Amazing Amaryllis

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If you’re like me and you can’t get through winter without getting your hands dirty, planting amaryllis bulbs is the perfect antidote to a gardener’s winter blues. Amaryllis bulbs can still be found in good nurseries or florists and the show-stopping, magnificent blooms can burst into your world in a few short 4-6 weeks.  They are easy to plant and the colorful reward for your effort will make you swoon. Continue reading

Hot-Chocolate-On-A-Stick

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My oldest son Sébastien travelled to Belgium while studying abroad at The University of St-Andrews in Scotland.  While there he discovered Hot-Chocolate-On-A-Stick and declared it the best hot chocolate ever.image  I set out to find the recipe and make it for him at home.  Several recipes I researched contained Eagle Brand Condensed Milk and cream which would really limit shelf life and the sending of it as gifts and also require cold storage.  After much digging around I finally found the decadent Belgian hot chocolate sticks Sebastien raved about.   This recipe will rival Brussel’s Wittamer Café beverage which is considered to be the best hot chocolate in the world! Continue reading

Downton Abbey Fireside Afternoon Tea

With tonight being the launch of Season 4 of Downton Abbey this side of the pond, I thought I would invite you to a cozy afternoon tea by the fire. image Since the weather is still dreadful for much of the country, a steaming cup of tea with warm scones by the fire should get you ready for more  Downton Abbey drama  tonight!  Although my living room is not as  opulent and magestic as Highclere Castle’s, I’m hoping it will transport you to England to take Afternoon tea. Continue reading

Snow Day Soup and Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Nothing like 9 inches of new snow overnight to bring the pace of life to a grinding halt.  Snow day!  After a brisk round of snowshoeing, for me that meant raiding the fridge, pantry and freezer for some slow cooking inspiration.

A ham bone sat in my fridge after the holidays awaiting a transformation into a steaming and hearty pot of split pea soup.  Pea soup is another staple of French-Canadian cooking, and although there are dozens of ways to make it, this version has carrots, celery and thyme in it.  Today was a perfect day for soup-making! Continue reading

Winter Welcome: A tutorial for making a white and silver winter wreath

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imageOne of my fondest childhood memories of Northern Canadian winters is marvelling at the sparkle of freshly fallen snow. I especially loved the serenity of snow under the cover of darkness.  Up north, the days are short in winter and the nightfall comes early.image

As much as we love Christmas in  my family, we are the house stripped clean of all holiday decorations on New Year’s day.  I always found it a challenge to find a wreath for the front entrance post-holiday that did not still seem to be a vestige of Christmas. Continue reading

Bewitched in Berwyn: Bringing Witchhazel Branches Indoor

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In the cold dark days of January, the scented flowers of witch hazel are utterly beguiling.  Starting mid month I eagerly gaze through the window, watching for a sign of the first bloom of my witch hazel trees.  To my complete delight this year the tree shot out its firework-like flowers to herald in the New Year!

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