Friday, June 28, 2013

Luscious Lemon Bars

One of my favourite flavours of the summer is lemon; lemonade, iced tea with lemon wedges, and of course lemon bars.

Check out this recipe that I found on the blog "Pass The Sushi":


  • Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened & cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Filling:
  • 7 large egg yolks, plus 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 7/8 oz) sugar
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
To make the crust: Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out after they’ve baked.  Spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray.
Add the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and process to blend, about 8-10 seconds.  Pulse just a few more times, until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.  Dump the mixture into the prepared baking pan and use the tips of your fingers to press it into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes.
While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the crust bakes, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and eggs together until combined.  Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the sugar to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.  Finally, add the lemon juice and salt and whisk until all ingredients are blended.
Transfer the filling to a medium saucepan and add the butter.  Stirring continuously, cook over medium-low heat until the curd thickens slightly and registers 170 F on an instant-read thermometer.  Pour the curd through a strainer into a medium heatproof bowl.  Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.  Pour the filling over the warm crust (this is important – you don’t want to let the crust cool before adding the filling).
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the filling is shiny and the center jiggles just slightly when shaken.  Remove the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.  Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
Take Care,


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Land Sports Meet Water {Aqua Spin Classes}

During one of my many Pinterest sprees I came across this amazing fact: there is such a thing as "Aqua Spin Classes".

I am already I lover of the classic Spin classes, but find that since I have bad knees that if I do a Spin class more than 3 times a week that my knees start feeling the pain. With Aqua Spin classes, this problem can be eliminated!

Spark People describes Aqua Spinning as "a high-intensity workout in the water. The use of water supports the body and reduces the risk of sports injuries. It is a great form of exercise for people with joint problems and those who want an intense workout" .

So not only would you be getting a great workout that will torch calories and burn fat (also think of the added challenge and resistance in the water), but you will also help to reduce injuries that can otherwise set you back from achieving your fitness goals. I don't know about you, but I cannot wait to find an Aqua Spinning class near me!

Take Care,


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Now Pronounce You Mr & Mrs...

Wedding Season is upon us, and with that there will be plenty of new couples joining in the union of their love for one another in marital bliss.

With that being said, why not proudly display that in your home in creative ways like in this cozy master bedroom:

This wall decal is a cute and creative way to celebrate your marriage; a monogrammed accent wall stating Mr. & Mrs. (or Mr. & Mr/ Mrs. & Mrs.) and the initial of your last name in a coordinating colour to your walls centered behind like you see in the image above.

To all of the couples out there, young and old, whether celebrating your 1 year anniversary or your 50th, congratulations and best wishes!

Take Care,


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sweet & Savory Balsamic Chicken Pizza

I love pizza, so any time I find a new recipe that I haven't tried before, I have to save it to my computer and make it later. Try out this summer pizza made with chicken, apple wood smoked bacon, sweet onion and strawberries, creating a sweet and savory flavour.


1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves, I used my Strawberry-Pineapple Freezer Jam, use your favorite
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce
1 ball pizza dough, your favorite or this recipe or a purchased ball of dough*
1 cup diced or shredded chicken breast, from rotisserie chicken or left over chicken of any kind
1/2 cup applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces, cooked and drained
1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion
12 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese, I used Sargento, but whatever you like best is fine
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced small


Place pizza stone or sheet pan on middle rack of oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes or until reduced to half of original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry preserves and sriracha and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Pat or roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately a 14 inch circle. Shape does not have to be perfect, this is a rustic pizza. Place a piece of parchment paper, slightly larger than your dough on a pizza peel or an upside down sheet pan. (The parchment paper will make your transfer of the pizza to the oven infinitely easier!) Sprinkle parchment paper lightly with cornmeal. Fold dough in quarters and place on parchment paper, then unfold.
Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce. Pour remaining sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover. Leave 1 inch border all around the edge.
Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of dough and spread to cover sauce evenly. Scatter chicken, bacon and sweet onion over cheese to distribute evenly. Scatter remaining cheese over this layer.
Slide parchment paper with pizza on top onto stone or cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Watch carefully, at this temperature it is easy to burn the pizza!
Remove from oven and let cool slightly, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and fresh diced strawberries. Serve and enjoy!

