Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Flawed Definition of Value.

Duane Hanson's Shopping Lady Sculpture

Fat shoppers lean against their carts of cardboard and plastic packaging as they fall forward incredibly slowly, scanning the shelves and throwing in the items marked on sale, or those with the words Value or Only preceding the price.  Do they not price compare? No. Because Walmart has marketed its brand smartly. If the little bouncy smily face says something is good value, the shoppers believe and flock to get the deals while they last (as if they would ever stop the rrrrrrrrrollback days!). The transitory yellow sale stickers promote a sense of urgency. It’s better to buy three jugs of Sunny D now because it’s better value, the sign suggests. Big name shops know that their clientele are flocking to their store under the pretense of affordable food. The shop thrives because it earns huge profits by selling high quantities of low quality food, under the guise of value.

Unstable paychecks lead to erratic shopping, especially when it comes to food. Marketing teams exploit the flustered shoppers, encouraging them to stock up while they can. The non-perishables take the cake and are considered part of the budget. Soon, pantries are filled with sugar and salt-filled snacks and the fridge is barren of greenery. When there’s just a little money in the bank, the mentality becomes like that of a squirrel - get busy collecting food now that it’s on sale so that during harder times, one can start digging into the non-perishables.  Historically, cultures with little money also relied on non-perishables like whole grains, and canned and pickled vegetables. These are valuable, and proven to be affordable, nutritionally high foods that have since become lost stapes. Nowadays “value” carries little significance, yet the term has substantial gravity in every aisle other than the fruits and vegetable section. 

Something  of real value is unique (heritage food, for example), hand-crafted ( or nurtured a human, with love), and would be long-lasting in its use. In short, when we ascribe value to food, the definition should be : most nutrition for a low to reasonable price.  An organic apple these days may run you $1  but your body can use 100% of that apple, so you get a $1 return in nutrition (vitamins, fiber, energy).  Please appreciate that the cost also supports the farmers who are relentlessly laboring at less than minimum wage to keep healthy options affordable. Why aren’t there ever ‘value’ sales on whole foods? 2 for 1 apples; Buy one pear, get one free; Perfectly ripe yellow bananas, get them before they blot!, etc. There aren’t because there isn’t much profit for the business. It’s a whole different ballpark when the a box of cookies that took $1 to make is lowered in price from $2.99 to $2.50. Still, there are ways to make fruits and vegetables more attractive to shoppers looking to be told what to buy. Some grocery store flyers are now capturing the market for those who want easy access to healthful suggestions, but more needs to be done to slant the shopping and eating habits of North Americans.  

Instead of the nutrition panel on the side of the box, shoppers search out the “value” stickers to weigh their options. Those chicken strips, although 5 for $2 does seem like a deal are actually FAR more expensive than going to a butcher shop and buying 1 large chicken breast for $4. But Jennifer! you say, That’s double the price plus the work to prepare it!  To which I say, GOOD GRIEF! I feel like I’ve had this discussion a million times in the last 5 years. Using the nutritional percentage again quickly discerns that real chicken is better value. Your body can digest and absorb 100% of the nutrition it has to offer. On the other hand, one frozen chicken finger contains an orgy of meat, diluted with cheap wheat fillers and preservatives. Maybe you’re body will only absorb 40% of it because the rest is “junk” (my dad’s favourite word when relating to processed food). To calculate the value of chicken fingers, simply multiply 40% with $2. You paid 80 cents worth of long term nutrition and $1.20 on fleeting fullness, before flushing your money down the drain.

‘Fullness’, most often caused by bloating, high salt or sugar content is often equated with value, as in the case of parents justifying a kid’s meal at McDonalds. The meal may fill up a child for $3, but his body may only be able to use 20% of the meal. His growing brain suffers this neglect of nutritional value. The other 80% of the meal is so processed that once the child eats it, his body shoots it through to the other end, without absorbing much nutrients at all. Thus, the kid’s meal gets you only 60 cents worth of nutrition and the rest ($2.40) literally goes down the drain.  When you think about it in terms of nutrition, it’s hard not to scoff at the alleged “value” signs. If fruits, vegetables and other whole foods were marketed as valuable nutritional sources as eagerly as zealous competitors slap on claims to otherwise processed garbage, then we would all be wealthier in health. We will look back and think that these value signs are as preposterous as doctors recommending cigarettes. 

