Touring BC Egg Farms – Part I

Penny Small

As I ease back into a regular schedule of blogging, things in my life are changing faster than I am always comfortable with. Since January of 2008, I’ve been, for the most part, a stay at home parent. I’ve dabbled in odd jobs and working from home as well as writing, being a freelance photographer and other fun things, but being a parent has always come first. This next week of my life marks the first time in over seven years that I will be alone (like, alone alone) during the day.

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive and yet as it approaches, I am getting a little anxious and apprehensive. I’m not a huge fan of being alone for hours and hours at a time and although I have a list a mile long of all the things I’m going to do when they are in school full-time, I still feel like I won’t love the quiet time as much as I thought I would.

What I am looking forward to though, is the opportunities I can now accept without arranging hours of childcare and pick up/drop offs. One of those opportunities arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back from BC Eggs.
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Nanaimo Bars


Where do I even start?

This past year has been one of the hardest, most exciting, most transformational years of my life. Things happened over the past year that I never thought would happen to me, that I never saw coming, that I didn’t know how to deal with or react to. The emotional roller coaster that I’ve been riding this year made me sometimes happy, sometimes deeply depressed, often euphoric and full of love but also left me sometimes emptier than I’ve ever felt before. My inner monologue has truly never had so much to say to me and this time I took many long moments to really listen to it.

People came into my life that changed me in the most wonderful ways, they made me grow exponentially to form a new layer of myself that wasn’t there before. Although every day of my life, I see opportunity to grow and change and meet new people, this past year was something different. I learned so much about myself, about the ways in which I have reacted to people my whole life and the ways in which I actually want to act now. I’ve always preached a “be true to you” attitude, but sometimes my overt niceness supersedes that feeling of having “no more fucks to give”. The more amazing people that come into my life, the happier I am. I am truly a social person and spending days just being with friends, making food for people I love and just listening to others talk has made for interesting fodder for my thoughts.

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Organic Layered Gardens


So it seems I’ve been preoccupied lately with things that revolve around real world scenarios and less to do with the hubbub of the online world. For the past six years, I could say I was truly drawn into that world of instant gratification…of status updates, likes, follows and so on. But in the past few months, I’ve truly embraced the idea of unplugging myself from that dystopia. True enough, I’ll never truly let go, as I’m always one to keep up with politics, real world international news, my friends in faraway lands and music (which is much more easily accessible via the web as opposed to in real life)…but I’m much happier visiting with friends for coffee in the flesh, gabbing on the phone (who knew these things had phones?!) instead of texting and so on.

But what I really want to share with you is what I’ve been spending all my time doing, besides hiking the nearby mountainscapes (as I’ve already told you about in my previous posts).

Anyone who has followed my blog for a few years knows my obsession with organic gardening, urban agriculture and supporting local food. I’ve lived in rented or purchased houses for the past seven years, having escaped the clutches of the apartment/condo part of my life for good. Although the low maintenance attraction of condos and apartments was good when I was young, I now crave the ability to be able to wander through a yard whenever the whim strikes me. When I am the owner, I usually make it a priority to remove as much grass as possible, as I’m not a big fan of mowing…but sometimes even that can be therapeutic. I plug in some tunes, pull that cord and away I go…
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Heart Health Month 2015

two logs

If you didn’t know already, February is Heart Health Month, put on by the people behind the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. This charity is near to my heart as my father-in-law has suffered from strokes and turned his whole life around to be a healthier, fitter, stronger version of himself. He really showed me that anyone of any age and background can really change their ways, they just need a little motivation. The key is to get motivated before it is too late.

So I’ve partnered with Staples Canada for the month of February on the #GetOutAndGoto campaign to set some goals and talk about health, fitness, diet and something many people forget to mention, happiness. All of these things are truly intertwined. It’s hard to be happy when you don’t feel healthy or your poor diet makes you sick. Many factors contribute to a decline in health, such as stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, abuse of alcohol or drugs, etc. 
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Escargot and Mushroom Flatbread



When I asked my lovely followers on Facebook what kind of mushroom related post they would like to see me write in the coming weeks for my lovely friends at Mushrooms Canada, I received a pretty overwhelming response. Most people came up with some delicious way to cook them like sautéed in butter, or flash fried with tempura, but a good portion of responders said they hated them. How can this BE?!

There are ENDLESS varieties of mushrooms out there, and even though the grocery stores usually only stock crimini, white and portobello, other varieties of mushrooms are just waiting for you to try them out. They don’t all taste the same, and they definitely do not all have the same consistency or mouth feel, so why hate them? My personal take on not liking foods is to question the reason, if they are adults, that is. Kids have weird reasons for not liking foods, like textures or colours, but they they also have difficulties explaining to you why they don’t like something. So when you ask them why, and they can’t tell you, it all breaks down and no one is happy, but when an adult says they don’t like a food (barring allergies) I always ask, “but why?!”.

To me mushrooms are kind of a background bit of kind of spongy goodness that soaks up flavours like butter, salt and garlic (always a good mushroom combo right there) and that serve as little dishes to bring me other wonderful eats, such as crab and cream cheese or escargot. So let’s talk about that one right there, escargot. Another weird kind of food that only a select few awesome people eat. I get it, they’re snails…which are like bugs and are all slimy and gross and have antennas. The world is headed toward more bug eating though, as we find that the foods we do eat are harder to sustain. So why stick to the same old pork, beef, chicken and fish? Branch out! Eat some snails!

This flatbread is a great way to introduce escargot to anyone that has never tried it as they are chopped up quite fine and blend in with the mushrooms. My kids don’t usually eat onions, mushrooms and especially not snails, but they gobbled this “pizza” up like any other. Head on over to the Mushrooms Canada Blog to find the recipe and let me know what you think!

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