Outfit // March 29

Off-the-Shoulder Top, H&M, $29.99 CAD | White Vintage High Rise Jeans, Zara, $39.90 CAD | Bow Sneakers, Shoedazzle, $39.95 CAD | Vegan Wrap Bracelet, Victoria Emerson, $27 USD | Sunglasses, Forever21, $8.90 CAD

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45 Minute Vegan Lox

It really is amazing the flavors that you can emulate using only plants. Most of the vegan lox recipes I’ve seen require you to marinate the carrots overnight (Which I am far too impatient for!). I’ve come up with this recipe so that you can have this dish on your table to devour in less than 45 minutes. The texture of the carrots and the flavor from the dulse makes it hard to believe that this meal is vegan. Try it and I can guarantee you that you will amaze your guests!

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45 Minute Vegan Lox

Serves 4
1 Bundle of Carrots
2 cups Water
2 tbsp Soy or Tamari
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tbsp White Rice Vinegar
1 Large Handful of Dulse (or 3 Nori Sheets if you can’t find Dulse)
Bagels
Vegan Cream Cheese
Red Onions, finely sliced
Dill
Capers
Grapeseed oil for roasting

Preheat oven to 375. Place the (unskinned) carrots on a roasting tray, lightly cover carrots with grapeseed oil. Bake for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking. Make sure to keep checking your carrots – you want them cooked, but not mushy or too soft that you can’t slice them. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrots into thin slices and place in a container for marinating.

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For the marinade, boil the water, white rice vinegar and the dulse. Bring to a rolling boil and remove from heat. Add the soy sauce and liquid smoke. Strain the marinade in order to remove the seaweed. While mixture is still warm, pour over carrots. Place the carrots in the fridge to cool.

Garnish toasted bagels with cream cheese, vegan lox, sliced red onions, dill and capers. Serve and enjoy.

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Do try this one and please leave your comments – this recipe is a winner!

Grayson’s Spring Picks

Because every little boy likes to look dapper, Grayson would like to share his picks for this Spring with his fellow little gentlemen out there.

 

(Clockwise from top left) Converse Allstar, $39.99 CAD| Rain Boots, $24 CAD |Reversible Quilted Vest, $25.00 CAD |Oslo the Otter Long Sleeve, $32 CAD | Pocket Henley, $9 CAD |Jersey-Lined Raincoat, $38 CAD |Cotton Beanie $16.99 CAD |Joggers $19.99 CAD |Cotton Hooded Sweatshirt, $14.99 CAD | Patagonia Reversible Jacket, $89 CAD

 

Quick & Easy Veggie Soup

Easy does it in this household. If I can cook it in one pot, believe me it’s part of my meal roster. Not only is this soup chalkful of amazing veggies that are excellent for you (as evidenced by the bright, green color!), but it is also creamy, SUPER healthy and filling. This recipe is a staple in my house and is also a huge hit with the kid – who is 19 months old and is super picky right now! A must try!

Easy Veggie Soup
Recipe yields 4-6 Servings
2 Leek, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium Butternut squash, diced
1/2 medium bunch of Kale, rinsed and torn
1/2 Large Cauliflower
1 carton Veggie Broth
Grapeseed oil for sauteeing
Herbes de Province (if you don’t have Herbes de Province, you can add in a bit of Italian herb mix which will work just as well)
Salt and Pepper to taste

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Add a dash of grapeseed oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add leek, constantly stirring until translucent (you want to avoid browning, as this will muck up the flavor of the soup). Add in your garlic and continue to simmer. Add in kale and stir until the kale has wilted (you have about 1/4 of the kale than you started with, right!?).  Add in the Hebes de province (or herbs/spices of your choice) to release some of the oils in the dried herbs before adding in the liquids.

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Pour in the veggie broth. Add the cauliflower and butternut squash. Cover and reduce to medium-low. Let the soup boil for about 15-20 minutes or until the butternut squash and cauliflower are fork tender.

Remove from heat and add to a blender (or use an immersion blender directly in your pot).  You’ll probably have to do this in batches, so have a container for the soup ready.  Blend until a smooth, creamy texture. Be careful when you blend hot soup – put the cover on your blender, remove the small cover and use a dishcloth to gently cover the opening.  You’ll want to allow for a bit of steam to escape as hot soups can turn into a very hot (and possibly dangerous!) disaster when blending if you’re not careful! Season with salt and pepper once blended and still hot.

