Salt Scalp Massages

Oh I wish I had known about these way sooner! I don’t think my scalp has ever felt so clean and fresh before. When I get my hair cut professionally they get somewhat close to this feeling. This post is a story about the adventure my scalp and I went on today.


Okay so today I was feeling just like garbage and I realized my mood wasn’t going to get better. I had a hard time deciding to do anything, so I spent a lot of the day laying on my bed doing nothing. It was just going to be a slow Sunday. About halfway through the afternoon I decided I was just going to invest some time in my mental health instead of laying around like a sea slug, so I ran a bubble bath.

Now since I hadn’t given myself a lot of self love for a while, I did not hold back on the quality of my bubble bath experience. I lit about 20 tea light candles and put them all around the bathroom and the side of the tub. I poured eucalyptus bubble bath into the water and I even supplemented it all with a little coconut oil in the bath as well. This was going to be a good bath that would satisfy me though ambiance, scent and feeling. I slid into the warm water and for a while I just read. I have been reading “Let That Sh*t Go” by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw, a wonderful book for adults who just can’t seem to win against their anxious brain.

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After a while of reading and practicing some mindfulness techniques I thought to myself “I want a facial massage, and I deserve to have one” so I looked up a very nice massage video (linked here) and followed step by step how to do a Chi massage. I don’t necessarily understand Chi, but the massage was soothing and it helped me release the very tight muscles in my jaw that I think are contributing to a near constant head ache I have going on now.

I may not understand Chi, but I do understand the immediate relief I felt upon doing to massage. My neck hurt less, my jaw released and even my shoulders let go a little. I think that massage therapy would do a better job than a self massage, but for today, I am very happy with what I got.

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Anyways, once all that was done I thought about my poor scalp and how I have neglected it lately so I looked up common scalp cleanses and saw about 50 videos on salt scrubs. I snuck through the house to the kitchen and poured myself a nice bowl of both Himalayan and iodized table salt, then snuck back to the bath, only leaving many wet footprints as evidence. Thankfully no one got hurt due to them, but I did step into my own wet footprint in my socks later which seemed apt.

I split my hair down the middle and started scrubbing in the salt. I think it took around 30 minutes for me to scrub every inch of the scalp, but it was so worth it. I used the tips of my fingers and slowly worked the salt into my roots with a medium pressure. The skin felt so alive, it almost felt like it was thrumming as the blood felt so close to my skin. If you were wondering what scrubbing salt into your head feels like, it feels like the best head scratched you’ve had. At this point though I recognized that I had a bowl of salt in my hair, so I laid back into the water and let the salt dissolve in my roots as I drifted slowly in the warmth of the bath.

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Now was the time for shampoo, so I loaded up my hands and took my sweet time cleaning all the oils, left over salt and debris that the salt has scrubbed off my scalp. I massaged for about 10 minutes, and I noticed just how much hair was coming off my head. I didn’t panic, I know that in the last couple days I just haven’t taken care of myself. I kept making plans but like was ignoring my scheduling, so simple things like taking a shower had to take a back seat this week. So once all the gunk and hair had been scrubbed I ran water over my scalp until there was no way anything was left in my hair and I applied a little but of mouse before roughly towel drying and brushing out my hair to let it air dry.

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At this moment, as I type this, my hair is still drying but my scalp feels lighter and my hair seems to have more volume, so I would guess that my hair was being held down by product residue and dirt near my scalp and I just got used to it being that way.

I think I will implement salt scrubs into my hair care, though I imagine only once or twice a month. I would 10/10 recommend trying it out for yourself! I would also always recommend sinking into a warm bath with a book when you’re having a bad day, as it always seems to help me out.

Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate your time. Please feel free to comment and share your experiences in the comments.

Chicken Burgers and Brioche Buns

Hey guys!

Today is an exciting day as we are covering Brioche buns, Burger Slaw, Chicken Breast and the vegetables and sauces that go with them.

Ryan and I have been trying to be healthier people, which is hard because we love fast food burgers. This will hopefully be a healthier version of one of our favourite cheat meals. That being said, I don’t think any non-fried chicken can replace fried chicken, but maybe we’ll love this anyways.

