• Kickstart Your 2018 New Year's Resolutions: Recipes

    Jan 02, 2018
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    Eating healthy has always been a popular New Year’s resolution. If it's on your list in 2018, Timbercreek wants to help you make eating well easy with this list of simple healthy recipes that taste amazing.

    Shredded Kale and Pistachio Salad

    This super green salad will keep you on the right track. Wash fresh kale, stem and de-vein the leaves, and julienne into thin slices. Add diced avocado, cubed bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. Dress with 4:1 olive oil to balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, lemon juice, a crushed garlic clove, and a touch of honey or maple syrup. Garnish with shelled, chopped pistachios and serve.

    Roasted Chicken Legs with Spicy Root Veg and Roasted Onions

    This hearty tasting meal is actually light and balanced. Season 1 chicken leg per person with salt and pepper and set aside. Precook thickly diced root veg (potato, beets, pumpkin or squash) until soft. Season with salt and pepper, chili pepper, and toss until covered. Lay evenly across the bottom of a baking dish. Place seasoned chicken evenly over top of the veg bed. Chop red onions into quarters, and place in remaining holes in baking dish. Bake at 350-400F for an hour. An easy all-in-one meal with minimal prep time.

    Barley With Sautéed Leeks, Peas, And Parsley

    This vegetarian entree is packed  with fiber and protein. Precook your barley (like you would rice). Chop leeks and parsley, parboil or microwave peas (or shuck if fresh), and combine all together in a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil and one clove of crushed garlic. Pour the sauteed veg over top of the barley once cooked, or add the barley to the pan and sautée everything to combine the ingredients. Add tofu or grilled chicken for a bigger protein punch.  Learn more here.

    Herbed Hummus

    Don’t underestimate the versatility and ease of hummus. Make the base by combining drained chickpeas, 2 cloves garlic, ½ cup (or to taste) tahini, ¼-½ cup lemon juice, and then add in the herb(s) of your choice. Our faves include cilantro, rosemary, dil, thyme and basil.  Other spices like cayenne or paprika, and flavourful cheeses like parmigiano reggiano pack a punch. Read more.

    Green Smoothies

    The perfect New Year’s Resolution drink, green smoothies are easy, versatile, and taste great. You can successfully combine almost any fruit and veg.  Even raw seeds and grains, especially oats, flax, chia and sunflower seeds, work well.  A ½ cup of protein powder also adds a flavour kick that will help you stay full from breakfast to lunch. For a great starter green smoothie, combine a handful of baby spinach, a frozen banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries or other berries, milk or juice. Delicious!

    Rainbow Veggie Wrap

    Wraps are great for a quick lunch on the go.we love this rainbow wrap recipe because it's full of veggies. To make it, julienne your choice of veg like bell peppers, cucumber, zucchini, celery, carrot, avocado, even broccoli works. Start with a wrap, add some mustard, mayo, or hummus, apply a big leaf of romaine, kale or iceberg lettuce, then throw down your veg and wrap up. A healthy and tasty lunch that comes together in a blink. Learn more.

    Yam Soup with Kale and Spinach

    A beautifully coloured soup that’s as warm and cozy as it is healthy. Boil a few yams and lightly sautée a few leaves of kale and spinach with diced garlic in olive oil or butter. Pile all of it into a blender, add salt and pepper to taste in addition to a bit of chicken stock or water to thin if required. Heat once blended thoroughly and serve.

    Granola-Yogurt Parfait

    This simple, tasty breakfast (or snack) is lightning fast to make and can help you lose weight. Combine layers of raspberries, yogurt, and low-fat granola in a champagne flute or another tall glass. Find out more.

    Timbercreek hopes that these easy and healthy recipes make healthy eating a part of your routine in 2018. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Indoor Plants That Will Make it Through Winter

    Nov 28, 2017

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    Indoor plants can be life-enhancing. They clean the air, provide a beautiful splash of colour, and it’s always super satisfying to nurture something and watch it grow. During the winter, keeping indoor plants healthy and happy can become difficult. The short days mean many plants receive too little light to survive and the heated, dry, indoor air doesn’t help either. It is possible to enjoy some thriving greenery all year long. It’s all about choices. To help you keep your green thumb year-round, Timbercreek Communities has put together this shortlist of indoor plants that will make it through the winter.

