recipe: vegan dill pickle soup

Apparently Dill Pickle soup is suddenly sweeping the nation. When I first heard about it, I must admit that I was a little taken aback. I thought, that doesn’t sound good. Then I looked it up online. It looked a little better, but still not something that I wanted to eat. So I had no other choice but to make it! But rather than filling it with sour cream (an ingredient that I despise), I decided to make it me-friendly; which is vegan. I also decided to blend it, because in my opinion, it wasn’t as good or creamy when it wasn’t blended. 

So after all of those changes, how did it taste? Pretty darn good! But try it for yourself. 

Vegan Dill Pickle Soup

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp oil, any kind
3 tbsp vegan butter (or regular if you’re not making it vegan)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups almond milk (or regular milk)
1 cup dill pickle juice
6 large potatoes (red or yellow), felled and chopped
2 cups carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups dill pickles, diced
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chilli powder

Steps:

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Throw in the garlic. Meanwhile, add the butter. Prepare the onion and throw it in as well. Continue to cook for a few minutes, then add the chicken broth, milk, and pickle juice. Prepare the potatoes, carrots, and pickles and add them as well. Cook over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Remove from heat.

2. In a food processor or blender, blend the soup completely. Then return to the pot and add the dill, pepper, and chilli powder. Mix well. Serve when it’s still warm, or refrigerate for up to 3 days and reheat as needed. Finally, enjoy! This soup is kind of a big dill. ;-)

Emory

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SEO tips for promoting your small business

Search Engine Optimization is an important part of a digital marketing strategy. It can help drive traffic to your website and products, which means more chance of landing sales. Many companies offer SEO services, but there are also some things you can do yourself without having to outsource.

Some people might think that only large companies have the capital and necessity to use SEO services. As a matter of fact, SEO can even help more for local small businesses. No matter if you are running an appliance repair company or car detailing business, you can reach more customers by working with an experienced SEO team.

The best things you can use yourself are keyword generators, blogging, and optimizing your images. These tools are not expensive and can give you more visibility if used properly.

Keyword Generator

Keyword generators can help you find the right words to use for your business. Like searching for words relating to what you do. These tools rank keywords, so you can see how they perform on search engines currently.

It gives you some information on how searches change over time as well as if people use certain words regularly. These tools are there to help you narrow down the right keywords to use in your content.

Once you find keywords you like, make sure to save them. Having a list of keywords at the ready will help you get your content written and published quickly.

Start a blog

Now that you have your keywords, you need to utilize them. Several case studies investigated how SEO-optimized blog content can generate more traffic. Many of them analyzed some companies’ existing content and rewrote some of it with selected keywords.

Blogging can keep your website current. Regularly updated websites build more trust with readers. No one wants to land on a blog that hasn’t been updated in years. And outdated websites don’t rank well on search engines.

Google in particular doesn’t like showing outdated information to their searchers. Good content will also keep readers engaged and keep them on your website for longer.

Optimize images

Most people wouldn’t think the name of their file would make an impact on their reach. The truth is, it does! If you search for anything on your search engine, 8 times out of 10 the file name will contain your keyword.

Additionally, a good alt tag can provide context to your images. And even when images aren’t loading, search engines will still be able to help rank your website because it just ‘reads’ your alt text. The best option is to include brand-related words for a visibility boost. But, whatever you do, don’t keep piling on the keywords. It will become too ‘crowded’.

** This was a contributed post.

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wild geese

Wild Geese

“Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

– Mary Oliver

Emory

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basic invite

Basic Invite is a website that offers beautiful stationary to celebrate your life moments. They have almost unlimited colours, custom samples, dozens of coloured envelopes, and more. And with graduation just around the corner, now is the time to start considering what your announcement cards will look like!

So why hand out a graduation invitation? Simple! They are a wonderful way to add style and uniqueness to your special day. Why not go all out to commemorate such an important event? You only get to do it once.

Whether it’s an open house graduation, or a more private event, sending out an invitation is something that you can be creative about. You get to choose what pictures to use, the font, colour, text, envelope, and more. It’s a super fun thing to do where you get to focus on yourself and your achievements.

Here is an example of how you can customize graduation invitations. They have over 180 colours alone to choose from, which is what distinguishes them from other online stationary websites. There are also 809 options of graduation invites alone to choose from, so I guarantee that there will be more than one that you fall in love with! You can even get them printed on foil cards. Um, cute!

