Categories
Decor Holidays

Budget Friendly Christmas Decor

It’s cold and rainy on this Saturday morning here in Toronto. All I want to do is snuggle in bed and watch YouTube videos all day; but I’m supposed to be putting up all of our Christmas decorations. I specifically book this weekend off work every year to do it, but I’m not quite in the mood. So to try to put me in the holiday spirit, I figured I would post my newest pieces that I added to our Christmas decorations this year. And the best part? All budget friendly and inexpensive!! I purchased everything below from the Dollarstore and Canadian Tire. I am really, really loving the Canvas collection from Canadian Tire. Year after year they come out with some classic pieces that are decent quality and for a great price.

Follow along below to see my favourite new pieces this year. I’ll be posting a full house tour in the coming weeks to show you how I decorate our apartment for the Holidays! So, stay tuned for that!

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This year we’re going for a farmhouse/rustic vibe with very little pops of red. I want the space to feel cozy with a ton of lights and more neutral metallic accents. Check out my Pinterest Board “Christmas 2017 Decor” for my inspiration.

The total for all of these decorations came under $40! You don’t have to spend a whole lot of money to achieve a festive atmosphere! Some Christmas music and good cheer go a long way!

Now that I’m feeling a little more inspired, I’m going to get started with my decor!

Merry Christmas and Happy Decorating!

lxiv

Categories
Lifestyle

Easy Meal Prep Ideas for Lunch or Dinner!

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Yesterday I participated in my first ever CrossFit Competition for our box, CrossFit Canuck, who turned 5 years old today! The gym hosted a in-house competition, “The Canuck Games”, in true CrossFit fashion to celebrate this milestone!

The Canuck Games was an all day event with 5 partner WODs total and let me tell you – it was HARD. I would consider myself fairly athletic, but I was never part of any sports teams during High School or University (even though I was asked to join a few). Instead, I focused on Student Council, my singing and my studies. I never thought I had time to work out or join a sports team. But since I’ve been doing CrossFit, I can’t tell you how happy I am! Sure, there are bad days and good days like anything else, but I can’t explain how wonderful it feels when you lift something above your head that you never thought you could. The strength portion surprises me every time I step up to the bar.

I’ve been a little more aware of how I’m fueling my body since joining CF. I knew before joining CrossFit that I didn’t feel like I was getting the proper amount of nutrients (honestly, I still don’t feel like that 60% of the time) and I’ve been putting in a lot of time into researching this and ensuring that I’m nourishing my body properly! Meal prep has been a savior for me since I’m a very busy person and want to do a million things all at once. If I don’t meal prep,  I am so so guilty of picking up fast food because with a billion excuses like “time is of the essence” and/or “I’m too tired (or lazy) to whip some actual food together”. This is a continual challenge for me and something I will keep working on!

Since I’ve been doing so much research myself, I figured I would share with you my meal prep for this week. Mind you, it isn’t everything that I will eat all week and I did make some Healthy Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies to go with this that I will post in a later blog post, but it does give you an idea of some of my go-to favourites for meal prep.

The amount of food I made today will last my hubby (I can finally say that now!!) and I about 2-3 days of lunches or dinners. I usually will pre-pack the food and then leave some extras in separate containers to mix in with different meat or different sides for variation because I can get really bored, really fast and I am definitely the type of person who will leave food in the fridge for months because I didn’t feel like eating it….

IMG_0259On the menu this week was Italian seasoned Chicken Breast with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Green Beans. For snacks this week I packed Veggies with Roasted Red Pepper Hummas, some Dark Chocolate and Cherry Kashi Granola Bars, Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

IMG_0260I used the Club House Italiano seasoning blend as a dry rub on the chicken breasts and cooked them in the oven first. Then for the sweet potatoes and carrots, I peeled them and diced them, used about a tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper. My favourite way to prepare the sweet potatoes is by Grocery Girl. I season the potatoes differently and add other vegetables, but the cook time is how I prepare them! Finally, nothing fancy for the green beans – they are boiled and seasoned with salt and pepper. You could easily add some Parmesan and Garlic for some extra taste.

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I usually roast beets with the sweet potatoes and carrots, but opted to boil them this time and then peel the skin off. I seasoned them with garlic, salt and pepper, diced them and put them in a separate container in the fridge to grab as a side for any other meal.

IMG_0262Below is the recipe breakdown for how I made our meals this week.

Italiano Chicken Breast

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Club House italiano seasoning
  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken breasts on sheet and season both sides of the breast evenly.
  3. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip the chicken and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The time may vary depending on your oven!
  4. Allow to cool, and cut into desired sizes for meal prep!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and carrot.
  2. In a bowl, mix the potatoes, carrot, olive oil and seasoning until well combined and all of the vegetables are coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Ensure all of the vegetables are flat on the baking sheet and ensure you don’t overcrowd the veggies!
  5. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then give them a little mix with a spoon for even baking and bake for another 10 minutes. I usually test the vegetables with a fork to see if they are the right tenderness for me, so adjust your cook time for your preference!

