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Jazz in The City

 

Live Jazz in Toronto has changed immensely in recent years. The abundance of high level talent has grown, providing awesome quality, diversity and exciting creativity.

In a city rich in jazz – where the best of the best from all over the world are showcased during the annual Toronto Jazz Festival, a musical extravaganza that resonates from outdoor stages, concert halls, and more than 40 jazz clubs and lounges for ten glorious summer days; where later in July, the Beaches International Jazz Festival powers up its annual salute to jazz in all its variations on the streets and outdoor stages throughout the city’s east end; the proud home to JAZZ.FM91, one of North America’s only 24-hour all-jazz radio stations, which provides unceasing support for emerging and established artists on air, in festivals, and in live jazz club performance; and some of the most hallowed concert halls and theatres in the world – The Home Smith Bar at The Old Mill takes pride in the prominent place it has consistently occupied for the past several years as a year ‘round participant in Toronto’s vibrant jazz community.

The jazziest weekends always begin at The Home Smith Bar (often long before the week actually ends) where the best performers on the Toronto jazz club scene entertain in the up-close-and-personal warmth of one of the city’s best-loved jazz lounges. From January through December, you’re invited to enjoy a continuous line-up of the leading singers and instrumentalists performing for your jazz-loving pleasure in formats ranging from solo presentations to duos, trios, and quartets…and often, gathering together around the baby grand piano to celebrate that music with a Jazz Party.

It’s guaranteed to get things off to a swinging start!



Where Did Thanksgiving come from?

 

 

 

For some of us Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate a long weekend, usually eating delicious food consisting of Turkey, with family & Friends.  But let’s explore the real meaning behind Thanksgiving.

Let’s take a trip back to 1621 Plymouth Massachusetts. After the harvest crops were gathered Govenor William Bradford announced a meeting on the hill for all pilgrims to listen to the pastor render Thanksgiving to God for all “his blessings” and to give thanks to Squanto and the Native Americans for teaching them how to do things and live life in different ways.

You might think that after 1621 the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving every year and that it just became a national holiday. Well, that’s not the way  it happened. It wasn’t until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an annual National Holiday.

Canadian Thanksgiving is more closely connected to the traditions of Europe than of the United States.  The very first celebration in Canada was in 1578 when Martin Frobisher an explorer from England arrived in Newfoundland. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World, peace and good harvest. That means the 1st Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth Massachusetts.

For a few hundred years, thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November but it was declared a National Holiday in 1879, originally on November 6th, but after the World Wars it was moved to the second Monday in October because it kept conflicting with Remembrance day.

Another reason for Canadian Thanksgiving arriving earlier than its American counterpart is that Canada is geographically further north than the United States, causing the Canadian harvest season to arrive earlier than the American harvest season. And since Thanksgiving for Canadians is more about giving thanks for the harvest season than the arrival of pilgrims, it makes sense to celebrate the holiday in October. Other than the date there is not much difference in our celebrations, we both celebrate Thanksgiving with parades, family gatherings, pumpkin pie and a whole lot of turkey.

What will you be doing to celebrate Thanksgiving this year?



Honeymoons for Every Budget

Planning your perfect Wedding can be stressful, which is why honeymoons should be the opposite of stressful. You want to go somewhere romantic but not cheesy and contrived, and, you want restful but not so you grow bored!  Taking this all into account we have created a list of the top 10 Honeymoon destinations for every budget.

Kauai

The Hawaiian Island of Kauai offers private villas on secluded beaches, which make for a wonderfully restive honeymoon. Couples with an adventure beat can hike through the Na Pali Coast or Kayak down the Wailua River, among other activities.

 

Florence

Florence is an intimate city of renowned Renaissance art and architecture, local Italian wine and cooking. Since it’s a small city, the best form of transportation is walking preferably hand-in-hand through the stone streets.

 

Santorini

Known for it’s breath taking sunsets, calm water of the Aegean Sea, rich greek food and couples-specific accommodations, Santorini is almost tailor-made for those who have just said “I do”.

 

Paris

For many, Paris is the ultimate honeymoon destination, and why not! There’s fine french dining, elegant shopping, renowned museums, and swoon-worthy sights.

 

Venice

The city of canals, gondolas, waterside hotels and Italian cooking. Venice has been a long-standing honeymoon destination.

 

Bali, Indonesia

The beauty of Bali is that you could rent a beachfront bungalow for an entire month and it might cost you $500 – total. You are likely to pay a bit more in airfare but your expenses once you arrive will be paltry.

 

Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

One of the best spots for an affordable honeymoon is just a quick flight from Miami. Located in the outer Abacos, Green Turtle Cay offers everything a tropical paradise should without the price tag.

 

Canadian Rockies

Nestled between British Columbia and Alberta, The Canadian Rockies are one of North America’s most stunning natural wonders and, thus, the perfect spot for a little romance. A summer trip promises hiking among the forests and waterfalls and wintertime allows for downhill skiing, ice-skating and glacier treks through the Columbia Icefields.

 

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum offers intimate luxury and privacy at a reasonable price. Tulum rests on the Yucatan Peninsula and is well known for ruins, which are among the most famous in the world. Diving is quite spectacular thanks to Tulum’s position among the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world.

 

Berlin Germany

Sure, islands are relaxing but for the on-the-go cosmopolitan couple who want a city break with nightlife to rival any international Metropolis and a foodie scene to boot, Berlin offers one of Europe’s most affordable trips.



How to BBQ the Perfect Steak

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBQ – delicious, flavorful, tender, mesquite, heat, outdoors, friends and family, these are the words that come to mind when I think of a BBQ. While at a recent family BBQ, I started to think about the various things you need to consider before you BBQ a perfect steak.