Take Care,


Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Ab Workout

Summer is here, and with that being said, there are people all around the world trying to get fit to strut their stuff on the beach (or by the pool). A common area of concern of course is the abs.

Try this routine to tighten and tone that tummy.

Follow the link above to feel the burn and love the results!

Take Care,


Friday, June 21, 2013

Serene Rain Shower Bathtub

Imagine yourself after a long and grueling day at work, coming home to relax in a serene bathroom like this.

This bathtub is so cool, and is made even more amazing with the massive rain shower shower head directly over the center. Talk about relaxing, not to mention beautiful.

Take Care,


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Healthy Baking Substitutions

Make your traditional desserts a little healthier for you with these simple substitutions:

I personally love adding greek yogurt to recipes as it is packed with protein, a macro-nutrient that desserts tend to lack.

Take Care,


30 Day Squat Challenge

While looking through Pinterest I found this awesome (and probably increasingly intense) leg routine consisting only of squats.

Welcome to the "30 Day Squat Challenge".

I will definitely be trying this!

Take Care,


Kitchen Nook

I love kitchens, and unique additions like hidden storage spaces and accessories can make a kitchen that much more fun.

This cookbook nook is a wonderful idea, and the location (right beside the oven and countertops) is so convenient. I want this in my kitchen; it adds charm by seeing all of your cookbooks displayed like art.

Take Care,


Monday, June 17, 2013

Apple Crisp

This Father's Day I made my dad a Betty Crocker classic: Apple Crisp topped with Vanilla Ice Cream.
This recipe was a hit with my family and I hope it will be with your family as well.


4 Medium Tart Apples (I used Royal Gala)
3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup softened butter or margarine
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used all spice)
Vanilla Ice Cream to top the dessert 


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of an 8 inch square pan.

2. Spread apples evenly in pan. In a medium bowl, stir all remaining ingredients (except ice cream) until well mixed. Spread mixture over apples in pan.

3. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until topping turns golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.

4. Serve dessert warm topped with ice cream. Enjoy!

This dessert is very quick and easy to make. I am not a fan of anything with cooked apple (I've been told I'm crazy but I can't help it), but I have to admit I loved this dessert and would make it again. I encourage you to give it a try.

Take Care,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Become A Better Runner

I'm starting to get back into running and was looking for tips & techniques on how to become a better runner.

Here's what I found on Fit Sugar:

  1. Keep it consistent: If you stop running for a while, then you'll have to build your conditioning back up. So if you want to take your workout to the next level, then make sure you're staying consistent. Sign up for a race and start a training program (like this half-marathon training schedule) to track your progress; you'll be able to see how much your hard work has paid off.
  2. Learn proper form: It may seem like the simplest way to work out, but running does take skill to make sure you don't leave your body prone to injury. When running, keep your head stacked over your spine, relax the shoulders, and engage your abs. Find out how the rest of your body should be with our running-form checklist.
  3. Dress the part: There's no need to invest in anything fancy, but be sure to spend wisely. The perfect pair of shoes can be the difference between feeling sluggish and being light on your feet, and it can also help prevent injuries. Whether you need a full-support shoe or want in on the minimalist shoe trend, watch our video for tips on how to pick a running shoe.
  1. Fuel right: Running on an empty stomach can keep you from having the right amount of energy, but eating too much can lead to cramping. Look for a small snack containing carbs and protein for sustained energy. Timing is everything, however; if you're rushing out the door and haven't eaten anything, then go for something with 15 grams of easily digestible carbs (like a slice of white bread). Read more about the best foods to eat before a workout (and when to eat them) here.
  2. Drink water: Drinking enough water is another way to ensure you'll have a good run. If you don't drink enough water before your run (as well as during), then chances are you'll have to stop before you'd like to because of fatigue or a cramp. Make sure you drink an ounce of water for every 10 pounds of body weight about an hour or two before your workout, and watch for these signs of dehydration during your run.
  3. Have a plan: It's not all about consistency; you should also keep your body challenged. Running outside instead of just on the treadmill, for example, builds your muscle to help increase speed and endurance, as does incorporating high-intensity intervals. And techniques like negative splits will help improve your overall mile time as well. Plan on doing these types of runs for the majority of your workouts if you're trying to increase your mileage or time, but be sure to incorporate easy runs into your weekly plan as well.

