•$10 Gift box containing 1 Schick Hydro razor, 1 shave gel, and 1 box of refills blades ($20 value)
*Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a comment telling me that you did so. You can earn one entry per day for each tweet. (Please leave your Twitter username so I can verify this entry.)
Be sure to include your email address in each comment so I have some way to contact you if you win. I’ll be choosing the winner of this giveaway via Random.org on November 30. Have fun and good luck to you all.
Disclosure: This review is entirely my own unbiased opinion of these products. You may or may not agree with my opinion. While I was sent these products as samples to review, no one at Schick influenced my writing this post; nor was I paid to write this review.
At this time of year, there is no shortage of articles and information about staying healthy over the holidays. Every magazine, newspaper and broadcast throws their 2 cents about keeping our waistlines in check into the holiday fray.
Here’s what I say to all that nonsense- Bah, humbug.
I have no intention of not stuffing myself silly. Each and everyday that I can. Isn’t that the point of a celebration? Exercise and small portions is not for the holidays, it’s for the rest of the year. There are always a lot of people around over the holidays, the going back for seconds plan doesn’t work. You need to load up the first time because that delicious pie your Aunt brought will be gone.
My mom’s friends make fancy nuts and paté and drop it off. It’s their present to us, it would be rude not to eat it. Have you ever had homemade paté? Oh my, it’s good stuff. My dad buys cheese. So much cheese. It’s part of our Christmas present. I’m not going to say “No thank you”. It’d be like telling Santa to go back up the chimney before he took the gifts out of his bag.
I am totally happy wearing elastic waist pants for the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. What do I need to get dressed for anyways? Ok, maybe there will be a party or people visiting. So I will find some fancy yoga pants with bedazzles or something. Then I will share food with the guests.
I still have standards. If it is a homemade food I will eat it. Store made appetizers, no thank you. I believe over indulging in good food is part of a celebration. Feeling a terrible food hangover after gorging on premade appetizers and meatballs, not celebratory.
Here’s the moral of the story- eat but eat well. January will come soon enough.
‘Tis indeed the season of asparagus.
In celebration of this wonderful season Innisfail, Alberta hosts an asparagus festival. Many believe the asparagus worthy of its own festival. My husband is one of those people. We were going to make the 2 hour drive to Innisfail but we lucked out with some typical Albertan weather this weekend and got 2 days of snow. We opted to stay home. But still if asparagus is worthy of a festival it is also worthy of discussion.
How Asparagus Grows
Asparagus is considered a perennial. That means it comes back ever year. Asparagus can be a bit fussy so you need to make sure you have the right soil. It needs to be rich, free draining slightly sandy soil in a warm sunny part of the garden sheltered from the wind. The crown is usually planted in an 8” trench, once established you fill in the trench with soil to create an even field. For the 1st two years you can not harvest your asparagus. You can get around this by buying 2-3 year old crowns to plant. The next 2 years you may only harvest for the first 2 weeks when spears start to appear in the spring. After that you pick from the beginning of the spring until the June`s end. You must stop picking at the June`s end to let the plant grow into a fern so the crowns can be able to store nutrients for the winter.
For those of us suffering from impatience, growing asparagus is an excellent exercise.
Apparently here in Alberta the cool climate produces extremely sweet asparagus. The purple tips indicate high sugar content.
Every spear is hand picked, snapped off at the base. Some companies cut them off at the base but this can cause damage to crowns still in the soil, so better to snap with your hands. This saves a step in the kitchen too. As soon as possible get your spears into ice cold water to remove the sun’s heat. This keeps the sugars from turning into starch. If you don’t grow your own do your best to buy local, either at the farmers market or your local grocery store. Even better if you get to the asparagus farm. You will taste the difference.
Stand the bundles of asparagus in a jar with 1” of water, loosely cover with a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Will keep 1 week.
If you find your asparagus sandy, check this by gently pulling back one of the leaves on the stalk, soak in very warm water for 10-15 minutes. This allows the leaves and heads to relax, flush with clean warm water then cook as desired. Snap off the woody ends. Hold top and bottom in each hand and let the stalk snap where it wants.
Asparagus must be blanched prior to freezing. To blanch place spears in a pot of boiling water. Boil 2 minutes, drain hot water and immediately plunge into an ice water bath. Drain well, lie in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen transfer to freezer bags.
Asparagus is lovely no matter how you prepare it. You can steam it, roast it or grill it or even eat it raw. Add it to salads, stir-fry’s, risottos or pastas. It is great on steak or chicken with some crab and a little hollandaise to make a wonderful Oscar or Neptune. One of my favourite dinners as a kid was asparagus on toast with béchamel sauce.
5 spears of asparagus have 25 calories and a glycemic index of 15. It contains potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, calcium, B6, Folic acid, magnesium and copper. Asparagus also contains very high levels of Glutathione (GSH) an antioxidant considered to be one of the first lines in defense against cancer cells. All in all a wonderful little veg. No wonder they have a festival for it!
It is too bad that it didn’t work out for us to get to the festival. I am able to get some of Edgar Farms asparagus at my local farmers markets. I will make sure to make the drive to get some.
Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar and Feta.
1 bunch asparagus
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup feta cheese
Clean asparagus and remove any woody bits at the end. Just snap the bottom off it will break at the top of the woody bit.
Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss around with your fingers to make sure it’s all coated.
Put spears directly on the grill, watching and moving around so they don’t burn.
Cook about 12 mins. You want them to look grilled but not to be soggy.
Place them on a serving plate, sprinkle with vinegar and feta.
Also nice with lemon and Parmesan for a different flavour. You could also roast the asparagus if you don’t want to grill. Just pop the cookie sheet in a 400F oven for about 12 minutes or until tender crisp.
