December 21st, 2015

LD Picks: Best Life Tips and Tricks

No one has time to read all the lifestyle tips on the Internet, so our editors have selected the best. Read on for smart advice on beagles, bruises, bleaching, Brussels sprouts, and more—our very favourite life tips and tricks.

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How to Remove Annoying Sticky Residue from Marble

marble

Marble is a relatively soft rock, susceptible to damage, so it gets a bad rap for requiring frequent maintenance. With this simple trick, however, you’ll be able to clean off even the stickiest of messes with ease.

  1. The materials You need cooking oil—either canola or olive will do—and a willing pair of hands.
  2. The setup Pour your cooking oil over the sticky residue and gently work it in using your fingers. Since marble is so soft, avoid using metal utensils or steel wools and instead, use your fingernails to peel off the residue.
  3. The cleanup Once all of the residue is removed, rinse the area with warm water and dry it.

[More at Apartment Therapy]

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December 21st, 2015

LD Picks: Food & Drink

Our editors have chased down the Web’s smartest food & drink tips, and tidily summarized them here, for you. Scroll down, and bon appétit!

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29 Foods You Should NEVER Refrigerate

tomato

Worried for his texture and flavour, a crimson friend issues an earnest plea.

There are two kinds of bacteria that matter to your food. The dangerous kind can contaminate food without changing its look, smell, and taste. (Think listeria.) But the benign kind can make your food look gross without necessarily making you sick. (Think black banana.) Here’s a list of 29 items that survive perfectly outside the fridge.
  1. Potatoes: Kept too cold, a potato’s starches turn to sugar, releasing a strange flavor. Keep all potatoes and yams in a paper bag in a cool, dark cupboard or drawer.
  2. Honey: Honey turns to crystallized gunk if it’s kept in the fridge. Store it at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
  3. Tomatoes: Left in the fridge, tomatoes become mushy and start losing flavor. Leave them on the counter and use when they have a slight give to the outside skin.
  4. Apples: Like tomatoes, apples lose flavor and texture in the fridge. Leave them on the counter, and throw them in the fridge 30 minutes prior to eating if you want a crisp bite.
  5. Onions: The best place for onions is in a paper bag in a cool, dark cabinet or drawer. Stored in the fridge, they soften and lend a pungent scent to nearby foods.
  6. Coffee: Many think coffee deserves a special place in the fridge or freezer, but it actually is best at room temperature so its natural oils can really flavor your favorite cup of joe. Buy in small batches for really fragrant, and rich, morning coffee.
  7. Melons: Most melons do best outside the fridge. Once refrigerated, they tend to break down and become mealy. After cutting, if any are remaining, store them in the fridge.
  8. Ketchup: Ketchup is just fine in your pantry—even after it has been opened. Worry not, the vinegar and preservatives keep it safe.

ketchup

  1. Jam: Due to the high amount of preservatives in jams and jellies, they’re fine in the pantry after opening.
  2. Stone fruits: Peaches, plums and nectarines aren’t friends of the fridge, so leave them on the counter until they’re ripe.
  3. Pickles: Another item high in preservatives, mainly vinegar, pickles will stay crisp in the pantry. But, if you’re a fan of cold ones, store them in the refrigerator door, which leaves the coldest spots of the fridge for items that really need the space.
  4. Garlic: Store garlic in a paper bag in a cool, dark spot, and it holds its wonderful flavor for weeks.
  5. Hot sauce: Make more room in your fridge, and store hot sauce in your pantry — even after it has been opened. All the preservatives and spices keep it safe for topping your eats.
  6. Most oils: Pretty much all oils are safe to store at room temperature. If the oil has a lower saturated-fat content, such as safflower or sunflower, it will benefit from being kept cool, so store it in a dark cabinet or the fridge door.
  7. Avocados: Store avocados on the counter and any leftovers in the fridge. But they’ll lose flavor, so it’s a good idea to use a whole one when making the cut.
  8. Winter squash: Acorn, spaghetti, and butternut do best when stored at room temperature.
  9. Berries: Fresh berries already have a short shelf life, so leave them out of the fridge and eat them within a day or two of purchasing.
  10. Spices: Ground spices never need to be refrigerated.
  11. Soy sauce: Its high salt in soy sauce keeps it safe to store at room temperature.
  12. Some salad dressings: Just like other condiments, most salad dressing, especially the vinegar- or oil-based, are just fine stored outside the fridge. Those that contain cream, yogurt, or mayonnaise should be stored in the fridge.
  13. Peanut butter: Peanut butter does just fine in the cool and dark of a cupboard.
  14. Bread: You might be tempted to store bread in the fridge, but it actually dries out faster. Instead, store it in a cool cupboard or bread box for a fresh slice.

