Fall is officially here, which means it is time to indulge in pumpkins and squashes.
My favourite is the kabocha squash because it is naturally sweet. The easiest way to prepare this squash is to roast it whole in the oven (I like to do it at 350F for 1-2 hours) until you can easily pierce a knife through the skin. Let it cool and then cut the squash in half and harvest the flesh inside.
Another squash that I enjoy using is the spaghetti squash. Again, roast it or microwave it until tender. Once cool, cut in half and use a fork to shred the flesh into long strings. Pairing it with a tomato-based pasta sauce, and you have a satisfying yet light dinner option!
In terms of pumpkin, I personally find using canned pumpkin is the easiest. Just make sure to choose one that has no salt added to it!
What is your favourite fall dish?
Omega-3 fats have been in the spotlight for a long time now and most people are aware that it is good for the heart and supports immune health. Moreover, a recent study sheds some light on the impact of omega-3s on dementia prevention, which adds another great reason to ensure you get enough omega-3s in your diet.
The best sources of omega-3 fats are from fatty fish, such as salmon. But a common question I hear from my Vancouver client all the time is “I know salmon is good for me, but I don’t like it. Are there other options?” The answer is yes! Other fatty fish rich in omega-3 fats include herrings, sardines and mackerels. Oysters and rainbow trout have some omega-3 fats too but less than the aforementioned varieties.
So the next time you prepare a meal plan for the week, make sure to include at least 2 servings of fatty fish in your week.!
It’s time to skip the store-bought salad dressings! Most commercial brands will have added sugar or other additives to create a better flavour and consistency.
But do we really need all the extra additives? I don’t think so.
I believe strongly in making my own dressings. It may seem a daunting task if you have never made it before. But trust me, it can be as easy as 1-2-3.
First, take a small clean glass container. Put in 1 part vinegar (my favourite is balsamic, or apple cidar, or simply just lemon juice) and 2-3 parts oils (olive oil, flaxseed oil, or even add a drizzle of sesame oil for an Asian flare). Also add in a dash of salt and pepper and mustard.
Then, tighten the jar lid and shake vigourously! Taste the dressing and adjust according to your taste.
To take it up a notch, try adding in some minced garlic, shallot or herbs to flavour your dressing.
For more inspirations, check out Eating Well’s collection of Healthy Salad Dressings.
My background is Asian, so tofu is nothing foreign to me. However, tofu is still relatively new in the Western culture.
In recent years, tofu has received more attention and has been featured the media as an alternative to chicken, beef or other meats. Yet, not a lot of attention has been given to teach people how to use tofu. As a result, I find that even in Vancouver where ethnic cuisines are popping up everywhere and most people are open to trying new things, tofu is still rarely on someone’s must-try list, simply because they do not know how to handle it.
Today I came across an article in the New York Times by Mark Bittman (one of my favourite cookbook authors) in which he describes the versatility of tofu and how he personally incorporates it into his daily life. A very good read, highly recommend it!
For more inspirations on how to use tofu, here are a few of my suggestions:
Do you like tofu? How do you prepare it?
Photo by Paul @ Flickr
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has received a lot of media attention and it is generally recognized by most people as something that should be avoided as much as possible (along with other forms of added sugars too!). However, when you pick up a package in a grocery store in Vancouver or any other cities in Canada, you will not see HFCS in the ingredient list. This is because HFCS is labelled as “glucose-fructose” in Canada!
HFCS or “glucose-fructose” is a common ingredient in processed foods such as soft drinks, sweetened fruit drinks, canned fruits, boxed desserts, flavoured yogurt, baked goods, breakfast cereals and even condiments.
The best way to avoid HFCS and other added sugars is to choose natural, wholesome foods as much as possible. Otherwise, be sure to compare products and be sure to choose the one with the least amount of added sugars before you make a purchase.
Meatless Mondays has become a popular and easy way for many people to cut back on meat consumption and explore new and exciting recipes to nourish our bodies with more plant-based options. Recently, Ali Chernoff, registered dietitian based in Vancouver and owner of Nutrition At Its Best, has developed a five-day vegetarian meal plan to help readers take it one step further. Check it out!
Source: THOR @ Flickr
Spring is here!
That means farmer markets are going to start popping up everywhere again and we will have easy access to the freshest local produce that BC has to offer. (Go onto the Vancouver Farmer Market Website to find a location closest to you).
Asparagus is one of the earliest vegetable to pop up in spring – so I thought as Vancouver finally heads into spring weather, let’s talk a bit about asparagus.
When you pick asparagus, look at the tips and pick out ones that are tight and firm (they tend to be more tender). Don’t forget to look at the other end too – I prefer slimmer stems as they always seem to be less woody.
Once you get home, either stand the asparagus upright in a small amount of water in the fridge or wrap it in a wet paper towel inside a plastic bag and placed inside the crisper.
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin K, B vitamins and fiber. Try it as an appetizer, in a soup or even a light side dish to a hearty main course. Enjoy!
Here are a few recipes to highlight this vegetable:
Sesame-Ginger Glazed Asparagus
Asparagus Ribbon Salad
Pasta with Peas and Asparagus
Cream of Asparagus Soup
For more information on the health benefits of asparagus, check out WHFoods: Asparagus.