Best damn burger in the Valley

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I ate, I drank and I sure as hell tweeted.

I had heard of Eat.Drink.Tweet last year by some local folks that are certainly more in the 'social media~know' than me. Fun was had by all last year and this year, I was determined to join in.

Allison Markin is the brain child behind this succesful networking event and she runs a nifty little company in Penticton called All She Wrote Consulting. Basically, Allison has been making all kinds of sparks in the field of marketing, event management, coordinating seminars and speaking at conferences. With an organized approach, a great team to help her out and a state-of-the-art conference buiding (The Jim Pattison OUC Centre of Excellence building), this event was sure to be a hit. 

Did I forget to mention the beer and wine? Not only was this a mother board-overload of social media information (I have never seen so many iphones in one room), but they gave us booze... at lunch time! :D 

With wine tasting Friday night, care of the Naramata Bench Winery Association we were wined, dined and dazzled... and it was still only Friday. 

I was thrilled to have met all the great folks that attended this event and to the speakers, thanks for doing all the hard stuff and passin' on the goods to us. 

Cannery Brewery in Penticton was kind enough to keep our taste buds buzzing with their generous samples of micro-brewed goodness. 

This view finder helped me find my way to Red Rooster Winery where I was treated to an exquisite Malbec that shall remain in my heart forever.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rainy Day Smoothie

Its wet out this fine Friday!

Tomorrow is Sunshine Festival here in Vernon and I'm hoping that Mommy Nature decides to let the sun shine rather than continue her, rather dreary, onslaught of wetness!

However, my green garden is very green with lotsa greens and green things coming~which makes for great green smoothies!

Todays Treat:

Fresh strawberries
cucumbers 2 x mini guys is what I used fresh from the market
chia (about a tbsp)
juice or almond milk ( I guess soy milk if your into it)
banana (the blacker the better ha!)
ice cubes 4 or 5 of em

Juice the first 4 things, then add it all into your blender apparatus~!



Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reduce? What? You mean my money can work for me?

Reduce Reuse Recycle

We have heard this all before many times... But I realized that I learned habits for each of these principles Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in different stages of my life. I believe now, I am in the journey of refining these principles.

When I was a teen I really was about the recycle stuff. I worked hard to try and teach myself and others (mostly my family!) that they needed to recycle. I was passionate about it and I was beginning to see how much I loved to see our waste be somewhat controlled.

When I became a mother, I realized the value of those bits of recycling for amusing my ever curious, quite crafty kid! Whether it was for holding buttons or rocks, or painting pallets, beads and the like, the giant recycling bag had the purposeful item needed for any project! It also made for great bath toys, bug traps and other child like, worldly treasures.

It seems as I ease my way into my dirty thirties, I have realized that the word 'reduce' is merely a word to me. Not so much a practice... Reduce what? How much crap I buy? Question all my purchases? Always? Wow! Is it worth it? Yes!

Responsibility always is worth it! I feel better and I know I'm part of the solution. I may not always be right with my choices, I make mistakes all the time. But I'm evolving and learning all the time. Refining is the key.

Some Reduce Ideas:

Glass milk jugs: buying milk in glass bottles means that you can get your milk and bring back the glass bottle. Or say if you don't bring the glass bottles back, they make excellent vases for your fresh summer flowers.

Egg Cartons can be brought back to many farmers market people that sell eggs. They like to receive their own cartons back often and they may give you a deposit back when you purchase from them.

Buy goods in jars and glass ware rather than tin. that can be washed and reused. Tin cans have a purpose and we all have been trained to buy them, but they contain BPA in the linings and usually have more preservatives in them like Edta and such. In glass that has been canned, the heating process eliminates any harmful bacteria.

I often shop for pretty bottles when buying vinegars and such, then when they are empty, I clean them and decorate them for gifts to give away scented oils or they make nice homemade salad dressing containers. I keep wine corks, or any corks really! I love corks! They make for great crafting! I had a friend that made a moveable puppet out of corks and eye hooks once. They also make nice stoppers for your collected pretty bottles!

I buy sandwich bags about once or maybe twice a year, then just wash em and re use them.

