Kitchen Talks: The Myth of Time

1 Jan

Update: Urszula and I have decided to postpone this event until a later date. Who knew January was already so busy for people!

I’m super excited to be co-hosting this interactive event about finding more time, connecting with cool people and eating good food, with my friend and colleague, Urszula Lipsztajn.

The Experience
Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 6:00pm at HiVE Vancouver – click to get your ticket

  • 6:00pm: Small bites & settling in
  • 6:30pm: Group session begins
  • 7:15pm: Let’s cook
  • 8:00pm: The big meal & wrap-up

The Takeaways

  • A full belly!
  • Group coaching session all about getting control of your time
  • “Putting yourself, and your dinner, first” worksheets
  • Six recipes for the weeknight kitchen
  • Grocery shopping template
  • New friends

This is an intimate gathering with 25 seats available. Claim your seat here!

The Backstory

The idea for Kitchen Talks came out of a conversation Urs and I were having this past Summer about the connection between our time (or lack thereof) and the kitchen.

I’m generally pretty good friends with my kitchen, but, as evidenced by my lack of posts in the last several months, I fell victim to competing priorities during the busiest months of holistic nutrition school — who knew homework would take up so much time? — and found myself completely disconnected from my kitchen.

Now, I’m as much a foodie as I am a holistic nutritionist and really enjoy eating at the places I was frequenting for my meals — Whole Foods’ prepared food bar, my neighbourhood dosa place, and any sushi restaurant. That said, I was eating out too much for my own sanity: it was taxing the student budget I was on, taking the excitement out of what were usually my #treatyoself places, and making me long for a home-cooked meal.

Towards the end of those busiest months of schooling, I implemented some easy strategies to stay connected with my kitchen, like adding fresh vegetables to my dosa at home and batch cooking a soup once a week. These strategies were not new to me, but when that busy-ness hit, I was too preoccupied to have planned for them. I’ve since made these strategies, and others, into habits that I rely upon whenever busy times hit, keeping my kitchen (and my bank account) happy!

If you’re tired of saying you’re too busy to cook and ready to figure out where you’re spending your time, Urs and I would love to see you at Kitchen Talks: The Myth of Time on January 29. It’ll be an intimate, interactive evening (only 25 seats available) of finding more time for yourself, making new friends, and eating great food. Click here for more information and to claim your seat.

It’s never too late to become friends with your kitchen!

Happy New Year!

P.S. Leave a comment below, tweet, or email me if you have any questions or need more information.

Thoughts & Learnings from Digital Storytelling Unconference Vancouver 2013

8 Oct

I got the chance to attend the Digital Storytelling Unconference in Vancouver this past Saturday and it was quite an enlightening day.

Kai Chu led a discussion called “Slow Everything” centered around the concept of living life slow – as in Slow Food and Slow Parenting. Here are some of my favourite soundbites:

  • ‘Slow’ gives you a chance to get levels of achievement back so that you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • To be ‘good’ a something, it still needs to happen the old-fashioned way, through learning and practice. Someone telling you something, say music, is good, doesn’t make it good to you. It’s just their opinion.
  • As accessibility (to whatever subject you’re focusing on) increases, skill level increases exponentially.
  • ‘Slow’ is deciphering what you’re doing from the everyday so as to have a greater appreciation for it.
  • ‘Slow’ is helping ourselves be more engaged and active in our own lives.
  • ‘Slow’ is giving your mind a chance to check out from the bigger questions you’re dealing with to help you come to more authentic resolutions.

Next, I attended at discussion led by my friend, Todd Smith (also one of the event’s organizers) where the group talked storytelling, presentations, and effective communication. Some key points I took out of this discussion were:

  • Telling a story sticks in an audiences’ collective mind much more than simply telling them facts. After all, spoken word storytelling is how our history has been passed from generation to generation for quite some time!
  • It takes a look inward, into yourself, before you can define the story to communicate to an audience.
  • Transparency = authenticity. The more you can connect with an audience as a person, the more personal the interaction can be.
  • Figure out what your own personal S.W.O.T.’s are. Use this to own your experience and expertise, unapologetically.
  • Setting goals for presentations act just like setting goals for your life or business – they become a marker for you to evaluate and improve upon after the presentation is said and done.
  • There’s something called the Plain Language Movement, which advocates for clear and concise communication. Thank goodness!
  • Cadence and use of jargon go a long way to attract or repel an audience. Be observant and willing to mix things up if you see what you’re delivering isn’t landing.

