Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Yummies: Chinese New Year Delish

Hi guys,

Remember last week when I posted the Chinese New Year Menu that I was going to make?
Well, last Friday, we had some friends over, cracked open the wine, turned up the heat on the stove and cooked up a Blue Dragon feast. And as promised, here it is...

Click on titles of the dish for most of the recipes, otherwise see instructions below the photos.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls

frying up those veggies for General Tao's...

General Tao's Chicken
This was a yummy dish but not spicy like I expected it to be. Although a little hot sauce added to the mix kicked it up!
Cooking instructions: 1. Dip 350g chicken strips in 1 beaten egg and then toss in the corn starch. 2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok and pan fry the chicken pieces. 3. Stir fry your veggies and once cooked add the chicken back in. 4. Add sauce and simmer for 1 min.

Thai Red Curry Pork
Ummm...this was our favourite. All the deliciousness of the coconut milk was oh-so-fabulous.
Chinese Chicken Curry
So this tasted more like an Indian dish to us around the table. I still liked the Thai Red Curry the best but this was Mr. Fix-It's fav.

Our Chinese New Year feast was really delicious. It was fun to try new recipes and enjoy the flavours of Blue Dragon. I noticed that there was a big selection of Blue Dragon products at my local Superstore/Loblaws. The sauces are great to have in the cupboard for a quick and delish weeknight meal or grab a bunch of them, spring roll wrappers, some coconut milk and have a Chinese New Year feast this Friday with your friends.

Here are a few cool facts that I didn't know about Chinese New Year:

  • 2014 is the year of the horse.
  • Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands.
  • At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck.

Happy Year of the Horse my friends!

Keep it Beautiful.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Blue Dragon Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

Valentine's Day Printable

Hi everyone!

How was your weekend? Do anything fun? Did you watch the Grammys? Even Mr. Fix-It watched it with me! Well, he would say he was "working and preparing for his upcoming meetings this week". Whatever, he was totally watching them ;)

I have a cute printable to share with you for Valentine's Day. It's really cute, from a blog called Bonjour. Thank you!

Just click here, print it out, put it in a frame and VOILA! A fresh.fabulous.sophisticated way to give your mantle or hall table a little Valentine's Day décor. It's found a place on my mantle for Valentine's Day.

Why not add a little love to your home. Easy peasy!

Have a great week y'all

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fabulous Friday: Dry Erase Frame DIY

Happy Friday everyone!

With Valentine's Day around the corner (can you believe it?!) I thought I would share an oldie-but-a-goodie craft! It's an easy Dry Erase Frame and perfect for Valentine's Day...

All you need to do this DIY are these materials...

and click here for HOW-TO!

It's been a year and a half since I first posted this DIY and we still use it at home. It's a great idea for Valentine's Day and always nice to see thoughtful words written by your loved ones.

Have a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated weekend. I'm cooking up a Chinese New Year feast tonight (which I promise to share with you next week) and if you're looking for another fab DIY to do this weekend, then head over to the Ottawa Mommy Club for my No-Sew Roman Blinds DIY.

Keep it Beautiful.

This post was shared with:
A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday Yummies: No Bake Energy Balls

Hi guys,

Having a good week? It's SO cold here in Ottawa this week! Holy freezing! However, this is Canada so let's bundle, keep calm and carry on...right?!

I had my first marathon training run last night in this crazy weather. It always seems like the first night of training is one of the coldest. Maybe it's a good start in playing with my psyche for that big race? Ugh. All I know is that the distances are going to get longer and I'm going to be looking for some serious energy at the end of the day. Enter in a new balls!

Energy bars and balls are all over Pinterest right now. They're kind of like mini granola bars, only you make them, put whatever you want in them and they are way healthier than what's on the grocery store shelves.

I really don't have a recipe for it.  You can put anything in them and fill them with all the yumminess you want. I don't know about you, but around 3pm I'm always looking for something sweet and these little balls (okay I'm having a hard time keeping a straight face ;) will give you the energy you need and keep you away from reaching for that chocolate bar!

What You Need:
*I really made this up as I went along so feel free to play with the measurements*

- 1 cup large flake oats
- 1/4 cup flax
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup crushed almonds
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- handful of mini chocolate chips (I did this for the kids but you could definitely eliminate them)

**You could also add other things ie: shredded coconut, chia seeds, raisins or any dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, protein powder etc.

