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Eco-friendly Baking with Silicone Cupcake Molds

Silicone Cupcake Molds

These funky reusable cupcake cups come in four fun colours. Best price is on

It is no secret that I love baking. My friends, family and neighbours all love the baked goods I share with them.  Some of my favourite things to bake are muffins and cupcakes. My husband is crazy about blueberries, so I like to spoil him with blueberry muffins on weekends when we have a cheat day.

The only problem is that I always forget when I run out of cupcake paper. Then I have to rush to the supermarket to pick some up before I can start baking. My husband came across silicone cupcake molds on Amazon and decided to include them with his last order. And I am so glad he did!

I already have quite a few things in my kitchen that are made of silicone and I just love the material.  My favourites are the silicone spatulas (Amazon link) – nothing is going to waste when I use them to scoop the muffin mixture into the molds.

When I received the silicone baking cups from Amazon, I gave them a good wash and left them to dry on the drying rack. Then I had a closer look at the instructions and it turns out that they are actually dishwasher safe (just fold them inside out and pop them in the top rack of the dishwasher), so that’s how I have been cleaning them since. The pack of 24 cupcake liners came in a nice storage container, so they are easy to stove away in a drawer or in a cupboard.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.5 x 2.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • 100% food grade
  • BPA-free
  • FDA-approved
  • Standard size Silicone Cupcake Cups. The liners are 2 3/4 inch diameter x 1.1/4 inch tall.
  • Heat Resistant to 446°F
  • Nonporous and stain proof silicone
  • 24-pack comes with a storage container
  • Oven, microwave and freezer safe
  • Lifetime Guarantee!

I love that I no longer need to use a muffin pan or even spray the silicone cups. Just preheat your oven to the temperature you need, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full, place them on a baking sheet and bake. The muffins and cupcakes bake evenly and are easy to pop out of the mold once they have cooled down.

Now I have muffin cups on hand at all times and no longer need to rush out to pick up paper. Since I now just place the silicone cups on a baking sheet I no longer have a need for the muffin pan, so I donated that to our local Salvation Army store. I sure don’t miss cleaning that pan for cupcake spills, that’s for sure. The best part is that I am no longer throwing cupcake paper away every time I bake muffins. And with the lifetime guarantee that the manufacturer offers I never have to buy paper cups ever again. Less stuff in the landfills makes me a happy girl!

The only problem I see with these cupcake liners is that you wouldn’t want to send someone home with a batch. If you do, then make sure to get your molds back! Or better, tell whoever you give the batch to, to give them back with freshly baked cupcakes.

Click here to check the price on the silicone cupcake molds on

Slow Cooking with the Wonderbag

Would you like to save time in the kitchen and save energy at the same time? The Wonderbag is a portable slow cooker that does not require any electricity or any other energy source. It is the perfect kitchen assistant that will finish cooking the meal for you.


Buy a Wonderbag and a Wonderbag will automatically be donated to a family in need.

How does the Wonderbag work?

With the use of heat retention the hot food you place inside the Wonderbag will continue to cook. It is a time saver for anyone with a busy schedule because you don’t have to watch a stew or chili for hours.

Thermal cooking

If you own a thermal cooking pot then you are familiar with this energy efficient way of cooking as it is the same principle behind it. My mom would always tell me about a haybox they used when she was growing up on the farm to keep the meals warm. This was especially used at Christmas when there were many dishes and many mouths to feed. I use the microwave a lot to keep food warm when I cook for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I hardly ever use the microwave other than to clean my kitchen sponge, so it does not get much use.


The Wonderbag was invented by Sarah Collins in South Africa. After a series of power outages, she was frustrated with eating half-cooked meals and wanted to come up with a solution. She remembered that her grandmother had taught her a cooking technique to save on power. She would remove the hot food from the stovetop and let it continue to cook inside a homemade polystyrene cover. Sarah Collins experimented a bit and finally developed the Wonderbag with her friend that is a seamstress.

Wonderbag design

The Wonderbag is made of an inner layer of insulation that consists of recycled polystyrene balls. The fabric on the outside is made of a mix of poly-cotton.

