Friday, January 31, 2014

Dairy-Free "Crazy Cake" {Chocolate Cake}

Have you ever wanted to make a quick and easy dessert, like chocolate cake, but when you open your fridge you find that you don't have any eggs or dairy that the classic recipes usually call for? Or do you not eat dairy and are looking for a dairy-free alternative to an old classic?

If this sounds like you, look no further; here's a super easy dairy-free chocolate cake that you can make in the pan that you bake it in (added bonus: no extra dishes).


1 1/2 Cups flour (all-purpose)
3 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
1 Cup sugar (all-purpose)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
1 Cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8x8 square baking pan (I find glassware baking dishes work best).

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a greased 8" square baking pan. Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients - two small, one larger. Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix well until smooth.

Bake on middle rack of pre-heated oven for 35 minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. 

Let cake cool to room temperature. Top with your favorite frosting & enjoy!

Take Care,


Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Vampire Diaries Workout

This post is dedicated to all of you Vampire Diaries fans out there (myself included). This is a workout that will let you have your Vampire Diaries fix (or marathon) without being a total couch potato. If you're already a Vampire Diaries fan, you will know just by looking at this workout that you will be busy!

The workout is as simple as it seems; just follow the prompts that are listed and do the corresponding exercise. Have fun & enjoy the show!

Take Care,


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DIY Patio Bench

Have you been trying to think of new ways to dress up your patio and give it a touch of your own personality? Or maybe you're in need of a new DIY project to keep you busy this week.
If this sounds like you, then look no further! Make your patio fun and unique with a custom patio bench.

What you will need:
6 Cinder Blocks
4 Planks of wood (4x4)
Latex Paint of your colour choice
Wood Sealant (this makes the wood boards water resistant and will prevent rotting)
Your choice of Upholstered Cushion 
Note: I recommend getting and "outdoor" fabric or using scotch-guard to waterproof (although scotch-guard won't prevent sun-fading)

How To:
Take your planks of wood to a well ventilated area and coat them thoroughly in sealant. Once they are dry repeat 1-2 more times. 
Meanwhile, (also in a well ventilated area) take your cinder blocks and coat in 1-3 layers of paint in the colour of your choice. Let the planks of wood and cinder blocks all dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Note: this process should be done  approximately 24 hours in advance to putting together the rest of the bench to ensure that all surfaces are dry and ready.

Place the cinder blocks standing up vertically on an even/level surface. Now place wood planks through the top holes in the cinder blocks, leaving a minimum of 4 inches sticking out at the sides to properly support weight.

Finally place your cushions on top of the cinder blocks. 
Note: If you feel like the cushions are too thin and the planks are digging in to your legs, place a 3/4" thick board of plywood on top of the planks for added support and an even surface to place the cushions on.

That's it folks! Now enjoy your very own patio bench that reflects your personal style.

Take Care,


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough

Have you been busting your butt to get in shape for the last few weeks (or more) only to be hit with insane sugar cravings?! I know that's happened to me (and has been an issue for me this past week).
If this sounds familiar, or you would like to have a healthy version of a "sinful" snack in your back pocket, here's a healthy take on chocolate chip cookie dough for you to keep those cravings at bay.

Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough

1 cup chickpeas, skins removed, patted dry
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

  1. Combine chickpeas, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and agave in a blender or food processor. Blend until it's a fine puree.
  2. Remove cookie dough mixture from blender, and place in a large bowl. Add vegan chocolate chips, and mix well with a wooden spoon.
This recipes serves 6, and is a wonderful way to get your sugar fix while still staying on track with your health and fitness goals. Enjoy!

Take Care,


Monday, January 27, 2014

The "fABtastic" Workout

For all of my fitness junkies out there, and those of you who are still working away on those New Years resolutions to get fit and more healthy, here's a great ab workout that will leave you with a stronger and more toned mid section.

This workout is simple but effective. Just go through each exercise with little to no rest in between, and that's it! This is an awesome workout to add into your routine, or to end each cardio session with.

Take Care,


Friday, January 24, 2014

Stainless Steel Countertops {Modern Kitchen}

For months now, my boyfriend and I have been at odds in the style that we agree upon for our future kitchen; he likes ultra modern, where I like more transitional kitchens. With his obsession of modern kitchens also comes his "need" for at least 1 stainless steel countertop (this comes from his history of working in restaurant kitchens).