What You Do:

1. Stir all the ingredients in a bowl until mixed well. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let it chill in the fridge. At least half an hour.

2. Roll into whatever size ball you would like (again I'm chuckling...bad girl!) I suggest about 1". Store in a container in the fridge. VOILA!

**Peanut butter might not be so good in your house so you can always replace it with almond butter or whatever else you usually use to replace PB.

These little bites are easy, healthy, really yummy, guilt-free and hit the spot when you need a little boost.

I would say they are definitely fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fabulous Friday: Chinese New Year Menu


Did you know 2014 is the year of the horse?

To kick off the year of the horse, I have some exciting news to share with you. Blue Dragon sent me this fabuloso box of products to create some incredible Asian dishes and share the recipes with you.  How fun is that? Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Do you know anything about it? Next Friday, I'm going to cook up a Chinese New Year feast and have some friends over to share in the deliciousness. 

I'm excited to share the food and recipes with you so that on January 31st (the actual date of Chinese New Year), or anytime around there, you have the opportunity to pick up the Blue Dragon ingredients and plan your party!

Here's what I'm thinking will be on our menu...

Doesn't that sound like a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated feast? Yes. Yes. Yes. I'll let you know how everything tastes and share all the recipes and Asian food love with you.

Blue Dragon has some awesome recipes and often post them on their Facebook page. Fun!

Have a great weekend!

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday Yummies: Apple Cinnamon Cake

Hey everyone!

This is a super yummy and easy cake/loaf that I've seen a few people posting on Facebook this week. Both my mum and father-in-law made this on the same day that I did. These are actually their photos below. I didn't even get a chance to take a photo of it before my little guys wanted it in their bellies!  We all agreed that it could have used maybe a smidge more cinnamon and maybe another half of an apple.

I love this recipe because it has everything in it that you probably always have in your kitchen. You should make it tonight! It won't last long.

What You Need:
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon...
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I actually used half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

What You Need:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.

Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Next add half the apples and half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.

Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

You can find the recipe online here

Don't forget if you are in the Ottawa area and have a room that needs some décor love then you should definitely come to my workshop on February 4th. Email me for further details, I would love to see you there!

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Kick Start

Happy Monday everyone!

Did you have a good weekend? It was a busy weekend around here. We booked our trip down south with another family that we love. Woot! Woot!! Our big guy had his first ski lesson and I officially signed up for the Ottawa marathon in May. I love to run. Love it! I'm not a fast runner but there is something about the challenge of a good run that makes my soul sing. This will be my 4th marathon and start training in a couple of weeks. Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!

Did you know it's almost a month before Valentine's Day? It might be a cheesy-love-struck-day but! This is our big guy at the age of 2 bringing home some flowers.  Melt my heart!

So, here's a little craft that you can do for your Valentine or mini Valentine's this year. I did these last February for my boys and need to make another one for my baby girl. During the Valentine's week I put a little love note in their pouch before they come down for breaky.

These are so easy to do, it doesn't even need play-by-play photos. I actually 'hacked' the idea from Pottery Barn. Here's Pottery Barn's...
Pottery Barn
And here's mine..all supplies are from the dollar store. Most definitely less expensive the PB's. Sorry about the purple heart in the middle of the photo. Just wanted to give my kiddies' names some privacy.

I just glued up the sides of the foam, cut a triangle for the flap, hot glued the ribbon for the trim and added a few hearts for the opening.

A fresh.fabulous.sophisticated Valentine's day craft that is easy, inexpensive and can kick start your Valentine's Day décor.

Keep it Beautiful.

Linked up with:
The Dedicated House
Home Stories A to Z

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fabulous Friday: Keep It Beautiful Designs Seminar

Happy Friday everyone!

I've got something fun to share with you. If you are in the Ottawa area and have a room in your home that needs some love then join me on February 4th from 7-9pm and together, we will make your space fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Participants will submit photos of a room in their home they feel needs some décor love and I will provide my advice and samples of how to make that room a beautiful space. It is also an opportunity to see what other rooms people need help with and how they can be transformed.

Would love to see you there on February 4th! Email me if you are interested.

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday Yummies: The Best Fajitas Ever!!

