Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chickpea Burgers {Gluten free & Vegetarian)

Let's face it. When you are pursuing a plant based lifestyle, a quick go to meal can sometimes end up being a boring salad. (Cue the music for "You don't win friends with salad"...)

But who wants that?! Not us.

That's why we tried our hand at perfecting a vegetarian burger that is jam packed full of plant based products AND flavor.

Toss the salad people.

#literally


These earthy tasting chickpea based veggie burgers were so easy to make and were so delicious that I wish I had of made a double batch! Not a problem at all seeing as these burgers were literally whipped up in five minutes and then cooked in ten! Dinner in 15 minutes????

Yes please!

Simply pull out your blender and get to it.


 First you'll need to drain and blend one can of chickpeas.


Then add one cup of parsley, a dash of lemon, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder and 1/8th of a cup of GF flour (use regular flour if you don't have allergies) and one egg (substitute the egg if you have allergies and simply add more flour for sticking power) finish it off with a squeeze of fresh lemon, and salt to taste.


Pulse slowly. Stop. Mix well. Pulse again. Stop. Mix well. Repeat until coarsely mixed.


 Heat up a frying pan with a touch of EVOO in the bottom of your pan and wait for it to heat and slightly bubble.


Place scoops of your chickpea burger mixture down on to your hot pan and flatten.


Cook on both sides of your burger until lightly browned.


 Remove your cooked burger and serve on top of bread, bun or wrap of your choosing. We paired ours with gluten free bread and served it open faced with all the trimmings.

A little extra lemon squeezed on top, a touch of taziki, sliced red onions, fresh tomato and cucumber are also recommended as delicious toppings for your burger alternative.

This chickpea burger would also make a great addition on top of a boring salad.;) Skip the bun and enjoy this deliciousness with no distractions!


We served this to our kids and they approved before they even tried it, raving that the house smelt like a restaurant!

Mom win!


They've already asked me to make this again and I think I'm going to have to oblige them very soon because it is too easy not to! In the end this recipe turned out to be good enough for me to pin and even put into the ole' keepsake recipe box. :D


As always, let us know if you try one of our recipes, we would love to hear what you and your family thought of it! (Email us at thislittleestate@hotmail.com to share your pictures and thoughts!)

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How To Become A Handy Hubby {A tale from someone who has been there}


This post is written and authored by Art Gier otherwise known as "Handy Hubby'.

If you want to learn more about the author, you can scroll to the bottom of this post to see how his wife would describe him. When asked for a short personal description from Art himself, he mentioned something about being bald and sexy but other than that was not able to be reached directly for a response. So, as with keeping with our family friendly material, we had to speak on Mr Gier's behalf.

If you still wish to learn more about today's author, you can follow along with Art's behind the scenes, unedited view of This Little Estate by following him on Instagram HERE.



When people see our renovation work, the most common question I get asked is where I learned how to do renovate and when do I find the time.

The truth is time flies, and there is never enough of it, BUT I can answer to HOW I learned to renovate.

Most of my knowledge and skills come from a variety of places, but are completely attainable for others who are interested in pursuing DIY on the daily.

For one, I make it a point to connect with people in the trades. Having a father who was a contractor was great; but mustering the nerve to ask for advice, and actually tackling a project with hands on experience, is where I really learned the most. Taking on different projects also helped to build the things I'm confident in tackling.
The absolute truth is that I also have a wife that is always looking at ways to remodel/renew spaces which has given me the constant opportunity to do and learn things.

I began the DIY lifestyle by just hanging simple shelves and have graduated into gutting the last two of our homes and rebuilding them.

However with our very first home, we built a brand new house. We had this crazy idea that we were getting everything that we wanted with a new build because there would be little we would have to do. We dreamed of never lifting a finger when it came to projects. Being newly married with a child on the way, we did not want many projects.  Any really! We knew that eventually we would have to finish the bare boned basement and build a fence and deck but there would be no immediate rush.  Or so we thought.

However our house needed character and I got the urge to try my hand at DIY only a month after moving into our new home. I decided to start our first real home project while my wife was in the hospital after delivering our first born. I had this “great” idea to surprise her with a newly painted living room complete with crown moulding.

