Tag Archives: Comfort Food

Getting to Know You – Healthy Eating

With the hectic schedules most women keep these days, too often we find ourselves reaching for quick fixes. Whether convenient, processed foods or fad diets, we sometimes forget that the right choice isn’t always the easy one. We asked our bloggers to discuss some of their personal choices regarding healthy eating.
  1.  Eating healthy is all about balance – do you have a favourite food – guilty pleasure  balance?
  2. Fad diets, and mixed messages are everywhere – can you share a fad diet you tried?  Did it work?  What did you learn
  3. What is the one food you couldn’t live without and why?
  4. Eating well?  What works for you that you would love for everyone to know and try
  5. What has been the best meal ever – or share a favourite “comfort” food?



Fad diets, and mixed messages are everywhere – can you share a fad diet you tried?  Did it work?  What did you learn?

Back in university I was a target of the Frosh15: the 15 pounds you gain when you move away from home…Not fun! The one and only real diet I’ve ever tried was then, and it was Weight Watchers. I loved it. It worked for me because it wasn’t a fad; it taughtme portion control, balance, and healthy habits for a lifetime, not just a month. Not only that, it was something my Mother and I did together so we kept with it.


What is the one food you couldn’t live without and why?

Peanut butter and banana. It’s breakfast or dinner at least once a week!


Eating well?  What works for you that you would love for everyone to know and try?

Everything in moderation, including moderation. I don’t believe in cutting out foods entirely from your diet (Okay, be quiet, I KNOW I’M A VEGETARIAN! But that’s for moral reasons and is TOTALLY COMPLETELEY DIFFERENT, OKAY!? J). Don’t eat grains, don’t eat fat, only eat fat, don’t eat bananas, only eat chia seeds. It’s exhausting and I give up. I’m going to eat chocolate, drink beer, workout, and just do my best and not put pressure on myself to live my life like a Pinterest board!   



What is the one food you couldn’t live without and why?

My favourite food is pasta. I was raised on Italian food because it is part of my heritage. We ate some form of pasta at least 3 days a week. Every Sunday my maternal grandmother made linguine with a meatsauce that included sausage, meatballs and spareribs.  She served it on a big platter, family style. She would put a layer of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on the platter and then put linguine with tomato sauce on top, melting the cheese. The meat was always served in a separate bowl.  There was fresh Italian bread or rolls served with dinner to dip into the delicious sauce my grandmother lovingly made for her family. I love the simplicity and versatility of pasta. I enjoy how easily my body accepts and digests various pastas. I have a lot of fond memories connected to pasta dinners over the years with lots of different people. I can whip up a hearty meal in a short amount of time with just a few ingredients that everyone enjoys.


Eating well?  What works for you that you would love for everyone to know and try?

I start every day by drinking water. I drink water all day long  and it makes me feel and look better. Water hydrates the body and helps with our joints.  I eat oatmeal and yogurt every day to feel satisfied and to deal with my IBS. I try to keep my food intake simple and healthy.


What has been the best meal ever – or share a favourite “comfort” food?

My comfort food is gnocchi, served with a simple tomato basil sauce. I sometimes serve it with a baked, seasoned chicken breast and a salad or fresh Italian bread or rolls. It’s delicious, easy to make, and very satisfying. You can also sneak vegetables into the tomato sauce by pureeing them after they’ve been cooked down. I like to cook with fresh herbs and vegetables to get the optimal taste and needed nutrition.


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Fad diets, and mixed messages are everywhere – can you share a fad diet you tried?  Did it work?  What did you learn?

A couple of years ago, a bunch of my coworkers were trying out this new diet where you cut out carbs (pasta, bread, rice, etc.) for two weeks, and then slowly add healthy ones back into their diets one at a time. I think it was called the South Beach diet. After hearing some good results from them, I decided that I would give it a shot – just to see what it was like. It was very difficult because I love my carbs and my body definitely craved it. One thing’s for sure though, I definitely dropped a lot of pounds in the first two weeks, without any exercise at all! I’m not entirely sure that this was the healthiest way to go… but it definitely helped me increase my intake of vegetables. However, I noticed that my energy levels were quite low. I’ve learned that a balanced diet in combination with exercise is the best way to go. Since then, I’ve started eating a lot more vegetables and cut down on carbs, rather than cut them out entirely! 


Eating well?  What works for you that you would love for everyone to know and try?

I’ve found that instead of cutting out my guilty pleasures, I’ve started adding in healthy snacks. It’s best to have these healthy snacks readily available, so that it’s easy for you to reach for rather than chocolate, chips, etc. I find that by filling up on healthy snacks and feeling good about it, I eat less of the unhealthy stuff. Over time, I crave them less and less and they become more of a ‘treat’ rather than a regular everyday snack. 


What has been the best meal ever – or share a favourite “comfort” food?

Cheesy scalloped potatoes! I rarely get to eat them, but they’re definitely one of my favourite side dishes. Definitely not the healthiest thing to consume but it’s sooooo gooooood. I love cheese, I love butter, and I love potatoes.. ergo, cheesy scalloped potatoes are my absolutely favourite side! 



Eating Healthy is all about balance—do you have a favourite food-guilty pleasure balance?

I have been slowly learning to love healthy foods. I recently began an 8 week challenge that has me subtracting many things from my diet but incorporating many new things—most of which I was not willing to try again not too long ago. And the more I eat them, the more I crave them! Right now I’m in love with fresh salmon, quinoa salads, roasted vegetables and almond hazelnut butter with apple slices.