I buy cling wrap a few times a year, tinfoil too. I reuse as much as possible with stuff like that. I wash it and store it. I like parchment paper for baking and you can reuse that quite a few times. i can usually get a coupla' years out of a roll of that. Both cling wrap and tinfoil can be recycled.

Buy Bulk! Bulk buying is more work, but it is much cheaper and you have much less waste. When you buy cleaning products in spray bottles, when they empty, buy bulk cleaning agents to refill them with rather than always buying the small amounts. This way you buy much less often. the same can be said for dish soap and hand soap. Concentrated cleaning products are even better, because you use very little, then just add water. Trust me! There are some great concentrated, natural cleaning products out there (ie: Citra Solv)

Some Reuse purposes:

-Styrofoam trays from the grocery store (unless they have stored meat) can be reused as a paint plates, glue plates all the things moms and day cares need for doing kids crafts.

Egg Cartons can be brought back to the farmers that sell eggs. They like to receive their own cartons back often and they may give you a deposit back when you purchase from them. Make sure they are clean!

Or you can use them to start your seeds inside early spring for your garden. They make perfect little seedling nests.

Yogurt containers and the like are a tough one because you can end up with so many. But you can keep them and use them for tupperware when you go some where for dinner and want to bring food back home with you or to hold the leftover food you want to send home with others.

Another wonderful purpose for yogurt containers is to protect your baby plants in the garden when you first plant them this time of year. Just cut the bottom of the yogurt containers out and gently place over your new baby plants. Tomatoes, basil and peppers are the most happy when you do this.

Keep your silver lined coffee bags and give them to crafty folk that know how to make purses and like from them. I know in our community there are a few people that collect those bags to make new things from. My friend Katie in Vernon owns a little craft business called 'Kate's Crafts' and she makes beautiful clutch purses out of woven, recycled coffee bags. Love it!

Some Recycling Tips:

Recycling is totally an evolving art form. Every few years, new ways of recycling products arises and our waste once again can be controlled that much more.

The recycling guide for our community has lots of different references to make sure your recycling gets the right place.

This is a wonderfully comprehensive website that gives you insight into all kinds of things you can do to get rid of your junk and find things you may need!

The Recyclapedia option on this website is an awesome resource for finding out what you can and can't recycle.

For example I looked up styro foam on here to see what can be done, as it is not recyclable and rather terrible in our landfills. It says that packing peanuts and clean, reusable styro foam might be accepted by UPS and other packaging depots like that.

Freecycling Network

Freecycling in Vernon is a google group that shares and asks for items that people may have or need.

You need to sort of ask to join this group and you can follow the prompts for our area on the website.

This group is monitored and there is no profit to be made at all. Most items are to be picked up in a timely manner so you need to be prepared to get it quick.

The only real rule is that before you ask for something, you give something first.

You wouldn't believe what I have seen given away on here. If you are looking for something in particular, this is a great network to try and find it at no cost.

Good luck all on your journey of the 3 R's! May we teach our children well to maintain these simple principles for proper waste reduction!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eating Together! Food, Family and our Community.

So I gave a speech last night at a Chamber of Commerce Event in Vernon. It was only to a small group of folks, but I really took the time to analyze my thoughts about the topic I decided to talk about.
Thanks to my co-worker Nikki, it is much more readable, with my atrocious grammer fixed up!

Eating Together! Food, Families, and our Community

I am, first and foremost, a community participant, food advocate, Tweeting and Facebook HOUND. I have a regular little radio show on 107.5 Kiss FM every Sunday morning called ‘Food for Thought’ and I work with many other community-minded foodie folk across the Okanagan trying to bring awareness and change to how we prepare and eat food together.

In the past I have had the pleasure of working as a kitchen manager with Nature’s Fare Markets, a farm laborer with Friesen’s Country Thyme Gardens and Zelaney Farms and a food server in restaurants such as Hubert’s in Lumby and Paradise Camp on the back side of Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort. All these positions have given me a unique view into how food has shaped our community.

