Secret Garden: Monet Comes to Vancouver

Posted in Events by

When was the last time you visited an art gallery or museum? Took in a cultural experience? Like hearing your favourite musician live transcends hearing a recording, the opportunity to view art in person goes beyond viewing it online or in a book.

The name Monet is synonymous with art for many, and more specifically Impressionist Art. It’s hard to imagine a world without his iconic water lilies paintings, but there is more to the works of Monet than many are familiar with. From June 22- October 1 this year, The Vancouver Art Gallery, in collaboration with the Musee Marmottan Monet, presents Claude Monet’s Secret Garden, a selection of 38 paintings produced by the artist at his home in Giverny, France, spanning his 60- year career and includes his final piece, Les Roses produced in 1925/ 26.

What makes this collection of works interesting- beyond the simple fact that it’s a chance to witness Monet’s work in person- is that these are all pieces from Monet’s personal collection, works he chose not to sell (the Musee Marmottan Monet is home to the largest collection of Monet’s works and is where these pieces usually reside). The paintings on display range from works produced in his early career, before arriving at his home in Giverny, through to the end of his career, when he produced the infamous water lily paintings, among others featuring his beloved gardens.

  While we may have an appreciation for his work now, at the time he produced many of his famous pieces- including those featuring the infamous water lilies- no other artists of his time were producing works that depicted reflection the way he did (Monet only sold one of his water lilies paintings during his lifetime). This is a good reminder that it isn’t always just the painting itself that has to be considered to appreciate it, but also the period in which it was produced, what was common practice/ accepted at the time, and even the style/ focus of the work. All of these are factors that can help us understand why a specific artist and works of art are significant, why art goes beyond just being a pretty picture. 

  Monet’s work may be appreciated by many around the world now, but at the time his work was revolutionary. In case you need any more convincing to visit the Monet exhibit, here are a few more facts about the artist himself and why his pieces have gained the fame they have:

  • The focus of his paintings was light itself and how it behaved (such as at different times of day, on snow, on water, etc)

  • Because Monet wanted to capture the light at a certain time of day in outdoor settings, he had to work quickly, and his brushstrokes are clearly visible
  • By the 1880’s Monet came to the belief that one canvas wasn’t enough to capture what he wanted to convey (ie the changing light), so he would produce similar works featuring the same landscape, etc that demonstrated the change in light and how it behaved (see the two paintings below as examples)

  • His pieces feature clear/ bright colours- the colours of his paintings had not been seen before, as Monet chose to paint outside, rather than inside by candlelight (sand can be found in the paint of some of his pieces from painting outside)
  • No other artist of his time depicted reflection the way Monet did (like that seen in his water lilies and other works)- these paintings don’t have a horizon, instead it’s implied by the reflection in the water
  • In 1883 Monet and his family moved to a 90- acre property where he cultivated gardens and water gardens- his gardens are featured in 250 of his paintings, including wisteria, roses, willow trees, and the famous water lilies

  • His water lilies pieces were not shown to the public during his lifetime as he didn’t want to have to explain them to a contemporary public who didn’t understand his work
  • The invention of the train and train bridge were critical to Impressionist period artists as it allowed them to travel around France and paint in locations previously challenging to visit
  • For outdoor paintings, Monet would use smaller canvases as they were more practical to paint on to capture the light at the time he was painting; for large- scale pieces like the water lilies, Monet constructed a large studio to work indoors
  • Towards the end of his career, his pieces bordered more on an abstract style of painting (like those seen more after WW2)

If you are looking for activities to do this Summer, a visit to the Monet exhibit won’t disappoint. If anything it’s a bit of a surreal experience to be in the presence of such art, to see the individual brushstrokes up close. Whether you follow art closely or just have a general interest, this is an opportunity to witness works by an iconic artist s in person and enjoy a cultural experience. Details about the Claude Monet’s Secret Garden exhibit below.

