Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A cookie-cutter Christmas...

In an attempt to stay warm on a snow day last week, and without the luxury of a crackling fireplace, I decided to make the first batch of Christmas cookies of the season. The famous and traditional recipe selection I chose was that of whipped shortbread.

Note: Be sure to add all the flour otherwise you may end up with one large cookie.

Whipped Shortbread

Pre-cut red or green maraschino cherries into eights for decorating. Trust me, this can be done.

1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb margarine
1 c. icing sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. corn starch

*I also added 2 tsp. of butter flavored syrup as
if it wasn't rich enough. = )

Combine all dry ingredients together. Then in a mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the butter and margarine.

Spoon onto non-greased baking pan in one inch by one inch sized dollops. Top with cherry.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Eat the ones that fall apart.
Leave oven door open to heat up the kitchen and to fill with the scent of cookies.
Curl up onto the couch and vow to never eat cookie dough again...

Oh, and hide them in the freezer until Christmas.

Yield: about 145 cookies and one tummy ache.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creative writing blog assignment- Interview with author Elizabeth Drain

I chose to interview Elizabeth Drain who is a published author of the cookbook, "A Skirt With a Side of Egg Whites" published in the United Kingdom in November 1996. Drain is the mother of a roommate I had when I was living in Alberta. I was curious how she fell in love with cooking and moreover, got her start in writing. Her book, "A Skirt with a Side of Egg Whites" encompasses cooking with flavor while keeping the calories low.

Here are a few of the questions and answers of our interview which was conducted via telephone.

Q: When did you think you wanted to write and publish a cookbook?

A: I've been compiling recipes I've used and loved for years. When I was 30, just after I had Laura, I decided to sit down and set them into a book. It was funny because I was still trying to shed a bit of baby bump, and I wanted to change the recipes to make them healthier.

 Q: What was the biggest challenge you encountered when writing this book?

A: Aside from raising the little one? (laughs) It would have to be including all the dietary and nutritional information underneath each recipe. The math of it made it challenging but my husband was kind enough to help me. He hasn't counted calories since!

Q: Are your modifications of the recipes made so that people who are dieting can use the book?

A: Yes and no. I published the modified recipes so that those who are watching their waistline, but also for those who want to enjoy classic favorite dishes without all the fat and calories. A lot of it is common sense really, such as substituting non-fat for full-fat and so forth while adding a spice or two to not compromise the flavor.

Q: What is something the reader isn't expecting when they pick up your book?

A: A lot of my readers are people I know, so it's not shocking when they pick it up and underneath my recipes are favorite quotes of specific times in my life. I guess you could say my first love is writing and I'm blessed because I get to write and cook.

News/Talk Radio Winnipeg: CJOB

Canadians have been listening to news/talk stations in Canada for almost 91 years. Canada’s oldest news/talk radio station was the station that originally donned the call letters XWA which was based out of Montreal, Quebec. The station later changed its letters to CFCF (“Canada’s First: Canada’s Finest”) and is most recently known as CINW 940AM’s Greatest Hits. The station stopped programming on January 29, 2010. (1)

This station belonged to Corus Entertainment and in a prepared statement the vice-president of secondary Corus Quebec, Mario Cecchini said that day; (1) “We put tremendous effort into trying to find the right format and content to grow our audience base and operate profitably, but after years of effort it is clear these AM stations are not viable.”

Why do station that have been around for decades, some approaching a century, feel the need to re-brand or cease programming? Is it relied solely upon audience base? Moreover, what are the key attributes to success for the stations that are still on-air today?

In Canada today there are approximately 700 radio stations. (2) Fewer of which stations are predominantly news/talk radio. A well-known, long-time running, local news/talk radio station in Winnipeg is CJOB belonging to Corus Entertainment located at
930 Portage Avenue

CJOB has been running since Monday March 11, 1946. (3) The 250-watt station at 1340 kHz was owned by John Oliver Blick. J.O. (Jack) Blick was a commercial writer at Edmonton's CJCA and when he was interrupted by the war, he spent four and a half years in the air-force. When Blick left the war he wanted to have his own radio station and chose Winnipeg as the location. (6) The acronym for Blicks name became the call sign ‘JOB”.

