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Category: Health & Wellness

Cafe Style Coffee…From Your Kitchen: Tassimo Coffee System

[ 0 ] October 15, 2009

If someone told me, say, five years ago, people would actually leave their homes for the express purpose of grabbing a great cup of java at their local/favourite cafe, I would have said they were nuts.  Well, that’s exactly what has happened, no?  To top it off, we pay upwards of $3 to $4 for the experience.  It seems we may be coming full circle now.

Last week, I was invited to the beautiful home of design guru Nik Manojlovich.  He was incredibly charming.  So was his puppy, Dennis, following me around everywhere (the dog, that is).  Too cute.

2pics

Anyway, Nik was a terrific host, serving my cameraman and me the Best. Apple. Pie. Ever.  Sadly, he would not share the recipe but did let us in on a great entertaining tip, introducing us to his “new best friend” situated next to the dessert – a Tassimo coffee maker. Very clever…

I had the pleasure of trying this out at my brother’s house last Christmas (a present for his wife).  It was quitetassimo the attention-getter as everyone lined up to make their special concoction.

This latest experience was no different.  We huddled around the Tassimo as it did its thing, preparing very smooth cups of coffee.  Note, this luxury does not come cheap.  It is around $200.00 .  However, if you want or need to cut back on your gourmet coffee expeditions or do a fair bit of entertaining at home, this really is a fantastic addition to your kitchen and will pay for itself in due time.

While the Tassimo was one topic of conversation at Nik’s place, he also gave us great ideas and tips on how to entertain for the holidays.  We’ll get that video up soon.  Meantime, if you want more information about the coffee maker or want to win one, check out http://www.kraftcanada.com/tassimo/home.html Contest closes October 16th, 2009.  Nik will also give a live demonstration on the internet on November 7th, 2009.

Happy coffee making :)

Golf On A Budget: Making It Affordable & Fun

[ 0 ] April 22, 2009

golfer2

A new season of golf is here for those of us just putting the snow shovels away.  After letting it go the past few years, I am getting back into the sport.  But with the current state of the economy can one golf – on a budget?

According to Teaching Pro and creator of Swing Machine Golf, Paul Wilson, the answer is yes.  I met about him about ten years ago, when he was the Director of Instruction at the prestigious Angus Glenn Golf Golf Club just north of Toronto.  He taught me the basics of the game and helped make my swing look spectacular.  I don’t have a lot of power but I can drive the ball straight down the fairway, thanks to Paul.

Paul now works in Colorado but took some time to provide some tips and advice on how to get ready for the season.

Anita:  In this current economic climate many are looking to cutback wherever they can.  How can golf remain an affordable hobby/sport?

Paul:  There are many ways to keep golf affordable:

1) If you want/need new clubs, I recommend buying them from eBay.  YOu can get last year’s top-of-the-line clubs at about half price.  Sure, they are slightly used but the way equipment manufacturers make clubs these days, the wear-and-tear will be almost unnoticeable.

If you absolutely must have the latest and greatest clubs, you can find them on eBay too, perhaps not at the start of the season though.  Give it a month or so before current models start showing up after golfers try them out – and don’t rule out your local golf store.  When you account for online shipping charges it may be cheaper to buy in your neighborhood.

As for playing golf, courses are experiencing a downturn too, so look out for discounts especially for foursomes and those who can play at off-peak hours/days.  The best thing is to call the golf course and ask what discounts they are offering.

Also, think about getting a golf card http://www.golfcard.com.  It offers some great 2-for-1 discounts on courses that are part of their network.

If you have extra money and are thinking about buying a membership at an exclusive club, now is the time to get in.  In times like these, clubs discount the initiation fees making it easier for you to join the club of your dreams.

Anita:  What is the one thing every golfer should have in his bag?

Paul:  Beer!  Just kidding.  All golfers should have clubs properly fitted by a professional club fitter.  This ensures you are playing the clubs that match your ability.

Anita:  What are some ways to get in shape for the upcoming golf season?

Paul:  I recommend taking it easy on the first day back at the course.  Hit no more than one bucket of practice balls before your round.  After the round, do not hit more practice balls.  You don’t want to overdo it this early in the season.

If you are not going to play again for a few days or until the next weekend, do practice swings at home on a daily or nightly basis.  This will keep you loose for the next time you play.

As you regularly go to the golf course, gradually increase practice sessions until you are back into a normal routine.  You really have to be careful because it’s exciting to get back into playing again but after a long winter layoff, try not to hurt yourself.