At first I hated this idea, then eventually I agreed to a stainless steel countertop in the island (which would have a false over so that it could be hidden). However, as of this past weekend, I have agreed to a stainless steel perimeter countertop, and a quartz island. The reason for my change of heart was largely due to the following kitchens that I found online.

Loving this monochromatic design. Dark stained slab style cabinetry,with a european high gloss island. Beautiful!

Warming up what could otherwise be a cold and industrialized design, this kitchen uses warm toned stained cabinetry, with brushed stainless steel accents that compliment the stainless steel countertops. What a great use of an otherwise cold material.

This final kitchen is more along the lines of my boyfriend's dream kitchen. With it's large professional grade kitchen appliances, and stainless steel cabinetry and countertops, this is a cook's dream kitchen in the comfort of your own home!

Can you see now what stainless steel countertops can be more beautiful than you thought before?

Take Care,


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Broccoli & Cheese Patties

If you love broccoli and cheese, then I have a recipe that you will love! Broccoli and cheese patties.
These are a perfect meatless meal that you could pair with a nice garden salad, and they are quick and easy to make. 

I came across this recipe when I was trying to figure out what to do with my broccoli in the fridge for a meal, since it was the day before I was going to the grocery store and I had no meat in the house. This recipe was perfect since it used minimal ingredients, which I had on hand at the time (and I'm sure you will too).

2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
2 cloves garlic - minced
½ onion - chopped
2 Crowns of Broccoli (or 1- 12oz Bag of frozen Broccoli)
¾  cup panko breadcumbs (or regular breadcrumbs is fine too)
½  cup sharp cheddar cheese 
⅓  cup parmesan cheese 
2  eggs - beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onions. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are garlic are tender. Set aside to cool.

Chop broccoli into small pieces and set aside.

Note: if you are using frozen broccoi add the broccoli to a kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the broccoli and squeeze out the extra moisture.

Pour the broccoli into a large bowl.
To the same bowl, add the bread crumbs, the cheeses, eggs, and salt/pepper to taste 

Form the mixture into patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet..
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes; 15 minutes per side, or until browned and crispy.

It's as simple as that! Enjoy your  delicious Broccoli & Cheese Patties.

Take Care,


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Killer Lower Abdominal Workout

Recently I've been digging through my old note books of fitness routines and exercises, and came across an oldie but a goodie; Lower Ab Leg Raises with a Stability Ball.

This is one of my favourite lower ab exercises because it is effective and works! Every time I do this exercise, I can feel every muscle in my abs the next day.

Just like you see in the picture above, you lie on your back with your core tightened and a stability ball squeezed between your ankles.

Then simply raise and lower the ball slowly (with control) from 90 degrees to the floor and back again. That's one rep.

I make this a little harder by starting with my legs lowered to the ground, then lifting my legs and arms at the same time to the middle of my body. Then I transfer the ball from my ankles to my hands and lower the ball to the ground behind my head, and repeat (see the picture below).

Try this exercise out and you will see what I mean; you will feel it the next day!

Take Care,


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DIY: Removing Popcorn Ceilings

Do you have popcorn ceilings in your home and wish that you didn't?
I grew up in a home with popcorn ceilings all of ,y life and grew to dislike them quite a bit....mostly because when I was a kid and brought home a balloon from a birthday party and let it go, it would fly up to the ceiling and "POP" my balloon was destroyed. Other than that, as I got older I just grew to dislike the look, and noticed that they drew unnecessary attention to the ceiling.

Anyway, if you're in the same boat as me and dislike your popcorn ceilings, here's how you can get rid of them:

What you will need:
  • Large spray bottle with water (I find warm water works best)
  • A drywall or putty knife
  • A ladder (tall enough for you to easily reach your ceiling without straining your back
  • A painter's hat (or a crummy old hat you don't care about) to keep gunk out of your hair

  • Working in sections, spray the ceiling with warm water until it is soaked, then simply scrape away the popcorn ceiling.
  • Once you have done this to you whole ceiling, let the ceiling dry, then use fine grained sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections.
  • Now simply prime and paint your ceiling.
That's all folks! Now enjoy your new and improved ceiling in all of it's texture-free glory.

Take Care,


Monday, January 20, 2014

No Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Poppers

For all of you chocolate & peanut butter lovers out there, I have a delicious treat for you; Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Poppers. Not only are these easy to make, they're also super delicious and vegan friendly! Not to mention, they taste like they'd be bad for you, but they're only 52 calories per serving (1 ball).


