Blueberries and bangles...

“Just like a firewood needs to be teased to be revived; your dreams need everyday care. When you commit to take one action each day toward the realization of your dream; small changes add up to create what you want.”  
                                                                                         ― Guillaume Wolf

                                                                                         Hilary Druxman silver bangle. $60ea.

                                                                                         Hilary Druxman silver bangle. $60ea.


Wow, welcome! I’m so honoured to have thousands more of you here every week to enjoy our lovely new way of delivering ANNA Magazine right into your inbox! Every week we are working on new ways to bring inspiration, transformation, beautiful food and a few of our favourite things! 

I have often heard people say "I thought ANNA was from New York!" To this I one day replied, "Winnipeg is the new New York!" Ok well maybe not, and although there have been many times I wished I lived in New York, Winnipeg is my home... And Winnipeg is great! Many inspiring entrepeneurs have brought their dreams to life here. I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of them as advertisers and friends. 

Creativity translates to many areas of interest and over my ten years as creative director, I have spent countless hours researching the latest brands, destinations, fashion and design. I always longed to bring to ANNA more of our findings!

Change isn’t easy, and it's scary! But as with every great brand, there comes a time for reinvention. After two years of studying the digital world, this is our beginning of inspiring online editorial and celebrating where we live! Here, just in time for Spring, we collaborated with a few of my favourite Winnipeg brands and made them accessible to you!  Along, with simple everyday recipes and a few more of the things we love… 

Enjoy… Mari

Packing for spring break… Spring break vacation is upon us and we all seem to be burdened with the never ending, what to pack, what to wear. Here, with the help of our favourite retail friends, are my a few of my favourite essentials that will take you from the beach to dinner! And with my luggage lost so many times, I like to pack light and travel only with a carry on! From left to right (the ultimate) Rinowa Cabin Multi-wheel, Pink Stitch Resort Maxi (I bought it), Silver Bangles (own it and can't live without it), Fedora, Bathing Suit, Aviator sunglasses, Strappy sandals (styles may vary), Black blazer, Walking shoes (own them and fabulously comfortable), or polo park store. Canon camera, Moleskin Journals (never travel without them), IPhone 5S (nehh),

No Spring break is complete without a few good books... here is some recommended reading by my friend Polly...

I'm dreaming about... whether the trip calls for business, research or a week on the beach, for creativity to emerge travel is a must! My top 3 destinations this year are Jamaica (my daughter's grade 12 school trip), Sicily... I've been invited to the Sicilia en primeur this year! (And if you interested in your own guided culinary tour of Sicily, our friends at can make it happen) and I may not get there... but its always New York! (My digital subscription to The New York Times, keeps me feeling close)

Simple beautiful recipes…
This weekend we baked a beautiful blueberry pie… I was reminded how lovely blueberries are to look at and to eat!  Here's the recipe for our pie and a few other favourites you should try this week! See recipes below!

Soba noodle salad
10 ounces dried soba noodles
4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
14 ounces shitake mushrooms, halved
2 cups sliced rapini or broccoli
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons pickled ginger

Wasabi soy vinaigrette
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon wasabi paste

For vinaigrette, place all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until smooth; set aside. For noodles, bring large pot of water to boil. Add soba noodles and cook 3 minutes until just tender. Rinse under cold water and drain; place in large bowl and toss with green onions and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; set aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Add rapini or broccoli and remaining vinaigrette and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season; toss mushroom mixture with soba noodles. To serve garnish with sesame seeds and pickled ginger. Serves 6.

Filet mignon with blue cheese butter
4 (4-ounce) filet mignon, 2-inch thick
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Blue cheese butter
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup crumbled Danish blue cheese
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

For blue cheese butter, blend together all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and chill until firm.
Preheat grill to high; lightly oil grill. Rub filet mignon with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear filet mignon on both sides. Reduce heat to medium low and cover with lid. Cook 12 to 14 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from grill. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Top with blue cheese butter before serving. Serves 4. 

Arugula and herb salad with goat cheese, almonds and blueberry vinaigrette
2 cups baby salad leaves
1 cup baby arugula
1 cup mixed herbs (Thai basil, mint, cilantro)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1⁄2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Blueberry vinaigrette
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sesame oil

To make blueberry vinaigrette, place 1⁄2 cup of the blueberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and lemon juice and stir until sugar dissolves and blueberries release their blue color. Push through a sieve and whisk in sesame oil and remaining blueberries. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine baby salad leaves, baby arugula, herbs, and sliced green onions. Drizzle with vinaigrette and pile loosely onto small serving plates. Crumble goat cheese on top and garnish with slivered almonds. Serves 6.