Getting in shape for golf season also means doing some stretching before the game.  Stretch for about 20 minutes to a half-hour at home, before you head out.  Do some light stretches just before tee off too.  This way, you reduce the risk of pulling a muscle or straining your back which can put you out for weeks or even months.

To avoid having to get back into the swing of things in the future, set up a practice station at home where you can do practice swings on a regular basis.  This will help you jump right into the season without having to find your swing and get your body conditioned again.

Anita:  I know your teaching method is a little different.  It’s based on a machine called Iron Byron. How can that improve your game?

Paul: Iron Byron is a machine designed to test golf clubs and balls.  It was actually modeled after the late, great Byron Nelson’s golf swing and it hits the golf ball perfectly every single time.

paul-byron

When I started golf, I was a scratch golfer by the age of 17.  Two years later, I went to Florida and decided to change my swing – big mistake!  I totally messed up and lost my swing.  I struggled for more than ten years trying anything and everything to get it back but nothing worked.  Then, one day I saw Iron Byron hit a ball and the light bulb went off.

Next time I went to the course, I got to the 11th hole and remembered the machine.  I did three practice swings imagining I was the machine.  I then proceeded to hit my drive 300+ yards absolutely dead straight.  This continued for the rest of the round and still does to this day.

After it helped get my game back on track, I decided to incorporate it into my teaching.  I figured, this machine is modeled after one the best golfers of all time and it hits the ball perfectly with only three elements to it.  So, why not copy it?  It’s helped me and my students enormously.  By following this technique, we understand exactly how the golf swing works and why it leads to amazing results.

Anita:  For someone who can’t fly out to Colorado Springs for golf lessons what is the next best way to help golfers improve their game?

Paul:  Well, there are tons of books and videos on the market that can help golfers take their games to the next level.  The thing is, you have to be serious about following them.  This means sticking to one method and working on the drills and lessons that are provided instead of jumping around from method to method, trying tips from golf magazines and listening to your friends.

To date, I’ve sold more than 16,000 copies of my books and DVDs to golfers of all abilities and I’ve had more than 2,000 people send in testimonials.  If your readers are interested in my method, they can check out my website www.SwingMachineGolf.com .  I also have tons of free golf tips on my blog.

Anita:  Paul, thanks for this.

Paul:  My pleasure.  Good luck out there and have fun!

Healthy Hummus Recipe: High-Protein Snack

[ 0 ] April 20, 2009

It’s a chilly, rainy day here in Toronto.  On days like these I crave comfort food.  Instead of reaching for something with empty calories though, I want a healthy but tasty snack.  Hummus fits the bill.  My recipe has an East Indian influence with the addition of coriander (instead of mint) and green chilies.  I also prefer roasting the garlic.  It becomes sweeter and loses most of its strong aftertaste and odor.

Hummus with Tahini and Yogurt


hummus-recipe


Yield:  Approx 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (rinsed, drained)

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

2 tbsps lemon/lime juice

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (use cold-pressed for better flavor)

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened yogurt

4-6 cloves roasted garlic

1/4 cup fresh coriander or mint for a traditional taste (wash thoroughly)

1/2 green chili (or more if you can take the heat!)

1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except coriander.  Just before reaching the desired (smooth) consistency add the coriander and blend for another half-minute.  Give it a taste – you may wish to add more chili, lemon juice and/or yogurt.

Spoon hummus into serving dish, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle with some coriander sprigs.

Hummus is excellent as a sandwich/wrap spread or simply served with tortilla/pita chips and crisp, raw vegetables such as red peppers, carrots or celery.  Have fun!

Nutritious Whole Wheat Scones: Recipe

[ 1 ] March 9, 2009

I needed a pick-me-up on this snowy March morning in Toronto.  The old toast-and-jam routine wouldn’t do on this cloudy day (it always snows around my birthday :-(   These breakfast scones definitely hit the spot: quick and easy to bake and eggless too!  You can add pretty much anything to the mixture including blueberries, raisins and chocolate chips.

Yield: 6 medium scones.

You will need:

Insulated cookie sheet or two regular trays (to prevent scones from over browning)

Whole wheat scones are great with jam, butter and/or clotted cream.

Whole wheat scones are great with jam, butter and/or clotted cream.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp whole milk powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
4 tbsp milk
1 tbsp yogurt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves

Topping:

1 tbsp milk

Place oven rack in the middle then preheat to 400F (200C).

