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Showing posts from 2018

Low-carb recipes for on the go

If you are trying to cut out carb (and who isn't these days), then Sandra and Mirco Stupning's book Low Carb On The Go may suit your palate. Personally, I find that I am always constantly struggling to come up with recipe ideas, in addition to devoting enough prep time time during the week, to make quick workday lunches that are healthy and easy. 

Here are a few of my faves from the book:

Strawberry bowl with avocadoInfused with chia seeds, yogurt and mango, in addition to the two aforementioned recipes, this one contains 8g of protein and 405 calories. 

Chia pick-me-up with turmericWho hasn't heard of turmeric -- deemed the new superfood (or was that last year's choice?). Whatever the case, turmeric has always been top choice in my world. Turmeric is a staple in Indian cooking, and has only recently become trendy in the mainstream market. It's powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Chia seeds are also a good choice to incorporate into an…

Less is more. A guide to minimalism.

What is minimalism?

This is Rachel Aust's guide to minimalism. 

How do you change your life to have less and still manage be happy? We live in a material world, consumed by advertising messages bombarding us to believe that more is better. More will make us happier. But does more stuff to fill your lives, your home, make us happy? Does more experiences and more choices really enrich our homes? Is more really the best solution? 

Rachel Aust's book Less explores the concept of minimalism. It outlines the common misconceptions about minimalism and even provides an idea of the basics you need in your life, whether in your kitchen or your décor. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

The book is an exploration of ideas. You are forced to ask yourself questions whether you really require all the hundreds of kitchen gadgets that sit idle in our kitchen drawers, waiting to be loved. Reading made me evaluate specific aspects of my own existence and ask myself what I really need to pair down in my li…

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

It was between 2005 and 2009 that over 130 Mennonite women in a remote colony in Bolivia, were drugged and raped. An ex-Mennonite herself, Miriam Toews tells their story in her new book Women Talking. 
In some ways the conversations that centre around the book are poignant to what’s happening in the world today with the Me Too movement, although Miriam Toews suggests that this is purely coincidental. The details surrounding this particular case are horrific and unimaginable…the women are attacked at night after being knocked unconscious. Waking up bloodied and bruised, the women were led to believe that perhaps demons or ghosts were responsible, and it was a consequence of them being punished for their sins. It was also suggested by the elders that perhaps the attacks were only due to an invention of “wild female imagination”. This theory was expelled when one of the women awoke and saw one of the men sneaking into the woman’s room to commit this heinous crime. After being confronted h…

Starlight by Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese's new novel is here and it stays true to the man we all admired. Picking up on the story of Frank Starlight, a character he introduced in his earlier novel Medicine Walk, this book time travels into the future, where Starlight's father has passed away.

Frank Starlight lives with his friend and hired help Roth, on a farm in the heart of the B.C. interior that he inherited from the old man who took him in as a young lad. The white farmer was the closest to a dad that Starlight has ever know. 

Starlight is no stranger to hard work and a honest day's pay, and his days are consumed by chores on the farm with his hired help Roth. But there is another side to Starlight. He has an unusual talent for capturing wildlife photography. 

Richard Wagamese's characters have always been rich in this kind of complexity. They do not conform to stereotype, nor are they one dimensional. Starlight on first glance may seem the typical soft-spoken farmer, but there's more to…

The Arts: A Visual Encyclopedia (DK Publishing)

Hey, remember Peter Weller? People of my vintage will. He starred in futuristic sci-fi movies that have a cult following today: think of Robocop and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension. Why do I bring him up? The thespian's love of the arts was boundless: he went from playing trumpet in a campus band as an undergrad, getting a BA in theatre, and making a living as an actor. But it didn't end there, after his best acting days were over he continued his graduate studies, ultimately gaining a PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History from UCLA in 2014. 
We're told of the importance of STEM in terms career prospects today --  indeed, yours truly is a former engineer but despite the practicality of all things scientific, technological and mathematical, I firmly subscribe to the notion that Art Give Life Meaning. I care little whether one loathes or loves Nietzsche, but I will say that he had a point that life required a balance between the Apollonian (intelle…