Wonderbag specs

Dimensions: 13.9 x 5.7 x 12 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Volume: Bottom is 14 inches across. 2-9 quarts pots with short handles fit inside the Wonderbag (pot not included).
Cookbook included with purchase
Country of origin: South Africa

Buy-one-give-one program

Just like Tom’s Shoes’ One-for-One program, every time a Wonderbag is bought, a Wonderbag is donated to a family in need in Africa. Fuel is scarce in Africa, so most meals are cooked using wood and charcoal. This results in poor health due to smoke inhalation. Poor families cut down trees to get wood for cooking which leads to deforestation in many parts of the world. A single Wonderbag saves 1.7 trees, 1,000 liters of water, 1,248 hours not spent collecting firewood for cooking each year.

Ideal for many situations

The portable non-electric insulated thermal cooker is ideal for BBQs, the holidays, potlucks, camping, or just busy lives where you don’t have time to cook. You can keep food warm or cold for hours without the need of any electricity, batteries or solar power. Just imagine coming back to the ski cabin after a couple of hours of skiing and serving dinner just by opening the Wonderbag? How cool is that?

How do I use the Wonderbag?

Cut the ingredients into smaller pieces to help speed up the cooking time. Heat up the ingredients in a 2-9 quarts pot with a short handle (metal and cast iron are the best). Put a lid on and bring the pot to a boil to allow the food to heat through. The general guidelines are to boil rice for five minutes and root vegetables and meat for 15 minutes on the stove top.

You shouldn’t put a pot that is hotter than 350 degrees F into the Wonderbag. To be on the safe side, place a silicone potholder (sold separately on at the bottom of the thermal bag to protect it. Close the bag tightly and place on top of a potholder or trivet.

Leave the pot in the Wonderbag for at least as long as you would let the dish simmer and no longer than 12 hours. You can’t overcook the dish because it is indirect heat. For best results keep the bag closed the entire time so you don’t let the heat out. The temperature should not drop below 135 degrees F for more than 2 hours before you eat or refrigerate the meal. If you are in doubt, just use a thermometer to check that the food is hotter than 135 degrees F.

How do you keep it clean?

The bag cleans easily with a wet cloth. To protect the inside from spills a lot of people place a tea towel in the base. If you have a big spill you can machine wash your bag on delicate setting and hang it to dry.


I do love our slow cooker, but what I think is even better with the Wonderbag is does not require electricity. Not only is is energy efficient but it also means that you do not have to have something plugged in the entire day. I never like to have the slow cooker on while I am out of the house, so the Wonderbag is ideal for people like me.

Click here to learn more about the Wonderbag slow cooking bag on

Freezing Hot Peppers for the Winter

My husband and I love spicy food and go through a fair amount of chili peppers each year. However, during the winter months it can sometimes be hard to find fresh chili peppers at our local vegetable market. So what do we do? We simply freeze hot peppers, so they are always on hand.



Freezing hot peppers is easy to do and is a great way to spice up your meals.

The past couple of years, I have experimented with freezing chili peppers to preserve them for winter use.  Neither the flavour or heat get compromised when you freeze them. In fact, some people find that they get even hotter with time. Below are my tips to how you can enjoy “fresh” chilis year round as well.

Be picky when picking hot peppers

The most important thing is to pick quality product (duh!). I only freeze chili peppers that are firm, have a bright colour and don’t have any blemishes on them. What I particularly look at is where the chili peppers meet the stem. If the stem has any mildew on it or if the skin of the chili pepper has started to dry out I will not freeze it.

How to freeze hot peppers

Here is the short version of my way of freezing chili peppers:

  • Wash chili peppers
  • Dry them completely
  • Freeze whole peppers on cookie tray
  • Transfer to labelled Ziploc bag

Here is the detailed version of how I freeze hot peppers:

I will then soak them in a vinegar wash for five minutes and give them a gentle scrub with a cloth. Then I rinse with water and pat them dry. I always put them out in a single layer on a tea towel or paper towel to dry out completely. This will take a few hours, but it is crucial that the hot peppers are bone dry before freezing them to prevent freezer burn. Some people remove the stem before freezing, I just leave it on.

Once the hot peppers are completely dry, I put them whole in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then I put the cookie sheet in the freezer until the chili peppers are frozen solid. This is a method my mother-in-law taught me to freeze blueberries and I like it so much that I now use it for all fruit and vegetables that I freeze.