Jamie Oliver’s Asparagus Soup
1 ¾ lbs asparagus, woody ends removed
2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
6 cups, chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Chop tips off the asparagus and put them aside. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. In a large deep pot put a good glug of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for about 10 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with lid on. Remove from heat, puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches. Season bit by bit with salt and pepper until just right. Put soup back on the heat add tips, bring back to the boil and simmer until the tips have softened. Serve hot with another swirl of olive oil on top.
I was a vegetarian for a long time. Like 10 years. My carnivorous decline began when my friend Ian convinced me that bacon grew on a tree. Bacon lures many vegetarians off the wagon. Then during my first pregnancy I requested a steak. This recipe for beef tenderloin with strawberries in fact. (give it a try, you won’t be sorry) When I asked for this recipe I had no clue what beef tenderloin meant and knew nothing about the cost of it. My husband didn’t take time to enlighten me. He ran straight for the butcher and spent much too much money on a steak. Can you blame him? The woman carrying his child asked him to provide for her and asked him to barbecue meat. What self-respecting man wouldn’t do the same?
Unfortunately that pregnancy didn’t work out but the love of meat stuck. I’ve never considered vegetarianism since. Well, just that once after reading Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood.
Since my vegetarian days I’ve had many memorable meat dishes, some great, some not so great.
But Saturday night’s dinner outranks all those delicious meats of my memory.
We had a… wait for it… a bison rib-eye steak.
And oh my soul and stars!! It was, without a doubt, the most delicious cut of meat I’ve ever had. Ken agrees. It was grilled meat perfection.
My introduction to bison came some years ago. There is a ranch near my parents house. It is run by a, uhm, a character. (Is that the nice way to say crazy person?) He has a harvesting herd and a herd to preserve the genetic integrity of wild bisons. Being a scientific person, this seemed a noble gesture to me. But at that point, I was still a vegetarian and also thought that bison eating was for crazy people.
My parent’s friends starting serving it at dinner parties. They also served up very colorful stories of visiting the ranch to procure their goods. I think one of my mom’s friends might be engaged. You do what you have to get the meat I guess.
I have eliminated pork and chicken from my diet. My family’s go to meats. So I flounced off to Whole Foods Market to see what I could find there. I found a rib-eye bison steak. I found many other things, lots and lots of sausages. That will be a later post.
Originally I requested 2 steaks but the price came up at $75. That seemed a bit steep for dinner. I realized at the same time that each steak was about the size of my head. So I opted for 1. It was about $35 and it fed all 4 of us. You read that right, the kids shoveled it in too. If I had brought 2 home we would have eaten them both and likely still be sitting in the backyard in a food coma. Happy though.
Turns out that not only is bison delicious it is super duper healthy. It contains all the essential fatty acids. It is lower in fat than beef, pork and salmon. Lower in calories than beef, pork, chicken and salmon and highest in iron. And the iron is the easy to digest kind.
Bison are pasture fed. This means they are all free ranging beasts, eating grass. It is illegal to feed bison growth hormones. And they don’t receive any anti-biotics or stimulants.
You really can’t go wrong.
When I started writing this post, Ken reminded me that this was not the first time I’d had bison. Last year on my birthday I ordered a bison burger. Best. Burger. EVER. Plus there was sweet potato fries. Again, you can’t go wrong.
And now for your taxonomy science class.
Buffalo and bison are synonymous in North America. But actually the only true buffalo species are the African Cape Buffalo and the Asian Water Buffalo. The song is wrong. There are 2 North American sub-species of bison, the Plains Bison and the Wood Bison. There is a European species too.
Talk to your butcher, source it out. Get yourself some bison and get it on the grill. DO NOT overcook. It is a really lean meat and will cook faster than you are used to. We seasoned our steak with only a little olive oil and steak spice. Ground bison is easiest to find, usually frozen. It’s a good start. But one day, for a special treat, find a fresh as-big-as-your-head rib-eye.
I’m thrilled to kick off the new year with a giveaway from Blabla! Two moms and best friends (of 25 years) started a company that has now evolved into something far beyond their wildest dreams!
Florence Wetterwald, designer and co-owner, says this about these knitted creations: “I always think of Blabla products as contemporary objects which reflect the inner life of children in this modern world. I love kids. Their fragility moves me. I like to believe that my designs comfort them and make them smile.”
As a mom, here’s why I’m Ga-Ga over Blabla:
The owners of Blabla have created a company that searches for “beauty, authenticity, and laughter.” Who doesn’t aspire to live a life with these?
All of the products are made of natural, high-quality fibers that make them “irresistibly soft and cuddly” for children. Prior to our discovery of Blabla, my daughter couldn’t care less about dolls. Now, well, the picture says it all!
These products make me happy; they are simple, vibrant, and fun! Just look at these finger puppets . . . I know you’re smiling What a great way to encourage open-ended, imaginative play in your home.
Blabla takes pride in fair trade ethics and a commitment to the Peruvian artisans who knit these products. This global-minded company is based on mutual respect between designers and knitters.
I could go on forever, but you’ll have to check out the rest! Blabla’s collection also includes rattles, blankets, mobiles, and clothing. They make wonderful baby and shower gifts!
1. Visit Blabla, and then leave a comment on this post, telling us your TWO favorite knitted products.
2. If you’d like to earn extra entries, you can Facebook, twitter, or write about his giveaway on your blog (please use this post’s URL). Then come back and, in a separate comment, tell me how you’ve spread the word!
On Friday, September 5th, 8 p.m. EST, one winner will be randomly selected by Random.org. You must be a U.S. resident (18+) to enter. I hope it’s your lucky day!
Congratulations, Tina! (And sorry for the delay) You’re going to LOVE this doll.