Re-blogged: The Reason I Detoxed My Home

I felt as though it was time to reconnect to the reason I originally started to blog. After sharing my experience with a few people close to me I was encouraged to tell others. Hopefully this might help shed some light on an issue for someone, somewhere and make a difference.

Thank you to all of you that have been reading my blog, liking my posts and commenting freely. I love to hear from you all!


As every parent knows, when something isn’t right with your child your whole world seems to come to a screeching halt. About two years ago mine did just that.
I really can’t pinpoint when it all started. I just know that it felt like an unending stream of sleepless nights and a heart-wrenching feeling of helplessness. It all started with a panicked, middle of the night cry of “Mommy!”
In the foggy world of half asleep and half awake I had bumbled into my daughters’ room to find myself instantly snapped into the here and now. Her face, pillow and hands were covered in blood. Fighting the feelings of panic, my daughter explained that she woke up with her nose bleeding. This was like no other nosebleed I had ever witnessed, let me tell you. After what felt like an eternity, we finally stopped the bleeding and snuggled back in…

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Thoughts from the Vineyard




“If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three – wine, food, and art – as a way of enhancing life.” 
-Robert Mondavi



I live in a region that is abundant with beauty.

In my day-to-day travels I ended up on this beautiful vineyard lush with fruit ripening on the vine. These luscious grapes were so entrancing and plentiful I couldn’t help but gaze at them for as long as possible. I find such incredible wonderment in Nature’s abilities. I longed to touch them – just to see if they were real since they looked so heavenly, but that was not an option.

These bountiful specimens are growing to be transformed into wine. Wonderful, palate-pleasing vino.

After enjoying the vineyard, I visited the adjoining winery for a bottle of wine to enjoy at home, paired with a laid back meal.

It is such a sublime experience to visit a vineyard and know where the wine you set on your table comes from. The journey from plump fruit to an ambrosia of the gods is a splendid thing.

I am not a connoisseur of wine but I do know what I like, and don’t. To me, a glass of wine should be shared. Whether it be shared with a meal that allows the wine and the flavors on the plate to encourage each other to dance seductively or with friends over good conversation and an abundance of laughs. Life, like wine, is to enjoy.


“[Grapes are] the most noble and challenging of fruits.”
Malcolm Dunn, Head Gardener to the 7th Viscount Powerscourt, c 1867
Quotes in ‘Phylloxera’ by Christy Campbell

Over the Moon with Glee

I am over the moon with glee! Yes, I said glee. The joyous, crazy-happy, smiling like a lunatic kind of glee.

The reason? Why I have harvested my first tomatoes of the summer, of course.

First tomatoes of the summer from my garden.

When I purchased the starter plants, the tag stated that they were a yellow pear variety but I’m kind of thinking they were tagged incorrectly. They look like yellow plum to me. No worries, they are still heirloom, organically grown and oh-s0 incredibly delicious.

I decided that these little lovelies would be best showcased as insalata Caprese. Or the rustic Canadian version of such. Since I am the only one in my house that likes (in my case, loves) tomatoes, I only made a small bowl to enjoy with my dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was enjoyed alfresco, overlooking the garden.

Prior to dinner I took a stroll through the garden to see how the other plants were doing. The eggplant has loads of blossoms and one fascinating fruit. I never realized just how beautiful an eggplant plant really is until recently. The leaves a large and lush and the blossoms are  fragile and genteel looking but with a strength that can withstand brutal winds. Quite interesting. But it is the fruit that is really breathtaking. It almost doesn’t look real as it emerges. I walked past it for a few days before it dawned on me that this was the fruit. I can’t get enough of how intriguing the eggplant is.

This post started as a salute to the glorious  tomato and quickly veered of course, for that I apologize.

I love the meals of summer that are casual yet so robust in flavour simply from the few ingredients that are fresh and over-flowing with taste in their purest form.

I am super easy to please these days. Fresh fruit and veggies with some grains thrown in for good measure and I am happy as a…honey bee collecting pollen.

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”    -Lewis Grizzard

Fruits of my Labour

I’m so excited! I have started harvesting from the garden. It is slim pickings just yet but it is such a great feeling to be picking and eating the fruits of my labour. Last night we ate this beauty – a Purple Beauty pepper. The colour is impressive, to say the least. The inside flesh is green and it tastes like a green pepper with a thinner skin. Lovely.

There were a few jalapenos that were ripe for the picking. Very tasty, indeed. They were included into a big batch of vegetarian chili a couple of nights ago. Tonight I intend to bake some jalapeno-cheddar bread with the two jalapenos waiting on my kitchen counter.

Oh, so soon the tomatoes will be ripe and ready to grace our table. I am most looking forward to my first bite of ripe tomato. All the varieties of tomatoes in the garden are loaded with fruit just needing a few more days. My mouth waters in anticipation.

I have been enjoying the kale for a couple of weeks now in different ways. I sautéed it with garlic one evening for dinner.  Another meal I ate it raw mixed into a salad. And my favourite dish that included kale was a sesame noodle salad. I cooked the kale with the noodles and it turned out perfectly tender without being overcooked. Simply luscious.

The herbs have been gracing our table in different recipes for a few weeks, pesto being the family fave.

I have planted a second row of both purple carrots and beets thanks to one of the neighbourhood rabbits that obliterated the first planting. The rabbit has since taken to the Vinca in the front garden. I am pleased with this so long as he remains out of the veggie garden.

