12 winter cleaning ideas
Things can somehow seem messier, dirtier and less organized during the winter months. Here’s how to tackle it in time to leave you feeling fresh for spring.
Get a head start on spring-cleaning
Make this twist on traditional lasagne with this recipe from Elana Karp and Suzanne Dumaine's new cookbook Plated.
1 Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2 On a baking sheet, toss the mushrooms and squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and salt and pepper.
3 Arrange in a single layer and roast until tender, about 18 minutes.
4 While the vegetables roast, strip the stems from the kale leaves, then cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the garlic. In a large pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the kale and garlic and cook until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
5 Remove the roasted mushrooms and squash from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Using a fork or spoon, mash the squash.
6 To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, sprinkle in the flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth and golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously, until no lumps remain. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, stirring to combine; remove the pot from the heat.
7 Spread a thin layer of the béchamel sauce over the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish. Add a layer of the lasagna noodles, followed by a layer of squash and mushrooms, the kale, more sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Repeat to make 2 more layers: noodles, vegetables, sauce and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and the Gruyère.
8 Loosely cover the dish with foil, transfer to the oven and bake until the lasagna is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
9 Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
10 Uncover the lasagna and continue baking until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into pieces. Wrap with foil and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. To reheat, microwave the lasagna or warm it, covered, in the oven at 350°F.
Excerpted from Plated by Elana Karp & Suzanne Dumaine. Recipes Copyright © 2016 Elana Karp & Suzanne Dumaine, Photography copyright © 2016 Robert Bredvad. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter/Publishers. All rights reserved.
DIY project: Winter wreath
Add this festive winter wreath to your holiday decor.
1 Secure one end of the yarn to the back of the wreath form with one of the straight pins.
2 Wrap the yarn tightly around the wreath form, keeping the yarn taut as you work your way around the form until its entire surface is covered. Every inch or so, secure the yarn at the back with a straight pin. Cut the yarn at the back of the wreath and tie it off; secure the yarn tail with 2 or 3 remaining straight pins.
3 Cluster the felt flowers at the bottom of the wreath, arranging them slightly off centre; secure with the quilting pins. Hang the wreath with the ribbon (you can prevent the wreath from slipping by pinning the ribbon in place).
1 Using scissors or a fabric circle cutter on a cutting mat, cut one 2” circle out of one of the sheets of felt.
2 Cut the other piece of felt lengthwise into 6 equal strips (about 1 1/2” each). Fold each strip in half lengthwise and glue together the cut edge.
3 Using scissors, make 1/2” snips into the folded side of the felt strips every 1/4” or so, depending on how big you want your loops. Larger intervals will create bigger loops.
4 Working with the felt circle on a flat surface in front of you, carefully begin gluing one of the looped strips around the perimeter, allowing the looped side to hang over the edge of the circle. Work your way to the centre of the circle with the remaining strips, making sure the loops overlap. Cut off any excess.
Makes: 1 2” flower
1 Using scissors or a fabric circle cutter on a cutting mat, cut out one 4” circle from the felt. Working from the outside in, cut into the circle in a spiral motion, gradually moving from a thin to a thicker width as you reach the centre. Carefully trim the outer edge of the spiral, creating a scalloped effect.
2 Beginning at the thin outside edge of the circle, roll up the felt into a small rosette. The centre of the circle of felt will create a tab that will cover the bottom of the rosette. Secure the bottom of the rosette to the tab with glue.
Makes: 1 1” flower
1 Using scissors or a fabric circle cutter on a cutting mat, cut out eight 2” circles from the fabric sheets.
2 Fold one of the circles in half and make a tiny snip to cut off the corner of the crease on each end. Unfold the circle and fold it again along the other axis, lining up the small snips. Make a small snip to cut off the corner of the crease at either end of the new fold. When you unfold the felt circle, you’ll have four sections. Cut a small V shape in the middle of the edge of each section so you end up with eight sections. Use scissors to round the top of each section around your circle of felt, creating a scalloped flower effect.
3 Place a small bead of hot glue in the centre of the flower and fold in half; press firmly and hold in place until the glue is set. Place another bead of hot glue in the middle of the crease of the half flower and fold in half again; press firmly and hold in place until the glue is set. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with all but one of the remaining circles.
4 Glue four of the folded petals onto the flat flower; glue the remaining three petals on top to create a full flower effect. When the glue is dry, gently open the petals slightly to fluff.
Makes: 1 2” flower
Wrap the prettiest presents under the tree with these 10 essentials
Instead of traditional red, white and green, add a pop of pink to your holiday packages this year! This pretty paper features a repeat candy cane pattern that’s sweet and whimsical. Illustrated by Canadian artist Lindsay Stephenson, this paper is sure to charm this Christmas. There are three sheets per roll and rolls are shrink wrapped to protect the paper. Candy Cane Wrapping Paper, The Penny Paper Co., $12.
This red and white wrapping twine will instantly add a festive look to all your gifts. It’s also perfect for securing cellophane if you’re preparing plates of baked goods to give. Red and White Twisted Rope Ribbon, Minor Thread on Etsy, starting at $3.25.
Dress up your gifts with pretty ornaments affixed atop with twine or ribbon. These 100% wool snowflake ornaments will not only make every present look special, but they’re also an extra little gift for someone to hang on their tree and think of you for Christmases to come. Felt Snowflake Ornaments, West Elm, $6 for set of 4.
Printed on luxe paper and featuring an adorable winter-inspired illustration, this gift tag will make a wonderful first impression! Choose from four different paper types to personalize your gift tags just as you like them. Winter Snow Friends Gift Tags, Minted, starting at $30.
Recreating a vintage-looking holiday scene, this gift wrap from Rifle Paper Co is perfect for dressing up your presents. If you can’t get enough of this pattern, greeting and ornament cards are also available. Holiday Snow Scene Gift Wrap, Rifle Paper Co., $8.50.
Washi tape is perfect for decorating everything from gifts and cards to envelopes before you pop them into the mail. Add your own personal touch to all of your holiday gifts and cards with this variety pack of Washi tape, which features six rolls in different patterns. Christmas Washi Tape, Hobby Hoppers on Etsy, $11.
This two-pack gift wrap set comes with a festive plaid pattern and a fun, printed pattern expressing the cheerful sentiments of the season. Printed on premium paper with a satin finish, these co-ordinating papers will add a decidedly chic look to all your gifts this Christmas. Holiday Wrapping Paper Gift Set, Ashley Brooke Designs, $30.
This cheeky Christmas card paints an all too familiar scene for many of us (guilty as charged!). Make friends and family chuckle when you send out these less traditional but highly entertaining holiday cards this season. Everyone Was on Their Phone Card, Indigo, $15.95.
We have two words for these bunny Christmas gift tags: Simply adorable. This pack of 10 gift tags is professionally printed on white card stock and comes with white and gold metallic twine for an added touch of chic. Bunny Christmas Gift Tags, Paula and Waffle on Etsy, $8.
You probably won’t get through the holiday season without needing a gift bag or two so stock up on bags of all sizes to fit those awkwardly shaped gifts or ones you just don’t have time to wrap. This premium bag has sturdy handles so it can bear the weight of a heavy(ish) gift, yet looks stylish all the same. Oh What Fun Plaid Bag, Indigo, $6.