Monday, September 01, 2014

How to save on groceries

Happy Monday everyone! It is especially happy because it is labour day, so it is great to have a day to lounge and relax instead of the usual hustle and bustle of trying to get the garbage out on time and rushing out the door for work.  Instead I had time to workout on the spin bike while watching Suits, have a leisurely breakfast and make a pizza dough (recipe to come soon hopefully). Since I have a bit of free time on my hands, I thought I would tell you about this ap- Flipp.

I found out about it from Stan who was visiting this weekend (with Carolyn). He said he was wondering if there was an ap that could sort through all the flyers and find what you are looking for. He thought it would be a great business idea if it didn't already exist. Well it does, and it is called Flipp. You enter your postal code and it shows you flyers for the stores in your area. What's especially neat about it, is that you can search for an item e.g. raspberries and it tells you which stores in your area have it on sale and what the promotion is. Now it may not be worth it for small items, but for larger purchases such as razors, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc it can make a significant difference in your grocery bill.

I tried it out for fun by searching for peaches. Well for fun and also because I love peaches and am an addict. I browsed the search results and then purchased them at food basics for less than $3 for fresh Ontario peaches. I'm quite impressed.

 Try it out! Let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Breakfast Cereal

Just playing around with the Nikon DSLR, that I have temporarily hijacked/borrowed from my dad. I  used a lens here that has a max aperture of f/1.8.  It is so much fun.  Photoshop is also a lot of fun, when it isn't completely frustrating!! I didn't edit the photo itself but used it for the watermark.

Anyway this is just a simple breakfast of cereal and blueberries with milk. The cereal pictured is Go Lean Crunch, which surprisingly is very healthy.  I recently compared it with many other healthy sounding cereals and it out-performed in terms of less sugar, more fibre and more protein. Excellent!! This post is not sponsored, I am just a walking advertisement for the things I enjoy..

Oh and my brother-in-law sent me a really interesting article today about how food photography has gone viral with iphones and instagram and so real professional photographers have had to step it up to keep their edge. Check out the full article from WIRED.

Hope everyone is having a great (long) weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Basil Plant

You guys!!! look at my basil plant!

I am so proud of it because usually whenever I get a basil plant it lasts a few weeks and then dies. This time, I followed the wise advise of my old McGill roommates and replanted it in a bigger pot with potting soil. What a difference! It is a bit if extra trouble in the beginning, but so low maintenance after that. Leave it in the sun and water every few days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chalk Paint Labels

A while back, my friend Kristin and I painted some chalk paint labels. We followed this tutorial from Gemma over at the sweetest digs. I met Gemma briefly back at the Target event- and love her blog! She has a lot of great DIY projects so check it out if you are looking for new ideas. She also has a lot of tips on parenting and travelling with a baby etc. which are great for those with brand new babies.

Anyway the chalk paint project turned out great!

These jars pictured above are mostly from the dollar store with a few from Ikea. I also have some from Bulk Barn.

In those photos the labels are written in chalk, but it actually looks a lot nicer with chalk markers. Also it doesn't rub off as easily, but does come off with water. I bought a pack of 4 chalk markers at Michaels. They come in different colour pallettes which is fun! I think that white looks the best. They cost about $11. The price is a bit steep, but print off a $40% off coupon from Michael's weekly coupons, and you are good to go!

I loved how the jars looked, but still had many jars without labels.  I am a frequent shopper at bulk barn  and often buy stuff only to completely forget what it is, so this is definitely a problem for me! I considered buying some of the Martha Stewart chalk labels (they have them at Staples) but at $5 for a pack of 3, this would get expensive.

I decided, why not paint plain Avery Labels with the chalk paint and use those? I still had almost a full can of chalk paint (which I had lent to my friend Carolyn) and had some labels lying around too. So this past weekend, I was up visiting Carolyn and her hubby and we got to work.
Setting up- making sure to cover the table with newspaper! 

They don't look perfect, but once they dry they look a lot better

It was fun, and the labels turned out great! It is pretty self explanatory- we just painted 2 coats of pain on the labels (paint one coat, wait about 10-15 minutes, paint the next coat). After a few hours they were dry enough for me to bring them home. I let them dry more over night and then "cured" them with chalk. You just rub the chalk sideways onto it, wipe it off and repeat. This makes it so that when you write on the label and erase it, it doesn't leave an imprint.

and Voila the final product on jars in my cupboard!

As you can see there is still work to be done in terms of putting things in jars and labeling them. I see a lot of name-less baggies in there.. Luckily I have lots of labels left, so hopefully I will tackle the rest soon!

If you need labels for your pantry, try this out!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Blueberry smoothie

Made by my bro-in law

replica- made by yours truly back in Ottawa

Smoothies are super easy to make. Also, you don't really need a recipe, because you can just throw in whatever you want. Sometimes though, I get carried away and add in anything and everything. The flavours all mix together and it doesn't always taste great.

This combination goes so well together, I had to share. My bro-in law made it in Boston and it was so good, I wanted to make it again. I managed to get him to tell me some of the ingredients and with a bit of guesswork, I recreated something quite similar and modified it a bit to make it even more healthy and filling.

