Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

2nd Annual St. Aidan’s Cook Off


If you are looking for an inexpensive but delicious night out,  join the enthusiastic eaters at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church for the second annual Cook Off.  A minimum donation of $7 and a call to 204-783-3024 will get you onto the guest list.  Net proceeds go to St. Aidan’s Christian School in the heart of the city on Aberdeen Ave.  If you are interested in participating in the cook off as a contestant, the cost is the same and you can enter into the Savoury and/or Sweet categories.  Judges for the event are yours truly, Donald McKenzie of Dining with Donald  and Richard Neufeld formerly of Deluca’s and now at Prairie 360.

Here’s a look at some of the final dishes from the first annual cook-off.


White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake


Sriracha Balsamic Glazed Pork Ribs


Brined Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Reduction


Beef Bourguignonne

Now that your mouth is watering and I have your attention, why not join us?  The cause is a worthy one, the price economical, the food sensational and the fellowship a delight.

Kath’s quote:  “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” Harriet Van Horne


Love-that is all.





Middle Eastern Superfries


My husband and I just recently became empty-nesters. With this new season of our lives, I am taking a fresh look at our traditional family meals.  French Fries have long been a part of my repertoire but I have come up against resistance in adorning them with anything more than salt and ketchup.  Now that it is just the two of us, I have allowed myself to view julienned potatoes in a whole new light.  This recipe is a spin on a Middle Eastern dish which originally called for roasted sweet potatoes and fresh figs.


I love using staples already in my cupboard and freezer and this modifrycation invites the shoestring potatoes to cradle sweet slivers of figs, sautéed green onions, red peppers and creamy chevre.

Middle Eastern Superfries

650 grams of McCain Shoestring Superfies

1 T canola oil

10 green onions cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

½ red pepper cut into thin strips


10 dried figs cut into strips

5 oz chevre cheese

Sea salt

  1. Prepare McCain Shoestring Superfries according to package directions.
  2. While these are baking, prepare the topping.


  1. Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over high heat and add green onions and red pepper slivers.
  2. Sauté for a couple of minutes until wilted.
  3. Spoon veggies over the fries which should now be out of the oven.
  4. Dot with the fig strips and then spoonfuls of the chevre.
  5. Sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt to your liking.

These make a great side dish if entertaining or a light dinner for my husband and I. Although the kids might have rejected the complex and robust flavours, this is precisely how we love to eat.


Mealtime is made better by the Superfries® everyone loves! Made from specially selected potatoes, canola oil and sea salt, Superfries® transforms any meal by adding an element of fun. Enjoy McCain® Superfries® on their own or as a substitute to your favourite side dish. Spice things up tonight and try our Black Pepper and Lime MODIFRY™! Check out for recipe ideas!


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by McCain Foods Canada via Mode Media Canada Inc. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McCain Foods Canada.

Check out No Ordinary Fries: Simple Ways to #Modifry™ Mealtime

by McCain Foods Canada at


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The Eye Opener Diner


The Eye Opener Diner at 3132 Main S. in West S. Paul was recommended to us by Bro#3 many years ago. Since the time of the suggestion, I understand that it has gone through an ownership change which subsequently boomeranged back to the original owners.  Legally the business has changed to the Red Eye Diner but when we saw the sign with the original name, we knew that we had arrived at the right place.


D and I do not get to dine at breakfast time, particularly during the week, so this was a special occasion.   We arrived after what we thought would have been their breakfast rush but the retro diner was still hopping, apparently with regulars.  We were shown a comfortable booth next to a window. The friendly servers addressed most everyone quoting by their regular orders.  We were eying up the egg selections but many around us were ordering the oatmeal.


In addition to the regular menu and a list of specials, there are still more specials recited at the table. As soon as I heard about the seafood omelette with hollandaise sauce, I was sold.  My selection came with no less than three slices of toasted marble rye and hash browns.  Our server indicated with pride that the preserves to accompany the toast were home-made strawberry jam and orange marmalade.


D was enthralled by the North End Breakfast which included eggs, multi-grain toast, potato pancakes, kielbasa and a choice of hot or mild mustard. We divided our plates in half so that we could share with each other and enjoy a variety of tastes from both selections.

I predict that we will be returning to the Eye Opener very soon as D also spotted what he remarked was an amazing breakfast deal: 2 eggs, choice of sausage, bacon or ham, toast and hash browns for $6.50. He was also intrigued by the unusual breakfast specials of Saskatoon Pancakes, Caramel Banana French Toast and Pickerel & Eggs. He remarked: “You can’t get any of those items at Perkin’s…..”

