Tips For A Timeless Kitchen

The kitchen is the biggest asset in your home. By investing in its decor you could wow friends, family as well as future buyers. The key to a beautiful kitchen is convenience as well as a timeless design.


Quartz Countertops

Quartz-surfacing countertops require less maintenance than their granite comparables and are timeless in terms of what’s trending. Plus, the shimmering surface is less dominant than other materials, so you’re unlikely to get bored of it.


Open Spaces

Tear down those walls, and banish kitchen isolation: Open layouts are here to stay. A desire for informal dining and comfortable cooking drives this design trend, supporting a casual yet connected lifestyle. Open kitchens encourage interaction and entertainment with their breezy blend of living spaces.


Integrated Appliances

Sick of appliances sticking out like a sore thumb? Try integrating them into your kitchen with clever paneling and built-ins. This trend opens new worlds for designs; appliances can now stand alone as a stylish statement piece or quietly recede into surrounding cabinetry.


Deep drawers: Use dishwasher drawers in place of a regular dishwasher or in addition to a full-size dishwasher. These handy appliances offer efficient cleaning for a few dishes.


White Walls

White kitchens will never go out of style. You’re more likely to grow tired of bold hues on major surfaces, so stick with accessories you can swap out to get that kiss of color. Consider your kitchen’s stone floor, backsplash, and trim to find the perfect shade of white for the space.


Coffee Bar

All you need is an alcove which can house a variety of appliances and items such as: espresso machine as well as coffee cups and condiments. An area like this provides dedicated functionality out of the way of the main cooking area. The beauty of it is that there are doors where it can be shut and not ruin your kitchen’s streamlined design.


Clean Lines

Consider heavy moldings and frilly finishes things of the past. No-frills kitchen designs with strong horizontal lines last longer. One way to achieve this look: horizontal cabinet pulls. This maintains the flow of parallel lines running through your kitchen space.


Big Sinks

When it comes to sink trends, the emphasis is on function. A deep and wide sink contains splashes while simultaneously accommodating large pots and pans or other items that require hand-washing. This could be half a double sink or both.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel continues to reign supreme in the world of appliances. It cleans easily, and has continued to remain timeless in kitchens. Not only does it compliment  any colour scheme but it could also be used as statement pieces.



On-counter Garage

An on-counter appliance garage is like a garage for cars: It houses a machine you often use but don’t always want in plain sight. Here, an appliance garage with a roll-up aluminum door closes to hide the mixer, leaving counter space in front for other uses. If you don’t want to go all out with the coffee bar, this is a smaller option (in terms of scale) to hide away your coffee-making utensils. It could also work for breakfast appliances.


Homemade Festival Foods

Summer’s almost over, and with that comes the end of many food festivals, carnivals and such. If you want to enjoy the same festival treats in the comforts of your own home, then keep reading!


Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

– ¾ cup all-purpose flour

– ½ teaspoon salt

– ½ teaspoon black pepper

– 2 eggs, lightly beaten

– 2 tablespoons water

– 12 mozzarella cheese sticks or one 16-ounce block mozzarella cheese, cut into twelve 4×1/2-inch sticks

– 1 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

– ¼ cup vegetable oil


  1. In a flat dish mix together flour, salt and pepper.
  2. In another flat dish combine eggs and water.
  3. Dip cheese sticks in egg mixture then flour mixture and then in the egg mixture again.
  4. Coat sticks with breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet then freeze for one hour.
  5. Heat oil over medium heat and then start cooking frozen cheese sticks. Fry until golden brown or 2-3 minutes. Make sure to turn them around and cook them evenly. Pat excess oil with paper towel.
  6. Serve with desired sauce.