This makes 4 burgers.

Brioche Buns

Eva Blakeman – Brioche Buns

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup milk (warm)
  • 1/4 cup water (warm)
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg

Wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp whipping cream
Eva Blakeman – Toasted Brioche Buns

Directions

  1. Add milk, water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar together, mix quickly and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix flour, salt, 2 tsp sugar, egg and butter together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. (If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook. If mixing by hand, wooden spoon is best).
  3. Add yeast mixture slowly into flour mixture while stirring (stand mixer on 1 or low).
  4. Knead by hand in the bowl or by mixer for 9 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  6. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and pull dough into taunt balls, placing on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper with the seams down.
  7. Preheat oven to 400F.
  8. Place baking sheet on top of oven . Cover baking sheet with plastic and rest 1 hour or until noticeable rise has occurred.
  9. Beat the egg yolk and cream together and brush over dough balls liberally.
  10. Bake dough for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature on rack before storing.

Burger Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 1/2 carrots
  • 2 tbsp mayonaise
  • 1 tbsp ground mustard seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mustard

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except for the lettuce and carrots together in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together until light and creamy.
  3. Chop lettuce into thin pieces (1/4 inch or thinner). Grate carrots to be thin. Chop pieces to be shorter than 2 inches.
  4. Mix all ingredients together and serve either on the side or in a chicken burger.

Chicken Breast

Eva Blakeman – Chicken Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chipotle hot sauce (or 2 tbsp olive oil if you don’t want spice)
  • 4 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp crushed red pepper
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Directions

  1. Brine your chicken breast in 2 cups of room temperature water with 3 tbsp of salt in it. Let this sit at least 15 min, up to an hour.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  3. Pat your chicken breasts dry and cut them in half.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. Coat your chicken in either hot sauce or oil.
  6. Rub your dry spice mix onto the breasts then place onto a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil that is lightly greased with olive oil.
  7. Bake 20 min, turning over halfway.
  8. Let the chicken rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

I supplemented my burger with slaw and onion where Ryan chose to use a chipotle burger sauce and tomato, eating his slaw on the side. I love this kind of food even though I can’t eat it often. I hope you liked this and if you try any part of the recipe I would love to know what you thought of it.

Now for those who aren’t just here for the recipe!

Ryan’s very eloquent and long winded rating of this dinner was, “it was good”. This does not sound like high praise, but from him it is. He never seems shocked when I make something new because according to him he has “absolute faith” in me. Which is nice to hear but when I realized he actually meant it I realized he would likely never gush over my cooking, because to him that’s normal quality from me. It’s nice, but also, I would like to hear him get excited over new foods and skills I work on.

Ryan and I have both been trying really hard to better ourselves this year, both mentally and physically. We aren’t perfect and sometimes we break down and eat Dairy Queen on the floor of our living room like animals. But in general we try to make our own food and eat with the intent of feeding ourselves, not treating ourselves.

I make bread a couple times a week because Ryan eats bread for breakfast. This is great because I get to bake and he gets a homemade breakfast. His job required him to be on his feet walking all day, so he can afford those early morning calories. I on the other hand, cannot afford bread calories on the daily, so I generally have a lot of broths early in the day to get something in my stomach without the calories.

Mindfully Quitting Nicotine

Hey guys! If you guys remember, over a year ago I went from smoking cigarettes to vaping. While yes there is a lot of debate over the health problems caused by both methods, we are talking about quitting today, not which is worse.

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Why did I quit?

You might be thinking, “For your health of course!” and you would be wrong. Not that I don’t care about my health, but it is lower on the priority scale than money. With the pandemic funds have gotten tighter and I can’t justify such an expensive habit anymore. The average cost of me vaping per month was around $200, which isn’t something to sneeze at. Thats more than my phone and internet bill added together.

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Was it hard?

