Friday, March 30, 2012

Barley's Angels: Beer and Desserts, Together At Last

First of all, a quick update.  The Boy has received his luggage finally and they have started working on the floor of a library for the Salabwek Primary School in Kenya.  From the sounds of the last email, they are being kept busy!  I am dealing better now with the empty nest thing, especially now that I know the Boy has his luggage.  Hubby and I have painted the bathroom, the living room, and the front entry arms are tired.

Now back to our regularly scheduled much as this blog is scheduled...

Last night I had the fabulous opportunity to head out to Bistro 7 1/4 for a Barley's Angels outing.  Barley's Angels you ask? The Barley's Angels are a group of women looking for learn more about beer. Last night they held a beer and dessert pairing evening....WOW!
We were completely spoiled rotten with four beers and four full size desserts...seriously. We were expecting mini desserts....I went to the gym today!

Now let me remind you, that I do not know a lot about beer or pairing it with food I am learning so I have included the links to the beers to give you a more accurate description of each one.

First we started with a vanilla creme brulee and the Innis & Gunn Original.
The Innis & Gunn Original definitely had a strong malt flavour and bitterness that cut through the sweetness of the creme brulee.  The creme brulee was almost mousse like and wasn't very dense. It did taste absolutely heavenly although I would have liked more vanilla in the dessert.

Second, they brought out chocolate banana bread pudding with caramel sauce.  This was paired with Half Pints' Bulldog Amber Ale. Bulldog Amber Ale has a softer bitterness to it and wasn't as big a contrast to the dessert as the first pairing was.  It was a tasty combo.  The bread pudding was everything a bread pudding should be and that caramel sauce...well, I wish I had a glass of caramel sauce to drink too...

The third dessert was a wonderful goat cheese cheesecake with fig compote paired with the Innis & Gunn Highland Cask. This beer had a smoother finish than the original and I preferred this beer over the original but it really evened out  the sweetness from the fig compote.  I was expecting a sharper tasting cheesecake with the goat cheese in it but it was all sweet and all delish!

Last but not least, we had a dark chocolate espresso cake with Kaluha ganache and the coveted Half Pints Black Galaxy Beer. This beer is a dark IPA.  When you look at it, you think stout, but when you drink it, you think India Pale Ale.  This went so well with the dense chocolate cake.  The bitterness of the beer and the overt sweetness of the cake (and the ganache) made this a great way to close the evening.  It is only too bad I was too full to finish the dessert!

A fabulous night out with great food, drinks, and company! I look forward to the next Barley's Angels outing.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kenya Update

This evening I got an email from the Boy!! The email said only this:

"hey guys, we finally made it to Africa after some rocky landings and what not. the only downside is that none of us have our luggage so it's going to be a fun day tomorrow. say hi to everyone for me.

Yup!  Typical teen boy. Give as little detail as possible but still able to instill some amount of panic.  No luggage?  I had this bad thought yesterday when I saw the ticket agents handing out these bright yellow tags that said "group" on know, "so your luggage will be grouped together'.  Perhaps they would have been better if some of them got their luggage then they could share things such as SUNBLOCK....
Have you seen the pictures of the Boy? He is a pale, sun sensitive ginger type of kid.  His hair isn't as red as it used to be but all the freckles and such are still there.

Here's the Boy attaching that lovely yellow tag!
See that pale skin on his arm? He needs his sunblock!!
 EF Tours sent me the number to call for information and they are going to help me out with info regarding the group's bags. (of course I will have to wait until regular business hours to call the number, which they tweeted at me)

I am off to calm myself and continue with household painting projects. (Yesterday was the bathroom, today I'm moving on to the living room.)

Until next time, stay warm and eat well. (and keep an eye on your luggage)

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Boy Leaves For Kenya

I don't think he slept much last night!

 This spring break is going to so incredibly different from the last 3 spring breaks.  Would you believe we the Boy isn't actually playing baseball? There will be no trip south to St Louis or to Memphis this year.  As sad as I am about not going South this spring, I am even more excited for the opportunity the Boy has taken for his spring break.  Today the Boy is left for the adventure of a lifetime! You see, this morning (baring any wildcat strikes from Air Canada) he left with 14 other teens and 3 teachers on a trip to Kenya!  (Dear Air Canada, please don't mess this up for them!)  As long as they can get to Montreal by Monday evening, then British Airways takes them the rest of the way.
The adventuresome group before checking one will miss them in their yellow shirts!

CTV news even came over to the house last night and interviewed the Boy and a few others for a spot about their fabulous journey!  You can see the spot here.

