Food Musings

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

“Go Barley” Go!

June19

In the spirit of the World Cup, I am inspired to write this blog post headline…..

I am fascinated by ancient foods especially those referred to in the Bible.  Add barley to that list as it is mentioned over 30 times-in fact there is archeological evidence that wild forms of barley were being harvested as early as 17,000 BCE!

In my recent efforts to increase my soluble fibre, I have been seeking out recipes for whole grains like barley.  In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, barley helps improves glycemic control and the soluble fibre helps with digestive health.  Barley is also a super food when it comes to vitamins and minerals, containing thiamine, niacin, folate, riboflavin, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, B vitamins and amino acids!  I feel better, just having typed this long list….

Barley is a local food and I love to see fields of graceful, long blonde haired stems, blowing in the farmer’s fields throughout Manitoba and the rest of the Canadian prairies.

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But the truth is, no nutritional food is worth knowing about if it doesn’t taste good.  I love barley’s unique nutty flavour.  In my enjoyable work as a food-stylist, I sometimes am recruited when a new recipe book is being launched.  Such is the case, with a gorgeous new book entitled “go barley-MODERN RECIPES FOR AN ANCIENT GRAIN” by Pat Inglis and Linda Whitworth.

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Linda and I have worked together before and she is a delight to work alongside and is the “Barley Queen” as far as her knowledge of the grain is concerned.

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The book itself is a perfect size and is packed with gorgeous photography that make you want to pick up a spoon or fork and break through the pages.  This is what ingenious recipe writing (and a good food stylist) can achieve. My favourite of the three recipes: Wild Rice, Barley, and Fruit Salad; Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler and Barley Tabbouleh, is the latter.

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I left it for D’s dinner last evening with a grilled chicken breast and just now I crumbled some feta on top for a refreshing (from fresh mint) and yet satisfying lunch.

D with his sweet tooth, loved the Cobbler and I am planning on making the Ole Fashioned Ginger Snaps for him and the Sunflower Barley Crackers for me.

With Linda’s permission, here is the Barley Tabbouleh recipe, just to whet your appetite until you get a chance to buy the book or check out their website: Go Barley.

Barley Tabbouleh
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Garnish this Middle eastern dish with mint leaves and serve it icy cold as a salad or as an appetizer with crisp bread. Add the tomatoes just before serving to keep their firm texture and taste.
Ingredients
  • 1 c pot or pearl barley
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ c chopped fresh mint
  • ½ c chopped green or red onion (I used red)
  • 1 small cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ¼ c fresh lemon juice
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¾ t salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped (I used Roma)
  • fresh mint leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over high heat, combine barley and water; bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer; cover pan and cook for 40 minutes, then chill.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chilled barley, parsley and mint.
  4. Add onion and cucumber.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice , cinnamon, salt, and pepper; pour over barley mixture and mix well, then refrigerate.
  6. Shortly before serving, stir in tomatoes.
  7. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Kath’s quote: “For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey.” Deut 8:7-8

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Love-that is all.

Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 9 (Part 2)

June18

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It has been months since I wrote part one of this Day 9 Trip Report and what have I been busy with? We’ve lived through the most severe winter on the Canadian prairies in over a century; we’ve successfully renovated and sold my mother’s home of 58 years; we have opened up our little beach house for another season and the Wee One continues to grow and delight us.  We have already booked our time on Isla in 2015 and so I thought that it was high time to focus on getting my 2014 reports completed. We’ll see how this goes.

From Part 1: When our family is with us, we spend a lot of time in Centro but as soon as they depart, we find ourselves drawn to the Colonias for long walks through the neighbourhoods.  On this day, we actually walked into Colonias twice-once to reacquaint ourselves with the exact locale of Deysi & Raul’s and the next time to actually dine there.

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Overlooking one of the Salinas.

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Gorgeous blossoms were everywhere.

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I love the blue paint used on Isla-doors and windows duplicate the colour of the sea.

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There are explosions of colour everywhere, here at a local produce vendor.

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The painting of this stucco must have been pain-staking work.

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There is one specific place in the Colonias where you can see the sea to the west with Cancun in the distance

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while the Atlantic is just a glance to the east.

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This is the ocean view just steps away from some of the Colonia’s homes.

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More blossoms and more bright blue paint.  I can’t get enough of either.

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A tribute to motherhood in the zocolo.

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We walked back to our “home” on the airport strip, had a lunch of left overs, read and rested in the hammocks and then lapped up the exquisite sunset before venturing back to the Colonias again.

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Our long-awaited destination.

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The view from our table perch at this wonderful family restaurant.

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We started with chicken tortilla soup.

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Delicious sautéed veggies with the meat and cheese in the fajitas.

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You could literally make a meal of the fixings.

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Adorned with pico de gallo and one of many delicious sauces.

