Sunday, November 30, 2014

Eat to Live


It was the night before I was to meet my visiting cousin for lunch. I haven't been feeling the best in the gut and have just started a new ( stronger ) dose of homeopathic remedy so I was nervous about where I could eat out. My cousin is also on a gluten free diet now too so I searched a bit harder to find a safe and enjoyable place to meet. I didn't feel like driving out to Vancouver to find a place where I could possibly indulge in a gluten free menu that is possibly filled with corn, soy, dairy and eggs, let alone Paleo options. I decided to type in "Paleo restaurant Vancouver" again, to see if something new will pop up.

The Living Cafe popped up, oh and it in Steveston. Bonus!

I liked their moto "Eat to Live". I reviewed their menu online and was wishful this could be a new addition to the far and few places where I can eat out.

I remember this location was a RAW food cafe before and it didn't look very busy, so I never bothered to try it. However I didn't know it had changed into a gluten and peanut free/ vegan and paleo option restaurant a year ago.

Herbivore Hash
Gluten free Quinoa Chocolate chip cookie for little man
Egg Free, refined sugar free chocolate chip cookie for me

As always, I asked the server what kinds of gluten free flour they use in their bakings and she smiled and said she could bring me the ingredient list. To my surprise she brought a thin binder filled with listings of every ingredient in all their baked goods. I was a little overwhelmed but impressed with how detailed they were. Later I learned the owner/ chef, Amanda Kroetsch is a celiac. I admire and applaud her dedication to open up a business that caters to an audience that has to be one notch above healthy eating, some of us are healing our bodies with food. The reason why any restaurant that caters to restrictive diet seems to be niche is because most people with special diets have limited choices and usually have to cook and eat at home. We have to plan ahead all the time or suffer the consequences of off limit poor food choices. Depending on the level of food sensitivity one has, it can be have a serious affect on someone. We cannot pop in anyway to grab a quick snack.  Until now, maybe some of us can take advantage of the curb side delivery service The Living Cafe provides or head on upstair for sit down.

What is so different about The Living Cafe is even though the chef is a celiac and her focus could be mainly on gluten free food, Amanda also offers many Vegan ( which means no egg or dairy ) and Paleo options on their menu.

In their retail section, you can find gluten free baguettes, breads and bone broth to take home.

Being on the AIP ( Autoimmune Protocol)  low FODMAP eating plan, I still have to ask and read up on the ingredients.  At The Living Cafe, the time and care they have taken to list all their ingredients for their customers have taken the anxiety out of the equation for me.  There are seeds used in some of the baked goods, but having the knowledge of the ingredients list helps me make proper food choices.

I look forward to making this one of my safe and relaxing eating out place. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

My healing soup

The sniffles have been hitting our household. First the older one got it, then the little one and me. Today I brought the little one along ( since he is missing school ) and went to the market to get all the ingredients for my healing soup. I'm sure every family has their recipe of a go to healing soup but here is mine.

Healing Soup

  • 1/2 chicken or 2 lbs of chicken parts 
  • 10 carrots, peeled and cut into 3" length 
  • 2-4 celery stalk, cut into 3" length  
  • 1/2 to 1 whole onion
  • 1/2" or more ginger root
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • Sea salt to taste 
  1. Added 10 c filtered water to slow cooker 
  2. Remove skin and fat from chicken, rinse and add to cooker. 
  3. Add prepped carrots and celery
  4. Add Apple Cider Vinegar, and tolerated herbs and spices. 
  5. Cook for 3 hrs on low, loosen chicken meat from bones, remove bones. 
  6. Take carrots out and blend. 
  7. Add back to soup and cook for another hour. Sea salt to taste.  
Here I added leftover beef and carrot stew to it to make a hardier meal. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

AIP crispy pork belly

Lately I have been really obsessed with making crispy pork. I had forgotten that as impressive as it looks, it is really quite easy and quite to make. The challenge is to find AIP friendly spices to create the traditional Asian crispy pork taste. I have made this one more of a fusion version, but I think the real importance is the crispy skin on top right?

