Long Live Quinoa

Living in a youth obsessed culture makes it difficult not to be influenced by all the subliminal and some not so subliminal messages that bombard our surroundings.  I have been told many times that I don’t look my age and my ego always swells a little when I hear this.  I think next time someone says I look younger I will say, “Oh, I wish I looked older.”  Then there will be awkward silence………..yes just like this.  On second thought, my strict proper Asian upbringing won’t permit me to be ungracious, so I will just have to say, “Good genes”.

I would like to change how I view people who may be considered old.  Even just typing the word “old” is not comfortable for me right now.  We have come up with ways to avoid using that word, “more experienced”, “golden years”,”senior years, “women of a certain age” (or does this mean women in their middle years).  Working in a retail health food store gives me lots of opportunity to have fantastic conversations with all sorts of people and I especially delight in my exchanges with the older customers.  Hearing about their life experiences, sharing their knowledge, is so very enriching to me.  “Old people know stuff!”

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers from Kake2kale.com

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Gastown Grazing

One of Kale’s favourite foodie activities in Vancouver is hanging out in Gastown for a progressive dinner with friends.  They hop from restaurant to restaurant for different courses throughout the evening.  It can be called a dine-around or dinner crawl, depending on their mood; but the places are spontaneously selected and no two evenings are the same.  That’s the fun part!   For those of you less familiar with Vancouver, Gastown is a stylish, historic neighbourhood in the city centre and considered a hub for unique dining.  Since most of Kale’s gastronomic experience of Gastown is nocturnally-driven, she thought a progressive lunch would be a good Kake2Kale challenge.  And, to up the ante,  Kale wanted to find comfort dishes, with superfoods, that can be eaten in a bowl. At first, I was skeptical and thought we could only eat pasta and soup. But Kale convinced me to be open and surprised by what we might find. I’m glad she did, and without any plans, here is how we grazed our way through Gastown on a rainy January afternoon!

Flying Pig
The Truffled Cauliflower Gratin with 4 cheeses on the menu of the Flying Pig restaurant peeked our interest. Kale and I knew we HAD to have it.  As we were giving our order, the server suggested we order the brussel sprouts as well.  They were served in boats, which was bowl-like enough for us.  Wow, the brussel sprouts were outstanding. They were roasted with capers, which brought a brightness to the earthy flavor of the sprouts.  The cauliflower, however, was a little underwhelming as they were under cooked.  Please bear in mind I am not a restaurant reviewer, but I do know what I like.  The cheeses were yummy though – white cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan.  Cauliflower and brussel sprouts are both cruciferous vegetables which have indole-3-carbinol and promotes a healthy balance of good estrogen.  They also have anti-tumour properties and are high in fibre.  So we were off to a good start!

Gastown 1 Kake2Kale

Jules Bistro
For a romantic meal where you feel like you’ve been whisked away to an intimate, pretty, little jewel (pun intended) of a restaurant in France, Jules Bistro is the place for you.  More importantly, the food is delicious as well!  We ordered a bowl of mussels with a leek cream sauce, which turned out to be light and flavourful.  The sauce was sooo delicious, and I couldn’t stop dipping chunks of baguette into it.  We went in search of our next course after being fortified with protein, Omega 3’s as well as minerals – like calcium, zinc and iron – from the mussels. Continue reading

I Want to Be a Spice Girl

I don’t really do resolutions anymore, because I realize something about myself (which is probably true of a lot of people) and that is – I have no trouble starting something, but sticking with it is a whole other matter.  This doesn’t stop me from trying something new!

“Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want”  I want to be a Spcie Girl!  It’s because I want to use more spices in my cooking and which one to start experimenting with?  In the last few years, turmeric has been gaining popularity in the supplement world because of its powerful active compound curcumin, which is actually a golden orange hued pigment.  It has antioxidant,  anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties and may even be instrumental in slowing down the effects of Alzhiemer’s disease.  It has also supports the liver as a detoxifier.

tumeric drink 3 Kake2Kale

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The Ginger Bomb

Who knew cola could be a medicinal drink? When I had the sniffles or a sore throat as a child, I was given a hot drink of cola, boiled with ginger and lemon.  And, by gosh, after drinking this delicious concoction I seemed to feel better.  Once in a while, I order this drink, which is still served at Hong Kong style cafes, and let it transport me back to my childhood.

Now, instead of hot cola, my husband and I make a hot drink with ginger when we feel under the weather.  “Shall I make you the concoction?” offered by my wonderful husband is music to my ears when my nose is runny and my chest is congested.  After a cup or two of this drink, the congestion loosens up and I am able to expel the, ahem..mucous.  Since this drink does such a good job of chasing away those nasty symptoms I am calling it the Ginger Bomb!

Ginger Drink 2 Kake2kale

Ginger is a rock star in the superfood realm, it might not look very pretty with its knobby physique, but it is packed with medicinal and therapeautic properties.  You may think of it as a root, but in fact is the subterranean stem of the plant, called a rhizome, from which roots and shoots extend from.  It has been used in China for thousands of years, and spread to many other cultures via the Silk Road.

