Monday, August 25, 2014



This is a post I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.  How many of you have ever been to your local Farmers Market?  Well, if you haven’t I would highly recommend you do.  We have amazing Farmers Markets in Nova Scotia.  Locally we have Alderney Landing, Halifax Seaport, Hammonds Plains, Musquodoboit, and the Brewery Market.  Outside of the metro area you can find markets in many other towns.  The Wolfville Market is great, Truro has a great one as well.

If you think you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for I’m here to tell you that’s not the case, you’ll find so much more.  Produce, fresh baked goods, free range meats, and jewellery to name a few.  All year round you will find fresh produce but this  time of year it is bursting with a rainbow of colour.

I think there is a misconception that items at the market are more costly than the grocery store.  In my experience they are usually cheaper or the same price.  Even at the same price you’re getting a much better product, grown by local farmers, picked at the ideal time, and everything is fresh usually picked/harvested within a day or two. Produce at the market may or may not be organic but is for the most part (at least in my experience) no spray. 

So I did a little price comparison








As you can see most things were cheaper at the market and some were the same price but much better quality.  The meat comparisons I did using items from Wild Mountain Farms Meet Up website.  I love their products and they do meetups weekly at different locations, including the Hammonds Plains Market, where you can pick up your order.

You will also find things at the Market you would be hard pressed to find at the grocery store………


…and you will find lots of things at the grocery store that you will NEVER see at the Farmers Market!!


Chicken????  I don’t think so!

I challenge you to get out support our local farmers and visit a Farmers Market in your area!

~~ Jackie

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates

Here’s a quick and easy idea to satisfy your sweet tooth or give you a little energy boost.  Instead of reaching for another coffee, pop or energy drink try one of these.  If you don’t want take the extra time and add the chocolate they are just as tasty without it.

These little gems contain quite a bit of nutritional goodness.  Fibre, B-vitamins, potassium, Vitamins A, K and magnesium to name a few.  Just remember though they should be enjoyed in moderation as they are a fruit and contain quite a bit of natural sugar in their small little packages.  I usually wait till these chill for a bit in the freezer and then slice them in a few pieces, so you’re not eating a whole one each time.

Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates


  • Medjool Dates – pitted
  • Natural almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 70% dark chocolate
  • sea salt

almond butter dates

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  Slice the dates in half being careful not to go all the way through.  You should be able to open them like a book.  Fill with nut butter and close the date.  Dip in the melted chocolate and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Put in the freezer till slightly chilled and slice each date.   Return to freezer to store.


The dates aren’t very photogenic but they make up for it in taste.

~~ Jackie

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Strawberry Jam

I just couldn’t help myself. 

I’ve been on vacation this week, enjoying my time off in the garden and getting some odds and ends done at home.  The weather has been overcast and or rainy all week, but I’m good with that.  I’m not a lover of the heat so this weather works for me, and it makes it easier to deal with the overgrown mess that is the flower beds around here.  The wet ground makes it much easier to pull out those pesky weeds. 

The veggie garden is coming along nicely.  I thought I was going to lose a lot when hurricane Arthur visited a couple weeks ago, but everything survived and has for the most part recovered nicely.  So far I’ve harvested, bok choy, mixed greens, kale, early turnip, radish, and garlic scapes. Still waiting on the tomatoes, cukes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, peppers, potatoes and zucchini.  I didn’t want to let those garden spaces sit empty so I just planted some more radish, mixed greens, and peas a couple of days ago for a second harvest, and they have sprouted already.

PicMonkey Collage1

One of the the yummy things I wait all year for is our amazing Valley Strawberries.  These little red bundles of deliciousness just can’t be beat.  If only they were around longer. 

valley berries

There were a couple of boxes hanging out in the fridge that seemed to be destined for some jam.  Since I can’t make traditional jam to save my life Chia jam is a perfect solution.

Strawberry Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Jam

1 pound fresh strawberries

2 –3 tbsp local honey or maple syrup

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2  tsp vanilla

squeeze of lemon (optional)

Wash, hull and chop strawberries. I pulse mine in the blender or food processor a few times to speed the process up since strawberries take a little longer to break down than other berries, but you can skip that step if you like.