    Aloe Vera

    In addition to its many medicinal benefits, the Aloe Vera plant is a hardy and attractive succulent that is easy to care for. It doesn’t require a lot of light. It thrives in indirect light or even artificial light. Make sure you plant them in well-draining potting mix designed for succulents as a lack of drainage can cause root rot. Water them deeply but allow a couple of inches of soil to dry between waterings, and water even less during winter.

    Areca Palm

    The Areca Palm is big, bold and impressive plant. It features large fronds, each with up to 100 leaflets. They are easy to care for. The soil should be a little dry between waterings in fall and winter, making them perfect for the dry, indoor air. 

    Jade

    Another hearty succulent, Jade plants are easy to care for and will live a long time with little attention. Again, let the soil dry during the winter and avoid getting the leaves wet when watering. If you notice brown spots on the leaves, or the leaves start to shed, more water is required.

    Peace Lily

    The Peace Lily is well known for its hardy and forgiving nature. They will let you know when they need water by their telltale droop. This tropical plant thrives in shade and low light, and is one of the best air-cleaning plants available. It’s an ideal indoor winter plant.

    Snake Plant 

    Another easy-to-care-for plant that is also a top-notch air purifier is the Snake Plant. It’s named for its long, straight, slender and colourful leaves. These plants can be left alone, in low light for weeks at a time and still thrive! Let the soil dry out between waterings and let them do their thing!

    Timbercreek hopes that you invest in these great indoor plants that will make it through the winter. Care for them and they will help you thrive this winter! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.

  • Movember: How to Participate

    Nov 01, 2017

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    Movember has grown from 30 Mo Bros in 2003 to over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to date. It’s the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, addressing not only prostate cancer, but testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Independent of government funding, the Movember organization challenges the status quo and invests quicker in what works. In 13 years Movember has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world. Timbercreek wants you to support this worthy cause so here are a few ways you can get involved with Movember this fall.

    Grow a Moustache

    Growing a moustache and collecting donations is the easiest way to show your support. To get started, simply sign up at the Movember website and create your own custom page. Then, start growing. You’ve got 30 days to grow your best Tom Selleck or Lanny McDonald, during which time you can fundraise for donations to support the cause. Learn more here.

    Create Your Own Event

    Can’t grow a stache? No problem. You can still get involved by creating your own fundraiser. How you fundraise is up to you and almost anything is possible. Plan your event, sign up and create a free page on the Movember site, and put the word out. Check out more here.

    Host an Event

    Whether it’s a golf tournament, band night, or a dinner party – this Movember, get friends and colleagues together to raise funds, make some noise, and stop men from dying too young. It doesn’t have to be big -- just make it bold. Find out more here.

    Donate

    If you don’t want to host, think up an event, or grow out your stache, you can always donate. You can also organize an employee matching donation program in your business or office, encouraging your organization to widen its reach. Find out more.

    Join an “Industry Challenge”

    During Movember, join one of many Industry Challenges to compete with other fundraisers in your work sector and around the country. There are prizes and rewards on offer, plus the chance to claim bragging rights for a year. Check out the Industry Challenges that were on offer in 2016 here.

    Timbercreek hopes this article inspires you to support Movember this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Best Fall Activities for the Kids

    Oct 16, 2017

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    Fall has finally arrived. It’s a special time of year, full of beautiful colours and crisp, cool air. Don’t let this short season pass you by -- Timbercreek has a list of some of the best fall activities for kids.

