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Lunar New Year: Your guide to ringing in abundance, prosperity and good luck
iStockphoto.com Credits: iStockphoto.com
iStockphoto.com Credits: iStockphoto.com
From risottos to roasts, enjoy these easy and elegant slow cooker dinners.
Congee is a savoury rice porridge that can be enjoyed any time of day. Smoked ham hock adds a unique depth of flavour to this Asian staple. Look for it near the cured meat section of your grocery store.To serve, place individual bowls of garnishes, such as sodium-reduced soy sauce, sesame oil, salted Virginai peanuts, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced hot chiles, at the table and let everyone dress their own bowl to suit their tastes.
Madras curry powder, a mix of spices including fenugreek, coriander, cumin and turmeric, is often hotter than other curry powders. Slow cooking mellows out the heat leaving an intensely flavourful curry. Look for Madras curry powder in the spice or ethnic food aisles. Serve wrapped up in a warm roti or with rice.
A double dose of fennel - seeds and vegetable - add a pleasant licorice-like taste to this pot roast with Mediterrean flair. For nice, even slices when serving the roast, separate it into the natural sections and then slice across the grain. The slices will be smallish, but they'll hold their shape. Serve over pasta for a fun (and stress-free) take on Sunday roast.
Traditionally called Bo Ssam - these ginger-packed lettuce wraps make a light, satisfying meal. Serve with Korean-style pickled vegetables or kimchi, the intensely flavourful Ginger Green Onions Sauce and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds for an authentic flair.
This classic Quebecois soup gets new life with the addition of smoked turkey instead of the traditional ham hock. Look for smoked turkey thighs instead of the legs - they've got more meat and less sinew. You can find them near the deli counter at the grocery store.
It almost seems that the slow cooker was made for this subtly spicy, rich mole sauce. In fact, you might be tempted to make a double batch of just the sauce and freeze half for another time - simply thaw it and reheat with cooked, shredded meat. Serve over rice or with warmed corn tortillas to soak up all the sauce.
Finally a flavourful risotto that doesn't need any stirring! Dried mushrooms work perfectly to create an earthy aroma, we've used dried porcinis here as they're readily available, but any dried mushroom will do. Hearty pot barley makes adds a healthful twist and doesn't become overly mushy - even after 8 hours.
Reducing the sauce at the end of the cooking is an essential step to achieveing sweet-and-sour short rib nirvana. Serve over white rice and with a drizzle of sriracha if you can stand a little heat. For best results, look for thick, meaty short ribs.
Inspired by the traditional Mexican tacos served with spicy thin pork slices and pineapple, this slow cooker version features pork shoulder broken into tender bite size chunks. If you don't want to serve these as tacos, try serving the pork on top of steamed white rice instead.
To save time in the morning, prep and chop all the ingredients for this stew the night before so all you have to do is toss them in your slow cooker and turn it on before heading out the door. Serve with crusty bread for a simple, hearty meal.
Make this restaurant classic at home on a weeknight with our slow cooker version. Super thin steaks and sliced onions make a tender and flavourful sandwich. Serve au jus (with juice) on the side for dipping each bite.
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of rich, creamy seafood chowder. Sweet, licorice-like fennel naturally complements the seafood. Serve with oyster crackers or crusty bread and a simple green.
The sweetness of corn is complemented and elevated with smoky flavours from the ham and paprika chive crema topping. Frozen corn niblets never tasted so good!
Tagine is a stew eaten all over Morocco served in earthenware pots of the same name. All tagines start with a spice base, often including cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and cumin. Serve with lemon wedges over couscous or with flatbread to soak up the delicious juices.
This mild, sweet curry has all the comforting flavours of a curry without too much spice, making it a great choice for the entire family. Serve over steamed rice or with warmed naan bread.
Thanks to being cooked very slowly for a long period of time, the meat in this ragù is fork tender and soaks up all the tomato sauce around it. Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for a delicious meal.
We've swapped beef broth for chicken broth and onions for tender leeks but kept all the flavour in this lighter version of classic French onion soup. When you get home, just toast the baguette, broil the cheese and enjoy!
This Asian inspired beef stew has a deep earthy flavour from the five-spice powder and a hint of orange and ginger. Boy choy can be quite sandy, so be sure to wash thoughly before chopping. Serve over brown rice.
The essence of this Vietnamese pho lies in the long-cooking, rich beef broth which forms the base of the soup - the slow cooker is the ultimate tool for the task. Fresh, vibrant garnishes, like bean sprouts, assorted fresh herbs such as mint, cilantro and basil, thinly sliced onion, chilies and lime wedges, make each and every bowl of soup unique. Serve them at the table in separate bowls so each person can create the pho of their dreams.
