The Essence of a Bridal Shower

September17

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At daughter Boo’s recent bridal shower, I learned during Sister #2’s toast, where bridal showers originated.  Supposedly there was a time when a community would gather round a new bride if her parents disapproved of the groom and did not present her with a dowry.  Such is not the case with Boo’s choice of husband as we love the Frenchman and cannot wait for him to join our family.  Although these origins seem a little punitive and unforgiving, I think that showers are wonderful occasions.  If you happen to live in my extended family you are doubly blessed because we have some extraordinary event planners in our midst.  As one of the attendees indicated: “Lovely afternoon- the love and care was palpable. I honestly don’t know more sincerely kind women than the 3 of you! Well spoken, articulate, amazing cooks and beautiful to add!”

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Here are Sister #2 and #3 (I’ll remind you that I AM Sister #1).  Sister #2 on the right has a twin but it is not Sister #3, even though they look so much alike.  Brother #3 is her twin.

Sister #2 managed the food and Sister #3 the décor.  When you are careful planners and divvy up the work, an event like this flows like the love that was in the room.

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Hot pink and orange were the colour choices.

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Orange for the season and pink for femininity.  Guests were invited to make date suggestions and offer words of marriage wisdom to the bride and groom.  What a simple but fabulous idea.

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Sister #3 was also responsible for the cupcake wedding dress that was as delicious as it was beautiful.

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Old school quiche is such a convenient lunch entrée.  They can be made ahead and heated up or are equally delicious luke warm (just make sure that you keep them refrigerated up until serving time and then get left-overs back into the fridge).

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Salad varieties were: orange and romaine, Chinese noodle and Greek quinoa.  We have someone who is highly nut allergic in our family so she was walked through the ingredient list in advance.

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Other “Aunties” contributed the salads for lunch.

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Sarah said these took four tries-but now she’s perfected them!

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the bridal attendants baked desserts and then did a great job with the flow of gifts to be unwrapped, itemized and displayed.

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Faces in the crowd.

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My two Moms.  My first Mom on the left (almost ninety) and my 2nd Mom since I married her son over thirty years ago on the right (almost eighty).  Both Moms know how to cook, how to give good gifts, how to stay looking young and how to be as full of joy as life’s circumstances will allow.  They have taught me well.  And soon Boo will have two Mom’s (well three actually).  I have shared in her mothering with Sister #3 and as of next month, she will officially be mothered by the Frenchman’s Mom as well.  I love being your Mom, Boo.

Kath’s quote: “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”  ~Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

 

Santorini Restaurant

September11

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We are extremely fortunate within our immediate circle of family and friends to travel the world.  As I write this a close friend is in Greece.  Social media allows us to travel vicariously through photos and updates. Lo and behold after gazing at your pictures-I had a hankering for Greek cuisine!  By coincidence, my friend is on the island of Santorini and Winnipeg has its very own restaurant by the same name: Santorini 1839 Portage Ave. in Old St. James

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The moussaka was my choice (an obvious one if you are familiar with my addiction to eggplant).  This traditionally prepared dish was exactly as I remembered from my brief time on the Greek Islands where I first tasted the dish.  Theo and her husband Dimitrios’ version contains spiced beef rather than ground lamb.  The eggplant has been beautifully sautéed and the layers of it and potato are richly satisfying.  The crowning glory was the luscious béchamel sauce layer.  I could eat the beautifully browned custard on top of any casserole you could name.

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Spanakopita is another of my Greek favourites.  My lunch date and I detected a from-scratch phyllo pastry.  The spinach, feta, onion and egg stuffing made the triangular pastry bulge.  I guessed that it might have been seasoned with a tinge of oregano and a squeeze of lemon.

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A vegetable soup, Greek potatoes and salad accompanied both dishes and created great value.  My lunch date must have been extremely disappointed when she forgot her leftovers in my car.  The tidy and airy surroundings are comfortable and Theo who waits on the tables herself, could not possibly be more inviting.

A couple of notes: There is Wheelchair access but not to the washrooms. Cash only.

Santorini Restaurant & Catering on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “That fellow Béchameil has all the luck!  I was serving breast of chicken á la crème more than 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce.”     -Duke of Escars, 17th century

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Love-that is all.

Cibo Waterfront Café

September9

Not often do I write about a restaurant visit where I have dined solo but this was the case for my visit to Cibo Waterfront Café.  I had so wanted to check it out that I suggested it to a friend of mine for a lunch rendezvous.  Unfortunately, those plans had to be postponed and in the confusion, turned out not to be set up at all.  But I thought “what the heck”, I was already there (in fact I had driven in from our little beach house that morning) so I perused the menu and decided what I would not have been able to order had my friend been there.  She is not food allergic but avoids carbs and dairy.  I try to avoid highly processed carbs as well but couldn’t resist the bruschetta platters that I had seen coming out of the kitchen.

