December 8, 2014

Oh, hello.

Are you looking for handmade and upcycled goods? 
Visit my crafty blog - Small Craft Warning

April 15, 2014

Pies, pies, pies.

photo by Ian McCausland

If you follow me on the Twitter, you've probably been wondering what's up with all the pie-talk lately.

Since I have a bit of free time on my hands, I have been helping my friend Heather with her pie business, Shut Ur Pie Hole. We are baking out of a big, bright commercial kitchen and selling Heather's pies at the Knox Community Food Market and random events throughout the city. It's been lots of hard work, but also lots of fun.

This Thursday we'll be setting up shop at The Bay Downtown to sell pie by-the-slice, as well as whole pies and those amazing little pies in jars (above). If you have a hankering for pie and a little history, come down and join us over the lunch hour. And, if you can't make it, give us a holler and we'll bring the pie to you!

Twitter: @zenbecca or @pielady
Email: or

March 26, 2014

Over the Top - the Art

I just realized that I had not done an Over the Top post-party post! And, really, I have NO excuse. Since the 16th, I have had plenty of time on my hands*.

Other than the fact that I was completely shut out of the raffle (Boo to that!), I had a lovely time at the party; catching up with my artsy friends and watching my two pieces go to good homes.

"We lose ourselves..." (above) sold for $90 and "She decided to start living..." (below) sold for $120!

*Spot the sarcasm!

March 25, 2014

Amazebites at Taste of the Nation

Last night, I had the privilege of attending the Taste of the Nation event at the Fairmont Hotel as a guest of the Manitoba Canola Growers. To say that it was fun would be a ridiculous understatement.

We started out in the VIP room (I know!), with wine, salmon gravlax on buckwheat blinis, tempura shrimp, baked oysters, raw oysters, scallops. It was a great warm-up for the taste-buds and the intimate setting meant that we could all catch up with each other before being unleashed on the wonderful madness of the main room.

Once we were upstairs, chaos ensued. It's hard to describe - imagine table after table of beautifully presented one- two- and three-bite treats offered up by some of the city's coolest chefs. Ok, ALL of the city's coolest chefs. There was everything from cold-pressed fruit juice (delicious) to beef tartare (did not sample) and about a bazillion wines and spirits to wash it all down. And - breaking news - the big story of the night seemed to be fish, followed closely by beets.

 - Pizzeria Gusto's little eco-spoons - arctic char nestled in with little jewel-toned bits of yumminess (above)
 - Chew's lobster/shrimp tacos - in beet chip "shells"! (above)
 - Diversity's house-made ricotta and avocado on grilled bread with an anchovy on top (below) AND polenta with mushroom ragout and fingerling potato chips.
 - Green Carrot's cold-pressed apple/mint/pineapple juice - Obby Khan's new venture!
 - Shawarma Khan's hummous. I told Obby that I would probably never get kissed again, but Kiki G disproved that theory. :blushes:
- Red River College's pike burgers with red and golden beets on gluten-free buns. Yes. Gluten-free. And I loved them!
- Smoked tomato soup and little grilled cheese sammiches from the new place at Kildonan Park. (Opening soon!)
- Everything at Segovia. I don't even know what I had, but I loved it.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening. Besides all the tasting and sipping, and winning a pile of gift certificates in the silent auction (!!!), my favourite part of the night was getting to hang out, laugh and be silly with the gang.

It's true what Julia Child said - People who love to eat are always the best people!

March 14, 2014

Spring is... Over the Top!

For some, spring starts when the snow begins to melt and the heavy coats and boots are relegated to the basement closet. For others, spring won’t start until things start greening up and the patios along Corydon re-open. For me, the official, non-negotiable start of spring is the MAWA “Over the Top” Cupcake Party and Auction.

What makes it “Over the Top”? Well, about a thousand cupcakes and a couple hundred of the city’s coolest peeps crammed in a small gallery vying for elbow room and original art.

This is my 5th year donating art and cupcakes to the party and I think it’ll be the best one yet. First of all, I am absolutely smitten with the two pieces that I made for the auction:


And, as always, I am super-excited to make my cupcakes. This year, I am planning a little salted caramel number and something involving Fruit Loops. (Pictures and recipes will be posted on my other blog after the weekend.)

I’m also really looking forward to the party itself… and the raffle! We have been lucky – and I mean REALLY lucky – twice, winning a $1000 camera the first year and a giant gift basket the next. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we’re going to come home with something again this year. (I’m planning to double up on the raffle tickets, just in case.)

If you are thinking of going, but have heard that it’s a madhouse, have no fear. This year, the cupcakes, the people and the art will still be there, but the gallery space will be expanded to give artists and art buyers more room to mix, mingle and (for lack of a better word) munch. And, if you can't make it on Sunday, or want to get a jump on bidding, MAWA is kicking off the weekend with a birthday party TONIGHT from 5:00-8:00pm. Admission and cake are free, but if you wanna place a bid on any art, you have to buy a $10 ticket to Sunday's event. 

