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The Scents of Fall – Latte

Wed, 23 Aug by lisarice

Fall – you can feel it in the air and see it in the leaves that are starting to change color. It brings a whole different experience and expectation for colors, temperatures and scents. The smell of pumpkin spice always reminds me of this time of year. And for those that live off of latte’s and coffee drinks (most of you know that I’m a tea drinker myself) this one seems to have stand out reviews… The thought of it makes me want to try it – but then there’s the coffee part… Take a sniff – let me know how they turn out if you decide to make it. Or make it and send me a pic – or invite me for a visit – would love to smell for myself. Happy Fall!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
YIELD: SERVES 1

PREP TIME: 0 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 5 MINUTES

TOTAL TIME: 5 MINUTES
INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup almond milk
• 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
• 2 tsp. maple syrup
• ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• ½ cup strong brewed coffee (or 2 shots of espresso)
• Fresh grated nutmeg (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
Combine almond milk, pumpkin maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a small saucepan over a medium low heat. Whisk everything together and as soon as the milk begins to simmer, shut off the heat and transfer the milk mixture to a blender.
Add a ½ cup of strong brewed coffee to the blender and blend for 10 seconds or until light and frothy.
Pour into your favorite mug. Top with fresh nutmeg and enjoy!


Nutrients for entire recipe (aka 1 drink): Calories: 78; Total Fat: 2.7g; Saturated Fat: 0.1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 2.4g; Sugars: 9.8g; Protein: 1.7g

Peanut Butter…

Thu, 20 Jul by lisarice

 

Spread the Good News

Peanut butter is not just for kids. Adults, too, can reap health benefits from adding it to their diet. Granted, it’s not exactly low in calories, but we’re only talking about a few tablespoonfuls in exchange for a pile of nutrients: protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, bone-building magnesium, and potassium, a mineral important for blood pressure and heart function. For the healthiest choice, pick peanut butter without added sugar, salt or hydrogenated oil.

 Control Your Cravings

Eating 3 tablespoons of peanut butter (or 1½ ounces of peanuts) at breakfast helped overweight women feel fuller and have fewer hunger cravings, a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed. Not only did the women report feeling satiated eight to 12 hours after breakfast, but the peanut butter helped keep their blood sugar levels steady in the afternoon.

Protect Your Heart

Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes compared to those who rarely eat nuts, says Walter Willett, professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. PB also is a good source of potassium — a mineral crucial to heart function.

Two ounces of nuts (or peanut butter) a day improved both glucose levels and blood fats in those with type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Toronto found. Aim for natural peanut butter, which has less sugar. Some PB spreads, including reduced-fat versions, have high amounts of added sugar.

Here’s How to Add It to Your Diet

  1. Swirl a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter into your morning oatmeal.
  2. Make a peanut butter smoothie with PB, bananas, milk or yogurt, a little honey and ice. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pack a midmorning snack of apple slices and peanut butter.
  4. Try a slice of whole-grain bread slathered with peanut butter.

What Your House-cleaner Says…

Tue, 11 Jul by lisarice

Things Your Housecleaner Wishes You Know.

Hate cleaning your house? No one could blame you: There’s precious little fun in scrubbing toilets. Or wiping down grime-streaked windows to the point where your elbows are sore for weeks. And you probably cringe when you think about your living room’s floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves, whose upper levels haven’t seen a dust rag since Tony Soprano faded abruptly to black.

Enter the humble housecleaner—here to save you from yourself! You can hand over your most hated tasks and wash your hands of cleaning.

But if you’re hiring a housecleaner to do the hard work, don’t make the job even harder. Following these insider tips from cleaning experts will not only help ensure your status as a decent human being, they can also help you save some cash.

Here are seven tips for keeping your cleaning from turning into a dust-up.

  1. Precleaning will save you money

If you’re anything like us, you probably do a little precleaning for your housecleaner. And then, if you’re like us, you wonder how much of that is truly necessary—after all, that’s what the housecleaner is there for, right?

Here’s the deal: You should do whatever you can to help them help you. No, you don’t need to bust out the Clorox, the Shark vacuum, and the Miracle Mop, but you should tackle those dirty dishes, throw out the takeout containers, and pick up that pile of clothes. If you don’t, you may find that your wallet’s been cleaned out, too.

