Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Snow Birds

A wonderful winter cold has been working it's way through my family. Mom and dad got it first, and then my fiance did and of course, sharing and sharing alike, he gave it to me. So, I've been a little under the weather, largely staying out of the kitchen, and not really doing much worth blogging about. I've become addicted to "the sims" computer game again, but I hardly think you want to hear about the children of my little virtual family!! Andrew however has been hard at work finishing up Christmas gifts, and organizing his workshop in the garage. Today he's working on a leather quiver for my dad's crossbow bolts. Photos to follow.
Anyways, the next few days will be a flurry of activity of the festive sort, so I wanted to wish you all a warm, safe, very merry christmas with those you love close, good music in your ears and good food in your belly.

Merry Christmas, from Sam and Andrew at Cathartica Farm.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Still walkin...

Twice a day with my faithful pup. Haven't noticed any losses yet, but the walks have been more than balanced by christmas candies and cookies I think... Still not a bad habit to get into, and thankfully I haven't noticed any of the normal christmas gains so far either!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Applesauce Raisin Cookies

I made these cookies yesterday, using applesauce that I made myself earlier in the year. Making something with my own two hands is so deeply rewarding anyways, but having made one of the basic ingredients from scratch as well is just darn special.
The cookies turn out puffy with sort of a cake-like texture, and the taste inexplicably reminds me of banana bread. Maybe it's the walnuts. Either way, this strikes me as the kind of "cookie" I wouldn't feel bad about sending along in kids' lunches. They aren't incredibly sweet either, but SOO moist and tasty.

1 cup shortening
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups thick applesauce, drained
1/2 cup cold, brewed coffee
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Stir in applesauce and coffee. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together. Add to applesauce mixture and blend thoroughly. Chill at least 2 hrs. Heat oven to 400 deg. F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 9-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Farmer in the Dell

Hahaha too cute! I had to share this comic gleaned from Tylerfarm Homestead this morning... Every single time one of my friends or relatives asks for help with their PC computer I get a little bit more thankful for my MacBook. There's a bit of a learning curve at first of course, but once you get the hang of it it really just makes sense. My Mac is almost three years old now, and I look at people like they've got an extra head when they ask me if I'll be replacing it soon. I find PC's have a relatively short usable life, but when it comes to Mac's on the other hand... I know people still using the big bulky colourful ones that most people are turning into hamster cages now because they just wanted a more streamlined model for their desk. And they still run plenty fast and reliable! Anyways, I had a giggle at this farmer struggling with his Dell and thought I'd share that this blog is powered by a Mac. There's just something whimsical about sitting under my apple tree... with an Apple on my lap.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cream Cheese Cookies

Ok so what kind of christmas would it be without baking a bunch of cookies? Today I found a GREAT recipe for cream cheese cookies at It made 5 dozen cookies, they came out of the oven an hour and a half ago, and there's less than a dozen left! I'd call that a hit! I've also put a new section on the side bar, and tagged all recipe posts so that you can find them easily for quick reference. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Cut Outs

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 T cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl mix flour, sugar and salt. With a mixer on med-low, add butter. Then add in the cream cheese and vanilla. Beat the dough on low until a ball forms. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball. Divide into 2 pieces and form 2 flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk at a time until it's 1/8" thick. Cut dough into desired shapes and lay on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375* for 7-9 minutes or until firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer and let cool.

Live Christmas Trees

Do you get a real tree? If you live or shop anywhere near Keswick Ontario, consider stopping by the Glenwoods Plaza at the corner of Glenwoods and Leslie and buy a boy scout christmas tree. The Newmarket rover crew got special permission from Scouts Canada to continue using the kilt form of the uniform, (how cool is that? Yay for kilts.) and they use the proceeds from tree sales to buy kilts for the members. At 900$ each, kilts would be out of the question for most families if they had to buy them themselves.
This year, they offer scotch and white pine, serbian spruce trees (which look a LOT like the balsam fir's) and of course the balsam fir trees themselves. Prices range from 35-45$ for a tree, and the rovers will trim the trunk and lower branches for you, load it on your vehicle and lash it down.
Andrew and I were there selling trees all day Saturday, he was there Sunday, and will be there again tonight, tomorrow, thursday and next weekend. Trees are being from sold from 6-9 pm on weeknights all this week, and from 9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The trees are up!

Both Christmas trees are up, and while I should probably share pictures of the whole trees with you, I couldn't help but go all gooey inside over my little christmas pup. The year we brought her home, we brought her home on Christmas eve, and ever since, once December rolls around her bed is forsaken and she sleeps under the Christmas tree, on the tree skirt. She especially loves Nana's tree because ours gets filled up with gifts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It's awful purdy in my neck of the woods

On Engagement Rings

Well, I've been baking a lot of doughy things lately, doing some heavy lifting, and doing some arts and crafts projects... pretty much just doing what I always do, but it got me thinking: should I be taking my ring off for these things?
My sparkly is very special to us. It was my grandmother's engagement ring, and is 53 years old. The claws are squat, tenacious little things, that I think will still be holding the diamond if ever there's nothing left on this earth but cockroaches and twinkies. There are lots of little holes and crevices in the design of the ring itself though that allow obnoxious bits of whatever to get stuck in them. What worries me most is that the band is quite thin, and in not quite two months I've already bent it a little bit.

So, diamonds or not, those of you who wear any rings at all, what do or don't you take your rings off for?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Going Crackers

Tonight I tried to make the crackers featured in the recipe here at Tree and Twig. I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour, and 1 3/4 of all purpose flour. I added dehydrated onion, ground flax seed and just a touch of dried mustard.
They certainly didn't turn out as pretty as Linda's but the taste is... alright. A little bland actually, I think I would add more salt in the future, or perhaps brush the tops with olive oil and garlic salt or something before baking? I really like how the texture turned out around the edges, and if, when they cool they get that yummy cracker-y texture throughout, I'll be a happy girl. For now the middle ones are a little chewy still. All in all they didn't thrill me, but I will certainly eat them all and maybe make some more. Perhaps they'll turn out more like Linda's for you?

It's a small world after all

So today I went to the hobby horse, which is a quilt shoppe in Georgetown to buy the fabric pieces I need to finish off the quilt I've been working on. Who by chance did I run into? A retired teacher from my elementary school. Who incidentally also used to work in the quilt shop here in town, which has been closed for several years now. The same quilt shop where I originally bought the fabric for the quilt. 7 years ago. This is the lady who sold me the supplies for this quilt 7 years ago, and I run into her an hour away from home on the day I'm buying the supplies to finish the quilt. Kinda gave me goosebumps...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Place mats

Here are the first two place mats to go with the table runner I made last weekend. 4 more to go!!