Fruit Salad ?

Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable? According to the US Supreme Court, they are a vegetable.

Avocados are often questioned for the same thing; fruit or vegetable. They are a fruit.

So this salad….according to the US Supreme court can’t really be called a fruit salad because it does have a vegetable in it….however it is also not your typical ‘salad’ either.

And maybe this isn’t even a salad at all, just some cut up fruit and vegetables with some seeds and dressing….but that’s complicated and so let’s call it a salad and because 2 of 3 items used are fruits, we’re going to call it a fruit salad.

1/3 of the bowl is full of sweet sliced bananas, the middle 1/3 filled with cubed fatty avocado and the last 1/3 of the bowl with diced tomatoes. All of it was sprinkled with raw sesame seeds and drizzled with toasted sesame oil and cranberry walnut balsamic vinegar.


This could be used as a mid-morning or afternoon snack, but I enjoyed it in the evening after dinner when I was craving some chocolate and chips. You see, I’m neither a sweet or savoury girl, but a sweet and savoury girl. I’m more apt to take a bite of a chocolate bar and before the bite is completely finished shove a few chips in my mouth too. Of course, I want to avoid eating these items and try hard to find healthy substitutes to satisfy me.

This ‘salad’ does this because the banana is so sweet while the tomato/avocado with the dressing is savoury.

It’s certainly not the normal salad, but thinking outside the box doesn’t hurt anyone 🙂


Lunch, Meal Planning, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Salad Sandwiches​

A lot of people eat meat, its a fact and even although we enjoyed lots of side vegetable dishes, fruit, salads and grain-based cereals over the holidays we did focus the main dish of our family dinners on a meat. There was lots of turkey, ham and, beef. We were able to locally source two of the three meat.

We decided to include some vegetarian salad sandwiches for snacking and quick easy meals between the large family dinners we were being spoiled with to help balance our diets.

We made a batch of egg salad that included locally sourced eggs from The Roost*, dried dill, fresh chives, pepper and, mayonnaise.

I didn’t like egg salad sandwiches until we lived with Grandma for a while and after 34 years of thinking I hated them, I began to appreciate them.


Thanks to ‘Oh She Glows Everyday’ I’ve now made a chickpea salad filling for sandwiches. This one below included sliced red peppers and spiralized carrot.


The best part of the chickpea salad is that it can be used in a ‘whole bowl’ instead of just sandwiches.


The one above included the chickpea salad, chopped tomatoes, quartered radish, cubed avocado, fresh green peas, roasted pecans and sunflower seeds topped with a dressing also from ‘Oh She Glows Everyday’.

This chickpea salad has quickly become a staple in our kitchen.



Slow Cooker Braised Ribs

After Nana’s Birthday / Christmas Dinner, we had some of the family come back to our house for an overnight.

I have to make sure there is always a ‘meal’ ready for when we have company. Knowing we were having a big turkey dinner at lunch I was sure everyone would say “Oh, I’m too full to eat dinner” but then end up snacking later because they were hungry.

So to be prepared without having to come home and cook a big meal from scratch, we slow cooked the braising ribs (from the Windatt family farm) on the 26th as soon as the turkey was in the oven.

After browning them in a cast iron frying pan, we placed them in the slow cooker on a bed of sliced celery, carrots, onion, chopped garlic (locally sourced), our own dried hot pepper and parsley, salt and pepper and dried oregano.


These were slow cooked on low for 6 hours. Our slow cooker seems to cook things very quickly as they were falling off the bones and very easy to separate. I would have thought it would have taken 8 hours for that to occur.

After removing the meat from the bones the meat was stored in a container and the veggies/broth were stored in a separate container.

Once we were back at the house and a couple of hours had passed, we decided on dinner. And while not everyone was hungry, they knew there was no arguing because it would futile and dinner would be on the table soon.

To serve the ribs we blended the veggies/broth and poured it over the rib meat in a baking dish and warmed it in the oven on low until heated through.

We completed the meal with rice and fresh green peas.

Everyone ate, finished their plates completely and even had pie!

If you cook it, they will eat it 🙂


Dinners, Soups

Christmas Turkey

It has taken forever to get this post started, let alone finished!

Our holiday season was filled with family, family, more family and lots of eating. An early family dinner on December the 16 started the festivities, Christmas Eve family lunch, family lunch on the 27th as well as dinner, and the last family dinner on the 28th of December. There were also plans for a Christmas Day family lunch but the weather was terrible and it was cancelled.