You won't believe how tasty and easy it is to make this classic dish in your slow cooker. A piping bag - or plastic bag - makes easy work of stuffing the manicotti. Serve with a tossed salad and garlic bread for an easy family-style dinner.
If you think you're not good enough, you can join the club, because many women experience impostor syndrome. But, contrary to popular belief, it turns out that a little self-doubt isn't such a bad thing after all.
Tara Sutton is an award-winning war correspondent and documentary filmmaker from Toronto. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York's Columbia University, and she was the first foreign reporter to enter Fallujah, Iraq, after the siege in 2004 to document human rights abuses during the Iraq War. She's also given talks all over the world. But, sometimes, Sutton feels like a fraud.
"When I was in Iraq, I was the only video journalist and I was freelancing," says Sutton. "Everybody else had security experts and crews and flak jackets, and I didn't have any of that stuff. I'd lie there at night thinking, You're so useless. You don't know what you're doing. Why are you even here? I always felt so inferior, like I wasn't as qualified as everyone else."
What is it?
Though impostor phenomenon, or impostor syndrome, as it's commonly called, was first identified in 1978 to describe high-achieving people who dismiss, minimize or ignore evidence of their abilities, Sutton only recognized the symptoms in herself after reading an article about it in The New York Times. Since then, high-profile people—from Mike Myers (who famously said, "I still expect that the no-talent police will come and arrest me") to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg—have publicly admitted that they had a problem.
In an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, research estimates that 70 percent of us will, at least once in our lives, fear being exposed as frauds, no matter how successful we are. "People who feel like impostors have a hard time internalizing and owning their accomplishments and, instead, ascribe them to things like luck, timing, connections or computer error," says Valerie Young, the author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It.
These feelings are especially common for students and people in creative fields such as writing, acting and music. "You're judged subjectively and are perceived as being only as good as your last book, film, show or assignment," says Young. "You have to continually prove yourself in ways you wouldn't if you were in an accounting department or in customer service." That self-doubt is also more common among women, minorities and people who grew up poor or working class. "Whenever you're in a group for whom there are stereotypes about competence, you're more susceptible," says Young.
How to make impostor syndrome work for you
Alicia Liu first blogged about her brush with impostor syndrome in 2013, and she has revisited the topic several times since. The Canadian computer programmer, who now lives in San Francisco, wrote about how feeling like a fake made her reluctant to speak up for fear of sounding stupid. "The stakes were even higher because I was the only female engineer on nearly every team I've been on, so I felt I was representing my gender," she wrote. "I quietly avoided doing things I didn't think I'd be good at, even though the only way to get better is to do them." That's one of the problems with impostor syndrome—it can hold you back from learning. It may even make you overprepare, which "leads to unnecessary work and potential burnout," says Liu.
But Pamela Catapia, a registered clinical counsellor in Vancouver, says there can be benefits to feeling this way. "If you have impostor syndrome, you're likely a caring, conscientious, talented person who has both the desire and the capacity to improve the world," she says. She points to her clients as evidence; many of them tell her they feel like impostors, but, for the most part, they're actually extremely competent with unrecognized or underutilized leadership skills.
While Catapia admits that impostor syndrome can lead to procrastination, self-sabotage, anxiety and overwork, she says it is possible to make those feelings work for you. The secret is to recognize the good and the bad of impostor syndrome—and hang on to the good. "If overpreparing for things is working, keep that strategy. But if you're feeling burned out and exhausted, dial it down," she says. Young agrees. "I don't like to hear people say 'stop being a perfectionist,' because that's not helpful. You do things because you're getting something out of it. So I ask people, 'What's the good part about being a perfectionist that you want to keep?' If you care deeply about the quality of your work—not everyone does—keep that part, but let go of any shame you might feel over minor and very human imperfections."
Sutton credits impostor syndrome with helping her become a better journalist, though she didn't realize it at the time. "The benefit of feeling that way is that I asked so many questions. I had no assumptions that I knew what was going on," she says. "It also led me to do a lot more listening than talking."
There are still days when Sutton's self-doubt resurfaces, especially when it comes to public speaking. "Whenever I start to write a speech, I feel like I don't have anything to say. Now I know it's just a feeling, but in the beginning, I believed it was true."
