Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

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Well, I have to admit that there wasn’t enough time to get the things I had in mind completed. However, I did manage to start them, which is a big pat on the back for me! I have been working tirelessly on putting that chalkboard together for you all to see, but there were some minor issues along the way.

1. I used an older magnetic primer that did not glide on well when rolling it on my MDF board. This caused some lumps and bumps on my smooth surface that just would not go away, no matter how much I sanded. I also tried to put a few coats over the bumpy one, but it just made more of a mess. Unfortunately, this has ridden on my “perfection or die” nerves, so guess who will be starting the chalkboard painting all over again? That’s me!  

2. The carpenter glue that the nice old man at the Home Depot promised me would stick, didn’t. So, needless to say, I had my hubby come in and give me a hand with screwing each corner of the frame in securely. I was a little disappointed with that because I assumed the glue would be enough. Some products are really misleading. Lesson: Always have a plan B in the back of your mind.

I am positive that it will all come together smoothly in the end. I have been working on a few accessories that will go nicely with the overall look. I was debating whether I should upload photos tonight or not, but I’ve decided I will surprise you with a finished product next week, instead. So, you’ll have to stay tuned for the big reveal!

By the way, I have fantastic news! I finally found my cabinets for my laundry room project! I purchased them on Facebook Marketplace, secondhand for $100! There are two double cupboards that I will be prepping soon for a refinish. I also bought some hardware (handles) at Habitat for Humanity Restore for $8 each (regular price $25 a piece). That was a steal of a deal people! I was loving myself that day! Project-wise, I’m on a roll, and I can’t wait to share all that I have cookin’ up for you. In the meantime, try a small project here or there, and share some photos and your experience. I would love to hear from you. Until next time, Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

oliver

Today I am doing an Ode to Jamie Oliver! I am obssesed with his 15 Minute Meals show, and must have tried over a dozen of his tasty recipes. It is exciting to watch chefs on tv preparing gorgeous, impossible dishes in only 15 minutes flat. However, it takes us 45 minutes to replicate the same dish at home. Why? It is most likey  because you don’t have editing and a twenty minute window segment. Jamie, a chef from London England, is a real power house in the kitchen. He moves from party apps to international dishes with grace and style, and his culinary brilliance adds a little sparkle to any kitchen he cooks in.  After much deliberation, I have finally chosen one of his Asian-inspired dishes that I know you will try and love!

 

Thai chicken laksa with Noodles & Squash Broth
Gluten-free

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Serves 4
Cooks In 15 minutes (Lol)
Difficulty: Super easy

Ingredients
CHICKEN
4 higher-welfare chicken thighs , skin off, bone out
1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 fresh red chilli
LAKSA
1 organic chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 butternut squash , (neck end only)
2 cloves of garlic
5 cm piece of ginger
1 fresh red chilli
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ a bunch spring onions
1 heaped teaspoon peanut butter
4 dried kaffir lime leaves
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
300 g medium rice noodles
2 bunches of asparagus , (600g)
1 x 400 g tin of light coconut milk
3 limes

 

Method
Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Griddle pan, high heat • Large lidded pan, high heat • Food processor (coarse grater & bowl blade)

START COOKING
On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with sea salt, black pepper and the five-spice.

Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Place on the hot griddle pan, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until nicely charred and cooked through.

Pour about 800ml of boiling water into the large pan and crumble in the stock cube.

Trim the stalk off the squash, roughly chop the neck end (don’t peel, and keep the seed end for another day), then grate and tip into the boiling stock.

Peel the garlic and ginger. Swap to the bowl blade in the processor and add the garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric, trimmed spring onions, peanut butter, lime leaves, coriander stalks (reserving the leaves), sesame oil, soy and fish sauces. Blitz to a paste, then tip into the stock and add the noodles.

Trim the asparagus and cut in half. Add to the pan, pour in the coconut milk, and as soon as it boils, taste, correct the seasoning with soy sauce and lime juice, then turn the heat off.