Kath’s quote: “Now shall I walk or shall I ride? ‘Ride,’ Pleasure said; ‘Walk,’ Joy replied.” ― W.H. Davies

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Love-that is all.

Clif Mojo Trail Mix Bars

June17

I am forever on the look out for a “granola” or snack bar that tastes like it was made in my own kitchen and the first ingredient is not sugar.  I was recently sent samples of a bar that is just the ticket.  No wonder it tastes homemade- the idea was born during a Clif Bar & Company employee campout in the Sierra Nevada.  The founder of Clif Bars-Cliff Erickson pulled out a cookie sheet with a snack that he had baked.  Much tinkering and testing later, a sweet and salty line of trail mix bars was invented.  My readers know that sweet and salty is my favourite combination, especially when it is made with primarily (70%) organic ingredients like nuts, delicious fruit and huge chunks of dark chocolate.

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The three samples that I was sent were Coconut Almond Peanut, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond (I am passing this one along to D who loves chocolate and cherry pairings) and Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt which I just now enjoyed.  I had time for only a nibble for lunch (a piece of unsalted ham rolled around a wedge of old cheddar cheese) as I am getting ready for a food styling gig later this week.  In my mind, I could more than justify the 200 calories and a little bit of sweetness (from organic tapioca syrup).

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The little bar was rich and satisfying and it is bound to hold me as I run errands and get my groceries purchased for food styling.  I hate shopping with an empty tummy as I typically make unhealthy and impulsive purchases when I do.  The Real Canadian Superstore sells the product so I can fuel up in the future without being tempted by chocolate bars.

PS I tried the Coconut Almond Peanut Bar the next day and LOVED it.  Chock full of both almonds and peanuts, the coconut completed the nutty taste trio.  This will be my fav snack from here on in.

Kath’s quote: I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that is achieves its maximum flavor potential.” -Mitch Hedberg

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

 

 

What makes a great Dad

June16

I think a lot about my Dad on Father’s Day and what being a great Dad really means.

When I was 18 months old I contacted spinal meningitis and then shortly thereafter, the measles.  I understand that I spent weeks in the hospital on intravenous medications that I would attempt to pull out on my own, so the medical staff’s solution was to secure me into this handy little device that they borrowed from a different area of the hospital-a straight jacket.  Hospitals had different policies and approaches in those days, parents were restricted to the same visiting hours as everyone else and my parents were able to visit me for an hour in the afternoon and another hour in the evening.  They spent most of this time trying to coax me to eat as I was notoriously picky while a child (ironic).  I refused all hospital food and my parents would sneak up bologna and 7 up during their visits.  I have been told that there was some concern during this time, that I may die as other children had succumbed to the condition, while still others were left deaf or blind or with mobility issues.  I survived unscathed, with the exception of night terrors while I was growing up, a fear of men (ironic) and an exceptional close relationship with my Daddy.

Years later, I have married a man who has many qualities of my Dad and we have two beautiful children.  Daughter #1 is coming down with what we though was a flu so D and J1 head down to Minneapolis for a short vacation without us.  My Dad helps me nurse her back to health.  We were told to get any calories into her as we could because her violent vomiting seems to have subsided.  Dad comes over with fish sticks and freezies and suggests that he stays while she has a nap and I try to take a bath.  While I am in the tub, I hear her give a little cry from the couch in the family room.  I go to her to find that she is completely paralysed.  My Dad follows in his car while an ambulance whisks us to the hospital.  Daddy sits in the corner of the emergency room while murmurs of meningitis and brain tumors are being discussed with me by the doctors.  I remember him saying something which I could not make out.  When I asked what he said, he spoke up “Oh God, not again”.

After a day of various tests and a ct scan, D and J1 leave our car in Minneapolis and fly home.  My Mom and Dad are with me when he arrives and we get the news that there is no tumour on the brain.  Our beautiful, smart and perfectly healthy 5 year old has meningoencephalitis, a combination of swelling of the meninges (the tissue that surrounds the spinal column) and the brain.  They will not find out for a number of weeks what has caused the infection.  They set up a bed for me in the hospital room and indicate a chair for D.  That was the only night that I tried to sleep beside her.  I was pregnant with our youngest and our little 3 year old son was waiting for me at home.  D slept in a chair for a month by her bedside, would shower in the morning and then head to work for the day (we owned our own restaurant at the time) until one especially kind, family doctor encouraged D to go home with me and sleep in our bed.  He reassured D that they would be there every time Daughter #1 needed something through the night.  My Mom and Dad were there every day for afternoon visiting hours to bring little gifts of encouragement for our daughter and food for me.

I get really annoyed when I hear the phrase: “It is the thought that counts”.  My friends, it is not the “thought”, it is the act of being there every day; it is sleeping in a chair, it is “action”, not “thought”.  For me and for my children: action and devotion is what makes a great Dad.

