What a year 2020 was! Earlier in the year people were hoarding flour, meat, canned goods and toiletries. Then, an increase of food insecurity rises due to the pandemic. I am glad to hear that food researchers and scientists are taking action & continue working together with non-profit organizations, universities and government to help reduce this issue. This has been an ongoing concern, a domino effect where it can affect our mental well-being and anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, low to middle class.
If you don’t know what food insecurity is, it’s the lack of money and resources to meet an adequate diet in a household. According to Stats Canada, the issue has increased due to those who have lost their jobs or have had to reduce their working hours due to the 2020 pandemic. Those who live alone on a single income and adults with children are especially at high risk. This is an ongoing issue and definitely the food community will be learning, listening & talking about in 2021.
In 2020 this was based on fear & uncertainties. So, people coped by hoarding certain food items and toiletries. How do we turn negative thoughts from 2020, to a positive mind shift for 2021? Here are some uptakes & continued food trends that I see from what we learned in 2020 as we start the new year.
1. Heritage Cooking. We will be embracing our own food cultures as we tend to spend more time with our families or the people we live within our household. We will continue to learn about our roots and carry-on traditions.
2. Virtual Cooking Classes. Culinary schools with a dine-in learning environment or chefs & nutritionists with their side hustles, this will be an alternative to continue their business & learning platforms.
3. Diversity & Creativity. With more at home dining, local restaurants are adapting to the way it is. Sometimes it is just best to let it be. Being diverse just adds variety to their business. E-commerce will evolve and continue to do so. People are supporting local businesses, being more creative and enjoying the at-home dining experience, while virtually visiting with friends & family at the table.
4. Food Waste Awareness. We always knew about food waste, but even more so during 2020 as we stayed home more often & cooked our own meals. This movement will continue through 2021. We will be more creative with leftovers and get in the habit of meal-planning to reduce food waste. With food prices increasing, people may take into consideration planting a raised garden or learning to grow their own herbs, fruits & vegetables.
5. Spices & Condiments. While we are cooking more at home, people may use more spices and condiments in their meals. With the loss of some restaurants that were forced to close their doors during the pandemic, we may be missing that secret sauce that completed your favourite meal you ordered or the combination of spices that the chef concocted to satisfy the pallet on that first bite. Again, people are going to need to be creative and try to recreate these memories when dining at home.
All of these are the anticipated food trends for 2021 and are all positives in my opinion. However, there are still some uncertainties as we enter this new year, but we need to just let it be. Let's continue to stay safe in the comfort of our own home and look upwards and onwards.
Until next time (or the next blog) ... and from my kitchen to yours, peace, love & eat good food!
This creamy hot chocolate is made with almond milk and just three other ingredients. It’s best made on the stove and will take you about 5-8 minutes to make.
(Recipe serves 1)
1 cup of unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 tsp of peppermint extract
1. In a saucepan, heat the almond milk on the stove at medium-high heat. Stir occasionally with a whisk.
2. Add cocoa powder, chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Stir occasionally until chocolate chips have melted and cocoa powder has dissolved.
3. Transfer carefully to a drinking cup. (Optional, add whipping cream on top).
Enjoy the comfort & not so sweet cup of hot chocolate while reading a book.
Nutrition: 1 svg: 101 Calories | 8 g CHO | 3 g PRO | 7 g Fat
Sweet Chili Shrimp Appetizer
This is a must try recipe for any occasion. Like many of my recipes they are easy to make!
Check it out and let me know what you think.
1 x bag of 31/40 shrimp, deveined (~ a 300g bag)
1 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
1/4 tsp of red chili flakes
2 Tbsp of olive oil
2 Tbsp of lemon juice
Dash of salt
Sliced cucumbers and enough to put one shrimp on top of the cucumber
Sauce to Garnish:
1/4 cup of Apricot Preserves
1/4 cup of Sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp of fresh lemon
1. Thaw shrimp as directed on package. Once thawed, remove shell & tail.
2. Combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and all spices in a mixing bowl. Mix seasonings and add the shrimp to the bowl. Cover & marinade for about 3-4 hours in the fridge.
3. As the shrimp marinades, you can prep the garnishing sauce. Mix the apricot preserves, sweet chili sauce and lemon juice. Cover & set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
4. When the shrimp has marinated, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a cooking pan. Preheat pan to medium heat. Add shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes per side until firm and pink or until 165’F has been reached. Place them in a bowl and lightly sprinkle a few more red chili flakes on top & mix.