In addition to graduation cards, you can also choose from wedding, birthday, baby, and almost any special event. I know where I will be going to order my next birth announcement cards!

And don’t forget to add on your matching thank you cards at the same time. They offer free recipient address printing on all card orders. :-)

What’s more, you can take 15% off of your order with the code: 15ff51. So what are you waiting for? Hurry and click on Basic Invite’s website!

You can also find Basic Invite on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

This was a sponsored post. I’m thankful for the brands and websites that I can partner with!

Emory

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acreage renovation: a new basement bathroom

Have I mentioned yet that we had a flood in our basement? I’ve discussed it quite a bit on Instagram, however I don’t think that I have on my blog.

Just to summarize, I came home one morning with the kids to a basement that was under a few inches of water. The driver of the company that delivers our water had neglected to shut it off when the alarms went off. Inevitably, our rec/playroom, Remy’s room, and Geoff’s bathroom were damaged. Luckily, our insurance company covered the costs.

Above is what the bathroom looked like post-flood. The only blessing in disguise about the entire situation is that we had yet to renovate the basement. That is, except for Remy’s room. We hadn’t planned on renovating it for a few more years. In fact, we were in the middle of tearing out our entryway and laundry room when it all happened! However, because the insurance company wanted to move quickly on getting it restored, we were left with no other option but to abandon our upstairs renos and instead, focus on the basement. Up first, my husband’s bathroom.

Fire & Flood Saskatoon began by ripping most of it out. This included the flooring, baseboards, vanity, and toilet. We were told that they would give us new flooring and baseboards, but because the vanity and toilet weren’t damaged, they would reinstall them. They would also touch up the ugly red paint. It turns out that neither the vanity or toilet worked before the flood, so there was no way we were letting put them back in over brand new flooring. We also wanted to choose a new wall colour if we now had to renovate this bathroom. (Obviously red is dated and makes a small room appear even smaller.) In the end, we told them to go ahead with the flooring and trim, but that we would do the rest ourselves. That is what ended up happening.

For the flooring, we wanted unity in all of the rooms in the basement. So rather than replacing the old laminate with more laminate (which wraps in damp places) or carpet (gross in a bathroom), we ended up choosing a luxury vinyl glue down floor from Flooring Superstores. That case, in the event of another flood rather than throwing out the subfloor and flooring, you simply remove it, let it dry, and lay it down again! What we went with is also anti-bacterial, which is a great option for both a bathroom and Remy’s room given that she has asthma. The cleaner it is, the better it is!

Next, we chose a much larger width of baseboard. We wanted it to be as plain as possible in order to look more modern than what we had. After purchasing them from Windsor Plywood, they painted them white and had them installed!

Finally, they were done! It was now our time to buy everything and begin putting the bathroom back together. My husband bought his vanity when it went on sale at Home Depot. He was initially going to go with light grey, but after I mentioned how it might just blend in with our light grey floor, he went with a darker one.

Geoff bought a toilet from Lowe’s and after bringing it home and unboxing it, realized that it was cracked. So he went back and exchanged it for another. After installing it, I told him that it looked too little for his bathroom. I asked him if he wanted to buy a bigger toilet. I think he was annoyed, but he went ahead and purchased a new one from Home Depot and replaced the previous toilet with it. Afterwards he said that it did look much better. I agreed!

I did give him free range to pick out all of his plumbing fixtures. He bought everything for his sink and shower in matte black and from Amazon.

Geoff also took it upon himself to split the one light above his vanity into two separate fixtures. I personally thought that he was just creating more work for himself. However, he had seen pictures of lights on either side of a large mirror and was set on recreating that for himself. So after a bit of electrical work, he did just that. He bought his two industrial lights off of Amazon again.

Finally, aside from his towel bars, toilet paper holder, and door handle, everything else was purchased around Saskatoon. This included the mirror, towels, shower curtain and rod, bath mat, and accessories. They all came either from JYSK or HomeSense.

Last but certainly not least, we decided to cover all of the walls in shiplap panelling. I had seen it at Lowe’s months prior and was really wanting to purchase it for our home. Rather than buying the more expensive and traditional shiplap, the panelling is much more cost and time efficient. It also only needed one coat, as opposed to four coats where we had to cover the red! We truly love it and have already put it in our basement rec room and kitchen, but more on that later.

Until then, here is our basement bathroom on a budget.

Emory

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