Monday, October 7, 2013

The Very BEST Apple Crisp

Autumn is my favorite time of year! And after a busy September filled with beautiful weddings and an amazing vacation spent in Tuscany, Italy, to celebrate our second anniversary, the Mr. and I are just now embracing the change of seasons in New York.

Friday evening, I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from work to pick up a few things for dinner. As I entered, the produce section was overflowing with apples and my craving for apple crisp set in immediately.

I had come across this recipe, on another blog I occasionally read, so decided to try it out. The combination of brown butter, vanilla bean and bourbon intrigued me... Which I now realize, are the secret ingredients! As the dessert baked, the sweet smell of the fruit and spices perfumed our entire apartment.

I hardly got the finished crisp completely out of the oven before both the Mr. and I took a spoonful. Our real serving was topped with a heaping scoop of ice cream, of course.

I have to laugh now because we ate this treat so fast, I didn't even have time to snap a picture. Hence the reason for not including any in this post. I guess this really is 'The Best Apple Crisp You'll Ever Have'!


*Image via Pinterest

Monday, August 5, 2013

Grilled Shishito Peppers

This weekend was all about enjoying time outside and relaxing. We’ve had a stretch of gorgeous, sunny days in the city, so it’s been fun to enjoy our rooftop, walk along the river, and finally embrace New York’s newest mode of public transportation, the Citi Bike!

On Saturday morning, before our bike ride, the Mr. and I strolled through the farmers market and picked up some local Shishito peppers for dinner. These small, mild, Japanese green peppers have slowly been appearing on restaurant menus all over the city and have recently become our favorite appetizer / side dish.

They’re extremely easy to prepare and taste exceptionally good in the summertime with a sprinkling of olive oil, sea salt and a wedge of lime.

Blistered Shishito Peppers
½ pound fresh Shishito peppers, rinsed and patted dry
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
½  Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Sea Salt
Optional: Sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and a wedge of lime

Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat.

Toss the Shishito peppers, olive oil, sesame oil and sea salt in a large bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Carefully place the peppers on the grill pan in a single layer and cook until the skin of the peppers appear charred/blistered (approximately 3-5 minutes). Toss the peppers and cook for another minute or two, until evenly charred/blistered on all sides. 
Remove from the grill pan and season with additional salt to taste. Serve immediately. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Buckeye State Ice Cream

Wedding celebrations were in full swing this weekend, as one of my dear friends from college got married. We attended undergrad at Miami University in Ohio, and are among just a handful of classmates currently living in New York City. Therefore, the evening's festivities turned into quite the reunion of classmates and sorority sisters I hadn't seen for some time!

As a tribute to our days spent in Oxford, I wanted to share a beloved ice cream from the Buckeye State! Jeni's Splendid is my absolute favorite ice cream. Scoop shops are located only in Ohio, but fortunately, pints of her frozen treats are available nationwide at fine grocery stores. There is even a cookbook, so ice cream lovers can make the signature flavors at home.

The Buckeye State Ice Cream is a combination of rich, peanut butter and dark chocolate. It's abundantly decadent, but not too sweet... Enjoy!

The Buckeye State Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (less if using saltier peanut butter)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
4 ounces chocolate (55% to 70% cocoa), chopped

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.  
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes. 
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and begin to spin the ice cream. 
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double broiler. Remove from the heat and let cool until tepid but still fluid. When the ice cream is thick and creamy and almost finished, drizzle the melted chocolate slowly through the opening in the top of the ice cream machine and allow it to solidify and break up in the ice cream for about 2 minutes. 
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Holiday Staycation

Sometimes, nothing beats a "staycation", especially on a holiday weekend in New York. Crowds vanish, the city is quiet, and while hard to believe, it's pretty easy to find a same-day dinner reservation.

To take full advantage, I invited my Mom and sister to visit from Minnesota and Vermont, over the 4th of July. We had a wonderful weekend filled with lots of walking, shopping and eating!