2 cups natural peanut butter, crunchy
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 scoops MHP Probolic-SR Protein, vanilla flavor
Sea salt, to taste
Water, as needed.
2 cups vegan sugar free dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Mix peanut butter, agave nectar, protein powder, sea salt and water in a large bowl.

2. Roll mixture into balls (approx.1 tablespoon per ball) and place in a dish, then refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.

3. In a small pot, melt the chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring often, until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

4. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Remove balls from refrigerator.

5. Dip into melted chocolate and arrange on baking sheet.

6. Let set for 30-45 minutes, then place in the refrigerator for another 30-45 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per ball): 52 calories, 1.2g protein, 5.3g carbs, 4.3g fat

This is the perfect treat when you are craving something sweet but don't want to spoil all of your hard work at the gym for the week!

Take Care,


Friday, January 17, 2014

30 Day Plank Challenge

The other day when I was working out with my group personal training session, my trainer had mentioned that the source of most people's back pain (including my own) is from a weakened core. With that being said, since this seems to be such a prevalent problem, I thought I would post a core strengthening  30 Day challenge for all of us with weak (or not as strong as we would like) cores to follow.

It's as simple as it seems, but trust me, it will be challenging. Just follow each day, holding a plank for the specified amount of time - be careful to not round/arch your back as this will not be activating the proper muscles and can lead to further injury - you want to keep a flat back at all times.

If you're a superstar and this is not challenging enough, add a balance ball to make your stabilizer muscles work double time. Place a stability ball under your shins, bracing your core, with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and hold. To increase the difficulty even more, roll the stability ball further away from your knees - maximum difficulty will be with just your toes touching the ball.

Take Care,


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hidden Kitchen Storage {False Light Valance Drawer}

In the Kitchen design industry I see a lot of people trying to maximize storage space in any way that they can - and rightfully so. Here's a storage solution that I am currently incorporating into the design of one of my clients' kitchens.

An under cabinet knife storage drawer. This gives the illusion of a light valance, as it is the same size (and potentially the same style - which I recommend, otherwise it could look a bit off if your light valance is beveled and this drawer front is a slab style). No one will be the wiser that you have extra storage under your upper cabinets, and let's face's pretty cool.

Take Care,


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Apple & Brie Bites

If you're having people over this weekend but don't know what to make for an appetizer, here's a recipe that's sure to be a crowd pleaser - Apple & Brie Bites.

These crescents filled with gooey brie cheese, apples & honeyed pecans make a deliciously sweet & savoury appetizer that is both simple and easy to make in a pinch.

 1 Peeled Apple (easier to eat then with the peel - as pictured)
1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Makes 8 Crescents)
16 Whole Pecans
Honey to drizzle

Preheat oven to 375 F
Get your crescents ready on a baking sheet. 
Slice a peeled apple into one inch slices.
Layer the dough with Brie, apple, pecans, and a drizzle of honey.
Roll them up and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve & Enjoy!

Take Care,


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lean & Strong Thighs {Thigh Toner Workout}

Here we are with another thigh toner fitness routine. For all of you out there who would like to have leaner, stronger thighs, this post is for you.

You will notice that this workout consists of a lot of squats and lunges. This is because they are some of the most effective exercises to get leaner, stronger thighs. Just follow each exercise one after the other with little to no rest in between, the repeat 2-3 more times.

Take Care,


Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Home Laughter {Funny Doormats}

Have you ever stumbled upon a doormat when at the store, or even better, on someone's doorstep that made you laugh (or at least chuckle)? If so, this post is for you.

I was looking around on Pinterest the other day and came across some pretty amusing doormats, which in my opinion are pretty awesome, and why not give people something entertaining to read for the few seconds that they are waiting for you to answer your door?

Here were some of my favourites that I think you'll get a kick out of, even if you may have seen one or more of them before:

For those of you who think you're pretty awesome (and let's face it,  you probably are), here's a doormat that tells people upfront how awesome you are in advance - probably to prepare them for your awesomeness (yes, I know that's not a real word, but this post is for fun).

Why not save intruders and thieves the hassle of breaking in to your home by telling them that your neighbours have the better loot (that is if you don't like your neighbours of course).

My favourite doormat was this one, inspired by the movie Home Alone. If you haven't seen Home Alone, you won't really get this, so I suggest you follow this link to see a video clip. Otherwise, if you have seen Home Alone then you will appreciate this doormat already.

