Weekend Away // Winnipeg, MB, Canada

My husband and I took a last minute trip to Winnipeg to spend some time with his Grandpa who had fallen quite ill and was in the hospital. Jordan is very close with him so it was tough knowing he was in pain and almost all the family was there but him. Luckily, he was well enough to leave the hospital the day after we arrived, and the good news on his health has poured in ever since - praise the Lord! Because this trip was not planned, and it wasn't during a major holiday as it is when we usually visit, it gave us a chance to explore and try out some new places to eat and drink. My husband grew up there, but a lot has changed and some great locally owned places have popped up since we last visited. If you ever find yourself in the center of North America, here a few places to check out!

DINNER & COCKTAILS:

The Grove Pub & Restaurant

This menu has a bit of something for everyone, but not in an overwhelming way. We split the poutine, which was great, but the crowning glory was the duck breast tacos. Out of this world! The layers of flavor were surprising and perfectly assembled to create a dish unlike any other I've tasted - I mean, there was duck crackling on the top people!! 

Duck Tacos

They also have seasonal drink specials, a great beer & wine list, and happy hour! I sipped on a melon mojito; it was delightful, not too sweet as some tend to be.

COFFEE:

Thom Bargen Coffee & Tea {Fun fact: The name comes from a combination of the co-owners names}

One of the first of its kind in Winnipeg, Thom Bargen offers a curated craft coffee menu, a few locally made pastry items, and a minimalist atmosphere with white walls, large windows, and wood & steel furnishings.

TB Latte

It also houses a leather shop called Wilder in the back that sells its beautifully crafted wares, along with some small batch body care products from a company, Northlore.

Northlore

Little Sister Coffee Maker

The name alone has a special place in my heart because I am a little sister to three of the best siblings out there. This adorable shop is accented with a mint green painted brick wall and matching ceramics for in-house coffee drinkers.

Little Sister

It’s set just below street level but has a great vintage street lamp with a coffee sign to alert the passerby. The owner, Vanessa, is kind and outgoing and really puts her passion into the place! She even has a branded bike rack out front so her customers can lock up and come in for a treat - if you’re ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend it!

Little Sister Bike Rack

The thing I love most about these two coffee shops is that they are both owned and operated by people my husband grew up with and you just can’t beat supporting young entrepreneurs!

BRUNCH:

The Tallest Poppy and The Osborne Village Cafe

I’m not going to lie, you will be inclined to walk right by both of these places if you judge by looks alone, but once you get their vibe it all makes sense. These two places are not connected in any way, but they both provided amazing, creative, and fresh food in an unassuming atmosphere.

The Tallest Poppy has mismatched everything and wild paint colors, but it also boasts a huge front window and tall ceilings. I highly recommend the breakfast corndogs (what?!) and Jordan said his chicken & waffles were the best he’s ever had - and that’s saying something since we have some pretty great places here in Brooklyn.

The Osborne Village Cafe is set in an old motor inn and we never would have thought of it without the recommendation from a friend. From the outside, you might think it’s your average greasy spoon, but upon walking in, you see their house-grown microgreens and herbs and an ever-changing chalkboard menu of specials that highlight the season’s bounty, local eggs and potatoes and the enticing combinations that the chef is whipping up.

Jordan and Katie

Now, I know that you’re probably not headed to Winnipeg anytime soon, but I wanted to share this little adventure as a reminder to explore your own town, or somewhere close you thought you knew, to see what culinary gems might be hiding out there. It’s so important to support local businesses, whether they are your local or just local to the place you happen to be at the time - you can’t beat the heart & soul these folks put in!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

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Berry Hand Pies

Berry Hand Pies

I love pies. Like a lot. However, when I was little I used to say I didn’t and even though there was always a delicious array of desserts that were laid out in front of us at family gatherings, my cousin Amy and I would always just ask for a small bowl of freshly whipped cream. I would then proceed to eat it with a spoon. As I got older, my mom starting making more and more wedding cakes which led to me eating more and more ‘cake scraps’ as we called them (the domed piece that is sliced off to create an even layer), which led to me tiring of cake and turning my sights to pie. This recipe is a great way to make pie a more portable dessert that requires no cutting, plates or napkins. Feel free to still make the freshly whipped cream and eat a bowl while these bake!

Berry Hand Pies // Makes 12-16

Crust:

1 c unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes and placed in freezer

2c flour

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

4-6 T ice water, maybe more

Place dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor or in a regular mixing bowl. Pulse or mix to combine, then add butter and cut in until the butter is in pea-sized chunks. Don’t over mix here, you want nice cold chunks of butter so they flake up in the oven! At this point, if you have used your food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl as you don’t want the butter to continue to break down as you stir in the water. One tablespoon at a time, add ice water, stirring in with a fork until the dough just comes together. Some floury spots should remain and will disappear as you bring the dough together with your hands and knead gently 1-2 times. Use a light touch and press into two thick rectangular shaped ‘disks’. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment.

Roll one piece of dough (keep other in fridge) into a rectangle that’s about ⅛” thick. This is where you can choose your own adventure with size. I cut mine into longer rectangles that would be folded over, but if you want four crimped edges, cut an equal amount of small rectangles that will serve as the tops and bottoms. Arrange rectangles on the baking sheet and place in the fridge while you repeat with the other half of the dough. Keep both pans in the fridge as you mix the filling.

