February 29, 2012

A month without Coffee

I picked the shortest month for this challenge though it is a leap year.  I honestly didn't think this would be as tough as it was.  There were times in the first two weeks where I was completely flat without coffee and just felt so drab.  Almost immediately I noticed that I was more grounded and a better listener.

I eagerly look forward to a steaming hot cup of my favourite beverage tomorrow.

More regular energy
More calm
Better listener

Flatness without it
Gets ideas flowing
A jolt of energy on demand

October 3, 2014 - As an update to this post. For the past several months I have been cutting my caffeine intake by having what's called a half-caf. It is coffee that is half decaf and half regular. At home I pre-mix my beans before grinding. Most places I go to are able to accomodate the request. It is really easy to do and I would recommend it!

January 10, 2012

New Year, New You

I have set up a series of challenges for the New Year.  The way it works is that each month I will take on a challenge for that month.  At this point I have selected the challenges for the first six months.  They are as follows:

January:  2 hours a day/maximum recreational computer use
February: No coffee
March: Daily cleanup (15 minutes/minimum)
April: No meat
May: New recipe each day
June: Daily random act of kindness

I will post updates along the way.  I encourage you to try similar challenges even for just 30 days.  I welcome your comments on the challenge and also if you have simple recipes for May or ideas for random acts of kindness.  I put these down the list so that I would have time to gather recipes and ideas.

Here is the video where I lay it all out:

I'd also encourage you to view the video that inspired me to this challenge.  It is a 3 minute TED talk by Google's Matt Cutts on the 30 day challenge concept.

Best wishes for a great New Year!

December 24, 2011

Cocoa Dusted Chocolate Truffles

These truffles are unbelievably easy to make and taste great.  I know that I have been on a health kick and have been generally avoiding sweets.  I justify these because when I make them I know exactly what I put in and they just feel healthier.  After the holidays I will post some healthier "hippy" chocolates using dates for sweetness and nuts for fat.  Optional cayenne pepper, coconut powder are a nice touch but not necessary.  Bring these to a potluck or present as a gift to loved ones.


1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
1 cup dark chocolate (chips/chunks) - best if you use something high quality
Cocoa (to dust)

Optional Ingredients:
1/8th tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Salt
Coconut powder (to dust)

1.) If using big chunks of chocolate cut into small bits.  If using chocolate chips don`t worry about it. Place in a medium size bowl. If using optional cayenne or salt add these to the bowl.

2.)Heat the whipping cream in a pot to 175-180 degrees (f).  If you don`t have a candy thermometer this is just at the point of boiling.  Be careful not to let it over boil.  If you want to make it easier you can set a pot with water on the element and put a smaller pot with cream inside that pot.  This will take a little longer but will prevent you from scalding the cream.

3.) Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir with a spatula till fully mixed.

4.) Let the mixture cool for a 3-5 minutes then pour out onto a piece of plastic cling wrap.  Roll this up into a tube and place in the refrigerator to cool.

5.) Once cooled, unwrap and slice into small pieces.

6.) If you are using coconut powder place some into a small bag.  Put some of the pieces into the bag and toss to coat.  If not skip to the next step.

7.) Place cocoa powder in a small bag.  Place some of the pieces into the bag and toss to coat.

8.) Enjoy.  Be sure to save some for your friends.

November 29, 2011

The 4 Hour Chef?

Author Tim Ferriss announced today on his blog that his next book is coming out soon and it will be called "The 4 Hour Chef".  His first book shows you how to establish a carefully constructed business that can be run on only 4 hours of your time per week. Ferriss' next book "The Four Hour Body" shows you how to achieve and maintain optimal health in only 4 hours per month.  If I extrapolate based on the existing pattern this book will show you how to cook in only 4 hours per year!!! I don't know about this...  I know my Dad and many other people who don't even cook 4 hours per year yet consider themselves chefs.  I have personally been trying to spend more time in the kitchen, not less.  I am trying to do more stuff from scratch and relying less on restaurants and prepared foods.  That being said, I have read and enjoyed Tim Ferriss' other two books and will be sure to check out the new one as his books always have great tips that I can put to use right away.  On reflection, the model of this blog is somewhat similar to Tim Ferriss' approach of providing a wide range of useful ideas.  Much like TED Talks.  I should also note that I first discovered the author through his excellent TED Talk - How to Feel like the Incredible Hulk.

As far as the new book, I will provide an update after it comes out, but until then have a look at it on Amazon or at the author's website.  I'd be curious in the comments what you thought the 4 hours means - 4 hours a day, week, month or year?  I would love if I only worked 4 hours a week to spend 4 hours a day working out and 4 hours a day cooking and gardening...  One can dream.

As a special bonus if you promote the book you could win an Amazon Fire tablet - details on the author's website.

June 22, 2011

First impressions of Swype 3.0 Beta

I had been using Swype for a while and switched back to Swiftkey - my other favourite Android keyboard.  After news of the new release I have switched back to Swype to give it a try.  They have added a predictive tap technology that sounded to me to be similar to Swiftkey.  One day into using the new version of Swype it would seem that predictive tapping only starts to work after you have begun to Swype or "tap" a word.  In my earlier blog post I noted the astonishing "psychic" ability of Swiftkey to predict my next word in it's three choices.  I will give Swype a chance for a week or more to see if this starts to happen, but as it stands I think I will be going back to Swiftkey after I have completed this trial.  They are both excellent keyboards and this new version is a big improvement over the last as far as "Swyping".  I used to find it rather cumbersome having to correct for mistakes and now with the choice of words that goes a  long way in correcting for this.  I was also impressed when the program offered to remove a word from my custom dictionary that had long been a nuisance in my past usage of Swype.  I will give it some time... That being said, I understand that there is a new version of Swiftkey that is currently being beta tested.  I haven't checked this out, I am going to wait until this comes out for general release before trying.  Both keyboards are awesome and another key to Android users ability to customize their smartphone experience.