gastronomic evening

Two films I saw last Tuesday night while lazying around on my couch.  Both related to food – surprise!

Three Stars is a documentary that takes a look at the restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars all over the world.  It was a bit slow and I did not think it really delved into what truly makes a restaurant be considered worthy of even one Michelin star.  The doc does touch on the mystery of the whole thing, especially the progression from two to three stars, but it all sort of skimmed the surface.  I thought that Jiro Dreams of Sushi (while focusing on only one Michelin three star restaurant) was a much better look at what defines a great chef and a great kitchen.

The Trip was next on the list.

Basically Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are the reasons to see this film.  They are great, the chemistry between them is great, there’s lots of laughs, but the actual movie itself was sort of dull and seemed dragged out in parts.  If you are a fan of the two actors, who are pretty much the only two faces you see for 90% of the movie, this is worth a watch. Otherwise, meh.


inside and out

It seems like as with every year, this is the prime time for people to get sick.  My boyfriend has been sick most of the week and I started to get little twinges of a possible cold moving in on Wednesday.  Luckily, I have a lot of years of experience under my belt in terms of supporting the body and specifically the immune system, so this time around I have been following my three-prong attack on the potential sickness and it seems that outside of some minor sniffles and headaches I have remained in pretty good shape.  Thought I would share my process with you in the hopes that it will keep you healthy as the seasons change!

Part 1 – The External


Detox Baths – Baths are a good way to unclog your nasal passages and get the lymph system going once you are already sick, but they can also be used during the preventative stage to draw out the nasties in your body that could lead to getting sick.  This bath is one that can be used in either scenario.  Fill the tub with hot water (as hot as you can handle but don’t burn yourself please!).  Add in Epsom salts (about two cups), about a cup of baking soda, and thin slices of fresh Ginger root.  Essential oils can be added also.  You can do some research about which oils to use for what ailments, but you can also add in some Lavender or Eucalyptus for example just for the aroma alone. Soak for about 20 minutes.  Make sure to get all bundled up as soon as you get out the tub!

Lavender Oil – Lavender essential oil is a good oil to use as a subtle antibacterial.  I learned this when I was flying to Taiwan and was told that it is a good oil to use as a hand sanitizer as well as a defense around the nose and mouth so that germs don’t get in.  You can either put some on a handkerchief and breathe it in or rub a few drops around your nose and mouth.  So much better than the industrial strength hand sanitizer!

Bundle up – Ok maybe this one is a no brainer, but it is oh so important!  Stay warm!  You especially want to make sure that your feet are warm and do not expose your body to cool temperatures if you have a fever.  It is very tempting to unbutton that coat and take off that scarf if you have a fever, but if you are outdoors you are just making it more difficult for your body to regulate its body temperature, therefore adding even more stress to the immune system in the end.

Part 2 – The Internal


Food/Drink – There is a lot that can be said on this topic so I am going to break down some of the main things here but you can do a lot more research to see what other foods are good for preventing and dealing with being sick!

  • Garlic!  Onions!  – pungent but are great natural antibiotics.  Eat raw in salads, sandwiches, etc.
  • Apple “cider” antibacterial drink – mix 1 tbsp raw honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsps raw apple cider vinegar into hot water and sip slowly.  Tastes like apple cider and is really great at getting rid of unwanted things in the body.  I also sometimes add cayenne pepper and fresh ginger.  A really great drink for a cold day as well!
  • Stay away from sugar and dairy – these two things really slow down the function of white blood cells and you want these little guys to be in tip top shape during cold and flu season!  Gluten is also a good thing to take out of your diet especially when already sick.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Yeah yeah, I know it’s the good stuff but it really doesn’t do your body any favors, especially if it is already working overtime to keep/get you healthy.
  • Keep it simple.  Whatever you end up eating try to stick to things that are easy for your body to digest.  Steak dinner?  No.  Brown rice and steamed veggies?  Yes.  And while you are at it, add some garlic to that rice bowl!

