No Seconds

My recent obsession with Prison Break (I know in just a LITTLE but late to the table (no pun intended) has made me curious about inmates and their last meals. Perhaps morbid, but highly fascinating- photographer Henry Hergreaves provides some insight into the last supper of death row inmates.

~ Bumbleberry Local ~

The Mustard Seed Co-op

The Mustard Seed Co-op grocery store is an exciting new edition to the Hamilton food scene. Yesterday, The Mustard Seed held its soft opening, showing shoppers what is in store for them. So what is a co-operative grocery store you ask? A co-op is a business that is democratically owned and run by a group of supporting members. Co-ops are a group of people working together to bring better food, build stronger communities and to support local producers and manufacturers.

The Mustard Seed adheres to the following standards when accepting new suppliers:

1. Local producers and manufacturers
2. Affordable Options
3. Wholesome and non-toxic ingredients
4. Ecologically responsible practices
5. Socially responsible producers
6. Environmentally responsible packaging
7. Ethical animal practices
8. Small-scale and innovative trials
9. Alternative dietary options

The awesome thing about The Mustard Seed is that you can still become a founding member for a one-time fee of $100. Currently they have 1,234 members, which has well exceeded their starting goal of 800 members.

Becoming a member entitles you to a 2% in-store credit on all purchases. That means for each dollar you spend at the Co-op you get a 2 cent credit towards future purchases. As a member you also are granted the right to vote on how the store is run.

However, it is important to note that you don’t need to be a member to shop at the Mustard Seed (some co-op grocery stores in Toronto only allow members to shop.)

The Mustard Seed is located at:

460 York Blvd in Hamilton.  -   Tel. 289-492-COOP

and will be open this Saturday and Sunday 11-5pm, but closed Monday. Their regular hours will start on Tuesday, January 28th; and they will be open 8am – 8pm Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm Sunday.

To become a member and to find out more go to:

You can also follow them on:

Facebook ~


Twitter ~ @mustardseedcoop

Photo credit: the

~ Bumbleberry Scoop ~

New Jelly Belly Flavours

Jelly Belly has just released two new and extreme flavours to its menagerie. Apparently after three years of requests for a beer flavoured bean, Jelly Belly has delivered. Draft is their take on a German wheat beer. Word is the taste is sweet and yeasty… Yum?

The second new flavour is chocolate covered Tobasco flavoured beans. This is a twist in the Tobasco flavour that was introduced last year. The Draft flavour is available for purchase on Jelly belly’ website now and will be for sale in stores soon. No news on when the chocolate Tobasco flavour will be released.

My personal faves are still Juicy Pear and Kiwi.

~ Bumbleberry Loves ~

Junky Tees

Hi my name is Mairi and I’m an addict. Oh, you know that shit is real! My husband and I “joke” that we are like junkies after we effortlessly crush our “_____” (insert Double Big Macs, pizza, poutine, Ketchup chips, Snickers, Reese’s, tacos- here.)

Ever since I was a little kid I have been a hardcore food junkie. I came honestly by the nicknames Smallfry and Gurney (like, as in, “you need to be rolled away on a gurney after you eat so much because you’re fat and in a food coma.) My Grama even had to resort to giving me the “three cocktail shrimp only” rule at family parties- **shame**. That was implemented after (at the tender age of seven) I ate the ENTIRE party sized shrimp ring at Christmas. There is no doubt that food- especially, bad food, is my drug of choice. Now however, as a newly reformed clean eating, recovering addict (who-may-occasionally-fall-off-the-wagon-and-still-crush-a-Double-Big-Mac-let’s-be-honest) I have been keeping away from the hard stuff.

These shirts from Junky Tees are the perfect PSA to remind people of the dangers that come in the form of trans fat, refined sugar and deep fried loveliness horribleness. Or they might just make me have to start my 12 step program all over again, whatever.

