Parsnip Soup

Photos, Recipes, Vegetarian

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I’m an anomaly among Winnipeggers – I love winter. And now that it’s started snowing (regardless how superficially) my little icy heart has started jumping for joy!

Every year around this time I begin giddily preparing for the cold months ahead. First, I do a major clean sweep – my allergies don’t like hibernating with dust bunnies. Second, my urge to knit is reinvigorated and I continue working on the scarf I started two years ago. And third, I make soup, pot upon pot of warm, hearty soup.

This soup recipe is the first of the season, and one of the first times I’ve made a pureed soup (only because I previously lacked a blender). I’ve never really known what to do with parsnips, other than mash them and soup them, so I decided on the latter.

I got the recipe from here and I was surprised how simple and delicious it was. I decided to add a little ginger to make things interesting and I garnished it with pumpkin seeds and hot sauce – that combo with clear you up and warm you up at the same time!

Parsnip & Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs Butter
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Parsnips, 2 should be about 1.5 lbs, peeled and chopped
  • 2 whole Potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 whole Carrots, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs chopped Fresh Basil, or 1 tbs Dried Basil
  • 1 whole Bay Leaf
  • 3-½ cups Vegetable Broth, or enough to cover the vegetables
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger, minced
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream or Milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat then pour in the olive oil. Add the chopped parsnips, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, basil, and bay leaf. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetable broth.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.
  3. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender and blend until smooth. If you do use a standard blender, this should be done in several batches. Make sure to leave space in the blender and crack the top opening, to allow some steam to escape as you blend.
  4. Return soup to pot and add heavy cream or milk; stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Cabin Comfort Food

Photos

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This is about a month late, but I wanted to share what I made at the cabin for my anniversary earlier this month. My heart was set on barbecuing because I don’t get enough of it living in an apartment. Also, there’s something intensely satisfying about grilling meat on an open flame (says the former vegetarian).

This dish was inspired by a steak salad that I had at Hermanos this summer. It’s a refreshing salad made with butter lettuce and grilled meat and veggies. All the grillables marinated in an oil and vinegar blend for a few hours before they got skewered and thrown on the bbq.

I made a lemon-potato side dish because of the overwhelming amount of potatoes I had at home. They were aaaaaaaamazing! We pan-fried the leftovers the next morning for breakfast and I highly recommend finishing them in a pan if you like a crispier tater.

I found the potato recipe here and the marinade for the meat and veg was my own creation.

Shish Kebabs

Ingredients

8 oz beef tenderloin steak (or whatever meat you prefer)
1 red onion
1 zucchini
2 red/yellow/orange bell peppers
1 package cremini mushrooms
4-6 long metal skewers

Marinade

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1/3 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Cut all of the meat and veggies into bite-sized pieces. Add all of the marinade ingredients to a lidded container or a ziploc bag.
  2. Add the meat and vegetables to your vessel of choice and shake until the ingredients are covered with the marinade mixture. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to several hours.
  3. Turn barbecue to medium-high and cook skewers until the meat is cooked and the veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Enjoy as skewers, or wash and tear one head of butter lettuce and toss ingredients together to make a super tasty salad. There’s no need for a dressing because the shish kebabs are so flavourful already.

Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups of water (I found the recipe called for to much liquid so feel free to cut it down to 1 cup and 1 bouillon cube)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cubes bouillon
ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, bouillon cubes and pepper.
  3. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of a medium baking dish. Pour the olive oil mixture over the potatoes. Cover, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender but firm.

Cosplay at Home

Photos

I don’t know if it’s the Halloween spirit or the amazing juxtaposition in these photo’s but this series by Klaus Pitchler, had me giggling to myself while I flipped through them. Pitchler casts his lens upon cosplay enthusiasts in their own homes to create a connection between the person and their masked persona. I found the photo’s on Colossal, an art and design blog I follow which posts inspiring multi-medium art by people all over the world. Check it out for more of the series and to get sucked into its wonderful artistic vortex!

A LOVE-ly Month

Happy, Photos, Travel

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Screw February, October is now officially the month of love.