Exhibit Details:

Runs from June 22- October 1, 2017

Location: Vancouver Art Gallery

Tickets: Adult- $24 | Senior (65+)- $20 | Kids 6- 12- $6.50 |

Kids 5 & under- Free

Enjoy visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery by donation on Tuesday evenings from 5- 9pm

June 22, 2017
/

Hello SUMMER! {Free Printables}

Let me be the first to say: HAPPY 1ST DAY OF SUMMER! Or as I like to call it, my favourite time of year. 😉 Canada Day is right around the corner and there’s some fun stuff coming to OHP to help celebrate Canada 150, but before we get to that I couldn’t resist posting something to celebrate the switch from Spring to Summer. I’ve got 3 Summer- inspired printables for you to download and print at home to bring the season indoors. All you have to do is pop in a frame or use some washi tape to adhere to a space that needs some brightening up. Pick your favourite or go for all 3 for a cute group. Click the links below to download. WELCOME TO SUMMER! <3 

Click to download: Summer Vibes

Click to download: Girls Just Wanna Have Sun

Click to download: Beach Please

Tip: These prints should fit a standard piece of printer paper with a border around the design when printed. Scale up or down to size the image to fit the frame you want. 50% should be about right for a 4″ * 6″ frame; I went for 60% since I had a matte in the frame I was using.

     

Don’t have time to download & print now? Pin this post for later!

 

June 20, 2017
/

#DrinkLocal Spotlight: Fraser Valley Cider Company

Posted in Food + Drinks by

It’s safe to say the craft beer and wine industries are going strong in BC. Whatever your preference you can probably find something to like that was grown and produced right here in BC. And while there are countless choices in those categories, what about those who don’t care for either? Or in some cases, can’t enjoy for dietary reasons? Will and I both enjoy grown up bevvies, but since going gluten free a few years ago, Will’s choices in beer have been limited, and even more so when it comes to local options. Even though we both enjoy wine, it’s nice to have options, and so I started looking into what else was available locally. Step in Fraser Valley Cider Company.

Living in BC it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t visited a winery or brewery, the experience makes for a fun day trip and you’re more than likely to have a good time, but have you ever visited a cidery? I first came across the Fraser Valley Cider Company last Fall as they were closing for the season and had been looking forward to checking them out when they re- opened in the Spring; I also had the chance to sample some of their ciders at the recent Fort Langley Food + Beer Festival. As someone with a British heritage, cider is something I was familiar with but can’t say I drink it all too often, defaulting back to beer and wine as my go- tos. But I was excited and intrigued to learn we had a local option for this drink that’s growing in popularity, especially for those who are looking for gluten free adult refreshments as an alternative to beer. While there are several craft cideries throughout the Okanagan and Vancouver Island,  The Fraser Valley Cider Company is the first- and so far only- cidery in the Lower Mainland, opening it’s doors in May 2016 after the founder, Rachel, made the career switch from engineering to follow her passion of cider making, wanting something that was more authentic, more connected to the land. It was a hobby she already enjoyed and after taking a cider makers course in 2013 she knew it was the right move, towards something that would bring enjoyment to herself and those who enjoyed the products she produced. The company currently offers 5 varieties made from apples grown in the Okanagan as well as heritage apples grown on the property: Bone Dry, Elderflower, Honey, House, and Rosy.

 I love meeting the people behind a company and learning it’s story- What gives it it’s soul? It’s personality?- and was excited to visit the cidery and tasting room located in Langley and meet Rachel in person. We talked about how she made the switch to cider making, the ciders themselves, and her plans for the growing business. From concept to opening, the turnaround was fairly quick considering a major career change took place and the cidery had to be built from the ground up with a very limited budget: the business plan was created in 2012, Rachel took a cider makers course in 2013 (‘Would I really like to do it as a job?’), the farm was bought in 2014, and the cidery opened for business in May 2016.

The 12- acre property houses an apple orchard alongside the cidery and tasting room and is close enough to keep the drive short while still leaving you feeling like you’re miles out of the city. And where better to enjoy a glass of cider than where it’s produced, where many of the apples are grown? As I said, I like cider, I just tent towards beer and wine without any excuse outside of habit. But trying the cider at the Fort Langley Beer + Food Festival and enjoying some at home following my visit to the cidery has solidified it as a new favourite on my list of grown- up refreshments. As someone who’s tried and enjoyed it, I asked Rachel to describe cider’s appeal, what she tells newcomers or those curious about it: “Simply, it’s refreshing. Cider and sunshine go together”. And it should be noted that like most craft vs mass- produced options (not unlike that seen with beer), there is a notable difference between craft cider and large- production varieties: craft cider is produced from full juice, with no additives or preservatives and has a more wine- like taste over the more pop- like taste of many large commercial varieties. The flavour of the apples is front and centre, and you couldn’t ask for something more refreshing- especially on a hot sunny day.

