Browsing: Food Celebrations

Master Degree Celebration

May8

Our eldest daughter, known as Daughter #1 or “Auntie Beep” in this space has successfully defended her thesis. With her convocation ceremony in June she will hold her Masters Degree in Arts with a major in Disability Studies. Her undergrad degree was in English and she is a published writer. Her thesis theme interconnected her degrees. The title of her Thesis is “Defiant Reading-A Personal Narrative of Discovering a Disabled Self”.  Not surprisingly, she explains it better than I could:

Disabled individuals face stigmatization because of their body’s impairment (or the biological manifestation of their disability) as well as various socioeconomic and cultural factors depending on their race, sex, and sexual preference. Because of this, it is very hard for a disabled person to embrace an identity that, culturally, signals lack, incapacity, and deficiency. Growing up as a disabled child, I found embracing this part of my identity very difficult. For me, the symbol of the school bus that took me to school each weekday conceptualized the medical model of disability where disability is a tragedy and something to be fixed. It was only when I started reading fiction at a young age that I was able to reconceptualise my disabled identity through emphasizing with characters of minority in literature. Through this process, I was able to recognize my disabled identity as an aspect of my being that I could shape on my own without anyone having to dictate it to me or enforce upon me. Through theoretical discussion, autobiographical reflection, and reading response, I chronicle this time in my life and directly reflect on the importance of reading as a means of identity-making in this thesis.

I intentionally read her thesis in one sitting. I was quite literally blown away. Not only due to my own realization of what my eldest daughter lived through but how the thesis was written so exquisitely in her own distinct voice.

We asked her if we could throw a party to honour her accomplishment and thankfully she agreed. Little Brown Jug where J1 and Boo work was willing to accommodate us after hours on a Sunday evening. So we sent out the invites and I started to plan on some food.

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Sister #2 contributed in a big way with hummus, marinated vegetables and my favourite bacon, mushroom spread.

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One of my sisters-in-law made her cucumber cups that I first tasted when we were on Isla Mujeres together.

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Sister #3 also made her infamous chili shrimp. They were a huge hit.

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There was ukulele entertainment performed by a good friend Daughter #1.

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The Wee Ones sure enjoyed dancing to it.

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Daughter #1 requested a chocolate zucchini cake so I made two big slabs smothered in chocolate cream cheese icing and Sister #3 took my rough cake job and made it absolutely stunning!

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Various groups of friends and family came and went during the evening. Some lingered while others dashed home to see the end of a Jets play off game. We were sure pleased with the crowd that showed up on a game night.

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Daughter #1 acknowledged all of us for supporting her during the thesis writing duration. and dedicated it to her Grandma Lillian Joyce (my Momma).

Kath’s quote: There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. -Maya Angelou

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

My 2017 Christmas Letter

December19

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The Wee One at Lester Beach

We kicked off 2017 in one of our favourite places-Lester Beach Manitoba. Our little beach house is exactly that-a house to use when it is beach weather. For New Year’s, we were all invited to join Sister #2 and her husband at their Lester Beach home which we teasingly call Reschmajal.

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In February Sister #3 and I arranged a cyber-wedding shower for our niece and my Goddaughter in Australia. Sister #2 did all the shopping on line, had it delivered to the Mother of the Groom, who then wrapped it all up. We watched via Skype as the bride opened her gifts.

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We also celebrated a couple of special birthdays in February. The first birthday of the youngest of the Wee Ones. Pictured here with her beloved Poppa. It was one of the last events that was held in the big old character house that we had purchased in Wolseley. J1, J2, D and I decided to sell it soon after and the process occupied a great deal of time in the late winter and early spring but it did sell in 27 days and we were very pleased with the venture.

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Three of our brood turned 30 this year, commencing with the Frenchman. We used the occasion to have our yearly feed of ribs which D labours over for a couple of days.

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In March before we headed south for our annual sojourn to Isla Mujeres, we attended another family shower. This one was for the fiancé of our nephew. They also have a place at Lester beach, almost across the road from us. She was introduced to our nephew by our son J1, so it was particularly special for all of us.

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The wedding of Danielle and Dylan was special in so many ways: 85 of us assembled on Isla Mujeres from China, Australia, Europe and North America. There were numerous events planned and we got to know friends and family of the couple in a deeper and lovely way.

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The time was also very special for Sisters #2 & #3 and Brother #3 as we got to share our precious place with others we love. Here are most of us in our family picture.

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Our little sugar plum ferry awaiting the wedding procession.

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I was particular blessed that the couple asked me to officiate. It was my first time; I loved every moment and I want the world to know that I am available to officiate at other destination weddings as well!

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We stayed on the island for 10 days after the wedding and spent a lovely time of rejuvenation.

