Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Stress hormones wreack havoc on the body. The more stressed we are the harder the body has to work to get normal, vital tasks done. Digestion shuts down under stress, as do most other non-vital functions. Even low level, long term stress takes its toll.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Here are five ways to smoke up your summer grill with eggplant.
Grilled Eggplant Slices With Tomatoes and Feta: Nothing picks up the smoky flavor of a backyard grill quite like eggplant.
Grilled Eggplant and Pepper Salad: This somewhat spicy dish is the North African version of a salad made throughout the Mediterranean.
Spicy Grilled Eggplant Slices: In Italy, cooks often fry eggplant for this simple dish. Grilled eggplant works even better.
Smoky Eggplant and Yogurt Purée: Much like baba ganoush, this dish relies on yogurt instead of tahini for its unique flavor.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I absolutely love freshly picked blueberries. They bring back great memories for me. My parents have blueberry bushes in their garden, so when I was younger we would be handed pails and sent out to pick for what seemed like hours! Then we had the luxury of stuffing our blue-stained faces with blueberries for weeks on end!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
In case you have not yet seen TED...its an amazing site for those looking to learn, or be inspired, about just any topic.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Buying quality ingredients, local, organic produce and dairy, pastured meats and all those great whole grains is not cheap. I understand why people struggle with the concept of making these changes, and making it work for their budgets. This is not right, its not the way it should be - getting your kid a happy meal should not be cheaper than feeding them fresh fruits and vegetables. But (for now) this is the world we live in. This is a subject you will likely see me blog more about in future...so stick with it.
Anyway - in this reality (although I would suggest we can change it, and be part of a food revolution!) there are actually a lot of ways to justify the extra expense. No, I am not talking about tree-hugging, feel good - its better for the environment, the community, the animals (it is!!! and I blog about all of this all the time too!), I am talking about cold hard cash today.
I spend between $22 - $27 on a whole chicken almost every week. A conventional rotisserie chicken purchased from your average supermarket, which is already cooked, and super convient is only around $7-$9, yes, I know. But my whole chicken - uncooked, and frozen to be rock-hard is from a local farm, where the chickens roam around, eat their natural diet of bugs and grass, giving it a totally different nutrient spectrum --- did you know you can get Omega 3s from chicken, if they are not raised on corn?!. The other main difference...TASTE. My chicken tastes like what chicken should taste like. I swear to you that if you tried this chicken, your bland white meat, costco chicken breasts would never look the same.
Anyway - how can I justify $27 for my chicken? (purely looking at
- It feeds me (a pregnant and hungry woman, and my husband who is training for an Ironman and could probably make a living travelling the world entering eating contests) for 2 large dinners. So - price that out to $13.50 per meal now (getting more reasonable, right?)
- I use the bones and carcas to make my own chicken stock! Sounds old fashioned, or like a lot of hassle - but trust me, its one of the easiest things I do in my kitchen (some instructions). Before I started doing this, I would buy a carton of organic chicken stock for a whopping $6 almost weekly. Now my freezer is stocked (pardon the pun), and I get the equivalent of 4-5 of these cartons (a $24 savings!). Wondering what I do with the stock? Cook all grains in it...yum lots more flavour and amazing health -promoting minerals.
- I NEVER throw chicken away anymore. Before things would often expire in my fridge (talk about a waste of money!), but now, since I buy the chicken frozen, it gets thawed during the day and cooked that night. Savings here too!
Other ways I ensure that my good, hard earned money is not wasted when we buy expensive, local organic foods:
- If fruit is beginning to get soft, I chop it up and throw it in the freezer. This means I never waste food - and I have lots of great ingredients for smoothies on hand!
- I save vegetable stalks in the freezer too, and add these to the stock when I cook it up, for extra flavour and nutrients!
- We eat the WHOLE food. Buying beets? Did you know that the greens that grow on top are excellent in salads or stir fries?
- Sauce! Soft tomatoes make great sauce!
- Buy dried! Dried beans cost 1/4 of the price of canned beans!
So, get creative, think about the way people used to cook, and waste not, want not.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Yesterday was my birthday. And my favourite foods are the most vinegary varieties of just about anything.
Grilled Salt & Vinegar Potatoes
The original recipe calls for white vinegar. I used a white wine vinegar instead - but you can use either. I suspect you could actually experiment over time w/ different types of vinegar. I used fingerling potatoes that were on the large size, but any waxy potatoes will do.