Yes. I don’t think anyone wants to mislead quitters into believing quitting will be a stroll in the park. It sucked really bad for the first four or five days, though the third is just as bad as everyone has told you it is. I wept, I screamed, I apologized, I hid, I sat on the floor and I drank a bottle on wine on the third day. Thankfully my fiancé was very understanding of the chemical insanity that was happening in my brain, which made it a lot easier. There is a headache that seems to be ever present, your limbs feel weird, your heart might even seem different. I found I was sweating like crazy from the increased circulation in my body. I did suffer insomnia during the first 4 days, which did not help my mood.

Photo by Manav Sharma on Pexels.com

Now, a week later, I feel more stable but there is still definitely something left over in my brain that is making me feel a bit off. I am still having some troubles with sleep, but from what I can figure that’s quite normal for nicotine quitters.

How did you quit?

I used our modern way of quitting. I bought a vape and reduced the amount of nicotine from 60mg down to 0 mg over a period time. This means that right now I have my vape with me, but there is no nicotine in it. This has made it easier for me to quit nicotine, as I am only breaking the chemical addiction while leaving the habitual side alone for the moment. This is a slower way to quit, but it’s the only one I’ve managed to make work.

I tried to quit smoking cold turkey and failed many times, then earlier this year I tried to quit vaping overnight and failed once again. For me, this has been the only method where I have made it to day 4 without nicotine. As of right now I am on day 8, so things are going well.

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Why is this called Mindfully Quitting Nicotine?

That is a great question. The answer lies in how I decided to approach quitting this time. I accepted that I was going to be a little unstable and set up my personal life to accommodate that for a little bit. I informed most people of my decision and requested they leave me alone unless there was an emergency so that I wouldn’t snap at them during a bad moment or have them inadvertently stressing me out.

That worked pretty well and I don’t believe anyone took offence to being cutout for a week to help me quit a habit that could very likely cause cancer in my lungs.

At home I decided it was better to have the support of my man on the worst days even though they would be difficult for us as a couple to make it through. This was a good decision as my fiancé had been there when I failed and knew better this time how to console and distract me. He also knew when to walk away and let me stew in anger over how much my head hurt.

Where is the mindful part? I’m getting there!

I decided that after the first 5 days I was going to be stronger than my angry brain. I wasn’t going to let other people or the calls of addiction bring me down. I decided that daily walks, comedy routines and reading would be part of my daily routine in order to help me stay positive and motivated. I also decided to practice more self control over my emotions, which to be very honest with you, is not something I have worked on since I was a teen. That has been difficult, but ultimately it needed to be done whether I quit nicotine or not. Being stale, not improving, not working on bettering myself, it’s just not good for me. Not to mention how annoying it is to be an emotional individual in our current world. I get so rilled up by all that is happening that I can’t focus on issues that are right in-front of me that demand my attention.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

I don’t think this is a great way for everyone to quit, but for me, dog pilling mental health, physical health and addiction all on top of each other to be dealt with simultaneously has been working. I hope I have the strength to maintain it until the month is up and my brain stops acting like a chemically highjacked fool.

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I tried to keep this fairly light hearted, but in all seriousness, quitting any addiction is really hard and if it is something you are suffering though right now, I hope you know how much stronger you are than your addiction. You can do it and I sincerely hope you achieve your quitting goals.

If you want to leave advice or commentary on quitting nicotine in the comments I would be very happy to read them!

Excellent Youtube Food Channels

Hey guys!

Like most people, I have mentors I have chosen to help lead me in my food journey and today I thought I would share them with you! While I did grow up cooking and learned a lot through the years through reading old cookbooks and a lot of trial and error, these people have taught me skills I wouldn’t have found on my own. More than that, they have made eduction entertaining and they inspire me to expand my own skills and culinary knowledge.

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I should also say, I am a huge believer in the power of food. I think a home cooked meal shows love and affection like nothing else and I find making meals from scratch has the ability to make me feel empowered and satisfied with myself. I hope those are things you also experience while cooking, but if they aren’t let me know how cooking makes you feel in the comments!

