Tag Archives: community

Our favourite holiday recipes

At Sarilia, we love to get together over good food, and the holidays are no exception. We thought we’d share a few of our favourite holiday recipes to provide a bit of culinary inspiration.

Gwen’s favourites

Welsh Cakes, from Company’s Coming
“My family is Welsh and we have always been a big fan of anything that has currants, raisins, mixed peel and cheese. Welsh cakes with layered Camembert is one of our family’s favourite appetizers. I have been making it for over 20 years.”

Welsh cakes

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
½ cup hard margarine or butter

½ cup currents
1/4 cup cut mixed peel, finely chopped

1 large egg – fork beaten
1/3 cup milk

Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Cut in margarine until crumbly.

Stir in currents and peel.

Add egg and milk. Stir until dough forms a ball. Roll on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 2 or 3 inch rounds. Heat frying pan on medium-low. Cook cakes, in batches, until both sides are browned. Pan should be lower temperature than for cooking pancakes. Serve cold. Makes 24-36 small cakes.

Serving tip: Accompany the Welsh Cakes with a soft cheese, like Brie or Camembert for easy spreading.

Bruschetta, from Company’s Coming
“I was having tea with my Pilates ladies last night and we were talking about Christmas and food. Kathleen said, ‘I just love your bruschetta recipe, so yummy!’ Sometimes, I serve  it as an appetizer, sometimes, I eat it for dinner, and sometimes I have it on toast for breakfast because I ran out of baguette. Seriously, it is so delicious and easy to make!”


You can find the bruschetta recipe here. 

Annette’s favourites

Dried Cranberry Sticky Toffee Puddings
“My favorite Christmas dessert is Sticky Toffee Pudding from Best of Bridge. I once had dinner at a fancy restaurant and the waiter kept going on about how awesome their chef’s sticky toffee pudding was and how the recipe was handed down to him from his Grandmother who brought the recipe to Canada from England. It was their most popular dessert and often they would have people order it for delivery all over Canada. I ordered it and, yes it was good. Then I went home and made this recipe and it was better. Sorry Grandma.”

Sticky toffee pudding

You can find the Dried Cranberry Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe here.

Cracker Jack Popcorn, from Broma Bakery
“Another Christmas favorite is baked Cracker Jack popcorn. I’ve been making this at Christmas for more than 30 years.”

Cracker Jack Popcorn

Find the Cracker Jack Popcorn recipe here. 

Amber’s favourites

“For me, the holidays bring a lot of entertaining, so I always keep some “appetizer staples” around, which, for me, are cream cheese, crescent rolls, and cheese. You know, all that healthy stuff. Here are two festive apps that always do well at parties.”

Appetizer Wreath Recipe, from Taste of Home

Appetizer wreath
You can find the appetizer wreath recipe here. 

Apple Pecan Baked Brie, from Crazy for Crust

Apple pecan baked brie

You can find the Apple Pecan Baked Brie recipe here. 

Ronn’s favourite

Ronn’s favourite holiday recipe is for mulled wine.

Mulled wine

You can find the mulled wine recipe here. 

We’d love to hear about your favourite Christmas recipes too. Please share them with us in the comments!


Sarilia from a bird’s-eye view

One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to meet new people and give them a tour of our river valley community. By the time we’ve walked to the river, strolled through the community garden, and looked at the available lots, I’ve had a chance to get to know them one-on-one. Often, they’ll make a second trip with a few extra family members in tow. That’s what happened last month. I gave a tour to a wonderful family and they returned the next day with a few members of their extended family. One of them ended up taking some aerial photos and videos and they generously shared them with us.

Despite knowing the land like the back of my hand, these videos offer a fresh perspective of Sarilia. It’s one thing to drive along the roads and walk the river trails, but it’s another thing to see the whole community from a bird’s-eye view. Seeing the sunshine sparkling on the water and the way the homes nestle right into nature from a new point of view is really interesting.

