Tag Archive for 'Canada'

Danielle LeBlanc is Poor and Gluten Free in White Rock

in Blogging, British Columbia, food blog, niche blogs and Personal Blog

Poor and Gluten Free

The misconception that healthy food tastes terrible has been proven wrong many times over, but what of the persistent complaint many Canadians make that health food is unaffordable? Danielle LeBlanc is a food blogger in White Rock, British Columbia, who has spent several years perfecting her take on a gourmet, gluten free diet–on a budget. A history buff with a Masters Degree focused on modern Middle Eastern and Egyptian cinema, she runs a small business that designs Middle Eastern dance costumes. When she’s not watching obscure old Egyptian flicks, you’ll likely find her writing about her latest “dangerous kitchen shenanigans,” as her husband likes to call them. “I come from a family of cooks,” says Danielle. “Not professionals, but people who love to make good, healthy food. Even my grandfather–he made a mean buckwheat pancake!”

Gluten Free Beet BreadPoor and Gluten Free chronicles the culinary adventures of a creative spirit who doesn’t let the restrictions of Oral Allergy Syndrome interfere with her prolific outpouring of scrumptious recipes. The blog was born out of her struggle with her condition: “I went through a terrible period where I was very ill,” says Danielle. “I was always exhausted, then hay fever kicked in, so I was stuffy and sneezy all the time. Suddenly I developed hives. I think my body kind of shut down–I got pink eye in both eyes and a sinus infection that was so bad it plugged up my left ear! I was wretched, and with two pink eyes and swollen sinuses I looked as awful as I felt.”

Danielle went to see an allergist and found out she had a gluten allergy, as well as Oral Allergy Syndrome (to learn more about OAS, see her excellent post). Both of these conditions are on the rise; in fact, studies have shown that North Americans today are four times more likely to suffer gluten intolerance than in the 1950s. Suspected reasons for this are the genetic modification and hybridization of the wheat plant, as well as the increase in glutinous substances in a variety of other processed foods.

“After spending a couple of years living on a tight budget while experimenting in the kitchen I felt that I Danielle LeBlanc - Poor and Gluten Freemight have something to offer other people, so they wouldn’t have to suffer as much as I did,” says Danielle.

She was right about having something to offer people. Shortly after getting started as a blogger, the comments started rolling in. People all over the world were trying her recipes and sharing stories about their own experiences living and cooking with OAS. She was also nominated under Best Health Blog in the 2012 Canadian Blog Awards.

“I’ve encountered some wonderful bloggers and readers,” Danielle says. “I also feel that I’ve helped some people learn a thing or two, whether it be cooking gluten free, using scrap fabric or dealing with lettuce allergies. Maybe it’s an ego thing, but it feels good to know that you’ve helped somebody in some small way.”

Making Gluten Free SpaetzleDanielle’s are indeed intended to teach and inform, like the article she posted on Canada Day 2012, entitled Canadian Food 101.

My Sprouted Lentil Bread recipe is the ‘best’ post in terms of traffic,” says Danielle. “It was an early experiment in trying to make cheap, easy gluten free bread…I’m glad so many people have found it helpful!”

 

For sentimental reasons, Danielle’s post on making German Gluten Free Spaetzle is one of her favourites. Her Polish grandfather met her German grandmother after WWII; he had been captured by Nazis and forced to work as a labourer. Her grandparents married and moved to Canada, where they served spaetzle to their children and grandchildren. “Creating this recipe brought back some wonderful childhood memories,” says Danielle. “Gluten free spaetzle is also the #1 search term by far that helps people to find my blog, so I hope it helps bring back good memories for other people, too!”

Writing the blog has also fostered Danielle’s growth as a gluten free cook extraordinaire: “My Gluten FreeGluten Free Ravioli with Squash Ravioli is one of my favourite posts,” she says. “And oh boy is it pride! Gluten free baking can be really tricky, so when my GF ravioli dough made with pureed beets came out perfect the first try I was totally stunned. I felt like I had finally ‘arrived’ as a GF cook. I think [it’s] a great demonstration of how far I’ve come since I started my blog.”

Danielle’s plans for her blog’s future include delving deeper into the “…fabulously fascinating yet shockingly time consuming” world of social networking, as well as a new series she’s started on her blog called Waste Not Want Not, and sharing innovative ways to live more sustainably and frugally.

A perfectionist, Danielle is still working on her definition of what makes an ideal blog post. So far, she’s come up with: “I think a good blog post should be informative, accessible, easy to read (or skim as most people do), and maybe even make people chuckle a little.” It’s working for her.

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NEXT Robert Campbell writes that to find me a dentist near home is an acid test for local search engines. 


Mark Goodfield, The Blunt Bean Counter

in Financial blog, niche blogs, Ontario, Scholar, Teacher and Toronto

The Blunt Bean Counter logo

Blunt Bean Counter, Mark Goodfield is a tax expert and author of a tax blog.

Mark Goodfield is a Canadian income tax expert who shares his insights and knowledge about the Income Tax Act, and that makes him rather unique. There are countless consumer blogs and political pundits and even a few good government blogs, but Mark is the first income tax expert blogger I’ve come across. More accurately, he’s a financial blogger who reports facts, statistics and strategies to help his readers pay the least amount of income tax to the taxman.

The Blunt Bean Counter focuses on income tax, business and investing topics and is meant for taxpayers no matter their income bracket, but in particular for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs who own private corporations.

