Holding Your Hand to Health

by Judy Creighton, Metroland (The Canadian Press), 10 January 2008,

Norene’s Healthy Kitchen, by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap Books, $34.95)

If your New Year’s resolutions include pursuing a healthier lifestyle where food is concerned, then Norene’s Healthy Kitchen could be the help you need.

The recipes have been written to “hold your hand” while you cook, says its author, Norene Gilletz, a Toronto cooking instructor and food consultant.

She understands the problems busy young families face when it comes to planning meals.

“I have young daughters-in-law who are busy trying to work and homemake, and they don’t always have the chance to put a good meal on the table,” she explains. “So they are doing what is convenient and picking up prepared meals instead of cooking themselves.”

Gilletz says that they can avoid that route by having good ingredients on hand, taking a little time to cook ahead on the weekend and preparing meals as couples and families and “try to get everyone involved, even the youngsters.”

She stresses simplicity in managing mealtimes.

“I don’t think you have to impress anyone,” she says.

Her book puts the emphasis on “smart” food shopping as well as being familiar with everything from carbs and fats to proteins.

As well, there are 600 recipes that are heart-healthy and can help with weight loss, diabetes, smart carb and glycemic regimens.

The recipes are also suitable for the kosher kitchen, have dairy-free and vegetarian options and lots of kitchen advice and tips, some of which are new.

For example, you can now buy liners for your slow cooker.

“They save on cleanup and come in a variety of sizes,” says Gilletz. “Fill the bag with ingredients and close it. Make several slits in the top of the bag to allow the steam to escape.”

Here is a low-fat, low-calorie soup from the book that she says is a favourite.


Makes 6 to 8 servings

4 tsp (20 mL) olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 cups (1 L) baby spinach leaves, lightly packed
2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
1 medium potato, peeled and cut in chunks
2 lb (900 g) package frozen sweet green peas
8 cups (2 L) vegetable broth
3 to 4 cloves garlic
2 tsp (10 mL) curry powder OR 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tbsp (45 to 60 mL) minced fresh basil

In a large soup pot on medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and saute for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden.

Add remaining ingredients, except basil, to soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup while still in the pot, or puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Stir in basil and adjust seasonings to taste.

The soup keeps for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and reheats well. It also freezes well for up to 4 months.

Approximate nutrition per 1-cup (250-mL serving): 117 calories, 2.3 g fat, 6 g protein, 19.3 g carbohydrates, 6.5 g fibre

More Info | Order Now

Norene’s Healthy Kitchen – Eat Your Way to Good Health
by Norene Gilletz

Published by: Whitecap Books
ISBN 978-1-55285-802-8
CDN $34.95, paperback
8″ x 9″, 512 pages
colour photographs throughout