Whip it! How to Make {heathy} Mayonnaise.

This post is a Pinterest hit these days. I may not be actively blogging, but Pinterest and avid Paleo and Whole30-ers out there are passing it around like a virus!
Healthy mayo: it’s a thing!

A Transparent Life

I say may-uh-NAYze instead of MAY-uh-nayze. Does that make me weird?

Not that anybody but my boyfriend cares. He likes to make fun of me a wee tiny bit about it. Okay, truth is he doesn’t care, either.

Where was I?

As part of my newly turned-over healthy leaf, I am not eating any of the six store-bought salad dressings in my fridge. But I am eating lots of salad.

Last week, I made my own balsamic vinaigrette, tried it, enjoyed it, then promptly started wishing for other dressings. Specifically,  creamy dressings like Caesar and ranch.

(Mysteriously, I can’t find the recipe that I used for the balsamic vinaigrette, but here’s a great guide to dressings the Paleo way)

Now that I’d done hours upon hours of Internet research into Whole30 recipes, I was pretty sure that I could concoct something.

Most of those somethings started with mayonnaise.

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Out with the old

For your viewing pleasure, a montage of photos of my last couple of days in the country…

Boxes piled high...

Boxes piled high…

My closet, emptied into suitcases

My closet, emptied into suitcases

Sad, lonely hangers and hooks

Sad, lonely hangers and hooks

Cupboards with just the bare essentials left in them

Cupboards with just the bare essentials left in them

The night before move-out

The night before move-out

Move-out day: my bedding is in a bag

Move-out day: my bedding is in a bag

The kitchen before the moving helpers came to pack it in a truck

The kitchen before the moving helpers came to pack it in a truck

The most difficult room to pack: the spare room/office. Argh.

The most difficult room to pack: the spare room/office. Argh.

Thank goodness no one lives across the hall: I needed the extra box-stacking space!

Thank goodness no one lives across the hall: I needed the extra box-stacking space!

Stay tuned for “In with the new”. 🙂

Something to look forward to…

Something to look forward to...

…ahhh a book and a coffee and some relaxing. I’m not sure when this will happen for me, but sometimes it’s good to allow yourself to dream. Right?


Having just come back from watching, and having noticed some of these things, I enjoyed this post. 🙂

10:45 am on St. Patrick’s Day

10:45 am on St. Patrick's Day

10:45 am on St. Patrick’s Day, outside the biggest bar on campus. Me? School work.

Locality: Gingerich’s Organic Eggs

brown eggs

It’s amazing how little you know about the people you know.

Don and Sharon Gingerich were friends of my parents when I was a kid, and at times they were our babysitters, too. They live on the same side road as we did, a few country blocks away.

They are the parents of eight, grandparents of fifteen, and the proud caretakers of hundreds of “happy chickens,” as Sharon emphatically calls their flock.

Happy Chickens

The Happy Chickens

I knew the Gingerichs produced and sold organic eggs, but what I only recently found out was just how rare their operation is, and how well they have established themselves in the organic foods community across Southwestern Ontario.

The Gingerichs have a small organic egg farm. Though you might have some concept of what that looks like, the reality might be more impressive than you imagine.

For starters, there are the regulations imposed on every egg farmer. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stipulates that every egg sold in stores in Ontario must be graded according to federal standards at a facility authorized by the federal government. Official grading stations are often far from small egg farms, and transporting eggs is costly

Then, there are the Pro-Cert organic certification regulations, which stipulate things like what the hens are fed and how the eggs are cleaned. In all, the Gingerichs comply with seven sets of regulations, all in order to do what they feel they must: produce premium organic eggs.

This is not to mention quota. The Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) regulate the production of eggs, so that production does not exceed consumption. Any farmer with more than 99 laying hens is required to purchase quota from the EFO to the tune of $250/bird.

Don and Sharon have been in the egg business since the early 1970s, so they were “grandfathered” into the right to have 499 birds without buying quota, instead of the current 99. In recent years, in order to keep up with their demand, they have leased quota at the much more affordable rate of $7.80/bird/year, so that they have up to 1000 birds at any given time. They always have three or four stages of hens on the go: chicks;  young hens, which start laying at about 6 months old; laying hens, which “work” until they are about a year old), and “spent hens,” which are no longer producing, and so they get slated to be made into organic ground chicken.

