The Writers' Exchange

Help Vancouver’s Writers’ Exchange!

Friends! The Writers’ Exchange gets Vancouver’s inner-city kids excited about reading and writing through crazy, fun, and imaginative creative-writing projects and support from volunteer mentors:



The Indiegogo Campaign

This month, they’re raising funds to help cover the costs of renovating a new space. Although they’ve been in the same space for years, their rent has recently doubled and forced them to move upstairs–which they’re happy about, because it means not moving locations for the sake of their students.

However, it DOES mean renovating that upstairs space. June first marked the first day of their Indiegogo campaign to help raise their goal of $20,000, and they’re already at almost $14,000 as I’m writing this! But here’s the thing: the full budget of their move and re-design is $53,500, so any extra funds that they can raise would be AMAZING.

About the Writers’ Exchange

Over 500 kids a year attend the Writers’ Exchange programs at their home on East Hastings in Vancouver and in schools across East Vancouver and in the Strathcona area. Most of the kids have been referred to the programs offered by the Writers’ Exchange by their teachers, because they either need extra literacy support (less than half of the kids at Vancouver’s inner-city schools are meeting provincial literacy expectations), or just need a safe place to go after school and/or during the summer.

Or both!

Even though most of the kids they work with say they don’t like reading and writing before they attend the Writers’ Exchange programs, in 2016, 99% of kids said they liked doing the fun literacy activities at the Writers’ Exchange! Also, every single parent polled said their child benefited from attending this amazing organization’s programs.

The Writers’ Exchange runs free, fun literacy programs after school and during the summer, and inner-city teachers also invite the program’s teachers into their classrooms to create publications with their classes. And then they actually have book launch parties for these kids when their publications are bound and ready to go! (The program receives very generous help with this part of the process from a local publishing company.)

This is a legit program that is VERY much needed for everyone in the community–and they need support. Watch their Indiegogo campaign video here, then please, please donate! xo



The Writers’ Exchange Society is a registered Canadian charity, number 795045095 RR0001.

The 24th Annual Wellness Show Vancouver

This weekend (February 12-14) marks the 24th annual Wellness Show Vancouver, taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre. I’ve been before, but it’s either been as an attendee or a media representative. This year, I’m much more involved! Check it out:

Fresh + Fit Vancouver

The best place to catch me will be at my booth for Fresh + Fit Vancouver. This boutique white label firm specializes in assisting small wellness businesses promote themselves on social media, and build better online visibility through original content creation in the form of website content and unique and relevant blog posts.

If you’re wondering why small businesses need a service like this, click HERE or watch the video at the end of this post.

The Fresh + Fit booth is located in space 817B—come say hi!

Healthy Families Cooking Stage

I’m not totally sure how this happened, but I’ll be conducting two live demos of healthy snacks for the new Healthy Families Cooking Stage. On Saturday the 13th, I’ll be making Bliss Balls at 3pm, and on Sunday the 14th (Happy Valentine’s Day!), I’ll be making Sprouted Endive Boats (sponsored by Eat More Sprouts) at 3pm.

Come watch my demo(s) and I’ll be happy to make sure you get a signed copy of Vegetarian Comfort Foods after!

Book Sales + Signing

At the Fresh + Fit booth, I’ll also be selling and signing books. They include:

So if you’re at The Wellness Show this weekend, come pop by and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you. xo


Why Your Business Needs to Utilize Social Media

City TV Vancouver

The Fun

5 days ago I crossed an item off my bucket list, while simultaneously jumping WAY outside of my comfort zone: a very nice producer let me do live television to promote Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

I don’t know what she was thinking, either, but now she’s my favourite. Anyway, I lived to brag tell about it.

While I was stressing and trying not to throw up or pee my pants, my husband had a great time meeting the faces of Breakfast Television and playing Sports Centre by himself. (He loved it.)

The Drama

If you watch the video closely, I run out of breath towards the end because I forgot to breathe, but it’s cool, because no one noticed, except now I’m telling everyone, so you WILL notice, but I’m okay with that because…….(*passes out).

See how that happens?!

Anyway, I loved it, I’m super grateful that people let me promote stuff in situations like this, and hopefully I’ll have a chance to try not to throw up or pee my pants again.

