Category Archives: Food & Drink

5 Things That Are Making My Week

Bonjour, mes belles!  Hello and welcome to another fun (and blonder) installment of 5 Things That Are Making My Week.  Here’s this week’s Top 5, starting off big with a whole new look for moi!

  1. My blonde hair!  Of course, the biggest cosmetic change of my entire life.  I’ve always wondered how I’d look as a blonde, and I LOVE it!  I think I might have been an inner blonde all along, so this is very fun right now for me, and I feel pretty!  It still feels so different, but it’s really given me a new lease on life, as well as an added boost of confidence.
  2. My shell & circle drop earrings:  I received these earrings as part of a gift set years ago.  Recently, I’ve been wearing them almost every day (I tend to repeat accessories a lot), and the slight shimmer and hint of seaside beauty feels very feminine and delicate.  It makes me think of mermaids and beach vacations.
  3. Sweet Kale Superfood Salad:  I was first introduced to this delicious salad by Nick’s mom, and it’s become a dinner staple for me at home.  Everything is prepped, chopped, and fresh, and it’s so tasty and healthy!  It’s got kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, pumpkin seeds, a delicious dressing – in short, yum.
  4. Homemade Lavender Linen Spray:  A simple mix in a small spray bottle, (1-2 tbsp rubbing alcohol, 10 drops lavender essential oil, and then water to fill), lightly spritzed all over the sheets, pillow and blanket just before getting into bed.  It’s great for freshening up the linens, and the lavender scent is a beautiful natural relaxing scent to help with sleep.
  5. NYX Stick Blush:  I have the Tulip shade, a nice natural pink.  The blush leaves a rosy glow on my cheeks that not only lasts all day, but that I can also have control over the placement.  For lazy makeup days, I just dab a bit on my lips and I’m set 🙂

I hope you enjoy these little bullet points.  It’s been a fun, fresh week, and I’ve got a fun, fresh new look!  I’ll keep finding out if blondes have more fun, but it’s looking like they might 🙂

What’s making your summer sweet?  New foods, a new look?  I can’t wait to hear what it is for you!

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How a little gadget made our mornings amazing

Do you ever find yourself having sad breakfasts in the morning rush?  Maybe you love the idea of freshly cooked eggs, smoky bacon, warm bread… but you also love your sleep too much to get up way early to cook it all up.  I know we definitely had that happening, and although grabbing a granola or oatmeal bar, or having a bagel (half a bagel in my case) with some sort of spread is fine, it’s not exactly the happiest way to start off the day. If that sounds familiar, one little gadget that would seem to belong on an infomercial could be the answer.

I am talking about the breakfast sandwich maker.  Yes, a funny looking little contraption that will likely set you back around $25.  After thinking about getting one for weeks, we finally got one!  Here’s the little guy in all his glory 🙂

Now, our mornings have been transformed!  I’m not even exaggerating.  We begin almost every day with the delicious experience that rivals an Egg McMuffin, a Timmy’s Breakfast Sandwich, or a Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich, but at a fraction of the cost, and none of the hassle – right in our own home!  The aroma of hot breakfast is very conducive to smiles, and I’ll show you exactly how we do it.

The night before, I prep our breakfast.  I slice two English muffins, and slice enough cheese for each one.  I sandwich the cheese (and cooked bacon if we’re having it) between the muffin halves, tuck it in a small sandwich bag, and pop it in the fridge.  I also put fresh ground coffee and water in the coffeemaker.

In the mornings comes the fun part (there’s a statement I never thought I’d make). As soon as we get out of bed, we turn on the coffeemaker and plug in the sandwich maker to preheat.  Once it’s warmed up, just lift up the egg plate, pop in the bottom half of the muffin, cheese, and maybe some cooked bacon.  Then lower the egg plate, crack in a fresh egg (scramble it a bit if you’d like), and lightly place the top muffin half on top.  Close the lid, and set a timer for 5 minutes.  Once 5 minutes is up, slide out the egg divider gently, and raise each divider one at a time.  Presto!  A delicious, hot, fresh breakfast sandwich.  By now, our coffee’s also ready, so breakfast is served and fantastic!

Right now we’ve stuck to the classic recipe, but I’m also excited to see what other tasty combinations we can come up with, maybe with some veggies, other types of cheese, biscuits… my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Seriously, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, but want a great hot breakfast, give these little machines a whirl – you won’t regret it.

How do you make your mornings better?

5 Things That Are Making My Week

Here we are, near the end of another lovely summer week, and at the brink of a sweet weekend.  I hope you’ve been having a good week, lovely weather, and basking in the sunshine and warmth.  Here are a few things that have made my week better.