I'm going to have to remember these tips for my next run with my dog. If you know of any more tips feel free to post them in the comments section!
Take Care,


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bringing the Beach Home

It's summer time! Who doesn't like the beach?

Whether or not you can make it to the beach or not during the summer, why not bring the beach to you in your home.

Using colour palettes inspired by nature like in this image, you can create truly realistic and harmonious interiors that will be guaranteed to work well together.

Such a clean and bright bathroom with a simple, monochromatic colour scheme creates a classic nautical bathroom, with added charm from the model sail boat and gas lantern.

For a beachy look in the bedroom keep it simple and light by using natural fibers and materials, and adding pops of colour with accessories and accent cushions.

I find that beach inspired interiors are one my favourites. They're simple, relaxing and light; just the feelings I get when I'm at the beach.

Take Care,


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crockpot Lasagna

I love crockpot recipes; they're so quick and easy, not to mention the added bonus of coming home to a hot meal that you can eat right away after a long day at work or school.

My latest Crockpot recipe is Lasagna.

I used my own concoction:


1 pkg No-Boil Lasagna Noodles (you won't need all of them)
1 can Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 pkg Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1lb Lean Ground Beef, browned
1 tbsp Basil & Oregano (each)
2 colves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp salt (or seasoned salt)
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Lightly cover the bottom of the Crockpot with tomato sauce. Place 1 layer of noodles over sauce, add a layer of browned ground beef, then scatter a layer of shredded cheese.

Repeat this process until you run out of ingredients or your Crockpot is full.

Cook on low for 4 hours (or high for 2 hours).

Serve and enjoy!

Take Care,


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fab 15 Total Body Workout

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life now, nothing is better than a workout that is quick and effective.  With that being said, I introduce you to "The Fab 15" total body workout; a circuit workout that only takes 15 minutes out of your day!

I did this workout last night, without resting in between sets and it was a great workout. And really, who doesn't have 15 minutes in their day to workout? Give it a try.

Take Care,


Monday, June 10, 2013

A Griller's Dream

Attention all grill fanatics: take a look at this masterpiece!

You have your grill, a prep station to put together your delicious creations, and an ice bin to store and chill all of your refreshments. If your patio wasn't a party place, it could be with something as awesome as this!

Got to love the tumbled rock enclosure; it adds character to this amazing barbecue paradise.

Take Care,


Friday, June 7, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Since I've been nursing a brutal cold and sore throat for the last few days, I felt that it was fitting to post a recipe for a simple and easy chicken noodle soup recipe made conveniently in the crockpot, and ready for you when you get home from work.

Here's the recipe:

3 large chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)
1 -49 oz can Swanson Chicken Broth or Stock
1/2 can (of the broth) water
4 Chicken bullion cubes
One package (about 6) large carrots peeled and sliced on an angle
One onion diced
One bunch celery washed and sliced on an angle
1/4 bunch parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to the crockpot and stir.  Cook for about 6 hours on low.  Shred or dice chicken.
1/2 package small egg noodles, cooked separately before you are ready to serve.  Add to the soup when ready to eat! (this keeps the noodles from getting soggy!)

Take Care,


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cross Fit For Beginners

When you look up Cross Fit online, some times it may look a bit intense or intimidating (I know I've thought that a few times). I personally have wanted to try Cross Fit for a while but haven't gotten around to it (I'm pretty scatter brained with the routines I try, always jumping from one thing to the next when I find something new or interesting).

If you are like me and want to try Cross Fit for the first time, but are not sure if you want to sign up for a membership or classes just yet, try this quick workout routine that I stumbled upon on Fit Sugar:

5 Push Ups
10 Sit Ups
15 Squats

Repeat this circuit 10 times (try without taking rests in between for maximum results)

Do this 2 times/day for 5 days/week and see yourself get stronger and leaner.

