Food Musings

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

What’s My Cupcake Personality?


Huh? I was recently asked to create a cupcake recipe for the Be Well Blog that would match my personality.  This is harder to do than you might imagine.  At first I put forth the idea that I was a tomato soup cupcake because:

  • I am very practical and there is always affordable and convenient tomato soup in every bodies’ cupboard.
  • I prefer “savoury” over “sweet” and the spicy tastes of this recipe suit me just fine.
  • I prefer hearty cream cheese icings over light and sweet ones, loving the pungency of the cream cheese.
  • I am old school.
  • The recipe has been passed down from my Mom (with modifications).
  • Tomatoes, raisins, cloves and cinnamon are all super foods with many known health benefits. I love to provide foods for my family that are a tasty treat and nutritional at the same time.

BeFunky_What's your Cupcake personality.jpg

Turns out that there was another cupcake that suited me much better.  Do you think that I would be?:

The Peacekeeper: You are straightforward, honest, and give the best advice. You would rather avoid conflict, but are always there to referee and keep the peace. You like the simple things in life, but that doesn’t mean that you are boring. Sometimes you go crazy and choose chocolate. (It’s ok. We won’t tell.)


The Archivist: You are down-to-earth, welcoming, and grateful for every single day. You love celebrating with your extended family and friends and are just a little on the nostalgic side. You save everything and are considered the unofficial family archivist.

I think that both sound like me, which means that I would be a cross between a Classic Yellow Buttermilk cupcake and a Pumpkin one with Spicy Cream Cheese icing.

In the end, it was a no-brainer:

The Lover: You are a classic romantic and a lover of love itself. For those that are on the receiving end of your affection, every day is Valentine’s. Your passion for life is as big as your heart, which, it just so happens, you wear on your sleeve. You are surprising, but dependable, and infinitely lovable. You give the best hugs.


The challenge to develop the perfect Red Velvet Cupcake was a lengthy one and I tested a batch a day for about a week.  Some were a luxurious red but tasted too much like beets and others were absolutely delicious but were to chocolaty to qualify as red velvet.  But good things come with perseverance and I am sure that you will find my recipe on the Bell Well blog site absolutely scrumpdillyicious (if I do say so myself).

Kath’s quote: “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”-George Bernard Shaw

BeFunky_Red Velvet Cupcake.jpg

Love-that is all.


posted under Desserts | No Comments »

Wedding Plans-Episode One


In the weeks and months ahead, I have a new journey to share with you.  It is the story of family wedding preparations.  A joyful but sometimes stressful time in a family’s life and so I thought that perhaps following our odyssey may help you when the time comes to create your own special event whether it be a wedding, an anniversary or a milestone birthday celebration.  We are a family who loves to celebrate and we are pretty darned good at it as this story may indicate.

“The Frenchman” has been a part of our family for a number of years now but as of this Christmas (two days after Daughter #2 returned from a humanitarian trip to Israel), he has made it official and will be renamed Son#2 in the fall of 2014.  D and I are absolutely delighted, but not terribly surprised.  When he asked D to meet him for a Friday night beer, we knew something was up.  When he formally asked his future father-in-law’s permission to marry his daughter, there was not a moment’s hesitation.  In fact, D has often said, if he was to personally chose someone to cherish his baby girl, he could not select a person more suitable than The Frenchman.

Would it be considered ethnic profiling to say that The Frenchman is very romantic? He thoughtfully selected the location and moment of the proposal and then requested that our niece who is a professional photographer be hiding to be able to capture the exact moment.   Now it turns out that Daughter #2 was seriously jet-lagged and turned down his request to go out for dinner with him on his first attempt.  Unfortunately, messages got crossed with the photographer and she ended up hiding at the decided location to no avail (what a trooper)!

Daughter #2 never got to go out for dinner on the designated night.  Once she said “yes” there was a whirlwind of car rides to let her family share in their good news in person.  One of the first stops was to visit my mom in Deer Lodge Hospital (what a good girl).  It just so happened that Sister #2 and #3 were there as well as well as her cousin who now lives in Australia, so it was a happy mix of laughter and tears.  I happened to be at a women’s networking event with many of my old media friends when all of a sudden the couple was there.  My girlfriends sent up cheerful screams when they knew what had just transpired.

D and my first thoughts were of the Frenchman’s parents and we wanted to see them face to face as we talked about the news.  Since the poor couple never did get to eat that evening, D picked up a mass of sushi (our first thoughts are almost always of food when we are celebrating) and connected his tablet to the TV so that we could Skype with our daughter’s future parents.  D had a bottle of champagne chilling and we were able to raise our glasses as a new family, via the wonders of technology.  As I write this and see all of D’s preparations that evening, I see that I married a pretty romantic guy too.  The Frenchman has big shoes to fill in the romance department…..

Kath’s quote:  “I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance, a church filled with family and friends. I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for, he said one that would make me his wife.”