The Seven Pablos by Jorge Luján and Chiara Carrer

What’s in a name? Does a name identify who you are? In Jorge Luján’s book, there are seven boys who share the name Pablo. But although there is a commonality in the name, there is an individuality about where they come from. Living in different parts of the Americas, Jorge Luján does an incredible job pulling the reader into each of their complex lives...lives that aren't privileged. 
There are some very heavy topics covered. There is a Pablo who wants to become "big guy in a uniform. When asked why, he has a shockingly honest answer. He's asked to draw it, and what ensues is a learning lesson for the boy. 
The hard charcoal drawings give those stories more weight and seriousness. Yet, there is a lightheartedness to the book...well some stories. But that's reality isn't it. Through the darkness of our existence, we try to find some comfort and joy.
The Seven Pablos is one children's book that will change the way kids perceive their world and serve as a teaching e…

Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia

I am the first to admit that I never 'got' biology, and much to my mom's lament, my disinterest in biology generally and the workings of the human body in particular precluded me from pursuing a career in medicine. But what about the kids today that are in the same predicament that I was in decades ago? Or better yet, what about the kids who have shown an interest and need it to be piqued further? May I humbly recommend DK's fully revised, and updated new edition of Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia available in Hardback, Paperback, and e-book format.  

On DK's website, the descriptor is apt: The first substantial human body encyclopedia aimed at young children, Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia entertains and excites, while putting key biological information at young readers' fingertips. 

Can't get the kids out of bed in the morning, or convince them to get to bed on time at night? Have them read this write up on the body clock and do the test on the right &…

Thomas the Tank Engine rolls back into town with his friends

Fans of the famous Thomas the Tank Engine series will be delighted with this new character encyclopedia from DK Books

I realized how beloved these characters were to kids and adults alike, when I fell in love with them myself about 20 years ago working as a behaviour therapist with autistic kids. I didn't grow up in Canada myself, but I could tell how important a part these adorable train characters played in the cultural mosaic of family dynamics. They had a universal language that transpired geographical borders. 
In the digital age where we seem to have become obsessed with stories, we have to be reminded that storytelling has always been a part of our lives. Advertisers told stories around their products, and toys such as the Thomas & Friends series were no exception. Created to connect, these characters relate to children differently, each child gravitating to a particular favourite. 

In this encyclopedia, you get a snapshot, of the trains themselves and the island where t…

There, There

In Tommy Orange’s novel There  There, there is an undercurrent of community, as well as an intricacy to the stories that give the sense of individualism. Of course, savvy readers will note the title's reference to Gertrude Stein's famous quote "there is not there there" pertaining to Oakland, California -- where the novel is set. Various chapters of the book focus on members of a community of urban native Americans. As each tell their story, the reader is drawn into a world where the struggles of a previous generation and the country as a whole, are greatly weaved into current lives. In one story, you come across a young man, whose mom is in jail, and who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.
The stories are braided. You start to understand that as you motor through the book. Each of the characters and their stories lead them on a journey to a pow wow (a social gathering of various Native American communities). Tommy Orange tempts his readers to take away something bigg…

List 10 things you are grateful for

Be optimistic. Think positive thoughts. And, happiness will find a way to surround you. We’ve all heard it, but how do we get to that happy place. Unwind Every Day A Journal makes it easy to put you in that frame of mind. I’ve been trying it out every evening for the last few days and going through some of the exercises. Some thoughts and exercises are simple and don’t require too much effort on your part. 
Others require a bit of reflection, such as: List 3 things that you are proud of. These kinds of exercises, I’ve enjoyed doing with my better half, just before we call it a night and doze off. It's been a moment to connect, and also reflect on our day and life. Thankful for the little wins and a reminder of the bigger picture.

The simplicity of this book is what makes it so powerful. It’s sure to have a permanent spot on my bedside table.