• 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.

  • For Cold Winter Days: Sew a DIY Teepee Play Tent

    Mar 07, 2018

    Kids love enclosed play spaces like tents, forts, boxes -- anything that’s cozy, compact, and good for private play time. If you want to raise the bar on playtime, sew a DIY Teepee Play Tent! To help you craft your own teepee, Timbercreek brings you this how-to guide.

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    Before You Begin

    Before you buy your materials, it's good to know what you're getting yourself into. For a toddler-sized teepee, the dimensions will be roughly 36″ x 36″ and 5′ tall. For a larger size, you just have to buy longer dowels and account for the added fabric. The project requires a bit of sewing, but it’s easy to do both by hand, or with a regular sewing machine.

    Materials

    You don’t need a lot for this badboy. Just four lightweight wooden dowels (easy to find at Home Depot),  a painter’s cotton canvas drop cloth, 1 1/2 yards of printed cotton fabric (for the entrance), and either a needle and thread, sewing machine, or staple gun.

    Frame Set Up

    Get your dowels (get 6 foot lengths of ¾” width dowel from Home Depot), and tie them together about 9” to a foot from what would be the top. Spread out the bases evenly to get the proper width for the interior.

    Fabric Walls

    From here, there are two ways to go:

    Method #1

    Drape the drop cloth around the dowel frame. With a pencil, mark lines along the outer edge of the dowels. You can use just the one side of the frame as a mold for the other 3 sides.  After marking, cut the four triangles from the drop cloth.

    Door

    For the door piece, take one of the precut sides. From the bottom to about 1 foot from the top, cut a line right down the middle. This will be the entrance. Cut a section from the printed cotton fabric that’s the same length as the door slit, and cut in the same length door line to match. Sew this piece onto the panel, and along the entrance slit as decoration.

    Sides

    Sew together the 4 sides leaving space at the top for the dowels to pop through. It doesn’t have to be super pretty. Remember, that A) it’s for an infant, and B) the sewing will be hidden on the inside of the structure. Still, use light thread color for max finish value.

    Method #2

    Instead of cutting or sewing at all, go old school. Wrap/drape the entire length of drop cloth around the dowel skeleton. With the right amount of material, as long as you place the folds over the door area, the entrance almost makes itself. If too tight, you can do the same as #1, cutting a hole or slit in the doorway to create the entrance. Use a staple gun to attach the canvas together (in a circle around the top, with a few well placed staples along the bottom, or in a line up the doorway-front side of the teepee).  And voila. Teepee. Read more.

    Timbercreek hopes this helps you build the perfect DIY teepee for your little munchkin. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Fun Family Day Ideas

    Feb 13, 2018

    Family Day, a day for the little things, like hanging out with parents and grandparents, playing with your kids, seeing cousins, and otherwise making time for those most important people in your life. It’s also a small miracle during February, the “cruelest” month of the year, when Easter break is still months away. With this in mind, Timbercreek brings you a list of ideas for things to do on Family Day weekend this year.

    Snowsports

    Whether it’s skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing or tobogganing, skating or snowmobiling, there’s a winter activity out there to suit every locale and taste.  And yes, snowman making and snowball fights count too.

    A Walk in the Park

    Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t get outside. Every city in Canada has a quality park (or collection of them) worth strolling through on family day. Lace up your boots, throw on a parka, and get outside.

    See a Movie

    Perhaps #1 in the collective mind for a family day event, going to the movies is the perfect holiday hang. Get a jump on this popular activity by buying tickets online. Click here to find out what’s premiering in February.

    Art for Art’s Sake

    Whether you hate art or love it, galleries are guaranteed at the very least to be cool buildings to explore. They generally boast interesting architecture, history, art, fun and often free activities for kids, and a restaurant or cafe where you can grab breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Concert

    While tricky to find genres and bands that satisfy the entire family’s musical tastes, a concert is a great way to enjoy some culture with the family. The symphony, an opera, or a ballet performance are also good options.

    See a Play

    From indie theatre to Fringe festivals, musicals to mainstage productions, a theatrical performance can be a fun way to spend an afternoon on family day.

    Movie Marathon

    Whether you’re a Trekkie, prefer The Wars, love the Matrix, or Finding Nemo, a movie trilogy is a killer way to entertain the entire family in one room.

    Family Cook-a-thon

    From smoking to grilling, braising to brining, there’s nothing more satisfying, time consuming, or fun for the whole family than cooking. Don’t just pick something easy -- explore slow cooking, making something from scratch, baking, or a new-to-you cuisine.

