Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peace For Pigs

Fearmans Slaughterhouse, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
As a kid/teenager I would avoid this area of my hometown; the corner of Appleby Line and Harvester Road in Burlington. But in recent years I began to frequent it. I'll never be able to tolerate the smell in the air of the tortured pigs put to death in murderous ways each day in this part of the city. Being there however to remind the people who pass by puts thought in the mind of the community about the horror that goes on behind the walls of Fearmans (formally Maple Leaf Pork) Slaughterhouse. This daily tragedy takes the lives of up to 45,000 pigs weekly at this location alone and cannot be ignored. Among the largest pig slaughterhouses in Ontario are Quality Meat Packers and Fearman’s Pork. Both these facilities use carbon dioxide gas chambers to “stun” the pigs before they are hung upside down on one leg and bled with “hollow knives” and sent to the scalding tank to remove their hair. Though the pigs are supposed to be unconscious at the bleeding and scalding tank steps, this is not always the case! Once the pigs start blinking around 1.5 minutes after being stunned they are fully conscious, thus some of them may be going through this horrific process fully conscious. Resources such as Toronto Pig Save will give you all the information you need to know about these shameful businesses and organizations such as PETA will send you the literature you need to distribute and educate during a demo of your own. If you want to join in the next protest we hold you can contact me via Twitter @jennjam and I'll send you the information. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Own Made Up In A Panic About A Picnic Creamy Eggless Potato Salad

I'm so excited to see my girlfriends today. The five of us have been besties since childhood and today we're meeting up with all of our children and husbands for a picnic in the park. Among us all we have vegetarians, an egg allergy, a nut allergy and they're all skinny minis who are calorie conscious sooooooo, when I offered to make the salads up for this lunch I had to become a little creative. I've made a green salad with strawberries and blueberries (no walnuts for this occasion) a bean medley salad and I've just tackled a made up on the spot eggless potato salad that actually turned out pretty amazing! I may just scoop a little dish out on the side before I go to keep for myself for tomorrow ;) Hoping they all like it too; I got up at 7am out of potato salad worry to make it!
Approx 20 fingerling potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 quarter each of red, yellow, orange and green bell pepper cut small or one whole of any of those colours
3 stalks of celery cut small
2 green onions finely chopped
1/2 cup Veganaise
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Dill Relish
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard (Gulden's) or any prepared mustard will work
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Dressing: Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and let chill in the fridge until the potatoes are cool and ready.
Vegetables: Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes or until they soften (but not mushy)
Drain in a colander and while they are still hot, add the chopped peppers on top to let the steam soften them a little while the potatoes cool.
Once cool, transfer the vegetables to a serving dish, toss with celery, green onion and dressing. Let it chill in the fridge approximately 1 hour before serving to let the flavours blend.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taco Salad

Baby Romaine + Avacado + Monterey Jack Cheese + Salsa + Tortilla Strips + Ranch Dressing equals my pretty Taco Salad

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Love My Not So High Places Life

Like many days, I spent the morning cleaning my house. Today I tackled the kids bathroom; bleached the toilet (yes ..bleach, I know, I know..) scrubbed the tub, disinfected the sinks, mopped the floor and changed the shower curtain. It's quite a chore for a little space but as I was working away I realized that I really like what I'm doing. I have a sense of pride in my accomplishment when I clean my home; the place where I eat, sleep, hang out and raise my family in.
I used to work full time. I loved my job and for that time in my life it was a good fit. I'd sometimes feel mentally drained at the end of the day and would want to do nothing more than lay on the couch and watch TV. And that was okay because I could. No one else really depended on me then. I gave it my all during the day; put out all the energy I had in me to be sure the work I did reflected a job well done and in the awesome cycle of energy I would gain back from that what I needed to put into another day. And so on and so on ..until I became a Mom. I had my son in the daycare centre in my place of employment; very convenient some might assume! But I hated it. I hated the rushed mornings where he would have to hoover his toaster waffle down in the commute, I hated leaving him with other people, strangers, who would get to witness him take his first steps, I hated having to feed him dinner at my desk because I had to work later hours than what the daycare was open, I hated that I was so mentally and physically drained by the end of the day that I had no desire to do anything else with my son once we got home ....I hated it all. But it didn't last long. In a matter of months I was expecting again, gave birth to my second son and never returned to work again. Instead I set up shop in my home and for six wonderful years I ran a home based child care centre and never ever missed what I once had. A few years into doing daycare in my friend from my previous place of employment called me with an offer I couldn't refuse. She had a very part time position in which she wanted me to take for five hours per week on the weekend. It was perfect for me then and since the children have all grown up and my childcare business phased itself out I've taken on more hours. I couldn't be happier.
I've been offered positions in the last few years, one of which was with the head office and would have required me to travel, which was not an option at all for this homebody. Recently another one has come my way and I've felt sick about it since it was put out there. As I cleaned my boy's bathroom I thought about my friends in high places; how my teacher friends, lawyer friends, police friends, real estate friends and top business exec friends manage their work/life balance and realized the things that occupy my life are not a part of theirs. They have people to clean their homes, a nanny to watch their children and cook their meals (and who they also take on vacations with them) They have gardeners to tend to their lawns so that they can spend their weekends at the cottage in the summer and someone to shovel the snow and hang their Christmas lights so they can be away at the condo skiing in the winter. Some have their kids in private schools and others take vacations a few times per year. (and some do both) If I could bring home a decent salary, which I believe this position would pay, we could have a few of those extra luxuries as well, ..but I don't want them. I like it here where I am. I don't mind cleaning my own mess up and scrubbing my bathrooms. I like cooking a homemade meal for my family. I don't travel much because I don't care to. Shovelling snow counts as my workout some winter mornings. I like my not high places life. I feel so much anxiety around being away from my home life any more than I already am. When will I find time to do the grocery shopping let alone plan a menu for the week?! Who will balance the bank book and get the bills paid? What if something goes technically wrong at work one day where I have to stay late and miss out on one of my kids activities? Who will get them to Baseball, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis etc etc?! When will I have time shop for the perfect gift when they are invited to the birthday parties of classmates, or for the family or for Christmas? How do I squeeze in time to take them for haircuts every month, when do I go get my nails done, when do I plan our little camping getaways or water park weekends, when do you go for bike rides and ice cream, when do I do date night with my husband or go out with friends without feeling I'm sacrificing family time, what about dentist and doctor appointments and what about volunteering on school trips?! When that time is consumed with working more hours, how do I manage it all? Because for me to take on a full time, mentally draining job such as the one on my plate right now it would have to enhance my life, not take away from it. Soon enough my kids will be old enough to stay home by themselves, make plans on their own and I'll be needed less. But I like that they need me right now.
And as I stood on the steps of my bathtub hanging the new shower curtain I looked around at the sparkly sight of my hard work and realized nothing I'll ever be offered from any employer will ever compare to the sense of accomplishments I feel from being a housewife/good mommy. Yes, I have friends in high places, but for now I love my not so high places life.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Just Any Ordinary Corn On The Cob

