Back to routine!

As sad as I am to see the end of summer, it is always nice to get back into a routine. This has been a hectic but fun summer. Here in Kitchener, the dietitians at our hospital and Candice Coghlin from the local Kidney Foundation branch hosted a “Sizzlin’ Summer Cooking Demo” with Chef Mike Brennan. Mike has spent a lot of time cooking and travelling in Thailand and he prepared a fabulous menu with an Asian flair. And without any salt! The flavours were amazing – incredibly fresh! Best of all (for me anyway) the recipes were all very quick. The stirfry was amazing and perfect for a quick meal after working all day. The Litchi Sorbet was delightful and I froze it into popsicles for my kids. What I especially liked about these recipes was that they were unlike anything I currently make, and sometimes it’s really nice to try something different!

All of the recipes are available on the Kidney Community Kitchen website with a complete nutrient analysis and the pictures were taken the night of the cooking demo. I hope you give them a try!

So as we head back into the fall, I start to feel a real time crunch. Work gets busier, school starts, homework starts and to make it all worse, the days get shorter! I find that it becomes really important to plan meals ahead and if possible, make something on the weekend that will freeze for a meal on a busy weeknight. Planning your meals for the week and making a grocery list based on that is critical for avoiding all those last minute trips to the grocery store and less than healthy “last minute” suppers. This is a widely-used successful strategy for following just about any diet – from kidney diets to weight loss. And planning your meals has also been shown to save you money!

I also want to share with you this incredible story about a patient’s journey with kidney disease. It’s an important reminder that “natural” doesn’t always mean safe. Check out:

So get out your grocery list and jot down some of the ingredients for the fabulous recipes below!

Cucumber Salad (10 servings)
3 English cucumbers peeled or striped
1 red onion
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted for garnish

Slice cucumber thinly into rounds and finely dice red onion, place into a bowl. Stir together rice vinegar, water and sugar and pour over cucumber and onion. Cover and marinate for an hour. Plate and garnish with sesame seeds.

Corn Potage (8 servings)
8 cups No Salt Added Chicken Broth
2 1/4 c fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tbsp sake
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp corn starch (blended with 2 tbsp water)
2 egg whites lightly beaten
4 scallions thinly sliced

Bring stock to a boil, add corn and cook for 5 minutes. Strain stock over a bowl, reserve liquid, transfer corn to a blender and blend until smooth. Return stock to the pan, press corn through a China cap to remove any solids. Bring to a boil, stir in sake and sugar. Add cornstarch mixture and cook stirring constantly until thickened. Drizzle in the beaten egg white while slowly stirring in circular motion. Remove from heat, add scallions, reserve some for garnish.

Asian Noodle Stir Fry (4 servings)
200 gr chow mein noodles (par-cooked using package instructions)
1 leek shredded
1 1/3 c bean sprouts
6 shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced
12 raw tiger shrimp shelled and deveined
2 eggs beaten
2 tbsp oil for stir frying
3 tbsp mirin (rice cooking wine)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

Chilli oil
Sesame oil
2 scallions thinly sliced
2 tbsp pickled ginger (store bought)

Par-cook the noodles following instructions on package, strain and place in a bowl. Add the leek, bean sprouts, mushrooms, shrimp and eggs to the noodles and mix well to combine. Preheat a wok or large skillet over high heat, add a little oil and hear until very hot. Add the noodle mixture and stir fry until golden and the shrimp have turned pink and are cooked through. Add the mirin and cilantro and toss together. Divide the noodles between four bowls, drizzle with chilli and sesame oils, sprinkle over the scallions and ginger.

Litchi Sorbet (4 servings)
14 oz canned litchis or 1 lbs fresh litchis peeled and pitted
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 pasteurized egg white
Thinly sliced lemon wedge

Put litchi flesh and sugar in a blender or food processor and process to a puree. Press the pure through a fine strainer to remove any remaining solids. Transfer to a freezer proof container and freeze for 3 hours. Turn the mixture into the blender or processor and process until slushy. With the motor running add the egg white. Return mixture to freezer proof container and freeze for 8 hour/overnight. Puree sorbet in blender right before serving, garnish with thinly sliced lemon.

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