What do you keep in your kitchen?

Hello friends, 

 

So one of the things my husband and I find ourselves doing often is pet sitting. We don’t have any animals of our own but we both love our puppy snuggles. This past two weeks whilst pet sitting I have had a noticeable change in my diet due to not having all of my staples. It is not reasonable to bring my whole pantry or buy all new things for such a short period of time. This shock to my routine has got me thinking about the importance of having quality whole foods in your kitchen. 

 

When you’re doing your grocery shop, do you meal plan so you know what you are going to buy ahead of time or do you buy things that are on sale once you are looking. Honestly it can be hard to meal plan every week and stick to it so I do a bit of both but mostly I just buy things when they go on sale and meal plan/prep with what I already have in the kitchen. With the prices of food increasing I do what I can to keep the cost of eating heathy down, we all know that it can be pricey.

 

 

Below is a list of the foods that I try to keep in my home, keeping in mind that I also try to mostly eat seasonally and locally. When I buy produce I try my best to buy items on the Dirty Dozen list from the organic section or from a local farmer. The Dirty Dozen is a list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG test the most common foods for chemical residues that have been absorbed while it was growing. The dirty dozen is a list of the most chemically contaminated produce you can buy at the grocery stores. Another way to ensure clean produce is to grow your own, I grow vegetables in small containers and a book shelf I made into a raised bed. I have lots of herbs growing in containers, 6 fruiting apple trees, 2 pear trees and a few nut trees. In the fall I am busy harvesting and preparing it all for storage throughout the winter months. 

Here is a bit of an idea of what I keep I keep in my kitchen

Here on Vancouver Island we are so lucky as we are surrounded by agriculture land, this means local food. Most cities and districts have at least one local farmers market or farm stand near by. 

 

I am lucky and have Prince Acres farm up the road from me in Lantzville; which provides us with leafy greens, root vegetables, squash, fruit, eggs and sourdough bread – 8 months of the year. Prince Acres is a bug friendly farm avoiding all use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. If you stop in here make sure to try Farmer Brian’s Jalapeño Blue Cheese Sourdough or the Chocolate Croissants.

 

In Nanoose, there are two farms that my husband Brandon and I also frequent for local food. Nanoose Edibles on Stewart Road is one of the Farm stands we stop in at. Throughout the seasons it has a variety of fruit; berries, apples, pears, figs, quince, loads of herbs, greens, potatoes, peppers and squash. Nanoose Edibles also hires local youth giving them opportunities learning how to grow sustainable foods and reconnect with the land.

 

 Springford Farm on Northwest Bay Road is a small family operated cattle farm with a lovely farm store where you can buy their beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, and corn year round. They also sell local produce, baked goods and local artisan food products. One thing I love about Springford Farm is their cattle is grass-fed and finished giving the beef a higher quality nutrient content and well rounded natural flavour. These are truly happy animals on this farm. 

 

A farm that we often visit in the Qualicum Beach area is the family run Sloping Hill Farm where they have the best oats hands down. Their small farm stand on the corner of their property off whiskey creek road is usually full of pork, eggs, ground flour and oats. The pigs on this farm are the luckiest pigs getting to live a free roam lifestyle socializing with everyone, eating a hearty vegetarian diet without GMO content, antibiotics, growth enhancers or hormones. The oats are just incredible if kept refrigerated they are so creamy without needing to add milks or sugars.

Its great to have all sown, grown, harvested, cleaned, milled, rolled grains all done on their property! They have Spelt flour, HRS Wheat flour and their fabulous Oats.

 

There are so many more happy farms here on Vancouver Island and when you are supporting them you are support local economical growth, food security and sustainability and you are supporting a family’s livelihood.

 

 


Oh Kale Yeah!

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Do you eat superfoods?

 

 

Kale is one of the most studied, nutrient dense foods out there and is amongst the list of superfoods. This loaded dark leafy green has many beneficial properties making it one of the vegetables I grow year round. It is a cruciferous vegetable in the cabbage family with many varieties with vibrant greens and purple colours.  

 

 

 

In 1 cup of raw Kale (1/2 cup cooked) it contains:

 

      206% of the daily value of Vitamin A

      684% of the daily value of Vitamin K

      134% of the daily value of Vitamin C

 

It also contains vitamin Bs, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, folate and magnesium. 

A total of 33.5 calories in a cup breaking down to; 

6.7 carbohydrates (1.3 of which being fibre), and 2.2 grams of protein. 

 The 0.5 g of fat that is contained the in the leaves is Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. 

 

Why is it called a super food?

The high content of antioxidants and well as flavonoids and polyphenols counteract oxidative damage by free radicals which are the leading causes of rapid aging and disease. Antioxidants have been well studied and are known to protect the heart, lowers blood pressure, reduces chances of depression and anxiety, while being antiviral and anti-inflammatory. The word superfood was created for marketing of health foods. Foods with the label “superfood” has been through a criteria regarding it’s nutrient density and bioavailability.

