Saturday, 27 November 2010

It's Specialty Food Time at the "Paris Village de Noel" - Christmas Market, Champs Elysees, Paris, France

The first Christmas market in Paris opened a week early this year, along l'avenue de Champs Elysees. On a very cold night, my daughter and I decided to check it out. It's the usual stalls of things for the season's gift giving or for personal use, but then the aroma of the food stalls beckoned us to come closer...dinner it will be in lieu of shopping.

Our walk began after hearing mass, and right about the the cross-section of avenue Montaigne and rue Francois 1er,...

we had to make a decision...a turn left on the avenue would lead us to the Pont d'Alma for a magnificent view of the Tour Eiffel, while a turn to the right, which is what we took, was going to get us to the ...
Rond Point de Champs Elysees (a 6-way intersection)... the beginning of the Christmas market. We underestimated the cold temperature and found it rather cold. The first practical choice was to get warmed up...

with a glass of vin chaud! It's warmed wine with spices...but in 5 minutes, the drink was cold!

So many people are out here, shopping and dining this weekend. Here are the food options:

different types of sausages...including Merguez, Andouille, Boudin, Saucisse de Toulouse...serve on a baguette with pom frites (French fries).

How about this tartiflette, a dish made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, cream, and lardons (French bacon), and with diced or sliced onions. 

This was my choice...a Norwegian specialty...more healthy than the rest: Salmon that is grilled, sandwiched between 2 smoked, wooden slabs...
served with salad on a baguette, and topped with fresh cream.

A restaurant was set up for oysters, as this is the season for it. I had to keep away from this as I could get a severe allergic reaction just by getting a whiff of the seafood scent. I could see from the peoples' faces how deliciously good they were.

My daughter opted for a barquette of pom frites, topped with tartar, curry and snack sauces...that came out a bit spicy.

Maybe I'll have a Gyro sandwich known as kebab royal, decadently served with a salad and with sauces of your choice...and optional is a side order of pom frites.

There was not much time for dessert as our toes were freezing by the time we had walked the whole length of the Christmas market. Maybe tomorrow, we will check them out. We noticed new items tempting us to sample them. I'll tell you about those soon.

It's time to turn around, right here by the stop light before Place de la Concorde and go home to get warmed up.

It's a treat to be able to try these specialty foods without having to prepare them myself. Once in awhile will do it for me, as most of these I have removed from my list of foods to eat, daily. I think I am becoming more of a gourmand and less of a glutton!

We are back at the rond point, and soon we will be back home...just another 10 minute walk. Good night!

A Health Food: Chunky Guacamole

On regular days or on special occasions, guacomole is a much requested food item by my children. Of all the ways I had prepared it, this has come to be the favorite. I like it chunky.

1 to 2 pieces of avocado, at the ripening stage but still a bit firm
1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon (depending on the size)
1/4 C. of Coriander (cilantro)
Half a medium sized onion, diced
1/2 tsp. of garlic, finely chopped or garlic pressed (lessen quantity according to your preferences)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. In a bowl, throw in the garlic, chopped onion, chopped coriander (cilantro)
2. Cut avocado into halves. Take each half and score the meat with the blunt side of you knife in a diagonal direction, then crisscross in another direction.

3. Scoop the meat into the bowl with the other ingredients, squeeze lemon for the juice to land on the top of the avocado meat, season with sea salt and pepper and toss lightly, and lastly drizzle some EVOO over it and give it one more toss. Adding some EVOO gives it a Mediterranean flavor, and along with the lemon juice it also helps keep the avocado from turning brownish. Here is the finished product, ready to be enjoyed with some corn chips.

When I do prepare my food, most of the time I eyeball most of my proportions. Note the adjustments you make as to how much of each ingredient you use to make that perfect guacamole, according to your taste.

Avocado is a super food. ( I also emphasize the use of sea salt (sparingly) in your meal preparations, as long as it is from a good source and you get your iodine from the other food sources such as in seafood, milk, some meats, and eggs. (

Usually, I buy my avocados in their unripened state. When I get home, I place them in a paper bag and store the bag in a dark place, checking in a day or two to see how much it has ripened. Once ripened, I either prepare it for consumption or store it in the refrigerator.