AIP Crispy Porky Belly

Serves 4                      Prep time 10 mins                  Cook time 1 hour

  • 1 lb. Pork belly ( pasture is best, I buy mine from Big Bear Ranch, BC, Canada )
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • sea salt
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  1. Preheat oven to 475F, bring pot of hot water to boil ( big enough to semi submerge only the skin down)
  2. Scald pork belly skin only in hot water for a minute or so. The skin will shrink and tighten.
  3. Lay pork belly skin down and sprinkle and all spices on meat and sides, squeeze lime juice on meat side too and rub well. 
  4. Put seasoned pork belly ( skin side DOWN)  on wire rack roasting pan and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes
  5. Take pan out and flip th pork belly over exposing the skin side. Prick skin with shape knife. Rub Sea salt on skin and roast for another 25-30 minutes until skin is golden brown and crispy.
  6. You may need to broil it on High for 5 mins if the skin is not bubbling.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, cut and serve. I like to squeeze some lemon juice over the meat before serving. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snow Fungus Coconut milk papaya sweet soup

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  • 2c. water
  • 1/2" peeled and thinly sliced ginger root
  • 2-3 dates
  • 1/4 head ( 1/2c. after soaking ) snow fungus
  • 1/4 c.  cut or balled ripe papaya
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk ( I use AROY D organic kind )
Optional sweeten with maple syrup to taste


  1. Soak snow fungus in cold filtered water until soft, clean and remove any depris, cut into small pieces
  2. Bring water to boil, add ginger root, dates and snow fungus, simmer for 30 mins
  3. Add papaya balls right before serving. 

Since I have begun my healing food journey, my main focus was to learn how to cook and eat without foods that irritates my gut or triggers inflammatory responds in my system.

Most of the recipes I found were more Western approach, as much as I admit that I am a banana ( yellow outside and white inside ) I miss a lot of my childhood comfort foods. I was talking with my friend at that our Asian AIP angle might not appeal to as wide an audience, but this is my lifestyle meets my cultural upbringing and that is all that matter. If you are interested in more Asian AIP recipes, please go check Provincial Paleo out. In fact this recipe was directly inspired by her. Thanks Dora!

My favorite and so very rare dessert soup is the bird's nest in coconut milk dessert soup. This is a very expensive dish as the bird's nest is very difficult to harvest. To be more blunt, it is actually the saliva of the bird in the dish, it is said to be nourishing, youth preserving as most Asian ladies will tell you about it. I think I just like a yummy bowl of warm coconut dessert soup. Here is my poor man's version using snow fungus  Snow fungus also has great health benefit including supporting my anti-inflammatory lifestyle focus.  I hope you enjoy this warming sweet AIP dessert as much as I do.

Added coconut milk and papaya balls

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hot pot express

  • 1 pack frozen thinly sliced hot pot meat of your choice, I chose Lamb
  • Enough bone broth to cook the meat in around 3-4 c

For Paleo Flavouring:
  • 1 -2 tsp sunflower butter
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • sea salt to taste

For AIP Flavouring:
  • 1 - 2 EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp coconut aminos or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • other tolerated spices 

                      1. Bring bone broth to boil
                      2. Flash cook each slice of meat a few seconds in the boiling hot liquid
                      3. Remove quickly to prevent over cooking and rest in a bowl or plate. 
                      4. Add your choice of flavouring according to dietary needs. The cooking broth is now extra tasty with the flavours of the meat. 
                      5. Serve as a side soup along with your choice of vegetables.

                      Thinly slices lamb for hot pot

                      mixing in the sauce

                      If you have an Asian supermarket in your neighborhood where you can get thinly sliced meats prepared for hotpot cooking at home, here is a quick protein for the "feed the kids, feed myself and pick up baby sitter in 35 mins" kinda night.

                      Here, I porched some baby spinach and served my meat with carrots and green turnip.