Browsing: Food Celebrations

Community Barbeque

October1

As you know if you frequent this space, D and I are very busy with family, the lake, church and travel. Last winter, we really felt as if we had lost touch with our neighbours so we tried to rectify that. The Saturday after new year’s eve we invited our immediate neighbours over for a cup of good cheer and some nibbles. We had such a good time all together that we pledged to extend the invite to a larger circle in the summer. It is decidedly not the summer here in the middle of the Canadian prairies, so we almost missed the opportunity. Or should I say D did because the community barbeque that we held this past Saturday was entirely his vision.

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He found out at our winter gathering that the family across the street were from Argentina. D and the gentleman of the house started chatting about meat grilling and it turned out to be both their favourite topics. So the two conspired to get out their barbeques and treat the neighbours to the resulting fare. Both had live charcoal barbeques so when the coals were lit there was a pleasant waft drift over the neighbourhood.

The invite said 3 o’clock for kids activities and our enthusiastic young neighbour was in charge. She had made a hop scotch on the sidewalk, set up face paints, bubbles, had freezies available for the kids and the piece de resistance-a bouncer! Some of the kids wanted their parents to go and see what the offerings were but soon the kids started to interact with encouragement from our enthusiastic young neighbour. When it was time to depart there were tears of resistance but I am getting ahead of myself.

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We had asked for pot luck contributions of side dishes and dessert and the resulting array was a thing of beauty.

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So too, the barbeque offerings-slow roasted chicken drumsticks and pork loin in a bun. Both were prepared with patience and love and the results were nothing less than sensational.

D received many thanks for putting the event together but without the other barbeque master, the child whisperer, all the food and the muscle offered for take down, it wouldn’t have been such a success.

D and I often sit in our front yard in the evening with a glass of wine. In truth our back garden is even nicer but we intentionally sit out front to engage with the neighbours. We are blessed to live in a part of town where there still are sidewalks and front yards and we don’t immediately enter our house from an attached garage (actually-we don’t even have a garage!) In 2019 North Americans seem to spend too much time indoors watching Netflix and on our tablets. This has got to change or we won’t know our neighbours! So the next balmy day, pull out the lawn chairs, or park the barbeque in the front yard and see what develops.

Kath’s quotes: “We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbour”.-Gilbert K. Chesterton

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALove never fails.

Anniversary Weekend

September7

This past weekend D and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We were married on the Sunday of a Labour Day weekend because it was the only long weekend we could find that was celebrated in both Canada and the US, where D’s family is originally from. We have marked the occasion in many ways over the years, with trips, weekend getaways or romantic dinners out. This year was memorable for a completely different reason though. We celebrated with our three kids and three grandkids up at our Beach House.

We typically divide up the groceries and meal prep between families but on this weekend J1 and Boo, said to D and I: “we’ve got this”. I was intrigued when J1 got to work early on Saturday morning-cooking bacon and mashing potatoes. I wondered what new brunch meal he was prepping for us. Turns out he was prepping for Saturday night!

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Here is the dynamic duo in the kitchen.

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The Wee Ones were dressed in aprons we purchased for them in Portugal. They told us the specials, took our drink orders and served our first course!

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Since D and I met at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, the kids put together a Keg menu starting with a creamy Cesar salad and the mot decadent garlic cheese toast I have ever tasted.

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There were twice baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and Sirloin Oscars made with shrimp, scallops and asparagus in Bearnaise sauce! We are a family who uses food as a love language and D and I felt very loved indeed.

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Dinner was so delicious and we were so stuffed afterwards, we had to go on a family walk!

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The next day we hosted a special Happy Hour so that the extended family could celebrate with us in addition to a couple of close friends who made the drive out from the city. Happy hour extended into a bonfire and we had the chance to reminisce about marriage and love and family.

Kath’s quote: “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Mignon McLaughlin

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Love never fails.

2019 Winnipeg Wine Festival: Wine Down Event-An Italian Kitchen Party

April30

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Have you ever attended the annual Wine Festival, here in Winnipeg? The gala dinner is an event not to be missed, see a previous post here. The public wine tastings are a hoot-you get to sample more wine than you ever dreamed. So too the Wine Down events which occur throughout this week are an opportunity to nosh while lingering over a vast array of wines.

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Even though the theme country for 2019 is Spain, Italian wines were featured at the “Italian Kitchen Party” event that we attended last evening and so too some great Italian tastes. My companion for the evening and I were thrilled about this preview as we travel to Tuscany together this fall.

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We started with this Italian crudité and moved onto some really exceptional appetizers. Different aracina recipes are found all over Italy. The first time I tasted these was when we visited my Sicilian friend and her husband in their little rural cottage outside of Castellammare del Golfo. Although slightly different,  we really enjoyed Chef Lindsay Platt’s version: creamy, garlicky and crunchy all in one bite! So too her meatballs were exceptional and I mean moan worthy. Bite sized and made from ground beef and panko flakes, they were first baked and then cooked in the sauce (a must if doing so in the Italian manner). They were not overly dense and absorbed the flavour of the sauce beautifully.

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My friend and I decided that we could contently dine el fresco on meatballs, potato chips and a great wine in Tuscany, and I expect we will do exactly that. Can you see us perched at the table where we will be staying? We hung around the kitchen for a bit to enjoy the creamy peas and gnocchi as well as a tasty bruschetta.