bananas

  1. Bananas: Leave them on the counter. If bananas turn brown before you get to them, toss them in the freezer to make banana bread at a later date.
  2. Peppers: Red, green, yellow, and even chili peppers are just fine stored in a paper bag in a cool cupboard or drawer.
  3. Nuts: Nuts are just fine stored in a cool, dark spot.
  4. Dried fruits: They’re preserved by drying. No need to refrigerate.
  5. Vacuum-packed tuna: You might not be sure, but that tuna has been sealed, just like in a can, so it’s fine stored at room temperature.
  6. Herbs: If you pick up fresh herbs from the grocery store, instead of stuffing them back in the suffocating plastic bag, place them in a water-filled glass jar on your kitchen counter, creating an herb bouquet to use while cooking.
  7. Maple syrup: As with honey, maple syrup crystallizes if stored in the fridge.

[More at Daily Savings]

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The Diet That Eliminates Belly Fat Permanently

belly

  1. The big fat myth For years doctors and health experts have told North Americans that you are what you eat—eat fat and you’ll be fat. Not so fast, say the Harvard researchers behind a recent study A Harvard study recently published in The Lancet contradicts that advice, at least as far as fat goes. It’s found that low-fat diets are not the most effective way of losing weight—or of keeping it off.
  2. Want to keep weight off? Skip the carbs. The study followed 56 clinical trials, separating subjects into two groups: those that avoided fats and those that avoided carbohydrates. People who ate low-fat diets for one year lost and kept off an average of 6 lbs; those that followed low-carb diets lost and kept off an average of 8.5 lbs.
  3. Good fats vs bad fats People are thinking differently about the benefits of daily fats. While saturated and trans fats are still to be avoided, healthy fats like those found in nuts, olive oil, and fish can actually have a protective effect. Higher fat diets are also easier to stick to as well, since they take longer to digest and keep you feeling full.
  4. Playing the long game In the end, there is very little evidence to support a low-fat diet. Lacking in flavor and quickly digested, such diets tend only to promote the swapping of good fats for bad fats and binge eating. Instead, opt for a low-carb diet and focus on the foods that offer long term health benefits, rather than a quick fix.

[More at Yahoo Health]

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Take the Expiry Date of These 7 Foods SERIOUSLY

egg

Want to know a neat trick for showing whether an egg is past due? Read on!

Many of the items in your fridge are more than happy in a cupboard or on the counter. Some foods, though, you can never be too careful with. They can pose a serious risk to your health, and must be consumed or discarded by their expiration dates.

  1. Deli meat: The listeria bacterium exists in many places, but it’s likeliest to contaminate your cold cuts at the processing plant. It’s dangerous because contaminated food looks, smells, and tastes normal; it can multiply in your fridge; and it can kill you. Toss opened deli meat after three to five days in the fridge. If unopened, throw it away after two weeks.
  2. Eggs: It’s not hard to avoid rotten eggs, which have a potent smell. But how can you tell before you crack it? Easy. Drop it in a bowl of cold water: fresh eggs sink to the bottom, rotten eggs float on top. (As an egg ages, fluid evaporates through the porous shell, while buoying air and gasses seep in.) Science!
  3. Fresh berries: What likes berries even more than you do? The microscopic mold spores hard at work, turning them into fuzz and mush. Keep fresh berries a maximum of three days in the fridge, and wait until right before you eat them to wash them.
  4. Mixed greens: Prepackaged salad mixes can harbor dangerous bacteria from process and handling contamination. Unopened lettuce can only last three to five days past its expiry date.
  5. Raw fish: Fresh fish and shellfish should be eaten within two days of purchase, and kept in the refrigerator. If you plan to freeze it, wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer for up to six months, depending on fat content. Oily fish like salmon and tuna can turn rancid if not stored properly.
  6. Raw meat: Foul smells and a slimy appearance are the big signals your meat has gone bad. Raw ground meat, including poultry, can be refrigerated for up to two days, according to Canada’s Public Health Agency. Roasts, steaks, and chops can be refrigerated for up to five days, frozen for up to four months.
  7. Soft cheese: Stored in the refrigerator, opened hard cheeses (like Parmesan and cheddar) will last three and six weeks, while opened soft cheeses (like Camembert and Brie) will last a week.

[More at Bustle]

 

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September 27th, 2015

6 Surprising Foods That Will Help You Sleep All Night Long

It’s a commonplace of holidays: the turkey dinner concludes, your eyelids start to droop. You sneak away from the table to pour yourself into a comfortable seat and snooze the snooze of a thousand snoozes (at least until, ahem, the dishes are done).

The yawning doesn’t come over you because you’re lazy or full, although you may be both. Turkey contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan, which produces in the body two chemicals that make you want to get comfortably horizontal: melatonin and serotonin.

