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.

Kimchi Queso Dip

This is a great use of kimchi, especially your older kimchi that you want to use up when it’s time to make a new batch.  Serve with tortilla chips or other dippers for a quick, easy and delicious snack.

Kimchi Queso Dip
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Recipe Image


  • • 1 cup cashews, soaked 2 hours, drained
  • • 1 cup almond milk, or similar
  • • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • • 1 cup kimchi
  • • 1 ½ Tbsp potato starch
  • • salt and pepper to taste
  • • green onions and cilantro to garnish
recipe by STIR Cooking School


Blend cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, kimchi and potato starch in a blender until smooth.

Pour into a pot on low heat. Heat just until warmed and begins to thicken.

Adjust seasoning. Place in bowl to serve. Top with green onions and cilantro.

Serve with tortilla chips or another favourite dipper.


Kimchi Workshop

October 19 at Pomme Natural Market.

Learn how to make your own batch of this fermented Korean side dish.

Join us for this demonstration of the complete kimchi process. We will talk about the health benefits of fermented foods as well as giving you some culinary inspiration on how to use kimchi in your kitchen. Recipes and samples provided. This class is gluten-free and vegan. 10% off storewide.

Ticket includes a 2 litre mason jar in which to ferment as well as Korean chili flakes for your first batch.

Kimchi Workshop at Pomme

Canada’s Food Guide Gets a New Look…finally!

Let’s face it, that dairy, grain and meat heavy Canada’s Food Guide is overdue for a re-vamp! We will see the new-guide early in the new year, in the meantime here is a sneak preview of some of the exciting new changes you can expect .


-Proteins will be lumped together making it easier to incorporate a variety of choices daily ie, meat, dairy and plant-based choices are in the same category.

-Processed foods and beverages will be discouraged, especially refined carbohydrates like those found in pre-made baking, snack foods, convenience meals and take out. Sweetened beverages like pop, energy drinks and high caloric coffee drinks are excluded and no more chocolate milk or juices in the food guide.

-Mindful eating will be encouraged, paying attention to feelings of fullness, hunger, enjoying eating slowly and loving your body.

-Families gathering around food to promoting a healthy involvement in cooking and eating meals together.

-Meatless meals will be emphasized to help families include plant-based protein in their diets.

-Reduction in saturated fat consumption ie. butter,red meat, high fat dairy and promotion of un-saturated fats ie. olive oil, seeds, nuts.

-Reduction of food waste will help us all take care of the planet  by touching on food production, waste, soil, water and wildlife preservation.


Watch for the new guide coming your way in 2018!


By Jennifer Leslie


For more information about the food guide consultation process:

Mason Jar Meals

These make-ahead meals in a jar will  simplify your meal planning an prep.  STIR will demonstrate how to create a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner to please everyone in the family.  Recipes and samples provided.  ticket includes a meal in a mason jar for you to take home

Mason Jar Meals

The Mediterranean Diet or what do Sardinians do to become centenarians?

by Jennifer Leslie

The research into so called “Blue Zones” in different areas of the world fascinates me! Lifestyle, food choices , activity levels and stress management render specific areas in the world as blue zones (originally circled with a blue pen).  These areas have a high concentration of 100 year olds who have grown old without problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer or diabetes.

In this blog I am going to share with you the lifestyle habits of the Sardinians who live in the highlands boasting the largest concentration of centenarian males in the world. In one small village of 2500 people there are 5 centenarians!

The Sardinians healthy old age can be attributed to long days spent herding sheep on very steep hillsides. This pastoralism has a high correlation with living a long life. The shepherds are always moving up and down the hills in a low to moderate activity level. The people never actually “retire”, they simply shift into other roles in the community but still maintain an active and respected part of the community.

Their diets are very interesting, the only dairy they consume is milk and cheese from sheep and goats. These cheeses are higher in Omega 3’s than cow’s milk because the sheep are grass fed. Meat is only consumed in small amounts and usually for special events.  Their main protein source is from fava beans and chickpeas. They consume only sourdough bread and use low glycemic barley flour. They also eat sourdough whole wheat flat bread, that is very high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Vegetables are a staple and featured at most meals. Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and potassium and popular fennel is loaded with fiber and soluble vitamins.   Olive oil is the fat of choice and the drink of choice of course is red wine. The centenarians love their  3 to 4 glasses of Grenache grape wine when gathering for happy hour to discuss the day’s events.

This diet deviates from the traditional Mediterranean diet where oily fish are often an important protein source. The Sardinians in the Blue Zone live too far from the ocean to enjoy fish! Instead they have benefited from a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, sheep and goat dairy products.

This combined with long days of being active accounts for their amazing cardio-vascular health and longevity.


Sardinian Eggplant and Chickpeas topped with spicy yogurt


The Mediterranean Class

Mediterranean Cooking Class

Explore the diverse flavours of the Meditteranean region with this demo-style cooking class. What is the Mediterranean Diet? This style of eating features plant based foods ie. fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Olive oil is the main source of fat with fish and poultry as protein sources. The Mediterranean Diet suggests red wine (in moderation) and the enjoyment of meals with family and friends contribute to the health benefits. Join us as we cook and pair using Mediterranean ingredients and influences. Includes 4 wine pairings.

The Mediterranean Class


Favourite Food Apps

Kitchen, Food and Cooking Apps

by Kelli Etheridge

Here are some of my favourite apps that make life easier when choosing ingredients, planning meals and cooking.  I’ve chosen all free apps.


