It seems as if cold and flu season has snuck around again. Biting me in the butt  this time around! I’m not one for taking a bunch of medications to fight off a cold, I prefer a more natural method of healing. Lord knows I love food so I have been consuming anything I can to help myself feel better. I wanted to share some of the foods and natural remedies that I have been shoving my face with while fighting the cold and flu season.

Emergen-C 

This is a tiny little packet filled with a powerful blend of vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients, electrolytes and more that all help to enhance your immune system and give you energy. Available in a variety of flavours also in a kids formula. You can find Emergen-C at most drug stores in single and boxed packets. They taste good and are so easy to consume.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used for years as a natural remedy for many ailments. Cinnamon aids in clearing sinuses, clearing cough, works as an antibacterial and aids in circulation. In its powder form it’s easy to add to smoothies, plus it tastes great to it’s easy to consume. You can also boil cinnamon sticks in water on the stove then steep your tea in the cinnamon water for drinking.

Honey

This is one of the most common natural treatments for coughs and colds. When added to a steaming tea it helps to sooth and protect a sore throat and eases coughing. It also has  many antibacterial components and helps the spread of micro organisms in the body. Honey is full of vitamins and minerals. When purchasing honey remember the darker the honey the more antioxidants. Most importantly, honey doesn’t contain any chemicals or harmful ingredients that are commonly found in other medicines, therefore making it free from side-effects.

Happy Planet Health Drinks

Vancouver based company Happy Planet has an excellent little remedy to help you feel better, faster. Happy Planet Shots are little 75ml bottles of natural vitamin extracts, minerals and more that aim to make you feel better naturally. I recommend their ‘Immunity’ shot that contains, Vitamin C, Echinacea, elderberry, ginger roots and many more medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients. Happy Planet shots don’t contain any added sugars, colours or preservatives and come at a reasonable price. You can find 2 for $5 at Whole Foods Market or usually around $3 a bottle at many drug stores in Canada and the United States. Best of all they taste great and are available in a variety of remedies.

Ginger

Ginger is a spicy little remedy that hosts a strong anti-viral property. When boiled in water and drank as a tea it can helpt to reduce fever, treat sore throats and inflammation of the mucous membrane aka a runny rose. Ginger can be easily added to smoothies and blends surprisingly well. Add ginger to a super smoothie for an added health boost. Ginger can easily be found at any grocery store. So there you have it a few things to help keep your feeling healthy this cold season. Along with many other things such as lots of fresh fruit and vegetables these are some of my favourite remedies.

East Indian Food

Speaking of spice, Indian food is another excellent thing to consume when fighting a cold. Many Indian dishes contain garlic, chilis, cumin and an abundance of other spices that make you sweat and your nose run which helps to clear out a virus our of you system faster. Many spices also have antibacterial and antioxidative properties. Check out Gurpareet Bains (the creator of the world’s healthiest curry) website that has a variety of  ‘Indian Superfood’ recipes that will have you fighting off that cold faster than you can say “butter chicken”. Other spicy dishes will work as well such as Thai, Hanan or Szechuan.

So there you have it, a few natural remedies to use the next time you’re starting to feel under the weather. I’d love to hear some of your favourite cold and flu busting remedies!

Since I recently did a posting on Gorilla Food I thought why not do another one on banana bread? Hehe. Yesterday, I baked banana bread for the first time ever! I don’t know what took me so long. Even my 20-year-old little brother told me he had baked it himself before. Although he said the recipe he used including Miracle Whip which sounds pretty interesting…hmmmm. I wish I could have tried a bite of that loaf! I’ve don’t think I’ve ever had a bad slice on banana bread though. Even when it’s the healthiest option in a gas station ‘bakery’ section on a road trip I still love it. So found out why ingredients I would need and behold I had all I needed in my pantry already! I followed a few recipes and then made it my own. It turned out lovely and filled my kitchen with such a sweet scent. Best of all it’s preservative free food, which is the best way to be!