Ann Reardon – How To Cook That

Ann Reardon – howtocookthat.net

Ann Reardon runs How To Cook That, a YouTube channel as well as a food blog. If you want to learn how to make intricate cakes, chocolates, candies and extra large versions of your favourite snacks, she is an excellent teacher. I think her strongest skill lies in chocolate work, but she is an accomplished chef and baker all around. If I am correct, she is also a food scientist, so her advice can be trusted. I would always recommend watching her breaking down fake food videos as it is illuminating to the issues in the food content industry but also shows us how dangerous some of these “hacks” can be.

My Most Recommended Video by Ann Reardon :

Chocolate Secrets
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Andrew Rea – Binging with Babish / Basics with Babish

Andrew Rea – basicswithbabish.co

Andrew Rea, better known as Babish, may have started as a home cook who was trying to recreate film foods, but today he has accomplished his goal to help educate others in cooking with his Basics with Babish series and website. New content is still being released but so far he has covered essentials like sauces, breads, pastas, pizzas, pies and many more. Mr. Rea has also been known to contribute to charitable foundations and do what he can to aid those in need. Personally I think that as he put himself in a position to be a teacher, it is admirable that he also tries to be a role model.

My Most Recommended Video by Andrew Rea :

Pizza
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Joshua Weissman – Slim Palate

Joshua Wiessman – Slim Palate

Joshua Weissman has often been called “the bread guy”, a title he may dislike but one he has earned. Everyone I’ve spoken to about him knew him as the man on YouTube who taught them to make bread. While he makes other series, most notably the “But Better” one, he will forever be the man who taught so many the basics of food. He has a wonderful sense of humour and instructs in a playful and lively manner. He runs a blog and company called Slim Palate where you can read up on recipes, order a copy of his cookbook or look into getting tickets to see him on tour.

My Most Recommended Video by Joshua Wiessman :

How To Make Traditional French Baguettes At Home
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Matty Matheson

Matty Matheson Serving 900 in support of Women’s Place

Matty is not a cleaned and polished cook, but rather a very down to earth cook who may be a celebrity, but hasn’t lost his sense of community. He is a little vulgar, but hilarious, as he measures his comedy well. As for his videos, he taught me how to make a Roux as well as how to be more adventurous in the kitchen. Outside of his career he is often found aiding others build their skills both in and out of the kitchen. He has a website at mattymatheson.store.

My Most Recommended Matty Video (sorry he doesn’t allow embeds).

https://mattymatheson.store/pages/episodes

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TASTY IS NOT A GOOD CHANNEL.

I am sure you have seen Tasty, 5 Minute Crafts and others like them boasting cooking hacks and skills. Please please do not use their hacks or share them with people who will. They usually don’t work but more importantly, some of their recommended hacks are dangerous. Please consider watching real cooks and chefs teach you the right way to cook rather than following these content farms viral videos that don’t provide good information. If you aren’t interested in watching you tubers teach you how to cook, there are cooking shows, master classes and even chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver who have come onto the Youtube platform to help educate and encourage home cooking.

10 Products To Help You Sleep

We all desperately crave sleep, that rejuvenating thing that eludes us as adults. But there are ways to help you sleep better than ever and you will thank yourself for looking into them.

1. Saje Sleep Well Restful Sleep Mist

$20.00 – This mist relies on lavender, valerian and marjoram to relax your body and mind, aiding in falling asleep.

Available on saje.com

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2. MoonBerry Silk Pillow Cases

$41.24 – These 100% silk cases breathe well and stop your hair from frizzing up, not to mention they won’t drag on your face and they are very comfortable.

Available on etsy.com

3. Sharper Image Calming Comfort Weighted Blanket

$49.99 – These weighted blankets have been shown to aid people in sleeping and the reviews are simply filled with compliments on how much quality of sleep improved with usage.

Available at showcase.com

4. Amazon Tower Fan

$35.97 – We know that people sleep better in slightly cooler rooms but the noises from loud fans make it difficult to fall asleep. Try using a nearly noiseless tower fan to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep without overheating.

Available at amazon.com

5. Amara Velvet Sleep Mask

$27.00 – If you need it dark to sleep but your partner watches TV in the bedroom, these will conform comfortably to your skin without dragging or making your skin uncomfortable.