I couldn’t share about the cidery without also talking about location itself. Beautiful inside and out, there’s room for you to enjoy your cider at tables inside the tasting room, or outside surrounded by the scenic property (it’s also family- friendly and kids are welcome). Much of the tasting room is comprised of furniture built by Rachel’s Dad from wood repurposed from an old barn that was on the property when they bought it: “We had no budget and had lots of fun looking up ideas on Pinterest”, and the chandelier above the bar was a DIY project made by Rachel herself from light fixtures and branches. As she says, “It’s amazing how creative you get when you have no money”. The results speak for themselves and the atmosphere created from the love and passion that built the cidery is something that Rachel is proud of.

 

 

When I asked her what sets it apart from others she notes the authenticity of their practices, the culture of the business, and how visitors feel when they’re at the cidery.”It’s a chill place, there’s no attitude or pretence, it’s just fun. There’s no technique to drinking cider, you just taste it, drink it. We want people to feel like a part of the cidery family”.  The cidery culture and dedication to ethical practices are also things Rachel is proud of: most of their employees are former customers who loved what they were doing, coming on board to be a part of the efforts. And there is a focus to do good, towards ethical business practices, and to treat the land they are located on with respect.

So what’s next for the cidery? When I asked Rachel she listed off a variety of things that have me wanting to return a few more times over the season, including:

  • Live music nights + food trucks
  • Summer Solstice Hog Roast
  • Long Table Dinners featuring Chef Adrian Beatty 
  • Pizza nights with Al Forno Mobile Pizza Truck

There are also plans to expand the locations and farmer’s markets the cider is available (view a current list of stockists here), in addition to offering eggs and honey for purchase. You can view the list of upcoming events and purchase tickets online on the cidery’s Events page.

If you’re looking for some fun things to add to your Summer bucket list, a trip to Fraser Valley Cider Company is a worthy addition, and you’re more than likely to find some new favourite sips. Whether you make it a date or a family affair, the cidery is worth a visit and is open Fridays and Saturdays 11am- 9pm, and Sundays 11am- 6pm. 

For more information about the Fraser Valley Cider Company, including hours, where to buy, and upcoming events, visit their website and find them on social media: Facebook and Instagram.

Want to add this to your Summer Bucket List? Save it for later!

June 15, 2017
/

Beach Please {Summer Hat DIY}

Posted in DIY, Fashion, Summer by

I never used to be a ‘hat person’. But now I can honestly say I have a little bit of an addiction. And all the cute Summer hats I keep seeing everywhere ain’t helping. I’ve seen a variety of different versions online of big hats with writing on them and kept thinking ‘I can make that’- so I did just that. Hats can get a bit pricey, but I’m happy to say this wide- brimmed cutie cost me less than $10 (the hat I used for this DIY was $5 at IKEA folks!) and is super easy to make. I also love the idea of making a mini version with a kids hat for some cute Summer twinning (if you find one let me know!). Just pick a favourite word or phrase, pick up some thread or twine and glue. It’s. That. Simple. Pair with your favourite swimsuit and sandals for a beachy #ootd! See below for the steps.

Materials

Wide- brimmed hat (I bought mine at IKEA for $5- I also found a similar one on Amazon)

Black embroidery thread or twine (I doubled mine up and twisted it together so the design would show up clearly)

Fine- tipped marker

Hot glue gun

Directions

  1. Start by picking a phrase and writing the letters with the fine- tipped marker on the brim using dots or dashed lines

2. Using the glue gun, trace over the letters with hot glue, doing about 2- 3″ at a time so the glue doesn’t cool before you press the embroidery thread onto the design

3. Continue until your phrase is finished. For some letters like ‘a’, it might be easier to cut the thread and restart the letter rather than doubling over the thread you’ve already glued down

   

Like this DIY? Save it for later!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

June 13, 2017
/

Summer Bison Burgers

Posted in Recipes by

Have you ever tried bison? How about another exotic or game meat? Sometimes stepping out of your culinary comfort zone has a big pay out and these burgers were that for me. If you’re looking for something a little different to grill up this Summer- maybe Dad would love these for Father’s Day, or how about for that Canada Day BBQ?- these won’t disappoint. I love that bison is similar to beef, so it’s not too unfamiliar for those less adventurous, but the meat itself is amazing and these beauties contain no binding (no egg, breadcrumbs, etc). Just good, simple, delicious ingredients. I originally made these as sliders as part of my menu for Will’s surprise 30+1 birthday last month, but wanted to re- create them in full form to share on OHP since they blew away my expectations (read more about the menu at the end of this post). The bison I used for this recipe is from one of my favourite stores that I’ve shopped at for years, Heritage Meats, and after an amazing experience serving up an exotic meats menu for Will’s party, I teamed up with them to recreate and share the recipe. You’ll never look at a beef burger the same way again. Promise.

