Spring Has Sprung…Spotlight on Asparagus

asparagus

Hello there, it’s been a while hasn’t it. I’ve been busy getting the Vitality Kitchen up and running; to say it took longer than I anticipated would be grossly understated. But alas, it’s done, the last thing is waiting for mister inspector to give the final thumbs up…I intend to turn on the charm. I may not be the best painter or handy whatsoever, but charming I am!

But I digress.

While I had my head buried in getting The Vitality Kitchen up to snuff, spring happened; and if you follow me on instagram, then you know that I’ve already had my first patio day- it was glorious. And with spring comes an abundance of new produce to enjoy. I love spring, it’s the time when plants come alive and the bounty of mother nature makes itself available to us.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be highlighting some spring produce, starting with asparagus. I paid a visit this morning to CTV morning live to discuss spring foods, and although my growing region may be very different from where you live, this next few posts will serve a guide for you to explore mother natures bounty!

The beauty of asparagus and most spring and summer foods, is that they lend themselves so well to raw applications; and asparagus’ unique, soft, grassy flavour is beautiful au naturel. I LOVE to shave asparagus; it looks chic and makes the raw-ness of it less raw tasting.

Today I made a shaved asparagus and mushroom salad, as an homage to what’s coming in spring foods. This recipe is amazing and can be enjoyed hot or cold!

Herbed Shaved Asparagus Salad with Mushrooms and Goat’s Milk Feta

1 bunch asparagus, shaved with a peeler
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp goat’s milk feta, crumbled

In a saute pan on medium heat melt the butter, add the mushrooms and parsley and cook for 5 minutes; add the shaved asparagus, mint and salt and pepper, and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with feta. Serve hot or cold.

Although this salad is a gem, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy asparagus.

ROAST
Coat asparagus spears with camelina oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast at 425F for 7 minutes until crisp tender. To avoid burning the tips, cover them with foil.

SAUTE
Chopped asparagus sautéed with sesame oil for 5 minutes until crisp-tender; and seasoned with lime and tamari, makes for an impressive side dish that comes to together in minutes!

It’s good to be back and it’s GREAT to have a space to call the Vitality Kitchen- I literally smile everyday when I walk in; I promise a tour soon…all the technical aspects are completed, now its time to decorate!



Balanced Electrolytes For Hot Yoga

hot yoga electrolytes

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you are well aware of my reignited love for yoga. You see, I’ve always dabbled in yoga, but for whatever reason I would fall out of the habit; but when my mom completed her yoga designation, I was introduced to yoga through my mothers eyes, and things changed. But when when it came to hot yoga, our relationship has always run hot and cold; whenever I would practice I would get either a raging headache or slow burning pressure point headache that would persist throughout the day. Of course I knew this had to do with hydration, but I hydrate- LOTS; and still, headaches.

But I didn’t want to give up. With the Polar Vortex, there’s nothing better than yoga in a hot room to escape; so I did what I always do, I researched. Turns out there are HEAPS of tips out there that can help you, me and anyone who wants to enjoy hot yoga, but can’t seem to shake the headaches.

Boost Your Water
It’s said time and time again, you must hydrate if you plan on doing hot yoga- 32 ounces per day; but if you’re like me, you sweat a lot, and thus lose water quickly, so no matter how much water you drink, you are left feeling depleted, it’s time to boost your water. Salts and other electrolytes are lost when we sweat, so it essential to replenish them to bring balance back to the body.

Foods like cucumber and celery have adequate salt content and are fantastic options for maintaining salt balance. Prepare the following recipe at the start of the week and enjoy before yoga class all week long; the reason that you want to consume this drink BEFORE class, is that the salt content will help the body retain some of the water you’ve been chugging- in this case, water retention is good!

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 1 pear
  • 2 cups distilled water

Juice the cucumber, celery, lemon and pear; combine the juice with water and refrigerate for up to one week.

Fall In Love with Coconut
I cannot say enough about coconut, I really can’t; but in this case, my fawning praise is warranted. When it comes to replenishing lost electrolytes, coconut water is TOPS!

You often hear people recommend sports drinks to replenish electrolytes, but I want to caution you against this; sports drinks are full of sugar, in such large amounts that it completely negates the benefits of consuming them. Also, sports drinks only replenish up to 2 of the body’s 5 key electrolytes, while coconut water replenishes all 5. It’s a no brainer!

But I understand how some people find the taste off putting- I did too; so I found a way to accommodate. Just add chocolate; when given the opportunity, I ALWAYS add chocolate!

  • 2 cups coconut water, not from concentrate
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 drop stevia liquid

In a blender combine all the ingredients; pour the combined liquid through a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth, to filter out any cacao crumbs. Keep refrigerated for up 4 days.

