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Food = Love

July30

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Hello Readers.  I have some lovely news: our first grandbaby was born this past weekend and life seems to have an entirely different meaning as a result.  The Wee One burst into our lives with an urgency which had me thinking all about food: “What will we serve the family members that are coming over for a impromptu celebration?” and “Do I have enough groceries to get cooking for the freezer?”  But most importantly, I was praying that the Wee One would learn to latch and would be a good nurser.

While pregnant, J2’s tummy went straight out in front and many of us concluded that she was carrying a sturdy little boy.  The opposite turned out to be true.  Wee One has the littlest face and a long, strong neck. I have yet to see her legs totally unfurled and they seem impossibly long.  It is no wonder that J2’s tummy entered a room ahead of her, as those legs and knees have been pointing the way.

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Whenever I think of her feet, I have to suppress a little giggle because they seem almost as long as mine are now.  I have ridiculously short feet.  D often refers to them as my “Yubba Dubba Do” feet because they look like I used them to stop Fred Flintstone’s car!  Wee One has the graceful feet of a dancer, just like her amazingly beautiful Mom.

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I have yet to hear about what her second night on this earth was like.  Her first night though was a long one for her and her Mommy and Daddy.  J1 was so exhausted that he managed to sleep in spite of the ruckus that Wee One was making to exercise her singing voice and make her presence known.  I understand she and J2 finally slept at 6 am and that all she wanted was skin to skin contact with her Mom and to nurse all night long.  In spite of J2’s own exhaustion she lovingly accommodated.

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Here she is telling me a thing or two!

Last evening when we went back to the hospital and got to hold the little miracle again, we heard her piercing cry in full force.  J2 has trying to get a little bit of rest behind a drawn curtain, but giggled every time Wee One squawked, sounding like an exotic bird.  I would not be surprised if J2 spent another long night, giving literally of herself to Wee One.  If there was ever a more natural Mommy and Daddy and this earth, I have yet to meet them.  J1 and J2 are approaching their exhaustion with good humour and tenderness for each other.

I could sit here and enjoy my first thoughts on this, but there is so much to do: stock the fridge of the new parents, keep on cooking for their freezer and ensure that all that they have to be concerned about is giving the Wee One as much nutrition and love as she can absorb!

Kath’s quote: …a little child, born yesterday, A thing on mother’s milk and kisses fed… –Homer

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Love-that is all.

Devour the District

July4

“Devour the District” is a restaurant walking tour offered by the Exchange District BIZ in partnership with Tourism Winnipeg’s Peg City Grub blog.   The tour commences from Old Market Square at 133 Albert St. The first stop on our “mini”-tour was the Underground Café.  We learned a bit about the history of the Silpit Building which is home to the Café (down a flight of basement stairs at 70 Albert St., hence its name).  I think that I first sampled the Café’s Spicy Tuna Melt about twenty years ago, which has become a family favourite.  Wendy, the chef and owner confirmed that is how long that they have been around.  This recent sampling was of their famous “Sun-Burger”, said to be so popular because it doesn’t “pretend to be meat”.  Only the shape is the same as a burger. The compilation of toasted sesame and sunflower seeds, two kinds of cheese, Jasmine rice, eggs and various spices is delicious even it wasn’t packed with nutritious ingredients.  Wendy describes her menu offerings as “comfort food with a twist”, comfortable indeed.

Next up was Deer + Almond where we were met by the vibrant owner and chef Mandel who embraces the “new twist” on traditional dishes, too.  His inventive West Coast Caesar Salad was made with marinated kale, tangy granny smith apple slices and big salty, shards of parmesan cheese.  He guessed correctly when he thought that we might be sampling charcuterie at our last stop and chose the refreshing and nutritious salad to complement our last course.