You can find your drug of choice tee here…

~ Bumbleberry Clean ~


One of my duties as a grade six teacher is to guide my students through the dreaded Science Fair project. In an effort to try and show my students examples and proof that projects can be useful and meaningful, I discovered the perfect video above.

Adorably awkward Elise decided to test if she could grow buds and vines from a sweet potato bought from a grocery store. After weeks of nothing happening like it was supposed to, Elise went back and was told by the produce manager that no buds or vines would ever grow from that potato because it was treated with Bud Nip, a pesticide made from Chlorpropham.

I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of “Bud Nip” or Chlorpropham before. All I know is that corpse like potato on the right looks super creepy next to the vibrant organic one that is, clearly, full of life.

Elise’s teacher must have missed that lesson about NOT making broad sweeping, fear mongering conclusions about your experiment. Yes, there maybe some connections to pesticides and cancer. However, any good Science teacher will tell you it is important to get all of the facts on the use of Chlorpropham, doses and regulations before you make a blanket statement like Elise does.

Either way the results of this little test were dramatic, and regardless of if “Bud Nip” causes cancer, this video will certainly change my organic buying habits. From my perspective, this experiment was a real eye opener about how even organic items at the grocery store can be impacted by cross contamination from other non-organic items (in close proximity.) I wasn’t even aware this was possible!

I showed this video to my students and it really hit home for them and got them excited about their projects and making a difference. Like Bill Nye says, “Science Rules!”

~ Bumbleberry Bevvies ~

Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers

There is a special place in my heart for quaint, local start ups that create amazing things…. Dillon’s hits all three of these qualifiers - and I’m in love. Dillion’s Small Batch Distillers is a start up from a father/father-in-law (Peter/Gary) and son (Geoff) team. With a vision of bringing the art of craft back to Canadian spirit making- these three guys have gone to work creating some exceptional products. Dillon’s is located in the heart of Niagara country (Beamsville) which enables them to stick to a commitment of making their hard stuff using local fare. Both of Dillon’s gin and vodka recipes are grape based, and their rye is made using local grains.

Since opening their doors in December of 2012, Dillon’s has quickly gained stellar recognition and an avid fan following. The bars and restaurants in Toronto (and westward) who are now serving Dillon’s, reads like a Who’s Who list. Chefs and bartenders alike, from Momofuku, The Drake, bar Isabel, Bymark, Canoe, Langdon Hall and Spencer’s (just to name a small few) have all added Dillon’s to their bar repertoires.

You can now purchase Dillon’s White Rye and Unfiltered Gin 22 at select LCBO locations. I highly recommend using the LCBO app to see if your location is carrying Dillion’s. If it’s not, be sure to ask for it and they will bring in it for you.

If you are looking for more selection, just this week, Dillon’s opened their own Storefront on their website While supplies last you can get their Rose Gin and Pear Liqueur. For the proper cocktail connoisseur, they also offer a selection of six beautiful bottles of aromatic bitters.

To get the full experience you can visit Dillon’s on site. Arrange a tour with Geoff Dillon, sample in their beautifully designed “sipping room” and purchase what cures you there. Trust me with Dillon’s the proof is in the proof.

~ Bumbleberry Loves ~


For the coffee loving, animal obsessed person (such as myself)- I have now been able to have worlds collide with these zoomorphic mugs. I have been eyeing them at Chapters since last Easter, and I finally succumbed to their cuteness. My favourites are the bunny and the bear, but really they are all sweet. Because they are made of such fine porcelain, they can double as whimsical votives (see above.) They are hard to find- as not all Chapters locations carry them. Some David’s Tea locations carry them or you can order them online individual or as a set at

~ Bumbleberry Clean ~

Nature knows what’s up. How amazing is this? Genetically modified corn versus organic. It’s a no brainer.

Photo credit Dr. Wayne Dyer High-res

~ Bumbleberry Clean ~

Nature knows what’s up. How amazing is this? Genetically modified corn versus organic. It’s a no brainer.

