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The Cook & the Book: Words From Norene

In Norene's Kitchen - Or Yours!

Thighs of Regret


Apple-tastic Apple Muffins

Split Pea & Portobello Mushroom Soup

Saucy Mexican Chicken

Special Report: The Portion Plan

Norene in the News

Where's Norene?


Norene's life can be described best as a 4-letter word - FOOD! She teaches cooking classes, writes and edits cookbooks, is a food consultant for the food industry, provides nutritional analysis, recipes and menus for restaurants and food manufacturers, provides recipe testing services... her plate is literally overflowing! Norene is always on the go, and her latest cookbook, NORENE'S HEALTHY KITCHEN: EAT YOUR WAY TO GOOD HEALTH, has been a huge success.

A few words from Norene...

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

First and foremost, I want to tell you how excited I am about my latest cookbook! The first printing of NORENE’S HEALTHY KITCHEN sold out in less than two months and the feedback has been absolutely amazing. I’ve received so many phone calls and emails from my 'pan-pals' telling me which recipes they’ve made and how delicious and easy they are to prepare.

I’m often asked “Are these new recipes?” The answer is “Yes!”

“Are they tested?” I answer “Yes - read my hips!” Actually, I gained very little weight while writing this book – I actually followed my own advice!

My mother told my daughter: “This is such a wonderful cookbook...but don’t tell your mother that I said so!” You see, my mom doesn’t want to cause any bad vibrations. She comes from the old school that believes other people can say nice things about you, but you’re not allowed to say them about yourself! I’m sure many of you can relate.

My feelings on this subject? I love NORENE’S HEALTHY KITCHEN - it’s my best book yet and I’m very proud of it. This is a cookbook that I would buy! It provides me with the recipes and information I need to make wise choices in the way I eat and cook.

However, I need your help. As a Canadian, it’s very hard to be recognized in the USA and world markets. Please let friends and family members around the globe know what you like best about NORENE’S HEALTHY KITCHEN and what some of your favorite recipes are. Post a review on any of the online websites - people pay attention to those comments and it influences book sales. Thanks so much for spreading the news – but not your hips!

On a personal note, I would like to thank Jonathan Robbins, who helped me put together this long overdue newsletter. Big things are beginning to happen here at Gourmania Inc., and having an extra pair of hands in the kitchen has been a big help!

Wishing you all the best for 2008, filled with many delicious days! Visit my website at as we update it regularly.

~ Norene Gilletz

Norene on book signings...

“Do you remember me?”

This question often comes up at a book signing when someone I haven’t seen for years stands in front of me. Of course they know who I am - but I’m usually concentrating on spelling people’s names correctly, and besides, they don’t look the same as when we last met 30 years ago! I reply in an embarrassed tone “You look so familiar, but...” My memory has hit that blank space in my brain that is suddenly empty. The solution is simple – you know who you are, so please identify yourself when we meet face to face. I eat a lot of blueberries because they’re supposed to help with memory, but there’s a limit to how many I can eat!

To promote NORENE’S HEALTHY KITCHEN, I will be appearing at various synagogues, community centers, adult educations programs, libraries and book signings in book stores and other venues. Check the Appearances page regularly for my updated schedule. In addition,

A reminder: when you buy a book from Amazon or Chapters by clicking through from my website (any book at all, not just my books) I earn a small commission that helps support the cost of maintaining my website. Just click on the or logo.

Food and Health professionals note: Three sample healthy recipes (Lentil Barley Soup, Eggplant Mock Pizzas and Chocolate Pudding for One) from NORENE'S HEALTHY KITCHEN are available in this pdf  three-fold brochure. Print on both sides of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper. The brochure reproduces well in colour and in black & white.

P.S. It is also excellent to use as a hand-out for fundraising events to help promote your book sales.



Norene does not have any scheduled cooking classes available at the moment, but she does offer private cooking demonstrations for fundraising groups at the location of your choice. If your organization or business would like to book Norene for an event, please contact her by writing to or calling her at 416-226-2466. Norene personally answers all of her messages - eventually - so please be patient.

Here is what Lois Freeman-Collins had to say about Norene's cooking demonstration and fundraising event, Fast Fabulous & Healthy Cooking with Norene Gilletz...

"Dear Norene, we sold 264 tickets for your cooking demonstration, Fast Fabulous & Healthy Cooking with Norene Gilletz. It was a resounding success. In order to raise the same amount of money by selling chocolate bars we would have to sell 9,285! We would not have had any fun, and it probably would have annoyed many people instead of bringing the Jewish community together for an afternoon. We had a blast."

