Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Café My House

On Friday night, in the middle of a snowstorm (or the aftermath of one), the boy and I ventured out to Café My House for dinner. I had "won" a free meal via a little facebook/twitter contest so I was anxious to get there and get my free meal!

I've been to Café My House for brunch twice before this trip and had a wonderful experience both times. Their menu is the same whether you are out to dinner or out to brunch, which may seem a little odd, but not so, many of their brunch dishes are lovely dinner mains.

Take for example my dinner on this visit, Herbivore’s Tempeh Burrito with Edamame Guacamole (organic tempeh/brown rice/cilantro/kale/black bean/vegan cheese/house edamame guacamole/organic multigrain tortilla wrap), is actually on the brunch menu but I had it for dinner and it was perfect and delicious! I asked for it to be made with a gluten-free tortilla, rather than the whole wheat one. I was warned that the burrito may fall apart, as I well know... brown rice tortillas just don't have the flexibility that wheat ones do – but I was lucky and mine held up fine. The flavours melded beautifully and the guacamole had just that little kick I wanted.

The BF had the Spicy Smoked Salmon Roll (capers/dill/cucumber/lemon zest/spicy mayo/avocado/green onion/smoked salmon/brown rice). It came out wrapped in nori, like large 7-8 large sushi roll pieces and just beautifully plated and equally delicious.

Both dishes were spectacular.

We finished off the night with one of their ever changing raw, gluten-free, vegan desserts. If you follow them on twitter, you'll be salivating as they are always posting their most recent dessert concoctions! There were three to choose from and we chose the strawberry and cream cake and were not disappointed. It was very similar to this dessert, which I've made twice. I spoke to our waitress about it and she confirmed it is a very similar recipe.

In my very humble opinion, Café My House is top notch and their food can be considered high end. The service has always been very friendly and the atmosphere is cozy and unpretentious – just my style! But if you make the trek out to Bank and Alta Vista you'll see and taste for yourself the deliciousness that is there!

P.S., Sorry for the lack of photos... I know, how could I post this without photos! But to be honest, nothing I would have taken with my iPhone would have turned out anyway, as the lighting was much too dim (lovely for dining, bad for photos). You'll just have to take my word for how good it was; and my word is good, promise!

Café My House
1729 Bank Street (Bank Street/Alta Vista Drive)
Ottawa, Ontario


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My new weekend pastime: Juicing!

If anyone follows me on Instagram (@raes_16), you will have noticed that for the last two weekends I have been juicing! Oh what fun it's been! And I don't even have a fancy, expensive juicer!

I will admit to being spurred on by reading this blog post from a lovely Ottawa-gal, who I happened to meet in Toronto last fall while attending some classes with Meghan Telpner. I've known how to juice without a juicer for a while now, but sometimes you just need a little push or a little inspiration, and that's what Alexa's post did for me.

And in I dove, and now I'm hooked. Don't be scared, minimal equipment is required:
  • blender
  • nut milking sac
  • bowl (I use a large 4+ cup liquid measuring cup – it's just easier to pour that way!) 

And very easy process (photos of step by step found here):
  • Put veggies in blender
  • Add 1 cup of water
  • Blend, blend, blend, until everything is liquified (and then for a few more seconds)
  • Pour into nut milk sac over bowl
  • Milk it for all it's worth, and squeeze the juice out into the bowl (don't be scared of milking  beets... your hand may be red for a bit, but it goes away quickly after a couple washes)
  • Pour into a glass and drink with glass straw (it tastes better that way... for real!)

I've made three different concoctions so far, depending on what I had around. And to be honest, the first time I did it on whim, I was pretty pleased at what I did happen to have on hand. It might have helped that my delivery from Ottawa Organics came the day before. Side note: love them, check them out. I now receive the medium-sized veggie/fruit box every second week. Delivered groceries... you can't beat it!

Spinach, swiss chard, cucumber, cilantro, lemon, ginger, apple, pear:


Kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, lemon, ginger, apple, pear:


Kale, spinach, beets, celery, parsley, lemon, ginger, pear:

Yummy in my tummy! Now run off, and get juicing!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why I went gluten-free – a summary I didn't write

I came across this little gem of a post on Meghan Telpner's blog this morning.

Many people ask me when I tell them I don't eat gluten: do you have celiac? My answer is always no, I just feel better and have better digestion when I don't eat it, so I choose not to eat it because I know it does more bad than good for my body.

I've posted a lot about my gluten-free journey here, here, here and here (there are actually a few more, but these are the main ones), but Meghan sums it up beautifully in her post. AND, she is starting a gluten-free cleanse online coaching program – so if you too want less gluten in your life (and feel like a million bucks), maybe you should hop on over and read all about it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Conquering allergies, naturally

Last spring, I started sneezing. And I couldn't stop. My eyes were constantly puffy. I sneezed all day long at work. I sneezed at home. I sneezed while driving my car (very scary if it happens often and over and over). The one place I didn't sneeze was outside.

To some spring is the start of allergy season, but this had never been the case for me before. In addition, all of my "sneeze attacks" seemed to happen indoors - so I was not convinced I was reacting to pollen/grass/trees.

I was determined to get to the bottom of this, as I was not interested in medicating myself with [insert name of over-the-counter anti-histamine here] to suppress the symptoms of the real problem. So I made an appointment to see a naturopathic doctor. She suggested I do a simple blood test for some common (mostly indoor) allergens. Success! The results showed I was reacting highly to house dust, dust mites, mold and cockroaches (lovely!).

The recommendation was to use some sublingual drops, which would address the root cause of my allergic reactions and a quercetin supplement to relieve my symptoms (quercetin has a natural anti-histamine effect, without the side effects of the drug-store variety). I also made good use of my neti pot to help wash out some irritants (bonus is it also helps relieve the intense dryness in my nasal passages this time of year).

It's taken some getting used to what works for me: how often and when to take the supplements, with or without an extra dose of Vitamin C, which helps the quercetin work better, and how often to use my neti pot. But I think I've found the right combination and I've essentially eliminated my body's allergic response without the need for drugs.

Score 1 Raeanne, 0 Big Pharma!

Of course I've also done the obvious things like made sure that my linens are cleaned regularly, my house and office are dusted regularly, and my car's cabin air filter is changed regularly. I've also been using a humidifier in the house during the colder months.

Does anyone else have any good natural allergy remedies to share?

Friday, February 3, 2012

So 6 a.m. isn't my thing... But 7 p.m. sure is!

So at the beginning of the year, I decided that I would try 6 a.m. workouts to see if I could use that time in my day to get to the gym. I tried a yoga class that I loved, and then I tried a spinning class, which I loathed. I'm keeping it real here...

To do a proper cardio class well, I need to eat first to have some energy to burn... But that early in morning I found it really hard to do. Also the whole getting up THAT early isn't as easy as I thought it might be. In addition, since I was getting up earlier it meant I had to go to bed at least an hour earlier in the evenings and I found I really wasn't saving any time in my day in the long run.

I'm reading this and it's sounding like I'm listing off excuses, which I said I wasn't going to do this year! But someone had me in mind at the gym... because they added new classes in the evenings that fit my interests and scheduled them for a time when I actually enjoy working out. Hurray! I've now got a yoga, cardio/strength and pilates class built into my schedule Monday through Wednesday each week. Thursday I have school. Friday will never be gym day in my books. And the weekend is optional. And I'm happy with that.

My abs are still burning from my pilates class this week, and I feel good about the decision. So even though the morning thing didn't work out, I've found a good compromise and I'm happy about it.

No excuses! I'm moving forward.