The further you get from the original ingredients, the less your body is able to recognize the food as food, and in turn the less nutrients (if any!) you absorb. “Value” has been marketed to those who seek instant, easy gratification. It attracts a personality type that went to Walmart because it’s a one stop shop, because it’s easier and admittedly, a time saver for those juggling two jobs and a gaggle of kids. It’s painful to see these kids, overweight, trailing behind their fat mothers, gathering boxes sugary snacks, packages of packages of Lunchables and frozen dinners - because their parents  send them out like troops to seek out those infamous stickers. Then, at school, depleted of nutrition, these children become hyperactive or comatose and are unable to learn. They grow up and out, and their education is barely absorbed due to a malnourished brain. This leads them into adulthood fat, unhappy and unhealthy. Now does that value sticker look different? 

My dad used to spew rhetoric about junk food to me and my sister long into our teens,  to which we rolled our eyes but did absorb in the end, if not hesitantly. It’s going to be work to convince shoppers that while they feel satisfaction from saving money, in the long term they are putting in money towards an early death. If you want your body to glow with health, vitality and stamina, don’t even go down those middle aisles of packaged food. You can and  will save money eliminating packaged foods. Reject the notion of value, or at least, what it has become. When someone mentions their valuable find, ask them to specify what they mean and correct them if they are following a marketing teams idea of value. When prescribing value to food, there could be a whole list of why the packaged cartons of this and that should not be included. There is a golden rule I follow: The more packaging, the less healthy.  When consumers start favoring whole foods, we will all be wealthier. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Make Real Cream Cheese the Norm

I blame my early years spent in the south of England for my gluttonous addiction to all things butter and cream. My visits in recent years have been stark reminders of how far ahead the British are when it comes to food labeling laws and ingredient allowances. Many ingredients we use here in Canada are banned in BritainCanada needs to catch up, especially when it comes to products high in fat. The thing with fat is, it stays in your body far longer than carbohydrates or protein. If you eat fat with a bunch of chemicals and  artificial ingredients, those too will cling to your organs. I like my fat sources to be pure, so even if I can’t afford a cornucopia of organic groceries, I still choose to pay extra and get organic eggs and milk. It’s in the cream cheese department that I find myself constantly struggling to find an alternative to Philadelphia’s many products, none of which are organic. Cream cheese is an essential in my fridge and so I had to do some research to figure out how I can keep up my mass consumption of the stuff while remaining free of toxins.

I’ve looked at the packaging and noticed that most grocery store brands call their product ‘cream cheese spread’ or ‘cream cheese product’. Imagine a small fraction of cream cheese molecules suspended in an artificial matrix of synthetic ingredients, and voila: cream cheese spread. I’m thankful for the politicians who fight for transparency and who have no tolerance for false or leading labels. Here, we are nearly par with British laws, or at least trailing closely behind. As soon as a company pumps in more than what is necessary to make cream cheese, we start getting into the impostor zone of ‘spreads’ with ten ingredients. These impostors, by law, have to, even in a discreet way, differentiate their product from the real thing. As the consumer, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about which codes companies use to sell food riddled with so many artificial ingredients they aren’t allowed to use the actual food name (even though we shouldn’t have to carry any background knowledge in order to shop for healthy food!). Among the juice “drinks”, “cocktails” and “buttery spreads” we find “ cream cheese product”. 

