The Importance of “ME” Time

February 28, 2012 in Life

Life is hectic. Temper tantrums, overdue reports, and rush hour traffic … oh, rush hour traffic, how we loathe you. Okay, so the whole “life is hectic” line is a bit of an understatement – life is mind-boggling mad. That is why you have to take some time out at the end of the day to unwind and relax, to spend some time with “ME.” The Upper Canada Soap staff is composed of amazing multi-tasking women who have crazy schedules, but they all have hobbies or tasks that they do to relax. Therefore,  we wanted to show you how the Marketing Ladies at Upper Canada Soap unwind and ultimately, stay sane. 1. Exercise Have you seen What Women Want? You know the line where Helen Hunt describes running as just you and the pavement? Well, it’s true. Running is something that our Marketing Director, Chantelle, uses to clear her mind. She also uses it to prepare for the day, because she does it in the morning. Editor’s Note: How she wakes up at 5:45AM everyday and straps on the runners is beyond us. Exercise is essential to a healthy life style and is a great de-stresor. 2. TV and Movies Our Brand Manager, Adriana, loves to unwind in front of the TV. She makes her husband watch General Hospital with her every night and he hates it – but we think it’s adorable! Our Graphic Designer, Jenny, is  more of a movie gal and spends her time watching rom-coms .
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[Recipe] Fresh Pear and Fig Mixed Green Salad

February 28, 2012 in Life

fig pear salad

In celebration of our new KITCHEN by Upper Canada Soap collection, we’ve decided to provide you with a delicious and fresh recipe that encompasses the ingredients in our Poached Fig and Pear line.  Like Sonny and Cher, Miss. Piggy and Kermit the Frog, there is no better “pear” than Fig and Pear. Therefore, here is our favourite Fresh Pear and Fig Mixed Green Salad recipe. The best thing about this recipe (aside from its fresh, robust flavours) is that it takes little to no time to prepare, which is great for the busy Mom or Career Woman. Oh, did we say that it’s extremely healthy, as well? Bon Appetit!   Ingredients 4 cups salad mix, store bought 1 bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced 6 fresh figs (green or purple), sliced in 1/2 4 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola 4 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows Directions Place a pile of greens on each salad plate. Arrange the fruits on top and sprinkle with cheese and nuts. Lightly drizzle with vinaigrette. Lemon Vinaigrette: 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon lemon extract 2 tablespoons lemon curd 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoo Dijon mustard Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Recipe courtesy Paula Deen.

Body Truffles or Chocolate Truffles? Your Pick.

February 10, 2012 in Beauty, Life

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Valentine’s Day is amongst us! To many people, this day is about presents, sweets, chocolates and more importantly, the undying love that you see in the movies. Speaking of which, this Valentine’s Day, I would like Ryan Gosling to build me a house. That would be the best. present. ever. Now, if you don’t know what to get that special someone in your life for this extra special day, then we suggest a body creme, lip butter, bubble bath or candle from our delectable Body Truffles collection. It’s sweet without the calories! What’s better than that?? If you’d like to make something sweet, then here is a delicious Chocolate Truffles recipe from our friends at Sweetspot.ca. Chocolate Truffles Ingredients 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 2/3 cup whipping cream 1 tbsp honey 1/4 cup butter, cubed 1 tbsp vanilla Coating: Cocoa powder Crushed pistachios Edible hearts Makes approximately 30 truffles Directions 1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat cream, honey and butter until melted. Poor over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about one hour. 2. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop chocolate and gently roll to round out into balls. 3. Roll truffle through coating and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate again until you’re ready to serve them. Happy Valentine’s Day!    

