Relax with lavender and this pretty little song from England, dating back at least 300 years. Originally this ditty was not for kids. Early words made it more a bawdy or drinking song for the purposes of wooing a lady into bed. More
28 Jul 2015 7 Comments
21 Jul 2015 Leave a comment
Berries, walnuts, garlic, tomatoes and tea. What do they have in common? They are all proven cancer fighters!
They work best as members of a team. For best health, join them up on your plate with other battle-scarred food heroes of the likes that are cited in this valuable article from the American Institute for Cancer Research.
15 Jul 2015 Leave a comment
As an ex-food scientist, I’m convinced of the safety of GMO foods. You will be too, if you can wade through this excellent, but very long article. More
03 Jul 2015 Leave a comment
For 23 years now, Ottawa has been serving up a chicken sandwich on the Hill to hungry Canadians who want a freshly barbecued healthy snack to get them through the day’s festivities. This year’s version features an herb-infused honey-Dijon sauce to take it to the next level. More
24 Jun 2015 4 Comments
Vitamin B12 is high in eggs, fish, shellfish and red meat, and low-fat dairy, among other good things. A varied diet is always a good thing :). I didn’t know about watching out for too much iron…
“Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a natural part of aging,” notes lead author Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee and an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. “By staying active and moving plant-based foods to the center of our plates, we have a fair shot at rewriting our genetic code for this heart-wrenching , and costly, disease.”
Alzheimer’s Disease International predicts Alzheimer’s rates will triple worldwide by 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts long-term care costs start at $41,000 per year.
The seven guidelines to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
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22 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
Low-fat dairy makes good eating for most healthy people, no matter how old you are. Vinny thinks so, and so does this update from Kathy Man. More milk, please!
Calcium is important even when you’re older, and milk can be a fine way to get it.
Have you sworn off dairy? Maybe you think it will ease your stomach woes. Or, now that you’re middle-aged, you assume your bones don’t need as much. Or maybe you’re just drawn to all the dairy-free options now on supermarket shelves, including dairy-free ice cream, yogurt, and coffee creamer. Should you join the crowd? Probably not. “Unless you have a medical reason to skip dairy, such as an allergy to milk protein, adults can benefit by eating some dairy every day,” says Consumer Reports chief medical adviser Marvin M. Lipman, M.D.
Here we take a look at some common myths about milk and other dairy products.
Myth 1: After age 30 you don’t need calcium for your bones
It’s true that you reach peak bone mass by age 30, so getting calcium before…
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21 Jun 2015 1 Comment
I’ve posted my own healthy version of home-made Nutella, which has a couple more ingredients than this recipe does. I also talk more about the health aspects of our favorite spread (what else is new?). It might be worth clicking over there for a look-see while you are researching Nutella alternatives :).
I’ve tried this recipe here with its minimal ingredients, and I confess. I like mine better (so.. what else is new?).
Let me know what version you prefer, and why? Happy snacking!
20 Jun 2015 2 Comments
One more great reason to make probiotics a part of your daily diet. Probiotics may stop sadness from morphing into depression.
You can get it as a supplement. But you can easily add probiotics to your diet. Eat some yogurt, sauerkraut, sour dough bread, kefir, dill pickles or other naturally fermented foods during the day as a side or a snack. Or add these foods raw to a dish you’re making.
Read this great post from Our Better Health for details.
How four weeks of supplementation can help stop a sad mood getting worse.
Probiotics may stop sadness turning into depression by helping people let go of the past, a new study finds.
Researchers at the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition found that probiotics stopped people ruminating so much.
Rumination is when people focus on bad experiences and feelings from the past.
Dr Laura Steenbergen, the study’s first author, said:
“Rumination is one of the most predictive vulnerability markers of depression.
Persistent ruminative thoughts often precede and predict episodes of depression.”
In the study 40 people were given a sachet to take with water or milk every day for four weeks.
Half of the people received sachets that contained a multispecies probiotic.
The other half received a placebo for the four weeks.
Before and afterwards people’s so-called ‘cognitive reactivity’ was measured.
‘Cognitive reactivity’ is the extent to which a sad…
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18 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
We eat with our eyes as well as our stomaches. Make an effort to show off healthy foods. Sea rch Vinny’s site for “presentation” for a few ideas.
