Category Archives: Pillows & Potlucks

5 Ways to infuse Emerald Green into your home décor

Emerald Green Bedroom

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Pantone has named Emerald Green the 2013 colour of the year. This gorgeous colour has been popping up on runways, already gaining popularity for fashion, jewellery and even cars! But it’s also starting to make its way into people’s homes.

Emerald Green can be a little intimidating to infuse into your home décor and will certainly push the comfort level for many home owners. But with the right accessories and colour combinations, it can really add some punch, elegance or exotic flair to any room.

I have infused green in my bedroom through simple bedding with subtle green embroidery, lamp shades and a throw pillow. Because the rest of my décor is neutral, this pop of colour makes it feel fresh and cheerful.

If you want to try infusing a little green into your home, here’s 5 easy and inexpensive ways to freshen up your home.

1)      Throw Pillows & Blankets

Throw Pillow and Blanket

Courtesy of Bouclair

Throw pillows and blankets are a very easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your home and keep it trendy. Use them on accent chairs, your sofa or your bed for an updated look every season.

2)      Vases

Green Vase

Courtesy of Bouclair

Vases are another great way to accent your home with the colour of the season. Clustering three small vases of different shades, shapes and heights is a great way to add visual interest to a table or a book shelf.

3)      Candle Holders and candles

Candles and Candle Holders

Courtesy of Bouclair and IKEA

Candle holders come in a variety of beautiful shapes and sizes. From tea lights to gorgeous pedestal candle holders, they are a great way to refresh any space with new colours.

4)      Serving Trays

Serving Trays

Courtesy of Chachkis

If you have a large ottoman in your living room, an emerald green serving tray is another great way to add the pop of colour.

5)      Wallpaper and Wall Colour

Emerald Green Wallpaper

Courtesy of Bouclair

For those of you with the courage to be bolder, emerald green wallpaper or a strategically selected emerald green accent wall is also a beautiful way to bring the colour into your home.

For more inspiration, colour pallets and bold ideas, check out http://canadianhometrends.com/emerald-green-colour-palettes/.

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Embracing metallic home décor accents

Silver Decor Accents

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Ever since I can remember, I have loved to decorate my personal living space. As a little girl, I was always moving my furniture around in my room to freshen it up. When I moved into my dorm in university, I put a lot of thought and time into selecting the right bedding and decorations to make my tiny little shoe box feel homey. After first year, I moved into a house with 4 other girls and insisted that they help me measure my new room so that I knew what I had to work with before I went furniture shopping. I drew the layout of the room, took measurements of the furniture I wanted, and tested several configurations to make sure it would fit. (If you’ve been following my posts for some time, you’re probably getting a good sense of my OCD tendencies. Hehehe)

As an adult, I would describe my style as elegant and classic. I like dark wood finishes and neutral furniture that is built to last and classic enough that it won’t soon go out of style. But I also love colour.  One of my favourite ways to freshen up a space without spending a ton of money on new furniture is by infusing new and fresh colours through wall paint and accessories.

Lately, I have been absolutely in love with the metallic accent trends. In a classic space like I’ve created in my home, they add a bit of modern pop, really freshening up the space. Especially against dark wood furniture and brightly coloured walls.

I recently picked up a number of silver and chrome home accents from IKEA, Bouclair and Home Sense. I live in a small, open concept space, so I have placed them throughout the space for a cohesive theme. My kitchen appliances are also stainless steel so they really help to pull everything together in the space.

There are so many beautiful metallic pieces out there, that you are sure to find something to match your space. The classics like silver, gold and bronze are always great choices, but there are also stunning colourful metallic accents like pink and blue, for bolder tastes.

If you’re looking to freshen up your home this spring, give metallics a try!

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Failing to prepare is preparing to fail…

Meal Prep Sunday

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We know that our diet is the single most important contributor to our ability to maintain a good physique. So even during the busiest of weeks, if we aren’t able to find time to exercise, ensuring we don’t binge or seek convenience food is critical.

Doing weekly meal prep is a great way to free up a lot of time during the week. I know it seems daunting and requires a lot of discipline, but it’s actually not as time-consuming as it might seem. I don’t know how many times I told myself I was going to do it… Even bought a crock pot cookbook to meal prep the easiest way possible but I fell off the wagon after one attempt.

I decided this year would be the year that I disciplined myself to prep food for the week, allowing myself the weekends for dining out with friends. I’ve been doing well thus far and sticking to my plan quite well. Pat on the shoulder for me. *PAT*

Sadly, one of the biggest motivating factors for me was the purchase of fabulous glass containers for the meal prep. If only everything in life came so easy.