    Make Handprint Fall Trees

    Your kids will love making these Autumn Handprint Trees. They’re easy for kids of almost any age to make and require very little preparation. All you need is a sheet of white cardstock paper, a pencil, paint (primary colours), paper plate paint palettes, and some Q-tips. Start by tracing a faint line around your child’s hand and arm - this will form the trunk and branches of the tree. Mixing the paint is a great way to teach your kids about colours. Any kid can make brown, just mix them all together! For the leaves, experiment with mixing primary colours to get the fall shades you want. Use Q-tips, the pencil tip or even fingertips to add dots around the tree and watch it transform into something special.

    Go On A Fall Scavenger Hunt

    Getting outside and enjoying the brilliant colours and the cool air is a great way to make the most of fall. Rather than taking the kids out for a regular walk in the park, why not plan a fun Fall Scavenger Hunt! You can turn it into a chance for them to learn, too! This free printable animal camouflage scavenger hunt features frog cutouts. Your kids can colour them in fall shades and you can hide them in the fallen leaves. Set a timer and see how fast your kids can find them, while they learn about how animals avoid predators.

    Paint Some Pumpkins

    Pumpkins are a big and bright symbol of fall. Carving them into Jack O’Lanterns is fun, but not a great activity for younger kids. Put the knives away and break out the paint! The options of what to paint and how to paint your pumpkins are endless! Add some white to the top, some yellow to the bottom, and leave the middle orange for a candy corn inspired look that kids of all ages can create.

    Make Leaf Crowns

    You and your children will have a royally good time creating these Fall Leaf Crowns! All you need are some fallen leaves, a thin strip of cardboard (a cereal box will do nicely), and glue. All you have to do is glue the leaves to the cardboard and glue the cardboard into a circle! It’s fun and easy and it makes your kids feel like kings and queens!

    Timbercreek hopes that that these fall activities for kids help make your family’s fall even brighter! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • How to Host a Thanksgiving Dinner

    Oct 02, 2017

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    The countdown to Thanksgiving is on. Whether you prefer stuffed turkey or tofu, mashed potatoes or roasted, there’s really something for everyone on the table. And from table decorations to wine, there’s a lot to consider when you host Thanksgiving dinner. Timbercreek has a few great tips to help you host a memorable holiday meal this Thanksgiving.

    Timing

    Pretty much every list of how to host thanksgiving starts (and finishes) with timing. Not to be pessimistic, but if the food isn’t ready for dinner, you’re doomed. If you’re serving roast Turkey (or even Tofurkey), timing is everything. The Turkey itself takes hours depending on weight. And then there’s all the side dishes -- we’re talking everything from mashed potatoes to sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, carrots, green bean casserole, corn, and/or squash. If you opt for scalloped potatoes or gratin potatoes you’ll add a whole other level of complexity to your timing. And then there’s the pumpkin pie. Our best advice is to carefully plan your menu and start cooking early -- the previous day if possible. Make anything you can before the day. Oh, and accept all the help you can get! If someone asks to contribute, ask them to make one of the side dishes.

    Table Setting and Decoration

    Gourds, gourds, gourds. While knobby and odd looking, these little suckers are sensationally seasonal. You can find them everywhere from grocery stores to Walmart in October. They are the perfect decorative accent for Thanksgiving. Pair them with few well placed candles, some colorful placemats and napkins. If your guests offer to bring something, ask for seasonal flower arrangements.

    Wine

    Red wine is made for Thanksgiving. While winefolly.com includes a rose and a sparkling white on their list of best wines for Thanksgiving, reds overwhelmingly win the day. Look for Beaujolais, Granache, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese. You can’t lose when you go with red.

    Beer

    Stouts and heavier IPAs are perfect for Thanksgiving. They tend to be “warmer” and more substantial. Many craft breweries also offer seasonal beers to celebrate Thanksgiving. Give Great Lakes Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale a try.

    Seasonal Teas and Coffee

    You have to have options for the non-drinkers in the house. We’re not talking about Budweiser Prohibition. Go with seasonal teas and/or coffee: i.e. pumpkin spice, chai, and fruit teas with a medley of nuts or cinnamon, in addition to classic chai pumpkin lattes or flavoured coffees. Learn more here.