Here on Vancouver Island most years I am able to grow Kale  generally purchase kale from local farmers from March to December. Supporting local farmers is important for us here on the island to help improve food security. When buying kale look for bright healthy looking leaves and rinse them when getting home to remove bacteria or bugs for longer storage. 

 

 

Luckily adding kale into your diet can be easy for anyone by adding it into salads, stir-frys, smoothie’s, most other recipes and my all time favourite, roasting it into a tasty snack. 

Add Your Heading T Tips on how to prepare Kale ext Here

Kale can be a little tough and bitter if you are not taking the time to properly prepare it. Start by washing it in the sink and lightly massaging the green leaf under warm water. Next you will want to de-rib unless it is baby kale the stem running down the centre can be completely unenjoyable, do this by running a sharp knife down each side of the stem. 

Chop kale to the size which fits your recipe, stacking the leaf after de-ribbing and dicing will give you squares great for stir-fry for salads try rolling the kale and slicing along the roll which will give long thin strips perfect for salads.

 

After cutting I suggest to put in a bowl and drizzle about a teaspoon of oil across the leaves. He best oils to use are avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil or olive oil. Massage the oil into the sliced leaves by kneading and squeezing the kale, rub it between your hands until looks dark and silky. The more love you put into the kale massage the more love it will give back, or at the very least taste better.

 

Faux-Cheesy kale Chips

Prep time: 15 minutes          Cook time: 10-15 minutes          Total time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bunch Kale

1/3 cup Cashews

2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

2 Tbsp Avocado Oil

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Prepare as above then cut/tear kale into desired size. 

In a food processor blend up cashews and the nutritional yeast with avocado oil (or oil of your choice)

Put blender contents into a glass bowl then add the kale, stir well to ensure kale is evenly coated with the oily mixture.

Once well coated, spread kale out on the parchment paper and Bake until the edges are looking crunchy or slightly brown (not burnt) 

What is your favourite way to use kale? Tell me in the comments below!


Mulled Cider

Do you use spices in your kitchen?

They are a great way to add flavour without added sugars, salts and fillers. In the winter I can’t get enough homemade mulling spices with the cold pressed apple juice we made from our orchard. These warming spices when bought organic and not irradiated are a very beneficial to add our diet.

The Ceylon Cinnamon is loaded with vitamin K and E giving it strong anti-oxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The perfect combination to help avoid the seasonal flu going around or that pesky head cold. Ceylon cinnamon is also known to help balance blood sugars and has been used since 2000BC for joint pain and digestive troubles. The adequate amounts of manganese and calcium can be beneficial to peoples with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. You can add cinnamon to oatmeal, smoothies, or roasted vegetables.

Nutmeg is another component of my mulling spices brings warmth. In Chinese and East Indian cultures it is used as an aphrodisiac. These features are due to the nutrients potassium, manganese and zinc supporting the cardiovascular system. Phytochemical’s in nutmeg also calm the mind while they can also stimulate other parts of the brain acting like an antidepressant. Nutmeg goes well with sweet vegetables or squash, also great with chicken or turkey and curry.

 

Star Anise is reported to yield a fair amount of Shikimic Acid, which used in medications for treatment of influenza. It is also loaded with the B vitamins; niacin(b3), pyridoxine(b6), pantothenic acid(b5)and riboflavin(b2). B vitamins help with in energy metabolism improving the way oxygen is used by he body. Star anise seed has a sweet licorice-like flavour and can be used to infused soups and stews.

 

Cloves in small amounts is known to have many beneficial properties. It contains eugenol having local anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K act as the  anti-inflammatory factors. The cloves properties together increase gut motility and improve gastrointestinal enzyme secretions. Cloves are used in many recipes and taste great with pork brines, seasonal winter drinks and curry’s.

 

                                                                    I usually make a batch of spices to last me through the season, but not more than that. Spices start to oxidate causing them to lose flavour and nutritional benefits. 

What to look for in the store!

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Though this symbol may look friendly and clean this means the product labeled has been irradiated

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Here in Canada to
avoid pesticides and herbicides grow your own or look for this symbol.

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Support fairtrade farming practice to ensure labor was done with fair pay and work conditions.

Almost all spices on the market, unless specifically stated as “nonirradiated” have undergone a process of ionized radiation in order to increase shelf life and kill any possible bacteria existing on the herb or spice. 

 

Where they take one of three types of radiation; gamma, x-ray or electron beam and blast away bacteria or insects to extend self life. Except not all bacteria are bad for us, we have now proven that bacteria that there is more bacteria DNA in our Bodies than our own. The radiation also damages the nutrient value of the food rendering somethings useless for our health.

We sourced out a local juice company to cold press 140 pounds of apples and 10 pounds of pears into a rich textured nectar that has been oh so hard to moderate until next harvest. We ended up with about 70 litres of cold press juice full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Once pressed and bottled we froze it to preserve it.

