Thursday, October 31, 2013

Scare Worthy Serving {Halloween Decor}

Happy Halloween!

Whether you are handing out candy to little witches and ghosts tonight or having a party, why not make things a little more interesting when dishing out those treats tonight?


Get creative like you see here by using a decorative skeleton or other scary dummy and dress it up and have some fun by letting it do the work and serve your guests.

Do something similar to this or stuff some old clothes and place a fake head (or pumpkin head if you want to do a Sleepy Hollow theme), and place it on a chair with a bowl of treats in it's hands (or lap).

Someone did something similar to this when I was a kid and I remember how cool my friends and I thought it was compared to the other houses where people just left a bowl of candy on the porch that said "please take 1".

Take Care & Have Fun,

Leanne.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Southwestern Chicken Chili

Now that it's getting cold out I find more and more that the people I know, including myself, are craving warm hearty foods.

I personally love a big bowl of chili in the fall and winter months with a slice of garlic toast for dipping.
With that being said, here's a "clean eating" Southwestern Chicken Chili recipe that will not only keep you nice and full, you'll also be warm and cozy. An added bonus is that  there are only 292 calories in each 1 cup serving...Wow!


Recipe:
(Makes approximately 10 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 4 raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz. each)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans (rinsed and drained) or 1 1/3 cup home cooked beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (rinsed and drained) or 1 1/3 cup home cooked beans
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice, low sodium is best
  • 1 pound frozen and thawed organic corn (organic to avoid GMO corn)
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar of your favorite salsa, no sugar added

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes and salsa over that and then layer on the beans and corn.
  2. Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until the chicken easily falls apart when the pot is stirred.

I'll be making this for dinner tonight. You should try it too!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Choose Your Workout {HIIT Workouts}

If you follow this blog fairly regularly you will know by now that I love HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training).

With that being said, here's yet another set of HIIT routines for you to try out.


The way this works is you pick 1 of the 4 routines and workout as directed. Each routine is different either in the exercises, the resistance added, or the amount of sets (referred to as rounds here) required. However, I can guaruntee you that each routine will challenge you and when combined with a healthy diet and dedication, will give you great results.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hidden Gem Dining Table

I don't know about you, but ever since I was little I wanted a games room complete with a pool table, ping pong table, and air hockey table.

Now that I'm older though, I realize that not only do these things cost money, they also take up a lot of space in your home. Especially if you have a more modest sized home with smaller rooms (or you have limited rooms).

With that being said, I've found a brilliant solution to this problem:


With this contemporary pool table with a slab top you can now have your pool table without sacrificing space. I guess this eliminates the classic roommate/spouse argument of keeping the dining table or getting a pool table.

Pretty awesome right?

Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homemade Ice Cream To Go

Ever since I was a kid I wanted to make homemade ice cream, but for the longest time I didn't know how and then later I was stumped because I didn't have the proper equipment...or so I thought.

You can make your own ice cream at home with minimal mess, and just 2 Ziploc bags. Here's how:



Recipe:

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup half & half (or 2% milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarse salt or table salt (I used coarse sea salt)
ice
gallon-sized Ziploc bag
pint-sized Ziploc bag

Directions:
1. Mix the sugar, half & half and vanilla extract together. Pour into a pint-sized Ziploc baggie. Make sure it seals tightly.

2. Now take the gallon-sized Ziploc bag and fill it up halfway with ice and pour the salt over the ice. Now place the cream filled bag into the ice filled bag and seal.

3. Make sure it is sealed tightly and start shaking. Shake for about 5 minutes (or 8 minutes if you use heavy cream.)

4. Open the gallon-sized bag and check to see if the ice cream is hard, if not keep shaking. Once the ice cream is finished, quickly run the closed pint-sized baggie under cold water to quickly clean the salt off the baggie.

5. Now open your little baggie and enjoy your efforts...and your ice cream!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Toned & Tamed Thighs

One of the most common complaints that I hear from women, is that they wish they had leaner or more defined thighs. Seeing as they seem to be a common problem area, or trouble zone if you will, here's another one of my favourite thigh toning routines from the awesome site: Back On Pointe.


Even just doing half of these exercises would give you nice legs, but this combination is awesome. If you stick with this routine, and make healthy choices with your diet, you will definitely see results.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Centerpiece

Sometimes when you're entertaining guests during the festive seasons, there's so much preparation with the food that sometimes the centerpiece at your dining table is the last thing on your mind.

