It’s hard to believe that when our farmhouse was built, this great nation of ours was only 36 years old. This home has been through 112 years of change and we’re doing our part of put some love into it so that it can be around for at least another hundred.

Usually Canada Day means burgers, bonfires and cottage weekends for us, but this year we’re taking on a new adventure that feels just as exciting. The restoration of the outside stucco starts today and if the rain holds off for the rest of the week, we can start painting it. The porch will get some new posts, beams and stairs the following week. It’s all coming together and I can’t wait to see how this old beauty looks in the end. Thanks for following along on this journey!

Happy Canada Day!

With all the greens we’ve been getting in our CSA lately, I’ve been playing around with different salad recipes. This super simple summer salad has become one of my favourites and I love to change up the recipe depending on what greens we have on hand.

I’ve been using swiss chard or kale, but you can make this with spring greens or lettuce as well, and just skip massaging the greens and add the extra olive oil to the dressing. This is just a rough idea of what to put it and how much of everything, but you can easily adapt it to your tastes. If you’re looking to make this into an entree salad, add in some sliced grilled chicken.

Swiss Chard, Apple & Feta Salad

Makes 4 servings · Printable Version
What you’ll need:

  • 4 cups swiss chard or kale – washed, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 an apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Other great additions – cucumber, green pepper, avocado

Rinse swiss chard (or kale), remove stems and chop into bite sized pieces. Add kale, 1 tbsp olive oil and kosher salt to large bowl, and massage greens for 2-3 minutes. This will help to reduce the bitterness, and the leaves with be slightly darker and wilted afterwards. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Add in apple, red onion and feta. In a small bowl whisk together remaining olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Add to salad and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

I can’t get enough of big salads like this. We’ve been having them with most of our meals these days and I love it. Bring on the fresh produce!

We’ve officially lived in our house for five weeks now and we’re still working on getting settled into each room. For the most part we have all the furniture where it should be but it still felt like it was missing something and then it dawned on me – we have nothing on the walls! At our old apartment we had paintings by family and friends, a gallery wall of photos and few souvenirs we picked up along the way, but I didn’t know how they’d fit into this new house. We’re got large rooms with spacious walls and it felt like we needed something that was more of a statement piece.

I found some amazing pieces at the Minted Art Marketplace that came in large scale prints that could fit our big walls, like this spot above the antique dresser from my great aunt’s farmhouse. I’m using this as a sideboard for our dining room right now and I wanted it to be a nice view for our dinner guests.

There were so many great pieces to choose from, but in the end I settled on this large scale landscape print, Savannah Lands by Emily Jeffords. I loved how it reminded me of the beautiful views we have here at the farmhouse.

I chose this reclaimed barn board frame and I’m in love with it. It’s handcrafted in the US from wood from old barns and it’s perfectly imperfect, with a great weathered look. The framing itself was very well done, with acid and lignin-free paper. I was really impressed with the quality.

We’ve received so many compliments from people already and it made me start thinking about other places we can add some artwork in our home.


The other piece I chose was this Home Sweet Home Print by Kristen Smith for our front hall.


It seemed like a fun way to greet our guests on their way into our home.

Again I went with the reclaimed barn board and I love the rustic touch. It fits in perfectly with our farmhouse theme.

Each print came with it’s own certificate of authenticity, marking it as a limited edition print and including a little word from the artist. When I read that the artist Emily Jeffords from Greenville, South Carolina it was such a coincidence, because we were actually there on our honeymoon road trip last spring visiting Garrett’s aunt and uncle. Kristen Smith is from Georgia, which was another stop on our trip. Small world!

If you’d like to get your own Minted Art, I’m happy to offer Small Home Big Start readers a 10% promo code that is good until Monday, July 6th, 2015!: SMALLHOME10


This post is sponsored by Minted Art Marketplace. I received the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and language are my own.

Happy Friday! Today I headed into downtown Toronto early in the morning to celebrate a huge milestone in my family – my sister was called to the bar and is officially a lawyer!

My sister is one of the smartest people I know with an incredible work ethic and a big heart to boot. She is going to be an amazing lawyer and I can’t wait to see how she changes the world.

The ceremony itself was in the beautiful Roy Thompson Hall, complete with a real organist!

There was great energy in the room, with the excited articling students waiting to be called up and equally excited parents who’ve supported them through this endeavour.

It was so nice to see my sister’s law school friends and congratulate them as well. They’ve all worked so hard to be where they are right now and I’m excited to see what the future brings for them all.

Congrats lil sis! I’m so proud of you!

Growing up with a severe peanut and tree nut allergy, there were very few foreign foods that I was able to experience safely. It wasn’t until I was an adult that allergies become well known and restaurants started preparing food safely. It was about seven years ago that I was first introduced to Indian food and since then it has become one of my favourites.

Seeing as there aren’t too many nut-free Indian restaurants near me, I’ve had to learn how to make dishes myself or at least variations of them. This Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken is a great summer weeknight dinner that’s easy to marinate when you get home and then toss on the grill. You can prepare the chicken ahead of time and marinate it overnight too.
Traditional tandoori chicken is marinated in yogurt with a spice mixture to give it a fiery red colour, and then roasted in a tandoor oven. This recipe uses the same style of marinade, but it’s cooked on the grill. I served it up with a small side salad, naan (Indian flatbread) and buttery basmati rice…with lots of cilantro!

Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken

Serves 4-6  ·  Printable Version

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large sealable plastic bag and knead to combine. Add chicken to bag and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes.


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