Thursday, December 29, 2011


In a previous post I commented on the book by Dr. William Davis titled "Wheat Belly".   I recently bought the book and I am now reading it.  Of course I read the end of the book first as I wanted to read what foods were on the 'can eat list' and how he framed his wheat-free diet.

Dr. Davis, a cardiologist, has found the following health benefits by eliminating wheat from your diet.  He bases his theory on research clinical trials conducted by others and the diet he put thousands of his patients on.

  1. Weight loss in the first few months
  2. Alleviation of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
  3. Recovery from intestinal challenges including ulcerative colitis and celiac disease
  4. Improvement in overall cholesterol and LDL counts
  5. Improvement in bone density and reversal of osteopenia
  6. Relief from skin conditions including psoriasis, oral ulcers and hair loss
  7. Reduction of inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis
There are a number of interesting observations that he makes in this book.  One of them is about the differences between ancient varieties of wheat such as emmer and einkorn and the modern varieties we now consume.  Dr. Davis has a wheat sensitivity and on separate days he consumed bread made with either the ancient variety or the modern variety.  The ancient variety did not bother him, did not substantially increase his sugar levels nor did he have side effects.  Eating bread made with a modern variety of wheat resulted in substantial increases in blood sugar and made him nauseous.  The genetic breeding over the past 20th century has changed wheat.  He calls wheat a super carbohydrate and eating whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose.  He also feels that wheat is addictive for some people and is an appetite stimulant.   

Monday, December 26, 2011


During the past few months I have been eating seaweed salad.  Up until eating this salad, most of the seaweed I had eaten was found in nori sheets, used to make sushi.  I had eaten dried seaweed flakes but them to be salty.

I found this prepared seaweed salad at Costco.  The salad is processed in Canada but I don't know where the seaweed is initial harvested.   The salad is called an Asian style salad and has a sesame flavour with a hint of pepper.  The salad also includes strands of kikurage mushroom.
Label on the salad container. 

Close-up of seaweed salad.
I eat this salad by itself and I also add it to lettuce salads as a toping.  When I add it to other salads I don't add salad dressing, except for maybe some rice vinegar, as this seaweed salad had dressing added to it made with sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, salt and red pepper.  The only thing that I would prefer in this seaweed salad would be for the salad to have less sodium.

I really like this salad and I don't have any competition in sharing it.  The DH finds it too chewy and has told me that I can enjoy it all by myself.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Many of us are experiencing food choice overload this holiday season.  At work there is an endless array of desserts, crackers, cheeses, spreads and chocolates to sample.  Going over to friends' homes can also provide some tempting options to indulge in extra calories.  What is a girl to do?

It doesn't matter if it is the holiday season in December or you are on a cruise with 24 hour food service.  We are faced with the same challenges.  Do we want to indulge, are we being careful about what we eat, have we given ourselves permission to gain a few pounds, or are we treating the food environment on these occasions no different than any other time of the year.   Here are some highlights of food choices I may have to make.

Chocolate brownie
Is this chocolate brownie tempting enough to have to walk three miles to burn off the equivalent calories?
Caramel pecan frozen yogurt
 My once a week ice cream perk....I need to keep it to once a week.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Victoria Moran, ( has written a number of books on holistic health, wellbeing, spirituality, and food.   She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, and has appeared on multiple U.S. talk shows.   

I just started to get her weekly newsletter and Ms. Moran’s eighteen points for looking great and feeling really well are well worth repeating.  These points resonate with me and make sense.  I have blogged in previous postings thoughts, ideas and suggestions about some of these suggestions including juicing, drinking lemon water, exercising, and pets.