5. Arrange the individually sliced cucumbers on a platter. Put one cooked shrimp on top of the cucumber. Once finished, drizzle a little of the garnishing sauce on top of shrimp. Serve immediately & Enjoy!
Nutritional: 209 Calories | 18g PRO | 13g CHO | 7g Fat
Quick Tip: This sauce tastes great with chicken wings & chicken tenders.
Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with egg is one of my favourite Filipino go-to food items. Like all my other recipes, it’s super easy and quick to prepare.
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of minced garlic
3 cups of cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste
1 stalk of green onion, chopped and used for garnish
1. Heat stove to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to your wok or skillet.
2. Add garlic and sauté until a golden brown and set aside.
3. Add the other teaspoon of olive oil to the wok or skillet. Keep heat at medium-high. First add the egg and scramble to cook in the skillet or wok. Then, add the rice, mix it and break up the rice with your cooking utensil. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook and stir for 10 minutes until rice has heated evenly.
4. Add the cooked garlic to the rice and mix evenly.
5. Transfer the mixed rice to a serving plate and garnish with green onion. Enjoy!
Nutrition for 1 Serving:
335 Calories | 45g CHO | 8g PRO | 13g Fat
Halo Halo, one of my favourite Filipino desserts growing up as a kid in the hot summers of Saskatchewan. I remember my dad crushing the ice with this white plastic tool that you had to manually crank with a handle and push the ice through with this plastic top. I loved growing up in the 80’s when kitchen gadgets were simple & interesting compared to the technology we have today that has so much power & too many buttons! To crush the ice, you can use a blender that has the feature, or like I did, which was to use my food processor with the cheese grater plate and it worked just fine. (Although, it’s super loud!)
Being Canadian-Filipino, I “westernized” the recipe for you to enjoy with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store (Asian/Filipino section). But if you want to be adventurous & authentic, check out your local Filipino market in town. You will find the traditional food items to make Halo Halo. Just ask the grocery clerk and they will guide you to the jarred sweet beans, coconut shreds, and jackfruit etc.
In the recipe, I just added ingredients that I already had in my fridge. So totally mix up the fruit with cantaloupe or honeydew using a melon baller. This time around, I used sliced strawberries.
Here is the recipe for 1 serving, I do hope you enjoy it on a hot summer day!
2 x Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 cup of Crushed/Shaved Ice
3/4 cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 Tbsp of Ube Jam| Jonaz Sweet Purple Yam*
2 Tbsp of Shredded Coconut| Bulacan Macapuno Strings in Syrup*
1 scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
* (Find these at your local Filipino grocery store or section of grocery store)
1. In a short glass, start layering the ingredients. First, add half of the crushed ice, then add the Ube Jam, then the Coconut Shreds, then rest of the crushed ice.
2. Add the Unsweetened Almond Milk.
3. Top it up with the strawberries and a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream..
When ready to eat, mix it up and serve with a spoon. (Halo Halo means mix). Enjoy
Nutrition: 384 calories | 3g PRO| 67g CHO| 13g Fat
Non-Alcoholic Beverage - Moscow Mule
In a tall glass, add the following:
1/2 cup of Ice cubes
1 cup of Spicy Ginger Beer
3/4 cup of Carbonated Water
3-4 Fresh Mint Leaves
1/4 Lime (Garnish on glass & add lime juice to beverage)
Put mint leaves at the bottom of the glass, add all ingredients together and muddle the mint leaves with ingredients. Cut lime into a quarter wedge and add one as a garnish. Then squeeze the lime juice into beverage mixture when ready to drink & enjoy!
Nutrition: 154 Calories, 37g CHO, 1g PRO, 0g Fat
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, having all 9 essential amino acids commonly referred to as a "complete" protein. Nutritionally, one egg, has about 78 calories, 6 g of PRO, 1 of CHO, 5 g of Fat. Curious about why bodybuilders love egg whites? Egg whites have 3.6 g of protein opposed to the egg yolks having 2.7 g of protein. But personally, egg yolks have just as much nutritional value as they are a good source of Vitamin D and still a source of protein.