Really though, I had never installed crown moulding before, but I still really wanted to make our new home feel more cozy for us. So I left her in the hospital with our newborn and went out to add another new member to our family: my first miter saw. Along with a few other tools, my father’s compressor and a brad nail gun my DIY journey began.

Over time my absolute favorite part about DIY/Reno’s are the tools! I remember buying that miter saw and thinking it was the coolest thing in the world. After buying it, I walked out of the hardware store thinking to myself that nothing could stop me with that thing. I got home though and realized that I didn't even have a utility knife at this point to open the packaging of my new saw. So instead I used a butter knife out of the kitchen drawer to unwrap that 10” miter saw.

(I will get into tools needed for DIY at another time)

 It was all so exciting really, until I set the whole thing up and realized that I knew nothing about sawing or measuring the trim. Ironically, I imagined my wife in the hospital with our new baby feeling the same kind of overwhelmed feeling....I worried for a minute, but knew she could handle it. The thought of her and my brand new son made me want to hurry up and surprise them both with my first DIY attempt.

 At first the project seemed to be impossible, but once I got around to trying things out, and messing up countless cuts, I realized that the majority of it was easy after a lot of practice. With every project after the first one, I realized that everything I was unsure about required trial and error. When trial and error failed, I would get advice from the people I already knew, the ones who had tackled a similar dilemma.

Ten years ago there wasn’t much info on the internet, but I gathered as much as I could from there too. Another great source of information for me, came from when I would run into people in hardware store aisles. (Kids, dont try this at home.)

Now I find myself in the same aisles where I had once learned tool and project advice, answering other’s questions. I am more than eager to give any advice or knowledge to help people in the same way others had offered advice to me.

  So today, with ten years of renovations behind me, my biggest piece of advice is to ask questions and to constantly stay curious. Once you have the knowledge it just takes a bit confidence to try your hand at the task. Don’t be afraid of messing up and starting again as it is part of the learning process!

As of today we are working on renovating our third home and at this point I am very comfortable doing any type of trim work and can confidently do it much faster than the day I started with that crown moulding all that time ago.

In the end, my first attempt did not go as amazing as I had planned. My wife came home with our new child to the smell of wet paint and some partially finished crown moulding. There may or may not have been a ton of dry wall dust all over the floors she had sparkled while cleaning like a lunatic “nesting”.

During that first project, I probably purchased twice the amount of material that was needed because of mistakes I ended up making, but I am glad I kept with it. Because as much as I will not admit to my wife that I like doing all these reno’s with her, I actually do!

Warning: Relationship/Life tip up ahead!

 Finishing a project with your partner is very fulfilling and for that brief zen-like moment there is complete joy, while you forget about all the moments you gave each other the “death” stare and said all the mean words.

Lately we have been including our children in the reno process even more than ever. They have grown up around tools and because of that they aren’t afraid to try and to mess up and try again. We could all learn a lot from kids I guess.

Now the kids fight over who gets to nail a piece of shiplap to the wall or which one gets to help paint. If kids can see the joys of building something and get the satisfaction of being able to say “I did that!”

Our 7 year old daughter periodically reminds me, with the biggest smile on her face, that she nailed down the hardwood on our main floor and our oldest son will gladly brag about the shiplap he helped install in my wife’s salon. Getting the kids involved not only gets them excited about doing “adult” stuff but it also provides great bonding time while we get some work done. Also it completely helps to keep them occupied when finding someone to watch the kids is unavailable.

Lastly, I would suggest (and wish I had done this in the beginning!) is to take pictures of your progress as you move along in your DIY/Reno work. These pictures do not have to be for social media use but will benefit you for many reasons. They will be a nice reminder to you about how far you are coming along and these pictures can also serve as a tool if you do something the same or similar the next time as they can remind you what you did wrong and how you could improve your methods.  Taking these pictures will also help you when you go to the hardware store to pick up any needed material. With a quick glance you may be remind you of anything else you may have forgotten to pick up. It would take a genius to calculate the amount of time I have spent traveling back and forth to the hardware store just because I forgot something. Let’s not even try to add up the wasted gas. A picture may also help you describe to someone what you are dealing with if you have any questions about your project.  Because as knowledgeable as most people are, they do not understand what a “round, pointy thingamajig thing” is and saying that out loud at the hardware store is not what you want to be doing.

