February 2013

Grass Fed Bison Meatballs

I’d like to take a moment to talk about a controversial subject- meat. Meat and its consumption is quite a hot point of contention these days; from sustainability to ethics, the subject of meat consumption gets a great deal of people hot under the collar.

Now, I’m a chef and I LOVE food; I’m not a vegan, I don’t eat exclusively raw and while I love plant based cooking and eating, I’ll be honest with you, I love meat- I like to consider myself a qualitarian, I eat only quality food; and there are moments when the only cure my for insatiable hunger are delicious meatballs. I’ll never apologize for my love of meat.

Do I eat meat every day? Certainly not. Not only does this create a demand that farmers cannot keep up with; but it’s not good for the human body to eat meat at every meal.

However, what I take the most issue with is the treatment of the animals, animals held in small cages, are unhappy; animals who are held in tight quarters with dead or dying brethren are not only unhappy but far more susceptible to disease and this is why big agriculture farmers (we’re talking the Lilydale’s of the world) use pharmaceuticals to keep their animals “healthy”- I use the term loosely. This is NOT the meat that I choose to eat. The more money we funnel into these practices, the more it will continue to happen. Why do I care? I mean, meat is meat, right? Wrong!

Lavender Infused Overnight Oats

overnight oats

This week is one of those weeks where there is barely a moment to breath; I’m moving house, starting a new job, and two new exciting work opportunities have presented themselves to me. I’ve been buzzing around with a slight nervous tension, but I’m happy, fulfilled and doing what I love; I can remember a year ago, wishing for this to be my situation- in the words of my grandmother, “When it rains it pours”.

When life gets hectic priorities shift, meals that were once carefully planned out make way for rushed recipes with speed and convenience in mind; but this does not mean that junk and nasty convenience food should be the contingency plan.

Stress, whether good or bad, runs our bodies down, which affects our immunity and if we aren’t eating properly we compound this effect; and living in a city where -25 degrees Celsius is a common occurrence, my immunity takes top priority. Now, oatmeal should have a place on your favorite foods list, why? Well, let’s start with the fiber. Oats, simply put, are a great source of fiber and contain a beautiful mix of both essential kinds (55% soluble and 45% insoluble); but it’s the soluble fiber, also known as beta-glucan, that is responsible for the nutritional accolades that oats very proudly boast.

Sweet Potato Smoothie

sweet potato smoothie

This week has been a really good one; as all my hard work is, finally, paying off! But with small success, comes a slightly more frantic day to day; but I wanted to pop in quickly to share this sweet potato smoothie recipe.

The other night as I was greedily eating a bowl of steamed sweet potato, out of nowhere I said aloud “I need to start putting sweet potato in smoothies”. No one was around to hear, but I knew I had to follow through on this one.

Turmeric Recipes ~ Lemonade

turmeric recipes

If there ever was a spice that deserved full regalia, turmeric would be it. This spicy staple originates from India, where they are responsible for 94% of the production; and it gives Indian food its characteristic flavor. Turmeric is essential in curry, so if you consume curry, you inadvertently consume turmeric- go you!

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, and the healing properties reside in its fingerling stalks; and it contains a whole heap of compounds, but the one that is responsible for its medicinal effects is curcuminoids, which lend turmeric its distinctive, clothes staining yellow color. The curcuminoid that deserves the highest praise is curcumin.

Turmeric recipes sweet and savory are lauded for their phenomenal anti-inflammatory properties, which are attributed to the aforementioned curcumin; and it is used in India to natural relieve arthritis, muscle pain and joint inflammation. Experts suggest that the reason for these benefits is that turmeric recipes lower histamine levels; other experts aren’t sure, but really, who gives a hell? It’s a proven anti-inflammatory and comes with zero side effects- that’s all that matters to me.

The Best Gluten Free Pasta

best gluten free pasta

This past New Years I didn’t resolve to do much, usually I resolve to do the same kind of thing- lose my Christmas weight, drink less wine and be more organized; but as 2013 dawned I didn’t make any of these resolutions. Instead, this year I resolved to give up gluten. As 2012 drew to a close, and I was getting more and more requests for gluten free classes, I began to research; and in my research I discovered that our bodies don’t need gluten. In fact, gluten, which is rooted from the Latin word for glue, does exactly that, gets all glutinous in our digestive tract and creates all sorts of problems. For some of us these problems cause lasting damage, and this is called celiac disease; for others it creates gas and minor digestive upsets; and for the rest of us it can make losing weight harder. Regardless, everyone has their reasons for giving up gluten.

The one question I get all the time is “what is the best gluten free pasta?” Which is followed quickly by “that has the same bite as real pasta?” For a long while I suggested brown rice pasta; but honestly, brown rice pasta is far from the best gluten free pasta, because of the chewy texture it has. And then I dabbled in corn pasta, which isn’t too bad, but if you boil it one minute over, it’s complete mush; not to mention that conventional corn is big time GMO, and corn pasta can be hard to source. So what’s left? Quinoa pasta that’s what!