Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Powell River Sunset


P is for Powell River, BC

We returned town in Powell River to see this awesome sunset from our balcony. The view is northwest towards Vancouver Island. I think you can guess why they call this the Sunshine Coast. If you haven't made your summer holiday plans, this is the place to come. It is uncrowded, lots of outdoor activities for all ages, and friendly people. Want more information?


Click here to link to the Powell River Visitor Centre. Come join us in paradise.


For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twentieth round of the meme established by Denise Nesbitt and with help from Roger and Leslie.

Thanks for visiting part of my world. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad. -- Margy

Friday, April 7, 2017

Quick Shuttle Service from Bellingham to Powell River, BC via Vancouver Airport


Quick Shuttle connection at the Bellingham Airport.
Want to get to Powell River without taking a car on the ferries? Take the Quick Shuttle bus that connects Seattle and Vancouver airports. It has several stops, one of which is Bellingham Airport. Reservations are mandatory and passports are required.

The bus uses the Pacific Highway Crossing in Blaine. You get off at a special building and take your bags inside to clear Canadian immigration and customs. For up-to-date information about border crossing requirements check with with the Canadian Border Service Agency and US Customs and Border Protection before you go.


Boarding the Quick Shuttle
The amount of time necessary depends on the number of passengers and buses in line. Plan on at least 30 minutes, more on holidays. By the way, the Quick Shuttle has free WiFi so you can surf the web the whole trip (or work if you must). The cost is very reasonable, currently about $49 round trip, or $29 from Bellingham to YVR. They will also stop at the train station, cruise ship terminals, downtown Vancouver and most major hotels. Along the way you will see forests, farmlands, small towns, glimpses of the ocean, and finally the big city.


Vancouver Airport South Terminal
Whether you arrive at Vancouver Airport by bus or plane, Pacific Coastal Airlines has a free shuttle every half hour outside the lower level to take you to the South Terminal. Pacific Coastal has connections to many Vancouver Island and BC destinations. From Vancouver, it is only a 25 minute flight to Powell River.


Over Powell River, BC
One-way fares start at about $140. The Quik Pass program includes discount fares for frequent fliers.

Transportation is easy in Powell River. Your Pacific Coastal flight crew can call ahead for a Powell River Taxi to be waiting to whisk you away to your first adventure. If you are on the ground, you can call them at (604) 483-3666. You might be lucky enough to get one of our good friend John's brothers, Rick or Rob. They both have Prius cars to be environmentally friendly and economical.


Powell River Airport
If you want a car, Budget car rental is in the terminal. There is also a stop for the Powell River Regional Transit District bus outside. This bus can take you all around town or, with a connection, to the community of Lund at the end (or beginning depending on your point of view) of Highway 101.  No matter how you get here, Powell River is the place to visit and live. Join us here someday soon. -- Margy

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Homemade Coffee Liqueur


Coffee liqueur resting in my pantry next to my Orangecello.
This is my second recipe to try for making a Kahlua style coffee liqueur. The first was simple and used instant coffee. You can see that recipe by clicking here.

This new recipe used whole coffee beans and cocoa nibs. Each one has its own merits.

Here's a similar recipe I found online. When I made it, I cut the recipe in half.


HOMEMADE COFFEE LIQUEUR

Ingredients:

750 ml white rum
2 cups dark rum
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ pound whole coffee beans
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
½ orange zest
1 vanilla bean

Directions:

On very low heat, melt the sugar in a small amount of rum to dissolve it into a syrup.

I had a hard time getting the sugar to dissolve this way so I added a bit of water.

Fill a glass jar with the coffee beans, cocoa nibs, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean.

I had to go to the bulk spice section of several stores before I could find the cocoa nibs.

Serious Eats describes them as "bits of fermented, dried, roasted and crushed cacao bean." In essence, they're "chocolate that hasn't been ground and mixed with sugar yet."

Pour in the dark rum and top with the white rum.

Place a lid on the jar and label it with the date.

Keep the mixture in a cool, dark place for about one month.

Shake it gently about three times a week.

Taste test the mixture occasionally. When the flavour is to your liking it is ready.

Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar.

I like using a Mason jar with a plastic lid. You can purchase them or save the tops from Parmesan cheese containers for free. I always like free.

Your coffee liqueur is now ready to enjoy as an aperitif, on the rocks, or my favourite way, topped with cream. It also makes a great addition to hot or cold coffee.

What better place to sip a cool drink than my front porch with the wonderful view of Powell Lake and Goat Island to enjoy.


How to you like to enjoy coffee liqueur? -- Margy

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

“I Married the Klondike” by Laura Beatrice Berton


Many young women in the early 1900s started their adult lives and careers as teachers in remote areas. They accepted short-term contracts for the opportunity to put their new credentials work, for the money, and for the adventure.

Many did not last beyond that first year, but Laura Beatrice Berton turned her initial one year commitment into a life well lived in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Laura came from a well-to-do family in Toronto. As a young teacher in Toronto, she earned the paltry sum of $480 a year. When her superintendent offered her the position of kindergarten directress in far off Dawson City for $2100 a year, she quickly accepted.



