Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick and Random Dinner

Ok so there is very little in our fridge right now because we're leaving on Friday for a 10 day road trip out East. I had Monday (trout and salad) and Tuesday (parlsey pesto on brown rice pasta with chicken, asparagus and fennel) dinners planned out but clearly I wasn't thinking straight when picking out veggies for the rest of the week!

So we sliced up 2 red peppers, chopped up a bunch of kale, and sliced a cup of green beans... definitely not one of typical combinations for a stir-fry. I put some olive oil in the saute pan and some red chili flakes, threw all the veggies in the pan, and a random combination of herbs - a teaspoon of basil, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, and a tablespoon of Bragg's liquid aminos (similar to soy sauce). I would have never thought to combine basil and fennel seeds but it was delicious!

This dinner reminded me of a conversation with a patient earlier this week. She had said one of her obstacles with eating healthy or preparing new dishes is not knowing how to combine spices or herbs. I told her it's all about experimenting; reading as many recipes and trying them; watching food network; asking friends; googling; tasting spices; whatever! I remember ruining plenty of dishes in my early 20s when I was experimenting and from time to time even now, Chris gets a lame duck meal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lahore Tikka House

What a busy weekend! We did a lot of visiting over the weekend as well as eating.

Saturday morning we met a couple of friends at a restaurant called School for brunch in Liberty Village. Great atmosphere and pretty good menu, very accomodating. I had an omelette and was able to substitute a few things (which was rare for any restaurant during busy breakfast or brunch hours!) and had a delicious arugula salad and fruit salad instead of the homefries!

In the later afternoon we were over at a friends for a birthday celebration and had some nibblies. Afterwards we decided since we were close to Little India we would go out for dinner. We saw one restaurant that was really busy and had a large patio... people looked happy so we thought we'd try it out. One of our rules about trying random restaurants is that they would have to be busy and look like people were having fun. So Lahore Tikka House definitely fit the bill! Service was quick - I got my usual palak paneer and Chris had Karahi Gosht (lamb) - it was delicious - and we had fun!

I have a great little recipe for palak paneer but no matter how many times I've tried, it never tastes as good as when I order it from a restaurant. Some things are just better left to the experts!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Healthcare Comment

The following is taken from a transcript of Obama's press conference last night regarding health care:

"We can pay for it in the short term, but we can also pay for it in the long term. And in fact, there's going to be a whole lot of savings that we obtain from that because, for example, the average American family is paying thousands of dollars in hidden costs in their insurance premiums to pay for what's called uncompensated care, people who show up at the emergency room because they don't have a primary-care physician.

If we can get those people insured and instead of having a foot amputation, because of advanced diabetes, they're getting a nutritionist who's working with them, to make sure that they are keeping their diet where it needs to be, that's going to save us all money in the long-term."

My ears perked up when he said diet. I think naturopathic doctors can provide an invaluable service to any healthcare system, whether it is in the US or here in Canada, specifically Ontario.

In a time when a lot of people say they can't get a family medical doctor, and many have health concerns that are preventable through diet and lifestyle like heart disease and diabetes, NDs can address the changes that need to be made either before a diagnosis or before a medication is needed or while on medication to minimize side effects.

More and more people are coming in to see me that don't have major health concerns but they know that they have a parent or grandparent with heart disease or diabetes and want to do everything they can to live with optimal health. I love it! The integration of naturopathic doctors within a family health team here in Ontario would be beneficial ... just a thought.

Raw Raspberry Cheesecake

I think I have perfected it. This will be my third time making this cheesecake but the first time for Chris. I learned my lesson the first time with the avocado pie, that I must divulge what the 'item' is made of and not try to 'fool' my husband.

If you don't receive the ZH newsletter every month go onto the website ( and click under July newsletter to get this recipe. It is so refreshing and no one will guess what the inside is made of -- cashews, orange juice, lemon juice, coconut butter, and honey!

The recipe itself is very simple but there are a couple of things that will make the cheesecake even better. When blending the crust in the food processor, allow the mixture to ball up. This is unlike the date and almond crust for the raw avocado pie as this one just requires coarse crumbs. Second tip is go the extra distance and buy fresh oranges and lemons and squeeze them yourself - it makes a huge difference in the tangy filling. Last thing is try to dry out the cashews after soaking them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Freezing Fresh Local Berries

We all (Chris and my sister Angela), just got back from visiting my parents. We stayed for the whole weekend which meant a weekend of relaxing, napping, and of course eating.

