatoes this week, and so I made 29 jars of homemade salsa and ketchup.  Canning is one of those things that makes a huge mess in your kitchen and totally exhausts you.  By the end of it you really start to wonder why you do these things, and then you turn around and look at jar upon jar of ruby goodness and can't help but feel pretty darn proud of yourself.  Besides, you have a whole year to recover before you do it all over again.  I've already cracked open a bottle of the salsa for breakfast burritos, and ketchup for these awesome potato delights I like to call Flying Saucers.  I am sure someone else has already discovered that it is much easier to make baked french fries if you cut the potatoes into thin disc-like slices instead of frites, but anyway, I like to think I am somewhat innovative and created these.  They tasted awesome dipped into my homemade ketchup.

organic potatoes
organic e.v olive oil
sea salt
organic pepper, ground

Method:  Preheat oven to 400*.  Slice the potatoes into 1/2" discs.  Toss in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven until one side is golden, flip and bake until potatoes are cooked and they are browned.
Tomato massacre.
Loving the Vita Mix for perfect ketchup making puree.

    • 10 cups chopped organic tomatoes
    • 5 cups chopped organic green and red peppers
    • 5 cups chopped organic onions
    • 2  cups chopped organic hot pepper
    • 1 1/4 cups organic local apple cider vinegar
    • 6 organic garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup fresh organic cilantro, minced
    • 3 tsp salt
    • 1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste
    • Method:  Combine all ingredients except tomato paste in a large sauce pot.  Simmer until it reaches desired thickness.  Stir in the tomato paste, and then ladle the hot salsa into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe rims, seal and process for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.  
This week in mommy kindergarten we are honouring apples by singing about apples, doing fingerplays about apples, telling apple stories, painting and stamping with apples, drawing apple trees on chalkboards, and of course, eating apples!  This morning my son and I made an apple pie together which was a lot of fun, and a lot of yum.  He especially enjoyed using the apple corer/segmenter wheel.  When he tired of that he used my melon baller to dig holes in the flour.
I was so excited about the pie I even called Scott at work to tell him the good news.  Faegan was really proud of himself for making an apple pie too.  It is amazing how much more pleasant our days are together now that we have a nice rhythm going, and spending our mornings on planned activities.  I love it!


5-6 cups peeled, cored and sliced organic apples
1/4 cup local maple syrup, or more to taste
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp organic corn starch
1/4-1/ 2 tsp organic cinnamon powder
1 Tbsp organic lemon juice

Method:  Prepare the pie dough and let it chill in the refrigerator while you cut and slice the apples.  Preheat oven to 450*.  Place the apple slices in a large bowl and toss with the maple syrup, salt, corn starch, cinnamon and lemon juice.  Remove pie dough from fridge and roll out the bottom crust.  Line a 9" pie plate with it and fill with the apples.  Roll out the other half of dough and cover the pie with the crust.  Prick it with a fork and cut a cross in the centre with a knife.  Bake the pie in the oven at 450* for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350* and bake for 45-60 minutes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