Drizzle the honey over the charred chicken, squeeze over the juice of 1 lime, scatter with the sesame seeds and toss to coat.

Serve with the laksa and lime wedges, sprinkling everything with the coriander leaves and slices of fresh chilli.

*Recipe taken from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals

 

I thought we would make it an Asian night just to spice things up in the kitchen. Experiencing food from around the globe broadens your palette, and gives you an appreciation for culture at it’s best. Food speaks volumes for the lives we live, and sheds a light on the importance of exposure to new people and different places. Embrace today, and make it meaningful in every way. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday: Confessions of a Shopping Diva

download

Welcome to shopping heaven! For today’s activity, we will be looking at four different loveseats. I will give you a list of pricing, and it is up to you to match the right price with the loveseat. This game reminds me of the show, “The Price is Right” where people shout out prices in the audience, while the contestants try to figure out how much the car, or the can of tuna really is.

Here are the loveseats:

 

Here are the prices. Guess which price belongs to each loveseat:

  1. $849.99
  2. $1919.97
  3. $799
  4. $1669

 

If you got all four of the prices right for all four loveseats, then you are truly a shopping diva! It takes a special eye to put the price tag to the sale item, and to understand why certain products would retail for the prices they do. Shopping is a lot of fun when you can estimate, but even more exciting when they are on sale! Woohoo! The next time you go shopping at the mall, take a piece of paper and challenge a friend to write out the names of items, and estimated prices before peaking. See who gets the most points, and who has the sharpest skills. Who says window shopping isn’t fun? We have just given shopping a whole new meaning. Happy Monday everyone!

 

Answer Key: A4, B2, C3, D1

Sunday: At Home

Sunday 4

Last night, I entertained a group of friends at my place and we had a barrel of laughs! We played board games like: Catch Phrase, and Guesstures. I don’t know if any of you are into board games, but they are so much fun when you play it as a group. We laughed until we cried, and then laughed again. Just what we needed to make the night a memorable one.

Of course, there was also food. Lots of food. I prepared two types of nachos supreme, chicken parcels (recipe from 2 weeks ago), bruschetta, and the key lime cupcakes. It was a mishmash of goodies, but it was all very delicious. We went to bed at 6 am this morning. Needless to say, we slept in until 12 pm. My kids came into the kitchen early this afternoon to help me prepare a brunch. We made pancakes, sausages, bacon, cinnamon buns, quiche, and a fruit salad to top things off. I put together virgin mimosas with mixed berries to impress the family. Mission accomplished!

This is strictly a Netflix evening tonight. I’m taking it easy because the long weekend is still in effect and I plan on enjoying every minute of it.  I suggest that you try a games night with family or a few friends. Nothing says Family Weekend like some great company, delicious food, and non-stop laughs. It puts a new spin on fun, and it is good for the soul.

 

cupcake 1This is the Key Lime cupcake that I said I would post on Sunday. My friends critiqued the recipe I posted, and overall it was a positive response. Some would like a stronger lime taste, or a fluffier icing. I will keep all this in mind when trying a new recipe later this week. Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday: Reflections

angry

Have you ever been so upset that you heat up like a pressure cooker with each annoying comment someone makes? You try to stay quiet but the words leap out of your mouth as you watch faces drop from disbelief. It’s only then you realize that you’ve gone too far, but the words have been delivered whether you own up to them or not. I’m discussing the power of keeping cool in times of frustration.

I had a terrible experience today with the fight of keeping cool in a frustrating moment. I was already having a difficult day from the start, and then something happened that caused an embarrassing scene. I visualized myself screaming at the top of my lungs, throwing objects, walking out and slamming doors. However, I managed to smile gracefully and stay seated with arms folded.