The attributed success of CJOB’s programming can be associated with the fact the content comes from the local community. There is a national broadcast that comes from the CJOB studio as well. Adler On Line is an afternoon politically based talk show hosted by Charles Adler. (4)

The station also broadcasts local sports updates and commentary. Local sports teams such as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Manitoba Moose are featured. On Mondays at 6:00 pm the bomber head coach, Paul LaPolice does the bomber head coach show. Bomber defensive lineman Doug Brown has a show every second Thursday at 6:00 pm called the Doug Brown Power Hour. (4)

Other personalities previously associated with the station are Red Alix, George McCloy, Bob Washington, Irv "Doc" Stein, Wee Ray Isley, Hedi Lewis and more notable personalities like Peter Warren, Dick Vincent, and John Wells. (5)

In March 2006, CJOB had its 60th anniversary.  A celebration was held at the Hotel Fort Garry. Host of the morning show Larry Updike and Brian Barkley were in attendance to help celebrate. The station then invited the loyal to the CJOB studios on March 10, 2006 for cake and coffee with veteran CJOB announcer Donn Kirton. (6)

CJOB is one tried, tested and true example of a news/talk radio station that was built with a vision and has been carried through the years.

With keeping the contents of its programming local, current and significant to the public, the loyalty from the listeners is sure to continue. The station has clearly evaluated the personalities of the program carefully to ensure a succinct and tight flow. Next March, 2011 will mark the 65 anniversary.


(1) sistersagesmusings.ca/canadas-oldest-radio-station-has-gone-off-the-air-is- new-technology-taking-over-commercial-radio-as-we-know-it


(3) "Mayor Garnet Coulter Opens Winnipeg's New Radio Station". Winnipeg Tribune. March 11, 1946. pp. 12.

(6) http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/index3.html?url=http%3A//www.broadcasting-history.ca/listings_and_histories/radio/histories.php%3Fid%3D213%26historyID%3D74

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wine takes flight at Winnipeg's newest wine lounge SENSI

Flights of wine and Italian flavors have taken over the top floor of Winnipeg’s Italian Restaurant, Tre Visi. The new wine bar, Sensi Wine Lounge, opened on October 1, 2010 and has entered the competition to satisfy the palates of wine and diners in the Exchange District of Winnipeg.

Located at 173 McDermont Avenue, Sensi has an atmosphere where retro meets chic. The warm colors of the walls and floor contrast against the white tables and bucket seated chairs. European soft-jazz plays throughout the room that can hold a capacity of 50 people. Each table has a lit votive candle to initiate lounge-like ambiance and, of course, are equipped with all-important menus.

Sensi formulates a signature with one menu in particular. Tritico di vini, or wine flights, are wine sampling options that offer three different wines in three ounce pours.  The grapes range widely from a sweet and citrus pinot gris trio, to spumanti (bubbles), to bold and full bodied reds such as the Conquistadors flight which feature a Don David malbec, a Montastrell tempranillo and a Casa Silva carmenere, which was soft on the palate with chocolaty undertones. The flights range in price from a modest $11.00 to $20.00. The traditional wine menu offers domestic and imported both by the glass and bottle. Six ounce glasses range from $6.75 to $17.50, a quartino (nine ounces) is $9.00 to $23.50 and bottles range in price from a Boolaroo shiraz at $32.00 to the ultimate indulgence of Dom Perignon at $325.00.

With such unique and well formulated wine drinking opportunities, it was a tad disappointing to see their striking glassed-encased mirrored wine cooler only one-fifth full.

The cuisine options are featured in an eclectic fashion of appetizers and antipasto. The piatinni (appetizer) menu offers items such as mozzarella caprese (fresh mozzarella, tomato, extra virgin olive oil and basil) and ‘barbabietole’ (roasted beets drizzled with gorgonzola cream and pistachios) at $5.00 each. Sharable assortments of Mediterranean olives ($4.00) or focaccia bread ($2.50) are also affordable items to consider. Larger items, such as the seafood platter (individual for $22.00 or $42.00 to share) can provide sustenance and complement the aromatic sensation of any selected wine.

The sweet endings that come in solid form, tie the Italian influenced dining experience together. Sensi’s dolce (dessert) menu features traditional items like gelati, cheesecakes, tiramisu, and a zuccotto (chocolate ganache dome filled with a hazelnut-Frangelico mousse) Desserts range from $5.00 to $7.00 and are all made in-house.

The service was attentive and what you would expect of a fine-dining experience. The three menus were explained in full detail, servers were professional, polished and attentive. Moreover, they were knowledgeable about the menu contents enabling them to make informed suggestions.

