Thursday, January 21, 2010

Unleashing my inner chef

Another one of my 101 goals was to try 12 new recipes a year. Little did I know what kind of culinary adventure this would set me on. I started working on that goal towards the fall, and completed 30 recipes by December 2009. It's now January 21st and I have already tried 10 new recipes this month. What this goal has unleashed is a passion for cooking, baking and creating with food that I didn't know existed! Granted, I've always loved baking (particularly the family famous THCs or Toll House Cookies), but I didn't realize that I could also love cooking this much. I'm getting much more adventurous with food, and my family will testify to what a picky eater I have always been! Here are some of the favourite recipes I've tried so far in 2010.

1. Peruvian braised chicken (from Cooking Light)
2. My very first Roast Chicken dinner (see the photos)
3. Baked wild coho salmon (recipe a combo of advice and
4. The most delicious one bowl brownies ever (my new title - from
5. Three bean veggie chili (tried this one last night with Munir and it was yum! from Cooking Light)
6. Roasted veggies with lemon couscous (from my new cookbook "Eat, Shrink and Be Merry"

I was proud of how they all turned out, but especially of my recent roast chicken dinner at Michelle's house. Sticking my hand up a bird's bum is not really my idea of a good time, but man, this bird tasted great! I used a combination of tips from lots of people (thank you facebook!) combined with tips from and my own intuition and the chicken was moist and flavourful. I stuffed the bird with apples and onions, and roasted it in chicken broth along with fresh, local potatoes, and then rubbed it with margarine, and stuffed garlic, rosemary and olive oil under the skin. It was a 4lb chicken and I ended up cooking it for about 2 hours. Thanks for those who gave me tips! So, onwards and upwards! If you have great recipes that you think I must try....send them my way :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

93. Buy beeswax candles

I have heard for a while (and often from Holly) about the benefits of beeswax candles as opposed to paraffin candles, and so it was always in the back of my mind to start stocking up my house with them and slowly replace my paraffin candles. I LOVE to burn candles (and yes, maybe that is a token girl thing to do, but I don't care), because of the soft and soothing light they offer. Here are some benefits of beeswax candles that I found from a local BC beeswax candle company, Honey Candles so I give them full credit for this great list.

1. Unlike soy and paraffin waxes, beeswax is used essentially in its native state. There is no bleaching or hydrogenating and does not require large amounts of agricultural land. Beeswax the purest of all waxes (including vegetable waxes such as soy) with the least processing and no additives. (ie. it helps the environment :)

2. Beeswax candles have a beautiful Warm Amber Glow
There is nothing quite like the warm amber glow of a 100% pure beeswax candle. In fact, based on the light spectrum, light emitted from a beeswax candle is the closest to sunlight. Studies have shown that burning beeswax stimulates the pituitary gland, increasing intuition, creativity and heightening dream activity. Some say burning a beeswax candle before bed helps them achieve a more restful sleep. (Amen to that!)

3.Beeswax Candles are Air purifying
Beeswax candles have long been known for their air purifying effects and can greatly reduce dust and other allergens in your home. Burning 100% pure beeswax candles can help improve indoor air quality by producing negative ions which have the same effect as some houseplants. (my plants will thank me!)

4. Long burning
Beeswax naturally burns up to three times longer than paraffin. Many other candle waxes have additives to produce longer burn times. Beeswax candles can cost only pennies an hour to burn. (no more "80" hour promises from Pottery Barn)

5. Clean Burning
Beeswax candles are non-allergenic and recommended by the American Lung Association. Beeswax is best for those with allergies or sensitivities to scents. Recent studies have shown paraffin candles, especially scented ones, can increase indoor air pollution. (eek!)

6. Sweet Honey Aroma
The sweet honey aroma of beeswax candles fills the air without added fragrances or other dangerous toxins. (who doesn't love the smell of honey?)

7. Virtually Dripless
When trimmed correctly, Beeswax candles are virtually dripless when burned in a draft-free environment. (no waxy messes! yay!)