Food Musings

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

Showing Love with Borscht-by Sister #3


I am not Ukrainian, yet I don’t think there is a culture that impacted my youth as much as Ukrainian culture did. My mom was Metis, but grew up with lots of Ukrainian friends. So she knew how to make borscht, perogies, cabbage rolls, and she was really good at these dishes. Her culinary skills were a bonus when she met our handsome Czech/Polish father.

Growing up, both my best friend and my boyfriend were Ukrainian. Terri and I met in grade two and even though she lives in the U.S. now, I still consider her my bestie. While I learned lots about Ukrainian culture from her family, we probably ate more dilly bars and brazier burgers than perogies, as they owned a Dairy Queen store. Whereas, my boyfriend Steve (who I dated from fourteen to twenty four)- his family was all about the food. His Baba was an amazing cook and generously taught me how to make many specialties. I’ll share her amazing holopchi recipe here in the future.

One of my favourite Ukrainian dishes is beet borscht. I recently visited St. Norbert market and picked up garden beets, potatoes, and onions, and pulled out a mound of dill weed from my freezer and went to work to make this rich delicious red soup. The recipe I use is from a friend I used to work with. It has a secret ingredient and while I love all borscht, I think this one is still my favourite.

Donna’s Borscht
4 large beets                          

4 large carrots

3 large potatoes

6-8 cups chicken broth  (enough to completely cover the vegetables)          

1/2 large cooking onion

1/2 lb side bacon               

20 oz can tomato soup

1 cup milk                              

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill                   

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream

Peel and cube beets, and potatoes, slice carrots.  Place in a soup pot with enough chicken stock to cover them.  Boil until tender.  Meanwhile cut bacon into small pieces. Fry bacon and when almost done add chopped onion and cook till translucent.  Add bacon and onion mixture to soup pot. Add dill, can of tomato soup and milk. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on the top.  Tastes even better the next day.

Sometimes I will add thinly slice cabbage to bulk the soup up.  You can skip the bacon and use vegetable broth to make a vegetarian version.

When war broke out in the Ukraine. I felt so helpless and really wanted to do something to help. So I contacted friends and family and offered to make them borscht in exchange for them making a donation to any organization supporting the people of Ukraine. I made 36 litres and together we donated approximately $2,500.00. My charity of choice was World Central Kitchen.  This team of volunteers is headed up by chef José Andrés and quickly set up to feed people fleeing to safety. So many lovely Ukrainians have feed me through my life, it was my turn to feed them. Praying for peace in Ukraine.

Kath’s quote: “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” – Tom Robbins

Love never fails.

Have a Bonnie Day!


Since Covid, my Food Musings topics have drastically changed. We have a favourite restaurant that we visit often, but as far as other local dining experiences, the occurrences of visits are very rare. Living at the lake for six months a year, doesn’t help either.

J1 and J2 have a favourite place in their Wolseley neighbourhood that we have wanted to visit for a very long time. When they presented us with a Gift Card as thanks for watching the Wee Ones, we held on to it for a special occasion, that being our wedding anniversary.

We commenced with a refreshing beer from Low Life and a sublime glass of wine. I typically shy away from Tuscan wines as they are usually too robust for me, but this one that our server suggested from Montepulciano, where we once visited, was as smooth as silk.

Walnuts, fresh mint and pomegranate molasses sounded like a strange way to serve olives, but it absolutely worked in this appetizer in a jar, to get our juices flowing.

When I make meatballs at home I tend to make them from ground turkey as it is affordable and good for our heart health, so Bonnie Day’s combination of beef, pork and veal was a luscious treat. Their tomato sauce sparkled and smearing everything onto a toasted baguette was perfection.

J1 suggested we sample the kale Caesar salad but spying this deconstructed chicken salad on the menu, we couldn’t resist. The skin on the quarter chicken absolutely burst with flavour and it was very hard to resist a nibble of skin with every chicken morsel.

But the piece d’ resistance for us was the whipped feta pizza. J1 suggested we sample the whipped feta as an appetizer but we thought “why not go all the way?” with this delicious entre, and we were so glad we did. The pie was sauceless, which was a welcome thing as the cheese was so decadently delicious. After our other noshing and the richness of the feta, we could only manage a piece or so each. Two days later though, served as a cold snack, it was just as scrumptious as day one! I am a truffle lover and the promise of truffle oil on the pie really sparked my interest. My only complaint of the evening was the lack of that bold flavour on our entree.

