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Our MPP Jack MacLaren holds an annual BBQ and barn dance at his family farm overlooking the Ottawa Valley at MacLaren’s Landing.  This year I was finally able to make it and was so delighted with the event, I want to share!

Instead of raising funds for conservative coffers, Jack decided to invite donations for an Abilities Centre in Ottawa and we had rousing speeches about what a difference this will make to people with disabilities.  But what really caught my attention was this:

Jack has been  helping various ethnic groups with their challenges and several racial groups made the trek to his farm from as far away as Toronto.  They were warmly introduced and their situations were explained, demonstrating massive courage and faith in the face of persecution that most of us only have nightmares about, including torture and death.  It was obvious that these folks were utterly grateful for Jack’s understanding and support.  What resulted was a lovely mix of people that was maybe a bit unique for West Carleton, smile.

Then there was the dance performance by the “elderly” Chinese ladies.  I peaked in at them while they were getting ready and remarked to someone that they looked between 40 and 50, not really that elderly at all.  Then the announcer informed us that the AVERAGE age of these women was seventy!  When the music started, they swirled and stepped and fanned in perfect time and grace, an inspiration for sure!  It only got better when Jack and provincial conservative leader Patrick Brown got up and joined them, smile…

To finish up the evening there was country music and I was surprised to see musician Al Cochrane in the band.  He was playing at the last fundraiser I attended and had collapsed.  Being the medical person in the room, I took him to a nearby bedroom and offered reiki healing, all I could think to do.  He was scheduled for an invasive cancer surgery and seemed to be on last legs.  Imagine my startled expression when he dedicated the first song to me—who had “saved his life”!  It turns out that he had a healing experience that November evening and became well enough not to need his surgery and with enough energy to go back to his music and life.  I was humbled and astonished as that is not my usual mode of practice.  Clearly it was his strong faith that opened the door to healing.

Thank you Jack for making these profound experiences possible in our community!


image1 (2)By the way, Reiki is something anyone can learn and Reiki master Sylvia McGee will be initiating a Reiki Community here at the Ridge where interested people can learn and practice together.  We’ll keep you posted with dates in upcoming newsletters.


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Vegan, gluten-free
Makes about 2-3 large salads

15 oz. can chickpeas
2/3 cup BBQ sauce
1 large head romaine
1 cup corn (I thaw frozen corn)
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
2-3 green onions

{For the avocado ranch dressing}
1 avocado
1 cup almond or soy milk (plain, unsweetened)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic (I use 2)
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Salt to taste
Optional: fresh chives are amazing if you can find them!

Make the dressing: in a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Rinse and drain chickpeas. In a saucepan over med-low heat, simmer chickpeas in BBQ sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop the romaine, tomatoes, and green onion. Place in a bowl. Add corn and carrots. Toss to combine.
When ready to assemble, distribute the salad into bowls, toss with desired amount of dressing, and top with BBQ chickpeas.

If storing leftovers, it’s best if the dressing, chickpeas, and salad are stored separately. Unless you dig soggy salads – no judgement! 😉
The leftover dressing stores for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. (Yay veggie dip!)
This is a great make-ahead meal! Make the dressing and salad up to a day ahead of time, store separately, and just simmer the chickpeas in BBQ when you’re ready to assemble.

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July 2018
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