March 22nd, 2017

LD Picks: 10 Fresh Smoothies to Blend Up Now

Smoothies are the perfect way to start the morning, boost energy during the day and replenish your body after a workout. For a little taste of spring, use your favourite seasonal fruits, pick up a personal blender, and prepare these delicious and nutritious smoothies that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Also, check out our solution to charging up your smoothies in a pinch (perfect with any of these recipes)!

1. Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

Substitute the usual bland grapefruit breakfast with this creamy and tangy smoothie bowl. With only five ingredients as your base, this smoothie is easy on the waistline and the wallet, and can be customized in any way you’d like.

[Find the recipe at Frugal Mom Eh!]

2. Pineapple Apple and Orange Super Green Smoothie

Green smoothies don’t have to taste overly, well, green. With this recipe, you’ll get all the vitamin and fibre benefits possible from your kale and spinach, with all the sweetness of pineapples, apple and citrus. Yum.

[Find the recipe at Carmyy]

3. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

It almost sounds like dessert, doesn’t it? Sweetened with dates and thickened with rolled oats and banana, this decadent smoothie doubles as an on-the-go breakfast or protein-packed shake after the gym.

[Find the recipe at Food Network Canada]

4. Raspberry Cheesecake Smoothie

To satiate even the most active sweet tooth, this cheesecake copycat can, in fact, double as a guilt-free dessert — with a surprising secret ingredient.

[Find the recipe at Mommy Moment]

5. Carrot Ginger Turmeric Smoothie

Battling the tail end of a winter cold, and can’t wait to get into the springtime mood? Sip on this flu-fighting turmeric, ginger and lemon juice smoothie that’s as bright as it is tasty.

[Find the recipe at Minimalist Baker]

6. Fitness Smoothie

Whether you’ve started a new workout routine or want to switch up your protein shake repertoire, this antioxidant-rich and protein-filled smoothie is a great addition to any fitness plan. The combination of muesli and yogurt with give you an energy boost to last through your day.

[Find the recipe at Best Health Mag]

7. Chocolate Tahini Avocado Smoothie Bowl

A perfect treat after a yoga session or long work day, this chocolatey, mousse-like smoothie is made with tahini, cocoa powder, almond butter and avocado.

[Find the recipe at Will Frolic for Food]

8. Gazpacho Smoothie

If you’re more a fan of savoury snacks than sweet treats, this smoothie option is for you. Reminiscent of an alcohol-free Caesar, you can turn this into a soup or a cocktail.

[Find the recipe at Canadian Living]

9. Protein S’mores Smoothie

Here’s another great post-workout shake with an indulgent twist. Chocolate protein powder, almond milk and traditional S’more ingredients make a drool-worthy dupe for a campfire favourite.

[Find the recipe at Moni Meals]

10. Mint and Green Tea Smoothie

Yes, it’s another green smoothie, but again not too green for your tastebuds. Infused with organic jasmine tea, this drink combines leafy greens with your favourite tea staples—ginger and honey—for a fresh springtime taste.

[Find the recipe at Kitchen Konfidence]



March 18th, 2017

LD Picks: 5 Ways to Brew Amazing Coffee at Home

 

These days, coffee is about more than taking breaks or boosting energy. Increasingly, it’s considered a complete experience unto itself. There are even gourmet coffee tastings  – called “cuppings.”

No surprise, then, that we’ve become determined to brew the best cups possible at home. Partly, that means trying new brewing methods. Which is best? That depends on your needs and tastes.

Our beginner’s guide to at-home coffee brewing:

READ MORE



March 17th, 2017

10 Ways to Have a Greener Spring

Does the idea of spring cleaning fill you with painful memories of being trapped in your bathtub with a bottle of tile cleaner while you scrub tile grout, choking on bleach fumes? This year, we suggest a fresh, sustainable approach. You may be surprised to know that you can clean your home effectively and thoroughly with many natural ingredients and environmentally friendly items you may already have in your kitchen.