“Picking up clutter does make our job a lot easier,” says Megan Sentner, the manager at Greenapple Cleaning in Ottawa, Ontario. “That being said, we have no problem picking up clutter as long as the clients understand that it takes more time and costs more.”

Think it all comes out in the wash? Let us do the math for you: If your housecleaner charges you $30 per hour (the average rate) to clean, then a half-hour spent decluttering will cost you an extra $15—or $390 for a year’s worth of twice-a-month cleanings. Instead, straighten up the night before and save that cash for something else.

  1. Give specific directions

Unless you’re ordering a top-to-bottom scrubbing every week, your cleaners need direction. Is the bathroom looking a little grungy? Ask them to spend extra time on the shower. Request extra attention to your baseboards. Sic them on your son’s room, now that he’s finally off to college.

“If they don’t leave full instructions, there’s a chance they’ll be disappointed,” Sentner says.

If you’re new to the world of professional housecleaning, you might not know exactly what your home needs most. Most maid services will happily stop by for a consultation so you can learn exactly how dirty you are.

  1. Deal with your pets, please

Your dog runs in terror when you turn on your Dyson, so why would you leave it home alone when all the floors are getting vacuumed? Not all pups need to be boarded during housecleaning, but if you already know your pet hates strangers or loud noises, at least put it in the backyard or a comfy crate.

“We don’t mind having pets in the home while cleaning, but some pets don’t like having us there,” Sentner says. “It’s stressful for our team members to have a dog barking for three hours.”

Aggressive pets can also mean your house doesn’t get cleaned: Housecleaners aren’t expected to sacrifice their own safety to clean your home, and if they’re faced with an angry animal, they might have to bail on the job, Sentner says.

  1. If you wouldn’t touch it, they won’t either

Yes, housecleaners will scrub away that nasty buildup around the bottom of your toilet seat. But they also have a limit: They won’t pick up your dog’s poop.

  1. Allot the proper amount of cleaning time

Don’t feel ashamed if your house is in dire straits. Life happens. Work picks up, a kid or two comes along, and suddenly you have no time for more than the bare minimum. Cleaners (probably) won’t judge you—but you should expect the job to take a bit longer.

Be honest with your housecleaners about the home’s current state so they can allocate enough time on their schedule.

  1. Use an insured cleaning service

Housecleaners can’t avoid touching your most valuable belongings—Grandma’s heirloom teapot needs dusting, too. But sometimes accidents happen.

The best way to ensure the safety of your precious possessions is by selecting an insured cleaning service. It’ll have provisions in place to quickly rectify the situation.

“If we made a mistake and caused damage, it’s our responsibility,” Sentner says.

Bu it’s your responsibility to make sure things are in line and prepared for your housecleaner’s visit. That includes removing any truly priceless valuables—and making sure your home (however dirty) is a welcoming environment.

  1. You’re not entirely off the hook

Hiring a housecleaning service doesn’t mean you can skip all of the cleaning. Well, sure: You probably can, if you’re willing to pay for the service to do the basics every time it comes by. But if you want to cut costs, make sure you try to keep up your home’s appearance in between cleanings.

“Minor maintenance can be the difference between us cleaning for three or five hours every two weeks,” Sentner says.

Simple DIY tasks include wiping down the front of the cabinets after cooking, squeegeeing the shower, and sweeping the kitchen floor. Integrating them into your day-to-day routine can save you a few bucks on your bill.

As always, if you’re looking for a reference for a house-cleaner or any trade please give me a call.  I would be happy to assist.

Canada 150 Celebrations in Our Community

Wed, 28 Jun by lisarice

 

Canada is turning 150 this year! What a great time to celebrate. Check out and enjoy these family friendly events going on in our community on July 1, 2017.

Spruce Grove

Where? Jubilee Park

When? Festivities begin at 9:00am with the Pancake Breakfast. There will be entertainment all day until fireworks at 11:00pm.

For all the event details, check out this link:

http://www.sprucegrove.org/programs_events/events/canada_day_celebration.htm

Stony Plain

Where? Heritage Park

When? The activities begin at 10:00am, including the artwalk,  and will wrap up at 2:00pm.

