Tag Archives: foodie

Turkish soup & salad healthy lunch 

This lunch, ordered in, looked so good I had to let’s you guys peek. Sometimes you feel like taking a break from meat, keeping it plant-based and vegetarian. 

Here’s the order: 

Lentil soup, which came with bread, and a Mediterranean salad. Here’s what it look like when it arrived: 


Turkish food delivery. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Here’s what it look like after unwrapping:


Red lentil soup and Mediterranean salad. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Looks so delicious my mouth is watering. Here’s a close-up of the salad:


Mediterranean salad. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
What is your favorite soup and salad combo?



The nutritional anti-inflammatory benefits of chives

They’re one of my favourite herbs. They are so perfect on a baked potato with sour cream, baked into cheesy toast or a main flavoring inside dumplings.



Chopping chives. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

I love how fresh green stuff always has a long list of nutritional benefits.

Chives are no exception:
How do you best enjoy chives?


Why are some people eating scuttlebutt and what is it?

Apparently scuttlebutt is in season right now. What is it you ask? It’s a delicious sandwich of course!

Here is what one half of the scuttlebutt looks like:


One half of scuttlebutt. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Not long after it’ll look like a crazy mess in your hands. But from what I have heard, and they are good sources, all is good in scuttlebutt heaven. 


Someone is now getting into the scuttlebutt. Photography and eating by Rizwan Alvi
In fact, I am surprised I got these pictures at all. You know how it is sometimes – so busy eating don’t have the energy to take a picture.


Inhalation of the scuttlebutt. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
One final picture of messy but delicious scuttlebutt:


Polishing off the scuttlebutt. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

Have you ever tried scuttlebutt? Have you ever heard of it? Would you like to try one day?


Making a cheese and tomato sandwich for work

In my quest for a good work sandwich, I wondered how to make a boring cheese and tomato sandwich more exciting and up to date. How will I make this tomato and cheese sandwich modern?

First, slice the flax bread.

And then one side gets sun-dried tomato and onion chutney and the other side gets fresh rosemary mayo.

Fresh rosemary Mayo is just ordinary mayo with finely chopped rosemary spread into it.

Then we add the layers. Finally sliced tomato. Aged cheddar cheese. Butter lettuce. Fresh basil leaves. Pea sprouts. And cucumber.

And then pack the sandwiches up nice and tight! To eat at work the next day.

What are your favorite sandwiches to make for work?



What foods are in season? 

It’s helpful to know which food are in season, so you know what is most fresh and cheaper at the market.

Use that chart to help you at the grocery store or farmers market.


Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Multicolored carrots. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

When you can’t get your favourite fruits in season, you can opt for dried. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
What do you love to buy right now? Is it in season?



A plant-based trip to the Chinese market

Plant based food contain a high number of nutrients, high amount of fibre and of course low in fat. 

Sometimes just walking around the market can inspire you to cook a new vegetable.


Broccoli at the Chinese market. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

Who knows what color of vegetable will strike your fancy. There are so many recipes for vegetables.


Chinese eggplant. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Eat the rainbow. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Chinese broccoli ( Gai-lan ) Photography by Rizwan Alvi
Fresh ginger for sale at the Chinese market. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

Does this inspire you to cook with plant-based foods? Have you used to these ingredients before?

Have a great, happy, healthy week!


Chicken split pea soup recipe

This warm winter soup recipe is great for so many reasons: health-wise it’s high in protein and low in fat. It’s even got vitamins, minerals and fiber. It’s very easy to make, if you don’t mind letting a soup simmer on the stove for a few hours while you do other things, stirring ever hour or so. It’s also so delicious. You have a great mingling of spices, spinach, butternut squash, chicken, onions and of course the star of the dish – what gives it the thick wonderful consistency of a stew – yellow split peas.

Yellow split peas are low in fat and high in fibre & protein.

Here are some basic nutritional facts for yellow split peas:

Here’s a great winter recipe that I learned from my cousin’s wife. She uses chicken on the bone. To keep mine lowfat I use rotisserie chicken breast.


450 grams yellow split peas (half the bag)
2 cups diced butternut squash
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic purée
1 teaspoon ginger purée
2 cup spinach or 1/2 package frozen spinach
2 pieces rotisserie chicken breast, diced
Salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons dal spice mix (tumeric, Red chili, black pepper, cumin, coriander, brown Cardiman, green cardamom, dehydrated dill, citric acid)


  1. Fry diced onions in olive oil with salt, pepper and dried spice mix. Cook under medium heat for about 6-8 minutes and you can smell the aroma.
  2. Add rinsed yellow split peas, garlic and ginger. Stir to mix.
  3. Add butternut squash and spinach. Stir.
  4. Add stock and cooked chicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer for four hours, stirring once an hour, until squash and lentils almost dissolve.