VV Banana Bread Ingredients:

Banana Bread raw mixture

2 cups (500ml) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (50ml) granulated sugar

2 tsp (10ml) baking powder

1 tsp (5ml) baking soda

A pinch of salt ground himilayan rock salt

1/2 (125ml) chocolate chips

1/2 cup (125ml) crushed walnuts

2 cups (500ml) mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup (125ml) butter, melted

1/2 cup (125ml) milk

2 large eggs
Directions:

In large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and crushed walnuts. In separate bowl whisk together eggs, butter, milk and bananas. Pour over flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon till blended. Spread in greased or silicone pan 9×5 inch (2L) load pan.

Bake in centre of oven at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out smooth. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then place on rack to cool completely.

Tip: I sprinkled my Banana Bread with a little bit of granulated sugar as soon as it was out of the oven for an extra sweet treat.

Want to try some of the best restaurants in Vancouver, the Okanagan or the Island for free? Of course you do! Eat magazine is offering their readers a wide variety of gift certificates with a contest that they are having online for their reader’s choice awards. There are prizes available for great restaurants such as The Tea House, Theo’s, RauDZ as well as a couple hotel packages up for grabs and much more! All you have to do is go on their website and click on the area that you reside in (Okanagan, Vancouver or the Island) and fill out the survey. Eat Magazine wants to know what your favourite restaurant is? Who your favourite foodie blogger? Where you can find the best drink in town, etc. You actually don’t even have to fill it all out if you can’t come up with an answer. So have fun and best of luck to all who enter! You can vote for me (VineVie) in the OKANAGAN or Vancouver section since I blog about both, it’s eays just put VineVie in questions #42 and #43. Thanks!

http://www.eatmagazine.ca/the-3rd-annual-exceptional-eats-reader-awards/

Hello everyone, I figured it was about time I catch you up on how my raw food smoothie cleanse ended up.   After an unexplained severe allergic skin reaction to something I ate that the doctors so far haven’t been able to pinpoint (possibly from canned peaches soaked in preservatives), I personally decided that it to was time for a change and wanted to try a cleanse. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be but then again at times it was. Eating fresh raw food made me feel great. I did however have to hide all the treats in my cupboard  as an out of sight out of mind thing. Doing a raw food cleanse at leading up to Christmas time was fine, however if I decided to do my cleanse during the Christmas holidays then I’m certain that would have been a completely different story for me. My cleanse days were filled with delicious fresh smoothies full of every possible fruit, veggie and even herb I could cram into the blender. It usually looked a little something like this….

Banana, mint, watermelon, cucumber, cilantro, ginger and pure pomegranate juice.

My meal times were spent chopping and preparing the fruits and vegetables. At times when I was craving something a little different I thought I’d get creative and make a raw chopped salad/salsa hybrid. I used tomatoes, A LOT of purple garlic, avocado, cilantro, parsley and hoped for the best… EEEEEKKK, this was not what I was going for! It turned into a horrible gazpacho instead. I learned with raw food as with any cuisine there’s a lot of experimenting involved and many trial and error experiences.

This is what I was trying to make, I realized that a knife works just as well as any super blender… haha.


During these 7 days I ate as much raw food as I could. For me it wasn’t only smoothies though. I made salads and raw soups as well. I even managed to convince someone to try out a raw food restaurant with me. My friend and fellow foodie Jenna Perreault, owner of Delish Gluten Free Baking. We often go on little food adventures in the city and she’s always willing to try new things. If you have the chance to try her baking visit Rubens Chocolates or Gallaghers Coffee Shop, both located in Port Moody. Her cookies are amazing FYI!

Foodie adventures at Gorilla Food

Foodie adventures at Gorilla Food

Cheers at La Taqueria

We ventured downtown on a typically rainy Vancouver day to this literally underground restaurant on Richards Street, aptly named Gorilla Food.

