Things that will make you feel less guilty about eating desserts


If you think that eating healthy means cutting out dessert from your diet altogether, you are wrong. Desserts often get a bad rap, but they aren’t all bad for you. Outside of the calorie count and the simple sugars they contain, they do provide some health benefits. Before you ditch your sweet tooth, consider these seven benefits to your health.

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How to Maintain and Clean Your Barbeque Properly

ID-100151544 Photo by artur84
Free image courtesy of by artur84

The barbeque is an essential backyard item for most households, particularly in the summer months. There are large industrial grills, family-sized backyard grills, or even portable grills for easy travelling. Whatever your preference might be though, the barbeque needs to be looked after if it’s going to be able to deliver the best food for you and your guests. Below are some simple ways to maintain and clean your barbeque properly.

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How to Make the Perfect Montreal Smoked Meat

The perfect smoked meat starts with the right blend of Montreal steak seasoning rub. Without it, you’ve just got plain old smoked meat. Montreal steak seasoning was invented by a Schwartz broiler man known as Morris Sherman back in the 1940’s. The unique blend of Eastern European, Romanian, and Jewish spices soon caught on and the Montreal meat rub was born. The following recipe is inspired by the General Manager of Brewburger, Stephen Warren. It is an adaptation scaled down for the perfect smoked meat in Montreal homes.

Photo by Noema Perez

The Perfect Smoked Meat, Montreal Recipe

You can plan on this recipe taking about 54 hours in total because the meat will need to rest for 48 hours in a pickling brine before smoking. All in all, you will only need to work with the meat for about 15 minutes, tops. The perfect Montreal smoked meat has two cooking times, if you are using a brisket; anything smaller than a brisket will probably only need a single smoke and not the additional oven time.

• Tongs
• Smoke Pit
• Oven
• Aluminium foil
• 2-gallon metal pan or bowl with a cover
• Baking pan

• 5-pound brisket
• Montreal meat rub (found below)
Curing Salt
• 1 gallon water
• 6 ounces kosher or rock salt
• 8 tablespoons pickling spices (roughly)

Montreal Meat Rub Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon cayenne or red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon coriander
• 1 tablespoon dill seed
• 1 tablespoon onion powder


1. Mix up the gallon of water with half the pickling spices, all the kosher salt and the curing salt in a large pan or bowl.
2. Once the salts are fully dissolved, submerge the brisket or other meat fully into the water (use a plate or ceramic bowl to help weigh down the meat so none of it is poking above the liquid). Cover with a lid and refrigerate for 36 to 48 hours.
3. Prep your smoker with Maplewood chips and get it up to at least 350 to 400 degrees for at least an hour before you add your meat.
4. Remove your meat from the brine and generously coat it with the remaining Montreal pickling spices, mixing up more, if necessary.
5. Place the meat in the smoker for at least 2 hours.
6. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees.
7. Remove the meat from the smoker and place in a baking pan with two cups of water. Cover with aluminium foil and place the meat in the oven for 2 hours.
8. Remove the meat from the oven and place it in a pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, to allow the meat to rest and the juices to absorb back into the meat before slicing. This step is crucial, without the resting period the meat will be dry and stringy and all the juices, and flavour, will simply drain onto the carving plate when slicing.

There you have it, the perfect Montreal smoked meat, and it is all about the spices and the waiting times. If you want to add a little more depth of flavour, swap out the kosher salt for real grey unprocessed sea salt. Remember to play around with your meat rub ingredients to find the perfect blend for your palette. The right Montreal meat rub must contain all those ingredients, but the perfect blend is up to you.


Five Healthy Desserts That Taste as Good as They Look

Desserts are the highlight of any meal. Or at least they are when you have a sweet tooth! The trouble is, if you are watching the calories or trying to cut back on sweet things, a dessert is often off the menu. But you don’t need to forget about dessert if you try one of these super healthy dessert options. And the best bit? They taste just as good as they look!

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Maple Bacon Walnut Oatmeal

First of all, I wanted to apologize again for falling off of the grid. My passion for food has not gone away, though I have had to make a few adjustments in my diet which I will get to shortly. Mostly, it’s been a time issue, but it’s been a bit more than that. Without going into gory details, let’s just say my cholesterol, blood pressure and weight have been far less than ideal and my doctors suggested some changes to not only help with those issues but to help with my lower back disc issues. So I did something I thought I may never do–I saw a nutritionist. Granted, I know a lot about food and maybe you do too. But you can always learn more about anything and you certainly should do that when it comes to food.

I thought that overall my diet was not horrible, until I started a diary and recognized that while I’m currently not drinking alcohol and mostly stick to coffee and carbonated water/seltzer, I was compensating by eating tons of empty calories. And even when I thought a light lunch of a baked potato and tomato soup was good, little did I know that it was a double whammy of bad–because of the carbs in the potato coupled with the sugar in the soup (more carbs)….but the thing my nutritionist pointed out about this lunch made a light bulb go off in my head. “You’re not eating enough protein,” she said. That lunch had zero protein (or maybe a negligent amount), and because of that it explained why I was often hungry an hour later.

When she started to plot out some good choices for me, it started to make sense. Would you consider a breakfast of cottage cheese and fruit, two slices of whole wheat toast each with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a small glass of tomato juice part of a “diet?” Trust me, it’s not. That breakfast is filling as hell. Which of course means no mid morning blood sugar spike leading to pretzel or doughnut gorging. The plan is now to have 30 grams (or more) of protein AND up to 45 grams of carbs, with some vegetables–at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And to have 7-14 grams of protein plus 15 grams of carbs as a snack (example apple and cheese or greek yogurt and nuts or an orange and some jerky). The magic words I heard are that I CAN have carbs. I’m also allowed to have one treat per day–ice cream after dinner or cookies or jelly beans. If I have the treat during the day, I have no treat after dinner. It’s a fair trade and way of deal-making with myself.

Look, I know you don’t come here for health and nutrition advice. But I think it’s important enough that you should consider looking at your own eating habits, especially if you need to lose a few pounds (oh yeah, I lost 3 pounds this past week and I’m just starting) and are getting up there in age. So I’ll offer hints and suggestions where I can, starting with my breakfast this morning–Maple Bacon Walnut Oatmeal. Yes, I’m serious.

I told my wife the other day that I had a single serving of oatmeal (I like to make it from scratch, which only takes 10 minutes or so), with walnuts and maple syrup, and bacon on the side. She suggested taking it one step further and crumbling bacon on the oatmeal. That’s one of the many reasons I married her–she is simply brilliant (and hilarious, I may add). So I tried that this morning. I made the oats the same way (with a splash of half and half too) and crumbled two slices of bacon on top. As good as it sounds, this particular version was not a home run. The bacon was overpowering because it was all on top. But as I got deeper and had more spoonfuls of oats with bacon accents, it was, then, a home run. A touchdown. A three-pointer at the buzzer. You get the idea, sports fans. I also need to try this with bacon that crumbles better without burning quickly as I used today. You’ll notice that frosty glass of milk on the side. I have always had milk with my oatmeal, and now even more so since I need that extra protein to balance the carbs in the oats. But I like to also put the milk in the freezer before I cook the oats, making it ice cold in a frosty glass. It’s the little things, I tell you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!