Transfer the frozen chili peppers over to a Ziploc bag and press out the air. I always write on the bag what type of chili pepper it is as I always forget and there are so many chili varieties. I also note the date I freeze them and make sure to use them up within six months. You will be opening a closing the Ziploc bag many times over the winter, so do yourself a favour and use Ziploc bags with double zippers ( link). I used the bags with the single zipper the first year and it was frustrating trying to close the bag again when I was in the middle of dinner. So no more single zipper Ziploc bags for me.

Frozen hot peppers that are ready to use

I use the jalapeño and habanero peppers on a need be basis. There is no longer a need to stop by the Indian supermarket and pick up one or two – I have them on hand year round now. When I cook up some food and want to add some heat it is just a matter of opening the freezer and grabbing one or two hot peppers out of the bag. I also love chopping them up and sprinkle them as a garnish on top of Thai and Mexican dishes. My favourite at the moment is to sprinkle it on top of fresh jicama as a delicious appetizer when friends come over.

Chop chili peppers when they are frozen

My top tip is to chop or grate the hot pepper while they are still frozen. Once they start to thaw they get mushy and harder to handle. I recommend using a Microplane grater (Amazon link) when you need fine pieces of chili peppers. It does a perfect job when you grate frozen peppers.

If your hands are sensitive to chili peppers make sure to wear gloves when you handle them and always wash your hands after. I have accidentally rubbed my eyes after handling chili in the past. Not a fun experience, so I would definitely recommend wearing gloves or washing your hands when you have chopped hot peppers.

I hope these tips helped you to start freezing hot peppers. Let me know how it goes and if you have any tips to share.



Cooking Made Easy with Plated

Cooking up a delicious home-cooked meal every night can be a challenge. Everyone is busy with long days at work and commutes that feel longer and longer each day. Picking up some healthy ingredients for dinner on the way home is usually the last thing people want to do. Plated has now made it easier for you to make some delicious meals at home by shipping the ingredients right to your home.

So, how does it work?

Plated delivers fresh, ready-to-cook pre-portioned nutritious ingredients that are sent with gourmet recipes, so you can cook delicious dinners at home.

Plated has created a user-friendly website where you can place your orders every week. Ordering is very straightforward: The first step is to pick the meal you’d like to cook – there are many delicious meals to pick from, so stay focused during this step! The second step is to enter how many people you are cooking for. Make sure to give Plated any special delivery instructions such as if you prefer that they leave the delivery at the front door or with a neighbor. Bonus: Shipping is free with Plated.


The ingredients from Plated are delivered to your home in a 100% recyclable & biodegradable box. If your plans change and you decide not to cook the ingredients straight away then just pop the box in the fridge. The ingredients can stay fresh in your fridge for 4-5 days, so this gives you a lot of flexibility.

Where does Plated get their ingredients from?

Plated strives to source local and seasonal products. They support family-owned purveyors. They have partnered with responsible companies such as Sea to Table to ensure that the fish they use is always fresh and caught in the wild when possible.

I have done some research on Plated and I think they are a very socially responsible company. They support organizations such as Teach for America, they use environmentally friendly packaging and donate ingredients to food banks.

The only negative thing I came across and thought I should mention is that Plated requires a minimum order of 4 servings per order. If you are just ordering for yourself this could be a bit tricky. On the other hand shipping out a single serving is also very wasteful, so from an environmental point of view the minimum order definitely makes sense.

Plated currently offers an inexpensive annual membership and then you pay a fee per serving. If you prefer not to be a member and just try them out there is an option to do that, too (note the price is a little higher per serving if you do that).

Tip: Make sure to refer a friend when you sign up – this will give you two free servings.

Ready to save time by not having to go to the grocery store and not do desperate recipe online searches every week? Get more time with your family and cook up tasty meals in a relaxed manner. Discover your inner chef and spoil your friends and family with some healthy home cooked meals with Plated.

Plated is currently only available in the USA (not available in Colorado, Alaska, Montana and Hawaii). Hopefully, soon they will be able to expand, so more people can enjoy their service.



My Dog’s Spa Treat

Most dogs don’t care for a bath, so what can you do to make it a more enjoyable experience for your four-legged friend? Below are some tips to spoil your dog with a doggie spa treat and turn a gruelling dog bath into a fun day instead.