 So what are you waiting for? You may not have all the physical tools to reno a whole house, but if you start small and build up your confidence and collection, you’ll be making over spaces in no time. Just don’t attempt a whole room overhaul as a gift for your newly postpartum wife and new child. Renos and projects don’t like timelines and more than that, new mothers and sleeping babies like peace and quiet and finished spaces, instead of the lovely hum of the miter saw.

About the author:

Art Gier is a die hard DIYer. When he isn't gutting and rebuilding houses with his wife and three tornado children, you can find him hosting annual football pools and hockey pools and making excuses for why he needed to DIY a Kegerator for his friends. He isn't afraid of heckling your favorite sport team any day of the week but is also known to be the eternal nice guy who would do anything for anyone. His favorite day is being left alone in the tool aisle at the hardware store but also levels out his testosterone loving hobbies by collecting comic books and secretly watching the Bachelor when his wife does. He has embraced his quiet project laden life on the outskirts of town but has an eternal love for house music because of his glory days when he was a professional dancer. Anyone remember Electric Circus? Yep, this guy is one with many talents but is also as humble as the home made apple pie his wife and kids teat him to when they really want to show him how much they appreciate his awesomeness.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Little Estate: Chapter 17: DIY Kitchen Renovation {Phase 1 + demo}

When the staff at allllll the hardware stores know you by name, you have officially reached Cheers status/profession DIY status.

 

When your kids can successfully complete their gymnastics routine on the shopping carts, you have also officially reached an ER threat.


But that's what happens when you purchase a 1950s home that needs a lot of updating. 

Truth be told, last spring, we took one quick 10 minute tour of our new house before rushing to put an offer in.

It was everything that we wanted!!!

But, it wasn't accepted. At all.

Twice.

FIVE weeks passed before the other offers fell through and ours was finally accepted.  (Background info: the family had built this house and lived in it since 1954. They seemingly wanted to sell it to someone known to them, regardless of if we handed them our bank account on a silver platter.)

Five weeks is a long time to wait in limbo. Which meant that at that point, we could hardly remember the house that we had seen so much potential in.

So, we did what all respectful future home buyers do...

...we stalked it.


These pictures were taken as I peered in the windows one early summer day. 

#likeaninja

I quickly wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.

The house had good bones, BUT it needed a complete and thorough major overhaul.

There was a lot that needed done, but as a wanna-be-chef starring on every Food Network station, the kitchen was my top priority. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.


(Above photo is proof that I'm an awesome stalker. Don't mind the screen. Also, don't worry, I'm too busy with home renos to stalk anything other than your Pinterest boards.)

The kitchen had a small L shaped island that housed a leaking dishwasher off to one side of the kitchen which was directly in front of a long slew of cabinets. I dreamed of pulling it out immediately. 


The rest of the kitchen however had solid wood cabinets that I was in love with.

Also the kitchen had great natural lighting which made my self-diagnosed-seasonal-effective-disorder-heart-pitter-patter.


The corner of the kitchen housed a built in banquet that took up too much valuable space in the heart of the home. Really though, as outdated as it was in the moment, I tried really hard to think of a way to update it. I played around with it becoming a really comfy corner for meal times. In the end it was actually a hard decision to get rid of.

As hard as I tried to picture cute ways to update it, we knew we could utilize a bigger island as a place to sit and eat as well which would totally help with the flow of the kitchen.


So as soon as we got possession at the end of last summer we got right to it. When we were done our day jobs we tore this space apart, little by little with our own bare hands.

We charged on all summer with unrealistic optimism, unwavering enthusiasm and major dreams.


For like five minutes.

We had gutted our last kitchen, but this was just plain overwhelming!

We were also focusing on every other square inch of this home and caring for our three babies while working full time jobs.  To say this was a walk in the park would be a big fat ole lie.

The reality was it was a big ole fat mess!

In fact, if we are being totally upfront and honest with you guys, we JUST put the finishing touches on this kitchen this past weekend.