 

What are you go-to meal prep foods? Share them with me below!

lxiv

Categories
Lifestyle

Recipe: No Bake Energy Protein Balls

Hello again!

I’m sorry for neglecting this blog. Life has been busy planning for the wedding and keeping busy this summer. I’ve also been dedicating quite a bit of time to eating well and going to Crossfit (which I am totally loving by the way!). I have seen what a huge difference eating well and exercise has on your mental health along with your physical health. It has not been easy, that’s for sure. And according to the scale, I haven’t lost too much. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I can see changes in my body and that I’m gaining more muscle. I will more than likely share some of the things I’ve been doing to help guide me on a healthier lifestyle! For now, here’s a recipe I made a long time ago but never had the time or drive to post. Follow along below to see the full recipe!

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 Cup of Oats
  • 1 Cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup of Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey (not pictured)

The beauty of this recipe is that you can add/subtract whatever you want from the ingredients!

Mix all of the ingredients together, roll into balls and refrigerate! I typically will place them in smaller containers or little bags so that they are ready for me to grab and go!

More to come on this little blog of mine, and I will promise to try to post more regularly! I have a lot of content ideas and can’t wait to share!

Let me know below if you’re going to try this recipe in the comments below.

Happy Healthy Baking,

lxiv

Categories
Lifestyle

Recipe: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Last week, I was in the mood for baking! I feel like after Christmas time everyone goes on a baking hiatus from sweet baked overload. Now that the spring weather is slowly creeping in, it felt like the right time to make something yummy.  After searching Pinterest for what seemed like hours, I finally found this recipe: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Um, yes please! I used Sally’s Baking Addiction’s recipe, but did change a few things.

For instance, I used Funfetti Cake Mix instead of vanilla and did not add white chocolate chips. I didn’t need to chill the dough either, it was thick enough that I was able to just roll the dough onto the baking sheet. However, Sally’s technique with rolling the dough more vertically worked really well and I will definitely continue doing that in the future! A couple of additional tips: If you’re using the funfetti cake mix, don’t use as many sprinkles! And two, use parchment paper instead of just an ungreased cookie sheet. The cookies came out much more fluffy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup Funfetti cake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Mix the melted butter and sugars together. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough!
  4. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Scoop rounded balls of dough onto baking sheet. *This is where you can see Sally’s Baking Addiction’s great tip!*
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Happy Baking!

lxiv

Categories
Decor Lifestyle

Bedroom Refresh: DIY Wall Art

Hello!

Thank you for all patiently waiting as it has been quite some time since I have blogged. Not going to lie, I felt a little uninspired after Christmas and didn’t quite know what to blog about. With the weather getting warmer (It’s currently 12 degrees here in Toronto!!), I felt inspired to change some things up in the house to give the space some new life.

I am not an artist by any means – I couldn’t draw to save my life, but being crafty – well that I can do! I’ve been searching for new art to put in our apartment to give the space some life, but haven’t found anything that I loved. I’m also incredibly indecisive when it comes to decor, so spending upwards of $200 on a canvas that I wasn’t head over heels about was just not realistic. The one thing I knew for sure was that I loved water colour! Light bulb moment – I could DIY that myself. See the photos below to see how it turned out!

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Originally I had the grey pillows on the bed, but to pick up more of the blue from the canvas, I switched them out for the baby blue pillows that you see in the other photos!

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All you need to recreate a similar DIY is:

  • Canvas
  • Acrylic paint
  • Water
  • Paintbrush

I mixed 1 part paint with 3 parts water in a cup and painted! I was still able to get deeper saturation of colour by simply adding more paint directly on the canvas where I wanted it, then used water to blend it out. I’m no expert at water colour painting, but there are plenty of tutorials online. I just kept painting until I was happy with the final product. There was truly no rhyme or reason for how I achieved the final look.

Happy Painting!
lxiv

Categories
Holidays Lifestyle

12 Days of Christmas: Easy Christmas Fudge

I love to bake during the Holiday season, but sometimes I don’t have all day to dedicate to baking. This was the case a couple of days ago before I hosted my “Cookies, Cocktails and Christmas Cheer” party with my cousins and aunts! I wanted to still make something home made, but didn’t have the time to make a full assortment of holiday baked goods. Solution? Easy and quick to make treats that will impress your guests! First up for Post #2 of #12DaysOfChristmas is Cookies & Cream Fudge!

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This recipe is only 3 ingredients! Yes, you read that correctly! So simply and such a crowd favourite! I followed the recipe from Hidden Ponies Blog, check out her version of the recipe here.

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What you’ll need:

  • 8″x 8″ round or square baking dish (I used round since that’s what I had and it worked just as good!)
  • Large bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies (approx 20 Cookies), chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the chocolate chips and can of condensed milk.
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  2. Place in microwave for 45 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. img_1924
  3. Place back in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir.
  4. Repeat step 3 until the mixture is smooth. DO NOT OVER MICROWAVE! (I only needed to repeat step 3 once!).
  5. Chop Oreo cookies. img_1926
  6. Add half of the chopped cookies to the bowl and combine.
  7. Line baking dish with parchment paper and pour mixture into dish.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cookies on top of the mixture in the baking dish. Press down lightly to ensure they are firmly in the mixture. img_1931
  9. Place uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  10. Remove from dish, cut into pieces and serve!