June 8, 2015 By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD
Convenient. Attractive. Normal. These three words (which are the basis for the even easier to remember acronym C.A.N.) may be the key to eating healthier without really trying, according to a new paper from Cornell University. The review of 112 studies concluded that eaters make good choices when healthy foods are visible and within reach; they’re displayed enticingly; and they’re set up as the most obvious choices compared to other food options. It just makes sense: When you place gorgeous pieces of fresh fruit in a pretty bowl on your counter, you’re more likely to take one than if they’re hidden away—especially if the chips or cookies are even easier to grab. Bottom line, make it handy to eat healthfully and you’ll follow through, no “diet” or willpower required.
In addition to remembering C.A.N., there are plenty of other research-backed strategies…
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16 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
Nuts make great snack when the afternoon hungries strike. And look at how good they are for you! See what Vinny has had to say about nuts by typing “nuts” jnto the search box at the top of this page. Have a fun and healthy summer!
Nuts may reduce inflammation while also helping to prevent cell damage
“A handful of nuts can save your life, says new study,” The Daily Telegraph reports after a Dutch study found a link between daily nut consumption and a reduced chance of dying from a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
The study assessed the dietary and lifestyle habits of middle-aged to elderly adults from the Netherlands and followed them up over the next 10 years.
Overall, researchers found people who ate nuts had a decreased risk of death from any cause as well as various specific causes, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, compared with those who didn’t eat any nuts. The most reduced risk was found with the consumption of 5-10g of nuts a day.
However, not all risk reductions were significant and some of the researchers’ analyses were based on very small numbers, which…
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26 May 2015 4 Comments
Vinny is taking an extended break, now that summer is nearly upon us :). To celebrate, he’s sharing a drink with you from the World Heritage site Cinque Terre in Italy, which he hopes to visit some day soon.
19 May 2015 7 Comments
The 24th of May is the Queen’s birthday.
If we don’t get a holiday, we’ll all run away!
It turns out we do get a holiday, but which queen, exactly, would that be, here in Canada?
Why it’s Queen Victoria, of course, the reigning monarch in 1867 when Canada became a country. Victoria was also key in choosing Ottawa over Kingston, Toronto or Montreal as Canada’s capital. So we Ottawans think she deserves a little fireworks on her birthday.
The weather is always a bit iffy on the Victoria Day long weekend in Ottawa, though. So fireworks are not always a possibility. But we can always whip up something special for the birthday table to honor the old queen, regardless of the weather! More
12 May 2015 4 Comments
This risotto’s easy!
Or is it? What’s easy for me may be hard for you. You might not have the equipment to make quick work of the tasks. Your kitchen may require too much walking, lifting, and reaching. Or you may not have had enough practice… the first time around is always hard. Finally, you may not realize that dirt and food are never best friends. In fact, the combo is darn-right dangerous. So you can’t ignore the sink and shun the dish cloth. Accept cleaning up as a basic part of the art, or you’ll never enjoy cooking. And there’s more… More
05 May 2015 8 Comments
“That Mr. Crank is such a witch,” complained Vinny, about his neighbor. “He spends his days dreaming up ways to make my life miserable.” More
28 Apr 2015 11 Comments
“I love mangoes,” Isla said one day. “Can we grow some?”
Vinny sighed. “Not here in Canada, kiddo. Mango trees thrive in India, where people call mangoes the Food of the Gods. Mango trees live long and prosper there. Some specimens are over 300 years old and still going strong.”
Isla put on her sad face. More
21 Apr 2015 14 Comments
Sweet Patooty’s back! I raved about the fab qualities of sweet potatoes in an earlier post. But I’ve never posted a recipe for my favorite of all ways of having them… oven-baked fries. That’s because I never felt I’d gotten it quite right. But now, I think I can confidently tell you how to make these beauties come out delicious every time… crispy, not soggy, and definitely not burnt! More
14 Apr 2015 14 Comments
Just two ingredients…
Awesome! This idea came my way courtesy of the Paddington Foodie, chef extraordinaire. It’s ridiculously easy. Combining just two super-foods, this simple syrup zaps any dessert you like with goodness that is sure to grant you the superpowers of your dreams. More
11 Apr 2015 3 Comments
If you have ever been tempted to buy a copy of Sharon Rudnitski’s book Cook Up A Story: Good Food Sets the Mood… now is the time.
For the next 3 days (until April 13), you can get it on-line for 35% off… the largest discount I’ve ever seen. Use the promo code APRILFLASH35 at checkout.
07 Apr 2015 13 Comments
Why goat cheese?