My current full time gig is working as the marketing coordinator for Rancho Vignola Nuts and Dried Fruit in Armstrong. I have had this remarkably satisfying job now for the past 2 years and am very thankful for the opportunities it has allowed me.

Rancho Vignola is a dried fruit and nut distribution company that selectively sources fresh nuts and premium dried fruit from growers and distributors in Canada and abroad. These products are only purchased and distributed during the current year of harvesting. This makes for products that are noticeably fresher and more shelf-stable than the ones available in the grocery store.

On average, eating a meal at home with our families is not an everyday practice. It is difficult, with meetings and our children’s extracurricular activities, to be able to sit down together and enjoy a meal. Approximately 1/3 to 1/4 of Canadian families seldom or irregularly eat together in any given week.

However, I don’t believe many families would choose this separation. We need to be shown how to prepare food together. We need to discuss how even the youngest of our family members can be a part of building a meal.
You share your day, you share your knowledge, and most importantly, you share your time by working together to prepare, eat and clean up after a meal.

Even if it only happens successfully once a week, or it happens at breakfast rather than dinner, having children and teens participating in the preparation of meals will most definitely encourage healthier habits once children grow and live on their own.

Our need to eat has not changed for us as a species, but certainly the choices of what we eat have. We feel much more pressure to eat for the sake of schedules rather than our actual hunger and convenience foods have certainly become a huge commodity market because of this trend.
Though eating is a basic necessity, cooking or preparing food is not! With the amount of instant food marketed to us today at bargain barrel, discount prices, we can easily choose to not prepare meals at all.

However, our health and the well-being of our children is at stake when making such choices. I have come to the realization that teaching parents to prepare meals is one thing, but our resources may be better spent teaching our children. Encouraging discussions about where our food comes from and how it is grown in schools is going to prepare our children strongly for the pressures of eating healthy as adults. Math, science and social skills, interaction, sharing, and basic manners are all a part of preparing and eating food together.

Community participation and the growth of community around the topic of food can help to facilitate this knowledge in children. Whether it’s having neighborhood potlucks, sharing your favorite home-baked goods at bake sales, or sharing recipes with friends and family, these actions show our children the power that food has for bringing people together.

Rancho Vignola encourages alternative buying or bulk buying opportunities once or maybe a few times a year. This means getting friends and family together to coordinate an order large enough that those involved have stocked pantries! Many folks that buy from us, share stories about how they have potlucks and events to bring people together for putting in their yearly fall order. Generations of families purchase together from Rancho Vignola, building relationships with each other that many of us take for granted.

Purchasing products that can be stored for up to a year in our houses is not a new concept. But today in the age of instant satisfaction, purchasing our food for the day or the week is a more practiced alternative. Storing semi-perishable food in cold storage, refrigerators, or freezers encourages people to have on hand nutritious ingredients year round.

Operating on the principle that ‘food is community’ is part of what has made Rancho Vignola successful. From the families who grow the food to the families who sit together and share it, food creates a human bond.
Sharing food has been a powerful marketing tool for the company, and one that is universally needed and accepted.

The vibrancy that exists in our food culture here in the Okanagan is unique. We have a wonderful growing season here and many farmers and gardeners. We have successful and vivacious farmers markets that provide us with not only food, but culture, music, and art, encouraging our friends and neighbors to make an income off of providing us with goods we want and love.

We have community volunteers that work long and hard to provide us with community gardens, community kitchens, and ‘Good Food Box’ programs where we can share knowledge, develop ideas, and eat healthy food at little to no cost! Supporting these initiatives is the key to keeping them. Knowing about them... is a start!

In the United States and Great Britain, Jamie Oliver has pounded the pavement and bureaucratic brains trying to get people to see how what we feed ourselves and our families affects our ability to live healthy, balanced lifestyles. I feel he has done a fantastic job of making the general public aware of this problem. But it is up to us in our community to try to encourage change here.

The Slow Food movement, sustainability, 100 mile diet, food security... these are all words and statements that are hot on the lips of foodies today. All these statements are pointing towards bringing people together over the issue of food - talking about it, thinking about it, considering the pros and cons of your next meal!