Guilty pleasures are getting farther between, as I have found some fantastic recipes that are making a good substitution for sweets. However, it’s summer and I love-love-love the almond Haagen Dazs bars. Like, love. The balance comes that when I buy a box (of the itty bitty ones), I usually only get one…maybe two before my garbage disposal, I mean…child… eats them all.

Eating well? What works for you that you would love for everyone to know and try?

One of the things I have been learning is organization and being prepared are key. I start thinking about what I would like to make for dinner the night before. When I go grocery shopping, I’m planning for the week—and sticking to the items on my list so as not to over buy and waste food. I’m prepping for lunches by doing things like making up a huge batch of quinoa that we can make salads with for the week, cutting up raw veggies and making homemade dips and snacks that make for easy breezy mornings.

It’s not always easy— there are certainly times that I give up for a day or two, because let’s be honest, it can get tiring—however, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of a little extra preparation.

What has been the best meal ever?

O.k.—so here’s the thing. It doesn’t have a name yet. One night my husband and I were sitting around hungry with zero idea of what we actually wanted.  We each started listing items— I called out steak, he clarified with beef tenderloin (drool) mmm…Portobello? Yes! Garlic— love me some garlic!!! Then we got the idea to make it into an open faced sandwich and thus became the most indulgent, delicious thing we have ever eaten. Can you help me come up with a good name??


  1. Slice Ciabatta buns in half and brush with a butter and garlic mixture
  2. Sear beef tenderloin- go as rare as you dare! (trust me…rare!)slice thin and layer on the bread
  3. Fry up some mushrooms and layer over the beef
  4. Top with sliced brie and bake until the brie melts.

Enjoy! Indulge! (we have even made these as appetizers for parties)


Question of the Month – What does Food Mean to You?

Food is an inescapable component of life. It is categorized as a basic necessity, alongside shelter and clothing. It is the stimulus of trendy terms like ‘foodie’ and the hot topic for a vast array of TV shows and cookbooks. Aside from its practical commodity, food provides various social, educational, financial and spiritual opportunities for people to connect on a deeper level.asparagus

A recent study reported that families who make time to sit and eat a meal together are in effect reducing the risk of their children experiencing drug addictions and are providing them with increased motivation to achieve higher grades. Many cultures have strong spiritual and traditional connections to food that is reflected in its production, preparation and consumption. The Farm to Table movement encourages people to buy local as a means of creating sustainable economies and reducing our carbon footprint. Growing food on a larger scale requires business acumen and strong problem solving skills to identify and capitalize on niche markets. For many of us, food is a feature attraction at most social or sporting events. But how do our thoughts around food change when it is a scarcity? How do we use food to meet our basic needs in a way that maximizes health and increased social connections on a limited income? These are some of the thoughts we will be exploring in this month’s blog series, “In the Kitchen.”

 How do you experience food? What does food mean to you and how would you feel if you didn’t have it?

Opinion #1

When I think about what food means to me, my thoughts immediately go past the simple nourishment that food provides. Far beyond pizza and junk food nights with my girlfriends, to something more emotionally and mentally satisfying. For me, food can instantly change the mood you are in once you sit down at the kitchen or restaurant table, on the couch, or even the floor. Today, for example, my Mum and I took our dog Cooper for a walk down by the beach in Stoney Creek. At the end of our walk, we grabbed a hot dog and sat on a bench in a shady area, listening to the waves of the lake come in and out. Sure – the sun, sound of the waves, and the breeze made this a beautiful afternoon, but it was something about the charcoal marked hot dog and cold iced tea that enhanced the summer vibe. Food – whatever it is – enhances your surroundings the very moment you smell the dish or put it to your lips. Some of my favourite moments that include food are the ones that are shared amongst friends and family. Even when we aren’t eating, sharing recipes and dishing about favourite meals with my girlfriends is something that brings us all closer together. Ultimately, food enhances moments and creates memories amongst dinner with friends Kinfolkfriends and family. I don’t know what I would do without food; without the richness that food brings to my life. The relationships that are built and conversations that are shared over the kitchen table are something that is very important to me. Without food, knowing now what it brings to my life, I believe that there would be a lack of conversation and relationships in my day-to-day life.

Opinion #2

I see food in two ways: at its best, it is the centerpiece of family gatherings; the glue that brings and holds people together over a shared experience. At its worst, it is something to be processed, refined, and ultimately transformed into something we take for granted. There is no replacement for the experience of choosing fresh, local ingredients and using them to create a meal. Grilled vegetables in July, a gorgeous cheese plate in August, hearty Foodsoups in the fall… I appreciate meals more when I can see where the food came from, and the effort it took for me to get it to the dinner table! Of course, life – as it does – gets in the way, and we find ourselves grabbing packaged “100” calorie snacks and tin-foil wrapped hamburgers; food that is so far removed from its original source it can hardly be called food. It is here that I think a serious disconnect occurs. When we can’t see where our food came from, how it was made, it loses its value. Every year, thousands of pounds of perfectly nutritious, but oddly shaped fruit and vegetables are thrown away. Restaurants waste the end slices of bread loafs because they don’t make pretty sandwiches. All while there are people rbk-thanksgiving-ideas-1113-8-lgnhere in Niagara – let alone around the world –living in poverty with not enough food to eat. I think about the enjoyment I feel when I can look forward to cooking supper with my boyfriend at the end of the day. And then I think about the gut wrenching pain some must feel when they have no food in their cupboards. And the Niagara farmers who may one day be out of work because fruit in our grocery stores comes from the US. With these concerns in mind, I am trying to buy local produce, to cook more often, and to sit down and appreciate my meals when I can. If there’s a glass of wine and good company to be found, so much the better!

*Images courtesy of Google and Pinterest