• How To Host A Dinner Party In A Small Space

    Aug 08, 2019

    Just because you have a small apartment doesn’t mean you can’t throw a great party. Timbercreek Communities has a few suggestions for how to host a successful dinner party in a small space.

    friends eating together

    Use Floor Cushions Instead of Chairs

    Who said you need a dining room set for a great dinner party? You can have an informal, Asian-themed dinner party with pillows. Instead of using chairs, have everyone sit on floor cushions around a coffee table. You can also buy a couple of wooden crates and use them as tables where you can place decorations, food and drinks.

    Choose Buffet Style Over Sit-Down

    When space is limited, a buffet style dinner is a better option than a sit-down dinner. Some people can stand, while others can stand and mingle -- which means that you won’t need a seat for everyone. Use your coffee table, side table and kitchen counter to display the food and drinks and maybe throw a few floor pillows on the ground for extra seating if you think you’ll need it.

    Have A Dedicated Glass For Everyone

    Dirty cups and glasses can really add up at a party. They either end up filling up your sink or wind up in the garbage. To minimize this, you can dedicate a glass for each person. This will save a ton of space, cleaning and waste (if you’re using paper or plastic cups). You can do so by using wine glass charms or a metallic pen.

    Prepare Food Ahead of Time

    If you want your dinner party to go smoothly in your small apartment, you have to be organized and plan ahead. The easiest way to do this is to prepare all your food ahead of time. Make a few things the night before or the morning of, but don’t leave anything for when you’re guests arrive. The last thing you want is the hot oven to be on, with a bunch of people in your living room, dying of heat! This is why finger food is the best option. You could make anything from pizza to sliders, or countess other things!

    Don’t let your small apartment discourage you from hosting a great dinner party. It’s totally doable! Timbercreek hopes you found these tips helpful and that you enjoy planning your first party in your small space!

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • The Tastiest Toronto Food Festivals This Summer

    Jul 30, 2019

    Toronto is an amazing place to be in the summer -- especially if you love food. To help you dig in, Timbercreek Communities has rounded up 5 of the tastiest food festivals happening in the city this summer. Don't miss these great events!

    People at food festival

    Pizza Fest Toronto

    Get ready for the biggest pizza party in the city! Pizza Fest Toronto takes over Toronto Island from July 19th to 21st. It’s the perfect place to try pizzas from some of the best restaurants in Toronto. Vendors will also serve pastas, meatball sandwiches, wine and cocktails (including Aperol Spritz and Limoncello). Plus, you can hang out and enjoy live music, bocce ball, pizza-making classes and more!

    The Rose Picnic

    This is one picnic you won’t want to miss! Spend your afternoon at the beautiful Stanley Barracks and sip on some of the best rosé from Ontario and beyond. There will be music all day long and gourmet chefs serving delicious food. The Rose Picnic is happening on August 11th rom 12 pm to 11 pm.

    Taste of the Middle East

    Celebrate food and culture at this year’s Taste of the Middle East! It’s your chance to sample authentic middle eastern food, experience traditional music and dance and purchase beautiful jewellery and art. There will be a giant Souk (a traditional market) in the middle of Dundas Square where you can take a coffee break, shop or have your fortune told. Attending the festival is also a great way to give back. Taste of the Middle East is partnering up with Second Harvest, the largest food rescue charity in Canada. Be sure to check it out on July 27th.

    Summerlicious

    Summerlicious is the perfect festival if you want to sample food from a variety of restaurants in Toronto. Each place will have a three-course lunch and dinner prix fixe menu ranging from $23-$53. Summerlicious is a good opportunity to try something new and discover your new favourite restaurants. Make sure to reserve a table ahead of time as most of the popular restaurants book up fast.

    Toronto Food Truck Festival

    Good food, cold beer and live music is what you should expect at the Toronto Food Truck Festival this year. Spend the day at Woodbine Park sampling anything from pizzas to perogies, listening to live music and watching eating challenges. The festival is on from August 2nd to 5th and it’s free!

    With all these amazing food festival options to explore, it’s going to be an incredible summer! Timbercreek hopes you have a chance to check out at least one.

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • DIY Halloween treats for your pet

    Oct 16, 2018

    Your pet may not know what Halloween is all about, but they’re sure to notice that you’re snacking on some tasty treats. Don’t leave your pal out of the fun! Timbercreek Communities wants to share some easy DIY Halloween treats for your pet.

