Saturday, February 23, 2013


I made this salad as a mid afternoon snack for work.  I like to have some variety for snacks and this is an easy option to make.  Plus I like sushi style ginger and use it for other things than just to have with sushi.

I used a small plastic container and stacked the vegetables on top of each other.  You can make a number of variations using different vegetables.  You can add coloured peppers, zucchini or mushrooms.  The salad reminds me of a japanese salad.

Top view of layered vegetables.

Side view.

1/4 english cucumber, chopped
1 medium size carrot, finely chopped or shredded
1 tsp to 1 tbsp sushi ginger
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp rice vinegar


Using a container or a bowl, layer the vegetables on top of each other.  Add the ginger, sesame seeds and then rice vinegar.  Ready to eat right away or cover the container with a lid and refrigerate until ready to eat.  Serves one.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Leslie Beck is a Toronto based dietician who has written a dozen books on nutrition and appears on television, radio and has a weekly column in the Globe and Mail.  I have been reading her nutrition columns in the Globe and Mail for quite some time.  I find her logic and rationale for explaining nutritional information and providing recommendations easy to follow and simply makes sense.

Past columns of mine have provided information on Mark Bitten and Michael Pollen who have both advocated a plan based diet.  I have also followed Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Oz and Mark Sisson among the diet gurus.  All of these experts have advocated for increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruit in one's diet.  

I have always eaten vegetables and fruit and have flirted with following a vegetarian or vegan diet.  I also firmly believe that a diet based on plants has a number of positive effects in terms of optimizing your health, preventing heart disease, reducing blood cholesterol levels and weight loss.  In 2012, Leslie Beck wrote a column that promoted a plant based diet and she said that being vegan is more than just rice and beans.  I liked this article and bookmarked it last year for further reviewing.

The recently published book on a plant based power diet provides 10 easy steps and tips for transitioning your current diet to one consuming more plants.  It also includes recipes and I will be testing a number of them and blogging them.

One chapter in Leslie Beck's book highlights becoming more familiar with whole foods and plant-based eating.  She stated in one of the chapter's paragraphs about changing your mindset and focusing on the foods you can eat.  When we change our diet, we usually focus on the foods we can't eat.  I know I think about the foods I am eliminating or giving up and build my food choices on what I should avoid.  Her statement about focusing on what I can eat and NOT think about what I can't eat made me have a paradigm shift.  I have started to focus my meal planning about foods I can eat.  I also have started to shift my focus to increasing my vegetable consumption and bringing more vegetable variety into my cooking.   I also realized that I have to to jazz up the salads I make and use vegetables that I hadn't considered before.

I recommend this book if you are wanting to make a shift in your diet and increase your consumption of  plant-based foods.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I recently bought a number of chickens from a local farm.  The chickens were large and after roasting the first chicken, I thought that the next chicken to be cooked should likely be marinated beforehand.  Some of the meat from the first chicken was tougher than I like.

You don't have to use a whole chicken for this recipe but can use a variety of cuts.  I cut up the large chicken using a Wusthof knife.  I have written about this knife in a previous post.  I also removed as much skin as possible from the chicken to cut down on the fat.  I marinated the cut up chicken for about five hours in a large roasting pan.  

I like this marinade as it is citrus based.  It is a great marinade and I will definitely use it again.  We had friends over for supper and all of us liked the flavour of the chicken.  
Marinade in a glass measuring cup.

Chicken place in the roasting pan with cut up oranges and lemon.

Ready to be served at the kitchen table.
1/4 cup olive oil
6-8 bone-in chicken breasts or an 8-pound whole chicken
4 lemons
2 oranges
8 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey, maple syrup or agave
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Cut 1 orange into 8 wedges and 1 lemon into 6 wedges, and set aside.  Zest the orange and lemon to equal 1 teaspoon of each zest.  In a large measuring cup or other container, squeeze the lemons to yield 2/3 cup of juice.  Squeeze the oranges to yield 1/2 cup of juice.  Add the garlic, oregano, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes to the citrus juice.  Mix well.
Using a large roasting pan or two 9×13 pans pour the olive oil into the pan and then add the chicken. Turn to coat.  Scatter the lemon and orange wedges between the pieces of chicken.  Pour the marinade over and cover with plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge for 6 hours, up to 12.   Give it a turn every now and again.  Once it is ready to put in the oven, drain off part of the marinade that is in the pan.  You only want a bit of liquid.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with the rack in the center of the oven.  Put the roasting pan, uncovered, into the oven and roast for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 and roast until cooked through, about 40 minutes.
Adapted from

Saturday, February 2, 2013


As a change to using a tomato base sauce for pasta I decided to make an Alfredo sauce.  I have lots of cream cheese in the house due to buying two containers of lower fat cream cheese at Costco.  The cream cheese is packaged at Costco so that you have to buy two containers.  I had bought some multi coloured Italian dry pasta and I was curious to see how it would taste.  The pasta shape was good for sauces as it has ridges and indentations which will help bind the sauce to the cooked pasta.  The sauce was not heavy and I used less butter and cream cheese than what usual recipes would call for.

Sauce cooking on the stove.

Pasta draining in the colander.

Ready to serve.

Cook 3 cups of dry pasta according to the directions on the pasta packaging.  Drain.

Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese

2 tbsp butter
3 - 4 tbsp cream cheese (light)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper to taste


Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat.  Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth.  Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps.  Stir in Parmesan and pepper.  Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency.  Sauce will thicken and you can thin it with milk if it becomes too thick.  Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Modified from