    Fire Smell

    There’s nothing like the smell of wood fire. It might be the most popular smell of fall. If you have a fireplace, light it up this Thanksgiving. If you’re one of many who don’t, try collecting some pine needles, dry leaves, or pick up some cedar incense or (lightly) scented candles. There’s nothing like walking into a home or apartment and getting hit with the aroma of Fall.

    Conversation Topics

    Good conversation makes any celebration better. It can be tricky to avoid the “So what do you do for work” or “How ‘bout that Trump” small talk. If your celebration involves guests who are strangers to each other this year, look at converstationstarters.com

    Timbercreek hopes this article helps you make the most of Thanksgiving this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Why And How To Buy Organic On A Budget

    Sep 26, 2017

    There are many benefits to eating organic. Fruits and veggies that are certified organic are grown with limited pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic produce is not irradiated and the seeds are chemical and GMO free. Animal products sold as organic means the animal was not given antibiotics or growth hormones. It means that they were fed with organic feed and were not medicated, except for vaccinations or for specific illness.

    There are many environmental benefits of organic farming. It makes for cleaner groundwater and healthier soil. It reduces non-renewable energy inputs and can reduce the greenhouse effect and climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil. Overall, organic farming can lead to stronger biodiversity and greater sustainability. The benefits are clear, but they also cost more. Timbercreek Communities wants to help you buy organic on a budget.

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    Join a co-op

    Becoming a member of a co-op can help reduce your grocery costs and help connect you with you local food community. Membership fees and/or volunteer hours help to keep overhead costs down and provide local and organic food at fair prices.

    Delivery services

    Organic delivery services can ensure that a steady supply of organic food arrives at your door, often for a lower price than large grocery stores. SPUD services several cities in western Canada, including Calgary and Edmonton. In the Toronto area, Wanigan Organics provides weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of package deals as well as custom orders.  Look for a provider near you, including Fresh Option in Winnipeg,  Ecollegey in Montreal and HGOF in Halifax.

    Shop smart with an affordable food list

    Knowing what to buy and what not to buy is crucial to keeping your grocery bill under control. Not everything has to be organic. The thick peel of produce, such as avocados and bananas, protects the flesh from absorbing agricultural chemicals. Be sure to wash the peel first, as the chemicals can be transferred as you cut into it. To help simplify, buy organic on the Dirty Dozen and save money going conventional on the Clean 15 -- the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group.

    Timbercreek hopes this post helps you buy organic on a budget! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Best Kid-Friendly Fall Activities

    Sep 18, 2017

    To help keep your little ones smiling this fall, Timbercreek brings you this list of kid-friendly fall activities the whole family will love.

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    Nature Walk

    It’s almost always a good time to go for a walk. Even if you’re subdivision bound, there are always parks close by, or conservation areas a little further away, that can make for a great fall outing. Pack a snack or a full-on lunch, make sure to bring water, and outfit your little ones with some sturdy shoes. Also bring bags for the kids to collect nature items - twigs, rocks, leaves, bark - it can all be fun for nature collections or crafting once you get home. As fall temperatures start to drop, be sure to consider appropriate clothing and layers to make your outing disaster proof.

    Picnic

    Picnics aren’t just for summer. A fantastic fall activity, picnics are great so long as you wear and bring the right stuff along. With unpredictable temperatures, pack some hats and coats. Don’t forget to bring all the usual picnic supplies like frisbees, baseballs, blankets, PB & J sammies, drink boxes, and kites. 

    Pumpkin Carving

    While generally reserved for Halloween, pumpkins are a symbol of autumn. Harvested from September through October, they offer families a great range of activities. Going to a local pumpkin “patch” to pick a few for the house is a great afternoon outing, while carving competitions, roasting pumpkin seeds, and playing with pumpkin “slime” are all great ways to enjoy them.

