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Eat anything you want. Just cook it yourself.

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Eat Anything You Want Just Cook It YourselfHappy New Year! As holiday feasting has come to a close along with 2022, thoughts have likely turned toward New Year’s resolutions to be healthier and/or lose weight in 2023. The plethora of diets out there (Mediterranean, DASH, Paleo, Keto, Low FODMAP, Vegan, Low Carb-High Fat, Low Fat-High Carb, MIND, Weight Watchers and many more) can easily have you calorie counting, confused and stressing over micro-managing your macro-nutrients (“gee, how many grams of fat, protein and carbs should I eat?“).

So let’s cut straight to today’s pearl of dietary wisdom, expressed so eloquently by New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan and captured succinctly in this 3-minute videoEat anything you want. Just cook it yourself. Seriously, people overcomplicate matters. I promise you that this single step of cooking your own food will advance you leaps and bounds toward a healthier you.

And I want to help. Members of The Nutritional Reset community receive delicious, nutritious and simple recipes throughout the year to inspire home cooking. So if you aren’t already a member, sign up here for free. And then, go ahead and eat anything you want. Just cook it yourself. Read on for more about why this is so important and for my special offer: invite your friends to join The Nutritional Reset Community and I will send each of you my Big Batches for Buddies recipe collection to inspire you in the kitchen.

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The Greatest Gift

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail The Greatest GiftWe’re in the bell lap of 2022 and the holiday season is officially in top gear. A few years ago I offered up some timeless tips on how to Feast Festively Without Piling on the Pounds, which you may wish to revisit. This year, however, I thought I’d do something different and jumpstart the season with some holiday wisdom by way of analogy. During the gift-giving season, I think this analogy really drives home the point that a healthy body is truly the greatest gift of all.

I hope the perspective it offers will help you navigate the holidays as you make choices about what you eat and how you spend your time. Staying healthy has a lot to do with eating nutritiously, yes. But it also involves prioritizing exercise, rest/recovery and mental health. And if there is one thing I’m discovering as the years tick by, it’s that my body is less forgiving than it used to be. It is far better to avoid the “potholes” in the first place! Because, truly, the gift of a healthy body is the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season! And be sure to read to the end of the post for my personal gift to you – my collection of Healthy Holiday Recipes.

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Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad

One of the best things we can do for our health is to amp up our vegetable intake and replace simple carbohydrates with more complex ones. An easy way to accomplish this is to have a repertoire of simple yet tasty recipes that do just that. This Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad is one of those recipes. It’s super simple, super delicious and super versatile.

Sign up to my newsletter today to receive the recipe for my Moroccan Carrot, Chickpea & Halloumi Salad.

 

 

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Pumpkin Spice Latte…Deconstructed

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s hard to believe it’s October already. Yet the mornings are getting chillier and there’s an autumnal vibe about. We are coming into comfort food climate. With October hosting both Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, thoughts turn to pumpkins and spice and all things nice. And who hasn’t been tempted at one time, or many, by a steamy Pumpkin Spice Latte on a cool fall afternoon?

While we know these concoctions aren’t exactly nutritious, it’s hard to say no. So I hope my recipe and what I’ve written below will convince you that making your own is a far better way to treat yourself. Sign up to my newsletter today to receive the recipe for my Pumpkin Spice Latte.

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Fennel & Arugula Salad with Chicken…Deconstructed

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Fennel and Arugula Salad with Chicken

In my last blog post, Tips for a Hot Bod, I mentioned dining out on salads and using your BBQ to avoid turning on your oven in the heat of sizzling summer. This Fennel & Arugula Salad with Chicken is a perfect example. It was a particular favourite of a recent client, too, so I thought I’d share it with you.

If you don’t have a BBQ or are too hot to use it, simply buy a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast from your grocer. Of course, if you are cooking chicken for another recipe, it’s a no-brainer to make extra so you can serve this salad for a subsequent lunch or dinner. Prefer a meatless meal? You can make this with white beans, chickpeas or tofu instead. If you eat seafood, poached salmon or shrimp work well here too.

Fennel is not the most attractive of vegetables so it often gets overlooked. And it’s Latin name, Foeniculum vulgare, isn’t much of an advertisement. The bulbs we buy are a variety called Florence fennel, which sounds far more pleasing. Read on for why this vegetable is more versatile than vulgar.

This salad makes for easy entertaining as you can prepare everything through Step 1 ahead of time. Then all you need to do just prior to serving is toss in pre-washed arugula and top it with slices of cooked chicken and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. My client took it to a pot-luck book club event and she said it was a hit. It’s also great for picnics or to whip up while on a cottage vacation.

