Starting A Blog is Easy, Maintaining a Blog is Hard

So I started this Blog on March 14th and thought I could maintain 3 to 4 posts a week. It seemed like a realistic goal for the first couple of weeks until life got in the way. Around the beginning of April, my “real” job ramped up and I have been going like a train ever since.

I just haven’t been able to find time to put fingers to the keyboard and type. So, because of that, 20 days have gone by between posts. As I lie in bed at night before I go to sleep I think, maybe I should just take the blog down? And I have come close to doing that a couple of times, but I haven’t  – and I don’t think I will.

Why? Because I still have new things to share AND I know a time will come where a window of opportunity will present itself which will allow me more time for this.

Until then, if you find this blog, you’ll just have to forgive the time between posts. I haven’t given up. I haven’t abandoned the cart. Life just sometimes gets in the way.

The Verdict:

Starting a Blog is easy, maintaining a Blog is hard.

Holiday Crockpot Broth

Since today is Easter Sunday I thought it was appropriate to talk about holiday leftovers – specifically what to do with that leftover turkey carcass or beef bones. My suggestion is – pull out your crockpot, dust it off and make a big batch of homemade broth.

A couple of Thanksgivings ago – after my husband and I finished cleaning up and doing the dishes – I took our beautiful organic free range turkey carcass and tossed in our Crockpot with a combination of veggies, peppercorns, herbs and 10 cups of water and dialled the setting on low for 10 hours and went to bed. When I awoke the next morning I was rewarded with the most delicious chicken broth I had ever tasted. No exaggeration here – it was better than ANY broth I had ever tasted. That “super turkey broth” – as we labelled it for our freezer – changed our lives. Oh, and did I mention that it was super easy to make?

Fast forward a couple of years and anytime we have an excuse to roast a turkey (or chicken) we pull out the Crockpot and make broth. In fact any holiday meal we are hosting, we take the bones from the roast and toss them in the Crockpot to make slow cooked overnight broth. A while ago we even tossed in the remains of a leg of pork and the leftovers that went with it and the results were outstanding.

I am now so addicted to the Crockpot broth. I save all my vegetable clippings in a container in the freezer (mushroom stems are particularly valuable) and once the container is full I do an overnight veggie broth.

The Verdict:

This “new thing” has become a routine in our household and the results freeze beautifully and are far superior to any store bought product. Our favourite lunch has become healthy ramen – made with our delicious homemade broth. We love it.

Treadmills and Podcasts

A while ago my sister asked me if I ever download Podcasts to listen to while I run. The answer was no – I have a couple of running playlists that are my standbys and, being a creature of habit with my workouts, I always listen to one of them whether I am running outside or at the gym on a treadmill.

If I am being totally honest – my playlists are getting stale and they are not motivating me to run the way they used to and since I am always trying something new in other parts of my life, last week I gave the Podcast idea a try. My sister had also recommended I listen to the series Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution. It is a public radio broadcast with several episodes. I downloaded all of them on my phone and found them very interesting and easy to listen to.

The Verdict:

I am now hooked on the Podcast thing. I feel like I am running faster, keeping a more even pace and running further – especially on the treadmill. No longer do I turn on my stale playlist and The Food Network and listen to music while watching people cook while I exercise. My new problem is that I need to find a new Podcast series to download for next week – any recommendations?

Hibiscus Tea

For the longest time I have been looking for natural ways to help lower my blood pressure. Most articles suggest the same two or three things – exercise, weight loss, and reducing consumption of  both alcohol and reducing salt. However, recently someone suggested reading the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger and his suggestion was Hibiscus Tea.

Well, once I started looking into Hibiscus tea, I soon found that it had all sorts of supposed health benefits – lowering high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, improving digestion, improving your immune system, aiding with inflammatory problems, helping with depression and anxiety, increasing your metabolism and facilitating weight loss AND it is high in antioxidants, minerals and Vitamin C. With all those benefits, how could I not try it?

Instead of driving around looking for a box of Hibiscus tea at my local grocery store, I headed straight to Amazon and purchased a GIGANTIC bag of Davidson’s Organic Hibiscus Flowers for a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, it was only Friday and it wouldn’t be delivered until Monday morning, so I popped into Whole Foods and found a small box of Hibiscus tea bags to try on the weekend.

The Verdict:

Hibiscus Tea is delicious. It is ruby red in colour and it has a tart flavour, similar to cranberries.

The tea bags brewed very nice tea, but when the bag of organic loose Hibiscus flowers arrived on Monday, it was so superior I abandoned the tea bags. In fact, I started making big pots of the tea and storing it in the fridge so I could drink it cold throughout the day.

Now, it hasn’t even been a full week yet, and I can’t be sure of the health benefits – but given all I have read about it, I am going to continue to make Hibiscus tea a part of my day for the foreseeable future.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Hard Boiled Eggs – A New Way Forward

A couple of weeks ago I was watching The Food Network while on the treadmill at the gym. The show The Kitchen was featuring food hacks and one of them was a new way to do hard boiled eggs. They suggested that you could put eggs in a muffin tin – the whole egg, shell and all – and bake them at 325 degrees in the oven for 30 minutes and you’d end up with perfectly hard boiled eggs. What? I had never heard of anyone doing that and I couldn’t imagine that it would work, however I knew I had to give it a try.

Imagine doing a bunch of devilled eggs for a group and not worrying about the eggs clinking together and breaking in the pot?

