Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cooking Reboot Launch - September 7th

Do you wish to cook more at home and eat less take-out, processed and pre-made meals? Do you need some motivation to get into yourself into your kitchen to cook, plus to get organized to menu plan?  Do you wish to lead a stress free cooking life?

We are pleased to announce the soft launch of our new on-line program  - Cooking Reboot. The 4-week program is for YOU – the everyday cook.  The 28-day program will help make you into an inspired, confident and organized everyday cook.  Stop eating so much take-out and start taking better care of yourself, your family and your bank account!

Our launch starts on September 7th.  We are offering all Recipes To The Rescue Newsletter subscribers and their friends 50% off the $97 introductory price.  

How It Works - every week for 4 weeks you’ll get an email reminding you that a session is available. Each of the 4 sessions comes with a workbook, video lessons, video trainings, recipes, and weekly challenges. Expect to spend 35 minutes per week on the course plus cooking. 

There’s also a discussion inside each session so you can share your successes and struggles with fellow everyday cooks and gain support.  

Sign up today and use the COUPON CODE: launch2016.   For more information and to sign up go to www.cookingreboot.com. If you have any questions please contact me at barb@cookingreboot.com.   Hope to see you there!  Barb

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What Has More Vitamin C an Apple or a Chili Pepper?

Food Fun Facts

What has more Vitamin C an Apple or a chili pepper?

Who knew?  Instead of eating an apple a day, we should be eating a chili a day!  Bonus, I’m addicted to them!  If you haven’t tried cooking with these little gems I suggest you give them a try.  For some people their hotness is a barrier…if this is you, then go big! Typically the bigger the pepper (think jalapeƱo), the less fire there is.  The heat is concentrated in the veins and seeds so be mindful not to touch them with your fingers.  Otherwise, trust me, your fingers will burn.  Use the tip of a potato peeler or a small paring knife to scoop out the seeds and remove the veins.Or use disposable gloves.  
Now, if you decide to add a chili to your next meal and you find your mouth on fire, DO NOT guzzle a mug of beer to clinch the burn… instead, go for a glass of milk or better yet, ice cream.  Anything with dairy will help settle the heat down.  

Looking to increase your vitamin C intake and improve your health? Why not try a little green heat in your next meal.  

*1 cup apple - 52.2mg vitamin C
1 cup sliced jalapeno pepper 106.7mg Vitamin C

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Food Paradox

We all know how to eat well. Everyday we are reminded how by the media, the health experts and even the food packaging. Walk down any grocery store aisle and you will be bombarded with food products screaming healthy messages: low fat, transfat free, low sodium, natural, light, 0 calories, whole grains, fibre!  It's all so confusing and at times often hard to believe.  For instance, let’s take Froot Loops, a popular breakfast cereal.  The packaging says it is “made with whole grain and a source of fibre,” plus it is blessed with having “natural fruit flavours.”  I have often wondered how or what could be natural about brightly coloured lifesaver shaped cereal that appears to be coated in sugar.  It’s paradoxical to me so I decided to buy a box to experience the ‘natural fruit flavour’ taste. 
Full disclosure, I do not eat cereal. I overdosed on the stuff as a kid, but for this paradoxical experiment I was willing to chow down on some.  I poured the breakfast cereal into a white round bowl and I must admit, they were colourful, like the rainbow - orange, rose, natural (or was that yellow) and green.  First I tried the green loop.  I’m not sure what flavour green was trying to be, it was kinda like me trying to grow vegetables and not quite succeeding but getting an E for effort (good try green!)  The rose was faintly like cherry. I was hoping the purple  would be grape (my favourite flavour), but it was like opening up a birthday present expecting money but getting a t-shirt…a slight disappointment (nice attempt purple!)  The orange was the definite winner with the most flavour.  The yellow? Well, it reminded me of a distant memory, one you just can’t quite recall. It had a slight lingering taste of lemon (keep trying yellow!) But, to be honest, they mostly tasted like sugar.  Because I have a sweet tooth, I kept eating them under the guise I was tasting for “natural fruit flavours.”  After many spoonfuls I quickly realized why my kids would eat so many bowls of cereal in the morning. It's hard to stop.

So what exactly is a natural fruit flavour? I phoned Kellogg’s and asked if they used actual fruit in Froot Loops (obvious question, right?) I was told that, they do not take the natural fruit from a particular fruit. Natural fruit flavour is not the equivalent to natural fruit. They make the flavour from natural ingredients but not the fruit itself.  Shucks! I thought they were using real fruit to flavour the loops. This explains the curious flavours I tasted.   

So how much sugar is in a bowl of fruit loops I wondered?  I measured out 1 1/2 cups of cereal, which is what I would eat, however, the package states that is 2 servings (one serving is 3/4 cup…hard to believe!) The 2 servings has the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar or 24 grams.  Could you imagine spooning in 6 teaspoons of sugar into your morning coffee?  If I did that, I’d be so wired my husband would have to lock me in the bathroom until I stopped talking!  After searching the infinite information site, Google, I learnt that my daily limit of sugar was 6 teaspoons.  This means, all my daily sugar fun would end after 1 bowl of morning cereal.  Dang!  Are the loops worth all my daily fun?  I don’t think so. I’m going to stick with porridge and enjoy its true natural flavour with  a sprinkle of brown sugar because then I know I won’t overdose on my allowable sugar rations first thing in the morning. 

