Eating veggies without the lecture, just the lesson 

“Have you lost weight?” my partner asks.

Now if that didn’t sell me on the Harvest Cuisine Cooking Classes, nothing will.

The five course dinners of Cornucopia and one week with more wine and cheese than I probably consume the rest of the year was finally being put behind me. Still a ways to go, but not only are my jeans finally begining to fit again, but that pesky flu I’ve been fighting for the past two months finally called “mercy”.

What I needed was my mom to wag her finger at me, telling me to eat my vegetables, but instead it was Karen Kay of Kaytering Whistler doing so, only instead of preaching she let her fresh and flavourful recipes do the talking for her.

Kay hosts cooking classes two nights a week, from 6 to 8 p.m., at her studio kitchen in Alpine Meadows. A $50 class includes recipes and a meal. Classes are $40 each if participants sign up for all four classes.

Beans, grains and vegetables are the stars of her cooking classes, morphing into everything from hearty soups to Indian cuisine.

As I munched on carrot sticks dipped in thick, rich humus, I was reminded of how good healthy eating can taste, and best of all how cheap it can be — all of this, plus I could also control the amount of vampires or coworkers I was going to scare off that day.

Making homemade humus, you can add as much or as little garlic as you like, and you can experiment by adding your own flare with roasted red peppers or different kind of oils (if you want to use oil at all).

For someone on the run, Kay’s recipes are fantastic: beans and rice can be easily stored for last minute dinners, dishes can be made on Sunday and run the course of the work week until Friday. And the recipes I tried required very few dishes — a great concern for those of us who don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher.

Using dried beans and grains easily bought in bulk also cut down on grocery bills, as well as my waistline. Vegetables are relatively cheap and, if bought in season, cheaper yet and easier on the environment.

Along with learning how to cook with earth-friendly foods, Kay’s classes also cover ethnic dishes (Thai, Crete, Indian and Southwestern), cooking skills (I finally learned the secret behind effectively chopping up cilantro without the stems) and recipes that aid ailments (arthritis, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and even PMS and menopause) — apparently there is more to hormone balancing than just chocolate.

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