    Do Absolutely Nothing

    Family Day is a great opportunity to rest, enjoy the little things, and spend some time together. You don’t have to do anything special to make the most of the long weekend. Sometimes a quiet chill-out day is all it takes.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article gives you some ideas for how to spend your Family Day this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • February Home Checklist

    Feb 12, 2018

    February is a good time to get your home in order and tackle tasks and chores that will help you keep your life and space running smoothly. To help you keep your home fresh and tidy, Timbercreek brings you this February home checklist.

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    Clean Up Your Entryway

    This time of year, the front door is a magnet for mess. Salt, snow, mud, dirt, wet, and grime all converge like the plague. Get a wet weather mat for your dirty boots, and make space in your closet for snowsuits, heavy jackets, and accessories. Then give the floor and walls in the area a decent scrub. These are the first (and last) things you see in the house, so a tidy area makes a huge difference to the feel of your space.

    Recycle E-waste

    Collect all your old devices and accessories -- phones, ipads/tablets, TVs, DVD players, cables, batteries, headphones, and adapters -- and take them to your locale e-recycling depot. While not yet a mainstream part of regular city recycling pick up, it will be soon.

    Declutter your e-self

    While not specifically a home cleaning event, everyone has a pile of digital waste. Files, emails, notes, reminders, calendars, images, documents, old receipts -- it’s endless. With no real pressure to backup aside from losing all your data, it’s a clutter-creating epidemic. Take a couple hours to delete and back stuff up.

    Clean Out Your Freezer

    Cleaning out your freezer can seem like a thankless task. While annoying to do, cleaning out and even defrosting your freezer has multiple benefits. Unused frozen food takes up tons of space. Freezer burn is real and tastes bad. Freezer frost builds up over time and can cause odors and fridge leaking, not to mention reducing freezer space. The best way to clean out this often neglected part of the fridge is to take everything out, discarding anything you won’t use, unplug, toss in a pot of boiled water, steam, defrost, wipe or scrub, and voila.

    Paint an Accent Wall

    Winter blues got you down? Inject some colour into your space and your life with an accent wall. It’s an easy way to make a big impact. It might not seem like it, but winter is the perfect time to paint. Best part is, painting such a small area allows for experimenting with wild colors. And if you don’t like what you did, it’s just as easy to repaint.

    Book Summer Activities

    From campsites to resorts, flights to hotels -- stuff books up fast. Get ahead of the curve by diving into your summer vacation plans early. You’ll save on cash too. Check out more here.

    Timbercreek hopes that this list helps you reinvigorate your indoor space this winter. 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.

  • How to Exercise With Your Dog this Winter

    Jan 22, 2018

    Cold weather presents a challenge to pets and owners alike.  As temperatures drop in the winter months, motivation to get outside wanes. Truth be told, the cold is often more of a deterrent to owners than pets. Most animals, except maybe shih tzus and hamsters, love whatever weather the planet can throw at them. Still, our furry friends need to get their heart rates up just like we do. To help keep them active in the cold, Timbercreek brings you a list of our favourite ways to get your pet’s blood pumping this winter.

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    Bundle Up

    There’s a vast selection of pet attire now available. With everything from parkas to booties, in all manner of styles and colours, there’s nothing standing between your pet and a cozy insulated winter walk.

    Interval Walking

    To pump up your heart rates without freezing your face off, try a high intensity interval walk with your pet. Try one minute of walking, followed by a 20 second jog. Repeat the cycle for a total of five (more) rounds.

    Indoor Tag

    It doesn’t take much to work a dog up into a frothy frenzy. Be it toys or treats, balls or straight up tail pulling, you can whip Fido into a house or apartment raging run. Try playing tag or chase, throw a ball, or play catch.

    Take the Stairs

    Another condo and split level advantage is stairs. You'll both get a workout when you take your dog up and down the stairs a bunch of times for some in-house exercise. Or try taking the elevator down, and the stairs back up.

    Skijoring

    Skijoring is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding. It basically amounts to your dog towing you while on skis. Just don’t hook up to your bichon frise.

    Doggie Gyms

    Yep. They exist. Indoor dog gyms are a real thing. They'll help your pet get in fighting shape in no time, indoors.

    Laser Pointers

    Laser pointers are fantastic dog (and cat) entertainers. You might need to rile up your pet first to get him or her into it, but it otherwise makes for easy inside exercise. 

    Dog Walkers

    You could go the easiest winter route and hire a dog walker. Unless you have a hairless chihuahua, most dogs love the cold and can at least muster a stroll around the hood.