Kahuna is getting ready to get pampered with the eco-friendly products from Earthbath.

How often should you bathe your dog?

You shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month, as it dries out your dog’s skin. I try to only give Kahuna a bath every six weeks or so. Sometimes, Kahuna will roll in mud at the dog park or seaweed on the beach and then there is no choice – he gets a bath no matter how long time it has been since his last bath. If it hasn’t been long since his last bath and he isn’t smelly, I will just rinse him and not use the dog shampoo.

My dog, Kahuna is not too crazy about getting a bath. In fact, he will actually run and hide when he sees me bring the dog shampoo and conditioner out. When he was a little puppy, we could easily put him in the bathtub. But as he grew bigger and eventually ended up weighing over 100 lbs., it became more of a challenge to lift him into the bathtub. Besides, I would always start to giggle about the whole situation and that would just make the lifting part even harder. Also, Kahuna would shake the excess water off several times, which resulted in wet fur to clean off on the walls and ssower curtain afterwards. Not a fun thing to clean up at all…

Coin-operated dog wash

Washing a 100 lbs. dog in a bathtub eventually became too much of a hassle, so we started to look for other solutions. We tried using a coin-operated dog wash in our neighbourhood, but that didn’t work out too well. Kahuna was shaking the whole time and jumped off the high table – while still attached with his short leash to the table! He was not hurt, but it was a scary experience for all of us and we decided not to go back. After that we took him to groomers, but figured that that would end up being quite expense in the long run, so we kept on looking for a solution.

Backyard dog wash

We gave a local plumber a call and he installed a hot and cold exterior faucet (Amazon link) for us in our backyard. It didn’t cost much to install and was done in an afternoon. Bathing our dog has become so much easier now as we do not have to lift him into a bathtub or drive him to a dog wash. I would highly recommend installing a hot and cold faucet in your backyard if you, like us, have a larger dog that has outgrown your bathtub.

Make the dog wash a treat

I always start and finish Kahuna’s bath with something he really enjoys. In his case he loves getting his ears rubbed, so I start off with that before I turn the water on. I am lucky that he absolutely adores getting dried with a towel, so that is the perfect end to his bath. You always want to finish off on a high note – this applies to washing your dog as well. So if your dog enjoys a gentle massage or getting brushed, make sure to incorporate this into the dog spa day.

Be organized to make the dog spa a success

I always make sure to get everything ready before I turn the water on. This way everything is within reach and you don’t have to run away in the middle of the dog grooming. In my case, I will bring out Kahuna’s favourite towel (see photo above), Earthbath shampoo and Earthbath conditioner, his FURminator brush (Amazon links) and of course his favourite treats.

Two is better than one

The best thing is to have a helper, as this will really speed up the dog wash. Usually, my husband and I will take turns holding the hose and massaging the shampoo into the fur. Also remember that the tone of your voice affects your dog, so make sure to take your time, so it is not rushed. Your dog will sense if you are stressed and just want it over with, so relax and have fun with it – heck, if it is warm outside, “miss” your dog with the water and spray a little on your partner instead (only a little, otherwise they may not want to help out again).

There your have it, my tips to make your dog’s bath a little easier, so it doesn’t feel like a chore for you and a not-so-fun experience for your furry friend. How about you, what are your best tips to make dog grooming easier? Please share in the comment section below.


6 Juicing Tips To Save Time And Money


Juicing Tips #1: Get everything ready before you start the juicer.

My husband and I have now been juicing for about a month. It all started when we watched Joe Cross’ documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” on Netflix. The story about how Joe Cross was able to lose 82 lbs. and get off all his medication deeply touched us. We do not need to lose that much weight and are not sick and are definitely not nearly dead, but we are always open to ways of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diet.

So, after watching the documentary, we purchased Joe Cross’ book ‘Reboot with Joe’. We both really enjoyed reading Joe’s book. He writes in a very personal and entertaining way – very much the same style as in his documentary. Joe has included some great recipes in his book. So far, I have experimented with quite a few of his juice recipes and they have all been fantastic. I like to follow a recipe the first time I try it out and then the next time I make it, I will give it my own twist. I think his ‘mean green juice’ is my favourite juice from his book so far.

