The Healthy Home… 2017

We tend to make new-year resolutions for our bodies, but rarely for the environments we live in. The resolution I made for my home this year is to: 1/ Organize, organize, organize (that will mean having a HUGE yard sale this spring and 2/ Clean, clean, clean… this might be the year I finally hire a regular cleaning person to help keep the dust under control!

I recently embarked on a national broadcast media tour throughout Canada; highlighting some interesting and innovative products and ideas to keep our homes clean and healthy. Here are the 6 products highlighted on my Healthy Home Tour:

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day:mrs-meyers-clean-day-household-cleaners-giveaway-open-to-canadians

Now available nationally (Metro, Sobeys and Canadian Tire, etc), these hard-working cleaning produts are derrived from plant-based materials (like coconut, corn and aloe) and are being introduced in 4 springtime garden scents such as lavender, lemon verbena, basil and honeysuckle (WAY better than most harsh-smelling cleaners on the market). I was very proud to introduce Canada to this wonderful new cleaning program which has now become a personal favourite of mine!

SodaStream POWER:sodastream-power-black-review_zpsvbpyjobq

The original SodaStream is now even more powerful! More carbonation, less effort… and a fun way to consume more water during the long, dry winter. I like to add citrus peel in my fizzy water to give it a fresh scent without the calories of fruit juice. Did you know that carbonated water is also good for rinsing clorine from your hair when swimming indoors during the winter?

Cosentino’s Silestone ETERNAL stone counters:silestoneSilestone’s ETERNAL  countertop material is man-made of quartz yet looks like natural stone. This stone also has a surface protectant called N-Boost Technology (specific to Silestone) which helps repel liquids and is virtually scratch, stain and impact resistant. This is such great innovation; certainly something worth considering when adding or replacing countertops in your home!

iRobot ROOMBA 620 Vaccum:roomba-620-4

This roaming vaccum is the perfect companion for someone who hates to do housework or, has back/hip issues and cannot push a vaccum cleaner around. The iRobot ROOMBA 620 provides a full 2x cleaning process in any given room and is great for carpet, tile or wood flooring. AND… its available for a very special price of $398 exclusively at Walmart Canada.

Lampe Berger Paris:cantiknya-lampe-berger

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Desinged and patented in the late 1800’s,  Lampe Berger Paris was invented to kill odurs in Parisian hosptials. Simply fill the lamp’s base with the home fragrance liquid (there are many scents to choose from and also non-scented), add the wick; light the wick for 2 minutes and then blow the flame out… the heated wick then gets busy removing odours out of the air! I tested it at my own home with the Fried Fish test… worked like a charm in only 20 minutes! There is a very large variety of lamp styles to choose from and they make wonderful house-warming gifts.

Nespresso’s capsule recycling program:nespresso-recycling

Exclusive to the city of Montreal and Laval, luxury espresso company Nespresso has introduced at-home recycling for their used aluminum capsules. Fill the bright green bag (which Nespresso will mail to you with your orders, or you can request the bags at the Nespresso boutiques/cafes for free) with your used capsules then place with your weekly recycling. The aluminum capsules and espresso grounds are sorted and separated, with the aluminum being recycled into other uses such as aluminum water bottles and cell phone cases while the grounds are made into composte pucks to help enrich the soil. To the rest of Canada; FEAR NOT! Nespresso Canada has a recycling program in place to allow you to recycle your capsules too!

Here’s one of my television segments: The 2017 Healthy Home Tourhealthy-home

Look for me on your local television morning shows this spring ’17 as I embark on my Spring Refresh Tour; good things that will refresh the look of your home for spring/summer! KL

 

Note: This blog is unsponsored. Images are not mine.

 

 

 

 

My Secret Recipe: Montreal Bagels

One of my favourite cities to visit is Montreal in Quebec, Canada. They have some very unique culinary delights in Quebec; like poutine (French fries, cheese and gravy), many smoked meat deli shops (one noteably owned by Canadian singing sensation Celine Dion called Schwartz’s Deli on St. Laurent Street) and well, Montreal bagels are just the best; soft, chewy, smokey and sweet – quite simply, pure heaven!

The production line at St. Viateur Bagels, Montreal:

Bagel

My favourite place in Montreal to get handmade bagels is St. Viateur Bagel. I’ve been itching to make them at home, so on my last trip to Montreal I visited 2 different St. Viateur locations and watched as the bakers rolled, boiled and baked their bagels to perfection. After two attempts, I have perfected a recipe and process and am thrilled to share the recipe and technique with you. These bagels are chewy and have a wonderful smokey flavour due to partially baking them off on a bbq pizza stone. The entire prep and cook time is about 2.5 hours. These bagels freeze beautifully- as a matter of fact, freeze any bagels you will not be eating within 2 days – once thawed and toasted, they will taste like they just came out of the oven.