At the Peasant Cookery, we were greeted by two staff members and award winning chef Tristan. The Peasant takes “from-scratch” to a whole new level and is the only restaurant in Winnipeg where they do their own smoking, hanging, curing and drying of the meats on their charcuterie board.    We sampled Berkshire pork smoked salami, a Spanish-style chorizo sausage and a spicy pepperoni.  My favourite was the buttery pate, with meats still chucky rather than emulsified, so that individual flavours shone out individually if you selected a small nibble, or beautifully melded, if you take a larger chomp. 

 A daytime Devour the District tour, takes place on Tuesdays from 2-5 pm and the evening tour steps out from 5-8 pm on Thursdays.  The cost for each is $58 per person which is a very economical package.  The tours are a unique opportunity to learn some of the colourful history of the Exchange District AND sample tastes from the best bites that Exchange restaurants have to offer.  The results are a “progressive” dinner, like no other.  Recommend the tour to visitors, or take one yourself and enjoy all the historic and culinary adventures that our beautiful city has to offer. Call 204-942-6716 to arrange a tour. 

On the day that I wrote this for the Canstar community newspapers, I took along my camera without a memory card, hence my lack of photos. Thank you for the continual grace that you demonstrate towards me and this space. 

Kath’s quote: “I rose at 5 o’clock in the morning and read a chapter in Hebrew and 200 verses in Homer’s Odyssey. I ate milk for breakfast,
I said my prayers…I danced my dance. I read law in the morning and Italian in the afternoon. I ate tough chicken for dinner.”-
Diary of William Byrd, 1709

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Love-that is all.

The Blessings In My Life

May31

I turn 58 today.  I am going to celebrate by writing and gardening and then have a glass of wine with my precious husband and our kids.  I have a very early morning (3:45 am) so it will not be a late one.  But I want to also spend the day counting my blessings. Here goes (from my stream of consciousness, that is to say in no particular order):