Goat cheese is my go-to cheese on a daily basis. I love it because of its creamy texture and crisp, tart taste. It’s perfect in my omelets and on top of my leafy greens at lunch.
31 Mar 2015 1 Comment
The side dishes
Pierogis and cipollini onions won the draw to complement the main course of our Frozen in Ottawa dinner theme. But why this pair? More
24 Mar 2015 11 Comments
My regular readers will know that our Frozen in Ottawa dinner is well in hand. This, my fourth post on the subject, answers the question, “What should we serve for the main course?”
The man of the house wanted to feature his winter stew-making skills, well-honed in our climate. He suggested “Hasenpfeffer,” a dish he had recently cooked for the family with success. In fact, I thought it was the best stew he had ever made for us. But… what kind of meat is that, you might wonder. More
17 Mar 2015 4 Comments
Kohlrabi – Huh? My picky eater surprised me the other day. Will’s vegetarian school buddy had given him a taste of this odd veggie and it turned out to be a hit! I had to look it up. More
16 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
Once in a while, I thought I’d throw in a repeat, for those readers who are new to Vinny’s blog or who may have missed something he thought was worth reading again. Madcap Irish Tea Party is one of those. It’s full of great ideas for celebrating Saint Paddy’s day tomorrow. Links take you to recipe ideas, songs, stories and crafts celebrating everything Ireland. So whip something up in the kitchen or just sing along and enjoy all that’s green. The luck ‘o the Irish to you! More
10 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
Anyone who’s skated Ottawa’s Rideau Canal knows all about our iconic BeaverTails. Nobody ever leaves the ice without a bite of these sugary deep-fried pastries decorated with cinnamon, chocolate, or lemon, or some other delightful combination of sweet and sour.
As I was focusing on Ottawa’s winter wonderland for my gourmet dinner party, Frozen in Ottawa, I thought tiny BeaverTails would make a perfect hors d’oeuvre. They would go well with the sweetly tart cocktail we served, Frozen Blues.
BeaverTails are served hot on the Canal. But as my theme was “frozen,” I served mine cold. More
03 Mar 2015 2 Comments
We just got back from a heavenly warm trip to the Caribbean, to find ourselves in the depths of our cold Canadian winter… and just in time to host our annual gourmet dinner. So we built a meal around the theme, ” Frozen in Ottawa.” More
17 Feb 2015 Leave a comment
Once upon a time some friends formed a neighborhood reading salon. One night they slogged through the snow to sit by a fire together and discuss a book Michael Pollan wrote nearly 10 years ago — The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Pollan’s story lifts the blinders to show where our food comes from, just as deftly as if he wrote it, well, yesterday.
10 Feb 2015 5 Comments
I always make braided bread at Christmas… because what would a Ukrainian Xmas Eve be, without a steaming warm loaf decorated with ancient baubles handed down from our great grandmother?
But if you’re looking for directions on making bread from scratch, read no further. For this project, I have always bought frozen bread dough at our local grocery store. I usually have to ask at the cake counter, and someone disappears behind humungous stainless steel doors and emerges with the five stone-hard loaves I need. Easy!
This post is all about the presentation. Your results will look as mouth-wateringly delicious as the warm, fresh bread tastes. More
03 Feb 2015 2 Comments
In my previous post, I talked about making eggnog from scratch using fresh clean unbroken eggs, cracking them carefully, and allowing them to cure in sugar and alcohol. Raw eggs are generally safe for healthy people.
If you are cooking for young children, pregnant mamas, the elderly, or people with weak immune systems, though, you won’t want to risk serving them raw eggs. But hey, you don’t have to ditch your favorite recipes. More
27 Jan 2015 3 Comments
I’ve just read Mike Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. Eye-roll. Will I ever eat again?
Eggs and chicken are mainstays of my diet. But Pollan has lifted the curtain for me on the often shocking truths behind industrially raised chickens. They’re jammed into spaces so small, the poor animals try to peck each other to death. The answer, according to chicken producers? Off with their beaks. More
20 Jan 2015 2 Comments
Vinny’s Grandma Adela loved a dramatic presentation. She had inherited her own dad’s artistic temperament. Great granddad William Enge was a master woodworker, making violins as well as decorative furniture. He played the violin so beautifully, his music made a woman 20 years his junior fall in love with him.
