Photo Cakes are All the Rage!

So you need to order a cake for your next celebration. It could be a birthday or anniversary. Someone retiring or changing jobs. Graduation or engagement. Nothing makes a cake more personalized then having an image of the person or couple on the centerpiece to any party. The cake!

You want to be sure the photo you select will be the one everyone, especially those front and center, will be happy with. Here are some great suggestions to make sure you have a great quality photo.

.jpg or Actual Photo

Having a photo file versus an actual photo does make a HUGE difference. If your bakery has to scan an image to print, some factors will change the quality of the photo. The larger the photo the better. Small photos will print a bit blurry. Age of the photo can change the color or tint. Remember when scanning a photo the scanner picks up the paper as well as the photo.

Portrait or Landscape

The layout of a photo determines how the decorator will place the photo on the cake. If you are adding script to the cake will there be room? Is the cake you are serving round, square or rectangle? Talk to your bakery to ask how they would lay out the photo.

Is a Funny or Embarrassing Photo Okay?

This is where you have to determine how the guest of honor will react to the cake when they see it. Will they see it as funny and enjoy the additional spotlight this photo may bring? And more important how the guest will see that hilarious shot. Will it embarrass anyone else? We have seen our fair share of hilarious photos at the bakery. But would I want one of them on my cake? Maybe….not.

Wedding Anniversary

Personal Image Photo Cake

A great idea for this is having a current photo of the couple as well as their wedding photo. Make sure both photos are in the same format (portrait or landscape) as it will have a better visual aesthetic. We have done many of these cakes and they always seem to be a crowd pleaser.

Child Birthday

Minions Photo Cake

Every child loves to see their face or their favorite character on a cake. If your bakery has a photo cake system that allows them to print licensed images you can personalize the cake even more by putting your child right in the photo with their favorite character! Or maybe your child would love a princess cake, be a super hero or hang out with video game characters. Take your child to the bakery and let them see the catalogue if this is an option.

Teen Birthday

Maybe they would like to see their favorite band or YouTube personality on a cake. Or if they are donating their monetary gifts to a charity or cause, a cake showing what invitees are donating too may be the answer.

Mom or Dad Cakes

Is the cake for your mom or dad? Catching a great photo where they are oblivious to posing and just enjoying the moment makes for a beautiful image. In the garden or out enjoying nature. Maybe spending time with family or friends. Or catching them in a quiet moment (it happens!) can surprise them when they see the photo.

Licensed Image Photo Cake

Photo cakes can create conversation. They can overwhelm and impress. But most of all they can simply touch the heart of the person on the cake.

Open a conversation with your local bakery and let them know what feeling you want the cake to express. Have a few photos available with you on your phone. The more you discuss, ask and offer the better your cake will be.

No matter what the celebration is everyone remembers the cake! At Harvest Bakery & Deli we have a wide variety of images, character and ideas to help you with your celebration. In the Winnipeg area call us today! 204.489.1086

Winnipeg Socials

If you recently became engaged, you both are probably pondering a Manitoba tradition: to have a wedding social. What is a wedding social? It’s a fundraising event to help the bride and groom raise money for their wedding, honeymoon or to just start out their life together as a married couple. It’s a Manitoba tradition. As thanks the guests get a night out with chances at some great silent auction prizes, some cheap drinks and a late night snack.

Spring is the busiest season for socials. So in order to book the date you want you have to decide fast what you are going to do.

First you have to decide if you will have the much needed support (of both time and money) from family and more importantly, your wedding party.


You can decide to do the much simpler “bar” social. No liquor license as the staff will run it all for you. You can focus on your silent auction tickets, door tickets and mingling with your guests. Overall the cost is quite reasonable but the amount of funds you may raise will be conservative.

Or you can decide to rent a hall or community club. Which leads into the liquor, liquor license, food, etc. A bit more costly initially, but the return can be tremendous. Honestly it will be a lot of work. For both the couple and the wedding party. But if you have the friends and family to support you and come out for the social then this would be the better option.

