Christmas Party in a Box

December15

When Christmas comes it is so lovely to be able to carve out some extra time with good friends. Sometimes this is hard to do when one of your besties has a medical job where she is on call on a regular basis. With some advance planning though we were able to pull it off.

We were celebrating a Christmas birthday as well as exchanging Christmas gifts. The festivities were planned to take place at the home of one friend who has recently had knee surgery. By bringing supper and gifts to her place, she was able to be comfortable and stay put.

We had thrown around some ideas for a simple supper and then I struck upon the solution. I had been invited to the annual “party in a box” hosted by the Manitoba Chicken Producers the evening before. D was given instructions to stay out of the boxed goodies that I stacked up and brought home. As a result of his self-control, I was able to supply three wonderful chicken appetizers for the evening. In fact, we enjoyed the appetizers with a festive salad adorned with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese and cranberries and were delighted with our light supper.

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Blue Moon Chicken Bites (recipe link here) were delectable chicken meatballs that we dunked into an easy to assemble mixture of hot sauce, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

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A second dish was Curried Chicken & Cashew Bites  where chicken breasts were slowly roasted in cream and then tossed in mango chutney and a coating of crushed cashews.

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My favourite were Chicken Tartlets topped with Cranberry Salsa.

As we assembled our plates of chicken treats and salad we congratulated ourselves on our festive meal that was also wholesome and nutritious. We saved our calories for dessert which I also had been gifted the evening before.

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Christmas sugar cookies had been beautifully decorated by High Tea Bakery. We each chose one to go with another treat of Bernand Callebaut chocolates.

We didn’t linger at the table long because we had presents, presents and more presents to exchange and open.

Clean up was a breeze and I packed up the leftovers so that D could indulge in the tastes he had resisted the previous evening.

Kath’s quote: “The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things”. -Thomas S. Monson

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Isla Mujeres 2017 Trip Report-Day 11

December7

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This never gets tired.

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D has walked into town and I am contemplating the day. The breeze has died down and there are no clouds. Might be a hot one! To my surprise D has discovered how much he likes beachcombing saying that it is both relaxing and good exercise! I joined him for a while yesterday.

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D made his fabulous ham omelets for brunch.

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We were kicking around possibilities for the day when Boo & the Frenchman texted saying that they would love to come over again to sit in the shade and watch the waves. We went to fetch them in our golf cart and did exactly that.

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D made cocktails. He and I were too hungry to chase down sunset so we went right to Brisas Grill. It was a busy place and we were lucky to get a table when we did. D had grouper and cilantro sauce and I had seafood pasta in a white wine sauce. We did not think that it was as good as when they were on the beach. We were home in time for a glass of wine and Suits on Netflix.

Kath’s quote: “When you make an omelet, as when you make love, affection counts for more than technique”.-Isabel Allende

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Isla Mujeres 2017 Trip Report-Day 10

December6

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We were awake for a gorgeous sunrise.

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One of our many Isla traditions is taking pouty face pictures of each other at the ferry terminal.

We scouted (in our golf cart) into town to see Sister #2, my BIL and nephew off

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and then went back again to shop for breakfast.

Later we returned again to fetch another in law and her sister from Centro to took them to Luna d’Miel for a breakfast of ham and eggs.

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The town was quiet that morning.

After breakfast we took the ladies on an island spin and ran into Joyce of Bob and Joyce. She had us in to see her kitchen reno.

We whiled away the afternoon in switching out between hammock, chair and shade.

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For Happy Hour and to help us consume all our booze we went in the golf cart and fetched Boo and the Frenchman. D made kahluas and margaritas and the Frenchman became a very happy tequila man.

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We finished off our chips and dip and mango salsa and then took off in the cart to across the airport strip to watch the sunset.

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Once the beautiful display was over, we drove into Colonias to Bastos for Burgers Especiale and then home for a wine night cap.

