Recipe: Orange mango paletas

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Ever since I tried a homemade ice pop at a flea market a few weeks back, I’ve been mildly obsessed with making something similar at home. I finally found popsicle moulds at a local store and I’ve been experimenting with ingredients ever since. I had orange juice and frozen mango at home already, so I figured I’d give those ingredients a shot first and try to make paletas – a type of Latin American ice pop generally made with fresh fruit. I also added in some honey for a bit of extra sweetness without any added sugar. Making these was insanely simple, and they’re a pretty guilt-free treat… oh, and did I mention they’re delicious, too?

Ingredients (for 6 paletas):

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 2 tbsp. honey

Directions 

  1. Mix together orange juice, mango, and honey in a blender.
  2. Pour into moulds and add popsicle sticks.
  3. Put in the freezer for a minimum of 4-6 hours.
  4. Once frozen, remove the paletas from their moulds by running the moulds under hot water (or placing in a cup of hot water, alternatively). They should slide out easily with a bit of a jiggle!

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Maximizing your pre-party cleaning

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I’m finally throwing a little housewarming party tonight (after moving in over 2 months ago… sshh, don’t judge) and it’s got me thinking about pre-party cleaning. There’s the rushed kind most of us do, which generally consists of scrambling last-minute to get rid of clutter before people show up. But if you’ve got more time to prepare, a big gathering at your home is the perfect opportunity to do a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of your pad and sweep/scrub some areas that normally don’t get much attention.

Kitchen sink
Did you know that your kitchen sink could be full of bacteria? Yup, it’s true – a place that you “clean” your dishes in could have 100,000 times more contamination than a bathroom sink, according to a recent study by NSF International. Seriously, yuck. If you’re having folks over for a party, you just know they’ll be milling around your kitchen, so a few days beforehand is the perfect time to give your sink a good scrub.

Fridge

Lots of guests equal lots of drinks in your fridge. That’s a problem if yours is jam-packed with food – including some that may be rotting right under your nose. Empty out the whole thing if you have a free day and see what’s worth keeping (it’s probably not as much as you’d think.) Chuck out old fruit & veggies and anything past the best-before date. Also, see if you have multiple containers of the same thing started, like ketchup or salsa for instance, put it all in one container to save room. For more tips, check out Apartment Therapy’s great how-to guide for cleaning a refrigerator.

Your entire bathroom

When was the last time you reeeally cleaned your bathroom? If nothing is coming to mind, that’s a problem. An upcoming party is the perfect opportunity. Toss your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher. Clean your whole toilet (that means lifting the seat too.) Windex your mirror. And scrub your sink, counter and shower/tub with a bleach-based cleanser. The whole thing really won’t take as long as you think, and having a spotless space for your guests will feel wonderful. Bonus points if you add in a sweet smelling diffuser.

What are your tips for pre-party cleaning? Let me know in the comments!

PS: Martha Stewart, goddess of all things clean and tidy, has a great selection of cleaning guides to give you even more inspiration!

Style: Summer sales!

Summer sales1. Kate Spade bow bag 2. RW&Co polka dot scarf 3. Anthropologie netted dot pillow 4. J.Crew necklace 5. Anthropologie Ikat frame 6. RW&Co necklace 7. J.Crew espadrilles

There is so much to love in the summer sales happening right now. SO MUCH! We’ve still got lots of sunshine left so it’s a perfect time to stock up on some (much cheaper) colourful pieces for your closet or home. I’m in love with everything above, but I’m thinking I’ll snag that orange polka dot scarf in particular… it’s too cute and could actually transition into fall (eek, can’t believe I said that in July!)

Recipe: Quinoa chickpea salad

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Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Arugula
  • Feta cheese
  • Red onion
  • Chives
  • Lemon (for juice)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cayenne

Directions 

  1. First things first, you’ll have to cook the quinoa. You’ll find some good tips for how to do it by clicking here. Don’t overcook!
  2. While the quinoa is cooling down, finely chop some red onion and chives (amount based on your preference).
  3. In a bowl or on a plate, add arugula, chickpeas and quinoa. Sprinkle chives and onion on top, along with crumbled feta cheese.
  4. Mix together olive oil with some ground black pepper, a few squeezes of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne. Drizzle over top.
  5. Serve salad at room temperature or slightly chilled. Enjoy!

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Junction Flea Market

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I’m definitely into checking out flea markets this summer. You never know what you’ll find. Some are better than others, of course, and I had SUCH a good time at this one today – the Junction Flea Market in the Dundas & Keele area. The whole thing was so darn lovely. So many vendors selling everything from furniture to jewelry to clothing to random vintage trinkets. The whole thing was well laid out, and there were even little food vendors selling coffee, popsicles, snacks and beer (yes! beer!)

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And here’s what I took home: vintage 1960s license plate for $5. I mean, why not?

Exploring the Toronto Flower Market

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I went with some girl friends to the Toronto Flower Market this morning – and what a lovely experience! So many beautiful blooms to choose from at reasonable prices (most bouquets I saw were in the $5 to $10 range). The selection wasn’t as big as I expected, but it was still nice to have all sorts of flowers in one place. And, if you’re interested in shopping local, this is the way to go – all the flowers are from local Ontario greenhouses.

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If you’re a daisy lover like me, you’re in luck. Lots of colours to choose from.

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Lots of small, inexpensive options means you can mix and match to suit your decor.

DSC_0019And here’s what I brought home! Simple but so pretty in a mason jar.

Toronto Flower Market runs until September on the 2nd Saturday of each month. 

 

Recipe: Baked & breaded chicken

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One day while at my boyfriend’s parents’ place, his mother asked me if I’d ever cooked with Panko. I said no, so she gave me a bag of the stuff to take home. Of course I decided to have a little kitchen experiment with those Japanese breadcrumbs. The result is this quick and easy baked and breaded chicken. It’s moist and full of flavour with a light, crunchy coating. Prep time is insanely short… then it just bakes in the oven!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 2 breasts of chicken
  • 4 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. garlic seasoning or crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. shaved parmesan

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. While the oven heats up, mix together the mayo, garlic and shaven parmesan.
  3. Coat chicken breasts with the mayo mixture and place on baking tray.
  4. Sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs overtop until evenly coated.
  5. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked.

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