What I learned from having a stroke at the age of 40

BY: JANET CRAIG

Although I usually post recipes I thought June being Brain Injury Awareness Month, I would talk about how I got here.

Back in 1991, when I was just 40-years-old (yes, you can do the math), I suffered a massive brain aneurysm. I am now turning 67 and even now when I speak to stroke survivors, I still get emotional. I was a healthy ski instructor, never smoked, did not take birth control nor had high blood pressure. I was bodybuilding with heavy weights and teaching skiing at least twice a week. So the bonus was, I was in great shape.

Having at stroke at 40

What I did not realize was that my mother had the same type of stroke at 37-years-old. Being Irish, she kept talking about the time she had the ‘spell’. My sister also had a TIA, a mini stroke, at 42 so definitely we were predisposed. This is another contributory factor, the hereditary card.

For the two months prior to my stroke I worked in a new job that I was struggling with that included a lot of travelling, driving and working all kinds of hours. I was single and dating so probably exceeding the number of drinks I should be having. I had a constant migraine, which sometimes I would think that I was just tired and I would ‘catch up’ on the weekend. I never consulted with a physician and later on, when I returned to work, realized I was self medicating.

Easter weekend I was teaching skiing at Mont Tremblant and had a migraine so severe I was vomiting throughout the night. In the morning I felt so tired and still nauseous. I tell people later the sensation of trying to move and I felt like I was literally was underwater.

Everything was an effort and my limbs wouldn’t respond. I finally made it to the chairlift but when I sat back, my head felt like it exploded. Fortunately for me the staff there are trained EMS services so got me into an ambulance where I was rushed into Montreal Neurological Institute, a leading research facility where I was diagnosed with having a  stroke and treated quickly. That is the only reason I survived.

In hindsight, all the signs were there but like most people, particularly women, I chose to ignore them.

In hindsight all the signs were there, but like most people, particularly women, I chose to ignore them - Janet Craig

I thought I was overtired, stressed from work and lack of sleep. Well of course I was. Not realizing that expression, stress kills, is actually true! What I did learn, the hard way, is to know your own body and be kind to yourself.

Be aware of the risk factors: oral contraceptives, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, family history, high alcohol use and stress. Most women have very high expectations of ourselves and even though they are exhausted think that they will “catch up” on the weekend. Well you know the drill, you have to be the driver, the cook, the therapist, model wife, and housekeeper and lo and behold the weekend flew by and you are still tired!

Now women have more strokes than men and heart disease in general is hard to diagnose in women we have totally different systems than men. The prognosis is much better for recovery with new drugs available, more research and 10 centres for Stroke Prevention in Ontario.


After suffering a stroke at the age of 40, Janet left the corporate world to open a personal chef business, Satisfied Soul Inc. Now retired, she continues to enjoy her passions of cooking, creating and teaching people how to eat properly. 

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This Fresh Tomato Day: make your own ketchup

BY: JANET CRAIG

Did you know April 6 is Fresh Tomato Day?

Bowl of Homemade ketchup

And did you know ketchup can be so much more than a bottle of what you get at the grocery store?

Our favourite chef Janet Craig knows ketchup has so much more potential when you make it at home. Here’s her recipe, all you need to do is combine the ingredients below and blend in a food processor.

And think beyond the fries: Janet’s recipe a great topping for grown up food, such as chicken or other meats.
    • 2 cans drained mandarin oranges
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 large shallot, peeled
    • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
    • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
    • 1/2 cup White Vermouth
    • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
    • 1 tsp Five Spice powder
    •  1 tsp hot sauce
    • 1 tsp salt ( optional)

Use your food processor to blend together and enjoy!

a plate with green beans, pork dressed with homemade ketchup, squash and potatoes
PHOTO: JANET CRAIG

Chef Janet Craig recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.

On Homemade Soup Day: cream of roasted garlic & onion soup

BY: CHEF JANET CRAIG

It’s Homemade Soup Day! And Janet Craig has a great, hearty homemade soup for you – enjoy!

  • Ten whole cloves or two whole heads, cleaned
  • Four cleaned, washed leeks, chopped
  • Three yellow or white onions, peeled and chopped
  • Two large white potatoes peeled and cubed
  • One tetra pack of good quality chicken broth
  • ¼ cup butter
  • Two cups Vermouth
  • One cup milk
  • One cup whipping cream
  • Fresh parsley, chives to garnish

3 images: Cream of Roasted Garlic and Onion Soup, bottom left,garilc, bottom right, red onions

  1. Place all cleaned vegetables into buttered roasting pan.
  2. Cover with broth and wine. Roast 1 hour at 350 F.
  3. Put cooled vegetables and remaining fluid into a food processor and pulse until rough chunks.
  4. Add cream and pulse more. Taste and season with white pepper and salt then add milk to thin, if needed. Garnish with fresh herbs
  5. Serve hot with a dollop of cheese, either Asiago or Stilton, in the bowl.

