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What You Should Not Put In The Microwave

The microwave saves us from many situations when we don’t know what to cook fast or when we come tired at home after a long day at work. The food at the microwave oven is fast and helps us to win precious time with the ones we love. However, don’t confuse the microwave oven with the stove, as you can’t prepare everything at the microwave.

No matter how much you love some foods and technology, don’t cook everything with the microwave. Here are some things that you can never cook with the microwave.

Eggs in shell put in the oven is a guaranteed disaster, as it will explode before being cooked and you will need a long time to clean it: walls, the door and the rotating support.

Chicken liver can be a disastrous failure if you try the microwave. At high temperatures, the chicken liver becomes sticky and might also explode. Instead of cooked liver, you will have to clean the oven and it is not a pleasant thing to do.

Don’t think about melting butter or fats inside the microwave. The melted solution will get out of the recipient and it might even leak out of the oven. Moreover, it is believed that melted butter in the microwave can also be toxic.

Popcorn is one of the most popular things to do with the microwave, but you will need to take some cautions also. Make sure to find the right temperature: if it is too big, the corn might burn and you will not be able to eat it. If the temperature or power is too low, you will have a lot of uncooked corn in the bag and you might even break your teeth.

Don’t try to warm liquids in porcelain vases with golden ornaments. If you try to heat your coffee into such a cup, you will assist to a real spectacle of fire and artifices in the oven, or even break it completely! It seems like you can put a metallic pan inside without worries, but any gold or silver part of a cup will create those sparkles.

Real disasters with the microwave

Some other foods could transform your microwave cooking experience in a disaster.

  1. Don’t heat food in plastic recipients – unless the recipient has the label ‘microwave safe’. These recipients are resistant at high temperatures, and it does not contain harmful substances that would be released through melting. However, the majority of plastic recipients would melt and mix with the food, making it toxic and unhealthy. If you are not sure about the recipient, move the food into a safer one made of glass or ceramic. Melted plastic cannot be removed from the oven, and you will eventually have to replace it.
  2. Don’t heat baby milk bottles in the oven. Such recipients might remain cold on the outside, while the inside is really hot. Always test the temperature of the milk on your skin before giving the milk to your child.

This is called unequal heating and it is a common problem with all the microwave ovens.

Health Information Goes Digital #digitalhealth

We were sitting at
the dinner table on a Friday evening. (It’s always on a Friday evening, isn’t
it?) Boo suddenly started scratching all over his torso. “What’s
wrong?” I ask. “I’m just really itchy, Mommy,” as he pulls up
his shirt and reveals a crazy red, raised rash. Holy cow! No fever, so I
suspected it was a generic viral rash, but sent a pic to my friend the
paediatric nurse, just in case. She agreed with me, but recommended getting it
checked out the next day anyway. And when a nurse tells you to see the doctor,
you go!

 

 

A great thing about
our family doctor is she’s part of a family health group with after-hours
clinics, so we always have someone we can see. The doctor that day confirmed
viral rash and suggested oatmeal baths and a pain medication. But the best part
(aside from knowing there was nothing serious going on) was that he was able to
type in all his notes on the visit and send them electronically to our own
doctor. Boom! Just like that she had them and could attach them to Boo’s
electronic file at her office. I was comforted knowing she had all the
information in an easily accessible way, making follow up and ongoing
monitoring that much easier.

WHO guideline recommendations on digital health

 

Being a techie gal
myself I appreciate the focus her office has on digital records and
communications. I can check out her current schedule on the office’s website,
send her an email, or book an appointment online. I even get appointment
reminders by email. And if I’m visiting her but have a question about Boo’s
health, or when he’s due for a vaccination or whatever, she just pulls up his
record on her computer and searches the answer. No need to have someone go
looking for a paper file that she then has to sort through to find what she
needs. It is so quick and convenient.

 

Across the country
more and more health care professionals are turning to electronic records and
secure digital sharing of patient data. Canada Health Infoway has launched a
public education campaign, BetterHealth Together,
designed to introduce us to this growing trend in health care. As digital
storage and access to health records expands, there may be some concerns about
security and personal privacy, and this campaign hopes to familiarise the
public with the safeguards in place and to educate on the benefits of digital
health records.

 

 

Does your doctor
receive lab results electronically? Mine does, and it means a quick, efficient
and secure delivery of my information, resulting in quick answers for me and
speedy treatment if necessary. Her office also provides printed lab
requisitions and prescriptions – so much easier and more complete than the old
hand-written notes. Plus, since the sheets print from the system, you are
assured that your file contains the exact same data.