With so many dinners we were spoiled in that we only had to make squash & yams for the first dinner, bring a package of dinner rolls to the second, cook a turkey for the 3rd (but nothing else), do a set it and forget it slow cooker meal for one of them and the last one was taken care of by going out to a restaurant.

It was a wonderful way to see many members of our families, enjoy many meals, and avoid excessive fatigue from overdoing it.

I was able to take a few photos of the food we cooked over the holidays which included: a brined and roasted turkey, braised short ribs, soup, egg salad sandwiches and chickpea salad sandwiches.

This post will include the roasted turkey and the soup.

Our Turkey in the brine….


An 18 Pound Turkey from The Roost (

We set it in a 5-gallon bucket with 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of brown sugar (the salt and sugar were dissolved in hot water first and then diluted with cold water), black peppercorns, bay leaves, lemons, limes, parsley and, thyme.

After 18 hours we removed it from the brine, rinsed it, stuffed it and roasted it in a non-convection oven. It was a big bird and we made the mistake of putting a lid on it without allowing enough space around it. When we took a look the first time, we ended up ripping the skin. We just added a little butter to the exposed meat and turned the temperature down to 300 degrees.

Our Roasted Turkey


The stuffing was bread, pecans, dried cranberries, green onions, dried parsley, thyme and summer savoury leaves. We tried to copy a stuffing we enjoyed at my sister’s house on the 24th – it was the first of its kind we’d tried and it was delicious!

This turkey was make-ahead for a dinner at Nana’s house (her 90th birthday on the 27th!) this is why we decided to brine our turkey this year. After removing the stuffing and, letting it cool slightly we sliced it and packed it up to travel well the next day. It only took a reheating in the oven with a little water in the pan and it was so moist and tasty! I didn’t feel like I was eating ‘day old’ turkey at all.

The Soup Base

Time and Patience are two qualities that continue to pay off when it comes to making the base for my soups. I would call it broth, but it is much too thick.



I cooked the turkey on the 26th of December and on the 29th I baked the bones with an onion, a drizzle of olive oil and a few splashes of apple cider vinegar. (I use vinegar to present an acid to help bones leach minerals).  After 1/2 an hr I added water to cover and simmered them for 12 hrs, adding water every 30 minutes or so to keep the bones submerged. Keep in mind these bones were already cooked for 3 hrs on the 26th, baked for another 30 minutes and then simmered for 12 hrs for a total of 15.5 hrs. After cooking, the bones/meat were removed, the liquid drained through a fine mesh strainer and cooled quickly in an ice bath. Once cooled it was strained through a nut milk bag to remove all debris (we’re both really picky and we could be going overboard, but there are no ‘unquestionable’ little bits in our soups). This soup base in the pictures above looks like gravy!

Time and Patience are qualities that I have, but the quality of the bones are very important when it comes to getting the result I was able to achieve. Purchasing a good quality bird from a local producer is extremely encouraged.

Free range poultry runs around and in comparison to conventional poultry (who as far as I know just sit around all day), I believe that just like humans who exercise vs being sedentary, those that exercise have higher bone densities.

The Soup

First celery and onion were sweated in a large pot


Next, the base was added…


Next, we added potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, diced garlic, dried parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and any meat that came off the bones after being simmered (a good amount from the looks of it!)


And cooked until it was veggies were tender-soft.


This soup would need to be consumed within 3 days as the meat had been cooked for a few days already.

As a rule of thumb, I consume most foods in 1 week or less. Also, because there were many multiple steps, I was and I encourage you also to be very mindful of what your hands touch and wash them multiple times when making something like this.

You never know if and when someone might stop by during the holidays and prevention of foodborne illness is extremely important 🙂

We hope you all had wonderful holidays this year and able to be near your nearest and dearest.







Breakfast, Whole Food Bowls

Mung Bean Breakfast




These three dishes do not look like breakfast at all and actually, it’s hard to even see where the Mung Beans are.

I am one of those people who love Breakfast; not the balanced healthy kind but the bacon, coffee, maple syrup and fruit kind I indulge in on the weekends. I find it hard sometimes to come up with healthy ways of eating breakfast during the week because I get sick of eating smoothies and hot or cold cereals.

Right now I’m loving the trend of ‘bowl’ eating and I’m applying it to breakfast. This concept makes eating whole foods so simple. (FYI, it doesn’t really have to be in a bowl). I start with one whole food and add on until I have a full bowl (or plate) that ends up being a meal. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This past week I took a left turn and decided to make my breakfast ‘bowl’s starting with Mung Beans.

