Browsing: Food Products

Fit Fiesta Soup-Working with Liz Pearson


When you meet Liz Pearson you want to be just like her: petite and fit, with beautiful skin and twinkly blues eyes.  You might even say to yourself, how could I look like that?  Well here’s how: Liz is a leading Canadian dietician who contends that belly fat, (not the scale) is the best measure of health.  She co-authored Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health and has another book due out this year entitled Broccoli, Love and Dark Chocolate.  We were destined to meet, she is a soul (aka heart) sister.

If you know me, you know that I carry my excess baggage in an area other than my waistline, but I heartily support having a good health barometer other than the bathroom scale, so I got out my tape measure.  According to Heath Canada a red flag should be raised when women have a waist circumference of 35 inches or more, so I guess that it is time for me to be less concerned about my trunk and more about my engine.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working alongside Liz, taking care of the food styling for the Winnipeg leg of a promotional tour.  I learned first hand, what foods to focus and consume more of for my intended long life (I am newly motivated by the just announced summer arrival of our first Grandchild!).  The soup that I prepped for her appearances contain each of these five fat burning foods:

100% whole grains,

high fibre,

healthy fats,


and pepper-based plant compounds.  But most important (for me at least), it tastes like Mexico (17 sleeps until my upcoming departure)!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fit Fiesta Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This delicious soup, is a one pot meal containing ingredients that are linked to reducing belly-fat, including whole-grains, fibre, healthy fats, peppers and favonoid-rich fruits and vegetables. What's more, it's easy to make, taking only 25 minutes from stove-top to table.
  • 2 c (500 ml) Whole grain bows, such as Catelli Healthy Harvest brand
  • 2 t (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • ¼ c (50 ml) dried cranberries
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T (15 ml) mild chili powder
  • 1 t (15 ml) cumin
  • ¾ t (4 ml) each salt and pepper
  • 8 c (2 l) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14 ox./398 ml) no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14 oz./398 ml) no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c corn, if using frozen, does not have to be defrosted
  • 4 c (1 l) lightly packed baby spinach
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and red pepper; saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add the cranberries, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in 6 c broth and the tomatoes; bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in the beans, bows and corn.
  6. Boil gently, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  7. Stir in the remaining broth, the spinach, jalapeno peppers, lime zest and juice; remove from the heat.
  8. Add extra lime and broth to adjust consistency and acidity to taste if desired.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander.

The emphasis of focusing on foods that promote good health are reinforced for me, since they were first introduced by my friend Mairlyn Smith.  Coincidence?  No, Mairlyn is co-author of Liz’s books.  I love my circle of life.

Kath’s quote: “Some people have a foolish way of not minding, or pretending not to mind, what they eat. For my part, I mind my belly very studiously, and very carefully; for I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else.”-Samuel Johnson

Love-that is all.

Mandatory Sunday Supper on Superbowl Day


Event though we do not allow our family a lot of wiggle room with our mandatory supper date on Sunday evenings, D and I take the liberty of rescheduling every once in a while.  For example, when we get invited out to watch the Super Bowl.  We often host Superbowl, so it is just lovely to get an invite out.  On this Sunday, J1 and J2 were out of town, so there were less arrangements to mess with.

I prepared a really light meal, as I knew two things: we would eating rich food while watching the football game and a friend of mine in the catering business had asked us to give him some feedback on cupcakes that the bakery division of his catering company was starting to offer.  Our family  loves the opportunity to test and provide feedback on food.  They take the responsibility very seriously.

I prepare shrimp very simply and cook them very quickly.  These were tossed in Ted Reader’s Bone Dust and then quickly sauteed in a bit of canola oil.  Did you know that olive oil has a lower smoking point and can become bitter when used on a high heat?  This is why we use canola for all of our sautes and add a drizzle of  oil for flavour (and nutrition) just before serving.

The Frenchman cut and peeled sweet potato fries for me while I was at church.  We had three seasonings to taste/test on theses as well: honey/rosemary, smoky barbecue and citrus/cinnamon.  The latter is my personal favourite which I also sprinkle on sweet potato soup.

You can understand why we had a hard time determining the most “delicious” looking cake, can’t you?

