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My name is Lisa Tsakos, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, corporate speaker and author. This blog provides professional advice from a nutrition and weight loss expert (me!) about corporate and family health. Here you'll find recipes and articles that address work-related challenges like eating on-the-go and maximizing your productivity with the right foods. You'll also find out about how you can help your children develop strong immune systems and healthy bodies. As a nutrition instructor, I often found myself thinking, "When I have kids, this is how I will feed them." With two toddlers, I have the opportunity to practice what I have been preaching and to try out my theories. So far, they seem to be working! Follow me on my journey and also on Twitter @NuVitalityHW.

4 Mar 2015

Phenomenal Fennel Recipe!

Ever stopped to look at fennel at the supermarket and wondered what to do with it?

To be perfectly honest, my exposure to fennel was pretty limited. Before I ever ate fennel as a vegetable (it's actually an herb), I had tasted it many times in the form of a tea. Once I tried roasted fennel, I was hooked! The bulb is layered like cabbage - but it doesn't taste anything like cabbage (I promise!). Instead, it's mildly sweet and tastes a little bit like licorice. 

Here's a fantastic and easy recipe featuring fennel as the main event. As I love to do with many of the recipes I post (like my favourite Brussels sprouts recipe), this dish is a great way to introduce fennel to your friends and family. It's a nice accompaniment to seafood and will undoubtedly serve as a conversation piece at a dinner party.

Ingredients:  
1 whole fennel bulb (save the feathery bits at the top - you'll need them as a topping later) 
1 large or 2 small onions
1 large or 2 small apples (any variety)
1 teaspoon olive oil 
sea salt or Himalayan salt to taste
freshly ground pepper   

1. Preheat oven to 400°C. 
2. Chop the fennel, onions and apple into small chunks.
3. Spread chopped vegetables and apples in a roasting pan, distributing the pieces evenly. 
4. Drizzle with about a teaspoon of olive oil and season with sea salt (use a dark sea salt for maximum nutritional value) and pepper (and I sprinkle most of my food with seaweed flakes for extra minerals).
5. Bake at 400°C for 1 hour, stirring every so often. It's ready when the veggies and apple are soft and golden brown (not burnt!).

Just before serving, chop up the frilly bits that you put aside earlier and sprinkle over the roasted veggies. As a side dish, this recipe serves 4.

Once you taste fennel, you'll be a believer, but it isn't just a pretty taste. Parsley's cousin has a slaw... I mean a slew of medicinal purposes.

Several years ago, my husband and I noticed serving dishes with fennel seeds by the front desk and at the door of the Indian restaurant we frequented. In India, chewing a handful of 'after-dinner seeds' is an effective breath freshener and digestive aid. Come to think of it, I'm going to try that at my next dinner party!

Fennel tea is an incredible carminative (meaning, it relieves gas, the fart kind). It's conveniently available in teabags or you can DIY with fennel seeds. Combine it with peppermint tea to really combat belly bloat, indigestion or gas.

Fennel's most interesting nutrient is anethole, a component of the volatile oil in fennel that contributes to its taste and aroa. It's also found in anise and licorice. Anethole is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and it may help ward off cancer by turning off TNF (tumor necrosis factor) mediated signaling.

Here's some more info on fennel found on Naturally Savvy. Let me know how you like this recipe and send in some of your own favourites!