• Plant Your Apartment Herb Garden

    Apr 16, 2018

    An herb garden is a perfect edible DIY project. It's amazing that it needs just a sliver of space to exist but will offer you months of fresh herbs to enhance your recipes. With both constant temperatures and consistent light (hopefully), indoor gardens have less to contend with than their outdoor counterparts, and can produce year-round results. To help you plant your own DIY herb garden, Timbercreek has a few tips.

    Start out Safe

    Where you locate your garden isn’t just a sun-question. Make sure it’s in a place people (including yourself) won’t bump into it, knock it over, or just take up valuable counter space. Outfit your garden in a spot that’ll be protected, so as not to get annihilated by a grocery bag, backpack, cat paw, or dish.

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    Structure

    The simplest option is loading up a number of individual pots with herbs. A better approach is the rectangular plastic or tin trough-type containers that hold a number of different plants together. With this, the soil benefits from the combined species and they can all be watered at once. Another possibility is a bookshelf-style garden with multiple levels holding different pots. They all work. The key here is being creative with your particular space.  

    Good Sun

    You’ll need to know how much sun your plants will need, and what they’ll get based on your windows and orientation. Most vegetables do best in 6+ hours of full sun. Some greens and herbs are happy with less. Surrounding buildings or trees can block the sun, and your orientation usually means there are very specific sun-soaked hours. Check to make sure you hit the minimum for the type of plants you want before you buy seedlings.

    Gearing Up

    You'll need the basic garden essentials:

    1. Pots: The size can vary depending on what you're growing, but make sure there's enough depth for roots to fully develop. Shoot for 8" in diameter.

    2. Soil: Generally easy to find at garden centers or hardware stores. Pick up a mix that's formulated for containers, not the garden soil variety.

    3. Plants: Farmers markets are a great local source for herb and vegetable seedlings. Again, hardware and garden stores normally have a decent selection as well.

    4. Extras: A trowel, watering can, mister (old windex bottle), and fertilizer. Learn more.

    Start with Seedlings

    No matter what you're growing, buy your herbs as seedlings, not seeds. Growing plants from scratch is actually way harder, especially with a small space and the average person’s time constraints. Go for established toddler herbs and veg from a farmers market or nursery. You'll get edible results much sooner and with less work. Learn more.

    Best for Beginners

    Basil is a great starter herb. It grows well, smells great, and tastes even better. It also lets you know right away if you’re watering enough - a good tell-tale for the rest of the garden. Other excellent starter herbs are chives, scallions, cilantro, mint (which grows like crazy, so be aware), as well as leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, arugula). Small tomatoes and hot peppers are good options too. Learn more.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you plant a killer indoor herb garden. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Winterlicious

    Jan 29, 2018

    From January 26th to February 8th, 2018 more than 200 of Toronto’s top restaurants will offer incredible three-course prix fixe menus in one of three affordable price categories. It’s a time when the city comes alive to light up the dark winter nights and celebrate the winter season. Partake in an array of innovative cuisine from all around the world for low prices only available at this time of year. To help sort through the options, Timbercreek brings you a list of top spots to hit this year for Winterlicious.

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    7 Numbers

    Just east of Broadview on Danforth, 7 Numbers is a “fun and lively neighbourhood restaurant” specializing in Southern Italian food. With fresh ingredients and a warm, unpretentious atmosphere, you’ll get a family-feel in this east end go-to. Enjoy their $33 Prix Fixe menu and try the Truffle oil and Mushroom Risotto or homemade Lasagne. See more.

    Cluny

    There’s lots going on at the Distillery this season. While the famed Christmas Market dominates the holiday event list, French Bistro “Cluny” is an elegant Distillery mainstay regardless of season. With a neo-Parisian, marble-infused interior, and French inspired cuisine, it’s Winterlicious menu is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  Try the Gruyere French Onion Soup, Steak Frites, or Bourguignon Braised Beef Short Rib. $23 Lunch, $43 Dinner. Find out more here.