Eat Your Electrolytes
All this liquid talk makes it seem like electrolytes are only delivered via beverages, but that’s not the case. Cucumber, celery and many other balancing foods can and SHOULD be eaten as well; I personally find that drinking my electrolytes pre yoga and eating them post yoga is the best method- but everyone is different, so find what works for you.

A delicious post yoga salad is a Vitality Kitchen favourite, Pomegranate, Mint and Cucumber Salad; it’s got bite, crunch, sweet and salt- it’s the perfect post yoga treat, that’s does the body good!

I hope these tips help you get your glow on and help you get your hot yoga groove back!



Life Lesson Learned From Brewing Kombucha

kombucha

Brewing Kombucha has been a part of my life for over a year now, but my love for this healthy brew goes beyond that. The health benefits associated with consuming kombucha are long and storied; namely liver detoxification, boosting digestive health and providing an energy lift mid afternoon. However, today I want to talk about some key life lessons I have learned from brewing kombucha on my own.

  • Patience

If you know me personally then you likely know that patience is not a virtue I possess naturally, I’ve always been an “I want it now” kind of person; but with kombucha, patience is necessary to create a strong mother (the symbiotic bacterial culture). It takes about 30 days for a kombucha baby to turn into a mother; and BOY was it hard for me to wait 30 days to start mixing up flavours for my kombucha. Truly, every day I would stare at my kombucha baby growing and wish her to grow faster; but there are many rewards for the patient, namely a strong and high yielding kombucha mother.

Beyond the first 30 days of growth, each brew takes about 7 days to come to fruition; and I have learned that patience in brewing kombucha, applies to life too. Rushing in the kitchen can lead to serious cuts and/or burns; rushing while driving can lead to accidents (happened to me September); and lastly rushing in all areas can lead to stress and an all around frazzled existence. Slow down and brew kombucha!

“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.”
George Savile

  • Sharing is Caring

I’m an only child and I can freely admit that it was a steep learning curve in adulthood, adopting a sharing is caring attitude; I know all my fellow only children can relate. Growing up and never having to compromise or share with siblings creates a “me” mindset; although I have worked through my only child issues, brewing kombucha has served as reinforcement of my newfound “me to we” sensibilities.

When a kombucha mother flourishes and grows little babies (future mothers to be), they must be shared. You see, when a kombucha mother gets to be too big, she get’s bogged down and the brew becomes sluggish; however, when you remove the little babies and share them with other wanna-be kombucha brew masters, not only is the love shared, but the mother is then able to flourish and make deliciously healthy kombucha. Only children and sibling alike can learn a lesson or two from brewing kombucha!

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.
Maya Angelou”

  • Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Now this isn’t to say that I operate in mess- far from it in fact; however, when working with kombucha, things needs to be positively sterile. You see, kombucha is bacteria and when you’re messing around with bacteria, you don’t want to mess around with mess- seriously; this healthy bacterial “juice” is a health dynamo, but introduce any bad bacteria and things will get crazy INCREDIBLY fast! Think black, stinky bacterial culture- yuck!

Whenever I am working with my kombucha, I clean my whole kitchen first, to ensure that nothing potentially damaging is introduced into the sacred environment that is a my kombucha brew. Now this is two fold amazing, 1) my kitchen is clean! And 2) I keep my kombucha health and thriving. If I can impart any kitchen lessons to wanna-be chef and kombucha masters, cleanliness is it; when you operate in organization and tidiness, your kitchen experience will be fun and rewarding, whereas mess just makes everything feel more hectic.

“Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.
P. J. O’Rourke”

The last place I would expect life lessons to sprout would be out of my spouted kombucha brewer, but life is unexpectedly wonderful like that! For more information about brewing your own kombucha, take a peek at one of my most popular videos!



Top 5 Whole Foods Tips For Healthy Living

My life and business are intertwined with food; I cook for clients and then cook for myself, in hopes of providing the best and most delicious nutrition- it consumes me you could say. But so often I find the people know very little about whole foods, processed foods and how to make the right choices.

Today’s guest post shares how to live healthy with whole foods and debunks any misconceptions you may have.

Enjoy!

whole foodsTop 5 Whole Foods Tips For Healthy Living

Continue Reading

Heart Healthy Raw Chocolate Pudding

heart healthy chocolate pudding

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and I felt this was the perfect excuse to celebrate all matters of the heart; so why not have chocolate pudding?!

All chocolate pudding is not created equal, but those made with legitimate ingredients like cashews and coconut can protect your heart; perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Check out my Raw Chocolate Pudding YouTube video- it’s a goody; click here for the delicious visual goodness and , of course, the recipe!