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Digging Deep with Janet Jacks

Digging Deep with Janet Jacks

Are you... Digging Deep? 

I don’t know about you, but with staying in more, I find I am being more resourceful and digging deep – deep into the pantry, deep into the spice cupboard, deep into the freezer – to see what I have that has been languishing there and hoping to see the light of day. I also have found myself - from time to time- using up every last bit of produce, and letting my pantry run right down to ‘bare bones’ before stocking up again (so BIG shopping trips to Goodness Me!, but less often!).

And it has been good because it has forced me to find ways to use up all that goodness.

Waste Not

Those of you who have attended my many classes or read my book, Discover the Power of Food, know that I don’t like waste. I had a resourceful mother who never preached it – she just lived it. And it has long been my style to pull out all the produce in the fridge and find a use for it. The difference right now is that I am digging even deeper and using some things that I planned to use ‘someday’.

As well, I have been on a discovery journey over the past couple of years to encourage all of us to find delicious recipes for food we often throw away. Did you know that Canadians throw away over half of the food we produce? That’s a travesty! We need to do better…much better. And I want to help you to be part of the solution!

Stay Home, Stay Safe

I have been home more. And I have been taking advantage of the opportunity to ‘dig deep’… even been enjoying this challenge! It makes me feel great to be intentional about resourcefulness.

I have experimented with little-used spices. I have extracted that last little bit of mustard to ramp up the flavour of my salad dressing. I have used up odds and ends of pantry staples that I planned to use ‘someday’. I have made ‘nothing in the fridge soup’ [get the recipe here] and ‘bare fridge salad’ [find some ideas here], and they have been delicious! Keepers, actually! And I have surprised even myself with how long I can keep healthy meals on the table when it feels the cupboard is bare.

Have you been doing this at your house? Or have you given up in despair and ordered some fast food instead?

Here are four ways to use up what you have - and gain benefits and enjoyment from it all:

  1. Make A Smoothie: You’d be surprised what you can put into your blender! Some coconut water. That last kale or spinach leaf. Some powdered superfoods that you bought when you were on a roll, like Maca or Morninga or chlorella. Some ground flax or chia seeds. Powdered vitamins that you have forgotten about (or maybe don’t like the taste of?). Maybe some vitamin C powder? Or L’glutamine powder? The last of that package of frozen fruit. Or the half of avocado waiting to be eaten.

Here’s another idea. You can soak some sunflower seeds all night in some salted water – 2 tablespoons should be enough for one smoothie - drain them, and add them to your smoothie. Depending on the strength of your blender, they may come out smooth or have a little texture.

Now don’t add all of these at once, of course. But dig into your cupboard, see what you have, and get started on adding a little of this and a little of that to your basic smoothie. Be sure it still tastes good – I add a few drops of stevia to sweeten it if need be – and then enjoy all the good fuel you are giving yourself.


  1. Make A Stir fry: When you are down to your last stalk of celery, one lonely carrot, half a small zucchini, a bit of fresh parsley, or a few kale leaves, make a stir fry. If you have an onion and some garlic cloves, all the better! Add the longest-cooking veggies first, and try to cut the vegetables into similar-sized pieces. Once they are tender, season it up with some good quality olive oil, unrefined salt, and fresh pepper. And if there are bits of meat or chicken hanging out in your fridge or sesame seeds in the cupboard, add them in there for good measure. Voila!

If you are interested in the idea of using it all, try adding thinly sliced cauliflower leaves to your stir fry. Did you know that you can eat them? Since they take longer to cook, add them first. They will fit right in with the other veggies.

  1. Simmer Up Some Broth: I save up bones in the freezer, along with the ends of carrots and celery, stems of parsley (unless I use them in my salads or soups), and bits of onion. When I have enough, I put them into a pot with lots of purified water, ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and a little coarse unrefined salt. If I have some wakame or kombu (sea vegetables), in they go for their mineral richness. Simmer on low for 8 – 12 hours, or longer. Rich in flavour and goodness, I use this as a base for soups and stews, as well as just for drinking by the mugful. Truly, something out of almost nothing – things that perhaps you have been throwing away?

You can make a second brew, too. Pour off the broth, cut the long bones in half with scissors to help release their minerals, add fresh water, vinegar and salt, and brew a second time. This batch will not be as rich and flavourful, but will still provide surprisingly beneficial goodness that you can enjoy in your soups.


  1. Prepare Some Soup:
  • I love making a creamy soup out of a variety of vegetables – but to make a creamy soup that looks appealing, you must choose your theme. It could be a white soup (cauliflower and leeks), a green soup (many kinds of green veggies work here, such as zucchini, kale, broccoli, and spinach, as well as cauliflower), or an orange soup (squash or carrots or cauliflower or seasoned with curry). If you have some broth to use as a base, that is a bonus for flavour and nutrients, but if not, use water. Celery, onion, and garlic can be used in all of these soups. Cook the vegetables till very tender, and puree with a hand-held blender. Season with butter or olive oil, salt, and fresh pepper. If it’s too thick, add some broth, cream, milk, Edensoy unsweetened, or water till the flavour is just right.


I also save the stems of my collards and kale for soup. I chop them up and put them into the freezer (see photo below). I start this soup with a pound of Goodness Me! grass-fed ground beef. I simmer the kale stems till almost tender (15-20 minutes) and then add the browned ground beef along with whatever veggies I have in the fridge (carrots, celery, onions, garlic, cauliflower, zucchini or other). It makes a hearty soup and makes good use of the kale stems that most of us throw away. It could be called Kale Stem Soup, but that’s not appealing, so I call it Beef and Vegetable Soup. The first time I made it? My 10-year-old granddaughter was visiting and insisted on taking home a jar of it, she loved it so much!


Tomato Herb Soup (aka nothing in the fridge soup)

I first made this soup when I had been away and had nothing in the fridge. I did have spices in the cupboard, basil, and parsley in the garden, frozen kale stems, and some bones in the freezer, so I made some stock and then crafted this soup. If you don’t have fresh herbs, dried basil works. I was so pleased with the result that this recipe has become a keeper! It’s my ‘go-to’ when the cupboard is bare – or when I need a fast, colourful soup.  Vary it according to what you have in stock.

  1. Simmer the kale stems in the broth until tender, about 20 minutes. Puree in the blender if you wish, or leave them as they are.
  2. Add the water, tomatoes, dried spices, and finely chopped fresh herbs. Simmer briefly, and serve.

Makes 10 1-cup servings, providing just 7 g of carbohydrates per serving.

Garnish? Optional, but you can fancy this up with a dollop of crème fresh, sour cream, or chevre. Or, add some minced green onion.


  • When the fridge is bare, I use a can of crushed tomatoes to make a delicious soup by adding broth if I have it (or broth powder if not), dried minced onion, quality garlic powder (Simply Organic is the BEST and the only one I will buy), basil, unrefined salt, a dash of cayenne, and some of those frozen kale stems if I have some (simmered first in the broth). In the growing season, I might have some fresh parsley in the garden to add in. This is a delicious soup that I make when I have ‘nothing left’. The first time I made this soup, I came home after being away and I literally had nothing in the fridge. (I had given all my fresh things to my daughter before we left.) I had bones in the freezer, so I made some broth and then this soup. We also had some kale stems in the freezer so I added those. Loved it!

I’m sure you have other ideas that you have tried. If so, we’d love to hear your experience – whether success or not. We are here to help you nourish yourself and your loved ones to health and wholeness.

Happy cooking and eating! Take care of yourself, stay well, and enjoy!

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