March 29, 2016

vintage freezer basket


a few weeks ago my mom took me to this amazing antique market out by them (aka out by hamilton).  she had been mentioning it for a while, but it is only open on sundays, which made getting there a little bit hard.

well, we finally made it.  and it was awesome!

it was a dreary, rainy day - the perfect type of day to hunt through stacks of old books and admire walls filled with beautiful pyrex.  she picked up a beautiful glass water jug, and i scored this adorable freezer basket.  it's so unique, and the snowflakes are adorable.

i am thinking it would look cute in the closet, with some chunky winter sweaters piled inside.

what do you think? what would you use a basket like this for?  i'd love to hear your suggestions.

-d

March 25, 2016

[anything goes] citrus lemonade



happy long weekend!

i don't know about you, but i have been loving the bright sunny days we have been having lately (excluding the horrible, slushy, rainy weather we had yesterday!).  it is always hard to lose that hour of precious sleep, but it always ends up worth it when you leave your office at the end of the day and the sun is still out.  that brightness is the best reminder that warmer days are coming.

with spring always comes a renewed optimism for the year ahead.  at least in this house hold. all the positive vibes that come around new years get lost in the haze of snow and cold, and find their way back around this time of year.  and what screams sunny days and warmer weather more than lemonade.

this fun, zesty lemonade was more of a necessity to use up citrus fruits around the house.  our fruit and veggie stand was looking a little full, with aging blood oranges, clementines, limes and lemons.  i hate to throw food out, so i wanted to use up as many as i could before they were beyond use.  and any excuse to make lemonade is a good one in my books!
  

[anything goes] citrus lemonade
makes 3-4 servings

[what you need]

1 cup of juice, from whatever citrus fruits you have *
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups water

* the fun part about this is you can use any fruits you have: oranges, lemons, limes.  i love the pink tint the blood orange gave this batch of lemonade.
  

[to make]

strain your juice to remove any seeds or pulp.  combine with sugar in a small saucepan.  bring to a boil, until sugar dissolves.  let the mixture cool.

in a jug or large mason jar, combine the juice mixture with 3 cups of water.  give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients.

serve lemonade over ice, and garnish with slices of lemons and/or limes.

enjoy!

-d

March 07, 2016

upcycled tin can planter


over the past few weeks b and i have been rooting some plant pieces that have fallen off plants we currently have.  and by fallen off i mean came in contact with our lovely cats who wanted to further explore the plants.  the little one especially loves plants.

my mom is a wiz with plants, and has rooted several for me in the past, so i thought i'd do the same.  it cannot be that hard, right?    

after a few weeks of patiently waiting, little roots began to grow.  and after a few more, it became time to pot them.  the only problem is that we had taken all of our little pots to storage in an effort to save space (ie: the weekend i spent purging after reading the magical art of tidying up).  

so we needed to get creative with how we were going to pot these cuties.

b actually came up with the idea to use one of the old tins we had.  and i have to say, i love the look of the tin as a planter.  the best part, the tin we used had a plastic lid, which works perfectly as a tray for any excess water.


upcycled tin plant holder

[what you need]

- an old tin, washed clean.  a tin with a plastic lid works well because the lid can become a tray to catch any excess water.
- screw driver
- small rocks
- soil
- plant


[to make]

take your screw driver and punch holes in the bottom of the tin.  this will allow the water to properly drain through the soil.

to assemble the planter, line the bottom with a few layers of rocks (at least 1").  this will (also) help with drainage when you water the plant.  next, add soil.  fill your tin up about 3/4 of the way.

add your plant.  be sure that the plant you have selected for your planter fits in comfortably, with a bit of room for growth.  pack down and top up the soil as needed.

and that's it. wasn't that simple!

now you have an adorable, upcycled tin planter.  i love the rustic, charming look the tin adds.

happy planting!

-d

February 25, 2016

chocolate chip biscotti



i had always imagined that making homemade biscotti would be a long, complicated process.  something about them screamed long and labour intensive to me.

at work a few weeks ago my co-worker was talking about doing some baking, and mentioned biscotti. when i mentioned my concerns about the amount of time needed, she said they were actually really easy.  and promptly sent me a copy of her favourite recipe.

and i have to say, she was right!  these guys are actually quite easy to make.  they bake a long time, but long enough that you can do other things while they are in the oven.  and the best part, you can do just about anything to them.  chocolate, nuts, dried fruit - you name it, it can be done!  



chocolate chip biscotti
makes approximately two dozen

basic biscotti recipe from canadian living

[you will need]

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup  granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 egg white
1 brick semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


[to make ]

preheat oven t 325 degrees.

in a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy.  add in eggs, one at a time, until combined.  beat in vanilla.  in a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

stir into the butter mixture in stages, until just combined.  this forms the basic biscotti dough.

add chocolate chops into the dough, and stir to combine.  divide dough in half.

on a lightly floured surface, roll out each half of the dough into a long log shape, approximately 12 inches in length.  place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, two inches apart.  press to flatten slightly.  combine egg white with 1 tsp water, and brush on top of logs.  this will help the biscotti golden on top.

bake the biscotti logs at 325 for approximately 35 minutes, until firm and until lightly golden.

let the biscotti cool, on the pan, for 10-20 minutes, until they are easy to handle.  once cool, using a sharp knife cut the logs diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces.

place pieces back onto the baking sheet, standing upright and slightly apart (about 1/2 inch).  bake at 300 degrees for another 35 minutes, until almost dry.  transfer pieces to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

once the biscotti are cool, you can make the chocolate dip.  in a saucepan, melt the chocolate pieces, stirring until smooth.  let cool for a few minutes.

dip an end of the biscotti pieces into the chocolate.  let the chocolate drip off, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

there you have it, your very own homemade biscotti!  they taste just as good as the ones you get in a coffee shop.  enjoy!