Kitchen Dial

This app is great for figuring out conversions when cooking.  It’s easier to measure ¼ cup of something than 4 Tbsp, for example.  You can convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit if you have a cookbook that measures oven temperature in Celsius only and your oven is set to Fahrenheit.  It even has common weights of everyday ingredients.  I used this tool a lot when I’m cooking and doing recipe development, especially when I’m doubling (or more) a recipe for batch cooking.



Want a place for recipe inspiration?  Yummly is filled with endless meal ideas and recipes.  You can customize your preferences so it shows you what you like to eat most.



One Sweet App

I love this app because it tells you where the free sugar (added sugar) is hiding in products and how much is in there.  Just scan a barcode using One Sweet App and it will give you feedback.  I suggest using this when shopping to help decide between products (or better yet, decide to make your own).  What’s neat is that this app was developed in Canada at the University of Toronto.  It was created in conjunction with the Canadian documentary Sugar Coated (a great movie, available on Netflix).




Healthy Living App

This is another app that you can use while shopping and trying to decide which products are healthier.   Just scan the product barcode and the app will give you a rating.  It includes food as well as cosmetics.  This app was created by the Environmental Working Group.


Dirty Dozen

This Environmental Working Group app highlights the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides and should be purchased as organic.  It also gives you the Clean Fifteen list of produce that is lower in pesticide residue.  The app features the list from 2016, which is still very relevant.  The new list just came out for 2017.



Eat Vegan

Want some plant based recipe inspiration?  Check out this app – it features beautiful photos of a variety of vegan food with complete recipes.  Some recipes are locked, but there are many others from which to choose.



Food Monster

This is a One Green Planet app loaded with recipes and beautiful photography; good photos are important when you are deciding what recipe to choose, right?  The app is customizable to your own eating preferences, such as nut-free, gluten-free, etc.

THE ENERGY EDGE – How to get the most from your food


Energy is defined as:

The ability to do work or

The strength and vitality for sustained mental or physical activity



We would all like to have more energy or at least be able to get more energy when we need it. Let’s take a look at the dietary energy robbers in our diets as well as the energy boosters we can add daily.

The greatest energy robber in most of our diets is sugar in all its visible and hidden forms.

  1. Watch for refined carbohydrates and the highly processed foods that are an unfortunate main stay of Canadian diets. Ie. white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cookies, desserts, baked goods, sweets. Not to mention all the hidden sugars that come in so many forms. Read labels and watch for names that end in “ose”, “itol”, as well as syrups, sweeteners and fruit juice.  Why is sugar so bad? The main reason is that it plays havoc with your blood sugar. When the refined carbohydrate gets into the blood stream, it causes insulin to be released which removes the sugar leaving you with less energy than before it was consumed. Foods that have a high Glycemic Index cause a high and rapid increase in blood sugar resulting in a greater insulin secretion and a deeper energy dump.
  2. Caffeine is another energy robber. It causes a similar reaction to sugar leaving you with less energy after about 15 minutes. Caffeine increases the firing rate in the brain causing thoughts to race followed by an energy dump. Chronic consumption can cause sleep disruption due to over-stimulation of the adrenal gland.
  3. High Allergen foods or intolerances can also cause an over taxed system taking their toll on the immune system. Congestion, swelling and difficulty breathing result in energy depletion.
  4. Consuming a high fat and/ or protein lunch will leave you feeling sleepy because more energy is required to process this macro nutrient. A lighter lunch combining complex carbohydrates and lean protein will give you the energy you need for the afternoon.
  5. Highly processed foods that are for the most part, “pre-packaged and ready to eat” contain non-food chemicals that interfere with accessing energy from the food.

So what can you eat to get energized for the day?

  1. Include a source of magnesium in your diet.  Almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, wheat bran/flakes and soybeans help to decrease fatigue.
  2. Beta-carotene found in carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, squash, pumpkin help to boost the immune system freeing up energy.
  3. Spices are a great energy boost! Add some cinnamon, curry, fenugreek, allspice, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano to daily cooking. They help to increase the blood’s sensitivity to insulin.
  4. Include a regular source of Omega 3s in your eating plan. You will find them in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines as well as flax seeds, chia, hemp and algae.

Let’s not forget to HYDRATION!!

Water is one of the main energy boosters. If you are feeling draggy and tired, drink a full glass of water and enjoy an immediate energy boost! Keep a water bottle in your car and on your desk and sip all day long, don’t wait until you are thirsty!

Let’s finish off with a winning energy formula for meal planning.

Combine a complex Carbohydrate with a Protein for snacks and meals and you will reap the benefits of sustained energy throughout the day! Complex Carbohydrates take longer to breakdown and don’t cause high glycemic responses in the blood stream. Add a healthy source of fat and you are ready to perform at your best.


Examples of winning combinations

  • Complex Carbohydrate+ Protein
  • Veggie sticks and hummus
  • Multi grain toast and almond butter
  • Berries and Greek yogurt or kefir
  • Apricots and cream cheese
  • Pineapple and cottage cheese
  • Apple slices and seed butter
  • Multi grain pita,avocado and chicken
  • Jicama sticks and black bean dip
  • Oatmeal, nuts and milk
  • Brown rice and edamame
  • Fruit smoothie with tofu

The combinations are endless! Use this formula to plan meals and snacks for maximum energy through the day!


For a great no-sugar added snack check out our Carrot Cake Energy Balls.