Bagels; fresh from my oven:

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Montreal-Style Bagels:

1.5 cups hot tap water
6 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 level tablespoon dry yeast
1 egg
1 tablespoon molasses
4-4 1/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt
Poppy and sesame seeds, dried onion flakes or sea salt
Pot of boiling water
1/2 cup molasses

EGG WASH: 2 eggs, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon molasses. Mixed well

Preparation:
In a large bowl whisk together the hot water, sugar, oil, yeast, salt, egg and molasses. Whisk until the yeast dissolves.

Stir in 1 cup of the flour to make a thick paste; then add enough flour to make a soft dough (it should look shaggy and feel a bit sticky, about 3.5 cups.

Shaggy bagel dough:

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Knead dough for 8-9 minutes, adding flour as needed as you go; up to an additional cup if needed. Once your dough is firm then cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Bagel dough; ready to rise.

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Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces:

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Roll each piece into a 8-10 inch rope, then connect each end and roll the ends together with your hand until they are blended and the rope forms a dough ring:

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Let the bagel dough rings sit for 20 minutes:

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Fill a wide soup pot with water about half full and add 1/2 cup of molasses, honey or maple syrup (I used molasses for a dark, sweet flavour). Bring that to a boil. Preheat oven to 425f and line two baking sheets with silicone or parchment paper.

Boil 3-4 bagels at a time; 45 seconds on each side. They will puff up and get slightly firm. Remove and let the water drain off onto paper towel.

EGG WASH: In a small bowl whisk 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of molasses, salt and water. Set aside your toppings to sprinkle on. Dip your bagel in the egg wash and then coat both sides in the dry toppings.

Bagels; boiled, dipped and sprinkled; ready for the oven:

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Bake at 425f for 8-9 minutes, transfer them to a clean tray. Their second round of baking will be on the BBQ pizza stone.

Bagles in the oven for the first half of baking:

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Heat both sides of the BBQ on high, then turn off the piza stone side side of the grill (if you don’t have a pizza stone, use a few well-scrubbed bricks), leaving the other side on full heat. Add some wood smoke chips to create a smokey flavour and bake the bagels (bbq lid down) on the pizza stone until deep brown on the bottom- turn them over until the underside is dark brown- about 5-8 minutes total.

Bagels on the pizza stone:

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Allow to cool and remember: freeze any bagels that won’t be consumed within 2 days. Enjoy!

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Inspired Colour -choosing paint colours

If you are my friend on Facebook then you have probably noticed I have been posting beautiful images accompanied with paint colour choices. This is a great way for me find interesting colour combinations that I may never normally think of. Whether I find inspiration in old architecture or nature, the colour combinations always seem to look great once pulled together from the visual source of a favourite photo.

My discovery process: The easiest way for me to choose colours from an inspiring photo is to find the darkest neutral, the brightest/offbeat colour and then the complimentary colour within the photo. Here are a few examples of my Inspried Colour postings from Facebook. The paint blobs used are all from Benjamin Moore Paints and in future Inspired Colour posts, I will be listing the colours that are featured.

I love to see the unexpected; like the blue sky refelected in the windows and the moss-stained steps of this old scholar building in Montreal, Canada:

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Canada is famous for shoreline sunsets and this one shows off some spectacular colour; remember the peach/blue/grey decor schemes from the 1980’s? Now we know where it was discovered from!!!

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I am constantly taking pictures of tree trunks; the colours of bark are awe-inspiring for someone who likes to discover colour from nature. This tree was in NYC, outside the Martha Stewart headquarters. I bet she planted this tree because of its gorgeous trunk colours.

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Ever been to the rockies? The colour of the mountains change by the hour. This looks like late morningtime when the sun is breaking through the clouds. Incredible pool blue, dark elephant grey and teal – all current decorating colours and available directly from nature.

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This old Montreal entrance probably never had its colours planned by a designer or artichitect, yet they are just so chic. I’d love to decorate a French cafe or dining room with all these wonderful colours combined.

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Please look for a new Inspired Colour posting each week on this blog… it might inspired by a friend’s picture posted on Facebook, a recent travel photo or just a detail shot of my garden.

AND… If you like this blog then please scroll down to the SUBSCRIBE button at the bottom and press it; I’d love to share all my design discoveries and ideas with you! Cheers, KL