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GrillMistakes

5 common grilling mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Chatelaine | posted Thursday, Jul 16th, 2015

Even if you’re a master of the grill, after a winter spent away from the barbecue, you may find your skills are a little rusty. And if you’re a grilling novice, these tips are a great place to start. It’s the perfect time to get acquainted with your barbecue; avoiding these common mistakes will result in a delicious summer filled with effortless eats.

Here are five common grilling mistakes, a few simple tips for avoiding them:.

1. Using the wrong grilling method.
There are two ways to grill: direct heat and indirect heat. The direct heat method cooks foods that are placed directly on the heated grates. This is the commonly used when you want a good char on your vegetables, like when grilling asparagus or green onions, or for when you want a golden crust on your meat, like burgers andsteaks. With indirect grilling you create a heated zone on one side of the barbecue and use residual heat to cook food evenly – this method works perfect for grilled pizza.

Direct heat: Cheesy sliders with red onion marmalade.

Indirect heat: Grilled margherita pizza.

How do you know which method to use? Go for the indirect method when cooking foods that require more than 25 minutes of grilling, for cuts of meat over 2 inches in thickness or for highly delicate foods that can burn or scorch quickly.

2. Overcooking meat, poultry and fish.
It can be difficult to precisely control the level of heat on a barbecue, which can lead to dry, overcooked food. The best way to avoid this is to use an instant-read thermometer to check doneness. Fish can be a little trickier; a great tip is to grill fish at five minutes per 1/2-inch of thickness.

3. Food sticking to the grates.
There are a few steps you can take to prevent food from sticking to the grates. Start by cleaning the grates before each use and follow-up by brushing them with cooking oil (this will season the grates and allow food to release). Be sure to preheat the grill for at least ten minutes before grilling and allow the food to cook long enough to form a sear before flipping.

4. Vegetables falling through the grates.
Grilling adds a unique smokiness and complex flavour to vegetables. They cook quickly, but depending on their size, they are notorious for falling through the grates. Try using a veggie basket, or a favourite trick of the Chatelaine Kitchen is to create veggie packets out of aluminum foil like in our warm potato salad.

 5. Over-marinating the meat.

Marinating is one of the easiest ways to add a ton of flavour to meats and vegetables. Unfortunately, it is also easy to over-marinate leading to tough meat. Marinating times are impacted by the cut and size of the meat, but here are a few to keep in mind:

Flank, skirt and brisket: These tougher cuts should be marinated at least two hours, but can withstand up to 12 hours (keep in mind that brisket can be marinated for up to 24 hours).

Steak and chops: These cuts of meat benefit from a shorter marinating time as they will become tough if left in the marinade too long. Thirty minutes to four hours is plenty of time to soak up flavour. Try a shorter marinating time with our tandoori lamb chops.

Chicken: If you’re tight on time, 20 minutes will make a difference to chicken, but try to marinate for two hours or overnight for optimal flavour. For an easy weeknight dinner, try this citrus grilled chicken.

Fish: The acidity will start to cook the fish, so marinate for 15 minutes and no longer than an hour. No time to marinate? Try this cedar-plank salmon recipe – the flavouring is brushed on just before cooking.

Safe home remedies for garden pests

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Jul 14th, 2015

Pests

We love animals, but they’re not always welcome in the garden — especially when they’re eating your plants! Carson Arthur shares his solutions for keeping creatures out without harm.

For cats:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 rosemary spears (or lavender)
  • 1 litre boiling water

Method: Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle. Let cool before applying to areas where cats have been.

For deer and rabbits:

  • 6-8 rhubarb leaves
  • boiling water

Method: Pour boiling water over rhubarb leaves in heatproof container. Let cool before applying to inedible plants, like cedar trees. The leaves are toxic, so the mixture shouldn’t be sprayed on vegetable  or fruit plants.

For aphids:

1 regular-strength Aspirin
1 litre water bottle

Method: Dissolve Aspirin in water and apply to aphid-infested plants.

For more tips, watch Carson’s segment below!

5 ways to get your family outside this summer

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Jul 9th, 2015

FamilyOutdoors

After 13 years, I found the silver bullet: the trails. Lacing up for a run, walk or bike ride slays my kid’s grouchiness within minutes (or at least half an hour). We’ve always been an active family, but it was only after tween angst hit (hard) that I noticed the correlation between trail time and better moods. Since then, it’s become my go-to parenting tool.

Studies show being outdoors doing physical activity lowers depression risk, reduces anxiety and improves behaviour—but that’s moot if you can’t get your brood outside. So my advice is: Don’t ask, tell. Bribe. Threaten. Cajole. Whatever works. Because the payoff is pretty sweet.

