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Mighty kale and all of it’s glory

Photo Credit: WebMD.com

Photo Credit: WebMD.com


Ok, it’s been out there for awhile that kale is no ordinary green. Particularly in Vancouver, it draws a LOT of attention because not only is it delicious and versatile, but it grows throughout the winter months which is pretty cool when you’ve got weather like ours.

So what is special about kale other than the taste? It is the epitome of a superfood! Here are some quick facts (from WebMD) about kale’s nutritional content:

-One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

-Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

-Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

-Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

If you have seen this green in the market but have shied away from it because you have absolutely no clue what to do with it, here are some super tasty recipes that incorporate all the might of kale:

This light yet fulfilling salad: http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/01/spicy-peanut-ginger-kale-salad.html

This refreshing smoothie (get ON that green drink bandwagon, they rock): http://www.wholeliving.com/185519/kale-pineapple-and-almond-milk-smoothie

This tasty side to an Indian feast: http://www.holycowvegan.net/2009/03/kale-subzi.html

These chips that you have nothing to feel guilty about (seriously, if you try any of these recipes, give this one a try first): http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2010/07/totally-addictive-kale-crisps-2/

Or, if you are like me, you can always massage some raw chopped kale with ginger-garlic-miso dressing and throw in any other favorable salad topping. Sauteed tofu or pumpkin seeds are always a tasty addition.

For more health info on kale, check out WebMD’s page on it.

 

Farming for the modern individual

Photo Credit: Modern Farmer

Photo Credit: Modern Farmer

Looking to get into gardening/ farming, but kind of want to avoid feeling like a hick or weirdo for doing so? Check out this AMAZING magazine, The Modern Farmer.Designed to bridge the gap between where your food comes from and your table, this periodical boasts fun articles such as “How do grow your own cocktail” and tons of great DIY projects to get you outside and involved. Super cool stuff!

What, you think that we are just a little too excited about this crazy mag? Well, we aren’t alone. This baby is already on backorder for the hard copies.

Seems like a fun read for the upcoming sunny days to say the least.

 

Where did we hear about it? This Vitamin Daily Article. Check their site out as well for other interesting snippets for health and wellness.

Spring Eats

Spring is literally just around the corner, although given the snow the other day you couldn’t tell… Despite Vancouver’s fickle weather fluctuations between sunshine and rain, there is one thing you can depend on in Spring: lots of fresh, delicious food. Given our moderate climate, Spring brings loads of fresh veggies, fruits, and tasty mushrooms to experiment with. Check out this seasonal chart for inspriration

However, just to name a few:

Asparagus

Fiddleheads (little edible ferns)

Morel mushrooms

Rhubarb

Tons of herbs

Leafy veggies like cabbage and lettuces

Bring colour and life to your day-to-day menu with some of these ingredients. And as an added bonus, you will be doing your body a favour, as fresh food is ALWAYS a better alternative to processed food. And as most of us know, a healthy body is definitely necessary for a healthy mind and spirit.
While on the subject of tasty local veggies, try to get out to a local farmers market which start to pop up late April into early May. This is a great way to get yummy treats, be outside with family or friends, and get to know your local farmers.

Enjoy!

Decadent Chocolate Mousse for your Valentine

Chocolate Mousse

This is an old Swiss recipe that’s very rich but not too sweet. I like it because it’s a very special treat, but doesn’t throw off my blood sugar levels after a meal. I suggest that this be shared by 4 people at least. It doesn’t make much, but it’s a very rich dessert.dark chocolate

2 eggs separated

100 g of 70% or more dark chocolate

2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp of cocoa powder

200 ml whipping cream

- Take eggs out of the fridge one hour before making the mousse to bring them up to room temperature

- Separate the eggs and whip the whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Put aside

- Whip the cream until quite thick and set aside

- In a bain-marie (a large metal bowl over a pot of boiling water) place the chopped chocolate and stir while it melts

- Once fully melted, take the chocolate off the stove

- In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks, cocoa powder and sugar together

- Add this mixture to chocolate

- Now take turns adding the egg whites and whipped cream to your chocolate mixture, by gently folding in with one or two spatulas.