Why not wow your guests with something beautiful & natural like this:


Find a decent sized (and not rotten) tree branch, hollow out a few equally spaced holes to fit some tea-lights (you can get large packs at the dollar store for real cheap). Next use burlap or a festively coloured table runner and place down the center of your table.

Now place the log with the your tea-lights on top of the table runner, and strategically scatter mini pumpkins & gourds around it. For an added touch, like you see in the picture above, buy artificial leaves from the dollar store and disperse them randomly.

There you have it; a beautiful fall centerpiece.

In the winter you can always re-use the log (as long as it wasn't rotting), and wrap the ends with festive ribbon, and add pine branches & a few miniature Christmas ornaments in place of the pumpkins & gourds.

Take Care,

Leanne.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homemade Apple Cider

Once the fall fairs have commenced and the weather starts getting a bit more chilly, nothing is more comforting and delicious to me than a cup of warm apple cider.

Like most things, the best apple cider tends to be homemade. So for all of you that want to give it a shot and try to make it yourself, here you go:


Recipe:

Ingredients:
6 cups of apple juice
1 Orange, cut into 1/4" slices
6 Whole Cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks
1/2 Tsp of ground allspice
Cheesecloth & string

Directions:
1. Pour juice into large pot & bring to a boil for 5 minutes

2. Wrap the remaining ingredients in the cheesecloth and tie up with a string, and place into the pot of boiling apple juice.

3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer on 20 minutes.

4. Remove the bundle of spices and serve the cider hot.

Enjoy!


This recipe takes only 30 minutes and serves 6 people.

Take Care,

Leanne.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Celebrity Workout Plan {Rachel McAdams}

We see celebrities on TV and in magazines all the time and think of how great it would be to be that toned, or at least wonder how they got to be so fit. To top it off, only a handful of celebrities are willing to spill the beans on what they do to stay in shape.

So when we find a celebrity workout, we are usually stoked to try it out, or at the very least to review it. With that being said, today's fitness post is Rachel McAdams' workout plan:


Rachel McAdams' workout is an MMA inspired routine that will challenge you and push you to your limits. If any of these exercises seem way too easy, you can add resistance by adding weight to make it a bit harder.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sophisticated Halloween Decor

Halloween is a fun and playful time of the year, but sometimes the standard Halloween decor that stores sell are a bit too cheap looking for your sleek and sophisticated home d├ęcor.

The solution to your problem: pumpkins and craft stores.


This is a relatively cheap & easy way to decorate your home with pumpkins, and the greatest part is no mess required. All you need is paint (your choice of colours), some ribbon, and coloured mesh. Make it even more glamorous by using coloured glitter and glue to adhere it to the pumpkin (make sure your washed and dried the pumpkin for best results as paint adheres better to a clean surface).

Get creative, and make your festive pumpkins look beautiful and stylish.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sweet & Salty Rolo Ritz Treats

Who doesn't love quick and easy desserts that act as finger foods for family gatherings and parties? They're great, and easy to eat when you're mingling.

One dessert that's super easy and cheap to make I found on another blog called "Lick The Bowl Good" is Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers. These are my definition of Sweet & Salty goodness; the crumbly & buttery salted Ritz crackers paired with they sweet and delicious chocolate caramel Rolos. Amazing.


Recipe:

Ingredients:
Rolo Candies
Ritz Crackers

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place Ritz crackers on a cookie sheet face side down, and top each one with a Rolo candy.

Bake for 3-5 minutes to soften (but not fully melt) the Rolos, Remove from the oven and immediately top  the Rolos with a second Ritz cracker. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

NOTE: There are about 55 Rolos candies per bag.

I think I just found my go to Christmas treat to make for friends & family this year. What do you think?

Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top 15 Reasons Why You Should Run

A lot of people see others running on the street and while driving by them they think "I should run". If this sounds familiar to you, you're absolutely right; you should run. 

Here's why:


I recently started running regularly every week now (I'm training for a 5K race, and eventually a 10K), and I can honestly stand behind all of these reasons to be running as I have experienced every single one.
One thing that I love about running, as I am a kitchen & bath designer, is that not only do I have more energy, I sleep better which makes it easier to be creative.

