Cooking with family!

I love cooking with family. It's easy and we always have a great turn out! My sister and I created an amazing dish together from scratch. It was so tasty, creamy, healthy and filling. My favourite part, it consists of all four food groups:
-Meat: chicken
-Dairy: goat cheese and plain yogurt
-Grains: quinoa
-Vegetables (and fruit!) : red peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, figs (fruit) and asparagus. 

Our stuffing: goat cheese and plain yogurt mixed with fresh baby spinach, sage, sautéed onions and mushrooms with figs and roasted red peppers

We then stuffed our chicken breasts

Seasoned the chickens and cook them in the oven for 30 min 

 Et voilà! As an accompaniment, we cooked quinoa in a tomato sauce with sage and saffron served with asparagus. So healthy and so delicious!

Moving to Ottawa when I was 18, away from the parents in Toronto, I had no other choice but to cook for myself! Luckily, I had moved in with my sister (C) and was not completely alone, it was just getting used to taking on more responsibilities and being independent.

Living with C for 3 years really inspired my style of cooking. We would make dinner together almost every night of the week and create a variety of tasty dishes without ever following a recipe. It was always so much fun too, we always laughed and joked around while cooking and I think that's what makes me associate cooking with pleasure. 

My sister loved spicy food at that time and I was still learning to acquire that talent to handle hot and spicy flavours. A few years of living with her and I became the queen of Siracha hot sauce! I now use hot spices and hot peppers to add some kick to my food, but I do have to watch out when cooking for those who aren't accustomed to that taste yet. 

Recently, since my sister had her first baby, I have been going over more often to help out with the cooking. I know her husband and her really appreciate it and I do it because I'm happy to :) 

Stay tuned for some more creations! 


Internship at St. Pat's Home

Six Weeks previous to my internship at the Casino, I had an internship at a long term care home in September 2012 in food services. It was completely a different setting from the Casino of course, especially in terms of food preparation and menu planning which is based on accommodating different diets for the residents of the home. However, we still had fun in the kitchen and I had the opportunity to get creative in this setting as well.

I felt so welcome by all the staff at St. Pat's and they had so much to offer me during my placement. I had a great preceptor who was also one of the best mentors I have ever had. He guided me through my learning experience for the 6 weeks while I was there and he always pushed me to "dig deeper" and I really appreciated this about him. He encouraged me and gave me responsibilities which allowed me to work independently. By the end of my internship, he was proud with the results and gave me such great feedback! I can't forget about the supervisors who were also very helpful and friendly, they all made my 6 weeks internship very enjoyable!

Halloween 2012

For Halloween we made pumpkin cheese cakes with a caramel coating and they turned out delicious! 

I know you're thinking, "well this isn't nutritious!"... I did mention before that a few treats here and there are ok in moderate amounts. And I say, if you make it yourself, at least your controling the added ingredients. It's usually a better option as opposed to buying store-bought cheese cakes for example, usually containing high amounts of trans fats and foreign ingredients such as modified palm oil. 

Lunch and Learn!

During this internship, I was assigned to do a project which consisted of presenting a "Lunch and Learn" on calcium for all staff, residence and guests. With no specific guidelines, I did some research and got my hands on some great sources from Dairy Farmer's of Canada, Dairy Goodness and Dairy Info and Canadian Dairy Information Centre, along with other resources from Osteoporosis Canada and several text books. I covered the benefits, requirements and needs as well as going over the impact that of which a deficiency can cause.

Sneak Peak to a few slides from my presentation

At the end of my presentation, I served samples of snacks which I prepared that morning. They consisted of a yogurt parfait, kale chips and a cauliflower cheddar cheese soup, all representing sources of calcium!

Here is a great recipe I tried one day for a vegetarian staff member. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of this great turnout since I didn't start thinking about blogging until later, but try it out and I guarantee it will be a hit!