Make peace with your inner critic
Though impostor syndrome can push us to achieve, it can also do more harm than good, leading to anxiety, procrastination and burnout. Here's what to do if the negatives start to outweigh the positives.
1. Know that you're normal
We often assume that struggling with confidence in a new situation is proof that we're impostors, says self-help speaker and author Valerie Young. But those feelings are normal. "Of course you're going to feel off base at first," she says. "If you're starting a new job, instead of thinking, I don't belong here, try, This is going to be hard for a while. This is new for me, and mastering or taking on new things is hard." She adds that, unless you're a narcissist, you should have feelings of self-doubt every now and then. "If it's your first time doing something, you haven't had time to develop the confidence that comes from prior experience."
2. Put it in context
Consider why feelings of inadequacy are there in the first place, says computer programmer Alicia Liu. "It's not merely a personal issue—though impostor syndrome is too often framed as purely personal. For me, it also reflected the discrimination and stereotyping in the tech industry and wider culture." Your own experience may be rooted in childhood or exacerbated by dismissive coworkers or cultural stereotypes. "You need to sort through your beliefs about yourself and your talents and to examine which belong to you and which came from others," says clinical counsellor Pamela Catapia. "Think about the beliefs that protect, guide and encourage you to grow versus the ones that shame and control you and keep you stuck." When you acknowledge how other people's attitudes might be holding you back, it's easier to feel worthy and confident.
3. Change your mind
"If you want to stop feeling like an impostor, you have to stop thinking like one," says Young. "This means reframing the way you think about competence, failure and fear. If you get an assignment that feels beyond you, instead of thinking, I have no idea what I'm doing, the reframe is, Wow! I'm really going to learn a lot," she says. And remember, your body doesn't know the difference between fear and excitement—sweaty palms and a dry throat come from both. "As you're walking to the podium or going to meet with your boss, just keep thinking, I'm excited. The best part is that, over time, you will be."
Winter is coming—and with it comes dry, cracked skin that needs an extra dose of hydration. Try one of these body lotions for a little relief.
We all know that moisturizing is key if you want to make sure your skin is hydrated all winter long. But not all body lotions are created equal. Here are six products that will keep your skin soft, smooth and flake-free as the weather gets cooler.
Rocky Mountain Soap Co.
For a portable option, look no further than Rocky Mountain Soap Co. This body butter is packaged like deodorant, making it easy to apply and even easier to travel with. It’s also 100% organic and made by a Canadian company.
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Unscented Body Butter, $14.50, rockmountainsoap.com.
Lotus Aroma’s Velvet Body Lotion is great for sensitive skin. Essential oils and botanical extracts pair with shea butter, sea buckthorn oil and moringa for a non-greasy cream that maintains hydration.
Lotus Aroma Velvet Body Lotion, $18, yesswellness.com.
This moisturizer is thick and creamy—and though you have to work it into your skin a little bit, it’s well worth the effort. Coffee seed extract, pomegranate, green tea and shea and cocoa butters work hard to keep your skin smooth and hydrated. Bonus: When I used this product it even helped tone down redness.
Frank Body Cream, $22, frankbody.com.
The Ultra Rich Body Butter by Skinfix is specially formulated for those with chronic dry skin. If you have flaking, dry and rough skin you need a product that will help to heal the skin barrier. Shea butter and coconut oil form the deeply nourishing base that helps to lock in moisture—and offers you some sweet relief from dry skin.
Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter, $18, skinfixinc.com.
You don’t have to spend a lot to keep your skin soft and smooth. Try Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion to keep your skin moisturized.
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Unscented Lotion, $7, well.ca.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps is a cult favourite. Rich, non-greasy and super hydrating, this lotion is formulated with cocoa butter and beta-carotene for a hefty dose of lubrication and vitamin A.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, $38, kiehls.ca.
In this excerpt of her new book, Arianna Huffington explains how getting enough rest is a must—for long-term health, yes, but also for keeping the weight off, doing well at work and even for better skin.
It is industrialization, for all its benefits, that has exacerbated our flawed relationship with sleep on such a massive scale.
We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically, our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we put in at work, adds up to more than eleven days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280. This results in a total annual cost of sleep deprivation to the US economy of more than $63 billion, in the form of absenteeism and presenteeism (when employees are present at work physically but not really mentally focused). "Americans are not missing work because of insomnia," said Harvard Medical School professor Ronald C. Kessler. "They are still going to their jobs, but they're accomplishing less because they're tired. In an information-based economy, it's difficult to find a condition that has a greater effect on productivity.