Because it rained almost every day in June, the flowers are certainly in full bloom. The photo on the left is from our rooftop, where we had a prime view of the fireworks show. And on the right, gorgeous purple hydrangeas we spotted on a walk through Chelsea. 

It seems that most of my favorite restaurants in the city have 10 tables, or less. Mom and I enjoyed a lovely lunch of Nectarine and Snap Pea Salad with Avocado Toast at Smith & Mills, while we waited for Annie to arrive. 

The High Line is a public park, built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Despite the extreme heat, we walked up and down the High Line, stopping for lunch at Terroir on the Porch, of course! 

After a very busy afternoon, we were certainly ready for a relaxing dinner. It must have been our lucky day because we were seated at one of dell'anima's coveted outdoor tables. We celebrated and kicked off the evening with a glass of Franciacorta... Cheers!

Our dinner was amazing - And, we shared several courses, as they do in Italy!

Roasted Beets with Pistachio, Candied Fennel, Pecorino Romano

Bucatini Alla Arrabbiata with Calabrian Chilies, Tomoato, Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Tajarin Alla Carbonara with Speck, Egg, Ramps and Pecorino

Pollo Al Diavolo with Broccoli Rabe and Chilies

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Lemons

And for dessert, we surprised Annie with a homemade Coconut Cake - She turns 25 at the end of July. Nothing wrong with celebrating "Birthday Month", right!

Thanks for such a fun few days, Mom and Annie! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Wishing everyone a very happy 4th of July! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day

About a week ago, tremendous flooding hit Calgary and the surrounding area. Damage done to homes, businesses and the city's infrastructure is extensive, and many people are still evacuated or without power. While everyone we know is safe and sound, my thoughts and prayers go out to all Calgarians! 

In light of these recent circumstances, and as a way to pay tribute to Canada Day, I thought I'd share what I love most about the Stampede City. Happy Canada Day to my family and friends up north! 

1. Situated in the heart of Banff National Park, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited! 

2. The white cowboy hat symbolizes the spirit of Calgary. Upon arrival at the airport, you will surely be welcomed by volunteers wearing the recognizable cap. 

3. For an authentic, lively, dining experience downtown, Mercato is highly recommended. The Bistecca alla Florentina is amazing (and made with Alberta beef, of course).  

4. While known for the coffee, I prefer the Timbits (bite-size donut holes in every flavor).

5. For true relaxation, the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Banff Springs can't be beat. The pulsating waterfalls and mineral pools are simply rejuvenating. 

6. Watching the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome is SO much fun. I've certainly become a true hockey fan! 

7. During the Calgary Stampede, cowboy boots are a must. The best can be found at Alberta Boot.

8. Pure Canadian Maple Syrup on pancakes is a given... Delish! 

9. During the winter months (which is a significant portion of the year), skiing at Sunshine Village shouldn't be missed. The views from the mountain peaks are breathtaking!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

Non-dairy milks, such as soy, rice, coconut, hemp, oat and almond are growing in popularity.

These plant-based alternatives are easier for the body to digest, compared to cow’s milk, as they don’t contain lactose. And, some even have added health benefits. For example, almond milk, is high in Vitamin E, Magnesium and Potassium.

While you can purchase milk substitutes at nearly any grocery store, I prefer to make my own. The end result is smooth, silky and just a touch sweet.

1 Cup Raw Almonds
3 Cups Filtered Water
¼ Teaspoon Coconut Oil
¼ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Blender (Vitamix)
Nut Milk Bag (or cheesecloth)

Place the raw almonds in a small bowl and cover with filtered water. Soak the almonds for at least 6 hours, or overnight. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the milk. When done soaking, drain and rinse the almonds under cold water. Add the almonds to the blender, along with 3 cups filtered water. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes. Turn off the blender, add ¼ teaspoon coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Pulse just to combine.

Over a large bowl, pour the contents into the nut milk bag. Twist the bag tightly, and gently press all the milk from the almond meal (the almond meal will be dry and remain inside the bag).