It doesn’t take much to make cream cheese; just dairy and a certain few bacteria, heated to the right temperature for the right amount of time. The process starts with  milk and cream and by law needs to contain at least 33% fat. To turn the liquid into a solid, we need to add lactic acid bacteria. It is one of a few bacterium that can withstand the acidic conditions of cheese-making.  When the solution has been heated, the proteins begin to coagulate (read: almost nearly cheese now!) and water (well, whey) is squeezed out of the cheese (officially considered curd at this point). Here, we can stop the process, scoop out the soft curd and package it as cream cheese but for the most part, it’s here in the game that manufacturers make the decision to continue the process, essentially switching from cream cheese to cream cheese spread. 

You know how natural yogurt gets that yellowish liquid on top? That’s  whey, which is totally edible!. The same thing happens to natural cream cheese, but we rarely see it (because we rarely have the opportunity to even choose a natural cream cheese in grocery stores). Because the yellowy liquid grosses some people out, manufacturers add emulsifiers to stop the product from separating, even just a little. It’s step one down the slippery slope to create the ‘perfect’ product. It’s obsessive compulsive the way companies insist upon modifying  a natural product to keep it consistent, but sadly, it’s what they have learned they have to do. It makes a profit. It maintains their status as one of the big boys. The manufacturers are responding to the former reaction of disgust from ignorance. We can’t blame them - they just want us to open their product and be enticed, not afraid of pee-coloured substances. They need their food to be appetizing to their customers. North Americans have learned to ignore the multitude of extra ingredients which create a smooth, thick, glossy, white cream cheese because they know the product. It is consistent and therefore they don’t need to read the ingredients. There is trust in consistency. They see the product as a whole and not the sum of its parts. There is nothing inherently evil by acting on market analysis, it’s the way they do it: by pumping a product with artificial ingredients and selling to the uneducated rather than teaching their buyers that they should expect a layer of whey. It’s cheaper to extend the process and increase the volume by adding extras rather than keeping the product in its simplest form. At the end of the production line, a machine smacks on a graphically appeasing label, a familiar brand name or a frivolous health claim (contains calcium! gluten free!) and the tubs get shipped by the thousands into supermarkets, where they fly off the shelf. 

Cheap food sells, which is a bonus for cream cheese companies who already add a multitude of cheap fillers in order to have a consistently smooth and super white product. The further we get from the real thing, the cheaper the product becomes. The product is diluted as much as possible before it teeters from the government regulated ‘cream cheese spread’ into something that isn’t even allowed to be sold legally as food! And still, cheap food sells. This sends the message that a low price is superior to quality and gives the industry the go-ahead to replace cream with modified milk ingredients, skim milk powder and other byproducts of cows milk, because once you’re this far from the original cream cheese, why bother spending money on anything natural at all?

By selling such large quantities, they push out the small guys who somehow stay motivated to produce the real thing. The healthy, natural alternative becomes the ugly duckling, squeezed to the edge of dairy shelves by the towering, familiar labels. The bigger they display on the shelf, they more trust-worthy they appear, the more they sell, the more they produce. Companies like Philadephia have the resources to stock the dairy section for weeks without their product spoiling and with frequent sales that still earn a profit. Cream cheese spread  has become the norm. Let’s tip the scales and even things out a bit. You don’t have to buy organic, or even local, but try to support the little guys who are doing things right, lest we lose cream cheese altogether! 

Some of the grocers in Toronto who sell natural cream cheese: 

The ingredients that are used to stretch the product all affect the cream cheese. They also affect your body. The easiest way to eat well, in my opinion, is to eat food that is modified as little as possible. Here’s a quick list about what Food and Drug Administration of Canada allows in cream cheese products

Acetic acid (can be labeled as Ethanoic Acid):  used to alter or control the acidity or alkalinity of a food or to prevent a food from drying out. It also adds ‘flavour’ by making things a little tart.  It is a good selling point! Good for up to 3 weeks! It means when there is a sale, you can stock up and enjoy the product in bulk before it goes bad.

Calcium Carbonate: As a food additive it is designated E170;[22] INS number 170. It is used to alter or control the acidity or alkalinity of a food or to prevent a food from drying out. *excessive consumption can be hazardous* (something to worry about if you take a lot of antacids or calcium supplements). But it does help reduce diarrhea!

