Have You Tried Fiddleheads?

fiddlehead recipes feature

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of fiddleheads until I moved to Nova Scotia. I would see them every spring in the produce aisle of the grocery store, but just kept on walking by and hadn’t purchased them, until now. I finally decided to try them and see what this seasonal delicacy is all about.

Quick Overview

Fiddleheads are edible ferns. They are immature fern fronds harvested in spring, during the early stage of their development when they are tightly coiled and resemble a fiddle’s scroll (the upper end of the instrument), hence the name fiddlehead.


Fiddlehead season is extremely short, usually April and May.wild fiddleheads

fiddlehead coiled

It only takes a few days before the fronds start to unravel and the plant develops into a mature fern.

fiddlehead unravelling

There are many varieties of ferns, but the ones harvested on the East coast are the ostrich ferns, which fan out to resemble ostrich feathers once fully grown.

mature fern

Nutritional Value

Fiddleheads offer a lot of nutritional value.

They are rich in

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • omega-6 fatty acids
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • potassium
  • iron
  • fibre

fiddlehead clean

Safety Precautions

Not all wild ferns are edible. Some types are toxic. Although ostrich ferns can easily be spotted in woodlands, unless you can identify them with absolute certainty, best not to harvest them yourself.

Even edible fiddleheads can cause food poisoning when eaten raw or undercooked.

Always cut browned ends, remove the husk, rinse thoroughly and then boil or steam the fiddleheads for at least 10 minutes before using them in recipes!

Even if you plan on sautéing them, cooking them, frying them, incorporating them in a soup recipe, adding them in a salad or in a smoothieALWAYS boil or steam them first! And NEVER eat them raw!

fiddlehead prep

Fiddleheads can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

You can also freeze them and enjoy them year-round. Simply boil or steam first, then blanch, dry and place in freezer bags.

Some grocery stores carry them in the frozen section too.

frozen fiddleheads

Easy Recipes

1. Fiddlehead Salad

Fiddleheads have a unique taste. In order to enjoy their full flavour try eating them as a salad. Delicious!

  • Rinse a handful of fiddleheads thoroughly
  • Boil or steam for 10 minutes
  • Drain
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Add 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Season with salt & pepper

Fiddlehead salad

2. Fiddlehead Omelette

You can really get creative when it comes to cooking with fiddleheads. For example, you can incorporate them in your breakfast.

  • Rinse a handful of fiddleheads thoroughly
  • Boil or steam for 10 minutes
  • Drain
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Sauté fiddleheads in 1 tbsp butter, for 1 minute
  • Add 4 whisked eggs over top
  • Cook until ready
  • Top with bacon bits and cheese
  • Season with salt & pepper

fiddlehead omelette omelette bite

3. Fried Fiddleheads With Sweet Hummus Sauce

For picky eaters… this recipe is sure to please.

  • Rinse a handful of fiddleheads thoroughly
  • Boil or steam for 10 minutes
  • Drain
  • Blanch for 2 minutes
  • Beat 1 egg
  • Dip the fiddleheads in egg one by one
  • Coat them with breadcrumbs
  • Fry fiddleheads for 2 minutes in hot oil
  • Place on paper towel to remove excess oil
  • Serve with sweet hummus sauce

Sweet hummus sauce

  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Mix hummus and honey together until smooth

fried fiddleheadsfried fiddleheads with sauce

If you haven’t tasted fiddleheads yet, then I hope these recipes will encourage you to try them out!

Happy cooking 😀


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DIY Cactus Planter Decor

Game of thorns cactus pun planter GOT Game of thrones

Since it’s too cold outside to start planting, I’m focusing this week on indoor plants – my latest fascination: cacti. They are super easy to maintain, even for a non-green thumb person like myself.
There are so many varieties of succulents in stores right now and each seem to have their own personality. So why not put a twist on it?

All you will need are white planters and sharpies!
Simply draw a face or write a cactus pun on the planter. And if you make a mistake… no worries, just wipe it clean with a baby wipe or rubbing alcohol and start over.

cactus face planter

Keep it simple or get even more creative by adding accessories or tassel hair.

To take it a step further, instead of writing on the pots, you can print sayings or puns on an overhead projector transparency film, then glue it on to the planter. I came up with this pun after the popular series Game of Thrones.

game of thorns cactus pun
GOT planter with overhead

Feel free to print out the writing and use it on your own planter. First, right click on the image to save it, then print it and cut it to size to fit your planter.

game of thorns cactus pun 2
game of thorns cactus pun 1
game of thorns cactus pun 3

Stay connected, click HERE to follow me on Instagram!

Spring & Summer Activities 2019

Antigonish Spring Summer activities 2019

Looking for Spring and Summer activities for children? Take a look at the following updated list containing activities available in our area.