Store the almond milk in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days. But believe me, it won’t last that long! I love to mix this milk into fruit smoothies and it’s delicious with Cold Brew Coffee.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Slow-Bake Kale Chips

Hello, friends... Wow, I’ve missed you guys! It's been way too long since we've chatted on Ella Modern, and for that, I apologize. The past couple months have flown by so fast, that I can't believe summer is already in full swing! I've got so much to share, so let's jump right back in.

One of my favorite things about our neighborhood this time of year are the weekend Greenmarkets. Stands are set up all along Greenwich Street, showcasing beautiful flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables and there's even fresh fish... but only for the early risers, it sells so fast. 

Greens were in abundance this weekend, so I picked up a giant bunch of Tuscan Kale. I love to use kale for salads because it's a little heartier than ordinary lettuce (and, I highly recommend trying THIS recipe). For something more savory, I also like to make Kale Chips. Yes, that's right, Kale Chips.

I've tried several different recipes, but Gwyneth Paltrow's slow-bake rendition is by far the best, and ensures a crispy chip!

1 Bunch Tuscan Kale, Chopped Into Bite Size Pieces
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Lightly drizzle the kale with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread kale on a sheet pan in a single layer (you may have to use two sheet pans). Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for 1 hour until lightly browned and crisp.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Bright and Sunny Granola

My sister's recipe for granola has always been a favorite of mine. The oats are perfectly toasted, and just a touch sweet, from the addition of pure Vermont maple syrup. I've tried making several other renditions of this cereal, but few compare to Annie's. I'll have to ask her permission to give out the recipe in a later post!

Over the past few days, I've been on a tropical fruit kick. I think the long winter days are getting to me! So, I channeled this "desire for sun" to my breakfast. The result, a bright and flavorful combination of coconut oil, dried pineapple and sweet papaya. Sprinkle a little over greek yogurt... Tastes like vacation!

4 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, chopped into halves or quarters
11/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
11/2 cups assorted unsulfured dried fruits (try tropical fruits like dried pineapple and dried papaya), chopped
Grated zest of 2 oranges
3/4 cup raw mild-flavored honey
1/4 cup coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 300°F and set aside 2 rimmed baking sheets.

Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts, coconut, dried fruits, and zest in a large bowl. Heat the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk to thoroughly combine, then pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

Divide the mixture between the baking sheets and spread into a thin layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 40 minutes, until toasty golden brown. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yields: 10 Cups

*Recipe from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Everyday

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Day Baking Essentials

I can always justify a reason to bake, especially on Valentine's Day! While I'm still finalizing exactly what I'll be making for the Mr :) ... Rest assured, it will involve LOTS of chocolate. So, as I continue to ponder and flip through cookbooks, here are a few of my favorite kitchen tools for homemade and love-filled sweet treats. Enjoy!
Heart-shaped cookie cutters are essential for making these yummy treats: conversation hearts.

Who else loves red velvet cupcakes?

Share your recipes with a friend on cute cards like these.

Stay organized by pre-measuring ingredients into latte bowls.

There's nothing wrong with having an apron collection. 

How to write... on a cake, or plate.

Gourmet doughnuts make for a perfect Valentine's Day breakfast. 

Decorating desserts with sugar and sprinkles is the best part of baking!

Cookbooks from pretty pastry shops are charming.

Last but not least... Williams-Sonoma is my "go to" for all cooking essentials... Like my bright red spatulas.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Modern Workout Day 3:: Ballet Beautiful

Last week was SO cold and windy in New York. The gloomy, grey days made the work week seem endless and depleted my energy. All I wanted was to be at home in our warm, cozy apartment.

As there was no getting me to the gym, I had to resort to a workout DVD to maintain my fitness routine. I've never been a big fan these types of things because they're just awkward.

However, Ballet Beautiful is different. The philosophy is that you can really transform any body type int one looking like a ballerina: long, lean, sculpted and strong, but still very elegant.

Sound too good to be true? Let's give it a try!

Mary Helen Bowers, former member of the New York City Ballet, instructs the entire practice. She is probably more famous for teaching Natalie Portman the technique needed for her role in Black Swan.