1. See yourself as the star of your life every day of your life.
2. Stand up straight: you’ll look slimmer and feel more in command of any situation.
3. Make your first drink of the day hot water with an ample squeeze of fresh lemon.
4. Eat breakfast: it’s one of the habits centenarians have in common.
5. Half the time, do dry skin brushing before your bath or shower (brushes are sold at natural food stores).
6. The other half, precede bathing with abdyanga, self-massage with warm sesame oil.
7. Treat yourself to a professional massage every 21 days to keep your immunity up to par. Massage schools have bargain prices. If you live in a city served by, they often have low-cost massage offers , as well.
8. Invert yourself with a yoga headstand or shoulderstand or by lying on a slantboard (
9. Use creative sun protection: a hat, gloves, barrier (i.e., zinc oxide) sunblock properly applied, avoiding the midday sun.
10. Buy yourself a juicer that’s powerful and easy to clean. Fresh vegetable juice is an infusion of vitality.
11. Keep a pitcher of water on the counter, a bottle in your bag, and hot water easily accessible.
12. If you wear makeup, get a lesson every year or so—and remember to lighten up with some concealer just inside your eyes.
13. Get your brows shaped: it can be like a nonsurgical eye lift.
14. Exercise four to six days a week and include weight training at least two days every week, upper and lower body.
15. Adopt a pet: you’ll be saving a life, and people with companion animals live longer.
16. Have role models, women you know or have heard of who’ve grown older with elegance, grace, and style.
17. Whether you’re turning 30 or 80, see maturing as a gift to appreciate. And let yourself grow older the way you want to do it.
18. Live for something bigger than you are. Explore your spiritual nature.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This vegetable saute dish is quite versatile and it can be made with either chicken or chick peas, it all depends on your personal preference.  I made both dishes in two separate pans for supper one recent evening.  The DH ate the dish with chicken and I ate the chick pea vegetable saute.  We both liked the dish and the fact that we have leftovers for another meal this week.


1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 medium coloured pepper, chopped
1 cup of shredded zucchini
2 small fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 handful of fresh spinach
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
salt and pepper to taste

2 raw chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 heaping cup of cooked chick peas


Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.  Add the onions and garlic, lower the heat to medium low and saute for 5 minutes until soft.  If the onions and garlic are sticking to the pan, add a bit of water.  Add the chicken or chick peas to the pan.  Cook the chicken or chick peas for 5 minutes.  Stir often.  Add the celery, pepper and zucchini.  Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often.  Add the tomatoes and spinach.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the cilantro and sweet red chili sauce.  Stir the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 2 to 3.

Vegetable saute with chicken served over brown rice.

Vegetable saute with chick peas served over brown rice.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


For some suppers I like to make a frittata using eggs and vegetables.  For this dish, I used two small cobs of fresh corn and fresh spinach.  Using fresh corn adds some sweetness and crunchy texture to the frittata.  Frittatas can include a variety of vegetables added to beaten eggs and then the dish is either cooked on top of the stove or baked in the oven.  I cooked the frittata on top of the stove.  Both the DH and I enjoyed this corn and spinach frittata.

For this recipe, I provided the ingredients and directions below each of the photos.

Two small fresh cobs of corn.
Cut the raw corn off the kernels.

Saute the corn in one tbsp oil on medium heat in a large frying pan for five minutes.

Add three handfuls of chopped spinach to the frying pan. 

Cook for three to four minutes on medium heat.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


There are many health benefits for adding lemon juice to water.  Lemon and water flush toxins out of your body.  Even though lemons are acidic, they are alkalizing in your body when you consume them.   Much of the food we eat is acidic which can create a number of health issues.  Decreasing the acid in your body and making it more alkaline will make you feel better.  

Lemons are high in vitamin C.  Your skin also benefits from consuming lemon juice.  Your skin will look better because of the detoxifying effects of lemon in your system.

One product I recently bought is called Morning Rise and Shine by Prairie Natural.  The product is also vegan.  A small scoop is equivalent to half a lemon.  I add a scoop to a large glass of water each morning and drink this mixture to take my vitamins.  It has been two weeks since I started adding this lemon concentrate to my drinking water each morning.  I can't pinpoint any particular improvements.  The DH is also drinking this mixture and he is finding he has less gastro esophagus reflux and his tongue feels cleaner.    

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I enjoy eating cod, it is not overly coarse nor too fine in texture.  This recipe is easy to make and the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and parsley sauce gives it extra flavour.  You can use fat free or low fat mayonnaise and reduced amounts of cheese if you want to decrease the fat content.  The recipe is finished off by sprinkling toasted almonds over the fish after it comes out of the oven.  The DH and I enjoyed this fish and leftovers can be eaten for lunches or supper.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Stories about dogs used in military service, in therapy, search and rescue and protection always interests me.  I have written several posts in the past on service dogs.  In the December 1, 2011 edition of the New York Times, there is a feature article written by James Dao, on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that can be experienced by military dogs working on the front lines.  The mental strains of combat can affect these four legged soldiers.  Some estimate that more than five percent of the deployed 650 military dogs used by the American forces are developing canine PTSD.  There are a number of different symptoms shown by dogs with PTSD.    

