LP QC Christmas Time Book 2021

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T H I S S E C T I O N WA S C R E AT E D B Y C O N T E N T W O R K S , P O ST M E D I A’ S C O M M E R C I A L C O N T E N T D I V I S I O N .

L E A D E R P O S T. C O M / Q C



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Deck your halls with a personal touch



It’s the personal touch that puts the magic in Christmas – home baking, an ornament from your childhood, faded photos of Christmas morning, your daughter’s first drawing of Santa, and the list goes on. You can add to that magic this year by creating your own holiday mementoes, be it a wreath, centrepiece, or hundreds of other possibilities. “Gnomes have really taken off,” says Rachel Brimacombe, co-owner and general manager of Lumsden Florist etc., referring to an elf-like character with a broad hat. “They started popping up a few years ago, and are still popular.” In addition to her traditional florist business, there has been a significant increase in demand for Brimacombe’s craft classes, kits and creations. But what about people who feel they have no craftsmanship whatsoever? “The biggest mistake somebody could make is thinking they can’t do it,” says Brimacombe. “Any of our classes are beginner friendly and do-able.” They are also not time-consuming. Most projects are easily completed in well under three hours, sometimes as little as one.

For someone just starting out, Brimacombe strongly recommends attending a workshop or class. That way, the novice can benefit from hands-on instruction as well as helpful advice from fellow classmates. Crafting is very much community. Just as in the days of quilting bees and barn-raising, it’s the opportunity to get together, develop friendships, and celebrate a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. The same is true within families. Planning an afternoon to make a Christmas decoration can involve the whole family: grandparents, grandchildren, brothers and sisters. All can share and benefit from the therapeutic value of concentrating on the creation of something enjoyable that celebrates your home and values. Best of all, a Sunday afternoon devoted to making a craft can involve people of all ages and abilities. As for materials, kits and plans are readily available from local retailers, as well as online. Brimacombe has posted YouTube videos to assist with the hundreds of kits she sells during the holiday season. Once the basics have been mastered, there’s

Lumsden Florist etc. offers a variety of “Take & Make” winter holiday craft kits, including wreaths, centrepieces, porch pots and door swags. SUPPLIED

plenty of opportunity to incorporate found items around the home, such as a favourite ornament, vacation souvenir, pieces of ribbon, and pine cones collected from around the neighbourhood. No wonder that home-made crafts are becoming as popular as they were in the 1950s, when modern appliances freed up time at home, and again in the 1970s, when macrame and home-made purses were in vogue. COVID-19 restrictions have encouraged families and individuals to focus on their personal lives and homes, and given them more time to do it. Gnomes are among this holiday season’s most popular décor items, says Rachel Brimacombe at Lumsden Florist etc. SUPPLIED

Regardless of how simple it may be, a home-made craft can become something

that is treasured far more than even the most expensive of retail gifts. Brimacombe recalls sewing her first teddy bear when she was four. “I still have it around somewhere,” she laughs. Her love of making things has never left her. So where to start? The possibilities presented on the internet seem endless, but a good beginning is to visit your local florist or craft store for advice. They can often recommend a club or workshop you can attend to master the basics, then go from there. Regardless of what you choose to add to the festive aura of your home this holiday season, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that, indeed, you did it yourself.



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First Nations-themed gifts honour culture



Shopping at locally-owned businesses not only helps to support one’s community, it also presents unique gift ideas that may not be available at chain stores. When the items that you purchase are made by local artists and craftspeople, these positive aspects are multiplied. And, when you choose First Nations-themed gifts, you will have a variety of interesting artistic media to choose from while honouring the cultural heritage of the original inhabitants of our country. Two area businesses — Traditions Hand Craft Gallery on 13th Avenue in Regina and Becky’s Place in Fort Qu’Appelle — offer a wide range of Indigenous artwork, clothing and materials that help keep Indigenous culture alive. Kathleen and Jeff Coleclough own and operate Traditions. The husband-and-wife team, both of Ojibwa descent, also founded Kakwa, a business that creates historicallyaccurate products, including precise replicas of hand-stitched leather animal toys. The replicas are available at Traditions. So well-researched is their work that it has been used for teaching purposes in museums across the globe such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. and New York City. The Colecloughs have been consulted and/or provided items for more than 30 movie and TV productions. Their artwork and jewelry are displayed in private collections around the world. Other items offered at Traditions range in size from the tiny — such as Cedar Paisley’s whimsical, polymer clay miniatures, which include mushrooms, dragons and feathers displayed in tiny ornamental domes or made into earrings — to items large enough to enhance a living room wall. Paintings and prints include Lloyd Dubois’ stylized animal paintings and Julie Francella’s paintings and prints of traditional and well-known First Nations figures such as Medicine Woman - Maskihkiw Iskwew and Maskihkiwan - Medicines (Tristen Durocher). Other decorative pieces include birch bark biting designs by Garth Harrison. Harrison, who was taught this ancient craft by wellknown artist Sally Milne, uses only his teeth