~ Lois Freeman-Collins, Temple Anshe-Sholom, Hamilton, ON

Check out What They Said at the Vancouver Jewish Book Festival.

Norene also offers an at home cooking experience known as 'At Home on Your Range'. This class is perfect for nearly-weds, newly-weds, working moms, people with special diet requirements (kosher, diabetic, glycemic-index friendly, weight loss, heart healthy, etc.). Great for wedding, shower, birthday or anniversary gifts! Learn what YOU want to learn, right in the comfort of your own kitchen!

Classes for At Home on Your Range are $350 plus GST for one or two students and $125 plus GST for each additional student. Groceries are extra. Shopping and equipment requirements, as well as a master copy of all the recipes will be provided. Fees are payable at the time of registration. We accept VISA.

Gift Certificates Available.... An ideal gift for any special occasion.

Contact us for more information.



The holidays are a time to indulge, relax, and eat, but sometimes we eat too much, and hence we get 'thighs of regret.' Before you know it, a new year has come, and the desire to get fit and healthy can be overwhelming. However, there is no need to push yourself away from the table in fear of growing to the size of a watermelon. Instead, dedicate your new year to eating healthier. Set realistic goals, and don't let a lapse become a relapse!

It is also important to get moving, because exercise is an essential ingredient in successful weight management. It increases your metabolism, improves your mood, reduces stress, helps control food cravings, and improves blood-glucose levels.

To help build and maintain muscles, why not try kitchen aerobics? Lift that pot, tote that garbage pail, chop those veggies and you won't fail!

With NORENE'S HEALTHY KITCHEN, eating healthier could not be easier... or tastier. There are over 600 fast and fabulous recipes to help you stay on track. Here are a few sample recipes from my latest cookbook, so please enjoy them in good health!


Source: Norene's Healthy Kitchen

Here is an 'app-solutely' healthy and delicious recipe for Apple Muffins. This recipe is guaranteed to keep you and your family eating healthy in the new year! Special thanks to Sue Devor, former owner of Sweet Sue’s Pastries in Toronto, for sharing her yummy recipe. In keeping with the tradition of trying to eat right in the new year, I modified her recipe by lowering the fat, adding whole wheat flour, and making a lighter topping. These muffins are moist and marvelous, and you can indulge without feeling guilty. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

1 Tbsp oil or melted tub margarine 
2 Tbsp brown sugar 
2 Tbsp flour (whole wheat or all-purpose) 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk 
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and chopped  

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the compartments of a muffin pan with paper liners (or spray with cooking spray).

2. In a medium bowl or a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the ingredients for the topping. Mix until crumbly; transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl or a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix well or process for 1 minute, until well blended. Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; add to the egg mixture along with the yogurt. Just stir together—don’t beat. (Or process with quick on/off pulses, just until combined.) Stir in the apples with a rubber spatula.

4. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each compartment about two thirds full. Sprinkle evenly with reserved topping. Bake at 325°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and the tops spring back when touched.

Yield: 12 muffins. Freezes well for up to 3 months (if you’re quick enough)!

164 calories per muffin, 24.7 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g fiber, 3 g protein, 6.5 g fat (0.6 g saturated), 18 mg cholesterol, 133 mg sodium, 101 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 44 mg calcium.

Norene's Healthy Kitchen

Here is a terrific soup that’s easy to prepare and is sure to warm you up on a cold day. Deena Grossman of Richmond Hill , ON called me to say she loved this recipe. It’s “lick the spoon” good!

This decadent, velvety soup is full of fiber and flavor. My walking partner, Frieda Wishinsky, uses shallots rather than garlic in her cooking because they add another dimension of flavor. Frieda, a children’s book author, refers to herself as “The Lady of Shallots.” I’m sure Lord Tennyson would have poetic praise for her heavenly soup.

1 cup dried green split peas, rinsed and drained
5 cups water
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 medium shallots (about 1/2 cup chopped)
2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (about 5 mushrooms)
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/4 tsp paprika (sweet or smoked)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the split peas, water, and broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 35 minutes.

2. While the peas are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallots, and mushrooms, and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook slowly until the onion has caramelized, about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the onion mixture to the peas. Add the carrot and simmer 15 minutes longer or until tender. Stir in the paprika and remove from heat to let cool slightly.

4. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup while still in the pot or purée in batches in a blender or food processor. If too thick, add a little water or broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings (about 7 cups). Keeps 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 4 months. If too thick, add a little water when reheating.