Most military dogs are German shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labrador retrievers.  In this photo, a soldier is working with his yellow Lab (Soldier and his dog).  There are about 2,700 working dogs on active United States duty.  

There is debate among the veterinarians, dog trainers and behaviour specialists on how to treat PTSD.  Behaviour modification therapy and/or drugs are used for treatment.  Dogs don't have to be in the military to experience PTSD.  It can affect our pets who have experienced traumatic events including car accidents.  For those military dogs with PTSD that can't recover, they may be retired or assume different duties.  PTSD is a disorder that probably can't be cured.  Dr. Nicholas is quoted in the New York Times article as stating it is more about management, dogs never forget.    

Saturday, November 26, 2011


There are many different themes to buffet bars - chinese, italian, american, salad, sushi, ukrainian, and vegetarian.  In our house we operate one that caters to birds.  We have four feeding stations set up along with two suet cages.  The DH feeds the birds a variety of seeds including niger and black oil  sunflower but the blue jays are spoiled.  The DH puts out about five cups a day of peanuts in the shell.  The blue jays don't come to the buffet bar every day but when they do there can be four of them.

I am sure we are feeding all of the sparrows in the neighbourhood.  They show up once it is daylight and feed throughout the day.   The blue jays pick up the peanuts from the feeder and if they are not breaking open the peanut shell with their beaks and consuming the nuts, they are flying off with a peanut and burying the treasure in someones backyard.  We are wondering what will happen when the secret stash of peanuts gets covered with snow.  How will the birds find the peanuts?  What happens when the snow melts in the spring and the home owner wonders how and where did these peanuts come from that are littering the yard.  The dog has figured out that some of the peanut shells on the ground will occasionally have a nut in them as the blue jay will drop a peanut shell on the ground with parts of a nut still remaining.  The dog is now patrolling the ground around the trees and feeder checking for leftover peanuts.  

The cats do find some entertainment in watching from the kitchen window the birds gathering around the buffet bars.  We will all be watching the birds this winter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


With having some some leftover cooked turkey in the fridge, I thought of making a pasta with Alfredo sauce, sauteed vegetables and turkey.  Since the DH is trying to follow a gluten free diet, I made the sauce with oat flour.  I used  oat flour from Avena Foods. This recipe is very versatile and you can make many variations.  I cooked rice spaghetti and made enough for an extra serving.  The vegetable turkey saute recipe is described in the photos and the recipe for the Alfredo sauce is provided below.  The recipe with the pasta, turkey and vegetables makes 3 servings.  You can just make the Alfredo sauce and add it to pasta without the vegetables or turkey.

In a frying pan, saute on medium heat 2 green onions, 1 chopped red pepper and a minced garlic clove. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add about 1/2 cup of frozen peas. Cook for a few minutes.

Reduce the heat and add cooked turkey chopped into small pieces.  Cook for several minutes. Turn off the heat while you make the Alfredo sauce.  

The flour and margarine are being being mixed.

Stir the sauce into 3 cups of cooked spaghetti.

Add the vegetables and turkey to the pasta and combine.

Gluten Free Alfredo Sauce
3 Tbsp gluten free flour

3 Tbsp butter/margarine

1 cup Milk

3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated

1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper to taste
Melt margarine in small saucepan.  Add the flour one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly to make a roux.  Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to low.   Simmer on low for 3-5 minutes (or until sauce starts to thicken).  Add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.
Recipe for sauce is adapted from

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I made this recipe for several reasons. It includes three ingredients that I like - quinoa, spinach and mushrooms; I had lots of fresh mushrooms that needed to be consumed and a big bag of spinach in the fridge.  When shopping at Costco, larger packages of merchandise are sold so you come home with big bags of lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, cucumbers, peppers, berries and so on.

