Browsing: Food Celebrations

Food = Love and Potato Lefse

December21

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With a few of her children and grandkids at Star Wars.

This weekend we celebrated my Mother-in Law’s 80th Birthday. Her real birthday is not until Christmas but we always make an effort to celebrate early so that her special day doesn’t get completely mushed into Christmas.

Grandma Jean is truly amazing for too many reasons to number, but here are just a few:

  • she went to work outside the home for the first time when she became a single Mom of seven children
  • she does not have a grey hair on her head
  • last time we played a family baseball game, she could still hit one passed the reach of her grandkids in the field
  • she babysits the 2 1/2 year old Wee One once a week, taking her for walks and spending most summer days at the playground
  • each person who spends Christmas in her home gets a special gift, even if they were a last minute invitee

I could go on but you get the picture…..

This year she gave her children and her grandchildren something truly extraordinary- a handwritten recipe book! D’s has 39 pages and 156 recipes including many of her own Mother’s and Grandmother’s. D was salivating as he flipped through the pages last evening, remembering delicious family suppers and the abundance of shenigans and laughter around the table.

I was invited to her Christmas table some 34 years ago and tasted her Potato Lefse for my very first time.  When the Wee One eats them, she is the sixth generation to taste the recipe.

Potato Lefse
Author: 
Cuisine: Scandinavian
 
I was taught to spread butter onto these and add a sprinkle of white sugar.
Ingredients
  • 5 cups boiled potatoes, drained
  • 5 T butter
  • ½ c cream
  • salt to taste
  • flour-see note below
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients well and then cool a while.
  2. Add ½ c flour for each cup of potato mixture.
  3. Flour counter and roll out about ⅓ c of dough, very thinly.
  4. Add a little more flour if needed.
  5. Bake on a 350 degree, flat grill until brown on both sides.

Think on this: 156 recipes x seven children and fifteen grandchildren=3,432 hand-written recipes! The project took her two years to complete. Now if that is not love, then what is?

Kath’s quote: Grandma Jean to her children & grandchildren-“If anyone’s marriage happens to break up, take the recipe book”.

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Love, that is all.

Anywhere in the World, He Chose Our Beach

September16

My beautiful and talented niece/Goddaughter was back home for a visit. She currently resides in Melbourne Australia as does her dashing beau. Her Mom (dubbed Sister#2 in this space) invited all her beach cousins to get together for a little soiree at their beautiful lake home. If Aunties and Uncles happened to be out that weekend they were invited along. It was to be a very unceremonious get-together. What we didn’t know was this:

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The burly rugby-playing beau had a surprize up his sleeve. He invited his love to join him down at the beach. It was an overcast and fairly non descript day as far as the weather went. She was told to wait at the end of one of the beach paths.

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As she made her way along the path, she saw that the story of her life was displayed in photos along the fences that line the way. Near the end of the photo journey were images of her new life with her man in Australia. He was waiting for her on the beach. Just then, the sun burst out and shone on the two of them as he bent down on one knee to ask her to be his soul mate forever.

This may sound all very romantic and like the perfect setting. Here’s the thing, they currently reside in one of the most breathtaking places in the world and are en route to spend time in Europe with a stay in Paris. The Aussie could have chosen any dream locale to make his request but he chose Lester Beach, knowing how important it would be for his future bride to be in a place she loved so very much, surrounded by her family and long-time friends.

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The details of the party seem like minor points indeed with all the love that was swooning in our midst. But they were not. They were consistent with the premise of this space and my core belief, that is: Food=Love. To me it was particularly fitting that soon after the beach festivities, we were assembled together to eat, drink and be merry.

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The day prior D lovingly grilled these two platters of garden vegetables. He wanted them to chill overnight to set the flavours. He knew that our niece was vegetarian and wanted to delight her with the variety and the tastes.

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Sister #3 made her famous guacamole and Sister #2 this cheese ball as big as your head.

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The big hit of the evening was the latter’s chicken lettuce wraps but my favourite was courtesy of the bride-to-be herself. Here’s how she makes the stuffed jalapeno peppers pictured above: “Sorry I don’t have exact measurements for the pepper recipe cause I always just wing it! but these are the ingredients… Jalapeños sliced lengthwise and seeded. The cheese filling is half cream cheese half goats cheese. Use a piping bag to fill the sliced jalapeño with the cheese. The caramel sauce is around 12 pitted dates blended with half a can of coconut milk. Drizzle the sauce over the cheese. Top with a couple of pecans the put in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 mins or until the pecans are toasted and jalapeños are softer.” Whip up a batch for your next cocktail party and you will not be disappointed.

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The sun set on that momentous evening. After more connecting around the bonfire, the couple walked down to the beach with cousins and friends. Along the way they witnessed a dazzling shooting star and then from the shore, the most spectacular display of northern lights. The couple felt very blessed as if nature was endorsing their future nuptials.

Kath’s quote: “Be my forever  You’re my bright blue sky   You’re the sun in my eyes   Oh baby you’re my life  You’re the reason why”-Be My Forever, Ed Sheeran

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Canola Connect

September14

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I am fortunate to be a part of an inclusive group: Canola Camp Alumni. Each autumn when a new bunch of campers assemble in Winnipeg and then head west for a weekend farm adventure, the campers from previous years are invited to connect for a lunch or supper with the first-time campers. This year it was at Mayfair Vegetable Farm on the island in Portage la Prairie.

I have been to the island before, to feed the geese and walk its paths. Many Winnipeggers make the drive to pick strawberries on the farm. I was happy to surround myself with old friends, bask in the September sun, learn about life on a working vegetable farm and just “be” for an afternoon.

The Giffin family welcomed us with open arms as do all the farmers that the campers would meet on the weekend.

