Where to Shop in November!

This month I have TWO craft shows coming up.  These are great opportunities to buy some unique Christmas/Holiday presents for that special someone or yourself!

HandMade Market is happening November 22nd to 24th at Fielding Estate Wineries in Beamsville. (Click the poster for driving directions!)



Then the following weekend I’m off to Hamilton’s Convention Centre for Made by Hand!  This is the first time the show is being held in Hamilton.  Come out and support! (Click the poster for driving directions!)

Screenshot 2013-11-10 08.42.10

Frightful Foods: Halloween Food Roundup

Frightful Food Halloween Food Roundup

On Halloween night when you’re handing out candy to all the neighbourhood kids, resist the temptation to dip into the candy in the bucket and whip up some frightful food to nosh on!  Check these ideas out!  Click on the pictures for the recipes and how-to’s!

Martha Stewart is curing epidermis!


Cured Epidermis


Or how about some scary butterfingers eyeballs?



Halloween Butterfinger Eyes


For the grownups, there’s always a Black Magic Cocktail to go with the scary movies on for the evening!

Black Magic Cocktails



If you’re feeling a bit more health conscious, halloween fruit kabobs are always fun!

Frightful Halloween fruit kebabs


And who doesn’t love some eyeballs floating in their tomato soup?!

Eye-Popping Soup


Frightful foods can come in many forms and be made out of anything!  What are some of your favourite ideas?




How To: Make Your Own Apple Cider

How to Make Your Own Apple Cider My Guy and I are always into making anything we can.  Most of the time it’s the adventure of it that catches our attention and not so much the health benefits.  Although, because we do tend to make a lot of stuff we’re not taking in as many preservatives.  We moved into our new house and discovered an apple tree in the yard.  There were so many tall weeds that we completely overlooked this tree’s existence!  The apples were small and pesticide free so they were pretty blemished.  Not the nicest for eating.  But they sure made great cider!

The Process

Step 1: We picked as many apples as we thought we could handle.

Apples for cider

Step 2: We pulled out the food processor and got to work!  We cut the ones too large to fit through the mouth of the processor.  Thankfully, most of them fit quite nicely!

Chopped apples ready for the food processor

Step 3: Once the bowl was filled, we used cheesecloth to strain the solids out.  We were doing a ton of apples so we squeezed the cider out and we were left with apple pulp.  We discarded the pulp and set about mashing up the next round of apples!

Using cheesecloth to strain the cider

Step 4: You’ll need to refrigerate your cider, I recommend jugs or mason jars with lids.  At this point, it’s unpasteurized and won’t keep for more than a few days.  On the bright side, now is the perfect time to enjoy a big glass of cold apple cider or heat it up with a stick or two of cinnamon!

Things I Learned

Use a variety of apples – My Guy and I used the apples off our tree which was awesome because they were too tiny to do much else with!  But it made for a weaker tasting cider.  I would recommend using a variety of apples and the riper they are (overripe is great!) the better.  Grocery stores and supermarkets will often have a clearance table of produce nearing the end of it’s life.  You can pick up all kinds of apples at a big discount.

Do not stick anything in the food processor – Check out this picture.  Do I need to say more?

My Guy and the Exploding Apple Mash

It takes a ton of apples – way more than you think.  This is not really a cheap method of getting cider unless you are using some free ones!  But it sure is fun to make and drink something you made!

Consider sweetening it up – I would use honey and not much.  Again, it will depend on the apples you use but you MAY need to consider adding some honey to up the sweetness

Fall Made by Hand Show – THIS Saturday!

Join me and 150 other vendors THIS Saturday, October 19th at the International Centre (Unit 6) from 11am to 5pm.  I would love to see you!

Click the poster for more details and directions! Fall MadebyHand Flyer - October 19th 2013

Halloween Craft Round Up!