Happy harvesting to all!

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”- Alfred Austin

Food of the Gods (and Goddesses)

“Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully. Temperance is wickedness.”   -Stephen Fry
Fresh, locally-grown fruit. What could possibly taste better? There is something so incredibly magical about the growth of fruit and vegetables.
Today my daughter and I took our first weekly visit of the season to a local farm/produce vendor. All the produce comes from local farmers and only what is in season is available. Nothing is brought in from other regions to satisfy the distorted view of all different types of fruit on a constant basis. It is wonderful to not only eat local produce but “in-season” food as well.
Today we purchased yellow plums, peaches, raspberries and tomatoes. Everything is wickedly delicious.  I cannot stop eating the plums! Sweet and flavorful and oh so very juicy.  The true test of a  prime  ripe fruit is whether the juice runs down your hand and arm when you bite into it. These plums turned me into a sticky mess in no time.
Anyone else around here that plans on tasting these plums had better eat some before they are all gone…I can’t be trusted not to devour them all!

Hot Stuff

The weather here is stifling. It is insanely hot and humid…and icky. I am not a “heat” person. I am mentally coaxing myself into the idea of mind over matter these days. My self-talk seems to go something like this…”you are a comfortable temperature. You are enjoying the fresh air and being outdoors. Enjoy the warmth of the sun.” For the most part this is working well for me most of the time. Today, not so much.

When the temperature read 101 degrees outside on my car thermometer I had to do a double take. And this was without the humidex added in!  No wonder I was feeling so sluggish. It felt like I had been stuffed inside a wet paper bag, thrown in a steam sauna and told to act normal. Not that I would know what the whole wet bag plus sauna feels like but today is what I can imagine it must be like. I do not want to test this theory. The acting normal part of the equation is a bit questionable as well. What is normal, anyway?

Today was too hot and humid for:

– having breakfast on the deck (I hoofed it back inside the house to luxuriate in the a/c splendor as soon as I finished watering my garden early this morning)

– going for a walk or bike ride

– eating much more than raw fruits and veggies (I ate massive amounts of red grapes, raspberries and cherries today)

– cooking. Even barbecuing couldn’t tempt me.

I had some errands to do today so I had to bear the heat during the hottest part of the day. Being out and about while it is so hot and humid made me re-examine  how spoiled we are with all our creature comforts. I felt as though I was the only person in a vehicle with the windows down. I got a few stares of incomprehension from people while stopped at traffic lights. I could almost see the thought balloon above their head saying, “Jeez, lady. Are you nuts? Turn on your a/c.”  I did briefly turn on the air but always put down the windows again when my guilt became too strong to bear and I saw my fuel gauge quickly plummeting.  I must admit, I love the feel of wind blowing my hair all over the place. There is a sense of freedom in just letting my hair dance around. Who cares about tangles…I own a comb!

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. There are so many reasons to love this beautiful season. My favourite being the ability to just “go with the flow” and turn down the stress dial a few notches.

Now that the sun has departed for another day I think I will head outside to bask in the light of the moon.

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”   -Russell Baker

Food Fit For A Goddess (a Garden Goddess, that is)

Yesterday I had a hankerin’. An overwhelming, thought-invading, mouth-watering craving. I just had to have the object of my desire…a grilled portobello burger. Ohhhh…yaaaa (that was  reminiscent of the Kool-Aid Man. Scary. See what portobellos do to me? They make me go all loco).

I was on a mission – find the perfect portobello! I felt like a hunter-gatherer of the produce aisle as I inspected each and every mushroom, flipping them  to inspect their gills and sizing up the caps  for firmness. There is something so deliciously primal about mushrooms. The earthy fragrance, varying shades of whites and browns, and the mouth feel makes the mushroom a phenomenal specimen.   See, I told you I’ve gone over the edge for portobellos! Not just portobellos, mind you but most mushrooms.

My quick diagram of a mushroom

To make the perfect portobello burger takes patience. Hard to do when my taste buds are going berserk.  I decided to try something a bit different. I started by marinating the mushroom caps in beer for about 15 minutes (Moosehead, to be exact). When the process of marinating was complete the beer left in the bowl had the most amazing reddish-gold colour. Next step – to the barbeque!

The grill was warmed to medium heat. I’ve made the mistake before of being over-zealous and crispifying my sacred mushrooms on high in the need to feast. I grilled each side until I could see defined grill marks then covered them with foil to help retain a bit of moisture while cooking. When the end of cooking was near, I brushed on a tequila-lime-habenero bbq sauce. Oh my. Meanwhile in the kitchen, I had a large Vidalia onion caramelizing in the cast iron frying pan with a touch of coconut oil and butter for an extra flavour punch.

Then came assembly time.

By this point I was struggling to keep my composure. I am not normally a fan of the huge fluffy white burger bun but this was an occasion that called for one…with sesame seeds on top, of course. I deemed that no extra accoutrements were necessary since I had ensured a flavour bomb with the combination of the mushroom itself, the bbq sauce, the beer and the onions. It was all I could do to quickly snap a pic before I annihilated my dinner. Sorry for the poor photo quality – I was a bit distracted by the deliciousness before me.  Best darn portobello burger I ever sank my teeth into!

The only way it could have been better is if it had two mushrooms instead of one.