Oil of Oregano – This oil has gained a lot of popularity as of late so I just wanted to write a little bit about it and how to best use it.  I really like this stuff for weeks like this one where I could tell I was probably about to get sick.  Taking a few drops in water throughout the day for a few days has really helped me to not let whatever has gotten into my body develop into a full out illness.  However, oil of oregano is very potent and is not very discriminatory about what kinds of germs it kills.  It’s sort of like throwing a bomb into a room and shutting the door.  Sure the bad guys are done for, but so are the good ones.  Therefore, it is really important to not overuse this one, as after prolonged usage it could end up compromising your body more by getting rid of some of its natural defenses.

Water – Duh!  Drink it!  Lots of it.

Part 3 – The Behavior

Rest – I know that we all have a lot of stuff to do.  We may have demanding jobs, kids, social commitments, world domination schemes to iron out… I get it.  But just laying back and letting your body do what it needs to do is the best, THE BEST, thing you can do when you feel like you are getting sick or trying to kick an existing cold to the curb.  The best rest?  Sleeeeeeeep!  Sleep at night, get up and maybe have some food, and go back to sleep.  Keep doing this throughout the day if possible.  Seriously.  No amount of sleep at this stage can be seen as too much.  Your body can normally handle things very well if you let it use the maximum amount of energy on keeping itself healthy.

Hope some of this stuff helps you out next time you feel a cold coming on.  The combination of these three areas of focus does wonders for me!

no denying it


On Wednesday night I was cuddled on the couch and was surprised to see that it was only 8:30 pm but it was already dark outside.  Thursday morning was a chilly ride to work despite the fact that I was wearing pants and a coat.  The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back.

There is no denying it.  Fall is approaching us pretty quickly and although it does not officially begin until the 22nd of this month, I am pretty sure it is safe to say that it has already snuck one foot in the door.  The cooler nights, the shorter days, the scarves…they all signal autumn’s arrival.  And even without these external signs, I can tell by my thoughts and cravings that it is almost time to burrow inside and prepare for the winter months.  Just this week I have been struck with an overwhelming desire to bake things, make squash soups, find some apple cider, get under cozy blankets, and dig some mittens and scarves out of storage.

The next few fall months also hold some exciting things:

– a girls getaway camping trip this month

– the wrap up of the Blue Jays baseball season (I have tickets to two more games)

– potentially a last camping trip to Algonquin with my boyfriend in early October to see the leaves and bid an official farewell to summer

– the trial of some fall recipes I have been squirreling away all summer such as warm cocktails with apple cider, pumpkin pie from scratch (I am determined to do this finally), and oddles of things involving squash.  I am also toying around with the idea of making some sort of elaborate Thanksgiving meal this year.

Anything you are looking forward to this fall?

-The Postliminary-

Some past autumn posts on The Shanty – here, here,  and one of my past favorites here.

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Look at what I found/read/saw/ate/listened to this week

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Beautiful tribute to a bicycle by Luis Paris. (

Very awkward flight. (

Iced {boozy} Mexican coffee?  Ok! (

Movie bar codes.  Scenes of movies or full movies compressed into “bar codes”.  Pretty neat! (

Interesting article titled “When the Patient Is Racist“.  A whole different side of medicine I had never thought about previously. (

MOVIESOUND project on Tumblr.  Visual static or moving representation of sounds from famous films.  Very neat.  This one and this one are my favorites. (

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Look at what I found/read/saw/ate/listened to this week

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Peter Smart spent 50 days attempting to use design to solve social problems, big and small, all over the world.  Very cool and inspiring stuff. (

I too feel this way about most PowerPoint presentations. (

The New York Times finally does some quality journalism, with this article about the history of the T-shirt cannon.  We can all rest easy now. (

Mmmmm summer dessert!  Marscapone stuffed apricots topped with a blackberry and then broiled.  Yum!  (

Review of The Wren restaurant on the Danforth.  Really hoping to check this place out before I leave the East side at the end of the month. (

I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Sin Fang this week.  Whaddaya think?  He seems to have a thing for crocheted beards (so Google Image search tell me), so, there’s that too… (

BBBQ the extra B is for BYOBB … that extra B is a typo

Despite the not so great weather in the T-dot this past weekend, I managed to attend two BBQs.  One on Friday night and one on Saturday.  It was raining off and on during both but that didn’t stop us Canadians from firing up the ol’ grill, enjoying some good food, and better company.