The Italian inspiration in Sensi will set it apart from other new lounges that have recently opened in the area such as the new 6 Degrees Martini Bar & Wine Lounge located at 100 Market as well as Deseo Bistro, at 48 Albert Street.

Sensi’s hours of operation are Tuesday thru Thursday, 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday until midnight.

If you enjoy Italian food and wine lounges, then Sensi atmosphere is an example of what Winnipeg has to offer when quality meets quantity and experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Warm Beverages for Cold Days

The fluffy snowflakes are falling from the sky. People are bundling up to ensure comfort when the venture outdoors. Winter is a season where you have to work a little harder to stay warm, however, it is also a season that humbles you as everything rests and sleeps. When the brisk air of winter chills and alerts your senses, there is no better to warm up than with friends by a blazing fire and a warm beverage.

Here are some of my favorite winter beverages to warm you up and comfort your soul.

Hot Buttered Apple Cider


7  cups  Apple cider OR apple juice
1/3 cup  Brown sugar, packed
4  stick cinnamon
1  teaspoon  Whole allspice
1  teaspoon  Whole cloves
1  Lemon peel, cut into strips
1 1/2  cups  Rum
Butter or margarine
Thin apple slices

Combine apple cider or apple juice and brown sugar in a large saucepan. For spice bag, tie cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and lemon peel in a 7 inch square of 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Add spice bag to cider mixture. Bring cider mixture to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove and discard spice bag. Stir in rum. Pour cider mixture into mugs. Float about 1/2 tsp butter or margarine on each. Top each serving with one or two thin apple slices. Makes about 10 (6-oz) servings.
Servings: 10

Blueberry Tea           

               3/4 oz Grand Marnier
               3/4 oz amaretto
               orange pekoe tea
               orange wheel for garnish

               Pour the Grand Marnier and amaretto into a brandy snifter.
               Fill the snifter two-thirds of the way to the top with Earl Grey Tea. Garnish with an orange wheel and cinnamon stick.
Stir the drink and enjoy

Dreamy Winter Nights   
 6 oz. Hot Chocolate and 1.5 oz. Amaretto
Healthy shot of whipped cream and drizzle with
caramel sauce and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Enjoy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome Old Man Winter...

On Friday, Winnipeggers awoke to the city covered in a white blanket laid down by none other than Old Man Winter himself. For the third week in November, having just received our first snowfall, Winnipeggers have had ample time to prepare and winterize themselves for another winter season. Or have they?
Fifty-three-year-old Public Safety Officer and City of Winnipeg commuter, Sherry Brisnik, says she’s been anticipating this snowfall for quite some time. Brisnik says, “It does seem earlier this year. I remember some years back when it was almost Christmas and we hardly had any snow.”
Brisnik says she has endured 14 Winnipeg winters thus far. After remembering to dress her two children this morning, this year she forgot one thing.  For Brisnik on the first day of snow, it was the all important snow brush. “I have three in my garage at home but forgot to put one in the car!”
Preparing for winter is something that 44-year-old Don Rebeck takes pride in. Rebeck says he is never caught off guard. “When you have lived here your whole life, you are ready for it. Listening to the forecast helps too.”
Rebeck is a resident of Landmark, Manitoba and commutes to downtown Winnipeg daily. He says winterizing your vehicle is probably the most important aside from dawning proper attire. “I put some good winter Michelins (tires) on back in late October. You just never know when it’s coming, and when you’re driving on the highway every day, you have to have a reliable vehicle.”
Rebeck also says he makes sure his 2005 Chevrolet Colorado is equipped with a snow shovel, spare tire, and tow rope. “I love being able to pull people out when they get stuck. It’s just too bad they have to get stuck in the first place.” says a smiling Rebeck.
It looks like the snow is here to stay. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, residents of Winnipeg can expect two to four degrees Celsius colder that last year. As far as precipitation is concerned, Manitoba can expect above-average snowfall and the heaviest snowfalls will occur in early and mid-November, late December, and late February. Bundle up Winnipeg, Old Man Winter is here to stay.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Take two minutes, would you mind? It's a pittance of time, for the boys and the girls that went over..."

The still and somber silence that befell the West Kildonan Legion #30 was instantaneous at 11:00 a.m. With a turnout of over 300 people, the secretary for the legion, Donna Carriere says the service turnout grows every year. Carriere says, “This is the biggest crowd we’ve had for Remembrance Day so far.”

