Home cooking is making a come back! No longer seen as a chore, many are
embracing cooking as a hobby in which they can innovate and create
experiences as well as ensure they are eating in such a way that is
healthy for themselves and the environment.
Driven by a movement toward eating local, fresh foods and an increase in
popular cooking shows and food blogs, The Casual Gourmet, a boutique
kitchen store in Hamilton’s Westdale Village has definitely seen this
growing trend.
“People are coming in to the store excited to try a new recipe they saw
on a blog.  They are talking about entertaining more at home, getting
their kids involved in the kitchen and wanting to challenge themselves
with something new.  In addition, the more they cook, the more they see
the importance of investing in quality kitchen tools” says Ilona Santa,
co-owner of The Casual Gourmet.
As people are becoming increasingly aware of what they are putting into
their bodies. Nutrient- rich, fresh, non-processed whole foods are being
prioritized in such a way that is superseding the value placed on
convenience and discount prices.  “While the ingredients used are
important, having the right kitchen tools can also help you on your road
to healthy cooking; which not everyone is aware of” says Santa.
The Casual Gourmet staff recommends some of their favourite kitchen
staples for cooking healthy, creative and delicious meals at home.
*Cast iron skillet *– Cast-iron skillets conduct heat beautifully, go
from stovetop to oven with no problem and last for decades.  Best of
all, they require the use of less cooking oil, are a chemical – free
alternative to nonstick pans and actually fortify your foods with more
iron.
*Spiralizer* – A fun and easy tool to use for many kinds of veggies. A
favourite use is making spiralized zuchinni noodles as a wheat pasta
alternative.   It is just as tasty and satisfying (you can eat more!)
and allows you to minimize your starch, sugar and wheat intake.
*Cast Iron Dutch Oven (5 – 7 qt)* – These are great for making one pot
meals which help to ensure a balanced meal. Simmering and cooking all
meal items together creates it’s own cooking sauce and no nutrients are
lost.  They are also great for batch cooking, ensuring you have fast,
healthy meals on hand. And an added bonus – quick clean up!
Looking to up your skills in the kitchen?  Under new ownership, The
Casual Gourmet now offers cooking classes as one of its many exciting
changes!  Partnering with local chefs and nutritionists, the classes
offer something for everyone. From wholesome baking to exploring exotic
flavours from around the world, an introduction to vegan cooking and
delightful desserts. There are also classes for kids and students!
Visit www.casualgourmet.ca for more details!

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