I am super excited to have a barbecue at the new place (lease signed this past weekend!  Squeeee!) since I have not had one since I lived with my parents over five years ago.  I have already been squirreling away a few recipes like this one, this one, and this one in anticipation of being able to utilize the nice summer weather and a backyard.

And although I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, there are some meat dishes I tend to crave once I smell the BBQ going…



Update – a cool infographic I found.  Cook responsibly people!


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Look at what I found/read/saw/ate/listened to this week 

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How neat is this camping stove? It doesn’t need fuel AND it charges your iPhone! (

Tickets have been bought to see Gogol Bordello in August!  The last time they were in Toronto it didn’t quite work out so I am super stoked to finally see them live!

China’s “counterfeit” cities.  Super weird especially because most of them are almost completely devoid of people.  (

How neat would it be to get a surprise package every month in the mail tailored to you?  Fancy does something similar. (

How to properly set the table for formal and informal events.  Faaaancy styles! (

All Beastie Boys album cover illustrations/photographs explained. (

I tired Prairie Girl Bakery cupcakes for the first time!  Raspberry on chocolate was my favorite.  If you live in the T-dot go check them out.

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Look at what I found/read/saw/ate/listened to this week 

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28 Ways To Live Life Like Lucille Bluth (

Deal with seasonal allergies without over-the-counter meds (

Inspired by this recipe, I have been making my own versions of the “deconstructed sushi” salad all week. (

My friend took a quick little jaunt to BC and came back with the tunes of Buckman Coe.  Love it!

Summer is coming and I can’t wait to go camping.  Here are some of the best places to camp in Ontario.  Although why Algonquin isn’t on here is a major head-scratcher for me.  I love that place! (

Bicycle cup holder?  Yes please.  This one is especially nice. (

patio guide

Hey-o!  Look at that sun outside, feel the warm weather, see the trees starting to turn green…guess what time it is?  Patio time!

I am pretty sure that nothing gets Torontonians more excited than the start of patio season following the bleak winter months. Except maybe the Leafs finally making the playoffs of course.  Wednesday night was my first patio visit of the season and it was glorious (“glorious” said with this intonation).  It is so nice to finally be outside and be comfortable.

Here is a run down (in no particular order) of some of my fave patios in the T-dot!  Please feel free to add yours in the comments!

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all things food

If you know me personally or have been following the blog for a while I would be shocked if you did not already know that I am kind of obsessed with food.  My sister and I have a joke going, which I think was pointed out by her boyfriend, that we are always discussing future meals.  It is actually true.  Normally over breakfast I am contemplating what to have for lunch, what to prepare for dinner later, and of course what to have for breakfast the next day!

I also, am pretty much always in the mood for food and get hungry at an alarmingly frequent rate.  Good thing I like to keep my food on the healthy end of things or else I would probably balloon out rather quickly.

Just yesterday I started reading Julia Child’s autobiographical collection of short vignettes called My Life in France and while doing so was coming up with lists of foods I would like to try, places I would like to go to eat, and scheming about ways I could learn more and more about the finer side of cooking.

Also, I would like to go to Paris please.

And go back in time and meet Julia Child.  She seems like someone who was so full of life and so optimistic about everything.  I am sure she had her bad days, but in my mind she is starting to embody the “laugh it off” attitude.  She seems like a wonderful woman and her advice on cooking is some wise wise stuff.

Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.

Since we are talking about food, here is a lovely little video that made me smile and feel all warm inside.

Bon appetit!