We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter so far in Ontario, so it’s no surprise that some of the vendors at the Farmer’s Markets are still holding off from packing it in for the season.  While we were back in Waterloo a couple of weeks ago, Jon and I stopped into the St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market with the plan of just picking up a bushel of apples to make some homemade apple butter.   Buying apples by the bushel is a great deal, but there were lots of other deals to be had.  We bought a large selection of different squash, beets, some brussels sprouts and  a sugar pumpkin for a fraction of the price that we would pay at our grocery store in Toronto.  Jon and I are both a sucker for a good deal so we filled a couple of large bags knowing that most of it would keep for quite a while.

Then we stumbled upon a lady with a table full of organic blackberries.  It was the end of day and I guess she was trying to get rid of them because she was selling them for $2.00 a pint!!!!!!!! (extra exclamation marks = extra enthusiasm!)

As an aside, berries are one of the items that I always try to buy organic.  Although strawberries and blueberries are the only ones officially on the Dirty Dozen list, I’ve seen raspberries on other similar lists so I figure blackberries should be grouped in there as well.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Dirty Dozen list is an annual list compiled by the Environmental Working Group outlining the twelve (this year they’ve actually listed 14) fruits and vegetables that are the most important to buy organic.  Obviously organic produce is more expensive, which is what discourages some people from buying it at all.  However, if you have a limited budget to put towards organic produce, make it the items on this list in order to reduce your pesticide exposure as much as possible.  They also publish the “Clean Fifteen” list, so you know which items you can save money on by buying conventional.  I tend to use this list as a guide for my own shopping, not only for financial reasons but because the grocery store closest to me does not have a huge organic selection and it’s helpful in deciding which things I will go out of my way to buy.  Here is the list for 2012:

EWG's Dirty Dozen List

Edited to Add: The Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen List for 2013 has been released.  Check it out here.

Anyhoo, back to the killer deal on organic blackberries.  Jon and I were seriously considering buying a whole flat, but our freezer is already packed so we had to settle for a few pints – sigh, the cons of living in a condo.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but I knew I would figure out something delicious.

A few days later, I was doing some dinner prep work in the morning while I was making breakfast.  I was cooking a pot of quinoa and decided to put in some extra for Tyson’s breakfast.  Tyson has tried quinoa before, but I typically just put it on his highchair tray and let him make a mess of it as he tries to get some of it into his mouth.  This particular morning I decided to make it into more of a porridge.  So in went a little breast milk (that I had in the fridge, in case you were wondering!) and some of the juicy, delicious organic blackberries.  And a new recipe was born!


Quinoa and Blackberry Porridge

Prep Time: 20 minutes (cooking the quinoa)
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (makes 3/4 cup)

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 6-7 fresh blackberries (or whatever berries you have on hand)
  • 2 tbsp of water or breast milk
  • a dash of cinnamon (optional)


1.  Mix all ingredients together and serve*.  Pretty simple, huh?

* I gave mine a couple of pulses in the magic bullet before serving to Tyson, just to make it more porridge-like, but this is completely optional.

Tyson was a bit hesitant about this dish at first, but by the end he was loving it.  If your baby is unsure about the quinoa (it can sometimes taste slightly bitter), just add a few more blackberries or a bit more cinnamon and they will be eating it right up.

I ended up eating the same thing for my own breakfast (subbing almond milk for the breast milk of course) and it was a nice change from the standard oatmeal.  And, it’s always a bonus when I don’t have to cook two separate meals (which is something I will be discussing in an upcoming post.)  Plus, as you’ve probably heard, quinoa is a nutritional power-house.  It is one of the only seeds/grains that is considered a complete protein source (which means it contains all of the essential amino acids).  It is full of antioxidants and phytonutrients (which prevent all sorts of disease) and is surprisingly high in calcium.


So thanks to the lady who off-loaded her blackberries on me at the market.  Not only was I thrilled to score such a good deal – my friends and family don’t call me “Frugal Franny” for nothing – but she also inspired a little breakfast excitement on an otherwise boring morning 🙂

On a completely random note, someone forwarded this site to me and it’s a good laugh for Christmas so I thought I would share:


Is it just me, or are there are a lot of creepy mall Santas out there?

So I likely won’t be posting at all over the holidays, as I will be busy enjoying every second of Tyson’s first Christmas 🙂  Thanks sooooo  much for taking the time to read my fledging blog in 2012.  I’m looking forward to sharing a lot more recipes, stories and information in 2013 so I hope you will continue to follow along.  Happy Holidays everyone!


Do you use the Dirty Dozen list when buying your produce?  Do you ever buy things just because they are on sale and then have to figure out a way to use them once you get home?

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