Ingredients

2 lb ground buffalo/ bison 

2 medium yellow onions

1 bulb + 4 cloves of garlic

Aged white cheddar cheese

Pretzel buns (or your favourite burger bun)

10 mushrooms

 2 cups arugula 

5 large russet potatoes

4 cups organic beef broth

1 tsp organic corn starch

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the russet potatoes and slice into large fries. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Shake onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown/ slightly charred (approx 45 minutes to one hour). Turn the fries after 1/2 an hour in the oven.

2. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic and remove any excess outer layers, making sure it maintains it’s shape. Place on a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the garlic for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and soft. If you have room in your oven, place it on another rack while the fries cook, otherwise roast the garlic separately ahead of time.

2. While the fries are cooking, finely dice one of the onions and crush the cloves of garlic. In a large bowl, combine onion and garlic with the ground buffalo. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.

3. Form the mixture into patties 1/2″ thick and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Either cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook or cook immediately.

4. When ready, bring your BBQ or grill to medium heat and space the patties evenly over the heat. Flip after 5- 7 minutes and grill until cooked through (approx 10- 15 minutes total at medium heat). Place some slices of the aged white cheddar on the burgers a few minutes before they’re ready if you prefer melted cheese.

5. While the burgers are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium/ high heat. Slice the remaining onion and mushrooms and sauté them separately (don’t clean the pan!). Set aside until ready to build the burgers. In the same pan, heat the 4 cups of organic beef broth and add the cornstarch to thicken slightly (if desired) to make the au jus for dipping (so, SO good!). The beef broth will absorb some of the flavours left over from the onions and mushrooms and make for some tasty dipping.

5. To build the burgers, scoop some Dijon mustard and mayo onto the buns, along with some of the roasted garlic. Next add the sautéed mushrooms and onion, followed by the burger patty. Top off with slices of the aged white cheddar (if you haven’t already melted it on) and arugula. Secure the top of the bun with a bamboo skewer and serve with the fries (and au jus, if desired). Now just try going back to your regular beef burger. 😉

This is a delicious twist on a traditional beef burger and one you’ll hopefully love making throughout the year. If serving with the au jus, cutting the burgers in half once built makes dipping easier and (slightly) less messy. 

 

 

    

More about that exotic meats menu…

Last month I surprised Will with a 30+ 1 party (aka a belated 30th) and when it came time to plan the menu I knew I wanted to do something different, a little crazy even. I thought it over and ultimately decided to go with a menu that was waaay different than anything I had ever done before, something totally out of my comfort zone and experience: a menu made up of a variety of exotic meats. I know of restaurants that serve up protein that’s less common than our typical beef and chicken and I had a hunch one of my favourite stores might be able to help me plan the menu. I’ve shopped at Heritage Meats since they opened in 2003- way before kids, going gluten- free, etc- because I love their passion for food and the quality selection they offer. I called to find out what they carried and I wasn’t disappointed, ultimately deciding on a selection of five to try: crocodile, buffalo, kangaroo, boar, and camel- cooked up in different recipes and served alongside some BBQ chicken just in case our families weren’t in an adventurous mood. I didn’t play it safe, I Googled and Googled and Googled how to cook the different meats (and no one got food poisoning, yay!) and Will loved the crazy menu. This was some of the most fun I’ve had with food in a while and I couldn’t have pulled it off so calmly if it weren’t for the advice and help from a few of the staff members at Heritage Meats. 