Gold mining tailings on the Klondike River in 1994.
I Married the Klondike (Lost Moose: The Yukon Publisher, 2005) by Laura Beatrice Berton is a memoir encompassing twenty-five years including her teaching experiences, life in the bustling then dying gold mining town of Dawson City, and subsequent years of married life with Frank Berton, a miner and engineer who crossed the formidable Chilcoot Pass during the gold rush of 1898.



Dawson City's Yukon Hotel from our flying vacation in 1994.
The stories of life in Dawson City, the position of teachers, local high society, gold mining, a summer-long honeymoon in a tent at Sourdough Gulch, dance halls and women of ill-repute, steamboats and riverboats, raising children in the North, and the ubiquitous Yukon River that was everyone’s focal point of life.

If you like history, stories of brave women, and a look at life at the turn of the Twentieth Century, I Married the Klondike is an excellent choice.


A touristy paddlewheel boat on the Yukon River.
This is the second book about the Berton family that I’ve read. The first was Drifting Home by Laura’s son Pierre Berton, author, journalist, historian and host of The Pierre Berton Show.  In 1971 he followed in his father’s footsteps over the Chilkoot Pass and floated down the Yukon River to Dawson City with his grown children, a family bonding and remembrance experience rolled into one. You can read that review by clicking here.

Do you have any books you’d like to recommend? I love to read, and our float cabin home is the perfect place. -- Margy

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Butternut Squash with Kale and Quinoa


I love growing Green Curly Kale. I plant it in spring and can begin harvesting leaves by June. But that's not the best part. I continues to grow through winter and produce until planting time the next spring.

Winter is the best time to pick curly kale. By then the frost has made the leaves firm and fleshy, perfect to hold up during cooking.

To use some of my home grown kale, I made a side dish with butternut squash and quinoa.

Butternut Squash with Kale and Quinoa 
in Browned Butter

1 butternut squash
1 small onion
5 cloves garlic
2 cups chopped kale
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup pre-cooked quinoa
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Go to Simply Recipes for directions on how to brown butter.

Go to theKitchn for directions with pictures on how to cook quinoa.

Remove the seeds, peel and dice the butternut squash into 1/2 inch pieces. Chop onions, garlic, kale, and hazelnuts.

Heat butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Whisk frequently as the milk solids in the butter turn to a light brown and get a nutty aroma. Do not burn! Add onion and then garlic and cook on medium low heat until lightly caramelized.

Stir in thyme and add the diced squash. Toss to coat with the remaining butter then spread out in a single layer. Continue to cook on medium low heat without stirring until lightly browned on one side.

Stir and spread out again to brown on the other side and cook on low for 10 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can do this much ahead and finish just before dinner.

Before serving, add kale, hazelnuts, pre-cooked quinoa, and season to taste with Worcester sauce, salt and pepper.

Cook just long enough to wilt the kale and warm the quinoa. Serve and enjoy.

Quinoa is fairly new to me.  I like its nutty flavour in dishes like this.  Do you cook with quinoa? I would love to hear about your recipes. -- Margy

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Available Online:


Paddling the Pacific Northwest
by Wayne J. Lutz
PowellRiverBooks.com

Come along on a paddling adventure.
Grab a paddle as the author leads you on day trips and overnight adventures on the rivers and lakes of northwestern Washington. 

http://www.amazon.com/Paddling-Pacific-Northwest-Wayne-Lutz-ebook/dp/B00GMWKC4O
Paddling the Pacific Northwest takes you to out-of-the-way destinations where kayaking allows us to pursue our innermost individual freedoms. Come along on freshwater exploits in a sea kayak as a Canadian paddler heads south to probe the rivers of Washington, searching for “slow pushers” to propel his kayak lazily downstream mile after mile. A travelogue memoir of enlightening adventures set in the magic of the Pacific Northwest. 

Check us out online:

Print for $12.95
Kindle for $5.99 
E-book for $5.99

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Homemade Orangecello Liqueur


Homemade Orangecello liqueur on the rocks.
Liqueurs are versatile. They make a good after dinner drink to sip instead of a big dessert. They can also be used with a mixer for a lighter daytime thirst quencher.

I found a recipe for Orangecello Liqueur online and it peaked my interest. We use a lot of oranges in our breakfast fruit bowls, so I have plenty of orange peels that can be used for other purposes.

Here's the complete recipe I found online. I cut mine in half.

Homemade Orangecello Liqueur

Remove bitter white pith from peels.
Ingredients:

1 bottle 80-proof vodka
peels from 6 oranges
half of a vanilla bean
Simple syrup (2 cups water and 2 cups sugar)

Directions:

Remove as much white pith as you can from the orange peels. The pith will make the Orangecello bitter.
Place ingredients in a jar.
Slice the prepared peels into strips.

Place the ingredients in a sealable container. I used a Mason jar with a plastic lid. Save the orange fruit for other uses.

Store the jar in a dark place.

Check daily to make sure the vanilla bean isn’t overpowering the mixture. Remove the vanilla bean after three days maximum.
My Orangecello resting in the pantry.