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Chef Janet Craig recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.

Baked Cocoa Wings

BY: JANET CRAIG

Just on time for Super Bowl Weekend – or if that isn’t your thing – a Valentine’s / Anti-Valentine’s feast – our favourite chef Janet Craig brings you Baked Cocoa Wings!

This is a ‘rub’ that could be used on chicken wings or drumettes. The recipe could be doubled or tripled and stored in a glass jar for future meals, it’s also great on ribs so go ahead and enjoy!

Plate of chicken wings

  • Three tablespoons chili powder
  • One tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Two tablespoons flour – this can be gluten free or cornmeal. The fat in the skin of the wings will make them crispy.
  • One tablespoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • Two teaspoons cumin powder
  • One teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 13 lb chicken wings per person (appetizer portion)

1. Mix all the rub ingredients together and dust the wings well.

2. Cut off the wing tips, reserving them for another use such as
stock if desired, and halve the wings at the joint. Pat the
wings dry, season them with the rub mix .

3. If using the oven, place on the parchment lined cooking
sheet, under a preheated broiler about four inches from the
heat for ten minutes. Turn the wings and broil them for ten
minute more, or until they look crisp.

Lime Mayo Dip
One cup mayonnaise
Juice and zest from one lime
One clove of garlic minced
Two tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
½ small seeded jalapeño-finely chopped (optional)


Chef Janet Craig’s recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.
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Easy Vietnamese Pho Soup

BY: JANET CRAIG

Soup makes winter better, which is one reason why January is Soup Month.

To help you partake, our favourite Chef Janet Craig has created this easy Pho Soup recipe. Give it a try, and cook up some deliciousness, health and warmth this chilly season. Here’s to soup!

  • One tetra pack of Pho broth
  • Four ounce rice noodles
  • One, four-ounce piece of beef steak, (round, top sirloin), slightly frozen
  • Two cups of  bean sprouts
  • Shredded carrot or red peppers
  • Green onions, sliced lime, basil, mint, and /or cilantro to garnish

3 pictures: top - pho soup, bottom left: Campbell's Pho Broth, bottom right close up of cut up vegetable for Pho Soup

1. Bring the Pho broth to the boil. If you wish to add more seasonings like fish sauce, ginger, or garlic, this is the time.
2. Cover the rice noodles with boiling water & let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Take the steak & slice it very thin. This is why you put it in the freezer for a bit.
4. Place the steak, noodles, and vegetables into large bowl.
5. Pour on the very hot broth. Meat will turn opaque.
6. Soup is usually served with hot Chili/garlic sauce .

PHOTO: JANET CRAIG


Chef Janet Craig’s recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly. You can find out more about her HERE.

 

Super Simple, Decadent Salted Caramel Sauce

BY: CHEF JANET CRAIG

This simple, decadent sauce for either fresh fruit or ice cream is the current trend, ‘salt with sweet.’ Enjoy this weekend, or, heck, anytime!

2017-08-07 14.24.33

4 cups white sugar

¾ cup boiling water

3 sticks salted butter (1.5 cups)

¾ cup whipping cream

4 tsp salt – this is where you can use specialty salts such as Fleur de Sel (find out how to fake speciality salts, HERE)

  1. In a heavy saucepan, place sugar on medium heat and watch it caramelize. This is a lengthy process and you can’t leave it. Stir with a wooden spoon – not a metal one – as this will get too hot to hold.
  2. When the mixture is as golden as you wish (it turns brown quickly) remove from heat.
  3. Carefully pour in boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Add butter and whipping cream and keep stirring until texture becomes creamy.
  5. Add salt to taste.

This recipe can be halved. I store it in sterilized jars in the fridge for two weeks or freeze it for a gift.

Chef Janet Craig’s recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.

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This weekend: lemon (or lime) lovers’ pudding cake

BY: CHEF JANET CRAIG

For you Lemon Lovers out there, this is an old cottage recipe I keep on a stained recipe card, its origins long forgotten. The recipe says it serves six, but everyone loves it so much, it really serves four.

Lemon pudding

Ingredients

2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp  soft margarine or butter
Grated rind of 2 lemons OR 3 limes
1/3 cup fresh juice
2 large eggs separated
1/4  cup flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F

1. Beat egg whites until peaks form.
2. In a separate  large bowl beat all ingredients, then fold in the egg whites.

You can bake in a greased dish or buttered individual ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold with fresh berries.

Chef Janet Craig’s recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly. You can find out more about her HERE.

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