    Leaf Forts

    Jumping in a pile of leaves is a classic fall activity that never gets old. For kids it’s like an invitation to play and explore. Burying, burrowing, making forts, tossing them all over each other in leaf wars: they all make for great outdoor play that can occupy kids for hours. On a safety note, while obvious, check your leaf piles (before your kid jumps in them) for branches, rocks, garbage, and other debris that can be hiding inside after raking and yard cleaning.

    Baking

    A great fall activity for kids is baking. A couple seasonal snack options are apple chips and roasted pumpkin seeds. Slice some apples in thin, full width pieces and place evenly on a baking tray. Sprinkle them with cinnamon, brown sugar, a bit of butter, and even some coarse sea salt, and bake at 340F until slightly dehydrated and/or golden brown. Let dry and refrigerate for a great snack. Almost the same process can be applied to pumpkin seeds. Clean and rinse a big handful of seeds and lay them out evenly on a baking sheet. Add coarse salt and, if desired, a dash of olive oil, and bake until firm and slightly brown.

    Make Butter

    It’s surprisingly easy to make butter and it’s also a great activity to do with kids. All it requires is heavy whipping cream and a whisk. But by using a Mason jar, two small marbles, and a bit of music, you can dance your way to whipping that cream into butter. Shake a jar (or whisk) until the cream thickens. As the fat molecules bind together, a ball of butter will form, separating from the remaining buttermilk. Once a ball has formed, drain off the buttermilk, add some salt, and voila!  Homemade butter.

    Timbercreek hopes this article gives you a few ideas for how to entertain your kids this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Portable (College-Friendly) Meal Ideas

    Sep 12, 2017

    Life can get pretty hectic, and constantly eating on the go from take-out containers can get pretty expensive. It’s also unhealthy. Timbercreek Communities wants to help you eat well on-the-go with these portable (college-friendly) meal ideas.

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    Teriyaki Bento Box

    A Teriyaki Bento Box is a great way to sample several delicious Japanese dishes all at once. Making it yourself will help you save a few bucks, too! This recipe is easy and accessible for home cooks. Simmer rice until the water is absorbed. Stir the rice, remove the lid and remove from the heat. Marinate boneless chicken thighs with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, mirin, rice wine vinegar and minced garlic. In an another bowl mix miso, vinegar, soy sauce and honey and set aside. Sauté green beans and mushrooms in vegetable oil for about 5 minutes before adding the miso dressing. Complete your bento box with a simple salad or fresh fruit.

    Breakfast Cookies

    You’re an adult now, and that means you can eat cookies for breakfast, if you want to. If you want to be a responsible adult and actually eat a breakfast that will keep you energized and is fun and portable -- try these Jumbo Breakfast Cookies. They can be ready to eat in about 20 minutes and you can make them the night before to grab and go!

    Ramen

    Why subject yourself to packets of noodles loaded with salt and MSG when your can create your own ramen dish in minutes? This Easy Vegan Ramen is great all on it’s own, or use it as a base to add meaty morsels to. The 10-ingredient recipe is made with mushroom broth, crispy tofu and miso-roasted veggies.

    Buddha Bowl

    A healthy Buddha Bowl will fill your belly and put a smile on your face. A Buddha Bowl is a blanket term for colorful bowls composed of vegetables, healthy grains, and protein. There are limitless combinations, so you will never grow weary of this easy, make-at-home meal.

    Sushi

    The secret to great sushi is in the rice. This recipe will show you how to make it right. Once you have the rice down, you’re ready to move onto some delicious rolls. California rolls make a great, portable meal because raw fish may not travel well. They call for avocado and Surimi (cooked, imitation crab).

    Timbercreek hopes that these portable meal ideas keep you from running on empty. To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • School Supplies You Need For University And Where To Get Them

    Sep 07, 2017

    Back to school time is a mixed bag. It’s time to get back to the grind, but also time to see school friends and learn new things. If you want to be truly prepared for university you need the right school supplies. To help you make the right choices, Timbercreek brings you this list of what you need, and where to get it.