Calcium Phosphate (can be labeled as Acid Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Biphosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate,Tricalcium Phosphate )

Carageenan ( can be labeled as A171F , carageen, eucheuman, Irish Moss Gelose)

Carob Bean Gum ( can be labeled as locust bean gum)

Cirtic acid

Lactic Acid (can be labeled D-, L-, DL-2-hydroxypropionic Acids D-, L-, DL- lactic Acid, Racemic Lactic acid (Racemic 2-hydroxypropanoic Acid [for DL-form]): 

Locust Bean Gum

Malic acid ( can be labeled as Hydroxysuccinic Acid)

Phosphoric acid

Potassium bicorbonate ( can also be labeled Potassium Acid Carbonate)

Potassium carbonate

Potassium Sorbate ( can also be labeled as 2,4-hexadienoic Acid Potassium Salt, Sorbic Acid Potassium Salt)

Sodium Aluminium Phosphate (can also be labeled as Aluminum Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminophosphate) : up to 3.5% of the solution can contain it.  Works as an emulsifying agent

sodium bicarbonate (can also be labeled as Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate)

sodium bisulphate (can also be labeled as Nitre Cake, Sodium Acid Sulphate, 
Sodium Hydrogen Sulphate)

sodium carbonate (can also be labeled as Sal Soda, Soda Ash, Washing Soda):
Sorbic Acid (can also be labeled as 2,4-hexadienoic Acid) 

Tataric acid(can also be labeled as L(+)-tartaric acid)

Xanthum gum

Permitted colour agents: Annatto;Carotene;Chlorophyll;Paprika;Riboflavin;Turmeric, ß-apo- 8′-carotenal;
Ethyl ß-apo- 8′-carotenoate(35 ppm), caramel (1.5%)

Permitted Enzymes: Bovine Rennet (Aqueous extracts from the fourth stomach of adult bovine animals, sheep and goats), Chymosin
(i) Chymosin A ( Escherichia coli K-12, GE81 (pPFZ87A)), Chymosin B (Aspergillus niger var.awamori, GCC0349 (pGAMpR);Kluyveromyces marxianus var. lactis, DS1182 (pKS105)) , Chymosin ( Aspergillus niger var.awamori (pCCEx3)) , Pepsin (Glandular layer of porcine stomach), Renet ( Aqueous extracts from the fourth stomach of calves, kids or lambs), Transglutaminase (Streptoverticillium mobaraense strain S-8112

“only aluminum sulphate (including its potassium and sodium salts) is permitted to be used in Canada as a food additive.” 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Nutrient Packed Nutty Muffins

These aren't your typical cakey and sweet muffins. They are moist but not dense and the energy they give you won't spike your sugar levels, thanks to the oatmeal. Make theses little guys for a semi-sweet treat you can feel good about.

  1. Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar
  2. Beat in 1 egg then whisk in 1/2 cup 2% milk 
  3. Scatter on top ( in lieu of sifting): 1/2 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup a.p. flour, a pinch of b.s. and b.p., 1/4 cup craisins ('cause fuck raisins, right?), 1/2 cup crushed walnuts and 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  4. Gently mix the ingredients together and portion into 6 parchement-paper-lined muffin tins
  5. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes then smear it with butter (obviously!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Beef Shank Casserole

This is a super scrumptious hot comforting AND inexpensive dinner that can be made in 15 minutes! 

