try it tuesday: quick fix

I swear if I didn’t know it was definitely, 100% not true, I’d think I was nesting. A strange urge came over me on the weekend to change things up in our house. We are renting, so we can’t go too wild and crazy, but there was one idea my Mum and I had discussed long ago that came to mind.

Here’s the before-we-moved-in state of the kitchen. It’s the closest thing I have to a proper before photo. Notice the dusty rose countertops and the gold-and-rose cabinet knobs?


The colour wasn’t so bad once we actually furnished our kitchen with our mostly-black-and-stainless-steel, countertop appliances. But I still wasn’t grooving on those knobs. So a quick trip to Rona and $40 later …

So, look around. What small switch could make a huge difference in your home?

try it tuesday: bling storage

Note: I know I owe you a Meatless Monday … it will probably pop up later today. I had words with Blogger yesterday. Luckily, we appear to be on speaking terms again.


This week’s fab Try it Tuesday project comes to you all the way from Cape Breton where lovely sister-in-law C did some inspired repurposing in her new home.

She started with a couple old frames, and popped the centres out:


Then she painted them to coordinate with her bedroom, and added chains that she had stashed among her jewellery making supplies.


Et voila, instant bling storage:


No only is it super convenient, but her impressive earring collection now does double duty as part of her decor! Well done, C!

try it tuesday

So, a few weeks ago I got my hair cut. I didn’t really need a hair cut. But when I pay an arm and a leg to get it done, I like to notice a difference. So I foolishly encouraged the stylist to keep cutting. Now, I’m in hair purgatory. You know, not short enough, not long enough? Annoying.

Months ago I saw an ad for Goody’s new bobby pin alternative, the Spin Pin. I ducked into the hair accessories aisle at Walmart and Shoppers on and off, checking for the product that was first available in the U.S. Finally, last week, I found some.


They come in differnt colours; I chose brunette. I’m actually pretty impressed with these little corkscrews. They really do work. I have some layers, so I find they work better if my hair is damp.

I wanted to show you photos of my own hair, but it seems that one of my spin pins has gone missing. I’m sure there is a cat to blame.
Here’s a video of how they work. You can find many more like this on YouTube.

*This post was not sponsored by Goody, I just happen to think this product is genius. Try it!

try it tuesday

Holla. It’s TRY IT TUESDAY!

On a recent trip to Walmart with friends A and D, we were on the hunt for some good glass cleaner for car windows. D asked one of the associates in the service centre for his recommendation, and he said the best thing to use is one cup of vinegar mixed with a gallon of water and use newspaper instead of paper towel. Easy enough, and we didn’t have to spend $6.50 a can on the special car-window foam.

Instead of mixing such a high volume, I did the math went to Google and figured out that there are 16 cups in a gallon … so here are my smaller ratios:
1 cup vinegar: 16 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar: 8 cups water
1/4 cup vinegar: 4 cups water
You’re welcome.
So I mixed it up, filled an empty spray bottle and went to work. In sake of real science, I used the homemade recipe to clean one of our front windows, and Windex to clean the other.

There’s nothing streak-free about that shine. This is the water and vinegar window. I scrubbed and wiped with the newspaper and it just didn’t absorb the excess like paper towel.
Admittedly, Windex worked much better. The downside to the paper towel is the white lint dust that’s left over.
So I did a little switcheroo, using the homemade solution with paper towel, which seems like a reasonable compromise, no?
So the moral of the story, use the vinegar you already have in the cupboard instead of spending money on brand-name, chemical glass cleaner. Not only am I saving my pennies, but I have the added peace-of-mind of knowing that any left-over residue on the glass or window sills is completely safe for little fingers.

try it tuesday

In my efforts to try new things in the kitchen, I made my first batch of ginger molasses cookies recently. And my first thought? Why the heck haven’t I made these before?! They’re soo easy!


Giant Ginger Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves (I didn’t have cloves, so I used all spice)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup sugar (This is for rolling the cookies before baking. I didn’t need this much. I’d say use a little at a time as needed.)
Combine together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.

Shape dough into 2-inch balls (this is flexible; you can make smaller cookies and bake less time accordingly). Roll balls in the 3/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar (I used regular granulated sugar but next time I think I’ll spring for the coarse stuff to make them prettier).

Bake at 350F for 12 to 14 minutes (10 minutes in my hell fire oven) or until cookies are light brown and puffed.

The key? Definitely don’t over-bake. If you do, you’ll have ginger snaps on your hands, though admittedly there are worse things to have than ginger snaps.


Now all you need is a scratch and sniff computer screen. Mmm …

try it tuesday


Woah! How surprised are you to see a new post? Yeah, me too. Remember when I posted that I would be getting back of the bloggy swing of things in the new year? Well it’s been the new year for 11 whole days now. Shame on me. But I’m back. I promise.
And to prove it … drumrolllll … it’s Try it Tuesday!
This has to be one of my absolute favourite recipes — Bran Muffins! But the thing that makes this recipe unique is that the batter keeps in the fridge for weeks. Make as many as you want at a time and you’ll always have fresh muffins, hot from the oven.
First, a disclaimer. Don’t be alarmed by the mammoth proportions on the ingredients list. Once you’ve tasted these bad boys, you’ll be happy the recipe was so huge.
Best Bran Muffins Ever
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 litre buttermilk
5 cups flour
5 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
4 cups bran flakes
2 cups All Bran
2 cups boiling water
Combine the first seven ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour both types of cereal on top of the batter. Don’t mix cereal in just yet. Pour the boiling water over the cereal and let it sit for a few minutes so the cereal gets nice and soft. Then mix it all together.
Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes.
Enjoy with melted butter and a big glass of milk!

try it tuesday

It’s been a while since I experimented with a new recipe. I copied down my mom-in-law’s recipe for zucchini walnut bread a long time ago, but never got around to making it … until this mammoth veggie found its way into my kitchen.
Sister-in-law L sent us some garden fresh veggies, including a few zucchinis big enough to feed a small army. So I tried out this straight-forward loaf recipe.
Zucchini Walnut Bread
Combine:
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt
Fold in:
3 1/4 cups flour
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
Bake in greased loaf pan at 350F for 45 to 60 minutes.
This recipe makes a really big loaf. If you’re using small loaf pans, you might want to split this into two or halve the recipe. I didn’t get around to taking a photo of the final result because it was just too yummy! Try it!

try it tuesday


I have to say that I’d really like to be giving birth as my Try It Tuesday this week … but I hold out absolutely no hope that it will actually happen today, so how about muffins instead? Sounds more pleasant, doesn’t it?
I made a new recipe recently that I really think is worth sharing. While we’re at it, let’s make it a Try It Tuesday, because trust me, you’re going to want to try this one for yourself!

Whole Grain Banana-Pecan Muffins (Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey (you can substitute 1/4 c. sugar here if you prefer)
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large bananas or 3 smaller ones)
1/3 c. low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. pecans, chopped
1/4 c. packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, honey (if using), and butter. Add each egg in one at a time, combining completely after each addition but not over-mixing. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined (don’t over-mix).

Admittedly, I didn’t read the recipe fully and tossed all the pecans right into the batter. Oopsie! I chopped some extra to be added to the tops. Turned out well though. A happy mistake.

Divide the batter evenly (so the cups are about 2/3 full) among 15-16 muffin tins. I actually filled just 12 cups up to the brim, providing lots of batter for the muffins to grow little tops in the oven. Combine the chopped pecans and brown sugar and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Bake for 23-28 minutes.

These are so tasty! Not too sweet; perfect for breakfast on the go. Enjoy!