Love-that is all.



The Cookie Recipe That May Save A Life


As you may know, I am three weeks into my new year’s “kick yourself in the pants” eating plan and everything is going well.  I am wearing my size 6 Petite dresspants today which only seldom fit.  I do like the feel and shape of them (in addition to the fact that I almost always wear black pants) so I sometimes pin them when the button doesn’t close and then wear something loose and flowy over top to create an illusion.  Have you acquired some of these dressing tricks too?

I have lots of energy and enthusiasm for life and I love spending time in the kitchen using ingredients that have been on my pantry shelves for eons.  As reported last post, some of my dishes have been tremendous hits and others, well not so much.  But in my commitment to be totally transparent in this walk, I will share them all.


My first success and fav snack is baked broccoli (believe it or not).  Your peel the stocks like this.


Chop it all up.


Throw it in a zip loc with lots of chopped garlic, 2 T of canola oil, lots of cracked pepper and a pinch of sea salt.  Shake it all about and place on a heavy baking sheet.  Roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes-oh yea!


I also made a version of Bonnie Stern’s Chicken Jambalaya.


I added a wee bit of spicy Italian sausage that I had pierced, parboiled, washed and drained and cooked the brown rice separately to decrease the carbs.  Instead I added some corn because I am crazy for the combination of savoury and sweet.  Shrimp is actually high in cholesterol (who knew?) so I did not include any.


I even got myself all psyched up to make a bean burger which I served on freshly baked whole wheat buns.


The result was declared a hit by other members of our gang, but I could only have a couple of bites before my tummy started protesting.  I know how good beans are and I want to conquer my prejudice, so I just keep trying.


I made these two pizzas utilizing whole wheat crusts.  The one on the left is Potato and Bacon.  The baby potatoes are multi coloured and have been parboiled (they were left overs from this weekend).  The bacon was pre-cooked, rinsed with piping hot water and then blotted dry.  The same went with the sausage of the Spicy Italian Sausage and Red Pepper one on the right.  The secret ingredient is that I pulversized a half can of dark red kidney beans and their juice and threw them into my tomato sauce made from 1 chopped onion, chopped garlic and lots of basil.  I sautéed the veggies with the beans and did not have to add any fat.  I find that when you put the toppings on top of the cheese, you can get away with using far less cheese.  The results were delicious, if I do say so myself and a single piece was perfectly satisfying (I am typically a 3 piece gal).


But the piece de resistance are these cookies that I am still fine tuning.  Made with honey & molasses they contain oatmeal which is known to lower cholesterol and flax which is claimed to lower high blood pressure.  They also contain dark chocolate chips, coconut and roasted walnuts.  But best of all-they are absolutely delicious.  I tried increasing the flax but the second batch was slightly less sensational.

The Cookie Recipe That May Save A Life
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1¼ c oats (quick oats are fine)
  • ⅓ c ground flax
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ½ c honey
  • ½ c canola oil
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1 large egg (beaten with 1 T cold water)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Optional ½-1 c chocolate chips, ½-1 c coconut, ½-1 c walnuts
  1. Blend dry ingredients together well, watching carefully to incorporate all the baking soda.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until well incorporated.
  3. Add the wet to the dry or vice versa.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add any or all of the optional ingredients and mix again.
  6. Drop by spoonful onto a pan sprayed with canola oil.
  7. Baked at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
  8. Makes 32 cookies.


Kath’s quote: “Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better.”-Robert Redford

Love-that is all.


Winter Bites


I was recently invited to visit Kenora and attend their Winter Bites (an understatement this year) Event. All throughout the month of February, with the exception of Valentine’s Day, 10 local restaurants will be offering up three course menus for the fixed price of $25.  This will give locals and out-of-towners alike, an opportunity to sample the best of what the city’s culinary scene has to offer.  Unfortunately, “winter bites” to such an extent that we have already planned on being somewhere far warmer this February, but I still perused the menus, deciding where I would dine, if I had the chance to go.  Many of the items looked terrific, but my eye was caught by these offerings:

Stuffed Walleye – an 8oz portion of Walleye wrapped around a wild rice and cream cheese and walnut filling, baked to perfection and topped with a lemon blueberry butter.


Kenora Etoufee – Chorizo sausage and walleye in a Creole style sauce on top of a Shoal Lake wild rice pilaf.

I am crazy about this local fish and love the imaginative spins that the local chef’s would put on it.  I always assumed that the fish was called pickerel in Canada and wall-eye in the US but I am obviously incorrect.  Unless of course, Kenora is so infiltrated by American tourists that they have decided to adapt the US moniker for the fish.

Many Winnipeggers make Kenora and the Lake of the Woods area their summer and weekend homes and I am sure that many head to their “camps” to enjoy cross-country skiing, snow-boarding and skidooing.  This tourism event creates another excuse to head east and you don’t have to pack up as many cottage supplies if you are dining out at least one evening.