How do I honour my husband on Father’s Day?  It is hard, no-impossible, for him to know what he means to me and our family, so I do what you all do.  I buy him a weed-eater and a nice pair of shorts and I fix him a dinner which he requests.  But then the next morning I am compelled to write something to share with the world.  He is the BEST Dad I know and I was loved by my own BEST Dad too.

Kath’s quote: “The father who would taste the essence of his fatherhood must turn back from the plane of his experience, take with him the fruits of his journey and begin again beside his child, marching step by step over the same old road.” ~Angelo Patri

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Love-that is all.

Good-Bye to Our Family Home

June13

One day last September, our Mom took ill and had to make a visit to the hospital.  Little did we or she know that she would never return to the home where she had lived for 58 years.  At the onset of her illness, we were so focused upon ensuring that she got better, I for one never really thought about the house. Mom isn’t completely settled into a new place yet.  She went from the Concordia Hospital to Deer Lodge and is now at the Misrecordia Hospital waiting for a space to come open for her at Concordia Place.  But it was apparent, pretty much from the start, that Mom wouldn’t be able to return to her home.  So we’ve been busy over this past winter and spring getting the house ready to sell to another family.  Possession date is July 1 and we have been taking turns spit polishing it up for the new family.  This past week, I tackled washing the windows and had what might have been my final walk through.

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This is the bathroom that 8 of us shared when my 5 siblings and my parents all lived together at the house.  This sometimes meant drawing the shower curtain if you were in the bathtub, so that someone else could use the toilet.  My fondest memory was of perching on the toilet to watch my Daddy shave in the morning.  He was a careful shaver and loved the ritual, mixing up a warm lather with his real horse hair brush and shaving so close that his skin looked blue to me.  I can recreate the feel of his wiskerless face against my cheek now, even though he has been in heaven for 17 years.

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This was the room that my two oldest brothers shared until a new bedroom was built for them in the basement.  They had two single beds that each straddled a wall.  On Saturday mornings, my twin brother and sister and I used to wake them up and then climb under the covers with them.  We would have pirate ship fights with them and toss all our stuffed animals back and forth and take hostages of each other.  After the boys were moved into their new room downstairs, this became my very own room-quite a feat with 8 people living in a 4 bedroom house.  Perhaps this is the reason why my family always teases me that I was spoiled.  I will admit it, I felt spoiled (and deeply loved).  Somehow my Mom and Dad found ways to make us all feel this way.

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This is the hallway from the bedrooms to the kitchen and living room.  Before I had my own room, the twins and I all slept together in a double bed.  I don’t remember there being an issue with space, but I do recall how it was so hard to fall asleep sometimes with two little monkeys in the bed with me.  We would giggle and have so much fun, until…….we would hear my Dad’s feet hit the hallway floor coming towards our room to tell us to hush up and go to sleep.  As soon as we heard that first foot fall, we would suppress our giggles and pretend we were sleeping, but we weren’t fooling our Dad.

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For many years the only TV in the house was in the living room and I remember watching Bugs Bunny cartoons at lunch time and Bonanza and the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights.  I also recall “reserving” the TV to tune into my favourites of the Paddy Duke Show and then the Flying Nun.  Christmas morning was so exciting in this room with heaps of presents everywhere and Christmas cards hung on strings adorning the walls.

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Neil Campbell School was a half block down this back lane and from grade one on, we all made the trek on our own.  I remember being instructed to run as fast as I could (for me that was never fast at all-bottom heavy, you know) down this lane during the Bay of Pigs crisis. It seemed like only days later that we saw the announcement on TV of the assassination of President Kennedy while home for lunch hour.  A day or so after that our naughty dog Pepita, who liked to chase cars, was run over by a truck in front of our house while I was across the street borrowing a cup of sugar at the Dyer’s.  So there was sadness too.

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And last but not least, this was the kitchen, the heart and soul of our home.  Mom always had a pot of soup or stew on the go and I learned how to make cinnamon buns and pinch perogy edges, standing at the kitchen table.  Sometimes dinner was pancakes or spaghetti with tomato soup poured on top.  Other times though, supper was steaks pan-fried in butter, thick and juicy pork chops and more corn on the cob than you can dream of eating.  Mom would spend all day making doughnuts to feed the paper boys of the neighbourhood because the bin where they collected their papers had been placed on our back drive.  My Dad loved to cook too and made amazing baked ham and pizza with “thin crust” before anyone ever thought about thin crust pizza.

If the walls could talk, they would speak of constant cooking and consuming, TV shows and record playing, people coming and going after school and hockey games and drumming gigs and theatre school, of reading books and naps on the couch and my Dad who always watched TV by lying right in front of it on the floor.  The walls soaked up all of our giggles and laughter but also the tears of heart-breaking sorrows and losses.  It was a good house.  It was our house.

Kath’s quote:  “Love grows in small spaces”.  Quoted from some country song I heard long ago.

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Love that is all.

 

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