No-Bake Energy Sticks

Oooo I gotta try this!! This would be great to take to school!

Maggie May's

I’ve noticed that we have become a little reliant on granola and other fruit bars for our kids when we are out and about. They are easy and convenient but I know they are full of sugar and really have no nutrients.

I decided to try these no-bake energy bites and see how they went over at our house.

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You can swap out any ingredients you like, but here is what I used.

1 cup oats
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut

When you look at the list this way, you realize how great these things are:

1 cup soluable fiber, dietary fiber, and protein (oats)
3/4 cup vitamin E, fiber, and protein (almond butter)
1/2 cup natural sweetener (honey)
1/2 cup antioxidants (raisins)
1/4 cup fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, and…

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The Savvy Shopper

images I’ve been chit chatting with some of my friends on how they save money on the things they normally would splurge on, or on the things they usually buy. Here are some of the tips I’ve gathered:

  • When buying groceries, choose a store with the best points/rewards program and stick to it! You don’t want a bunch of points from a bunch of stores that never amount to anything. A lot of grocery stores now offer points cards, or even their own credit cards, and they’re more than happy to give you one! Just don’t be afraid to ask questions about what information they need, how it will be used, and why they need it. Also, pay attention to INTEREST RATES on credit cards! Which brings me to my next point…
  • Use your debit card instead of your credit card, if you have to use plastic. You’ll never exceed the balance, and there’s no interest! Keep your credit card for big purchases (when you have the money) or online purchases. Best way, stick to cash.
  • Track your money! I really like Mint.com. It’s secure and has a great way to organize and display all of your funds. You can set up your own budget, get warning emails on a variety of things, and you’ll see where you need to shave off some spending throughout the months.
  • Instead of paying full price for services, try websites like WagJag.com, Checkout51.com, and Groupon.ca. There are ones specifically for hotels, plane tickets etc, but these are more for smaller splurges like massages and dinners!
  • If you’re not entirely enslaved to fashion as it changes by season, don’t be afraid of the back of stores. Retailers will always put new things up at the front of the store to catch you before you find something cheaper. That is, unless, it’s a huge sale and they’re trying to get rid of merchandise.
  • Buy things out of season! Some of the best sales for winter boots go on at the end of winter! Barbecues are best in the fall! Who knew!
  • Check online for any promotions at your favourite stores, or get their emails. It may be a bit annoying to constantly get emails when you don’t need anything at that moment, but sometimes there are special savings that only get delivered via email. Tread with caution, you must have will power or the other sales will suck you in!
  • Compare prices! If shopping for something that you can buy in different stores, try it on/ out and ask to put it on hold while you explore your other options.
  • If you’re a impulsive shopper, go to your favourite stores and write down all the things you desired. Go home and don’t look at it again. In a few days or a week, check it out and see if you really want those things. You’ll see your purchases shrink by at least half!
  • Feel guilty about buying something you don’t really really really need? Go through your old stuff and sort it into two piles: Keep and Give. If you haven’t worn or used something in the last six months, odds are, you won’t. Consignment stores will help you sell it off and make a little money. You can also post items on websites like Kijiji.com. Another popular trend now is Swap Parties. Everyone brings items in a similar theme like kids Halloween costumes, shoes, or dresses (if you’re similar sizes) and exchange! Voila! Or, boost your karma and donate it to a charity like the Diabetes Association or Goodwill!

Happy Shopping!

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Recycle and Grow!

When growing seeds, like for indoor herbs, you need to be sure to start off with a size which is appropriate for the plant. As a seed, it doesn’t need a lot of room, so a small container works perfectly! If there’s a way that you can repot the plant without much change (putting the first container into a larger one to be decomposed) then it’s gentler on the roots.

You can put old toilet paper rolls to use! Fill them up with soil and put them in a sunny spot with their seeds blanketed inside! You can even crush up egg shells into the soil for extra calcium in the soil!

For more cool ideas, I go to: http://naturehacks.com/garden/toilet-roll-seed-starters/

Cheers!

Homemade Pretzels!

downloadI found this gem on ‘allrecipes.ca’ by Christa Rose (thanks for sharing). I’ll add the link at the bottom of the post, there’s a video on there of how to make them, if you’re interested! This recipe requires only the most basic baking ingredients and a bit of your time! Prep is a bit of work, then waiting for an hour, and then making pretzels, bam bam, in the oven, bada bing, done!

 

First off, you’ll need:

  • 4 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

1. “In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.”