Yep. You read that right. That means this space took us 60 weeks to finish.

At times during this DIY kitchen renovation we wanted to strangle each other and throw cabinet doors around. But as my girl Beyoncé says "I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up." and give up we did not.

We want to share with you the stages of our kitchen development, what we learned, what we would do differently and how it ended up coming together!

If you ever decide to tackle a kitchen reno with your significant other, I really hope you do! You will learn how to compromise, how to bite your tongue, how to offer support to each other, how to lower your expectations, how to cook 6 complete meals in a rice cooker, how to wash dishes in the bathtub for 3 months, how to grow your creativity and DIY skills and how to get the most out of your hard earned money.

We cant wait to share all the dirty deets with you guys.

Around here honesty is the best policy and I really wish design shows shared more of the actual timeline for renovations. It would have saved a lot of arguments that an exhausted HGTV-binge-watchin'-wifey started like this,
"Well, Bryan and Scott and the Property Brothers can finish a space in 25 minutes!! We wont be done for 20 years!!!!"

Yeah. Cause that doesn't help anyone....

...and I don't like sleeping on the couch...

AND my Mama tells me comparison is the thief of joy and I want to hoard joy the same way I will hoard the money tree I one day know I will find.

Kidding. I'll totally share with you guys who are still reading this and not just checking out the photos and pointing and laughing at our messes.

You guys are awesome and we love you, and I cannot wait to show you what we have done with this space we poured our love sweat and tears into.

For now though, here is some pretty to cleanse your eyes from the messes you have witnesses. Here is the view from the kitchen...

THEN


IN PROGRESS


 AND NOW 



It has been a busssssssyyyyyyyyy year. The craziest and most stressful year of my life to date. (Which is saying a lot cause I went through this super awkward pre teen time that horror stories are made out of.)

BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTT...
If you're in the progress stage of your life, whatever that may be....

Hard work pays off.

Always.

:)


Monday, August 22, 2016

KOMBUCHA WORKSHOP & TUTORIAL {This Little Estate Workshop}



For as long as I can remember I have been health conscious. It started for me when I grew my own garden full of green beans in the corner of our family yard when I was seven years old. Most recently it has meant making some major nutritional changes for my tricky digestion system.

(I've been sharing all the plant based recipes and the harvest we have been gleaning from our current back yard here at This Little Estate. To see all the bright and healthy goodness feel free to follow along on Instagram at @bethanythislittlelifestyle)

I've always been scouring ways to improve my health and earlier this year discovered the health benefits of Kombucha and haven't looked back.

Not sure what kombucha is?

I wasn't too, but I have done a bit of research and have discovered that kombucha is pretty much amazing!

Here's why: Kombucha is a tea based fermented beverage that is consumed for its multitude of health benefits. It is made by fermenting tea and sugar with the kombucha culture. Over time, and when the drink is ready to be consumed, it will take on natural carbonation. The end result will be that it's taste resembles something like a champagne or a sparkling cider.

This ancient recipe was found being ingested in China centuries ago and is known as the "Immortal health Elixir" in ancient China.. Why you ask? Because the health benefits of kombucha are vast!!

It is believed to boost the immune system, because of it's antioxidants, and is claimed to even revers the signs of aging since it blocks the action of free radicals ie; activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells. The tea detoxifies the body and enhances the immune system and if continued to be ingested, over time acts as a deterrent to disease as it fights off toxins and free radicals that may try to reenter the body.

Other than helping to detoxify the body, other health benefits include:

"reducing arthtitis pain, lowering colesterol , restoring bowel movements, relief from gastric ulcers and various digestive troubles. Antioxidant-rich kombucha possess anti-microbial properties and assists in curing various medical conditions such as cancer and diabetes and contributes productively in maintaining cellular health and strong immune defense of the body." SOURCE

Wondering where to find this miracle drink? Look no further than your local grocery store! Kombucha is sold at health stores country wide and is gaining continued popularity as gut issues continue to rise and well meaning citizens and health enthusiast scour for answers and help.

However, a 500ml bottle will have you handing out upwards of $6! A great deal considering the lengthy process to make the drink and the many health benefits you'll be consuming but not so much if you want to introduce kombucha into your daily living routine.