    Auberge de Pommier

    With renewed notoriety after being featured on Master Chef Canada, Michael Bonacini’s Auberge de Pomier was the original jewel in the Oliver & Bonacini crown. Serving Toronto diners since 1987, this exquisite French restaurant offers modern French cuisine, a wood burning fireplace, professional and personal service, and a 500 label wine selection. They will offer a $33 lunch, and a $53 dinner during Winterlicious. See more.

    Valens

    Located in the heart of downtown in beautiful Baldwin Village, Valens serves a wide variety of fusion foods including salads, seafood, aged steaks, grilled sandwiches and homemade desserts. With excellent service, a deep wine selection, and a warm atmosphere, it’s a great choice. $23 Lunch, $33 Dinner.

    Fonda Lola

    Located in the heart of Queen West, Fonda Lola focuses on fresh local ingredients and inventive tequila based cocktails. The menu features elevated Mexican food with an authentic, rustic atmosphere, offering a casual dining experience with friendly and professional staff. Try the Pico de Gallo, Chicken Mole Tacos, and don’t miss the Churros. They will offer a $23 lunch, and a $33 dinner.

    Timbercreek hopes this list of amazing restaurants to visit during Winterlicious gets you out and leaves you satisfied. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Get Fit In Your Living Room

    Jan 15, 2018

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    It’s hard enough getting to the gym in the sunny summer months, much less in the dark of winter. Good thing you can get in a killer workout without leaving the comfort of home. Even if you have nothing more than your own body and a pair of leggings, an intense workout is totally possible. To help get your heart rate up this season without leaving the house, Timbercreek brings you this list of living room workouts to help you get (or stay) fit this winter.

    HIIT

    High Intensity Interval Training is a system that revolves around short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by less intense periods of pseudo-rest. Nearly any exercise can be used, and while varied, standard intervals consist of 30 seconds of intensity, followed by a minute of low-activity rest. Think 30 seconds of jump squats followed by 1 minute of medium to low level jumping jacks. HIIT gets the heart rate up quickly and keeps it up, without the need for traditional exercises like running or a stairmaster. It's great for cardio and it activates the “Afterburn” effect where calories keep burning long after you’re done.

    Tabata

    A version of HIIT training, Tabata is a fitness system that’s as simple as it is effective. The basics involve 20 seconds of intense exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Start with any group of 4 exercises (let’s say push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks and squats). Do the first for 20 intense seconds. Then rest for 10. Then repeat with the second, third, and fourth exercises. You then repeat that round of 4 anywhere from 4 to 8, or 10 times. It’s fast. Intense. And effective.

     

    Body Weight

    With just the weight of your body, you can get a killer workout. Exercises like squats, lunges (or jumping lunges), jumping jacks, running on the spot, and step-ups improve cardio and isolate your legs, butt, calves, and core; mountain climbers, sit-ups, leg-raises, and crunches target your abs; push ups and planks hit the triceps, chest, shoulders, abs, and back; while all of it, done in sets with no or little rest (as above), collectively get your heart rate up for cardio.

    Crossfit

    A variation on Tabata and HIIT, Crossfit combines an enormous array of exercises into a single system. With core exercises like the clean and jerk, chin up, push up, and squat, crossfit employs myriad (and sometimes tricky) variants (i.e. the rope climb) to get practitioners fit by applying and incorporating exercises from different sports and traditions. Check out their workout of the day.

    Pilates and Yoga

    Less intense options that still offer fitness, flexibility, and mental rejuvenation, Pilates and Yoga focus on holding static postures which simultaneously build strength and pliable muscles. A great option for indoor workouts in winter.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps you stay fit this winter in the comfort of your living room. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Hot chocolate, 5 ways!

    Nov 20, 2017

    The weather is cool, crisp and comfortable. It’s perfect for long walks in cozy sweaters and makes cozying up with a cup of hot chocolate feel great! To keep your hot chocolate options interesting this season, Timbercreek Communities presents hot chocolate, 5 ways!