Available at Amara.com

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6. Fieldcrest Luxury Microgel Pillow

$49.00 – This 100% cotton sateen pillow cover adds softness and durability to this non-allergenic, orderless and dust free pillow. It is also designed for side sleepers!

Available at sleepcountry.ca

7. Celestial Seasonings – Sleepytime Tea

$6.59 (Box of 40 bags) – Sleepytime tea works wonders with its mix of chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, blackberry leaves and more. These caffeine free teas have certainly helped me fall asleep over the years.

Available at herb.com

8. Jamieson Melatonin

$14.99 (60 Tablets) – Melatonin is naturally produced in our bodies to aid us get to sleep. Thankfully when you aren’t making enough on your own, there are time-release tablets to help you out.

Available at well.ca

9. ObusForme Full Length Body Pillow

$49.90 – A four foot long pillow to wrap yourself around or to wrap around your body to get into the most comfortable sleeping positions.

Available at halo healthcare.com

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10. Dr. Jessamy Hibberd & Jo Usmar “This Book Will Make You Sleep”

$22.65 – Dr Hibberd and Mr. Usmar guide you verbally through proven techniques to get your sleep patterns back on track. This is done through cognitive behavioural therapy.

Available at audible.ca

Fall Guys – Game Review

Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout

This game was released on August 4th, 2020 and within 24 hours of being released 1.5 million people were playing. At this point we know at least 2,000,000 copies of the game have been downloaded on Steam. So far it is averaging a critic review score of 8/10 which isn’t hard to believe as the game has a nearly addictive quality to it.

To be fair in this review I will point out that I have been playing on PS4 not on PC or other consoles.

If you have been with me for a while, you know I tend to stick to TCG and Turn Based RPG’S. I do pop over to massive games like Spyro and Jack for the nostalgic feelings and experience. So when it comes to immediate reaction games, I am by no means a pro. I don’t think this is a disadvantage with this game though, as it will show how well a relative novice does with the game and how enjoyable it can be to just about any age group and experience level.

Minigames

This game is a compilation of minigames that you compete in against other players online to reach the final rounds and if you are both lucky and skillful, win the episodes to get your chance to take the crown!

Races

The races are generally a track with moving elements designed to knock players off the course through use of spinning bars, swinging balls, falling balls, spinning paths and tilting floors. The goal is to reach the finish line before most other people as only two thirds of the competitors can qualify for the next round. I found them to be very fun but often one small mistake can lose you the episode.

Team Matches

Team matches can have two to four teams and generally centre around stealing items or passing misfortune to other teams. Some require coordination with others on your team like “Hoarders” and “Rock N’ Roll”, while others don’t require cooperation such as “Team Tail Tag”. These suffer a little as your contribution and effort helps your odds, but should your team lose, you suffer for it. In my case, I won or lost due to my team with no real difference coming from my efforts.

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Survival

Don’t be eliminated! These are possibly the most fun and stressful of all the mini games because people will do anything they can to win! Pushing you in front of moving platforms or off the ledge into the instant death goo is fair play in these episodes but it just adds to the excitement.

Is The Game Fun?

Yes the game is incredibly fun and easy to get into. Within a few minutes you figure out the timing for jumps, buttons for jumping and grabbing and you are on your way to having a blast. In a way this game reminds me of Rocket League due to its online competitive nature. Both games have skin unlocks, lobby systems, invite systems and work on ranking systems. While the gameplay is entirely different, the short matches and replay-ablility strikes a familiar cord.

Will The Game Last?

I don’t think it will. The game is very fun, bright and engaging, but it has a feeling of repetition that I believe will kill the game fairly quickly. Unlike games like Rocket League, Hearthstone and COD, there isn’t a lot of variety in the games which I believe will be it’s downfall. This game requires an ever present online presence in order to function, and I don’t think it will retain the millions it got nearly overnight. I played for two days before slowing down and my fiancé, who is an avid gamer, also played about two days before putting down the controller. I think it has potential as a local game, as it would be a fun party game if they added another 10 mini games, so perhaps they will lean that way to keep it alive once the online presence dies down.

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Should You Buy It?