Printing Tickets

Make sure the tickets are clear enough for the info needed including location, date, time and who the event is for. Standard tickets go for about $10. Print what you need but do not go over capacity of the hall. If you like you can also print “support” only tickets for those who want to show their support but will not be attending. Also take note if you are allowing children to come they DO count towards the capacity number included in the hall. Get your friends and family to sell the tickets but remember only nonprofit organizations can advertise their event.

Silent Auction Prizes

The trick to a great social is the silent auction and the prizes. Most will have themes with a couple of grand prizes. The money a great batch of prizes can generate is tremendous. Keep the small prizes at a value of $100-$300 with the grand prize at about $400-$500.

Now to find your silent auction prizes. The first thing you want to do is ask yourself, your fiancé as well as friends/family if there is a chance to get donations from work or from companies everyone does business with.

Can you get prizes from services needed at the social? Can your DJ offer a prize? How about who you get to supply the late night food? At Harvest Bakery and Deli we offer a voucher for a photo image cake (valued at $50) when you order our traditional social food package for 250 people or more! Remember companies will require a letter of request as well as a voided ticket. Accept whatever donation is offered with much enthusiasm, because no one is required to donate.

Now as for the raffle tickets like 50/50 or bottle draw. Those tickets will be offered to guests at their tables with someone walking around and selling them. The 50/50 is usually sold at the door with 50% going to the winner and the other 50% going to the bride and groom.


When hiring a DJ ask your friends and family for recommendations. You can also check online and look at the reviews. Music can make or break the mood at any social. People who are happy and having a great time tend to spend more money. And it keeps people moving and having fun.


Traditional social food is deli style meats, cheese and pickles. Tossing a sandwich together quickly using ham, salami and garlic sausage on some great Winnipeg rye bread is the most popular choice. Served about 11-1130 pm. Some people have opted for pizza or have made their own food like hot dogs. If ordering traditional deli food ask if you can save some money by plating the food yourself.

Call around for options, pricing and quantities.

Great resources to help you with organizing, pricing, donation lists and support are Manitoba Socials and All Things Wedding in Manitoba: Socials Group (both found on Facebook). For traditional social food pricing please call us at HARVEST BAKERY AND DELI 204-489-1086. We have one of the most competitively priced packages in Winnipeg!

Getting Children to Eat

As most parents know, feeding children or rather getting them to eat can be quite challenging. They can be bored, moody, fidgety or tired.

But we also know they like to help in the kitchen, help mom or dad and generally get messy.

Introducing your child to the kitchen and the art of making meals can be a rewarding experience as well as teaching very important life skills later on. It gives a bit of independence and creativity as well as the joy of knowing “I made that”.

Children love catchy names, colors and a great visual presentation. We know today’s parent does not have the time to design a swan from an apple or do radish roses but we can make everyday food seem like the extraordinary. Using cookie cutters on sandwiches, slicing fruit into fun shapes or creating layers that they can build.

One of the biggest challenges for school age children is creating lunches 5 days a week for over 9 months. What we see as a healthy, well balanced lunch could be seen as gross or boring to them. You want to make lunches that are creative, visually appealing and nourishing.

Meal Plan

Sit with your children and plan out the week of lunches. Have them come up with the themes and names of that particular lunch. Eventually you will begin to see favorites and you can easily remember them by name. Ones that do not go over so well? Change it up. If you can get yourself to 10 different lunches, as a parent, that makes you a rock star.

Get the Kids to Help

You can have them help you with the shopping, prep and packing. The more invested they are the odds go up that they will give the meal an honest try.

Small Portions

Don’t send too much food as most of us do. Try an assortment of food in small amounts.

Make Lunches the Night Before

Mornings can be a bit, shall we say hectic? Make it a part of the evening to have the kids make their lunch. You can also put aside time on the weekends with the kids to make items like muffins, small snack buns, salads and soups. Getting your children into the kitchen with you will mean so much to them and teaches them valuable skills.