So… pictured above is my meal prep from last Sunday. It took me a total of 1.5 hours to complete and resulted in snacks, lunch and dinner for the entire week. Here’s a quick breakdown of each meal.

BREAKFAST

  • Protein shake, or
  • Greek Yogurt, berries, almonds and almond butter, or
  • Organic Steel Cut Oats, berries, almonds and almond butter, or
  • Whole wheat sandwich thins, avocado, 2 scrambled or sunnyside eggs

MORNING SNACK

  • Grape Tomatoes and Cucumbers, or
  • Baby Carrots and Celery

LUNCH

  • Salad comprised of baby spinach, kale, green peppers, red peppers, strawberries and avocado
  • Protein of either 2 hard boiled eggs or tuna

AFTERNOON SNACK

  • Bounce Protein Ball (LOVE THESE! Especially the peanut butter one. It’s literally a ball of peanut butter. YUM!)

DINNER

  • Either backed Chicken breast or Backed Turkey Breast
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Corn
  • Quinoa

Some people find it boring to eat the same thing every day, and I admit I struggled with that too… But I infuse a lot of flavour with spices on the meat, trying a different combination for each piece resulting in a different flavour each night. Similarly, I cook my quinoa in chicken stalk and throw some spices in there for some flavour. And then I try a different sauce every night for additional variety.

Of course, knowing that I will treat myself over the weekend is also a nice motivator to stick to my plan.

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Farmer’s Market… Cheaper? or More Expensive?

Farmers Market in Skopje

Farmers Market in Skopje, Macedonia
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As a little girl growing up in Macedonia, one of my favourite memories has always been going to the local farmers market with my grandfather. It was always a lively place with friendly people who often gave me a free strawberry or piece of chocolate as my grandfather and I made our way up and down the isles. I can still smell the fresh bread.

In Toronto, we’re lucky to have a couple of farmers markets open year round, with many springing up in the summer months at shopping malls and city halls around the suburbs. As I have been focusing on improving my diet and eating organic, locally grown food, shopping at the farmer’s market has become part of my weekly ritual… Every Saturday, I grab my reusable grocery bags, my shopping list, pick up a Starbucks latte, and make my way to St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto.

Last weekend, for the first time, I was struck by how inexpensive my shopping trip was compared to what I had been spending at my local Loblaws Superstore. I got all the groceries pictured below for $58.18. Not only are all of them organic, they will last me for two weeks!

Farmers Market Groceries

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I decided to compare the prices with a few of the major grocery banners in Toronto, just to make sure my memory wasn’t off. I compared the total cost of purchasing all the items on my grocery list at St. Lawrence Market, Sobeys, Metro, Loblaws Superstore and Whole Foods.

Grocery List

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Here is what I found:

St. Lawrence Market        $58.18

Metro                                 $148.32

Sobeys                               $128.56

Loblaws Superstore         $136.89

Whole Foods                     $173.44

 

 

 

Based on this shopping list, I am saving over $1800 a year on groceries by doing my shopping at St. Lawrence Market! That’s a LOT of stilettos… And sweatpants… And maybe even a vacation…

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The day of many vices…

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An integral part of maintaining a good balance in life is to treat yourself once in a while. Work hard, and play hard, as they say. Last Friday I bid farewell to the grey skies and frigid cold of Toronto in favour of the sunshine and warmth of San Francisco, California.

The past 5 days have been a wonderful treat to an otherwise busy and rather gruelling year. Spending time with incredible friends and taking in the sights has been really relaxing and therapeutic.

When on vacation, it’s easy to let your diet and exercise slide, so I made a concerted effort to stay active while here. I have gone running through wine country for 2 out of the 5 days I’ve been here and utilized the San Francisco hills for butt and leg sculpting the remainder of the time. By and large, I have been eating relatively healthy as well. Until today that is….

I have no idea what came over me, but today has turned into the day of many vices. I kicked off the morning with a wholesome breakfast of leftover pizza. Not having had the opportunity to try San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread, I followed this with a brunch of a sourdough turkey and avocado sandwich. For lunch, we were at Ghirardelli Square, so I thought… What the heck… A chocolate brownie sundae sounds like a great idea! So I had that for lunch… If you’ve never been to Ghirardelli Square and you find yourself in San Fran, you MUST go and have some dessert. It’s to DIE for and worth every calorie.