After soaking them for 24 hrs, I cooked them until tender and rinsed.


They have a pea legume flavour instead of the regular ‘bean’ legume taste.

Day 1:


3:1 Ratio of cooked Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal (I realize the hypocrisy) and cooked Mung Beans with capers, with a side of microgreens, green onions, tomatoes and a dollop of hummus.

Day 2:


A bed of microgreens topped with a 1/4 cup of cooked Mung Beans, pear, blueberries, sesame seeds and pine nuts. It was drizzled with a mix of toasted sesame seed oil and balsamic vinegar.

Day 3:


Again, a 3:1 ratio of cooked Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal and cooked Mung Beans topped with diced microgreens, tomatoes, blueberries and a dollop of hummus.

I know it seems weird and not at all like a normal breakfast, but they have lots of different textures (which I love!), colours and let’s not forget….WHOLE FOODS 🙂


A little shout out to our Friends The Wilminks and the homemade colander they created for Ryan & I (You fill our buckets, xo)







gardening, landscaping

Backyard Update

The fence is complete!

The crew started last Tuesday morning by removing the old fence and erecting new posts.  On Wednesday they put up the entire new fence plus two gates. It looks great, all our neighbours are happy and the new wood smells really nice.


Coming into the backyard from the garage side,


That gate from the inside….


The rest of the interior of the backyard…



The section outlined in red is the future location of the garden. We will line the borders with our gardening containers from the farm and will use the ‘in ground’ section for potato plants, zucchini, carrots and possibly other low maintenance plants. The containers will be brought into town in the spring of next year.

This extra post is for the clothesline Ryan will be erecting.


Below is a picture of fence line abutting the planned garden space, down behind the shed and the chainlink gate on the north side of the house.


The shed will be pushed back a few feet closer to the fence line for privacy on this side.

Many thanks to Johnston Fence Contracting for all the hard work creating the basis for our outdoor gardening and backyard oasis!





gardening, landscaping

A Clean Slate

You haven’t heard from us in a while and it’s because we’ve been busy moving!

Our gardening bins are still on the Windatt Family Farm but they will soon join us here in town (Orillia). They’ve been harvested and the only item left is the horseradish. I am in good understanding that it will withstand a frost and will be usable again in the spring if we choose to leave it in the bin over the winter.

So where will the bins go?

We’re lucky enough to have a large lot in town; it was however quite overgrown with trees, shrubs, grass, wildflowers etc.

This past weekend we had a gathering of family & friends over to do a major overhaul in the backyard cleaning the slate for our future spring gardening plans.

The work was to start Saturday morning, but there was a surprise arrival of equipment in the rain Friday evening. It was a little tricky getting it up the slight slope with the slippery grass, but Stephan managed it like a pro and he performed the upheaval of one tree just before it got dark and we sat down together for dinner.

We’ll let the pictures tell the story of how 4 dump truck loads were gathered up and taken away….

This little machine came into the backyard and dropped our short fat pine tree in no time



To get an idea of what the pine tree looked like, we’ve taken a picture of the listing backyard photo…


On Saturday morning, that little machine worked its way around the yard pulling down grapevines, lilac bushes, another and another dead pine. The rest of the crew cut the trees up, trimmed the other trees and bushwacked through all the overgrown grass & weeds.


We were even in the neighbours yard cleaning up the fence line in order to prep the yard for our new fence being built in 2 weeks

We are very thankful to our new neighbours for being so easy to work with. Tibby next door let us into her yard to remove overgrown shrubs, Cindy let us take down a tree growing onto the property line and Lon let us trim trees over growing into our yard and remove shrubs onlong the property line.

Jerry; the most amazing by far, let us get access to our property via his and park super close to his shed….


4 dump truck loads later the backyard was pretty bare….


On Sunday we moved some rocks around, put a load of stone under where the shed will go and moved a small load of topsoil around…


We did end up busting the concrete pad which was located to the right in the picture when leaving the garage. We will fill with stone for the winter and pour concrete in the spring. Out front we removed some shrubs, trimmed the tree and added a rock to the flower garden.

It is definely a clean slate in comparison to when we started. The space feels like it has doubled, but I’ve been warned that feeling will change when the solid wood fence goes up.

For now, stay posted; we will put up pictures of the fence when it is completed and the container bins arrive.

Happy Thankgsgiving!