I’ve come to believe that just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge food by its package. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Superhero Blueberry

Can you picture a blueberry wearing a cape and an eye-mask bandanna?  A blueberry as a superhero? You may not believe it, but these little berries come loaded with lots of goodness.They are chock-a-block full of antioxidants, the substance found in food that helps neutralize the cellular damage caused by free radicals.  Now, if that doesn't sound virtuous what does? There are many other reasons why blueberries are considered heroic. They are high in vitamin C, contain fibre, help reduce urinary tract infections, and may help control cholesterol problems.  Plus, (and this is the one I like the best) they may help slow down age-related mental loss.  Yes! Bring on the blueberries!

Blueberries freeze easily.  Purchase copious amounts when they are in season (which is now), give them a rinse and freeze them flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the frozen berries into a freezer bag to be used throughout the year.  They are great in muffins, pancakes, smoothies and fruit desserts.

Now is the time to join the blueberry cape crusader. It is time to start eating, cooking and enjoying blueberries.

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 10 muffins
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (squeeze one medium-size orange)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose four
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups.  Combine all liquids together in one bowl, mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add blueberries and mix well.  Add liquids to flour mixture, stir until just blended.  Pour into prepared muffin cups and bake until slightly golden about 20-25 minutes.

from the Recipes To The Rescue Newsletter Summer 2008

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five Ways To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Have you noticed that the price of food is rising as fast as the housing prices in Vancouver? Well, okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you have to admit, food is not cheap.  When I'm at the grocery store, I have to stop myself from gasping at the cashier's total and accusing them of overcharging me. I typically smile (a fake smile), pay, and discreetly check the bill while walking away. They are never wrong. 

We have to eat. And if we eat well, this means lots of fresh whole foods and not much junk food (such as the high fat, high sugar yummy food that we shouldn’t, but do, eat).  Our bodies will work better, we will have more energy and think smarter…. in other words, we will be “healthier.”  However, the not-so-good for us food is typically cheaper (think fast food take-out) than the good-for-us food (think fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese).   So what is the solution to this eat-healthy-affordable food dilemma?

We have to shop smarter.  We have to strategize and think of grocery shopping as a competitive sport where the goal is to eat and live well...without going into debt.

Here are 5 simple ways to help you save money on your grocery bill:

1.   Be ruthless in the produce department. Choose what looks like the freshest fruit or vegetable in the pile.   It may require rearranging the food displays the produce folks work so hard to build.  You will have to be discreet.  Dig around, move things and find the best looking fruit or vegetable. Often they are at the back of the pile.  The produce staff like to move the older stock to the front because we tend to grab the first ones we see. This is how they rotate their stock.

When you find what looks like the ‘one,’ pick it up and inspect it carefully before you put it in your basket.  Avoid bruises, blemishes and signs of spoiling.  Take charge. If it looks slightly old, then keep hunting.  This way, you will purchase the freshest produce and it will keep longer, eliminate food waste and save you money. 

2.  Know your prices.  If you know what you should pay for your food, then you will not be tricked into buying products that claim to be ‘on sale.’ For instance, I buy a type of coffee that always goes on sale. However, the ‘on sale’ price varies between stores. The one-pound bag can go as low as $13.00 a pound. So when I see it ‘on sale’ for $16.00 I know I’m being duped. If you know your prices (roughly, we can’t all be perfect) you can avoid being ripped off. This requires paying attention to prices when grocery shopping.

3.  Look for sale signs.  If you have the space in your home (and the extra money) it’s worth stocking up on the deals.  Sale items are often at the storefronts, at the end of the aisles or at the checkout counters.  However, you may have to hunt for them because they aren’t always obvious. Don’t be fooled by signs.  Some stores advertise certain food items with signs that are camouflaged as sale signs.  However, if you look closely, the signs are only advertising the product but not a sale.  Shopping can be as intriguing as a detective novel.

4.  Search for the discount bins.  Stores typically have them tucked away in a corner.  You can find decent deals on hard goods, such as soaps, tea, cleaning solutions, etc. 

5.  Bring your magnifying glass.  Read the ‘best before dates’ before you buy, especially on perishable items such as bread, milk and boxed lettuce.  Pick the package with the longest ‘best before date,’ which is usually at the back of the pile (you are at an advantage if you are tall or have long arms).  This way, your food will last longer and you will not be throwing out as much. You’ll save money in the long run and have more flexibility about when you eat your food.

There are many great ways to save money on your grocery bill and these are just a few simple ideas.  It really boils down to shopping smarter. And remember, the cashiers do not purposely charge you too much for your groceries! Real food is not cheap.