This recipe could be cooked as a risotto but I didn't include wine as part of the cooking liquid.  The following pictures show the steps in making this dish.  I also included a photo of a soy sauce that I am now using.  It is much lower in sodium than the typical soy or tamari sauce.  I will add some of this soy sauce to the quinoa serving on my plate for supper tonight.  As this recipe makes a number of servings, I plan on having this for a number of lunches this week.

Onions, mushrooms, celery and garlic being sauteed in the pan. 

The stock and quinoa has been added.

The quinoa is cooked and the chopped spinach is being added.

Ready for the table.

A soy sauce I started to use that has much less sodium. 



2 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced or chopped

1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock
½ lb fresh spinach, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large frying or saute pan and add the garlic, onion, celery and onions.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add the quinoa and stock, raise the heat until it boils and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 18 to 20 minutes.  Add the spinach.   Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 4 to 5.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I like Brussels sprouts but not everyone does including my DH.  Recently we sample some cooked Brussels sprouts at Costco at one of their food demo tables.  They were quite good, so good that I bought  a package.  I looked at a variety of recipes and the following recipe does add some flavour to the sprouts.

All you need are sprouts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pine nuts or other nuts and parmesan cheese.  The sprouts are roasted in the oven with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes and then the roasted pine nuts and cheese are added to the serving bowl.   Voila, it is ready.  I have also made this recipe with just oil and balsamic vinegar and not add cheese or nuts.  It was just as delicious.

Wash about 10 Brussels sprouts and cut each one in half.  Place in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar to the bowl and toss.

Spread out on a foil covered pan and bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes. During the cooking process turn the sprouts over in the pan.

Roast 1 tbsp pine nuts.

Measure out 1 tbsp parmesan cheese.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl and add the nuts and cheese.  Toss to combine.  Because the vinegar gets caramelized during the baking, the sprouts will appear dark.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011


A few Sundays ago I took my camera along on my morning walk with the yellow lab.  I sometimes walk along a creek that is enjoyed and used by different species of wildlife.  I have shown in previous posts beavers swimming, chewing, moving branches, their lodges and just being busy doing their jobs.  The lodges that beavers build can include the parents and their children - yearlings and two year olds.

The beaver I saw this particular morning was young.  He or she was chewing on some kind of foliage.  I was able to get close to the edge of the creek while hanging onto the leash attached to a busy dog and with the other hand snapping away with the camera.   I knew that this beaver was young just based on size.  I have seen the adults and they are quite bigger and also darker in colour.  Being able to photograph wildlife includes much luck in terms of timing - being at the right place and the right time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I have been making this recipe for cabbage and lentil soup for a number of years.  It can also be considered a borscht soup, full of vegetables and has lots of flavour.   The recipe makes a large pot of soup which enables you to freeze some of it for future meals.  If freezing, I will freeze the soup in one portion containers in order to have for future lunches.   I find this soup filling and quite enjoyable on a cold winter day.
Ready to eat.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


If you like quinoa, you will like this recipe for quinoa burgers.  You can change this recipe according to your tastes by adding different spices or other vegetables than grated carrots.  I followed this recipe and actually doubled it so that I would have leftovers.  For bread crumbs, I toasted some bread and then added them to the food processor along with the other ingredients.   The burgers held together when cooking and didn't break apart. I was impressed.  I plan to keep this recipe handy and will make it again on numerous occasions.  These burgers would also be good to take for work lunches.  

Quinoa mixture in a bowl.

Shaped into burgers and ready to go into the fridge.

Cooking in a frying pan.

Plated and ready to eat as part of supper. 

Leftovers stored in a container and being placed in the fridge.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Over the years I have collected a number of books that promote the benefits of a plant based diet. These include technical books and cookbooks.  I also read a number of blog sites that focus on a vegetarian or vegan based diet.  Of course these blog sites described more than just diets as you learn about the lives of the blog writers.

This Spring I purchased a book by Dr. Neal Barnard called the "21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart".  The book describes a 21-day program for losing weight but the focus is really about kick starting a plant based diet.  There is also a section on menus and recipes by Jason Wyrick.  Dr. Barnard is also president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine who have a free online program geared to a 21-day kickstart vegan program (kickstart program).  I have been receiving daily emails which are very interesting and provide lots of information.

