DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
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 ;)
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!
If you know me well then you know that I love bath and body care products. Back in the day I had my own line of products called Omniscents. It was a fun hobby that sparked my creativity and deepened my knowledge of natural skin care products. I sold my products mostly around the holidays in craft markets, to family, friends and co-workers.
Happy National Cookie Day! In honour of this special day and because it's December I decided to make shortbread cookies, which are hands down my all-time favourite cookie. I usually only eat them around this time of year when they seem to be everywhere. At every potluck, every holiday party, at the markets, Everywhere. Maple, chocolate dipped, orange, cranberry, lemon, you name it. Those delicious, buttery, sweet, but not too sweet, rich, yummy morsels of goodness really do make me happy.
One of the few vegetables that are in season during the winter is squash. There are so many varieties, one of my favourites being butternut squash with its rich, sweet, creamy flavour and vibrant orange flesh.
This is one of the most requested dishes among clients that use my Chef at Home private cooking service. It's also one of our favourites at home. My 4 year old gobbles it up, especially if I add prawns to the dish. It's quite versatile; leave it as a veggie / vegan dish with lots of greens and peas, or add some protein.
I'm sad to say that I recently received my last CSA (community supported agriculture)
box of the season. Such a treat it was to pick up my goods every Monday evening at our farmer's house a few minutes away. This season was bountiful due to the hot weather and beautiful, mineral rich soil on their farm along the Fraser river.
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.
Veggies, veggies, veggies! In our house vegetables are a big part of our daily food intake. We try to eat a little or a lot at each meal. Veggies are the TRUE comfort food. They're loaded with a plethora of plant nutrients that provide the body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and water. Veggies (especially green) are alkalizing and help to keep the blood healthy and the lymphatic system moving, maintaining a constant natural detox.
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
Sometime last winter my good friend (and neighbor) Robin was feeling under the weather so as a caring friend (and neighbor) does, I brought her a batch of chicken & vegetable soup. Why is it that when we're sick, many of us automatically crave that ubiquitous bowl of "chicken soup"...or some other form of it?
I will admit that I'm not big into baking. I often prefer to go with no-bake desserts and snacks because they're easier and depending on the ingredients, raw deserts are often more nutrient dense.
The secret to moist and tender pork tenderloins is to sear the meat first then roast it in the oven at a high temperature, this helps to lock in the moisture This dish is simple to prepare and comes together in under 30 minutes.
Broccoli is hands down one of my favourite veggies. There are many ways to prepare this delicious and hearty cruciferous veg and this one is up there.
I love eating sautéed greens, especially when cooked with butter. This dish came about because I had exactly all of these ingredients in my fridge and wanted to use them up.
I'd have to say that salad is one of my favourite foods. The possibilities are endless when it comes to these crunchy bowls of goodness.
This dish has become a staple at our thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Roasting the yam and cauliflower brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables imparting a lovely sweet flavour in this light and fluffy mash.
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..
Today felt like a day for chili. Although it's still technically summer (last day) the cool Fall breeze is in the air. It amazes me at how quickly the weather shifts as we approach new seasons in our beautiful city.
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!