Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Trilogy Part 3: Spring Recipes

Part 3 of my spring trilogy is spring recipes! When the weather starts to warm up I don't feel like cooking at a hot stove or oven. I want fresh, easy to prepare meals. My favorite type of cooking is to just prep everything at once and have it all ready with all the food groups included, rather than worrying about timing everything right and cooking a main, sides, etc. Here are a few of my favorite recipes for spring. 

1. Taco Salad
Taco chips (we like Tostitos multigrain scoops)
black beans (or sometimes Mexican spiced vegetarian ground round)
bell pepper
grated cheese

That's it! Layer it up and enjoy. A nice fresh, filling, delicious meal.

2. Chickpea Burgers
This is a recipe I found on pinterest, and you can click for the link but basically you just use a food processor to combine chickpeas, hummus, olive oil, lemon juice, carrot, oats, sunflower seeds, parsley, and some spices. Grind it all up, shape into patties and fry on each side for a few minutes.
We like to have these with homemade chips or yam fries and a fresh veggie. Stephen makes really good yam fries and dip, awesome for spring/summer deck meals.

3. Quinoa Salad
This is a favorite at our house. The dressing is what makes it taste fresh and summery.
Cook one cup of quinoa. (Boil 2 cups of water. Add quinoa. Turn down heat and let simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.)
Cook half a red onion, a can (or 1/2 cup) of black beans, a can of corn niblets, and a diced red pepper in a pot. Add some cilantro to the veggies.
For dressing, mix 1/4 cup lime juice and 1/4 cup olive oil with some salt and pepper, a crushed clove of garlic, and some red pepper flakes.
Mix it all together and enjoy.
This salad is good warm or cold. Sometimes we just taco chips and eat it as a dip, but it's also good on its own.

Check out the other parts of my spring trilogy here:
Spring Cleaning
Spring Fashion

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring Trilogy Part 2: Spring Fashion

Part 2 of my spring trilogy is all about fashion!
I am all about spring fashion year-round. I love to wear floral patterns and bright colours so I am thrilled when I start to see people around me sporting these awesome trends.

Below are a few of my favourite spring looks this year, but first.. my new spring jacket!

I have a black Columbia raincoat that I love. It is perfect for working in the yard, camping, and travelling (since it compresses really small and is lightweight). I just wanted something a bit less sporty to suit my everyday style. I was looking for something like my turquoise peacoat - something a bit longer, belted at the waist, and colourful, but waterproof and with a hood. These criteria are pretty specific, but lucky me, I found the perfect thing and it was 50% off! I love the jacket and have gotten many compliments on it.

My friend took this photo of me when we were in Saskatoon over spring break.

Now, here are some of my favorite spring looks:

Thanks to Stephen for taking all the outfit photos.
Which look is your favourite?

Check out the other parts of the spring trilogy here:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Trilogy Part 1: Spring Cleaning

I got this idea from a lady whose videos I watch on youtube. Essiebutton does a spring trilogy every year in which she makes three videos, usually about fashion, make-up, and lifestyle. I thought I would make my own spring trilogy on my blog and Part 1 is all about spring cleaning.

One of the first days of spring break was rainy and snowy, so I spent the day inside cleaning the whole house. It made the rest of the week nicer when we could spend time in a clean house. Here are my steps and tips for spring cleaning.

1. Clean Everything
I like to use eco-friendly cleaners around the house. Not only are natural, plant-based, and homemade cleaners better for the environment but they are better for our bodies.
I was recently looking at a chemical oven cleaner at the store and read that if it gets on your skin you need to call a hotline. I decided I didn't want that stuff anywhere near where I cook food.
A brand I like is greenworks. They have a whole line of cleaners for toilets, counters, surfaces, and glass.You can get this stuff at Walmart pretty inexpensively. I especially love the all-in-one. It has a fresh lemon-y scent and disinfects. It is easy to use: just spray it on the surface and wipe away with a rag.

When it came to cleaning the stove and oven I found this "vintage" method on pinterest:
1. spread baking soda on the stains on the stove and all over the oven. Rub the baking soda in using circular motions.
2. Put some pure white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray onto the baking soda.
3. Let it sit. (The amount of time differed depending on the article I read. I let mine sit for half an hour.
4. Scrub, scrub, scrub.

This method was very effective at removing lots of tough stains on our stove and oven. It takes some work but is very rewarding.

2. Get Rid of Junk
Another step to spring cleaning is losing your hoarder tendencies. Go through rooms in your house and donate, sell, or throw away things you don't need/don't use.
Clean out closets and switch them over to be more seasonally appropriate. Store winter boots and coats away and bring out sandals and hats.
The changing season is a great time to go through closets and get rid of things. Maybe you were hanging onto that sweater for when it got cold. If you didn't wear it all winter, get rid of it!

Go through junk drawers and cabinets and organize.
You will feel much better knowing everything in your home has a place.
Spring is a time to get rid of the old to make room for the new. Think about your yard.. you rake up dead leaves and debris so green grass and fresh flowers have room to grow. Do the same inside your home. Get rid of that old junk and make room for new things! Or, just enjoy the extra free space.

3. "Spring-ify" the House
I find it helpful to switch out a few things in the house when the weather starts to warm up and the days get longer. I store the heavy blankets in the living room away and bring out the lighter ones. We got a new scented candle that smells more summery.

I even changed up the coffee table books to be more spring-y.

Get fresh flowers in the house, haul out the BBQ... whatever is it that makes your house feel more "spring-y", do it. It's good for mental health to create small changes in your environment, and to have things around you that make you feel happy.

Good luck with your cleaning!

Check out the other parts of the spring trilogy here:
Spring Fashion