Cook + Learn with Zespri Kiwifruit - Media Launch #Zespri4Life
Back on June 16 I was given the opportunity to attend an amazing event: Cook + Learn with Zespri Kiwifruit. The event was hosted at Nella Cucina on Bathurst St in Toronto. I honestly had no idea that there were so many ways that you could use kiwifruit in cooking. We even had a celebrity chef! We started the lunch off with kiwi cocktails or juices. I obviously chose the alcoholic version as my pre workout hah. It was delicious. Followed by soup, tacos and finally dessert. All were made before our eyes by the talented chef. We all definitely left with a renewed love of kiwifruit and just how healthy and delicious Zespsri is. We also learned it can be used in cooking and not just as a separate fruit. Thank you Zespri for such an amazing event. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and I definitely left with my tastebuds feeling satisfied. I really enjoyed learning more about the nutritional benefits and versatility of Zespri Kiwifruit.
* All photos curtsey of Ryan Emberly.
Oil Up - Why You Should Use Olive Oil
The traditional cooking ingredient our parents and grand parents use to cook and bake with was butter. There are a lot of alternatives in todays market for using to cook other than butter. Even though butter is very flavourful it has a high fat content and is not a healthy choice. You can substitute butter with many things. Some of the alternatives include margarine, coconut oil, and sesame seed oil just to name a few. Another alternative to baking things with butter is by using olive oil instead. Olive oil is one of the many healthy alternatives and one of my favourites.
Why should you use olive oil for baking and cooking?
Olive oil is an acquired taste. Especially if you are switching from rich creamy butter. Take your time and slowly start introducing it into your baking and cooking. Eventually you will stop noticing the difference and enjoy it just as much as you enjoyed butter. Your body and heart will also thank you later for making the switch.
Besides olive oil being a healthier alternative you should use it for baking and cooking because It may help to fight cravings and suppress appetite. A study recently conducted concluded that serotonin levels were raised in participants when they ingested olive oil with yogurt. Why is this significant for you? Because serotonin is a hormone that tells your body that you are full. This means olive oil has high satiety. This keeps you fuller longer than most cooking substances. Olive oil does this by containing compounds that can slow down your glucose absorption and keep you fuller longer.
It is also affordable and comes in all sorts of brands, types and sizes. So go ahead and pick up some olive oil and start swapping your butter for it when you bake or cook.
My newfound gem for healthy cooking? Coconut oil. If you are a fan of coconut, you will find that this oil adds a light coconut flavour to your food, not to mention the health benefits are abundant! Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat, which some might say are "bad" but the way that it reacts in the body is GOOD! Here's how it works: coconut oil is nature's richest source of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Due to the fact that MCTs have a shorter chain it is easy to digest and quickly burned off by the liver for energy but without the spike in insulin. This causes a metabolism boost and uses the coconut oil fat for energy, thus causing you to lean out. I use organic extra virgin coconut oil on practically everything! I sauté my veggies in it and even use it when cooking my eggs in the morning! Here is my favourite dinner recipe using this gem. This dish will pump up your metabolism and give you a healthy dose of your omega-3s!
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Smear 2 tablespoons coconut oil on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish
3. Place fish on top of the oil, skin side up
4. Place fish in oven for 15 minutes
5. Remove fish from oven and use a spatula to gently peel skin off of salmon
6. Place fish back in oven for an additional 15 minutes
7. Remove fish from oven and squeeze on your lemon
8. Sprinkle on your salt and cayenne pepper evenly
9. Cut into 2 servings and plate
That's it! Such a simple recipe and you can mix it up with different spices and flavours but don't forget the coconut oil! Serve your fish with some nice green veggies and a salad to complete your meal. Enjoy!
We all know that chicken is a lean meat, which is great fuel for the body. But chicken often has a bad rep for being bland and dry! This recipe is a no-fail way to make delicious chicken that comes out juicy and full of flavour! By pretty much making your own pasta sauce, you are taking out the additives that you would find in store bought tomato sauce, such as sugar and excess salt. Also, by throwing in some whole Roma tomatoes, you are reaping the benefits of cooked tomatoes. By cooking the tomatoes, you are boosting the lycopene levels, which is a phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant. Including lycopene in your diet has been correlated with reducing your risk of cancer. With little prep time and all the nutritious benefits, this meal is perfect for a post-workout dinner that won't take the entire evening to make.
2 Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or 4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1 can tomato purée
4 roma tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sriracha (hot sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Place chicken and roma tomatoes in a rectangular baking dish
3. Pour 1 can tomato purée evenly on top of chicken
4. Add olive oil, sriracha, salt and pepper on top
5. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until meat is no longer pink
Once the 40 minutes has passed you will have a ready-to-eat meal with fresh tomato sauce. No artificial colours, flavours, or sugar in this meal! Plate your chicken and tomatoes and sprinkle with basil leaves. Eat and enjoy!
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