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    Peanut Butter Doggy Bones

    Whip up a batch of Peanut Butter Doggy Bones by beating peanut butter, egg, honey, oats, whole wheat flour, vegetable oil and water into a dough. Cut the dough into the perfect shape with Dog Bone Cookie Cutters. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Make the icing by melting almond butter with oil and dipping the cooled biscuits in. They can be stored for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

    Kitty Treats

    These kitty treats are simply adorable. Make the dough with applesauce, grated carrots, canned pumpkin, oats and rice flour. Roll the dough into small balls, place on a lined baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350°F for 7 minutes, flip and bake for another 5 minutes. This video will show you how!

    Pup Cakes

    Pup Cakes are peanut butter, applesauce and Greek yogurt based cupcakes for your dog. Complete them with a cream cheese, pumpkin, honey and yogurt frosting -- if your pooch has a sweet tooth.

    Cookies for Cats

    These Cookies for Cats are made with whole wheat flour, canned tuna in oil, and egg. Cut the dough into fish shapes, and score with a pizza cutter to make diamond shapes that look like scales. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

    Strawberry Shortcake Dog Biscuits

    These Strawberry Shortcake Dog Biscuits will delight your dog with a canine take on the classic berries and cream dessert. They look so good, you might want to share them -- if they let you!

    Timbercreek hopes you love whipping up these Halloween treats for your pet as much as your pet will love wolfing them down!

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

    Aug 08, 2018

    The miracle of the ice cream maker has made it possible to bring the magic of ice cream to your own kitchen. Without much work, you can whip up an awesome ice cream recipe! And even if you don’t have one, there are deceptively simple ways to make ice cream with nothing but a few ingredients.

    Ice Cream

    Salted Pretzel Ice Cream with Chocolate and Peanut Butter

    Wow, if the title doesn’t say enough, the taste sure will. A salted pretzel-flavored ice cream base studded with dark chocolate and peanut butter. It requires an ice cream maker, but it's worth the effort. Check out more here.

    Earl Grey and Lavender Ice Cream

    With a slight Asian influence, nodding to green tea ice cream, this variation makes use of the wonderfully subtle flavours of Earl Grey Tea and Lavender, which gives the ice cream a slightly purplish hue, with a phenomenal aroma.  Find out more and get the recipe.

    Mason Jar Ice Cream

    Here’s a 4-ingredient stunner that doesn’t even need an ice cream maker. Pour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt into a mason jar, secure tightly with a lid, shake until the cream thickens and almost doubles in size (4 to 5 minutes). Freeze for 3 hours, or until hardened. Learn more.

    One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

    This is an almost unbelievable recipe requiring just bananas and a blender or food processor. Cut bananas into slices, freeze solid, transfer to a blender or food processor and begin pulsing on lower then higher settings, until, magically, it turns from chunky ice bits to smooth ice cream. Best of all, it's airy and gluten free. Learn more.

    “Lemonsicle” Ice Cream

    This is another super simple variation requiring only cream, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Mix all the ingredients together and either pour into your ice cream maker, or refer to the Mason Jar trick for a handmade version. Find out more.

    Timbercreek hopes these delicious ice cream recipes help you cool off in style this summer with some deluxe homemade ice cream. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Easter Sides We Love

    Mar 28, 2018

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    There are many ways to celebrate Easter, but pretty much all of them involve food. And while the glorious and traditional Easter meal tends to oscillate between lamb and ham, what makes it different and delicious is a bountiful variety of sides. From scalloped potatoes to string beans and squash, your options are seemingly endless. To help you fill your plate this Easter, Timbercreek brings you these great side dishes.

    Scalloped Potatoes

    Perhaps the #1 most traditional Easter side dish, scalloped potatoes are irresistible. Whether gratin, creamed, slow-cooked, or oven-roasted, they provide the starchy backbone to any Easter dinner. Check out some options here.

    Asparagus

    In season from February to March, Asparagus is a popular Easter side dish. Toss some in olive oil, salt, pepper (and cayenne for a kick), then bake until browned. Or cut into 1” sections, slice in quarters lengthwise, and dress with vinaigrette for an asparagus slaw. Read more here.

    Roasted Heritage Carrots

    Heritage carrots are beautiful, have you tried them? They come in amazing colours like purple and red. Pick some up from an organic store or produce market, wash and peel (not even necessary) them, trim their stalks to be even length, and toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake until tender but still firm, then drizzle with balsamic glaze, and garnish with parsley or basil. See more.