The entire menu is raw, organic and vegan. Even their bread for their sandwiches is made with pressed squash! I had their Main Street Monkey sandwich, which is made with mashed avocados, zucchini humus, olive tapenade, sprouts, tomato slices and cucumber on a curried raw veggie bread. Accompanied with their fresh dreamy creamy carrot, avocado and basil gazpacho. It was so different yet so fresh and filled me up, I had to take half a sandwich to go.

My Gorilla lunch

Overall I saw major results in my skin and felt so much better while eating only raw. I’ve decided to now incorporate as much raw food into my eating habits as possible and throughly recommend trying it out at least for one day to anyone who’s interested. I will most likely be going on another raw food cleanse again and hopefully the next time I’ll learn how to make a proper gazpacho!

If you are looking for more information for raw food eating in your area check out these links.

The Raw Food Okanagan Pot Luck

The Raw Food Society of BC

Indigo Raw Food Cafe & Cooking Classes in Vancouver

The Raw Family

Living-Foods Community


 Веселого Різдва! For those of you that are wondering what that means, it’s Merry Christmas in Ukrainian. According to the Ukrainian Catholic calendar Christmas falls on January 7th and today Ukrainians all around the world are celebrating. So, in honour of this and my Ukrainian heritage I’m going to share the coveted borscht recipe from my Baba & Papa. This is a very old family recipe that as far I know has never been published before. I always thought that making a massive pot of borscht was such a daunting tasks growing up as I watched my Baba and Papa make it countless times. The flavours are so fresh and delicious I never realized how easy it actually is to make until I asked. This recipe can me made with or with our meat (mine is usually meat-less) You can also use sour cream or whipping cream. Borscht is also a very healthy soup because it is full of vegetables. To me borscht is soul food and I always request that my Papa makes it every year for my birthday. When I first asked my Baba for her borscht recipe she laughed at me and said there is no recipe you just make it. Confused I then called my Papa and asked what his recipe for borscht was. He gave me a little better idea of how to make it but I realized what my Baba meant by ‘there is so recipe’. Making borscht involves a lot of  you own personal taste. It’s up to you how much vinegar you use. What size your pot is.  How many vegetables or even what vegetables you want to add? Sour cream or whipping cream? With or without meat?  Noodles or no noodles? This is the recipe that I gathered and made from my families recipe but you can make  it  your own. So here it is, the best borscht recipe you will ever taste.

Chudyk Family Borscht Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cans of tomato soup

1  tetra pack of beef broth

3 large beets

1 large bunch of fresh dill

1 medium white onion

4 stick of celery

3 large carrots

2 large Yukon gold potatoes unpeeled

1 medium parsnip

1-2 cups vinegar

1 package of mixed vegetables (peas, corn, green beans)

1 small tub of sour cream or whipping cream

1 package egg noodles

Water

Directions: In one large soup pot (the biggest one you can get your hands on)

Pour 1 cup water and pack of  beef broth.

Peel and shred beets and add to pot.

Add finely chopped onion, celery. Add small cubed potato and parsnip. Add bite sized carrots slices.

Pour in water as you add vegetables to pot as needed keeping in mind not to dilute broth too much. Just enough to boil vegetables in.

Add 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables.

Let vegetables cook as needed.

In a separate smaller bowl take one or two ladles of soup until bowl and mix in two spoonfuls of sour cream at a time and then slowly add the mixture back in large pot. Repeat steps until all sour cream has been whisked into soup.

Add half a cup of white vinegar to soup mixture and stir, let simmer.

Taste soup and add more water, vinegar salt and pepper to taste.                                                

In a separate bot boil water and add package of egg noodles.

Keep egg noodles in separate bowl. Then add a handful of noodles to bowl and dish borscht into bowl and enjoy!