3 Delicious Holiday Baked Goods Recipes

December 22, 2011 in Life

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Every year, I arrive at my friend’s Christmas party with either a fruit platter or a bottle of wine. It’s not that I’m in love with fruit or wine – it’s because I don’t think that I have time to bake a delicious holiday treat for my pals. However, my amazing colleague, Lynda, has provided us with three ho-ho-wholly-these-are-delicious recipes!   Chocolate Maccaroons           Put in saucepan:         1/2 cup butter or margarine     1 cup white sugar       1/2 cup milk                     Gently boil above for 1 minute while stirring.   Remove from heat.         Add:           6 tablespoons cocoa       1/2 tsp vanilla       3  cups quick oats       1 cup unsweetened coconut                 Mix well. Drop from spoon on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Cool, further shape into balls if desired.     Keep in cool place in sealed container.     9/13 Pan Shortbread           1 LB  butter           1 cup icing sugar         4.5 – 5 cups all purpose flour                       Blend until dough clumps in your hand. Press into 9×13 baking pan.    Poke /mark with fork, and sprinkle lightly with fruit sugar.     Bake at 350 for
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Recipe: Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Black Beans

December 14, 2011 in Life

Thanks to Toronto’s Fresh City Farms, we’re able to share this delicious and healthy quick 30-minute recipe! Between the soba, broccoli, and black beans, you’ve got your carbs, veggies, and protein covered. Feel free to add in any other vegetables you’ve got – kale, carrots, red peppers – just reduce the broccoli and mushrooms slightly so that there’s enough of this delicious sauce to coat the noodles. If you’ve still got some daikon radish lying about, then slice it up into ¼ inch thick rounds or half-moons and add them at the very last minute.   Ingredients: 2 tbsp sesame oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 red onions, thinly sliced 1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or 1 tbsp white vinegar with 1 tsp sugar) 1 tbsp ground cumin 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 head broccoli, rinsed 1½ cups cooked or 1 can (14 oz) black beans 1 cup vegetable stock or water ¼ cup tahini ¼ cup finely chopped coriander 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice 8 oz soba noodles Optional garnishes: cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, cashews, lime wedges Directions: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and onions for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in mushrooms, vinegar, cumin, ½ tsp of the salt, and pepper; cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Fill bottom of a steamer pot with two inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a boil,
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Top 3 Holiday Chick Flicks

December 8, 2011 in Life

The holidays just aren’t the holidays without the films. What’s better than a hot cup of cocoa and a Christmas film that mixes in serendipitous meet cutes, cheesy romantic lines, witty banter and the fact that love does exist (does it really? Seriously? I’m not bitter.) this holiday season? With that being said, I’ve asked the Marketing Ladies at Upper Canada Soap what their favourite holiday chick flicks were … and this is what I got!  1. The Holiday  Everyone at Upper Canada Soap loves “The Holiday.” I certainly do. It’s a heart felt and funny film about two ladies (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) who live worlds a part. After being fed up with love and all of the things that come with it (mostly drama), they exchange homes and start a “new life” over the Christmas holidays. Kate Winslet’s character ends up in LA with Jack Black as a love interest; and Cameron Diaz ends up in Surrey, England with JUDE LAW (swoonsies) as a love interest.  Best line: “Why does it bug you so much that I can’t cry?!”  - Cameron Diaz to her ex-boyfriend.   2. Love Actually     “Love Actually” was second on the list. It’s a film that follows the lives of eight very different couples as they deal with their love lives a month before Christmas in London, England. It also so happens that everyone is connected in one way or another. I love when this happens. It’s a feel good film with memorable romantic
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Recipe: Orzo Pilaf with Mushrooms, Leeks and Oven-Dried Tomatoes

November 25, 2011 in Life

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Courtesy of the amazing, local, organic Fresh City Farms, we have a delicious and healthy dish to try this weekend. This versatile pilaf would work perfectly as a side dish to chicken or fish, but it’s equally delicious as the main dish, when used as a stuffing. Try it this week as a stuffing in your squash or green peppers!     Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken or vegetable broth 1/3 cup chopped oven-dried tomatoes** 1 tablespoon olive oil 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed, diced 3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only) 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 3 cups freshly cooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 1 cup uncooked) 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Optional: ½ cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts Instructions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Three options for use and preparation: If using squash, trim stem off and cut squash in half. Scoop out the pulp and seeds and brush the cut side with olive oil. Bake, cut side down, for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and flip over and let cool slightly while you prepare stuffing. If using green peppers, then cut the top off the pepper, stem included, so that you can stuff and replace the top as a lid. Set aside. If using as a side dish, then prepare an 8×8 baking dish by greasing lightly with olive oil. Bring broth and tomatoes just to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; let
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Review: Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