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There are seven different choices and you are permitted to choose three of them for a platter.  My selections were: Buffalo mozzarella, tomato & basil, sautéed mushrooms & goat cheese and grilled veggies & Trappist cheese. The baguette tasted as if it had been flame toasted, just how I like it.

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The three selections complemented and yet contrasted each other. I especially enjoyed the mozzarella one as the toast was pungent with garlic, rich and creamy mozzarella and the tomato and basil added a sparkling taste.

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The river side café is beautifully situated in the ever-developing Waterfront area.  What was formerly the James St. pumping station is now home to the restaurant with its soaring ceilings and exposed brick walls.  There is a comfortable patio with river views and a deck which provides additional vistas of the water.

I did not know the specific location of the café and so walked through the Waterfront Park to find it.  The stroll was beautiful and I can see why so many people are moving into the area.

Cibo Waterfront Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Fish is meant to tempt as well as nourish, and everything that lives in water is seductive.”-Jean-Paul Aron

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Love-that is all.

 

 

Colosseo Ristorante Italiano & Pizzeria

September4

My best friend was in town from Toronto and we had carved out a very special bit of time, only to arrive at our restaurant destination to find that it had moved to a waterfront location.  Sometimes finding a convenient parking spot on Corydon Ave. during the lunch hour is a challenge and so we decided to search for an alternate dining spot instead of starting the whole parking process over again.  We were in the mood for Mediterranean and Colosseo Ristorante Italiano was beckoning to us with its sunny patio and huge umbrellas.

I have been visiting Colosseo since it opened in the 70’s when the area dubbed “Little Italy” along east Corydon truly was dotted primarily with Italian family owned businesses.  Unfortunately for the area, but happily for Colosseo, it appears to be the sole survivor.  There certainly are a number of sushi options now a days.

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Since I was noshing with my bestie, it was a foregone conclusion that we would order and share our meals.  The Feta Salad might lead one to believe that they were ordering a Greek or “horiatiki salata” which is a rustic concoction chock full of tomato and cucumber chunks.  This lighter version retained my favourite part-the pungent feta and placed it upon a mound of romaine.

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Accompanying the salad was an exquisite bowl of Cozze Pepate-spiced mussels in a green olive oil, white wine and garlic sauce.  The flesh of the crustacean was plump and sparkling fresh and would have been enjoyable in itself but the sauce (oohh the sauce!) elevated the dish to nothing short of spectacular.  I order mussels as often as possible, in fact I had them again the very next day, but few versions can compare to these.  We ensured that not a drizzle of the sauce remained by mopping it up with pieces of the delicious bread that was served alongside.

Perhaps it was the sparkling sunshine and the company of my dear friend but I could have been sitting on a terrazza in Italy and not been more pleased.

Colosseo Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made very day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”-Benjamin Franklin

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Love-that is all.

 

Beach Picnic complete with Pitted Cherries

August29

D and I have been on a week’s vacation at our beach house.  The first few days of our time were cold and windy and although we told ourselves that we didn’t mind being snuggled up inside, we were yearning for some beach weather.  Our routine when the weather is fair, is a lovely one.  D spends the morning playing tennis at Grand Beach which if you walk along the water is only minutes away and by bike on the Trans Canada trail just a wee bit longer.  If you have to drive a car though, it takes twenty minutes to get there.

This leaves me with a leisurely morning to sleep late, read in bed or just stare at the forest that surrounds our little place.  Once I get going, I love to “putsky” in the kitchen and assemble some ingredients for a beach picnic.  Often times, I have a leftover as the pivot to build a lunch.

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On this morning I had lean ham, chevre and sautéed spinach for D’s sandwich and some brie, pecans and maple syrup to have on a cheese biscuit, with slices of cucumber and carrots, fresh from the garden, it came together as a nutritious and satisfying lunch.

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While I was still in the kitchen, I prepared little bowls of pitted cherries for our dessert.

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I have this fabulous little kitchen gadget from OXO called a cherry-pitter.  I use the well-designed contraption even more often to pit olives for Greek salads.

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The brie was so delicious that I enjoyed another smear of it on a biscuit and the cherries for my afternoon snack.

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On this day I set up in our usual spot so D would know exactly where to find me when he rode his bike from the courts to the beach.  My beach chair is set way off by the trees as we often trek to Grand Beach when it is too windy on our beach.

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But this spot proved to be too still, so we moved to catch the breeze on a sandbar.

A glorious afternoon was spent right here with delicious treats, frosty cold beer, walks, naps and reading.  Ah, summer is bliss on Lake Winnipeg.

Kath’s quote: “That last cherry soothes a roughness of my palate.”-Robert Browning

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Love-that is all.

 

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