Winterpeg, Manisnowba

Home, Winnipeg

sleeping dragon 3
“If I had a kid I would name it Weather. That way everyone would always be talking about it”

So said a friend of mine the other day. And it couldn’t be more accurate.

As a lifelong Winnipegger I’m constantly astonished by how many people talk about the weather. I’m aware that this city can have some insane weather, especially in the winter (we had thunder snow warnings this week). But it’s so funny that the weather seems to be the jumping off point for so many conversations, superficial and otherwise.

I’ve noticed it the most while I’m waitressing: it’s the easy, go-to, conversation while I’m standing around waiting for the debit machine to finish up.

“Is it still pretty windy out there?”

“Ya it’s crazy, it’s like minus 40.”

“Oh boy, I guess I won’t be walking home today.”

So on and so on. It’s the small talk, but it’s also the day to day experience that connects us all in a city that is so internally proud of its daily wind chill factor. It quickly becomes common ground and is sort of representative of the hardiness that is typical of the prairie experience.

The snow will fall and the wind will blow, but regardless of the conditions outside we will still find ourselves bundling up and waiting for the bus. It’s nice and it’s endearing.

I’ve loved growing up in this city and lately I’ve felt very grounded in Winnipeg. I mean I have two cats, my entire family, all my friends and a love that I would’t dare uproot. Because of this I’ve been struggling to decide my major, which is a very realistic dilemma that I need to relinquish with the week.

My pros and cons list have nothing to do with the weather in Winnipeg and more to do with my indecisiveness. I’ve never been good at making decisions but having to choose a major, based on three months of experience, has proved to be an anxiety inducing task.

When I signed up for Creative Communications I was hell bent on being a journalist. Now, I think it would be nice to make some money. Previously, I wanted nothing more than to travel the world and tell the stories I encountered, now I feel so settled I couldn’t care less.

While I know what I want do in my heart I also know that this city, and all of its’ crazy snowdrifts, will be the place I end up growing old in. I accept you, Winnipeg, minus 50 and all.

Advertisements

Spiked Apple Cider

Cocktails, Recipes

Cider1 Cider2

Since you’ve finished all your holiday shopping, wrapping and decorating, I think it’s time for a drink. Oh wait, you haven’t started yet? Me neither! I think that calls for a drink. This recipe requires more prep than the average cocktail, but you’ll have a big pot of apple cider that will last until the new year. And if you’re hating Winnipeg’s -40 weather this will definitely warm you up. This recipe is really simple and easily reheated after the fact. I found recipes here and here and altered them a little based on what I had in my cupboards. I added a little too much sugar in the first batch because I didn’t account for all of the natural sugar in the apples. I ended up cutting the cider with some water to make it less syrupy, which worked like a charm.

Spiked Apple Cider

Ingredients
10-12 gala apples (or whatever sweet apple you prefer)
4 cinnamon sticks
4 tbs allspice
2 tbs cloves
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
Spiced whiskey or rum
Cheesecloth

Directions
1. Quarter the apples, you don’t have to worry about the seeds and stems unless you want some spicy apple sauce at the end (not a terrible idea).

2. In a big stockpot, add apples and sugar and fill with enough water to cover the apples.

3. Tie all of the spices in a doubled-up piece of cheesecloth and add it to the pot.

4. Bring to a rolling boil and leave, uncovered, on high for 1 hour. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 more hours.

5. Take off heat and let the liquid cool before thoroughly smushing (accurate, but made up word) everything with a potato masher. Using a spoon, push the mixture through a sieve to strain out the stems and pulp.

6. Reheat the cider on the stove or in the microwave. Add 1 1/2 ounces of whisky or rum to a mug and top with hot apple cider. Garnish with an orange peel.

Happy Sipping!

Parsnip Soup

Photos, Recipes, Vegetarian

PARSNIPS1
Parsnips2

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.

Today

Happy, Photos, Travel

window Tea breaky sunsnow beer Bike walk fort fort2 arlington leavesToday I slept in, had a relaxing breakfast, and got to take some pictures of our recent snowfall. Basically I was in heaven.

March in Winnipeg is so damn unpredictable. I can remember years when Spring has been ushered in by sweaters and plus 10 temperatures, and many other years that have been underlined by frostbite and crazy late snowstorms. This year has been more like the latter. The week before my birthday I had my heart set on going for a skate on the river trail, days before I got the devastating news that the trail was closed and the river was melting because it was too warm. This past weekend we got 20 cm of snow during a blizzard!

