Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Having Fun with your Food

What to feed young picky eaters? Why their favourite foods of course but try a more fun, creative way to spruce up lunch or dinner for the kids.  This past weekend my niece stayed over and I had an opportunity to get creative with her lunch ... not to say I wouldn't do this for myself or my boyfriend but it's nice to have a kid around to entertain.

This idea was inspired by the many Bento box lunch photos I've seen on the web.  I kept mine very simple for my first try but some of them get so very elaborate and creative, almost too creative to eat, no?

Try using a cute flower cookie cutter to cut out your vegetable bit size pieces.  Here I cut out the zucchini this way. Metal cookie cutters would work well for carrots and peppers.  Cucumber would also be simple to cut into cute shapes.

The rolls are almond butter and organic berry jam, rolled up to make sushi-like sandwich rolls. To make them simple take a slice of bread (here I use whole wheat), cut off the crusts and roll out flat and as thin as possible with a rolling pin.  I used healthy, organic bread but I imagine white bread would work better for this because it is spongier.

Spread the almond butter and jam over one of the bread (you can mix it up on one side) and then, starting on one side of the bread, begin to roll it into a long bread roll.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.  Yum!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Everybody Feng Shui Tonight

A Look at How to Feng Shui your Home

So, I have never actually tried Feng Shui before or even considered it really but with the new apartment, all freshly painted and what not, I thought why not consider the art of Feng Shui now for our new home.

So, What is Feng Shui?

In its simplest definition, Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China (source).  It is an art and science that essentially shows you how to balance the energies of your home to assure the good health and fortune for the people inhabiting it.

In Chinese culture, Feng means wind and shui means water, which are associated with good health.  Therefore good feng shui will bring good fortune and good health (source).

"Feng Shui is based on the Taoist idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi (energy) and understanding of nature  Chi, or energy. The ancient Chinese believed that the land's energy could either make or break the kingdom, so to speak. The theories of yin and yang, as well as the five feng shui elements, are some of the basic aspects of a feng shui analysis that come from Taoism" (source).

It actually gets way more complicated and detailedthen this but who really has time to get into it all.  I am just looking for the basics, the Feng Shui for dummies, i.e. where do I put my bed or what colours do I paint my walls, etc. etc.

Image Source - I WISH this was my bedroom!
Let's Simplify this shall we ... 

In Feng shui, the focuses is on using the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal to synchronize and harmonize areas of the home for maximum benefits (source).

In regards to decorating the home, The Spiritual Feng Shui website lays everything out very nicely for you.  So here are some tips I got from the site to help you Feng Shui your home:

The Main Entrance
  • Keep it cluster free
  • Clean at all times
  • Add a Fountain or small plants along the path to the house (water & earth)
  • Pathways to the house lit at night (fire)
  • Flowers at the entrance are a nice welcome (earth)

The Living Room
  • No furniture with sharp bends or corners
  • Try not to have too many knick knack objects or decorative items
  • No paintings that represent loneliness, violence fear or solitude
  • Don't have too many metal appliances, remotes or wires visible - keep them hidden (metal)
  • Good to have a warm fireplace (fire)
  • No fireplace? Add a warm earthy shade rug to the floor, votive candles and a few good books to the room; they also suggest a fountain (water, earth & fire)
  • Have warm lighting, not too bright
  • Have cushions that synchronize with the wall colour and curtains

The Kitchen
  • Kitchen burners should be so placed so that the kitchen door is visible when you are cooking
  • More burners and shiny tea kettle kept on burner, brings health happiness and longevity (metal)
  • Keep clutter free, ingredients organized and shut in containers
  • Do not keep sharp elements like knives in public view
  • I love this one: Taps in the kitchen should not drip as it is said that wealth will flow away! (water)

The Dining Room
  • Tabletops made of wood (wood)
  • Green is the ideal colour of the dining room
  • Food is best served in round or oval plates without sharp edges
  • Do not keep many things on the table top
  • Chairs are comfortable and roomy

The Bed room
  • Ideally located at the back of the house
  • Place your bed in a way so that you can see the door to the room
  • No mirrors to see yourself sleep
  • One book you are reading nearing the bedside
  • Keep tidy, clothes neat and folded
  • Do not stack things under the bed

The Bathroom
  • Keep bathroom clean
  • Add candles, bamboo luck pots or aroma oils for a nice ambiance (wood & fire)
  • Toilet seat closed and bins shut
  • Drains covered when not in use

So, now that I have done some research on Feng Shui I have, so far, learned two things: A - I could have possibly written the book on myself seeing as I am already doing about 92% of what is listed here and B - I love it and want to learn more!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simply, Cool Cucumber with Sweet Tomatoes and Rice

Fresh Golden Mini Tomatoes from my garden
Just over a week in our new apartment and Mike and I have managed to enjoy home-made barbecued meals just about every night!  I was just happy to have him do most of the cooking while I sat back and enjoyed our lovely new deck. Two nights ago however, not feeling my best (actually feeling sick as as a dog) I couldn't bare to face the BBQ or the outdoors for that matter.

So, I took it easy and made something simple and just as delicious with fresh ingredients our my container garden and my father's garden. What I made, I share with you now:

Tomatoes from my garden and cucumbers from my Father's garden with Rice

Brown Rice, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Makes about 8 regular servings.

* 1-1.5 cups of cooked brown basmati and wild rice
* 1 large cucumber, chopped into cubes
* 1 cup of golden mini tomatoes, sliced in half
* 2-3 tbsp of Asian Sesame dressing (or any dressing of your choice)
* Salt and pepper to taste (I went very easy on both)

Mix all ingredients together well, and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moving Tip #10: Help Your Pet Get Settled In

photo source
I think it's important, when bringing your pet to your new home (in this case my dog) to help them really get familiar with the place.  I do this by walking my dog on leash around the whole apartment, every room, every corner, so that she gets a chance to sniff everything but all the while I still have control of the situation and can teach her boundaries.  Treats help with this ... a lot!
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