Home » Blog

Hive Five Honey Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Hive Five Honey MenuA few weeks ago a friend surprised me with this bee-utiful selection of five savoury infused honeys from Hiveshare.  It really made my day!  After all, honey looks just like liquid sunshine and couldn’t we all use a little more sweetness in our lives right now?

It also inspired me to get “buzzy” in the kitchen to try them all out.  So this month, rather than a menu, I have cooked up a collection – one recipe for each of the infused honeys.  I hope you are equally inspired to try them.  Of course, if you don’t have these infused honeys, you can substitute with regular raw honey.

Read on for more about the properties of pure, raw (unpasteurized), local honey and also about how you can have a share in your very own hive!  Artisanal honey from Georgina, Ontario…no tricks, all treat!  And if you are carving a pumpkin tonight, save the seeds for these Spiced Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.  Any one of the infused honeys would work wonderfully here depending on which flavours you want to amp up!

Albeit natural, honey is a type of sugar.  So as a nutritionist I don’t recommend you devour whole pots of the stuff.  But what Winnie the Pooh would call “a small smackerel of honey” is truly a treat!  So enjoy these recipes and share them with your family and friends!  Sign up here to receive the recipes from the Hive Five Honey Menu.  And hive five!

Hive Five Honey Menu

Chipotle Honey: Chipotle Shrimp & Avocado Salad (try this smoky honey also in chili or roasted veggies)

Habenero Honey: Habanero Jerk Chicken & Kale Salad (habanero honey adds a sweet & spicy kick to chicken wings and ribs as well)

Garlic Honey: Honey Garlic Tilapia with Steamed Bok Choy (garlic honey is also divine on meats or pepperoni pizza)

Smoke Honey: Sweet & Smoky Paprika Cabbage (this honey adds BBQ buzz to anything grilled and is also fab in chili)

Turmeric Honey: Golden Turmeric Honey Hot Chocolate (try turmeric honey also in tea, yogurt, in curries or even on roast salmon)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for more about raw honey and how you can own a share in your very own hive…

read more

In Search of Sisu & Scandi Winter Wisdom

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Sisu and Scandi Winter WisdomWinter “frostrates” me.  I have to work at not letting it get me down.  I was thinking recently that this coming winter might be even more challenging with the pandemic and all basically putting a chill, so to speak, on my usual ways to keep my spirits up.  My Finnish grandmother, who embodied sisu, came to mind and I said to myself “C’mon Laurie, tap into some of that sisu that Grammy Saimi passed on to you!”  Then, lo and behold, I was perusing Overdrive and The Finnish Way:  Finding Courage, Wellness and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu (by Katja Pantzar) popped up as a recommendation.  Seems Google really is listening.  So here is what I learned about sisu and the Scandinavian wisdom of hygge and lagom in my exploration of Nordic winter ways.  This winter I’m determined to chillax!

read more

My Mom’s Faves Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail My Mom's FavesI have been thinking a lot about my mom recently.  Partly because she passed away in September (eight years ago now and I still miss her and always will) but also because she really loved this time of year with all the fresh tomatoes and corn.  These were some of my mom’s faves.  I simply can’t eat a cob of corn without picturing my mom slathering hers with butter and salt and digging in with gusto.  My mom was a great preserver of the harvest as well…making countless jars of jams, jellies, chutneys, brandied peaches and pickles.  For my wedding she made both rhubarb and sage jellies (to match the pink peonies of my bouquet and the light green of my bridesmaids’ dresses) to give as favours to our guests.  

And my mom was a fantastic cook!  Whenever I’d mention I was coming for a weekend visit, in less than an hour I’d get an email from her with an incredible menu of brunches and dinners with mom asking “is this okay?”  Okay???!!  I’d give anything for one of her dinners right now…they were super delicious and all made with that most important ingredient, love.

So I was thinking that at this time when we perhaps cannot be with our loved ones, either due to loss or the inability to travel or simply sit at the same table (if from different households), one way to connect is through food and our shared memories of times around the table.  If my mom were here today, these are some of her faves that I would cook for her.  Since she isn’t, I’ll make them anyway and relive the fun times we had cooking (and drinking wine) together and laugh.  And, knowing me, probably cry a little too.  But she wouldn’t want that.  The last thing she said to us was “Go home, have some wine and have some fun!”  Words to live by.