Though this might not be exactly what some of you want to think about on a regular basis, thinking about it now and sharing your knowledge with your family, friends, and coworkers is going to encourage a better, healthier aging process with less illness, less depression, and more energy to truly live your passions. More energy to participate in this lively, bright community we call home.

Here are some really good links I wish to share:

Project CHEF: Cook Healthy Edible Food is an experiential, curriculum-based school program aimed at children in grades four and five that teaches students about healthy food: where it comes from, what it tastes like, how to prepare it and how to enjoy sharing it around a table.
A site to help families build personalized meal plans based loosely on what is in season in their region. It’s not a perfect match to region yet, but it’s close and the recipes are mostly easy and fast.
This website is really a ‘one stop shop’ for information about what is happening food-wise in our community. Here is where you find out about programs such as The Good Food Box, community gardens, and community kitchen initiatives. Gleaning projects are also posted regularly on this website. If you have a local company that sells food or you are a food producer, you can add your company to the ‘Local Food Directory/Map’
@RanchoVignola also me tweeting for Rancho. is our Facebook page (Please ‘like’ us!)

@jaymemckillop is my Twitter handle.
Local First radio! Supports many great projects in our community and is a huge supporter of the farmers market.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Your Gone...

YOu left all of a sudden... it felt like.

You forgot to say goodbye... the last time I saw you, you had that sickness...
you know the one that takes your soul and chews it up like zombie breath.

Its too bad to see you gone. I didn't even know where you were...
thought you were home but I was wrong. I'd see you and people would talk,
say you were sad.

Gone. You left again. This time you had more problems and I know its gonna be hard to find you.

I wish you would come out of the zombie grip. You got more than that Man!
You are more than that. I used to cry when you sang.

you had the right passion my friend. Thats what counts. Ive figured it out. You helped piece the puzzle my friend. You

helped to introduce the right magic...

I won't forget though your forgotten. I want to remember and honor your hopes.

You woulda liked it that way I know it. Before when you were you. Its hard to fight through what you've done to yourself.

To know you. You tipped the scales and fell along. YoU rolled down hill.

If you came back I would help you.

I would promise to visit and say the right things.
You deserve it. You dreamed it. I remember.

You're Gone my friend. I would welcome you back.

At least I would try.

Friday, February 4, 2011



Passions misplaced.
Set down like dirty dishes stacked high.
Another day will come and go without use of creative juices to fuel the next step.

Years maybe? Feels like it. What so lit me alite before, has only sparked my interest occasionally by others who do it well.

Time. I say. More
As if cramming more hours down my throat would squelch something haunting.

Haunted. Not by fears or expectations, recognition or responsibility.
By sheer need. True possession. Absolute sincerity of self.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sometimes Inspiration comes in a simple shade of grey...

Im flawed

Im flawed and Im sure of it now. I don’t say it to make you feel sorry for me. I don’t say it to make you look for physical scars or secrets I have kept from you. If you knew me, you would know I wear my secrets like cheap costume jewellery bought second hand.

Im flawed. I don’ t need to say how. Maybe I don’t even know really. Maybe the face I look at in the mirror everyday is simply an image imagined thru the veil of social pressure. Maybe the ‘skinny’ mirror has finally swallowed me whole and left me thinking Im still beautiful.

Im flawed. I had my teeth fixed to try and fix it and Im grateful! For now I have a bright smile with friendly teeth. Straight or not they are mine to rub my tongue over, instruments to begin digestion of food made with love.

Im flawed. I have curves and get called matronly. I have been hurt by that before... robust, curvaceous, buxom, voluptuous... I prefer warm, soft and womanly, words that don’t describe whats my outside, but words that matter when encircled in the embrace of an opinion that matters.

Im flawed. I except that. Not for the sake of you or anyone else. I except that for the me that gets buried under my own hurtful words screaming myself into silence. I except that for the me that try’s too hard to hate what I must present, physically to the world. I except that for the people in my life I hold so dear, who’s physicality has absolutely no bearing on what I think of them.

Im flawed. Im passionate. Im hopeful. Im strong. Im healthy. Im happy. Im flawed.