Barbecue 101: The Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Grilling

When it comes to grilling, there are basically no rules – it all comes down to your preferences. Charcoal or gas grill? Lightly seasoned or full of flavour? Meat well done or not? But having said this, there are still some basic guidelines that every griller should follow to have a successful barbecue session.

Keep in mind these top 5 do’s and don’ts of grilling to have a smooth-sailing barbecue:

DO – Practice safety

Grilling can be hazardous if safety precautions are not practiced. To protect yourself from flare ups or fire, wear barbecue gloves and use long-handled tools such as brushes and tongs. Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times. More importantly, only grill at an open space, away from anything that could easily catch fire.

DON’T – Use a grill cover when cooking over hot coals

According to John Wiloughby and Chris Schlesinger, authors of Let the Flames Begin (a popular barbecue cookbook), one of the biggest mistakes that grillers make is covering the grill when cooking food directly over hot coals. When a meat’s fat starts to drip over coals, it turns to smoke which in turns gives your food a bitter smoke flavour. Instead, divide your grill into direct and indirect heat portions and move our food accordingly while cooking.

DO – Clean and oil your grates before each grilling session

Keeping your grill clean helps maintain the freshness and safety of the food. Oiling the grates before each session helps prevent the food from sticking and it also gives your food those appetizing grill marks.

DON’T – Kill fare ups by squirting it with water

One common grilling mistake is squirting water on flare-ups. This will not only affect the heat, but will also bring the coal’s ashes up onto your food. One important thing to remember is that flare ups are inevitable but they can be controlled. When a flare up happens, move your food to the grill’s cooler part until it subsides.

DO – Allow your food to “sit”

When you’re done cooking food, especially meat, on the grill, allow a few minutes for it to “sit” before cutting into it and serving. This allows for flavors to blend and for juices to be absorbed, resulting to a tastier dish.

Whether you’re a grilling beginner or not, these basic guideline of simple do’s and don’ts of grilling will help you have a safe, fun and hassle-free barbecue session!

The Joys of Sailing Your Own Sailboat

Sailing is both a recreational as well as functional activity for millions of people around the world. Often, when we think of sailing, we think about the massive ships that cruise the oceans, the yachts that race in competitions, and about the money it takes just to own one, let alone having enough friends or family who might be interested in going out on the water on any given day.

But sailing is so much more than that. It is about connecting with nature and being surrounded, and powered, by the forces that encompass us on a daily basis. It’s often easy to forget that such wonderful things are all around us when we drive to and from work, text on our phones, or merely walk through the grocery store to find something to eat. The world is abundant with the basic necessities and the promise of reconnecting with it.

Sailing doesn’t have to be a process requiring five, six, or even a dozen people to be successful. Small sailboats require only one person to cruise around calm waterways, such as rivers and inland lakes. Of course, whenever you have help, and company, the entire day can open up so many more possibilities.

Imagine bobbing gently in the cool water, the air calm, waiting for it to take its next breath. The sail ripples gently but you’re in no hurry and there’s not another boat or person in sight. All you hear are the distant sound of life and nature moving about in its perfect symbiotic way. You don’t concern yourself with gas prices, work problems, or difficulties in a relationship. Out here it’s only about relaxation.

Then the wind begins to build. It tugs on the mainsail or the jib and slowly the boat beneath you cuts through the water. The boat leans up gently and your hand is on the rudder, steering straight ahead. Soon the wind is in your face, brushing past you and that’s the only sound you hear aside from the occasional splash of water against the hull.

You move across the lake, catching every puff of breeze in the sails and you begin to laugh in delight. If you’re alone, you are loving every minute of it. If you’re with someone, you two share a special bond, knowing that this day couldn’t be any better. Sailing helps people to reconnect with not only their inner child and the joys we once embraced on a daily basis, but also with the world around us.

Sure, it takes some skills that can be learned relatively easy before launching for your first voyage, and they can also be discovered through the natural course of trying. Sailing has been a part of human culture for thousands of years and while in its infancy, sailing was more about function than recreation, there’s a reason why millions still enjoy taking to the water to await the next breeze to guide them through the silky glass waterways.

The art of sailing is open to everyone and if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

Top Tips for Travelling With Pets

For those with pets, going away on holiday means that you’ll have to decide on the best way to care for your pets while you are gone. Most pet lovers can’t bear to leave behind much a valued family member. To ease your mind, we have compiled a list of great tips to help you travel with your pets.

