November 24, 2015

white bean & garlic scapes dip


one of the very best things about freezing produce when it's in season is enjoying it in the off-season.  there is something so awesome about having an out-of-season fruit or veggie when it's cold and snowy outside.

garlic scapes are one of my favourite things about spring. i try and use them as much as i can. and since i often buy too many i resort to freezing them for future use.

this dip recipe is creamy and garlicy, with white beans to give it some weight.  and it's easy. very easy!  it goes well with crackers and veggies.  i had found this garlic scape recipe a few years ago when we were getting a veggie box delivered to our apartment. perfect for an afternoon shack or an evening of snacking and socializing.

hope you enjoy it!

white bean & garlic scapes dip
makes 1 1/2 cups

recipe from the

[what you need]
1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

[to make]

in a food processor, process the garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper, until finely chopped.

add the cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.

with the food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the feed tube, and process until fairly smooth.  pulse in 2-3 tbsp water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip.  add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

spread dip out on a plate, or into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt.

serve with crackers or veggies of your choice.


November 19, 2015

[dining room] storage inspiration

(image from design sponge)

ever since the cooler weather arrived, i have shifted into house mode.  my brain is swirling with ideas.

the next project i want to work on is fixing the storage problem in the dining room.  right now there have a large bookcase holding all sorts of things - preserves, casserole dishes, cookbooks, photos.  it has become a bit of a catch-all space.

while it is (very) functional, it takes up a lot of space.  and space is at a premium in our little place.  the room was not originally intended to be a dining room, it was marked a den on the original plans, and the table we have (passed down from my opa) takes up most of the room in the area.

so the storage solution for the dining room has to be functional but not too large.

there is something about this bookcase that i love so much.  it may be the pop of colour on the inside, it may be the height (tall enough to have adequate storage, but short enough that something can be displayed on top), or it may be the simplicity of it, it's simple size and character does not distract from the other, more prominent features of the space.

(image from sweet tidings)

[diy cart]
how fun are these!  something about a diy project really interests me.  the best part, they can store quite a bit, and when you need the extra room they can simply be wheeled to anther spot.

(images from 4 men 1 ladya beautiful mess)

this bookcase is stunning!  i love the various shapes and sizes of the shelves. making individual sections for some larger items would really give a simple bookcase character.

(image from pinterest)

i love the glass doors added to these basic bookcases.  they instantly add character and protect the items inside.  with the kitten thinking all furniture are toys, doors may be a good idea.

(image from ikea hackers)

have any great ideas storage ideas for a small dining room? i'd love to hear!

November 16, 2015

[perfect] bathroom shelves

the bathroom is the one room that just doesn't feel right yet.  it's a hard room to work with - tiny in size, windowless, and minimal storage.

the idea for these affordable bathroom shelves came from a friend of mine.  the shelves are ikea's rabba picture ledges.  they are the perfect size for bathroom items - skinny enough to not stick out too far but wide enough to hold bathroom items.

i really like how these shelves have turned out.  since it's open, it's the perfect excuse to display cute jars and small dishes.  next time you look for shelves for your bathroom, check out these cute ikea picture ledges! [d]

November 09, 2015

local tourist: toronto harbour cruise

one of the things b & i have really tried to do this year was explore toronto.  there are so many interesting places to see and things to do.  there is still a lot more to see and do, but we have both really made an effort to explore our neighbourhood and our city.

and to celebrate, i thought it would be fun to start a new series.  "local tourist" will share fun neighbourhoods to explore, things to do and sights to see.

hope you enjoy it!

to start  things off, i wanted to share some photos from an amazing day we had a few months ago.  i cannot get over how beautiful the city looks from the water.  we did a 90 minute cruise with tall ship cruises (but you could also try here - both are often featured on groupon).

if you haven't done a harbour cruise yet, i definitely recommend!


November 05, 2015

5 [amazing] vegetarian cookbooks

today i'm going to share some of our favourite vegetarian cookbooks.  since we do a lot of cooking at home, b and i both love discovering new books and new recipes.  you could say we are a bit cookbook obsessed!

b and i enjoy a wide variety of food - from indian to italian, the basics are the same: (relatively) simple to prepare, nutritious, and delicious.

in no particular order, here are the 5 vegetarian/vegan cookbooks that we both love at the moment:

our little home // 5 [amazing] vegetarian cookbooks
(image from

oh she glows
by angela liddon

this cookbook is amazing!  seriously, one of the go-to books for our household.  in her cookbook angela liddon offers creative, easy to make meals that taste (really) good.  this book offers creative, easy to make and well balanced meals.  i love how she incorporates proteins and nutrients into every dish (i can single-handedly thank her for my newfound love of pepita seeds and avocado!). another amazing part - the author is from southwestern ontario as well, so you know the ingredients can be found in your area.