Upon our arrival home J1 J2 and the Wee Ones had moved in with us while the house referred to above was staged, sold, emptied and they went through the stressful process of finding a new home. It was lovely co-inhabiting for that while. Poppa has always been the girls’ favourite but Glamma made some in roads too and it was a time I will cherish.

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In May, J2 turned 30 too. We had a dinner for her at the lake.

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The Wee Ones gave me lots of motivation to recuperate as quickly as possible.

At the end of June I was scheduled to have my gall bladder removed but the morning of the surgery (in fact after they had started my iv) they sent me home due to a cold that I could not shake. They rescheduled me in early July and I remembered being relieved that I was going to have all of this behind me. Little did I know that the routine elective laparoscopic surgery would turn out to be such an ordeal in deed. After needing a blood transfusion (perhaps my liver had been nipped) and having a collapsed lung (perhaps my lung had been nipped) and spending almost 3 weeks in hospital, my recuperation took the rest of the summer. I started the journey by walking past one house in each direction on our block. I am happy to say that by the end of the summer, I could walk the 5 kms to East Grand Beach from Lester Beach.

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By the end of August D joined me for a week at the lake. We slipped into our old routines of tennis (D), movies, books, crosswords, coffee, tea, happy hours and suppers on the deck. The lake gets pretty quiet at that time and we love having the beach to ourselves.

September brought J1’s 30th birthday. (I hope we did something nice for him because I can’t find a picture of it). It was also time to get back on track as far as my work was concerned and my wellness routine by returning to the gym 3-4 days per week.

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In October we divided Thanksgiving weekend between a wedding at Hecla Island

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and dinner at Reschmajal.

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In October I got to attend the Food Bloggers Canada Conference in Ottawa- a city I hadn’t visited since I was 17.

November and December we have snuggled up to watch the Jets (in person and on TV), Netflix and get ready for Christmas and the time ahead. One week tomorrow we leave for a family wedding in Phoenix and the day after I return home we leave again, this time for Portugal with good friends.

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The Wee Ones as you can likely see are happy and growing smarter and more beautiful with each day. Boo seen here, (our youngest-married to the Frenchman) has diverted from International Development Studies to her new job of General Manager of Little Brown Jug- a new craft Brewery in the Exchange area of Winnipeg. The Frenchman continues with his work on the front lines at Siloam Mission.

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J1 pictured here with J2 also works at Little Brown Jug as a Brewer. He is so happy to have turned an interest and hobby into his life’s work. (I personally am amazed at how well they get on together). J1 and J2 have had their hands full with the house move but are happy as larks in their new Wolseley home. They are walking distance to the Wee One’s school, parks and good friends.

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Daughter #1 is just about to present her final thesis for her Masters Degree in Disability Studies as well as working on a research project this past fall. She is uncertain which direction her career will go next. She is considering her options as she wraps her university studies up.

D is a busy guy between being the world’s #1 Poppa, heading up the procurement department of an enormous flower business and serving as the People’s Warden at church. He is happiest on the tennis court, travelling with me or when our family is all assembled either for Sunday dinners in the city or on the deck up at the lake.

I continue to plug along with the Media Chef (my media buying company) and have just the right number of clients to keep me busy and some cash flowing. I am grateful that my food and travel blogging continues to parlay into other opportunities. I am happiest near a body of water with my camera and a journal to record my thoughts.

If you are reading this, you are dear to me in some way. I do wish you peace, love and joy over Christmas and always.

Kath’s quote:  “Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.”–Gladys Taber

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Love never fails.

 

 

Christmas Party in a Box

December15

When Christmas comes it is so lovely to be able to carve out some extra time with good friends. Sometimes this is hard to do when one of your besties has a medical job where she is on call on a regular basis. With some advance planning though we were able to pull it off.

We were celebrating a Christmas birthday as well as exchanging Christmas gifts. The festivities were planned to take place at the home of one friend who has recently had knee surgery. By bringing supper and gifts to her place, she was able to be comfortable and stay put.

We had thrown around some ideas for a simple supper and then I struck upon the solution. I had been invited to the annual “party in a box” hosted by the Manitoba Chicken Producers the evening before. D was given instructions to stay out of the boxed goodies that I stacked up and brought home. As a result of his self-control, I was able to supply three wonderful chicken appetizers for the evening. In fact, we enjoyed the appetizers with a festive salad adorned with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese and cranberries and were delighted with our light supper.

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Blue Moon Chicken Bites (recipe link here) were delectable chicken meatballs that we dunked into an easy to assemble mixture of hot sauce, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

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A second dish was Curried Chicken & Cashew Bites  where chicken breasts were slowly roasted in cream and then tossed in mango chutney and a coating of crushed cashews.

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My favourite were Chicken Tartlets topped with Cranberry Salsa.