Place chopped berries, and sweetener of choice in a pot over medium heat.  Mash with potato masher once they start to heat up (if you didn’t blend first) to get desired consistency. Bring to a boil add chia seeds, turn heat down to a simmer.  Continue to cook for another 5 – 7 minutes,  stirring frequently.  you can cook a little longer if the mixture still seems very liquid.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and squeeze of lemon if using.  While it’s cooling the magical chia seeds will do their job and thicken it nicely.


Store in fridge to use right away or freeze for later use.


Enjoy, have a qreat day!

~~ Jackie

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tabouli Inspired Quinoa Salad


Summer is finally underway.  Last week was super hot, then Arthur blew in yesterday, and seems to still be hanging around based on the winds outside.  The wind and salt spray were not kind to the garden.  I think I lost most of my peppers and a number of tomato plants.  The chocolate tomatoes seemed to fare the worst.  Time will tell I guess.

Last weekend was my first trip to the Market in a while.  So many yummy things to chose from.  The number one thing on my list was Valley strawberries.  I wait all year for these delicious little berries and they never disappoint.  There really is nothing better.

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Other fresh finds – Beets, carrots, green onions, feta, free range eggs, zucchini, herbs, and sprouts

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Included in the purchases was a huge bunch bouquet of Italian parsley, that was supposed to be destined for Tabouli until I realized I didn’t have any tomatoes.  So I was forced to improvise.

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Tabouli Inspired Quinoa Salad

Amounts are approximate.

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

Shredded purple cabbage, chopped or julienned carrots, diced yellow pepper, chopped green onions

1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (more or less to taste)

juice of 1 very juicy lemon (about 3 tbsp)

xtra large clove of garlic minced or (2-3 small cloves)

EVOO to taste (2 – 3 tbsp)

salt & pepper

RInse quinoa very well, and prepare per package instructions.  Let cool completely.  I always rinse my quinoa well,even though most says it’s already rinsed.  I still find it has a bitter taste if I skip this step.  I also almost always toast it first before adding the water.  Just place in the dry pot over medium – med high heat until slightly toasty.

Whisk oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined.  Add cold quinoa, veggies, and parsley.  Mix well.

There is a lot of healthy goodness in this salad.  Did you know 100 grams of parsley contains more vitamin C than an orange. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin K, A and folate.


This type of salad is easy to change up, add more or less garlic, more cabbage, less peppers more lemon.  Make it your own, get creative and enjoy!

~~ Jackie






Sunday, May 4, 2014

Seven Spice Brown Butter Rice

Here is a simple and tasty side dish for you to try.  Don’t be scared because you see the word butter in the title and whatever you do don’t try to substitute that food like item, that is one molecule away from plastic (aka margarine) you may have in your fridge.  Personally I never liked the taste of margarine and for the most part have always used butter.  There was a short period of time where I did buy into the advertising and used olive oil Becel but it was short lived. 

Butter is a real food that your body knows what to do with and it isn’t the villain it has been made out to be. Grass fed and organic is the best choice because it contains more Omega 3 fats, vitamins (A,E, K2) and antioxidants.  I remember growing up my nanny making butter, from the milk that came from their cows that were milked by hand.  You can’t get more real or organic than that! 

Lets face it butter just tastes better and brown butter, well you just can’t go wrong.


  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (or more if you like curry)
  • 3/4 tsp 7 spice
  • 1 - 2 cups organic spinach, chopped
  • 3 – 4 tbsp butter

IMG_00000535 IMG_00000539   IMG_00000536 

Rinse rice and cook according to package instructions.  In a skillet over medium heat melt butter cook till it is a medium brown colour.  Be careful though once it gets there it will burn quickly.  Turn the heat down a little bit and add the curry and seven spice.  Stir for a few seconds to let the heat bring out the flavour of the spices.  Add the rice and chopped spinach, stir to combine. 


