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It takes a slightly fresh weather and comfort food cravings to come up with the idea of cooking a nice chicken curry. The dish is full of flavors and leaves you completely satisfied with your meal. I always thought these kinds of dishes needed a basic recipe that the cook could play around with. The choice of spices, vegetables, proteins, and the level of spiciness are completely subjective. So here is a recipe you can use as a base and then manipulate according to your preferences.

I don’t know if some of you can relate, but some dishes get me confused as to how I will be serving them and how I prefer to eat them. With or without cheese on top? Do I melt the cheese before or put it on top as a final touch and enjoy a stronger taste? Do I mix the caramelized onions in or do I just let them add a crispy taste with each bite? So confusing, don’t you think?

It is particularly hard to work in an environment that doesn’t resemble you. Even though you still find colleagues with whom you develop affinities and become friends, the environment can still be bad for you. It usually is a bad environment when you feel like you don’t belong or like it doesn’t reflect your personality.

In the world of Therapy, cooking and having a positive entourage have always been recommended to boost serotonin levels and increase relaxation and happiness. Over time, I have found that baking cakes have the superpower of calming me down, bringing me to impressive levels of serenity – something I didn’t know I was capable of, being the anxious person I am.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

In the past year, I was lucky to make new friends who love cooking and food as much as I do. Since I’m prone to sharing my recipes and not greedily keep them in a secret notebook, I’ve engaged in a new venture: gathering people around our stove. I find it so much fun and gratifying to have friends over with their favorite ingredients and recipes to cook all together and learn from each other. Laughs are also guaranteed!

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Based on these good times and on the atmosphere of family meals and children wandering around the cook in the kitchen to learn and get a taste of what’s cooking, we had our first cook-off not long ago. Hisham from Cookin5m2, Sarah who owns Dulce n’ Banana, Maya who writes Playing With Fashion, Betty who’s the great photographer behind BetKet Photography, Sleiman who’s the one behind K-frame, and of course my husband and favorite Chef Jean, were all here to lend a hand in a meal we all had together. Hisham made a delicious chicken pot pie, Sarah made a special apple crumble and we all worked to concoct entrees of all flavors and genres.

cooking in group | breadonbutter

Food has a lot of meaning. Whether it’s culturally, ethnically, or religiously, it brings people together. Baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food and certainly sitting down together and socializing is a pure pleasure of life.

Cook-offs are not only meant to give a chance to meet new people, but also to discover food and ingredients that people might not have come across before. Also, everyone can leave with leftovers and a new recipe.

In the future, I’d love to bring experienced winemakers, brewers, bakers, butchers, etc. to teach others tricks and techniques.

The main focus of cooking in group is on socializing, learning to cook and to cook together, learning about new ingredients and types of food, maybe even how to shop for food before learning how to cook it.

The cook-off affected all of our moods positively. Having this meal gave us greater satisfaction because we cooked it together.

Cooking has therapeutic value physically, cognitively, socially and intrapersonally. Physically, cooking requires good movement in shoulders, fingers, wrists, elbow, neck, as well as good overall balance. Adequate muscle strength is needed in upper limbs for lifting, mixing, cutting and chopping. Furthermore, sensory awareness is important in considering safety while dealing with hot and sharp objects.

This is the therapeutic value noted by the University of Alberta.

Here are more photos of our cook-off if you’d like to see. There will be other cook-offs organized so if you wish to participate, all you have to do is send an email to: breadonbutterblog@gmail.com ! 🙂

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Photos were all taken by the great Betty from BetKet Photography.

Dining table and chairs from Dfouny Technotel  – available for rent

cooking in group | breadonbutter

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching so it got me thinking about the kind of food my mom cooks at home. The first thing that pops into mind is her famous beef stroganoff. She knows how much I love it and surprises me with it when I’m having the worst days and pop by for a visit. I can smell it when I enter their house and it just makes the happiest girl!

Today, I was lucky to have lunch at home. Since everyone, including my mom, was busy, I decided to make myself a healthy version of beef stroganoff. I had some serious doubts at first since I decided to use yogurt instead of cream, but it turned out to be delicious and guilt-free 🙂 Here’s the recipe.

Healthy Beef Stroganoff

What you’ll need (for 2 persons)

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 500 g lean beef, sliced
  • 8 medium fresh white mushrooms, sliced
  • 500 g fat free plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to make it

  1. Melt the corn flour in the warm water and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the canola oil (on low heat).
  3. Add the diced onions, beef and sliced mushrooms. Toss until the meat is cooked while seasoning with salt and pepper, then set aside in a bowl or plate.
  4. In the same pot, add the yogurt and melted corn flour and stir until it thickens.
  5. Add the beef mixture, season with salt and pepper, and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the mustard and tomato paste and mix until combined.
  7. Season with more pepper and chili powder, add the wine, and stir until you obtain the preferred thickness.
  8. Bring to the boil then let it simmer for 2 minutes and turn off the heat.