Link here for full details:

http://www.stonyplain.com/Page1532.aspx

http://www.stonyplainartwalk.com/

Parkland County

Where? U of A Botanic Gardens

When? 11:00am – 3:00pm. During this time, the gardens will be filled with activities and live music.

All the information can be found, here:

http://botanicgarden.ualberta.ca/Events/Event-Listings/canada-day-celebrations-32

Devon

Where? Voyageur Park

When? June 30 at 4:00pm & July 1st

Check out the details on the 2 days of events in Devon for Canada 150!

http://www.devon.ca/events

Morinville

Where? St. Jean Baptiste Park

When? There will be entertainment all day beginning at 12:00pm and ending with fireworks at 10:45pm.

Link to full event information, here:

http://www.morinville.ca/what-s-on/events-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2017/07/01/1026/-/canada-day

 

5 Healthy, Summery Snack Choices for Your Family

Tue, 20 Jun by lisarice

Check out these fun, yet healthy snacks that your kids will love –  enjoy!

Fruit with Creamy Dip
This tangy-sweet dip could be used for any number of fruits or berries, and the cherry stems make dipping extra fun.

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cherries with stems attached

Stir sour cream, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Rinse cherries and arrange them for dipping.

Kids can help: Mix ingredients, wash fruit
Extras: Use yogurt instead of sour cream, use apple or pear slices, strawberries or other berries if they’re in season

Reference: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/healthy-kids-snacks?page=14

Chocolate Banana Crepes
These crepes will be a family favourite!

  • Pat of butter
  • One banana, thinly sliced
  • Handful chocolate chips
  • Two flour tortillas
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Melt butter in nonstick pan. Arrange banana slices over one tortilla and mash them in very lightly with a fork. Dot with chocolate chips and place second tortilla on top. Slide into frying pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, until brown and golden at the edges. Let cool for a minute or two, then slice into wedges and serve dusted with powdered sugar, if desired.

Kids can help: Peel banana, spread banana slices on tortilla, lightly mash bananas and arrange chocolate chips over fruit

Reference: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/healthy-kids-snacks?page=17

Little Dippers
Cut an apple into wedges. Stick a toothpick in each piece, dip in nut butter and roll in crushed peanuts or sliced almonds.

Reference: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/healthy-kids-snacks?page=22

Zucchini Muffin
Add this healthy snack into your family’s summer. They will love it so much they will think it’s junk food.

Into a large bowl mix:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Stir in:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 apple peeled, cored and grated

In another bowl, beat:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)

Stir into flour mixture until batter is just combined. Spoon into well greased muffin cups, filling to the top. (Note: If you are using muffin liners you may need to spray with cooking spray to prevent the muffins from sticking to the paper.) Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Reference: http://www.parenting.com/article/zucchini-muffins-recipe

Fruit Pizza
Crust:

  • Whole-grain tortilla
  • Whole-wheat pita
  • Whole-wheat flat bread

Sauce:

Toppings:

  • Fresh fruit such as: apples, bananas, kiwi, berries, grapes
  • Dried fruit such as: raisins, chopped dates, pineapple, cranberries, cherries
  • Coconut
  • Sliced or slivered almonds
  • Granola
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. To assemble a pizza, start by spreading the “crust” with one or more types of “sauce.”
  2. Add desired toppings and cut into wedges.

Reference:  http://twohealthykitchens.com/2013/08/15/no-bake-fruit-pizzas/

 

Let me know how you make out with these snacks – or better yet invite me over – I’d love to sample.

Stay Cool This Summer With DIY Popsicles

Tue, 13 Jun by lisarice

 

What’s better than a popsicle during the summer months? A DIY popsicle to keep you cool. Here are a few popsicle recipes that I will definitely be trying out this summer, beware some of these recipes feature special (alcoholic) popsicles:

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Pops:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 6 large fresh strawberries, chopped or ¾ cup frozen strawberries
  • 6 standard sized graham crackers
  • 1 tbs melted butter
  1. In a food processor add the cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar and milk, process until well combined. Add the strawberries, pulse to combine.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about 1 inch of the top empty for the crust (if you don’t have popsicle molds, use small paper cups and popsicle sticks) tap the molds gently on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  3. In a food processor add the graham crackers, process until only crumbs remain.
  4. While food processor is running, add the melted butter in a slow stream until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  5. Divide the crust evenly between the popsicles, press down gently to compact. Insert popsicle sticks, freeze for at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.