 

If you are booking
medical appointments online, using a mobile app to log information on your and
your family’s health conditions, or if your doctor maintains electronic instead
of paper patient records, you are a part of the digital health movement. Do you
have a personal story on how these technologies are playing a role in your
health care? Canada Health Infoway encourages you to join them on Facebook and share your story, while
learning more about digital health in Canada. You can also find them on Twitter
at @Infoway.

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Canada Health Infoway, however
the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit www.betterhealthtogether.ca.

Parenting Through Depression #BellLetsTalk

I wrote this quite a while back, but never posted. I thought it would be appropriate to share it today, on Bell Let’s Talk Day. It’s important for us all to talk about our experiences with mental health and illness. It’s important that we open discussion and alleviate stigma.

10 Good Parenting Tips - Parenting For Brain

Why? Well, because according to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives. The Canadian Medical Association tells us that 2 out of 3 will suffer in silence, out of fear of the reactions of others. We can do better.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1995. I’ve had ups and downs, but am happy to say that today I am in a good place. I still have depression, but it is well-managed with medications, coping skills, and an awesome support network. I am lucky for all that. But there are still some bad days.

———————————————————————-

Monday was a beautiful day. Blue sky and sunshine, a lovely fall breeze. The leaves are turning radiant shades of red and orange and yellow. This was a day of hope and optimism. I felt great. I walked the dog. I voted. I made dinner. I got work done.

Sunday was a grey day. Damp chilly. Dark. I spent the day on the couch. I let my child skip his karate lesson. He wanted to watch YouTube and play on his DS. I let him. He stayed in his pajamas all day. So did I. I made him a PB&J sandwich for dinner. I didn’t eat.

Some days depression wins, and parenting follows the path of least resistance. Some days there’s simply no energy to enforce the rules or create activities and fun.

I have a history of depression, and I’ve had two particularly difficult periods in my illness. The first led to my diagnosis, and the second was 2 years ago. So, 15 years or so apart. Not bad really. I am lucky that my depression is kept mostly under control with medication and my ongoing practice of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). But when I have a low day, my low is way lower than the average person’s low. Thankfully I’ve learned ways to bounce back pretty quickly.

Depression affects so many aspects of your life. There’s exhaustion and physical pain. Difficulty making decisions. Irritability. Anger. Confusion. And of course the sadness you immediately think of. And depression affects your family too. They watch you suffer, and they can suffer from lack of attention and care.

As a parent, it can be difficult to maintain consistency with the rules and consequences. Some days depression has used up all your energy, and it can feel impossible to find the stamina to deal with a toddler tantrum or to enforce the no devices at the dinner table rule. Wouldn’t it just be easier to let it slide? And if the kids are playing with their phones, I won’t have to make conversation. That’s a help. But boy is that ever confusing for the kids.

When I’m having a low day, mealtimes seem to come around every five minutes. Someone always needs something. The phone won’t stop ringing. Everything is overwhelming. And I just want to hide.

But I’m a parent, and I have to reach to find the reserves somewhere in there. And mostly I do. Boo has never gone hungry or missed bath time. I’ve never sent him to school in his pajamas (other than on pajama day) or without a lunch. But I’m not always a lot of fun.

Thankfully my low days are few and far between. The issue on Sunday? I forgot to take my pill. It was after noon before I figured it out. My morning routine had gotten interrupted and the medicine just didn’t happen. Couple that with the dreary weather and a lack of sleep, and the whole day suddenly makes sense. That in itself helps me to bounce back, knowing there was a concrete cause for my low mood, one that I can manage and avoid in future.

Let the sunshine in

—————————————————-

Parenting is a tough gig. Couple that with a mental health concern and some days can seem truly insurmountable. Do I have a message for you here? I guess so. I want to open up about my depression, to contribute to the conversation. And I also want us all to watch out for each other, and to try to keep the judgement at bay. Some days we’re just doing our best to keep the boat afloat.

Find Your New Best Friend – Mega Pet Adoption Weekend in Toronto June 5-7 #adoptlove

Just look at that face! How could I not fall in love at first sight! This is our precious pup, Maxi. Regular readers will know her well. We adopted her through the OSPCA 2 years ago, and she has become an integral member of our family. She is loving and playful, and sometimes a little skittish. She likes to visit the off-leash park to make friends with other pups, and she loves to sneak into the laundry room to eat the cat’s dinner. Like everyone, she has a mix of good and bad traits ??

101 Best Friend Quotes - Short Quotes About Best Friends

Maxi had been surrendered to the OSPCA because her owners could no longer care for her. We visited because we were looking to fill a hole in our family. It was a match made in heaven.

Pets have always been important to me, and I adore having my furry babies in my life. If you are in the GTA and ready to make the commitment to a new four-legged friend, I strongly encourage you to check out the Mega Pet Adoption Weekend happening Friday-Sunday this week at the CNE grounds.