I’m happy to share the photos here as a tour you can take without leaving home. Still, nothing beats seeing Sarilia for yourself, so don’t hesitate to contact me for a ground-level tour. 🙂

– Gwen Lepage

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See you on Spotify

This summer the White House joined Spotify when President Obama hand-picked 39 songs to create two playlists for both “day” and “night.” Named The President’s Summer Playlist, the collection of songs includes musicians such as Van Morrison, Ray Charles and Canada’s own Joni Mitchell.

Here at Sarilia, we were inspired to create our own Spotify playlist of songs we love and songs that remind us of home. It includes a few Canadian acts like The Deep Dark Woods and David Myles, and some favourites added by our residents.

We’ve made it a collaborative list because we’d like you to add your own favourites to it. Spotify is free, you just have to download it to your computer, or get the app on your smart phone or tablet. You can pay for an optional upgrade if you want to avoid hearing ads from time to time.

If you already have Spotify, simply search for “Sarilia’s Spotify Playlist” or click here. Have a listen, follow us, and add your favourite tunes!

Here’s a sneak peek of our playlist…Sarilia spotify playlist

Checking in with our new neighbours

Matt and Amber moved into their new home at Sarilia last May. Now that they’ve had a chance to settle in, we thought we’d follow up with Amber to see how their lives have changed since moving here, and how they feel about life in the river valley. Our beautiful photos were taken at Sarilia by Julie Schappert Photography.

Sarilia trails and river

What makes life so different at Sarilia?
Number one is the sense of calm and peace that I feel being surrounded by nature. It may seem cliché, but moving out to the country has really transformed our lives. It seems like we take more time to sit and enjoy our surroundings and each other. Taking care of our home and the surrounding area has a little bit more pride and joy than it did in the city, probably because there are so many more possibilities with the space we have. There’s also the fact that when you’re home, you’re home. The distance may seem limiting to some, but I really enjoy the fact that when I’m here I’m not pulled to do some errand, I can just enjoy my home and my family without thinking that there’s some place else to be.

Were there any lessons learned during your home building process?
The main thing I learned was that it was helpful to have a clear vision of what we wanted our home to feel like, and then communicate that often. Our build was truly custom and we chose every single detail, but it’s good advice for whatever type of build you’re doing. Salespeople and sub-contractors are so much more helpful when you’re able to say, “my house is such-and-such style and we want it to feel ‘X’” (warm, quaint, modern, clean, rustic, etc.).

Also, I learned to stick to my guns and never be afraid to ask. As a woman making the vast majority of decisions I was lucky to have a very patient builder who would take the time to explain the process. I was able to make informed decisions and not back down when someone wanted to change my mind. Not everyone values the same things as you when they’re giving you advice about your home.

Aesthetics are important — so is functionality but I would remind myself that we are the ones who are living here so we had to prioritize what we wanted. A perfect example was the manufactured wood beams in our kitchen. They were an expensive custom touch and some people questioned me about them but I knew they would do so much to create that “feel” that we wanted. Now everyone remarks about how much they love them when they walk in!

walking dogs on beach

What kinds of activities do you do at Sarilia?
I’ve been up at the community garden often, weeding a lot as I’m still learning the ropes! We walk the dogs and go down to the beach. We’ve also taken a couple of bike rides to explore the area. Matthew went on a canoe trip down the river to Petrofka Bridge with some other community members. I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular running schedule now that the busyness of the move and summer is winding down.

Day to day, we’ve been working on our deck and our yard which we both enjoy. Now we can eat dinner outside or just sit out and enjoy a glass of wine. I’ve found that my free time is a little more “quality.” We watch less TV, and spend more time outside.

What is it like to be part of the Sarilia community?
I’m so happy and excited to be part of this community. Summer is tough to get out and meet people as most people are busy or away on weekends, but recently we’ve had the chance to meet some of the families that live here at a community get-together and we had an amazing time! I’m so excited to get to know the other residents. Dinners with friends, bonfires on the beach, our kids growing up together…I’m so looking forward to this at Sarilia.