Photo credit Dr. Wayne Dyer

~ Bumbleberry Reads ~

Top 10 Cookbooks of 2013

Resolution keeping post #2- as promised my book picks for the year.

So, this was actually a lot more difficult than I thought it would be- considering I bought and was given about 17 cookbooks this year, I guess it would be. To be fair, not all of these books were published in 2013, but they joined my obsessive collection this year so it counts.

If picking ten was hard enough, ordering from one to ten- actually agonizing….. here it is.

10. Salt, Sugar, Fat ~ Michael Ross
Disclaimer- not a cookbook, but damn this book was scary. I’m still haunted by the fact Americans eat 33 pounds of cheese a year- PER PERSON. That’s three times the amount since what Americans were consuming in the early 70’s. Pretty sure I nailed that cheese weigh in no problem for 2012 and uhh, err, well…I’m Canadian. This book really was a paradigm shift for me in terms of the horribleness that is in most of our food and how we are becoming junkies for this crap. After reading this I seriously, and successfully, have been avoiding most processed stuff and 33 pounds of cheese (tear..)

9. Nigellissima ~ Nigella Lawson
Even in the wake of her cocaine admissions and the scandalous divorce from the chauvinistic-wife-beating Charles Saatchi- I still love, adore, covet Nigella. My love for her is unwavering. My husband bought me this book as part of my anniversary gift and I paid it more attention than the actual main gift. Lesson learned, anything food related and I am easily distracted. Nigellissima is Lawson’s foray into Italian- and she knows her stuff having lived in Italy and is fluent in Italian. The book is legit and if you aren’t worried about calories and gluten, there are some wicked pastas here.

8. Momofuku Milk Bar ~ Christina Tosi & David Chang

Ahh, the Momofuku gets me every time. I adore David Chang and all his crazy Ramen and red-faced frivolity, but his cookbooks are wayyyy too intense for me. There is no way I am making some 24-hour dashi at home. The epic milk bar cookies, however, seemed more approachable. There is no doubt that there is still some level of quirky twists in this book. I suddenly found myself scouring the aisles of Whole Foods for milk powder. This book is kind of like the Alice in Wonderland of baking. There is a crazy cool juxtaposition between Christina Tosi’s left brain/right brain. On one hand her dictator-like weighing of ingredients to her super creative and whimsical ingenuity (read: Fruity Pebbles/ Capt’n Crunch/ Coco Puffs cereal flavoured milk in her recipes- genius!) Thanks to Ms. Tosi I also now rock the tied up head scarf while baking- life changer!

7. Giada’s Feel Good Food ~ Giada de Laurentiis

Giada’s Feel Good Food was one of the best selling cookbooks of the year. Even though it only came out in November, it has already sold over 100,000 copies. I haven’t had too much time with it, but it is pretty much like all of Giada’s books. Lots of Anthropologie styling and outfits (her husband Todd is a designer for the brand.) I have already loaded my book up with sticky notes for potential recipes I want to try- which is always a vote of confidence. In line with her healthy living philosophy, Giada also shares some of her unconventional beauty secrets, like a Korean head-to-toe exfoliation from Aroma Spa & Sports in NYC. Who knew?

6. Plenty ~ Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Jerusalem, made the best seller list for 2013, but I am still coveting his 120 vegetarian recipe collection in Plenty. Ottolenghi became well recognized in the culinary world with the success of his eponymous London restaurants. Although I am definitely not a vegetarian, this book takes vegetables to a whole new level of cool. I love his sweet potato cakes! Ottolenghi comes from a Mediterranean background and his recipes are a homage to all of those wicked flavours. The photographs are beautiful and there is one for each recipe, which I always enjoy. If you are looking to step up your side dish game, you will like this one.

