DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
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.
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.
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.
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 ;)
I love a good pasta sauce. I love a good tomato based pasta sauce. And bonus to a good pasta sauce that can be made in under 30 minutes. You can cook this sauce longer but it's really not necessary. This simple sauce is full of flavour and is a great base for any dish that requires a red sauce like meatballs, pizza, braising liquid, lasagna, casseroles, or a base sauce for grains or veggies.
Lemon tahini dressing to the rescue! This nutritious and oh so delicious dressing is your answer to any dish that seems blasé to your palette. My absolute fave with this sauce is over steamed broccoli which I have been known to eat bowls at a time. My 4 year old loves the stuff and it's a great way to get kiddos to eat their veggies if they're not big fans...sauces and dressings are magical like that.
Meatballs are a staple dish I often have kicking around in my freezer. They're perfect for those busy nights when I don't have time to prepare a full meal from scratch and as my son gets older those nights seem to be more frequent. I'll often double up on this batch, cook what I need for the evening then freeze the rest for several more meals or snacks. My boys seem to love them and everyone that's tried them has given them 2 thumbs up!
With those of you with young children, what do you do on Halloween? I allow my son to have the occasional piece of candy. He does not have any food allergies or sensitivities and he eats a balanced, whole foods diet.
This guacomole dish has an extra special tangy kick from the delicious tomatillo (which by the way are not tomatoes). They're grown on a plant that looks very similar to tomatoes. They have a papery husk on the outside and a sticky residue around the fruit.
Since going grain free (and sugar free) last year I've had to find alternative ways to eat some of my favourite foods. (In a later post I'll explain why I altered my diet to suit my current needs and how it has affected me).
If you're thinking of going grain free or just want a lighter style of granola but just as filling and satisfying, then you'll love this recipe! Not only is it a fraction of the price of store bought granola, it also uses only a fraction of the ingredients resulting in a much more nutrient dense and tasty cereal.
This recipe is merely a template so feel free to play around with the type of fruit and spices you use. I happened to have dried apples and sugar-free candied ginger in my pantry so this is what came out! That's the beauty of cooking.
Apple Ginger Granola (Grain Free)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 - 3 tablespoons natural sweetener (I used Swerve for a sugar free version)
3 cups coconut ribbon
2 cups nuts and seeds (I used sliced almonds, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup dried unsulphered apple, diced
1/4 cup currants, dried
1/4 cup candied ginger, diced (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1.5 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I started to make my own cranberry sauce. Growing up we'd always use the canned stuff, even though my mom made everything else from scratch..
Beans serve as a rich source of plant protein, complex carbohydrates, soluble fiber, many minerals, B vitamins and fatty acids. Beans are not a complete protein so it’s important (especially for vegetarians/vegans) to eat a variety of different legumes and other plant proteins.
As mid summer approaches many of us here on the West Coast will start to see our beautiful tomatoes start to ripen! 'Tis a happy moment when I go out to my backyard and pick a plump, juicy, sweet n' delicious tomato right off the vine! That's summertime right there.
Homemade salad dressing is on of the easiest condiments to prepare and will save you a lot of $$. The ingredients used in store bought salad dressings are almost always less than desirable with highly processed, unhealthy fats, preservatives and "natural flavorings". A salad dressing should not be able to sit on a shelf for months upon end.
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!