From Saddle Up to Serving it Up
We have heard the terms "Pure as the driven snow”, "Pure culture" or "Pure Love", but when it comes to our food choices it feels important; especially in today’s environment where many are taking a deeper look into where the food they eat comes from. The trend to go beyond just reading ingredients to better understand the journey our food takes on its way to Market.
This helps with making an informed decision before purchasing for those customers who are eating consciously.
Who are the farmers? How are the animals raised or plants grown? Are the practices sustainable? Or fair-trade. Are pesticides involved? And how are the foods being processed? What about packaging? What’s the STORY?
Enquiring minds want to know, after all, many believe - we are what we eat.
One of my core beliefs around food and health is that there is a relationship between them. I truly believe that food is medicine and can be preventative if you create consistence healthy habits where you not only ENJOY your food, but take the Thyme to plan and prepare for optimum results.
It's not complicated unless you make it that way. Like any endeavor, whether it be a career goal, an exercise regime or travel plan; winging it will not get you the same results as when you plan and prepare. I don't mean perfection or having a huge attachment to the exact outcome, but simply organizing things to put you on the right path while allowing for a little flexibility for whatever comes up.
Life is like that right?
What I am talking about is really mindsets with an action plan.
Here are some basic tips from my own experience that I have found helpful.
I like to have an idea what my week will look like before I shop.
Make a list of what you plan to prepare and the time required.
If Wednesday is yoga class night or the kids soccer practice, then plan that meal with a quick timeline or prep a part of it before heading out.
If weekends or days off are your most productive time, plan to prep a few meals ahead for freezer. I like to do my baking or soups in that time and here is where I may use up some leftovers. Make it fun and take the chore out of it.
I make Saturday mornings my farmers market outing by adding a meet up with a friend for coffee, or I bring my daughter along and stop at the bakery for a treat after.
If you are trying out a new recipe, pick a time to make it when you are not stressed or tired.
Talk to someone who has inspired you and ask for advice. These people love to share. Trust me I know this person.
Plan to have leftovers. This is huge as it saves time later. Extra rice, pasta or grains make a quick meal another day. Extra roasted veggies, grilled meats or sauces can be added to soups, stews, salads, omelets and is another way to reduce food waste. You can always freeze portions too.
Plan a potluck. This doesn't mean you are always playing the host. You can meet up for a meal picnic style at the park or beach, or maybe you take turns with family and friends with the hosting. Here you are only responsible for one part of the meal and changing things up is a good thing.
Get together with a sister, friend or neighbor and double up. Prepare something together, split the cost of ingredients and make extra to take home for the freezer while getting a visit in at the same time.
Bottom line here is food is meant to be enjoyed.
Savor the taste and connect with the experience.
Find the joy, talk with the farmers, the butcher the baker and forget the candle maker. Do they still exist?
Buy the fresh flowers, set the table with cloth napkins.
It's worth the Thyme it takes.
Be well and ENJOY!
Follow me on the trail ride and I will
share my journey.
Many of us start out with an idea or a passion for something we see ourselves developing into a career.
I was always an active person. I enjoyed dancing, skiing and being in nature; but it was my love for horseback riding and everything that went along with that magnificent intuitive animal that lead me to my first chosen career.
I was thrilled to be in a select group of out of province applicants to attend Humber College Equine Studies, the only two year intensive equestrian program available in Canada.
So off I went from Vancouver to Toronto where I immersed myself in this wonderful world of equestrian knowledge and practical experience. I ate up everything the program had to offer.
After completing my two years, reality settled in (plus student loan) and I began my employment search.
This chase took me through many obstacles. Up steep hills and into deep valleys and then rather suddenly my course did a complete " Turn on the Haunches ". That's equestrian talk for an " About Face " or in my case... GO NORTH .
I landed a summer job in Dawson City (Yukon Terr.) working in a hotel as prep girl making mostly salads and desserts.
To back up here for a moment, my parents who were true foodies at heart taught me to appreciate the value of quality ingredients and how it contributes to our overall health. “ Everything in moderation " they would say. Little did I know how important this nugget of knowledge was going to carry me into the next phase of my life.
At this point I knew my equestrian career was trotting away.
And so the beginning of my foodie passion, coupled with a need to be creative, commenced.
I worked in various food service establishments while travelling, including a Heli-Ski resort and fine dining in the hospitality trade. I returned to Vancouver and opened a bagel cafe in the West End with a (not so silent) partner. Love my Dad, but being business partners had its challenges. I experienced a whole new learning curveas a young entrepreneur.
Later I decided to raise the bar and went back to school where I completed the professional training at Dubrulle French Culinary School (now AI Vancouver ). This landed me into the catering industry where I continued my passion for people, food and my love for developing recipes. During my catering years I got married, started a family and life was full on.
Having a family increased my awareness for providing healthy choices for snacks, beverages and foods with clean ingredients. I love to take a recipe and " Healthify " it. This is my made up word for replacing empty calories with more nutrient dense ingredients and lowering the sugar content, particularly with baking.
Fast forward to 2014... I officially said goodbye to catering andprivate contracts to form my current company " Chef Pola Culinary Inc .” I now focus on finding selective pure and sustainable brands to bring to the Canadian marketplace with my husband and sidekick Steven. He brings to the table over ten years of experience and relationships in the natural products industry.
This is the beginning of a wild RIDE , so hang onto your hats and follow along.
Yee Haw! Always a Cowgirl at heart.