2 cups / 475 ml white wine vinegar
1 pound / 16 oz / 450 g waxy potatoes (see head notes), cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
fennel salt* to taste (optional)
Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan, then stack (or arrange) the potatoes so the vinegar covers them completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender. You want them to hold their shape, so they don't fall apart on the grill later. Let the potatoes cool in the vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well, then very gently toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Heat the grill to medium high. Grill potatoes, covered if possible, until golden on one side, then flip and grill the other side - roughly 3 - 5 minutes per side. Serve sprinkled with salt or fennel salt to taste.
*To make fennel salt: toast 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds in a skillet, pound to a powder with a mortar and pestle, then combining it with about two tablespoons of flaky sea salt.
Adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart Magazine, June 2009
What is your favourite food?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Ok, so its fair to say that I post quinoa recipes often. This is not because I am obsessed with quinoa...its actually not even on my top 5 favourite grains, if you must know!
Quinoa (say KEEN-wah) is the "wonder grain": high in protein, provides calcium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin E, and lysine, is gluten-free, easy to digest, and quick to cook. Higher in unsaturated fat and lower in carbohydrates than most grains (technically, it’s a seed), and it’s also a complete protein, since it contains every essential amino acid. It is an excellent replacement for rice or millet in cereals, main dishes, soups, side dishes, salads, and desserts and it cooks in half the time as rice.
Rinse and drain it, then cook it like pasta (in a large pot of boiling water) or rice (two parts water to one part grain). It makes a delicious breakfast (with sweet or savory additions), pilaf, and salad; it can also be added to baked goods.
To prepare: rinse thoroughly by rubbing grains together in water in order to remove the bitter outer coating (saponin). Bring 2-3 cups water to boil and add 1 cup quinoa, reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes or until tender. Cook in stock for rice like dishes, or add dried fruit for breakfast flavours.
Spicy Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
Salt to taste
2 cups diced cucumber
1 small red onion, finely minced (optional)
2 cups finely diced tomatoes
1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers (to taste), seeded if desired and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado, sliced, for garnish
1. Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear. Bring the 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent; each grain should have a little thread. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel, replace the lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. If making for the freezer, uncover and allow to cool, then place in plastic bags. Flatten the bags and seal.
2. Meanwhile, place the finely diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Toss and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumber with cold water, and drain on paper towels. If using the onion, place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water and drain on paper towels.
3. Combine the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cucumber and onion, season to taste with salt, and add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with sliced avocado and cilantro sprigs.
Yield: Serves six.
Advance preparation: The quinoa freezes well, and the assembled salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator. The leftovers will be good for a couple of days.
Nutritional information per serving: 236 calories; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 25 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 12 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 6 grams protein
Recipe and info from the NY TIMES, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/health/nutrition/13recipehealth.html?src=me&ref=health
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a workshop for an amazing group of mamas and their adorable little ones! Despite the heat these ladies and babies turned out to learn about introducing solid foods, how to make your own baby food, and what to look for when buying pre-made products!
Monday, July 12, 2010
In summer most people naturally get a taste for lighter foods. This is not a coincidence, it is in fact your body's natural rhythm. In winter our bodies are in a building phase, in order to stay strong in the cold, fight infections and viruses, and conserve nutrients in a time when (there should be - if we were eating natural, local, seasonal foods only) many foods are scarce.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Although my focus is on food, my goal is to support clients as they improve their overall health and wellness.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Everyone seems to love quinoa, but no one can pronounce it - right?
Quinoa Breakfast Cereal
Makes 2 Servings
- 1 cup quinoa (I rinse it well in a mesh strainer)
- 2 cups water or milk of any kind
- 1 apple, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts, ground
- 1 tablespoon ghee (I used unsalted butter)
- Sweetener options: Maple syrup, honey, agave, or stevia
1. Combine quinoa and water or milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add apple, coconut, cinnamon, nuts, and ghee. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer about 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
2. Serve with the sweetener of your choice. Note from Debra: Try adding raisins, dates, rosewater, cardamom, or whatever variation floats your boat.
ALICIA'S NOTE: Make a big batch, keep it in the fridge, and reheat each morning with a little milk for a healty breakfast on the fly!