If 10 hours or so of gameplay is worth it’s cost to you, then yes! Maybe you’ll be lucky and love the game much more than us and get more out of it, maybe not. If it is still available for free download on the Playstation Store, then absolutely you should get it while it is free!

Reviewing Bigfat’s Hot Sauces

In this review I am starting with the mildest of the sauces and working my way to the hottest at the bottom. Unfortunately Scoville units aren’t available for all these sauces so I am using their heat scale that is posted on their bottles.

Eva Blakeman – Bigfats Hot Sauces

Bigfat’s Joy Ride

A basic sauce without a lot of heat that brings beautiful bell pepper flavour. A perfect addition to a bland salsa or to use as a dip. It embraces the smokey flavour of the habanero, as I have found most of the Bigfat’s sauces do. It has a nice blend of garlic and oregano that adds a depth to its flavour. 

Bigfat’s Kats Eye

This blend of poblano and habanero mixed with herbs and spices leans into the smokey flavour with a subtle hint of cilantro that adds well to the overall herbaceous flavour of the sauce. This would pair beautifully with smoked meats and would make for an interesting dip as it doesn’t have enough heat to stop people from enjoying it.

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Bigfat’s Double Dark

This blend of coriander, sage, cherry balsamic vinegar and black pepper rolls through your mouth. The mint and cherry comes through, making it a wonderful addition to hard cheeses and other rich foods. I could see it pairing well with grilled fruits.

Bigfat’s Dream Dragon

This chipotle pepper mix is reminiscent of a rib sauce with it’s sweet flavour but the smoked chipotle flavour comes through, making it potentially the best rib sauce you have ever had. It has a wonderful mix of sweet and spicy flavours that will make your mouth water.

Bigfat’s Harissa Style 

The coriander, fennel and rosehips makes this a very fragrant and herbal sauce that would make a wonderful marinade. I love it in a sandwich with aged cheddar on fresh bread but could see it being very versatile despite it’s minty and herbaceous flavours. There are layers of complexity to this sauce that makes it truly unique. 

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Bigfat’s 608 Pineapple Habanero 

This is a true pineapple hot sauce with a sweet start and a spicy finish. This sauce is reaching a point where heat may become uncomfortable for those who don’t often consume spicy food, but for a hot sauce lover, this sauce makes a wonderful addition to the collection as it is versatile and delicious. This sauce also leans into the smokey flavour.

Bigfat’s 708 7-Pot Citrus

A sweet sauce that tastes of yum yum pickles and smoked chipotle. It’s great sauce to mix with mayonnaise for dips or over chicken. It’s heat level is likely higher than the average individual would enjoy, but for those who love the heat, this sauce is a fantastic addition to your collection.

Bigfat’s 708 Epic Series – Optimus Primo 

This sauce is almost identical to the Bigfat’s 708 7-Pot Citrus sauce with the distinction that the pepper used is hotter. This is a sweet smoked chipotle flavour that is guaranteed to add kick to your meal. 

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Bigfat’s 808 Naga Jolokia 

A mix of three peppers that has a strong chili flavour. I didn’t find it to be overly hot, but the richness of the pepper comes in an earthy flavour. 

Bigfat’s 808 Epic Series Octo Maximus 

This sauce is hot. So incredibly hot. Aside from the heat, there is a great blend of peppers that has an earthy and rounded out flavour. But mostly, it’s really really hot.

Let me know your favourite hot sauce in the comments and please recommend new sauces to me. So far I have a collection of around 40 sauces, but I love trying new ones and playing with their flavours.

A story of why I have so many hot sauces:

Many months ago my fiancé bought this silly little sauce called “No Joke” from our local grocery store, which we tried but laughed at because there was no noticeable heat. We were disappointed so we went out looking for hotter sauces available in our city. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anything hotter than sriracha so we went online and discovered the endless sea of sauces.