- Place into 4 serving dishes or champagne glasses and chill for at least 20 minutes

Caroline Rechia

Soup

Soups are comfort foods that warm you up on a cool evening. Make soups such as leek and potato, cauliflower or broccoli thick and creamy with substitutions for traditionally-used creams and butters. Try substituting 1% or 2% milk for cream in recipes and stir in several tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream just before serving. Add a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt to each bowl of soup when serving, which when stirred in, makes for a creamier taste experience. You can also add pureed potatoes, white beans or cauliflower to thicken your soups. Note that potatoes tend to dull down flavours so make sure to add fresh herbs to potato soup bases to sharpen taste, and hold back on the salt.

soup

Winter Foods

Fall and Winter Foods

When fall and winter arrives, many of us crave warm, cozy, comfort foods, especially given the recent weather we have been having. This can cause anxiety for those who equate these choices with lots of calories. Rich, saucy foods are indeed typical for the season: creamy mashed potatoes, gravies, cheese sauces and stews. But these foods aren’t the only way to get that comfort food feeling. There are ways to reduce the calories, but not the flavour of these traditional foods, making them health-inducing, not guilt-inducing. Here are a few ideas to get you cooking in a more healthful way this fall and winter.

winter squash

winter squash

Cooking Differently

Make creamy mashed potatoes by using Yukon Gold potatoes, low fat sour cream and a small amount of salt and butter or margarine. The yellow colour of the potatoes will give a buttery appearance, and the sour cream will lend a creamy texture, but without the fat of butter and cream.

Yummy Roasted Root Vegetables

There really is nothing quite like the smell of food roasting in the oven to fill your home with warmth. Take your favourite root vegetables and chop them into 1 inch (approximate) cubes. Place them in a glass baking dish and coat them with the following marinade:

4 TBsp olive oil

1 TBsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp oregano, thyme and rosemary

Yams, sweet potatoes, fennel, sunchokes, any colour potato (including blue), turnip, parsnip, carrots, onions, garlic are all great choices for this recipe:

roasted-veggies1

roasted winter veggies

Let sit for 20 minutes then cover dish with aluminum foil and place in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and leave for 10 more minutes. It may take up to an hour to cook your vegetables depending on which you chose, but keep turning them with a spatula to ensure they don’t stick to the sides of the dish.

Welcome Caroline Rechia! Our Nutritional Consultant

Caroline Rechia is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with over 10 years experience in consulting and working with diverse clients, including the Vancouver School Board and Canadian Cancer Society. Caroline believes that the right food choices can make us healthier and happier. She provides personalised nutrition strategies to help clients achieve goals such as weight loss or gain, manage food allergies and intolerances, or adopt a healthier diet. Having recently had a baby, Caroline is very interested in helping pregnant women and new moms eat properly and instilling their kids with great eating habits.

New! Nutrition Page

 

Check out our nutrition pages.  Great tips for new moms, recipes for seasonal eating, and holiday treats, including healthy chocolate recipes.  Yes, they do exist! All info provided by Caroline Rechia, RHN, our Nutritional Consultant and owner of Chocolibrium.

Baby Loves Beets

By Caroline Rechia, Registered Nutritionist

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I learned a lesson today about not passing your own food issues on to your child. I hate beets but a good friend gave me a beautiful, fresh golden one from the market this weekend, so I decided to bake it up. Why waste good food? And perhaps this time I’d like them.

I peeled it, chopped it and poured a balsamic vinaigrette over the pieces. At lunch I warmed up the beets and as I began to add some herbed goat cheese to the bowl, my Baby Bug noticed what I was doing and went ga-ga over them. I had to give her some as she was kicking up a storm. Although I’ve been feeding her off my plate for weeks no, I never planned to offer her beets. I find they taste like dirt so why on earth would she like them? She adored them and couldn’t get enough. And why not? Baked beets are sweet and have a lovely texture.

You can tell she’s loving them! From now on I’ll just let her try anything that’s baby-appropriate without considering first how I feel about the food.