So what are you waiting for?Start running today. It doesn't matter how fast (or slow) you are because you"re still doing far more than you were the day before by sitting on your butt.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In Home Wine Cellar

For all of my wine lovers out there, how great would it be to have your own wine cellar in your home? Pretty awesome right?


Turn a walk in pantry area in your home to a wine cellar. you don't need much room since most wine bottles are no larger than 12" deep. Keep all bottles at perfect room temperature (perfect for red wine) or consider adding a bar fridge built in to the cabinetry to chill your white wines.

Welcome to you at home winery bliss!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Military Diet

Yesterday my personal trainer spoke to my group about the Military Diet. He tried this himself and is currently doing it at the moment and he swears by it (he lost 12 lbs in 1 week).

I found this very interesting as it's a strict diet, but it only lasts for 3 days and can give you dramatic results. What's even better is you only really need to do it once a month until you reach your goal weight.

So here it is, the Military Diet:


If there were some items that you saw that you thought "I can't do this plan because I would never eat that food", I have good news; there are substitutions that you can make for various components of this diet so that you can do it. No excuses people. But to keep the diet effective you must limit your substitutions to a maximum of 3 per day.


I cannot wait to give this plan a try. Awesome!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, October 11, 2013

30 Minute Trouble Zone Workout

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have "trouble zones" on our bodies; inner thighs, triceps, stomach, we all have at least one area that we have a harder time shedding pounds from and toning up.

With that being said, here's a 30 minute workout that targets your inner thighs, triceps, and love handles (including abdominals).


Complete each set of exercises in a circuit style (going on from one to the next with no rest between), then rest for 1 minute and move on to the next trouble zone set of exercises. Do this entire workout 3 times and with hard work and perseverance, you will see results.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dining In Style {Ralph Lauren Dinnerware}

With Thanksgiving coming up I couldn't help but post this beautiful dinnerware from Ralph Lauren:


This dinnerware is beautiful. I love leopard print, and this print is wonderful, and doesn't look like a pixilated digital print like most printed dinnerware sets. Also, note the gold edging around the set. I have one word for this set: gorgeous!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kitchen-Made Abs {12 Foods For Abs}

You may have heard this before, but I'm repeating this because it's true: abs are not made in the gym, they're made in the kitchen.

This may seem back wards but I can assure you that no matter how long you spend working out at the gym (or at home), you will not get a six pack or tight and toned abs if you do not change the way you are eating; that is if you continue to eat unhealthy foods.

With that being said, here's an excerpt from Women's Heath Magazine, that can help you make the changes in the kitchen that will help you on your way to getting the abs you've always wanted:


If you incorporate these foods into your diet, and make consistently healthy choices, you will reach your goals.

Take Care,

Leanne

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

4 Minute Tabata Workout

If you've read my previous fitness posts you will know that I love workouts that incorporate High Intensity Interval Training (also known as HIIT training). This style of training burns the most amount of calories in a small amount of time,and keeps your body burning calories for up to 24 hours after your workout. Tabata training, is a class of HIIT training that works in the same way, but it can be very intense.

Here's a great 4 minute Tabata workout that seems simple, but can really kick your butt.


For more of a challenge, take a 1-2 minute break after completing this circuit then repeat.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Ultimate Shoe Closet

Everyone has their "one thing". You know, the one item that you don't care how much it costs (you will buy it) or you don't care how much of a rush you are in (you will stop to look at it). For some people that may be cars, clothes, or purses; for me, it's shoes.

So when I saw the following image, I couldn't help but stop and stare...and dream!


What a beautiful closet, and look at all of the shoes!There's no arguing that this closet was a custom design for another shoe fanatic like myself (and possibly even you). So  much storage space, and a perfect seating area to let you out on your shoes in comfort, rather than hobbling around or grasping the shelving for stability.

What a beauty!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Spears

If you've never experienced the deliciousness that is prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears (or the bacon wrapped version) I highly recommend you give them a try (unless you're vegetarian, then do your thing, or look for my alternative at the bottom of this post).

This recipe is quick and easy, and amazing. My oldest sister makes these as her go to appetizer for company and they're usually one of the first things to run out.