Reference: http://domesticfits.com/2013/04/24/strawberry-cheesecake-popsicles-and-i-heart-california-strawberries/

Strawberry Champagne Popsicles:

  • ¼ cups Water
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 pound Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 cup Sparkling Champagne
  1.  In a small sauce pot, add the water, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a slight boil. Boil for 5 minutes and until sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool.
  2.  Cut the green tops off the strawberries and slice them in half. Using a food processor, slightly puree the strawberries (I still wanted some chunks of strawberries in mine). Turn the strawberries to a bowl and combine with the simple syrup (which is the water and sugar liquid) and sparkling champagne. Slightly stir until well incorporated.
  3. Pour the mixture in the Popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours, best if overnight.

Enjoy!

Reference: http://bsugarmama.com/strawberry-champagne-popsicles/

Smashed Berry, Lime, and Coconut Yogurt Ice Pops
makes about 8 medium-sized ice pops

  • 8 oz mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, olallieberries, etc.)
  • juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • 3½ Tbsp sugar
  • 16 oz Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut milk (with cream)
  • big pinch of salt
  1. Mix together the berries, lime juice, and 1 Tbspn of sugar. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then mash roughly with a fork. Set aside.
    2. In a separate bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, coconut milk (with cream), 2 1/2 Tbspn of sugar, and salt. Fold in the berries — juice and all — but make sure to leave streaks.
    3. Fill ice pop molds and freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour, then insert ice pop sticks halfway. Freeze until solid — about 4 hours or overnight.
    4. To unmold, dip the popsicle molds in running water or leave out for a few minutes.

    Note on coconut milk: make sure to stir together the cream and milk in the coconut milk before using.

Reference: http://www.dessertsforbreakfast.com/2012/06/smashed-berry-lime-coconut-yogurt-ice.html

Enjoy your summer – For more DIY popsicle recipes to try out this summer, check out these links:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/super-cool-popsicles-to-make-this-summer?utm_term=.lf73VZp12#.iprLY25km

https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/two-ingredient-popsicles?utm_term=.ib6371aP5#.mhX7QMv3x

Create a Backyard Oasis This Summer

Mon, 05 Jun by lisarice

Sprucing up your yard can give you a whole new outlook on summer! Having a beautiful and private place to enjoy yourself may give you just the relaxation that you need. I have found a great link to some trendy and functional items that can help to create your own backyard oasis. Let these items help you enjoy family BBQ’s, afternoons reading, or backyard play time with the family. Take a read:

Spruce up your backyard or balcony with these 12 outdoor essentials

Top 6 Things to Do in Our Community in June

Mon, 29 May by lisarice

  1. Cruise Night at Columbus Park – June 1 & 8, 6:00 pm – Columbus Park, Spruce Grove
    Come see some classic cars in Spruce Grove’s downtown park.

https://www.facebook.com/events/999694813497473/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2244%22%2C%22unit_ref%22%3A%22related_events%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22permalink%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22RHC%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A[]%7D]%22%7D

  1. Farmer’s Days Rodeo & Exhibition – June 2-4 – Stony Plain Heritage Park
    Check out the Stony Plain Farmer’s Days festival. Great family fun! Includes the Mayor’s Pancake Breakfast

https://www.facebook.com/events/645133865671708/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D

  1. Car, Boot, and Tailgate Sale – June 10 – 9:30 am – 1:30 pm – Spruce Grove Grain Elevator
    Full information on the event, here!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1842086012707154/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D

  1. Taste of Spruce Grove – June 17, 2:00 pm – Columbus Park, Spruce Grove
    This event is designed to showcase the best local eats in Spruce Grove. Check it out with your whole family!

https://www.facebook.com/events/468484786876817/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2244%22%2C%22unit_ref%22%3A%22related_events%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22permalink%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22RHC%5C%22%2C%5C%2h

  1. The Artisan Affair – June 17 – 4912 52nd Avenue, Stony Plain
    Local artists and crafters share their work with the community through a sale day!

https://www.facebook.com/events/208064899702013/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D

  1. Stony Plain Quilt Show
    Full event info on the quilt show, here.

https://www.edqg.ca/index.php/bulletin-board-events/433-stony-plain-quilt-show-june-9-10-2017

If you are looking for a Saturday activity, be sure to check out the Spruce Grove and Stony Plain Farmer’s Markets, running every Saturday until December.