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That’s it! Do you have a favourite fudge flavour? Or easy to make holiday recipe? Let me comments below!

lxiv

Categories
Holidays Lifestyle

The Best S’Mores Bar Recipe

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I’m sitting here dreaming of Christmas, and what better way to kick off the Holiday Season than by posting a yummy, cozy, gooey treat?! I adapted this recipe from Wine & Glue and made these on a whim! I am so happy with how they turned out. This is a simple recipe to follow and I break it down into three separate layers to complete the entire bar.

The final product is 100% messy to eat – but well worth it! I thought this would be a nice post before I kick off the 12 Days of Christmas here on lxiv. Christmas is absolutely one of my favourite times of the year. I love the cozy warm glow from the Christmas tree, to the crisp cool air and the hot beverage in a beautiful mug. It’s a time to bring people together and enjoy the company and laughter of others. Stay tuned for some fun DIY, Christmas decor, recipes, some collaborations and more!!

Follow along below to see how I made these tasty treats.

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients

  • Graham crackers (enough to line your pan, then crush!)
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Cookie Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Top Layer Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray or coat with butter or coconut oil.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Crush the graham crackers (easiest way is to put them in a bag and use a rolling pin to crush them!).
  2. Mix together the crushed graham crackers, butter and sugar. Then press onto bottom of baking pan.

Cookie Layer:

  1. In a new bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer for about two minutes.
  3. Add egg and vanilla until just combined. Next, add flour mixture until completely combined.
  4. Ensure you do not handle the cookie dough too much! You will need to spread the dough on top of the graham crust. This was the trickiest part! Work your way from the corners of the pan into the middle by spreading dough in your hands and gently pressing it on top of the crust. In other words, make mini pancakes by flattening the dough between your hands and place on top of the graham cracker crust. You cannot move or spread the cookie dough once placed, as it will start to lift the crust off of the pan. Another idea would be to pipe the dough onto the crust, using a clear plastic bag and cutting a little hole in the corner.

Top Layer:

  1. Next, spread the marshmallows and chocolate chips over the cookie dough. Then pour the condensed milk.
  2. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the marshmallows turn golden brown.
  3. Wait for the pan to cool before cutting! The bars are very crumbly, so don’t be surprised if they do not cut or serve perfectly.

Et, Voila! Yields approximately 20 squares (depending on the size you cut them!).

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What’s your favourite holiday dessert? Let me know in the comments below!

 

lxiv

Categories
Crafts Decor Holidays Lifestyle

Must Have Items for Fall Decor

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With October in full swing, I wanted to show you some of my fall decor pieces that I purchased this year to decorate our home. I like to find a good deal – so most (if not all of these pieces) were found at local vintage shops, Winners or the good old local Dollarstore! I like to change accessories throughout our space since I am constantly switching things up! I can’t help but be a little indecisive with decorating. There are just too many different options and I happen to love them all. So finding great deals on items are definitely worth it for me.

Below are my Top 6 Must Have Items for fall decorating!

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

1. YouTube Fall Tutorials

I love browsing YouTube to get inspired for upcoming seasons! I usually skim through until I see a thumbnail that grabs my attention and then eventually end up on a never-ending spiral of YouTube videos.

2. Fake Florals

I purchased those potted plants at The Real Canadian Superstore at the end of last season, but you can find similar ones at Ikea or your local craft or dollarstore. I opt for fake flowers because I can re-use them year after year for different purposes. Real flowers are costly and they do not last as long! This way I can have the look all season long without having to constantly purchase new flowers.

3. Scented Candles

These are a definite MUST HAVE item for any season. I purchased my “Pumpkin Clove” candle last year from Anthropologie along with the mercury votives. If you’re looking for a great scent, their Pumpkin Souflee Candle by Boulangerie is the perfect scent for fall.

4. Fall Garland

Adding a string of garland is an easy way to spruce up your home without going overboard. Best part again is that they can be reused in so many different capacities. I used my garland on our TV stand, but you can use it on your table, above a doorway – anywhere really!

5. Fall Table Runner

This year I decided to purchase a table runner instead of a full table cloth. I love the natural wood of our dining table and wanted that warmth to show through. I purchased the table runner at my local Homesense. They always have so many options to choose from to suit your colour story.

6. Fall Prints

I find a lot of my prints online for free from Pinterest, where the artist has allowed people to print and share them as long as they do not sell them or make any profit from them! Like I said, I change things up often, so it makes more sense to print them at home than to spend a lot of money on prints that I will eventually recycle. You can get the Fall Compass Print here and the Thankful Print here.

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Frames from Ikea.
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Print from Chicfetti.com

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I love changing up our home for fall. The crispness of the weather, wool sweaters, hot apple cider, warm blankets, scented candles and the changing leaves are just a few things I love about Fall, so it just makes sense to give my home that same inspired feeling!

What are some must have fall decor items on your list?

PS. Here’s a cozy little fall inspired picture with the pup!

lxiv