Browsing: Food Celebrations

Willard Lake Revisited

August24

We met the first year of university where we were both in Dramatic Studies at the University of Winnipeg (now called the Department of Film and Theatre I believe). She was petite like me and I loved her smile and her head of curls. From there we traveled to Europe together and both worked at the same restaurant where we met many more hard working friends. Years later, we intentionally bought a house on their street so that our kids could grow up together. We sent the kids to the same kindergarten and elementary school and before that, we shared the same Nanny.

We arrived at Willard Lake for a lateish dinner on Friday evening.

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Our wires got crossed and even though D and I brought a supper of antipasto,

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they had prepared wings and salads, the latter one of melons, blueberries and Bocconcini.

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I had made a batch of artichoke nibblers earlier that day to share as well.

I remembered that the artichokes were a recipe we enjoyed when we were young married couples. Our times in those days were like the show “Thirty Something”-with  wine-filled impromptu dinners, complaints about work and kids playing somewhere in the house together.

Friday evening we started with our fare and moved to theirs. The food was all delicious

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especially the carefully rubbed and barbecued wings.

I understood their move to Toronto but I was sad just the same. Sad that I would lose my dear friend and our son, his best buddy.

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We started both days with coffee on the dock as we watched the resident loon teach her baby how to dive and fish.

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R & M provided a delectable Saturday breakfast of barbecued bacon and sausages as well as blueberry pancakes, fruit and maple syrup.

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D and R headed out for their annual kayak and although M intended to have a swim, we both were content to stay put, continue to chat and watch a great blue heron who was fishing near by.

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D and I provided Saturday’s appetizer of chili rubbed shrimp (recipe courtesy of Zest Cooking Solutions aka Sister #3) and D whipped up some corn bread.

Even though it had been in ebbs and flows, the four of us have kept in touch and have found fairly frequent reasons to visit each other and even holiday on the same Mexican island.  But our annual sojourn to their summer home on Willard Lake was the best time of all. As you could tell, we did very little except visit, cook, eat, sip and then start the cycle all over again. The time was sweet, very sweet indeed.

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The grand finale was Saturday evening with a feast of corn on the cob, garden beans, roasted beets, ribs and lemon chicken. R’s chicken & ribs were nothing short of sensational!  I made an apple platz and D produced a pot of hot custard. We were all absolutely stuffed but still we continued to chat and didn’t want the evening to end.

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Sunday morning D and I provided a late breakfast of smoked salmon and potato pancakes

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and then we ended our visit with a short walk to a special church in the vicinity.

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On our drive back to the city D and I reflected on how peaceful and relaxed we all were together.

Kath’s quote: “One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention”.- Clifton Fadiman

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Love never fails.

What’s on the menu? Love, you say?

August16

A dear friend of mine wanted to repay us for helping out with the pre-wedding festivities of her two offspring. Now in truth, no thanks and definitely no repayment was required but I must admit, it was lovely to have our efforts acknowledged.

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The table was set beautifully when we arrived.

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There were little gifts at every place settings-dark chocolate and a fragrant candle.

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The host of the evening is a transplanted Brit and we were honoured that she included a number of her traditions from home into the evening. We started with a “prawn” cocktail where succulent shrimp were tossed in a homemade sauce and enhanced with slices of silky avocado.

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The entree was a chicken breast poached in a luxurious sauce. Cilantro was included so that the dish sparkled with a light, fresh taste.

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Accompanying the main were carrots and peas, green beans and fabulous roasted potatoes. I thought that the latter may have been blanched first but our host indicated that they were simply roasted with olive oil, garlic paprika and rosemary.

I was prepared to have another helping of those potatoes as my dessert but I had forgotten that our host was about to prepare another of her traditions -hot custard which we poured over apple platz. Ice cream was also available to adorn the pair.

The last course was the sharing of a special bottle of port and lovely international cheeses. I was partial to the hard Bella Vitano cheese and felt sure that it heralded from Italy. In fact with research, I find that it is make in the cheese state of Wisconsin. It was sturdy at first bite and then had a lovely mouth feel. I also loved a smoked Gouda, especially with light and thin beet crackers.

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As the evening of being basked in love came to a close, I set the left over platz at the front door so that I would be sure to remember it. Another ‘lady” realized that she hadn’t had enough treats that evening and only stopped slurping down the platz, when we pulled the dish away from her. I warned my husband as I crawled into bed beside him, not to be tempted to eat the dessert that was in the kitchen sink.

We are all very different people who speak different love languages. My love language is food and hospitality in the giving and the receiving.

That evening I felt so loved and appreciated. The gift of the evening itself and the actual gifts that I took away, were blessings to me from a woman I consider a sister.

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Kath’s quote: “Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you”, and proved it.”

Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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