5 Ways to Get Cozy In Winter
December 01 2015

The beauty of living in a country with four distinct seasons is that we get to enjoy many different lifestyles throughout the year. The challenge is when winter hits, everyone seems to take the chill a little too literally. So, I’ve plotted a strategy for dealing with this year’s ice age:

Winter BBQ: I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta at a time when global warming was unimaginable to most folks. At that time school was only cancelled if you couldn't open your door because the snow was to the roofline. So a relatively balmy Ontario winter, where I now call home, is like a Cali vacation and the perfect opportunity to light up the BBQ and pretend that it’s summer. I get on my winter boots, my lumberjack coat (my wife bought it for me a couple years back just so I could BBQ in the winter), and my lighter and off I go firing up the grill to cook all the usual stuff most sane humans only do during the summer months. The people who inspired me to take up winter barbecuing used to park their grills right outside of their patio door so they could stand indoors and bbq outdoors at the same time. Genius.

Power up with Ginger: My grandparents always praised the many virtues of ginger, which Western nutritionists and doctors are gaining appreciation for its various health benefits. Now I’m no nutritionist but I know when I drink a hot cup of water steeped with hunks of fresh ginger, I feel the warmth coursing through my entire body. My father used to say that ginger heats the blood, which is an Eastern medicinal concept taught to him by his father. Ayurvedic medicine speaks of similar traits with this amazing root. I may not be an expert but I do it because they said so and when I do it, it works. Thats enough for me. Next…

The Hearth:
Traditionally the hearth oven was the centre of the North American or European home, acting as both furnace and the main cooking work horse. Nowadays the kitchen remains the heart of most homes and for good reason; that’s where the drinks and the food are coming from! So if you wanna get warm, get cooking. Turn on your stove or heat up your oven and roast some veggies, bake bread or make this delicious Campari Stew Chicken from yours truly. It will fill the house with a delicious aroma and warm your kitchen and your home as well as your belly. A full belly will help to keep you warm, both body and spirit.

Eat Some Carbs: I’m no dietitian so take this with a grain of rice. Just as fast as the no carb diet took over the planet, now the carb loading diet is hot on its heels. Carb loading is a diet based on calculated mass consumption of an unusual quantity of carbs at most meals and is very popular among many athletic types. All I know is Asian cultures have been eating noodles and rice forever, Italians have been eating pasta and risotto forever, Eastern Europeans have been eating all kinds of potatoes and bread forever, Africans have been eating corn and teff forever, and folks in tropical climates have been eating cassava, green plantain, and eddo’s forever. The closer the carbohydrate is to its natural state the better, in most instances, as the husks and fibre left on ancient grains and less processed starches break down slower in the digestive system. This gives you a more even source of energy for a longer period of time and the fibre is great for colon health as well. So basically, eat some carbs and feel good about it. Who doesn't love a bowl of pasta with fresh tomatoes and herbs? Summer or winter - it’s always a hit. And if you face a gluten intolerance there are a lot of options now available to satisfy a pasta craving. So no excuses, eat them carbs.

Exercise: It’s pretty simple, exercise increases blood flow and better circulation helps to make all of your bodily functions work better. Better circulation also helps to keep you warm. Exercise also raises your body temperature by firing up your insides and burning calories. The body is like an oven; warm it up and it will keep you toasty for a while after you exercise. Now that’s what my doctor tells me and she is pretty awesome. As an added bonus, you will feel better and you will eventually fit into smaller jeans and anyone who tells you they don't like that is straight up lying to you.

So there you have it folks. I am only speaking from my own experience and if that all fails just know this: it is no accident that most of my kids were born 9 months after the deepest coldest parts of winter. Old fashioned cozy keeping to the rescue! Enjoy your winter, I know I will. :)
Men In The Kitchen
November 04 2015

I grew up in a household and in an extended family where seeing men in the kitchen was as common as Shark and Bake by the beach (I'm Trinidadian - it's a thing). As legend has it, after they got married, my father taught my mother how to cook after her initial attempt at cooking was less than worthy of a Chopped championship. Every weekend he would show her how to cook a new dish until her repertoire and practice built up her confidence. Now my mother is a beast in the kitchen.

Nowadays it's a point of pride to be able to hold a conversation about the best way to emulsify a hollandaise or make pasta from scratch. For many men, food has joined the conversation alongside topics like sports and cars, but it's time to turn that talk into action. So without further ado, I've come up with a few reasons for men to get busy in the kitchen:

Get Some Love: Everyone on earth likes to sit back and relax while their significant other whips up a meal. You can be that love interest. Lets face it, everyone loves love and some lovin’.

Save Money. It’s no surprise that cooking at home will save you thousands of dollars a year
if you are in the habit of eating out for every meal. Think of the amount of beach vacations on
the Amalfi Coast or Bali you can have in a lifetime just by turning on your oven.

Improve Your Health. Food is not only delicious but it also nourishes your body with vital
nutrients including vitamins, minerals, proteins and energy. If you are doing the cooking you
can be in control of the quality of the ingredients you cook with. You can also control the
nutritional value and amount of sodium, sugar, and produce that make their way into your
meals. It is well recognized that increasing the amount of vegetables in your daily diet
increases the chances of enjoying a longer life span. After you have improved your love life
and saved all that money from the first two tips, you can now enjoy all of those things even
more by living longer - win!

Enjoy the Flavours You Love. When you cook, you control the flavour, and you can
enjoy more of the flavours that please your palate. This may seem obvious but sometimes we
take this for granted. Some people pay buckets of their hard earned money to customize their
cars, wardrobe and phone settings; so why not pimp your plate too.

Real Men Make Bread. I think everyone should be introduced to the miracles and skill it
takes to bake a loaf of bread from scratch. Kneading, resting and letting a dough rise is a life
lesson in patience and the smell of a fresh loaf of bread baking is guaranteed to put a smile
on anyone's face. And who doesn’t love the majestic simplicity of a well made sandwich,
made even better by bread built with your own two hands.

So I challenge all you men out there to make a loaf of bread and make the Chicken & Kumato Tomato Sandwich recipe that I've included with this month’s blog.

For more recipes check out
Knife Skills with The Property Brothers on The Marilyn Denis Show
October 26 2015

I had a great time teaching Drew Scott and Jonathan Silver Scott of The Property Brothers how to properly wield a knife in the kitchen on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Check out the video from the show if you want to sharpen your knife skills.
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