Avocado is something I serve once or twice a week. It is a rich, tasty addition to my other salsa recipes and my salads, bringing texture, color and good nutrition. As a kid I used to eat it with milk and sugar, and my mom used to make home-made ice cream with it, something I also used to make for my kids when they were growing up.

Get into the habit of eating well. Eat avocados more often.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A New Way of Eating, A new Way of Living: Part 2 - Soups, Salsas, Salads and More

In my version of the raw-food diet, juicing is complemented by what I prepare for my meals.

My breakfast, lunch and dinner meals need to be varied so I don't tire of what I eat. I highly emphasize the importance of organic ingredients, so I get the much needed nutrients to bring my body to a healthy state where it can heal itself without taking medication, and to also keep out the toxins found in regularly farmed and produced/processed foods.

So what do I eat for my main courses? Mostly soups, salsas and salads...

My soups are made from the fiber leftover from juicing. They being organic means that they will be still rich in nutrition even after the juice has been squeezed out.

My typical home-made soup is prepared this way:
1. Melt 1/2 tsp of butter, add finely sliced leeks, add the vegetable fiber left over from juicing (carrots, squash, sweet potato for my orange-colored soup; broccoli, spinach for my green-colored soup)
2. add cut up celery, a diced potato or 2, some herbs, and season with sea salt and pepper.
3. Then add enough filtered water to bring it to a boil. When potatoes are done, check consistency and add more water to thin out when necessary.
4. The last step before serving is to blender the soup (to aerate and and give it a light and smooth consistency), pour into a bowl, and sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley or coriander.
Optional: sprinkle grated parmesan cheese.

My salsas, all made out of fresh ingredients from scratch, come in handy in a variety of ways: as accompaniment to chips; as a side dish or garnishing for a main course. For a basic salsa recipe go to Vary by adding other fruit or vegetable ingredient/s of your choice.

Here are a few of my salsa favorites:

Pineapple-Kiwi salsa

Avocado-Tomato salsa

Mango-Tomato salsa

Guacamole...recipe link:

My salad creations are made impromptu, but planned in a way...all put together depending on what I have in my veggie drawer, what I prepared as salad topping, or left overs,...

or set up as a salad station, for each to concoct his own.

Here is how I prepare my basic salad ingredients:
1. Salad greens - the greener and colorful, the better, like spinach, arugula, mesclun, romaine, mache
After cleaning and rinsing the leaves, soak them in a bowl of filtered water sprinkled with a capful of organic apple-cider vinegar (ACV). This solution will rinse off further any residue left on the leaves and hydrate them to make them more firm and crunchy, hence, I use filtered water and organic ACV as they get into the salad leaves.

2. Quinoa - cook like rice on the rice cooker or stove-top. The proportion is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and turn off when there is almost no water left, and keep slightly uncovered so the left over water is allowed to steam off. The quinoa dries up without getting burned. Set aside to cool.

Quinoa is the highest source for protein in the plant kingdom plus it is a rich source for manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper, phosphorous, all good for cardiovascular health, may help prevent breast cancer and gallstone, good for migraine sufferers, among other things. The secret to my quinoa food preparation is the vinaigrette salad dressing which I make before hand; then, add dice onion plus the other diced vegetables. The flavor varies from ala Mediterranean, Greek, to Mexican all designed by what ingredients are added...I'm sure you have your own ideas of how you want to garnish your quinoa. Do share them with me, please.

3. Vinaigrette - 2 Tbsp. ACV + 1 tsp. of mustard (less if Dijon mustard) + 4 Tbsp EVOO - a little at a time while blending, sea salt and pepper to taste. Add one finely diced red onion. Add other diced or cut up toppings you want to include in your salad. here are some ideas.

Eating this way has been another creative outlet for me. I am using organically grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, whenever they are available. Occasionally, I eat free range-chicken, grass-fed meat, and fish caught in the wild.

Pan-fried salmon steak with an added Mexican touch in the mango salsa and the salad ingredients

My own recipe of "Scampi" with a spinach-curried brown rice salad

Some of my salad creations, using leftovers...

Inspired by the Macho Salad served at Bandera in Newport Beach, CA, this is made with mesclun salad leaves, leftovers of roasted chicken breast , with the addition of dates, avocado wedges, 
slivered almonds and cherry-grape tomatoes

Greek inspired salad on a bed of arugula, with left over pan-fried chicken breast, 
pecan nuts and pickled olives

Making my food preparations beautifully palatable is an artistic expression. Each ingredient I use has a health benefit. Although I spend more time in the kitchen now, I don't mind it as I know what I am feeding my family and guests. I win the hearts of many through their stomachs!