- frozen blueberries
- frozen or fresh banana
- almond butter (this is what really makes the smoothie!)
- almond milk or regular skim milk
- I also added in 1/8 avocado or a handful of Kale
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla whey protein (for good measure, to make sure it fills you up)- optional

Blend all ingredients.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Goat cheese toast

One of my favourite cafes in my sister's neighborhood- 3 little figs- in Somerville- has an item on the menu Ricotta Toast. It looked so good!! I decided it would be easy to replicate it back at home. We used goat cheese instead of Ricotta and whipped it up for a quick lunch before we head off to Providence!!

It is very simple:
- Toast ( jalepeno and olive here)
- Cheese (goat cheese or ricotta)
- olive oil and salt and pepper- voila!!!

The quality of this can greatly improve with the quality of the ingredients. C&E had nothing but the best of course.We used:
- Bread from When Pigs Fly. The bread is delivered daily from Maine. We used two different kinds because Claire doesn't like olives. One type with olives and jalepenos and one whole grain.
- Maple goat cheese from a goat farm in upstate new york. They picked it up on a trip and had been keeping it in the freezer.

 - Olive Oil- from Italy- from our family friend's land! If you can't get your hands on olive oil from Italy just make sure you have an extra virgin good quality one. You usually get what you pay for when it comes to olive oil.
- Himalayan sea salt (what else?)
and finally an "ordinary" pepper- Malabar black pepper from India.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chocolate Ice cream!!

Here are some photos!

I just used the recipe from the kitchen -aid manual book. I didn't add in chocolate chunks so mine was just double chocolate and not triple.

We ate some right after and it was good but tasted very rich.

 I then froze the leftovers in a tupperware and then brought it to my parents (and friends) a couple of days later, and everyone really liked it. Some people had seconds. I definitely preferred it once it had time to freeze for a while and was more solid (right after making it, it has more a soft-serve consistency). It makes a lot! There is still some leftover, however I chose not to bring it back to my place, in fear of eating it all. 

My dad said "I didn't like it- I loved it. best ice cream I ever had"

That being said,  my dad is always my # 1 fan and a huge chocolate lover!


I am looking forward to making more ice cream recipes soon! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Whole Grain Bread

So, For my birthday my parents got me a kitchen-aid stand mixer!! It also came with the ice cream maker bowl attachment as a special promotion. A whole new world has opened up to me!!

Now some people would get a stand mixer and let it sit forever and not use it, but I wanted to put mine to good use right away! In one day, I made bread, pizza and prepped the mixture for ice cream! [ think of how many dishes that makes!! I really really really want/need a dishwasher!!]  I got some of the recipes from the little manual that came with the machine and some from a kitchen-aid cookbook that I picked up for $8.99 at the local bookstore next to my work. I just love it when the sales are in my favour!! I also found some bread recipes in cookbooks i have at home and can't wait to try them out!!

Oh- and I borrowed my dad's Nikon!! Please bear with me as I try and improve my photography skills! All i can say is that it is so much fun!!
So full disclosure- I made this bread from scratch, but using a bread hook on the stand mixer to kneed the bread. I view this somewhere in between using a bread maker, and kneeding it all by hand (which, by the way, I have heard is very therapeutic). It was my first time even using yeast-which by the way- does not smell good!!

This recipe is pretty healthy! it makes 2 loaves and I brought one over to my parents. They ate it all,  along with friends visiting from the States, and everyone said it was really good. Yaay- success :)
I am eating the other loaf for sandwiches for my lunch!!

It is an easy recipe to follow as long as you have a lot of time.

I did the first part, went for a run, second part, went for brunch, third part, went for soccer..etc etc- haha see a pattern- exercise-food-exercise-food. Anyway here is the recipe- from Kitchen aid- 3 in 1 cookbook.

- 2 cups warm water (105- 115F)
you need a thermometer for this- I bought a candy thermometer that clips onto the edge of your pot. At first I kept heating the water to above boiling and couldn't understand why the temperature wasn't going any higher- then I realized I was looking at Celsius not Fahrenheit- woops!!)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup bread flower
- 1 1/4 cup large flake oats
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup assorted grain- I used wheat germ cause I had it on hand
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tablespoon water

- heat 1 1/2 cups water, honey, oil and salt in a saucepan until it reached 105-115F.

wayy too hot! as you can see it is nearly at 200 F
- Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in mixer bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in honey mixture. Add 1 cup whole wheat flower and bread flower. Stir with dough hook at speed 2 for 2 minutes. Gradually add in seeds, grains and 1 cup of the oats. Add in remaining whole wheat flower 1/2 cup at a time until it begins to form a ball. Continue kneeding (aka leave the machine on) for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is elasticky and stretchy.

-place dough in lightly greased bowl, turning to coat lightly, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place 1 1/2- 2 hours

- grease 2 9x5 inch loaf pans. Punch down dough. I watched  a you-tube video to figure out what this means. It really means just punch the dough. Do it once in each spot- it lets the air out and does other chemical things to the yeast. Separate dough into 2 and place in pans. lightly cover and let rise again for another hour

- Preheat oven to 375- bake for 30-35 minutes

let it cool 10 minutes in the pans

remove and let cool completely.


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