I have always loved science and have kept an eager mind when it comes to making things. I live that out when we DIY our house and when I'm mixing things up in the salon and now this whole kombucha thing has me so intrigued! I want to know HOW it's made, how can it be so good for my family and HOW can I make it at home and save some major moula!?

 You too?

If something that has been around for centuries and is still getting rave reviews than I am all for it!!

My mother is much like me and loves nutrition and learning about new possibilities to enhance healthy living. A few years ago she became intrigued with the idea of brewing kombucha after researching how amazing and easy it was. (I have had the awesome opportunity to try out most of the batches she has made and my wine loving palette is impressed!)

Health benefits AND yummy? Yes please!

I too really want to see just how those magic carbonated bubbles develop! So, I have enlisted the brewing master and workshop hosting extraordinaire Mama of mine, Judy Grieve to host a handful of wannabe brew masters in her home for an inside look at how to make kombucha the old fashioned way!



If you're local, health conscious, and interested in pursuing the health benefits kombucha has to offer then this class will be for YOU.

We will be hosting a kombucha brewing information session and tutorial on Saturday, August 27th 2016 from 7:30 - 8:30pm in Guelph, Ontario.

In order to cover the cost of the products used in the fermenting process and the easy travel container to start your own brewing, the class will cost $20. You can expect a first hand tutorial in the comfort of a farmhouse kitchen, with a group of like minded health pursuing individuals and take home instructions to make brewing fool proof!

Spots are very limited for our first ever This Little Estate Workshop, so if you are interested in attending you can reserve your spot through emailing me at thislittleestate@hotmail.ca 


If kombucha isn't for you, stay tuned!

This Little Estate Workshops are going to be offered seasonally beginning in the fall of 2016!! We have got a lot of creative things happening here to share with you! I'm so excited I can barely keep from telling you now.

Check back often for the full reveal coming soon.



Friday, August 19, 2016

Authentic Tomato Sauce {Gluten free/Vegan/and so easy the kids can make it!}

The weekend is here! Hip hip hooray!

Time for soaking up these fleeting days of summer, playing outdoors all day long and going on adventures.

On the weekends we always seem to fit in one leisurely meal. Typically that is devoured on Saturday nights for us since we are some of the unlucky few to work on Saturdays. ;)

However, over time, I have figured out that meal prep is key to enjoying summer weekends effectively. No one wants to waste precious sunshine filled hours stuck indoors making a meal, but on the other hand it is really nice to gather around the table together on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon with a hot plate of something delicious in front of us.


So, we have learned to waste no time and gain all the good summer garden fresh flavours by whipping up this authentic sauce! It is so easy to prepare that my 9 year old son actually made this from start to finish. He is coming pre trained and I couldn't be happier with all the meals he has learned to cook this summer.

(More at @bethanythislittlelifestyle Follow along for recipe ideas and allergy free foods!)

 Here's how you can enjoy summer's bounty in ten minutes total with this authentic tomato sauce.


First, gather your ingredients:

3 cups of garden fresh tomatoes
2 white medium sized onions
5 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of garden fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp of coarse salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp of brown sugar
1/2 cup of distilled water
2 tsp of EVOO
1/2 tsp of chili flakes (optional!)

 Second, wash and chop all ingredients roughly (no skill required!!) and toss into your slow cooker. Turn it on to high for three hours and go outside and have some summer fun.

After your onions are translucent and the tomato's skin is malleable, take a hand blender and gently blend together. (TIP: DO this when your sauce is cooled or with proper care! Your sauce will be hot. Keep hand blender submerged into your liquid when in use to keep splashing to a minimum. If your 9 year old is helping, parental discretion is advised!)

Lastly, cook your pasta, drain, add to your sauce, toss and enjoy!!


We used gluten free pasta to make this meal entirely vegan and gluten free. This dish is the perfect side to a summer salad. The best part of all is you'll get to enjoy more precious time outdoors in the summer sun and less time slaving over a hot stove. Just don't tell people that. :)

Wishing you and yours a happy weekend! Hope its as easy and breezy as this meal!

Happy cooking!



 
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