clean. lemons.

Just read these great tips for cleaning with lemons from and thought I'd share. I might have to 'borrow' some lemons from our neighbour's lemon tree to get through all of them. The one I think is most helpful is sanitizing your cutting board - Nate would tell you I'm a freak about keeping the meat board and veg boards clearly marked. Doing this cleaning tip will probably keep my germaphobia at bay...for a bit anyway. Have any organic cleaning tips? Leave a comment or tweet it to me, @JenEvison.

Why clean with lemons? Its high acid content, which enables the fruit to work as a powerful antibacterial sanitizer that combats common household bacteria, says Julie Edelman, author of The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time.

Freshen Up the Stinky Garbage Disposal
“Lemon rinds ground in the disposal will deodorize your sink’s drain 1-2-3,” says Edelman. “And bonus, unlike vinegar, which leaves no scent, lemons provide a clean, crisp aroma.” Just slice a lemon into chubby quarters, slip them into the sink’s disposal, turn on the hot water and flip the power switch. Run the disposal until you hear the “gurgle-gurgle-grind-grind” sound—when that noise stops, it means the lemon is chopped and swallowed up. Turn off the disposal.

Put a Shine on Metal
When it comes to copper, brass and chrome, nix harsh chemical polishes and instead put some elbow grease behind half a lemon. “Lemons are highly acidic, which enables them to cut through and loosen mineral deposits, making them easier to wipe away,” says Edelman. For extra oomph, before scrubbing, dip the fruit half in salt—it will help exfoliate the surface for added shine.

Sanitize the MicrowaveThe lingering smell of popcorn, pizza and whatever you might have heated up recently can overwhelm a microwave. Edelman’s advice is to cut a whole lemon into super-thin slices and put the pieces in a microwavable bowl. Fill the bowl with hot water, place in the microwave and cook on high for one minute. The citric acid’s antibacterial properties will kill bacteria while the heat works like a humidifier to loosen icky, caked-on food. Afterward, wipe the oven with a damp cloth.

Nix Soap Scum in the Shower
Instead of tending to the shower tiles, doors and fixtures with an abrasive chemical treatment, use this homemade natural remedy: Juice six lemons and pour the contents into a spray bottle. “The citric acid will break down hard water deposits and dissolve filmy soap scum,” says Edelman. “Also, the antibacterial and antiseptic properties will sanitize the space.”

Hand-Wash DishesWhen you run out of dish soap, slice a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on top, working the lemon half like you would a Brillo pad. Watch as the citric acid cuts, loosens and then dissolves grease, giving your pots and pans a shiny glow. Oh, and your dishpan hands will smell sweet!

Deodorize the LaundryIt doesn’t take much to combat the odors of work, the gym and the everyday grind. Adding just one teaspoon of lemon juice to the laundry along with detergent will provide a fresh, clean scent to socks, undergarments and other clothing.

Wash the Windows
Four tablespoons of lemon juice (either fresh or out of the bottle) mixed with a half-gallon of water makes an effective window cleaner—sans chemicals and streaking. The powerful citric acid dissolves dirt, grime and water stains, leaving your windows sparkling.

Sanitize a Cutting Board
Spruce up that kitchen workhorse—the cutting board—by squeezing a lemon half over the top and letting the juice absorb for 10 minutes. (It soaks into wood especially well, but this also works on plastic cutting boards.) This will loosen stains. Next, kill bacteria by using the fruit to scrub the board.

Clean Hard-to-Reach Places
Make a paste of lemon juice and borax. With a toothbrush, use the fresh-smelling cleanser to scrub tiles and around drains. This mixture is also ideal for all those evil nooks and crannies!

food. dessert bar.

Update: House Bakery let us know they are doing a new Dessert Bar...something we hope they continue. After a mini-date night out, we had to end it with dessert so why not try House Bakery.

The menu was small but to the point. If you had a craving for chocolate - you got chocolate, pie - you got pie, you get the idea. The Bakery did a great job of turning the mood from a great coffee joint to a romantic setting for some sweet treats.

