Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wooden Spoons as Cooking Utensils

How long have you had your wooden spoons in your kitchen? I looked at mine today and I think I remember mom giving me a couple of hers when I moved into a house with friends in 3rd year university! Waaaaaaaaaaaay too long. So then I remembered a random comment from a chef on tv saying how wooden spoons are the handiest utensil to have (and cheapest!) in the kitchen but they harbour a lot of bacteria.

So today I decided to do a little bit of research on these utensils that seem to last forever; or do they?

Did you know?
1. They are more porous then metal and plastic and that's why they are a sponge for bacteria.
2. They shouldn't be put in the dishwasher! They may crack and could potentially be a fire hazard.
3. They shouldn't be used if there is any part of them that is dark or soft or mushy. It's rotten wood.
4. Best way to disinfect is with 1 part bleach to 20 parts water, soak, and then wash with a mild detergent. One website listed that a day behind a fridge or stove would warrant a bleaching.

I'm throwing ALL of our wooden spoons out today AND I hope Santa brings me some new wooden spoons in my stocking.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

plant2body Nourishing Serum

Emails like the following from another NDs patient who tried the Nourishing Serum makes it all worth it:
Thanks SG and KP for sharing!!

I’ve been meaning to send you a note to tell you just how much I love the face serum. I have tried everything and spent so much money trying to fix my acne problem and this product has won over all the junk that’s being promoted out there. I no longer need my acne medication and my skin is just glowing. I still get a few breakouts but nothing like before. The scarring has decreased and my complexion is brighter. In my experience it is really hard to find products that work for dark skin and this really has helped.

Thanks so much and please keep a supply of this product on hand. This is truly my beauty secret but I would be willing to share my story with anyone who has doubts about this product.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Soft Ginger Cookies - Vegan and Wheat-free!

I love Sundays like today. Chris and I met up with friends for a late brunch, we did some running around getting fruits and veggies for the week at one of the markets on Bloor, stopped for tea at David's (Spicy Chocolate Rooibus for me and Berry Sorbet Green tea for Chris!) and then parked ourselves at home for the rest of the afternoon.

I made tofu frittata for a dinner later on in the week, chopped up some kale and cabbage for 3 lunches for myself, cooked a pot of beets to have ready for another dinner this week, AND made some festive ginger cookies. It's a recipe I got from a friend in 2004 and bake consistently every year around this time of the year! I've changed the recipe over the years and this year I love the final product. Here's the recipe! You can do all spelt flour if you don't have or want to use quinoa flour.

4, 1-inch pieces of fresh gingerroot
8 Tbsp pure maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima)
3 Tbsp dark molasses
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1.5 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1.5 tsp orange zest
1 cup spelt flour
0.5 cup quinoa flour
2 Tbsp demerara sugar (pure cane brown sugar)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
pinch ground cloves
10 pieces crystallized ginger - chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor blend maple syrup, molasses, oil, juice, zest, and ginger. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, white pepper, cloves and salt in a bowl. Pour ginger mixture into dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Using a spoon, scoop 1 tbsp batter for each cookie and place on baking sheet. Top each cookie with a few small pieces of crystallized ginger. Bake 15-18 minutes until edges are light brown.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Breakfast Frozen in Cubes!

With the chilly mornings here a warm cereal is a nice way to start the day. Rushing around in the morning usually doesn't make cooking steel cuts oats for 30 minutes an option for a lot of people; so what I usually recommend is making a big batch and keeping in the fridge for 3 or 4 days and just reheating each morning.

A complaint I sometimes hear with doing this is "I get bored and don't want to have the same thing each morning for breakfast." Soooooo I always have an answer for every complaint I hear and here is my answer for this one:

Line ice cube trays with plastic wrap. Fill each cube with oatmeal, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen solid, remove the cubes from the ice tray and freeze in a plastic bag. For each portion, thaw three or four cubes in a microwave on the defrost setting (or better yet on a stove). Add additional rice milk and almonds or flaxseed and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Smart Meter

My husband Chris looooooooooooooves our new smart meter. I have a fear that one day soon he'll be looking at our account online and then all of a sudden I'm cooking in the dark in 16 degrees to save energy and money.

We got a notice 2 days ago that Toronto Hydro installed a smart meter at our house. Right away he went online to activate our account and immediately he was looking at our 'on-peak' and 'off-peak' energy usage. He states that there is a pattern - we are using a lot of energy on Fridays during the 'on-peak' hours..... hmmmmm....

Yes I am home on Fridays cleaning when I should be working on my cookbook and other projects. The lights are on, the computer is on, and the tv is on for background entertainment. Other than Fridays, we are great because we are never home! We work too much!! :(

Then I started looking at the flyer and the table of examples of prices. I was so surprised!

1 load in the dryer - off peak - costs 10 cents while peak time costs 20 cents
1 load in the washer (hot water) - off peak - costs 34 cents while peak time costs 73 cents
1 load in the washer (cold water) - off peak - costs 5 cents while peak time costs 10 cents
1 load in the dishwasher - off peak - costs 16 cents while peak time costs 33 cents

You also get a sticker with the package that you can put on the washer or dryer to remind you of when the off peak and peak times are. Chris says if I use something during peak hours he'll place the sticker on me! :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friends, Entrepreneurs and Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

'Tis the season for friends and family, spending quality time with those you love and of course gift-giving. As a naturopathic doctor I'm always looking for quality products that are safe and gentle to recommend to friends and family. This year I am so happy to share some gift ideas that have been created by fellow naturopathic doctors and friends.

Olive Baby is a line created by Anna Falkowski, a mother, my friend, colleague and fellow Polish chick. There are currently 4 products that are all olive oil based and chemical and fragrance-free that are wonderful for babies AND adults. There is a cult following of her lip balm at Zawada Health. Check out for more information.

Next up is Aileen Lim-Trotter, and her ZenSkin line. As long as I've known Aileen she has been into cosmetics and products; so it's no surprise she has put out her own line that uses her knowledge of naturopathic medicine and herbs and of course cosmetics. Check out her Calendula Cleanser on her website that is essential oil free and contains my fave - green tea extracts!

Andrea Beaubrun, my dear friend and colleague out in Calgary has created Chickaboo Organics with her eco-savvy, graphic designer of a sister Kerri! Organic cotton onesies that feel like luxury! The silk-screening uses natural inks so they are PVC/solvent/phthlate free which is so important for those little developing bodies! Check out for more information.

And of course I can't blog about new products without tooting my own horn! Plant2body Organics is a company founded by myself and Anna (see above) in order to provide our patients with a versatile nourishing serum for fine lines, acne scarring, and stretch marks. Our velvety oil is organic, chemical and fragrance-free and only has 3 ingredients: Camellia oil (green tea), perilla seed (omega-3 like flaxseed), and vitamin E. After only one use, your skin will start to glow with this antioxidant packed serum.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beet Green 'Chips'

Earlier today I bought a bunch of beets and kale for dinner. I didn't want to throw out the beet greens so I left them to soak until I figured out what I was going to do with them. I've done kale chips before so I thought I'd try the same thing with beet greens for a quick little snack while waiting for dinner to cook.

I spread the washed greens on a baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt on top and placed in an oven at 450 degrees. I let them roast for 15 minutes and then blasted the broiler on HI for a minute. They were great - Chris and I ploughed through them in less than 5 minutes!