When my son was first diagnosed with serious digestive issues and

Autism Spectrum Disorder more than 10 years ago, my dear friend

Lotus immediately asked how she could help. Back then, finding

affordable, high quality gluten and dairy free products delicious

enough for my picky eater son to accept, but also low in sugar and

high in protein was a near impossible challenge. Lotus wasn’t fazed,

and quickly starting developing products for me in her kitchen. This

initial labour of love quickly caught on, and inspired her to create

Lotus Fine Foods.  Her values and commitment to create the highest

quality products for a reasonable price remains unchanged and is

cornerstone of her well deserved success.  After all these years, my favourite breakfast is

still Lotus’s Cherry Coconut granola.



Lisa Burchartz -Lotus’s very first customer Toronto Ontario

Discovering Ottawa Neighbourhood Gems – Hintonburg

Hintonburg Ottawa

I am just discovering Ottawa of late and all that makes this a dynamic and beautiful capital city.  There is so much to see and do and of course we all know about the Byward Market, the Rideau Canal and the Parliament buildings BUT have you discovered the neighbourhood known as Hintonburg Ottawa?

Located to the west of downtown Ottawa, Hintonburg’s eastern boundary is marked by O-Train tracks, with the neighbourhood of Centretown West beyond. To the west is Holland Ave, to the south, the Queensway (Hwy 417), while the northern periphery of the Transitway, or the old CPRail mainline is shared with the Mechanicsville neighbourhood.

One of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhoods, it was named after the original civic official and long time shopkeeper, Joseph Hinton. From the original subdivisions in the 1850’s, this community became a part of Ottawa in 1907, enjoying a long history of industrial development and prosperity.  Today the area is a busy hub of trendy restaurants, great shops and a market that is considered the city’s best.

The Parkdale Market is at Parkdale Avenue and Wellington Street, West.  A visit in early October saw me coming away with the freshest of fruits and vegetables, including a surprise flat of delectable, juicy Quebec strawberries (in October!).  I could not wait to get home and getting canning.  The shelves are now stocked with the kid’s favourite – Strawberry/Lemonade Concentrate – think drinks bursting with fresh summer strawberry flavour in January.  But the fun of canning is another blog.

There is a new pottery studio celebrating their grand opening party November 23 and run, don’t walk to Loam Clay Studio.  Let me say that this is not your usual pottery.  Nina, Sarah and Michele – all true artists – create the most stunning pieces that defy description.  I had a sneak peak of pieces of Michele’s that were just about to go into the kiln and I will be making the trek to Ottawa to make sure that I can get some of these most recent firings before they fly out the door.  Michele has been creating charming teapots and vessels with the most lifelike birds perched on top and her recent ‘spotty bowl’ stage was fabulous stuff.

Loam offers workshops and classes and the opportunity to study with these artists, would be extraordinary.  Nina Marchewka and Sarah Fulford have over 25 years of experience and Michele Macdonald is considered an expert glaze tech.

Just a block away another neighbourhood gem is Hintonburg Pottery representing 30 ceramic artists.  Ginger McCoy  and her group would be delighted to share the background of all the artists showing in her storefront.

There is a talented group of remarkable artists working hard to make Hintonburg THE pottery destination of Greater Ottawa and beyond.  An afternoon in Hintonburg would be a wonderful way to find useful and memorable one of a kind gifts for everyone on your Christmas list.

Loam Clay Studio
74 Hamilton Street, North
Ottawa, Ontario
1-613-722 CLAY (2529)

Hintonburg Pottery
78 Hinton Street, North
Ottawa, Ontario
1 (613) 979-8240


Cranberry Blog

A very good friend and I decided that we needed a day off the week before Thanksgiving to immerse ourselves in the beauty of the Autumn season and headed up Highway 400 towards Muskoka for the day. One always thinks that we have colour memory but turn after turn on the highway it became abundantly clear that it is impossible to remember the sheer beauty of the turning leaves in Autumn in Ontario. The day was a gift and we found several wonderful treats that should be shared.

Our destination was Port Carling and a store owned and managed by Mother and Daughter, Jude and Jenna McCausland. Bridgeport is in a new location on the ‘high’ street in Port Carling and offers a wonderful selection of home and personal items. The charming owners have a keen eye for design and great stories of past customers. We came away with some lovely choices. There is furniture, great serving pieces, jewelry made by women in developing countries and so much more. They are open until Christmas Eve and then will start back when the Spring starts to show signs of returning.

On the opposite end of town Muskoka Living Interiors is 18,000 square feet of all the loveliest ideas for a country home. Set up by rooms you will be sure to come away with ideas on decorating.

Lunch was at The Lake Joseph Club overlooking the golf club. We had a great salad in the casual, lovely club room watching diehard golfers in toques getting in that last round of golf. The setting was truly spectacular.

On the way back to the city we made a last minute stop at the Iroquois Cranberry Growers store. We saw the sign on the way up and took a chance and we are so glad that we did. The cranberries had literally been just pulled off the bog – it was the first day of the harvest and the freshness – still clinging with grass – was amazing. We stocked up on enough to create some fabulous Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving and to freeze to use in baking over the Winter. We also bought Cranberry Juice made by the cooperative and delicious Algonquin Honey. It is a Cranberry Creamed Honey and the combination of the cranberries and honey is a delicious tart/sweet combination. It was so incredible to see and experience where the fresh, apple juice sweetened cranberry fruit in our Cranberry/Cinnamon granola starts out.

A truly memorable day.

Jude and Jenna McCausland
96 Joseph Street
Port Carling, Ontario
(705) 765-5055


Pine Farms Orchard and Maunders Fine Foods – Two Gems in York Region

Take the opportunity to drop in at Pine Farms Orchard soon. This family owned apple farm, cafe and store is a local gem to those of us in Aurora and King City. Pam and her family serve delicious breakfasts and lunches 7 days a week. Our particular favourite is their unrivaled Wicked Thai Soup. Many of the offerings are served with the just picked apples from the farm.

You will find lots of great things to take home after a scrumptious lunch such as apples and other fresh vegetables and fruits, Fresh Apple Cider, home baked fruit and savoury pies and great decorative items.

For those looking for an interesting place to host small venue events, speak to Pam to rent the educational centre. You’ll get rave reviews afterwards – I guarantee. There is no lovelier place to host an event than in the middle of the apple orchard.

Once you are stocked up and on your way nip along to Wellington Street, West in Aurora and you can pick up the Lotus Granolas which are now listed at Maunders Fine Foods. Another local institution, this is the place for the highest quality meats, fish, seafood and fine foods. Tim and Linda and their staff would be delighted to help you with your daily needs or for catering for your next family or corporate event.

Pine Farms Orchard
2700 16th Side Road, King City
Open 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm

Maunders Food Shop
32 Wellington Street West
(905) 841-5746