What do your family and friends say when they visit?
I feel like when our family and friends visit, they get it. They get why we decided to move to the country when we’ve always been city people. The other day my mom was sitting on our deck and she said, “it’s just like being at the lake,” which is a big deal because our cabin at the lake is definitely the family “happy place.” They’ve also remarked on the sense of privacy that our well-treed lot provides. We have the best of both worlds — we can be out mingling with our neighbours while at the garden or on a walk, but we also have our little nook in our backyard which means that we’re not bothering anyone when we have company over.  The number one phrase I hear when we have company is, “it’s beautiful.” I have to say, I agree!

river walk at Sarilia

Building community at Sarilia

Our community is the heart and soul of Sarilia. Our neighbours make us the vibrant village that we are, and our new buyers say it’s our sense of community that sealed the deal for them when they were looking for a place to call home. We’ve created a warm and welcoming place with some wonderful people with diverse backgrounds. But we never stop thinking of ways to build and grow our river valley community.

We love to have big gatherings and small get togethers. We enjoy rubbing shoulders with our friends and neighbours in our community garden, and sharing a glass of wine on the deck overlooking the river. But we’re always looking for ways to improve, and what better place to start than this list from Oh My Handmade: 60 Ways to Build Community. What would you add to it?


Meet the Neighbours – Part Two

In the second installment of our Meet the Neighbours series, we’re happy to introduce you to Amber and Matt. They’re in the process of building a custom home here in the river valley and we can’t wait to welcome them home to Sarilia!

Amber and Matt

Where are you both from originally?
Matthew and I both grew up in Saskatoon.

What was it about Sarilia that made you decide to buy a lot and build your home here?
So many things! First of all, the beauty of the place. The landscape is such a wonderful mix of prairie, hills, treed lots, and then the river. Having grown up in the city, and always having loved the access the city provides to entertainment, shopping, restaurants, etc., it was going to take a very special place to get me to build outside the city.

To me, Sarilia provides the peace and beauty that comes from country living, but with the community and neighbours that protects from that feeling of isolation I think I would have on an acreage.

Also, Matthew and I were not looking for a property that required the type of upkeep that some country/rural lots require, considering that we both work. On top of this, we feel that it is close enough to the city that we can handle the commute quite easily. In fact, I find that the drive out to Sarilia after a long day at work helps me to unwind and relax.

The cost of the lots at Sarilia compared to how much lots cost in the city means that we can build a home that we’ll love, and not have to sacrifice because of an expensive lot. Another major reason was that when we visit, we feel a real sense of community. We can’t wait to finally move out there and meet all of the neighbours.

Who are you building with?
We are building with a company called CNS Developments, who is doing a custom build with us. Curtis Mann, the builder, has been amazing and very accommodating. We’re very happy with him.

What are you most looking forward to about living in the river valley?
Waking up every day surrounded by such beauty! Matthew and I really value our downtime outside and our time with friends and family. I can’t wait to entertain out on our deck with the sun setting over the river valley! We currently don’t have children, but I can’t wait to one day raise our children out there. I love the idea of kids being able to play outside in the woods and the fields, discovering nature or wandering around and riding their bikes with the other kids in the neighbourhood and not having to worry about busy streets. I love that we’re going to live in a community where we know everyone.

What activities do you both enjoy?
We love riding our bikes and going for walks. I love to cook and bake. Right now I have summers off because I work in the school system, so I spend as much time as I can up at our family’s cabin at Nesslin Lake where we fish or just go out on the boat. Other than that, on weekends we spend a lot of time socializing with friends and family. Every Sunday we get together for supper with my family. I can’t wait to be able to host and have them out to our new home.

Tell us something about yourselves…
I’m a counsellor in the school division, which is a new job since I graduated with a master’s degree from the U of S. Two things that I never thought I would do in my life would certainly be working in the school system and living in the country, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that last year brought both of those things into my life!

Matthew and I have also made a promise to ourselves that we will make travel a priority in our lives. My favourite trip that we have gone on is our honeymoon, where we flew to Portland and then rented a car and took a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway for two weeks, ending in San Francisco.



Community Open House at Sarilia

Open House

Join us this Sunday, August 10 between 2-5 pm for a tour of Sarilia’s  community. You’ll meet the developers, Gwen and Ronn, who’ve made the river valley their home. You’ll also get an opportunity to look at available lots and potential house plans that would suit your lifestyle. Just bring yourselves and your curiosity. We’ll bring the refreshments and the sunshine!