This is the recipe that keeps on giving and everyday you store that borscht in your fridge that better it gets.  A fresh loaf of bread or biscuits are a nice accompaniment to this meal of a soup bowl. I made my cheddar rosemary scones which taste great freshly out of the oven dipped into the beet broth. You can find the recipe for the biscuits here. There’s a saying in Ukrainian culture that the louder you slurp your soup the more of a compliment it is to the chef. So slurp away and don’t forget not to wear a white shirt!

For those looking for more of a taste of Ukrainian food check out Prarie Cottage Perogies in Langley for a truly authentic Ukrainian/Manitoban experience. Also, check out the Ukrainian Society of Ivan Franko located in Richmond, BC where they sell homemade Ukrainan food such as perogies, cabbage rolls etc out of their hall from 10am-2pm every Saturday. This year you can also celebrate Malanka (Ukrainian New Years) with them at an all out gala on Saturday January 14th. Check out their website for more details. www.ivanfranko.com

Hope everyone had a rockin’ New Years Eve, I know I did!  This New Year’s Eve I went out with friends for dinner at South Granville’s new burger bar, Luke’s Corner Bar &  Kitchen. I’d been to the place once before and knew it would be a great spot to  have a casual NYE dinner. Located in the corner suite that used to host the asian-fusion restaurant Red Door this place has been re-done as a Earl’s type place.; Except with much better food, lower prices and more of an easy-going atmosphere. Part of the reason I’m crushing on Luke’s so much is that as a customer I can tell that they actually care about the quality of the food. Unlike many other restaurant’s that tend to just slap down whatever pre-made, reheated food they are serving that day. The food at Luke’s is always fresh with a tendency toward natural and local ingredients such as their pan roasted chicken breast with Fresh Valley chicken or their Salt Spring Island mussels. They are also partners with Ocean Wise. My absolute favourite must try item of the menu at Luke’s is their Luke’s burger. A honkin’ handmade patty made with Chilcotin Heritage grass-fed beef, onion, arugula and tomato. This burger doesn’t need a lot of fancy dressing or cheeses to jazz it up. The flavour from the quality beef used in the burger is unsurpassed and has an extremely fresh and earthy taste. I guarantee you will  be hard pressed to find  a burger patty this flavourful at any other restaurant. Served on a crispy grilled bun topped with arugula, tomato and fresh onions it is all this burger needs to satisfy your burger craving.  This burger is so good I haven’t even stopped to take a picture of my plate anytime I’ve been into Luke’s. So this photo taken from their website will have to satisfy your need for food porn until you are able to make it down to Luke’s yourself for your own mouth-watering burger. Their was one photo taken at Luke’s on New Years eve though, my sister and I enjoying our Bellini’s in our back booth at the restaurant while we were serenaded by one of their singing waitresses who sang and played the piano throughout the evening. Speaking of Bellini’s; have I mentioned the amazing drink prices at Luke’s? This is what sets them apart and above from places such as Earls, Cactus Club etc.  Their drink menu starts at the reasonable price of $4.50, you can get a glass of wine, Luke’s lemonade or Budweiser draft beer ANYTIME for that price, plus they have daily drinks specials as well. Another amazing menu offer from Luke’s is their $5 appetizer menu, $5! What other restaurant can you get $5 appetizers and I’ll share a little secret with you. Sign up your e-mail address  for their Luke’s dining club offer and you will receive a coupon for a FREE  appetizer!   Overall Luke’s Corner Bar & Kitchen is a great value, delicious food and excellent service (Our server was a doppelgänger to Katy Perry). So next time you are in the South Granville area I definitely recommend checking out Luke’s Corner Bar & Kitchen.

