Friday, November 30, 2012

Tip of the Day # 113: Acids with Vegetables

Adding a drop of lemon juice or vinegar to the water where cauliflower is cooked makes it keep its white colour--acids retain colors in white vegetables!

Tip of the Day # 112: Rice Tips

Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to each quart of water when cooking rice, this will keep your rice nice and fluffy! It also leaves a nice aroma and great taste as well ;)

If you ever burn your pot of rice, placing a slice of bread on top for 5-10 minutes will draw out any burnt taste and is safe to eat!

Do you have any additional tips that YOU use when cooking rice?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tip of the Day # 111: Make Icing Last Longer

When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount! You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tip of the Day # 110: Fridge Organization

If you have the room in your refrigerator, it is wise to add a 'lazy Susan' or two for condiments. This prevents you from having to reach to the back for an item, or removing all condiments to get to a certain one!

Tip of the Day # 109: Yummy Bacon!

Running your bacon under cold water before cooking will reduce shrinking by up to 50%!
Also, always cook bacon in the oven for 10 minutes at 365 degrees F--it tastes so much better!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Our homes are an extension of who we are; what we do within the walls of our own places definitely shape our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our overall outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives--steps to a positive change! Here are a few simple things I do on a daily basis (and you can too) in order to feel happier at home.

1. When you wake up every morning, MAKE YOUR BED. I know from my own personal experience, I dislike coming into our bedroom at anytime of day and seeing an untidy bed. Plus, nothing is better than crawling into a nicely, MADE bed every night!! How often do most of you wash your bed linen? I generally do it on a bi-weekly basis because even better than crawling into a made bed, is a freshly WASHED bed--the smell never gets old and makes for a cozier sleep! ;)

2. BRING EVERY ROOM BACK TO "READY"--You are probably asking "what exactly does that mean?" Well, it is a proven fact that clutter causes stress, and can make for a moody household, causing quite the domino effect on everyone involved. It is very easy to change the problem of 'clutter' around your home by simply taking less than 5 minutes to tidy up before leaving that specific room. You do not need to deep clean, just a quick job around the area will do! I do this especially in the evening after watching television and heading to bed for the night--it's nice to come into a clean living area the next day. Examples include picking up any drink glasses, fixing/fluffing pillows, folding blankets, etc.
You can also make a game out of it with your family members--possibly setting a timer for 7 minutes before dinner each evening and everyone has to clean up certain areas.

3. NEVER LEAVE DISHES IN THE KITCHEN--this is a MUST in my home! Dishes are done immediately following dinner--if not during (obviously just the ones that aid in cooking). Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing dirty dishes lying around or filling up the sink! If you dread doing the dishes, try to get into the mood as much as possible--play your favourite music, get the family involved, etc. Even if you cannot do them directly following a meal if you are on your way out, just fill up your sink with water and dish soap and place the dishes in--at least they're soaking in there and hidden from counter tops.

4. MAKE YOUR HOME A GALLERY OF POSITIVE MEMORIES--this may be made possible by dedicating a wall in your hallway to images of close family or a few sentiments on a table from a beautiful trip. I have recently created a photo collage going up our main staircase in the house. These items surpass the enjoyment that is felt from material objects for one reason--they have MEMORIES attached to them. With that being said, take a walk around your home once a month or so and stop to reminisce about that day or event and smile. Memories are what life is all about and helps to forget the everyday stresses that enter our lives.

5. TAKE THE TIME TO CALL AT LEAST ONE FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER A DAY--with technology being so advanced and generations resorting to texting or social media to interact, it is still very important to never forget what a simple phone call can do. Not only can it help your mood, but you can bring a smile to someone else's as well. It is that personal interaction that is so special, and hearing a loved one's voice can turn us around. In other words, we humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don't feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

6. One of the most important steps is to TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF *EVERYDAY*-- we are so wrapped up in our work lives, our children's lives, doing errands, etc, but we have to realize the importance of taking even just 20-30 minutes each day to unwind and do what makes US the most happy and content; whether it being taking a warm bubble bath, a nap, reading a book or catching up on your favourite television show--take a deep breath, enjoy it and remember that there is always time for everything else to get finished.