The workout is divided into six 10-minute segments: Inner Thighs, Outer Thighs, Arms, Abs, Standing and the Bridge. The only equipment needed is a yoga mat. But, I'm sure if you had a carpet or a rug, that would suffice.

During each interval, Bowers teaches proper ballet form and pushes you to stretch and lengthen your muscles... Toes pointed, chin up, core engaged.

At no point over the entire hour did I break a sweat. But, I can assure you, I felt relaxed, confident and toned. The exercises were calming, yet vigorous in nature. And, I felt stretched, but quite sore the next day.

While this workout won't blast the calories like Soul Cycle and Boxing... That's not the intention. Ballet Beautiful provides the techniques to build and maintain the beauty, grace and strength of a ballerina.

For the days when you need a little extra time at home, Ballet Beautiful is the perfect solution.

*Images via Vogue

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I can't believe this weekend is Superbowl Sunday. Fun with friends, little nibbles, great commercials... And, oh yah, the game!

Last year, I shared a few delicious Beer Cocktails. And this year, I highly recommend you make Party Mix... The Very Best Superbowl Party Mix!

This recipe is from the kitchen of our dear relatives, Jan & Doug. They've been making this for family get togethers ever since I can remember. And, it's always everyone's favorite.

I made a big batch this past weekend and it couldn't have been easier to prepare. Enjoy and happy game day!

The Very Best Superbowl Party Mix 
6 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Lawry's salt
4 cups Chex cereal
2 cups Cheerios cereal
1 cup small pretzels
3/4 cup mixed nuts (roasted, salted)
3/4 cup cashew pieces (roasted, salted)

Melt the butter, Worcestershire sauce and Lawry's salt on the stove until combined. Pour the melted sauce over the Chex cereal, Cheerios cereal, pretzels, mixed nuts and cashew pieces. Mix ingredients together thoroughly and place on large sheet pan or roasting pan. Bake at 225 degrees for one hour. Stir well every 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Modern Workout Day 2:: SOUL CYCLE

Finally, my body has stopped hurting from last week's AEROBARRE workout! While it was SO much fun and I can't wait to go back... This week had a new exercise adventure: SOUL CYCLE.

Now, don't get me wrong, I attend spin class often, as it's my favorite fitness routine. I guess you could call me a "regular", as I tend to go to the same place, with the same instructor, at the same time... But, no more!

At the Tribeca studio, some classes fill up almost the second they open for the week ahead. The 6:00PM session with Charlee falls into that category. This past weekend, I was lucky enough to score a last minute spot. I don't think I knew what I was in for!

The 60-bike studio was completely full (surprising to me being Saturday evening in New York). As I looked around, I almost had to laugh. There was some sort of memo I didn't receive: all the guys were wearing beanie caps and the girls, bandanas... Only during warm-up, of course. Was I at the gym, or a club?

All that aside, the second class began, I knew it was going to be awesome! The music was a combination of pop mixes, upbeat instrumentals and hip-hop. I had so much energy I almost forgot I was peddling (at a sprinting pace).

SOUL CYCLE has a way of combining a typical spin routine with an upper body workout of push-ups, weights and core exercises. What I loved most about this class was that every routine made me feel like I was dancing... Honestly, as I questioned above, "was I at the gym or a club"? It made the workout so much fun!

The ride was the most intense session I've had, since first attending the studio. And, no wonder there is a "cultish" following. At the end of this cardio party, I felt proud and energized.

*Images via Soul Cycle

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DIY:: Eucalyptus Bath Sachet

Unfortunately, it's that time of year. Both the Mr. and I spent the weekend sick with some sort of never-ending cough/cold. After several days of rest, soup and lots of water, we're starting to feel better. Thank goodness!

During our Saturday of doing nothing, however, I spent time catching up on some recent magazines I hadn't yet read. In the January issue of Martha Stewart, I found this simple solution to help clear congestion and create a spa-like bathroom, in your own home.

The scent of Eucalyptus is energizing and refreshing; especially appealing when you're feeling a little under the weather.

