Browsing Tag



Death to the Fruit Flies

This time of year is brutal for all kinds of bugs. Mosquitoes are my main enemy outdoors, but indoors I war against the fruit flies. I face an invasion each July and August, and they drive me batty. I empty my compost bin constantly, and try to keep things covered, but the little pests are everywhere. The best weapon I have found is a simple glass of vinegar and dish soap.

I keep a couple of these on my counter at all times, and change every couple of days. Just pour in about an inch of apple cider vinegar, and then a small squirt of dish soap. The vinegar attracts the flies, and the dish soap traps them. Some folks will cover the glass with plastic wrap and poke some holes, but I find that’s not necessary if you add the detergent.
I get a sick sense of glee when I see all those dead flies at the bottom of the glass. This was after one night. Every other day I dump the solution and the flies down the drain, rinse the glass and set up again. Easy and effective pest control!
Do you have any tips for getting rid of fruit flies? What’s your favourite method?


Summer Entertaining with Ivanhoe Cheese #BornOnTheFarm

When the weather turns warm, I turn to the great outdoors. We have a nice sized back yard and a great, covered deck, which becomes my summer office and preferred entertainment area. Coffee on the deck in the morning, drinks in the evening, and as many meals out there as I can fit in. Fresh air is so good for my soul.

This summer I instituted a new tradition – Friday night drinks on the deck. It’s kind of an open invitation to my girlfriends. If it’s Friday, I’m on the deck, and there will be cocktails, wine, and snacks; everyone is welcome. I love the social aspect, and I feel like it’s a great way to take advantage of our property and our relatively short summer season.

I’ve served some different things over these past few weeks. From guacamole and chips to mini-pizzas done on the BBQ. It’s never anything fancy, but always something tasty can you pick at and nibble on while chatting and giggling with friends. And it has to easy and stress-free, because I want my focus to be on my guests and enjoying the summer breeze.

Deli trays seem to be a big hit with my girls, so I’ve done those more than once. It’s easy to buy one ready made, but not hard at all to pull one together on your own. Choose 2 or 3 favourite cheeses, a couple of sliced deli meats, olives, or grapes, and crackers. To make it super easy for your guests, choose firmer cheese and serve it already sliced or cubed.

I often see trays served with knives and the big chunks of cheese, and they look really lovely, but they make a bit more work for your guests. Pre-sliced makes snacking super easy. For this tray I used Ivanhoe Extra Old Cheddar, and Ivanhoe Salsa cheeses. Both are easily sliced and have great flavour. The Salsa is a blend of Monterey Jack & Cheddar, with salsa flavouring, bringing a tasty Tex-Mex touch to your deli tray. I added concord grapes for some sweet. And naturally we had some lovely red wine to wash it all down.

Ivanhoe is part of the Gay Lea Foods family, and has been in operation for well over a century. They began as a small co-op, specialising in artisan aged cheddars, and now produce a range of specialty cheeses including smoked gouda, horseradish cheddar, flavoured goat cheddars, and more. They have a plant in Madoc, ON, where you can visit and actually watch the cheese being made, and pick up something yummy in the Ivanhoe Country Store.

Get Social

Want to know more about the world of Gay Lea? You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Do you have a favourite summer entertaining staple? What would you serve to your guests? School may be back soon, but there’s still a lot of summer weather left to be enjoyed!

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.


Keep Cool This Summer with Hamilton Beach’s DrinkMaster {giveaway}

I’ve always loved a good milk shake, and so do all of my boys. We’ve traditionally used a blender for these icy treats, but I’ve got a new appliance on my counter this summer. The Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster Classic Chrome combines gorgeous retro styling with super easy drink preparation. Isn’t it pretty?
The DrinkMaster is quite a simple appliance, with a tilting head, a mixing spindle that pops easily in and out, and two speeds. The 28 oz stainless steel mixing cup rests in special supports on the machine for safe and easy mixing. You may need to hold the cup and spin it manually for thicker drink mixes though.
You can use this for mixing milk shakes, protein drinks, and more. We’ve been focused on the milkshakes though, which have been great with our recent hot summer weather. What I especially like is how much easier the clean-up is with the DrinkMaster than with our usual blender method. Cleaning in around the blender blades can be a pain, but this spindle needs little more than a rinse.
This was a first shake I made. 4 scoops vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup of milk, a good squirt of chocolate sauce, and a handful of frozen cherries (defrosted). We topped it with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, and there was enough for three glasses. The cherries weren’t completely incorporated, but their flavour came through and the pieces easily came through the straws. 
A recipe booklet is included, so you can follow those or just throw in the ingredients that most appeal to you.
Here’s one I made specially for me 🙂

Momma’s Icy Mocha

2 scoops chocolate ice cream
1/4 cup cold coffee
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 oz Kahlua

Mix at high speed in the HB DrinkMaster until smooth.
Pour into a large glass and top with Gay Lea Coconut Whipped Cream.

Honestly, I’m a little worried about my waistline now that this is on my counter. It is super easy and quick to whip up these frozen drinks, and Boo keeps asking for them too. I see a yummy summer ahead!

The HB DrinkMaster Classic Chrome is available at Home Outfitters, MSRP $67.99.

A Giveaway

Because we want you to stay cool this summer too, one lucky RMB reader will receive their own Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm EDT, July 13, 2016. Giveaway open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!


Disclosure: I received complimentary review product to test out with my family. No financial compensation has been received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.


Gardening with the Sales

Southern Ontario has been experiencing a particularly hot and dry spring and summer.  (And I don’t think we’re alone.) Because of this (or maybe because of how busy + lazy I’ve been) my garden is suffering. A friend did come by to water while we were away (much appreciated!), but it has been so crazy hot some things still just did not survive, particularly in my containers. Some annual seeds I planted this spring also never came.

So, I have a number of holes to fill in my garden. I decided today to hit a couple of garden centres to see what I could do.
And you know what? It’s the perfect time!!
We are in the middle of July, and traditional planting season is essentially over. But the growing season still has time, and there’s lots that can still go in the ground or your containers. Garden centres are gearing down and getting ready to close for the year, so they have some fabulous discounts happening!
If you have some spots you need to fill in your garden, or are looking for a new hanging plant or container arrangement, this is the perfect time to visit the garden centre at your local supermarket or big box store. Some are already closed, but those that are in clearance mode are a dream!
This is what I got this morning at our RCSS garden centre:
That’s 24 plants (including 2 six-packs of marigolds). It cost me $12.80.  For reals. Other than two specialty plants ($4 and $3), everything was either 50 cents or 25 cents. Wow!
Some plants may look a bit rough at this stage of the season, but check near the soil for new growth. If you see little leaves and shoots coming through, you have a healthy root system and the plant should bounce back once you introduce it to your garden. And heck, if you’re buying an herb for 25 cents and it dies? What have you really lost?
This parsley has healthy new shoots coming up from the roots, and I look to this rather than to the yellowing growth above.

This perennial may be looking lanky and broken, but it is spreading out everywhere with new growth!

At this stage of the summer, vegetable plants will probably be hard to come by. I had been hoping to replace my cucumbers that had died, but no luck. I did still find tomatoes, herbs, and some fruits and berries though.
The really insane deals will be found at the seasonal garden centres, but even the professional garden centres that operate year-round have good sales now. I found these really healthy and large strawberry plants at my local Sheridan Nurseries. They had all fruits and berries on sale 30% off.
$12 each for very well-produced strawberry plants.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and find those deals! Then come home and get your hands dirty 🙂