~~  Jackie

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Treats

Hi everyone.  What fun and interesting activities did you partake in this weekend?  We celebrated our friends 50th birthday this weekend at a fancy dinner in Citadel Hill.  I’ve lived here my entire life and had no idea they held functions there.  It was a great evening with great food, and great people. 

Here’s a quick and easy treat for you courtesy of one of the PC Cooking school classes I went to.  It’s a different take on Rice Krispie treats.


  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 3/4 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 chopped dark chocolate (70%)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 cups krispy rice cereal



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Grease 9 1/2 x 11 pan and line with parchment paper.  Heat brown rice syrup and maple syrup to a boil. Remove from heat, add almond butter, chocolate, butter and salt.  Stir till chocolate melts  Pour over cereal and mix well.  Pack mixture firmly into prepared pan.  Chill for an hour in the fridge or about 15 minutes or so in the freezer.  Lift out of the pan and cut in squares.  These are best stored in the fridge.


Have a good week.  Fingers crossed we’ll see some sun.

~ Jackie

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Here we are again, the weekend has flown by as usual and we have had our 659 storm this winter.  Normally winter doesn’t bother me but Mother Nature does not seem to be in her happy place so far this year. 

There aren’t a whole lot of Thai restaurant choices where I live… actually besides the local Italian restaurant, our selection is limited to pizza, Tim Hortons and Subway, so when I was craving some Thai a couple of weeks ago I threw this soup together.  As usual I didn’t measure anything, that’s just how I roll most of the time, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to recreate it, but I had another go at it tonight and it turned out much the same.


  • 1 block organic firm tofu (or chicken if you’re not a tofu fan)
  • 5 – 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 – 3 tsp Thai Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsp Sriracha Sauce (I added more but I like mine spicy)
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 3 – 4 green onions chopped
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • Handful of bean sprouts (optional)
  • Brown rice vermicelli
  • handful of fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt, pepper, granulated garlic, EVOO
  • Hot Sesame Oil (optional)


Remove as much water from the tofu as possible.  I put mine between a couple of layers of paper towel and press with my cast iron pan for a few minutes.

IMG_1356    IMG_1355

Cut in cubes, toss with a little EVOO, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and a few drops of Hot Sesame Oil if you’re using.  Let sit for 15 mins or so.

Saute mushrooms, set aside.  Saute tofu till slightly crispy, set aside. 

In a large pot combine stock, ginger, fish sauce, Sriracha, and minced garlic.  Simmer over medium heat for 15 mins.  Add tofu mushrooms, carrots and noodles. The amount of noodles is up to you.  If you want more of a broth soup add less noodles, a thicker soup add more.  Simmer till noodles are cooked and carrots are soft.  Add lime juice, cilantro, green onions, a couple more drops of hot sesame oil, and bean sprouts.

Serve immediately

thai inspired spicy noodles

Those of you who know me in real life know I am the kitchen gadget queen.  I think I have every gadget / appliance that was ever made for the kitchen.  It’s an addiction really. I have a big mandolin that will julienne for me but one of my more recent purchases is a Julienne Peeler.  This thing is the bomb!  If you don’t have one, and you suck at hate julienning veggies you need to get one of these. It works just like a veggie peeler and in seconds you have nice thin julienned strips.

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Have a good week everyone!

~ Jackie 



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Keeping Up With The Resolutions

Happy New Year!!!  I hope your Christmas and New Year were amazing and that you had a chance to spend some quality time with friends and family.

Here we are 12 days in to the new year and with the new year comes resolutions. Are you starting to lose your resolve?  Personally I don’t make them anymore but when I did they were always pretty much the same, lose weight, eat healthy, exercise, save money etc., nothing earth shattering there.  Like most people I would go full steam ahead for the first month or so then, well you know the story.  Life gets in the way, you get bored, aren’t seeing the results you want and just like that it’s “New Year Resolutions, no I didn’t make any of those”. 