-d

February 10, 2016

toronto wish list - winter edition





when the temperatures drop it becomes all too easy to stay in side, rock a pair of comfy sweats and never leave the warmth and comfort of our little home.  but there are always so many fun and interesting things happening in the city during the winter months.  this year i want to focus on accomplishing a few of them!


my plan for this winter is to load up on layers, grab a thermos full of hot tea, and do some serious winter exploring.  for this winter season, i want to:

- try cross country skiing.  i have done snow shoeing many times (and love it), but i thought that it would be fun to mix things up a little and try cross country skiing.  have you ever done it?

- go skating.  our city is full of public skating rinks.  they host events (like dj skate night down at harbourfront), have some really neat skating trails and venues, and have smaller rinks in just about every neighbourhood in the city.

- explore wards island.  i know what you are thinking, the island in the winter, are you nuts!  it will definitely be cold, but there are actually a few fun things to do on the island in the winter.  brunch at the cozy rectory cafe, a visit to far enough farm, or skating on the lagoons around the island are just a few of the fun activities the island offers in the winter months.

what things are you looking forward to doing this winter?

-d

February 01, 2016

bathroom tour






if 2015 was the year of the bedroom in this household, than 2016 is the year of the bathroom.  i have so many ideas for the space that i am bursting!  some big plans for this small space.

in the meantime, i thought i would share the bathroom as it currently stands.  partially finished.

so far, we gave the room a quick coat of paint to hide the builders paint, swapped out the vanity knobs for some cute clear knobs from anthropologie (on sale!), picked up a rustic hook from a vintage shop near by, hung some simple ikea shelves to create extra storage, and added the cute WC plaque for a bit of character.

the space is coming along, but it definitely does not feel finished yet.  i cannot wait to get to work on the room in the coming months.

thanks for letting me share!

-d

January 25, 2016

veggie burger with [homemade] fries + salad



back in university a friend of mine and i had a bit of a tradition.  after work or a particularly stressful week, we'd meet at a pub in the downtown core and get our pub classic - a (veggie) burger.  this particular pub appealed to us because it allowed you do get half fries + half salad.  it's the perfect meal - you got the greasy fries you want, with a hearty dose of veggies.

since moving into the condo, this is one of the traditions b and i have managed to replicate at home.  with a pint of beer, it's the perfect saturday evening meal, from the comfort of your own home.


veggie burgers with [homemade] fries + salad

[what you need]

veggie burgers - tonight we were looking for a quick meal - these burgers were yves brand veggie burger.  if you are looking to make your own, this lentil burger is amazing and holds up really well on the bbq.  and, of course, regular beef burgers would work just as well.

fries - oven roasted fries (recipe below).

salad - any salad will do.  tonight's version was a simple one with lettuce, spinach, red kale, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts and this balsamic apple vinaigrette.

drink - a pint of your favourite beer.


[oven roasted] fries
serves 2

[you will need]

3 or 4 potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of oregano, basil and parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder

[to make]

preheat the oven to 425 degrees. slice up potatoes.  the thinner you make them, the more crispy they turn out.  toss potatoes in olive oil, herbs and garlic powder.  bake for approximately 25 minutes, until crispy, flipping half way through.

there you have it - a quick, simple to make, pub classic at home.  hope you love it as much as we do.  enjoy!

-d

January 14, 2016

antique shopping [a few tips]


antique shopping is something b & i both really enjoy doing.  something about the thrill of the hunt, the unique things you can find, & the history of the items.  our little home is full of them - items handed handed down from family or purchased during an afternoon exploring.  they give our home so much warmth and character.

i could spend all my days hunting for cute pyrex dishes or vintage mason jars.  they are my weakness!  one of the great things about antique shopping is you never know what you'll find.  i am convinced some of the coolest things were made decades ago, just waiting for someone like me (or you!) to find.  


i've compiled a few tips to make your antique-hunting experiences more enjoyable:

[have a plan]
keep a wish list of sorts, a list of items you are looking for.  antique markets are usually packed full of things and can get overwhelming.  having a list will keep you organized, on track and remind you what you are looking for.  

[evaluate] 
is the item really worth the price ?  this is a bit of a personal decision - what you value may not be as valuable to someone else, and vice versa.  i am a sucker for pyrex (love pyrex!) but i have a limit as to what i will pay.  i really believe that if you are patient, you'll find what you want in a price range you are comfortable with.


[shop around] 
the thing with antiques is that they have a different value for just about every vendor. a cute jar at one vendor may be twice the price of another vendor. luckily, a lot of antique markets are stalls, which makes it a lot easier to shop around to find the best deal.  you can always place an item on hold and decide whether you love it as you continue to shop.

[have a use for the item]
why do you want this item? do you have a use for it?  is there a spot for it to go in your home?  i absolutely love mason jars, but if left to my own devices i could buy 15 at a time.  unfortunately, given the size of our space (remember, we live in a small condo) i cannot justify purchasing them just for the sake of having them. they need to have a purpose.  being mindful of your space, and having a use for the item, will make you appreciate it more.  

[branch out beyond antique markets] 
while antique markets are really great, they are not the only place to find antiques.  garage sales, thrift stores, the reuse store, & websites like craigslist & kijiji are great places to look for those one-of-a-kind items that you are hunting for.  i found a beautiful milk glass lamp on craigslist after hunting in store for weeks.

have any tips of your own? please share - i'm a sucker for a great tip.  

happy hunting!   

- d