What I especially enjoyed about the book was reading other people’s stories and seeing all the before and after photos that people have shared. To me, there is nothing more inspiring than hearing real life stories and seeing proof of the results. Not only have people lost a lot of weight with juicing but in many cases they have also been able to reverse their medical conditions.

We have not done a full on juice cleanse yet, simply just added the healthy drinks to our diet. I think a juice detox it is a great idea to reset your system after a vacation or after Christmas where you have been eating a few more unhealthy things than normal. If you decide to go on a juice diet for a few days to either lose weight or for a reboot, make sure to consult your doctor before you get started. What we have done is replace snacks and the afternoon coffee with a juice. You’d think that adding juices to your diet just means you consume more, but I find that I eat less at meals when I have had a juice as a snack. Many mornings we have also had a juice instead of breakfast. I find that when you start the day off healthy there is a bigger chance that you will continue eating healthy throughout the day. And if I do end up eating something unhealthy at some point during the day, I don’t feel as guilty because I started my day off with a juice.


My 6 best juicing tips

So far I have really enjoyed making juices. My husband and I usually make our juices together and we already have a great system in place. Here are some tips to make the workload easier on yourself.

Wash all your fruit and vegetables as soon as you bring them home. Any nasty tips on carrots or celery stalks we trim off and put in the compost collector that we have on the counter top. We wash our fruit and vegetables in a salt and white vinegar solution, pat them dry and put them straight in the fridge. This way they are ready to go when you want to make a juice.

Plan ahead. Get out a knife and cutting board. Quickly get an idea of what you want to put in your juice keeping in mind that the best ratio for a healthy juice is 20% fruit and 80% vegetables. Before you even turn the juicer on get all the ingredients out on your cutting board. Cut any fruit or vegetable that is too large to go down the feeder into smaller pieces.

Mix the vegetables and fruit up. I find that if you put too much of the same fruit or vegetable through at a time that things sometimes clog up. This is especially the case with stringy vegetables such as chard and celery. To prevent that I just make sure to put different things through the juicer. I always try to finish off with a hard vegetable such as a carrot to clean the shoot.

Make a big batch. Let’s face it, cleaning the juicer does take a little bit of time, so you might as well put the machine to some serious work every time you use it. I like to make a double batch; enjoy half and put the other half in the fridge for later. As long as the juice is covered, it can last up to three days in the fridge without losing its healthy nutrients.

Fill up the sink with hot, soapy water. If you have a double sink, even better. Then you can rinse the juicer parts off in one sink before putting them in other sink with soapy water. You don’t want the juicer to sit in the carrot and beet juices for too long or the plastic will get stained. I usually rinse the juicer parts off and then let them soak in the sink while I enjoy the fresh juice.

Clean up spills and get rid of the pulp. One thing I do like to take care of straight away is to wipe up any juice spills on the counter top and get all the pulp into our composter in the backyard. If you don’t put it in a composter or compost bin straight away it can attract bugs, so don’t leave it on your counter top for too long. Depending on the type of counter top you have, juice can stain the surface, so make sure to wipe up any spills before you sit down and enjoy your drink.

Cleaning of the juicer

Cleaning our Slowstar juicer is pretty straightforward. It comes with a little brush that works great for cleaning the metal mesh. I also find that using a regular kitchen sponge is helpful. I use the green, rough part of the sponge on the metal and the yellow, soft part on the plastics to avoid scratching the plastic.

Cost of juicing

Juicing is not cheap… but it is your and your family’s health we are talking about here and you can’t put a prize on that. First, you need to invest in a juicer machine and then there is an additional cost of buying all the ingredients (if you haven’t juiced before you’ll be amazed at how much produce it takes to make a single glass of juice). The way I look at it is that either I spend the money now on fruit and veggies or on medication later on in life. I feel a lot better than before and don’t feel tired and foggy in the late afternoon anymore. I have lost five pounds since we started juicing and as a bonus I have also noticed that my skin looks a lot healthier. So the extra cost is

My grocery bill is somewhat higher than before, however, this is my health I am investing in, so I don’t mind spending a bit more on healthy veggies. I grow a lot of vegetables in the backyard, so I have been able to substitute a lot of the purchased produce with spinach, chard and other leafy greens from the backyard.