Let the mixture continue to infuse with the orange peels for five to seven additional days. Check daily to make sure the flavour and colour are to your liking.

More orange flavour will be imparted to the alcohol the longer it infuses. I left mine work for two weeks and it was perfect for my taste.

Strain the mixture.

Strain the mixture.
Make a simple syrup with two cups of water and two cups of sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Allow the simple syrup to cool completely. Add one cup to the infused alcohol and give it a taste test.

Add more if you like a sweeter liqueur. Because mine was a little bitter, I used the whole amount.

It reduces the amount of liquor in the final product, but for me it improved the taste.
Make a simple syrup.

Chill the Orangecello, or serve it on the rocks.

It also makes a nice, light spritzer by combining it with lemon-lime soda.

The completed Orangecello liqueur will keep for several months, if it lasts that long. It’s like drinking liquid orange candy.


Add cooled simple syrup to the infused alcohol and store in a sealed container.

I hate to throw useful things away, so I put the strained orange peels in a pan and let them dry in the oven with the pilot heat. I love it when nothing goes to waste. -- Margy

Friday, February 17, 2017

Girls Night Out


Enjoying a Suncoast pale ale at Coastal Cookery.
Wayne and I are what you might call soulmates. We spend almost all of our time together, or at least near each other, up at our off-the-grid float cabin home on Powell Lake. We share lots of the same interests, but once in a while I enjoy a "girl's night out,"

My special day started when I dropped Wayne off at the Shinglemill Marina to head home alone.

We have a condo in Powell River on Marine Avenue. We chose the location because of its proximity to restaurants and shops, and its view of the marina and the Strait of Georgia beyond. It gives us a place to use the Internet, and a place to stay if we can't get home before dark. We prefer not to boat on the the lake at night.


I started my girl's night out with a Townsite Brewing Suncoast pale ale and dinner at Coastal Cookery just down the block. We are so lucky to have great restaurants and an excellent craft brewery here in Powell River.


Then I took a walk down to the marina for a beautiful Powell River sunset. Some people pay lots of money to take vacations to destinations with great sunsets, and we have them every night for free.

To top off my evening, I went to a sketching class with Rick Cepella sponsored by the Powell River Public Library and organized by Mark Merlino, the Adult Services Coordinator.

We used permanent ink pens to learn how to free up our minds and hands to create freeform sketches. Here's mine. It started as lines, swirls and squiggles, but ended up as sunrise over Goat Island. I had fun and learned a lot. 

So ended girl's night out. Now I'm heading home to enjoy some together time with Wayne. -- Margy

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Back in Time at Boomer's Drive-In


If you asked me, "What's your favourite movie?" my answer would instantly be American Graffiti. "Why American Graffiti," you ask? The "short" answer is, I learned to drive in the early 60's, I did my share of cruising, and I spent my summers near Modesto, California, the location for the movie.

Every time I see it I think of swimming in canals, cruising 10th Street, dragging on country roads and parking in peach orchards. Several movie scenes were at Mel's Drive-In, the quintessential 1950's fast food restaurant and teenage hangout. The real Mel's was in San Francisco, but almost every town had a similar drive-in with car service (with or without roller skates).

This brings me to Boomer's Drive-In in Bellingham, Washington. It truly is a step back in time. You can still pull up to covered parking, read the carside menu, turn on your lights and the waitress comes to take your order.

She returns with a window tray of delights that will really take you back. Boomer's signature dish is the Boomer Burger (really big and juicy) in a combo with one of their scrumptious hard ice cream shakes (try peanut butter) and crisp waffle fries. It's enough for even the hungriest guy.

They have other items, but I haven't made it past the Boomer Burger. When the weather's too cold for car dining, Boomer's has indoor seating next to a roaring fire. Maybe it's not Mel's, but a good addition for the Pacific Northwest.

You'll find Boomer's at 310 N. Samish Way (360-647-2666). Heading south, take the Samish Way exit from I-5 and turn right.

Boomer's is about half a mile on the right. It's a little hard to see until you are right on top of it, so go slow. -- Margy

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash


Cold nights always make me think of comfort foods. Winter squash fills that bill in my cookbook.

I chose acorn squash because of it's size is perfect for the two of us, and its shape is perfect for stuffing.

Like many of my recipes, I did Internet research then put together several to match the ingredients I had on hand and what I think will taste good.


Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash
1 cup unseasoned croutons
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 stalk celery diced
1/4 onion chopped
1/2 apple diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup apple juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice the top off of the squash, scoop out the seeds, and trim the bottom so the squash can stand upright in a baking dish.

Fill the dish with 1/2 inch of water, place the squash upside down and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the flesh is softened.

While the squash is baking, prepare the filling. Melt butter in a frying pan and saute onion, celery and apple. When wilted, add cranberries, pecans, apple juice, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Cook slowly until sugar is dissolved then remove from heat.


Remove squash from the oven and discard the water. Turn right side up. Stir together croutons  and the cooked mixture.

Stuff the squash and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until browned.

The stuffed squash can be served as a side, but I think it's hearty enough to be a main dish. -- Margy