Posts tagged ‘Calgary’

Modern day porridge

When we moved to Vancouver, I dragged along a variety of products from Highwood Crossing in Alberta. They make awesome organic flours, canola oil and breakfast foods that I doubt are available here. I’ve written before about how much I love their granola and I’m also a big fan of their steel cut oats.

I always admired my grandfather’s unbreakable routine of beginning each day with a steaming bowl of porridge topped with brown sugar and milk. Is there anything more comforting than that? This is my modern-day version – steel cut oats topped with fresh fruit, soy milk, maple syrup, sunflower seeds and ground flax.

Steel cut oats
1 cup of steel cut oats
3 cups water
pinch of salt

Add oats to boiling salted water. Cook for 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy for breakfast, lunch or whenever the mood strikes.


January 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Small space gardens

I’m starting to feel very excited about my forthcoming foray into small space gardening. Look at this beautiful little planter box we spotted outside of Go Fish! in Vancouver. What more can you ask for? Tiny daffodils and narcissus, pansies, creeping something and spring time annuals. Even a little rock. Beautiful!

March 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm 1 comment

Goodbye garden

Here begins the slow goodbye as we trade our current in Calgary’s frigid Zone 3 for a patio full of pots in Vancouver’s lovely Zone 8. When we arrived in our current home almost three years ago the gardens were a blank slate. And now, just when things are finally settling in and filling out, it’s time to move cities.

I love gardening. There are few things I would rather do than spend my days planting, digging and tending to a garden: nothing is more peaceful, calming and real to me than cultivating a little plot of land and watching it grow.

What’s pictured above and below here – the pots and the six inches of dirt are similar to what’s available in our new place. I guess in some ways things won’t change at all. In Calgary I can see the first chives and my pretty violets starting to poke through the earth. I think if I can take a few of them along with me to Vancouver that will be enough.

March 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm 2 comments

Flower season begins

After several years of gardening in Calgary’s frigid Zone 3 climate, we are planning a move to balmy Vancouver, which I believe is Zone 8 (!). This weekend has been filled with househunting but also cherry blossoms trees in full bloom, magnolias unfurling, proud clumps of daffodils and pretty purple crocuses. (more…)

March 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm 5 comments

Bright citrus sunshine

People in Calgary often brag about the sunshine we get here during the winter. It is cloudy, snowy and cold outside today. I try to be an upbeat soul, but sometimes I wonder what they’re on about. It is cloudy, snowy and cold here A LOT. I’ve been  trying to embrace the season by spending a lot of time curled up by a warm fire with the dog, a mug of hot tea and my project of reading through all of Virginia Woolf’s novels again. This has been enjoyable, peaceful, even restorative. (more…)

January 25, 2010 at 11:20 pm 1 comment

A better way to eat

local food faves

Over the past year we’ve made a conscious choice to shift our purchasing patterns and lifestyle choices to align with the very intelligent movement around food that is unprocessed, ethical, local, organic and seasonal. In other words, real food. It’s sad and crazy that our North American culture has leaned so far in the wrong direction when it comes to industrial, unsustainable food production practices, not to mention the fact that we as consumers continue to put these products into our bodies and then wonder why health care costs, cancer rates, obesity, fatigue, stress and many other diseases and symptoms plague our society.

The main thing we changed was to drastically reduce our use of traditional grocery stores like Safeway, Sobeys, Superstore etc. Our routine now includes a weekly trip to the Calgary Farmer’s Market, a weekly order from Spud and occasional visits to Planet Organic for staples we can’t find at those other locations. Sunnyside Market is also conveniently located for picking up last minute items and fresh produce. We still make a trip to Safeway once in a while, but it’s less than once a month and it’s starting to seem more and more unnecessary. We’re also growing some of our own food. We have a tiny yard, so it’s not much, but every handful of fresh herbs and plate of salad that we harvest from the deck brings huge satisfaction – it tastes amazing and reinforces what we’re trying to do.

Slowly but surely we’re filling our cupboards and fridge with local foods instead of products that are shipped from thousands of miles away. I’m sure we’ve never been healthier. We’re eating better and we’re cooking better, inspired by more interesting ingredients. I’m thrilled to part with an extra dollar or two knowing that more of my money is going into the local economy and into the hands of a producer who actually cares about the quality of the food we’re eating and is also investing their time, money and effort into creating a more sustainable food system.

July 9, 2009 at 10:31 pm 1 comment



I’m still learning about strawberries. I purchased a small package of them last year for a hanging basket. I’d read somewhere that you should pinch back the flowers of strawberry plants during their first year, so I did this and only harvested a handful of berries. In the fall, I planted the strawberries in a small patch of dirt along the sunny, west facing spot along fence; small shoots also went in a couple of spots in our front yard. I mulched the strawberry plants heavily for the winter, and when spring came one of the first signs of life was these three bits of strawberry. The largest clump along the fence is flourishing and now has numerous flowers that I hope will turn into delicious berries. The two tiny shoots are both in shadier spots, but they’re coming along nicely. I was so encouraged by their early, healthy start that I purchased more strawberry plants this spring. Two were planted in a sunny spot under the large cherry tree in our backyard, but they’ve unfortunately already met their demise at the hands of the hungry (and destructive!) squirrels that live in our backyard. I also have a cute little strawberry pot stuffed with plants on our toasty warm south-facing backyard deck. I can’t bring myself to pinch off the flowers on any of the new ones, even after seeing how healthy last year’s plants look after having done so. I will do some more research on this question of pinching back the flowers of new plants in the first year. For now, I’m too keen on living in the moment and enjoying some fresh berries this year to do the deed!

The plants in our yard will probably only yield a few small handfuls of berries. There are a number of U-Pick berry and vegetable farms in the Calgary area and I’m interested in making a trip out to harvest some strawberries for snacking, baking, salads and maybe jam if I’m feeling really ambitious. During our last trip to Victoria I experienced the most amazing strawberry-rhubarb jam with my toast when we had breakfast at the Blue Fox Cafe – still can’t get it out of my head and I’m keen to try to make my own.

July 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm 3 comments

Flickr Photos

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