  • 3D Archery Shoot For more information call 735-3800 or 386-2325
  • Antigonish Celtics Soccer Club For more information click here
  • Antigonish County Recreation-Aquatics Programs. For more information click here
  • Antigonish Girl Guides For more information click here
  • Antigonish Minor Baseball Association For more information click here
  • Antigonish Minor Football Association For more information contact antigonishfootball@gmail.com
  • Antigonish Minor Softball Association For more information click here
  • Antigonish Rowing Club For more information call 863-5701, antigonishrowing@gmail.com
  • Antigonish Track Club – Track & Field Clinics For more information click here or contact stfxtandfclub@gmail.com
  • Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre Camps For more information click here
  • Highland Touch Football (ages 16+) For more information call 870-5572
  • Horseback Riding Lessons For more information click here
  • Junior Tennis For more information call 867-5596, recreation@townofantigonish.ca
  • PC Cooking School Classes for kids and teens For more information click here.
  • Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library (PARL)
    Offers activities for children in English and in French. Regular Programs & Summer programs
    Check out the MakerSpace too! For more information click here
  • X-Chem Outreach Science Odyssey Workshop  Click here for details & take a look at the Summer 2019 schedule available here.
  • Wee Lads and Lassies Track & Field Program (ages 5-12) For more information click here or call 867-5596

And some upcoming local events:    

  • Antigonish Mayfest 2019
Mayfest Antigonish 2019
  • World Oceans Day Antigonish 2019 

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Check out the Summer Camps and Year-round Sports & Activities for even more activities (e.g. swimming, music, etc.)

Creamy Rice Pudding

rice pudding


Having warm rice pudding on a cool almost-spring day is very comforting. With Easter in mind, a few tiny chocolate egg decorations can turn this old classic into a delightful festive treat.





♦ 1 cup rice

♦ 2 cups water

♦ 2 cups milk

♦ 1/3 cup sugar

♦ 1 tsp vanilla

♦ Small chocolate eggs


rice pudding e



Combine rice and water in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat until rice is cooked.

Add milk, sugar and vanilla.

Simmer on low heat until the mixture thickens and looks creamy, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Serve warm or let cool and top with tiny chocolate Easter eggs.




rice pudding c


Creamy Rice Pudding pin

Raising Ducks as Pets

raising ducks country parent


It all started a few years ago when my son decided to take on a waterfowl project for 4-H. We were familiar with raising chickens, but we didn’t have any experience with raising ducks.

So in this post I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the years in case you ever interested in raising ducks of your own, whether it’s for 4-H purposes or simply to have as pets.


The best beginner ducks

In my experience, Pekin ducks and Khaki Campbell ducks are the best beginner ducks. 
Pekin ducks are beautiful large ducks,  avid eaters, and quite the entertainers. They are homebodies, they like staying near the house, feeding all day and love taking naps.

duck pekin 2

The male often spends hours socializing with the ‘other’ duck during mating season.

duck pekin 4


Khaki Campbells are another suitable breed for beginners. Unlike the Pekins, they are more adventurous and might wonder around your property, especially during mating season. However, they do come back when called, if trained earlier on as ducklings. They are also easy to handle and make wonderful show ducks for 4-H.

ducks free range


Suitable housing

If you decide to start off with hatchlings in late spring, then you can keep the little ones inside the house for the first couple of week, in a large container lined with wood shavings. Provide them with heat by attaching a red lamp about 20″ above the base and include a small waterer and a feeder containing starter feed. The starter feed contains more nutrients then the regular pellet feed, which they will be consuming a few weeks later. Be sure to keep their container clean and give them fresh water daily.

The ducklings will eventually need to be housed in a larger space. A small shed (or duck coop) with a fenced-in enclosure works best. Be sure to add a fence above the enclosure and preferably under as well, to prevent predators from climbing in, or from digging their way in from underneath. Place wood shavings or hay at the bottom of the shed for added warmth and comfort.
Ducks love water, so if they do not have access to a pond or creek, include a water source in their fenced area, such as a small baby pool (or large shallow container). Keep in mind, that ducks are very messy! So change their water daily in order to keep it clean. Also, as ducklings, they won’t be able to climb in and out of the pool with ease. Adding a wooden ramp and a few rocks inside the pool provides them easy access in and out of the water.

duck pool 1

ducklings 2

ducklings 1


Get to know your ducks

Ducks are very entertaining and just like any other pet they each have their own personality. So get know them by interacting with them and handling them often. One way to do this is to hand feed them daily, which is the perfect way to develop a trusting relationship.
Side note: avoid leaving food in coop or in the enclosure as this will surely attract rodents and predators.
Our ducks are free range, they forage most of the day in the back yard. However, we do feed them every morning and give them treats whenever possible.

ducklings watermelon 1


Practice your duck call

Yes, it sounds silly, but it works (especially if they like to wonder around). To train them, simply quack whenever they are at a distance and have some food on hand to give them when they come back. That way they know that whenever they are called and come back to the house, they will be greeted with some food or treats.

