THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE
If you want to do pie, you better have a fool proof pie recipe! I have to confess that I was not born a baker at all, I guess that practice makes perfect (or at least edible). Pot pies and apple pies are my favorites, and god knows I made a lot of them. The only thing is that, every time I was preparing my crust, there was always something wrong: too hard, not sticking together, too sticky.
So I went to see my Memère Beaudin and told her (yeah I did not ask at all) ''you are teaching me to make your pie crust and we are baking pies, go go go!" The thing with grandma's recipes is that they never have measurements right... A pinch of salt, my special tea cup full of water, a blue package of margarine. Anyway, it gets hard to do the same thing home if you don't have a ''special tea cup'' either! All that to say that, we did the crust and we did a sh*t load of pies, BUT I also measured and wrote down all the quantities. Memère's recipes are no longer a mystery!
You want a big enough and clean surface to work on your dough. Your butter or margarine should be room temperature for a fluffy crust. To mix margarine and flour, use your thumb and fingertips and rub the margarine into the flour in a snapping motion. It should look lumpy. If you want to keep the mixture for later, put it in an air thigh bag in the fridge. It can stay there for more than 6 months if you like to have some ready on hand!
Once you've got your butter lumps, add in cup of lukewarm water. Start mixing with your hands to incorporate all water, without vigorous motions. Do not over mix. For a better dough also easier to roll, shape it in a disk and put in the fridge 30 minutes.
Dough is ready: you can begin rolling. Make sure your work surface always have enough flour on it so the dough does not stick. ALWAYS roll in one direction and rotate the dough to make a perfect circle. Do not flip your dough! Roll on the same face or it until desired circle size.
To put in your pie mould, fold in half for the bottom and lay, making sure that it is perfectly pressed. Memère uses another mold to make sure the dough sticks perfectly to the corners. Cut excess dough and put your filling in. If you want the full pie crust on top, fold your circle in half, then fold again. Cut a design with a knife to allow steam to go out. Brush water on the border of the bottom crust, not too much but just enough so it sticks. Gently lay your top crust on top of your filling, and unfold. Cut all excess dough and press firmly on the borders to make them stick together. Design the border as you want. VOILÀ, you have a perfect pie!
6 cups flour, leveled
1 lb butter or margarine
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 lukewarm water
1. Mix together flour, butter or margarine, baking powder and salt. Use your thumb and fingertips and rub the margarine into the flour in a snapping motion.
2. Add water to the mixture and mix with your hands. Do not over-mix.
3. Shape and cook.
The trend is that the market is booming in the Spring and you should wait for that exact time to sell your home. However, Winter is a good time to put your house up for sale and wait is not necessarily in your best interest! Here are 5 reasons why!
1. Serious buyers: Who puts on boots and mittens to visit houses? People who are serious about moving. They are no tire-kickers or nosy neighbours: They are taking the time to find a home that is right for their needs, they are motivated and ready to make the move!
2. Corporate transfers: January and February are the highest months of the year for employees transferring and relocating. These people need a house, AND QUICKLY! Motivation and readiness also means …… money money money!
3. Less competition: Fewer houses on the market makes your house more desirable! With around 30 new listings per day on MLS during the spring market, the competition is numerous and buyers want to see all their options! By listing in winter, your house is therefore more visible to potential buyers and will stand out more than in a saturated market.
4. Marketing: A less saturated market also means that your house will be more prominent when it comes to marketing. With fewer listings, this gives your agents far more time to increasing the marketing efforts! That means, more open house, ads, posts, etc. Oh.. and it is important to know that the online searches increase during the Winter - Shouldn't the potential buyers be able to see your house too?
5. Your house looks great in winter: Certainly, you may have a beautiful garden and a backyard perfect for Summer days, but Winter is the perfect time to showcase the curbs appeal of your home without having to take care of the lawn and landscaping every week! If you have a fireplace, turn that baby on and show people how good it feels to be at home! All you have to do is make sure that your drive way is accessible and shovel your entrance.
So if you're planning to sell, don't wait until Spring. Be ready now and take advantage of the chilly months. If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of listing your home in the Winter, get in touch with your Realtor. It's never too early to start planning for your sale!
To sell or not, that is the question. The average Canadian move 5 to 6 times in their life. We want change and live in a world that does not stop moving! Our family grows, we get older, we change jobs, we need more space, less space. It just never stops and we need something that fits your lifestyle. The real problem is to know if the time is right or not to make a move and this, not only depending on the market. Here are the other factors that you should take in consideration before putting your house for sale.
Where are you going to move?
Thinking of selling is the first step. But if you sell, where are you going to move? It might be an easy move, but if you are looking for a rare find, it might take longer. First step you should do is to sit with your Realtor and make a list of your criteria. Take a look on www.mls.ca to see what is available at the moment. If you think building would be the best option considering what you are looking for, you can start looking for a land and get your Realtor to schedule appointments with builders. Yes, they do that too for you!
How much is it gonna cost?