Sign up here to receive the recipes from My Mom’s Faves Menu.  I hope you enjoy this menu and share it with those you love!

My Mom’s Faves Menu

Appetizer: Guacamole Corn & Feta Dip (Fresh corn and tomatoes in season were two of my mom’s faves.  Married with avocados and feta, what’s not to love?)

Main: Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti Squash (Great lashings of fresh lemon and garlic make this dish a winner.  I like to cook the spaghetti squash ahead as it’s easier to scoop out the “noodles” when cooled and you can drain away any excess liquid.  Then I just reheat it while I sauté the shrimp.)

Dessert: Raspberry Apple Crisp (Whenever I told my mom I was trying to lose weight and just wanted fruit for dessert, she’d serve up a crisp!  This isn’t my mom’s traditional crisp – I used nuts in place of grains and maple syrup instead of refined sugar and it is every bit as delicious.)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

read more

Suddenly Late Summer Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Suddenly Late Summer MenuThe title of this month’s menu is a riff off the song Suddenly Last Summer, by the Motels (yes, I was a teenager in the 80s).  Suddenly, it’s Aug 29 and summer is almost over and I had yet to get my August Menu of the Month out to you.  And so…Suddenly Late Summer.

Summer seems to have whizzed by super fast.  The good news is that farmers’ markets in late summer brim with delicious local produce.  So, on these themes, I have put together a menu that includes some of my favourites (melons, cukes, peaches) and is also super fast to prepare.  In fact, Shish Tawouk is commonly served in fast food restaurants in the Middle East.  And it isn’t often I will ask you to eat fast food.

Sign up here to receive the recipes in my Suddenly Late Summer Menu.  I hope you enjoy this menu and the rest of your summer!  As always, I invite you to share these recipes with family and friends.

Suddenly Late Summer Menu

Salad: Watermelon & Cucumber Quinoa Salad (this is beautiful, refreshing and can be prepared ahead…and it has been fantastic for helping make a dent in the watermelons I’ve been getting in my local food box)

Skewers: Shish Tawouk (these are super fast to prepare, just remember to allow for at least one hour of marinating time but ideally four hours to overnight)

Spice Blend:  Shish Tawouk Spice Mix (this takes only seconds if you have ground spices in your pantry…and I’d recommend grinding some of these from fresh where you can, e.g. allspice, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon…read on about the joys of freshly grated cinnamon)

Sweet: Pan Seared Peaches with Dukkah (peaches locally grown and eaten in season are heavenly…you can grill these as well)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

read more

Cultivating Resilience

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Cultivating ResilienceI want to chat a bit today about resilience. Or to use a sailing metaphor, since I am learning to sail, keeping on an even keel in rough waters.  It’s something we tend not to think much about until we realize it’s lacking.  But it is hugely important to focus on and cultivate resilience each and every day.  I chose the world cultivate carefully as it means to develop a quality but also to prepare ground for sowing or planting.  Cultivating is careful tending to facilitate growth.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

This summer certainly didn’t shape up to be what I expected.  Nor did spring for that matter and I imagine autumn will follow suit.  In fact, the biggest belly laugh I had lately came in response to one of those coronavirus jokes circulating on the internet.  I’m paraphrasing here but it was something along the lines of “anyone who was asked in 2015 ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ was wrong”.  How true!

read more

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot MenuSometimes I am just too hot to cook.  And I don’t mean sexy.  I mean hot as in temperature hot.  When the mercury rises like this and I’m feeling hot, hot, hot, that song of the same name runs through my head and I’d rather be dancing around my kitchen than cooking in it.

This no-cooking-required menu is perfect for these sultry summer nights, showing you can still eat well without feeling hot, hot, hot.  And the hibiscus iced tea (a little like Jamaican sorrel), will keep you refreshed while bopping along to this Calypso classic!  Here’s a YouTube link to Arrow performing it live in Montreal with a happy crowd dancing along…back when crowds were still permitted.

Are you feeling hot, hot, hot?  Sign up here to receive the recipes.  Stay cool, stay well and, as always, I hope you enjoy the recipes and share them with family and friends!