In its second year, this event is hosted by the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services, proudly sponsored by PetSmart Charities of Canada and PetSmart, and will involve a number of animal welfare agencies from across the GTA. For just $25 you can bring home a new family member who will be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Standard pet licensing fees apply to City of Toronto residents.
“Each year more than 15,000 animals enter GTA shelters. During these three days we hope to find 600 of them new forever homes. Anyone who is considering adding a pet to their family should join us and see for themselves the amazing animals available for adoption,” said Barbara Steinhoff, Executive Director, Toronto Humane Society.

What: Mega Pet Adoption Weekend
Who: Adoptable pets from local animal
welfare organizations, including Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal
Services

Spokespeople from PetSmart
Charities of Canada and PetSmart will also be on-site

When: Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 7,
2015

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Queen Elizabeth Building on the
grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition

 

“Adopting a new companion is a rewarding decision, one that will bring a lot of joy and create memories to last a lifetime,” said John DeFranco, President, PetSmart Charities of Canada. “Through partnerships, such as those with the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services, we’re able to find forever homes for even more pets.”

 

So, are you ready? Your new best friend may just be waiting for you at the CNE grounds this weekend.

Finish Quantum vs. Eggplant Parmigiana

Cheesy, yummy goodness. I love eggplant parmigiana. It’s not the fave of the rest of my family, but sometimes Mom gets to pick the meal. When that happens around here, it’s usually some kind of baked pasta. Often lasagna, but eggplant parmigiana is a special treat.

Eggplant: Health benefits and nutritional information

However, as yummy as it is, I don’t love cleaning up after it. Baked on mozzarella and parm are not fun to get off. Check out this baked-on, hardened, sticky mess.

 

The bottom of the pan is never too bad, since it’s the eggplant slices that sit directly on it. But the edges are always coated with stuck-on, baked-on cheese. In my experience, this is not an easy clean-up job.

This is the type of dish that Hubs would just put in the dishwasher. Then I would re-wash it with a nylon scrubbie after it came out. (We have a history with this. Sometimes I wonder if he does it on purpose to create more work for me, since he doesn’t really like baked pastas.)

I have not had much success with my usual detergent getting off baked-on cheese, or starchy things like mashed potatoes or white rice. But, since I have joined the #FinishRevolution, and I have been challenged to get a messy dinner cleaned up with Finish Quantum in the dishwasher … in it went.

I did wait til the next night to get a full load as well. So it had some time to really dry out and set in. Was I nervous? A little. But Finish Quantum had been doing well for me so far.

The results? Surprising and exciting! See for yourself:

 

 

Sparkly clean! There were a few little dried bits left (you can see one if you look closely at the first picture). But they flicked off with my fingernail. The turners came clean too:

 

(Please ignore the holes in my counter top. It’s on “the list.”)

What do you think? Personally, I think this experiment was a success!

McHappy Day is Wednesday, May 2

My experience with labour and birth (and the whole pregnancy for that matter) was less than ideal. I won’t get into the gory details here, but suffice it to say, my water broke early, I didn’t go into labour, many tubes, needles, sensors and machines were involved, and eventually it all ended with an urgent C-section.

McHappy Day is May 8th - Star 98.3

It was termed a “traumatic” birth.

My son was born at 37 weeks, weighing 5lbs 2oz., at 5:02 in the evening. He was tiny and beautiful. And shaking. By 10pm a neonatal paediatrician came and took him away to the level 3 NICU.

 

I have never been so terrified in my life. Thankfully, tests showed we were only dealing with low (scary low) blood sugar levels. But they just wouldn’t stabilise. Little Boo spent the first 15 days of his life in the NICU, surrounded by monitors, being fed through tubes and IVs. He had so much blood work done his tiny little heels were a mass of scabs. And there were days it felt like he would never leave that hospital.

But we were lucky. We live in the big city and I could come every day and sit with him, and go home at night to rest. There were other sweet little babies there whose parents just couldn’t do that. I can’t begin to imagine what they were going through.

On May 2, you can help support Ronald McDonald House Canada (RMHC), just by making a purchase at a McDonald’s near you. For every BigMac, Happy Meal, and hot McCafe drink purchased, McDonald’s will donate $1 to local children’s charities, including RMHC.

RMHC provides a home away from home for families while their children receive needed treatment in nearby hospitals. These homes keep families together at a difficult time, allowing children to have the support of their parents during their hospital stays. And allowing parents the security of staying with their kids.

Did you know? McDonald’s Canada covers the entire operating costs of RMHC, so 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to programming. That is a fantastic number!