By Plane

If you’re flying, check the requirements and conditions for pets outlined by the specific airline you are travelling with. I would recommend calling or emailing them if you need any clarification on their conditions.

By Land: Map out bathroom breaks

If you’re driving to your destination, it’s important to map out and schedule stops for bathroom breaks. To avoid your pet from getting restless, use the bathroom breaks to let them run around.

By Land: Test proof the experience

Before you commit to a long voyage with your beloved pet you should get a good understanding of what you’re in for. Take them for a 2-hour drive to see if they develop motion sickness or severe anxiety. This will help you take precautions, if needed. It will also familiarize them to the conditions and allow them to get comfortable with it. You can take this a bit further by rewarding them each time they get in the car to create a positive association with it.

By Land: Crate for safety

Even though the idea of locking up your pet sounds terrible, when you’re traveling it’s a matter of safety. Pets freely roaming around a vehicle while you are driving can be distracting and extremely dangerous. Studies have shown that crating pets can also reduce their anxiety during long distance journeys.

Puppy Pads, puppy pads and more puppy pads!

Even if you have an adult, house-trained pet, travelling can often make them disorientated, which can result in little accidents. So make sure you have some puppy pads handy wherever you are.

Tag them!

Handling pets in unfamiliar surroundings can be very scary for you and your pet. In case of an emergency it’s very important to have a sturdy collar & tag with your contact details. If you are travelling your usual contact details may not apply, so remember to update the tags accordingly.

Stock up on necessities.

When you’re on vacation the last thing you need to worry about is refilling your pet’s medication prescription, finding their preferred food – or worse, introducing new food that they negatively react to. To avoid this, pack enough food for your entire stay and then some. Don’t rely on purchasing food at your destination. Pack some toys and blankets from home to sooth them during your journey.

Get a vet check-up

Visit the veterinarian for a full check up prior to your vacation. If your pet is prone to motion sickness our anxiety, your vet will be able to prescribe something appropriate. Take advantage of your visit and ask any questions that come to mind.

Find pet friendly accommodation

There is often a misconception that hotels and motels will accommodate your pets, however this is not always the case. It’s important to double check with them prior to making any payments. Be clear on the size and requirements of your pet to ensure a positive experience for your beloved pet as well as yourself. If you have larger pets you may want to opt for a holiday home.

Through careful planning, preparation and these handy tips, you can have an amazing travel experience with your pets, regardless of your destination.

Tips For Pet Friendly Travel Accommodations

According to research, over half of Americans consider their pet part of the family. So, it’s no surprise when you want to bring your fun loving fur friend with you while traveling. To make your quest easier on everyone, we recommend following the steps below. It will help guarantee that you will enjoy a leisurely vacation with your loved ones.

Step One: Ask Questions

When calling hotel chains or state cabins, be sure to ask multiple questions regarding their pet policy. Many of these policies will have multiple rules in place. For example, they will allow a small pet or dog. However, the pet cannot exceed a certain weight limit. Some hotel chains will even have a rule such as pets are only allowed in carriers, etc. The hotel manager should be able to answer your questions over the phone, but it is always a good idea to request a hard copy. They can e-mail or fax you the information.

Step Two: Check Room Capabilities

You may want to check what the room amenities are, regardless if you are staying in a pet friendly cabin or hotel. If your pet has special diet needs, you may need a stove or refrigerator. It is also a good idea to find out if there are trails or pet friendly parks nearby. That way you will be able to give your pet much needed exercise.

Step Three: Find Out If It’s Really Pet Friendly

When traveling with pets you will quickly learn that there is a difference between pet friendly lodging and tolerant lodging. A pet friendly cabin or hotel will provide easy clean up surfaces, doggie bags, and some will even offer treats. Most of these locations will also allow your pet to run loose in the room while pet tolerant lodging will only allow them inside a certain square footage.

Step Four: Gear Up For Your Pet Travel Needs

When taking a trip with pet in tow, remember that they will have special travel needs. You may want to pad their kennel with pillows or towels so that they are comfortable. You may also want to take along extra bags for accidents, treats, and small trays to pour water in while stopping for a break.

These are all easy to follow trips so that your upcoming vacation will be one to remember. Your pet will thank you with better behavior as well.