 Spruce Grove Farmer’s Market

https://www.facebook.com/Spruce-Grove-Farmers-Market-203223616354966/

Stony Plain Farmer’s Market

https://www.facebook.com/Stony-Plain-Farmers-Market-13238247940/

Some of The Most Functional Plants To Grow This Summer

Tue, 23 May by lisarice

 

Here are some great plants to consider adding to your gardens, pots, and homes this summer. These plants offer great functionality from insect repellent to air purifiers to sleep remedies. Take a look:

Outdoor Plants:

  • Lavender – a lavender plant can be used as a mosquito repellent in your yard. The lovely purple flowers also attract honey bees! Lavender in an oil form also has pain relief and sleep remedy properties.
  • Sage – planting a sage bush near doorways is said to keep ants away.
  • Lemongrass – pots of lemongrass can be placed outside to repel mosquitoes.

Outdoor/Indoor Plants:

  • Rosemary – this herb is great for cooking with. Not only is the flavour great, this plant is also a known mosquito repellent.
  • Basil – this is another great tasting herb. It is a great addition to many dishes including salads, flatbreads, and some chicken and pork dishes. This herb is also a fantastic repellent of house flies and mosquitos.
  • Peppermint – this plant is great for repelling mosquitos, ants, and spiders. Be sure to plant in a pot though as peppermint grows like a weed and will easily take over a garden.

Indoor Plants:

  • Aloe Vera – this plant grows easily indoors. The gel inside the aloe leaves are great for healing wounds and sunburns.
  • Spider Plants – spider plants are extremely easy to grow indoors. This plant is great for air purification in your home and is easy to please.
  • Snake Plant – these one of these easiest plants to take care of. Place a snake plant beside your bed as it improves the quality of the air and is said to lead to a better sleep.

Happy planting!

Add Curb Appeal To Your Home This Spring

Mon, 15 May by lisarice

It finally feels like Spring!  With the warmer weather and the May long weekend approaching; many people have begun or are ready to start work on their gardens, yards and outdoor summer projects.  Which means it’s a great time to share some of the ways that you can add curb appeal to your home.  Remember if you’re thinking of listing this is the first impression of your home and always important – and if you’re not listing – it’s always nice to spruce up the front of your home.

Dress Up the Front Door

Having an inviting front door may be all you need to make your home look perfect from the outside.  A fresh coat of paint which doesn’t take a lot of work and isn’t a large expense can have a huge impact on your home’s appearance. Live dangerously – and try a new colour- remember it’s only paint.  Another easy upgrade may be replacing your out of date door knob. Choosing a grand looking lock set will easily class up your front door.

Add Symmetry

Symmetry satisfies the internal mind’s eye; and it’s said that having perfect symmetry in the front of your home will make it appear inviting. This can be something as simple as matching plant pots on your front steps or even lighting on both sides of your front door.

Outdoor Lighting

Unique outdoor lighting is an eye-catcher to those looking in at your home. Lighting up your walkway, deck, or garden are easy ways to make your home more appealing; and there’s so much choice in the local stores.

Create a Garden

Bright colours attract the eye! One of the easiest ways to add colour to your home in Spring is a garden! However, do not bind your thoughts to a patch of dirt in the ground – potted gardens are an extremely popular way to add some colour to your home! Make them fun and inviting and experiment with your favorites.

Remember: first impressions matter! Adding curb appeal in Spring is an important part to the aesthetics of your home; not only for visitors but for you as the homeowner as well.

Enjoy the warm weather!

Lisa Rice, Remax Spruce Grove
4, 16 Nelson Drive, Spruce Grove, Alberta T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-818-8884 Office: 780-962-8580 Fax: 780-962-8998
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