to produce intricate patterns on peeled birch bark. Crafted for the youngest members of the family, Reagan Lowe’s star blanket baby car seat cover will help keep them warm during chilly winter outings. Becky’s Place is another area business that offers items with a First Nations theme. Located about 75 km northeast of Regina, in Fort Qu’Appelle, the business offers a variety of handcrafts, paintings and art produced by more than 50 Saskatchewan artisans. Marla Desnomie, who owns the business with her husband, Claude, and son, Rick, said the store offers a huge variety of items, most of which are handmade locally. Beaded items include sunglasses, earrings, necklaces, keychains, lanyards, barrettes, men’s ties, popsockets for phones, medallions, pins, card holders, and moccasins for all members of the family.

Among the First Nations artists featured at Traditions Hand Craft Gallery is Julie Francella. Francella has advocated for vulnerable populations in various settings for over two decades. She currently works with youth with complex trauma histories at a residential treatment centre in Saskatchewan. SUPPLIED

For those who literally wear their First Nations pride on their sleeves, Becky’s offers themed clothing items in a wide range of sizes, including: ribbon skirts and shirts, leggings by the Indigenous clothing company NO·MI·NO·U, t-shirts, vests, jean jackets, sweat suits, hoodies, children’s dance outfits, shawls, mukluks, slippers and baby bonnets. There are also accessories like purses, wallets, scarves, hats, pocket knives, and jewelry, and traditional items such as breast plates, drum sticks, hand drums, smudge pans, abalone shells and moss bags. Décor items include First Nations sculptures, lamp shades, seat covers, quilts and star blankets. The store also carries a wide range of sewing and craft supplies for makers — from fabric, ribbons, beads and fringe to a wide selection of jingles. You’ll find the materials needed to make a personalized dream catcher as well as buffalo, cow, deer, elk and moose leather for moccasin making. Whether the recipient is non-Indigenous or Indigenous, gifts of First Nations-themed items can be a meaningful way to keep traditions alive and show support for the craftspeople and artists who created them.

Becky’s Place, in Fort Qu’Appelle, features Indigenous-themed clothing, art works, décor items as well as fabrics and craft supplies. SUPPLIED



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Cypress Hills ‘Trim Your Tree’ program a great family outing ANDREW LIVINGSTONE

In the winter, some people need extra encouragement to get outdoors and embrace nature, and Cypress Hills Provincial Park is offering just such an incentive. Through its ‘Trim Your Tree’ program, the park is offering a chance for you to enjoy a winter outing and return with a juvenile white spruce tree to remember the occasion — and to decorate your home. Until Dec. 24, you can simply pick up a free permit at the park administration office during office hours and receive directions to the roadside area where the available trees are growing, said Royce Pettyjohn, park manager. The spruces vary in size up to around seven feet, and you can make your selection and cut your own tree. The earlier that you arrive to choose a tree, the better the selection, and Pettyjohn cautions that the trees grow naturally, and not necessarily aesthetically. “I saw somebody refer to them as kind of ‘Charlie Brown trees,’” he said. “Our trees are really more about