Adela too had musical ability, singing in the choir at church, as well as for the Ottawa Opera Company. Like him, she had an eye for color and fashion, designing and sewing her own clothes and much of the clothing for her family. She also built or refinished many pieces of furniture for her home, following in her dad’s footsteps. Knitting, sewing, carpentry, painting—nothing was too difficult for her to try her hand at.
But Adela was at her best in the kitchen. She kept an extensive recipe collection. And, like an early Martha Stewart, Adela was known to set an elegant table. More
13 Jan 2015 3 Comments
I’ve posted many times about my favorite veggie. “Do you know what it is, Zoë?” I asked.
It’s usually red but sometimes yellow, and some people swear it tastes like DIRT. Ha! To me it tastes like the salt of the earth. Our favorite time of year to cook with this veggie is Christmas… partly because it’s red, and partly because at Christmas time, like all root veggies, it is available locally.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about that fabulous storehouse of antioxidants, minerals, and vitaminz (no, Zoë, you can’t help me type)… BEETS. Yay!
06 Jan 2015 Leave a comment
A Tale of Three Goats
Once upon a time, three little Billy goats were feeling a bit gruff. They hadn’t eaten since they left the barn in the morning, because during the night, their meadow had been grazed to the ground by a herd of reindeer, one of whom had a red nose!
The goats trotted and trotted, looking for fresh grass under the snow. But they had no luck. At last, they came upon a raging river. On the opposite bank, rows of cranberry bushes poked their heads up through the drifts. Lunch called!
The water looked deep and cold. But they soon spotted a stone bridge. The littlest and liveliest goat boy danced ahead. When he jumped onto the bridge, a troll leaped at him, all smelly and ugly.
“I eats goats for lunch,” the troll roared, “and you looks mighty tasty!” More
29 Dec 2014 5 Comments
Last week I posted some tips for up-dating your techniques when making perogies from scratch. I also posted many reasons for undertaking this task, in spite of the effort involved. But isn’t that true of most Christmas preparations? Good things take time to develop.
Without further ado, here is the recipe, which I share mainly so my family can carry on this tradition without further meddling on my part. I’m sure over the years they will institute improvements of their own. The world turns.
If there are readers out there who also are inspired to try these little tasties, please let me know. It will make my Christmas to hear of your success! FYI, Ukrainian Christmas is still to come. Celebrate with us on January 6 :). More
16 Dec 2014 4 Comments
How perfect is this for Christmas? Everyone’s traditions are different, but for us, it isn’t Christmas without perogies. For a personal twist, I make mine green and red.
04 Dec 2014 10 Comments
Trillions of bacteria live happily in our gut. The goodies among them help us digest our food and absorb its nutrients. They also help our body make vitamins, absorb minerals, and get rid of toxins. They make our immune system strong. And best of all, they work on our brain cells to help them battle anxiety, stress, and depression. Friendly bugs in our gut make up the army that protects us from disease, including mental illness.
Good bacteria, called probiotics, come to us in fermented foods. Buttermilk, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, sour dough bread, raw-milk cheeses and kefir all harbor the good guys. For many, though, probiotics march forth into our gut in yogurt. More
01 Dec 2014 Leave a comment
Yesterday marked four years to the day since Vinny launched himself into the cybersphere. The time has flashed by. It’s been so much fun watching Vinny and the kids experiment with new foods. And I have had just as much fun figuring out how to tell you about our adventures into healthy eating, with stories and recipes that get your juices flowing. But the most fun comes from reading your comments, especially when you tell me about your own journey to the land of good health. More
18 Nov 2014 3 Comments
I’m not sure we should let the little dears in our lives in on this trick… But if you’re ever stuck in a hotel room with no cooking facilities and limited cash for eating out, you can get by with an iron!
I’m not kidding. It’s simple! More
11 Nov 2014 12 Comments
Kids love brownies. And I have the perfect recipe that kids and their families can make from scratch.
It’s easy to bake with chocolate when you use cocoa! More
30 Oct 2014 1 Comment
“It’s called the great pumpkin bowl, Vinny Grette!” Isla tied on her apron furiously, then began pulling out pots and spoons and cream. “For Halloween, we’ll make some creamy soup and dish it up in bowls made from jack-o’lanterns.”
“Awesome!” said Vinny. “My granddad made a wonderful soup he called Vichyssoise.” Vinny’s voice became softer and rang with a little sadness. “But Grandpa used mainly potatoes. The starch in potatoes is a simple molecule that turns into sugar as soon as it hits our stomachs. I haven’t had vichyssoise in ages.”