    Peas with Bacon and Shallots

    Pass the peas, please! We love peas -- they are an iconic symbol of spring. Take them to a whole new level with this Peas with Bacon and Shallots recipe. Cook ½-1 pack of bacon until crisp, remove, and keep 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the pan. Toss in chopped garlic and thinly sliced shallots, cook until soft, add ¼-½ cup cream, lemon zest/juice, salt and pepper, and bring all to a simmer. Throw in frozen peas, cook through, crumble bacon on top, mix, and serve immediately.  See more.

    Snap Pea and Radish Salad

    Radishes and snap peas scream spring. They're totally in season, crisp and fresh tasting. Combine them with a killer creamy avocado dressing in this winning side dish recipe. In a bowl, combine 1lb sugar snap peas and about 12 quartered radishes and set aside. In a blender, combine avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro. Blend and gradually add olive oil (and water as necessary), blending until the mixture is a smooth purée. Toss salad with dressing to coat and serve immediately. Check it out.

    Timbercreek hopes you try some of these amazing Easter side dishes this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

     

     

  • Asparagus Recipes We Love

    Mar 26, 2018

    Asparagus can look a little intimidating if you don't know what to do with it, but it's actually a totally non-threatening and delicious spring vegetable that you should stock up on. It’s a surprisingly versatile ingredient that lends itself well to many dishes.  It’s best bought when in season, from February to June. Timbercreek has some tasty ideas for how to use this crisp veg.

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    Orzo Pasta with Grilled Asparagus

    Try two new-to-you ingredients in one recipe! Have you ever tried orzo? It's a delicious rice shaped pasta that pairs brilliantly with asparagus. Boil your pasta until al dente, drain, and leave on low heat. Add olive oil and one chopped onion, cook for 2 minutes, add 2-3 cloves of garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Drop in halved snap peas and asparagus cut into 1” pieces, and cook until soft but crisp. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, zest, mint, and ¼ cup of feta cheese. Stir well, season with salt and pepper, and top with another ¼ cup cheese. Get the full recipe here.

    Asparagus Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette and Poached Egg

    This delicious salad is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Best of all it can be made super quickly! Whisk together 1 tbsp grainy mustard, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, 4 tbsp grapeseed oil, salt and pepper until smooth.  Blanch asparagus in boiling water, then toss in salt, curry powder, and olive oil, and grill (or pan sear) until lightly charred. Next it's time to perfectly poach an egg -- boil water, stir vigorously, and crack in the egg. Cook for 3 minutes, remove, and place carefully in a bowl of ice water. Remove, and trim off any white edges. Plate 6 or more asparagus spears, drizzle with vinaigrette, top with the poached egg, and fresh parmesan reggiano cheese. Get the recipe here.

    Asparagus and Panko Crusted Salmon

    Asparagus and salmon are an elegant and classic pairing. If you want to impress a date, make this Asparagus and Panko Crusted Salmon recipe! Blanch asparagus then place in a blender with garlic, dill, salt and pepper, a touch of cream, and puree. Lightly season salmon filets with salt and pepper, then coat top and bottom with asparagus puree. Dab the filet in panko breadcrumbs until coated (top and bottom). Sear in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until edges are white and the middle is slightly pink. Plate over a smear of puree with potato or salad side. Get the recipe.

    Oven roasted Asparagus with Cheese Sauce

    This one’s an easy and healthy game-day classic. Trim asparagus stalks and toss in olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic powder. Heat oven to 350F, place asparagus on a baking tray, and cook until lightly browned. Meanwhile, make a cheese sauce by whisking cream or milk and shredded cheese together in a small pot over medium heat until soft. Plate asparagus, drizzle with the cheese sauce, and sprinkle a pinch of chili spice or cayenne over top.

    Asparagus and Prosciutto

    Looking for a great spring appetizer? Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with apple slices and boursin is a killer offering. Blanch asparagus for 1-2 minutes.While blanching, slice aged cheddar and green apples as thinly as possible (i.e. use a mandoline). Once cooked, remove the asparagus, dry and cut into 2” pieces. Lay out prosciutto slices on a cutting board, spread a layer of boursin, and lay apple slices on top. Add asparagus pieces near one end, and roll until covered. Place onto a baking tray, and roast at 375 F until cheese is melted and/or the prosciutto is starting to crisp up. Get the recipe here.