Filling:

2 c frozen berries (I used a mix of blueberry and raspberry, don't thaw!)

3 T flour

3 T sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 T fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

Seal/Top:

1 egg beaten with 1 T water

coarse sugar

Mix together all filling ingredients and remove one pan from the fridge. Place about 2 T on the right side of each long rectangle, leaving enough edge to seal. Brush the edge with the egg wash and fold the other side over the filling, pressing to seal. Do this to your first pie, to ensure the filling is the right amount and will seal properly. Once you have it right, place all the fillings, then seal them all. Using the tines of a fork, press the sealed edges to lock everything in. Brush the tops with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Make a few slits in the top and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan immediately to cool on a wire rack. While the first batch is in the oven, fill, seal, crimp and sprinkle the second batch and bake in the same manner as the first.

These pies are so great just slightly cooled from the oven, but I took them along on a picnic and we ate them at room temperature and they were just as tasty! For a twist on this recipe that kids {ahem, and adults} will love, try spreading 1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter then 2 tsp of your favorite jam directly onto the dough, then fold, seal, and bake in the same manner, with or without the coarse sugar, as the berry-filled ones! YUM!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie




 

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Homemade 'Fruit-by-the-Foot'!!

I've always wanted to try making my own fruit leather because it seemed like something that had way too much sugar{and other junk!} for being 'real' fruit. I also love unrolling it. Let's be honest, that's the real reason any of us ever ate Fruit-by-the-Foot. I started thinking about it lately because I've been taking care of my friend's little girl in the evenings and I'm constantly aware of what I'm feeding her, and wanted to give her a healthy treat/snack. It’s so easy these days to grab things off the shelf at the store and keep them in our cupboards for when we don’t have time to make something, but if you have an afternoon you can whip these up and have them for your last minute snack attacks! Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great wholesome products on the market now that are free from all the things we cannot pronounce, however, they tend to be quite costly so it’s always nice to have an option to make it at home and truly know what you are putting in you and your families bodies!

Speaking of cost-effectiveness, I decided to try a batch of these with fresh fruit and a batch with previously frozen fruit to see if the outcome was changed at all. I nearly started to cry thinking of all my beautiful organic strawberries being blended up because they are not cheap! {I feel like Dorothy when it comes to the cost of fresh, in-season, fruits/veggies in New York - ‘Toto, we’re not in LA anymore’} I had a bag of mixed berries in my freezer and I am happy to announce that the outcome was just as good as the batch with fresh fruit, so you needn't cry over blending fresh organic berries to make these at home!

Homemade Fruit-by-the-Foot // Makes 6 {1.5” x 14”} strips

3 cups diced fruit or berries (if using frozen, thaw & drain first)

1 T local honey (optional, depends on the sweetness of your berries!)

*Because this takes a few hours in a low oven, I recommend doubling or tripling the batch, or trying a couple flavors, and baking them all at the same time, using one pan for each batch.

Prepare a half sheet pan by lining it with a silicone mat if you have it - this was the first time using mine as I always bake on parchment and it made it SO easy, however, lining with parchment will work too! Preheat oven to 185 degrees. If the lowest your oven goes is 200, just turn more often and check earlier!

Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until mixture becomes a smooth puree and there are no odd-sized fruit chunks. Pour down the center of your prepared pan, leaving a few inches around the edges. Using an offset spatula, smooth the puree into as-even-as-possible layer that reaches to about one inch of the edges. Make the thickness about ⅛” all the way around. Too-thin areas will burn and too-thick areas will take longer, resulting in an uneven batch. If you are making another batch, follow the same process as above for your second pan.

Place sheet pan(s) in oven and set your timer for 1 hour (start at 45 min for hotter ovens); when timer goes off, rotate pan 180 degrees, and top to bottom if making a couple batches. Set timer for another hour. The edges will start to look dry and the center will still be puffy; rotate in the same manner and set for another hour. Rotate again and set for 30 minutes, depending on how your center looks - mine took about 4 hours total. You want the whole sheet to look like the edges, essentially to look like fruit leather - any seeds will be pronounced bumps across the sheet - you want no ‘puffy’ parts remaining as they will stick to the pan and not peel up with the rest of the sheet. Remove from oven and allow pans to cool on wire racks.

Place a piece of parchment that is slightly bigger than the leather in front of the pan, on your counter or table. Once cooled, peel up the sheet of fruit (it’s not delicate, you won’t break or tear it) and place it in the center of the parchment. If the edges cracked a bit, it’s okay, they just got a bit drier than the rest and you can trim that off. Using kitchen shears, trim short edges of parchment to within about ¼” of the fruit. Trim off any ‘crispy’ long edges, making it flush with the parchment. Now just cut them lengthwise into six strips, or more if you want smaller serving sizes for smaller hands. Roll up each piece and store seam-side-down in an airtight container on your counter, as long as it’s not too warm! You can put a cute sticker on it to keep it from unrolling when you pop it in a lunch bag or in your purse for a snack on the go!

Fruit-by-the-foot

There are so many options with this - I made one batch of strawberry/mango and another with blackberry/blueberry/raspberry and they were both so delicious! I think next time I want to try striping a couple flavors so you get two in one with flavor and color! You can also cut each sheet into four large rectangles and have your kids use cookie cutters to make shapes for a fun after-school snack/activity! Whatever you do, make it work for your family and have fun doing it.

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie


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