We put an order in with Hot Sauce Unlimited and were happy to find extra sauces in the box when we opened it. They often send promotional sauces with your order, so we got to enjoy 6 sauces instead of just the 4 we had ordered. As we kept ordering new sauces to try, they kept sending extra sauces with our orders, so our collection grew quickly. Unfortunately my mail lady thinks that we are insane, as every time I see her she is handing me another box of hotter sauces. The last time she delivered a box, she expressed her concern for our health, but hopes we get to keep enjoying our spicy food. Our hottest sauce at the moment is our 808 Epic Series Octo Maximus. Our worst sauce is Da Bomb Ground Zero (seen below), as it has a terrible flavour that doesn’t mask the heat at all, but rather adds to the discomfort.

Once we had gotten to around 20 sauces, we decided we didn’t need hotter sauces, we needed different sauces. Most sauces are tomato and garlic mixed with other flavours, but we wanted variety, so we started ordering sauces that sounded unique, or who used different ingredients in their recipes. This has lead us to some great sauces, but also to some that are just not versatile that we have a hard time pairing. The prime example of a hard to pair sauce is our Blueberry Hell sauce (seen below).

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Reviewing Hot Sauces

So Ryan and I love hot sauces and eat a lot of them, which has lead to us now owning over 40 hot sauces. This is part two of our series of videos reviewing sauces. Some we blind taste test, others we just discuss. This time around Blair’s Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage was our hottest sauce, sitting at 550,00 SHU, and it burnt my tongue like you wouldn’t believe.

Please let me know your favourite hot sauce in the comments and if you have ever found a sauce that is just too hot for you.

Since filming this video, I have acclimated to the Blairs, and can now enjoy it in small amounts without suffering, but I will admit that no sensible person would every need this sauce in their life.

Sriracha

A simple sriracha sauce with a lot of strong pepper flavour without much sweetness that suits almost anything. To explain the flavour, I would call it a beautiful blend of bell pepper and sriracha pepper flavour.

Secret Aardvark

This is a well loved sauce as it isn’t too hot and is bursting with flavour. It describes itself as a Caribbean Tex Mex with it’s blend of turmeric, mustard, peppers, spices and sweet flavours.

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Shaquandas Hot Pepper Sauce

A unique sauce with strong carrot flavour that mixes well with the heat it brings. It has a sweet pickled flavour that yields well to chicken.

El Yucateco – Habanero XXXtra Hot

This sauce has a smokey flavour that could be added to any grilled or sautéed dish. While it does have a good kick of heat, it isn’t unreasonable for the average consumer.

Blairs Original Death Sauce

This sauce has a strong chipotle flavour that pairs well with hard cheeses and red meats. That being said, anything you would put chipotle on, you can enjoy this sauce on.

Bravado Spice Co. – Ako Miso

This sauce has heat and is very umami. It tastes strongly of miso and is excellent for adding to seafood and ramen dishes. I could see it being appealing on a variety of fried noodle dishes, but it isn’t a sauce I particularly enjoy, due to my personal dislike of umami.

PexPepper – Painapple

This sauce has three ingredients. Reaper chili, honey and pineapple. The pineapple and honey come through strongly and are backed with intense heat. This sauce is probably hotter than the average individual would enjoy, but for heat enthusiasts, this sauce is a great addition to meals and dishes that need a little fire without a lot of strong conflicting flavours.

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Da Bomb – Ground Zero

I can’t say a single good thing about this sauce. It tastes bad, the texture is uncomfortable, and without good flavour, the heat is just unjustified.

Mad Dog 357

This sauce tastes like a spicy Yum Yum pickle. There is no strong vinegar flavour, but a sweet underlying flavour that compliments the heat so perfectly that the sauce is very enjoyable on it’s own as well as paired with anything you would enjoy sweet pickles with.

Blairs Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage

This sauce is very very strong. It states that you should not eat it undiluted. While the flavour is simple, the heat is almost unbearable. Since the filming of this video I have increased my heat tolerance, which allows me to enjoy Blairs Mega Death, but I don’t think anyone who is adding hot sauce for flavour would use this sauce. This sauce is great for those who want to push the limits of heat, but the average person should steer clear.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

You might remember back in April that I made a ridiculous Reeses Peanut Butter Cake for Ryans birthday. He absolutely loves chocolate and peanut butter so I sometimes humour him with treats inspired by his favourite treat, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Today we have his podcast co-host coming over for the first recording session since the beginning of the isolation orders, so I decided my boys need something yummy for their multiple hour recording session. That treat is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes.