Halloween Header

I’ve pulled some of the cutest, scariest, easiest and more Halloweeny crafts I could find around the web!  Check ‘em out!  Just click on the images to be taken to the original poster’s tutorials!

How cute and easy are these guys to do?  Easy for kids to do but looks great for a grown up’s decor as well.

Can you imagine how much kids would LOVE this stuff?  I think I love this stuff and I’m too old to be called a kid (no matter how I act)!

This felt ruffled pumpkin would be adorable on a table, to take to the office or do a few to put in your living room.  Halloween without so much blood and gore!

I’ve always been one for salty and sweet together (although the popcorn is apparently air popped!) but this would be great to do with kids and watching a scary movie, or make for your Sweetie while you snuggle up for a good scare.  Super fun!  Plus, a tutorial on how to make popcorn in your microwave without buying microwave popcorn.  Love it!

This craft is super simple but super cute for the little ones.  They would be proud to create something Halloweeny and you get an adorable craft to show them!

Long Weekend in Niagara-On-The-Lake

Yesterday My Guy and I spent the afternoon in Niagara-On-The-Lake (NOTL).  First up was Jet Boating on the Niagara River.  It was a FUN and WET trip!  We went up the rapids and of course, got soaked!

portraits!-08 DCIM100GOPRO

Then we stopped at Oast House and Silversmiths, two local breweries in NOTL and Virgil (just outside NOTL).  And then we head back to Stone Road Grille or The Rest.  The meal was delicious! I had the Duck Confit and would tell anyone that it was one of the best places to eat!


After that, we went home and I promptly fell asleep on the couch while watching a movie!  It was a great day with My Guy!

New House!

IMG_0001 My Guy and I have bought a new house!  I’m pretty excited about it and eager to get going.  Of course it won’t happen until the end of August and there’s lots of packing to do in the meantime.  But patience has never been a strong point of mine.  Instead I’m impatiently tapping my toes until we can get in and I can start organizing the new kitchen and bedrooms.  It’s one floor with a finished basement.  We’ve got more than enough room for our stuff, plus My Guy has kids that will have room to come and stay and space of their own.  There’s a small barn with enough room for chickens, ducks and maybe a cow (we’re still in discussion about this one!).


IMG_0049 Country Girl Cooks is about to get a new home in the country and I couldn’t be more excited!  I’m trying not to pre-decorate in my head, but of course I know full well that once I’m in it will change all again.  My Guy has already decided on his projects.  He intends to cut the grass, which is actually looking like a hay field (the grass is well over my knees) before tackling the driveway.  The list is a mile long and yet… this is all nice to have stuff.  I think one of the best things about this house is that it actually needs no fixing.  We get to putter, play and turn it into our home rather than just making it into a house then a home.

Stay tuned, the next month is going to be full of packing… then the real fun will begin!


Gone Fishing!

We’re almost ready to start a new weekend and I’m finally just getting around to sharing last weekend with you!  It’s been a crazy week (does anyone ever not have a crazy week??) going and looking at houses.  But last weekend we took a day off work to make it a long weekend to go fishing. 

Check out some of the photos from the weekend of fishing and camping!

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New Recipes on the Way!

The Down and Dirty…

What: 28 recipes from my Mom’s recipe box

When: June 29th 2013

Cost: $8.00

Where: Here on Country Girl Cooks

Offer: Current email subscribers will receive a $2.00 off coupon, Click here to sign up!

More Info…

On June 29th I will be publishing the best of Mom’s recipes.  I’ve taken time to go through the handwritten recipe cards that I have from Mom and my Grandma and assemble them into a downloadable collection for you.  Although the recipe collection is large, I’ve cut it down to 28 of the most well-used, highly tested staples of my childhood.  I still use these recipe cards in my Grandma and Mom’s handwriting.  They are stained, faded and worn from the amount of use they have gotten.