5. It’s All Good ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

Oh Gwynie…. Although this book and Gwyneth got ripped for her over dramatic introduction (panic attack in her garden serving lunch = life changing food choices). I have to admit I keep coming back to it. I have a love/hate relationship with Gwyneth. At times I think she is the zenith of cool and at others, that she is just plain bat shit crazy. This book is a follow up to My Father’s Daughter- her first book, which I also recommend. It’s All Good takes Gwyneth’s healthy eating to a whole new level of borderline extreme- no dairy, eggs, sugar, gluten and almost no meat. You may be wondering what’s left, but in this new age of gluten and dairy free, there are some great recipes here that taste good and are good for you. I love her Mexican Green Goddess dressing and turkey meatballs. I am a sucker for the gorgeous clothes, styling and photos. Paltrow is still annoyingly perfect even without her blow outs and makeup, which she decided to forgo to keep with her “natural” theme. Although I did have a good laugh when my cousin-in-law texted me upon getting the book… “would it have killed her to throw on some mascara?”

4. The Art of Living According to Joe Beef ~ Frédéric Morin and David McMillan

This is the cookbook from the guys who created Montreal’s Joe Beef and Liverpool House restaurants. You know if Anthony Bourdain says they are two of his most favourite restaurants in the world- these guys are legit. Momofuku’s David Chang wrote the forward to what he calls this unconventional “cookbook of sorts”. The book details the history of two guys and their journey to create Joe Beef. It’s a romantic look at Montreal and the evolution of it’s food culture. There is no way you will be making all of these recipes, some of them are meant to stay in the restaurant (horse steaks.. for reals), but others, like Kale for a Hangover, will be faves and saviours.

3. Bouchon Bakery ~ Thomas Keller & Sebastian Rouxel

If you are a baker this book is for you. It is, like all of the Keller franchise books, a coffee table book that you can cook from. It is stunning- and the craft of baking is covered from A to Z. If you are unfamiliar with Thomas Keller, google him. His restaurant, the French Laundry in Yountville, California, is one of the hardest dinner reservations to get (google that process too) in the world. Trust me, I know- I tried and also employed my Mom, Dad and Husband - simultaneously-  in the endeavor. We all came out unsuccessful. Anyway, Bouchon Bakery is part of Keller’s restaurant franchise, with outposts in Beverly Hills, Vegas and NYC. The book covers all of the Bouchon crowd drawers, like TKOs (think- pretty Oreos) and jewel-toned French Macaroons. Bread and savoury baking are also covered which makes this book worth its price tag. Included are even a few gluten free recipes… using Keller’s gluten free flour, Cup4Cup which only set you back a small fortune.

2. Against All Grain~ Danielle Walker

This was another late in the year purchase for me, but my eating and my kitchen have been converted in large part by this book. Diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease, Danielle Walker totally transformed her diet removing all dairy and gluten (Paleo) to help with her condition. I have also recently turned to a Paleo way of eating (bye bye gluten, most dairy, sugar and refined carbs) and I have found this book really helpful in the transition. The recipes actually work (which can be hit or miss for most Paleo baking) and they are winners. I am a hardcore foodie and I think about food pretty much all the time- so the prospect of giving certain things up was scary and sad. I can honestly say it hasn’t been that bad thanks to the help of this book and I am genuinely feeling a lot better. If you are gluten free or looking to just have a better way of eating, you should grab this book. I am also going to be sneaky and slip in a shout out for Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tan.

1. Chuck’s Day Off ~ Chuck Hughes

My most favourite book this year, and I am also super biased because I am totally gaga for Chuck. I seriously love him and I’m slightly obsessed with him. My PVR reads like a crazy Chuck stalker, Chuck’s Day Off, Chuck’s Week Off, Chuckmas… you get the idea. My husband bought me this cookbook, but he had to return it because I had already gotten it the second it came out. I gave autographed copies of this book to my friends to convert them to the way of Chuck. In case you aren’t as loco as me, Chuck Hughes is a Montrealer and chef/owner of Garde Manger and Le Bremner. This book is based on his Food Network TV Show, Chuck’s Day Off, where he cooks for his friends, family and staff. The recipes rock, the pictures are fab and the writing is entertaining to read. His recipes are approachable and the majority of them are things you would add to your everyday cooking for sure. Some personal faves… Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Peach Crumble. Chuck never forgets to represents the Canadiana…poutine recipe included.