Mark Goodfield is a chartered accountant with over twenty five years of experience at four different firms.  He’s studied the science of taxation for a long time, and his unique perspective on investing and tax accounting transforms his posts into fascinating firsthand accounts of how tax affects people and business in Canada.
In his own bio on Blogger, Mark writes, I’m a sports fan, avid traveler, epicurean and accountant. I hope my blog can teach you a couple of things you didn’t know about building wealth and that you’ll indulge me as I wander into topics close to my heart / stomach.

It’s no coincidence the top book on his favourites lists is Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.  Much like Howard Roark, the protagonist who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision, Mark Goodfield chooses to express his creativity in what most folks would consider a tedious niche. His uncompromising principles and attention to detail are obvious right in his very first post.

Mark started his blog in September 2010 with a first post entitled, Let’s See Where This Goes.  He described his background and his choice of the word ‘blunt’.  He writes, I am an accountant, but not a classic bean counter. I have tried to move away from being a bean counter every step of the way. I quickly switched from counting beans to calculating tax and then I happily became managing partner and moved into quarterbacking our clients’ wealth management advisors. But I can’t hide from it, I am an accountant.

How Mark Became A Chartered Accountant

In his own biography, Mark relates how it happened that …one summer in the late 1970’s I worked for my father, an accountant, to make money for a trip to Europe. To my father’s consternation (he was asked to try out for the Cleveland Indians but became an accountant instead due to family circumstances) I continued along the path of becoming a Chartered Accountant.

Along the way Mark moved from accounting to income tax. He transitioned from a Big 4 firm (PWC) to a boutique firm, to a two person partnership, and finally to Cunningham LLP North York accountants as the managing partner, and in charge of their Wealth Management division.

Mark Goodfield is not a greedy guy, just the opposite – he’s super generous with his time, information and money. He’s a Big Brother, and has acted on the Investment Committee for the Reena Foundation, and has been involved in the Make A Wish Foundation on a committee level, and as a wish grantor alongside his wife.  Together they intend to grant more wishes in the years to come.

What is a Tax Blog?

Mark Goodfield, Tax Expert, The Blunt Bean Counter is a Tax BlogMark’s most popular blog post is his piece on the Canada Revenue Agency CRA Audit- Will I Be Selected?

The Blunt Bean Counter answers common questions like How Long Do I have To Keep My Income Tax Records?

And the little-known benefits of filing income tax returns for your children.

He delves into education in At Least My Kid Does Not Go To School In The States.

And discusses David Trahair’s Smoke and Mirrors in which this DIY investing author and well known speaker debunks myths about retirement savings.

In the post entitled Taxing the family unit, Harper almost got it right Mark Goodfield compares Canadian and US taxation models. Its here in this post where he writes the line, …This sighting of a T5013, was rarer than sighting the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Good metaphor.

And of course this income tax blogger wrote a dissertation on both government’s fiscal preparations, the 2011 Ontario non budget and Finance Minister Joe Flaherty’s Budget or what Mark calls the Federal 2011 Yawn.

The Psychology of Money

As a chartered accountant, Mark deals on a daily basis with the tracking of money, saving money and the spending of money; he thus has a unique perch to observe human nature in respect to these activities.

Some of Mark’s best blogs relate to the psychology of money. In fact Rob Carrick of the Globe in Mail in his online Reader column has recommended several of Mark’s blog posts dealing with the psychology of money including: The Kid in the Candy Store: Human Nature, RRSP’s, Free Cash and the Holy Grail, Investment Bravado, Little White Lies and Why Kiss and Tell Investing can get you shot and One Big Happy Family- Until We Discuss the Will.

Investing in Stocks

Resverlogix Corp, As a CA Mark cannot provide investment advice, however, he openly discusses his investing mishaps and provides information on websites of interest for investors.

Mark is especially blunt when it comes to talking about investing; no little white lies are allowed on this subject.

Keeping the market interesting justifies our interest in it and, by extension, validates our collective social financial activity and identity. Not only do we need to like to feel good about ourselves, we would rather hear sketchy hyperbole from borderline sources than bad news from an honest one.

Mark wrote a heartfelt piece in which he described his experiences as an investor in Resverlogix, A Cautionary Tale. This piece was picked up as an article by the prestigious US website Seeking Alpha.

The Blunt Bean Counter is a valuable resource for all taxpayers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and investors. On many levels, this blog chronicles how taxation affects life in Canada.
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Canadian Heroes

in News Media and niche blogs

Canadian Heroes logo

A digital cenotaph,  this is the best place online to remember and honour the Canadian soldiers that have died during Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan. Each fallen hero is presented in some detail, and eulogized as he is laid to rest.  But this respectful Canadian blogspot is also filled with pictures of the living. In some stories there are images of children in Afghan farm villages, and civilians herding livestock alongside military vehicles – the blog communicates a subtle understanding of life in and around Kandahar, from the sombre perspective of funerary anecdotes.

Canadian Heroes is authored by a volunteer committee of news media writers. It shares some some connection with CTV. Paul, the primary contributor, seems very knowledgeable about the overall mission, and in some cases he describes the people he’s met, and the places he’s seen first hand. The tone is always courteous, and the text is void of any opinions or political debate. The comment function has been disabled.

soldiers

This week, August 22-26 the unique and necessary blog laid to rest three more Canadian soldiers. From left to right: Sgt. Shawn Allen Eade, Cpl. Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden, Sapper Stephan John Stock (Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

Canadian Heroes is a respectful flagpost on the Internet; it’s an information rich reminder that Canada is at war, and young Canadians are sacrificing their lives to help make Afghanistan safe for the men, women and children who live there.


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