Luke's Corner Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

New Year’s Eve is here! Time to celebrate another amazing year, squeeze yourself into a little black dress (after too many Christmas treats), pop the champagne and have a bit of  fun! Like these girls ——————————>>>>

It’s your last day of the holiday season to indulge in Christmas goodies. So enjoy yourself and eat those holiday appetizers. This Christmas I was given my first Company’s Coming cook book from the Entertaining for the Holidays edition. I found this little gem of an hors dóurve recipe which is an excellent way to finish off the last of your Christmas turkey leftovers. Turkey Romaine Spears, they are a quick easy and a tad bit healthier snack for your guests then a chocolate fondue.  Here’s the recipe.

1 cup finely chopped cooked turkey

1/2 cup chive & onion cream cheese

1/2 cup diced tart apple (such as Granny Smith)

2 tbsp chopped green onion

2 tbsp finely chopped red pepper

24 romaine lettuce heart leaves

Directions:

Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl.

Spoon onto lettuce leaves.  Makes 24 spears.

This recipe reminds me of the Chinese cuisine dish; lettuce wrap. I  recommend rolling up the lettuce leaves then putting a tooth pick through the wrap  to keep it together for your guest. It makes it easier to eat.

Happy New Year everyone! I look forward to sharing more of my foodie treasures with you in the new year and thank you for reading and sharing your comments on http://www.VineVie.com and the VineVie Facebook page . Stay tuned for exciting things coming your way from VineVie in 2012. I’ll leave you with a clip from my all-time favourite movie Mermaids starring Cher, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci preparing for their own New Years Eve 1964.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Sorry about the lack of posting the past couple of weeks. I am been so busy with preparing for the Christmas season. I’m home in the Okanagan now and enjoying the holidays with my family. I’m been devouring my dads Ukrainian food and my sisters sugar cookies. In between my eating and wrapping gifts I came across this interesting sounding cookie recipe that won the $5,000 prize on the TV show The Chew. I haven’t made it yet but it sounds so interesting it’s definitely on my ‘to do list’. Here’s the recipe for Salt & Pepper Butterscotch Cookies. If you make these before I do please tell me how they turn out. It is such a unique combination of flavours but if it won the prize form a nationally televised baking recipe they must be good right? Anyways, I wish everyone a very happy holiday season filled with love and laughter.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 bag (11 oz.) butterscotch chips
  • 1 handful pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon flakey sea salt (I like to use Maldon salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and table salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing non-metallic bowl, with an electric beater, cream together the 2 sticks of butter, sugars and vanilla. If too stiff (you want the consistency of butter cream frosting), place bowl in microwave for 10-20 seconds.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each egg.

Beat in flour, in two or three additions. Stir in butterscotch chips.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small non-stick skillet – add pine nuts and toast, stirring with wooden spoon, being careful not to burn – pine nuts burn easily! If you burn them, start over! Remove from heat when butter is brown and foamy and pine nuts are perfectly golden and let cool for a few minutes, and then stir in salt and pepper.

Add to cookie dough, making sure to scrap all the brown butter goodness into bowl, and stir to incorporate.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place scant tablespoonfuls of dough onto paper, spacing about 1 inch apart.  Cookies will spread. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove and let cool on sheets for 3-4 minutes, remove cookies to racks and continue to cool until room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen cookies

http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Holidays-Catherine-Wilkinson-Santa-Salt-and-Pepper-Butterscotch-Pine-Nut-Cookies

A quick check in from day 3 of my Raw Food Green Smoothie Cleanse. It’s not easy but I’m actually kind of enjoying eating this way. My appetite has decreased, my skin is clearer (glowing actually) and I feel better in general. I’m thinking about possibly extending this cleanse past 7 days… but then again maybe not. I’m already dreaming about what my first non-raw meal will be (a big creamy Thai curry dish!). I must admit though I haven’t only been having smoothies; I’ve also been chomping on lots of big fresh salads and snacking on fruit.  Do whatever works for you, even if it’s just one fruit and veggie packed smoothie a day. For anyone interested in this eating movement I totally recommend trying to eat only raw food for one day and see how much better you will feel. Here is some more info about the cleanse from www.rawfoodsolution.com  Happy eating!