So, what are you doing Wednesday? Why not stop by McDonald’s for that morning coffee? Or maybe head there with the kids for a special dinner treat? If you can find one with a PlayPlace, you’ll be an even bigger hit with your kids, and you’ll know that your purchase will contribute to a great cause.

Disclosure: I am participating in the #McHappyDay Blogger program through shesconnected.com. A donation to RMHC has been made in my name. No other compensation has been received. All opinions on this blog remain, as always, my own.

underWAY – review and giveaway

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m trying to lose some weight. I think many of us, especially as we are staring down the barrel of swimsuit season, are feeling the same way. I’ve been trying to cut back on my calorie intake, and drinking lots of water, but I find I am always starving!!! And a hungry me is not a pleasant me. (Just ask the Hubs.)

Underway or Under Way – The Correct Way to Use Each - Queens, NY ...

 

So, I was pretty excited to hear about this product – underWAY supplement drinks – and to be invited to try it out and participate in this MomCentral blog tour. I was sent a big package of underWay drinks and Smart for Life products (cookies, cupcakes, soup, cereal, shake, etc.)

I received 4 bottles each of two flavours of underWAY – grape and acai-pomegranate. Each bottle is considered to be two servings – 10 calories per serving and only 2 grams of carbs. Each bottle has 9 grams of fibre. The drink is not only a supplement, but an appetite suppressant. The fibre is a special formulation called HeroFiber, a soluble dietary fiber that helps maintain normal levels of cholesterol, glucose and insulin that are already in the normal range and promotes slower absorption so we feel fuller longer. So, drinking one of these between meals, you are not only hydrating with a sodium- and caffeine-free beverage, you are also tricking your stomach into thinking you are consuming more calories than you are, and fighting against the urge to snack. Plus, we all know fibre is important in our diet, so getting more is a good thing.

Of the two flavours, grape is definitely my favourite, though both are good. I guess I would compare them to something like a sport drink flavour, or weak kool-aid. Not too intense, not really sweet, nicely refreshing. I found the Acai-Pomegranate to have a bit of an aftertaste, though it didn’t last long. The Grape I am really enjoying and haven’t noticed any aftertaste. There is also an Orange flavour, according to the website. I’m not sure how to describe this, but the drink felt “hearty” going down. Not thick really, but substantial. I had one last night on my way to an event, having not had time to eat dinner. I was hungry, but not starving. I drank a full underWAY and I really did feel satisfied and conquered my desire to dash through a drive-thru somewhere on my way. I was happy with that. I can see these drinks working well for me during my work day. I am particularly prone to giving in to snack cravings and tummy rumblings mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when I’m sitting at my desk and healthy options are not plentiful. I will be bringing a bottle to work with me each day next week to see how they help me stay on track, while not feeling those hunger pangs (I hope!).

I also received the selection of Smart for Life products. I’ve been reading about their Cookie and Cupcake Diets. You can get more information through the link below, but, basically, you replace most of your meals and snacks over a period of time with regularly consumed cookies or cupcakes that are filled with healthful ingredients and specially formulated fibre. They all contain a balance of fruits, veggies, proteins and grains designed to give maximum nutritional punch. I have been trying another diet plan that included snack and meal replacement bars, and I have to say that I find the Smart for Life product much more appealing. I found the other replacements I had tried tended to be sweet and sugary tasting. I don’t have a big sweet tooth to begin with, so this doesn’t really work for me. But the Smart for Life cookies are filling and tasty and not sweet. I think I might actually be able to keep that up. And you can substitute one of their soups or cereals for a cookie or cupcake serving, adding variety. (Plus you eat a healthy dinner – details in the diet plan.)

 

You can learn more about Smart for Life and underWAY products, developed by physician Dr. Sasson Moulavi, at www.smartforlife.com and www.under-way.com. Check this out for yourself and see if you think these products are something you think could help you achieve your healthy weight goals.

 

Now for the big fun … my first giveway! Yes, MomCentral and underWAY are providing ten prize packages to lucky blog commenters. These packages will contain eight bottles of underWAY supplement drink, plus an assortment of Smart for Life products. The same package as I received to try out for this blog tour, so you could try out this program for free too. To enter, please simply leave a comment below telling me why you would like to try underWAY and/or Smart for Life products. Contest closes on August 4. I will be choosing 10 winners from all comments received, using random.org. Contest is open to Canadian residents only. You may enter the contest through multiple blogs participating in this tour, but can only win once. *Be sure to include an email or a Twitter handle so I can contact you if you win!*

 

In the meantime, if you want to try the drink out for yourself you can receive a 10% discount on online orders of underWAY with the following code: MCCAN10OFFUW.

 

Disclosure – I am participating in the underWAY program by Mom Central on behalf of Better Health Beverage, LLC. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.