You might have a good equity in your home: That is a good start! Don't forget that selling and buying includes more costs than a down payment . Before putting it on the market, check if you notice any major repairs to be done to your home. if the roof is leaking, chances are you will need to fix that. Restoring your home should not be taken for granted and it will help your property to sell. If you use a Realtor, chances are you will sell faster at a better price, but make sure to calculate the commission in your budget. Get in touch with your lawyer to know how much is their fees and what other fees, such as the 1% land transfert tax, you will have to pay on closing day. If you are not sure where to start, contact your Realtor to sit and discuss your possibilities.
How is it gonna affect your family?
Not everything is money, moving can have an emotional impact on your family. If you are planning on moving further than your current neighbourhood, you have to think how your life style will be affected. Which school are the kids gonna go to? Where are the closest gyms, grocery, pharmacy and other amenities. How far is it from work? This is an important emotional aspect to consider in all of your thinking.
During that process, you should take advantage of all ressources you can get. Your mortgage lender will make sure you’re ready with a look into your income, credit history, and cash reserves. Your Realtor will make sure you are ready to sell, get the money you need in your pocket and find a new home. Good professionals will help you through this before you make your decision.
Have you ever cleaned your washing machine? If you haven't, you should do it today! Why? The answer is simple (and gross). All the residues from your detergent and pet hair, if you have pets, create a thin film that traps bacteria, and eventually clog the mechanisms of your machine. This means that if you don't clean it, all those germs will get on your clothes.. (I know.. ew). Plus, nobody want's a washer that does not wash. Scroll down and let's get you ready to get a ''brand new washing machine''!
Here is what you will need to start.
- A scrubby sponge
- Rubber gloves (Optional)
- 4 Cups of white vinegar (I use the Allen's cleaning vinegar)
- Baking soda
- An old toothbrush (Optional but recommended)
* Any kind of distilled vinegar will do. I use the more concentrated one so I don't have to put as much vinegar in my house cleaning products. Plus, it can't hurt to use a stronger vinegar to get rid of germs: It's natural!
* Yes, you might find some recipes with bleach in it. I say: stay away from bleach as much as possible. It will only give you septic tank problems. Really...... don't even bother.
*After scrubbing, I like to load another hot water full cycle. Some residues will stay and I like to think
it rinses the barrel of all the vinegar.
Step 1: Make sure that your machine is empty. Set your machine to run the largest load, with the hottest water, for the longest cycle. Do not let your machine start the cycle yet.
Step 2: Add 4 cups of vinegar in the barrel and let the cycle run for about a minute.
Step 3: Open the lid and add 1/2 cup of the baking soda in the barrel. Let run for another 2-3 minutes. Stop the machine again and remove the inside parts (they also need a little bath trust me). Put the parts in the barrel to soak.
Step 4: Open the lid to stop the machine and let the cleaning solution sit in for an hour. While waiting, you can dip in your sponge and start cleaning the outside or your machine. And while you're at it, you can even clean the outside of your dryer!
Step 5: After the solution has sit in for an hour, take the parts soaking in out. Scrub roughly the barrel, especially where the water does not reach. This is just to remove the biggest residues. Let the machine finish it cycle and drain all the water.
Step 6: As soon as the machine has fully emptied, start scrubbing the whole inside of it. Don't forget the lid and bleach compartment.
How often should you do it?
They say (the internet says) that you should clean the inside and outside of your washing machine once a month. Honestly, twice a year is good. If you live in an area with hard water, you might want to do this every quarter. And if you are a really courageous person and want to do it every month, totally go for it!
You got this!
You think I'm lying? Go ahead, try that banana and nuts bread recipe and tell me about it. I don't like to brag but, every time I bake one, it is gone within 3 days. But before you start, you gotta know that to make the perfect loaf, you need to choose and prepare your ingredients with love! Make sure you put all dairy products on the counter few hours before baking: you want them to be room temperature. For the bananas, the blackest the better. I always freeze and de-freeze mines, it makes that little extra juice in the mix and it's just what it needs. I do not sift my flour (I should but I guess I'm lazy), but I do level it and this is not to skip. So I think you are now ready to bake!
Get all of your ingredients ready hours in advance. For the nuts, it is totally up to you if you want to put some on and in, just on or not at all. I usually put a bunch of chopped pecans on top and some in the bread to add that little crunch. Walnuts and pecans would be the best nuts to add to this recipe.
Lazy lady pro tip: use the smaller bowl to put dry ingredients, so you only have to use one big bowl really (just wipe the flour off the small bowl.. shhh). Mix your egg and sugar in the big one, then add the rest of the ingredients in that same bowl.
Your mix should look like this. I always put milk last just in case the consistency isn't right so I can easily adjust it. This is the part where you want to add the nuts in your mixture.
Grease a pan with butter or oil, put nuts on top if desired and cook for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when sticked in the middle of the loaf. Make sure you place the pan on a low rack in your oven.
2 Cups flour
1 Tsp. baking soda
1/4 Tsp. salt
1 Cup light brown sugar
1/4 Cup vegetable or olive oil
1/4 Cup margarine
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
3 Bananas, mashed
1/2 Cup chopped nuts (Optional)
1. In a small bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Mix egg, sugar, margarine and oil and stir until well combined.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well. The mixture will be thick and dry. Add milk, vanilla
and mashed bananas and stir until incorporated.
4. Mix in nuts and pour into a greased loaf pan.
5. Bake at 325°F for approximatively 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when sticked in
the middle of the loaf. Check regularly.