Garnish with a dash of grapeseed oil , your favorite spices and enjoy!

This recipe can be easily frozen for several months and will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.

 

4 Rosés to Try this Summer

I’m a fan of rosé – Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall.  If you haven’t jumped on the wagon yet, it’s time you get on-board – rosé has come back in a big way.  Along with Chardonnay, Rosés have cleared their (undeserving) poor reputations and made a serious comeback over the past few years. I’m no Sommelier…but I know a good rosé when I taste one! Here’s a few you must try – ranging from extremely affordable to a great bottle to celebrate a special occasion (like the arrival of nice weather!)

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Simboli Pinot Grigio Rosé
This Pinot Grigio rosé is never leaving my roster. The price for the quality is unmatched. This wine is ever-so slightly sweet and very light with a fruity nose. For around $13, this one is a must-try.

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Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses
The first thing you notice about this wine is how simply beautiful the bottle is. This wine is slightly dry with obvious hints of rose petals but still on the fruity side. This rosé would pair nicely with some BBQ veggies and hummus. About $18.

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Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel 2016
This is hands down my favorite rosé (fun fact: also Kelly Ripa’s favorite rosé). It is extremely easy to drink, with a floral and fruity scent. It is very, very refreshing and on the more dry side. Pair with anything. Or on it’s own. Whatever, just try this one if you haven’t already (it might be hard to get your hands on these days). About $27

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La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé Monterey 2016
La Crema is known for excellent wines, and like their namesake, they are truly smooth. This rosé is a Pinot Noir so its a bit darker and has a fruity, almost grapefruit aroma. It’s definitely the most vibrant of the bunch, with its undertones of fresh berries. This would pair nicely with an full evening meal as the sun sets on a warm, summer night. About $30

frose-frozen-rosePicture and Frozé recipe from Bon Appetit

Bonus: for those Ultra hot Summer nights, grab your favorite and make a Frosé!  It’s exactly what it sounds like – a Frozen Rosé – almost like a granita…only boozier!

Santé!

 

Fruit Ceviche: Olé!

The weather has been nothing short of crazy this Winter. From bone chilling cold, to mild through to snowmaggeddon, its been a wild ride and we only have a few weeks to go! What better way to forget about the frightful weather and welcome Spring than to have some margaritas paired with a delightful fruit ceviche. Invite a few friends over for a fun afternoon, crank up the heat a few degrees, put on some Summer tunes and enjoy this fun dish!

Fruit Ceviche
Serves 4
2 Ripe Mango
4 green or golden Kiwi
1 medium Honeydew Melon
2 Ripe Avocado
1/2 Red Onion
Juice of 2 Limes
1/2 Bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Season with Red Pepper Flakes

This recipe is super simple! Simply dice up your fruit and avocado into small cubes. To prevent your avocado from browning, quickly toss in a few squeezes of lime juice.

Finely slice your onions and dice (small enough so you don’t get a huge onion chunk, but large enough so it isn’t minced).

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Add all fruit into a large bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Mix well so that the lime juice is well-incorporated. Be delicate as you mix – you want the avocado to maintain its shape and not turn the ceviche into a guacamole. Can be kept in the fridge for 2 days but best served room-temperature.

Easter Cocktail: Blackberry Gin with Rosemary

What better way to celebrate Easter with your family and friends than with a refreshing, pastel-colored beverage?  The blackberries release a slight hint of sweetness and the rosemary brings out the juniper in the Gin. This cocktail is not only super easy but looks beautiful when served on a white tray to enhance the light purple color. Give it a try – you’ll only need a small bottle of gin for 6-8 drinks (depending on how strong you like them)!

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Easter Blackberry Gin with Rosemary
1 372 ml bottle of Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
1 bottle Soda Water (I used Perrier)
1 Pint of Blackberries
1 Pack of Rosemary
Cheese Cloth
Mason Jar
Ice to serve
Optional: Simple syrup

Wash half a pint of blackberries and place into a piece of cheese cloth. Tie the loose ends into a knot. Place into your mason jar. Add two small sprigs of Rosemary. Pour in the bottle of Gin. Gently (do not pulverize!) squeeze down some of the blackberries with the end of a wooden spoon to release some of the blackberry juice. Cover, and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours (if you can leave it for 48-72, that would be even better!)