That's it folks! These were some of the most entertaining doormats that I came across (without being inappropriate with language - I try to keep this blog friendly for all ages). What was the funniest doormat you've ever seen?

Take Care


Friday, January 10, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I don't know about you, but I am a huge fan of jalapeno poppers (or most things involving jalapenos).
So whenever I am in charge of appetizers, jalapeno poppers are a must have item, but dips are also very popular with guests (especially hot dips). So wouldn't it be great to combine these two things?

If you are with me on that, then here is a great dip recipe; Jalapeno Popper Dip.


6-8 slices of bacon, diced and cooked crispy
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of mayonnaise
4-6 jalapeno's, chopped and deseeded. The seeds will make it fiery hot (I like to leave some seeds in)
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup diced green onion

1 cup of crushed crackers (Ritz works great, or for a healthier cracker I use Breton)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 stick of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all of the ingredients into a medium bowl. Stir well.
Transfer to an oven proof dish. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle all over the top of the dip.
Bake the dip for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. 
Remove from oven. Serve & Enjoy!

Take Care,


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Relaxation For Two {Duo Bath Tub}

The movies and television have a way of making a romantic bath for two look so romantic and comfortable, when in reality it can be very crammed and uncomfortable for a prolonged period of time.

However, if you want to be able to have relaxing baths with your significant other without feeling like your're packed in a sardine can, you may want to consider upgrading your tub to something along the lines of this:

This two person tub is deep and made to give you both maximum comfort and space to do your thing. Also, notice how the headrests are positioned so that you are at opposite ends, allowing you to have a comfortable conversation with out having to crane your neck around? This is such a great bath fixture, and in my opinion, a necessary upgrade.

Take Care,


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

60 Easy & Healthy Snack Ideas

2014 has officially begun, and with that there are a bunch of people out there who have goals to either eat healthier or lose weight (or some variation of these).
One of the things that I find most people have trouble with is healthy snacking; it's so easy to grab a granola bar (not as healthy as you think) or a bag of candy or chips rather than prepare a healthy snack.

With that being said, I thought I would provide a wonderful list that I came across the other day filled with many quick and easy healthy snack options.

Many of the snack in the list above require little or no preparation, and are more satisfying and will keep hunger at bay longer than if you were to choose junk food.

It's a simple change that you can make that will put you one step closer to your healthy living goals.

Take Care, 


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Intense Treadmill Workout {500 Calorie Blast}

Have you ever been to a gym during peak times when you aren't supposed to be on the cardio equipment for longer than 30 minutes? Or have just wanted to get your workout done quickly to go home or get your to-do list completed?

If this sounds familiar, then I have a great treadmill workout for you that takes minimal time, and will not only have you sweating, but will torch 500 calories.

This workout is 40 minutes long and will burn 500 calories if you follow it and do not quit; if you have to stick to a 30 minute limit though you will be doing 3 repetitions instead of 4.

It's simple; set your treadmill to the listed incline and speed for the specified amount of time.

Take Care,


Monday, January 6, 2014

More Room For Play {Nursery Nook}

These days nursery furniture can get pretty big and bulky which can in turn eat up a lot of valuable space; this is especially true if you live in a smaller home or apartment.

With that being said, if space is limited (or if you want to maximize space for play time), why not create a nook for your crib?

If you have an alcove big enough, that's great, otherwise you can take the doors off of a closet and paint within it, and dress it up like you see here with some soft lighting and place the crib inside.

Just like that you have a cozy little nook for your child to rest in, with the added bonus of additional space for playtime.

Take Care,


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Personalized Monogrammed Pillow {DIY}

I don't know what it is, but ever since I was a little girl, I loved the idea of monogrammed items. I think it was because of the movies I watched where the people in really nice houses had monogrammed towels in their bathrooms and it made me think it was cool (crazy I know - but it stuck).

With that being said, I feel like having monogrammed items like towels, robes, or pillows can make you feel a little more special in the fact that whatever item it may be is personalized for you.

Take this accent pillow for example; this is an easy DIY project that can make your home a little more personalized for you.

All you will need is a pillow in your favourite colour or design (I think a solid colour would be best though so that the monogramming stands out more), a needle & thread, and buttons of various sizes in a colour of your choice (or multi-coloured if you want to make it a little more funky).

I recommend using a fabric pen or pencil to outline the design you wish to use, then simply start sewing your buttons on until you've achieved your desired effect.

Take Care,