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2. “In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.”20131218_10474320131218_10524420131218_110305
3. “Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets.”
4. “In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.”

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5. “Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes.”

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http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buttery-soft-pretzels/

ENJOY!

Tuna Salad – Nom Nommy!

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I used 3 cans of tuna in my portions

O-M-G! I’m hungry and tips were a little low this weekend! How can I fill up my tummy  as I study for exams, clean my house, change the baby, and save the world?!…

OK, the last two were lies, and I’m being dramatic. BUT! This is a cheap and rather healthy alternative if you want something bursting with flavour and nutrients, and isn’t a sandwich! It’s two main ingredients (eggs and tuna) are packed with the microscopic goodies which help your body make energy! Bonus, it will last a while in your fridge!

It’s also great as a sandwich, if that’s your style, or just as a salad! You can even put it on little crackers as an appetizer for a party. My grandpa likes it because it’s easy for him to eat!

Prep time: About 10-15 minutes (boiling eggs and chopping up ingredients)

You’ll Need:

  • At least one can of tuna
  • 1 Egg to tuna can ratio, boiled hard and cooled
  • One stock of green onions, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp of mayonnaise per can used

Squish up the tuna with a fork in a bowl so it’s all mushy. Dice the eggs and chop the onion up, adding it to the mix. Add mayonnaise until its evenly spread throughout. Salt and pepper to taste.

20131127_144818Like my Reused Tupperware?

Stock of green onion: $1.39

Can of tuna: $1.00

Big bottle of mayonnaise: $3.50

Dozen eggs: $1.99

Lasted me about a week’s worth of lunches.

Enjoy!

Manly Attire – Simple and Interchangeable

barney-stinson-302So, my manly readers… It seems I have been neglecting you. Allow me to fix that!

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After reading this post, your wardrobe will be complete.

First thing is first. Why would I post about men’s clothing? As a woman, you must understand that although half of us aren’t as superficial and shallow as sometimes portrayed in the movies (swooning over an irresistible hunk in a tux), we will still notice the guy who takes care of his appearance. It means that you care about YOURSELF. The fact that your bod gets more of a chance to be flaunted is a different story (we really do notice a nice pair of jeans as you leave). If we meet you at a party wearing ripped jeans and a chewed up T-Shirt, we will notice… But not in a good way.

Often, the guys I talk to about this get defensive. Usually I get, “I want to be comfortable” or “I don’t care what other people think”. Well, shush for a sec. You can’t tell me that a tear in your crotch is comfortable, nor is hiking up your jeans every five minutes because they’re hanging under your butt. And if you don’t care what other people think, you’re saying that you don’t care for the opinion of the people you’re trying to attract (whichever side floats your boat, or maybe a possible network for your career). If you don’t care about what I think when I first see you from across the room, you really don’t care if I come over and say hi or not.

Just a funny little skit that I thought was semi-relevant

Now, don’t start thinking that the expectation is a 360 into leather Oxford shoes and a suit by Gucci. That’s nonsense. All you need are three things: Fit, Fabric, and Style. For more info on how to achieve this, check out this link:

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/04/24/style-pyramid/

veteren-before-and-after

Also, don’t change yourself (unless you’re an ass… then change). Be yourself, and let your style reflect that! You’ll have a better chance at attracting the attention you want! I’m sure you’re sensitive yet strong, tough yet adorable, but in order for me to find that out, you need to get me to come over.  Another page that has more info is thus:

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/11/11/your-individual-style/

Beauty-Geek-Makeovers-Before-After-Pictures

And finally, how to use a couple of classic items to build up an interchangeable wardrobe. The consensus that I’ve gathered from my man-friends is that shopping is annoying and unnecessary, unless its Future Shop, Best Buy, or Gagnon Sports. So, invest in a couple of good quality pieces, and then just collect pieces as you go (whether it be gifts at Christmas or from your future lady friend ‘stumbling upon this piece that she just had to see you in’ ;)).

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/11/14/build-interchangeable-wardrobe/SamBeforeAfter

Now, I may be writing this without knowing the full spectrum of opinions from all the ladies and gay men in the world, but I think these are still valid points if you’re job hunting, meeting your girlfriend’s folks, or making new friends. And if you like wearing that chewed up T-Shirt while you’re gaming at home, COOL! What you wear should just be appropriate to where you’re going  and who will be there. 

