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Raw foods: Why you should eat way more of them

Marni Wasserman | posted Thursday, Jan 22nd, 2015

Adding more raw foods into your diet is a great way to boost your health. This means making sure the bulk of what you eat focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. With these foods as the foundation of your diet you will have more energy, lose weight and feel great. Raw foods are loaded with enzymes, vitamin and nutrients.

I am not suggesting you become a 100 percent raw foodie or adhere to strict guidelines, rather, simply incorporate more fresh foods into your diet. Even if half your meals each day consist of raw food, you are on the right track.

Five ways to add more raw to your diet

  1. Have at least a serving or more of fresh fruit every day: This can include an apple, pear, orange, berries or a fresh fruit smoothie.
  2. Have multiple servings of fresh vegetables every day: Cut up carrots, celery, peppers, make a large dark leafy green salad or a fresh-pressed green juice.
  3. Enjoy a handful (or two) of raw organic nuts and seeds. Put them into a trail mix with raisins, goji berries, apricots – and you can even add some pure raw dark chocolate (cacao) into the mix.
  4. Grab a bag of fresh sunflower or pea sprouts from your local health food store or farmers’ market; these make a great addition to salads, sandwiches, soups, stir-frys and smoothies.
  5. Get creative and try to prepare a few new raw recipes each week. Check Chatelaine‘s no-cook recipe collection here.

Try this recipe: Almond basil pesto

This is a delicious spread to enjoy with raw bread, flatbread and crackers or served with crunchy raw veggies, kelp noodles or shredded zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp torn fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 cup whole almonds, soaked overnight or for eight hours
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or more) for a creamier consistency

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Place in a small bowl and refrigerate
  3. Serve with cucumber slices, zucchini noodles, carrots, whole grain or raw crackers or brown rice pasta/kelp noodles or steamed vegetables

Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.

3 simple things you can do to avoid the flu

Sydney Loney | posted Thursday, Jan 15th, 2015

Take a sick day

Last year, the flu killed 258 people and sent 3,720 to hospital — in Ontario alone. Still, past studies show Canadians are reluctant to stay home no matter how horrible they feel: Almost 80 percent of us have gone to work while ill (46 percent of women cite guilt as the reason they don’t call in sick). This is bad because of the contagion factor (you’re germy for up to seven days after symptoms show up) and because lack of rest makes you sicker for longer.

Stay in bed if you have a temperature of 38C (100F), says Susan Poutanen,a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. “You should also stay home if you develop a runny nose, a sore throat, chills, aches or a cough — some of the first signs of the flu.”

Three steps to avoid the flu

1. Sleep more: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say less than seven hours makes you almost three times more likely to catch a cold. Stick to a strict sleep schedule and do whatever it takes, whether that’s wearing an eye mask or switching on a fan, to help you fall asleep faster.

2. Beware the break room: It’s the most infected area at work, say researchers at the University of Arizona. Highly contaminated spots include doorknobs, copy-machine buttons, coffee-pot handles and sink tap handles.

3. Wash, rinse, repeat: A study in the American Journal of Infection shows the flu virus lives on hands and surfaces for up to 10 minutes—and most people touch
their faces once every three minutes. The best defence is to wash hands frequently, lathering up for 20 seconds each time.

10 ways to make holiday baking easier

Kristen Eppich | posted Thursday, Dec 18th, 2014

Holiday baking is wonderful. The nostalgia, the aroma, the sugar – it brings back memories and allows us to indulge in some of our favourite recipes. But who’s kidding who, the best thing about holiday baking is having it done – so we can enjoy the wares minus the mess and time.

Here are 10 quick tips to make your holiday baking a little friendlier, and relieve you of at least one sticky measuring spoon this season. Happy baking.

  1. Keep two sets of measuring spoons on hand. One for wet ingredients, one for dry.
  2. Measuring something sticky like molasses or honey? Lightly spray your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray and it will slide right out.
  3. Eggs to cold? If your recipe calls for room temperature eggs, drop them (in their shell) into very warm water and let them sit for 5 minutes. Use immediately (do not return these to the fridge).
  4. Leave your butter out the night before. Defrosting butter in the microwave changes the composition of the butter and it won’t react the same way as naturally room temperature butter.
  5. Always bake on parchment paper. It saves cookies from sticking and time on clean-up.
  6. Making icebox cookies that need to be rolled and chilled? Cut the inner tube of a roll of paper towels in half lengthwise and rest the wrapped cylinders of dough inside. It will help them keep their round shape while the firm up in the fridge.
  7. If you want to shape cookies in advance, but bake off later in batches, freeze first on a tray. Once frozen, stack in an airtight container and keep frozen. Bake cookies from frozen.
  8. Buy disposable piping bags to make life easier for you and your kids when it comes to decorating sugar cookies. This allows you to have multiple colours on the go, and they can be rinsed out and reused.
  9. Use gel food colourings to tint icing. Gel colourings have less liquid so they don’t dilute your icing and they also have a more intense colour (so add sparingly).
  10. Know some basic substitutions such as these to save time running to and from the grocery store:
  • 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Rice flour, potato flour and cornstarch can all be used interchangeably.
  • Buttermilk can be made by adding 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup milk. Let sit for a few minutes until it curdles, then proceed.
  • Spelt flour can replace all-purpose flour 1:1

How to budget for the holidays

Bruce Sellery | posted Tuesday, Dec 9th, 2014

Dear Bruce

I overspend at Christmas every single year. How much should I budget for the holidays?
— Julia Graham, Burnaby, B.C.