It is difficult to fathom that just moments before the clock struck 11:00 a.m. the room was filled with voices chattering about the first snowfall, old friends embracing and pipers quietly practicing their chords.

The white crisp gloves of the veterans distribute programs and poppies. The patch of the legion is proudly worn on their beret. Their duty today is ensuring the attendees are equipped with the necessities of such a service.
Seven-year old Emily sits politely with her grandfather as she attempts to enunciate words in the program while waiting for the service to begin. “Pray-er.” her grandfather says slowly. “We will be having a prayer.”

Emily is accustomed to attending Remembrance Day services and says, “I’m here to remember the people who died in the war.”

As the service begins, the president of the legion Larry Kisiloski welcomes and expresses thanks to all who came to take part in the act of remembrance. O’Canada is sung a cappella by all in attendance, before Reverend Simon Blaikie continues with prayers and scripture readings. A traditional approach is taken with the service and includes songs and poems such as In Flanders Field.

The West Kildonan Legion #30 has been around for 113 years. “Remembrance Day services have been held here ever since World War I.” says Kisiloski. This year marks 91 Remembrance Day services the legion has held.

With a light lunch served post-service, family and friends mingle while they remember. The room begins to fill with the exuberant sound of bagpipes as pipers dressed in Scottish tartan, enter the main floor. The clapping of the crowd begins to match the beat of the pipers for a set. The clapping then ceases for Amazing Grace, where everyone simply listens intently to the beautiful melody and the familiar sound of Remembrance Day.

Confessions of a veteran on Remembrance Day...

At 11:11 a.m. on November 11, at the West Kildonan Legion #30, Corporal Roy Solinger spent his one minute of silence remembering fallen comrades that died in the war. Seven medals are pinned proudly to his pressed navy-blue pocket and he says, “One is a volunteer medal, one is a Canadian medal, one is Italy, and, I don’t know, there are seven of them.”

Solinger, now 88-years-old, says that he was one of the lucky ones to have never suffered physical injury amidst the bombing and gunfire in the Second World War. However, not all injuries need to be physical to be painful. He recalls, “In Italy, a bomb dropped and a man was hit. It blew his leg right off. He died right there.”

When Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, it was the beginning of the Second World War. On September 10th, 1939, the Parliament of Canada declared war on Germany. Solinger enlisted in the army on September 15th, 1939 and was a part of the Allies that fought against, and later defeated, the Axis, that of Nazi Germany.       
When Solinger voluntarily enlisted in the army, he says, “Everyone else was signing up so I did too. I still remember saying goodbye to my mother.” Solinger didn’t realize this would be the last time he saw her. He was 17 years old.

Solinger completed his basic training in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in September1939. He was then sent to England where he was a member of the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards regiment. His regiment was later sent to fight in Sicily, Italy in 1943 for the Allied invasion of Sicily where the Allies (United Kingdom, United States, Canada and France) took Sicily from the Axis (Italy and Germany). This was also known as Operation Husky. “I remember driving with my Major in armored cars.” He recalls, “Germany kept dropping bombs from aircrafts above. We were definitely in the middle of a lot of action.”

Solinger, unlike some men, had something to keep him going while he was witnessing these harrowing sights. When he wasn’t sleeping in shifts, Solinger would take time to write letters to his wife Ilene whom he met while stationed in England in 1942. “We just bumped into each other in Hastings, Sussex and I wanted to marry her.”

Hoping for a letter through falling bombs became something Solinger looked forward to. “They came through mail but not very often, maybe one letter every one to two months.”

The letters were written for four years. “I didn’t get back to England from Italy in 1946. That’s a long time to not see each other.” Ilene remained a housewife in England while anxiously awaiting her husband’s return. Solinger was re-stationed and the time came to travel. “She was quite happy to travel with me.”

Solinger was stationed here in Winnipeg, Manitoba after the war ended in 1945, where he remained in the service for 27 more years. “Ilene got a job here too. She worked at the army base canteen on Kenaston for 40 years.” Solinger says smiling.

As Solinger conveys his recollection of his time in the war, at the West Kildonan Legion #30, his granddaughter hands him a plate of cheese, pickles, meat and rye bread. As much as this day is spent to remember the fallen, one can’t help but admit to the outcome of Solinger enlisting on that day in September, 1939. It enabled him to meet his wife, spend 63 years of marriage together, and grow a family who sits by his side on this November 11 to remember with him.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Seven things to do to your vehicle before the snow flies...