Classic Nachos

Classic Nachos

– 5 cups bite-sized tortilla chips 1 pound ground beef

– 1  can black beans

– 1 cup bottled chunky salsa

– 1 ½  – 2 cups shredded cheese blend of your choice Optional toppings (green onion, fresh cilantro, sliced fresh jalapenos, sour cream)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange half the tortilla chips on a 12 inch baking pan.
  2. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet and drain fat.
  3. Stir the beans and 1 cup of the salsa into the beef, and spoon mixture over the chips. Sprinkle half the cheese.  
  4. Bake in oven until cheese melts.
  5. After removing from oven, top with remaining chips, beef mixture, and cheese.
  6. Bake again until cheese melts.
  7. If desired: top with cilantro, green onions, jalapenos, or sour cream.


Corn Dogs

Italian-Style Corn Dogs

– 12 uncooked beef sausages

– ½ cup water

– Vegetable oil

– 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– ½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 2 eggs, beaten

– 1 ¼ cups half-and-half or light cream

– 12 wooden skewers (10×1/4 inch)


  1. In a medium bowl combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and cheese. Add in beaten eggs.
  2. Preheat oil over medium heat in a deep saucepan. Insert skewers into sausages and roll them in batter until coated well.
  3. Fry corn dogs until browned, for about 3 minutes. Pat with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  4. Serve with dipping sauce.


Cinnamon Churros

– 1 cup water

– ⅓ cup butter

– 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

– ½ teaspoon salt

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– 1 egg

– ½ teaspoon vanilla

– Vegetable oil for deep-fat frying

– ¼ cup granulated sugar

– ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together water, butter, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to boil. Add all flour at once, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of pan. Cool for 10 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating well with a wooden spoon.
  2. Put mixture to a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Pipe 4×1-inch logs.
  3. Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry few logs at the same time in oil until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Keep warm in a 300 degree F oven while cooking the rest.
  4. In a bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll warm churros in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Serve warm.


Banana Split Cupcakes

– ¾ cup butter (room temperature)

– 3 eggs (room temperature)

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

– ¾ teaspoon salt

– ¼ teaspoon baking soda

– ½ cup mashed ripe banana (1 large)

– ⅓ cup milk

– ¼ cup sour cream

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 1 cup sugar

– Sweetened whipped cream

– 2 pints ice cream (any flavor)

– Chocolate-flavor syrup

– Maraschino cherries with stems and/or chopped nuts


  1. Line muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a bowl stir flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl mix mashed banana, milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Don’t forget to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and banana mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixed.
  3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, up to about two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter.
  4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Just before serving, add whipped cream to the top center of each cupcake.
  6. For each cupcake, top with a small scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with chocolate syrup or sauce. Add whipped cream on top. Garnish with maraschino cherries and/or nuts.


Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

– Nonstick cooking spray

– 1 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour

– ½ teaspoon baking soda

– ¼ teaspoon salt

– ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt

– ½ cup packed brown sugar

– ¼ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed

– 2 tablespoons canola oil

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

– ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat mini doughnut pan with cooking spray. In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl combine the yogurt, brown sugar, egg product, oil and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture; whisk until combined and smooth.
  2. Spoon batter into a large resealable plastic bag. Using scissors, cut off a corner; squeeze batter into prepared pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Smooth tops.
  3. Bake about 8 minutes or until doughnuts are nearly firm when lightly pressed. Cool in pan on a wire rack 3 minutes. Turn doughnuts out of pan onto wire rack.
  4. In a bowl stir together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Dip warm doughnuts into sugar mixture, turning to coat


5 Ways To Boost Your Home’s Value

Here are some tips for how to get the best bang for your buck on your home renovations, even in a tight real estate market.

1. Curb Appeal



If your house doesn’t look appealing from the outside, chances are a potential buyer will never make it inside. If the color of your house is  fading, painting is a good place to start your improvements. Choose colors and exterior details that match the period of your house. Paving a driveway or walkway that is in disrepair is a must, because this is what leads people to your home — you want it to be welcoming. Attractive, manicured front-yard landscaping will also add value to your home. Easy-to-care-for perennials are a good option if you don’t have a green thumb. And don’t forget about your backyard either. Outdoor living is very popular as more people wish to commune with nature in the comfort of their own home. Sprucing up a deck or patio with attractive furniture,

2. Kitchen is King

A “modern/updated kitchen” topped the list of ideal home features in a survey of millennials. If you plan to sell, don’t rip your kitchen down to the studs; a smaller investment can have serious impact. A new suite of stainless steel appliances, or a new quartz countertop and flooring, resulting in a fresh, coordinated look. Applying a fresh coat of paint to the walls or cabinets, and updating the hardware, can also breathe new life into the space.