  1. For the simple luxuries of my home-a hot shower this morning in a brightly illuminated room.  With Daughter #2 just having returned from Central America I know that this is truly is a luxury.
  2. For social media, especially Facebook.  I woke up to so many birthday greetings that there are 35 waiting for me, that I can’t even see.  Sometimes I get frustrated by not being able to figure these little blips out, so I suppose FB is a bit of a curse too.  But suffice it to say, the birthday greetings make me feel remembered and loved.
  3. For the internet so that I could file a story and photos due this morning, before I even had my second  cup of coffee or walked the dog.
  4. For my good health-for normal blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar.  For clear mammograms and colon screens.
  5. For still being able to work in my garden and then run over to J1 and J2’s and do some weeding for them too.  My hips do sometime get sore but perhaps that is from sitting rather than exerting.
  6. For our first grandbaby who will be welcomed into our family this July.
  7. For having a modest income that allows us to contribute to the post-secondary education of all three of our adult children.
  8. For my husband.  He is such a good man for so many reasons.  He has spent this week running around trying to find the hard top gazebo that he knows that I would love for our deck at the lake.  He is also trying to replace our lawn-mower because he knows that all the time that I spend in our gardens is not showcased until the lawn is cut and neatly trimmed.
  9. For my Mom who at 86 sits and waits patiently (ususually) for visits from her family.  She gave me birthday money that I spent on bedding plants and an extra little something because she knows that our big old hairy dogs needs to spend hours at the groomers.
  10. For my sisters.  There are my very best friends.
  11. For our little beach house.  I will be away in the Sates this weekend and not able to be there but I will imagine it the entire time that I am away.  I sleep better there, than anywhere in the world.  I get more sunshine and the most exercise there.  It is the epitome of who I am and what I cherish most.  AND I LOVE THAT WE FINALLY HAVE AN INDOOR BIFFY!
  12. For the fruit tress in our yard and next door that always seem to bloom on my birthday.
  13. For my perennials that appear every spring to remind me that it is not my doing but God who brings life.
  14. Specifically for my “forget-me-nots” that were gifted to me when my dear friend Melinda moved away from Winnipeg, some 20 years ago now.  We are still close friends and she remembers the colours that give me joy and we share an obsession with hearts.  Her birthday package arrived yesterday-a glorious scarf in turquoise and pink and a hand made card with a wire heart on the front.
  15. For my work.  Tasks that excite me and some times stress me out but always something new to think about and learn and exercise that muscle called my brain.
  16. For the creative aspect of my work too.  I did not even know that I loved to write until this blog created a forum for me to do so.
  17. For the gift of travel-sometimes mind-boggling; to be able to awake in my own bed and be on our precious Isla Mujeres for a late lunch.  I leave for Philadelphia in the early morning and have the adventure of Tuscany this fall.   I could never have dreamed of a life this full.
  18. For my Dad, gone now, but the lasting memory of his love for the soil and the ground.  He was the gardener in our family and I think of him whenever I plant annuals along the edge of a sidewalk or path.
  19.  For thrift shop stores.  I love a good deal like the never been worn Clark’s sandals that I got today for $4!
  20. For the spring rain.  I know that it means that mosquitoes are coming but I transferred a whole bunch of perennials this morning and now I know that they will flourish without my extra attention.
  21. For the free things that I am sent as gifts because of the work that I do.  I received a $500 Delta handsfree kitchen faucet this morning!
  22. For friends that share their recipes and food with me.  Yesterday Lori brought be a forcocia starter.  We had it for last night’s dinner with soup and I just toasted a couple of slices now.  Oh my.
  23. For Daughter #1-an amazing person from the instant that she was born.  An inspiration to me and so many people, every single day.  I am humbled to be here Mom.
  24. For Daughter #2.  She is my baby girl no matter how grown up and worldly and savvy she becomes.  She has such an enormous heart for the suffering in this world and she is going to make a difference, some way, some how.
  25. For our son-  He is the most fascinating person that I have ever met.  How many people can say that about their own child?
  26. For Daughter #3-she isn’t really my daughter as most of you know, but I love as if she were.  Thank you for loving our guy as you do.
  27. For the Frenchman.  You are a significant member of our family and I don’t know what life was like before you joined us.
  28. For the access to healthcare that we have in this province and this country.  Spending a couple of hours each week at the children’s hospital, I see miracles occur.  The system is far from perfect but I would not live in any other country in the world.
  29. For the babies that I cuddle each week.  This week I spent two whole hours gazing into the navy blue eyes of a 23 day old baby girl.  They give me, more than I could ever give them.
  30. For PBS-I am serious.  We love Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey.  The writing, acting and art direction is absolutely stupendous and we are hooked.
  31. For books.  I have two currently on the go and another downloaded to my tablet for this weekend’s trip.  My Mom quotes her Dad when she says: “You are never alone, if you have a good book”.
  32. For my big brother who is awaiting knee surgery.  I can’t wait until he can cross country ski again.  His courage in pain and patience in anticipation of the surgery, is an example of endurance for us all.
  33. For my “little” brother who works so hard with such cheerfulness.  I get to holiday with him every year and I do wish that I could spend more time with him.
  34. For my sister-in-laws.  Thank you for putting up with my brothers, I know that it is not always easy to live with one of us, but you would never know it by your grace and patience.
  35. For my Sister #2’s husband.  He mentors and supports me in so many ways.  I love him like a “real” brother.

I could go on, in fact I thought that I might get to 58 to mark the number of years that I have been on this earth, but life is calling me to make a couple more phone calls and tidy up some loose ends.  Suffice it to say-I am blessed.

Have you counted (literally) your blessings lately?

Sister #3: Wine Tasting at De Luca’s Fine Wines

May22

I think of myself as someone with a pretty good palette.  I can usually identify the herbs in a sauce or what kind of nuts where used in a stuffing, but when it come to wine I have never developed a refined palette.  