Speaking of which, I’ll be taking the remainder of the month off for my annual “no-blog Aug” vacation. 😉  I wish you a rollicking good rest of summer and see you in September!

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Secret Ingredient Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Secret Ingredient Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

This post is part travelogue because it was my stay last weekend at the picturesque Pangea House (scroll to the end for pictures) that inspired my recipe for Secret Ingredient Broccoli Cheddar Frittata. This riverside heritage inn in Gananoque, Ontario is a real gem and Jody and Geoff, the owners, are wonderful hosts! Your stay includes a hearty, nutritionist-approved breakfast as well. 😉 Ours was as follows:

  • slices of fresh pineapple and watermelon,
  • homemade oat, yogurt and blueberry muffins,
  • berry yogurt smoothies,
  • broccoli & cheddar frittata and mixed greens with house-pickled peppers
  • and hot, buttered toast!

“Cheoff Geoff” loves to chat about food. As he served the frittata, he let us in on the secret ingredient that is a must for a good frittata. Look closely at our breakfast menu and you might be able to guess what it is (hint: he used it a few ways).

Do you give up? It’s yogurt! Specifically Greek yogurt. Now I cook a lot and for some reason it has never occurred to me to put yogurt in my frittatas. But Geoff was so right. It makes the frittata. Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive the recipe for my Secret Ingredient Broccoli Cheddar Frittata (and upcoming featured recipes). And read on below to find out more.

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Spicy Shrimp Sushi Bowls…Deconstructed

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Spicy Shrimp Sushi Bowls

I love sushi but I don’t have the patience (or skill, frankly) to make it myself. But you can whip up these Spicy Shrimp Sushi Bowls, which have all the scrumptiousness of sushi without the fuss, in no time. Here’s why I chose this recipe…

  • It’s a quick and easy meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Shrimp is super-nutritious (more on this below).
  • Sushi made with brown rice isn’t so easy to come by. But the added sugar and low fiber content of regular white rice sushi can lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Shrimp was a fave of my mom’s so it seemed appropriate given her birthday was this past week. And while I never did convince my mom to like sushi or raw fish, she would definitely have loved this!

 

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Stuffed Peppers…Deconstructed

  • Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Stuffed Peppers DeconstructedSpring is in the air!  It’s the perfect time to renew, refresh and be creative. And to spring clean, declutter and simplify.

So in the swing of spring spirit, I want to try something new going forward.  Rather than a themed menu, I thought it would be fun to focus on a single recipe and delve a bit. Call it a recipe deconstructed (in this case Stuffed Peppers…deconstructed).

I might deconstruct the recipe either …

  • literally/physically, as I am doing this month with these Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers or
  • metaphorically, where I dive a little deeper into one or more aspects of the recipe.

For example, I might …

  • focus on the ingredients (their provenance, nutritional value, appropriate substitutions),
  • discuss the cooking method,
  • offer some shortcuts or
  • suggest ways to repurpose the recipe for another meal.

I hope you enjoy my Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers and the new format. As always, any and all feedback is welcome!

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Easy Entertaining Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Easy Entertaining MenuRecently I had a good friend over for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Whenever I have guests for dinner, I plan my menu strategically. The goal is easy entertaining. I avoid dishes that rely too carefully on exact timing.  And I won’t serve anything that requires much in the way of last minute cooking. I’d much rather spend time relaxing and enjoying the company of my friends than fussing in the kitchen.

I was extra strategic when coming up with this menu. Since I haven’t done much entertaining in recent history (thanks, pandemic), I was a little worried I might have lost the knack. So I set this menu up to be pretty foolproof. You can make most of it ahead, so it is low-stress as well. Yet the result is a restaurant-quality feast that looks as if you’ve slaved.

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Gung Ho for Garlic Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Gung Ho for Garlic MenuFebruary is Heart Month in many countries. The goal is to spotlight cardiovascular health and increase awareness of what we can do to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. There are many steps we can take but I’d like to suggest one simple and delicious one. Eat more garlic!  

So this month I’ve created a menu that is Gung Ho for Garlic. I chose garlic because it is a brilliant example of how food can directly impact your health. Garlic has numerous evidence-based healthful properties. As well as improving cardiovascular health, garlic can benefit physical and sexual vitality, cognition and resistance to infection. This last one is especially useful at the moment. Garlic also has anti-aging properties, which are always useful!  For Heart Month, however, I’d like to highlight the heart-healthy aspects of garlic.

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