Blueberry pie
3 ⁄ 4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon salt
4 cups blueberries

Basic pie pastry
(9-inch double crust. For single crust, use half recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
2 ⁄ 3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
4 tablespoons ice water
For pastry, place flour, butter, shortening and salt in food processor and pulse few times until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over mixture and pulse few more times to incorporate. Transfer onto plastic wrap and press together to form dough; wrap tightly and flatten into disk and chill for at least 1⁄ 2 hour. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and cut into 2 pieces. To roll, cover each dough with plastic wrap and roll directly on plastic to form 2, 12-inch rounds.

For pie, pre-heat oven to 425°. Whisk together first 4 ingredients; toss well with blueberries. Place one piece pastry into 9-inch pie plate; spoon filling into shell heaping as high as needed to use all blueberry mixture. Cover with remaining pastry and trim to edge of pie plate with kitchen shears; pinch and crimp edges. Cut steam vents into top of pie and bake for 20 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375° and bake another 30 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Serves 8.


Chorizo for Dinner!

“Whatever happens around you, don't take it personally... Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”  –Miguel Ruiz

Hi everyone!! Thank you so much for signing up for my Monday Morning Inspiration, the place to be for inspiration and recipes that warm your soul and remind you to Make Everyday Special

I had another beautiful food experience this weekend. In the planning of a Portuguese themed party, I found myself at the Portuguese Fish & Food Market at 460 William Avenue. After explaining a little about the party I wanted to host, Joe and Maria fell over themselves to help put it together. In the end, I discovered a beautiful new cuisine, wonderful people and the finest Chorizo sausage I ever tasted. Although we always try to keep our recipes simple, there are times when authentic grocery markets are a must! In our recipe section today, we have a few recipes that will take you there! 

Enjoy… Mari

What I have learned…
A mantra I wrote many years ago, is a good daily reminder. 

I will be grateful. 
I will do my best every day. 
I will forgive myself when I make a mistake. 
I will make those around me feel loved.
I will respect myself at all times. 
I will read something new every day. 
I will pursue happiness regardless of what occurs. 
I will take responsibility for my actions.
I will surround myself with people who inspire me. 
I will help those in need.
I will live without regret.
I will use kind words in difficult situations.
I will respect another person’s point of view.
I will pick myself up when I fail.
I will trust in a power greater than myself.
I will not be driven by fear.    
I will trust my inner voice.
I will say sorry when I make a mistake.
I will take a break when I need to.    

Simple beautiful recipes… To get the very best results for today’s delicious recipes, we suggest you look for their ingredients marked with an * in authentic Portuguese and Asian markets. See recipes below.

A few things I’m into… I love interior design and here is another great inspiration from L.A. Interior Designer, Windsor Smith. The images shown are of her own home in L.A. recently sold to Gwenyth Paltrow... I love her perfect pairing of vintage and modern and I love taffeta drapery that billows on the floor! Click on the images to view.

A few things you should download and read… The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz given to my by my friend Audrey Book, changed my life. Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein is a daily reminder. And The Woman I wanted To Be by Diane Von Furstenburg made me understand myself... and want to run away to New York and start a fashion business...

Corn and chorizo chowder
4 cups chicken broth (we suggest Knorr gel packs)
1 cup water, plus additional as needed
2 cups canned corn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 chorizo sausages, casing removed *
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
6 medium yellow potatoes, peeled, cubed
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
Sour cream to serve

In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring broth and water to a boil. Place corn in broth, cook 5 minutes. Remove corn and set aside. Reduce broth heat to simmer. Place corn in food processor with 1 cup broth and pulse to combine; set aside. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat, crumble in sausage and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Add onion and celery and cook 10 minutes. Add sausage mixture, corn and potatoes to pot of broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes. Season. To serve, top with sour cream. Serves 6.

Chicken with green curry
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
½ cup green curry paste (see recipe below)
1 cup canned coconut milk
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped *

Thai curry paste
8 small fresh bird chiles or Thai chiles *
1 tablespoon minced galangalm *
4 pieces kaffir lime, soaked, chopped *
1 cup fresh holy basil or Thai basil *
2 stalks lemon grass *
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped finely
¼ cup chopped coriander root *
2 tablespoons whole coriander seed
½ cup canola oil

For curry pasta, place all ingredients except oil in food processor and pulse to smooth paste. Add oil in slow steady stream. Meanwhile, heat oil in wok over high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly pink. Add curry paste and cook 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and stir in basil leaves. Serves 6.