Springtime and mating

If you have ducks and drakes, then chances are they will mate in the springtime. In my experience, Khaki Campbells are great settlers and are very caring towards their young.
Meet ‘Pow’ (yup, the kids named her) our resilient Khaki Campbell! She raised her sibling’s 4 ducklings following an unfortunate racoon attack, then later she had 12 ducklings of her own!

ducklings 4

ducks free range 6

duck pile 3 copy


What happens in the wintertime?

Winter, cold weather, no problem. Ducks are winter hardy and can tolerate being inside or outside even in cold weather. You can use a red heat lamp inside the coop at nighttime if the temperature drops to -15 degrees, or insulate the coop for additional heat retention during harsh winter days.

duck winter 1

duck winter 6

ducks winter 2

duck winter tracks


Will they fly away?

We never had any of our ducks fly away. They are capable of flying and could fly over a fence of 4 feet or so for example, but they do not fly long distances. Other types of ducks like the smaller call ducks could however fly away, in which case you could keep them in a fenced-in yard or you could clip their wings. However, make sure you have this done by a an experienced duck farmer, do not attempt to do this yourself!
Side note: If you will be using your ducks in 4-H competitions, best to find out what your club’s rules are regarding wing clipping and 4-H Day waterfowl presentations.

duck winter 4


Fun for the whole family

We definitely have enjoyed having ducks in our back yard for the last few years. They do make wonderful and very entertaining pets.
So, if you are thinking of getting ducks as pets, then I hope this post encourages you to take the leap.


                duck pekin 1   

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Caribbean Pasta Salad

caribbean pasta salad

Looking ahead to Spring and BBQ season, this Caribbean salad goes perfectly alongside any meat or fish dish.
A simple pasta salad with a lovely sweet-and-tangy taste.
Try it, I’m sure you’ll like it too.


1 lb rotini pasta
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 sliced black olives
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tsp salt


Cook pasta until al dente
Meanwhile prepare the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise and condensed milk together
Stir in the remaining ingredients
Rinse cooked pasta under cold water and drain well
Place pasta in a salad bowl and pour dressing over top
Mix well and chill for 1 hour before serving



caribbean pasta salad 2
caribbean pasta salad 1

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BBQ Donut Strawberry Shortcake

BBQ glazed donuts


by Sean Ryan


I hate making desserts, especially for a crowd, but I’ve come up with something quick, simple which always brings back requests for seconds.


BBQ Donut Strawberry Shortcake is your ticket if you need a quick summertime dessert to feed a crowd.


1 or 2 packages of glazed donuts – depending on your crowd and willingness to provide seconds

Whip cream, store-bought or home-made

1 to 2 quarts of fresh strawberries

1 teaspoon of sugar

Non-stick cooking spray

 strawberries country parent


Make sure your BBQ grill is clean. Nothing kills this dessert faster then some residual burnt BBQ sauce on a donut half!

I usually use the rack above the grill, as you can control the temperature a bit better, but it is not necessary. If you have an external gauge, you want to have the grill heated to 350 degrees.

Give it a good hit of the cooking spray.

While the grill heats up, mash your strawberries in a bowl with the sugar. Once that is done set aside.

cut strawberries country parentstrawberries country parent

When I buy the glazed donuts, I usually try to get them a couple days ahead and refrigerate them. It makes them much easier to cut and the glaze hardens a little, which is key when cooking them.

glazed donuts country parent

Slice the donuts in half horizontally.

Place the donuts on the grill cut-side down. If you put them glaze side down, you will be unhappy with life after you try to get them off and he sugar has cemented the donuts on your grill. So cut-side down.

Close the lid and count to 60. Open up and give a look-see. If the formally hardened glaze is now see through again you are pretty much done.

BBQ donuts country parent

Take the donuts off the grill and place them on your plate grill side down.

Time to assemble. Flip one half of a donut glaze side down onto a plate or bowl, hit it with a good splash or whipped cream, then strawberry mix. Put your top donut half on, then add a bit more whipped cream and strawberry mix.

BBQ donut strawberry shortcake

Serve and bask in the glory that will come your way.

You can add a couple fresh berries, sub in ice cream, or whatever works for your crew. Trust me though, make sure you have enough for seconds!

Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan
Father, husband, tea totaler, cigar smoker, whisky enthusiast,
foodie, bigboyrunning, craft beer rookie, comic book nerd.
Follow along @run2smoke on Instagram, or a very
sporadic blog at www.bigboyrunning.weebly.com

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Easy Summer Flatbread Pizza

flatbread pizza

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Thrifty Alternatives To Bristled BBQ Brushes For A Safe Summer

meat bbq

Finally getting some warm weather!