Last weekend I went to a beautiful wedding in Toronto for two wonderful people. Neal’s brother and, now, sister in-law got hitched at a lovely old heritage house in the outskirts of Toronto proper. It was a whirlwind of heartfelt toasts, fantastic speeches, tears of joy, and lots and lots of dancing.

The whole evening absolutely reconfirmed why I love weddings so much. It’s a celebration that brings two people, two families, and all their friends together to celebrate the love that they’ve found with one another. And it’s the kind of party that makes people feel loved and honoured to have been invited to.

Congratulations Kat and Alex! Your love is inspiring and you are two of the coolest peeps I’ve ever met.

 

Thanks

Happy, Photos

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Thanks4I love(d) Thanksgiving. This year was a bit unorthodox since my family didn’t plan a big feast for Turkey Day, regardless I still ended up stuffing my face and spending time with the people I love. I even made some Thanksgiving themed crafts (something I haven’t done since elementary school). It was wonderful.

My list of what I’m thankful for grows every year, but this year I’ve felt exceptionally blessed with the opportunities I’ve been given and the people I get to spend my time with. Everyone around me inspires me in their own special ways and I’m lucky to have the friends and family that I do. So thank you all for being  you, it means a lot to me!

 

Happy Anniversary

Happy, Photos

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Last weekend Neal and I celebrated our two year anniversary (awwww) with a laid back weekend at my cabin. It was perfect. We played games, watched movies, sat by the lake and philosophized, and made some amazing food.

This monumental was a bit of a departure from the way we’ve celebrated in the past. For one the weekend didn’t include getting dressed up and spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy dinner, and thank god because that’s just not in my budget at the moment.

We also planned the weekend together so there were no surprises, other than my surprise at how much I enjoyed not being surprised (clear as mud?). The weekend was all about getting away from reality and spending two whole days together without any distractions.

The weather was amazing so we spent most of Saturday outside. We dug the Bocce ball set out of the shed and hauled it down to the park. We played head to head for hours and made a loop from the park down to the beach, and back.

We kept the competition going all night in various forms. It started with me demanding we do a puzzle, to playing Yahtzee, to Monkeys in a barrel. Game night ended abruptly when we tried to play a 2am round of Scrabble and started arguing about the validity of each others words (for some reason we had forbid use of the dictionary during the game).

In the midst of all the gaming we barbequed some amazing shish kebobs and lemon potatoes, the recipes for both of which I will share in a later post.

On Sunday we slept in and successfully lounged all day, making our way through 3 of 5 Star Wars movies. It was bliss.

I’m pretty thankful for the guy I got to spend so much time with. And after 2 years together, life is only getting better!

White Night

Photos, Winnipeg

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Winnipeg’s third annual Nuit Blanche celebration lit up parts of downtown this past weekend. The all night party started in France in 1984 and has since spread across the globe as a celebration of contemporary art.

As usual, the Winnipeg Art Gallery was a hub for most partygoers, with a steady stream of people wandering through the gallery from 6 pm to 6 am. Unfortunately, rain all day Saturday made the WAG’s rooftop venue was less appealing than in years past.

Inside, a DJ was playing on the third floor, while a contemporary dance performance happened in one of the galleries, and the main foyer was filled with a projected light installation. Exploring the galleries with a drink in my hand was pretty magical.

My friends and I stopped in at Stella’s momentarily but the place was overflowing, so we turned our attention to the Exchange District. The short walk down Portage Avenue led us Old Market Square, which was sparsely populated, again because of the crummy weather.

There was however, a line-up of hungry art enthusiasts spilling out of Smoke’s Poutinerie. Famished from our walk, we joined the line and waited patiently for our bacon cheeseburger poutine.

While we were enjoying our gooey mess of fries a police officer came up to us and asked if a beer can on the table next to us was ours. It wasn’t, and we watched as the officers approached a handful of others who were enjoying an installation in The Cube. I know a public event is not a free for all, but it was strange to see them harassing the 20 people that were wandering about.

We didn’t end up partying all night but Nuit Blanche is a nice opportunity to get Winnipeggers out enjoying art. The fact that it’s free makes it all the more appealing to us cheapskates.