Holiday entertaining often involves cheese trays in all sizes and varieties, with fruit, vegetables or meat, and without. You can pick one up at your local grocery store, but they are a quick and easy option to put together on your own if you know a few basic rules.
The general rules for a great cheese platter say the plate should include a blue cheese, a firm cheese, and a creamy cheese. If you are entertaining a larger crowd, you can also add a nutty cheese, and a fresh cheese, such as Goat cheese. Be sure to keep your guests in mind and provide a variety to accommodate everyone’s tastes, those who are beginners and those who are true cheese lovers. Including 3 to 5 different cheeses allows you to mix textures, colours, and tastes.
Nuts, fresh and dried fruits, and crackers or bread sticks are also great additions to any platter.
To maximize their flavours, be sure to allow the cheese to rest at room temperature approximately 45 minutes before serving, leaving them wrapped until ready to use.
Whatever you decide to add to your platter, you determine the quantity and the variety so it’s easy to stick to a budget. Get as creative as your imagination and your budget allows.
Today is World Cancer Day 2014. As both a chef that supports healthy eating, and an individual that supports healthy living, I am stepping away from the standard food post today to help spread the word.
There are a lot of myths about cancer and this year’s focus for World Cancer Day is to dispel some of these myths and reduce the stigma associated with cancer. The campaign focuses on four major myths:
1. We don’t need to talk about cancer.
2. Cancer…there are no signs and symptoms.
3. There is nothing I can do about cancer.
4. I don’t have the right to cancer care.
With recent research reporting an increase in the global death toll from cancer expected to rise at an ‘alarming pace’ (The Globe and Mail), it seems more important than ever to educate ourselves and improve our knowledge around cancer.
Please take a moment to learn more and follow this link to the World Cancer Day 2014 website.
Have you ever run away from home? I’m not talking about when you were a child, but as an adult. Thrown a few things in a bag and started walking or driving for who-knows-where? Have you ever just needed a day to yourself: a mental health day? Last week, our family was there. We were in ‘that’ place and needed some healing time as a family and so, we ran away.
On Friday, we pulled our kids out of school and the four of us ran away for the day. We left laptops, iPods, television, and work behind, piled in the car with a picnic lunch, and drove north to Algonquin Park. What could be more healing than the beautiful colours of fall in Muskoka? Surrounded by all the colours on the colour wheel, our family spent hours taking it all in, hiking and exploring through brilliant oranges, vibrant reds, and glowing yellows. It was hard to admit that we eventually had to leave it all and return home.
In the same way the colours of fall can be healing for the soul, food can be for the body. Eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables provides us with optimal health benefits, and eating plenty of them can help prevent heart disease, protect us from some types of cancer, help maintain blood pressure, and even protect us against macular degeneration. Each of the different coloured fruits and vegetables provide unique vitamins and nutrients that our bodies require, therefore eating a variety of them is essential.
So at this time of year, don’t just look for the colours in the trees. Look for them in the grocery store as well. Add colour and life to your grocery cart and you will be happier and healthier for it.