Before you start to BBQ your perfect steak, it is important to allow your steak to reach room temperature, this helps to BBQ a steak faster and more evenly. Don’t forget to season your steak with black pepper and kosher salt, although the seasoning is entirely a personal preference and you can use your favorite seasonings of choice.

Preheat the grill as hot as it will go and before putting on your steaks you should oil the grate. Place each steak on the grill for one minute then turn and grill on the second side for an additional minute. Some BBQ’s have a searing section and this is this is the perfect opportunity to try it out. When placing your steak back on the grill make sure to turn and rotate 45 degrees and grill for half the remaining cooking time turning over only once on the other side for the remaining time to get a nice diamond pattern of grill marks.

Remove your steak from the BBQ when it has reached your desired doneness. You can use the pressure test to check your steak by using your index finger, press down on the middle of your steak, a rare steak will be soft, a medium steak will be firm but will spring back up, a well done steak will be firm with no spring.

Another important trick is to let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the natural juices to flow out from the center and redistribute the moisture, leaving you with a perfect, juicy steak.

The tenderness of a steak is another thing to consider before you BBQ your perfect steak. While NY steaks can be seasoned and grilled, other meats, which aren’t as tender, such as flank steak or flat iron steaks need to be marinated a day in advance. Below is a simple marinade you can use the day before barbecuing. Per pound of meat use the following recipe:

• White Balsamic Vinegar 1 L

• Thyme 1 bunch

• Garlic 1 bulb

• Peppercorns Whole 1 oz.

• Bay Leaf 4 Leaves

Allow the meat to marinate overnight in the fridge. When ready to barbecue remove from marinade, season, and barbecue until desired doneness.

A BBQ wouldn’t be complete without The Old Mill Inn’s favorite BBQ sauce recipe to enhance your meat. The great thing about this sauce is its versatility, as it goes well with a lot of different proteins such as chicken, wings, quail, ribs, and pork,

The Old Mill Inn secret BBQ recipe is as follows:

• 1 can of ketchup / 16 FL oz.

• 1 tsp. of mustard seeds

• 5 pcs garlic chopped

• 1 tsp. oregano

• ½ jar chipotle peppers

• 30 grams brown sugar

• 1 Spanish onion chopped

The next time you have friends and family over for a BBQ  keep these suggestions in mind and your guests will be happy and satisfied. Happy barbecuing!

 



Unbelievable Cracked Wheat Salad and an Essential Summer Elixir

The executive chef at Old Mill Toronto is sharing two popular summer menu ideas, that are easy to prepare and delicious! You will have your guests wanting more.

CRACKED WHEAT SALAD – Serves 2

Cracked Wheat – 3 1/2 cups
Raisins – 1 cup
Dried Cranberries – 1 cup
Sunflower Seeds – 1 cup
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Cider Vinegar – 1/2 cup
Green Onions – 2 bunches
Roasted Peppers – 1/2 cup
Salt & Pepper – to taste

METHOD:
1.For each cup of cracked wheat you will need 2 cups of water
2. Bring water to a boil, add cracked wheat.
3. Lower temperature to a gentle simmer
4. Let simmer for 15 minutes
Once cracked wheat is cooked (soft enough to eat) and cooled down, add raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, sugar, cider vinegar, green onion, roasted julienne peppers, salt & pepper to taste.

BLUEBERRY AND POMEGRANATE ELIXIR -Serves 2

Fresh Blueberries – 1/2 pint
Pomegranate juice – 3/4 cup
Orange Juice – 3/4 cup
Fresh Ginger – Tsp
Crushed Ice
Blender

METHOD:
1. Add Pomegranate juice, fresh blueberries and orange juice into blender
2. Peel the skin off the ginger
3. Add a teaspoon of ginger to blender
4. Add crushed ice to blender
5. Blend until blueberries are mixed well with juices



How to say “I Do” and have a Green Wedding

DECOR & MATERIALS

Branches: Used in their natural form, branches make the perfect Ceremony or Reception table decor. Hanging colored ornaments from the branches is a elegant decor touch and your guests can take them home afterwards as keepsakes.
Leaves, Rocks & Acorns:  Scatter them on the middle of your tables to add a splash of color and texture and save on overlays and runners and the soap and water that would go into washing them afterwards.
Candles: Soy and Beeswax are definitely the eco-friendly way to go. Avoid candles made with petroleum by-products along with lead based wicks.
Flowers: Use flowers that are in season and local or where possible, organic. Flowers made of enviro-friendly man made materials are also a great option. These materials include: Hemp, Wool, Organic Cotton, Soy Silk and Bamboo. Potted plants/flowers (annuals) make great center-pieces and can later be planted in your guest’s gardens to enjoy year after year.

STATIONARY

Plantable Paper:From invitations to favor tags, this paper will add a rustic look to your special day and you can rest easy knowing that this paper can be planted to eventually turn into compost.  Emailing invitations and creating a web-site with your wedding details including the details of the venue will also reduce your carbon footprint.

FAVORS

Instead of another decorative dust collector, opt to donate that money to charities that support the environment; greatergood.org, WWF and the David Suzuki organization…to name a few.  If you like the idea of giving your guests a gift, bamboo coasters and frames are a nice idea and gentle to the earth.

ATTIRE & TRANSPORTATION

*Hemp, Wool, Organic Cotton, Soy Silk and Bamboo are  materials that can be used in your attire.
* Transportation can be difficult and by hosting your ceremony & reception in the same place, you will save time on planning and spend less gas and other transportation costs.

Many of these ideas, can not only be found in your own backyard but they aid in preserving our earth, and save you money .