It is so important to be able to manage your emotions in times where you feel if you allow yourself to let go, you will fly right off the handle! The issue is that when you finally come to your senses, the damage will already have been done. I’ve been in situations where I wish I could dig a hole and hide, totally disappointed in myself. It’s not worth ruining your image for a moment of fury. Count to ten, take a bathroom break and vent there, or find something positive in the room and focus in on it. My focus was a baby.  It worked too. I was quite impressed.

Whatever you are angry at in the moment, is never reason enough to lose it. You give away all control and become someone that you are not familiar with. Keep your power and hold your tongue. It will ensure that you are at your best at all times, and you will be proud of how much clearer your perspective will be. Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday: The Socialite

This Friday is a start to a very special weekend in Toronto. It is Valentine’s Day and family day weekend all wrapped up in one! Family Day weekend was established by the Ontario government on October 12, 2007, and implemented on February 18, 2008. It is counted as a statutory holiday, and falls on the same weekend as Presidents’ Day in the US. I remember going across the border to the US to shop on the holiday Monday, only to find out that everything was closed over there! We have to make more of an effort to learn each other’s schedules!

I have some fantastic plans for you over the long weekend. Grab your pens and your agendas and get your social on!

 

caviar

Caviar Day at Eataly Toronto

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Eataly Toronto with caviar and chocolate. On February 14 you can try an array of the most luxurious aphrodisiac with in-store caviar tastings from 2 – 6 p.m. Take your favourite home with all caviar available for 30% off. Share a sip with your sweetheart and visit the Birroteca to experience a collection of house-made, limited-edition brews or profess your love while diving into our delectable oyster and wine pairings.

55 Bloor Street West, Feb 14, 9am-11pm

 

 

car

 

Toronto Auto Show 2020

AutoShow 2020 will be held at the North and South Buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from February 14 – 23, 2020

Metro Toronto Convention Centre
12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

 

 

 

mac

Mac and Cheese Festival 2020

2020 Mac and Cheese Festival
Valentine’s Weekend
www.themacandcheesefestival.com

Dates & Opening Hours:

Friday Feburary 14, 2020 (5:00 PM – 11:00 PM)
Saturday February 15, 2020 (11:00 AM – 11:00 PM)
Sunday February 16, 2020 (11:00 AM – 8:00 PM)

Festival Location:

City of Mississauga
Small Arms Inspection Building
1352 Lakeshore Road East

 

 

 

king west

A Valentine’s Day Celebration at One King West Hotel

For Valentine’s Day, downtown Toronto’s One King West Hotel & Residence has created the perfect celebration to ensure a romantic, unforgettable evening with your loved one. Enjoy a delicious four-course feast and live entertainment at their on-site restaurant, Teller’s Bar and Lounge. You’ll be treated to world-class eats, and live music from DJ Eli Katz nestled within a vibrant, historic and lively atmosphere, ensuring a memorable Valentine’s Day in Toronto.

$90 per person

Reservations can be made by calling 416-548-8100 or visiting www.tellers.bar/

 

 

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Frozen 2 in Hotel X Toronto’s Cinema

From February 14th to February 17th, catch Disney’s Frozen 2 on the big screen at Hotel X Toronto’s 250-seat Cinema! Don’t miss your last chance to watch it before it’s gone from theatres!

$5 for kids, $10 for adults.

Screenings:

Friday, Feb. 14 – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Saturday, Feb. 15 – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Sunday, Feb. 16 – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Monday, Feb. 17 – 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

For more details and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/watch-frozen-2-in-our-cinema-tickets-92032881827

 

*Information taken from Blog TO

 

Enjoy your extra long, and extra packed holiday weekend! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday: What’s Baking?

limeI’m on the hunt for the perfect Key Lime Cupcake recipe for my upcoming show. I need a cupcake that has delicious flavour, melts in your mouth, and has great visual appeal. This cupcake will be a part of my starting lineup of cupcakes for the spring craft market. Can you believe that I am already discussing spring? Time is definitely flying! I will be taking you on a journey of baking science, as I experiment the best recipes out there, and possibly adding a little sparkle of my own.

