6 Chocolate Recipes and $100 off Rouxbe
Despite my passion for chocolate, I have never been a huge Valentine's Day fan. I try to ignore it, not because I am cynical about love, but because I believe affection, gifts and surprises should be dictated by the heart, not the calendar. Or at least that's my normal stance. But Rouxbe Online Cooking School is having a limited-time-only Valentine's Day special and I think it's worth promoting. Why? Because: a) Life's too short to eat bad chocolate. Rouxbe has a fabulous section on chocolate, including how to read a label. Watch the trial video in the Rouxbe widget at the bottom of the post before you buy your sweetheart chocolate. I guarantee you and the recipient will be happy with the results. b) Unlike my gym membership, I actually visit Rouxbe's on a regular basis. I use it to refresh my memory, learn new skills and further my culinary education — which may be in part why I'm not at the gym as often as I should. c) I want to plug some of my old content using the Valentine's Day Chocolate theme as an excuse.
The fine print: I'm a Rouxbe affiliate. As such, I can offer you specials like the $100 off a Rouxbe Online Cooking School one-year membership or e-card. And hugs. Here's how it works. You sign up for the membership. They give you unlimited access to their site for a year. I give you a hug.
Smoked Sugar and What Stratford Chefs School Taught Me About Myself
This is how much of a sugar addict I am. I drove an hour on a dark, cold, rainy January night just so I could sample smoked sugar. What's smoked sugar you ask? It's sugar. That's been smoked.* As eager as I am to try new sweets, I am equally entrenched in my culinary dislikes. Without hesitating, I will tell you I don't like custard, I don't like caviar and I don't like chives. And it's not just things that start with the letter c, either. Foie gras, beets, parsnips, liver, and truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate) don't make it into my kitchen. But I was so eager to taste smoked sugar —the final dish of a full-course meal — I was willing to throw myself into the unknown.
Last-Minute Christmas Gifts
It's almost noon on the day before Christmas Eve and I'm not finished my shopping. Not by a long shot. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess  I'm not the only one who needs the born-of-fear adrenaline to face the holiday crowds. Or maybe you're too disorganized busy to get it done during calm, shopper-sparce early November -- like some people I know and resent. So, for those who need some last-minute gift ideas for the cooks in your life, here are my suggestions. You can purchase them from the tranquility of your home, glass of spiked eggnog in one hand and a computer mouse in the other.
Happy Thanksgiving: How to Carve Poultry
Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! Since I can't join you in person and help out  with dinner, I thought I'd share a video that could make your holiday meal run a bit more smoothly -- or at least save your good table cloth from some unnecessary grease spots. While the turkey roasts, take 3 minutes and learn how to carve the bird like a pro. The poultry-phobic might want to bookmark this post since the instructions work perfectly for Christmas, birthdays, Sunday family dinners or any time you serve roasted poultry -- be it duck, turkey, goose, chicken or itty-bitty Cornish hens. So sharpen those knives and have a safe and very happy Thanksgiving! PS: For those who shun Black Friday, stay warm and cozy inside and take advantage of  Rouxbe Online Cooking School's Cyber Monday Deal. See below for details.
Canada Cooks the Books

    I'm abandoning you for the next little while. But it's for a good cause. I'm stage managing Canada Cooks the Books. It's a student cooking competition with a twist. Culinary students go onstage with cookbook authors and make a recipe for a Canadian cookbook in hopes...

Leadership and Purpose
Will my brushes with greatness never cease? First, my friend Dana is a judge on The Food Network's Recipe to Riches, then Super Jess included me in her Doughnut Bonanza, and today my husband launches his very own book -- Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University. By Andrew M. Thomson. Yes, world, nine years ago I married a professor and today I'm sleeping with a published author. Not a cookbook author, mind you. But I did manage to convince him to include one recipe. And I've made it to celebrate the day.
Recipe to Riches

How much do I like my friend Dana McCauley? I like her enough to bump my weekly Modern Family fix to watch her in action. Dana is one of the judges on the new Food Network show Recipe to Riches. She joins a distintguished panel of...

Delicious Food Show Winner
I set 'em up. You delivered 'em. Punch lines, that is. Last week I asked you to come up with a great one-liner using the October 5th trivia I provided. The winner gets two tickets to the Delicious Food Show (courtesy Three Farmers Camelina Oil)  in Toronto, and Andrew and I get a few laughs. Everyone glommed onto the Monty Python reference. We got nudge-nudge, wink-winked by a few people -- online and off.  Kathryn even drew inspiration from the forest setting for a musical tribute using The Lumber Jack Song. And that's okay. But the stand out winner was Reena. She used not one but two of the references, deftly combining Monty Python's debut and Rodney Dangerfield's death in this oddly fitting punchline:
Nine years and counting

October 5th is a very important day. On this day: Monty Python made its debut on BBC (1969) Harry Chapin released Cat's in the Cradle (1975) Bob Geldof was born (1951) Rodney Dangerfield died (2004) But most importantly, on October 5, 2002 Andrew and I got married. I'm sure there's a...

Three Farmers Camelina Oil Winners

You commented. You tweeted. You came up with some innovative and hunger-inducing ways to use Camelina oil. Me? Turned to Random.Org and selected three winners, totally without bias. It took three whole button clicks. I'm exhausted! So a big congratulations and a bottle of Three Farmers Camelina...

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