Recipe:

Ingredients:
12 asparagus spears
6 prosciutto slices/strips
A little butter for frying

Directions:
  1. Wash asparagus and cut 2 cm off the ends. Cut prosciutto strips into two halves, going lengthways, you should end up with 12 strips.
  2. Place each prosciutto strip on a chopping board at a 45 degree angle. Place one of the asparagus spears on top of the meat, perpendicular to it. The tip of the asparagus should be lined up with the bottom of the prosciutto strip. Wrap the bottom end of prosciutto over the asparagus and holding the meat tight, start rolling the asparagus up. The prosciutto strip will wrap around the whole length of the spear because it’s on an angle. You can try a different wrapping method but I find this is a very quick to do it. Don’t worry if parts of the asparagus spears are not covered completely.
  3. Heat some butter in a large, flat frying pan to sizzling hot. Fry wrapped asparagus spears for 1-2 minutes on each side or until prosciutto is brown and crispy.

Note:  When I make these I put a bit of a twist to this recipe by adding 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar to the pan when browning the asparagus. I find it enhances the overall flavour of the dish.

If you're a vegetarian you can always leave out the prosciutto and just simmer the asparagus in the butter and balsamic vinegar (it's still delicious and even easier to make since you don't have to take time to wrap the spears).

Enjoy!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2 Minute HIIT Workout

If you're like me, you have a weak spot for a physical challenge. And if that's the case, you will love HIIT workouts (also knows as High Intensity Interval Training). 

HIIT can give you an amazing and challenging workout in minutes, and will burn the calories that you would have to spend 30 minutes or more in the gym to achieve the same results.

So here's a 7 minute HIIT workout that you are going to love:


I guarantee that if you follow this routine the way it states (30 seconds at your highest effort for each exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat entire routine 3 times) you will be dripping sweat, and with dedication you will see results.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's A Boy! {Orange & Blue Nursery}

A few months ago I was hired on at my present place of employment as a Kitchen Designer to fill a maternity leave. I was lucky enough to be trained by the girl who's position I will now be taking over until her return, and this week officially commences her maternity leave. 

With that I was inspired by her soon to come bundle of joy, and thought that it would be appropriate to post a little something in her honour.


I love this nursery for a baby boy (it could work for a girl too, you just change up some accessories). The coordinating colour palette is great and refreshing. The colour psychology of the room is great too: orange is playful and joyous, and blue is calming and serene. In my opinion, and based on the aforementioned colour psychology, I think that these colours are perfect for a baby's room.

Having a baby is an exciting and joyful time. Have fun with making the baby's room a warm and welcoming space.

Congratulations to everyone who are expecting, or have had a new born!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Weight Watchers' Banana Applesauce Bread

Every once and a while I buy bananas for smoothies, and 9 times out of 10 I get sick of eating them long before they go bad. So they sit until they're basically black, and then my friends you have what I like to call the perfect opportunity for making homemade banana bread. Yum!

Recently I purchased a Weight Watchers cookbook, and luckily they have a healthy version of banana bread. Now I know some people may think that Weight Watchers recipes are just for people who are dieting (or specifically on a Weight Watchers' program), or that because it's technically "diet food" that it will be lacking flavour and generally boring. Both of these points could not be more incorrect. I assure you, not only are these recipes not just for dieters, they are also absolutely delicious!

Banana Applesauce Bread Recipe:


Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
6 Very Ripe Small Bananas
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Fat-Free Egg Substitute
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 5x9 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray; dust with flour, shaking out excess.
2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Mash bananas in a large bowl; whisk in sugar, egg substitute, oil, applesauce, and vanilla until blended. Add banana mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until flour mixture is moistened (don`t over mix). Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
4. Bake until deep golden brown and tooth pick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hr 15 mins (depending on your oven this may vary; it only took 1 hr for my bread to be fully baked). Let cool in pan for 10 mins on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on rack.

Enjoy!

Note- Changes that I personally made were:
- Using 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour ( I didn`t have any whole wheat flour around the house and was too lazy to go to the store)
- Using 3 large bananas instead of 6 small.
- I typically do not buy egg substitute, so I used 2 whole eggs
- Adding 1 tsp ground cinnamon


I highly recommend making this recipe; it was by far the best recipe I've made so far, and I was very impressed at how big of a loaf it made. If you want to make this recipe more of a treat, feel free to add mini chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips).

Take Care,

Leanne.