Once your Gin has sat for a few days, it’ll turn into a beautiful purple color.  Fill your tumblers halfway with ice.  Add a few blackberries.  Pour a shot (or two – depending on the size of your glass) into your tumblers.  Fill the remainder of the glass with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Serve to guests to drink right away!

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If you prefer your drinks on the sweeter side, you can always add a little bit of simple syrup before you add in the Soda water. I wouldn’t reccomend substituting the Soda for 7Up or Sprite, though – it will take away from the delicate blackberry and rosemary flavors.

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Cheers!

4 Easy Ways to Bring your Home into Spring

This Winter feels like a bad rash that just won’t go away! Get ready to put away your ulta-thick duvet and gear up for Spring. Here’s a few simple ways you can bring your home decor into Spring and Summer without freezing up your bank account (see what I did there?).

Put away those Blankets in Pretty Baskets
You dont have to stash away your blankets in the closet – you can keep them easily accessible for chilly nights by putting them into a cute basket which is not only functional, but can also add some style to an empty corner.

Emlyn Basket, Crate and Barrel, $139 CAD | Metal and Wood Basket, Zone Maison, $49 CAD | Basket with Handles, Ikea, $12.99 CAD (steal!) | Tassel Basket, Anthropologie, $78-$88 CAD

Bring Some Greenery In
It’s no secret that bringing fresh plants into the home helps clean the air and helps to bring the indoors into the home. If you dont have a greenthumb or a nursery nearby, there’s nothing wrong with adding some artificial plants into your home. Big, tropical foliage, Fig Trees and Terrarium Succulents are all beautiful and on trend for this Spring (plus they’ll last even if you decide to take off for a few weeks this Summer – lucky you!). See my post on making your own Artificial Succulent Box!

Homemade Succulent Box | Berlin Planter, Zone Maison, $188 CAD | Fiddle Leaf Tree, Structube, $149 CAD | 3 Piece Succulent Set, Wayfair, $73.99 CAD

New Accent Pillows
If you’re itching to make a change, but don’t want to invest in any pricy items, a great way to bring color into your home or onto your patio is to buy some fun accent pillows.  They’re (usually!) fairly inexpensive so you can change them out with the seasons and play with different color palettes.

Leaves Accent Pillow, Urban Barn, $39.00 CAD |Indigo Cross Cushion, Simons, $35 CAD| Jacob Pillow, LD Shoppe, $40 CAD  Cherita Cotton Throw Pillow, Wayfair, $48.49 CAD

Get some new “Stemware” 
You don’t have to use the same wine glasses or stemware year-round.  If you do though,  look for a nice shatterproof set that will do double duty – that can go from an afternoon on the patio into the house for dinner. Plus, if you have one too many margaritas on that first 20 degree day with your friends, you wont be left cleaning up a terrible mess if one happens to fall off the table! Look to get a fun, colorful set as well as a clear, classy set so you’re prepared for whatever the occasion.

Set of 4 Glacier Acrylic Wine Glasses, Stokes,  $17.99 CAD | Cool Blue Shatterproof White Wine Glass, Bed Bath and Beyond, $5.99 USD | Set of 6 Plastic Highball Glasses, Wayfair, $74.99 | Set of 4 Shatterproof White Wine Glasses, William Sonoma, $39.95 USD

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Bonus: I love the teal color of this set – would look great out on the patio with some of the fun pillows above! Pitcher & Glasses Set, Bed Bath & Beyond, $69.99 CAD

Now…bundle up, get to shopping, and count down the days until patio season – we’re almost there!

DIY: No-Maintenance Succulent Box

I’ve been searching high and low for a cute succulent planter but haven’t been able to find one.  I decided to try to find an artificial one and found two things: they either look super fake or are insanely expensive. So, I decided to stop hunting and make my own!

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I bought all of the artifical succulents from Michaels (box and foam insert too), and arranged them in a natural fashion – not too even, of different sizes and colors. You can buy a circular metal planter and make a centerpiece, or a rectangular box to sit on a windowsill or mantle. I found that the artificial succulents at Michaels looked the most realistic – even the large Hens and Chicks have texture to the leaves which makes them look that much more real. The entire project cost me less than $80. Bonus: you won’t have to remember to water these!

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The box was a natural wood and I wanted it a bit lighter to go with the white decor. I quickly painted each side of the box with white interior paint, and half wiped it off with a rag while it was still wet.

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Get creative – lets see what you come up with!