  1. The sights of downtown:  I find that there are two environments that speak to my heart above all others:  tropical stunning beaches, and big vibrant cities.  I’m a city girl, and draw my energy from the buzz and the lights and the gleaming smooth lines.  This week I’m once again amazed at the beautiful skyline of this great city, and the glittering gems of tall buildings that are found within.
  2. Mineral foundation: Mineral foundation has become my staple this season.  I was very skeptical of how a loose powder could ever be nearly as good as a nice cream or liquid foundation, but I have since changed my tune.  I’ve been using Artistry mineral powder foundation in Medium to work with my tan, and it’s been phenomenal!  Not only is it super-light and even, but the coverage is perfect and there’s no orangey tinge to it.
  3. Homemade breakfast sandwiches:  Ooh this has been a morning game-changer!  And believe me, you’ll be hearing more about this soon 🙂  We’ve started making hot breakfast sandwiches at home, and it’s been a fantastic addition to our mornings.  Instead of a hurried half bagel with cream cheese, or nothing at all for breakfast, one of these protein-filled satisfying sandwiches gets me off to a great start, and ensures lighter choices throughout the day, yum!
  4. Lemon scented sea salt scrub:  Every once in a while, I get really into scrubs, and right now is one of those times.  I have this lemony scented sea salt scrub from Arbonne, and I love that not only does it make my skin feel so silky and smooth, but the oils in it moisturize my whole body so deeply when I’m in the shower, I don’t even need to use body lotion after.  Once I run out, I’ll probably make my own with coarse sea salt, some sort of lightly scented oil, and essential oils for aroma.
  5. Minty lip gloss:  In the summer, I usually lighten up my eye and lip colours, and I’ve been in the mood for a lip gloss that has shine, but not glitter.  This simple clear gloss from Bath & Body Works has become a purse staple for me.  It looks great on its own or over a soft wash of lipstick, and the peppermint oil provides both cooling and mild plumping.  This was actually a winter beauty purchase, since it tastes like a candy cane, but it’s proven to be quite the perfect little item for summer as well 🙂

Interesting, it looks like this week I’ve been really into beauty and pampering!  I guess we all have those times when we want to put in just a little extra effort into our looks, and I know it always helps me feel better in my own skin.  I hope you’ve had a beautiful week thus far, and that you have a lovely weekend as well!

Coconut Oil Chocolates

Coconut oil is definitely having a moment right now.  It’s being touted as a superfood due to its amazing qualities, being naturally antifungal, antibacterial, great for digestion, a fantastic cooking oil, an amazingly versatile beauty product, and of course, delicious.  I like using the extra virgin organic coconut oil for maximum benefits.

When I was on the HCG diet, I found a great recipe for Phase 3-friendly coconut oil chocolate.  That one used stevia to sweeten it, but I loved it!  I also found a recipe using honey, which I love.

I really like this recipe because not only is it ridiculously simple and foolproof, but it yields a delicious fudgy chocolate that is all natural, whole, real food, and its rich taste means that only a little square can kill any chocolate craving with a fraction of the calories, but is amazingly satisfying!  A quick suggestion would be to use refined coconut oil if you don’t really like the taste of coconut, because it is still noticeable.

Recipe

  1. Mix the following in a microwave-safe bowl – ½ cup coconut oil, ½ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup sweetener of choice (here I used raw sugar), and any extras you want to add in (shredded coconut, nuts, etc. – I used chopped pecans here)
  2. Microwave if needed to soften the coconut oil, and simply mix until smooth
  3. Pour mixture into a dish or mold (ice cube trays would be great for portion control)
  4. Refrigerate until firm, I just leave it in overnight
  5. Cut up if needed, and enjoy!

Now you can easily enjoy all-natural chocolate, without fear of excessive sugars or chemically-laden ingredients!

Has anyone else tried this?  Or tried using coconut oil in general, let me know in the comments, I’d love to discuss!

5 Things That Are Making My Week

Happy Wednesday!  I hope your week is going well 🙂  It’s been a good week here for us, as we continue to settle into a rhythm for the summer.  I love when the days are long, and the evenings stretch out with slow, relaxed sunsets.  I’m trying out a new recurring feature here on the blog, and I’ll be calling it 5 Things That Are Making My Week, I hope you enjoy it!  Here we go with this week’s Top 5.

  1. Big pots of coffee:  When we moved, our Keurig started acting a bit fussy, so we went out and got a good old fashioned coffeemaker that makes a pot at a time.  I’ve been loving it!  We put the pot on in the morning, which makes our home smell delicious, and then have lots of coffee ready whenever we’d like.  Right now, I’m really liking Lavazza coffee with just a bit of raw sugar and cream.
  2. Bright pink nail polish: Of course, this is my signature nail look (you might remember that from this post, where I discussed my intentionally reduced manicure options).  This past little while, though, I’ve been really liking how the bright pink looks with my tanned skin – it makes me feel very pretty and the pink makes me smile every time I look at my tips!
  3. My pretty water bottle: Nick and I picked up some cute durable water bottles to use, all in an effort to reduce the amount of disposable bottled water bottles that we go through.  This little cutie with a blue top and a bright geometric pattern holds 1.5 standard bottles, and is adorable!  I’ve even added little flags on the side to help me gauge my water intake as I go about my day.
  4. Lemon tea: Something about tea makes me feel so healthy and serene, especially herbal and green tea.  So I’ve been trying to make tea more of a daily recurrence in my life.  Recently, I’ve been really enjoying the Lemon Thriller tea by President’s Choice, which tastes just like a pure lemon tea, really beautiful.
  5. To Do & Done Lists:  I make daily To Do lists, so that’s nothing new.  However, I’ve started also writing out Done lists next to those, and noting down items that I did throughout the day.  Here I focus on things and activities that I intend to do, but don’t necessarily come up on my To Do list – things like reading, listening to great audios, eating an actual breakfast.  I’ve been really getting into this because I tend to be a bit overzealous with my To Do lists, and this gives me a better perspective on my day, and shows a more complete picture of what I accomplished any given day.