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
12 ounces black beans (1 ½ cups) canned or homemade, drained
½ cup cooked spelt
2 ½ cups cooked quinoa
¼ cup of parsley
½ cup of green onions
1 tsp poultry seasoning or other spice blend
1 tsp paprika
2 tblsp of soy sauce
2 tblsp flour
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
Pinch of cayenne pepper and curry powder
All-purpose flour for dusting
Oil, for cooking


In a food processor, add the onion and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and oats and pulse until well mixed. Don’t puree the mixture. Remove the mixture to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the quinoa, parsley, poultry seasoning, smoked paprika, flour and all the other spices. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed to help the burger mixture stick together, although you don’t want to make the mixture too moist. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thoroughly mix the ingredients, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Portion the burger mixture with an ice cream scoop, and press into 2 ½ -3 inch patties.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and lightly coat or spray with olive oil. Place the brown rice flour on a small plate and dust the burgers on all sides with the flour. Add the burgers to the hot skillet. Cook the patties for about 5 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy. Reduce the heat to medium, if necessary, to continue cooking without burning. Add more olive oil as necessary, to keep the burgers from sticking. Flip the burgers over and cook on other side.
Remove the burgers from the skillet and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the burgers on a fresh, whole grain bun with all your condiments of choice (lettuce, tomatoes, sautéed onions, mustard, pickles, hot banana peppers, cheese…)

 Thank you St. Pat's for a great experience! 

You can order a "My Plate Mate Guide to Healthy Eating" for FREE at www.naturallyunique.ca
And visit these web sites for more information:


Internship at the Casino! (3rd year nutrition)

I was interning in Food Services at the Casino of Lac Leamy in Gatineau, QC for 6 weeks in November 2012 and had such a great experience working with the executive chef and all the other fantastic chefs on the team. You might be wondering how this type of internship would be related to nutrition, but it was just the perfect culinary experience ever. As I mentioned before, cooking is the first step to a healthy lifestyle, therefore these are the basics and this is where you are exposed to food all day for 12 weeks, it's awesome! I was so close to opting out of nutrition to become a chef... just kidding!

My first week in, the exec chef invites me to participate in the the prep for the Cancer Society Gala of 500 guests. This was something I had never experienced before (and I have been working in the food industry now for 7 years).

There were over 20 chefs in the kitchen and multiple sous chefs. It was amazing how they were all working together to plate and decorate 500 plates to be served all at the same time. It was fascinating to watch and to take part in that process. I felt like there was so much stress and anxiety, but it's a different kind of stress, it's more like a race because you are so limited with time and have to plate everything with such precision, detail and perfection... it was really something else!

 This is could be on that show: The most amazing this I ever ate. It was a type of deep fried melted cheese ball with a drizzle of caramel. You had those sweet and salty flavours that just made a perfect combination. 

 These slushy type of cocktails are called "Granité" and are meant for a palate cleanser in between courses. 


In a nut shell, this is what I did for the next few weeks...

Learning how to make chocolate shavings... with "chocolat praliné" aka caramel chocolate. 

Preping christmas logs or "buche de noël"

christmas logs

This was on my to do list, learn how to make French Macarons (not macaroons, completely different)
They were perfect.

Tasted some fine dining food from the Bacarra (I highly recomend trying this restaurant, it's so amazing!)


For my big final project, I did a theme day for the cafeteria for the 800 staff at the casino. I chose to make it Armenian themed since it represents my culture and is ideal for a nutrition related menu. Armenian food tends to be very healthy, our cooking consists of a huge variety of vegetables, fresh herbs, grilled meats, grains and you will probably find garlic and onion in 99% of the meals. I also installed a nutrition booth for all the staff, giving them useful info, providing them with all the recipes and calories... and answering questions.  

 Baklava was probably the only "unhealthy" item on my menu... but I definitely got great feedback on these!

Armenian style Grilled Veggie Salad.. Also a huge hit!

My nutrition kiosk

 The pomegranate glazed salmon dish with green beans in a tomato sauce on my menu. 
A pomegranate glaze being prepared for the salmon dish!

And last but not least: Bulgur in a tomato sauce (cracked wheat), babaganoush (eggplant dip) and grilled veggie salad. 

Guilty, I love treats!

Even though I study nutrition and I'm all about health, I'm still a normal type of girl and love my sweet treats! Just like I mentioned in my blog's intro, you just can't deprive yourself from anything, it'll make you go crazy... moderation is key. Also, mentally keep track of what you've eaten during the day to not over do it.

