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Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.
Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn Credits: Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn
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.
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