Food Musings

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

For the love of Asian Food-Sister #3


People often ask me, “what’s your favourite cuisine” and I always respond “to cook, or to eat?”  When I went to Red River College I was trained in classic dishes, mostly French, some Italian and British, with a bit of German, as all my instructors were German. We never expanded into Asian food. It was the 80s and it just wasn’t part of the curriculum or culture. So I’m most comfortable cooking the food I was trained in, especially French food. But when I think about the food I love to eat, then my mind leaves Europe behind and heads strait to Asia.

Growing up, our family ate a lot Canadian Chinese food.  Sweet and sour shrimp, honey garlic chicken balls, fried rice and egg rolls. In fairness that was all that was available on the restaurant scene in my city at the time. But years on, as more restaurants opened, we began to expand our dining repertoire. My sisters and I enjoyed taking our Mom out to try new foods.

We all discovered a love for Vietnamese, Thai and dim sum. When we first took Mom to a sushi restaurant, thinking it was the first time she would have ever tried it, as sushi restaurants were new to our city at the time, I asked her what she thought of it. She responded “it was good, but not as good as what they used to serve Dad and me at the Japanese Consulate.” I had no idea that because my father had done some work for the Canadian government working in Japan, he was invited to a few receptions at the consulate located in Winnipeg.

During my career I was fortunate to work with people who introduced me to excellent Asian restaurants, tucked away in Chinatown and the core area. Double Greeting Noodle House, and the New Hong Kong Snack House became my go to lunch spots in the 90s and 2000s.

While working at CancerCare Manitoba I met my friend Liz who knew all the best restaurants and introduced me to a ton more. This weekend Liz and I tried a new restaurant just blocks away from my home, Hello Asian Fusion. Owned by three fellows from Hong Kong so I had high expectations. Liz had their Helloman seafood noodle soup and I had the wonton soup, but added beef satay.  We were not disappointed.

Beef Satay Noodle Soup


2 litres chicken broth
1 ¼ cup Hoisin sauce
½ cup Korean Barbeque Sauce
¼ cup Satay Peanut Sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon chili oil
Sriracha hot chili sauce (optional)
2 pounds thinly sliced beef tenderloin

16 oz package rice stick noodles

Toppings: Use as few or as many as you wish

Bean sprouts

Shredded carrot

Finely diced peppers
Chopped green onions
Chopped peanuts

Fresh cilantro

I slice the beef when it is partially frozen to ensure I get nice thin pieces. In a large soup pot add chicken broth, Hoisin sauce, Korean BBQ sauce, Satay sauce, tomato paste, peanuts, chili oil, hot sauce and beef. Cook until the beef is no longer pink and the soup is nice and hot.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off element and add rice noodles. Stir and cover with lid.  Stir a few more times returning the lid each time.  Noodles should be done 6-8 minutes or until tender but slightly firm and chewy.

To serve: In a large soup bowl place desired amount of noodles. Add soup. Eat as is or top with your choice of bean sprouts, shredded carrot, finely diced peppers, chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro.

Kath’s quote: “I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish is number 27.” ~ Clement Attlee

Love never fails.

Baby it’s Cold Outside-Sister #3


In less than three weeks I will be heading south to the warmth of my home-away-from-home, Isla Mujeres Mexico.

I am so blessed that I get to spend a good portion of the winter in my happy place. You see, I HATE WINTER!  And unfortunately I was born in a place aptly nicknamed WINTERPEG. We have been very fortunate to have had a very mild winter so far, but the cold is now upon us. With the wind it’s -35 this morning. So today I’ll share the recipe for the most soul warming dish I know, chili. Funny name for a cozy dish.

The other night I was with my niece, and her two adorable children (my honorary grand babies) and she had made a crockpot of chili con carne. It was so delicious. The warm spices and the melting cheddar cheese on top. It reminded me that I should likely make a pot of my chili before I head off to Mexico. My house sitter is vegetarian and my favourite chili recipe happens to be vegan.

