What happened to the square? Entertaining when I was growing up meant that at a certain time in the evening coffee and a plate of sweets, usually squares, would be served. We were only allowed the edges because that was what was given to the kids until after the party. We were always stunned that there might be left overs after a party, I mean really, why would anyone leave sweets uneaten?
One place to still find a fine selection of squares is a funeral reception. Perhaps it’s a Maritime thing or just a small town thing but funeral receptions in Nova Scotia are known to have the best selection of squares, period. And don’t even get me started on the little sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
I have mentioned before the handwritten cookbook my Mother wrote out for each of her children. In it is a collection of recipes for squares that really need to be resurrected and I’m on a mission to single-handedly bring back the square. There is a reason these are old tried-and-true recipes… they’re delicious.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1/2 cup maraschino cherries cut up
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla
Mix 1 cup flour, icing sugar and butter and press into an eight inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the base is baking mix flour, baking powder and salt together. To this mixture add cherries, eggs, coconut, walnuts and vanilla. Spread over base in pan and return to oven for 15 min till browned at the edges and set. Remove and cool to room temperature. Top with a butter icing.
It certainly seems like the typical rainy and dreary November weather is here again. When the colourful and showy leaves of October turn dusty and faded in November it’s time to start cocooning again. That means warm clothes, warm food and drinks, candles and wood fires. One of my favourite scents is a wood smoke scent.
Before this year I never had a favourite scent to wear. I had lots that I liked but I always tired of them quite quickly. That is until I found Déclaration by Cartier which has become my absolute favourite scent. (Never mind that until today in doing research for this blog post I didn’t know it was categorized and marketed as a man’s scent.) I still love it and the reason I do is because of the notes of a wood fire.
This got me searching out other wood smoke scents which led me to a Diptique candle my sister gave me last spring that I had never even lit but, it too, is now one of my favourite scents. I now look for woody, smoky scents and tastes wherever I could find them and the following is a short list of what I consider the best smoke scents around.
Diptique Feu de Bois candle found here.
Cartier Déclaration found here.
This Hearth scented candle from Nest Fragrances can be found here but I got mine at Murale which is owned by Shoppers Drug Mart.
You can’t talk about smoky scents without talking about smoky tastes too. One of the first things that comes to mind when asked about smoky tastes is scotch. Apparently a smoky taste is equivalent to a peaty taste and the best and most peaty scotches come from Islay. These “Peat Monsters” are considered to be the best: Laphroaig, Coal Ila, Talisker, Lagavulin, Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich
Smoke ’em or sip ’em if you got ’em or in some cases, if you can afford ’em. All are available through the LCBO or the NSLC.
This gorgeous single malt scotch glass is hand cut on the Halifax waterfront by Nova Scotia Crystal and can be found here.
Tassels swish and swing and add a bit of flair. Who can resist a tassel? Bag charms are having a moment right now so I wanted to see how I could make my own tassel version.
Here’s what you’ll need and how to make them:
- leather scraps (mine come from a fabric store and cost 50 cents each)
- cutting matt
- xacto blade or box cutter
- metal or metal edge ruler
- hot glue or super glue
- a key ring or a ball chain section
Cut out a straight-edged rectangle of leather and lay it out on the cutting matt. Either measure or freehand cut strips as parallel and as straight as possible along the whole length of the leather leaving 1/4 to 1/2 an inch at the top.
Turning it over to the back side glue a thin strip of the leather in a loop to one end with the hot glue. Then lay a bead of hot glue along the upper edge and roll the leather tightly making sure to align the top edge.
Attach a short piece of ball chain to the leather loop and it is ready to adorn any bag or zipper. The beauty of something like this is when you get bored you can simply swap it out or remove it.
In the photo above you can see the tops of the grey and white shorter tassels and how they are rolled. In this version the leather loop is much longer so it didn’t need the chain, just use the loop to attach to a bag or tote.
The photo above is of a more masculine tassel which has an attached key ring from a freebie give-away. Another piece of leather was cut and glued on inside-out as an added trim. These would make fantastic and easy stocking stuffers.