First thing that comes to mind, beside gardening, is barbecuing!  Like most people, we noticed a couple of years ago that our wire BBQ brushes were losing their bristles. I remember scrubbing the grates, barbecuing burgers, then noticing that tiny wire bristles were stuck on the cooked meat!

If ingested, these tiny wires can cause quite some damage to the throat, or worse, travel down the digestive tract, resulting in a lot of pain and even requiring surgery to remove the bristles. The number of reports and warnings were rapidly increasing throughout 2016, and this was still an issue last year!

“…small wire bristles fall off and attach to food on the grill, …” (full article: BBQ brush bristles can lodge in throat, warns ER doctor, CBC NEWS Nova Scotia).

The solution? If you own a wire BBQ brush, get rid of it! – for now at least, or until the new regulations come into effect (New standards coming for BBQ brushes following metal bristle injuries).


And although bristle-free brushes can be purchased at any grocery store, here are some more economical alternatives:

Scouring pads

Scouring pads are inexpensive, durable and reusable. They can safely be used to scrub any debris off the grates before barbecuing.

scouring pads

Damp cloth

A damp cloth with a bit of baking soda can go a long way. This method requires a bit more muscle power when scrubbing the deposits off the grates, but it works.

damp cloth


Yes, onions. You can cut an onion in half, then use it to scrape the grates. Although this might not clean as efficiently as the two previous options, it will remove some of the deposits and will give an extra added touch of flavor to your grilled food.


In any case, avoid using wire bristled brushes, as the wires can easily fall off during scrubbing and end up in your food.

Safe BBQing! 😎


all cleaning alternatives

Antigonish Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

antigonish mother's day gift guide 2018 feature image


Browse through the Antigonish Mother’s Day Gift Guide for local gift ideas for Mother’s Day!






Enter the draw for a chance to win one of these amazing prizes:

♦ $100 voucher for a photo session by John David Photography

♦ $25 gift card by Cameron’s Jewellery

♦ 4 Tickets to the Cape Breton Air Show by Celtic Air Services!

See details at the end of the gift guide.


To view the gift guide, click on the Image below or click here for the PDF version.


[real3dflipbook id=”7″]


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Hike it Baby Antigonish

Hike it baby Antigonish


by Kendra MacEachern

I’m a new mom to an 8 month old and I love hiking, so back in the Fall I started a hiking group for parents and their kids. I was going for walks and hikes with my baby every morning but it was getting lonely. I was hoping to meet more parents like myself who wanted to get outside with their kids.



We started in the Fall and went on walks to the Keppoch, Beaver Mountain, Bethany and around town. I recently changed the group to Hike it Baby which is an international community of parents who hike with their kids. I decided to go ahead with the Hike it Baby because the community already has loads of resources for getting outside with kids and they also publish stories of other parents and their journeys to getting outside. I found it very helpful and inspiring to be part of bigger community because although getting outside and hiking has practically always been a big part of my life, doing it will a baby was scary.

Hike it baby 1


About the group

Hike it Baby Antigonish is group dedicated to connecting families to nature with birth to school age children. It’s a branch of a non-profit US-based organization which is getting families outside all over the world.

Although dedicated to children ages 0-5, we welcome all ages. We also welcome all caregivers. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, anyone with kids! Don’t worry if you need to nurse or change a diaper on the trail, we don’t leave anyone behind. It’s a supportive environment and open to all ability levels.

Hike it baby 2

The hiking trails

Our favourite trails are the Bethany Contemplative trail, Beaver Mountain and the Keppoch. We have at least one hike a week. Every Tuesday, we meet at Keppoch from 10:00am-12:00pm. We meet in the lodge and decide which trail to do together. As the weather warms up and ice finally goes away expect to see extra hikes throughout the week!

hike it baby antigonish 4

hike it baby antigonish 3

Hike it Baby 30: a new challenge

Hike it Baby 30 is a quarterly challenge to help motivate families and communities to get out and hike for 30 miles in 30 days or 30 minutes 3 times a week. This can be done with or without Hike it Baby!
We will have a hike at least once a week at Keppoch on Tuesdays. Others will be added throughout the week this month!

Check out Hike it baby 30 for more details.
**Since Canadians do not pay a membership fee there is no free challenge. Also, many of the prizes awarded are to US participants. International participants still have a chance to win, but from a smaller selection which do not have shipping restrictions.


Hike it baby 3


Become a member of Hike it Baby! Anyone can host hikes! Click here to find out more and join us on Facebook.


See you out there!


hike it baby antigonish 2

Stephanie Monaghan, Hike it Baby Antigonish Coordinator


Hike it baby 4

Kendra MacEachern, Hike it Baby Antigonish Coordinator

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