Within minutes, Esmé typically takes off, power walking with the dog. Or cycles ahead as I follow on foot. Or pushes herself to breakneck speed, to drop her dad and I on family trail runs, eager to be alone with her thoughts.

Sometimes she doesn’t notice me catching up, and I hear her humming to herself, an unguarded moment for my taciturn introvert. Other times, she slows down so we can walk and talk. Or she gets silly: On a recent outing, I wondered why she was lagging as I jogged ahead. I found out when she rode past me, hitting me with the brushy end of a five-foot-long reed that she’d fixed, jousting-rod style, to her bike.

If you’re not already an especially active family, it can be hard to know what to do beyond hanging out at the local playground or splash pad. Here are a few ways to enjoy summer outside with your kids.

• Open-water swimming. Check local lake and river water-quality updates. Then put down the Kindle and wade in!

• Orienteering and geocaching. Go on a high-tech treasure hunt using your GPS. Be prepared for trails and mud.

• Explore a provincial park. Even better—explore at night. Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park hosts guided wolf howls.

• Pick up a rod. Google “learn to fish” and your province to find free programs.

• Search for creatures. Look for snails after it rains. Go out after dark and watch bats swoop for insects. Bring a flashlight and see what bugs are underfoot.

12 best sunscreens for every skin type and adventure

Chatelaine | posted Tuesday, Jul 7th, 2015

OSunscreen

How to diagnose and treat summertime rashes

Cityline | posted Thursday, Jul 23rd, 2015

Rashes

Heat rash:

  • Heat rash usually results in small dots on the skin and feels sandpaper-like. It can be found under the breasts or in skin folds.
  • Why does heat rash happen? If you’re wearing tight clothing or have skin folds, your blocked sweat glands can lead to heat rash during the sweaty summer months.
  • To treat heat rash, use an over-the-counter cortisone cream or powder.

Athlete’s foot:

  • Athlete’s foot is detected by a scaly, flaky foot, possibly between the toes.
  • You can contract athlete’s foot by walking barefoot at places like the gym, by sharing socks, or getting a pedicure with tools that have come in contact with athlete’s foot.
  • To treat athlete’s foot, use an anti-fungal cream and be sure to wear shoes at the gym.

Poison ivy:

  • Poison ivy is usually in clusters of 3 leaves, and the leaves can be either serrated or clear-edged.
  • The plant is typically found in low-lying areas, such as along borders of roads or stony patches.
  • Treat poison ivy with cool water and soap. Be sure not to burn poison ivy to get rid of it as it can get in your lungs.

For more tips from Dr. Marjorie Dixon, watch the video below:

8 common sunscreen mistakes you’re probably making

Kate Gertner | posted Tuesday, Jul 21st, 2015

SunScreen

1. Using expired goods: Yes, sunscreen does expire! Over time the active ingredients that work to protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays deteriorate and become less effective.

2. Improper storage: Where you store your sunscreen is almost as important as how often you apply it. The glove compartment, windowsill and even your beach bag may seem like convenient places but exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures will hider the formula’s effectiveness.

3. Light-handed application: Repeat after us, you can never apply too much sunscreen. NEVER. Slather it on often (abide by bottle’s recommended re-apply times) and liberally from head-to-toe.

4. Lingo confusion: Many foundations, BB creams and tinted moisturizers list an SPF (sun protection factor), which is a measure only of the sunscreen’s effectiveness at blocking out sunburn-causing UVB rays (but not the potentially more dangerous UVA rays). For complete and effective broad-spectrum coverage (protection against both UVB and UVA rays) you need to look for products with the circle. This year, Health Canada has introduced guidelines on the amount of UVA protection required for effectiveness. Now, if a sunscreen meets these standards, the UVA symbol will be circled on the package.

5. Playing the numbers game: Don’t be fooled There is very little difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100. Soon, high SPF numbers will be a thing of the past: 50+ will be the highest sunscreen SPF on store shelves.

6. Using only on sunny days: You might be surprised to know that some of the worst sunburns occur on the cloudiest days. UV rays are invisible and can penetrate though clouds, haze and fog — they’ll get you when you least expect it.

7. Applying protection when you are already exposed to the sun: There is a reason you’re supposed to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Creams and sprays need time to absorb into the skin in order to be effective.

8. Missing the lips, ears and top of the feet: The little bits are just as sun sensitive as the rest of your face and bod. Be sure to spritz on the sun protection to keep these sensitive areas burn free too.

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