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Not only did they go to all lot of trouble to convert a barn into a comfortable place for lunch, they did so at one of their busiest times of year.

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As we sipped upon strawberry water

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and tucked in to our delicious lunch of pesto chicken breasts, new potatoes, strawberry salad, beets and parsnips,

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Todd Giffin shared his passion for the land, his crop, the many workers that they employ and the people who enjoy the bounty from their efforts.

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My favourite taste was the roasted corn prepared in my preferred manner from the Yucatán. The kernels were so sweet and fresh tasting. perhaps because the corn rows were close by.

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This is what today’s farmer looks like. Young, fit, hip and passionate about her family, their farm and their toil. Melanie Giffin demonstrated the growing story from seeding, transplanting, caring for the crops to harvesting. Did you know that every cauliflower plant must be closed by hand with an elastic to protect the flower growing in the protective leaves?

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A cabbage head similar to this beautiful one that was about to be picked, made it home with me. I plan on making a Chinese cole slaw with it to have for lunches this week.

Hug a farmer.

Kath’s quote: “Farmers love food. I love food = I love farmers”. -Food Musings (a.k.a. Me!)

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

 

Baby Shower-“It Takes a Village”

September1

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I was thrilled that the very first items that I prepared in my “almost finished” new kitchen were for the Rawdon Baby’s shower.

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The radiant new Momma.

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It takes many hands to raise a child AND to put on such a gorgeous gathering. Auntie Kristen was responsible for so many of the beautiful touches including these shadow boxes of the parent’s baby things.

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This table (and another one) was bulging with beautiful gifts by the time all of the guests had assembled.

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This image of the baby’s heartbeat graced the room.

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This was such a sweet detail too.

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Simple, yet so thoughfully accomplished.

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Everything was ready for the guests’ arrival. Auntie K and her Bestie spent hours decorating to get everything just so.

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That’s Momma in the top left, can you tell that she is pregnant from behind?

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The food was placed out in advance so that everyone could leisurely partake.

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The bounty!

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The cupcakes (made by the photographer of the event) were exquisite.

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I particularly loved these Portugese pastries and am hoping that I can get the recipe to share.

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Momma, Glamma and Auntie.

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The girl cousins (unfortunately another Momma cousin had to leave with the youngest attendee at the party).

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Momma and Great Grandma-beautiful women, both.

Kath’s quote: “And we have learned that to raise a happy, healthy and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders, it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us. Yes, it takes a village.”- Hilary Clinton

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Read the instructions above for another thoughtful touch.

An American in…..Paradise

August21

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The theme of our annual weekend together with long time friends was decided at last year’s event-America! We made the trek from our beach house and that is my excuse for not being as prepared for the theme as our hosts or other guests.

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I did manage to get a peach pie made to take along for our casual Friday evening dinner. D’s family is from the US so all we had to do was think about all the great food that his Mom prepares for us. She is famous for her pies and “hot dishes” (they don’t call them casseroles across the border). D commented that if you mix a can of cream of mushroom soup and/or velveeta cheese to just about anything, it would have been a staple in his home growing up.

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We started with red, white and blue sangrias on the dock.

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I bet this brings back childhood memories.

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The ever-prepared couple also garnished these cheese triangles wrapped in alumin foil. They were surprizingly tasty.

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Check out the crudite!

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Our male host also spent time living in the US and is an expert at the grill. He fires up both his Broil King and a little charcoal one. On the menu that evening were cole slaw, hamburgers and the best tasting hot dog, I have enjoyed in a very long time.

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Next morning we lingered over our many mugs of coffee on the dock. That is until our hosts began toasting up blueberry bannock (Canadian I know) while our host (also an egg afficiando) slowly stirred our scrambled eggs.

After walks and canoe and kayak adventures, we settled again on the dock where D and I were in charge of late lunch/pre-dinner appetizers.

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I was gifted by another mutual friend of all of ours with a special bottle of champagne for my recent momentous birthday. I promised to open it on this particular weekend, knowing that my GFs were more champagne lovers than I. But I have seen the light! That orange-boxed champagne “tasted like butta” and did not retain any of the overly dry/effervesant quality that I dislike.

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The bubbly turned out to be the perfect complement for the macaroni and cheese cups, devilled eggs

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and cocktail meatbals that D and I cooked up.

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Our host extolling the virtues of a meatball candied with grape jelly and chili sauce.

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Happy hour at its finest!

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The other couple snuck into the cabin at this point with two intentions:

  • To make this gorgeous and spicy pecan pie which we enjoyed later in the evening and
  • to put up Gangster Wanted Posters on the doors which could not be missed.

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They are so imaginative with their get-ups and later emerged as Bonnie and Clyde! (I wore a Hawaiian muumuu that nobody made note of….)

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The king of the grill was back at it, glazing back ribs while two rotisserie chickens slowly turned on the gas grill.

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Everything was sensational but I could not get enough of the chicken (inconspicuous on this plate). In fact, I am salivating as I write about it. The cavities were stuffed with lemon wedges and a handful of salt and the skin was liberally dused with chili powder and paprika. OMGosh-perfection!

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After pie-it was dance party time. (Clyde) thought of everything and set up this party light.

Throughout the evening he kept asking that Willie Nelson be our next music selection. When his request was accommodated, he donned a bandana and braids! We listened to Willie’s duets, laid on the floor near the windows and watched for shooting stars and Northern Lights. The time could not have been sweeter.

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The next morning it was time for omelets and grilled sausages before we went our seperate ways.

So where does “paradise” come in, you may be asking? Paradise for me is an exquisite setting-check, fine wine-check, excellent food-check and connecting with old friends to pick up where we left off-enormous check.

Kath’s quote: “Old friends Lord when all my work is done. Bless my life and grant me one, old friend, at least one old friend.”-Willie Nelson

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

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