It is harvest time and my sisters-in-law brought over a tonne of vegetables from their garden to share.

2 giant bags of romaine lettuce
2 lbs of green/yellow beans
1 bag of peas
4 giant zucchini (about 10 lbs in total)

We are making our way through all this wonderful food and I just love how good it looks piled together. So much goodness!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, August 22, 2014 3 comments
In line at the grocery store yesterday I had a really good chat with a stranger about Robin Williams and mental health. Robin is on the cover of pretty much every magazine in the check out line and his death has started an important conversation that we need to be having. I am still genuinely devastated by his death and by the amount of pain he was in. It's still really hard for a lot of people to talk about mental health and mental illness, and hopefully Robin Williams can be the catalyst that gets people talking so they can get the help they need to battle it.

According the Canadian Mental Health Association:

Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
The chances of having mental illness in your lifetime is 1 in 5.
Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague

I have anxiety. I have friends and family with anxiety and depression. I have friends and family with addiction issues. I worked in social services for many years and have worked with both colleagues and clients who struggled with mental illness. One of the repeated headlines I saw after Robin Williams death was "depression is real". It most certainly is and I think talking more openly about it is a good step towards getting people the help they need.

If you think you may be struggling with mental illness, please talk to someone. You do not have to go through it alone.

The following are some Canadian resources for depression and anxiety.

Depression Hurts

Check Up From The Neck Up

Anxiety BC

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Canadian Mental Health Association

Also the more we talk about it, the more we can try to end the stigma associated with mental illness. Check out Bring Change 2 Mind for more information.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, August 21, 2014 9 comments
My favourite flowers growing up were a patch of black-eyed Susans that grew along the back edge of the grain field on our farm. They were my favourite because it was always an adventure to get out to see them, which made me think they were special. It was probably less than a kilometer to reach them, but as a little kid it felt like a very long walk. When we finally made it all the way to the back, it was nice to see such beautiful flowers.

A few years ago a friend gave me a potted black-eyed Susan that she grew. We transplanted it into the backyard and it has since spread out and we have a nice patch of these beautiful flowers. They are in full bloom now and I just love looking at all the yellow.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, August 20, 2014 7 comments
My friend Amanda recently posted that she made Poutine Pizza. The idea was so over the top and fun sounding that it was only a matter of time before I tried it.

For anyone who doesn't know, Poutine is the wonderful mixture of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Seems like an odd thing to put on a pizza, but believe me, it works. Gravy is substituted for the pizza sauce, so there is no confusion of flavours.

I used Amanda's recipe, but didn't go the authentic distance and pick up cheese curds - I just used mozzarella. We also used a poutine add-in, using some deli ham that we thought would taste great on the pizza.

Step 1. Cook up some gravy. I used a package of Poutine Gravy which made 2 cups.

Step 2. Pre-cook your french fries. We used strait cut fries from a bag.

Step 3. Press your favourite pizza dough (we used homemade) into a pizza pan. Add enough poutine gravy to cover dough (as the pizza sauce).

Step 4. Cover in shredded mozzarella. Add some chopped deli ham if desired. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425°F until dough is mostly cooked. 

Step 5. Remove pizza from oven and top with pre-cooked french fries. Spread more shredded mozzarella on top.

Step 6. Top with the rest of your poutine gravy and return to the oven for about 10 minutes (or to desired melty-ness of cheese). Broil for a few minutes to get cheese to bubble.

Poutine Pizza!!!!

This was a really fun treat night meal. It tasted like two amazing things: (1) poutine and (2) fresh rolls dipped in gravy. It was a delight! It was very filling, so we ended up with leftovers that weren't as good the next day. So this might be a great pizza for sharing.

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9 comments
The past few weeks were unexpectedly full. I didn't have any blog posts scheduled so it was pretty quiet around here. With all the running around I wasn't able to roam the blogosphere like I normally do, but I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone this week. And if you're ever looking for me, I always seem to find time to post on Twitter, so feel free to follow me there if you are interested.

In the last few weeks I tried some new recipes and had a few adventures, so now that I'm back on the blog I'll have a few things to write about. I also had an epic wind down on the weekend, where I watched all of season two of Orphan Black in about 24 hours (it was only 10 episodes). It helped me recharge the battery (and also led to some weird conspiracy dreams). That series is well worth your time if you are looking for something new to watch.

So Happy Monday! Hope this week treats you well!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, August 18, 2014 9 comments
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