When I was a teenager we had students from Mexico stay with us one summer. They knew ahead of time they'd have to adapt to a vegetarian diet and as it turned out they liked most of the dishes we made; corn on the cob was one of their faves for a side veg. The first time we served it to them we put out salt, pepper and butter, ..but they asked for mayonnaise and cayenne pepper! That opened our eyes to just how versatile cob corn can be and because of them I've tried other ways to top it since then. Regardless if you boil, steam or grill it these 'butters' all taste uniquely awesome!

Cheesey Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened; 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese; 1 clove garlic, minced; and 1 tbsp minced fresh basil.

Curried Olive Oil with Butter:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; 2 tbsp butter, softened; 1 tbsp minced fresh coriander; 1 tsp curry paste; and 1/2 tsp lemon juice.

Mustard Butter:
1/4 cup butter, softened; 1 tbsp Dijon mustard; and 3/4 tsp parsley

Smoky Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup light mayonnaise; 2 tsp barbecue sauce; and 1 tsp chopped chipotle pepper

Lemon Pepper Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup mayonnaise; 1 tsp each grated lemon rind and lemon juice; and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Mediterranean Olive Oil: 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; 4 tsp minced sun-dried tomatoes; 1/2 tsp dried thyme; and pinch each salt and pepper.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Asparagus Mushroom Tomato Alfredo Tortellini

I get inspired to cook new dinner ideas just by browsing the frozen food section at the grocery store ..but then go home and make it all from fresh. This one went over well with the kids; cheese tortellini, asparagus, mushrooms and grape tomatoes with my homemade white wine alfredo sauce. So simple. And most importantly, no chemicals, preservatives or ingredients I can't pronounce!

Dinner Quick Style!

Last week we had 20 minutes from the time we got home til we had to leave for baseball & soccer, both kids games starting at 6pm. I had cut up veggies in the fridge, beefless vegan strips in the freezer & tortillas and in no time flat dinner was served ..And it wasn't something take out. Fed my family in a hurry and with real food (*pride) It's just taken me all week to find time to brag about it here ;)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Shame On You ~Indigo Girls at Lilith Fair 1997

"We're looking for illegal immigrants, can we check your car?' I said 'Funny I think we were all on the same boat back in 1694!" ..Greatest line in this song.

Lilith Fair 1997 ~Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Jewel....

I saw these amazing women perform this beautiful Joni Mitchell song live at Lilith Fair 1997 in Detroit, MI at the Pine Knob Music Theatre. I'm sure it's already on this blog somewhere but it deserves a re-post.

Friday, July 6, 2012

54-40 Backstage

I've always paid attention to the Canadian music scene. Since my high school days I've followed this band but I've lost track of just how many times I've watched them live. We went on a car ride to the beach today where I got to be the DJ and decided after playing every tune I have of theirs on my iPad that I need more 54-40 back in my life ..and so You Tube and I spent some quality time together when I got home.

Monday, July 2, 2012


"You're worried about how you’re going to feel at the end of your life? What about right now? Live. Right in this minute. That's where the joy's at."
— Abigail Thomas

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Push ~Sarah McLachlan

Of every Sarah song there is, this one makes me think of my husband most.

About Me

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Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)