If there’s one thing we know about Toronto, it’s that our weather is not consistent. May felt like July. Early June felt like March. It threw everyone in the city for a loop, its people feebly trying to make plans in a climate that wouldn’t play nice.
And it can suck—Toronto has a short enough summer as it is, leaving us longing for the sun on our faces and open spaces in all those months of BRRR.
But one thing you don’t need to give up is your grill.
A staple of just about any summer celebration ever, the grill brings people together. It connects with something deep and primal within ourselves, preparing food in ways that other methods never seem to meet.
But it’s so dependent on the weather. Some unexpected rain or a dip in the temperature quickly makes for uncomfortable grilling, so you’d better have a Plan B for when the weather sends your party plans plummeting south.
Friends—let me tell you all about the Hamilton Beach 4-in-1 MultiGrill—the small kitchen appliance that’ll give you a backyard barbecue feel even when Mother Nature has other ideas.
People often underestimate just how much of a difference a robust set of culinary skills can make in your life! As one who routinely goes out for lunch every day, eating the same ol’ same ol’ gets tiring pretty quickly—you shouldn’t let your neighbourhood dictate what food winds up on your plate, and that’s precisely what happens if you refuse to cook for yourself!
And that’s my problem—after realising how limited I was as a cook when working for my Dad and how inefficient I am when compared to Sarah, my motivation for cooking was… minimal.
But I’m not a teenager cooking chicken for the masses anymore. And I’m certainly not the same man as Casey the bachelor a decade ago. As I grew older, my palate grew along with me, and the simple fare that once did the trick just didn’t cut it anymore. A quick slice at Pizzaiolo made way for authentic wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies. Chipotle burritos replaced by the authentic Mexican fare at a local joint. My renewed interest in ingredients meant my takeout tastes couldn’t keep up… it was time I returned to the kitchen!
But you come to learn that great cooking requires some great tools, which makes it great that Hamilton Beach is backing me up with the appliances that’ll help me take my skills to the next level!
Hamilton Beach and Me: This Delicious Food Isn’t Going to Make Itself!
So yes—I’ve joined up as a Hamilton Beach Ambassador, which means I’ll be posting throughout the year about the awesome things they have to offer to get your culinary game on point. They’ve got tools and appliances to complement just about any culinary style, so I hope you’re good and ready to get in your kitchens and experiment—things are about to get tasty!
With the Christmas decorations down and the credit cards painfully paid off, it’s time to turn our heads to more pleasant thoughts. As we creep up on February, a whole lot comes with it:
Valentine’s Day for you die-hard romantics and people with obscene amounts of disposable income
Family Day, ‘cuz y’all know we couldn’t handle the New Year’s-Easter stretch without a long weekend
And of course, for a good chunk of North Americans who keep their eyes glued to the screen all Sunday for weeks on end, the grand spectacle we al know as Super Bowl Sunday.
Now, ain’t no secret—a huge sports fan I am not—but a delicious spread is well within my abilities! Whenever I throw down, there’s all sorts of delicious goodies on the table, and Old El Paso wanted in on the spread for my fourth post in the Let’s Taco ‘Bout It series!
Old El Paso—Even for those of us a LITTLE too familiar with cooking FAILS.
So I decided to take adulthood a little more seriously in 2017.
I mean, you make some decisions as an adult because you have to—going to the job to put food on the table. Making sure your kids are clean, fed and healthy. Some things you know you need to do to keep life moving in a positive direction, but others tend to feel so much more… optional. Like going to the gym regularly. Taking your vitamins every day. Or, in my case, making cooking a part of your regular routine, no matter how much you might not feel like it.
When I put my 2017 resolutions together, I knew I’d need to deal with the elephant in the room. I always find plenty of things to fill my time—even now, I’m working on extensive content for Black History Month and Canada’s sesquicentennial—but focusing on these things alone would just be selfish. Who am I to deny my family delicious and nutritious food just because I don’t feel like it? And that’s why I took this Old El Paso challenge on with gusto.
Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!
It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.
Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.
But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.
Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.
I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!
But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!
So somewhere in my crazy mind, I’d convinced myself it’d be a good idea to write my wrap-up for The 2016 100 all as one post, because I’m always so curt with my posts, of course. A few days of working on it quickly killed that idea, and here were are with the second part of my wrap-up, covering the things I didn’t get around to in 2016, but still plan to manage this year, as well as my reasons why.
(Note: You will see these in some form in The 2017 100, so you know—don’t be too surprised.)
What I Didn’t Do, But Still Want to Do Next Year
7) Stop biting my nails—Ugh. What I probably need to do first is reduce the amount of stress in my life to get a better chance of dropping this disgusting habit. I had a good run early in the year, but hey. Maybe I’ll have better luck this time! 8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent—I don’t think those past thank you’s are getting sent. It’s just… not something I’m doing. Instead, I think I’d love to start sending Christmas letters with some personalisation. I’m not a complete jackass, guys, but there needs to be a point where we agree to move on. 13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP—Any outstanding finances in general, really: part of being an adult is knowing how much your insurance will pay out. What your benefits cover. What’s in your stock portfolio. 2017 Casey Palmer needs a better handle on all this kind of stuff!
14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad—I mean, you don’t see the magic happening, but my desk and dining room table are plastered with pages of notes as I draft out my posts. Will it happen? Maybe. Do I want it to? Oh heck yes ?