OIL CHANGE- It’s recommended to change your oil and filter roughly every 5,000 kilometers. Synthetic oil will usually take you to 8,000. Why wait for Old Man Winter to lay a cover over Winnipeg? Get an oil change now.
ANITFREEZE CHECK- Make sure there is a 50/50 antifreeze-water mixture in your vehicle. With living in cold temperatures, this factor determines the life of your vehicle. Your mechanic or and auto specialist can assist you with maintenance of appropriate antifreeze levels.
EMERGENCY CAR KIT- It is recommended that every vehicle should be equipped with an emergency kit in case the unforeseen happens while travelling on Manitoba roads. Pack a flash light, blanket, extra clothes, gloves, hat, candle, jumper cables, shovel, spare tire, first aid kit, and tire changing equipment.

TIRE CHANGE/TIRE PRESSURE- The Winnipeg roads will soon be covered in snow and ice. It is important to consider the purchase of winter tires. They will usually last 5 years and the upside is your summer or all seasons will last you that much longer. Also make sure to check the pressure in your tires is kept at the manufacturer's recommended levels. This is usually found on the door jamb, on the glove compartment door or in the owner's manual.

video courtesy of youtube.com

WINSHEILD WASHER FLUID- Remember to change your washer fluid before the first major deep freeze. It’s good to use the severe weather up to minus 40 degrees, to ensure your window will be clear. It is also important to flush out old fluid to avoid compromising the concentration of your winter fluid.
WINSHEILD WIPERS- When those mornings arise and you’ve had the car on defrost on for a while; there is nothing more frustrating when your wipers don’t wipe away the melted snow. There is a difference between standard wiper blades, which are excellent for rain, and snow wiper blades, which are self explanatory. Snow wiper blades are available at Canadian Tire.
GET YOUR BATTERY CHECKED- No one wants to be stranded because their battery died, or rather relive the experience if it’s already happened. Check your battery with a volt meter or get a certified tech to check the voltage for you.

Nothing quite like... homecooked wine?

The time of year has come again where we will find ourselves spending more time indoors. Whether it is watching movies, cross-stitching, or becoming very good friends with your indoor workout equipment, more people do prefer to stay in. The temperature change causes some people who don't usually practice a certain hobby, to take up a new one. This year, for my 76-year-old Grandfather, his hobby has become wine-making.

In the past, he has made wine from cherries and pumpkins. This year he is taking a more traditional approach by using actual grapes. There is one problem when it comes to my Gigi's winemaking capabilities. The problem is that when they used to live back on the farm, it wasn't wine they made, rather the infamous "home brew" or "hooch". This was made out of potatoes and by a homemade distillery. Thus the strength of the product was quite potent. Subsequently, the result of his experience making homemade whiskey or brew has transferred over to the process of wine-making. He proudly stated to me last week when I asked about the process, "The more sugar you put, the more it ferments. So it gets stronger."

Anyone who is interested in wine-making should give it a try. However, the result and alcohol content will not be guaranteed and mastering the process will only come with attempting batch after batch.

Here are some sources to expand your knowledge of homemade wine:


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Creative Writing- Short Story Review

I chose to review The Tree Line, Kansas, 1934 by David Means in the New Yorker. This story was published on October 25, 2010.

David Means is an American writer that lives in Nyack, New York. His short stories have appeared in publications, including Esquire, The New Yorker, McSweeny's and Harper's. They are frequently set in the Midwest or the Rust Belt, or along the Hudson River in New York. He includes among his influences artist Edward Hopper who is also from Nyack, New York. (wikipedia)

At the end of the second paragraph, I enjoy the way the author chooses to describe the feeling that Lee has in regards to that of being able to "turn back into a normal person" once he retired. You get a feeling for exactly the sacrifice he had to make to be successful in his career of being an FBI agent. In addition, an agent who often went on stakeouts. The author also suggests Lee maintained a strong psychological balance to endure his career. The author implies that Lee spent most of his career thinking the way others might think. You get a genuine sense for how an agent would envision his life.

