Monday, September 30, 2013

Trip 2013: The Oregon Coast


The Oregon Coast - I've got to say, was probably the most beautiful part of the US portion of our trip.  I fell in absolute love with all of the beauty this state has to offer. Since this was the last part of our trip before I was due in Seattle, we didn't get to spend near as much time there as we would have liked to.  As a result, I can see an entire trip devoted to just this area in our future. 

We spent as much time on the beaches as time would allow.  We brought our foldable camping chairs so often we would set them down at beach and alternate between walking along the shoreline, and sitting there, relaxing and enjoying the view. 



We managed to catch one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen - which was made even more amazing by the full moon rising in the background.  Both of the following pictures were taken by Marc - check out his blog for the full pictures, and more amazing pictures from our trip! 



    

We also met a really cool couple from California while we were there - another State on my travel bucket list.  They were incredibly friendly and were on a trip similar to ours - no real agenda, just their vehicle and the open road. Since they were heading to Canada, we filled them in on the best areas to check out (Moraine Lake being high up on that list). 

All in all, Oregon was an experience of a lifetime!  I told Marc if we ever had to move to the US for whatever reason, this is the state I would chose in a heartbeat! 
Stay tuned as my next blog post will be all about IFBC, the food conference that is the reason we took this trip in the first place!
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trip 2013: Idaho, and a bit of Oregon


The last couple of days have been filled with a lot of driving.  We left Montana, travelled a bit through Northern Idaho, and yesterday we entered Oregon.  A lot of miles to cover in a short period of time!  

We had a really hard time finding a hotel on Monday night (everything was completely booked) so we ended up spending a night in our truck.  That was... uncomfortable! Literally the second we drove into Oregon we found a Comfort Inn and slept... oh glorious, sleep.  We spent the rest of the afternoon  just lazing around our hotel room, catching up on Breaking Bad (not even visiting another country can keep me from my Walter White!), showering (oh, showering... I missed you so), and doing the oodles of laundry we had already accumulated.


Now that we've been in the US for few days I'm starting to notice some differences, especially in the food we eat! 

Alberta Beef - Being as how I hardly eat meat, I didn't even know that this was going to be an issue.  One taste of non-Alberta beef later, I miss the meat back home something fierce. 

Iced-Tea - literally just cold tea here.  I've debated adding sugar to my glass but feared the looks I might get.

Which brings me to coffee - I may or may not have a serious addiction to Tim Horton's which unfortunately can not be found in the US.  We finally found some great coffee at a waterfall when we first entered Oregon - and let me tell you, after going 3 days without anything even resembling a decent cup of coffee, angels sang from the sky the second the first sip touched my lips.  I immediately downed the coffee Marc had purchased and bought another one for the road.  We might have to visit this waterfall a few more times while we are here, but with a view like this I doubt that will be a problem.


Next on our list is finding a Dutch Brothers (which the uber helpful ladies at the front desk of our hotel told me is great coffee), or a Dunkin Donuts (that's got to be like Tim Horton's right?), and if all else fails, a Starbucks (I really love Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but Marc hates Starbucks with a passion). 

The next few days of our trip are what I am most excited about - the Oregon coast and the Pacific Coast highway.   I'm sure my next blog post will be nothing but pictures!   I am seriously in love with Oregon so far, I can't wait to see what else this beautiful state has to offer!   

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Trip 2013: Montana


Our vacation has officially began! If you're been following me on Facebook you know that I'm spending the next week travelling around the North Western US, and the following week on Vancouver Island.



We got a bit of a late start on our way out on Saturday (if you know me personally, this won't surprise you in the least). After some last minute errands, we left home just before lunch.   We went through one of our favourite places, which is Jasper National Park, then continued heading South until we reached our first night's destination which was Fairmont, British Columbia.  Marc is quite the shutterbug so we stopped multiple times along the way and saw some really amazing things.  First we stopped off at Sunwapta Falls (which I will upload a video for as soon as we get to a place with a better wifi signal). 


After that we took in a nice hike around the Columbia Icefield.


 We also stopped by Petyo Lake, and then paid a visit to one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to in my entire life (Moraine Lake). 

Marc taking it all in at Moriane Lake

We capped off the day with an evening soak at Radium Hot Springs and then finally arrived at Fairmont around 11pm. 

Yesterday was an another awesome day. We started off by visiting our second hot spring in less than 10 hours.  We were the first to arrive at Fairmont Hot Springs and nearly had the pool all to our self - it was incredibly luxurious!
 
After our soak we had a nice breakfast at a cafe with an amazing view of the mountains. 


We then headed to the US border and were on our way!   I was surprised at how easy it was to cross the border into Montana - there was no line-up whatsoever, and the entire process took less than 3 minutes total.   Once in Montana, we went to a cute little vintage style Cafe called "Cafe Jax" which I thought was pretty cool! 