Make Lunch Fun

Send items they can use to build their own lunch! For example send the ingredients for the sandwich and let them build it. Or send crackers, cheese and deli meats. And have cool ways to package it. Also add a tiny touch from home. Maybe a sticky note, treat or sticker.

Lunch is Time to Hang With Their Friends

Do not pack things that have strong odors unless they decided to have it themselves.

Lunch Bag/Box

Let them pick out the lunch bag or box for school. You want to be sure to have room for utensils, ice pack and thermos. Having a lunch bag that can accommodate these items and their lunch will open up the options or choices in the menu.

Other tips to keep lunch cool are a frozen juice box, freeze grapes, use a mini ice pack and have an insulated lunch bag.

Teaching your children to cook and be comfortable around the kitchen has tremendous value! They learn basic cooking skills, a sense of responsibility, a sense of independence and most importantly is pride. To see the results of their efforts and to enjoy the fact that they made that!

Harvest Bakery and Deli can help with some of the ideas to aid with lunch. Small buns for great sandwiches as well as deli meats to please the fussiest eater. And did we mention a free cookie for those 12 and under while mom or dad shop? Give us a call today to see how we can help! 204-489-1086

Saved by the Slow Cooker

For those of us with very tight schedules, have children or just want an easier solution to dinner, the slow cooker can be our go-to best friend. It’s a “leave it and forget it” thing. I mean seriously…you put your ingredients in one pot, turn it on, set the timer and hours later you have a great meal! Finding those recipes can be challenging. But if you put a bit of work into it you can find it makes life a bit simpler.

Meal Plan & Prep

Planning out the meals for the week not only makes dinner easier but it saves both money and time. Include everyone who will be either eating or helping prepare the meals. Prep meals on the weekend after shopping and put in large freezer bags. The more help the merrier and quicker it will go. If everyone helps clean and chop on Sunday for example the time will go by faster and then it is just “grab and toss in the cooker”. Don’t forget to label your meals!

Mix it Up

Try not to get in the same routine with your ingredients. Mix it up a bit. Chicken, turkey, beef or veggie. Soup, stew, casserole or soups. The more variety the better. Remember if the recipe calls for noodle or rice it may be better to add already cooked in at the end. Check each recipe as you go.

Have Kids/Teens Help

Let them help or give them a day that’s all theirs. From their choice of meal to putting it in and starting the slow cooker. Just remember no meal will burn if cooked on low and it goes past the time. So younger children have them start the meal on low.

Choose 5-Ingredient Meals

For most meals choose 5 ingredients so they do not get too complicated. You can always make the main and have rice or noodles cooked later and added at the end. Cooking with a slow cooker is about ease and convenience. Do not over think it.

Start a Recipe Journal

Finding recipes that really hit the spot and are loved by everyone should be saved. Start a recipe journal using a notebook or start a recipe box with index cards and box purchased at your local Dollar Store. It really does help you in your time saving efforts, with meal planning, shopping and remembering the loved recipes!

Soups Go a Long Way

Making soup or stew? You can make a big batch in the slow cooker and freeze in reusable soup containers for lunches or quick reheat dinners. A little soup can go a very long way.

Don’t Forget Weekends Too

There are some fantastic breakfast ideas or desserts you can add for the weekends when you might not use the slow cooker for your dinner. Nachos and dip for Saturday night movie maybe. There are some great nacho dip recipes that can be made in under an hour using the slow cooker. Or great oatmeal recipes as well! Heck you can even make bread!

Here is something to get you started. A great nacho dip recipe that is a definite pleaser!