The sense of imagery presented throughout the story enabled the reader to imagine exactly the setting of the stakeout. The examples given in the story are solid. The images presented, such as them lying in the grass, peeking behind trees, taking frequent breaks and being utterly impatient waiting for something that may never come, really show the reader the story.

I did not enjoy the way the author itemized the thoughts of the breaks Lee had. They did not seem to have a relevant order or chronological thought, which, when itemizing points in a story usually have a more emphatic relevance.

The ending of the story left the reader unsure to exactly what happened to Lee's partner Barnes. We know with Lee's recollection after years passed, he is sitting on his porch remembering the conversation. This fact proves that he survives. More of a concrete ending would have made the story wrap-up nicely and wouldn't have left me wondering if his partner survived the stakeout.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

With all the assignments us CreCommers have been producing this week, let's put that fright behind us and enjoy a bit of Halloween fun this weekend shall we?

Here are a few jokes I thought everyone would get a kick out of for the up coming Halloween weekend!

Q. Why did the Vampire read the Wall Street Journal?
A. He heard it had great circulation.

Q. What are ghosts' favorite kind of streets?
A. Dead ends

Q. Which building does Dracula visit in New York?
A. The Vampire State Building.

Q. What do you get when you cross a vampire with the internet?
A. blood-thirsty hacker baby

Q. Why did the ghost go into the bar?

A. For the Boos.

Q. Where do ghosts go out?
A. Where they can get sheet-faced.

Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead. It isn't.

If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of a female. Even though you may be faster than the monster, you can be sure that it WILL catch you.

If your friends suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such  as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, get away from them as fast as possible

Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here:  Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Meskatonic University, Camp Crystal Lake, Haddonfield, Illinois, one gas station desert towns or any small town in Maine.

If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, or if they speak to you using a voice other than their own, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run.  NOTE: It will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Socially Acceptable Network

In the movie The Social Network, the viewer experiences the creation of Facebook and the trailblazing done by founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The portrayal of Zuckerberg is done in a way that, not to discredit the ingenuity of the concept of social networking, paints him somewhat a plagiarizing way. 

The movie insinuates at times, Zuckerberg ripped off the idea that came from Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra. They accused Zuckerberg of intentionally making them believe he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com (Wikipedia) As a viewer, having the entire movie revolve around lawsuits pending this very issue, I was led to believe the original idea was not owned by Zuckerberg, rather the other students attending Harvard.

If I were Zuckerberg I would feel that the release of the movie has definitely helped facebook.com. Any and all additional information portrayed in this film, is not going to sway the use of the generation of social networkers. I include myself in that particular generation as Facebook sits in a pop-up window at the top of my window, and after seeing the movie, I feel I am more knowledgeable on the creation, however, will continue to use it as my main way to social network.

I believe that Zuckerberg’s response to the release of the movie was just cause. The movie was based upon his creation and coding of facebook.com, and the law suit that followed. As far a Zuckerberg as a person, his response was that this movie is in fact a fiction. I believe that this backup was completely necessary for the mere reasons of my initial first impression of him a person. I don't think his response to the film will sway any audience's perception of the site or its founders. I would have, like him, explained that this movie was fiction. This movie was created like all the other movies in Hollywood, under bright lights and through cameras.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can you put a price on fabulous food?

This past weekend, I had the luxury of dining at Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar.

ON THE MENU: Pipa Camarose, which is peel and eat prawns.

Dressed in a cocktail dress, with my nails freshly painted I found this item to be the most difficult and messiest item I have ever eaten. The prawns were soaked in juices and the shells weren't pre-cut making the job of getting to your food a real challenge. In most cases with seafood, such as crab legs, I enjoy the feat. Aside from the flavor which was a lovely sweet and spicy garlic, we received probably about 10 prawns inclusive of shells, feet, tentacles.

At first glance, it looks like the plate had been garnished with sprig upon sprig of rosemary or another herb, but it wasn't. It was part of the shrimp. At a price of $17, I was disgusted by seafood for the first time in my life. For those regular who enjoy this dish regularly, they may disagree.

ON THE MENU: Marinated Chicken Tenders with Mango Salsa 

This was enjoyable. There was an essence of lime marinade on the chicken, and the fresh mango salsa complemented the citrus flavor. We received four chicken skewers, equivalent to one breast, for $13.

The most impressive aspect to my visit to Hermanos, was defiantly the service. The restaurant was full upon entering at which point, we were immediately approached by the manager to see if we were happy to wait for a moment. Once seated, the hostess brought us menus right away after wiping our table. Our server was timely to order us cocktails, and quality checked throughout our meal. At one point, the manager even asked us how we were enjoying our visit.