 

 

Mulled spices will work in store purchased apple juice if fresh cold pressed juice is not an option. Many also like to make mulled wine for special occasions with a similar recipe of spices. 

 

                                                  Mulling Spice Recipe 

 

Yield 15 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes  Prep Time: 5 mintes


Ingredients:

8 ceylon cinnamon sticks

6 whole nutmeg

1/3 cup dried orange peel

1/3 cup dried lemon peel

1/3 cup star anise seed

1/4 cup whole clove 

1/4 cup all spice berries

Diced ginger


Directions:

With a mortar and pestle or ziplock and rolling pin grind up the cinnamon sticks and put into a bowl. After crush and grind up the whole nutmeg, add it to the same bowl. Chop the orange and lemon peel into small pieces. All other spices can remain whole and be mixed in. I store in glass mason jars in my spice cupboard.


Mulling spices are so flexible and can easily be changed by adding and removing other herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to add in cayenne or peppercorns to your mulling spices for more depth. 

 

 

 

Soil is more than just dirt…the state of our soil impacts everything from human health to climate change.


It’s a New Year

As 2018 has come to an end and we all take a look back on the last year, let’s try to also think of the positive events. It’s a good habit not only to list the things we want to resolve or change in the new year but also list the things and experiences that we are grateful for. 

 

My immediate thoughts about New Years resolutions are that I don’t like the focus on “I failed last year, here’s to a new start” surrounding the goals we seem to make. I don’t like to focus on the negative; what I did not achieve. I’d like to think that I have only learned how to better succeed the next time I try. And in most cases I will try again.

 

So this year I changed my mind and tried something new compared to last year while carrying over the things I am still working on. If I had followed suit after looking at my resolutions written for 2018 I would have seen that though I tried for a few weeks to train I did not complete in a triathlon, nor did I run a 10km event race. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great year. 

What I accomplished in 2018!

 

-I graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition as I Registered Holistic Nutritionist!

-I hiked 30 km of Manning Parks incredible Heather Trail opening weekend with my husband where I injured my Achilles tendon then had to hike 17km with a 35lbs pack and a limp.

-Due to my injury I was able to focus in on my career goals where I planned and launched my new business – Athyrium Wellness, as a health and wellness consultant.

-I got better with communicating in my relationship (still a work in progress)

 

It was a big year for me, with many stumbles along the way but I learned how to create a business plan and proposal. I learned about some financial planning and projections (which I cannot say is a strong suit of mine). I have learned that it takes lots of self encouragement and organization to stay on track. I have learned that things don’t usually turn out the way you plan but if you don’t plan it will never be anything but a dream. 

 

This next year is going to be a year for rebuilding my boundaries and self confidence. After a rough few years dealing with grief I am ready to turn inward and step out of my comfort zone.

 

2019! Another year for growth, change and learning 🙂

 I have chosen a few things that are most important to me and a feeling that I wanted as a result of those most important. Previous to this year I always had relationship or financial goals that ended up at the top of my list but this year I wanted to try something different

 

Self-care was at the top of my list this year and the feeling I wanted to come out with is acceptance. 2018 was a year with anxiety, shame and feelings of self doubt. To change that I am going to work on being present with the moment without disturbing my inner peace or trying changing the outcome. I want to wake up earlier, eat a colourful breakfast, and spend more time brushing my hair. I am going to work on being more organized with plans while not struggling to accept what is handed to me. Failing to accept reality has a way of creating additional suffering where there is already pain and that is something I have been to familiar with. I am going to work on my physical activity and keep involved with my yoga and meditation practices to find grounding in my always active mind.  

 

Relationship resolutions were second on my list for 2019 and the feeling I am wanting to work on is Vibrance. When I think of my relationships I feel strength and balance. When thinking of family and friends I see a vibrant love. I want to inspire those in my life and leave them feeling energized and empowered. This year was hard on my husband and I with our busy schedules and stressful lifestyle which made it hard for time together without distractions. When there is so much going on balance slowly took the back seat and by the end of the year I think we have both realized the discomfort we placed on each other when we weren’t putting energy into our own self care. I am going to change the words I am using when in confrontations to be more positive and constructive rather than negative and pointing fingers. I am wanting to reduce my anxiety and put more effort and time into those who love and support me.

 

My Business resolutions are connected with my self care resolutions but the feeling that I have chosen to work on is courageous. While working on being my most authentic self living in the moment without self-doubt or fear. I will be capturing moments along the way to inspire growth in others in their own journey. With more self confidence and with new learning opportunities Athyrium Wellness will be taken to a whole new level of mental health and self-care with new Yoga and Meditation services being offered starting summer 19’. I can’t wait to be working with and supporting so many loving, alive with spirit, bad ass women back to optimal health so we can all check off our goals for 2019!