In my early days in the restaurant business I was working with a new General Manager who had come to our family style restaurant from a very high end establishment.  He decided that we needed to change the house wine so he did his best to teach me to properly taste wine.  In my twenty year old (at the time) opinion all his sniffing, swirling and spitting seemed a bit ridiculous.   

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When it comes to wine I have always been one of those “I like what I like” girls; but I could never really tell you why I like it.  I’ve often been mystified by people who say they taste coffee in this wine and smell freshly cut grass in another.  Really? They don’t actually put things like coffee and grass in wine you know!  When someone asks me what fruit I taste in a particular glass of wine, I’m embarrassed to say “I taste grapes”.

Recently, I’ve been spending time with a friend who has a passion for wine; I decided it is time for me to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of various wines, and how you use my mouth to figure them out.  So when I was invited by a co-worker to girls night out that involved a wine tasting lesson, how could I refuse?

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A large group of us descended on De Luca’s Fine Wines’ on Saturday night for our private wine tasting.  Our instructor walked us through each step of how to asses the colour, clarity, smell (AKA nose) and taste (AKA palate) of our wines.  We learned how to taste a sparkling and a port as well as a variety of white and red wines.  We learned a bit about where each wine came from and how it was produced.  Certain wines were matched with certain cheese and chocolate to enhance their flavour.  And I am pleased to report that after learning the right way to aerate and sniff my wine, I smelt the illusive fresh cut grass in one of the night’s selections.  I even smelled leather and tobacco in another. 

It was a fun evening and I learned a lot.  I am still far from being a coinsurer. I still find it   a struggle to not giggle as everyone around me is slurping air through their pursed lips. But at least I am starting to get a feel for this thing. 

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I like wine, but I love food, so if nothing else this experience has caused me to be even more intrigued with the concept of pairing the right wine with my food.  I hope to do much more of that kind of research in the future.

Kath’s quote: “Everyone eats and drinks, but few appreciate taste.”Confucius

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Wings

February22

Earlier this week, we were invited over for dinner with beloved friends. At one time, one spouse from all three couples, worked with each at Winnipeg Harvest (in fact Lee was the founder of the amazing organization).  So once again in my life, food (and the sharing of it), drew me to loved ones.  I had been thinking about this particular appetizer recipe for as long as my count down of sleeps for Isla Mujeres, because Parmesan crusted fish is served a couple of places on the island.

The view from the corner table at the Co-op.

My favourite version is offered up at The Fisherman’s Co-op, right on the water and across from the little hotel where we typically stay.

In the end, D made this batch up and so they tasted even better than usual to me, as I didn’t prepare them.  I have posted this recipe today, in case you want to make them for an Oscar watching evening on Sunday.  In our house on Superbowl Day,  D plants himself in his football watching chair and I fix little treats for he and his quests.  On Academy Awards night, the tradition is reversed and he does the same for me.

Me on Isla (ha, ha, this is J2, my legs aren’t long enough to touch the sand).

This is really me on Isla (with Daughter #1)

Alas, this Oscar night I wouldn’t be with D as I will be spending my first night on Isla…


Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
 
This is really an approximate recipe as it very much depends on your own inclination to Parmesan cheese which can be very rich when partnered with butter and chicken skin.
Ingredients
  • ½ c homemade breadcrumbs (I make my own in big batches and keep them in the freezer)
  • ½ c Parmesan cheese (buy from the deli/cheese section, not the shaker variety)
  • 1 T garlic powder (less if you have to kiss someone (anyone!) when Bradley Cooper is on screen)
  • ½ c melted butter
  • 1 lb. chicken drumettes
Instructions
  1. Mix crumbs, cheese and garlic in a shallow bowl and set aside.
  2. Dip drumettes into the butter.
  3. Press drumettes into the breading, coating all sides.
  4. Place on a lined baking sheet (important to have lined as these are very messy).
  5. Baked at 400 for 25 minutes turning once.

Kath’s quote: “GAWD! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!”-new Islaholic- Jackie Savoie

Love-that is all.

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