Dear Julia,

Every family’s holiday budget is different. What you want to spend over the holidays, and what you have in terms of disposable income and pre-existing debt, are unique to you. I’ve found that the amount of your holiday budget matters less than just sticking to it — simply being conscious of your spending makes an enormous difference. That said, create a budget that’s as inclusive as possible: gifts, of course, plus food and liquor if you’re entertaining, gas if you’ll be driving to visit far-flung family members, donations to charity, tickets to holiday shows and maybe even some money to pay for a new outfit if you absolutely need one for the big holiday party. Total it, then decide what you could add or subtract to get to a number you’re comfortable with. Plan ahead to ensure you’ll have that amount in your bank account when the bills arrive in the new year. If you know you’ll be carrying debt, figure out how you’re going to pay it off well before the next holiday season rolls around. And, unless you put yourself on your gift-giving list, watch out for the “one for you, one for me” pitfall, no matter how tempting the sale is.

Dear Bruce

I backed our van into a lamp post a few months back and had to put $8,000 on my credit card for repairs. What is the best plan to pay off the debt quickly and avoid high-cost interest charges?
— Vivienne West, Calgary

Dear Vivienne,

Sorry about your van — but good for you for getting on top of this after a few months, instead of a few years. I would start with a reality check: Create a chart that lists each lender, outstanding amount, interest rate, due date and minimum payment for all your debts, then total it (see chart below). Next, choose a payment approach. Mathematically, your best option is to pay off the highest-rate card first, and pay just the minimum on the others. But some people choose the “debt snowball” method, which is to pay off the card with the lowest balance first to give them a feeling of accomplishment. Next, you need to devise a plan for how you will cut spending and/or increase income to eliminate the debt. Be specific: Are you going to transfer the balance to a lower-rate line of credit, cut eating out for three months or work extra shifts on weekends? Will those things do the trick by the deadline you set? Write the plan down on paper, then share it with at least one other person to give yourself some accountability. Best of luck.

Calculate your total debt

 

Dear Bruce

I want to switch my current no-frills credit card to one that rewards me with each purchase, especially since the holiday-spending season is here. I plan to pay off my purchases entirely each month. Which rewards card offers the best value?

— Anna Fraser, Halifax

Dear Anna,

My five-year-old, Abby, loves the bunny stamp she gets at gymnastics — a nice little reward for a great class. If you pay off your credit card in full every month, you deserve a reward too. MoneySense magazine has a simple online credit-card selector tool to help you find the one that’s best for you. First, the tool will ask you a few questions, like whether you would rather have cash back on your purchases, retail rewards at a particular chain or travel points. Then it’ll ask how much you spend every month on things like groceries, restaurants, clothing and gas. Finally, from your answers, it will generate a list of cards for you to choose from (based on an exhaustive analysis of each rewards program). Before you make a selection, do a gut check. For example, if you don’t fly the airline or shop at the store associated with the card, take it off the list. You will then be left with a curated list of cards best suited to your lifestyle. But remember, rewards credit cards, like gymnastics, can be dangerous, so take the proper precautions to reduce your risk of getting hurt.

How to soften hard brown sugar

Chatelaine | posted Tuesday, Nov 25th, 2014

Even in the Chatelaine Kitchen, accidents happen. On one fateful day of testing recipes, I reached for the brown sugar only to realize that it had not been properly sealed and was now a giant, solid rock of sugar. The silver lining? In a test kitchen, accidents such as these are experiments waiting to happen. So one of the associate food editors and I put our noggins together to see if we could rehydrate this tin of dried-out brown sugar.

After a few rounds without success, we figured out a solution that worked. (And definitely a tip worth sharing!)

Here’s what to do:

1. Put your solid lump of dried brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Lay two pieces of paper towel on top of each other. Fold them in half, and then in half again. You should end up with a square of 8 layers.

3. Wet the paper towel square under a gently running tap until it is completely wet through, but not soaked (dripping wet is too wet).

4. Lay the wet paper towel over the lump of brown sugar so it is fully covered. Microwave for 45 seconds on med-low heat. Remove from microwave, flip over and repeat. Remove from microwave and use a fork to scrape off the softened brown sugar that will be on the outer edges.

5. Repeat this whole process until you end up with re-hydrated brown sugar.

Note: The size of your brown sugar determines how many times you’ll have to heat it. The minimum will be approximately five to six times. In our kitchen test (see images below) we had to reheat it ten times.

Check out how we revived our rock hard brown sugar:

Brown sugar step 1

Step 1

brown sugar step 2

Step 4

brown sugar step 3

Step 5

Recipes with brown sugar: So if you’re looking to make our delicious sticky caramel buns or our brown sugar shortbread cookies, no worries if your brown sugar is dried out…now you can fix it!

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