Interesting: Turkey, famous for its soporific effect, contains only modest amounts of tryptophan. A handful of other foods contain much higher concentrations of the amino acid. And all are cheaper and easier to prepare than a Christmas turkey.

More importantly, they’re easy to consume before bedtime, and will help you sleep more quickly and restfully. Who needs Ambien when Mother Nature’s on your side?

Toasted sesame seed bread

Sesame seeds are small, but they contain high amounts of tryptophan. Why bother with toast when you could simply throw back a handful, you ask? Bread’s carbohydrates increase your blood sugar, causing your body to produce insulin and, afterwards, the calming chemicals serotonin and melatonin—the ultimate drowsy combination. Sesame is the sleep superstar, but all kinds of seeds—pumpkin, squash, sunflower, in particular—are excellent before bedtime.

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Raw Nuts

Before bed, a handful of nuts is just what the Sandman ordered. Almonds, pistachios, and cashews (their butters are also excellent, just steer away from the heavily salted or sugared) are very high in tryptophan. Bonus: Nuts also contain magnesium, a mineral that calms your muscles and nerves.

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Fresh Fish

fresh fish

Fish are dense in tryptophan, in addition to being the best natural source of Omega-3s. Salmon is the champion, so definitely try it out. Whatever your choice, don’t neglect your Omega-3s. Research shows the fatty acids discourage intermittent waking through the night, and can add as much as an hour to your sleep.  Small surprise, really: If there’s one thing salmon know about, it’s going the distance.

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Cherries

cherries

Cherries are so efficient at inducing sleep, they might have been manufactured in a lab. Where most soporific foods induce the body to produce melatonin by first introducing tryptophan, cherries leapfrog the first step and give you a straight shot of melatonin. This is rare. (Melatonin is the chemical that most strongly influences your sleep-wake cycles.) One caveat: before stuffing your mouth, make sure you’re not allergic. Treefruit like cherries are difficult on some people’s systems.

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Cow’s Milk

milk

Experts don’t fully agree there is evidence that this age-old home remedy actually works. That’s because, like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases serotonin, which relaxes you. Milk is also high in calcium and magnesium, both known to have a relaxing effect. Milk alone may do the trick, but you’ll boost its effectiveness by taking it with a carb-rich oatmeal, granola, or toast.

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Mozzarella Cheese

mozza

If you’re like me, you hear an echo of your grandmother telling you that cheese before bed will give you nightmares. Mozzarella is the exception to the rule. Pound for pound, mozzarella cheese contains twice as much tryptophan as the lean protein. May we suggest a piece of Silver Hill’s Squirrelly Bread with a single slice of tomato, laid over with fresh buffalo mozza or bocconcini, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, a few drops of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper?

Now you’ve got the tools. Happy sleeping!



September 21st, 2015

5 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes That Will Set You Daydreaming

brownies

They say everything old is new again—and so perhaps it’s unsurprising that just like macramé, fringe and jumpsuits, slow cookers have made a huge comeback.  But this is not your grandmother’s Crock-Pot; today’s slow cookers are smart, being WiFi enabled and remote controllable from your phone or tablet.

And it’s not just the tech that’s superior: so are the meals.  Long gone are the recipes for mushy meats, bland beans and overdone veggies from yesteryear.  Instead, celebrity chefs and foodies alike have developed ways to sex up slow-cooked suppers.

Here are five easy recipes guaranteed to keep your pot hot, and your belly happy.

[Related: 6 brilliant slow cooker recipes for busy mornings]

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Really Easy Ramen: Crispy Caramelized Pork Ramen Noodle Soup

Long an Asian staple, ramen recently conquered the dining tables of the Western world. Become your neighbourhood’s Ivan Orkin (the Tokyo Ramen genius!) to make a delicious home cooked bowl on the double.

In fact, this is one of the most shared Ramen noodle recipes on Pinterest for a reason…it’s AMAZING. And you’ll have plenty left over for later.

Pro tip: If you can swing it…don’t skip the curry roasted acorn squash! That savoury sweet topper puts this soup over the edge.

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Low To No Prep: Black Bean Enchiladas

To be fair, not all slow cooker recipes are created equal: some require just too much advance prep for folks in a rush. Thankfully, it’s not that hard to find recipes like this one, involving low-to-no prep.

And unless its super warm in your kitchen, you won’t even break a sweat from chopping the onions and peppers for these bean enchiladas… and then you just toss the veggies and roll ‘em up in some tortillas. Heck, they don’t even have to be rolled that well because the entire mess is covered in mmmmm-elted cheese (make sure to get the pre-grated kind.)

A de-lish dish, to be sure.