One thing I found that I did and still do sometimes is think of things in a big picture kind of way but don’t think of the small steps and achievements that are going to get me the end goal.  Exercise for example, In your mind you see yourself running a marathon or doing a full Insanity workout within the firs week, but in reality you can’t remember the last time you exercised and can only walk 2k or find yourself out of breath and struggling with the Insanity warm up.  Frustration, disappointment, negative self talk sets in and you give up.  Yup, I’ve been there. 

Then there’s eating healthy.  You’ve decided this is the year you’re going to do it and be a healthy eating machine.  You stock your fridge full of fruit and veggies.  Call on your friend Google to find you a bunch of healthy recipes and for awhile you’re loving those salads and healthy meals but then, you get bored of eating the same thing, realize it takes a lot more time to prepare meals, and then you get tired of cooking.  So what do you do,  you start throwing in the “healthy” frozen dinners, you know the ones I’m talking about Lean Cuisine, WW frozen dinners, Healthy Request… the list is endless.  They say they’re healthy right on the box so it has to be true, right?  Not so much. 

Let’s take a look at WW English Muffin Sandwich (taken from their website)


If I were to make this in my kitchen – Eggs, whole grain English Muffin, white old cheddar cheese, butter, salt and pepper

The frozen version isn’t real food.  It contains sugar, has to have synthetic nutrients added back in because the natural forms are processed out, contains rancid inflammation promoting oils, and when was the last time you saw Fumaric Acid at the Farmers Market or on the shelf at the grocery store.  Fumaric Acid occurs in nature and is present in all living things, however, the form used in our food is chemically synthesized.  In order to do this a catalyst is used to transform malic acid  (also produced by all living organisms )to fumaric acid.  The industrial malic acid (in other words made in a lab), used in our foods is chemically produced from a petrochemical source such as benzene or butane. Now doesn’t that sound delightful.  

So if your resolution was to eat healthier here are a few suggestions to get you started. Some you may already know but sometimes we just need a little reminder.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.


  • Have a smoothie for breakfast every day or even a couple times a week.  1 cup wild blueberries (or berry of choice) 2 cups organic baby spinach (trust me you won’t even know it’s there), 1 cup milk of choice (almond, soy, coconut, cows).  You can add ground flax, almond butter, plain Greek yogurt, hemp seeds or chia seeds to give your smoothie more staying power.  Experiment – but use the berries and spinach as your base and build from that.  Just think you will have more servings of fruit and veggies at breakfast than most people get all day.
  • Skip the breakfast sandwiches at the drive thru.  Make your own healthy version at home.  It’s probably takes less time than sitting in the long line up at the drive thru.  All you need is a couple of eggs, whole wheat English Muffin, and some white old cheddar (skip the plastic cheese and the neon orange cheddar full of dyes/food colouring). Or make a batch of breakfast burritos (eggs, onion, peppers, baby spinach, cheese) and freeze them.  All you have to do is take them out of the freezer and pop them into the microwave, or leave them wrapped in foil and heat them in the toaster oven.
  • Make a large batch of oatmeal at the beginning of the week and just reheat as the week goes on.  If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of oatmeal, don’t just have plain oatmeal.  Cook it in almond milk, and don’t forget about some tasty add-ins like grated apple, cinnamon, pure pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, think apple pie or pumpkin pie oats.  If you chop a banana up and add it when cooking it will melt right in.  Top with some blueberries or strawberries, some almonds or walnuts and a drizzle of REAL maple syrup or a sprinkle of coconut sugar.
  • Switch out boxed frozen waffles or pancakes for your own.  Make a big batch of healthy homemade waffles or pancakes on the weekend, freeze them on a cookie sheet then once frozen transfer them to a freezer bag and in the mornings pop them in to the toaster and voila breakfast.  Try swapping out the maple syrup for some fruit spread for something different (Crofter’s is a good brand)
  • Make your own granola.  Here’s a link to the post I did for Cinnamon Walnut Granola.  In he morning top a bowl of plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of local raw (unpasteurized) honey and a handful of your own homemade granola.          

Cinnamon Walnut Granola             


Remember consistent small changes will eventually add up to big changes.

~~ Jackie