Air Fresheners Are Nothing But Scented Poison

Air Fresheners Are The New Secondhand SmokeI am allergic to scents. I can’t wear perfume, I have to use unscented laundry detergent and fabric softener and I can immediately feel a sneeze coming on if I walk into a home filled with those god-awful fragrance plug-ins.

The worst of these scented products by far is Febreze. I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisements – we are inundated with them daily.  Spray it in the air with your young kids standing right beside you. Plug it into an outlet in every room of your house. Spray your teenage son’s entire room with it to “wash” the room, instead of making him clean it. Hell, if your car smells like french fries (god forbid) then plug one into your venting system.

Another insane ad I remember, from about 10 years ago, was for Lysol spray. The narrative was a kid taking his teddy bear with him everywhere, so therefore, who knows what kind of horrible bacteria it contained. When he got home, instead of his mother throwing it into the wash, she sprayed Lysol all over it. Then they showed him cuddling with it as he slept. I’m not a parent, but that ad freaked me out every time I saw it.

Air Fresheners Contain More Than 87 Poisonous Chemicals

But I digress. I truly believe that if it was up to Proctor And Gamble, every inch of your home would be covered by the more than 87 chemicals contained in their Febreze products.

As I sprayed Febreeze air freshener in my small bathroom one morning a few years ago, I noticed that as it fell through the air, I could actually see the particles in it. When it hit the floor, it left a sticky substance there. That’s when I stopped using it.

This got me thinking – what is this air freshener doing to my lungs?  Continue reading “Air Fresheners Are Nothing But Scented Poison”

Health, Recipes

Vinaigrette Caesar Salad Recipe

Vinaigrette Caesar Salad RecipeCaesar salad is a tasty way to get your daily fiber and servings of vegetables, but unfortunately, the dressing can be chock full of calories. I’ve never been a big fan of creamy Caesar dressings anyway. Some of those dressings contain mayonnaise and mayonnaise is just wrong, on so many levels. That’s why I prefer a good vinaigrette Caesar salad.

The best Caesar salad I’ve ever tasted was at a little restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The waiter made the salad in front of me. First, he grilled two large pieces of romaine lettuce, then he added vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and shaved Parmesan cheese. It was light, crispy and delicious and like no other Caesar salad I’d ever tasted before. I raved about it for weeks. A year later, I was back in Puerto Vallarta. I looked for the restaurant but couldn’t find it. I began to wonder if that tasty salad had just been a dream! And I was kicking myself that I hadn’t written the name of the restaurant down.

The recipe below isn’t exactly the same recipe as the restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, as I’m too lazy to grill the romaine. I have tried to come as close to the taste as I could though. And trust me, once you’ve made this vinaigrette Caesar salad from scratch, you’ll never want to go back to your store-bought salad dressing.

Vinaigrette Caesar Salad

A low-calorie, delicious Caesar Salad that's easy to prepare and much healthier than its creamy mayonnaise-laden counterpart.

Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Lettuce in water 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 150 kcal


  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup Unico white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Trestella light Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp President's Choice Lightly Buttered Sourdough Croutons
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Whisk together white wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese in a large salad bowl. Set aside.

  2. Chop up romaine lettuce, place in salad spinner, pour cold water inside and let it soak.

  3. Pour out water, spin the lettuce to dry it. 

  4. Add medium amount of lettuce to the salad bowl, that already contains the dressing, then toss. Keep adding lettuce until it's lightly coated.

  5. Add croutons and grind some fresh black pepper then toss again.

  6. Lightly sprinkle shredded Parmesan over the top and serve.

Recipe Notes

If you’re looking for a vegan Worcestershire Sauce option, there are many out there to choose from, including Annie’s Naturals Organic Worcestershire Sauce and the less pricey Compliments brand (sold at stores like Sobeys, IGA and FreshCo).

Also, if you're not a fan of raw garlic, roasted garlic also works well in this salad.


Pancake Boobs and Poo Slides

If you’re female, within days of your 50th birthday the Government of Ontario sends you two gifts in the mail. The first is a breast cancer screening letter, advising that now that you are officially ancient (my words, not theirs) you must have your boobs flattened into pancakes by a machine every two years.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and although a mammogram is not exactly a pleasant process, it’s worth going through a bit of pain to make sure you are cancer free.

Two Gifts!

The second gift from the government (which I assume men over 50 also receive) was a letter about swiping a blob of poo on a slide not once, but three different times, during a 10 day period. This colon cancer kit included three slides and what looked like a couple of really long Popsicle sticks. According to the instructions, participants should put the wooden stick in the toilet to scoop out some poo and then smear it onto the slide and yeah… just yuck! Continue reading “Pancake Boobs and Poo Slides”

Diet, Health, Recipes

Sensational Spaghetti Squash Recipe

spaghetti squash recipe
Golden And Delicious: Spaghetti squash is an excellent alternative to pasta noodles.