I will be sending some more specific feedback to our catering friend but in the mean time, our favourite tasting cupcake from an enormous variety was the Carrot.  We couldn’t decide what was the “most delicious looking” because we all choose a different one reflecting our personal tastes and preferences.

The highest compliment that was paid was from D who exclaimed, while nibbling on a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing “This is exactly what my Mom’s chocolate cake tastes like.”  That is high praise indeed, as Grandma Jean’s cake holds the ‘perfect’ chocolate cake mark on his yardstick.

My gang loves that we are a “foodie” family and that we all accumulate around one table.

Kath’s quote: “Being set at the table, scratch not thyself, and take thou heed as much as thou canst not to spit, cough and blow at thy nose; but if it be needful, do it dexterously, without much noise, turning thy face sidelong.”-Francis Hawkins

Love-that is all.

Be Informed this Valentine’s Day


I met a lovely gal by the name of Kristian at a Blogger’s conference in Toronto this fall.  Since I am proud to say that D and I are new World Vision foster parents to one year old Ankita, I have been especially concerned about the global circumstances surrounding the welfare of children. I hate admitting my ignorance, but have only become aware that chocolate harvesting is a huge issue.   Here is the info that I received from Kristian:

Don’t let chocolate hurt children

An estimated two million children are doing 3D jobs – dirty, dangerous and degrading work in the cocoa industry, mainly in West Africa. They get hurt swinging machetes to cut down cacao pods. They get sick from pesticides and work in extreme heat with little pay, poor nutrition and no health care. They’re often separated from their families and can even be abused by employers. It’s happening mainly in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, and many of these children are trafficked from Mali or Burkina Faso.

The bitter truth is approximately 95 percent of chocolate sold globally is still not certified to be free of child labour.

But let’s not put the kibosh on Cupid this Valentine’s Day! Here are a couple ways that Moms and kids can find “ethical options” when shopping for chocolate:

  1. World Vision’s new Good Chocolate Guide lists ethically-certified products sold in Canada by larger manufacturers.
  2. A cool, new ChocoFinder app helps locate smaller stores that sell ethical chocolate. (The app will launch first in Toronto and will expand city by city across Canada. It will be available for free on the iTunes store beginning February 5.)  

World Vision is currently working on a “Chocolate Report Card” that will grade Canadian manufacturers such as Laura Secord and Purdy’s on their commitment to selling products made from ethically-sourced cocoa.

If you are concerned about this issue, I would add this advice:  shop at an artisan shop like Constance Popp Chocolatier and specifically ask what country of origin the chocolate in your potential selection is from.  If you have ever met Constance, you know that she is passionate about everything concerning chocolate making but especially the individual ingredients that are used in each recipe.  In fact, I think that this is sound advice for everything that we consume and I am fortunate as a writer to have access to many persons responsible for producing the food that I eat.  Constance is so accessible.  Visit her at one of her two shops.  I usually find her at 1853 Portage Ave. Find out more about the sometime mysterious world of chocolate.

So this Valentine’s day, give the true gift of love.  Not just in the chocolate gift that expresses your affection, but in loving and protecting the child harvesters  of your gift.

Kath’s quote: “Carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant; that it is nourishing and easily digested; that it does not cause the same harmful effects to feminine beauty which are blamed on coffee, but is on the contrary a remedy for them.”-Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

Love-that is all.



The Buy Manitoba List


When I was in Constance Popp‘s store this weekend, she had assembled special gift baskets of Manitoba goodies for purchase as Christmas Gifts.  Making a commitment to buy local is not an offhand decision. If you are price conscious, you will have to change your mindset in order to get on board.  People often ask me in my profession as a Media Planner-is XYZ the “best deal”? Is it the “cheapest”?  My consistent response is that I recommend mediums that are the most cost “effective” and that the investment in representing your brand with a vehicle of quality is the best long term decision you can make.  So too, with Buying Manitoba.