Red Eye Diner (Formerly the Eye Opener Diner) on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “People who love to eat are always the best people.”-Julia Child

heart mug

Love-that is all.

“Life is Good” Reflections



Before the snow flies, I thought that I should get around to writing my summer reflections.  I love many, many things about time spent at our little beach house “Life is Good”: beachcombing for glass and heart stones, family bonfires, strolls through the forest and glasses of wine at sunset.  Not surprisingly, my favourite times revolve around food and the time that my extended family and I spend preparing and consuming it.



This was one of our first sunsets of the season in early May before the leaves had even come out on the trees.


The lake was uncharacteristically calm on this evening.


One of our pastimes is “Robin TV”.  We get to experience two batches of eggs and babies each year when the robin families build a fresh nest on top of their former one.  The ledge of the window keeps them protected from wind and rain and when we are inside, we get a perfect view of the nurturing.


Our lake routine is that we make huge canisters of coffee for people that come and go.  D and J1 play tennis at neighbouring Grand Beach every chance they get, I go walking with the Wee One on the beach while J2 gets caught up on some much-needed sleep.  Then at noon, we make big breakfasts to stave off hunger until dinner time (or Happy Hour which is another lake tradition).


There is often a family member at our screen door inquiring if we want to join them for a walk or a meal.


On this evening D whipped up a batch of bacon wrapped scallops for us to contribute to happy hour at Sister #2’s place.  Her family co-inhabited with ours for years at “Life is Good” and have recently moved to their own place which is much larger and grander than our little beach house.  We teasingly call it “Resch Mahal”.


Sister #2 is an exceptional cook and we love their frequent invites for meals.  This is either her tequila chicken or a curry-sorry that I can’t recall.  The astonishing thing is that she doesn’t yet have a kitchen in their new place and made this on the side burner of their barbeque.


Back to “Happy Hour” for a moment…Our little treats with cocktails, craft beer or a glass of wine are typically simple concoctions from items that we have in the fridge or cupboard.  I had been sent a sample of Matt & Steve’s Extreme Beans  which I rolled with prosciutto and a slice of provolone cheese.  They were a big hit.


We take turns cooking meals for each other.  On this evening J1 and J2 provided a huge pot of their slow-cooked meatballs.


The next evening, Reb & Seb made us taco salads.


The Wee One approved of both.


This happy bunch was photographed at J2’s birthday dinner, which we celebrated on the May Long weekend.


Her request was anything grilled so D made his famous brined pork tenderloin and a bevy of grilled veggies.  We even had a grilled dessert-strawberries, pineapple and cake.


There seems to be more time for just doing nothing at the beach house-like Poppa and the Wee One playing in the hammock


or reading with another one of our little loved ones.


More of those big breakfasts……


and another of D’s grilled masterpieces.


It has been said that our gang can make a drinking game out of every activity.  Here we are playing “Drinking Scrabble”.


Daughter #1’s birthday was celebrated at the lake too.  Her only request was for a pasta salad so I whipped up a oriental one and we enjoyed an Asian grill.


Here was another get-together at Resch Mahal with my eldest brother D at the head of the table.


We always have D & P for dinner while we are on holidays.  Since we will be getting together with them for the first time on Isla Mujeres next spring, P thought that it might be fun to be introduced to island cooking.  So we got into the swing of things by getting out a few Mexican items.  This is an embarrassed Buddy joining in the party.  The life we live on Isla is very similar to our lake life so the theme was very appropriate.



Photos from both ends of the table.  D made Lavender Margaritas and I


coconut shrimp and chilies relleno (pictured here).


This is how you will find me most afternoons-sitting in the shade on the beach enjoying the breeze.


An August sunset.


One evening my Sis-in-Law and her sister invited me to share their Ukrainian dinner with them.  They are inseparable and both have places at Lester Beach.  When my brother Tom was alive, they called them Tom’s two wives.  We started with borscht


and continued with meatballs, perogies and holupchi-yum!


Later that week Wife #2 invited D and I over to watch the Emmy Awards with her (we don’t have conventional TV).  D made shrimp cocktail with these whopping shrimp!


I am not even sure who we invited over on this evening but D was at the grill again making Greek chicken topped with grilled tomatoes, olive and feta.