Let’s flip this around… Which lady would you like to bring to your mom and dad’s dinner party Saturday night, and which one would you like to go play some soccer with?

kim-mission-makeover-before-after-590sd04202010My personal and concise tips:

  • If you’re not outside, in an arena, at a sports game, or chopping wood, lose the baseball cap. At any other occasion it can be considered poor manners.
  • Have a bad hair day? Fix it or cut it. If I can spend 5-10 minutes with a blow dryer and a round brush in the morning (I have short hair), you can run a comb through it, smear in a bit of wax or gel, or spend $10 to get a trim.
  • The more pockets you have does not mean the pants are better! They make your lean legs look unnecessarily bulky.
  • Want something to put your things in? Get a satchel… Haha maybe not. But if it can’t fit into two pockets, get a small brief case or use a grocery bag if you’re going somewhere casual. 
  • If it has a stain, get a stain remover. (http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/28/how-to-remove-stains/)
  • If it is ripped, Youtube a stitch or buy fabric glue if the sewing is deemed hopeless.
  • Use Google to find the local: Barber, Tailor, Shoe Smith  .

Cheers Gentlemen

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Boots – Tall, Shiny, and Proud

If you fancy your boots and want to keep them in good condition, you need to make sure that they don’t crinkle and bend. This is because the material at those bends will wear down faster, and that will be the place they start to crack. It’s especially true for leather boots.

One way that I like to preserve my two beauties, is by rolling up a couple pieces of paper from the newspaper and putting them down the long part of the boot. You can also put some crinkled up paper into the toe if you’d like.

20131119_155720Another trick is to cut up a floater noodle and put it down the tall part of the boot. However, I enjoy swimming with those too much to recycle them just yet.

Shoe Shine Tips!

Don’t use Mink Oil on dressy leather shoes. Although it helps to keep salt stains and water from penetrating the leather, it also keeps shoe polish from sinking in. It’s more intended for work boots.

Cream or Paste polish moisturizes fine leather and keeps it flexible.  It soaks into the leather and allows leather to breathe. Most cream or paste polishes contain mineral oil.  They can help restore shoe color, but are not as good as wax polishes for covering scuffs.

Wax polish shines leather better than cream, but it seals the leather and can cause it to dry out over time.  Most wax polishes contain Stoddar Solvent (Naphtha) or turpentine plus Carnauba and/or Beeswax.  Wax is the most effective for covering scuffs!

Avoid liquid polish, although it puts a fast shine on your shoes it can dry out and crack the leather.

A water and stain protective spray for leather, provides water protection, and doesn’t alter the color.  It’s not a substitute for polish, but is a good companion to shoe care when you need the water protection.  Mink oil will water poof and preserve leather, but it can darken lighter shades of leathers.  There is some controversy about silicone or any petroleum-based product causing damage to shoe leather.

Clean your shoes periodically with leather cleaner.   Then put in cedar shoetrees and let the shoes air dry. (Shoes should never be put close to heat sources, which can dry out the leather.) When shoes are dry, you can apply conditioner if needed and polish.

Shoe Cleaner is good for removing dirt, stains and the old built up polish from leather. When extra layers of polish build up the leather is not able to breathe as well and perspiration can eventually break down the leather. Cleaning can also restore the natural oils that keep leather pliable.

Don’t use any cleaner on leather that contains an acid or a detergent. You can use saddle soap, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Ivory soap or a cleaner made for shoe leather. Apply with a damp cloth, wipe off and let dry.

Many shoemakers recommend a conditioner to keep leather shoes soft and supple, and to moisturize them. This keeps the leather from cracking. Paste or cream polishes also keep the leather moisturized.

Some conditioners come in combination with cleaners.

There are many good leather conditions on the market, mostly sold for leather jackets, furniture and purses. Some of the conditioners are known as balms.

If you have a deep scuff or a watermark on your shoes you may want to strip off the polish.  You can try using vodka or a rubbing alcohol.  This is best left to a shoe repair shop, thus saving the vodka for yourself!

If your shoes are in really bad shape look into a complete refurbishing by the original manufacturer.  Most provide this service.  You may have to send in your shoes to the factory, but you’ll get back a pair of shoes that look almost new.

Shoe Color Damage: Polishing will not restore damaged color. A polish has the ability to enhance the existing color. The lighter the color, the less dye is in the polish. If your shoes have been scuffed deeply enough to have removed some color it’s best to take your shoes to a professional shoe repair person.  There are color sprays available.”

http://askandyaboutclothes.com/clothing/style-tips/the-perfect-shoe-shine

Here’s a little tutorial by Mr. Porter on how to make them sparkle!