123 calories per cup, 19.6 g carbohydrate, 6.7 g fiber, 7 g protein, 2.4 g fat (0.2 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 411 mg sodium, 376 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 26 mg calcium


• Use a combination of split peas and lentils. You can use either green or yellow split peas.  

• Cook 1/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained, along with peas and/or lentils. Or substitute barley for half the peas. This makes a thicker soup, so thin as needed with additional broth.

• No shallots? Use 2 or 3 cloves garlic. Shallots look like small elongated onions, with a garlic flavor. When peeled, they divide into cloves like garlic.

• Instead of portobellos, try shiitake, oyster, or button mushrooms, or a combination of these.

Nutrition Notes

• Split peas are a nutritional powerhouse. Packed with protein, fiber, and vitamin C, they also contain iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Both green and yellow split peas have a low glycemic index (32). Soaking before cooking isn’t necessary. A thorough rinsing in a colander is sufficient. When cooked, split peas break down to make a thick, satisfying soup.


Source: Healthy Helpings (formerly titled MealLeaniYumm!)

Fast and fabulous! My long-time friend, Phyllis Levy, makes this using fresh pineapple. To boost the fiber, try the version below made with kidney or black beans!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in 1-inch chunks
2 1/2 cups chunky salsa (mild, medium or hot)
14 oz (398 ml) can pineapple tidbits, drained (see Note below)
2 tsp mustard
5 to 6 drops Tabasco sauce, if desired
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sweetener to equal 1 tbsp sugar or honey (see Note below)
12 oz can (341 ml) corn niblets, drained

Combine all ingredients except corn in a bowl; mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Transfer to a large skillet and heat on medium, until bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has reduced and is thickened. Add corn and cook 5 minutes longer, until piping hot. Serve over rice.

Yield: 6 servings. Reheats and/or freezes well.

241 calories per serving, 3.5 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 73 mg cholesterol, 30 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 553 mg sodium, 477 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 4 g fiber, 78 mg calcium.


• You can use 1 cup of apricot jam instead of pineapple tidbits, but omit sweetener.

• Pasta Fasta Fiesta: Omit pineapple. Simmer a 19 oz (540 ml) can of red kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed, with chicken/salsa mixture. Perfect with penne or fettuccine.


SPECIAL REPORT: The Portion Plan

How to Eat the Foods you Love & Still Lose Weight
By Linda Gassenheimer

Experts agree: if you want to lose weight and keep it off, forget fad diets - just choose the right portions of the right foods. The Portion Plan by Linda Gassenheimer offers a simple and practical overview of portion control. Gassenheimer is a best-selling cookbook author, TV and radio personality. Her syndicated column, Dinner in Minutes, is read by more than 4 million readers each week and she has written for several national publications including Prevention Magazine and Cooking Light.

Her latest book, The Portion Plan, does more than tell readers about the life-extending benefits of portion control. It actually shows dozens of actual-sized photographs of good and bad portions for the most common foods. This helpful book will show you how to lose weight simply by controlling your portion size. Here are some helpful tips from her book:

• Be Plate Wise: Food used to be served on a 10 inch plate, but plates have grown 2 inches or more. Learn to corral your calories in a 6-inch bowl or 10-inch plate and you'll control your waistline at the same time.

• Get Drink Savvy: Save large 12-oz. glasses for water ONLY.

• Avoid Calorie Confusion: Learn to make wise food choices and balance your plate with lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Learn to differentiate between the good, the bad, and the ugly!

• Eyeball your portions: Learn how to eyeball correct-sized portions of meat and poultry, fish, dairy, vegetables, and fruit and you can start to make clever food substitutions to suit your own tastes.

The Portion Plan is available at Chapters.Indigo | Amazon



Norene can usually be found in or around the kitchen, not always her own. For those of you who are Facebook members, you can add her as a friend and/or join her group Norene's Kitchen - Here's Cooking at You!

IMPORTANT: If you have received duplicate copies of this newsletter, I apologize! Just e-mail me at and I will correct it immediately. Our intention is to inform, not annoy.

Furthermore, if you could share this newsletter with others who might be interested in my
cooking classes, culinary events, cookbooks and services, it would be immensely appreciated.

Norene Gilletz, Cookbooks, Culinary Solutions
Gourmania Inc., Toronto, Canada
Tel: 416-226-2466…for people who are CRAZY about good food!

Newsletter by Jonathan Robbins


      © Norene Gilletz 2010

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All images and recipes © Norene Gilletz 2013 unless otherwise noted.
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