Hi, and welcome! I’m so pleased you’re here.
You may be wondering why I’m blogging, especially when there are many other fabulous foodies to follow and learn from.
I’d always cooked for my family but never thought too hard or deep about why a meal came together or how to make a recipe healthier. When I became ill twice and needed to shift back to food basics, I discovered the joy of simple cooking
I’d visited an allergist because my gut had a strange foamy sensation whenever I ate potato chips.
(Yup, I know that sounds weird.)
Thankfully I’d convinced him to listen. Blood tests revealed everything on the spectrum, from food intolerance to grass sensitivities.
My gut struggled to digest almost every listed ingredient in pre-packaged food: flax seeds, sesame seeds, vanilla flavouring, natural flavourings, canola, sesame, and safflower oil, black pepper, chilli, turmeric, and flour.
Red kidney beans had become toxic and all other pulses were temporarily off-limits.
Potato chips just happened to be the food that, perched on the tip of my not-so-healthy iceberg, waved the white flag for a truce.
My body needed to come off the grid and I had to hang in there long enough for cells, tissues, and organs, to re-boot and rebuild.
For me, that took over two years.
With such a massive list of no-no foods, I had to understand the importance and value of nutrition labels.
What a surprise!
Supermarket aisles were filled, top-to-bottom, with food made from at least one reactive ingredient my body no longer wanted. I had two choices: either cook with creativity or go stir crazy.
I returned to my cookbooks.
Slowly my gut found the vacation it needed for digestion, and food became my medicine.
My organs healed enough to re-introduce some foods – except the food with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce or recognize.
Those never made it back into the shopping cart.
Then about four years ago my body began to swell.
Have you ever had those sleep-heavy sheet creases on your face that disappear by the time you’re dressed and out the door?
Mine were everywhere – face, arms, legs, back . . . and they stayed until 3 pm on most days.
I had become a walking-talking blueberry with aching joints.
Soon, I couldn’t lift a dinner plate, could barely type, and on some days, lifting my cell phone was excruciating.
That summer I couldn’t wear sweaters.
My arms were too swollen to fit inside the sleeves.
Winter came and I couldn’t pull up jacket zippers, so, being in denial, I found one with velcro tabs.
That’s when I admitted, this body I owned, was a total mess.
It turned out, I had rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease that irritates and inflames the joints in our body.
With cortisone injections in my elbow, Celebrex in my cupboard, and now the nightshades – tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, peppers – out of my diet, I knew bad health had shoved me on the fast track to learning more about cooking.
For the first time in my life I joined a gym and hired a trainer because when you’re in a flare and ache all over, without strong muscles to hold everything together, believe it or not, your whole body hurts a whole lot more.
What a shock . . . we would use dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, weights and ropes!
So much serious equipment . . . and so out of my comfort zone.
Today I’m in a better place than ever.
I discovered that; against all odds, our body wants to stay strong and healthy, time and clean food heal, strength, cardio, and stretching are different, the benefits of relaxation are real, and there’s a place for unorthodox medicine.
Cupping is one I still use.
Through both health issues, my cooking changed.
Simple meals became healthier and I finally understood why everyone craves and appreciates delicious, back-to-basics meals made from scratch.
This quick and easy marinated carrot salad is always popular in our family and was one of the first I tweaked with other root vegetables.
Made ahead, raw vegetables are always refreshing, have the perfect crunch factor, and look stunning with their pop of colour.
Once you’ve made this dish often enough to feel comfortable, feel free to change ingredients depending on what’s in your fridge or fruit bowl.
I’ve zested and juiced Clementines and combined lemons with oranges or limes and made it with apple, raw beets, celeriac, and radishes.
And here’s a secret . . . this salad tastes amazing and still looks fresh the following day – just added to lettuce!
In the summer I prefer a lighter oil, so if you’re feeling adventurous, do try walnut, almond, or even pumpkin seed oil instead of olive oil.
I hope you and your family enjoy this quick and easy, satisfying dish!
To avoid surprises you want to first read the recipe then gather all the ingredients and equipment before you begin. Once everything’s out on the counter you can relax knowing it’s now a matter of following the steps.
If this also helps, I’ve listed the equipment in the order of when you’ll need it:
- large chopping board
- vegetable peeler
- 8″ (20cm) long blade kitchen knife
- zest grater
- medium GLASS bowl
- small bowl
- small whisk
- re-sealable sandwich-size bags
Marinated Carrot Salad
- 2 large carrots washed, peeled, topped and tailed. Reserve any green tops for garnish.
- 2 lemons washed.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or an oil of your choice.
- 1/8 tsp salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup if needed
- parsley or carrot tops to garnish
- Zest both lemons. Juice and remove pips and save for their pectin if you also make jam before adding to the bowl.
- Cut carrots into 3" length sticks and add. Stir until carrots look moist.
- Using tongs, remove carrots. Store refrigerated in a resealable bag until ready to serve.
- Cover the remaining juice and zest. Refrigerate until ready to make the dressing.
- Dressing: if this is your first time, allow an extra 20 minutes before serving.
- Slowly pour olive oil in with lemon juice and zest and whisk at the same time. When well blended, taste and adjust with salt, pepper, maple syrup, or a little apple cider vinegar.
- Add marinated carrot sticks to the dressing and toss until well coated.
- Serve garnished with sprinkled chopped parsley or carrot tops.
Leftovers: Store in a resealable bag and refrigerate up to three days. This basic salad will take you anywhere. It’s also delicious added to a leafy, chopped raw almond and fresh berry salad.
Did you know: the Clementine, also known as Tangor, has been grown in California since 1914 and can be separated into 7 to 14 segments?