Note: For full details on this routine and others like it, follow the links in this post.

Take Care,


Vanities Just For Her

Every girl (and woman) should love their bathroom.

For men the bathroom can tend to be just another necessary room in the home to clean up after a long day at work or to get ready in the morning, but for women it is so much more. A woman`s bathroom can be an escape from the stresses of everyday life and routine, a place to come to and unwind: a sanctuary.

This is why a bathroom must be decorated tastefully and in a way that makes you want to stay there to relax and escape. A space you will love, and not consider as "just another room".  So why not design your bathroom in a way that reflects you and your personality?

This bathroom for example is perfect for the girly girl, or the woman who loves pink. Using bright and fun colours that reflect you and your personality to paint your vanity like this, while keeping other aspects of the room neutral (if not completely white like you see here) is a great way top liven up your bathroom and add interest.

I can see this as a prefect bathroom for a little girl. Or change up the colour and paint the vanity turquoise, sky blue, or purple. There are so many possibilities.

Take Care,


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Protein Packed Truffles

No matter how hard I try to stay away from sugar when I am trying to watch what I eat, I can never stay away from sweets (at least not for long). I am a big believer in eating healthy and eating the not so healthy foods in moderation, rather than swearing them off all together. So when you can find a recipe that satisfies your sweet tooth, and is also better for you why not give it a shot.

With that being said, I introduce you to: Dark Chocolate Protein Truffles. Not truly truffles but they satisfy your sweet tooth and have a similar consistency to the real thing, but instead of being packed with unhealthy fats and excess sugar, these are packed with protein, and an added bonus is that they're super easy to make!

70 grams of peanut butter (unsalted, unsweetened)
30g of brown rice protein
30g of chocolate whey protein
11g of 100% cocoa powder
41g of quinoa flakes
16g almonds (could use ground)
10g of hemp seeds.

 1. Mix it all together, add water until its all doughy.
2.  Make balls and roll them in cocoa powder for truffle effect. 

Stats: the above recipe makes 15 truffles, each at: 64.2 calories, 3.1g carbohydrates, 5.4g protein, 2.2g fat and 1.1g fiber

SUGGESTIONS: make this recipe with vanilla whey, add vanilla essence, some orange rind, cinnamon and shredded coconut to the dough and and roll them in coconut/cinnamon for a 'white protein truffle.'

For more recipes like this, and using protein powder to make delicious creations, check out Anna Sward's blog: Protein Pow!

Take Care,


Monday, June 3, 2013

Taking It To The Pole {Pole Dance Fitness}

Last week I decided to try out a pole fitness class with a friend of mine. I had heard a lot of hype on how great of a workout it was and wanted to see if it was true; boy was it challenging.

The class I took was just for beginners but it was effective; I took the class on the Tuesday night and my muscles just stopped hurting the following Sunday. To give you an idea of how effective it was, my upper body was so sore that I could barely get dressed for days!

Here are some examples/images of what I have learned so far, and am still working on perfecting (to say the least):

Most pole classes seem to look the same inside: poles equally and strategically spread out through the room, usually a few mirrors so that you can watch your form and technique. Also, they tend to be brightly lit: this image is adding an alluring & romantic effect for show. Overall, expect a dance studio, but with poles throughout the dance floor.

After going through a warm up and basic technique, the first spin that you may be taught is the "Fireman Spin", like you see here in this image. It is one of the easier spins to perfect. 

The next spin that you see pictured here is called the "Butterfly Spin". This one is more difficult than the first to perfect (I bruised up my knee pretty bad trying to get this and it still needs work). Don't be fooled by the pretty picture, this is a tough spin for beginners to grasp.

After doing this class I now have respect for anyone who can pole dance and make it look graceful and effortless. I am not joking when I say that this takes some serious upper body and core strength to do this properly, and is even more impressive when you are able to make it look good in the process. 

I highly recommend you try this at least once in your life (if you're shy, go with a friend). It's a great and fun environment, not to mention so fun. I'm not one for choreographed fitness routines (I'm not the greatest dancer to be honest), but I loved this and will be doing it again this week!

Take Care,