3. Keep It Stress-Free

Beyond a home’s cosmetic finishes, it’s important to keep the major mechanical systems in working order. Many first-time buyers will have used up much of their savings on the down payment, so they want to know that the heating system, plumbing, and electricity have been recently updated. Central air conditioning is also in demand because it eliminates the need to switch window units in and out. An example: Hardwood floors. More carpets are being replaced with long-wearing hardwood flooring with a durable finish.


4. Build A Home For All Ages

The homes we see now aren’t equipped to safely accommodate older people: too many steep staircases, narrow walker-­unfriendly doorways, and slippery step-in bathtubs and showers. Forward-thinking homeowners are making necessary improvements to their home now, and those changes will benefit people of all ages, not just seniors. An example: Walk-in shower. Curbless showers eliminate the problem of having to step over the tub to shower. They also make showers wheelchair accessible, not to mention sleek and streamlined.


5. Paint Paint Paint

Paint keeps your home looking its best while also protecting its surfaces from wear, tear, and the elements. If you’re getting ready to sell, don’t blow thousands having every square inch repainted. Instead, focus on high-traffic areas, including the kitchen and bathrooms. Go for a neutral color scheme. Whites and off-whites remain the top-selling interior colors and will appeal to most homebuyers, allowing them to envision the space as their own. Neutrals appeal to all generations of buyers as well.

July 2017 Market Watch

For this month’s episode of Market Watch we will be talking about what the July market looked like. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) released their market watch report for the last month so let’s take a  look at the activity so far.


Now that we’re more than halfway through the year, we’ve seen it all in this market. The organic change from low to high to an unusual summertime shift. The number of new listings are up by roughly 5% in the year-by-year comparison as seen on TREB. The number of listings are decreasing as with around 5000 less listings than last month.

As shown in the graph above, July sales have dropped 40.4%, reaching the sales rate of 2013 but far below last year’s numbers. With all these numbers it’s no surprise that the pricing is still decreasing as well. In the first few months of 2017 we saw the average home price steeply increase month by month, however the summer months are not following the same pattern. As of July 2017 the average price sits at  $746,218 which is not a vast difference from June 2017’s $793,915. In the year-by-year comparison July 2017’s price is 5% higher than that of 2016.

For those who are unaware or need a refresher as to what months of inventory are, it refers to the time it would take to sell all current listings with no new listings being added. As seen in the graph above, the average inventory for the GTA area for July 2017 has increased by 0.1 months since June 2017, almost reaching the 2016 inventory.


The reductions in listings between June 2017 and July 2017 mean sellers too are holding back. This is not a direct result of the government policy changes but a psychological effect seen on GTA buyers. According to TREB’s research foreign buyers actually accounted for a small portion of GTA’s overall home buying activity. Many potential buyers are staying in their seats to see how the market will play out in the next few months which leaves the buyers and sellers who do not have the luxury of time to dive into the market.


The average day on market (DOM) for the City of Mississauga is 21 days while the City of Toronto now sits at 20 days. Both cities are stocked with 1.2 months of inventory. Properties of both areas are experiencing the longest duration on the market we’ve seen this year.


This is why it is so important to choose the right agent; Sellers must choose someone who can provide guidance in the current situation and understands what their expectations from this transaction. Buyers must find someone who can advise them, and knows when to push and when to hold back.


Steven Ho is the ideal realtor for any client, and here’s why: In a townhouse complex, Steven sold 30% of the 9 listings available, whilst 6 separate agents sold the remaining 6 listings. The average DOM for the 6 listings was 14 days, whilst for Steven’s listings the average DOM was only 9 days.


