recipe: easter ricotta pie

Easter Ricotta Pie

Ingredients:

(For the pie crust)
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ cup coconut oil
⅛ cup butter, cold
10 tbsp cold water (approximately)

(For the filling)
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
Squeeze of lemon juice

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 1. For the crust- combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the coconut oil and butter. Mix well. Then add water one tablespoon at a time. The dough should mostly form a ball, with some flakier chunks that don’t quick stick. (Crumbly over sticky preferred.)

2. Transfer dough to floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to just cover a 9” pie pan. Trim edges.

3. For the filling- combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well. Then pour filling evenly onto prepared crust. Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until surface of pie feels firm to the touch.

4. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with powdered sugar or whipped cream if so desired!

Emory

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mother’s day gift ideas: get name necklace

Mother’s Day is less than 8 weeks away, which means that it is time to start thinking about what to buy your significant other, your own mother, or special woman in your life. Or, like I used to do before I had children, myself!

One website that I have recently discovered is GetNameNecklace. They offer beautiful, personalized jewelry at low prices. Let’s take a look at some of my favourite pieces.

A necklace that I would love to own is this Personalized Sideways Cross Necklace. I love that I would be able to incorporate my children’s names with my religion. You can also choose to replace the cross with a birthstone or celestial symbol. 

Or, instead of needing to stack two necklaces, I also absolutely love the Engraved Family Stacked Circle Necklace. I could even incorporate my husband’s name, and the name of our angel baby.

I would honestly feel so loved and spoiled if Geoffrey ever surprised me with this Personalized Stackable Bar Ring. It is so simplistic and elegant, which is exactly the type of jewelry that I wear.

Each piece is customizable to ensure you get exactly what you are looking for. For instance, with this Promise Ring you are able to choose the material, first and second birthstones, first and second engravings, engravings inside, and of course, ring size.

You may click these links for a more comprehensive list of Name Necklaces and Birthstone Jewelry.

Lastly, right now they are having a Spring Sale where you can get up to 65% off using the code SPRING15. They offer free shipping and returns, with 15% off of your first order when you sign up with your email address. What are you waiting for? Be sure to check them out today!

Emory

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

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recipe: best chocolate chip muffins

Best Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin trays with 24 cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.

2. In a separate large bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, and lemon juice. Fold in dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips and stir until just combined.

3. Pour batter into liners, filling them half full. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy these soft and sweet muffins while they’re still warm, or keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

Emory

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cost of installing a walk-in wardrobe

As many of you know, Geoffrey and I have done a lot of home renovations over the years. In the past, we have bought, fixed up, and sold our houses every 2-3 years. Because we are continuously renovating, we try to save money wherever we can by doing the simpler jobs. Yet, there are certain things that we are neither experienced nor comfortable in handling ourselves. Some tasks are better left to professionals!

Installing a walk-in closet is one remodel that we know very little about. We have never been lucky enough to have a walk-in closet, but our house at the lake that we had built could have greatly benefitted from such a feature. Only we didn’t realize that we needed a closet in our loft bedroom until after we moved in. Once we did, we didn’t know who to turn to.

Are you thinking about installing a walk-in wardrobe? Where do you even begin? PriceYourJob is an excellent website that provides estimates, job descriptions, timelines and more for a number of interior and exterior jobs around your home. From gutters and chimneys, to windows, painting, wall removals, bathrooms, kitchens, staircases, flooring, and more! And of course, installing a walk-in wardrobe. (It’s one that I wish I would have known about sooner.)

Let’s look further at what is involved. The website states that first you must begin with a stud wall. If you don’t have a pre-existing one then one must be erected. You will also need to consider type of flooring, lighting, shelving, and doors, all of which prices are given. Next is design and useful information on saving space in your closet. There are benefits and tips listed on how to convert various rooms to walk-in closets, as well as alternatives to closets and how much they could cost. This is all finalized by FAQs at the bottom of the page and some sources. It really is your one-stop source for all things closet-related!

