DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
Happy International Soup day!
Soup is one of my favourite foods. It can quiet the mind, nourish the body and soothe the soul. The possibilities for textures, flavours and recipes are endless. You can have soup anytime of the year, a hearty bowl of lentil soup in the winter or a light & refreshing bowl of lemony salmon chowder in the warmer months. Not to mention, the incredible healing benefits of using bone stock which also adds depth of flavour that you can't get from using only water. This truly is a win-win type of food!
We’ve heard that soups heal. But, even after sipping at the fanciest of store-bought concoctions we are often left feeling the same as we did when we started – just fuller. The reason for this non-healing feeling is that most soups on the market are made with desiccated (dried) ingredients devoid of the good stuff along with other non-pronouncables.
Life moves by quickly. And, eating has become a means to an end. We consume calories for energy, and we go on. But, we over-eat, because convenience foods are often served in large portions. We swallow larger chunks of food that are hard to digest – because it just takes too long to chew. Over time, we develop many habits that tear us away from our relationship with food.
Recently, I hosted my Rockstar Kitchen Navigator course, and I must say that it’s a great meal planning class for anyone! In class, you can find seniors, teenagers, vegetarians, meat eaters, you name it. They join us to increase their food consciousness by gaining cooking skills, adopting new recipes and learning to read important nutritional information. This course is one of my favourites because meal planning is at the core of my teachings. And, you may have heard me say this before, but here it is again…
This delicious dish can be whipped up, cooked & served in under 30min. There's something to be said about the Mediterranean diet, filled with flavourful oils, fresh vegetables and seafood.
Granola is one of those staple foods that I try to keep stocked in my pantry. It's a quick, easy & delicious snack or meal that's extremely versatile and I most often have the ingredients (or some version) on hand.
As much as I enjoy a good bowl of rice, its just not something that I consume regularly. When we do consume rice or other grains in our house I make sure to prepare them in a way that allows us to get the most nutrients possible making them more digestible and absorbable (more to come on that!)
I love turkey dinner and all the fixings that go with it! One thing I'm not fond of is the insane food coma that tends to happen afterwards. It doesn't feel good and it's hard to avoid when theirs so many options staring you down at the table. ("willpower...where are you?"). When I make the effort to prepare food for family and friends (which I LOVE doing) I like to bask in the aftermath by connecting with good conversation, wine and lots of laughs. That's hard to do in a meaningful way when entrenched in the fullness of TOO much food.
I love most vegetables and I think it's safe to say that broccoli is one of my favorites. It's not unusual to find me chowing down on a bowl of broccoli braised in chicken stock, seasoned with butter, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper for lunch. It's hearty enough be be a star ingredient in a dish or a lovely accompaniment to a main...or perhaps in a soup, stirfry, casserole or even in baking. Such a versatile vegetable it is.
My son is 3 and he loves to eat snacks! This is a fairly new thing for him as he used to be quite a grazer when it came to eating. When we started to slow down on the the nursing (at 2yrs, ended at 3yrs) the desire for snacks increased in a huge way. Makes sense since he is a growing boy and they need good nutrients to support the rapid rate at which it happens! I try my best to provide him with high quality food and make as much of it as possible by setting aside a few hours one day a week to make 2-3 different snack options.
In our house we like crackers. We eat them with cheese and dips quite regularly. They're a quick & easy snack for an energetic and very "snacky" 3yr old and make a great hors d'oeuvre when guests are coming over.
Beef jerky is one of my all time favorite snack foods! It's relatively easy to make (in a dehydrator or oven), you can experiment with many different seasonings, it travels well and it's a high protein snack with highly absorbable nutrients like iron and zinc. When I make it at home, it usually doesn't last for very long, there's something very addictive about these salty, sweet & spicy, chewy, yet tender strips of beef that is so very satisfying!
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.
Soaking beans & legumes is a process that will give you a nutritional bang for your buck! It is taking the food you eat and your health & wellness to the next level. Soaking, fermenting or sprouting takes a little bit more energy, time & thought but the benefits are well worth it.
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.
Have you heard of Switchel? If not...here you go and I'll bet you'll be hearing or tasting more of it in the near future. This delicious drink is making a comeback, much like Kombucha. Other names for this refreshing drink are Swizzle, Ginger Water and Haymaker’s Punch. Switchel’s been around for several hundred years and may have roots in the Caribbean, making it's way to southern & eastern states in the US in the late 1700's.
I love a great potato salad especially in the summertime, it's the ultimate backyard, BBQ potluck dish. I thought I'd take this tried and true dish and put a little spin on it it. I love when a recipe idea turns into something delicious!
Okay here it is...my all time favorite chicken dish! It's simple to prep, takes very few ingredients and is extremely flavorful, this dish is a winner in our household and also for many of the clients that I cook for!
Purchasing meat can be confusing when trying to decipher what all the different labels mean. In Canada there are no strict regulations when it comes to labeling meat (unless it has the "Certified Organic" label).
3 qualities I love in a meal: Simple, Nourishing, Delicious.
Fish stock is one of the most nutritious stocks you can make! It's high in nutrients and takes very little time unlike chicken & beef stocks which can take anywhere from 4-72 hours.
Here's a lovely little dish I created using up veggies I had in my fridge. They were slotted to become 2 separate side dishes, but alas, their true destiny was to become a delicious main course, Potato & Zucchini...together ♥ . Along with a few other flavors to make this a perfectly satisfying meal!
This is great dish alone, alongside a salad or served as a breakfast / brunch dish. Keep it veggie or add meat for extra protein, bacon perhaps?!
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 yukon, russett potatoes or yam, diced
1/4 cup black olives (optional)
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Kale is a super food and is jam packed with vitamin C and beta carotene. It's high in antioxidants and helps to scavenge free radicals in the body. Nutritional yeast is a great staple to have in the kitchen. It adds a cheesy flavor and is high in B vitamins. It's delicious on popcorn, steamed veggies, salads & gives vegan cheese its cheesy flavor.
This is one of my favorite ways to eat kale. I've brought it to many potlucks and its always a hit...even for the non-kale believers!
The vegetables, fruit and nuts are interchangeable in this recipe. I like to go with seasonal foods whenever possible, however the photo on this post was taken in the summer, hence the fresh baby tomatoes!
*It's important to let the salad sit for at least 30min before serving. This allows the apple cider vinegar to break down the cellular walls of the kale, releasing a large array of nutrients that are more digestible and absorbable*.
1 large head of Kale, wash and remove leaves from spine. Chop into bite size pieces
1 orange or yellow pepper, thinly sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 handful sesame seeds (sunflower, hemp and pumpkin seeds work well also)
1 handful of cranberries (optional)
1⁄4 red onion – thinly sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1.5 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tsp tamari sauce or coconut aminos
1 clove of garlic, crushed or 1 tsp garlic powder
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!