This gorgeous wall paper adorned the front entrance of the restaurant and really made a statement of what to expect of the decor. It was vintage and yet trendy at the same time. I loved the mismatched china that they utilized as their dinnerware and now I know where I will donate my china when the time comes.

As we left that evening, we walked through the deserted patio. Every time we drive past the restaurant, the patio was always packed but on Sept 2, you may recall, a blast of hot, humid air made one last appearance to our prairie city. Much as Winnipeggers embrace the heat when it comes, the cool restaurant was very much appreciated by all the diners on this evening.

If you get a chance to visit Bonnie Day, do so. The service is educated and attentive which is not a surprise in the Wolseley neighbourhood.

Kath’s quote: “A little among neighbors is worth more than riches in a wilderness.”-Welsh Saying

Love never fails.

What do I do with all this Zucchini (you ask)?


This time of year there is often a plethora of zucchini. Our three now adult children, had birthdays in May, July and September. The latter was always a tough time for us financially as it is for many families. I once shopped at Costco for items to make school lunch making a bit easier. My check out tally came to $500 and then my cheque bounced! How embarrassing. Luckily for our household budget, J1 (our son) requested my Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe each and every year.


2 c flour

2 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

1 t instant coffee (why? because cofee enhances the depth of the chocolate taste)

1/2 t salt

1 c canola oil

1 c sugar (I often substituted Stevia with good success)

3/4 c packed brown sugar

4 large eggs (room temperature)

1/3 c sour sour cream (or plain yoghurt or vinegar and milk)

2 t vanilla

3 c grated zucchini (don’t hand grate-use a food processor!)

1 c semi sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a silicon bundt pan with canola oil. Whisk together all the dry ingredients, set aside. In a food machine beat oil, sugars, eggs, sour cream, zucchini and vanilla together. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Add the chocolate chips. Batter will be thick. Pour into bundt pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, testing with a toothpick after 35 minutes. Allow to cool, invert to a serving plate. I always iced mine with a chocolate cream cheese icing.

Hmm maybe that is why they liked my zucchini cake so much…

Sister #3 made a new zucchini treat this year.

If you would like the recipe for her zucchini cheese bread, leave a comment for us.

Have you ever tasted fried zucchini blossoms?

Kath’s quote: “The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe“.— John Gould

Love never fails.

You say tomato and I say tomato…by Sister #3


Around this time every summer, BOOM, an explosion of tomatoes! My plants are slow to produce, (with the exception of my cherry tomato plant that currently has about 20 green tomatoes hanging from its tiny branches), but my more green- thumbed friends are gifting me with bushels of tomatoes. At the moment I have three romas, two hearty beefsteaks, and a 2 quart basket of heirlooms that are bigger than cherry but not quite the size of romas. 

Growing up, I was never a huge tomato fan. I would occasionally have a slice on a burger, or on toast with some bacon and melted cheddar, but those were rare occurrences. My mom was a big tomato lover. While my Mom was living in care she would often pass up the PCH meal in lieu of a toasted tomato sandwich. Well, since my Mom has passed I have acquired an uncontrollable desire for tomatoes! Like her, I love a toasted tomato sandwich with mayo and salt and pepper. I pretty much have one a day, all summer.

That’s the thing about tomatoes, they need to be fresh from the garden to show off their true flavour. Unfortunately, here in Manitoba we have to tolerate hot house tomatoes for much of the year as we have a very short growing season.  

One of the many reasons I take off to Mexico every winter is pico de gallo. I can’t get enough of it!

Here is my recipe:

Pico de Gallo

3 tbsp finely chopped white onion

3 large ripe tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
1/2 small Jalapeno pepper (finely chopped)
2 tbsp minced cilantro
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

salt & pepper to taste or Tajin which I buy in Mexico

These beauties were on offer at a gourmet shop I visited in Victoria BC last spring, a place with a much longer growing season than ours.