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    Nutella Hot Chocolate

    For a hazelnut twist on traditional hot chocolate, switch out the cocoa for nutella and make Nutella Hot Chocolate. It’s so easy! In a small saucepan, combine milk and nutella over medium high heat. Whisk together until smooth and creamy. For an extra creamy treat, serve with a dollop (or two) of whipped cream.

    White Hot Chocolate

    The White Hot Chocolate trend is red hot right now, and for good reason - it’s delicious and easy to make! Make your own by mixing together chopped white chocolate, your choice of milk (almond, rice, or half and half cream) with vanilla extract. If you want to go the extra mile, try this homemade vanilla extract. Stir the mixture over medium heat until it simmers -- don’t let it boil! Serve it with marshmallows and whipped cream for an over-the-top treat.

    Oreo Hot Chocolate

    Take hot chocolate to the next level with this Oreo Hot Chocolate recipe. Yes, it is as good as it sounds! We’ve all done the oreo dunk. This drink infuses every sip with that same great flavour! To make it, blend milk with sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, cornstarch and of course, Oreos! Heat more milk in a saucepan and add in the Oreo milk mixture. Whisk it together over medium low heat for a few minutes and serve.

    Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

    Before you enjoy this amazing Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate you’ll need to prepare the Salted Caramel Sauce! Store it in the fridge and use it to make a mug at a time, and also enjoy it on ice cream, toast, oatmeal - or anything else! Mix together milk, caramel sauce and finely chopped dark chocolate and stir over medium heat. When it becomes a thick and rich liquid it’s ready to serve.

    Peppermint Hot Chocolate

    This Peppermint Hot Chocolate is cool and refreshing, and warm and relaxing, all at once! It’s made by combining milk, cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. As the mixture starts to steam, stir in finely chopped chocolate. As it thickens, add the peppermint oil and serve with whipped cream and some chocolate shavings.

    Timbercreek hopes that these  decadent hot chocolate recipes help make fall even cozier! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.
  • Sweet Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

    Oct 12, 2017

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    Pumpkins are a big, bright symbol of the season. These gorgeous gourds are also delicious to eat. If you’re a pumpkin fan, Timbercreek Communities has some sweet pumpkin recipes for you to try this fall.

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

    Cinnamon rolls may be one of life’s greatest pleasures. We adore these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. The soft pumpkin dough combines perfectly with the spiced sweet filling, and the gooey maple cream cheese icing takes them over the top. This recipe is pure pumpkin perfection.

    Pumpkin Spice Latte

    As soon as the leaves start to change, Pumpkin Spice Lattes begin popping up at pretty much every coffee shop. They taste good, but they are pricey and most contain no pumpkin at all! This homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte is the perfect pairing with any sweet pumpkin treat on this list. It’s also easy to make and actually contains pumpkin. Imagine that!

    Pumpkin Loaf

    Picture this: you’re curled up on the sofa with a slice of Spiced Pumpkin Bread, a blanket and hot cup of tea or cocoa -- it’s heaven on a chilly day in fall. If you want to make that fantasy a reality, prepare a couple of loaf pans and preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine sugar and oil in a big bowl and blend. Add in egg and pumpkin. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). Combine the two mixtures, add in walnuts for an even more substantial snack, and pour the mixture into loaf pans to bake.

    Pumpkin Pie 

    It’s tough to beat a perfectly prepared piece of Pumpkin Pie in the fall. Prepare your pie by combining pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, sugar, salt and spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg) in a bowl and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture into a prepared pie crust and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F for another 50 minutes. Allow it to cool before you dig in!

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert any time of the year. Put a fall twist on the traditional treat with this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. They’re easy to make and require less than 15 minutes to bake!

    Timbercreek hopes that these sweet pumpkin recipes help you get the most out of pumpkin season this fall! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, 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.

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