 

This will be the first of two recipes we will attempt together:

KEY LIME CUPCAKES

Key Lime Cupcakes
prep time1 HOUR
cook time20 MINUTES
total time1 HOUR 20 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS

  •  For the cupcakes:
  •  4 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  •  6 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  •  2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  2/3 cup milk, room temperature
  •  2 tablespoons key lime zest
  •  3 teaspoons key lime juice
  •  1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  •  2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  For the frosting:
  •  8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  •  4 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  •  2 cups powdered sugar
  •  1 tablespoon key lime zest
  •  1 tablespoon key lime juice
  •  Green and yellow food coloring (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
1. For the cupcakes:
2. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 12-mun tin with liners.
3. To a bowl add the butter and sugar and beat until light and pale using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one
at a time and beat until mixed. Add the milk, key lime, zest and juice, beat until well mixed.
4. Add the our, baking powder and salt a little at a time and beat on low until well mixed and smooth.
Don’t over mix once you add the our. If the mix is too thick, add a little more milk. You want a pourable consistency, but not too runny.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to add divide the batter between all the cups, a little over halfway filled.
6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. When a toothpick inserted in the center it should come out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.
8. For the frosting:
9. Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar while beating. Add
lime juice zest. Don’t over mix or it will be too soft to pipe.
10. To get the two-tone piping, transfer 2 tablespoons of the frosting to a separate bowl and mix with the green
and yellow coloring until it is lime green.
11. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes to make it rm for piping
12. Add the piping tip of choice to a piping bag (I used a start tip). Hold the tip and turn the bag inside out over
your hand, paste the green frosting to the side of the bag, close to the tip. Use a separate spoon to add the
white frosting to the other side of the bag. Whatever ratio you use, you want more white than green. Pipe
onto the cupcakes.
YIELD: 12 CUPCAKES
NUTRITION INFORMATION: YIELD: 12 SERVING SIZE
*Recipe taken from culinaryginger.com
I will have a batch of twelve ready on Sunday for our test. They will need to meet the requirements of taste, texture, and appeal to make my baking table. As always, I’d love to see what you come up with too, as we compare notes! That means you must share pics for us to see the cupcakes you made in your kitchen. Now, make a nice cup of tea and wind down tonight. We have almost made it to the weekend! Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

I was surfing the net today, and the cutest ideas for projects in the kitchen popped up. I found organizational crafts, functional furniture, and even kitchen accessories! The accessory that stood out to me was the kitchen chalkboard! There are so many different ideas to choose from:

 

My personal favourite is the chalkboard below:

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Just by the look of it, I could probably use a board that I could paint in chalkboard, and a few pieces of finishing wood, and wood glue for around the sides. I could find the hanging fixture and flower pots either at the dollar store, or Ikea. I decided that will give this project a try for a “reveal” next week Wednesday. Knowing me, I will spruce it up and add drama to it so it looks nothing like the picture, but that’s just me! Don’t forget that you will also need hanging hardware for the back of this project if you decide to attempt this at home.

I would love to see what you come up with if you do give it a shot, so please add the pics of your fabulous kitchen chalkboard creations to the bottom of this page! Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday:What’s for Dinner?

chili

I have a craving for a good chili coupled with a tasty cornbread made from scratch! It seems perfect for this time of year. Something warm and spicy, coupled with a savoury side, sounds like an absolute delight for the dark and cold nights! I’ve taken the liberty to find two recipes that you can try at home:

Best Damn Chili

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chile pepper, chopped
  • 2 red jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle light beer (such as Coors(R))
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans (such as Bush’s(R))
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook and stir onion, bell pepper, Anaheim pepper, jalapeno peppers, and garlic in the hot oil until softened.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes; add Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Crumble bouillon cubes over beef and add beer. Continue to cook , scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until liquid is hot, about 3 minutes. Stir beef mixture into pepper mixture.
  3. Stir crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine to the beef mixture. Season with chili powder, 2 tablespoons cumin, brown sugar, pepper sauce, basil, paprika, salt, oregano, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until meat and vegetables are very tender and flavors have developed in the chili, about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Mix kidney beans into beef and vegetables. Continue to simmer until beans are hot, about 30 minutes more.
  5. Blend sour cream, cilantro, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin in a food processor until smooth. Serve sour cream mixture with chili.