Last summer, I discovered the perfect way to turn my tomatoes into a yummy appetizer for happy hour. I rolled out and baked a sheet of puff pastry, being sure to pierce it with a fork, (except around the very edges) so it does puff too much. Once cool, I spread cream cheese to which I had added some chopped fresh herbs. Next came the tomatoes. The bigger the variety, the better. Top it off with salt and pepper and voila, the perfect summer appy. 

Last fall my sisters and I had the pleasure of visiting Malaga Spain. The October tomatoes were sweet and juicy. We were staying in an Airbnb and didn’t have a lot of groceries, but we had some staples. So I decided to make “Pan con Tomate” which translates to bread with tomato. It’s a traditional dish that Spaniards eat for breakfast. I brushed sliced baguettes with good olive oil and toasted them in a pan. I used a box grater to break down the tomatoes, skin, seeds, and all. Next, I drained off some of the excess liquid, then adding some more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. To eat it, you cut a clove of garlic and rub it on the crostini, then top with a healthy spoonful of tomato. Wow, que rico!  

So the moral of the story is, when life gives you good tomatoes, eat them!  Just keep it simple and enjoy these red orbs of sweet juicy perfection. 

Kath’s quote: “A world without tomatoes, is like a string quartet without the violins.”-Laurie Colwin

Love never fails.

A Brand New Feature-Sister # 3’s Treasured Recipes including her Personal Anecdotes

Caption: This is Us. The Three Sisters with our wonderful SIL and our precious 1st Cuz. Can you guess what we are doing? Shopping for food (of course)!

Let me take this opportunity to introduce myself to any of you who may not know me.  I go by “Sister #3” on this blog, which belongs to my eldest sister Kathryne, who you are more likely to know. A while back I was at our family cottage making my mom’s blueberry pie with some wild berries two of my nieces picked for me in the Belair forest.  An activity my mom and I did often when we were both still nimble enough to walk great distances in the heat in order to squat in the forest and collect these precious purple gems.

Although I pretty much have the recipe memorized I had brought a copy of it from a cookbook I had started writing many years ago, just in case I had a particularly brain foggy day.  Under the recipe was a little story that related to the pie.  My sister Kath noticed the paper and suggested I consider publishing some of mine, and our family’s favorite recipes to Food Musings.  

While I had almost completed the above mentioned cookbook, I had found it far to cost prohibitive to print.  Perhaps I’ll tidy it up one day and save a PDF to share with my immediate family members.  But in the meanwhile this is a way for me to share some stories and recipes with them, and any of you who might find them interesting.  

I hope you enjoy the posts and please drop us a line if you have any questions about a recipe.  While they are all tried and true, I don’t profess to be the best recipe creator. More than anything I hope you are inspired to try a new recipe, or pull out some of your family favourites.   

Mom’s Wild Blueberry Pie

3 cups fresh blueberries                       

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbsp flour                                          

dash of lemon juice  

Pinch of salt

Pie crust made using the recipe on the side of the Tenderflake box. 

Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Mix together sugar, flour and salt, toss blueberries in mixture. Place in pie crust, drizzle with lemon juice. Cover with pie crust top. Cut slits in the top crust with a knife so that steam can escape while baking.  Bake for 10 minutes at 425º, turn oven down to 350º and cook for another 40 minutes. Let the pie sit for a while before serving. 


It seems like an odd question, but I often ask my friends this.  I don’t think that there is a big difference between a family who ate cake and a family who ate pie.  All I know is that most families were either one or the other. We were definitely a pie family.  We didn’t eat dessert after every dinner, but likely once a week we would have something sweet.  My mom had a talent for finding a sweet treat, even when there was nothing in the house. She and I would often spend an afternoon listening to a record, whether it was Walt Disney’s Dumbo or Mario Lanza’s  we would eat a small dish of peanut butter and maple syrup. Sounds crazy but you should try it sometime!  Mom has passed but I still remember her deep frying donuts at Grand Beach, making Chocolate Puffed Wheat square and delicious cinnamon buns but I don’t recall her ever baking a cake. Pastry on the other hand was my Mothers forte. She made every kind of pie, Rhubarb, Apple, Blueberry, Saskatoon, Lemon, Chocolate, Yummo!  I don’t make very many pies myself, but whenever I do I think of my Mom.  

Kath’s quote:

“Our hobbies include eating pie and thinking about the next time we‘ll be eating pie.

Love never fails.

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