In terms of sold prices, the 6 other agents sold for roughly $489,000 while Steven Ho sold for $533,000, a difference of $44,000! A significant margin that is potentially lost with other realtors which could go to the payment of your next home. Here’s another reason to go with Steven: The other agents sold their listings for 102% of the asking price, which is a fair amount to gain no doubt. However Steven outperformed the other agents once again by selling his listings for 106% of the asking price. An additional 4% on a $500,000 home is $20,000!


People think all agents are the same, but different agents yield different results; picking Steven Ho will help you get the best results.


Source: All statistics are taken from the Toronto Real Estate Board 2017.


Steven Ho (B.Comm Hons)
Sales Representative
Phone: 647-504-0690

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service, Brokerage
186 Robert Speck Parkway, Mississauga, Ontario
Mississauga Real estate

7 Refreshing Summer Drinks

Summer heat can be hard to beat, but with these thirst quenching drinks your guests (and you) will be asking for more! No fancy ingredients, just the basic ones you can find at your local supermarket.


Green Tea Soda


Green Tea Soda

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 bags green tea
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 4 cups assorted fresh fruit ( nectarine wedges, lime slices, blueberries, and/or raspberries
  • 1L plain or flavored sparkling water, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint or 8 to 10 mint sprigs

And here’s how you make it: Boil water, add teabags to it, and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Remove teabags and then chill tea. Before serving, add honey or sugar to sweeten tea. Then pour tea equally into 8-10 glasses and add fruit along with sparkling water. Add mint for fresh taste.


Pina Colada Smoothie


Pina Colada Smoothie

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

And here’s how you make it: Add all the ingredients together and blend until almost smooth, make to save a few chunks for texture!


White Peach Sangria


Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup peach juice blend
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1.75 L bottle dry white wine
  • 2 medium white and/or yellow peaches, pitted and sliced
  • Ice cubes
  • Halved lime slices (optional)

And here’s how you make it: First mix together peach juice, orange juice and lime juice. Then add in wine and peach slices. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours. Serve with ice and garnish with lime if desired.



Tequila Sunrise Margarita


Tequila Sunrise Margarita

Here’s what you need:

  • Red colored sugar
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 3 cups Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
  • 2 – 3 cups tequila
  • 1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup superfine sugar or powdered sugar
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Grenadine syrup
  • orange slices (optional)

And here’s how you make it: First rim the glasses with the sugar by placing the sugar on a plate, then rubbing the lime wedge on the edge of the glass. Dip glasses in sugar and set aside. In a jug combine  Triple Sec, tequila, lime juice, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in orange juice. Chill until ready to serve. Add ice cubes to glasses, then pour tequila mixture over them. Add two dashes of grenadine to each glass and garnish with orange slices if desired.


Vanilla Chocolate Float



Here’s what you need:

  • 2 – 3 scoops chocolate ice cream
  • ½ cup cream soda, chilled
  • Chocolate wafer cookie

And here’s how you make it
: Place ice cream in a 12- to 14-ounce glass and add soda. Add cookie for garnish.


Electric Lemonade


Electric Lemonade

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼  – ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup sparkling mineral water
  • Splash ginger ale
  • 2 – 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Frozen vodka or sparkling mineral water
  • Mint sprigs and lemon slices for garnish

And here’s how you make it
: Chill glasses in the freezer. Meanwhile mix lemon juice,
sugar, mint, sparkling water, ginger ale, and ice in a blender. Slowly blend until thick. Remove the four glasses from the freezer and pour a 1/4 cup of vodka (or water)into each. Add frozen lemonade mixture over it. Garnish with mint and lemon slices.


Fresh Fruit Float

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups cut-up fruit (such as strawberries, seedless grapes, peeled oranges or bananas, and/or apples)
  • 4 cups low-calorie lemon-lime carbonated beverage or low-calorie ginger ale
  • 2 cups fruit-flavored sherbet

And here’s how you make it
: Divide fruit among 4 tall glasses. Slowly pour 1 cup carbonated beverage over fruit. Top each serving with 1/2 cup sherbet.