Blog Posts
Tuesday 22 July 2014
Posted by:  8:45 AM CST
Posted by:  1:35 PM CST

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” — H. L. Hunt

I once met with a young woman who wanted to lose weight. She knew her diet was a problem; she ate restaurant food nearly every night of the week. After our first meeting, she emailed me and said she couldn’t afford to meet with me and I never saw her again.

Based on our initial conversation, I figured she was probably spending, conservatively, about $200 a month in restaurant meals — far less than the expense of working with a nutrition money coach. Through her food choices, she was putting toward something she didn’t want and taking money away from something she did want. I thought this was sad because I don’t think she realized the choice she was making.

As with our time, our money can disappear easily leaving us wondering where it went. Unlike time, everyone has a different amount of money to spend. I would be remiss to not income acknowledge that different levels do affect an individual’s opportunities. However, there are opportunities to live healthier at every income level.

I’ve found tracking money to be a more involved task than tracking time. In my experience, it will take a few hours of researching statements and bills and several months of tracking to your money fully understand how you spend. Eventually, it becomes an ongoing process of anticipating expenses and learning how to live with less of some things in order to make room for others.

Thursday 12 June 2014
Posted by:  9:03 PM CST

Avocado, The Wonderful Fruit

As I live in Waupaca, driving to work every day is a thirty minute commute.  Lately, to pass the time I’ve been listening to (sports talk-show radio) “Mike and Mike” in the morning….funny since (aside from the Packers, which is more religion than sport) I don’t enjoy watching sports on television.  Anyways, the other day they were advertising for Subway and preaching the virtues of avocado, Subway’s featured seasonal add-on ingredient.  And, since our “Spicy Turkey Avocado” wrap continues to be the Bistro’s best selling menu item, I thought a bit of research would be appropriate.

I know that many people stay away from avocado because of its fat content, but a closer look shows that there are such things as healthy fats.  A local article in Natural New says “This source of monosaturated fat has high levels of potassium” and “aids in balancing sodium levels required by your body”.  And, with the popular low carb diets of today, consumption of healthy fats like avocado is necessary to balancing your nutrient intake.  Containing all essential amino acids, avocados are also rich in Beta Carotene (a Vitamin A rich pigment normally associated with Reddish-Orange hued vegetables) and have been found to protect against liver damage in laboratory animals.

There is a strong case for organic farming practices.  And, with the pesticides used to keep your over-produced supermarket fruits and vegetables looking pristine, taking a bite out of your favorite apple might do more harm than good.  Avocados though, enclosed in a thick skin, have their own natural protection from these harmful chemicals…making them (according to some) safe for consumption, even if they’re not organic. 

As it seems Subway and “Mike and Mike” have not laid false claims to the health benefits of the avocado, I will eat more in the future.  And, if you haven’t had our most popular wrap yet, come see us soon in the Bistro 212 for a Spicy Turkey Avocado wrap, because we want to cook for you!     

Posted by:  10:40 AM CST

Tips from the 212 Kitchen “Fresh Herbs”

I was approached the other day, by a regular customer who asked about fresh herbs:  She grows them and loves how they smell, but “never knows when or how to use them”. 

There has been a resurgence of the “farm-fresh” food ethic over the last few decades.  And, gastronomical vernacular like “Slow-Food” and “Farm-to-Table” have helped carve a plight for the movement that was stalled during the Industrial Era.  With that, Farmer’s Markets are now what is “chic”, and somehow chefs are being labeled “the new rock-stars”…amusing to me, as “cool” is hardly the adjective I would use to describe myself.  But, it is reassuring that more and more customers are fed-up with mediocrity, demanding ethical production of their core food ingredients, and are willing to pay extra for them. 

The other trend that has “boomeranged” its way into mainstream food is (Minimalism).  Chefs and restaurateurs across the globe are using all of their resources to acquire the best ingredients available to them, and presenting them simply.  (If you have purchased a beautiful organic chicken from a local farm and, paid (extra) for it…don’t cloud its quality with a lot of fussy techniques.)  A humanely raised chicken, seasoned and roasted properly is a virtuous thing, in itself!  To put it plainly, let the ingredients that you have so thoughtfully chosen (speak for themselves)!  The same “school of thought” should apply to fresh herbs. 

Fresh herbs have some of the most recognizable aromas, flavors and textures in food, today.  And, the same minimalism that applies to other fresh ingredients should apply to them:  “Fresh is Best”.  With that, fresh herbs are at their utmost quality when they are used to finish a dish.  When you cook a fresh herb (especially in liquid) too long, its flavor can dissipate and even bitter the finished product.  So, experiment with these special ingredients, adding them to your dish right before service.  I.e. Instead of putting your parsley and thyme in the stock-pot while you simmer your chicken soup, add them fresh 10-15 minutes or even seconds before serving.  I think you will find the results dramatic. 

I urge you to stay enthusiastic and positive in your cooking experiments as many guarded cooking techniques were learned as a result of failures, first!  And, come see us soon in the Bistro, because we want to cook for you!

Chef Sal @ Bistro 212