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Versatile Veggies: Quinoa-Stuffed Red Peppers

Vegetarians were once entirely overlooked in Crock-Pot cookbooks—and for good reason, since tackling vegetables in the slow cooker is a delicate task: too much time means a soggy soup, and not enough can be tough on teeth. Thankfully, sophisticated slow cooker veggie recipes are much easier to find nowadays.

For instance, these stuffed peppers make the perfect Sunday supper. And the stuffing can be done with pretty much any type of grain, bean or cheese you have on hand. Perfect every time.

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Starch-Free Suppers: Braised Beef Ragu with Polenta

Historically, slow cooked meals too often involved heavy starches, like pastas and potatoes. Now, newer recipes bring in hearty alternatives like oats and grains that are easier on the starch—and the waistline. In fact, this recipe for velvety beef goodness dished over polenta melts in your mouth, and the ragu tastes even better on toast for leftovers the next day.

Trust me, this is one you’ll want to try.

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Decadent Desserts: Triple Chocolate Brownies

brownies

Naxon Beaneries (the original name of the slow-cooker) are for more than just cooking dinner. Delicious desserts like cheesecakes, cobblers and crumbles are family favourites you can easily whip up in a slow cooker.  These brownies by Martha Stewart for one, are an essential in the Crock-Pot canon—because really, why stop at a single chocolate brownie when you could triple that?? ‘Nuff said.

With twice as many households using slow cookers than just a generation ago it’s no wonder that today’s time-strapped families rely on them for everyday survival.  If you don’t have one yet, consider the investment… a good slow cooker is worth its weight in gold…er, at least truffles?

[Related: 6 brilliant slow cooker recipes for busy mornings]

Buono appetito!

 



September 13th, 2015

10 Nostalgic Snacks to Remember (And Their Healthy Equivalents)

high-school-cafeteria

Students of all ages are now back at school. Every day, at intervals, they dip hands into lunch boxes and paper bags, hoping to keep the hounds of hunger at bay.

And what’s inside? The sky’s the limit. Whether packed by a loved one or the student himself, the good old fashioned brown bag (or its more reusable equivalent) can contain a universe of choice–and memories.

Take the following 10 snacks, for example, which have stood the test of lunchtime, each paired with a healthful equivalent.

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YOU REMEMBER: JELL-O PREPARED PUDDING

Jell-O is a an old company with an interesting history. But is the proof of this snack’s value in the pudding? The presence of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat may disqualify Jell-O as a healthy snack for many (although it does have calcium, as noted on the box!). But then again, perhaps sometimes a treat is simply a treat.

yogurt1

A DELECTABLE ALTERNATIVE: YOGURT

If you like to break out the spoon at snacktime, yogurt is a clear choice. It’s a food so inclusive that it can be enjoyed both by those too young and too old for teeth. Plus yogurt comes with a suite of options: higher and lower fat content, drinkable and non, probiotic and non, flavoured and non. Steering clear of the more highly sweetened versions is the only precaution.

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August 13th, 2014

Swirlio Frozen Dessert Maker

Big Boss Swirlio Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker Review

My youngest is banana obsessed. He loves them frozen, fresh, in desserts, you name it. While I like bananas, I prefer them in smoothies or recipes instead of alone. There is something with the texture of fresh bananas that has never been appealing to me. However, they are great in desserts and I love them in my morning smoothies. Since there is such a love of frozen bananas in my household I was excited when I was approached to give my review of the new Big Boss Swirlio Frozen Fruit and Dessert Maker. READ MORE



December 5th, 2013

Chef Paul Shufelt’s Chai Eggnog

Chef Paul Shufelt’s Chai Eggnog

Tis the season for holiday entertaining at home, and London Drugs has all the tools you’ll need to wow guests this holiday season.

Beehive Beverage Dispenser

Chef Paul Shufelt, one of Canada’s most celebrated Chefs, shares his popular Chai Eggnog recipe he’s created, which easily stores and pours for guests using the London Drugs Beehive Beverage Dispenser.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yields: About 1 lt.

 

Ingredients:

  • 15 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • ½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Darjeeling tea bags (you can substitute Double Chai Tea if necessary)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup spiced rum (optional, but hey it’s Christmas!)
  • Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish

Instructions:

kitchenAid Architect Food Processor

  1. Using a KitchenAid Architect Series Food Processor, combine cloves, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and whole black peppercorns, and pulse to grind
  2. Heat the one cup of milk, adding the pulsed spice mix, then steeping the tea bags in for 4-5 minutes
  3. Remove from the heat and strain to remove spice mix and tea bags
  4. In a pot combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Add heavy cream and remaining milk, bring to a simmer slowly, stirring constantly to avoid curdling the mixture
  5. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon it is ready
  6. Remove from heat and continue to stir
  7. Add the strained steeped milk and either serve warm or chill until cold.
  8. Add the liquor right before serving
  9. Garnish with nutmeg and serve

Who’s thirsty!



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