    Timbercreek hopes that these recipes inspire you to take advantage of asparagus season. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Holiday Checklist: Entertaining

    Dec 20, 2017
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    It’s Holiday time! Tis’ the season to deck the halls, buy or make heartfelt gifts, and strategically place the mistletoe. With Holiday celebrations comes great expectations.  If you’re planning on throwing a party this Holiday, Timbercreek  has created this Holiday Checklist for entertaining so you won’t miss a beat.

    Caroling party

    You don’t have to be Adele, Holiday songs are made for for everyone to sing -- tone deaf and vocally blessed alike.  So belt out some carols this year! With a little prep, you can host a caroling party that’ll be fun for all. Choose a setlist, print out some lyrics, find karaoke versions (or if someone plays guitar or piano go for it), and get busy. Healthy doses of wine or eggnog tend to make voices much, much better.

    Holiday Craft Hang

    For most of us, ‘busy’ is an understatement during the holidays. With so much to do before the big day, time with friends can fall by the wayside. Why not invite some friends over to tackle your Holiday crafts? Everyone has to take time to handle card writing, gift tagging,  gift wrapping, and (for the ambitious) gift making. So get together to plow through your collective to-do lists while swapping stories, blasting holiday tunes, and enjoying cookies and rum toddies.

     

    Holiday Cookie or Dessert Potluck

    When in doubt, delegate and diversify. Get more for less by hosting a Holiday cookie (or Holiday dessert) pot-luck. It’s super easy to do -- just invite a group of friends and ask everyone to bring their favourite Holiday treat. Have each person make one type of cookie or dessert to share (and a display plate). Then bring everyone together to sample the goods, and trade and package up leftovers in takeout containers or cookie tins. Easy peasy.

    Timbercreek hopes this list helps you entertain with style this holiday season. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.
  • Top Holiday Events in Canada

    Dec 18, 2017

    The holiday season is here again. It’s time to dust off the decorations, put up the stockings, and whip out your ugliest Christmas sweater.  From hot chocolate to festivals, mall Santas to apple cider, there’s no shortage of seasonal events to tuck into this year. To help you celebrate the holidays, Timbercreek has put together a shortlist of events happening in your area this fall.

    Distillery District: Toronto Christmas Market

    Perhaps the best holiday event of the season, The Distillery District has once again transformed into the luminous Toronto Christmas Market. The popular event is on now until December 23rd.  Don’t miss the glowing sights, the merry sounds, and the decadent tastes of this annual holiday market. A monstrous Christmas tree dots the center of the action, while kiosks selling everything from chocolate covered bacon to St. Nick knick knacks, litter the Distillery’s brick streets. The market is free during the week and just $6 on weekends. Get more info here.

    Blue Mountain: Christmas Gift Show

    Blue mountain comes alive this season with a Christmas Gift Show. This vibrant, fun marketplace celebrates the holiday season in style. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas with over 100 vendors including artisans, crafters, jewelry makers, décor vendors, body and wellness brands, tasty treat makers and more. Learn all about it here.

    Edmonton: Singing Christmas Tree

    Running from December 14th through 17th, don’t miss the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree. Imagine a stage decorated with whimsy, a 35-foot singing Christmas tree, and an audience in wonder. With dancing Santas, stunning ballerinas, amazing acrobats, and 150 phenomenal singers accompanied by a live orchestra, this performance is a seasonal sensation.  Get more info here.

    Quebec: German Christmas Market

    Celebrating 10 years of magic, Quebec’s German Christmas Market is “Exquisitely European” and “Exquisitely FREE”!  On now until December 23rd, 2017, this magical holiday wonderland never ceases to amaze. Featuring one-of-a-kind gifts, the market has a festive atmosphere with wooden kiosks and scintillating lights.

    Ottawa: Vintage Christmas Village of Lights

    Come out to the Cumberland Heritage Museum for some holiday celebration this Christmas. Make an ornament for your own Christmas tree, decorate gingerbread men, or take a nostalgic horse-drawn wagon ride through the illuminated village (lit by 5pm every evening). None other than Santa Claus himself will be there! Find out more here.

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    Timbercreek hopes this list of the best holiday events in Canada inspires you to get out there and celebrate the holiday season in style this year. 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.
  • 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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