February 11, 2014

Power of Movement

Well, I did it. I signed up to take part in the Power of Movement yoga event, in support of Arthritis research. It takes place on Sunday, March 2 and I'm on what looks like a very fun team. (I kinda nosed my way in, but they have been very gracious so far.) I am really looking forward to getting back to the mat and getting my sun salutations on.

The team has set a fundraising goal of $1000. Should you wish to contribute, you may do so here: Beat Arthritis!

Namaste, my lovelies.

February 7, 2014

Project Valentine

On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of joining the Project Valentine group to make Valentine's Day cards for people receiving treatment at CancerCare. The event was hosted by the always gracious Claudine and, after just a couple hours of hard-core crafting, resulted in 256 cards!

I contributed 10 cards to the cause (9 are pictured above), but I am ready to double that next year. I just have to figure out how to talk AND glue at the same time...

February 6, 2014

Brunch at the River Pop-up

My friend Heather has the best ideas. Last Sunday, she texted me bright and early (full disclosure: I wasn't up yet) to invite me for brunch on the river.


If you're from Winnipeg, you know that this is no big deal. We do this sorta thing ALL the time. The river's frozen? Put up a gourmet restaurant. Makes perfect sense.

Anyway, I spent a few minutes (in my very warm bed) before texting back something like "Ummm...sure." Then I got dressed.

Tights, jeans, two pairs of socks, turtleneck, chunky sweater (so much for looking like a girl), scarf, mittens, parka, Sorels, and a plaid, faux-fur lined Elmer Fudd hat. And I was worried that it wouldn't be enough.

We arrived at the tent-cum-restaurant at about 10:30, but were told that we would have to wait until noon for the next seating. Remembering that there were cinnamon buns and coffee to be found inside the Forks market building, we decided to stick it out and put our names on the list for 12:00.

After wandering around (sitting, drinking coffee, eating, running into friends, getting lost, getting found) for an hour or so, we made our way back to the middle of the river and took our places at the long communal table. Seating was on stumps, which, while clever, turned out to be a little chilly on the bottom. (Tip: if you go, take something warm to sit on. I sat on my hat.)

Brunch started with Red River Cereal topped with blueberry-apple sauce. It was warm and yummy...and curiously spicy* and it was the perfect way to shake off the chill and warm up the taste buds.  (My guess was a pinch of cayenne, but I'm still not sure.)

Next up was a big pancake with maple syrup and (for all but two of us) lots of crispy bacon. And communal plates of fruit salad that confused some of us at first (we're sometimes all a little *too* polite), but in the end bonded us as a group. It's all about the sharing and caring, right, Care Bear?

After the pancake came sharable (heaping) plates of potatoes and corned beef and scrambled eggs, and plates of sliced bannock with yummy, peppery gravy. By this time, we were all good friends and dispensed with any hesitation when it came to passing the plates around. I can say without any question that everybody had their fill.

Of course, there was still room for dessert - homemade sausage corn dogs and the most amazeballs homemade marshmallows. I had room for exactly one marshmallow - any more and Heather would've had to call for a team of sled dogs to pull me out of there.

Other than the food being fantastic, which - thanks to the talents of Talia Syrie and her team - it was, the whole experience was a win-win-win. We had a blast taking it all in (People on skates! Chefs in fur hats! Servers in ski-pants! Avi!), our table mates were a hoot, and it felt great to be a part of something so... so... Winnipeg.

January 9, 2014

Life Hack - Hot White Vinegar

Ever use white vinegar to clean your house? Ever use HOT white vinegar? Let me tell ya, it’s the best thing ever.

Last night, I decided to descale my year-old Kuerig machine with, you guessed it, white vinegar. The procedure is dead simple – you fill the tank with vinegar, run it through the machine, then follow with a whole tank of clean water – and well worth the two dollars that you spent on the vinegar. But, two dollars is two dollars and I can’t help feel a little bad pouring it straight down the drain.

As I was standing there waiting for the first cup to “brew”, I dropped a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda down the drain. I chased it with the hot vinegar and stood back to let it do its magic while I pushed the button on my machine for the second cup.

Cup number two ended up on the stove top. I let it stand until it has cooled down enough to mop up with a sponge and, holy cow, did that stuff ever make my white stove top GLEAM.

I ended up using the last cup to give my countertops, toaster, kettle and the exterior surfaces of the Kuerig itself a good wipe-down. Sure, my kitchen smelled like a chip wagon* for the next hour, but it dissipated by bedtime and everything was so darn clean.

With two (three?) jobs, plus a teenager to feed and water, the time that I spend at home is precious. As much as I love a clean house, I want to spend as little time as possible scrubbing and scouring so that I can do more exciting stuff. This little life hack gave me an extra 15 minutes to do my nails. And dream about chips.

*some might see that as a bonus.

December 24, 2013

Twenty-four Days of Awesome - Day 24

If you are not already tracking Santa, you should be.
And, yes, Virginia... there is an app for that.
Ho ho ho!