So full. Can barely do this entry...that uncomfortable full feeling you get when you can't stop eating something delicious is all totally worth it.

Details to come tomorrow.


hot double chocolate chip brownie

Nate had the custard apple crumble, not sure where the photo went though.

duke. happy birthday.

Duke turned 8 this weekend...yep, I keep track of his birthday. His birthday treats included a plethora of dog treats, extra dog food (which he always gets very excited about...even though he's had the same food for about 2 years), and scrambled eggs. Happy birthday, Duke - when I got you as a Christmas gift 8 years ago, who would have thought of all the adventures ahead of us!

breakfast of champs.

food. roasted chicken thighs with tomatoes, olives, and feta.

Thank you, Martha Stewart! This recipe could easily turn into a go-to weeknight meal. Simple ingredients,
simple directions. I made a few tweaks, you can do the same if you want to add more flavours to the dish.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta | Martha Stewart
4 chicken thighs fillets (skin on or off)
1 chicken breast, butterfly
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup pitted Spanish olives
2 medium shallots, sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chicken, oil, tomatoes, olives, shallots, and thyme in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread chicken mixture, skin side up, in a single layer. Roast until a thermometer inserted into thickest parts of the thighs reaches 165 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a dish and cover with Saran wrap and foil.

Prepare couscous.

Return vegetables to oven and roast until golden brown in places, about 10 minutes more. Transfer vegetables and accumulated juices to a bowl. Fold in couscous, mint, and feta.  Move mixture to platter, add chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional feta and mint.

Jen's Notes:
I didn't use chicken breast the first time around but it's something I'd like to try next time I make the dish. Even without the chicken, the couscous and vegetables could be a great side dish.

Click here for the original recipe.

food. fish tacos and spicy slaw.

My original thought - easy, 15 minute dinner. While that wasn't true (Nate, thanks for cooking dinner!!), it was delicious. No need for tortillas, the fish and slaw are enough for a great dinner.

Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw | Serves 4
2 tbl olive oil, plus more for grill
1 pound skinless firm, white fish fillets, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 small bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated, roughly chopped
3 jalapenos | I sub'd mild red chilies as jalapenos, sliced thinlu
salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 Napa cabbage leaves, shredded
1 small red onion, finely chopped
lime juice, plus wedges for serving
8 corn tortillas, toasted | We don't think you'll need these
sliced avocado, for serving

Smoky Seasoning Salt - There's a lot of this. You can save it for use with another dish.
Combine 1/4 cup coarse sea salt, 2 tablespoons grated lime zest, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Combine fish, cilantro stems, and jalapenos. Coat with oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Grill fish and jalapenos until fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, cabbage, and onion. Season to taste with smoky seasoning salt and lime juice. You can add additional jalapenos.
4. Divide slaw on the plates, top with fish, cilantro leaves, more smoky seasoning salt, lime wedges, and avocado.

Click here for the original recipe from

food. the loose caboose.

How can you say no to a breakfast spot called 'The Loose Caboose'? Breakfast has been we just take in the fun atmosphere and smells of delicious coffee. Review and more photos to come.

Chai Lattes to start.

My dish: Caboose Board - Poached free range eggs, bacon, heirloom tomato, avocado, mushrooms, Meredith feta & toasted sourdough 
I'm not sure what my response was suppose to be to the server who said 'This is usually a bloke's dish'...needless to say, I finished most of it. Hey - I was hungry.

Nate's dish: Huevos Rancheros - Fried free range egg, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado & toasted tortillas 

While you're waiting for a table, feel free to grab some Sparkling or Still water from a tap!

Everything was delicious! Nate and I quickly agreed that we would visit again and bring would certainly be bringing anyone we know that appreciates breakfast and has an appetite.

Check out their website and menu

house. dryer sheets.

Great tip from Real Simple (one of my favourite magazines!):

Dryer Sheet As Shower Door Cleaner
After you towel off, rub a new or used dryer sheet over the inside of the wet shower door to prevent soap-scum buildup.