A dietitian, whom I've worked for about 3 years now, believes in setting yourself up for success!
I couldn't agree with her more. She says the home should be a safe place where we are not surrounded by those junk foods that haunt us and if you really want that chocolate bar, you should at least make the effort to walk to the corner store. Just don't bring it in the house!

I've been living like this for a while now, and really believe if you want your treat, make it a special moment to indulge in those "bad foods"...

This is how I set my self up for success (inspired by Chef Mike Smith and my 2 older sisters)
These mason jars are a trend that I just love! Not only because they have that granola/hipster look, but mainly because it is an extremely convenient way of cooking and reaching for your healthy snacks like walnuts, cranberries and almonds and every other nut you can think of, I've got it!

I also have a variety of grains, such as Rolled oats and cream of wheat (love my hot breakfast cereals), quinoa, wheat germ (good source of vitamine B6), ground flax seed (source of omega 3 and fiber), chia seeds (omega 3, omega 6, vitamins and minerals)... Just giving you an idea of a variety of good sources of for these vitamins that can help prevent cancers, improve heart health and decrease the risk of diseases.

Here is a new grain that I have added to my collection recently. It's Kamut. I had heard about this grain in class when we were discussing about Coeliac disease, and unfortunately they must cut out all wheat products from their diet. I am only in favour of the Gluten Free diet when it comes to being coeliac, and I thought I should explore different grains out there that do not contain wheat. I can now say that I like this grain and suggest this to my future clients so they can compensate for nutrients that may be lost with their restricted diet.

And I decided to add a little Kamut to a salad which is my mom's famous salad recipe... (My family adores parsley FYI, so you may notice that I use this herb quite often)


Back to my guilty pleasure...

My favourite way of enjoying my treats are mostly by trying a dessert that is worth the calories or even simply walking to Stella Luna with a friend and grabbing the best gelato in town.

By the way, here is something unexplainably delicious that I tried in Montreal last saturday. A true French pastry called Millefeuille (meaning 1000 papers if you translate the word in french) from Olivier Potier's  Bakery. Best part, the vanilla bean infused custard!

 And because I have had this amazing treat last saturday (which probably cost me about 700 calories alone, not mentioning the latte that accompanied this dessert) I try to make sure that the rest of the day/next 3 days are reasonable in what I consume (basically very little sweets and more healthful foods)

Here's an example of what I've prepared today. Those who know me well enough know that I'm always on the go, either working one of my 3 jobs or studying. I just really love eating tasty healthy food and always make time to prepare a good a meal or healthy lunches, especially when I have a late class from 7-10pm at night! Can't let those late classes ruin my dinner. 


March: Nutrition Month!

March is nutrition month! This can relate to spring season being right around the corner. Anticipating those longer sunny days and possibilities of being more active outdoors creates a rush for some of us to want to be more healthy. I always feel that natural fresh savoury foods simply bring me a “feel good” feeling, and what better way to start spring with a boost? Obviously, I would say... nutrition!

Welcome to my new blog! As a third year student, doing my second undergrad in nutritional sciences at the University of Ottawa, I have to come realize that no matter how many years of experience you gain within your field, you are not credible until you get that certificate with your name on it.

I have roughly one more year and two months left until I can call myself a registered dietitian, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t share my passion with all of you and show you all the benefits that eating healthy can bring!

I would mostly like to share with you my philosophy on what is considered to be "healthy eating" and showing you that choosing the right nutritious foods can be easy. Cooking is an essential step to eating healthy and contributes to the enjoyment and appreciation of your own meals. I love cooking and especially creating new recipes. Being creative develops with time, but the basics will still take you to a whole new world of "clean" eating and appetizing meals.

Eating healthy does not mean you must deprive yourself from those sweets and guilty pleasure foods either… We all know that a balanced lifestyle keeps us happy, so don’t start up a strict healthy diet if you don’t want to fail in the long run.

I understand that there are many people out there who may not agree with my nutrition philosophy… But I would like to invite you to follow my blog and take in what you want. I will tell you right now, you may not enjoy my blog if you are:

b) On a gluten free diet because you think gluten will make you fat
c) On a paleo/caveman diet because you think protein is the most important nutrient out there and grains are the most horrible thing for your health
d) A milk hater because you think that humans aren’t supposed to drink milk 


From your soon to be dietitian, Nutri T