The beverage enjoyed was their house organic merlot which was lovely 

Hermanos set the bar for service but the price vs. quality of food was questionable. I will definitely return to explore their large selection of wines.

Friday, October 15, 2010

International Wine Festival of Manitoba

The International Wine Festival of Manitoba is on this weekend at The Forks. If you enjoy sipping 'vino' or would like to find out if you do, check out the festival on October 15, 16, or 17 to sample and enjoy wines from over 100 wineries!  They are represented this year with experts on hand, ready to offer suggestions and educate you as you discover different grapes from all over the world.

As per the MTS website, you are encouraged to stroll through The Market Courtyard and visit the Cheese booth. The booth features over 750 varieties of cheese from Fenton's Gourmet Foods.  Cheese- a perfect compliment to any glass of wine or simply by itself. There is also a Wine Encyclopedia & Menu Planning booth for assistance in wine-pairing.

What more could you ask for? Free admission!

Sampling tickets are 50¢ each.

Hours for the weekend wining:
Friday Oct 15- 5 pm-9 pm
Saturday Oct 16- noon-6:30 pm
Sunday Oct 17- noon-6:30 pm

Monday, October 11, 2010

On the menu- Pumpkin Curry Soup

Thanksgiving dinner is always a treat. From the homemade wine and deviled eggs, to of course the people you surround yourself with, it's a day where you can stop and say thanks. This year I offered to make the soup course, and if you are a fan of curry, you will love the flavor of this new family favorite. Enjoy the recipe.

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Sautee one onion and half stalk of celery in a large pot
1 can pumpkin puree (pumkin pie filling)
1 L of chicken broth
Start with 2 heaping tablespoons of Masala curry powder,
add more if you like

Bring to a boil

Add a rue:

2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 L of milk or cream

Bring to a boil until it thickens.

Add the rue to the soup base, whisking in slowly, and reduce, simmer and enjoy!

Yield: 10 servings

Buyer Beware...Buyer Informed!

We all know the option is there for us to purchase environmentally friendly products in substitution to typical brand names. This blog, and outline of our experiment, will hopefully leave you with the ability to make an informed decision about your  purchasing habits for household cleaning items.

Algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg

As per Lake Friendly, an organization whose intent behind the Lake Friendly Label is to ultimately reduce the impacts on Lake Winnipeg from excessive nutrients and from other harmful materials in common household products each day in our homes, state that with the amount of phosphates entering the water from our yards and across the landscape, the products we flush and rinse down the drain enter our waters, are causing toxic algae blooms and polluting our water

Our Buyer Beware teams' initiative was to conduct experiments to compare the effectiveness of environmentally friendly products to typical brand name products to see if there was a difference in quality, effectiveness and price.

We tested laundry, dish and hard surface cleaners. We used three brand names in each category and one lake friendly product.

For the laundry experiment, we stained white shirts with five different stains and then washed the shirts separately in Tide, Gain, no name, Nature Clean (eco). Although Tide dominated this experiment, Nature Clean came in third for most effective.

For the dish experiment, I made lasagna to dirty up our dishes, and then I soaked one plate at a time in a sink with each of the products. Our products were Dawn, Palmolive, Sunlight, and Nature Clean (eco). Each plate was immersed half-way under water for less than 3 minutes. Nature Clean dominated the dish test, removing the most amount of residue during the soak test.

For the hard surface cleaner experiment, Hayley let a tomato-like residue dry on her stove for one day. The products tested were Lysol, Vim Oxy-Gel, Mr. Clean, and Nature Clean (eco). Vim Oxy-Gel removed the most amount of residue, but Hayley commented she liked how the Nature Clean was able to be applied. Nature Clean was in a close-second for effectiveness.

In closing, after completion of all experiments, our observations were that the typical brand names didn’t come out ahead in all cases, compared to the environmentally friendly products. This was surprising that the lake friendly products, that don’t contain harmful phosphates and by-products, can be just as effective.

The Nature Clean brand line seems not only to be effective and comparable in price, it is also the product that is most friendly to our environment and eco-system. Our recommendation is to make informed decisions when purchasing your household cleaners and take into consideration that the product choice you make, can be an environmentally friendly one without sacrificing quality.