Please note this post is not sponsored or endorsed. I have shopped at this store since it opened in 2003 and they were the first place I thought of when I decided on an exotic menu for Will’s birthday. When I originally called to ask for help narrowing down the menu, the service and help I received both over the phone prior to visiting and in- store was exceptional (and I did not mention I was a blogger to try to get ‘special attention’). This has always been my experience with the staff of this store and it led me to reach out to them to partner on this recipe. They kindly provided the buffalo and aged cheddar cheese to help me recreate the recipe I served at Will’s birthday and I whole- heartedly recommend you check them out online to learn more and pay them a visit. Whether you’re passionate about food and care about it’s quality, or seek specialty products, this store is a destination worth the drive and the staff will be the finishing touch of a great shopping experience. It’s been a pleasure shopping with them over the past 13+ years and even more so partnering with them here on OHP. Shops like this keep my love for food alive and I’m so grateful to them for their dedication to what they do.

About Heritage Meats

Located in Langley, BC, Heritage Meats specializes in gourmet, high- quality, and specialty foods including gluten- free, organic, and premium quality meats. Since opening in 2003, it’s become a destination, offering a selection of everything from deli items, pantry staples, and meat to gourmet and specialty items (including exotic meats!) hard to find in most stores. All of the meat and poultry carried in the store is non- medicated- no hormones, antibiotics, or animal by- products- and the friendly staff can help you with any questions you may have.

In addition to the exotic meats mentioned in this post, they also carry a selection of other quality meat and deli items:

– Beef (non medicated Alberta beef, dry aged for flavour and tenderness)
– Chicken (local, non medicated, air chilled)
– Pork (local, non medicated, free run)
– Sausages (made in house, no fillers, gluten free)
– Entrees (made in house by the shop’s chef, with a large selection of gluten free options)

To learn more about the store and it’s product offerings, visit the Heritage Meats website and find them on social media:

Facebook: Heritage Meats & Gourmet Specialty Foods | Twitter: @HeritageMeats

 Save this recipe for later!

June 9, 2017
/

OHP Gardening Series: Printable Gardening Planner

    

After what feels like a few false starts, the sun and warmer weather seem to be here to stay. We’ve been working hard getting the garden planted over the past month or so- it was definitely a later start than usual- and we’re starting to enjoy the results as the first batch of plants are almost ready to pick. We’ve got spinach ready to eat with peas and lettuce coming up quick. Even with the late start it’s been a great kick off to the gardening season and since it’s something many enjoy or want to get into, I’ve put together a printable Gardening Planner full of info and tips, plus printable labels and something for the kids.

I tried to include as much as I could on the topic of edible gardening without it turning into a novel, and included ideas for small space gardening, kid- friendly ideas, and plants that grow well indoors/ in the shade for those with limited (or no) outdoor gardening space. I tried to make it as simple and user- friendly as possible. Simply print it off and use it throughout the growing season to help you plan and stay organized. I’ve included a Garden Planning Grid and Legend to help you map out your garden space and make the most of the area you have to work with (if you follow the blog on Instagram you’ll have seen me share about Seeding Square, a great tool to help maximize growing space). You’ll also find suggestions for vertical and container gardening, natural pest control, and companion planting suggestions.

Phew! I hope I’ve covered some good ground with this planner and hope it helps you with your gardening plans for the season ahead. See below for contents, photos of some of the pages, and links to some of the companies whose products we’re using as well as gardening books I’ve included in the Resources section of the Planner. Simply click to download and print. If you want this planner to last a while, pick up a binder or folder and slip the pages into clear plastic page protectors, or reprint pages as needed. 

What’s inside:

  • Planting Calendar– Print a few of these pages for the months you seed/ grow/ harvest/ re- plant in
  • Crop Planning– Plant variety, indoor/ outdoor planting dates, estimated harvest dates, and notes
  • Planning Grid– Map out your gardening space and use as a reference for planting. Print as many of these as you need for multiple garden spaces and if you plan to re- plant with different crops in the same space throughout the season
  • Planning Legend– Use with the Planning Grid to help you plan your gardening space(s)
  • Natural Pest Control– Try these methods to help reduce pests without chemicals
  • Companion Planting– Suggestions for which fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers grow well together and help reduce pests
  • Kid- Friendly Ideas– Suggestions for easy- to- grow edible plants that kids will enjoy helping with
  • Tips– Ideas for small space and container gardens, vertical gardening, plants that grow well in the shade, and suggestions for plants that you can grow indoors
  • Notes– Print as many of these pages as needed to make additional notes
  • Printables– Includes plant labels, seed labels, and a kids garden sign. Print as many as you like to use and get your kids involved by having them colour and cut out their own sign for the garden
  • Resources– Some books I recommend for further reading (I’ve included links at the end of this post if you want to check them out)

 

 

 

Download and print your copy of the OHP Garden Planner below!