The prices are in pounds, but a simple conversion can give you an idea of what it would cost on your end.

Be sure to contact PriceYourJob if you are in need of a closet overhaul!

Emory

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zero waste (part three)

Initiatives to combat climate change, from large corporations to regular individuals seem to be everywhere these days. I don’t if it’s because I was living with my head in a hole (full of waste), or because I follow several social media accounts that are dedicated to low waste lifestyles, but I feel empowered more than ever to adopt these environmentally-conscious ways.

I have said this before, but moving to our acreage one year ago was really kickstarted our new lifestyle. Because we do not have garbage pickup, we have become so aware of what we put into our garbage. We used to throw away a small bag of garbage a day, and recycle n o t h i n g. I shudder at that thought. Now, as a family of four, we only throw out one small bag every few days, recycle everything that is paper, plastic, or glass, and compost all of our food scraps (that we can’t give to our dogs).

Additionally, we have also stopped buying paper towel and cleaning products. I do not regret cutting paper towel out of our lives. My mother-in-law was kind enough to give us a bag full of rags from old towels that she no longer used. This was something that I had never even considered doing- enlisting in family and friends to donate their old cloths to you. Really, it’s serving you both! They are able to downsize and you gain more rags. Plus, its keeping more out of the landfill. Even with a baby and toddler, I do not find using rags any more difficult. In fact, they are gentler on skin, furniture, and surfaces. Remy and Wilder both have learned that if they ever spill anything, to go into the drawer, pull out a rag, and clean it up! Wilder is only 15 months old and he does this on his own. It’s hilarious! Plus, we are saving a lot of money. Why would we ever go back?

As for cleaning supplies, I am actually grateful to be using vinegar as opposed to commercially-made ones that are filled with harmful chemicals. A few months ago I had a bowl of vinegar and water on the counter because I was cleaning our microwave. I turned my back and started making lunch for the kids, when suddenly I hear “Yuck, lemon juice is gross. My tongue hurts” from Remy. She was standing beside the bowl. I was confused at first, then realized that she must have picked it up and drank from it. I started panicking and asked her if she swallowed some. She saw the panic on my face and she looked like she was going to cry. I said, “it’s ok honey. Just tell mommy if you tried some.” She said that she did. Then I realized that it’s just vinegar, and although was probably really disgusting, could not harm her. It’s not like it was a bowl of Green Works, Mr. Clean, or any other harmful substance. Incredibly relieved, I hugged her and told her to not try anything without asking me first. That is one reason why I will not start buying cleaning products ever again. Natural is the safest way to go.

We have replaced plastic bags with reusable bags and only run the washing machine and dishwasher once a week. When we do, we put the washing machine on the fastest setting (express) and the dishwasher on the shortest cycle (1 hour). We still try to hang dry most of our clothes indoors during the winter months, and outdoors during the summer. All of this helps save on water and power.

Lastly, we have been putting our bottle recycling to good use. Only recently I have dedicated Fridays to doing something fun with the kids. We don’t have any activities that day, so we use the morning to go swimming, or to a museum, etc. Sometimes we do something free, like the library. However, if we do pay for admission somewhere, I aim to use the money that we get from SARCAN. It’s not like we can’t afford it. I prefer to do it because it’s more of an initiative to take our bottles into a recycling depot. In the end, it is like our activities are free, which to me make them more rewarding!

Now that we have the updates out of the way, here are more ways that we have been reducing our waste since my last post:

Thrifting

I have made a promise to myself that 2020 will be the year of thrifting. More specifically, I will buy no new clothing items for myself for an entire year! Everything that I do purchase must be secondhand. Why, you ask? Well new clothing creates a lot of waste. On average it takes 700 gallons of water to make one shirt, and 2000 gallons to make one pair of jeans. Furthermore, a staggering amount of textiles end up in the trash bin each year. In 2014, the fashion industry created over 16 million tons of waste, 10 million of which went into landfills. If we were all to give our clothes to consignment or donation stores, one person’s “trash” becomes another person’s treasure. What is no longer new to them is now new to someone else.