Anyone who subscribes to the Country Girl Cooks email list up until the very early morning of June 29th will receive a $2.00 off coupon code!  Subscribers AFTER the 29th can still receive a coupon code, but it won’t be the full $2.00.  Not yet signed up?  Now’s the time!! Click here to get on the list.

For a sneak peek at what kinds of recipes will be included, keep scrolling!

  • Bean Casserole
  • Potato Salad
  • Christmas Wish Jam
  • Stewed Tomatoes
  • Fluffy Cooked Icing
  • Rice Pudding
  • Pickled Eggs
  • Shortbread

Sign up for the Country Girl Cooks email list by clicking here before June 29th!

Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar

homeward bound It’s taken me longer than I thought to get through this book.  Mainly because of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival preparations took much of my time and brain power.  But I finally completed this book over a lunch hour this week.

I must admit, I began this book thinking I was going to find kindred spirits.  I was going to see women that were similar in thoughts and needs as myself and what I discovered about me, and them is that there are a number of differences!  I’ll start with what the book is about.  Then on to my personal take on it.

Emily Matchar noticed a startling number of blogs, books and women (mostly, anyway) returning to the domestic sphere and opting out of the general workforce.  She examines the history of woman’s work and feminism.  She interviews women who believe it’s most natural for them to rear the children, bake bread and do the housework.  She examines homesteading, frugality, parenting and the new hipster homemakers.

There is a wide variety of topics covered in this book and there were parts that intrigued me more than others.  I am not (nor plan to be) a mother and therefore the section on parenting was interesting from a bystander point of view, but it was 20 pages too long for me since I couldn’t relate.  I was, of course, very interested in the section on canning, DIY food and the culture surrounding it.  All in all I found the book to be well written, well researched and a good mix of historical references and current opinions from women who are actually part of the New Domesticity movement.

At first blush, I’m in total agreement with a number of these hipster homemaker women.  I wrote these thoughts last month and well, I can see the appeal.  What started to unsettle me was towards the end of the book.  Some of these women were totally and completely relying on their husbands to provide a paycheque to live on.  In a day and age where divorce is at an all-time high, why were these women giving up their ability to be self-sustaining?  And were these men perfectly happy to go to work all day while their wives stayed home?  Don’t mistake these questions as a belief that these women do nothing all day (I may not be a parent, but I’m not naïve to believe that these women are Peg Bundy eating bon bons).  What I’m really curious about is whether the relationships truly were fair and what would these women do if they found their marriage breaking down.  I’ve see it happen and it’s wound up as a struggle for money and a (mistaken) belief of what one is ‘owed’ after a relationship ends.

I would agree that their choices to bake their own bread, make all their food from their own garden and from scratch are great ways to spend their time, and in fact, I would love to do that myself!  But at the expense of not being able to contribute financially?  I would love to opt out of the working world and become an entrepreneur.  I want to earn my own money and I want to do it with My Guy.  It is a romanticized notion of what would actually be a lot of hard work, time and effort.  But I see us working together to earn a non-traditional living.  Not him as the breadwinner and me as the home one who cares for the home.

I grew up with a mother who made a very good living, a father who worked hard but for less money.  Both cooked, parented, struggled to make ends meet and both did house chores.  My Dad was more traditional in that he took lawn cutting, repairs and the typically masculine chores, while my Mom did laundry and vacuumed.  However both have and would pinch hit for the other when needed.  The marriage and responsibilities were equal when being divided.  Perhaps it’s this that has shaped my beliefs about why I would choose not to opt out of making a living.

I think Emily Matchar does a good job of representing both sides of this New Domesticity issue.  She shows those who are embracing it whole-heartedly, those who are not and in her conclusion makes those of us who wish to embrace it, feel ok about only going half way.  I strongly suggest every woman who has ever considered baking their own bread, knitting or throwing caution to the wind to grow all their own food and take a leave from the work force (permanent or temporary), to read this book.  You may come to the same answer and walk away from the corporate world, but at least Ms. Matchar will give you a history lesson and some things to consider.

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