This dish was first made for me by my sweet friend Betty on a midwinter trip to the cabin. This dish has it all, it’s economical, nutritious, easy to make. And most importantly, it’s delicious. Stay warm and enjoy!

Out-of-this-world Vegan Chili


3 tbsp olive oil                    1 onion

1 carrot                                1 red pepper

3 cloves of garlic                 1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans                            1 can plum tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste                         1/4 cup salsa

2 tbsp chili powder                            1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano                      1 tsp basil

12 oz package Yves Veggie Ground Round (optional)


Clean and dice onion, carrot, pepper and press garlic. Heat oil in a soup pot.  Add onion and cook till translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrot, red pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, salsa and spices. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium.  Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Crumble and add the package of veggie ground round and heat through. I make mine without the meat substitute.  

Kath’s quote: “Tension translates to your guests. They’ll have a much better time having chili and baked potatoes than they would if you did roast duck with a wild cherry sauce and then had to lie down and cry for a while.”-Nigella Lawson

Love never fails.

Waste not, want not-Sister #3


My parents were raised in the midst of the depression. As a result, we kids were taught to never waste food.  While the results of finishing everything on my plate likely accounts for my tendency to be overweight, there were some good things that came as a result of this theology.  This week’s blog include some of my favourite ways to upcycle items that may otherwise go in the garbage, or sometimes, into already full tummies.

Freezer Fried Rice
I learned this one from my sister Kath.  At the end of a meal when there is a bit of leftover meat or vegetables, wrap them up and put them in the freezer. I have a special bin for these bits and pieces.  I also freeze the plain white rice that comes with a Chinese food delivery, as my favourite restaurant includes chicken fried rice with a large enough order.  Then when I have a craving for good fried rice, I pull out my rice, meat, veggies, add soya sauce and an egg and voila! A yummy dinner.

Refrigerator Soup
My father was the master of refrigerator soup. It’s a great way to use up what you’ve got on hand.  And I use this method all the time.  The only problem is, if you create a delicious meal, it’s not always possible to “re”create it. Sometimes I make a vegetable soup while cleaning out the crisper. Other times it’s the freezer and those frozen veggies get cooked up in a broth with onions and garlic, then put through the blender.  

Another favourite is taking some of the bits of meat with left over veggies from the fried rice bin, adding a can of tomatoes and frozen pasta.  A new creation every time, and pretty much free food.        

Smoothie Bin

I am awful at estimating how much fruit I need.  If I want a variety, I end up with too much, because it takes one person a long time to eat a whole melon and I refuse to pay more for store cut fruit.  Living alone and buying a pineapple often means I’m tired of it half way through, or worse, I cut it all up and forget it in the back of the fridge.  So before the berries get mushy or the peaches get grainy, I flash freeze them and put them in baggies in my smoothie bin.  This way I have plenty of frozen fruit and just need to add juice and yogurt, or some almond milk to the blender and I have a yummy way to start the day.

I often make my smoothie on the thicker side and turn into a bowl.  I top with nuts and seeds, some nut butter and fresh fruit and it’s very satisfying.

I think that one leftover food we can all relate to is bananas.  Why can I never buy the right amount of bananas?  I’m always peeling and freezing bananas. Thankfully I like them in my smoothies, but sometimes I can’t keep up and end up making muffins, or my very favourite banana bread recipe-most certainly more of a dessert than a breakfast item.  I got this recipe years ago from my friend Sabina. Hope you enjoy it.  

Banana Nut Chip Loaf


3 large ripe bananas, mashed 1 cup white sugar

2 medium eggs                       1/2 cup oil

1 1/4 cup flour                        1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chocolate chips          1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Mix all ingredients together and pour into a buttered loaf pan. Cook for 1 hour or until loaf comes away from the pan and a wooden toothpick come out clean, keeping in mind the chocolate will be melted and stick to the toothpick.  

Kath’s quote: “Give me liberty or – just some leftovers will also do”. Author unknown

Love never fails