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot Menu

BeverageHibiscus Iced Tea (deliciously refreshing before, during or after your meal)

Soup: Corn & White Bean Gazpacho (keep your cool and use canned white beans and frozen corn – though cooked and crumbled bacon would be an inspired garnish)

Salad:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad (if you buy the shrimp already cooked then the only heat you’ll need comes from the hot sauce; chicken breast also works well here)

Dessert: No Bake Chocolate Cookies (these would be extra-cool with a little vanilla ice cream on top)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

read more

My McHappy Meal

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail My McHappy MealI don’t know about you but lately I have been feeling a bit blue and rather nostalgic for happier times.  It is tempting when you feel this way to turn to junk food to “treat” yourself, especially foods you munched on as a kid.  But in my experience, no matter how much I might enjoy it at the time, I generally feel pretty sluggish after I eat these highly processed foods.  Healthy food, however, has the power to heal both body and mind.  So instead I prepare delicious yet more nutritious versions of these fun treats.  These do wonders for my mood and they energize me.

So in this spirit I share with you my own McHappy Meal combo including drink, burger, “special sauce”, fries and ice cream.  The “Mc” in this case of course refers to McPhail (wink wink…).  And, being my type of meal, it’s full of Mediterranean flavours.  Think Mickey D’s by way of Greece!  Read on to find out more about the Mediterranean diet and mood.

Sign up here to receive the recipes.  I hope this menu makes you and those you love happy too!

My McHappy Meal

Drink: Classic Virgin Mojito (and if you want “the real thing”, by all means go for it…just skip the unlimited refills)

Burger: Greek Chicken Burgers (I like to serve these zesty burgers in a grilled whole grain pita; this serves 4 hungry people so I suggest making 2 mini-burgers each instead of one large burger for faster cooking)

“Special Sauce”: Tzatziki (not necessary given the Greek salsa in the burger recipe but a nice touch – also great on any grilled pork, chicken or fish)

Fries: Sweet Potato Fries (soaking in cold water, then coating in tapioca flour and salting them only after roasting makes them crispier)

Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (better than a McFlurry any day!)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

read more

Keep Calm & Get Your Grill On Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Keep Calm & Get Your Grill On MenuI was inspired to create this menu during last Saturday’s Skype-fest/Transatlantic Brunch-Dinner Party with family in the UK.  My brother was BBQing and was running a bit late so aimed his camera at the BBQ while he finished things up.  It was sunny and 24 degrees Celsius there.  Here in Toronto it was snowing.  My husband joked that it was like watching that video Relaxing Fireplace with Crackling Fire Sounds that mimics the experience of sitting beside a roaring fire.  Only this time we were immersing ourselves in Summer Grilling in a British Garden while our so-called-spring weather outside was more like winter.

Take heart that warmer sunny days will soon be upon us!  In the meantime, in the British spirit of Keep Calm & Carry On, I have created this BBQ menu for Victoria Day long weekend.  It’s a fun and easy menu that imports flavours from sunny places to warm our hearts.  No grill?  No worries.  Everything can be done in the oven as well.  I hope you enjoy it!  And while you may not be able to share this food at the same table with family and friends this weekend, you are welcome to share the recipes!

So Keep Calm & Get Your Grill On!  Sign up here to receive the recipes.  I recommend a dry and fruity rosé wine with this menu as we could all benefit from seeing the world through rosé-coloured glasses right now.  And I wish you a healthy and happy May long weekend!

Keep Calm & Get Your Grill On Menu

Appetizer: Pineapple Coconut Shrimp (these grill up super fast and are much healthier than the deep fried coconut shrimp you see everywhere – read on about the benefits of pineapple, below)

Veggie Main (& yummy side): Cauliflower Tacos with Lime Crema (do toast up the tortillas on the grill and you can also roast the cauliflower on the grill with a veggie grilling basket if you wish)

Main: Chili Lime Chicken Drumsticks with Zucchini (note that this requires some marinating time for best flavour so plan accordingly)

Dessert: Blood Orange & Pistachio Chia Pudding (chia seeds…not just for breakfast anymore – this one also needs to be prepped in advance so it thickens, but it comes together in minutes and makes a refreshing and summery pudding for dessert)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

read more