I used a mixture of diced red and yellow onion because that’s what I had. I fried the onions in the mixture of spices and olive oil. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai
Add pureed ginger and garlic. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai
Add the yellow split peas and stir to blend flavors. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai
After adding other ingredients including water, butternut squash and spinach. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai
After a few hours of simmering, about 3-4, the yellow split peas and squash will dissolve and create a very thick delicious and healthy soup. After adding other ingredients including water, butternut squash and spinach. Photography and recipe by Serena Alibhai

It was very delicious by the way! Plus nutrient dense so a great weight loss dish.

Have you ever cooked with yellow split peas? Do you enjoy lentils?




Creamy tangy homemade salad dressing

Usually I drizzle extra virgin virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and a couple cranks of salt and pepper on the greens.

But since I’m trying to keep my work salads purely vegetarian this week, I thought I would up the ante on the salad dressing.

This was my concoction. I think it’s pretty good.

I made enough salad dressing here for about 3 to 4 salads. I’m not very generous with dressing.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
A couple of shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 squeeze anchovy paste
Half teaspoon garlic pepper
Couple of cranks sea salt
2 dashes balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sour cream


Mix all together. Keep in fridge for up to 72 hours. Use on salad as dressing.

Start with extra virgin olive oil.
Maille Dijon Mustard is my favorite.
Worcestershire sauce is hard to spell. And pronounce. Also it adds great flavor.
Making salad dressing.
Anchovy paste.
Garlic pepper seasoning.
Grind in sea salt.
Mix your homemade salad dressing.
Mix in sour cream.
Add balsamic vinegar.


Mix homemade salad dressing thoroughly.
Use homemade salad dressing on greens.

Do you make your own salad dressing? If so, what is your favorite?


The France diet: 3 subtle differences in the way the French eat

I’ve lived with and around French people for a lot of my life and I’ve noticed a real difference in how they eat.

I also like French food: it’s simple, high quality and prepared with attention and care. Here are three subtle differences in the way they eat, as compared to North Americans:

1. Amount of food

Escargot. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto
French salad before dinner. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto
Beef with potatoes. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

French cuisine is often served in much smaller proportion’s then our North American serving sizes.

2. Savoring the flavor

The French sit down & take their time to savour each bite of food slowly and with appreciation.

The French typically take more than double the amount of time we do to eat a meal. And this is healthy behavior.

It takes an average of 15 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full. This makes it more likely that you will stop eating when you are satisfied as opposed to stuffed.

The art of cutting meat. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto
Vegetables. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto
Lunch in France. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

3. No counting or measuring

The French are not counting macros like proteins are carbs or fat’s on a regular basis. They are not scared of food groups. They eat everything. More accurately, they taste everything.

Nothing is off-limits, not even dessert. But do you have to eat the whole thing? No. You eat when you are full and sharing is encouraged.

French chocolate mousse with ice cream. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto
Chocolate cake with ice cream. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto
Dinner in France. Meat, potatoes, vegetables, wine and bread. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto


5 simple guidelines on good nutrition and clean eating

The lovely Arlen of the blog Cultivating Elegance commented yesterday:

I love your posts, I’m now walking to the gym and I agree with all ur points. What to me is more important is food because no matter how much you workout if you don’t have good nutrition you won’t see the difference in your body.

Well said. Arlen, you’re right. Food is so important. You could work in the gym as much as you want but if you’re eating the wrong foods then you won’t see the best results possible.

Before I get into a general talk on what foods are good for your body, I want to say that Arlen’s blog is really one of my favorites. She speaks on relationships, marriage, motherhood, beauty and recipes and I enjoy reading her straightforward interesting voice.

Ok now. Food. Here are five simple guidelines on good nutrition and clean eating:

1. Choose complex carbs over simple ones.

This is simple. Get rid of the overly processed white flour and white sugar. These are foods like donuts, white bread, pancakes, cakes, cookies, soda, and those delicious rare kind of pastry treats that cost five dollars for a little bite.

But lets get real too, ok team?

I love those things and I want to eat them! I want to eat everything. So let’s remember our next rule for clean eating:

2. Everything in moderation

Eat what you want but don’t eat the whole thing. Share a donut or eat half of the sandwich and save the rest for later. And in the meanwhile, don’t forget to fill up on … and our next rule:

3. Load up on nutrient dense foods.

Nutrient dense foods are low in calories and fill you up. They are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. (Think the white part of the apple is soluble fibre and the skin is insoluble.) Nutrient dense foods are all veggies: celery, spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, etc. 

 Also eat food like beans and lentils. They are also high in the healthy kind of fibre that helps scrub your small and large intestines of all the gunk.

4. Don’t forget about fats.

Eat healthy fats everyday. This will keep your organs, eyes, skin and brain in good function but will also help to curb cravings for bad fats like deep fried foods and too much meat. Fatty fish, however, is a good healthy fat:

Eat healthy fats like olives, avocados, dark chocolate, flax, coconut oil, butter, eggs and nuts.

5. Drink lots of water.

Water is needed to metabolize your fat guys. You need a lot. Your body is metabolizing, building muscle if you’re working out, solving problems and your body needs a healthy supply of water to do the miraculous things it does everyday.

Did I miss something important? I bet I did! Let me know. Comments and questions are always welcome as usual.