  • 2 cups left-over beef stew (I did this the night before: 1 shank, braised in enough tomato sauce to cover the meat. Seasoned with thyme, garlic and chilli flakes (or any hot sauce you want). Simmered with a lid on for 3 hours before I removed the meat, reduced the sauce, pulled the meat then reunited the sauce. Tip: All stew is better the next day.) 
  • 1 cup orecchiette or spirali 32 (shown)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup aged cheddar, grated
  • a little butter

  1. While you are waiting for your (salted) pasta water to boil, gather your other ingredients - not that there are many. 
  2. Sip some whiskey. If you’re making such a from-the-pantry dish, you may be tired, broke or just in need for some comfort, fast. You can also grate your cheese now. (Man I hope you don’t buy that pre-grated crap.) 
  3. Butter your personal-sized casserole dish. I got mine at Winners. It may be a 2 person serving, but YOLO and I like to eat....a lot. The butter will help the pasta get a little crunchy on the edges, if you’re into that kind of thing. 
  4. Test out your pasta. You want it under done but not crunchy. Drain and save a little water (always, with every pasta dish) in the pot and return it to the stove. 

  5. Add the saucy braised shank and once it’s hot, throw in the peas, hot sauce and pasta. Give it a quick stir, taste and season then pour it into the casserole dish and top with cheese. 
  6. Broil while watching through the oven window, face almost pressed agains it until your bubbly cheese starts getting crusty. Pull it out when you like how it looks. 
  7. Good job, you deserve more whisky. Once you’re done eating, you should probably have some well-earned gelato too. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rosewater Yoghurt with Fresh Figs and Granola

This fabulous, low sugar dessert is floral, fresh and satisfying.

For a single serving, combine:

  • 1/2 cup Balkan yoghurt (or another full fat, proper yoghurt)
  • 1 tbsp rosewater  
  • 1/4 cup nuts or granola
  • 1 fig, chopped
And that's it! If you wanna play around, try using orange blossom water with almonds and orange segments. 

Speedy Healthy Mac and Cheesy

So I knew I wanted mac and cheese, but I also hadn't had a vegetable in a while.  I compromised and boosted the nutritional value of my boxed dinner and it was fabulous, so here you are:

1. Boil: 1 box macaroni with 4 garlic cloves
2. Meanwhile, finely chop:

  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 stalk fennel with fronds
  • 2 big tbsp of fresh dill
3. When the macaroni is cooked al dente, drain all but about 1/4 of the liquid and return to the pot to stir in the super-artificial-you-shouldnt-really-eat-it cheese powder, along with

  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chili oil 
  • veg medley (above)

That's it! The veggies stretch out the starch and sauce so you end up eating less crap, and more of the good stuff.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Comparing Chicken, Silkie, Turkey, Guinea Hen, Duck and Goose Eggs

At Sanagan’s Meat Locker, we sell all sorts of eggs, but most people opt for the regular ol’ chicken eggs. Here are selling points and information about the others we have: 

Chicken Egg
  • per egg (50g) 71 calories, 5g fat, 6g protein
  •  a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein and Selenium.

Silkie - good for hors d'oeuvres and small servings

  • breed of chicken named for its atypically fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk.
  • in cooking, 2 silkie eggs = 1 jumbo chicken egg
  • similar in taste to chicken eggs

Guinea Hen - good for baking
  • more yolk than white
  • similar size to silkie 
  • hard shell ( this also means longer shelf life and less chance of egg taking on fridge taste)
  • whites cook faster than chicken eggs, so gentle heat is best to avoid rubbery whites
  • custardy, rich and creamy taste
  • fun tidbit: guinea hens are quite loud when intruders are near so they help farmers by warning of foxes and hawks

Turkey - high in protein

  •  similar taste to a free run chicken egg
  • 1 egg is approximately  80g ( about 2 regular chicken eggs)
  • high in protein : 11g/egg 
  • high in iron (18% rdi)
  • yellow yolks
  • great for fluffy omlettes and angel food cake

Duck - great for savoury dishes (omelettes, steak with béarnaise, carbonara)
  • rich taste, double the fat compared to chicken eggs (9.6g/70g egg) which makes for great  carbonara
  • stay fresh longer than chicken because of thick shell 
  • 6x the Vitamin D, 2x the Vitamin A
  • water content is lower than chicken eggs so best not to overcook them ( also means they are great for pickled eggs)
  • the whites have higher albumin (protein) so they are more difficult to whip than chicken eggs for merignues and angel food cake, but the higher protein also gives baked goods more lift/height

Goose - high in iron
  • 1 egg = 144g, 19g fat, 20g protein
  • very high in iron ( almost 30% rdi)
  • big, firm, pale yolk
  • great for scrambled eggs, eggy breads ( like challah), hollondaise/bearnaise, sous-vide, souflee, quiche, homemade pasta, as the centre piece on a platter of devilled eggs as well as christmas tree ornaments!