Hi everyone! It's our first Wednesday Yummies of 2014 and I have one of my fav recipes to share with you.

Do you love fajitas? Mmmm, they are one of my favourite things to eat. I have a really yummy recipe to share with you. I've been making these for years and my mum has made them for even longer. They were a staple in our house growing up and I probably make them once every two weeks. It's easy and oh so delicious! The secret is in the spice mix. Here we go...

What You Need:
- Olive Oil
- Boneless, skinless chicken - I usually use one chicken breast per person, cut up in cubes (or you can use beef, pork, or just go veggie styles)
- Red, Yellow, Green Pepper (sliced thinly)
- Onion (sliced thinly)
- The secret spice mix - add 1tsp of each to a dish ***cumin, thyme, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne (I don't put that much cayenne in it or you might feel like your mouth is on fire)**
- 1 cup chicken stock (you can use beef or veggie stock also)
- Tortillas (I use the whole wheat soft ones)
- Toppings: salsa, sour cream, cheese, hot peppers, rice, guacamole...whatever your heart desires

What You Do:
1. In a large saucepan, sauté the peppers and onion in olive oil.

2. Once the peppers and onions are relatively soft, add your spice mix to the pan and sauté for one minute.

3. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to boil.

4. OKAY...this is the part that goes AGAINST everything you've been taught about chicken. You actually put the raw chicken into the pot and cook it all up while it's boiling. Seems totally weird right? Normally you cook the chicken first and add it at the end. I promise you...after eating this recipe for over 25 years...all has been good. Just do it!

5. Let that simmer away until the chicken is cooked. Your liquid will also reduce a little bit.
6. Get out your fav toppings...
7. Dress them, wrap them, eat them! Ole!!

This recipe is a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated weeknight meal or double and triple it up to feed a crowd. Let me know what you think!

Keep it Beautiful.

Linked with:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Did you have a great holiday? Are you looking forward to what 2014 will bring? We had a really nice Christmas with family, friends and I was thrilled to have Mr. Fix-It off for two weeks. Today it's back to reality. Mr. Fix-It is back to work and school lunches, nursery school, activities etc are back up and running. Mr. Fix-It is out of the jeans and back into the suit and tie!

Did you make any resolutions for 2014? We rang in the new year with some great friends. It was a late night dinner party at our house with silliness and fun. Good times!

There's lots of changes that will be happening for us in 2014. My maternity leave will be ending in April so it's back to the office full-time for me in the Spring. This will be a big change for our family as I was only back to work for 5 months in between my second and third babes. Trying to juggle it all and be everything I want to be to my kiddies and Mr. Fix-It is definitely going to be a challenge! I also hope to run the May Marathon so training for that begins mid January. Gulp! I'll keep you posted.

As for Keep it Beautiful, I'm so very thankful for you. Many of you have followed me since I started blogging and continue to be such dedicated readers. Thank you! I hope to continue to inspire you  to create beautiful spaces in your home whether its through DIYs, trends, food etc.  I have lots of ideas planned for this year that I think you're going to like. I'm always inspired by your questions and thoughts. Keep them coming!

I'm also dedicated to growing Keep it Beautiful Interior Design.  It's a passion of mine that continues to grow and would love to help you create beautiful spaces one-on-one. I have some fun workshops planned and few other opportunities to share with you soon.

Speaking of design and you know what the colour of the year is?  Last year, emerald green graced home design magazines and fashion. This year...drum roll...
Radiant Orchid
 Whatcha think? Like it? Can you see it in your home? It's bright and vibrant. I have to be honest, I've never been a real purple-loving-gal. In fact, I often stay away from it. However, twice last week shades of this colour has made me turn my head and think "me likey"!
1. I sat down to read my new Style at Home magazine and a gorgeous white kitchen was on the front cover with chairs that had a fantastic purple trellis pattern. Check out the cover in the grocery store. Super pretty! Here are some fabric samples from Tonic Living that could look fab in the perfect space.
Tonic Living
2. We were at my girlfriend Stephanie's house for her twin's 1st birthday and she did their nursery in shades of purple.  Stephanie has done a fantastic job. Lovely. Great job Steph!
Here's to 2014. I wish you a very Happy New Year! Here we go again together...let's create fresh.fabulous.sophisticated spaces together.
Keep it Beautiful.

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