OHP Garden Planner

Resources

I’ve included links to websites of companies whose products we’re using this year (keep an eye out for more gardening content featuring them throughout the Summer) and the books I have enjoyed reading and turn to for advice with our own garden. All of the books are available on Amazon and are great to have on hand as reference.

OHP Gardening Series Partners

Roma Boots

Westcoast Seeds

Seeding Square

Raincoast Books

Books

From Seed to Table, A Practical Guide to Eating and Growing Green– By Janette Haase, Insomniac Press

Tiny Garden, Huge Harvest*- By Caleb Warnock, Familius

DIY Garden Projects, Easy Activities and Edible Gardening and Backyard Fun*- By Mat Pember & Dillon Seitchik- Reardon, Hardie Grant Books

Herbs + Flowers*- By Pip McCormac, Quadrille

*See more info on these books plus two gardening books for kids in this post.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

June 7, 2017
/

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Posted in Gift Ideas, Guys by

It’s here: The 2017 Father’s Day Gift Guide in partnership with Ava to Zoe full of ideas to spoil your favourite Dad. If you know the guy who ‘doesn’t need anything’ you’ll hopefully find something he’ll love within these pages. We brought together a selection of products from some of our favourite locals, many of them handmade and made right here in BC. Give a one of a kind gift for a one of a kind Dad (sorry couldn’t help a little corny sentiment because hey, it’s true) and support small business when you shop. 

Enjoy 15% off with most vendors included. 

 

 

June 2, 2017
/

Natural Sunscreens for the Whole Family

Every Spring as the weather is getting warmer I start to get everything organized for the heat of the Summer- water shoes and sandals, hats, beach essentials, swim suits… and sunscreen. And each year I try to find a natural option that isn’t loaded with chemicals while keeping my family from turning into lobsters (no olive skin/ 5 minutes to bronzed over here, we fair- skinned folks have to build up a tan over a looooong time). There seem to be some general things to look out for, some questionable, and some that you want for sun protection. As I did the research for this post I tried to simplify the information and make recommendations based on what I found* (I’ve also included the sources that I referred to at the end of the post so you can do some research for yourself if you wish). It’s sometimes hard to find quality options in grocery stores, so all of the options below are ones that you can easily find online (you can also find them in natural/ health food stores). See some of the good and bad things to look for in sunscreens and a few suggestions to try this Summer below- just add sun!

 

 

Top to bottom, left to right

Goddess Gardens Organics Baby Sunscreen 

thinksport Kids Sunscreen

Badger Kids Active Sunscreen

Goddess Gardens Organics Natural Sunscreen Spray

Badger Baby Sunscreen

Goddess Gardens Organics Kids Sunscreen

California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen

thinksport Baby Sunscreen 

For more natural sunscreen options available online check out Well.ca and Amazon– if you’re unsure about some of the products you find, Google search them by name and you should be able to find their ingredients listed along with information about how they really measure up (that’s how I discovered one of my old go- tos wasn’t as good as I thought).

One other thing I learned while researching the sunscreens to include in this post: if you like sunscreens in spray form (ie in an aerosol/ pressurized can), look closely at the ingredients, as they may not be cause for concern when applied to the skin, but inhaling them has it’s own set of concerns (this article was informative on this topic). This opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms, so I didn’t include any aerosol suggestions, just a cream that you can spray on without it becoming a mist). 

* Please note that these recommendations are based on research and information I found online. I am not making medical or scientific recommendations, and as with any skincare product if in doubt, apply a small amount to a test area prior to use. 

Sources:

EWG.org: Here and here.

SafeMama.org

WomensHealthMag.com

DavidSuzuki.org

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

May 31, 2017
/

3 Flavour Marbled NiceCream

Posted in Recipes, Summer by

I scream, you scream… it’s hard to think of a Summer where there wasn’t a day spent at the beach served up with a scoop or two of my favourite flavour (usually bubble gum- you know the kind with real bits of gum in it?- or cotton candy). And it’s still a favourite treat of mine, no matter what time of year. Buuuuut, since we’re headed into the hottest time of the year I thought what better time than now to share a recipe for a sweet frozen treat that’s tasty and- gasp!- healthy too (can you guess the hidden uber- healthy ingredient???). And if you haven’t tried making your own ice cream/ froyo/ nice cream, now’s the perfect time to try. In case you’re unfamiliar, nice cream is the dairy free sister to the classic dairy dessert we know and love. You can absolutely whip up this recipe with milk, but I’ve been wanting to try making nice cream and had a freezer full of frozen ripe bananas calling my name, so I went for it.