November 21, 2011 in Life

One of my favourite things to do on a brisk Fall day is read … with a nice glass of red wine (obvs). My friends have been ranting and raving about Tina Fey’s book, Bossy Pants, since its release in the summer. I hesitated in jumping on the bandwagon because I’m not usually one for biographies. I’m more of a fiction lover, but was persuaded otherwise this time… only because Tina Fey is absolutely awesome. Let me tell you, ten pages in and I fell in love. It was raw, honest and hilarious – in a self-deprecating manner. Fey delves into every single fibre that makes up the brilliant and, most times, awkward tapestry that is her life. She transitions seamlessly from her humble childhood in West Philadelphia to her defining moments as an adult. She even tells you how she got the scar on her chin. Everyone has a strong parental figure that shapes their life. It’s either your mom or dad, or both. In Fey’s case, it was her dad, Don Fey. To sum it up, he’s an intimidating badass. Apparently, if he told you to jump, you’d Google how to build rocket shoes and fly to the moon – all just to impress him. Powerful men like SNL creator, Lorne Michaels, and 30 Rock star, Alec Baldwin, step down to him. Think of Chuck Norris, but Greek. That’s Don Fey. A majority of the book discusses her love life, or lack thereof. Fey talks about how her strategy
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Recipe: Lemon Parsnip Soup

November 15, 2011 in Life

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The Little Beauty Blog is not just about beauty and fashion, it’s about living life beautifully. This includes food, because really what could make you happier than a great meal, a glass of wine and good company? I wanted to kick off the recipes series with a nice, simple and delicious dish that would put a smile on anyone’s face on a brisk fall day. Courtesy of Fresh City Farms, an amazing urban farm in Toronto, we are able to share with you a soup that many in the office have called “happiness in a bowl.” The recipe below is for Lemon Parsnip Soup. Ingredients: 1 tbsp  (15 mL) butter or vegetable oil 1 onion, peeled and chopped 2 tbsp  (30 mL) chopped fresh tarragon or thyme leaves 1 tsp  (5 mL) finely grated lemon peel 1/2 tsp  (2 mL) salt 1/2 tsp  (2 mL) pepper 6 cups  (1.5 L) peeled, chopped parsnips 10 cups  (2.5 L) chicken broth or vegetable broth 1 tbsp  (15 mL) lemon juice tarragon or thyme sprigs lemon slice Instructions Heat butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, lemon peel, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the parsnips; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until parsnips become tender. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 20 to 25 minutes or until parsnips are very soft. Transfer parsnip mixture to a blender or food processor in batches. Purée until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve in
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Top 3 Products for Movember

November 8, 2011 in Beauty, Life

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Tom Selleck. Salvador Dali. Burt Reynolds. What do all of these men have in common? They have awesome moustaches. There are two things that November 1st is known for in Canada – the day that Halloween candy goes on sale for 50% off (my favourite day ever) and the first day that thousands of men in Canada and the rest of the world follow in the footsteps of the men above by starting their month-long moustache campaign to raise vital awareness and money for men’s cancers (mainly prostate and testicular). This is known as Movember. If your boyfriend, husband or even friend is sprouting a “mo’” for this amazing cause, here is a list of products from Upper Canada Soap that will help. High Quality Razor and Brush Shaving Kit It’s a moustache, not a beard. This high quality and stylish razor and brush set will help your man shape his moustache into his desired shape (handlebar, horseshoe, mistletoe etc.). The horseshoe is my personal favourite. ($40)  Buy here. Fruit Frappe Foaming Shower Gel Help avoid razor burn and use our deliciously scented Fruit Frappe foaming gel as a shaving cream! It’s okay to share your products with your man … but only if it’s for a good cause. Plus, wouldn’t you rather kiss a cheek that smells like Grapefruit with Gooseberry than “Turbo Ice Moutain” anyway? ($12) Buy here. Naturally Nourishing Lip Balm Speaking of kissing, keep his lips moisturized underneath his  bushy mo’ with our Naturally Nourishing Lip
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