Wednesday, 29 October 2014

DIY Center Pieces: Part 1

I think I got my love of thrifting and DIYing from my parents. My father is the world's thriftiest man, I promise you, and my mother is Wonder Woman when it comes to DIY projects. So together they make the perfect team!

Thanks to them, Maeghan and I inherited a MASSIVE box (it took both of us to load it into our car and then into our apartment...) of vintage mason jars that we're incorporating into our center pieces for the wedding. I'm sure most of you have got the vibe already, but Maeghan and I are so excited about our vintage-rustic theme, so these mason jars are the perfect treasure. Along with the jars, my mom sent us home with a bin full of lace, beading, and twine that she inherited when my grandmother passed away many many years ago. Luckily, a few months earlier Maeghan and I stumbled upon and purchased a huge sack of burlap at a garage sale for five bucks!

With all these crafting supplies filling the far corner of our apartment, I convinced my wonderful maid of honour to spend the entire day with me re-purposing the jars. She even came prepared with OJ and champagne so we could sip on mimosas while we worked! We laid out the supplies, plugged in our hot glue guns (which in hindsight we should have placed on some scrap cardboard...sorry Maeghan!) and we were set to decorate!

After a few hours, a few mimosas, and when we'd run dry on creativity we had re-purposed over half of the jars we will need for the center pieces! Of course we had to place tea lights in all of them and light them for a true visual...

Hopefully even after all of the finger burns from hot glue I can convince my MOH to help me finish...

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Ultimate Black Bean Burger

Burgers remind me of summertime. Growing up, my siblings and I would spend our days scorching our pasty white skin in the warm August sun, splashing around in the cold water of the northern Ontario lake at the cottage, and snacking on nothing but orange pop, salt and vinegar chips, and fun dip from the little general store down the road. By 6 o’clock when we could hear the clicking of the BBQ lighter and immediately smell the charcoal heating up, we were starving and seriously hoping someone was grilling up some burgers.

In my opinion, one of the best parts about burgers is the endless variety of toppings you can add to them. Think of your favorite gourmet burger joint. They probably have a list of over 100 burger toppings much more creative than the usual lettuce, tomatoes, and onions; toppings you’ve never even begun to imagine on a burger like red pepper jelly or deep fried pickles. But what many of us burger lovers don’t stray too far from is the original burger patty taste. No matter what toppings we put on top of that warm, plump, flavourful, burger; we want that authentic burger taste.

Four years back when I vowed to help my sister transition into vegetarianism (as she was about to embark on a series of journeys to places without much meat and needed to prepare her body for this), I didn’t realize it would last more than a few months. But here I am, and four years have passed since I have had one of those juicy ground beef hamburgers fresh off the BBQ at my family cottage. You can wipe those tears off your face that you were shedding for me, as this black bean burger is BETTER than those all-meat patties my dad used to grill up. And actually, easier to prepare than a homemade beef patty and requires so many less tools.

After all of that suspense, and now that you’re day dreaming of a warm summer evening and a delicious burger, I am so happy to share this recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon with you.

(Photo from

You will need:

- food processor (or a really powerful blender…imagine making hummus, we’re talking that kind of power)
- can opener and strainer
chopping knife and cutting board
frying pan 
- spoon or spatula 

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (for frying)
- 4 burger buns
- desired burger toppings


1. Pulse the onion and garlic in your food processor about 5 times
2. Add the black beans, oats, spices, and salt and pepper to the food processor and
pulse another 5-10 times, or until the consistency of a really thick hummus
3. Remove the top from your food processor and add the bread crumbs to the
mixture. Stir the crumbs into the mixture with a spoon or spatula
4. Form the mixture into equal sized patties (I usually make 4 or 5 patties
depending on how big the buns I have are)
5. Heat your oil in the bottom of your frying pan (around medium heat)
6. Place your patties into the frying pan and cook them for about 5-7 minutes per
side (they should be browned and crispy on the bottom)
7. Remove the patties from the pan (pat down with paper towel to absorb some of
the excess oil if you like), and place the warm, mouth-watering patties onto their
fresh buns
8. Assemble your burger with whatever toppings you choose! (I usually go with
mustard and ketchup, tomato slices, cheese, avocado, and lettuce)
9. Enjoy and be amazed

Happy burger eating!