There are so many things I am diggin this Sunday.  I don't even know where to start!  As I write this I am looking out my window and it is a beautiful sunny morning.  I am definitely loving that.  Early, early this morning Jude woke up from a slumber to nurse.  As I groggily tended to my suckling babe I could hear an owl who, who, whooing outside my bedroom window.  In my foggy, sleepy state I remember thinking to myself "I must remember to add that to my diggin it Sunday post."  
One of the best things I decided to do this week was organize and rethink my daily rhythm with the children.  I really needed some help, so I did a little Googling and found Little Acorn Leaning childcare guides.  This is what I have been dreaming about for so long, and to find it all prepackaged for me and ready to go was unbelievable!  For the past year or so, my relationship with my eldest has changed due to the pregnancy and birth of Jude.  He has had to share mommy, and mommy has had to learn how to juggle two children which has been difficult at times.  Having organized activities and a set schedule has really helped us to make the most of our time together when Jude is napping and awake.  
The table and benches Scott built a couple of years ago for Faegan are really coming in handy now.  We set them up in the kitchen and dug up some other goodies from our basement to complete the space.  I always knew that chalkboard and cork board would come in handy one day!  I guess there is something to be said for being a bit of a pack rat.  We keep some basic art supplies handy on the table like pencils, crayons, scissors and glue.  I made a couple of impromptu Waldorf style painting boards out of scraps from Scott's wood shop which seem to be working well so far.  It's all so exciting!
I've become enamored with baskets!  I've discovered that you can never have too many around the house.  I have scored some great ones at thrift stores and I love using them for everything.
Like storing children's toys in the living/play room.
For storing puppet friends
The basket I take with me to the Farmer's Market to hold the precious goods like tomatoes and soft fruit.  They also store my shopping bags.
These are my garden baskets.
My fruit basket that lives on my kitchen counter.
One of many laundry baskets.
Faegan's kid-sized laundry hamper.
Office supplies.
A couple of weeks ago I made a trip to my local Salvation Army thrift store and came home with some really great finds.  Today I am wearing the cutest sweater from that "big score" shopping day and have tried to photograph myself wearing it so you can see what I mean.
It's really hard to photograph the back of a sweater when you are wearing it.  But trust me, the hoodie is cute.
It is probably pretty obvious to state, but I am loving the fall produce available right now in my garden and at the Farmer's Market.  I am very pleased that baby Jude is starting his culinary journey at this perfect time of year.  Lately he has been munching on blueberries, cantaloupe, pears and peaches.  It is so nice to have fresh, raw, local foods to offer him. 
The bean plants in the garden are still producing and I really needed a new recipe to delight my taste buds with.  A quick peek into my Everyday Food mag library and I discovered this awesome recipe for Sauteed Green Beans and Red Onion.  A definite keeper....
Just wanted to remind everyone again about the great Keeping it Real Book Give Away going on now until the end of the month.  I recently added some great children's books to the store so be sure to check them out.  Don't forget to tell your friends too!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


So I'm just warning you now, there might be a lot of talk on here about tomatoes for a little while.  My source at the Farmer's Market (don't ask who, I won't be revealing, in fear the mass hordes of Halifax will descend and rob me of my precious produce) came through with a basket of organic tomatoes for preserving.  I had hoped for 3 bushels, and came away with one, but there is talk of more being available next week perhaps. In any case, there is going to be some major tomato action going on in the kitchen.  So much so that I've enlisted the assistance of my mother in law to come by on Monday to help by watching the wee ones while I mess up the kitchen.  But until then, my little red lovelies are laid out on the spare bed upstairs ripening as we speak.  
If anyone has a kick ass salsa recipe, please share.....thanks!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Welcome to "Keeping it Real's" new weekly feature - 'Diggin It Sundays" where I discuss all the latest things that get me excited.  And so, with no further ado.....the first installment for your reading and viewing pleasure.
Enjoying the view of apples ripening in the sun from my sewing room window.
And then picking them with my son and daydreaming about boiling them down into pectin.  It never happened but I had fun thinking I would.
 Love scoring super cheap basil in copious amounts for Hemp Seed Miso Pesto.  
 Enthralled with my mini loaf pans.  They have been getting a workout making zucchini bread and banana chocolate chip loaves.  
I've been impressing myself with the huge stockpile of frozen goods I've managed to make this past couple of weeks.  The freezer is chock full of baby food purees, kale, chard, pesto, string beans and rhubarb.
Enjoying the waft of drying raspberry leaves from my hall closet.

Knitting bliss on circular needles using eco undyed wool.  This is the second pair of wool soakers for baby Jude using the same wonderful pattern for Picky Pants.  Jude lives in them.  He often sports drool and food catching bibs as well.  I've been sewing like a mad woman after the kids have gone to bed in order to keep up with his drooly habits.
 Really appreciating all the hand knit socks our kind neighbours keep sending over for the kids.
Both Scott and I are addicted to the HBO show "Entourage".  I keep reserving them at the library and then watching them at night while I knit.  Scott wishes I wouldn't knit while we veg out in front of the tv but it's the only time I get to knit so I do it anyway.