Isha Kriya – A Free Guided Meditation

gratitude for this art by Isha Volunteer Aman Dalal

Isha Kriya is a free guided meditation from Sadhguru. It’s a simple yet potent meditation practice. “Isha” means that which is the source of creation. “Kriya” means an inward action towards that. In research conducted by Harvard Medical School, this meditation has been shown to reduce tension, anger, fatigue, confusion and depression.

Last year, I took some training to become a volunteer facilitator for Isha Foundation to help share Yoga for Beginners and Isha Kriya at schools, universities, libraries, community organization and corporations. Since COVID-19 has us all stuck inside, I thought sharing Isha Kriya here would be a way to continue on that path.

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Milk and cookies are an invitation to make this recipe

These Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies are my husband’s favourites. They are his Mom’s recipe and when she sends him a bag of frozen ones, he likes to keep them frozen and eat them straight from the freezer. He really likes his cookies crispy.

I lean a little more towards my recipe for Best Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Is there really a bad chocolate chip cookie recipe though?

Instagram friends were kind enough to send in their votes. Nicola likes Smitten Kitchen’s Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies. While Pauli-Ann and Christine nominated these Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’ve got other recipes for full-loaded oatmeal versions and one from Neiman Marcus. Shall I keep sharing them or are you all fully stocked with your own favourites? I look forward to hearing from you. The chips are down right now, let’s make more of them chocolate!

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Grilled Cod Cheeks with Szechwan Peppercorn Marinade

This recipe for Grilled Cod Cheeks with Szechwan Peppercorn Marinade is something I developed after visiting Newfoundland and Labrador last summer. Though my friends in Newfoundland will think it’s blasphemy, I used west coast Ling Cod Cheeks as fresh Atlantic cod cheeks were not available to me at that time. I’ve also used halibut cheeks when they are in season and they’re delicious too.

For folks living in the land-locked Prairies or west coast, I highly recommend Skipper Otto as a sustainable source of fish. Here in Calgary, you can actually get Fogo Island Fish Hand Line Cod from a company called Meta4Foods. The recipe follows.

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Cod au Gratin

This recipe for Cod au Gratin is inspired by my visit to Newfoundland and in particular, Fogo Island Inn, last summer. We ate it our first night at the Inn when we attended a “shed party”. It’s warm, cheese-y goodness cuddled right up to the freshly steamed crab legs, homemade buns and other good things that made the evening so memorable.

Lucy Waverman published the Fogo Island Inn’s Cod au Gratin recipe in the Globe and Mail in 2017. The leeks and fennel keep it light. I loved it.

But, here we are in an unprecedented time of COVID-19 quarantine and I’m not able to dash out to the store to look for those fresh vegetables. What I found in my pantry was a can of artichokes. In the fridge I found a stash of rich French Comte cheese. In my freezer I found some cod.

All in all, I’m pleased with how this variation came out. I hope you’ll give it a try and I encourage you to change up the elements to your own liking. I think a little bacon would be a great addition. Maybe a dice of red pepper. Keep it simple. That’s the secret. It’s a recipe that’s as resilient as the people of Fogo Island. Enjoy!

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Food News: Duchess Bakery and Giselle Courteau launch a new cookbook and location this month and I’ve got a preview recipe for you

Duchess Owners - photo courtesy of Duchess Bake Shop and Provisions
Jacob Pelletier, Giselle Courteau and Garner Beggs – owners of Duchess Bake Shop and now Little Duchess too!

“Baking is, after all, meant to be shared.”

This quote comes from Giselle Courteau in the book Food Artisans of Alberta. Along with her business partners, Jacob Pelletier and Garner Beggs, Courteau has been sharing world class baking for 10 years at Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton’s Westmount neighbourhood.

The trio also self-published an eponymous cookbook that shares many of their most beautiful professional bakery recipes. It garnered a Taste Canada Gold Medal and was since purchased by Appetite Canada – a division of Random House. They are very good at sharing their baking.

No matter the time of year or external temperature in Edmonton, you’ll always find a line-up outside their door on 124 Street. That’s why it’s fabulous news that Courteau and company will now open a second location on Edmonton’s south side in Ritchie Market.

AND… at the same time, they are also launching a new cookbook called Duchess at Home. Read on for a fabulous recipe from the new book and more stories about the tremendous success of this Alberta business.

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St. John’s, NL – Top Five Things To Do, Plus Places to Eat and Stay

St. John's, NL harbour
St. John’s Harbourfront

I decided on a Monday to go to Newfoundland and Labrador, hopped on a plane on Wednesday night and arrived Thursday morning without having done much more than a stitch in time of research. It all worked out.

When we got off the plane and I walked straight to the Tourism Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) kiosk. The friendly ambassador set me straight in a manner of minutes. How long would we be here? What do we like to do? What were we hoping to see? She had an easy laugh, a kind smile and made a great first impression for her province. Within minutes we were loaded with maps and the well laid out NL tour book that proved invaluable over the eight days of our stay.

Top of our list of things to do in NL was hiking so I’ve posted on some great hikes we did in Terra Nova National Park, and on Fogo Island, Bonavista Peninsula and at Signal Hill in St. John’s. In fact, I think my top tip for travelling in NL would be to bring your hiking boots!

Read on for other fun ideas, and places to stay and eat in St. John’s. Hopefully my sharing will help you launch your own vacation on “the rock.”

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Skerwink Trail, Elliston’s Bird Island and Cape Bonavista Lighthouse – Three great walks on Bonavista Peninsula, NL

Skerwink Trail - photo by Karen Anderson
Skerwink Trail with view to Port Rexton

Skerwink Trail

This trail, also the local’s name for the Shearwater, a pelagic seabird that thrives offshore here, on Bonavista Peninsula is ranked in the top 35 hikes in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine. It’s 5.3 kilometres and though rated moderate to severe, we found it quite easy at a slow and steady pace with lots of breaks for appreciating the surroundings.

Located on a steeply inclined head of land in Trinity Bay, between Port Rexton and the town of Trinity, you access the trail on the Port Rexton side and head out in a clockwise direction. It doesn’t matter if you do go counter-clockwise, you’ll get the climbing done on the way out and enjoy a descent on the way back but, going clockwise is wise because it gives you the best angle to appreciate the views.

As you’ll see in the photos below, another reason we found the hike to be moderate was the perfect weather we enjoyed on our visit. My memory of it might not be nearly as serene had we done it in a howling gale. We got to start around 9:30 a.m. and enjoyed bluebird day with a dramatic cloud pattern forming offshore. Even with all the photo opp stops, we finished in 90 minutes. Are you ready to follow along?

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