To make the sachet, you only need a few items: fresh eucalyptus (available at Whole Foods), one coffee filter and small piece of twine/string.

Simply place the eucalyptus into the coffee filter and secure with a tie. Hang the sachet from the shower faucet. As the hot water runs, the healing essence of the eucalyptus will perfume your bathroom and clear your sinuses. Ah, it's a good thing.

*Image via Martha Stewart Living

Monday, January 14, 2013

Modern Workout Day 1:: AEROBARRE

Last week, I announced my need for a new fitness challenge. No longer will I simply "go through the motions" of my daily workout, but I will fully commit to new challenges, beyond my comfort zone!

This new exercise routine kicked-off Wednesday evening. My sister-in-law, Trish, chose the class and studio: AEROBARRE at AEROSPACE. AEROBARRE is an amazing ballet, boxing and sculpting workout that takes the grace of a ballerina and the grit of a boxer and fuses them together for an original workout that stays true to their arts and provides the most balanced workout you may ever experience.

Founders Michael Olajide, Jr. and Leila Fazel teach almost every class at this celebrity-packed studio, so it was no surprise that Leila started class promptly at 6:00 PM. 

Class opened with a 10 minute warm-up, composed of basic ballet positions and slow movements. We then grabbed a jump rope and weights, for 45 hard minutes of aero-tone intervals.  Jump Rope - Box - Ballet. Jump Rope - Box - Ballet. Jump Rope - Box - Ballet. The combination of these three rotations plays havoc on your muscles. My legs were literally shaking at some points!  

While the cardiovascular intensity of the class was high, the most difficult aspect, being a beginner, was keeping up with the boxing sequences. When I got home, the Mr. had to show me the correct stance and tweak my jabs and punches because I struggled to keep up. I'm determined to get better, however, because the class was so fun!

While this was Trish's first AEROBARRE class, she has been frequenting the gym for over a year now (needless to say, her boxing technique stood out compared to mine, haha). Let's see what she had to say:

"First things first.....GREAT JOB ELLEN!!! You made it through your first class of AEROBARRE! And, despite your claim that your skills as a ballerina had long since faded, you handled the class quite elegantly….putting me to shame.

It’s been just over a year since my first visit to AEROSPACE, and like Ellen my visit was an effort to rejuvenate my workout routine, which had become mundane. You all know what I am talking about…. jamming in the headphones, lifting weights and doing all sorts of other ridiculous exercises to give your toosh a lift, like walking backwards on an inclined treadmill. All this just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

But then I found AEROSPACE...

I won’t lie, starting at AEROSPACE is demanding. The classes require coordination, endurance and pure perseverance to get through them and the days that follow, as your body works to repair the sore aching muscles. No doubt you will hear the same voice I heard, whispering in my ear “never go back”, but you have to flick that little-horned-pitchfork-armed-demon off your shoulder and tell him to “never come back!.”  I’m glad that I did because after going to a couple classes plus some one-on-one sessions with Leila, it quickly became apparent to me that my previous routine wasn’t mundane but worse, it was motionless, breathless, it was DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!

AEROSPACE resuscitated my whole fitness routine. Even though the classes were challenging and frustrating, the encouragement of the AEROSPACE community kept me going back.  

The progress that I’ve achieved in my jump rope/boxing skills over the past year has been mentally rewarding and has spurred additional motivation to see these skills continue to develop, and not solely focusing on seeing my toosh improve…. although it certainly is a nice perk …….lol!"

*Image via AEROSPACE

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New Fitness Challenge

About a month ago, as I mindlessly climbed on the elliptical machine, I realized that I had fallen into a fitness rut! Who else has been there? 

As I gave more thought to my lack of motivation... The reason was simple. I've basically had the same gym membership and workout routine, since I graduated from college. My 45 minute, semi-hard workouts certainly had their benefits... But, I've definitely reached a plateau and my muscles have become used to the same repetitive exercies. Hence, I'm not improving my strengh, endurance or flexibility. Ah, yikes... No wonder I'm in need of a change! So, here we go... It's time to shake things up a little bit. 