The last discussion I attended was a group session about words in the digital era led by Tera Kristen. This was an interesting look at how the use and presentation of words is changing as digital media changes. Here are some key questions Tera asked to get us thinking:

  • What happens when the words are removed (from a picture, video, article, etc)?
  • What is the impact of typing vs. speaking vs. handwriting words?
  • When are words used for meaning vs. entertainment? How do you balance these two ideas?

Some other key points that came out of the group discussion include:

  • When stylizing words, restraint is so crucial. Don’t do something just because you can – treat everything with purpose.
  • The pauses are just as important as the action.
  • Speaking on stylization of sorts – we have to work harder to understand what we’re reading when things are obscure or not all info is provided. It’s good for our brains!
  • In this day and age, when there are so many ways to publish words, craft is still required to put forth something engaging.
  • The digital age allows everyone to have a public persona as well as a private life – it’s not just celebrities anymore.

All in all it was a very informative day with discussions about how story relates to every day life, media, gaming, teaching, movies, you name it. Story is woven throughout the fabric of every form of communication and is something I now have a greater appreciation for and a newfound thirst to learn more about. Thanks, DSU Vancouver Team for putting on a fantastic “unconference”!

Refreshing Mango, Celery, Cucumber Salad

3 Apr Celery, Cucumber, Mango Salad

I’ve been talking about my need for crunchy things left, right and centre, to the point that I cave and head for the chip aisle. This is where scenes like this one, with my friend Kendra, usually play out:

(Standing side by side, staring at the chips…)

Me: I just really want something crunchy. I mean, I could have celery.

Kendra: There’s celery.

Me: Oooor not…(as I grab ALL the chips and put them in the basket…)

My friend Tami calls it the “crunch factor” — all meals must include it or you’ll feel like something is missing; for me, this has definitely been the case recently. Obviously celery is the responsible HEALTHY choice when it comes to crunch factor. When I mentioned this to my friend Matt, he sent me this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants salad recipe. It’s got celery for crunch, avocado for creaminess, mango for sweetness and I added red cabbage for colour, which all combine to make it quite satisfying and full of good-for-you vitamins, minerals and fibre. You can make enough for one or two days, just keep the mango and avocado separate to prevent sogginess.

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Buckwheat Pancakes

27 Feb

I can’t stop thinking about these.

Buckwheat Pancakes

As a natural part of nutrition school, I’ve decided to TRY going gluten-free for the most part. I made these babies in ~10 minutes a little while ago, which even included making by own buckwheat flour in the Blendtec! Buckwheat has a distinct flavour — kind of like chocolate and nuts mixed together. If you’re not a huge fan, try cutting it in half with rice flour.

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Atypical Nanaimo Bars

19 Feb
  1. Raw Vegan Nanaimo Bars top view
    I was super proud of the raw, vegan Nanaimo Bars I’d just made but I was trying to be sneaky and not say ‘raw’ or ‘vegan’.
  2. Julie kindly pointed out what you might already know.
  3. To which I replied…
  4. @dinnerwithjulie oh really?! Shows how many times I’ve made them — never!
  5. In any case, this recipe is such a treat, super easy to make, and much better for you than the traditional variety. Now, someone come pry me away from them…
    Raw Vegan Nanaimo Bars

Poached Tilapia in Coconut Milk Curry

8 Feb

I’m so impressed with the way this last-minute, one-pan-meal came together. I’d spent the afternoon working up an appetite while volunteering for Growing Chefs at Whole Foods and did a quick run around the store to get a piece of tilapia before leaving. My first thought had been to throw together a stir-fry, but after perusing my fridge and finding leftover roasted squash and a bit of coconut milk, I decided to do a simple curry. SO glad I did.