“I have an idea,” said Isla. “Let’s try the soup with sweet potatoes instead. Orange ones for Halloween. We can call it Vinnyssoise!”
08 Oct 2014 5 Comments
The candles spluttered out in a blast of air, as 9-year-old Krista blew across her birthday cake and made a wish.
“What did you wish for?” asked Vinny. “A unicorn for the backyard shed? A chest of gold Lego?”
“No… and no,” said Krista. “I wished I was skinny!”
“What? No!” Vinny was aghast. More
30 Sep 2014 4 Comments
“Oww. Yikes! Moan…” said Jack, clutching the source of his agony with greasy hands… his bloated belly.
“Hey, Man,” said a worried Vinny. “What in heck did you eat this time, to cause all this grief?”
“All I had was a bite of Mama’s fish and chips. You know I don’t usually eat fried stuff, Vinny. But Mama’s fish and chips? I just couldn’t turn that down, and…” Just then another cramp hit, sending Jack into spasms of pain.
16 Sep 2014 4 Comments
A duck walked up to a lemonade stand. And he said to the man
running the stand… “Hey…. Got any grapes?”
The man said, “No, we just sell lemonade. It’s cold and it’s fresh and it’s all home made. Can I get you a glass?” The duck said, “I’ll pass.” (waddle waddle waddle)
I feel just like that persistent little duckie in Bryant Oden’s wickedly humorous song who wouldn’t give up until he found some grapes.
Unlike the duck, when I find grapes I know just what I’ll do with them. More
05 Sep 2014 5 Comments
Many months back I posted about how our Miss Macadamia, with her low omega-6 fatty acids, offers a treasure chest of healthy, stable fats for your dining pleasure.
Today, in honor of Macadamia’s special day, I’m reposting a delicious recipe for you to try out, featuring macadamia nuts and their oil. More
27 Aug 2014 12 Comments
Olive Oyl, a popular comic strip character of the 1920s, is named after olive oil… a healthy choice for vinaigrettes. Early newspapers also featured Olive’s brother, Castor Oyl, and his wife, Cylinda Oyl… as well as my personal favorite, the intrepid explorer Lubry Kent Oyl.
Lubry Kent’s gift to Castor and Olive led them into the adventure where they met Popeye, the sailor man. As it turned out, Popeye was mad for spinach. And the perfect match for spinach is none other than the lovely Olive Oyl!
19 Aug 2014 Leave a comment
According to Dr. Li, we can start today, keeping cancer at bay. Just eat more foods that slow the growth of blood vessels.
While we’re stuffing our faces with these healthy foods, we’re starving cancer-cell invaders in their tracks.
The foods that do the job aren’t mysterious mumbo jumbo harvested at the ends of the earth. More
12 Aug 2014 3 Comments
Creamy Mediterranean-style dressing
Kale has a problem
The big problem with kale is it’s just too good-for-you to be truly loved, except by a few die-hard health nuts.
Some of you may think I’m one of those crazy people who will eat any vile substance as long as somebody says it will banish love handles… or wrinkles… or some life-threatening disease.
Well, yes and no. If there really was a magic potion that would do those things for me safely, I’d be at the head of the table. More
05 Aug 2014 15 Comments
I used to find salads a chore – so much washing, peeling, and chopping. All that, only to end up with tasteless, watery, food suitable only for hamsters.
But then I discovered Lego salads.
22 Jul 2014 Leave a comment
Will waved his grandpa’s cane in front of him, as if he were fending off a stampeding herd of dinosaurs. “Fight-O-nutrients!” he roared, charging across the room. “I need some for lunch, please, Vinny?”
I braced for a high five, as Will raced back toward me, his free hand raised, his sword hand busy. “Gotta keep my energy up!”
No problemo,” I said. “It’s summer time and the livin’-healthy thing is easy. Just eat lots of bright veggies and fruits, and phytonutrients are yours for the taking. These are salad days!”
“Salads are boring. And I hate veggies,” moaned Will. “Isn’t there something else?” More
01 Jul 2014 2 Comments
Canada Day in Ottawa, our nation’s capital, is always a great party. The city closes down and the roads are open only to buses, people, and entertainers. The past few years, even our own street joined in the fun, with party food for the neighborhood, everybody bringing something special. Vinny brought his “Jubilation” – a cake made by the young Elizabeth during the war, before she was queen, when sugar was at a premium and food was hard to come by. Here’s the story of how “Jubilation” came to be, which I first published a few years back. More