Recently I watched a CNN program by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the benefits of plant based diets and how they reduce one's risk for a heart attack.  He interviewed President Bill Clinton who has changed his diet and has become a vegan because of his health challenges.  Dr. Sanjay also interviewed Dr. Dean Ornish.

Dr. Dean Ornish has been conducting research on coronary heart disease for the past thirty years.  He and his colleagues are also doing research on cancer including prostrate cancer and the role of diet.  In the 1990's I purchased his book "Eat More, Weigh Less" which promotes a plant based diet.  I read it but didn't follow it.   After watching the CNN show, I went to Dr. Ornish's website and read about his latest program which describes a spectrum of choices.  He has categorized foods into a spectrum from Group 1, the most healthful, to Group 5, the least healthful.  It is not all or nothing but a way of sustaining healthy choices in the foods you eat (Dr. Dean Ornish's Spectrum diet).   He describes how to use the spectrum of nutrition choices to lower weight, lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol levels, help prevent or reverse the progression of diabetes, several cancers and heart disease.  After reading as much as provided on the website, I ordered the book.  I have started to change my food choices - going towards a more plant based diet.  It hasn't been hard.  I think my DH was amused one night watching me eat tofu while he ate roasted chicken thighs.  For the past month I have not eaten meat except for 2 or 3 occasions.  I am eating fish and dairy but staying away from cheese (not always successful) and other high fat dairy products.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


In determining what kind of soup to make, I thought about some kind of corn chowder as there were four cobs of corn in the fridge that needed to be eaten.  I found this recipe in Mark Bittman's cookbook "The Food that Matters Cookbook".  I have written in previous posts about Mark Bittman and the wonderful way he cooks and how he keeps the ingredients simple.  Mark Bittman has his own website which includes an expansive number of recipes.  I made a few changes to his original recipe.  I used all of the 6 cups of cooking water in the soup.  Adding the cooking water from cooking the cobs of corn and sweet potato adds to the flavour of the soup.  I used regular milk and not cream or half and half.  Instead of garnishing the bowl with dill or parsley, I added frozen dill to the soup after the burner was turned off and I was going to ladle the soup into bowls.  I freeze fresh dill in small freezer bags during the summer and find it very handy to add to soups and other recipes during the non dill growing season.  This is a great soup and I plan to make it again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I like using almonds in various recipes.  This recipe uses almonds with halibut fillets.  There are many recipes that incorporate almonds into a paste that is spread over the halibut.  Some have multiple ingredients and can be richer than the recipe I made.  Both the DH and I enjoyed this recipe and I will make it again.

The halibut is on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It is ready to go into the oven.

Plated and ready to eat.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I have always enjoyed sweet and sour dishes including those found in chinese food restaurants.  But what I didn't like was the excessive breading on the chicken, if the food had too much of an orange/red colour or if it was too gooey.  This recipe is not overly starchy, there are no foreign colours and is not excessively sweet.  Instead of tofu, you can use cubed chicken.  The DH did enjoy this dish without any protests as tofu was used.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This recipe is adapted from a recipe that Martha Rose Shulman wrote about in the October 10, 2011 edition of the New York Times.  I made a number of changes to suit my cooking style and tastes.  The goulash has paprika, garlic, sweet peppers, carrots and onions.  I presoaked the pinto beans overnight in a large pot of water.   I actually heated the water to a boil, then added the beans and turned the burner off.   I used 400 grams of beans which is almost a pound.  Because I used less than a pound of beans I added 7 cups of water  You can use other beans besides pinto beans.  I liked the flavour of this goulash.  It is also convenient to freeze 1/2 cup to one cup portions for when you don't have much time to prepare a meal.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I made this recipe for supper one Sunday night.  I adapted this recipe from one of the many recipes produced by Bonnie Stern.   This recipe is a play on lemon piccata chicken.  Instead of making chicken piccata, you can make salmon piccata or halibut piccata.  I like the flavours of lemon, butter and capers.  I served the salmon with brown rice and added a bit of lemon piccata sauce to the rice on my plate.  Simply delicious.

Lemon sauce being made.

Baked salmon just out of the oven.

Lemon piccata sauce spooned over the fish and served with rice.