Weekend links and photos

Christmas eve is just two weeks away and slowly but surely everything is coming together.

Yesterday Clara weighted out all the dried fruit and nuts for my fruitcake and we baked it together. I brushed the finished cake with whisky, wrapped it in a cheesecloth and tucked it away out of sight. It is just one of the treats we prepare in advance of the celebrations.

The freezer is packed with mini Tourtière hand pies, shortbread cookies and pie dough for mince tarts, and a jar of mincemeat is aging in the fridge. The pantry is stocked with everything for baking, including three enormous bags of rolled oats, waiting to be toasted into granola for teacher’s gifts; I think that will be tomorrow’s project with the children.

In case you are still making your baking lists and planning your menus for the upcoming holidays, I’ve got a round-up of recipes and ideas from around the web that you are sure to enjoy.

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Crunchy Apple-Pear Salad with Pomegranate, Pine Nuts & Yogurt

My garden has been dormant for only a few weeks yet I already miss the crunchy, sweet carrots, bundles of kale and bouquets of fragrant herbs.

Salad planning has to much more intentional now that winter is here, and I have to load up on even more vegetables on market days if I want to have fresh salads throughout the week.

Last week, when I was all out of leafy greens, I  found inspiration in a case of jumbled assorted apples and pears that we had in our cold room. I know I’m forever adding apples to salads around here, but this one is extra special, believe me.

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7 festive hot and cold beverages for the holidays

As I write this post, a steaming cup of honey-sweetened roasted apple tisane perches on my desk, brewed from a couple of withering Cortlands plucked from my cold room stash.

It’s infused with ginger and a little tumeric because I’m fighting a mild cold, and the fragrant tisane is just the tonic I need to stay warm and hydrated while I work. ‘Tis the season for comforting hot drinks – and a few sparkling ones too.

Yesterday we had guests for Sunday dinner, and I served my classic winter sangria with slices of clementine and pomegranate seeds. This weekend my annual cookie swap is happening and I’ll be mixing up big pitchers of spiced eggnog and sparkling apple cider punch. And on the coldest days this week, I’ll have a fragrant pot of hot apple cider waiting for the boys when they arrive home from school.

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Favourite Cookbooks of 2016

We had our first snowfall this week and instead of melting into slush, it stuck around to transform our world into a winter wonderland. Suffice it to say, I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the past four days.

There’s nothing quite like an abrupt switch from fall to winter to get one thinking about Christmas. Thinking about gingerbread and orange pomanders, cookie swaps and gift giving. Today, I’m here to help with the latter in the form of a cookbook-specific gift guide.

I’m not much help in recommending anything else, really, and so year after year, I give you my personal picks, in hope that a title will catch your eye – for yourself or a friend.

Last year I had so many favourite new cookbooks, that I had to split them up into Canadian and International titles. This year, I’m cramming everything into one post, so bear with me.
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How to make croutons from leftover stuffing

So you’ve probably heard of making stuffing or dressing out of croutons – but have you considered the reverse?

Why not turn leftover cubes of herb-scented stuffing into crispy croutons for topping soups and salads? I’m here to introduce you to this recent revelation I had in the kitchen, in hopes that you’ll put your leftover stuffing to good use this week – or after Christmas dinner.

Trust me, these buttery sage stuffing croutons are the ideal topping to your turkey noodle soup. I mean, what could be a better flavour pairing?

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