The Joy of Books | type books

Happy Boxing Day! Oh, there are many ways that books bring joy to our day! Type books on Queen Street West in Toronto created a stop-motion video a while ago that is one of the most delightful things I’ve seen in a while. Head on over to their web site at to view and enjoy! It is worth it, I promise.

Type Books 883 Queen Street West



Dried oranges and evergreen snowflakes | dried oranges

Hopefully in the frenzied lead-up to Christmas you can steal a bit of  time to sit quietly and relax while sipping hot chocolate or eggnog. Maybe wrap a few last minute gifts or try your hand at a small handmade something. These pretty evergreen snowflakes and dried oranges are the kind of project to while away a quiet winter afternoon.

The dried oranges turn into lovely translucent spots of colour against a grey winter’s sky and I love them hung in a window – the light coming through makes them look like stained glass. You can string them on a  garland with cinnamon sticks or hang them from the tree.

orange slices

Slice the oranges no thinner than one half inch or they will be brittle and tend to break or burn. Place the slices right on the oven rack in a 200 degree oven for at least two hours, flipping once to make sure they don’t stick and that they dry evenly. Remove, cool on a rack and… done!

Dried orange


oranges slices and greenery

I have hung the dried orange slices with the sweet evergreen snowflakes I made from the tips of left-over noble fir boughs.

evergreen flake

dried oranges diy


In defence of fruitcake | Fruitcake

Pineapple fruitcake

Question: Has everyone who says they hate fruitcake tried it??

People love to hate fruitcake, there is a visceral reaction in most people when you mention it. Virtually anyone you ask will say that they hate it.

I blame Johnny Carson. In the seventies he made a joke the premise of which was that there really was only one fruitcake and people just keep passing it around. It’s been downhill from there.

There are two types of fruitcake – my Mom’s recipe and everything else. We won’t even mention the nasty brown bricks wrapped in cellophane, prepared months before they are to be eaten and shipped all over the globe. Those are nasty.

My Mom’s recipe, that she has been making for roughly 65 years or so (no joke), is a pineapple fruitcake. My whole family loves it. This evening I combined sultana raisins, chopped cherries and citrus peel. I added crushed pineapple, almond extract and vanilla extract. The smell is pure Christmas to me. Boy, is it ever true that scents bring back memories! Tomorrow I’ll combine the rest of the ingredients, add that to the  fruit mixture and bake it for two or three hours.

Try a piece of this super moist and crumbly cake with a piece of aged cheddar and now we’re talking.

Johnny Carson didn’t know a thing!