It does not go without saying that another huge benefit will be all of the money that I will be saving this year! In January alone I purchased three tops (one to sell on eBay) and one dress from secondhand stores- each averaging $7 an item. If I would have bought these items brand new, I would have easily spent closer to $200 rather than $28. And that was just in one month! Suffice it to say that this is one of the aspects of our new lifestyle that I am most excited about changing.

Gifts

I am normally a buyer and not maker of gifts. I think that I have preferred doing it this way mostly due to saving time. However, ever since Christmas I have been making an honest effort to make gifts for our neighbours and children’s friends rather than buying them. The same goes with cards. Not only are cards costly but roughly 2.5 million trees are cut down each year just for greeting cards alone! I think that it is better to create your own card, or even just skip out on a card.

So what exactly do we make? One thing that I have been doing more of is giving the gift of food. At Christmas we gave our neighbours baking. Normally I would have put together baskets of little toys and treats for Remy’s friends and preschool class for Valentine’s Day, but instead I made them cookies and other sweets. I realize that this can’t be done for every holiday and occasion, but once in awhile, it can easily replace purchasing something non-biodegradable that will eventually end up in the trash. Try it!

Home Cooked vs Bought

Now that we are discussing homemade foods, I must bring up one of the biggest changes we have made- I have been baking our bread, buns, and bagels rather than purchasing them at the grocery store. Now this might not seem like it would make that big of an impact, but just think about it. Each loaf of bread, package of bagels, or a dozen buns usually come in a plastic bag. My family goes through a loaf of bread or thing of bagels every few days. Say that is two plastic bags a week, that equals 104 bags a year. Or three plastic bags a week is then 156 excess bags a year. The answer? A bread box and tinfoil.

Now when I make bread from scratch I make two loaves at a time. One immediately goes into this beautiful bread box which gets stored in our pantry. The other gets wrapped in tinfoil and placed in the freezer. Once we take it out and unwrap the bread we then recycle the foil! No waste is being created in this process, and by making our bread we are cutting down the use of plastic bags dramatically. Plus, it is cheaper and tastes better than buying store-bought bread. (Here is my favourite recipe that yields two loaves in two hours and tastes delicious.) 

While I realize that it does take longer to bake bread than to buy it, it is a switch that is definitely worth the time. You don’t have to bake ever single loaf, even doing a few a year saves you money and plastic from ending up in the landfill.

Meatless Meals

I previously discussed in this post how Geoffrey and I have agreed to implement one meatless meal per week. I felt like that change deserved a spot here too. Now there is much controversy about cutting back on meat consumption in order to fight climate change. The livestock industry reportedly produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation worldwide. However, cutting down on meat would obviously hurt local cattle and dairy farmers. Some farmers argue that grass-fed cows actually improve their fields by making way for new grass to grow. Other reports state that in order to significantly cut down your carbon footprint, you will need to transition to a mostly or completely vegan diet. That said, one meatless meal for one family every week may not create a huge difference, but like all of our other efforts, we have to start somewhere.

Renovating Rooms

Even though our entire house needs to be renovated, I think it’s important to reuse and incorporate items that are neither not new nor new to us in these made-over rooms. For instance, everything you see on that shelf was from our old house. The picture frames range from 2-11 years old, the lamp has been in a multitude of rooms over the last few years (finally ending up here), and the hanging planter was in our previous bedroom. We reused our white bedding, and after wanting a pop of colour, I rediscovered those cute yellow pillowcases in our antique wardrobe after buying and storing them away 8 or so years ago. They haven’t seen the light of day until now! My Baba crocheted the grey blanket at the foot of our bed for her couch before passing away. That probably holds the most sentiment for me. Finally, the oversized wood bench is actually part of our kitchen table set. The only things that we purchased brand new in this frame were the ceiling fan and the yellow throw pillow, the latter of which we bought locally. By simply recycling objects from other rooms or from other people, it can make a room feel new again.

Emory

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