One of the great things Mom reminded me about was freezing all the local fresh berries now, to have an ample supply for smoothies and sauces. I think the most delicious dessert my Mom makes is cheesecake with homemade cherry sauce. We usually just have it for Easter but this weekend was a special request with Angela visiting from Edmonton.

My parents had been picking the last of the fresh cherries last week so this weekend we pitted a few baskets of cherries, spread them in one layer among several baking sheets so they freeze individually, and then bagged them once frozen, into ziploc bags. This is a great technique for any berry and a wonderful way to eat local for much longer time.

This is also a great weekend activity to do with kids. I know a few parents who take their kids to apple orchards in the fall around the Milton or Caledon area. What a fabulous way to get kids to understand where strawberries, or blueberries, or raspberries come from - how they grow, and how they are harvested!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Anti-aging Seminar

Wow... great seminar. Yesterday I went to a seminar that was put on by a company called GUNA, and Dr. Frasca, a plastic surgeon from Torino, Italy. She used to do a lot of face lifts and fillers and has moved away from invasive procedures and is actually using homeopathic remedies, like homeopathic collage, among others, to inject into wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and cellulite. She still uses botox and some fillers and lasers but has changed her practice dramatically. It was fascinating to hear her speak and listen to her experiences and have her share her knowledge. It was also interesting to hear how many medical doctors and plastic surgeons in Italy (and most of Europe) are open to natural therapeutics and how women (mostly) view skin care not as a luxury but as a necessity.

Of course Anna and I did the seminar together, and my friend and fellow colleague Aileen also came. It was wonderful because the first hour was theory and then the rest of seminar was all practical. We worked on our thighs, our faces, our arms... any surface we could get our hands on. The older ladies in the seminar were quick to volunteer when Dr. Frasca needed some models to show the technique!!!

Right now I've been doing the cosmetic acupuncture on most ladies wanting a little anti-aging treatment. It's been great for the middle-age demographic with a fairly decent lifestyle (water, non-smoker, exercise) but it's been harder to get good results with older women unless they are willing to come in for 15 or 20 sessions. Cosmetic acupuncture is also an hour long where as this technique is 15 minutes. The acupuncture is fantastic as it is a whole treatment approach, and with a few sessions other minor health concerns disappear! I can definitely see myself incorporating this new technique into my practice.

Even though she doesn't know yet, my mom of course will be my first 'patient'... I'm glad she doesn't use the internet and can't read this!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Herb Garden

My herb garden is a disaster. It looks like my mom's garden looked like in the middle of August.... picked through, weeds peeking through everywhere... ugh.

This morning I went to grab some dill and parsley to throw into my chickpea salad that I was making for lunch and was greeted by a mess. My arugula (I got 3 big family sized salads out of it!) was flowering and drying, my dill (my pride and joy being Polish!) was becoming brown, and the rest I couldn't even tell if what I was looking at was a herb or a weed!

It totally reminds me of being on the farm. My mom had a HUGE vegetable garden. Rows upon rows of potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers .... The workers that stayed on the farm from St. Lucia used to love picking through her garden (much to my dad's dismay!). I remember the garden looking pristine for the first few months. It was always irrigated in the evenings and my sister Ang and I would have to weed the garden every week. However it never failed by the time tobacco harvest started in August, everyone was too busy and too tired to tend to the garden so it always fell by the wayside; still producing tons of delicious vegetables, but looking horrific!

Just more proof I have to stick to being a naturopathic doctor!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back from the Cottage

Flurry of activity around the Morley household today. Last night we got back from the cottage, after being there for a week. Yes it rained, everyday except one, but it was great to sit, relax, and do nothing. But now it's time to get the house in order and prep for the workweek ahead.

We always love our week at the cottage. It is a time to sit and think, enjoy nature (it's right on Lake Huron), read (we read 3 books each), and tune out of the everyday craziness. There isn't a tv and there are no newspapers... just us and nature. Oh and of course according to Chris it's a time for treats! There is always a stop at the Lucknow bakery, which is a bakery run by mennonites that has delicious strawberry tarts and pies, and date squares and buns for Chris' burgers! They actually now do gluten-free baked goods which is crazy.... cookies, pie shells, and tarts!

Anyway so last night we eased into being back in Toronto by unpacking, responding to a few emails and starting new books. Today after a relaxing breakfast outing, and starting on our laundry, we did our grocery shopping so I could prep a few things for the week. Tonight we're having rainbow trout and my beet and arugula salad. While the beets were cooking I pulled out my favourite appliance, the food processor, made tofu frittata for tomorrow night's dinner, and then made some hummus so we would have something to snack on during the week while making dinners. Plan, plan, plan.....