I often convince myself that the weather will soon turn and I have spent my last weekend at the lake and then lo and behold, I am there again and get to enjoy a bonus stroll down our beloved beach.


Everyone thinks Life is Good at Lester Beach including this little furry guy.

Kath’s quote: “Life is good when we think it’s good.”-Doug Horton


Love-that is all.






Isla Mujeres 2014 Trip Report-Departure Day



We had left enough supplies in our kitchen to have one last breakfast around the dipping pool of Luna d’Miel.


The morning began with an overcast sky so that we did not get to enjoy our last sunrise.



But we still love to spend the mornings right by the ocean at Luna D’Miel.  We can never get enough of the crystal waters washing in over the coral and sand.


Soon the clouds cleared away and we began one of our departure day traditions-pictures together to show our smiles and suntans.


My handsome guy, poolside.


Sister #3 and Dona come around so that we could give them the rest of our groceries.


This has been our neighbour for two years in a row. She is a master sea glass collector and is just returning from her morning scavenge.

Alas, we had not planned well enough to have any coffee left to brew it in in our apartment, so we both ventured into town for the paper (usually D goes on a solo mission) and coffee.

We decided to go to Due Torri-the new Italian restaurant that we had seen from the street across from the new ferry terminal. We were skeptical at first because the look from the outside was not like anything else on Isla.  But we immediately met the owner who took so much pride in getting us our Americano and decaf coffees.  We heard the story that he had lived ½ his life in Bologna and the other half in Chappas Mexico.  You, my readers, know that when I am not running on and on about Mexico, it is true for Italy. My two favourite culinary places in the world, together under one roof.

So I convinced D to go back for our last lunch on the island.   D made his way to Roca Mar to let J2 know that we were in town, to find that The Wee One was still in the swimming pool.  In the mean time I had ordered a caprese salad to share and a lobster linguine.


The salad was delicate and the enormous slice of buffalo cheese, beautifully creamy.  The chef had attempted to find tomatoes to slice into wheels the same size as the cheese.  As a result the smaller roma tomatoes that are typically found and use on Isla were not utilized.  These were slightly under ripe which surprised me but they made a tasty plateau for the savoury cheese, basil and oil.


With the salad came a mini baguette served with a delicious pesto butter that we heard the waiter describe to another patron as parsley butter.  She (the other patron, that is) was from north England near Scotland and had just arrived on the ferry. The coffee that was served to her was so delicious that she decided to stay for lunch.  There were also two Israeli girls at a corner table looking for a close, clean, inexpensive hotel.  I recommended Pariso and they seemed pleased.  Conversing with the international guests will be no challenge for the owner who is fluent in Italian, French and Spanish. He indicates that he writes English well, but is still rusty with verbalizing his thoughts.


When our shared pasta arrived we were delighted with the subtle tomato sauce and texture of what we guessed were freshly made noodles. The deal of a lobster tail crowning our plate was slightly diminished by its chewiness.  But then as we discussed the texture, we realized that we were mistakenly comparing it to fresh north Atlantic lobster which we are more accustomed to where the meat is tender and sweet.  The lagosta served in this meal was closer to a cousin of Canadian lobster.


We had discussed buying tortas at Poc Chuc or Pitas from Pita Amore to take to eat at the airport later in the day, but in the end we ordered a pizza with white sauce, parma, pescuitto and arugula.  I must have looked funny boarding the ferry.  But when we were spending time in the Cancun terminal waiting for our plane departure, we had made surrounding persons pretty jealous by our shared pie.  In fact, one guy came over and asked us where we had purchased it (i.e. which vendor in the food court).  He was disappointed to hear our answer: Isla Mujeres.  The hand made crust was deliciously tender. The arugula, sauce, cheese and ham combination-perfect.


D was sad to be leaving the island but whenever Poppa has the Wee One in his arms, he cannot help but beam!


One last shot of Glamma V with the Wee One.


The last of our many Isla traditions is to meet  arriving and departing ferries with a welcome beer.  After we used the opener, we tossed it over the ferry edge, where a staff member obliged us by catching it and delivering it back to V who by this time had been joined by Dona and Sister #3.


The sun was still warm and the ferry ride over, perfect (I had stayed downstairs for the trip over and had not enjoyed one of my favourite parts of making the visit).


We were met by our AGI host and everything else surrounding our departure was a breeze.

Kath’s quote: “Life itself is the proper binge.” -Julia Child


Love-that is all.



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