Kath’s quote: “Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius”.-Matthew McConaughey

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Bermax Cafe and Bistro

December4

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One of my favourite cookbooks is “Jerusalem”. The book is as much an intriguing story about the people who dwell together in the ancient city as it is a catalogue of excellent recipes. The book is where I first came to know the egg and tomato sauce dish known as Shakshuka. The authors of “Jerusalem” state that the dish is actually Tunisian in origin.

I first tasted the dish prepared by a French trained, Italian chef in a little café called “The Fat Hen” in Seattle. I have also enjoyed it at a couple of spots in Winnipeg. The Bermax Café and Bistro is a kosher Italian Café that does a very good job with their version of Shakshuka.

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I would have preferred my egg to have been slightly less firm so that I could have allowed the piping hot sauce to finish cooking the egg. This is not a complaint as the tomato sauce was out of this world with the unusual inclusion a smoky paprika and cumin. I plan on returning so that I can enjoy that sauce on a pasta dish.

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My breakfast date chose a pineapple pancake when her request of a granola pancake was not available. Sweet chunks of pineapple were mixed into the batter as well as being served on top of the pancake. The cake also came garnished with cottage cheese. Was the dish a breakfast or a decadent dessert? At home we often enjoy pancakes with a generous scoop of cottage cheese, sliced bananas and maple syrup. My family has inherited my sweet and salty addiction!

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I am actually surprised that I have resisted Bermax for as long as I have. The bistro is walking distance from my home and all my favourite foods are contained on one menu: black truffle, eggplant, artichokes, gnocchi and pizza. They even have a Shakshuka pizza!

The Bermax Caffe + Bistro is located at 1800 Corydon Ave. They have an extensive all day breakfast, lunch and dinner menu available. They are open Monday- Thursday 8 am until 9 pm. They close at 3 pm on Friday and are closed Saturday. The are open Sundays from 9 am until 9:00 pm and are wheelchair accessible.

Kath’s quote: With reference to shakshuka- “It sounds like the name of a comic book hero. Or some kind of fierce, long-forgotten martial art. Or perhaps something that said comic book hero would yell as they practiced this elaborate martial art, mid-leap with their fist in the air“.-Smitten Kitchen

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Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 9

November28

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We love so many things about staying on the airport strip. But the best part is being excited to get up with the sun, make our coffee and then just sit there.

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We had established our Luna d’ Miel routine of D walking into town for his second coffee, newspaper, tortas, fruit and juice. This is when I would typically go shelling & sea glass hunting. At that point I had almost a full bag of alga marine, my favourite sea glass colour. D also checked in on daughter Boo as she was still ill the previous evening.

We also love that the Luna d’ Miel unit that we stay in, has a fairly well equipped kitchen (including an electric frying pan that we had taken down years prior). Taking full advantage, we stayed in for a fabulous breakfast of Isla ham and eggs.

I spent the day I and out of the sun, It was cool in the shade (almost too cool) and hot in the sun (almost too hot). D finished his book and we took turns in the hammock. I felt sleepy all day and tried to rest. We snacked and nibbled the day away. Daughter Boo and the Frenchman had our golf cart for the day. We loved going back and forth to pick them up and drop them off.

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At 6 pm we were at K & M’s hotel to pick up their excess supplies. So far we have done so with most of the people who have departed. We will consume a bit of it and find an unsuspecting local to pass the rest off to.

Had a lovely Happy Hour at Jan & Bruce’s. They are in the old Glady’s apartments that we stayed over New Year’s years ago. We walked the crazy ladder to the roof.

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Dinner was at Bertha’s (link here) & Sister #2 and her husband joined the four of us.

We stopped at J and B’s to pick up more supplies and ended the evening with a glass of wine under the stars. We were the only inhabitants at Luna d’ Miel that night.

Kath’s quote: “While sleeping in a hammock, with the touch of a warm wind we remember why we are in love with the life!” -Mehmet Murat ildan

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