The Big Summer Potluck Retreat Recap

Dancing to a live bluegrass band playing into the evening, sipping ice cold rosé while a thunderstorm raged on three sides of a covered patio, laughing with the HomeFries girls – these are just a few of the moments my memory keeps returning to from last weekend’s retreat.

Today I don’t have food photos, cooking tips, or a recipe to share, but rather a brief glimpse into The Big Summer Potluck, an event I recently attended with Clara in rural Pennsylvania.

I believe last year I established that this gathering was decidedly not a conference. I’ve been to a few now, and The Big Potluck is vastly different, swapping dark hotel corridors for open fields, sponsors’ halls for a picturesque barn, and a hurried agenda for a relaxed, poignant event.

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Strawberry Season Recap


They came and went in a flash. Not gone entirely, I suppose, as late varieties still linger at the markets, however when I pulled up at my local U-Pick I was told the strawberries were finished. That was the beginning of my raspberry picking adventure, and another story altogether.


Before the season was over, I did manage to get a few berries tucked away for winter, with the help of Mateo, who washed and drained the lot. He is most enthusiastic about this summer berry, and couldn’t care less about the rest.


Not all the berries went into the freezer; we made sure to feast on them along the way.

First up was a creamy, dreamy strawberry-buttermilk lassi: berries, ice, buttermilk, a sprinkling of sugar unless you like it tangy. Blend. Drink.


There must be roasted strawberries each season, jarred up in their own juices and frozen. For crepes. For cornmeal pancakes.


On they day the strawberries were roasted, I tucked several into a panini along with fresh basil and a few squares of chocolate. Summer lunch at its best.


Ice cream was made, strawberry-sour cream ice cream, at that. Two little boys pulled up stools and watched the pink cream freeze and take on shapes.

It was so good, I made two more batches that week.


And of course, jam. First a Honey-Strawberry Jam, then a Strawberry-Rhubarb Orange Jam from the new Food in Jars cookbook from Marisa. It will go down in history as the very best straw-rhub jam I’ve ever made, with its perfect consistency and balance of sweet and tart.


Strawberry season may be over, but I’m still canning. It’s Canning Week over on Simple Bites, kicking off with Sweet-Cherry Plum Jam, and continuing with Marisa’s sultry Peach Barbecue Sauce. Come join the party.


What are you doing with summer berries?

Ten Years Married


Ten years ago Danny and I tied the knot in an apple orchard with about 120 friends and family looking on. We were young, just 23, full of hopes and plans for the future.

The years since have blessed us with far more that we could have ever dreamed -three healthy children, a little urban farm, careers that we enjoy, and most of all, a love for each other that grows stronger by the day.


On Saturday (our actual anniversary) we returned to the very same orchard with our three little ones in tow. We picnicked on the grass, played tag among the trees, and reminisced over our wedding day.

Later that evening, Danny and I slipped away without the kids for a dinner on the town where we sipped champagne, slurped a dozen oysters, and speculated on what the next ten years might possibly hold. Good things, we are sure of that.

Here are a few iPhone photos from the day.











Clara gave us the very best anniversary present ever – she slept through the whole night in her own bed. This was the morning after, when she was all smiles.
We all were.

PSST! In honour of my 10th wedding anniversary, I’m giving away a KitchenAid 7 Qt Bowl Lift Commercial Stand Mixer valued at $900. Good luck!

(Giveaway is sponsored by KitchenAid USA and only open to US residents.)

The Early Days


Adoration. Elation. Admiration.

Each time Motherhood encircles me and I find myself once again caring for a precious newborn, I am tenderly reminded at how deep my love of babies runs and how much I adore this stage.

It is everything about them. The folds of their soft neck, the downy tufts of hair, every little sigh and squeak they emit while asleep.

It is being surrounded by handmade blankets and tiny knit sweaters as soft as a bunny’s belly.

As much as the laundry piles up, there’s a thrill in folding perfectly white onsies, matching darling little socks, and hanging a row of frilly dresses in the closet.

It’s knowing that nothing else matters outside of the family cocoon, and nothing is worth more than falling asleep with your baby asleep on your chest.

The nourishing and bonding that happens now is far more important that anything that could possibly be going on outside the home – or in the virtual world.


I love every stage of childhood, but I think the most beautiful, most cherished, are the fleeting days and weeks of a newborn. Clara is one month old today, and I fully intend to enjoy every moment I can with her.

You won’t find me posting much in this space (I’m even taking a blogging break from Simple Bites) because, as I’m sure you’ll understand, I’m making the most of the early days…


** All images courtesy of Angela Chin of Tim Chin Photography**

Blog Lovin’, Press Mentions, and a TV Appearance


This post has been in the wings for nearly a month now, but a certain
cute little distraction has kept me from wrapping it up and hitting publish. Finally, here’s the recap.

This year is just three months old, yet it’s already been an exciting one! I’ll try to keep this really short, but I wanted to throw out a few links to the kind folks who have noticed my blogs and given me a little exposure in 2012.

Here they are!

UtHC a Canadian Weblog Awards Winner.

Huge thanks to the good folks behind the 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards. Somehow the jurors saw it fit to award this space with third prize in Best Weblog About Family & Parenting.

I’m so appreciative of the nod and honored to have Under the High Chair in the company of the 1st and 2nd place winners, Home to Heather and Coffee With Julie.

Congratulations to all the CWA winners!

FBC Featured Member

The awesome people over at Food Bloggers of Canada made me their Featured Blogger not long ago, causing me much embarrassment over their glowing recap of my place in the Canadian food bloggers scene.

Thanks, Mardi, Ethan and Melissa!

Best Health Magazine

An interview I had late last fall with Best Health Magazine appeared in their March 2012 print issue on newsstands now. Titled ‘How four female bloggers turned their passion into cash‘, it features Canadian bloggers Schmutzie, Andrea, Heather and myself.

I really appreciated how the article’s writer, Camilla Cornell, closely listened to my story and wrote a very accurate recap of my blogging history. If you’re curious at all as to how I got started, definitely grab the magazine or read the article online.

Family Cook Off on Food Network Canada

The much anticipated Family Cook Off series finally premiered in early March and we threw a little viewing party, despite the fact that I was hugely pregnant. Friends and family converged on my sofas to watch my mother, sisters and I battle it out in a friendly cooking competition.

Labeled as “wild women who can get a little saucy…” the show definitely played up our rural upbringing and had fun framing me as the Kitchen Nazi. Okay, I admit it, I’m the boss in the kitchen, there’s just no way around that once one has had years of experience in a fine-dining kitchen.

So IF you are in Canada, you can watch our episode online right HERE! It’s only 22 minutes, so not much of a time suck.

The editing left out a few interesting parts; for example, at 15:29 minutes in, Haidi cut herself badly while trying to peel the (horrifically rock hard, unripe) peaches provided. She essentially signaled to Miranda to take over, and was out of commission for the rest of the countdown.

Alas, such excitement was not included.

We were super proud of our dishes and had a blast filming! My dad and brother were in the audience (front row) and it was just an unforgettable experience to have together.

Wimbush clan L-R: Haidi, Zoe, John, Josh, Miranda, Aimee

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds!