Excuse #1: I don’t have time. Eva Redpath says: You won’t have the time unless you create the time. Just like you schedule going to the dentist or getting your hair done, you need to schedule exercise. On Sunday, pull out the day planner, look at your schedule and set a goal for the week. Put it in your smartphone calendar or write it down. If it’s going to be part of your life, you have to make room for it.
Excuse #2: I don’t know how to reach my fitness goals. Eva Redpath says: It’s all about accountability. Find a partner who shares the same goals and keep each other on track. Declare your fitness ambitions on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Most importantly, become a joiner. When you’re part of a community, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
Excuse #3: I keep trying and failing. Eva Redpath says: Sometimes we fail because we set expectations that are way too high. Set an achievable goal, increase that goal after a couple of weeks and track your progress with a fitness band, a pedometer or a chart, not just via the numbers on the scale.
Excuse #4: I don’t have enough energy to work out. Eva Redpath says: Energy creates energy. I don’t always have the energy to wake up early for a workout, but I just get up and get moving anyway. For a few days, it will be challenging, but soon that energy generates more energy. Fake it till you make it.
Excuse #5: I can’t keep my diet on track. Eva Redpath says: Seventy percent of weight loss is what you put in your mouth, 30 percent is exercise. You can erase all your good work by eating poorly. If you’re not eating good food, you’ll have no energy. If you’re eating nutrient-dense food, you’re fuelling your workout. Shop the perimeters of the grocery store. If it’s in an aisle, on a shelf or wrapped in paper or plastic, avoid it. If it grew on a tree or came from the ground, that’s real food.
Science says you should spend more time socializing. For more than 75 years, researchers at Harvard University have been studying what makes us happy and, according to current project director Robert Waldinger, strong social connections are the number-one predictor. "Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period," he said in a 2015 TED Talk.
Save the day
Everyone knows about the pay-yourself- first rule, but when you're staring down a stack of bills, saving can easily drop off your radar. So take yourself out of the equation entirely. Talk to your bank about setting up a TFSA, or a regular preauthorized transfer from your chequing to your savings account, and soon you'll be watching your money grow. And don't forget to check in once a year to see if you can afford to up the amount you're tucking away, even by a few dollars.
If life feels too full and noisy, try a no-gadget night once a week. Switch off all electronics, turn down the lights, enjoy relaxing activities and fall asleep earlier. Take it to the next level with no talking! — Jo Bennett, life coach
Don't go to bed angry
No, really—don't. According to a 2016 study, going to sleep while angry might reinforce negative memories, making it harder to get over the things that made you mad.
Looking to get ahead at work? It may not be enough to just tell your boss. Research by Catalyst, a nonprofit that promotes inclusive workplaces, says we should get comfortable talking about our accomplishments instead. The study found that women who clearly articulated career wins, "advanced further, increased their compensation growth and were more satisfied with their careers."
Tools of the trade
Three must-have smartphone apps that make life better, easier or just more fun.
1. Flipp (free, iOS and Android): The high-tech version of coupon clipping, use this app to price match, redeem coupons or see who has chicken on sale.
2. Field trip (free, iOS and Android): Discover hidden gems as you walk through any city—the app sends restaurant referrals, trivia and shopping tips based on proximity.
3. Downcast ($4, iOS): If you've been meaning to get into podcasts, check out this highly rated app. Search for interesting podcasts, download them to listen later and catch up on back episodes.
You've spent all afternoon baking a cake only to have the centre cave in. Or perhaps it didn’t rise to begin with, and now you have a dense, stodgy brick. Here are the four main reasons why that’s happening and how to prevent it.
1) Your leavener is expired. Air bubbles are essential for a cake to rise, but if your leavener is stale, the chemical reaction that causes the air bubbles to form will never happen, leaving your cake dense, gummy, and flat. Before setting out to make any baked good, it’s smart to check your baking powder or baking soda for freshness, especially if you don’t bake very often.
To test baking powder for freshness, mix a small spoonful with a little boiling water. It should bubble and fizz vigorously. To see what that looks like, click here.
To test baking sodafor freshness, mix a small spoonful with a splash of vinegar. The same fizzy reaction should happen. If they don’t fizz, toss them out and buy fresh containers. 2) Your eggs are too cold. Eggs are a key ingredient when it comes to incorporating air into a batter, and room-temperature eggs will whip up far more readily than cold ones. In fact, in all our Canadian Living baking recipes, we assume all eggs are used at room temperature.
Before you start making a recipe, be sure to take your eggs out of the fridge first and let them stand while you collect all your other ingredients (30 minutes is usually long enough, depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
In a pinch, place your eggs in a bowl and pour very warm water over them to cover. Let stand until the eggs are no longer cold to the touch, about 5 minutes.
Pro tip: If your recipe calls for the eggs to be separated, do it while they're still cold and then let the yolks and whites stand separately at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before using. The membranes of a room-temperature egg are much more delicate than a cold one, so you’re way less likely to break the yolk if you separate them while they're still cold.
3) You under-baked the cake, or peeked while it was baking. That old adage about not making any loud noises while a cake is baking is true! The structure of a half-baked cake is very delicate and anything from a loud noise to a drastic drop in temperature (i.e. opening the oven door to peek) can cause it to fall.
It’s easy to tell if a cake is under-baked: If it’s high and fluffy around the edges, but fallen, dense and gummy in the centre, it needed more time. To avoid under-baking your cake, check it for doneness no sooner than 5 minutes before it’s supposed to be done. To do so, insert a cake tester in the centre—it should come out clean. You can also gently tap the top with your finger. If it feels firm and springs back, it's ready. Pro tip: Unless directed, don’t try to remove a cake from the tin straight out of the oven — it can sometimes be a bit too delicate at this stage. Let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove it directly to a rack to cool completely.
4) There isn’t enough flour in your recipe. This one is a bit trickier and only really happens when you’re adapting another recipe or playing around with recipe development.
A cake relies heavily on protein—in eggs and flour—to maintain its structure. The protein in flour is called gluten. Gluten is a bit of a four-letter word lately, but it serves an important purpose: over-develop gluten and you’ll end up with a doorstop; avoid it entirely and your cake will likely fall.
If you don't have enough flour in a recipe, there won't be a strong enough foundation to allow for proper expansion and the cake will collapse. You’ll notice gluten-free and flourless cakes are often sunken in the centre, and that's why.
If you're trying out your own cake recipe and the texture is gummy, or the centre is fallen no matter how long you bake it, try increasing the flour by a tablespoon or two until you get the desired consistency.
Remember that a sunken cake isn't the end of the world. Most of the time, it will still be delicious and you can cover up that fallen centre by piling it with some creative toppings, like whipped cream or sweetened mascarpone and fresh fruit.
The important part is to get into the kitchen and have fun! Everyone will love your efforts, regardless.
For a collection of 25 Tested-Till-Perfect chocolate cakes and cupcakes, click here!
We asked some of Canada's top celebrity designers to spill the beans on their best-kept design secrets—and did they ever! Read on for expert advice on everything from space planning and choosing paint colours to styling shelves and how to create a foolproof gallery wall.
The inside scoop on space planning
How much space do you need around your dining room table? Can you really make a room feel larger? Our experts weigh in.
Tip 1: Sofas should be two-thirds the length of the longest wall, and seating is placed close enough around so no person is more than eight feet from another to allow for easy conversation. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 2: One easy rule to figure out what size dining table you need: allow for a minimum of 30 inches walking clearance on all sides. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Space planning is critical. For a kitchen island, for example, leave three feet of space between the island and surrounding counters. Ensure that appliances (like the fridge or dishwasher) can open without blocking traffic flow or hitting neighbouring walls or cabinets. Not leaving enough room is a mistake people make all the time, before they call a designer in a panic to help fix it! — Lisa Canning
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 4: Use mirrors strategically to expand space and increase the amount of natural light reflected in the room. Framing a wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors adds a dramatic effect to the feeling and scale of the room. — Brian Gluckstein
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 5: Allow for 18 inches between the sofa and the coffee table so people have enough room to pass by and to make it easy to reach for drinks or food. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 6: Want to make sure furniture fits before it arrives at your door? There are a host of free sites (like planyourroom.com) that allow you to put furniture onto a scaled floor plan. Another option? Many furniture and decor stores offer free design services, and they'll do the calculating for you. — Janette Ewen
Light it up
Follow these five rules and your lights will shine in all the right ways.
Tip 2: Install dimmer switches; they're a practical way to control light and energy consumption. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 3: The bottom of the shade of your bedside reading lamp should be at shoulder height when sitting in bed. Do the math! — Karl Lohnes
Tip 4: Choose a pendant or chandelier that's one-third the size of the table or kitchen island. Hang it approximately 30 to 36 inches above the table or island; if there are more than one, place them 12 to 18 inches apart. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Incandescent bulbs are great for atmosphere lighting, but LED bulbs are more suited to task lighting, when you really need to see what you're working on. — Janette Ewen
The inside scoop on paint and palette
Did you know that paint selection should be one of the last decisions you make when decorating a room?
Tip 1: I'm a firm believer in mood boards. They're not just for designers! Gather together fabrics, paint samples and inspiration images for a room before starting. It will create a picture and a trajectory that you may not have thought of. — Steven Sabados
Tip 2: When you design a room, pull your palette from one inspiration fabric. Whether you use a whimsical print or a more traditional pattern, take all the colours present in that material and allow those to guide fabric selection for pillows, throws, drapery and upholstery in the room. Take that same fabric to the paint store and have a custom colour mixed that matches one of the hues exactly. — Lisa Canning
Tip 4: Fine finish Choose a fresh trim colour in a semigloss, such as Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace OC-65. It creates a subtle separation from a matte wall, and it's a much more durable finish, which comes in handy since trims are usually the most touched, bumped and scuffed parts of our homes. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Colour pop If you buy that cool orange statement chair, give it a buddy. When you're adding a colourful piece to a space, always have at least one other subtle hit of that colour elsewhere in the room to create a cohesive feel. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 6: Want to make a room feel taller? Paint baseboards and crown moulding the same colour as the walls. Want it to feel huge? mix one-third of the wall colour into the ceiling paint. — Karl Lohnes
The inside scoop on styling
You've bought the sofa and painted the walls. Now what? Our experts show you how to style a room like a pro.
Tip 1: Shop at stores that have liberal return policies and buy three times as much as you think you need. This gives you plenty of merchandise to play with to see what works and what does not. Mix in unique family heirlooms and vintage finds with the new pieces you purchase to create a naturally curated look. — Janette Ewen
Photography by Magdalena M
Tip 2: For a no-fail pillow combination, you need only three: one 20- by 20-inch, one 16- by 16-inch and one 12- by 16-inch. Those sizes look good together no matter how you arrange them! — Jo Alcorn
Tip 3: Beauty is in the details When styling a console, include framed art on easels or leaning against the wall; it's a great way to display smaller pieces. Create a dynamic vignette by mixing in boxes, vases and vintage pieces in differing heights and dimensions. — Brian Gluckenstein
Tip 4: Mix and match Use these common elements when styling shelves: stacks of books, gorgeous flowers and at least one accessory that has a lot of shimmer and shine. Varying heights and textures is also really important for visual interest. — Lisa Canning
The inside scoop on art
Take the mystery out of hanging art.
Tip 1: Make your own art! Buy a canvas in a size you're looking for, then grab some paint in the colours you're decorating with, and see what happens. Great masterpieces are born of happy accidents or beautiful mistakes. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 2: When hanging art on an empty wall, the middle of the art should to be hung 66 to 72 inches off the floor. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Art relates to furniture, not the ceiling: Keep art about six to eight inches above the sofa, or any piece of furniture, when hanging it. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Tip 4: For a gallery wall, use different-size frames in one single finish and select artwork with a consistent theme in colour or subject matter to keep the display cohesive. — Brian Gluckenstein
Each year, top designers and brands showcase the best in innovative and inspiring design from around the world at The Interior Design Show in Toronto. We’ve picked our top Canadian designers that you may not have heard of yet, but should.
By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Source: Ryan Brook
5 essential quinoa salad recipes
Gluten-free Quinoa Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing
The amount of water you need to cook quinoa varies from brand to brand, so check package instructions for best results. Or see the last slide for no-fail quinoa cooking methods. For an easy twist, top the salad with toasted slivered almonds.