White Paper Coffee Cup Culture

There was a time when virtually every coffee cup in hand was from Starbucks. The gap between Starbucks locations is shrinking, but so is their patronage. Starbucks is something for the suburbs, where people have big families and drive big cars. For them, there is no urge to try a new coffee place because there is not enough time, too many options, and really, why bother? 

Totting a white coffee cup is much more indie and appeals to the downtown crowd who is younger, poorer and happy to find a community coffee stop en route to work. We are at the ground level, experiencing the city by its neighbourhoods, exhibits, parks and free movies in the park. We don’t look into the city from a traffic jam on the Gardnier while sipping our brew, we talk to strangers and smile at dogs and experience the city as a part of it. This sense of inclusion is what keeps the coffee shops thriving and the reward for helping your community to develop in your picture is what keeps you coming back. 

Fair trade may not be our daily mantra, but we appreciate it and choose it when the option is given. Sometimes the beans are fair trade, roasted locally and sometimes in the evening the coffee shop turns into a screening room for emerging artists. The main attraction is that the white cup implies sustainability and community. 
There is likely only a handful of employees and you know all of them by name and together you scoff at triple mocha swirl type drinks that barely resemble coffee at all and are marketed to teens who are lured in by sugar. Most indie coffee places have raw cane sugar or setiva - a subtle hint that the place is about the coffee and culture and not about addiction to caffeine and sugar. 

The white cup isn’t just full of coffee, it’s full of hope. The independent coffee shop owners of this city didn’t meet and collectively decide to use non-branded white cups (sometimes with a stamp of the logo), but the unified preference goes with the territory. These are people who oppose mass marketing, who don’t want to expand and who care about the customer more than the profit. 

The white paper coffee cup has become a subtle clue that the carrier may be a hipster. With many definitions ranging from snob to stylish, the main gist of ‘hipster’, I believe, is an awareness (perhaps over awareness) of and connection to the independent music, art, film, fashion, and/or coffee culture scene.

These shops choose to remain independent and small scale and that is what makes them attractive. Owners provide their customers with an environment of enlightenment, not bogged down by 6 word coffee cocktails or seasonal marketing. An independent coffee shop has become a social hub where you can also buy coffee. The popularity of Mac products stems from their marketing strategy; the company represents an idea, and if you agree with that idea, you will buy their products. You drink coffee from independent stores because you see them as like-minded. This is why hipsters on Mac products flood indie coffee shops. Alternatively, Starbucks marketing focuses on who you become, or how you feel because of drinking their coffee. And nobody tells hipsters how to feel or what to drink. 

Ironically, by collectively choosing to remain unbranded, the white coffee cup has become a symbol of independence. The coffee shops fill the streets with their idea, but not their brand. 

So, maybe you’re a hipster for avoiding Starbucks and scoffing at ‘blended’ coffee drinks, but more likely you are just a young adult with not too many bucks looking to drink coffee out of a cup you can be proud to hold. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sausage Kale Bread Bake

When I cook I find myself imagining two realities ( neither the present). I start by making a supper. It is nutritious, fun and delicious and even as I cook on a whim I feel confident of my decisions and I explain what I am doing and why to my audience (I’m cutting the crust off of this fresh loaf of bread, and this is how I hold my hand so I can keep it still and guide the knife at the same time, and we are taking off the crust not because it isn’t good but because the crust will block the soft porous interior - soon to be in large dice -  from absorbing the seasoned egg mixture.)  But soon my vision slips into the second reality and I am teaching not on a television show but to my children, who I can’t imagine, but in my dream I know are there. 