When you crack open an egg, ever wonder what that white stringy strand is attached to the egg yolk and egg white is? It's called the chalazae anchor and this strand tells us that the egg is super duper fresh! Cool, right?!
I love eggs in almost every meal. It's such a diverse food item that you can also have as a snack and they are easy to carry around in your lunch bag.
Now, let’s talk about egg food safety - as the food safety girl in me needs to come out! So, be cautious of raw or undercooked eggs as they may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella. Please make sure to wash your hands after cracking them open. Also, to clean & disinfect cooking surfaces that raw eggs may have touched. Ensure to cook eggs until they are nice and firm or until an internal temperature of 165'F has been reached.
In Canada, you can buy eggs in the stores' cooler whereas in other countries, you may see them sold at room temperature on a shelf. The difference is that in Canada, we pasteurize our eggs to meet Graded Canada A (or Grade A) which reduces the bacteria count & other microorganisms. The other countries don't use this step in their processes, so, you will find them stored at room temperature on a shelf. In Canada, purchase eggs that are stored and kept in refrigerator/cooler temperatures at 0'C to 4'C and when you bring them home, store in the refrigerator as well. Remove any cracked and/or dirty eggs from the container.
Enjoy eggs at breakfast, scrambled, poached, or basted. Personally, I would not eat eggs raw, that is just my preference. Did you know, when eating raw eggs, our body only absorbs 51% of the protein, as opposed to having them cooked, where 90% of protein is absorbed in our bodies? So, cook them to your liking or boil them and have them ready for your upcoming weekly meals and add them to your lunch salads or make an egg salad sandwich. Have them for family dinners like making a quiche or frittata for supper...enjoy & love those eggs!
Photo from Pexels.
1x Small Apple, cut in thin quarters with skin
1/4 cup of Rolled Oats or 1 packet of cinnamon & spice oatmeal packet
1 Tbsp of Honey
1/8 tsp of cinnamon (optional if using an instant cinnamon & spice oatmeal packet)
2 Tbsp of water
2 Tbsp of slivered almonds
1. Cut apples and put in a a microwaveable cup.
2. Add the rolled oats, and choice of sweetner.
3. Add about 1 Tbsp of water and mix.
4. Microwave for about 2 minutes and mix onced cooked.
5. Add your slivered almonds and enjoy!
Walnuts are a good source of protein, fibre and other nutrient dense properties packaged in this brain looking nut! Due to their high content of Omega-3's, they also help with our cognitive functioning. Walnuts are high in good fats such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and Omega-3's (as mentioned) which also support heart health. These unsaturated fats help lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and raise the HDL ("good" cholesterol). These healthy fats can help reduce cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Also, there have been research studies showing that walnuts have anticancer properties and can reduce inflammation in certain cancers.
Any type of food should be eaten in moderation, so be mindful of how many walnuts you consume as they are high in fibre and oil which could lead to a loose gut - if you know what I mean!
You can enjoy walnuts in salads, homemade muffins, breakfast yogurt or as a snack with dried fruit.
Nutrition on 14 halved walnuts consists of 185 calories, 2g of CHO, 4g of PRO, 19g of Fat, and 2g of Fibre
4 x Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1/3 cup of Vinegar
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or if using regular Soy Sauce, use 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of water - otherwise it will be too salty)
2 1/2 tsp of Minced Garlic
1 small onion, sliced
2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 Bay leaves, dry
1/4 tsp of cayenne
salt & ground black pepper for seasoning chicken breasts
1. Season chicken breast lightly with salt & pepper. Set Instant Pot to saute mode. When Instant Pot is ready, add olive oil to the bottom of the pot. Add chicken breast and cook until outsides are brown. Remove and transfer chicken to a plate. Turn off the saute mode.
2. In a bowl, add soy sauce, vinegar, onion, cayenne and garlic. Mix ingredients together. Now add the marinade to the Instant Pot and mix throughly. Add the chicken breasts and the bay leaves to the pot. Close pot with lid until it is securely sealed. Set Intant Pot to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Once it is finished, manually release the pressure carefully.
3. Remove lid, set Instant Pot to sauté Mode again and stir sauce occasionally for about 8-10 minutes (or until desired consistency). Serve over your choice of cooked rice and enjoy!
Nutritional: 316 Calories, 43 g of Pro, 3 g of CHO, 13 g of Fat
Photo by Selina Thomas on Unsplash