 

*Recipe taken from Allrecipes.com

 

Jalapeno-Cheddar-Cornbread-11

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

DRY INGREDIENTS
    • 1-1/2 cup (200g | 7oz) yellow corn meal
    • 1 cup (130g | 4.5oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 3 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
    • 2 large jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (save a handful to garnish)
    • 1-3/4 cup (175g | 6.2oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese (save a handful to garnish)
    • 1 cup (170g | 6oz) corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)*, drained well
WET INGREDIENTS
  • 1-1/4 cup (300ml) buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (80g | 2.8oz) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (110g | 3.9oz) liquid honey
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F degrees; grease and lightly coat a 9″ baking dish with corn meal. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt; mix well with a whisk until fully combined. Add the grated cheese and chopped jalapeño (save a handful of each to garnish the top of the bread) as well as the corn kernels to the flour mixture. Mix delicately until well coated.
  3. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, honey, and eggs. Pour over reserved dry ingredients and stir delicately with a spoon until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with reserved chopped jalapeño and grated cheese.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is nicely golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for a few minutes and cut into 9 pieces. Serve warm, with butter.

Notes

*it doesn’t matter whether you use fresh, canned or frozen. Just make sure that you drain your corn well if you have to, so it’s good and dry when you add it to the flour mixture. If using frozen, you don’t even need to cook it; just thaw it and then drain it real good.

 

*Recipe taken from eviltwin.kitchen

 

So, I bet I have you craving that cornbread too! Did you see that pic?!! What about the name of that chili? With a name like that, it has to be one of the best. If you are not a fan of the beer portion of the chili recipe, simply leave it out. It won’t dramatically change the overall taste. As well, feel free to use ground chicken, turkey, or even veggie meat as a substitute for ground beef. I feel that any one of those ingredients will still give you a delicious chili. Make tonight your chili night and remember to top it up with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and anything else your little heart desires. It’s your dinner table. Do your thing. Happy Tuesday everyone!

 

 

Monday: Confessions of a Shopping Diva

high teaToday’s project brings hope for an early spring. We will be recreating a “high tea” look that costs thousands of dollars for less than $300. I knew you would love the sound of that! We are playing with florals and traditional furniture, with a vintage wallpaper background. Now, let’s have some fun!

 

 

Kraus+11+Piece+Porcelain+Petite+Fleur+Tea+Set

 

Kraus 11 Piece Porcelain Petite Fleur Tea Set, $162.99, Wayfair

 

 

 

 

untitled KSP Milano ‘Double Wall’ French Coffee Press (Stainless    Steel),  $39.99, Kitchen Stuff Plus

 

 

 

 

standCambridge Satin Nickel 3-Tier Stand, $39.95, Crate and Barrel

 

 

 

 

 

clothHarman Hemstitch 52″ x 70″ Polyester Tablecloth (Grey), $19.99, Kitchen Stuff Plus

 

 

 

 

 

imagesBTUBVAOJMORGONTIDIG
Glass dome, clear glass, 9 ¾ ” (25 cm)
$9.99, Ikea

 

 

 

 

 

stand110 Inch Cake Stand, Modern Round Iron Fondant Cake Display Wedding Birthday Party Dessert Cupcake Display Pedestal​ (Mint green), $24.99, Amazon

 

 

 

These are a few items that help you get that expensive look for less. Did we spend thousands of dollars here? Absolutely not! It only goes to show that all you need is a little imagination and a small budget, and you could create a designer’s “high tea” in your home too. Happy Monday everyone!