I went to The Food Network website and found the instructions for How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven and followed them to a tee and this is what happened:

Brown Spots on Egg ShellI used 6 eggs and at the end of 30 minutes one egg had cracked and the shells of the eggs were slightly brown in spots – maybe from hot spots on my well used muffin tins?

 

I immediately immersed the cooked eggs in an ice bath to make sure the yolks didn’t discolour on me.

I waited 15 minutes until I thought they were cool enough and then peeled them.

Brown Spots on Egg WhitesIt turned out the the brown marks on the shell were an indicator of brown marks on the egg white – which must have been where the egg was resting on the hot muffin tin – and it didn’t affect the taste, just the appearance.

 

Egg YolksSo, the whites didn’t look great, but the yolks were perfect and the eggs tasted great.

 

 

The Verdict:

The technique was successful, however the brown spots on the whites wouldn’t do for devilled eggs. This technique would work best for a big batch of egg salad, where the brown marks on the whites could be hidden or trimmed off.

Overall, this was a good new thing, and I would use this technique again – however it wouldn’t completely replace boiling eggs.

Although these eggs presented as hard boiled eggs, of course these eggs weren’t boiled at all – so I don’t know what you would call them, maybe baked in the shell?

 

 

The Life-Changing Loaf – Day 2

So, Day 2 of the Life-Changing Loaf… I have come to the conclusion that it is really a loaf – you can’t call it bread. However, it does serve the purpose of bread and it makes an excellent vehicle for different spreads.

This morning after the gym, I sliced a few pieces of the loaf (in varying degrees of thickness for test purposes) and toasted them. They were sampled with our favourite nut butter – FATSO – a local product and I think perhaps only available in British Columbia at the moment. You can their website for current details. And we also tested the loaf with salted butter.

The Results:

Thinner, well toasted slices had better flavour than thicker lightly toasted slices. So, toasting DID turn out to be key. Both spreads were excellent with the loaf. I think the highlight was the end slice – extra toasted and crispy – with a nice thick spread of the salted butter. Due to the healthy contents of the loaf, the thick spread of butter didn’t seem at all too indulgent – and the saltiness really added to the flavour of the loaf.

Overall, this loaf is a good new thing. I am sure the whole loaf will disappear in the next couple of days and I am already looking forward to experimenting with new ingredients for the second round of The Life Changing Loaf.

As to the improved digestion, time will tell.

The Verdict:

Give it a try, you just might like it.

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Okay, so I first heard about The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread on Facebook and then I did some internet research and landed on a website called My New Roots. It looks like My New Roots is the source of The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread recipe. After reading the original post on this bread, I had to try it.

This bread is packed with protein and fibre and it supposed to be very good for improving digestion. All good things – AND it is supposed to taste great, which is even a better thing, so I quickly went to work.

After reviewing the recipe, it turned out I needed a few things to make this bread that are not staples in my kitchen. The recipe called for sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hazelnuts or almonds, rolled oats, chia seeds, psyllium seed husks (or psyllium husk powder), sea salt, maple syrup, coconut oil and water. I do like to try new things – especially foodstuffs, so I had everything except the sunflower seeds and the psyllium seed husks. The recipe also required a flexible silicon loaf pan – which I also did not have. Well, instead of heading out to my local store(s) – I did what I find myself doing more and more these days – I went to Amazon and placed my order there. Less than 48 hours later, I had what I needed to embark upon The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread.

The instructions were simple. You basically mix everything in the silicon loaf pan and let it sit for 2 hours plus – letting the dry ingredients absorb the wet. The baking took another hour and then there were strict instructions to wait until the bread cooled completely before tasting. I was eager to get going, so all the wait time seemed to last forever. Once the loaf was cooled, the suggestion was that the bread needed to be toasted for optimum flavour. Finally, once toasted it was ready for tasting.  We tried it plain and topped with white cheddar. Both were good – very good.

What this a good something new? I’ll let you know tomorrow after more toppings are tested.

 

Starting A Blog

This blog is all about trying new things and if you have read my About Me page you’ll have some idea of the background on why I started this blog. I aim to share my new things with you, because maybe one of my new things might be something that you are interested in and it might become your new thing.

So, in this inaugural post, the new thing I am trying is this blog. And surprisingly, even though I have been thinking about this for a while, I just took the plunge this morning. I sat down at my computer and did some quick research on starting a blog and low and behold by the end of the day, I have a new blog and a first post.

Basically there were 6 steps in getting up and running:

  1. Choose a host – I chose GoDaddy because they had their prices listed in Canadian $ and I live in Canada and earn in Canadian $ – so that was important to me.
  2. Choose a plan – I went for the basic plan, because it was the least expensive and I am just starting out on this new adventure.
  3. Choose your domain name – I chose justsomethingnew.com because it best represented what I wanted to say.
  4. Choose your plan length – I chose one year because I thought I needed to give this project a year to see if it works.
  5. Enter your credit card information.
  6. Then follow the instructions to set up a Word Press Blog.

Now, I must admit that I have had some experience with the back end of a Word Press website – but by no means am I an expert. If you’ve had no experience with Word Press and you have limited computer skills, you may need to ask a more experienced friend for help or work through some online tutorials before you get the hang of things.

This new thing wasn’t that hard and I expect I am going to get a lot of satisfaction out of it. In fact, if you check back in six weeks, I’ll let you know how it’s going. I am sure I’m going to make tons of mistakes, but that is all part of learning something new.