  1. Make vinegar your new best friend. Not only is it a marvellous disinfectant, it can also deodorize and cut through grease.
  2.  Using microfiber towels or old cut-up towels as your cleaning rags instead of shop or paper towels can help you reduce waste as you clean. To sanitize them afterwards, either put them in a bucket full of boiling water for 15 mintues, or toss them in the washing machine on the hottest setting with tea tree and grapefruit essential oils.
  3. You can make your own all-purpose household cleaning spray with a few simple ingredients: vinegar, water, and essential oils. Use it on countertops, kitchen surfaces, and it can even be used on glass. Cleaning with essential oils is a fantastic natural way to add some fresh fragrances to the space you’re working on. You can choose your own scent combinations and make your home smell naturally clean.
  4. Switching to a biodegradable dish soap instead of synthetically produced ones can be gentler on your skin, and on the environment.
  5. Scrub out soap scum with a mixture of baking soda, sea salt, and a few drops of essential oils. A good scouring pad will help to break down the build-up and leave your bathtubs and sinks sparkling.
  6. Instead of using abrasive chemically-based bathtub and sink cleaners, you can make your own soft scrub using only four ingredients: baking soda, castile soap, water, and essential oils.
  7. Do you keep fitness equipment or a yoga mat at home? You can make your own cleaner for those too! Try this yoga mat cleaner made from distilled water, witch hazel, and a combination of some essential oils to keep your gym equipment clean and smelling fresh.
  8. Laundry detergents can be notoriously expensive, but you can save money by making your own. This homemade laundry soap is a great way to help transition into using more natural cleaning products, and only uses three ingredients: Borax, washing soda, and an unscented bar of soap!
  9. If you’re a fan of dryer or fabric softener sheets, you can also save money over time on dryer sheets by replacing them with dryer balls, which can be used again and again to help reduce static in your laundry.
  10. If spring cleaning also means going on a decluttering rampage, you can reduce garbage by recycling unwanted items instead of simply tossing them out. If you’ve got a bunch of old electronics that don’t work anymore just sitting in a dusty pile behind your TV, you can recycle them at LD! Whether it’s old batteries or a VCR you haven’t used in a decade, LD will responsibly recycle it for you.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of making the shift to natural cleaning, don’t worry! Just choose one of these ideas and start there. Any small change can help you to reduce the number of cleaning chemicals you use in your home, and will hopefully make your spring cleaning adventures all the more enjoyable.



March 16th, 2017

Need to Wash Your Swimwear–Without Adding to the Laundry Pile? We Take Care of That.

 

Ready for some sunshine? While you’re packing your bags to jet off on your next spring or summer vacation, here’s a clever way to freshen up your swimwear–without adding to your wash pile. Trust us, this cleaning hack really works!

  1. Place your bathing suits in a salad spinner.
  2. Add water and a gentle cleanser (we used Method detergent).
  3. Hand wash.
  4. Rinse with water and drain.
  5. Place lid on salad spinner.
  6. Spin out the excess moisture.
  7. Hang to dry.

This hack using an everyday salad spinner gets your suit clean and close to dry in minutes.

No matter where in the world you’re going on vacation, London Drugs has you covered in-store and online.

Check out more LD Solutions ‘lifehack’ videos below:

How to Charge Up Your Morning Smoothie

How to Polish a Stained Kettle

How to Clean a Messy Microwave

How to Quickly Smooth a Wrinkled Shirt



March 16th, 2017

How to Plan a Spring Break That Actually Feels Like a Break

With spring break fast approaching, you may be forming your escape plan to emerge from your winter hibernation and take the family on an adventure. But if the idea of having to organize kids, suitcases, accommodation, toys, snacks, and everything in between makes you want to take a break from spring break, have no fear. Having a solid plan is key, and whether you’re journeying across the world/country/province, here are a few helpful tips for ensuring you’re as prepared as you can be on your holiday.

Do Your Research

Once you decide on a destination, dedicate some time — before you get there — to get to know it, so that you can make the most of your time. A good travel guide is always a good plan—they’ll often include information that only locals would know, money-saving tips, and lots of hidden treasures to explore. They also tend to include recommended destination-specific packing lists that can make your preparation that much easier.

If you’re travelling internationally, check your passport to see if it’s expiring soon. Passport renewal can take a few weeks, so factoring the time to get a new passport photo, fill out the paperwork, and make the trip to the passport office will help to minimize the stress of these necessary preparations.

Make Lists

Lists are highly underrated — especially when it comes to deciding what to pack. But thinking it through, and writing it down beforehand, will help to keep your suitcases from overflowing with things you’ll never use (and ensure that the necessities are in there). After you do your research, consider also creating a ‘packing essentials’ list for the whole family to help them prioritize what necessities to bring. You can also keep it on hand for the next trip!

Another fun idea is to start a shared list of the kinds of things each family member wants to do while you’re away. Stick the list to the fridge and have everybody contribute their picks of activities or tourist attractions, helping everyone to feel a part of the planning and to get a little more excited about what’s in store.

