Sunday, November 21, 2010

Xmas lattes

When the holiday season arrives, no one is more excited than me. Seasonal treats are everywhere and challenge one's dietary willpower.
A certain coffee chain offers delicious holiday drinks which are hard on the pocketbook and the digestive system as they are rich with sugary syrups.
Thanks to an early Christmas gift from an amazing woman named Yvonne, we can indulge in our own artisan lattes thanks to our new nespresso machine. These drinks are cafe-quality and don't require sugar - but one cannot be blamed for wanting to add a sprinkle of cocoa powder or even perhaps a shot of Baileys!
Customized and made with love, this is the perfect way to start a chilly winter morning.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kale Chips: Easy, Fast, Crunch, Yum!

Look at that brilliant green! I'm an adoring fan of that emerald green seen only on a lovely leaf of kale, but my insides get nervous at the thought of digesting the pretty thing. Lots of chewing required and sometimes it still doesn't get digested properly. But what if we could take the moisture out of the kale, and break down the fibres, and turn it into a crispy yummy snack? Enter the baked kale chip!

Recipe for Baked Kale Chips
- Take 1 head of kale out of the fridge; turn oven on the 300F
- Wash your kale leaves well and dry with a tea towel. Remove them from stems and rip into potato chip sized pieces.
- Take 2 baking trays and line each with a tablespoon of olive oil. Throw the kale on and start to massage the oil into every leaf.
- Now season to your liking. A sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, have some lemony Mrs. Dash? A handful of paprika?
- Place in oven for 20 minutes or until kale is crisp but not dark brown, nor is it soggy in the middle. You may turn with tongs after 10 minutes to ensure an even crisping.
- Dry out for at least 30 minutes. Store in airtight containers with a paper towel in the bottom to eliminate sogginess.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dinner Planner for Week of October 4th

MONDAY: Lamb Ale Sausage and new potatoes in fry-pan with green (pea and leek) soup
TUESDAY: Shrimpy rice pilaf with sauteed zucchini and red peppers
WEDNESDAY: Spinach and cheese pizza with veggie soup
THURSDAY: Baked fish, brown rice mixed greens or broccoli
FRIDAY: Veal in oven roasted veggies and cheesy cauliflower

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Zucchini Treats

I do appreciate zucchini though I'm not a huge devotee of the slightly mushy vegetable. This week I had a couple of extra zukes sitting around in my crisper and I decided to do something yummy with them. If I weren't so lazy, I'd have put them to better use. I've seen talented hands turn zucchini blossoms into delectable treats before my eyes; now that's a dish I'll never attempt on my own.

First off for this lazy chef was to try and replicate the deep and delicious chocolate zucchini bread that local folk sell at our farmers' market. Theirs is very yummy but definitely contains too much sugar. This is the recipe I made, but put in just 2/3 cup sugar in total, along with a couple of teaspoons of honey. Thanks Inspired Taste bloggers!

Since there was extra grated zucchini left over from the cake, I decided to make zucchini fritters. I don't have a recipe for this. You simply mix together grated zucchini with a flour-egg mixture sufficient to hold the patties together. Try a 2:1 ratio: 1 cup of grated zucchini with half an egg and 2/3 cup of flour, with a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Shape into patties and fry in a little bit of olive oil and butter. Now that's a taste of autumn!

Dinner Planner for Week of September 20th

Rainy days mean more cooking, so here's what we have planned for this week.

SUNDAY: Shake n' Bake chicken, brown rice and broccoli
MONDAY: Beef bolognese spaghetti and rapini
TUESDAY: Japanese ramen miso soup with shrimp, corn and baby bok choy
WEDNESDAY: Fish with grilled polenta and green beans
THURSDAY: Vegetarian Lasagne with Swedish meatballs on the side
FRIDAY: Mac n' cheese with backyard kale and broccoli

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dinner Planner for week of September 13

For this week of fall-like weather it's all about the heavier meals.

Monday: Fresh roasted veggie pasta with Greek salad
Tuesday: Grilled salmon, new potatoes and sauerkraut, asparagus
Wednesday: Japanese ramen noodle soup with shrimp, baby bok choy, tofu and peas
Thursday: Burgers and yam fries with fresh veggie on the side
Friday: Vegetarian pizza + meatballs

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dinner Planner for Back to School

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie with green beans
Tuesday: (lunch: egg salad sandwiches veggie juicebox) Shake n' Bake Chicken with Broccoli
Wednesday: (lunch: leftover broc with humous, cheese sandwich) Veggie Lasagna with Chicken
Thursday: (lunch: pb, j and banana sandwiches) Crab Cakes, sauteed leeks and broccoli soup
Friday: Pasta with cauliflower and meatballs, carrot and cukes on the side

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So Easy, a Kid Could Do It

As soon as your child can sit up and talk, it's time to get them thinking about food preparation. Young children love to help and it's a great way to get them involved in making a variety of foods, that they are sure to eat, once they have "made it" themselves.

My Bug made most of this cake above. It's a much less sweet version of a recipe for sweet potato cake I found on a great but now defunct food blog.

Okay, so I helped by reading the steps, measuring the amounts, placing the pan in the oven and doing most of the cleanup. But she did quite a lot, right down to mixing the icing and drizzling it over top of the cake. And she had a great time!

If you try the recipe, know that I doubled it to make it fit into a Bundt pan, and I used only half the sugar it calls for, then added three sachets of Stevia powder.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Beat Boredom with Online Inspiration

I'm determined that my addiction to the Internet will make my life better, not merely waste all of my spare time. I'm always on the lookout for articles, websites, apps that will help me cook better meals for my family, and this Recipes for Health mini-site fit the bill.

Here you'll find a collection of healthy recipes which are beautifully photographed. You can search for recipes in a variety of ways but my favourite is to click on the photo of the food you're planning to cook. Scroll down to the left-hand side of the page to choose by ingredient or theme (e.g. burger alternatives, Lunchbox fixes).

Simply smart, healthy and delicious.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fructose Speeds Cancerous Growth

My nutritionist education at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition was an almost unending refrain about the health risks and dangers of eating processed foods, while espousing a return to the foods we were designed to eat. As each year passes since my graduation, I see more and more mainstream articles finally switching their focus away from fatty foods and towards the evils of processed sugars.

A sea change is coming. We're going to finally see the medical establishment admit that there is little to no evidence (in the last 50 years!) that eating a naturally fat diet causes disease and obesity. And we'll see a focus shift to the mounting evidence that manufactured foods are harming our bodies.

This Globe and Mail article links the consumption of fructose to increased growth of pancreatic cancer cells. The article states "While it's widely known that cancer cells use glucose to fuel their growth, last week's findings were the first to link fructose to cancer growth."

In my studies, I came across a lot of theories positing that for example, processed sugars in the bloodstream will lower the immune response, but very little scientific proof. To-date, few researchers have set out to study that processed sugars like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) are detrimental to one's health. Who would fund these studies? The non-existent Union of Fruit and Vegetable Growers or America? And what type of scrutiny and backlash would such a study face, from the HFCS industry, the soda companies, manufacturers like General Mills whose breakfast and convenience foods are laden with processed sugars?

We need more academics and scientists to pursue independent research without financial backing by large corporations, if we want to find out the truth about how our modern diet is affecting our health. In the meantime, do your body a favour and cut processed sugars out of your diet; substitute if you must, with a more natural sweetener, like Stevia or honey.