Here Are the 10 Best Selling Cookbooks of 2013

Happy New Year! Ok. Ok…. one of my resolutions is to keep the Bumbleberry Notebook updated. I have so many awesome things to share, but I am just so damn tired/lazy/overworked that it is hard to find the time. Excuses, excuses….

Anyway, over the Christmas break I managed to add 7 new cookbooks to my collection. Some were gifts and some, well, I just gave myself.

Here are my thoughts on this list (click above to see the winners)….

Dominated by the Pioneer Woman- Ree Dummond and Miss Kay from Duck Dynasty.  Seriously? It actually really doesn’t surprise me because these books are so blue collar all-American it is painful. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s kind of like the second term election of Geroge W. Bush all over again. Never underestimate the powers of middle America.

I sound like a jerk, and look, I appreciate some chicken and waffles as much as the next girl….but I wouldn’t exactly call the number one and two picks on this list culinary masterpieces. I have a few of the Pioneer Woman’s books and they are OKAY, but pretty basic. She is kind of the new Paula Deen with all the y’alls and none of the charisma. She is also like Paula in her reliance on the pre-packaged products, two scoops of mayo and a stick of butter in her recipes. If you want you could watch her show, but you can also watch paint dry.

One of my Christmas purchases was Giada’s (I have heard a certain chef calls her ‘tits and teeth’) new book, Giada’s Feel Good Food, included on this list, which I am really liking. A lot of great food that is good for you, plus she includes some of her beauty and lifestyle tips which were not all of your typical.

I have Yotam Ottolenghi’s first book, Plenty which is all about vegetables, and I adore it. I haven’t picked up Jerusalem yet. I’ve looked at it and it is beautiful and exotic, but I had way too many other books I wanted more.

Can’t go wrong with Barefoot Contessa… any of her books are my go to choices. Foolproof is no exception. This a great recipe from that book…

I read Michael Pollan’s Cooked in the summer. It is not really a cookbook as much as a historical look at food. Let’s put it this way, every time my husband lit the BBQ, I annoyed him with did-you-know facts about the origins of smoke from the “Fire” chapter.

Forks Over Knives I have never even heard of and What Belly I haven’t looked at yet.

Needless to say my top 10 list for 2014 is looks much different (and I think more realistic than this list, unless of course you live on a ranch or like fried squirrel). Tomorrow (resolution keeping) I will share with you my 10 picks for the year.

If you want, let me know what books you loved this year in the comments.


~Bumbleberry Loves~

Reese’s S’mores

In the words of one of my most beloved movie characters of all time, Hamilton “Ham” Porter - the Resse’s S’More…

Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. These are s’mores stuff.

Now pay attention.

First you take the graham.

You stick the chocolate on the graham.

Then, you roast the mallow.

When the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the Reese’s.

Then you cover it with the other end.

Then, you STUFF.

Kind of messy, but good!

~Bumbleberry Cinema~

Prepared to be mesmerized! I love watching French baker, Vincent Talleu, work his hypnotic bakery magic. Here he just whips up a couple of hundred croissants like it’s no big deal… You have to check out his other moves on his You Tube channel. He is a serious pro. There is something inspiring about watching someone who has perfected his craft.

If you like him as much as I do, his website here:

~ Bumbleberry Loves ~

Cooking In Space

Being the science geek that I am, I can’t help but be totally amazed by this video!
Chris Hadfield also happens to be one of the coolest people around.
Science Rules!!