  • 1 LB Ground Beef -pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 15 oz. can refried beans
  • 2 x 16 oz. jars salsa (hot or mild)
  • 1.5 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • tortilla chips
  1. Brown ground beef. Drain. Add salt, pepper, onion powder and minced garlic.
  2. Combine beef, salsa, beans, sour cream and 2 cups cheese in slow cooker.
  3. Cover. Heat on Low for 2 hours. Just before serving top with remaining cheddar cheese.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Make sure to add Harvest Bakery & Deli to your list for fresh baked buns, breads and pastries needed for your meals! We also have a great selection of cheese, pasta, soup bases as well as deli meats that would work in a variety of slow cooker recipes. Give us a call today! 204.489.1086

Making the Perfect Hamburger

Ah, the barbecue and hamburgers. It’s a fast weekday meal after a long day. It’s the weekend backyard party main stay. Or at the beach with a grill nearby. However you look at it, the hamburger is and always will be the go-to food when it comes to the barbecue!

The possibilities are endless – from the type of bun, seasonings, sauces, cheeses, and topping – to take your burger to a whole other level. I have taken the different ingredients and broken them down into categories. Pick one from each category to create your burger masterpiece! When you think about the endless combinations, it can be mind boggling – no one said the hamburger has to be boring!

Start with the Bun

Multigrain Hamburger
Multigrain Hamburger

The choice of bun can bring an entirely new taste to any hamburger. The fresher the bun the better. Choices can range from your staple white or whole wheat bun to a multigrain seeded bun. There are also the widely popular Brioche, poppy seed, flax, sesame seed, onion or everything bun. An “everything” bun is usually a combination of poppy and flax with onions.


A hamburger can be more than just beef. The choices can be ground pork, ground raw turkey, ground veal or ground lamb. You can also use a combination of ground meats. Mixing both ground beef and ground pork for example.

Add to the Meat

Making a burger stay together and keep its shape usually requires adding an egg and some bread crumbs. With or in place of the egg you can also add barbecue sauce, ketchup, HP sauce, yogurt (plain), milk or soy sauce. The bread crumbs can also be seasoned or you can do what I like to do occasionally, I crush a bag of chips like Old Dutch Onion and Garlic. This adds the crumb and seasoning or flavor at the same time!


Some people swear by just a bit of salt and pepper, but adding some spice can turn that burger up a notch! Try adding a choice of dry onion soup mix, minced garlic, chili powder, Italian seasoning, dried basil or fresh ginger. Even a bit of Montreal Steak spice can jump-start any hamburger. Take what seasoning you like and give it a go!

Add Vegetables to the Meat

That’s right. You can add veggies like finely chopped jalapeno or green peppers, canned diced chili peppers, finely chopped banana peppers, grated carrots, finely chopped canned mushrooms (drained), finely chopped onion or green onions. Just remember you are adding a bit of heat with some of these.


This is where you can have a bit of fun. Horseradish, mustard including Dijon, honey or hot, mayo including garlic mayo, relish, ketchup, jam (yup!), hummus, chutney or aioli.


The possibilities when it comes to toppings can be endless! There are the usual suspects like onions, tomatoes, lettuce and bacon. Some add a fried egg on top. Then there is sautéed onions and mushrooms, salsa, avocado, guacamole, spinach, kimchi, onion rings or grilled pineapple slice. The list can go on and on.


Every burger needs a great cheese. Cheddar cheese, brie, Swiss, feta, gouda, American cheddar, blue cheese, pepper jack, Monterey to the more upscale Burrata and gruyere. Not everyone likes cheese so you may want to check with your guests first or have them add just before they come off the grill.

White Hamburger Buns
White Hamburger Buns

The moral of the story is that a hamburger can be any combination of anything (or everything) you enjoy. Have the kids be a part of it by building their own. They learn the art of matching simple ingredients for very flavorful results!

Those in Winnipeg can head over to Harvest Bakery and Deli for your start to the best burger… THE BUN!! We bake them fresh each and every day!

PS: My favorite burger foodie is @samsburgerlist on Instagram. Check it out for more great inspiration!