the experience of coming out to the park, enjoying winter, and maybe taking home a little tree. Maybe it’s for your deck, and maybe it’s for one of the kids’ rooms, or something like that.” Cutting the white spruce trees to serve as winter decorations is actually a boon for the mature trees of the local forest. “Here in the Cypress Hills, of course, we’re a lodgepole forest,” said Pettyjohn. “White spruce here grow quite readily, and, in some instances, they threaten or choke out those lodgepoles, and they also tend to encroach into power lines, and along roadways, and so on and so forth. “Also, these juvenile spruce act as ladder fuel — so, if there’s a fire, then they sort of lift the fire up into the canopy,” said Pettyjohn. “At the end of the day, it’s a win-win-win, because it’s a win for FireSmart — it helps us keep our fire risk low. It’s a win insofar as it’s keeping our emergency exit road open for public safety. It’s a win that people can use these as Christmas trees

as winter decoration rather than them just getting mulched.” ‘Trim Your Tree’ began last year as part of the park’s successful ‘Winter in the Hills’ program, which is, “a program about encouraging people to get outdoors in the wintertime and learning how to love winter,” said Pettyjohn. “Throughout the wintertime, we offer what we call the ‘Daily Dozen’ — twelve things that you can do every day, seven days a week, throughout the winter when you come to the park (weather permitting of course). “Those would be things like cross-country ski trails that are regularly groomed; winter warm-up shacks; snowshoe trails. We have a snowmobile area here within the park; winter hiking; winter picnics in our winterized camp kitchens; and warm-up shacks that we’ve got around the park.” On the weekends, there are even guided interpretive experiences, such as snowshoe hikes and star-gazing in the dark sky refuge

The popular ‘Trim Your Tree’ program has returned to Cypress Hills Provincial Park. Visitors have the opportunity to select and cut their own spruce tree while enjoying all the park has to offer during the winter season PHOTO: ASHLYN GEORGE


provided by the park. Ideally, you should pre-book these programs so that the park staff can accommodate the right number and age of participants and notify you if plans change. For many Saskatchewan residents, the park is not an easy day trip, but the staff have partnered with the local resort to ensure that hotel rooms, condotype townhouses and winterized cabins are available. If you are interested in staying closer to nature, there are even options for winter camping.

“You can book yourself into a winter campsite and, for this year, we’re also piloting, for the first time, ‘Winter Camp-Easy’,” said Pettyjohn. “We have some insulated hunting tents that are outfitted with cots, tables, lanterns, firewood and a little camp stove. “People can come out and get their tree, but we hope they’ll come back again through the winter just to enjoy winter recreational activities.” For more information, see parks. saskatchewan.ca.


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Delicious plant-based options for your holiday table

Vegetables: A Love Story is the second cookbook written by Taste Canada Gold winner Renée Kohlman, a professional cook and baker from Saskatoon.

Meat is often the focus of the holiday table. The glistening turkey, juicy ham, or majestic roast crown of pork are often what steals the show, leaving those who don’t eat meat heaping their plates high with salads and vegetable side dishes. However, as more of us are looking for plant-based options when it comes to holiday feasting, the following two recipes from my latest cookbook Vegetables: A Love Story are contenders for being the highlight of the festive dinner. Both incorporate plenty of vegetables, and are as lovely to look at as they




are delicious to eat. Even the carnivores will want a piece of this veggie action!

STUFFED SQUASH WITH GREENS AND GRAINS Red kuri are one of my favourite squash—not only because of their lovely burnt orange colour but their cute rotund shape, too. And that little knobby bit at the top makes the perfect lid for a squash just crying out to be stuffed. Their flavour is relatively delicate, with a subtle nuttiness, so I’ve punched up the grains and greens filling with plenty of garlic, herbs, cranberries, nuts, and cheese. As far as grains go, I went with basmati rice and red quinoa (it’s actually a seed that acts like a grain), but cooked millet, wild rice, bulgur, or barley would be tasty as well. This is a fun recipe to play around with and customize as you see fit. Instead of kale, swap in chard or spinach. Instead of mushrooms, do zucchini. There is a bit of prep involved, but the presentation is quite lovely. For an impressive vegetarian, or even vegan, main course at holiday gatherings, look no further. 4 (each about 1½ lb) red kuri squash 3 Tbsp canola oil, divided 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste 1/4 tsp pepper, plus more to taste 1 medium yellow onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 8 oz button mushrooms, quartered 1 bunch kale, centre ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 3 cups packed) 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme) Red pepper flakes 2 cups cooked white basmati rice 1¼ cups cooked red or white quinoa 3/4 cup dried cranberries 3/4 cup toasted, slivered or sliced almonds 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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2. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the tops off each squash. Scoop out and discard the seeds from the lids and the insides of each squash. Trim the bottoms off each squash so they lie flat on the