Typically I go on about something and have to remind myself to mention the food but in this case it is the wine! I immediately decided to eliminate tastes of half the wine: sparklings, whites and roses as I prefer the red variety. Even so, there were half of the almost forty wines to sample.

I enjoyed the bitter almond tastes of the Bottega Valpolicella Classico as well as a northern wine dubbed Vinicola Botter Gran Passione Rosso where it was explained that bolder Italian wines are made from grapes that receive a surmaturation; merlot grapes in this instance.

I enjoyed the smoky aromas of the Carpiento Chianti Classico Riserva. I have never visited Puglia but loved the Coppi Don Antonio from there. I knew that my husband D would love the Tommasi Rafael Valpolicella Classico with its hint of cherries. I once met a man who could easily afford any wine he chose to drink and he only drank Masi wines. I was impressed with the hazelnut notes of the Masi Brolo Camporifin Oro.

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When one of the wine reps discovered that we would be sojourning in Tuscany this fall, they recommended a detour after we see Firenze (Florance) to visit Castello (Castle) Nippozzano where we can sample their Chianti Rufina Riserva. That detour is definitely going on our must do list.

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In the end, I declared this wine my favourite: a velvety soft blend of sangiovese and merlot grapes!

If you have a best pal to attend a tasting event this week or weekend, call them and go. It is a lovely way to daydream of vineyards in Europe and in my case, anticpated times spent together.

Kath’s quote: “Il vino fa buon sangue = Good wine makes good blood (health)“. -Italian Proverb (I for one am sticking to that promise).

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Photo taken in Montecatini Alto in Tuscany on our last trip to Italy.

Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

Boo’s Birthday

April29

As a light snow came down this morning, I was reminded of the snow storm that blew in the day our youngest was born. This time of year is often like that. The following year on her 1st birthday it was 33 degrees and the hottest day of the summer!

When you have three kids 25+ birthday celebrations over the years are a blur. I never really considered myself a successful birthday party Mom. I always focused too much on the food and not enough on the activities or logistics.

I would say that now, I think we finally have the formula right. D and I cook the requested menu and dessert for the birthday dinner. And what is really fun is how the Wee Ones contribute to the event.

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They joined us Saturday evening so that they could help make chocolate trifle but also so that J1 and J2 could have one last evening out before their new baby arrives later this month.

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The youngest was put on chocolate pudding duty with Poppa and the eldest on whipped cream with me. The latter doesn’t care for chocolate (if you can believe it) even though she did enjoy chocolate Easter eggs recently.

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The requested menu was Meatballs in Bolognaise Sauce and Carbonara pasta. The latter being D’s specialty. Good thing we cooked Keto the last time we all were together.

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As the Wee Ones helped Poppa put the candles on the trifle, one of them said “Rainbow-my favourite colour”!

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These two have a very special bond. The Wee One organizes the time when we share what we love the most about the birthday person (the key factor why birthdays are always a breeze these days…). She said that Boo “lives in her heart”. No matter how great the food or fabulous the presents, it is this sharing time that is always the most special gift of all.

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I think that the Wee Ones were surprised when they successfully blew out all the candles in one breath!

Kath’s quote: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I am living, my baby you’ll be”. Robert Munsch

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Easter 2019

April22

When my side of the family gets together for a family celebration, it is no easy fete to pull off. On this occasion two sisters and a sister in law got together for a planning meeting over lunch (courtesy of the latter).

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We were treated to fancy sandwiches, a orange almond salad and strawberry angel food cake! I think that there is some irony here: we are certainly a family who uses food as a love language.

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Since we are a family of 45ish, we had to rent a room for our Easter dinner! In the foreground are our recent transplants from Australia with more on the way later this summer.

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An egg hunt was arranged by A and A and the little girls had a blast.

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The youngest of the grandchildren (a boy!) was too little to participate this year.

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One of the Wee Ones didn’t make the little girls pic so here she is feasting on watermelon! And another is missing that I didn’t get a picture of.

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We had access to a rooftop patio and enjoyed one of the first balmy days of spring. Pictured here is the Frenchman and…another Frenchman!

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My handsome brother and my handsome husband! There sure are handsome men in my family!

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The food, as is typical of our get-togethers, was amazing; ham, peppercorn meatballs, vegan meatballs, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, non dairy mashed potatoes, pasta salad, broccoli salad, Greek salad and more!’

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There were so many desserts too: death by chocolate, rice krispie bars, skor bars, a brown sugar and almond wafer that I have loved all my life and these delectable cupcakes!

My amazing brother-in-law went through the frustration of getting the live stream of the Jet’s game (frustrating in more ways than one). When food doesn’t draw us together, sports does. So we were meant to be together either way.

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Sister #2 and her husband were away for Christmas and they missed the family get together so much that she arranged for us all to be together at Easter. She added that we assembled to honour our late Momma and her desire for us always to find a reason to gather. I sure hope Mom knows that there will soon (next month) be another baby to add to the assembly. And so goes our family legacy.

Kath’s quote: Our family is a circle of strength and love…with every birth and union the circle grows, every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.-Anonymous

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

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