Remember, we need to turn into gourmands and stop being gluttons. Eat Healthy.

Monday, 22 November 2010

A New Way of Eating, A New Way of Living - Part 1: Juicing

I am on a preventive course as I try to be healthy. Because both my parents lived into their nineties, I would like to be as healthy as possible if I ever get to that age.

I am alarmed at how many of my family and friends have been afflicted by heart disease, diabetes, nerve -related diseases, mental diseases, and cancer. I am saddened that some of them have passed at a relatively young age.

I first heard about the Gerson Therapy from a homeopathic doctor, who recommended it for healthy eating, to help or prevent developing diseases. My DNA predisposes me to contracting some serious illnesses. I got very interested in it and did some research. From this link,, I gathered so much more information as I started to click on the other links on the right-hand column. This is not just an alternative-cancer treatment, it helps heal the body.

There is also a link in Youtube that is very informative: This was the first solid information that I got, via a seminar given by Charlotte Gerson, that led me to juicing.

My son had introduced me to the raw-food diet several years back. Thanks to the websites in the internet, it is easy to find information on the curative and nutritional values of fruits, grains and vegetables.

I finally put my heart and mind into this after I was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis early this year, for which the doctor said there was no cure as it is a consequence of aging. I am a vegetarian during most days of the week, supplementing it by eating fish once or every two weeks, and adding eggs and yogurt to my diet from time to time, and having occasional cheese treats. But mind you, I end up cheating once in a while with chocolates, pastries, and chips. To keep me from doing this, I avoid buying packaged, processed food stuff.

I am looking to also eliminate dairy products from my diet as I am lactose intolerant. Jane Plant makes for a convincing case as to why we do not need dairy products in our diets.

Typically, I start my day with a glass of organic apple-cider vinegar (ACV)/honey drink and also before each meal. ACV helps our body to become more alkaline, which helps the body to heal.

After, that is followed by juicing fruits and basic combination is green apple, broccoli and carrots. Apples and grapes are my sweetening agents. I also have other combinations by using or adding celery and parsley, bell peppers, sweet potato, squash, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, kiwi, pineapple, and more. Anything I find in my veggie box in my refrigeration is always a probable ingredient for juicing. They all have nutritional benefits.

In-between meals, I have servings of fruits and nuts that have been previously soaked,, or take another glass of freshly-made juice.
On a daily basis, I consume between 4 to 6 lbs. of raw fruits and vegetables, using organic when available, which means juicing 2 to 4 glasses a day. I increase my juice intake whenever I can. Each glass of juice is prepared for immediate consumption, with the use of a "masticating" juicer.

From the variety that I include in my daily diet, I am getting my daily requirements of vitamins and nutrients from these plant sources, therefore, there is no need to take the many vitamin supplements I used to. I am aware of possible deficiencies from being a vegetarian, so I pay special attention to specific vegetarian sources for protein, calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex and iron sources. For now, I still take calcium, Vitamin B-12 and multi-vitamins (to finish my supply, and fish oil).

You might be wondering what this dietary changes have done for me. For the most part, my pain level has gone down. The pain in my neck area, my chronic tennis elbow, and joint pain on my left knee have disappeared. This positive consequences have encouraged me to continue on this food path.

This lifestyle change in how I eat finds me spending more time in the kitchen to prepare my food. What I save from buying vitamins and supplements are used to buy organic supplies which are triple the price. My rationale behind this is I will be saving on medical costs when I grow older.

In Dr. Amen's book "Change your Brain, Change your Life" the brain can be healed from the consequences resulting from the abusive use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco; exposure to environmental toxins, and chemical exposure to one's trade. It is possible with a turn to a healthy lifestyle - a high-quality diet and regular exercise.

I noticed that when I am not in control of what I eat, my pain and body aches return. This happens when I go on a trip or eat out often.

May I invite you to take a look at how you can become healthy. My diet is just as important as my exercise routine. It would be super to grow old with all of you, and still be able to meet up and have a great time, spend time on FB, and maintain a good quality of life.

I am off to the kitchen now for another glass of juice! Then, I will be working on Part 2: Soups, Salsas, and Salads.


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