I don’t actually own curry powder or paste. All it is is a mix of spices anyways, so I generally just put my own mix together. Use whole spices and grind them in a spice (read: coffee) grinder! You can use any vegetables you like in this recipe. I just used what was quick and easy.

Tilapia Fish Coconut Curry

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Miso Soup with Ginger & Garlic

24 Jan

I volunteered as a kitchen helper for a Rooted Nutrition cooking class a few days ago. The topic was fermentation, which was super fascinating. I came out of the class with a mason jar of saurkraut that’s doin’ its thang on my counter (will report back about its success…I’m a little wary at the moment…)

Andrea whipped up a soup similar to this one for lunch and topped it with her homemade ‘kraut and kimchi. I didn’t have either of those on hand for dinner tonight so instead just added a squeeze of lime juice right before eating. This is a new fav for sure. Super quick and satisfying. Yum!

Miso Soup

Miso Soup with Ginger & Garlic
1 L/4 cups water
1″ fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes, to taste (I used shandong pepper threads)
1 cooked chicken sausage or plain tofu, cubed
Noodles (I used buckwheat but you can use rice noodles too)
Kale, carrots, cucumber, celery, beet, shredded (really any other vegetable you can think of)
Avocado, sliced
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup miso paste

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Forbidden Rice Pudding

16 Jan

I’ve been craving rice pudding ever since I got a sample at Silvestre Gusto Latino after last Saturday’s Social Bites dinner (my friend Todd and I were hobby-cheffing and had a blast. Will summarize in a later post).

There are a variety of rices in my house after I went a little crazy at Whole Foods’ 25% bulk day back in November. Forbidden rice is by far the most intriguing because of its super black colour. I thought I’d see what would happen if I substituted it in this rice pudding recipe. It turned out delicious. So delicious that I’m trying not to eat the entire pot of it now…

Rice pudding

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Recipe Redux: No-Tomato Lasagna

4 Jan

I thought I’d repost this No-Tomato Lasagna recipe as it’s been the most popular post on my blog, EVER. It seems more and more people are realizing they’re sensitive to the group of plants called nightshades, which tomatoes are included in. I recently came across this article on nightshades and was further informed on some ways they affect our bodies. I’m not sure if I’ll be going nightshade-free anytime soon (I’m a potato-chip monster…) but it’s definitely something to think about. Now to find a good cheese replacement that isn’t 800 ingredients long…:)


Suffering with food allergies and/or irritations can get very limiting when making traditional recipes like lasagna. My dad’s partner, Sue, has an extensive list of foods to avoid (there’s an actual document she maintains to send to friends and family), including soy, wheat, dairy (specifically lactose), peppers and tomatoes.

I know what you’re thinking: how do you make lasagna without tomatoes?! Fear not, there is a way!

I could have gone the béchamel sauce route, but the thought of trying to find all lactose-free dairy products got overwhelming…even for me! Not to mention béchamel isn’t the healthiest choice.

I came up with this recipe after Sue sent me a link for “Nomato Sauce”. It’s definitely not tomato sauce, but stands-in pretty well in this application.

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Asian-Inspired Squash, Kidney Bean & Buckwheat Burgers

17 Dec

I had a hankering for a good burger the other day. I find I’ve been cooking vegetarian and/or vegan mostly at home — though I do indulge in burgers of the meat variety every so often — and I just happened to have some red kidney beans soaking without a plan for them. Legumes are a staple in my diet recently because of a) being a student and b) being a student of holistic nutrition. I needed a dish for a potluck as part of a class I’m taking and thought veggie burgers would not only satisfy my burger craving but also the variety of eating styles that exist in most nutrition-related classes.

These burgers turned out so great! Perfect chewy consistency with lots of flavour. I served them on top of raw shredded squash and cabbage with the dressing from my Edamame, Arame and Sweet Potato Salad. I also garnished with a little arame, cilantro and a drizzle of extra dressing. Make a double batch and freeze them before (or after) baking for easy lunches and dinners.

Kidney Bean Squash Buckwheat Burgers

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