Sleep disorders cost Australia more than $5 billion a year in health care and indirect costs. And "reduction in life quality" added costs equivalent to a whopping $31.4 billion a year. A report, aptly titled "Re-Awakening Australia," linked lack of sleep with lost productivity and driving and workplace accidents. In the United Kingdom, a survey showed that one in five employees had recently missed work or come in late because of sleep deprivation. The researchers estimated that this is equivalent to a loss of more than 47 million hours of work per year, or a £453 million loss in productivity. And almost a third of all UK employees reported feeling tired every morning. Yet, though awareness is spreading, few companies have given sleep the priority it deserves, considering its effects on their bottom line. In Canada, 26 percent of the workforce reported having called in sick because of sleep deprivation. And nearly two-thirds of Canadian adults report feeling tired "most of the time."
It turns out that women need more sleep than men, so the lack of sleep has even more negative mental and physical effects on them. Duke Medical Center researchers found that women are at a greater risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and depression. "We found that for women, poor sleep is strongly associated with high levels of psychological distress, and greater feelings of hostility, depression and anger," said Edward Suarez, the lead author of the study. "In contrast, these feelings were not associated with the same degree of sleep disruption in men."
As women have entered the workplace—a workplace created in large measure by men, which uses our willingness to work long hours until we ultimately burn out as a proxy for commitment and dedication—they are still stuck with the heavy lifting when it comes to housework. The upshot is that women end up making even more withdrawals from their sleep bank.
"Let's face it, women today are tired. Done. Cooked. Fried," wrote Karen Brody, founder of the meditation program Bold Tranquility. "I coach busy women and this is what they tell me all the time: 'I spent years getting educated and now I don't have any energy to work.' "
Just as sleep is universal, so is the belief that we don't have enough time to get the sleep we need. But we actually have far more discretionary time than we realize. The key is taking an honest look at how we spend it. In her discretionary time, for example, Sherry Turkle, professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, has been using TV as a reward, letting herself watch shows such as Mad Men, Homeland, and The Americans after working on her book. "I felt like I earned these elegant treats," she told me. "I remember saying 'Orange Is the New Black is mine' after I finished the 'Friendship' chapter of Reclaiming Conversation. As I worked on the 'Romance' chapter, it was House of Cards. I wouldn't have said, 'I'm prioritizing television drama,' but what strikes me is that I never said, 'I'm prioritizing sleep.' "
That's the case for millions of people around the world, despite how high the costs of sleep deprivation are. The incidence of death from all causes goes up by 15 percent when we sleep five hours or less per night. A 2015 CNN.com article based on the latest findings by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, provocatively titled "Sleep or Die," discussed the connection between lack of sleep and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. In other words, getting enough sleep really is a matter of life and death.
And even when it doesn't kill us, sleep deprivation makes us dangerously less healthy. Dr. Carol Ash, the director of sleep medicine at Meridian Health, points out that even losing an hour of sleep per week—which many of us do without a moment's thought—can lead to a higher risk of heart attack. Even the switch to daylight saving time can temporarily disturb our sleep patterns.
A lack of sleep also has a major impact on our ability to regulate our weight. In a study by the Mayo Clinic, sleep-restricted subjects gained more weight than their well-rested counterparts over the course of a week, consuming an average of 559 extra calories a day. People who get six hours of sleep per night are 23 percent more likely to be overweight. Get less than four hours of sleep per night and the increased likelihood of being overweight climbs to a staggering 73 percent. That is due in part to the fact that people who get more sleep produce less of a hormone called ghrelin—the "hunger hormone," which increases our appetite. The sleep-deprived group also had lower levels of the hormone leptin, the "satiety hormone," which lowers our appetite. In other words, cutting back on sleep is a fantastic way to gain weight. Other research points to the role of sleep in the production of orexin, a neurotransmitter that normally stimulates physical activity and energy expenditure but is reduced when you are sleep-deprived.
The bottom line? When we're not well rested, we're not as healthy. And it shows. In a Swedish study, untrained participants were asked to look at photos of both sleep-deprived and well-rested people. Participants judged those in the sleep-deprived group as "less healthy, more tired, and less attractive." An experiment in the United Kingdom tested the effects of sleep deprivation on a group of thirty women. Their skin was analyzed and photographed after they slept for eight hours and then again after sleeping six hours for five nights in a row. Fine lines and wrinkles increased by 45 percent, blemishes went up by 13 percent, and redness increased by 8 percent. In other words, we wear our lack of sleep on our faces.
The Sleep Revolution, $35, by Arianna Huffington.