Shopping for produce

Another thing I have started to do is buy produce in bulk at Costco. The quality is great and you might as well buy big bags of produce because you will go through it very fast. I have also started to make a habit of looking at the discounted items at our local vegetable market. I now buy pineapples and apples at less than half price this way, so I’d highly recommend checking out the discounted produce next time you are shopping.

So there you have it… I hope you got something out of my juicing tips and tricks to how to make the most out of your juicer. Do tell about your own experience with juicing and share any tips in the comment section below.



Cool Down Your House With Blackout Curtains

thermal curtain

It is easy to lower your energy bill with blackout curtains – and at the same time add some classy colours to your home.

During the summer months the air conditioning is working on overtime and for most people their energy bills reflect that. Keeping a house cool in the summer is no easy task – not even here in Canada!

You can spend a lot of money trying to make your house more energy-efficient. We have improved the attic insulation, installed a heat pump and replaced the old windows in our house. It really has helped keep our energy bills down, but I am always looking for ways to make our house more energy efficient. Today, I will be sharing an inexpensive tip with you to make your house more comfortable in the summer just by installing blackout curtains.

Give your air conditioning a break

The thermal curtains we use work great to keep the temperatures in the house down. We have installed them on all our south facing windows and it has made a huge difference in cooling our house down. On hot summer days our air conditioning is not working nearly as hard because the blackout curtains are blocking out the sun. It has made our house a lot more comfortable in the summer and it means that I am not dreading receiving the energy bill anymore.

Energy savings year round

When I first heard about insulated curtains I only thought they would make a difference in the winter. The type of curtain that we have bought have a built-in white liner on the back. It made sense to me that this thick curtain would help keep the house warmer in the winter, but it didn’t at first occur to me that they would also help keep the house at cooler temperatures in the summer. If you draw the curtains in the morning before you leave for work, they will make block out the sun’s rays and keep your house a few degrees cooler while you are out.

Easy to install

The installation of the panels was easy. It was just a matter of putting the curtain rod through the grommets at the top. I washed the curtains before hanging them up to make sure they didn’t shrink later on. There was no shrinkage and I just hung them up wet, and let them dry on the curtain rod. I also found that hanging the curtains to dry prevented any wrinkling.

Curtains look white from the outside

The white liner on the back means that from the outside your curtains will appear white. Many condo boards only allow white curtains for the appearance of the building. These curtains are great in a situation like that as you can buy insulated panels in any colour you like and from the outside they will look white, so everybody is happy. If you love the curtains you currently have, you can simply buy double curtain rod and a separate white insulating liner ( links).

Keep your pet happy

Thermal curtains are a great solution if you have pets that are alone in the house during the day. Our air conditioning hardly kicks in because we block out the sun on the south side of our house. Our dog is comfortable in the house while we are out. He can easily push the curtain by the French doors aside, so he can look out and see what’s going on on our street. When he steps back the curtain falls back into place.

Protects your hardwood floors

Installing blackout curtains on south facing windows will also help protect your hardwood flooring. In our old house the flooring right by the south facing window was a lot lighter compared to the rest of the house. The sun had simply bleached the flooring and it was especially noticeable if you started moving furniture or area rugs around. There would be big light squares on the floor from where the rug or furniture had been. Over time the sun will lighten the colour of your hardwood floors, so blocking out the sun with insulated window treatments will help prevent that. We do not have any light spots on our bamboo flooring and that is because of the panels we have that block out the UV.

Blackout curtains for your bedroom

Our bedroom faces south, so it gets pretty warm in the daytime. We picked dark window treatments for our bedroom, so they would help keep the room dark in the morning. My husband has shift work and sometimes he needs to sleep in the middle of the day to be well-rested for an evening shift. Blackout curtains in a dark colour really do the trick. He is able to sleep in the afternoon and enjoys that the bedroom is cool and dark. A tiny bit of light does come through at the very top of the curtain, but I think that is what to be expected.

We shopped around for a while and finally ended up buying our blackout curtains at I found that they had the best selection of colours and the best price online. You can click the link below to check out the thermal curtains on Amazon.

Click here to start shopping for blackout curtains on