Healthy FAT is where it’s at..

Cruising the grocery store aisles I have noticed that there are still some low fat products out there…throwbacks to when we thought all fat was bad and we could replace it with refined carbohydrates and sodium-laced products instead. What grew out of that low fat notion was a crazy ride. Fat became the demon and carbohydrates, of every ilk, became the stars.
Our food industry was bursting with packaged, processed foods claiming to be fat-free. Some were already naturally fat free i.e. frozen peas…fat free!?

We have since gained wisdom and knowledge through research to help us realize that not all fat is bad. Yes there are the really bad fats, trans-fats to avoid at all cost and no one is saying that a diet of solid saturated fats is healthy.

The fats we are talking about are the mono and poly unsaturated fats that play a vital role in a healthy diet.

If everyone exchanged their morning muffin or boxed cereal for a handful of walnuts and a piece of fruit, a serving of full fat yogurt and berries, or some nut butter on multi grain toast… maybe we could decrease the need to keep snacking creating a huge surplus of calories being converted to fat.

The interesting thing with dietary fat is that is creates satiety. Carbohydrates, especially the refined ones found in most breakfast cereal, processed snacks and convenience foods are not satisfying resulting in us craving another refined carbohydrate snack. Quite the rollercoaster ride for our insulin as it desperately attempts to keep that blood sugar in balance.

Try adding healthy fat to your diet…you will notice fewer cravings, have more success at portion control, and experience skin, digestion and overall health benefits.

Here is a quick cheat sheet of healthy fats; pick and choose your favourites!

  • nuts and seeds
  • nut and seed butters
  • chia, flax and hemp seeds
  • full fat dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk, cream)
  • coconut oil
  • nut oils
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • olives
  • dark chocolate
  • wild salmon, other oily fish
  • free range eggs
  • grass fed organic beef

Join our Big FAT surprise class where Kelli and I will wow you with delicious healthy fat recipes. Taste, Learn and Experience.

 

MEZE (Mezze)

There are many spellings of this word as it appears in Persian, Turkish, Serbian, Albanian, Armenian, Lebanese and endless other cultures.

Historically Meze refers to cuisines in the Ottoman Empire originating in Persia meaning to taste/snack.

Every country has different traditional foods that are included on the Meze platter or sharing table.

In Lebanon and Cyprus the meze is often a meal. Groups of dishes arrive at the table 4 or 5 at a time. Reflecting the season, the pattern is usually olives, tahini, salad and yogurt, followed by veggie and egg dishes. Next are the small meat and fish dishes with their accompaniments.

The larger dishes that follow include whole fish, meat and stews.

When snails or certain veggies are in season, they will be featured.

With the volume of food being served, the idea is to eat slowly, socialize and share. The Meze is not a rushed affair but rather a forum to gather and debrief about the day, exchange stories and relax.

Alcohol served with the Meze is traditionally distilled drinks including raki, arak, and ouzo. Beer, wine and spirits are also paired with the meze platters.

Meze is a great way to entertain! Have friends bring different contributions to the Meze platters. Buy some Turkish or Persian unleavened bread, chill beer and wine and you are all set for an evening of socializing and tasting  “Lebanese style”.

We can’t wait to share our Meze building class with you! We will be featuring meze with spiced olives, hummus, baba ganoush, feta, chicken skewers, labneh, lentil salad, falafels and more!

Join us April 10th 6-9pm, Lucky’s Liquor Gourmet mezzanine Kitchen Country Club Mall.

Lebanese Mezze Feast Cooking Class

Healthy foods to help fend off the Season of Sniffles!

Let’s face it, there are a lot of things worse than that dreaded tickle at the back of your throat and the accompanying watery eyes and runny nose.  However, seasonal colds and bugs are unpleasant and no one wants to have one or spread the dreaded condition to friends and family!

 

Here are a few of the immune busting foods that can help fend off those nasty germs…

1) Salmon

Dietary Vitamin D offers some protection from upper respiratory infections like cold and flu. Fresh or canned salmon is a reliable source of Vitamin D; add salmon to sandwiches, soups, tacos, pastas.

 

2)  Kefir

Ramping up the pro-biotics is another good way to ward off the bugs. Friendly gut critters found in fermented foods can lessen the risk of the sniffles and symptoms.

 

3)Pumpkin Seeds

These little powerful seeds are chock full of zinc, magnesium and iron. Keeping your protein up and adding zinc can lessen the duration of the cold.

 

4)Kiwi

Forget the orange juice, this delicious southern fruit offers an entire day’s worth of vitamin C.  A regular source of Vitamin C keeps immunity in top shape.

 

5)Barley and Oats

Called Beta-glucan, the soluble fiber in these amazing grains can rev up your immune system and shorten the duration of symptoms.

 

Want to learn more about Immune boosting foods and drinks?

Come to our Immunity Foods Class Thursday, January 25th, Pomme, 7-9pm.

You can register on the STIR website.

Foodie Gifts for 2017

Cookbooks

I know I never tire of getting new cookbooks.  Some of my favourites – Oh She Glows, Thug Kitchen, Flavor Bible, anything by Ottolenghi

Cooking Class

Experiential services are a great way to go when you are giving to someone who has everything.  STIR offers gift certificates for upcoming cooking classes or private cooking classes.

Ice Cream/Cookie Scoops

We use these all the time for energy ball production.  Makes measuring evenly simple.  Fits nicely into a stocking.

Weber iGrill

This handy thermometer is perfect for the grilling enthusiast on your list.  This is used regularly in my house.  Weber iGrill

Flavoured Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Small jars of these infused oils and vinegars are perfect for a stocking and then the pantry.  Great to have these on hand for instant flavour.

Olive Branch Nanaimo

Local Food Products

Support local this holiday season by buying gifts from Vancouver Island Food Producers

http://nanaimo.thrivinglocally.com/

Healing Power of Turmeric

In this interactive workshop learn how to incorporate fresh and dried turmeric into your everyday meals and snacks. Discover how this golden rhizome can help with many health conditions as well as improve your general well-being. STIR will demonstrate recipes from sweet to savory, and provide samples and recipes.

Go home with your own jar of turmeric chai tea mix.

This class is gluten-free and vegetarian. 10% off store-wide.

Healing Power of Turmeric

 

Vietnamese Pho Class

You will learn 2 broth methods; a Vegan and a Chicken version of Vietnam’s famous dish as well as how to make spring rolls and dipping sauce. These authentic recipes come to us from a famous chef in Hanoi.

 

Vietnamese Pho Class

Vietnamese PHO …say FUH!

Pronouncing Pho correctly ,especially when in Vietnam, will reward you with a delicious, aromatic bowl of comfort food.

If you haven’t tried this tasty national dish from Vietnam you are in for a treat.

PHO starts with an amazing complex flavoured broth and ends up in your bowl filled with noodles, protein ,and crunchy, spicy ,tangy condiments.

PHO is held as a reflection of the daily life of the peasants tracing back to the Hanoi area in the 19th century.It is believed to be a culinary merge with the French stew Pot au Feu the Vietnamese pronounced as Pho. Prior to the French Colonization ,the Vietnamese did not slaughter their cattle.The French added the cow as a protein source and by the 1920’s beef  or water buffalo in Pho was the norm and chicken was added soon after.

When I was in Vietnam last year I was able to obtain an authentic Pho recipe at a very well respected restaurant in Hanoi.I am excited to share it with you!

Join us on Tuesday, November 28th and learn how to make your own Chiken and Vegan Pho .

We will also make Vietnamese rice paper rolls and dipping sauce.