So as I often express, apologies for the verbosity but I promise you will learn and be rewarded with a delicious, cheap and quick dinner that's a cinch to prepare, even when there isn't much in the fridge. The opportunities for substitutions are vast so use what you like, but keep it simple and use fresh, local whole foods.
To work efficiently you need to have everything ready, so turn on the oven to 350 ℉ and gather your ingredients:
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, washed, boiled in seasoned water then blanched 
  • 1 onion, any kind you want, cut in half then sliced thinly
  • 1 sausage.  I used the Deli Sausage at Sanagan’s Meat Locker but the flavour options are endless and you could even add some bacon because why not. Vegetarians: I would crumble seasoned tofu into the egg mixture rather than a veggie sausage as they often are not healthy at all.
  • 5 eggs, cracked into a bowl, whisked and then seasoned (if you season the egg first then whisking makes it rubbery).  I added some barbecue sauce to this wet mixture, as well as about a 1/4 cut of chicken stock but you could use anything with equal viscosity: tomato sauce, milk, beef stock, apple sauce thinned out with worcester, et cetera.
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread, crust removed and the interior diced
  • Sriracha, or any hot sauce you like
  1. Heat up a medium sized frying pan, add a splash of oil, then push the sausage out of the casing and into the pan. Add the onions and sauté together, with a little maple syrup if you have some. Add the bread and continue onto the next step as it warms up and marinates. 
  2. Line the bottom of a shallow baking dish with a thin layer of hot sauce. Using the back of a large spoon is best for spreading out the sauce. 
  3. Squeeze the kale of excess moisture so the eggs don’t curdle and chop it into one inch strips, then pack into a single layer above the hot sauce in the baking dish. 
  4. Taste the bread mixture and season accordingly. Pour it into the baking dish but do not pack it down (this is so that when we pour in the eggs, the mixture can dissipate into each layer, and down to the kale)
  5. Pour in the eggs, then push down the bread with the back of that large spoon of yours. As the spoon sinks into the bread, you will notice some of the egg mixture sinks onto the spoon; drag the soon backwards slowly and tilt it so that you can glaze the surface.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 ℉ and don’t burn your tongue when you try to scarf it down scalding hot.  :)  This recipe makes about 4 servings if it is served with a side salad 

It costs only about ( eggs: 5, 4/12 = 30cents/egg x 5 = ) $1.50 + (kale $2/bunch) $1 + (bread) $3 + (sausage) $2 + (onion, hot sauce, maple syrup, chicken stock) $1 = $7.50 / 4 =  Less than $2 per person! 

Why so healthy? 

  • it’s made from scratch, with love
  • it uses whole foods - only the hot sauce is packaged
  • the sausage is made locally, using locally sourced meat that is hormone and antibiotic free
  • the bread can be whole wheat or unbleached, which ups it’s nutrition
  • eggs are a great source of protein (6g/serving! ) 
  • kale is super high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Potato Salad

Super easy and healthy:

about 6 new potatoes, cut in half
about 2 cups of green beans, chopped in half
big handful of organic heirloom tomatoes (found at Lucky Moose in Chinatown)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed

1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper

1. Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, then add the green beans and cook 1 minute longer.
2. Drain and while still warm, add the tomatoes, dill, garlic and dressing.
3. Serve warm, or chilled. Beef it up with lettuce, or add some boiled eggs for added protein.

So, now you know it's easy to make, this is why it's good for you:

Garlic: promotes heart health, boosts the immune system, and helps circulation and is a natural antibiotic.
Dill: helps digestion by promotion of bile secretion, helps to calm menstrual cramps
Sour cream: yes, it is high in fat, but the body and brain needs fat from natural sources in order to function at full potential.
Heirloom tomatoes: I like to buy organic tomatoes because they are made up of so much water that toxicity can be high in tomato plants that are sprayed with pesticides. 'Heirloom' means these little guys have never been crossbred so the chance of them being GMO is also incredibly small.