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Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Cake

Ingredients

  •  1 large egg, room temperature
  •  1/2 cup half and half cream
  •  1/2 cup vegetable oil
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  1/2 cup hot water
  •  1 cup flour
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1/2 cup cocoa powder
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt

Direction

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients excluding the hot water, combining well.
  3. Mix in your dry ingredients until well combined.
  4. Gradually add in the hot water until the whole batter is smooth.
  5. Pour into a greased pan or into paper liners 3/4 up the side.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before icing.
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Eva Blakeman – Icing Tips

Icing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups salted butter (room temperature)
  • 4-5 cups icing sugar (more sugar for stiffer icing)

Directions

  1. Cream peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually mix in icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pack your piping bag and have fun!
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Okay so let’s look at this recipe and some things that might help you yield the best results. Firstly, having room temperature ingredients when baking changes everything! The only thing that I don’t believe needs to come up to room temp is eggs. The second is how hot the water you add is. I add steaming water, so just below 100C, as I find it just comes together better with the rest of the batter. The third is to pay attention to your cupcakes as they bake. I pulled the first batch at 17 minutes and the second at 16 minutes because they were done and I didn’t want to lose moisture due to over baking them!

Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Cupcakes

When it comes to mixing icing I’ve heard everyone say you need a hand mixer but this just isn’t true! A sturdy fork and patience is all you need. Starting by creaming the butters then gradually adding sugar is the best way. Always fully combine all the sugar in the bowl before adding more and you are in business!

Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
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Overfilling your piping bag can also cause problems down the line, so don’t fill past half way in your bag to keep control and even pressure when icing. I chose to pack two bags with different tips for this reason. The other thing is to practice and try new things whenever you can. Try spooling the icing, or squishing back into the cupcake! If I were using a vanilla or maple icing I would have coloured it and done roses, but as I decided to keep the peanut appearance I stuck to more simple decorating. And the staple of a swirled up icing is always beautiful!

When it comes to baking I believe in reading what’s going on rather than following strict directions and recipes, which is why my “recipes” change over the years. I change them to better suit the way I like my food to come out! I recommend trying to make things to better suit you. For example, when I make banana bread, I cut out half the sugar, because I prefer it to taste more like banana and less sweet.

Anyways, I hope you liked the recipe and if you ever want to see videos of my cooking, click here!

Quick Vanilla Cupcakes

Hey guys,

Today we are talking cupcakes, because that’s what I made this week. This was really in reactions to having a friend of mine asking questions about baking and wanting some tools to get him started which lead us to a Micheals discussion.. which lead me to Micheals to buy some new pipping tips and here we are.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half a half cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Add all dry ingredients excluding flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually mix in flour until mixture is smooth.
  5. Grease a muffin tin with butter (or) place liners into the pan. Fill each half way with batter.
  6. Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stabbed into the centre of a cupcake.
  7. Let cool completely before frosting.

It may sound a little odd, but I find pouring the batter into a large bottle makes pouring the batter into the tin much easier as you can control flow better. If you want to try this, make sure the funnel you use has a large enough tip that the batter can flow through well to load the bottle. Recipe yields 18-24 cupcakes.

Buttercream Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temp butter
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (or maple)
  • 4 cups icing sugar

Directions

  1. Cream the butter in a bowl until completely smooth, add in vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, fully mixing in the sugar before adding in more.
  3. Add in colouring if desired.
  4. Refrigerate if it won’t be used right away.
  5. ** In order to do the roses I used the tip below.

When working with buttercream it is important to remember that temperature will change everything. Warm buttercream is easier to work with but needs to be cooled to ensure it doesn’t droop or melt. Cool buttercream is very difficult to ice with as it is too firm to push through the tips easily. Body temperature is slightly higher than the desired warmth for buttercream, but using the heat from your hand to warm up the cream nearest to the tip will allow you easier icing.

Another thing that I see a lot is over packing the bag. You can always add more later so don’t fill more than halfway or you will have more icing than you can easily push out of the bag with your grip strength.