Stuffed Squash with Greens and Grains. PHOTO: RENEE KOHLMAN

baking sheet. Lightly brush inside each squash with 1 Tbsp of the canola oil and season each with a little salt and pepper. Roast the lids and the individual squash for 25–35 minutes, depending on the thickness of the squash. They should be close to being cooked through. To test for doneness, pierce the thickest part of each squash with a fork. It should offer little resistance. The squash will continue to cook through when stuffed. Turn down the oven to 375°F. 3. Meanwhile, warm the remaining 2 Tbsp of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables are softened and the mushrooms have some colour, about 5 minutes. Stir in the kale, vinegar, salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook until the kale is softened, another 3 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and place the mixture in a large bowl. 4. Stir the cooked rice, quinoa, dried cranberries, almonds, feta, and parsley into the kale mixture. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. 5. Remove the squash from the oven and stuff each one with the greens and grains mixture. Top each with its respective lid and bake until each squash is easily pierced in the thickest part by a fork, 25–35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the squash rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish. NOTES: * A substitute for the kuri squash would be anything relatively round and small, like hokkaido pumpkins. Check your local farmers’ market for the best variety of winter squash.



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* The stuffing is delicious on its own and makes an excellent side dish.


1 package (14 oz/400 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water, for egg wash 1¼ lb multi-coloured carrots, of similar thickness, scrubbed and sliced in half lengthwise 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp honey 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp salt, divided 1/2 tsp pepper, divided Grated zest of 1 lemon 3 cups baby greens, such as kale, chard, or spinach 1¼ cups ricotta cheese 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1 large egg 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried) Fresh mint or basil leaves, for garnish 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 10x14-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Using a sharp paring knife, score a border around the perimeter of the pastry about a half-inch away from the edges. Carefully place the pastry on one of the baking sheets. Prick the area


Honey-Roasted Carrot Tart with Ricotta and Feta. PHOTO: RENEE KOHLMAN

inside of the border very thoroughly with a fork to prevent puffing in the centre. Brush the border lightly with the egg wash. Bake on the top rack of the oven until the pastry is lightly golden, about 20–22 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. If the pastry does puff up in the centre, take a sharp knife and poke a few holes in it to help it deflate. 3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the carrots with the oil, honey, cumin, paprika, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Spread in an even layer on the second baking sheet. Roast the carrots on the bottom rack of the oven until they are golden brown around the edges and more tender than crisp, about 25–28 minutes. Be sure to give them a stir a couple of times. It’s better to have carrots a little on the softer side than the firmer side. Stir in the lemon zest, and let them cool to room temperature before assembling the tart. 4. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the greens with a splash of water. Cook until they’re wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the greens from the skillet and place them in a large bowl to cool down. (Use the same bowl the carrots were in.) In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend the ricotta, feta, and garlic until smooth. Scrape into the bowl along with the cooled greens. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, the remaining 1/4 tsp of pepper, the egg, lemon juice, and thyme. Stir just until everything is evenly mixed. 5. To assemble the tart, spread the cheese filling onto the puff pastry shell right up to the border. Arrange the roasted carrots in a single layer on top of the cheese. Bake until the carrots are very tender and the cheese filling has set, about 30 minutes. 6. Remove the tart from the oven and let it rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. The tart is best enjoyed while warm. Makes 8 slices. Recipe by Renée Kohlman from Vegetables: A Love Story, copyright © 2021 by Renée Kohlman. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.



* Omit the feta cheese for a vegan dish.

If you’ve ever wondered what to make with those colourful heirloom carrots you see at the farmers’ market, this is it! This pretty tart has got loads of wow factor, and it’s fun to pull out of the oven when you have guests gathered around the holiday table. There are a couple of steps here, but it’s worth the work. Roasting the carrots first with a little honey and spices deepens their flavour and ensures some tenderness in the finished tart. I like adding greens to almost everything, so it’s no surprise that they’re nestled in the ricotta/feta cheese filling. Bonus vitamins! The fresh mint as a garnish really pulls all of the flavours together.

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