favourite recipes - quick and easy chana masala, garlic pan seared tofu, present glo bars (her signature recipe)

our little home // 5 [amazing] vegetarian cookbooks
(image from

the vegetable cookbook: from earth to table

this is another really great vegetarian cookbook that offers hearty, healthy vegetarian dishes.  the handy thing about this book is that it is sorted by vegetable category, which makes finding a dish quite easy (especially if you get a little too carried away at the farmers market one day!).

favourite recipes - carrot upside-down tart, spaghetti with fresh pea pesto and fava beans, and potato fritters with onion and tomato relish

our little home // 5 [amazing] vegetarian cookbooks
(image from

market vegetarian: easy organic recipes for every occasion
by ross dobson

man, does this guy know how to take beautiful food photos or what!  the best part, the recipes are as delicious as they look.  this book is definitely worth checking out if you like to make fancier, more complex meals.  you will not be disappointed!

favourite recipes - zucchini and mint fritters with spicy tomato jam, carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese frosting (i love this recipe so much i actually shared it here), herbed zucchini and ricotta tart

our little home // 5 [amazing] vegetarian cookbooks
(image from

fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker
by robin robertson

i don’t know how i survived so many winters without this! it is full of simple, delicious soups and stews, while also offering a variety of other fun meals – from oatmeal (ideal to cook overnight) to delicious cranberry walnut bread. it makes coming home from a long day at work so much easier!

favourite recipes - french onion soup with cheesy bruschetta, almost irish stew, and lentil soup with ribbons of kale

our little home // 5 [amazing] vegetarian cookbooks
(image from

nom yourself: simple vegan cooking
by mary mattern

this is the newest edition to our cookbook collection.  b had been following her blog and really liked the sound of some of her recipes.  while we have not cooked our way through this one yet, every recipe we have tried has been really good!

favourite recipes - blueberry oatmeal squares, creamy basil tomato spaghetti with kale, cilantro chili lime butter corn

have a cookbook that you love? please share! b and i are both always on the look out for new, delicious cookbooks.

thanks for letting me share!


November 02, 2015

custom [adjustable] shelves

one of the most challenging things about our condo is storage.  we have none, just a closet in the entry way & one in the bedroom.  so, we had to get a bit creative.

the hardest part when we were planning out the living room was to decided where to put all of our books.  b & i both love to read.  we have accumulated quite the collection over the past 9 years together.  so-many-books!  we both love books, and both want a library (someday).  so while we can purge a few every now and then, we always have way too many.

when we first moved in we brought two tall bookcases with us.  but, they looked so horrible in the space!  they were big and bulky and dark.  they had to go.  and we had to get creative.  

inspired by this diy, we decided that creating a custom set of shelves would be the best solution to our storage problem.  we painted the brackets the same colour as the wall to disguise them, spray painted the brackets brass to give them a bit of colour, and cut the planks of pine into various sizes for a little variety.  the best part is that they are 100% customizable.  

[homemade] custom shelves

[you will need]

single track upright shelving standards
8 inch single track shelving brackets
knotty pine planks, 1 inch x 8 inch x 12 feet 
power drill & bits for attaching screws to the wall
tape measure

[to make]

the first step is to determine how large you would like your shelves to be.  we planned ours to take up the entire length of the living room wall with a gap in the middle for a large painting.  since the painting is a focal point in the room, we measured away from it, leaving space on either side.  

next, using the pencil, at the top of the wall mark where you would like the uprights/shelving standards to go.  continue to mark all the way along the wall.  

be sure to follow the guidelines on the uprights to determine what is the best distance between uprights. since we knew that we would be putting heavy items like books on these shelves, we slightly reduced the gap between our uprights to 15 inches apart.  

once you have laid out where the uprights/shelving standards should go, start to secure the uprights to the wall.  using the level to ensure that the upright is straight all the way down, drill screws into the wall, and continue all the way down.

be sure to factor in the weight that will be on the shelves and the material of the wall when purchasing screws.  our shelves were mounted to an exterior cement wall, so we used 75lb cement wall screws.

working your way across the wall, continue to secure each upright to the wall.

now that the uprights/shelving standards are mounted, hook in the brackets where you would like your shelves to go.  place the wooden planks, cut to your sizing preference, on top of the brackets.  

now that your shelves are mounted, they are ready to be filled!

these shelves have been such a space saver for our little place.  we have loaded them up with all of our cookbooks, novels and various other books as well as plants and photos.  utilizing the walls has really helped us avoid filling the floors and making the place look cramped.  

happy building!

[d & b]