I’ll keep you posted.

The important thing is that no expletives left my lips. This was my number one, genuine fear, because when I get nervous, I tend to let loose. But I didn’t, so that’s one giant point for Jen.


The Result

Ditch the Dairy + Go Nutty for Nuts!

Raw Unsalted Cashews

As a wannabe vegan (I consume seafood, but no other meats, and very rarely dairy, but no eggs—how’s that for confusing?), I’ve come to love the benefits of nuts in my diet. These tiny protein and good-fat powerhouses make a fabulous replacement for dairy products, and this post intends to convince you of that. There are even DIY videos for making nut cheese are the end!

Here we go…

Whole Nuts

Nuts are an amazing way to pack protein and good quality fats into your plant-based diet. Adding a handful of almonds to a salad, or eating a few walnuts with a banana for your morning snack is crazy healthy. The key is to only consume 6-10 nuts at a time—they are high in calories, and it’s very easy to throw back your entire day’s caloric intake by snacking on a whole bag.

Best nuts to consume? I love raw, organic, unflavoured almonds, cashews, walnuts, beech nuts, and pecans.

Nut Butters

Ditch the boring peanut butter, and say hello to a whole new world of other nut and seed butters. Cashew, almond, sesame seed (tahini), sunflower, and brown pea butters are my absolute faves. Always be sure to purchase organic nut products, because unfortunately, nuts are one of those crops that are usually soaked in pesticides.

Yuck. Go organic, all the way.

almond milk  

Nut Milks

Ok—you’re in Jen-Land, now. I am the absolute connoisseur on milk alternatives. (Cow milk is nasty—even the organic stuff. It does not work well with our bodies, and is usually full of hormones, additives, antibiotics, and even (gulp) pus from the animals’ mastitis issues. Gross.)


Milk alternatives have come a long, long way. In the past, the only alternatives available were soy (but not organic, and tasted very chalky), and goat’s milk, which was incredibly wild and pungent tasting. Welcome to 2015—where milk alternatives rule the universe!

Although there are many notable brands that make a fab milk alternatives (Silk, So Nice, So Good, etc), my go-to is Vancouver’s Earth’s Own. They make an insanely delish cashew and almond milk, as well as other types. SERIOUSLY—try these products. They’re to die for.

It’s also pretty simple to make your own nut milk using soaked nuts, a Vitamix, and a cheesecloth, but honestly, I just prefer to purchase it ready-made.

Nut Cheese

For the non-vegans out there, I can almost hear you think “Errr…what? Nut Cheese?!”

Nuts make a great base for homemade, plant-based cheeses. My favourite way to make nut cheese, is to soak 1 cup of raw, organic cashews in water for 2 hours. Ditch the water, and place in Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Add 2 tbsp. almond or cashew milk, a pinch of sea salt, and 1 tbsp. or nutritional yeast (Red Star is my fave). Blend until smooth, and use to top steamed or raw veggies, in pasta, or anything else you want.

If you’re looking for a hard cheese, check this awesome 3-part series on YouTube:




You’re welcome! xo

3 PopSugar Workout Videos that Will Kick Your Ass

PopSugar Fitness Videos

Hey, everyone! TGIF, am I right?! I feel bad, because I haven’t written anything here in a couple of weeks, but it’s only because I’ve been inundated with writing for other things! Stuff has happened lately. Good stuff. But I’ll announce that later…

In the meantime, because I haven’t had much time to hit the gym or go for a hike (a real one, not a metaphorical one), I’ve been doing these awesome PopSugar Fitness videos in my bedroom, in front of my laptop. I want to share three really amazing videos with you, and if you love the burn, then you need to try them out. This writer needs to work her butt, which sits for an awfully long time each and every day.

These videos save me.

They’re under 10 minutes, require no equipment, and will genuinely make you wish you’d gone to boot camp, instead.

You’re welcome.

8-Minute Full Body Tabata Workout


5-Minute Arm Toning Workout Without Weights


10-Minute No-Equipment Home Workout, Full Body Exercise


If you enjoyed these and want more, check out this Fresh + Fit post HERE. Happy Friday! xo