I read with interest the supplement published for the Manitoba Food Producers and ripped out the participant list to load enter into my Blackberry so that I can refer to it when shopping.  Then I concluded that my local readers may have missed this weekend’s reference and may want it as well:

Bakery and Sweets

  • Chocolatier Constance Popp
  • Double D’s Cheesecake
  • Gunn’s Bakery
  • Jeanne’s Bakery
  • Mordens’ of Winnipeg
  • Piccola Cucina



  • Bothwell Cheese
  • Notre Dame Creamery
  • Oak Islands Acres Goat Dairy
  • Organic Meadow

Meat & Fish:

  • Danny’s Whole Hog BBQ
  • Del’s Specialty Meats
  • Freshwater Fish
  • Granny’s Poultry
  • Mariner Neptune Fish & Seafood
  • Pioneer Meat
  • The Carvers Knife
  • Winkler Meats
  • Winnipeg Old Country Sausage


  • Northern Asparagus Farms
  • Peak of the Market
  • Precision Produce



  • Bee Maid Honey
  • Beeproject Apiaries
  • Black Pearl Coffee
  • Buckshots
  • Canadian Gold Beverages
  • Countrysides
  • Delicious Kicks Salsa
  • De Luca’s Specialty Foods
  • DiSanto Foods
  • Ferme Larielle Farm-Golden Flax
  • GORP Clean Energy Bar
  • Green Bean Coffee Imports
  • John Boy Farms Apple Cider
  • John Russell Honey
  • La Cocina Foods
  • Local Meats & Frozen Treats
  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
  • Mountain Top Honey Farm
  • Naosap Harvest-Organic Wild Rice
  • Nature’s Farm
  • Northern Meat Services
  • Perfect Perogies
  • Progressive Foods-Quick Cooking Barley
  • Shoal Lake Wild Rice
  • Solbery
  • Superior Harvest Foods
  • Wild Man Ricing
  • Wendell Estate Honey
  • YOMM Beverages

I have regularly purchased 27 brands from this list.  How did you fare?

Kath’s quote:  “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”-Thomas Jefferson

Love-that is all.


Chocolatier Constance Popp


In my life, food and friendship are very intimately connected.  I love to celebrate my friendships with food but another characteristic is also true: my fascination with food has brought people into my life, whom I might not have encountered otherwise.  One such person is Constance Popp.  We met and have had occasion to reconnect through our mutual friendship with the Manitoba Canola Growers

I am absolutely fascinated by Constance’s story, the places she has travelled and the people she has met though her passion for chocolate.  She is a prolific story teller and I am not sure if it is my fascination with her craft or the samples of chocolate that she continually gifts me with, that continually draw me to her.

The first time that I spent time with Constance I tasted her newly invented Chocolate Birch Bar which was a luscious combination of white and milk chocolate that had been kissed with Manitoba birch syrup.  Some artisans pay lip service to utilizing the highest quality, local ingredients-Constance is the real deal, folks.  That same weekend when we made smores at a campfire, she added homemade marshmallows as her contribution.

More recently she brought along her luscious cream cheese frosted cupcakes to an event

and then just this week a little plate of macaroons, another cupcake and a spicy dark chocolate were set in front of me.  I have tasted macaroons at the world famous Laduree on the Champs Elysee in Paris and these raspberry and caramel confections were far, far superior!  In every single morsel I can taste the love and integrity that she puts into her art.

I have heard that her chocolate drink (Constance’s answer to hot chocolate) is worth the drive to her Portage Ave. (1853-at Ferry Rd.) shop and the little inauspicious cup did not disappoint.  Au contrare-with one sip, my eyes automatically closed so I could shut off the outside world and just concentrate on the taste on my tongue. 

The drink is not gussied up with whipped cream and syrups or shavings, as the elixir is exquisite on its own and any enhancement would be an insult to the pure and at the same time, exotic taste.   I placed the lid back on the cup and immediately drove home so that I could share the last sips with D.  Not surprizingly, Constance slipped a couple of little treats into a bag for me to also take home to him.

I would have pressed Constance for her secret but she didn’t require any coaxing.  She told another customer at the till, “if you like these (cocolate peanut butter cups) , shoot me an email and I will send you the recipe.”  My impression is that Constance so loves the world of chocolate that she wishes that as many people as possible can share in its pleasure.  Her chocolate drink recipe is one part almond milk to three parts regular milk combined with one part milk chocolate and three parts dark chocolate straight from her enrobing machne, for this drink could never be duplicated at home.  You would have to be a chocolatier, like my friend to make it.

Kath’s qute:“Carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant; that it is nourishing and easily digested; that it does not cause the same harmful effects to feminine beauty which are blamed on coffee, but is on the contrary a remedy for them.”-Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

Love-that is all.

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