7. DO SMALL FAVOURS FOR OTHERS LIVING IN YOUR HOME & EXPECT NOTHING IN RETURN--Mow the lawn for your husband, but don't expect him to massage you in return. Make the bed for your wife, but don't try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your son, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness in a home, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. Human nature is simple in that 'if you do good, you feel good.'

8. EVERY MORNING, SET AN INTENT FOR THAT DAY--by doing this, at the end of the day, you will feel like you accomplished something! However, this should never be something on your 'to-do' list. These daily intents can be as simple as "buy my co-worker a coffee," "say thank you to my loved ones today" or "spend 10 extra minutes helping my daughter learn to read." Something small, but can go a long way!

9. SAVE EXTRA MONEY TO USE FOR EXPERIENCES AT HOME--Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD or board game for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain or spend more time with family. Plan a summer barbeque, or winter potluck, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don't forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. MAKE DINNER-TIME THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE DAY--sit at the table, not on the couch to eat, television off and just enjoy each others company. If this isn't possible every night because of your lifestyle, try to do it at least once a week. For example, we start off by each person saying one thing they are thankful for (even the little ones can contribute with simple answers), talk about your day and joke around--afterall, family are the most important people in your life to share memories with! If you have younger children, this time of the day will soon become a favourite for them!

Tip of the Day # 108: Benefits of Vinegar as a Cleaner

--A 5% solution of vinegar that is commonly sold in every supermarket kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of germs/viruses
--the odor of vinegar diminishes much faster than bleach
--vinegar is a completely biodegradable product so it is safe for the environment
--vinegar is a much cheaper alternative

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tip of the Day # 107: DIY Ice Packs

Want to make your own ice packs for kids lunches or booboos?
All you need is 1 part rubbing alcohol and 3 parts water in a Ziploc bag and freeze--its that easy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tip of the Day # 106: Preserving your Veggies

Wrapping your celery, broccoli and lettuce in tin foil before storing in the fridge will allow it to stay fresh for up to 6 weeks!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tip of the Day # 105: Removing Marker from wood

This tip has come in handy SO many times!!
To remove permanent marker from wood floors, dab a small amount of white toothpaste on the area and vigorously scrub until the marker is gone. Has worked every time for me!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Tis the season for warm, hearty foods on a cozy evening, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch! There is nothing I like more!

Please feel free to SHARE your favourite soup recipes below for everyone to try!!! I would also LOVE to expand my soup database this Winter :)

Here is a favourite of mine--and so simple!


1 1/4 tablespoons melted butter
5/8 medium chopped onion
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup flour
2 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
5/8 lb fresh broccoli
1 1/4 cups carrot, julienned
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
10 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 to taste salt and pepper
*You can also add a pinch of garlic to the recipe*


1 Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.
2 Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.
3 Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4 Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.
5 Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don't. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baked Apples in a Bag

 Great for the whole family!

Want a healthy, quick snack that will satisfy your cravings?? TASTES LIKE APPLE PIE FILLING AND

I had originally saw this recipe posted on Pinterest, but I played around with it a bit until it was to my liking!

All you need is:

1 small-medium sized apple (the original called for Granny Smith, but I used Empire)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4tsp Cornstarch
1 spoonful of sugar (or sweetner if preferred)
1 tsp of water
 1 Medium Sized Ziploc freezer bag (durable to withstand heat in microwave) or use a microwave-safe contained with lid.
Raisins, nuts, etc optional


1. The original recipe called for peeled OR unpeeled apple slices, however, the first time I attempted the recipe, I wasn't too fond of the cooked 'skin' taste.
2. Place apple slices & all ingredients in Ziploc bag, close and shake until all pieces are covered.
3. Open a small corner of the bag to act as a vent for steam.
4. Microwave for 2 minutes--let sit before removing from microwave as the bag will be VERY hot!
5. Open up, take a fork and dig in!!