Ari and I spent a messy morning blending up the flavours (we went with blueberry, raspberry, and the secret flavour you’ll have to scroll down to find out about), and I now know what I’ll do from now on with all the bananas that get over- ripe when it’s too hot to bake banana bread. This takes about 15 minutes to make, and the mix is also perfect for popsicles. Your kids will love helping, everyone will love eating it, and you’ll love that it’s a healthy version of a favourite Summer sweet treat. Now about that secret ingredient and how to make your own nice cream at home..!

Ingredients

6- 10 ripe bananas (you don’t have to be frozen, mine were just in the freezer waiting to be made into something yummy)

1 cup each of your favourite frozen fruits; for ours we used blueberries, raspberries, and kale (how’s that for a sneaky/ healthy secret ingredient?!)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

2 tsbp honey or maple syrup (optional)

1- 2 cups of water, dairy- free milk, or milk

Directions

1. Start by blending all of your bananas as if you were making a smoothie. I added about 1 cup of dairy- free milk to mine to help get a thick/ creamy/ smooth consistency (we splurged on a Blendtec a few years ago and love it for things like smoothies and soups). The more flavours you want to make, the more bananas you’ll want (I used 10 for this recipe).

2. Once you’ve got the banana mixture smooth, pour it into a large jug and set aside. To make the green nice cream, I juiced a few few kale leaves (you don’t need very many as the colour is really strong). For each flavour, combine 1 cup of frozen or fresh fruit with 1- 2 cups of the banana mixture. For the green, add 1 tbsp of kale juice (you won’t be able to taste the kale, but if you prefer you can add some vanilla extract and/ or honey). Pour each colour/ flavour into their own container until you’ve made all the flavours you want to include.

3. Scoop spoonfuls of each flavour into a baking dish until it’s full, putting different colours/ flavours throughout (this is what will help create the marble effect).

  

4. Drag a skewer or chopstick through the mixture to create a marble effect- make sure to go all the way to the bottom so the nice cream is marbled throughout, not just on top.

   

5. Place your dish in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to freeze. When you want to serve, take it out of the freezer for 10- 15 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!

  

  

   

Like this recipe? Save it for later!

Both our juicer and blender get a lot of use in our house. They were two kitchen items we researched and invested some money into, since we wanted ones that would hold up well to use and last a long time. So far we’ve been more than satisfied with them and they do a great job; they were both splurges and we bought them at different times as we were able to put the money aside. I use them for many of the recipes that appear on the blog and get asked fairly often about which ones we own. The juicer we have is the Breville Juice Fountain Elite 800JEXL and we have the Blendtec TB-621-20 Total Blender. I’d highly recommend them both and worth the investment, especially if you enjoy making healthy food at home.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

May 26, 2017
/

Splish Splash: 20 of the Best Pool Floaties for Summer

Confession: this post was a lot harder to put together than I thought it would be! There are so many fun pool floaties out there, and it was hard to narrow down choices to include. I’ve rounded up 20 to help make the most of all the hot days spent poolside and at the beach to come from two of my favourite places to shop online: Amazon.ca and Indigo (tip: from May 23- 25 enjoy free shipping when you order online at Indigo). Some of these are more of a splurge than others, but the fun (and photos!) will be worth it. Scroll to the bottom for where to buy info.

Where to Buy

Top to bottom, left to right

Gold Swan | Pink Donut (or here. Also available in brown here)| Pineapple

Watermelon | Rainbow |Popsicle (or get a rainbow version here) | Unicorn

Flamingo | Round Strawberry | Pretzel

PineapplePeacock | Cactus

Lobster Round Rainbow | Round WatermelonLuxe Pink Flamingo 

Cactus Toss GameSwan | Banana

Looking for something to carry all of your Summer essentials to the beach or pool? Check out this round- up 6 beach bags under $30 over on Ava to Zoe!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 23, 2017
/