And you’re done! You can choose to have it with brown rice or a fresh green salad (that’s if you want to cut carbs on that specific day).

healthy beef stroganoff | breadonbutter

healthy beef stroganoff | breadonbutter

Bon Appetit! 😉

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I know I’ve written about these pancakes before, but I kind of wanted to remind you about this guilt-free delicious breakfast. To make it even more fun, here’s a video and the recipe!

Video by Zein El Cheikh

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup oat flour
  • 1.5 cup rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1.5 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp natural maple syrup

In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients and whisk until combined. Grease a pan, cook your pancakes, then have them with pure maple syrup and bananas on top. Delicious and guilt-free!

So, are you making them anytime soon? 😉

I must admit I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. I can’t really explain why. It might be work overload or wanderlust, but I know that eventually, it shall pass. Meanwhile, not so surprisingly, I search for comfort in food. This doesn’t mean fast food and carbs. On the contrary, I’m craving healthy and delicious dishes that I learned to make myself.

This low-calorie noodle soup is all you need after a long day or during a weekend at home (I hear rain is coming back this weekend and I like it 😉 ).

Low-Calorie Noodle Soup Recipe

low-calorie noodle soup | breadonbutter

What you’ll need (for 2 persons)

  • 300 to 400 g of noodles (of your choice)
  • 200 g of mushrooms of your choice
  • 300 g of chicken
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1.5 cups of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • A bunch of fresh coriander washed and separated
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 4 Spring onions, sliced

How to make it

  1. Wash and clean the chicken and add it to a pot of water, lemon slices, and ginger. Bring to the boil then let it simmer until the chicken is cooked and tender.
  2. Make the noodles (as indicated on the pack).
  3. When the chicken is done, heat the sesame oil and the fish sauce in a small pot (on low heat), then add 1 cup of the chicken stock (i.e. water from the pot in which you boiled the chicken), soy sauce and sriracha. Mix until they’re all combined, then place the sauce in a serving bowl.
  4. Now for serving it, the idea is for you and your guests to construct your own soup. Serve the noodles and the mushrooms in the main bowl, and the chicken, coriander, spring onions and sauce in separate little bowls as toppings.

That way, you can have your ideal noodle soup made of only healthy and lightly cooked ingredients. Isn’t this awesome? I think I’m not feeling down anymore! 😀

low-calorie noodle soup | breadonbutter low-calorie noodle soup | breadonbutter

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I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s. It actually always felt like pressure to go out and buy teddy bears and red piggy banks to give to my significant other. So when I learnt that Jean was a Valentine “hater” himself, I was delighted. Still, I respect the cute couples who celebrate their love on that day, so I’m presenting you today with 3 unusual and un-cheesy things to do on this big romantic weekend.

1) Bring the restaurant to your home. With Bibayti, you can book your private Chef and enjoy an amazing dinner experience in the comfort of your own dining room. Just light some candles, and they’ll take care of the rest. Check their website here.

valentine | breadonbutter

Photo by Zein el Cheikh for Bibayti

2) Invite friends over and have a huge cook-off, or buy barbecue material and find a spot in nature to enjoy it. The point is, have a group Valentine dinner, it’s kind of fun!

valentine | breadonbutter

3) Just pizza/pasta and a movie would do. Valentine’s Day is all about pampering after all 😉

valentine | breadonbutter

Any plans for Valentine’s?

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The literal meaning of ‘sobremesa’ is “over the table”. This untranslatable Spanish word designates the time spent in conversation right after a meal. It can be with friends, family or even business partners.

In Mediterranean cultures, sobremesa is something that is practiced with absolute spontaneity. That time spent around the table chatting about life is one of my favorite things in life. Picture everyone full and happy, discussing interesting topics and deep revelations.

For me, December is sobremesa. Friends are back in town, families reunite, and new friendships are made. It all happens around some table, sometime in December. The Holidays and twinkling lights open up our hearts and minds, bringing out the good in us.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes like to imagine a dinner between friends before it happens. I imagine the conversation and its direction. I imagine talking about my friends’ plans for the next year, or about life’s big changes. I imagine discussing my sister’s job or fitness resolutions, my husband’s entrepreneurship journey or even my own career and travel goals.

2015 has passed by at the speed of light. We’re at a political and technological turning point. Technology is growing faster than us and we’re all growing up so fast. So let’s live this month like it matters more than anything. Let’s make the most of it and be ready for the new year to come.

Until Christmas, every post I write will include a topic for your Sobremesas. Conversation is something we should hold on to and avoid technology taking it away.

So, what will you be talking about this Christmas?

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