One of the things that really sets the Gingerichs apart is the fact that they are Grader/Producers: they have their own federally-authorized grading station, right in their barn. It took two years of aggravation and inspections to get the station set up, but it was worth it.


Don rotates an egg at the candling station, looking for any blemishes in the shell or yolk

Every morning, eggs are collected with wire baskets, then washed in a rotating tub filled with hot water and hydrogen peroxide. After being rinsed, they are placed in plastic trays to dry before grading.

The grading station includes a bright light which, when the eggs are held up to it one by one, shows any blemishes or cracks in the shells. This is called candling.

Here’s the process of grading, in pictures:

(Please forgive my pictures – I forgot my good camera, so these are kind of dark and blurry)

Don grading eggs

Don works the grading station

grading station

Eggs on the grading station

grading station organization

Eggs get organized according to size

Eggs on grading table

Eggs waiting to be placed in cartons

egg cartons

Graded eggs are placed in these cartons according to size

Don points out a fluff on one egg

Don points out a fluff on one egg

Eggs in carton

Eggs in carton, ready to be labelled


Labelling the cartons

Labelled and ready to go!

Labelled and ready to go! (Except for the best-before date stamp)

Between the Gingerichs and you, no one else has touched the eggs. Now that is fresh!

I said earlier that it’s amazing what you don’t know about the people you know. It’s also surprising what you take for granted about the resources in your own neighbourhood. I didn’t realize just how lucky I was to be from a rural area and to personally know an organic egg farmer.

According to a Globe and Mail article updated in January of this year, farm-fresh organic eggs have garnered a cult following. In some Ontario health food stores, organic eggs aren’t on the shelves, but if you say the right thing (think: password), a carton just might appear from a hidden shelf.

[Our] eggs are from Don Gingerich’s Farm. Of all the eggs we’ve carried in our stores, these are consistently of the highest quality.

– RealFoodToronto.com

They’re delicious, they’re nutritious, but they’re not as cheap as you have come to expect of (non-organic, non-free-range) supermarket eggs: The Gingerichs’ eggs sell for $6-$8 per dozen at the stores mentioned below. Knowing the Gingerichs, I can guarantee that you get what you pay for. Every time.

Okay, so here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: where you can get these delightfully fresh, free-range organic eggs.

Also, you can expect to enjoy Gingerich organic eggs when you eat at Garlic’s of London on Richmond St in London, ON.

If you would like to see Don and Sharon’s  eggs in your local health food store or market, ask the owner about them. Some store owners believe that they don’t have a market for premium organic eggs, but perhaps they do!


For some more articles about Gingerichs’ eggs:

Ingredient: farm fresh eggs

Gingerichs’ Listing in the Canada’s Who’s Who of the Poultry Industry (bottom of page 74)

Cruelty-Free egg


And, a random point of interest, Don & Sharon are the parents of Ben, the owner of Coastal Coffee Company. That organic apple didn’t stray far from the tree!

Oh, and this isn’t the last you’ve heard of the Gingerichs. There’s more!

I updated my “About Me” page!

It had been too long. Okay, only about a year, but still. My About Me page didn’t give the information it should have. And now I think it does.

Is there anything else that you think my About Me page should have on it?

200 posts!

200Today I published A Transparent Life’s 200th post!

Just thought you should know and celebrate with me. 🙂

Have you noticed that I’ve actually gotten better at posting regularly? In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been one post every day for two weeks now! Yes, I’m proud of my accomplishment, but I won’t be really satisfied until I’ve been at it for at least a month… wish me luck!

What do YOU have to say about bottled water?

I’m hoping for some of your input for my paper about bottled water… do me a favour and take a few minutes to do my survey?

Thanks – you’re the best!

Click here: Sarah’s Super Exciting and Informative Survey

Procrastination Strikes Again

I’ve had kind of a crappy, emotional, overwhelming day, and when I read a “wtf” comment about where my blog had gone, I was motivated to kick-start the transition.

So here it is. It’s something, at least. The design is generic, but it’s free!

And it appears as if my old posts will be imported here (one so far, from Feb 2007… who was I then, even?!), but I hardly feel free to hope.

Anyway, good news on the blog front means bad news on the homework front. Looks like me and 2 am are gonna be BFFs