Fresh spring rolls 
2 small ripe avocados, pitted, sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil *
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 (4-inch) rice paper wrappers *
4 butter lettuce leaves, torn in half
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup carrots, julienned
¼ cup green onions, chopped

In small bowl, soak avocado with sesame oil, lime juice, salt and pepper; set aside. Cover work surface with damp kitchen towel. In medium bowl of warm water, immerse rice paper sheet; let soak 15 seconds until soft. Remove and transfer to towel. Top with lettuce leaf, 2 soaked avocado slices, few springs cilantro, few carrots and green onions. Fold in sides then roll tightly into log. Cover with damp cloth. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Serve immediately. Makes 8.


Dinner at the Red Door.

"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart." – Cesar Chavez

Hi everyone!! Welcome to Monday Morning Inspiration, the place to be for inspiration and recipes that warm your soul and remind you to Make Everyday Special! 

This week I wrote a story for my Winnipeg Free Press column –which you will have to wait for until Saturday – about one of the most beautiful eating experiences I have had in a long time, if ever! I was invited to a “cook and jam” dinner with an address described as “turn right, turn left, down a back lane, through a red door”. I was intrigued to say the least! As I made my way down a long flight of stairs – feeling as though I was walking into a Martin Scorsese film set – I knew this was going to be an experience (and I had almost declined the invitation)! Voices, laughter, talking with their hands, dinner cooking, beautiful music. “We've been expecting you. We’re cooking Chi-Talian” Then large platters of beautiful food. Antipasto, pasta, Italian sausage, peppers, chow mein, curry-rubbed chicken, roasted pork belly! Delicious! And the most beautiful musical voices in Italian and Chinese! This is how life shud be! 

Here, I compiled a few one-skillet dinners I think you will enjoy, along with a little inspiration.

Enjoy… Mari

What I have learned…
A piece I wrote many years ago, is a good daily reminder. 

“If the expectation for your life is to just get along, to fit in, to be ordinary, you will attract normal and ordinary to your life. Ordinary says, no, I can’t do it; it won’t work out; no attracts no. When you say yes, you become a magnet for attracting yes into your life. You have a positive impact on those around you and everyone and everything you come in contact with. I have learned, that when I say no to something, it almost never works. If I say yes even before I know it will work, it somehow always does.”

Simple beautiful recipes…
30 minute dinners… Pasta with chorizo sausage, Pork medallions with apricot curry and Chicken and green bean stir… All you need are a few simple ingredients and a skillet to take these fabulous recipes from the stove to the table in less than 30 minutes. See recipes below.

A few things I’m into… I get inspiration from browsing online and with all the many blogs around, there are few that are my favourite for business, fashion and design... click on the images to view.

Something to watch… 
You know I’m into Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday… here is another touching story I thought worth mentioning. Kris Carr, best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer survivor…


Penne with chorizo and basil
1 pound penne 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup good quality chicken stock
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
1 piece (3 ounce) Parmesan cheese, shaved

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to bite. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook until slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic and tomatoes and cook 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and cook 3 minutes. Add drained pasta, and cook another 4 minutes or until pasta  absorbs sauce. Mix in butter and basil; toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Pork medallions with curry apricot
1 (12-ounce) tenderloin, trimmed and sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Patak’s mild curry paste 
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup apricot preserve
1 ½ cups coconut milk
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 green onions, thinly sliced 
Cilantro, chopped
Pat medallions dry; season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat half the olive oil over high heat. Add pork and cook for 2 minutes per side, remove and set aside. In same skillet, add remaining oil, curry paste, cumin and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in apricot jam, coconut milk; cook 5 minutes. Mix in green onions cranberries, and chickpeas; cook 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice and green onion. Return pork to skillet and cook 5 minutes longer, or until heated through. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serves 4 to 6.

Chicken stir-fry with green beans                
½ pound green beans, trimmed
1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut in strips lengthwise
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
 Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste        

½ cup good quality chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

To make sauce, whisk ingredients in small bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, bring medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add green beans and cook, uncovered, 4 minutes, drain and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until brown; remove and set aside. Wipe out wok with paper towel; add remaining oil and heat until slightly smoking. Add garlic, green onions and ginger; cook about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce. Return chicken and add green beans; toss 3 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6.