If you’re going on a road trip, a snack list can help to ensure that everyone gets a say in what kinds of treats they want to munch and sip on. Some fun choices are fruit snacks, trail mix, and these litterless juice boxes that everyone can fill with their favourite juice.

Pack Light

Hopping on a jet plane? Many airlines have their own specifications on baggage weights and dimensions, especially for carry-on items. Knowing ahead of time how you need to pack will save you from any day-of surprises and prevent you from being one of those forlorn-looking travellers at the airport check-in, struggling with three open suitcases trying to evenly distribute the weight between them.

There’s a certain philosophy that some travellers swear by, and it’s the ‘Buy It There’ principle. If there are things that you’re not sure you need, and you want to keep your bags as light as possible, remember that in the worst-case scenario, you can always purchase them when you arrive at your destination.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

If you’re traveling internationally, even if it’s just for a weekend, you should absolutely consider purchasing travel insurance. It may seem like overkill, but if a series of unfortunate events should land you or a family member in the emergency room, you’ll rest easy knowing your holiday won’t cost you thousands of dollars more than you budgeted.

If you have the capacity, dedicating one carry-on bag for backup clothes and toiletries is a great security measure. If your luggage gets delayed or lost, you’ll still have a few days’ worth of clothing and be able to manage until your belongings find their way back to you.

Planning an epic road trip? It’s a snap to get the right auto insurance so that you can be on your way.

Stay Adaptable

Even the most meticulous planning can’t account for spontaneous mishaps. The weather might turn, you might get lost, or an attraction may be closed. Just remember: you’re on an adventure–ups and downs included–with the people you love. 

Stay smiling, remember that you’re making memories, and enjoy the ride!



March 15th, 2017

London Drugs supports autism fundraising campaign across BC and Alberta

Puzzled Jewelry returns to London Drugs stores across British Columbia and Alberta for the second year in a row. Puzzled Jewelry is a brand with a cause, offering unique and trendy jewelry designs. With a new design every campaign, Puzzled Jewelry creates a unique puzzle piece of jewelry to build awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that impacts typical brain growth. As a spectrum disorder, ASD has a wide variation in how it affects each person. Common characteristics include difficulties with communication and social interactions, repetitive interests and activities, and stereotypic motor behaviours.

Puzzled Jewelry was created by three mothers, Patricia James, Debbie Su and Keri Kennett, who were joined together by an Autism diagnosis affecting each of their little boys. In 2016 their campaign raised over $34,000 through the sale of Puzzled Jewelry necklaces at select London Drugs locations in British Columbia and Alberta. This year, they have created 925 sterling silver puzzle earrings to support their continued fundraising efforts.

At a cost of $20.00 plus tax, partial proceeds from the earrings will go towards the Pacific Autism Family Centre (PAFC). The core purpose of the PAFC is to become a knowledge centre while addressing and providing the support and services required by individuals with ASD and their families. The Centre is the hub for research, and collaboration, providing individuals and their families with resources for their lifespan and is the first of its kind in North America. The Centre of knowledge and innovation will involve the development of physical “hub and spoke/satellite” centres located in communities across the province, in collaboration with local community partners.

Puzzled Jewelry earrings will be available from now until March 31st at most London Drugs British Columbia locations and all stores in Alberta. Show your support in a photo wearing your earrings and share it on social media with #PacificAutism.

 



March 13th, 2017

How to Speed Clean Your Kitchen in Minutes

The kitchen is often the most frequented and loved space in a household. Consequently, it can also become the dirtiest — very quickly. We’ve assembled the following tips to help you keep your kitchen as spotless as possible, in the shortest amount of time.

Cleaning To-Do List

If you want to avoid getting stuck with a week’s worth of dishes to wash or hours of scrubbing countertops, you might consider making several to-do cleaning lists that can be broken down over days, weeks and months. We’ve included a few examples below.

A quick tip to get you through every-day cleaning? Speed clean for as long as it takes to brew a pot of coffee and start your day hassle-free.

Every Day

  1. Wash the dishes.
  2. Put away clean, dry dishes.
  3. Wipe down the sink, counters and stove tops with dish cloths or paper towels.
  4. Sweep the floor.
  5. Tidy up — put dishware and containers back once you’ve finished using them.

Every Week

  1. Take out the recycling, compost and trash.
  2. Mop the floor and wash your kitchen towels.
  3. Wash the dish rack like you would dirty dishes.
  4. Wipe down kitchen appliances and cabinets.
  5. Rinse garbage bins outside with a hose or in your bathtub.