As we assembled our plates of chicken treats and salad we congratulated ourselves on our festive meal that was also wholesome and nutritious. We saved our calories for dessert which I also had been gifted the evening before.

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Christmas sugar cookies had been beautifully decorated by High Tea Bakery. We each chose one to go with another treat of Bernand Callebaut chocolates.

We didn’t linger at the table long because we had presents, presents and more presents to exchange and open.

Clean up was a breeze and I packed up the leftovers so that D could indulge in the tastes he had resisted the previous evening.

Kath’s quote: “The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things”. -Thomas S. Monson

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Love never fails.

Food Bloggers Canada Conference 2017-Part Three

November8

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Our final morning started off with a nutritious breakfast of a spinach egg and red pepper patty and pretty fruit.

The morning was filled with general sessions and then Meliisa and Ethan the founders of Food Bloggers Canada took the stage. Although this may sound ridiculous to some (including my fellow food bloggers), the highlight of every conference for me is the location announcement of the next year’s conference. During Melissa and Ethan’s concluding comments, they announced that 2018’s conference would be a cross country road trip! Since the logistics are not yet work out, dates and locations will determine where and if I can travel to the conference. The good news though is that there will be a stop in Winnipeg and I am excited about helping where I can with the planning and showing off our fabulous city.

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By this time it was our final lunch sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. Satiated, I decided that it was time to get out for a walk to see Ottawa again. I had only visited once before when I was a part of a government sponsored student exchange program.

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You can likely see how struck I was by the beauty of the city.

I didn’t have a plane to catch until supper time Monday so good friend and fellow blogger Marlene and I became roomies and decided on supper. See El Camino link here.

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The next day we did even more eating, starting with Good Eats and Wilfred’s at the Chateau Laurier. in addition to more chatting and more walking around the city including By Ward Market.

The learning and networking that I get to do on these conferences is motivation enough to attend. But in truth, it is the friendships that keep me coming back year after year. Carol, Kim, Joanne and Marlene, we met because of a mutual love of food but it is simply love that bonds us now.

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

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Love never fails.

 

Food Bloggers Canada Conference-Ottawa 2017, Part Two

November7

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Day Two commenced with a satisfying breakfast sponsored by Ontario apples.

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I chose yoghurt with an array of fruit and nuts and a hearty muffin. I was set for a fabulous day.

Her Royal Highness (in the Canadian Culinary world at least)-Elizabeth Baird was our key note speaker. I was captivated by her every word and fascinated by her wealth of Canadian Food History so appropriate for our conference celebrating Canada’s 150th.

Soon after was our first breakout session. I had selected the group led by Thrive 360’s Zannat Reza and Will Lamont. I knew Zannat from previous conferences and Will remembered that I had taken on the food-styling for his client (at that time) Canadian Milk Produces and their cross country cheese winners.

I couldn’t miss out on Heather Travis otherwise known as Heather in Heels and her presentation. I first worked with Heather when she made me a Canadian Beef Ambassador. I hung onto her every word.

I also had the opportunity to hear the ensights of Laura-Jane Koers of The Rawatarian.

By then it was lunch…how did that happen? Lunch was sponsored by Half Your Plate. Their eating philosophy is that you should try to fill half your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Even though I find this a challenge sometimes, it was so easy at the conference.

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The zucchini spirals and fruit selection made up half my lunch consumption. I knew that I needed some protein to focus for the afternoon and sautéed shrimp and ahi tuna did the trick.

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I couldn’t ignore the date squares called matrimonial cake on the prairies.

At Canadian Food Bloggers in 2016 I toured Ontario farms with Farm and Food Care.

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I welcomed the opportunity to meet with more farmers directly. Having come from an Ag family, I have so much respect for Canadian Farmers.

Before heading out for an afternoon walk, I popped into the Cookina Popcorn Bar. I have many Cookina baking and roasting mats at home and was pleased to see that they also have cooking packs for a variety of uses including popcorn!

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At our dinner that evening we had assigned seating. I was sat with a variety of lovely folks including my old friend  from Canola Camp Mairlyn Smith and Carol Harrison.  Ironically, Carol and I go even further back then Mairlyn and we had tried and failed to connect all weekend. One of those serendipitous occasions.

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Dinner was the lovely salad above, a cleansing sorbet and a hearty salmon and potato pie.

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I intentionally saved room for dessert but how could I choose from theses masterpieces from Holland’s Cake and Shake. In the end the butter tart cake was the winner.

Our evening’s entertainment was home grown. Fellow bloggers Lindsay and Dana who recently launched their Feast Cookbook were in the house. I was impressed with their gumption to eat their way across Canada. But even better was their response to a question from the room: “What place was your biggest surprise”? With careful thought they said “Winnipeg-their culinary scene is amazing”!

Kath’s quote: “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” ― Ruth Reichl

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

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