Following this, my friend and I headed to Pier 39 where, like good Canadians, we got comfortable on some Muskoka chairs and ordered fruity drinks complete with little umbrellas. We quickly attracted some wonderful people who were out for a work function. They joined us on the Muskoka chairs and promptly offered us a few drinks on the company. We’re not ones to refuse great conversation and free drinks with new friends, so two more fruity cocktails ensued.

Time flies when you’re having fun, so before we knew it, it was time for dinner. Off we stumbled to an Italian restaurant we had scoped out earlier. More sourdough bread with butter, olive oil and vinegar magically appeared on our table along with wine. Clearly I had to sample some before my spaghetti a la salmone arrived. It would be rude not to…

So within 12 hours, I consumed more carbs and sugar than I have eaten in at least 3 years. I would normally be feeling very guilty, but I am relishing in the glow of the wonderful tastes I sampled comforted by the fact that I have earned every calorie not just by walking the steep hills and climbing 800 steps throughout the day, but by all the hard work I have put in over the past year. Soon, vacation will be over and I will be back to the grind of work, the gym and my own carbless cooking. So for now, I am treating myself. Because I deserve it.

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Homemade Nutella – Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Nutella JarDear Nutella

I want to smother you on everything… You make me think late night binges are the best idea ever. You comfort me during “that time of the month” like nothing else can (not even Midol). I’ve eaten you by the spoonful despite adamant protests by my butt, thighs and stomach.

You are by far my longest relationship ever – my childhood sweetheart… And every attempt to break up with you has left me longing for more and inevitably reuniting with you over a piece of toast and a glass of milk.

But the time has come for us to both be better versions of ourselves… Leaner and healthier, but with all the personality ever.

Sincerely,

Katerina

Homemade Gluten Free Dairy Free NutellaYep… Growing up in Europe has resulted in a bit of a Nutella addiction. Ok… A MAJOR Nutella addiction. I’ve tried to kick the habit, but it seems to be ingrained in my DNA. So… I decided to try deconstructing the recipe, replace some ingredients with healthier options and hopefully reduce the saturated fat, sugar and calorie content. Without sacrificing the flavour of course…

Tall order, right? Well… I tried and am quite happy with the result. It was not only really quick and easy, it’s also Gluten Free and Dairy Free. You’re welcome.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of raw whole hazelnuts

1 can of light organic coconut milk

½ cup of organic coconut sugar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

10 oz 100% chocolate (or if you don’t have a dairy intolerance, you can use 70% chocolate)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You know they are done when the shells look lightly toasted and fill your house with that yummy hazelnut fragrance.
  2. In a medium pot, heat coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt on medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved into the milk. Set aside.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate and set aside.
  4. When hazelnuts have been toasted, lay them on a clean, damp towel and gently rub them to remove most of the skin.
  5. Place the hazelnuts in your blender or food processor (I use my Ninja) and process them until they are extremely fine.
  6. Add in melted chocolate and mix until you achieve a smooth texture.
  7. Add coconut milk and sugar mixture and mix again until all the ingredients are completely incorporated and smooth.
  8. Pour into a jar, let cool and spread all over everything in your fridge. Yum!

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Spice up Your Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut SquashWhether it’s a bone chilling rainy day or a frigid winter afternoon, nothing warms my soul more than a cup of home-made roasted curry butternut squash soup. I absolutely love the rich flavour and the curry spice kick. It’s extremely quick to make and comes with a whole host of health benefits.

Butternut squash is low energy density, which means it offers tremendous nutrients without a lot of calories. It’s also rich in dietary fibre and phyto-nutrients and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, making it highly recommended by dieticians for controlling cholesterol and weight loss.

Here is my quick, delicious recipe that is sure to warm you up on a chilly day.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Medium Sized Butternut Squash
  • 1 Large Onion diced
  • 1 Litre of Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
  • 3 table spoons of curry powder
  • 1 table spoon of nutmeg
  • 1 table spoon of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roasting the Butternut Squash

  1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise
  2. Place it on a foil lined baking sheet cut side up
  3. Bake for 50 minutes
  4. Scoop the butternut squash into a bowl and set aside

Preparing the Broth

  1. In large pot, brown the diced onion and curry powder
  2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil

Putting it all Together

  1. Add scooped butternut squash and boil for 20 minutes
  2. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Blend well using a food processor or blender (I use my Ninja. Because I love the name. )
  5. Let cool, serve and enjoy!

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