DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
Have you tried switchel yet? If not, I highly recommend it. It's a beverage that you may or may not have heard of. If you haven't, you likely will soon as it makes its well deserved comeback. Switchel may have roots in the Caribbean, which eventually made its way up into the Southern US states more than a few centuries ago.
Spring has sprung here on the West Coast! Flowers are poppin', all the shades of green are as vibrant as ever and I've officially changed my closet over!
It's usually around this time of year I feel a deep urge to update a few lifestyle habits, some of which include: cleaning and organizing my house from top to bottom (this usually takes a few months!), spending more time outdoors, getting my hands in the dirt, connecting more with family and friends and simplifying the foods I eat. I'm often compelled to do a cleanse during the Spring, which to me feels more like the "new year."
Here's a quick and easy dinner that includes one of my favourite first foods of Spring, Asparagus! Around this time we start eating them by the handful. My 4 year old especially loves them. Something about a spear of food that you can eat with your hands is AOK with him and I know if I give him a plate full of them, they'll be eaten in no time.
Marshmallows are an occasional occurrence at our house, like Easter! The base contains only 4 ingredients and are a healthier alternative to conventional marshmallows which contain highly processed ingredients like corn syrup, refined sugars, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. Non-foods I'd rather not feed my kid, his friends, myself, or anyone for that matter!
In honour of National Nutrition Month, I wanted to share with you 13 Easy ways to Improve your Health with FOOD. These are all simple practices that can easily be incorporated into your life. You don't need fancy equipment, spend hundreds of dollars on obscure ingredients or go on a diet (they don't work anyways).
I don't eat a lot of rice but when I do this is one of my go-to dishes. Rice is a staple food for many people around the world, especially countries in Asia. It is believed that Chinese fried rice started as a way to not waste food and use up un-eaten rice with the high heat from the wok killing off any unwanted bacteria.
Ok, I know I’ve said this before but this dish is a serious winner with my 4 year old. It’s true, he does like a lot of different foods but sometimes I’ll get a prominent “mmm….yummy mommy, I like this. You should put it in your cookbook!”
If you’re trying to reduce or eliminate grains from your diet or just simply want new dishes to add to your repertoire, cauliflower rice is one of my absolute favourites! It’s pretty much become a staple dish in our household. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the occasional bowl of rice but cauliflower “rice” is much easier on my digestive system, it packs more of a nutritional punch and is nice and light which leaves me feeling good after a meal.
My 4 year old son LOVES peas! I recently made this dish and he went crazy for it. Peas have a natural sweetness to them, coupled with a bit of tang from lemon, a touch of spicy freshness from the mint and a hit of umami from the parmesan cheese, this simple and quick side dish is a winner!
One of my favourite types of fish to eat is fresh caught wild sockeye salmon. Living on the West Coast we have an abundance of fresh seafood right at our doorstep that can be purchased from farmer’s markets, local sea mongers, Granville island (in Vancouver, BC), many local grocery stores or freshly caught from your own fishing rod! There are so many ways in which salmon can be prepared and the ones that know this best are the indigenous people of this land where fresh caught salmon was a staple in their diet.
Did you know chocolate (real chocolate) is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet?! Did you know that's it's full of magnesium and magnesium just happens to be one of the most used nutrients in our body keeping our muscle and nerve function steady.
You may of noticed blood oranges popping up at your local grocery market. If you haven't eaten one before I highly recommend you stop and place a few in your basket, you won't regret it! Unlike traditional oranges, blood oranges are only in season between December through until May depending on the variety.
Coleslaw is one of my favourite types of salad. There are so many different variations from many different countries that it would be hard for me to pick my favourite. This one is definitely up there!
Beet Kvass is a beverage that I make from time to time. It's flavour is slightly salty, sour and tangy, with earthy notes. This nourishing, grounding and nutrient-rich drink makes my belly nice and warm. You know that feeling when you drink a lacto-fermented beverage (sauerkraut or kefir) and you get that warm fuzzy feeling inside? You can actually feel it doing something good in your body. I like consuming food/beverages that do that :)
Have I told you how much I love fermented foods? And I'm not talking about the Bick's Pickles or Sauerkraut that you'd find on the shelf of a supermarket that's been sitting there for who knows how long. I'm talking about real, traditional, lacto-fermented food and beverages that are teaming with bacteria (the good kind), lactic acids, vitamins, minerals and all the other good stuff.
My son's been asking me to make pickled carrots for about a month. I finally made them and honestly, I don't know why it took me so long. Life I guess. But, these literally take about 10 minutes to prep and 3-7 days to ferment.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural process that happens in the body to protect and heal our bodies from infection, damage and irritants. It helps us to eliminate damaged tissues or cells so that they can repair. Inflammation is necessary in many cases but if it sticks around for too long it can lead to serious health concerns.
So...this is my new favourite soup. Have I said that before?
Spicy, warming, rich and creamy while meeting my 3 very important criteria for a dish: Simple to make, extremely Nourishing (not only for the body but the mind & soul too) and, yes you guessed it Delicious! I hope you know by now that I wouldn't share a recipe with you that didn't meet these three expectations. Why not get the best BANG for your BUCK?
Do you like vegetables? I like vegetables. Actually, I LOVE them. I cannot imagine a day without them. We incorporate them into most meals that we eat, whether it's the main star of a meal, a side dish or incorporated into a smoothie. I make a serious point of getting them in there.
I know...another cabbage recipe! I can't help myself, I love the stuff! It's amazing how dense these things are, a little seriously goes a long way. And when I say dense I mean in volume / weight along with vitamins and minerals. Just look at all the colours in this dish! Talk about phyto-nutrients to the rescue. Also, a cabbage will last in your fridge for weeks so if you don't use it all, save some for another dish.
Are you celebrating National Curried Chicken Day by cooking up our very own batch? I am...mainly because it's National Curried Chicken Day, I love Curry and I love Chicken. Done.
The holidays can leave many of us feeling a bit off track when it comes to the foods we eat. With the onslaught of parties, dinners, late nights, excessive sweets and increased alcohol consumption, it might leave us feeling heavier, sluggish, lower energy and feeding into a sugar addiction.
The holidays are over, January is here and it's time for my household to get back on track. Not that we slipped too far off the track or anything but there definitely were a few more glasses of mulled wine, one or two extra cookies, a few more late nights and maybe a couple extra pieces of cheesecake!
Oh the humble and simple cabbage. One of my favourite vegetables on this planet! You will often find one kicking around my kitchen in the form of coleslaw, kimchi, sauerkraut, in soups, stews or in this case a warm salad. This dense and hearty ball of tightly packed leaves comes in a variety of colours (red, green and purple) with smooth or wrinkled leaves.
There's nothing like giving a home-made gift made with your very own hands. Not only are homemade gifts made with TLC, they can also be very economical and an activity that can get one or more sets of hands involved. If we're close, you've likely received something home-made from me. Being a creative and practical person, I often like to give gifts that you can eat.....or slather on your body ;)
One of my great joys in life is cooking! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & food lover I continue to explore the balance between healthy, traditional food preparation and tasty dishes.
Check out my new COOKBOOK! Planting Seeds of Nourishment with over 40 whole-foods based recipes and tons of nutrition info!