One thing I love about the temperature getting a bit cooler is being able to put the oven on bake without turning my whole house into a blast furnace. The changeover to Fall will also usher in an abundance of squash available at local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Spaghetti squash is a favourite of mine, with its slightly sweet flavour. It is also high in fiber and low in calories. This squash is non-starchy and has yellow flesh, unlike it’s Butternut and Acorn squash cousins.

An awesome replacement for pasta when you’re counting calories (42 calories per cup, compared with spaghetti noodles at about 210 calories per cup), Spaghetti Squash has a stringy texture and is also packed with B-vitamins, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Its peak season is October through March, but I buy it and bake it almost all year round.

Sensational Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Low calorie, high fiber vegan recipe. Serve with any traditional pasta sauce.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2
Calories 42 kcal
Author Bonnie Byrne


  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • pepper
  • sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

  2. To make it easier to slice, cook in in the microwave on high for a minute or two to soften it up a bit.

  3. Place squash on cutting board and slice off the top using a sharp knife. Then slice lengthwise down the middle.

  4. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and dark, stringy flesh.

  5. Brush it with extra virgin olive oil, grind some salt and pepper over the flesh, to taste, then place them cut side down on a pan lined with foil or parchment paper.

  6. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes to cool off.

  7. Using a fork, scrape the noodles out. Toss with your favourite pasta sauce or eat on its own with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for two days.



How Our Furry Friends Improve Our Health

Adopting and owning a pet can be a double-edged sword. They can be high maintenance, expensive and a pain in the butt to clean up after, but what we humans get in return is well worth it. Numerous medical studies have cited that pets not only provide their owners with social interaction, companionship and exercise, but they can also help relieve stress and lower blood pressure.

relieve stress and lower blood pressure
Darcy and Tucker: Although I am a die-hard cat person, the occasional dog or two has won me over.

Dogs and cats can vastly improve their human companions’ physical and mental health, but even horses, birds, turtles and fish can make a difference in their owners’ lives.  Here’s how adopting a pet can improve your life:

Daily Exercise

Nebby: Named after Nebula, a Pokemon character.

I do not like dogs – there, I said it. However, my cold, dog-disliking heart has somewhat softened lately towards little dogs.  Maybe it’s because I know a lot of people who own little dogs. Aside from my opinion on dogs, walking one daily can provide heart-healthy physical activity people may not otherwise get. And dog owners often have the chance to interact with other humans on a regular basis, as people walking their dogs typically appear friendly and approachable. One of my friends and her kids recently moved into a new house and adopted a Shih Tzu, from the Animal Hospital of Cambridge. The little dog, her daughter aptly named Nebby, has helped them get to know their neighbours when they take her out for walks.

Another enjoyable, albeit more expensive, animal that can provide its owner with regular exercise is a horse, of course. Horses are beautiful and gentle creatures and anyone who has gone horseback riding knows it is a great work out for your thighs and glutes. When I worked as a reporter, in a time when Breaking News arrived daily on your front stoop in the form of a newspaper, one of my favourite assignments was writing a feature article on the local horseback riding stables.  Continue reading “How Our Furry Friends Improve Our Health”


Waging a washroom war

There has been a silent battle going on in my washroom for the past two months. It’s been subtle and has so far not even been a point of contention or even discussion between Dougie and I. But almost every time Dougie has been in the bathroom, the same horrific event has taken place. The toilet paper is sitting under when I attempt to use it. When I had placed the roll on the spindle earlier in the day, the toilet paper had been sitting over it.

At first, I assumed he had mistakenly placed it in the under position because really, who in their right mind would prefer it this way?

I always have been and I always will be a toilet paper over kind of gal. Don’t get me wrong, I am stubborn about this issue and there are times when I’m at someone else’s house, my sister’s for example, where the toilet paper is rolling under on the dispenser and although I am sorely tempted to turn it around, I leave it the way it is, because it is her house – even though it is so very, very wrong.

But at my own house? That is a different story and I must prevail because let’s face it – hanging toilet paper over reduces the risk of transferring germs, makes it much easier to find the end and hell, it just looks better.

Still, it is a war that has yet to be waged between Dougie and I, but when it is fought, I am sure I will be declared the undisputed victor. I even have reinforcements to back me up. As illustrated below, the original patent for perforated toilet paper, created by New York business man Seth Wheeler (the inventor) was recently discovered and it clearly shows an over arrangement for hanging toilet paper.


So Dougie, prepare to be defeated!


Could I have that on a separate plate please?

Last night’s dinner of champions. All served in separate plates/bowls of course.

I have become a bit of a freak over the years when it comes to how my food is served. I’m not sure when it started, but it’s definitely getting worse. I like to use separate plates and bowls for everything. I don’t particularly want any steak, pork chop or chicken juices touching any vegetable or carbohydrate I’m serving with it. I haven’t gotten so bad as to request separate plates at a restaurant or when dining at a friend’s place, well not yet…

The only meals I’ll eat on the same plate when I’m at home are burgers and fries and pot roast (everything is cooked together anyway).

As we were loading up our separate plates and bowls after dinner last night, Dougie remarked: “We’re probably the only two people on planet earth who can fill up a dishwasher with one meal.”