Over the next few weeks, you'll find me exercising beyond my comfort zone; fully embracing the new world of gym classes NYC has to offer. And don't you worry, each class will be followed by a review, with commentary from not just me, but also my sister-in-law. We're in this together!

Our first class will be tonight at boutique boxing studio, AEROSPACE NYC!

Former middleweight boxing champ Michael Olajide Jr. and ballet dancer Leila Fazel (who also created Ian Schrager’s Agua spas), opened this sleek, industrial-looking fitness center in the meatpacking district in 2005. The studio offers a handful of total-body workout classes, all of which use a variation of techniques that stem from boxing, including the signature Aerobox class, the upper-body-focused Aerosculpt, and Aero3, which, like the rest of the classes offered here, is set to loud dance music and uses only free weights and jump ropes for equipment, focusing on footwork sequences that require not only endurance but quite a bit of coordination. Aerobarre, taught by Fazel, incorporates ballet moves like saut├ęs (jumps) and is designed to give lean, dancerlike results. (NY Magazine).


Monday, January 7, 2013

A Neat & Tidy New Year

While I don't usually make formal resolutions for the New Year, I do believe that January is a time of new beginnings and starting fresh. With the Mr. traveling on business, there was no better time to sweep, scrub and Swiffer our apartment this past weekend. So, today, I'm revealing a few of my favorite ways to achieve a clutter-free home for 2013.

1. European Sponge Cloths - So much better than paper towels... Extremely absorbent and reusable.
2. Smarty Dish - One capsule = Clean, shiny dishes, every time.
3. Wine Glass Cleaner Brush - The rounded shape eliminates all red wine spots and stains.
4. Pretty Dish Soap Bottles - Pour dish soap into pretty bottles to display on your counter.
5. Acrylic Cosmetic Organizer - Arrange cosmetics neatly in an acrylic organizer.
6. method All Purpose Cleaner - Great for any surface and the scent is nice too.
7. Casabella Water Stop Gloves - Always wear glove to prevent dry skin.
8. 1-Litre Shampoo & Conditioner with Pump - Stock up, and use a pump to release the exact amount.
9. Miele Olympus S2121 Canister Vacuum - The BEST vacuum - Perfect for hardwood floors!
10. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser - White walls demand a Magic Eraser. I use mine once per week!
11. Elephant Bank - Have a place to save loose change... It adds up.
12. Vase of Fresh Eucalyptus - A fresh, hoom scent in the winter is invigorating!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pineapple and Mint Infused Water

Clearly, I over-indulged throughout the entire month of December (and maybe the second half of November, too... Shhh)! The chilly weather called for warm mugs of hot chocolate, apple cider and eggnog... And, festive holiday parties had to be celebrated with Champagne.

But now, as we welcome the New Year, I find it hard to say good-bye to all those delicious cups of yummy goodness (so quickly), and hello to just plain water. To ease the transition, I'm going to make this essential beverage a little more fun.

I love to put fruit in my water to make it sweet, yet very low in calories. One of my favorite combinations is Pineapple and Mint. It's extremely flavourful and refreshing. And, only takes a couple minutes to make. The fruit and herb essence develops over time - The longer the water chills in the refrigerator, the better. 

Pineapple and Mint Infused Water
1/4 Pineapple, peeled and sliced thin
8-10 Mint Leaves

Place 8 cups water in a pitcher or large bowl. Add pineapple and mint leaves. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before using for best taste. Keep refrigerated up to 2 days. Strain before serving, if desired. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happiest of Holidays

I'm a little late in wishing everyone the happiest of holidays... So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Mr. and I just returned from a ten day trip celebrating the season with our family and friends in both Minneapolis, Minnesota and Calgary, Alberta. We had a wonderful time, filled with festive treats, company and cheer!

Today, as we all say hello to Two Thousand Thirteen, I want to wish you, and yours, the very best in the new year! Enjoy, and see you back on the blog!