Glacier National Park had some more breathtaking views - the cliffs there are pretty scary and when you are driving the roads are windy and narrow and there are no guard-rails!  I thought that was pretty crazy.  It was kind of scary looking over the edge - but also pretty jaw dropping views.   On this drive we met a really great hippie couple from California - they were on their way to Canada so we traded some advice for each other.  I didn't take very many pictures yesterday, was just busy taking it all in!  Marc took a bunch though, so be sure to check out his blog Nature Heals the Soul for more photo's from our trip! 

Well Marc is looking like he is really anxious to get back on the road, so off we go on another adventure...
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apple Chips


Here is this month's recipe as it appears in The Hinton Voice

[We are about to come into one of my all time favourite seasons – I’m not talking about fall, although that’s pretty high up on my list too.  I’m talking about apple season!   Crates of freshly picked, crisp, colorful apples line the stands at the Farmer’s Market’s and grocery stores.  Guaranteed around this time of year, I always have at least 10 pounds of apples in my house at any given time.  I pack them in our lunches, cook them into oatmeal, and bake them into oodles of delicious treats.

One of my favourite healthy snacks is apple chips, though I didn’t start making them at home until recently.  Not only are they way cheaper to make at home, they are really easy to make as well!  Slice your apples and bake – that’s pretty much it!  Pure apple goodness – it doesn’t get much better than that!

There are a few tricks to making sure your apples chips turn out nice and crispy:

-       First, slice your apples as thin as you can – too thick of a slice and your apple chips will be more gummy than crisp (which can also be equally as delicious, but that’s not what we’re going for here).  The thinner you slice your apples, the better.

-       Second, make sure that all of your slices are uniform in thickness to promote even cooking.  There’s nothing worse than having a mixture of undercooked/overcooked chips. Also, one slightly thicker apple slice can turn the entire batch of stored apple chips soft if it’s not cooked to the same crispness).  Use a mandolin (a slicer) if you have one, if not use the sharpest knife you can find. 

-       Third, once your apples are done cooking, leave them in the oven as it cools down.  This will help crisp up the apple chips, and as far as I’m concerned, the crisper the chip, the better!]

Recipe makes approximately 4 dozen apple chips

Ingredients
- 2-3 apples, any variety

Optional ingredients
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar

 Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine water and lemon juice.

Wash apples, and then slice (see tips above) and place them in lemon/water mixture for about 15 minutes.  This will help prevent the apple slices from turning brown.

Strain water and pat apple slices dry.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat) and place apple slices in a single layer, being careful not to overlap.  Sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 2-3 hours (2 hours for soft apple rings, 3 hours for chips).  Turn oven off and leave apple chips inside for an additional hour.  The apple chips may appear slightly soft when you take them out of the oven, but they will harden up as they continue to cool.  

Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or in the fridge for up to a month.

 - Nutritional Info (1/2 recipe) -

Calories - 80   Fat - 0    Carbs – 22     Protein - 1   Fibre – 5


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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Salsa Verde: Green Tomatillo Salsa

What a crazy week this has been!  We incorporated a company (as of June Marc is a Journeyman Electrician so he needed to start a business so he can contract himself out).  We also purchased Marc a company truck - as you can see, he is pretty excited about that!  It's been a crazy busy week of meeting with the dealership, lawyers, accountants, banks, insurance brokers, etc. and getting everything lined up  to start the business. 


We've also been getting ready for our trip in two weeks.  We are heading to Seattle for IFBC, my very first blogging conference!  Neither of us have been to the US since we were kids so we are both pretty excited for the trip!   Even though the conference is just for a weekend, we both took 2 weeks off so we could take our time exploring the US on the way there, and visit my family on Vancouver Island the following week before we make our way home.   Needless to say, a lot of exciting things are happening for us right now! 

Today I decided to share a recipe I recently fell in love with - tomatillo salsa.  I was first introduced to this type of salsa last year, when a Mexican friend of mine hosted a dinner party before Christmas.  I couldn't get enough of this salsa - it was incredible, especially paired with her homemade tortillas.  

One of my bosses went to Mexico recently and brought me back a tortilla press.  I hit up my friend for some masa harina (corn flour with a hint of lime - perfect for tortilla's) and attempted to make my own version of tomatillo salsa to go along with them.  After a few attempts, I had a winner. 

Ingredients
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 1/2 jalepeno, deseeded and rinsed
- 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- squeeze of fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
- dash of salt

Directions

Peel tomatillos and rinse - pat dry.  Cut in half and place on a baking sheet (cut side down) with jalepeno.  Broil for about 5 minutes, until tops have turned brown (even black in some spots), like the photo below: 


Blend roasted tomatillos and jalepeno with remaining ingredients until combined. 

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