I am soooooo incredibly nervous about this trip. He travels all the time with his baseball team but that's just to cross the 49th parallel. Also, hubby and I drive South to watch so we are generally close by.  This will be such a fabulous experience for all who are going. I am so excited and to be honest, a wee bit jealous a whole lot jealous.
Thumbs up for Kenya!
Preparations for this trip started quite some time ago with fundraising, meetings, and vaccinations....oh the vaccinations.....I knew the Boy meant business about this trip when he was willing to get 4 needles in one appointment with the travel health nurse!  Needless to say, we are very proud of the Boy and everyone going on this trip.  I will miss him and be nervous until he is back home but I was a big girl today.  I didn't cry until we got back to the car!

About to go through security. 
 Travel safe Garden City!
Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Da bomb of Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Okay, let's face it. I suck at getting posts out before an event or  'holiday' or even quickly after for that matter. Timing has never really been my thing...baking and cooking however is my thing.

St. Paddy's day was last Saturday and boy did I kept myself busy! I found a slow cooker recipe for corned beef and cabbage that I'd been waiting to try and I wanted to make a batch of cupcakes.  All this while trying to get everything ready for the Boy's trip to Kenya! Lucky for me the corned beef required the slow cooker so once that was underway I had plenty of time to make cupcakes.

Not just any cupcakes of course....Irish Car Bombs to be exact!  I used this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker which is a fabulous recipe, and not just because it uses 3 different types of alcohol: these things are darn tasty.  We have Guiness in the chocolate cupcake, whiskey in the chocolate ganache filling, and Bailey's in the icing....Irish car bomb.

For the corned beef and cabbage, I went with a recipe from Everyday Food that I had originally found in the March edition of the magazine. Of course you can find this recipe online here.  I am starting to wonder why I even bother with paying for a subscription anymore. (Don't tell Hubby that, I just like getting mail that isn't a bill!)
Baby potatoes, carrots, celery, onion
Beef brisket, fat side up, sprinkled with pickling spice
cabbage wedges for the last 45minutes


I used the slicer to slice up the rest for sandwiches for the week....and for the freezer!

 I even had to 'force' myself to drink the rest of the Guiness I had after baking cupcakes! (also test the whiskey and the Bailey's to make sure is was suitable for the cupcakes..."no dear, I can't drive. I've been baking....") 

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Only On The Prairie: Perogi Soup

We have been hitting record highs with the weather here lately and it has been absolutely fabulous! Even with the side serving of spring allergies popping up!

Have you ever tried Perogi soup? Have your ever heard of Perogi soup? That's okay if you haven't because there are many prairie dwellars that haven't tried it or heard of it either.  The fine folks (James, Sharmelle, and Alain) over at Fozen Comfort in North Winnipeg have made this soup a standard in my kitchen.  I have also tried their turkey soup and it is also fabulous!  I do need to get back there and try out some of their other tasty looking items!

Perogi soup is basically a creamy potato soup with chunks of perogi, bacon, and green onions in it.  Quality does indeed make a difference here...not only is the soup tasty, the perogi pieces are great tasting and no one is going to argue with bacon being added! If you love potatoe soup, you will love perogi soup!

Frozen Comfort is a new store in West Kildonon that makes and sells frozen foods.  They proudly cook up their foods fresh and without extra preservative and flash freeze it in store.  Soups come frozen in generous bowl sized (and shaped) portions wich make for easy heating!

The soups can be heated in either the microwave or on the stove and taste fantastic!

Frozen foods isn't their only market.  They make lunches to go, they cater, make their own ice cream, sell gluten free and diabetic friendly items....the list goes on!

If you happen to be in the West Kildonan area, make sure you pop by as they are open until 7pm on weeknights which is perfect for picking up something on your home for dinner!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Night Out With Manitoba Food Bloggers

Exciting things are happening around Winnipeg.  The Manitoba Food Bloggers have had their first gathering and are planning more.  Now please excuse the lateness of this post.  We actually had our night out February 29th  at Elements.  It was a fabulous night of food, drink, a seminar on photography with the fabulous Ian Mcausland,  and friendship. Many of us met for the first time in person.  Our name tags also had our twitter handles and out website names on them. It was so neat to see these and say "Oh hi! I read your blog all the time!".  There were door prizes, goody bags, and donations to Siloam Mission.

It was such a fantastic opportunity to chat with others who have similar interests.....FOOD!  There wasn't just bloggers there. We had restaurateurs and business owners, representatives from different producer groups, Half Pints Brewery was there with free samples, as was the Tipsy Thief

I had my camera with me but I didn't take too many photos. I wanted to enjoy the evening and not worry about photos.  I did manage to click a couple of pics but I spent the evening enjoying the company and learning to not rely so much on my flash!

I am looking forward to the next Manitoba Food Bloggers event and can't wait for future plans with this fabulous group of people!  A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this event happen!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!