    Off Leash Parks

    Nothing makes a dog forget his/her troubles - and obedience training - faster than an off-leash park. Bundle up and head on down to give your pet a winter rush. Bonus: you might even make some friends.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps keep your pet active this winter. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Hitting The Slopes In Canada

    Jan 16, 2018

    Are you ready for ski and snowboard season? From east to west, Timbercreek brings you this list of the best places to hit the slopes this winter in Canada.

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    Alberta

    One of the premiere provinces for snow sports, Alberta has an abundance of snow, and mountains which means it offers a near equal abundance of ski and snowboard locations. From Calgary’s Olympic Park to Banff’s famous trio of Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Norquay, Jasper’s Marmot Basin, Castle Mountain and Pass Powderkeg, Nighthawk, Canyon, and Misery Mountain Ski Areas, it’s got to be one of the most skiable provinces in the country! Check out more here.

    Manitoba

    While not the first place you’d think of for ski and snowboard destinations, Manitoba rocks when it comes to snowsports. Holiday Mountain in La Riviere features a freestyle terrain snowboard park and 11 downhill runs. Stony Mountain Ski Area near Winnipeg is the city’s prime snow spot, priding itself on being the first to open and the last to close each winter. Springhill Winter Sports Park maintains 10 runs for boarders and skiers with night skiing for insomniacs, and snowboard and freestyle ski contests throughout the season. Asessippi Ski Area is the province’s largest, with 25 runs, two freestyle terrain parks, three aerial lifts and a bustling winter village. Ski Valley, Falcon Ridge, Ski Hill, and Mystery Mountain are other great options for the Manitoba ski lover.

    Ontario

    While Blue Mountain tends to rule the minds of most Ontario skiers and snowboarders, there are in fact numerous options in central Canada. Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Glen Eden, and Uplands Ski Centre tend to be the Toronto/Southern Ontario locations of choice for proximity, with Horseshoe and Hidden Valley, as well as Hockley Valley, Devil’s Elbow near Peterborough, Batawa near Belleville, and a laundry list of other fantastic spots like Laurentian, Caledon, Mt. Antoine, Sir Sam’s and Searchmont. For a mostly flat province, Ontario has some great ski hills.

    Quebec

    An Alberta-worthy snow competitor, Quebec has a lot to be proud of when it comes to ski and snowboard hotspots. Mont Tremblant is a world destination located north of Montreal, with Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif close to Quebec City offering some of the best skiing (and the highest vertical drop) in Eastern Canada. Mont Saint-Sauveur is known for its world class night skiing, with Mont Sutton and Bromont high on that list as well.  Quebec is also filled with Nordic trails through The Gatineau Hills near Ottawa.

    Timbercreek hopes you find the ski and snowboard hills of your dreams this winter. 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.

  • Public Skating Rinks - Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec

    Dec 21, 2017

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    Whether you’ve got weak ankles, wobbly knees, or used to be a pro, winter skating can be a lot of fun. While ice hockey requires a ton of protective gear (and other players), you only need a pair of skates to enjoy a leisurely afternoon glide on the ice. Across Canada, most cities have at least one easy-access public skating rink where families, loved ones, and friends can enjoy a winter afternoon or evening. To get you back on the ice this winter, Timbercreek brings you this list of public skating rinks in Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec City.

    Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink

    While Nathan Phillips is without question the most popular skating rink option in Toronto, the rink at Harbourfront is an unsung hero. It’s nothing less than magical. With views of Lake Ontario, the Harbourfront bandshell, and the open starry sky, Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink is a stunner. It’s also got Boxcar Social just a hop away for a post (or pre, or both) skate libation. Learn more here.

    Rideau Canal Skateway

    Each winter, the historic Rideau Canal becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway -- the world’s largest skating rink. At 7.8 kilometres long, it stretches from downtown Ottawa to Dows Lake. Skating season typically runs from January until late February, with many activities taking place in February during Winterlude. Skating is available in the open sections of the Skateway until 10 pm or 11pm daily, and skates can be rented at select locations. Learn more here.

    Quebec: Place D'Youville skating rink

     

    Open from mid-October to mid-March, Place D’Youville let’s you skate in style in the heart of the city. Glide across a refrigerated rink amid the ambiance of Old Québec, just across from Porte Saint-Jean and Capitole de Québec. With free admission and skate rentals available onsite, this gem of a rink ticks all the boxes. You can also warm up after your skate at Café-boulangerie Paillard. Learn more.


    Timbercreek hopes that this list of the best public skating rinks in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City gets you out for a skate this winter 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.

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