What little things have been making your week better?  And what do you think of this as a new feature?  I’m pretty optimistic, since even just thinking of the items to put on my list puts me in a much more grateful and thankful mindset as I think about my week.

Simple Meat & Mushroom Lasagna

Hello, friends!  How has your early spring been so far?  I hope it’s been wonderful, and I know I’ve been happily wearing my bright pink spring coat and new pink purse!  I always find this transitioning time an interesting one, both in terms of style as well as food – one day is warm and beckons of summer, the next is cold and invites you to cozy up like you have all winter.  On one of those cozier days, I decided to cook up dinner with random items I had lying around – and it turned out really well.  So I thought I’d share this with you, my super simple delicious lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained and rinsed
  • 830mL tomato-based pasta sauce (marinara, roasted garlic, your choice)
  • 250g cottage cheese
  • 220g cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
  • oven-ready lasagna noodles, about 10

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, brown the ground beef.  If desired, add salt, pepper, and italian spices such as oregano, basil, etc.  Once browned, add in mushrooms and pasta sauce, and mix until uniform.  Take off heat.
  3. Layer as follows into a 9×13 pan: ⅓ meat sauce mix, one layer of noodles, ½ cottage cheese, ⅓ cheddar, ⅓ meat sauce, one layer of noodles, ½ cottage cheese, ⅓ cheddar, ⅓ meat sauce.  Reserve last ⅓ of the cheddar for later.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, but check for doneness around the 30 minute mark.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top, and bake for an additional 10 minutes for melted crispy cheese topping.
  6. Allow to cool for at least a few minutes before serving.

Et voila!  Delicious, textured, hearty Italian flavour without loads of time and effort spent in the kitchen.  This was quite a hit at our home, and I’ll likely make it again, in between lighter springier foods as well.

What have you been cooking up this spring?

 

My Winter Essentials

Today, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite items this winter.  A few are some of my fashion staples, a few of my beauty staples, and a few items just for fun.  Here goes – my little list of wintery pleasures!

1 – My Long Leather Coat from Danier – This coat is beautiful.  I’ve had it for a few years, and it’s a gorgeous bordeaux shade of lambskin leather.  It’s lightweight, but lined with Thinsulate which makes it extremely warm.  I’m usually a peacoat girl, so this one didn’t get too much use until the extreme cold kicks in.  Once the temperature dipped way below tolerable, this has become my go-to coat in the mornings.  I love the length, which keeps me very well bundled up, and that it’s dressy enough for wearing to the office, but has a few edgy design elements.

2 – My High Heeled Biker Boots from Xelement – If you’ve seen my What I’ve Been Wearing posts, you know that these are the boots I kick on most often on my way out the door.  They’ve got the durable wear and ankle support of motorcycle boots (since that’s what they are), but also a well-designed 3.5” heel that lends itself to ladylike elegance.  The wide heel makes them amazingly comfortable to walk in, and I can easily wear these all day.  They’re also still available here.

3 – Arbonne Shea Butter Hand Lotion – This beautiful little tube is from the holiday collection, and I never leave the house without it.  I’ve found this cold winter especially drying on my hands, and this is one of the few creams that I can actually feel working and seeping into my skin in the best way.  I use it after every hand washing.

4 – Artistry Youth Extend Enriching Lotion – My skin is naturally oily, so I’m very careful about anything too rich on it.  But just a tiny dab of  this lotion on my face at night, and a small pump on my neck and decolletage in the morning and at night has been able to keep my skin soft and supple while avoiding dryness and flakiness.  It’s available here.

5 – David’s Tea Red Velvet Cake Tea & Teal Perfect Mug – I have a deep appreciation for simple things that are beautiful – a well designed lotion package, a pretty mirror, a beautifully designed candle.  The beautiful perfect mug from David’s Tea in their classic teal is one of those things – it makes me smile and feel pretty.  But inside the mug, this particular tea blend that tastes like red velvet cake and has a pretty crimson shade to it as well is amazing.  With a bit of milk or cream and some sugar, it tastes like dessert in a mug – yum!

6 – Zumba classes at the gym – I’ve recently started going to Zumba classes, and I think I’m totally sold on it!  Not only is it super fun and a great workout, it makes me feel so alive and even kind of sexy.  More than that, the fun latin-infused music makes me think of warmer climates and sunshine – I can almost pretend that I’m taking the fun dance classes poolside at a resort 🙂

How are you keeping pretty, stylish and smiling this winter?

 (Photo of boots from Leatherup.ca, photo of Zumba dancer from Zumba.com)