In a bowl, combine flour, whole milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugars. Stir well to combine. Cut cold butter into small pieces, add to flour mixture and mix with pastry blender or two knives until the mixture becomes very coarse crumbs. Add milk, yogurt and vanilla. Stir until dough comes together but do not over-mix. It should be sticky but firm enough to hold its shape.

On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough a few times into a ball. Pat or roll out the dough into a circle – should be about 1.5 inches thick. Cut in half, then cut each semi-circle into three wedges. Place wedges at least one-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. With a pastry brush, brush the tops and sides with milk.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve warm with butter, jam and/or clotted cream.

Enjoy!

Curb Your Cravings With Steel Cut Oats: Recipe

[ 0 ] February 19, 2009

Maintaining a reasonable weight can be a challenge especially when bombarded with “news” about what NOT to eat.  How about taking a different approach – adding foods to our diet that help cut down on cravings and binge eating?  Steel cut oatmeal is, in my opinion, a superfood.  It is a whole-grain breakfast cereal that is incredibly nutritious and tasty if you add some key ingredients (see my recipe at the end of the article).


Oats – Steel Cut Organic – 4/24 Oz Oats – Steel Cut: GR

Oats - Steel Cut Organic - 4/24 Oz Oats - Steel Cut: GR

Steel cut oats are quite filling and will likely reduce or eliminate mid-morning cravings for naughty foods like store-bought muffins and cookies.  These oats act like an internal body cleanser sweeping through the body like a sponge, cleansing and regulating your digestive system.  You can increase the nutritional benefits by adding milk and ground almonds.  Canadian maple syrup and a touch of pure vanilla extract will take this to another level.

Steel Cut Oats – Breakfast Cereal

1 cup steel cut oats

3 1/4 cups water

1 cup milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup ground raw almonds

Maple syrup or other sweetener, for serving

Rinse the oats in a mesh strainer to wash away any residue.  Soak them in water for at least a 1/2 hour.  This will dramatically cut down on cooking time.

Add the water/oats mixture to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil on maximum heat then reduce it to medium.  Add milk.  After 15 minutes, give it a stir and add salt, vanilla and ground almonds.  If you like the consistency, remove from heat and serve.  This will continue to thicken so if the consistency is already thick you might want to add more milk.  Don’t add water as it will separate at this point.  Serve this with maple syrup or your favorite sweetener and enjoy.

*You can eat this through the week too.  Just refrigerate leftovers and reheat with some more liquid – milk!  It’ll taste even better since the flavours will have completely marinated.  Remember to drink a lot of water throughout the morning.  That will help the oats do their thing!

Turmeric Benefits: A Golden Warrior in the Anti-Aging Crusade

[ 2 ] January 14, 2009

Benefits of Turmeric

This vibrant, bright yellow spice is a staple in Indian cuisine.  Turmeric benefits are numerous due to its high concentration of curcumin, a chemical that helps our defence mechanisms battle free radicals which cause cell damage and accelerate the aging process.

Many studies have proven the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.  It’s believed to aid people suffering from Crohn’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Note:  There is a very low incidence of Alzheimer’s in India where turmeric is consumed regularly.

Psoriasis sufferers can also reap health benefits from this spice which acts as an anti-inflammatory and is proven to be as effective, if not more than cortisone treatment.  Best of all, it is inexpensive and widely available in Indian and bulk food stores.  If possible, stay away from the bottled spices in big supermarkets.  Who knows how long the spices have been sitting there.  Look for a store that has high product turnover.

Turmeric spice is also used in Hindu wedding ceremonies where the bride and/or groom are covered with turmeric paste to help give their skin a vitamin boost and golden glow on their special day.  However, you do not have to be a new bride to benefit from this powerful antioxidant.  Add it to a homemade facial mask to help keep your skin clear and free of infections like acne and rosacea.

Quick & Easy Turmeric Facial Mask

Combine 2 tsp chickpea/gram flour with ¼ tsp ground turmeric.
Add enough milk and honey to make a paste.
Apply to clean skin, avoiding eye area.
After 10 minutes, wash face with lukewarm water.

Turmeric Recipes:

Add at least 1 teaspoon to:
1)  Your favourite Indian curry, vegetable or meat dish.
2)  Pasta sauce (bottled or homemade).

Add a pinch (or two) to:
1)  Devilled food eggs
2)  Potato salad

As you can see, it is super-easy to incorporate this powerful antioxidant into your daily routine.  The benefits of turmeric are wonderful – give it a try!


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