In the mean time though, if you are content to stay put in the city, Winnipeg of course has its own culinary event.  Laurie Hughes who is the co-founder and publisher of Ciao Magazine has co-ordinated and promoted Dine About for as long as I can remember, but each year finds a longer and more unusual list of restaurants to participate, with such clever offerings.

We intend to go to Café Dario as we have not had an excuse to dine there in a couple of years.  For $28. their menu includes:

Rum soaked prawns and scallops with guava, chayote, chilangua  and squash salpicon baked with puff pastry
Green Mango Carpaccio with smoked arctic char in annato aioli and plantain chips
Crispy Panamanian style sweet potato carimanola dumpling filled with a mix of boiled egg, olives, onion, garlic and lemon
House made tamales with pulled turkey and corn, garnished with mole poblano with cocoa and almonds
Escargots el diablo topped with cheese.

Lamb ossobucco with three cereal risotto and sun dried gooseberries
Tea pot of seafood delicacies with manioc, plantains, Creole potatoes on trout and saffron consommé
10 oz Long horn free range New York striploin with a caper chimichurri sauce
Matambre style wild boar cutlet filled with olives, spinach and egg with wild mushrooms and chorizo reduction.
Grilled chicken breast topped with hearts of palm, basil, hogao sauce and three cheeses

Churros with hot cocoa and cinnamon

D and I will order different appetizers and mains and then share all the food from the each other’s plates.  This  is how we love to dine the best, ensuring that we savour the widest variety of little tastes possible.

Here is a complete list of the participating restaurants:

$28 Menus: The Beachcomber, Bombolini, Café Dario, Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria, The Loft, The Melting Pot, Nicolino’s, Resto Gare, Rudy’s Eat and Drink, Tapastry and Sensi Wine Lounge.

$36 Menus: 296 York, Amici, Bailey’s, Bellisimo, Café Carlo, Carnavale, fusion grill, Hermanoes Restaurant & Wine Bar, Mise, Peasant Cookery, Prairie 360,  Resto Gare, Sensi Wine Bar, Steve’s Bistro, Sydney’s at the Forks and last but certainly not least Terrace in the Park.

Offerings are already on line at Ciao, (if you can keep your mouth from watering all over your computer).  Oh so many restaurants and only three meals in a day…

Kath’s quote: “Dine, v: to eat a good dinner in good company, and eat it slow. In dining, as distinguished from mere feeding, the palate and stomach never ask the hand, ‘What are you giving us?'”-Ambrose Bierce

grape vine heart.jpg

Love-that is all.

posted under Food Events | 2 Comments »

529 Revisited, Again


Like many of you, I love the Christmas season and especially the excuse to get together for special parties, lunches and dinners.  For me there is sometimes a little bit of a let down when the season is over, especially if I am working hard at keeping my New Year’s resolutions.  One of my suppliers must feel this way too because she invited me out for a Christmas lunch that we celebrated just yesterday-perfect timing.



529 is often heralded as being one of the more exclusive restaurants in the city.  Indeed, it does feel as if you are dining on someone’s estate or at their private club.  The lunch time menu is very accessible, offering everything that you might imagine from burgers and sandwiches to steaks and seafood.  What the public often chatters about is that 529’s menu is entirely a la carte but at a time of year when I am turning away anything deep fried or carb heavy, this is very much appreciated.  Why pay for fries when they are only going to tempt me and make me feel as if I am wasting food (I scorn food being needlessly wasted).


As it were, one of the guests at our table never has to worry about over indulging.  He indicates the he has a very high metabolism, eats whatever he wishes and remains perfectly slim.  He went for the burger special which on this day was adorned with brie and apple jam.  I watched as he took his first bite (perhaps a bit too longingly), with meat juices bursting forth and luckily landing on the plate below.  I know that 529’s fries are exceptional as I have taste them before, and I was tempted to reach across the table and nab a couple of his.  Somehow I restrained myself.


Our host is a careful eater each an every day and a real inspiration to me.  She selected the salmon and spinach salad.  At first glance she was concerned that the fillet was on the small side but it was a very thick wedge which ensured that it could be perfectly cooked.  She managed to portion the salmon so she that she could have a piece with every taste of spinach and was well pleased.


I order mussels every chance I get.  Our helpful server relayed a message to the kitchen to go heavy on the white wine and easy on the butter.  The result was light but satisfying.  The huge mussels assembled at the bottom of the bowl had benefitted from extra marinating and were exploding with perfumed flavors from the wine and briny ones from the sea.  I was able to enjoy each dollop of sauce with the toast triangles which gilded the plate. We all glanced at the dessert menu and determined what we “would” have had, were we to be ordering and then happily departed ways without experiencing any regrets.

529 Wellington on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quotes: “I’m strong to the finach, ‘cuz I eats me spinach”-Popeye

Love-that is all.

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