Tip of the Day # 104: Keeping socks in Order

Place a mesh bag on each family member's door handle--have each person throw their socks in their bag every night. Come laundry day, just zip each bag up and throw directly in the washer and dryer--not only will it stop confusion on which socks belong to whom, but also, socks won't go missing in the dryer! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tip of the Day # 103: Adding Vinegar to Meat

When defrosting meat from the freezer, pour some vinegar over it. Not only does it tenderize the meat; it will also bring down the freezing temperature of the meat and cause it to thaw quicker.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tip of the Day # 102: Storing Containers

When storing empty airtight containers, throw in a pinch of salt to keep them from getting stinky.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tip of the Day # 101: What produce to NOT put in Fridge

Never put CITRUS FRUITS or TOMATOES in the fridge. The low temperatures degrade the aroma and flavor!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tip of the Day # 100: Preserve your Potatoes

(Photo curteousy of
I had posted this tip a VERY long time ago and was reminded to post it again!! You can also place an apple in your bag of potatoes to do the same thing :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tip of the day # 99: Organize your Scarves

I have a slight scarf obsession and always found it difficult to keep them organized in my closet; that is until I thought of using shower rings on a hanger!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tip of the Day # 98: Home Improvements

Very useful tip when doing improvements around the house!

Tip of the Day # 97: Winter Ice Tips for Cars

TRICK TO PREVENTING ICE ON YOUR WINDOWS--Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water and spray on your car windows at night. In the morning, they should be clear of the icy mess. IF you already have icy windows in the morning, spraying the mixture on all windows will melt the ice immediately!
ALSO, spray cooking spray on the rubber seals around car doors and rub it in with

a paper towel to prevent doors from being frozen shut.
De-icing your car locks is as easy as putting some hand sanitizer gel on the key and the lock to solve the problem. Why does this work? Because hand sanitizers contain alcohol, the main ingredient in most commercial de-icers. Just make sure to use a hand sanitizer that’s 60% alcohol (anything less will not work.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

DIY Holiday Decoration

Why pay expensive prices for decorations when you can easily make them yourself! Here is a Christmas decoration I designed for my mantle. The first photo just shows the texture I applied to the canvas with plain Elmer's glue! I then painted a layer of brown paint on the canvas, followed by the cream/white colour. Lastly, I took an emery board and rubbed it over certain areas to give it that "vintage look." You can make any word by purchasing the wooden letters at your local craft store and painting them a colour that matches your home decor. Hot glue gun ribbon to the back of each letter and then adhere to the back of the canvas as well. It's that simple!

Tip of the Day # 96: Removing Stains from Suede

To remove small stains from suede shoes, gently rub a file (either side) across the problem area a few times to get rid of the splotch and they will look like new! Great for those winter months with boots! :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tip of the Day #95: DIY Microfiber Couch Cleaner

Last night, I took the time the time to clean my entire microfiber couch because it was looking a little worn and stained my from kiddos! So what did I use?? RUBBING ALCOHOL & A SCRUB BRUSH! Just pour the bottle of rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and spray generously over your entire cushion surface (doing one cushion at a time), then scrub with the brush. It takes a bit of elbow grease, but definitely worth it! Feel free to repeat on spots that are worse than others :)

Tip of the Day #94: Make your Home smell Heavenly

Make your home smell heavenly by adding two capfuls of vanilla extract to a ceramic mug and placing in the oven at 300degrees F for one hour :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tip of the Day #93: Preventing Spiders

Another excellent way to rid and prevent your home from the invasion of spiders is to pour peppermint oil into a squirt bottle with a tiny bit of water and squirt around door frames and windows.