While I hate that I’m still wearing a parka outside, the fresh snow made for some pretty shots.

Festival Du Voyageur – Part 2

Photos

sign forg period no parking drinks festivalThese pics are from the last day of Festival so forgive the silliness, this was day three of partying like frenchman (and frenchwomen…). I had a bunch of fun making my first gif for this post! The large selection of photos I had of my boyfriends buddy photo bombing my shots made it hard to choose, so I didn’t! I hope it doesn’t give you a headache (you might have to click on it to make it work). One more post and then we’re fini for the weekend!

Festival Du Voyageur – Part 1

Photos

sculpturetipi firecanoe skyline jenga eatingfire band caribou pouty

Festival Du Voyageur is a ten day festival held every February in Winnipeg’s francophone neighbourhood. There’s french music, food and drink, as well as mazes, tobogganing, sleigh rides, ice sculptures and various competitions (more on that later). This was the first year in recent memory where I’ve made time to see as much of Festival

Bussing = Happy

Happy, Photos

20130207-150445.jpg
It might sound strange, but lately I’ve really started appreciating taking the bus. This wasn’t always the case, I used to detest it. Waiting forever in the cold, having to transfer ten times to make it to your destination and the lack of adequate bus shelters made taking the bus a huge headache. While these issues are still mainstays of Winnipeg transit, I’ve become lucky enough to bypass them.

Last year I moved into a house 1 block from portage avenue, and as it turns out this is the only place to live where it makes sense to own a bus pass. I’m sure some people can disagree and say they get excellent bus service in their neighbourhood, but I challenge you to walk to your bus stop night or day and wait less than 5 minutes on average for a bus to show up. I’m so spoiled that I don’t bother to check when the next bus is coming before I leave the house, not a bad perk.

Now that I can rely on public transit again, I can easily dismiss all the cranky bus driver and rude riders and I don’t complain nearly as much about the outrageous fares! Too bad I’m apartment hunting now and will likely lose my prime bus privileges, but for the time being I’ll just keep my rose coloured glasses.

Watermelon Shots and a Cabin Party

Photos, Recipes, Travel

Group

This is the story of a wonderful winter cabin party that I hosted and the little jello shots that inspired such a weekend to come together. I have been lucky enough to have a beautiful winterized cabin, an hour out of the city, for the better part of my life. Yet, up until last month I hadn’t had a big get together out there in the winter. Thanks to a decent amount of pestering from friends I finally made an event of it and was thrilled that so many people could make it out. The overnight party featured a full out beer pong tournament, potluck, watermelon jello shots, a very late night trek, and (I’m so sorry again) two busted air mattresses and a pretty cozy sleeping situation! The following are some pictures from the cabin and the recipe for some fantastic watermelon lime wedge jello shots that I am ever so proud of!

Beerpong

Iceshacks WinterLimes Limebooze Inards Vodkamelon Halves Slice Hostinh Cheers

The recipe for these, and many other inspired Jello shots, was found at the blog That’s So Michelle. I used Stolichnaya Vodka as I was told it chills very well and isn’t overpowering flavour wise.

Watermelon Lime Wedge Jello Shots

10 ish limes
1 cup vodka
1 cup boiling water
1 package Jello brand watermelon jello mix (apparently other brands don’t work as well)

1) Halve limes and hollow out the peel. I used a paring knife to score the white center veins of all the limes to make this part easier (be careful not to pierce the lime through the skin or else the jello will leak out of the peel). I also reserved the inside of the limes to make homemade lime juice by muddling the limes in a bowl and working the juice through a strainer.

2) Combine the 1 cup of boiled water with the vodka and jello mix, stir until the jello dissolve completely.

3) Place the hollowed lime halves on a baking sheet and ensure they are sitting as evenly as possible. I used a measuring cup to pour the vodka solution into each lime half.

4) Very carefully place the full limes into the fridge and allow to set for several hours, I sped this up slightly by putting them in the freezer partway through.

I’m hoping I can organize another cabin party before winter is over because I have plenty of other jello shots I want to try. Also, I’m thinking a pick-me-up party in mid February will be a nice escape from school and the wretched city for most people.