Every Season

  1. Clean out the refrigerator and purge expired items from your pantry or shelves.
  2. Empty and clean utensil drawers.
  3. Soak and scrub your stove burners, oven racks and hood filters.
  4. Repair, update or replace any faulty appliances.
  5. Throw kitchen curtains (if you’ve got ’em) into the washing machine to get rid of dust and grit.

Cleaning Supply Staples

Everyone has their favourite cleaning products. But if you’re just setting up — or if you’re looking for a reminder of what might be missing in your cleaning arsenal — we suggest keeping the following essential cleaning products on hand to ensure you’re prepared for any kitchen mess.

  • Extra garbage and compost bags — Place at the bottom of bins for easy rotation.
  • Baking soda — From reviving burnt cookie sheets, reducing fridge odours and cleaning the sink and garburator, baking soda is a DIY cleaning miracle.
  • Toothbrush — Good for cleaning hard-to-reach nooks in between drawers and appliances.
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes — Perfect for a last-minute clean up with minimal effort.
  • Windex Wipes — For chrome surfaces, glass stovetops and windows.
  • Sponges — Always keep an extra set of sponges around and replace old ones at least every month. Remember to clean them after every use to prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Swiffer — Swiffers double as mops and brooms and are a fast way to spruce up tiled and wood floors in between deep cleans.
  • All Purpose Cleaner — There’s no need to clutter your storage cabinets with dozens of cleaners. Pick an all-around cleaner safe for both the kitchen and bathroom for double duty.

Combatting Tricky Stains

Sometimes it may seem easier to leave a stain on the surface of your appliances — at least until you can dedicate some serious elbow grease to get it off. Thankfully, achieving a sparkling kitchen isn’t as difficult as it appears.

Microwave

  1. The ultimate microwave cleaning shortcut is to dampen a handful of paper towels with water and place them in the microwave for 3-5 minutes on High. The steam from the towels will loosen any food particles attached to the inside walls. Once the towels have cooled, use them to wipe away any grime.
  2. Clean and deodorize your microwave by mixing a few tablespoons of lemon juice or freshly squeezed lemons with a ¾ cup of water in a microwaveable bowl. Heat until boiling, and then let sit for 10 minutes before wiping clean. Check out our LD Solutions ‘lifehack’ video for a quick how-to.

Spotless Sink

  1. Fill your sink with hot water and add a cup of bleach. Let soak for one hour (while you clean the rest of the kitchen).
  2. Drain and rinse.
  3. Scrub sink with baking soda and rinse again.
  4. Polish with glass-cleaner or other all purpose spray and let dry.

Coffee Pot

  1. Liven up your stained coffee pot in a few simple steps. Fill pot with one part vinegar and two parts water.
  2. Run through a brewing cycle (remove any filters prior).
  3. Rinse through and run through two more cycles with water only.

Stainless Steel Appliances

  1. A secret for sparkling stainless steel appliances is as simple as picking up a bottle of Pledge from one of our stores. This works on refrigerators, toasters, dishwashers and more. If you’re cleaning a large surface, set down some towels to protect the floor.
  2. For small surfaces, spray Pledge on a cloth and apply.
  3. For larger areas, spray heavily and swirl it around the stainless appliance in circles before allowing to soak.
  4. Use an old towel or t-shirt to remove the heavy coating of Pledge.

Pantry Makeover

Simple organization in your kitchen can allow for smoother cooking experiences and less hectic clean up.

  • Purge canned food. Most canned food lasts for two years, but can end up in your kitchen for much longer. If you’re at all unsure about the expiration date, throw it out. And if you know you won’t be using a can in the foreseeable future, don’t hesitate to donate it to your local food bank.
  • Make your pasta, grains and cereals last longer. Sort into clear canisters for freshness and ease of access.
  • Sort your spices. Invest in a spice rack to display on your counter or in the cupboard. If you buy in bulk, make sure to separate any loose powder into jars for preservation.
  • Label your canisters and containers. Don’t make the mistake of switching sugar and salt, or flour and cornstarch!
  • Storage bins are an aesthetically pleasing way to hold snacks, sweets and other items bought in bulk. This reduces clutter and makes it easier to grab what you need for on-the-go meals.
  • Keep track of frozen food and don’t forget about expiration dates for products in the fridge. A rule of thumb is: first in, first out to avoid food waste.  

For more cleaning tips, check out how to Clean the Kitchen in 15 Minutes and How to Speed Clean the Kitchen. Happy cleaning — and here’s to a kitchen you love!



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