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    Laptop

    A laptop is pretty much essential for university. And depending on what kind of person you are (mac or pc) a new laptop is obtainable in a variety of ways. In-store: from the Apple store to Best Buy, Costco, university bookstores and mom and pop computer shops, you can find pretty much everything. Plus there’s the advantage of seeing what you’re buying, and talking to an actual human about the product. Online: from Amazon to the Apple store, Best Buy and more, pretty much everything in a store is available online - and with the advantage of having it delivered to your home. Used: from Craigslist to Kijiji and authorized Apple resellers, great deals can be found on used laptops. Be sure to do your due-diligence, but used machines can often save you half the price of a new one.

    Backpack

    From designer bags to walmart no-name brands, backpacks and rucksacks are everywhere. The trick is finding that unicorn mix of affordability and quality. But don’t think too hard - one of the best and easiest options is scrolling through the stock of Mountain Equipment Co-op. Durable, affordable, and available in a variety of models and price points, it’s a Canadian-made option that doesn’t disappoint.

    Notebooks

    There are a few things the dollar store really nails: one of them is school supplies. While you won’t necessarily get the best pens on the planet, their notebooks are great.They’ve got different colors, sizes, line widths, dividers, no dividers, holes for integration with binders - they’re hard to beat. And they’re cheap.

    Pens, pencils, highlighters

    There’s a whole lot you can get for cheap at the dollar store. But other excellent options include Canadian Tire, art supply stores like Currys, Deserres, as well as long time office supply giant, Staples.

    Printer

    Common office supply stores and online shopping hubs generally stock the largest supply of printers and printer gear (Staples, The Source, Best Buy, Amazon, etc.), but they can also be found at university bookstores and small computer shops. The main point to consider with printers is the cost-use ratio. While cheap up front, standard ink/bubble jet printers have a lifespan of a year if you’re lucky, and laser versions are pricey, while ink and maintenance for all is a costly pain. A lot of times using a local print shop, Kinkos, or the university bookstore is cheaper and more convenient in the long run.

    Timbercreek hopes this list of school supplies and where to get them helps you find what you need for university this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Boneless Chicken Recipes

    Aug 14, 2017

    No bones about it; chicken is a healthy meal choice. It can get a bit dry and dull, so Timbercreek Communities wants to share some ways to do it right. Enjoy one of these Boneless Chicken Recipes tonight!

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    1. Baked Lemon Chicken

      Say goodbye to dull, dry chicken breasts and say hello to Baked Lemon Chicken. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Cook until browned (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Place the browned chicken on a baking sheet and whisk chicken broth together with lemon juice, honey, garlic and Italian seasoning. Pour this mixture over the chicken and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

    2. Super Simple Jerk Chicken

      Keep things simple, spicy and delicious with this Super Simple Jerk Chicken recipe. Prepare the rub by combining spices in a bowl with canola oil and brown sugar. Transfer spice-rubbed chicken breasts to a hot skillet or grill and cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side. Let the cooked chicken sit for few minutes to let the juices soak in before serving.

    3. Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken

      You and your family will love this Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken recipe. The sweet and spicy glaze is made by whisking together water, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar with your favourite hot sauce, minced garlic and a little salt. While the sauce is boiling, brown the chicken in a skillet then place it on a greased baking sheet and brush on the flavourful sauce. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes and pour the rest of the sauce on the hot chicken.

    4. Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers

      These Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers are made with a simple 3-ingredient marinade of honey, mustard and minced garlic - plus a little salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or even overnight. Soak the wooden skewers beforehand to prevent splintering or burning.

    5. Sticky Garlic Chicken Bites
      Try these Sticky Garlic Chicken Bites for bite-sized bits of panko-breaded bliss!  Prepare the chicken by dipping it first into a bowl of 2 beaten eggs and then pressing them into the panko crumbs. Bake on a greased pan until crisp (about 20 minutes). Prepare the sauce by heating honey, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and Sriracha in a saucepan over medium heat, until it thickens. Gently toss cooked chicken in the sauce.

    Timbercreek hopes that these boneless chicken recipes help liven up your evening. To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, visit our website.

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