Donna Okkema found “something to be enthusiastic about” during COVID by transforming an area full of dead trees into a lovely garden spot. | Donna Okkema photo

Readers share more thoughts on how to cope with COVID

Last fall, we asked readers to share how they are coping with COVID-19 and its effects. We received so many wonderful stories and ideas. In last week’s column we shared a few. To help you travel through these strange pandemic times we share a few more this week. Please go to to read more […] Read more

Whatever the season, all I need to do is look out my kitchen window or step out my back door, and beauty and wildlife are mine to enjoy. In summer I wake to a chorus of birdsong. Robins and chickadees, finches and nuthatches, woodpeckers and blue jays perch in the trees surrounding our farm home. They sing and chatter as they wait for their turn at the feeder, just a few feet and a pane of glass from my breakfast table.  |  Maureen Pocock photo

WP readers share their stories of coping with COVID-19

The year 2020 will long be remembered for many reasons, the least of which may be the coping skills that were developed. In September, we asked our readers to share how they were coping with COVID-19 and we received many wonderful and heartwarming stories. From doing more writing, photography, sewing and gardening to learning new […] Read more

Charcuterie boards can make a fun family meal or be served as a creative appetizer. For a meat and cheese charcuterie board, think of the food your family likes and arrange it creatively on a board or serving tray. For a meal, add bread or sub buns.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Get creative with casual Christmas charcuterie boards

Charcuterie (pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”) is translated from French meaning “delicatessen.” The term often refers to an assortment of meats paired with cheese, fruit, bread or crackers along with dips and sauces, creatively displayed on a board or serving dish. With holiday meals being smaller and more casual this year, arranging the food on a large platter […] Read more

Package cookies in little decorative boxes or plastic bags or on a colourful paper plate to give as a gift. Use royal icing to decorate cookies because it is sweet and shiny and will dry hard in a few minutes.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Christmas baking gifts make the holidays more festive

Christmas cookies for gifts, decorations or enjoying at home with a hot beverage are a special part of the Christmas Season. Baking is perfect to do with the kids. Measuring, mixing, rolling, decorating and packaging are all things little ones can help with. Fruitcake cookies These little gems have the holiday spice and candied fruit […] Read more

Brazil nut cake has a rough, dense textured top so no additional decorating is needed.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Fruitcake plays major role in many Christmas traditions

For many, a fruit-filled cake is part of their Christmas tradition, to be enjoyed at the end of the meal or given as a gift. A fruitcake is a mixture of raisins, currants, glazed or dried fruits, nuts, and just enough rich batter to hold the mixture together. The moisture from the fruit permeates the […] Read more

Pan-seared pork chops topped with juicy red pears and caramelized onions create a colourful and flavourful dinner.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Enjoying pears starts with knowing when they are ripe

Some people don’t enjoy pears because they’re either hard, starchy and under-ripe, or over-ripe and mushy. This happens because pears ripen better off the tree so they are picked green. They also ripen from the inside out. Learning how to tell when a pear is ripe is the secret to enjoying them. The test is […] Read more

Are you thankful for an abundant harvest of zucchini and tomatoes? Chicken tortellini soup with zucchini and tomatoes is easy to make and puts both of them to use.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Thanksgiving, Halloween celebrations will be different

How we celebrate Thanksgiving and Halloween is going to change radically this year. Large Thanksgiving family gatherings with an abundance of food and fellowship, and family Halloween outings for trick or treating aren’t advisable given the second wave of COVID-19 now rolling through the country. That provides opportunities for creating new traditions and remodeling old […] Read more

Roasting freshly harvested vegetables before adding to a stew gives a depth of flavour, while the parsley dumplings help create a hearty fall meal.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Garden bounty puts finishing touch on harvest meals

The gardening season is nearing an end but there is still lots of fresh produce to be enjoyed in a variety ways. Roasting or grilling vegetables gives them a depth of flavour. Enjoy these vegetables as a side dish or added to soups, stews or casseroles. All of our tomatoes are in boxes, covered with […] Read more

A recycled brick path to a garden shed and brick flower beds were long awaited projects that were completed during time spent at home social distancing because of COVID-19.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

From masks to more free time: life in 2020

Who would have thought at the beginning of 2020 that it would be socially acceptable and perhaps mandatory to wear a mask to cover your face when going into the bank. A year ago, you might have been arrested or at least seriously questioned. Such is the strangeness of our world since COVID-19 came to […] Read more

A Honey Lemon Vinaigrette dressing can be used on any salad that contains summer fruits and berries. Add some chicken, fish or slivered steak to the salad for a  satisfying meal.  |  Betty Ann Deobald photo

Enjoying the summer bounty with these fresh flavours

One of the eating joys of summer is the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. This summer many people have become more interested in gardening and are looking for interesting ways to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Basil Tomato Pizza The mayo mixed with the garlic and basil makes a wonderful flavour combination […] Read more