It is full of antioxidants like zingerones and gingerols, as well as having antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic properties.  Ginger may also be just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in helping with pain relief.  Studies have found a significant decrease in pain from muscle soreness in women athletes, and a reduction in migraine headaches and even in menstrual cramps.  It is also well known to be effective in reducing nausea and upset stomachs.  It is also great for coughs because it helps drain the lungs of mucuous, which is why it is in our concoction!

Ginger is usually sold in pretty large chunks, so when I can’t use it up fast enough, I put it in the freezer, and just grate what I need.

Naturally, you can enjoy my Ginger Bomb concoction even if you don’t have a cold or the sniffles!  It’s a cozy and healthy drink anytime of year.

Other Superfoods in the recipe:
Pineapple – Contains Vitamin C, bromelain which is a digestive enzyme.
Lemon – Contains Vitamin C and lots of phytochemicals.
Honey – May help in treating seasonal allergies if you take a daily dose of honey made from your local area.  It fights infections, in particular manuka honey, which is made from the tea tree plant.

Ginger Drink Kake2kale

The Ginger Bomb serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 5 slices ginger*
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. lemon juice

Directions:

  • Put ginger slices into a pot of water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Add pineapple juice and heat through for about 2 minutes.
  • Then add honey and lemon juice. Serve immediately while hot.

*You may save the ginger slices to be used for another bomb.

Eat well and stay healthy!  {Kake}

Celebrating at Chau

Kale and I are celebrating the 6-month anniversary of our blog so we wanted to go to a restaurant that represented who we are.  Kale and I are Asian and consider ourselves to be modern and have good taste, so I thought Chau (in Vancouver) would be the perfect place to go to.  Having been there before, I knew Kale would like it.  I had just returned from sunny, though sub-zero, Ottawa and woke up to a gloomy dreary rain-whipped day in Vancouver, aiyah!  But the blue sky poked through the angry clouds on our way to Chau and we felt the heavens smiling down upon with us.

Kake2kale @ Chau 1

Chau is a hip and contemporary, vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant that serves fresh, flavourful and satisfying dishes.   Vegan and gluten free options are also available.  We started off with taro chips served with a fragrant tofu dip.  Then we had my favourite dish, the Golden Temple (top picture below).   It is a light turmeric curry broth with tofu, broccoli, yam, lotus root, taro, kale, and herbs. I enjoy it best with quinoa and a side of free range eggs.  We also ordered the Moonlit Midnight Swim (right-hand image, below superfoods list), which is a wild rice blend with tofu, kale, mushrooms, lotus root, a spiced peanut mushroom sauce, and topped with roasted peanuts and seeds.  These dishes are filled to the brim with superfoods – kale, yam, broccoli, herbs, egg, quinoa, and turmeric broth.

Kake2kale @ Chau 2

Here are some of the superfoods we had:

Kale:  Has over 45 different flavonoids which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as loads of calcium.
Quinoa:  Contains quercetin which is a natural anti-histamine (helps with allergies), and quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
Turmeric:  Anti-inflammatory and has anti-cancer properties.
Taro:  It has a low glycemic level, which means, it won’t spike your blood sugar, high in fiber, high in B vitamins and minerals.

Kake2kale @ Chau 3

We toasted our achievement with the Coconut Shake, a creamy coconutty, refreshing  counterpoint to the savoury food.  The meal felt like we’d been whisked away to a tropical island, which was perfect since yesterday I was in Ottawa with my face frozen numb.  Check out Chau at chowatchau.ca, particularly their menu.

Kake2kale @ Chau 4

As I reflect upon the last six months since starting our blog, my first thought is how my friendship with Kale is being enriched, it is going better than I could’ve expected.  We seem to have the perfect partnership.  First, while I enjoy writing, Kale prefers  taking photographs (I’ve tried, but I am definitely not talented with a camera).   Second, it’s fun to share my healthful, tasty recipes and use ingredients that are foreign in my kitchen.  Thirdly, I have a greater appreciation for photography and Kathy’s great “eye” for getting the right angle.  Lastly, I am intimidated by social media, but Kale embraces technology.  I look forward to another six months of more superfoods adventures!

Eat well!  Live great! {Kake}

By design, the past year was meant to be a time of change, transition and discovery.  I had no idea that I would be involved in a blog, let alone working on it with my sister-in-law; but our collaboration has turned out to be one of the best experiences of 2014!  I love that our skills and interests are complementary, allowing our creative process to flow naturally.   We are also having fun with it, together, and I couldn’t imagine a better partnership. And,  even though we’ve been friends since the age of eight, we’re still learning new things about each other.  I continue to be impressed with Kake’s nutritional knowledge, culinary and writing abilities.  Just as important, Kake2kale has allowed me to do what I love – photography, food and travel!

I believe we are staying true to our mantra – to share our adventures searching for tasty and healthy superfoods, through our recipes, travels, photography, and stories.  We’re excited about the months and years ahead for the blog, particularly with new ideas and more interviews with people making a difference in wellness and superfoods.  We thank you for enjoying and following Kake2kale!

Travel Far, Explore More! {Kale}