Thursday, December 31, 2015

Margy Meanders through 2015

This is the first full year for my Margy Meanders blog. It isn't as busy as my Powell River Books blog, but this is my place to share things not related to off the grid living. Here are a few of the highlights from the year in the form of most visited posts.

Chris, owner of Cozy Corner Books and Coffee

Cozy Corner Books and Coffee in Bellingham, WA, is a favourite used bookstore of mine. They have coffee and other yummy things to drink and nibble. You can enjoy your latte as you browse the stacks, or relax by the fireplace. And that's not all. They also have a Children's Imagination Area and free games.

Flying over Puget Sound.

Flying to Chehalis Airport in Oregon takes a little over an hour from Bellingham. We used our GPS to fly the RNAV (GPS) RWY (Runway) 16 IFR approach to descend through the low cloud layer. We broke out below the clouds right at the minimums. We were the only airplane in transient parking.

Seattle Mariners at Spring Training.

Baseball Spring Training in Phoenix is an annual event for us. This trip we took in three Cactus League games. Because we have a link to the State of Washington, we chose to attend Seattle Mariners games.

Rocky cliffs on Chuckanut Drive.

The Chuckanut Drive Loop goes from Bellingham to the Skagit Valley and back. All along the drive there are spectacular views. This is particularly true south of Larrabee Park. Turnouts are available to stop for pictures. There's also trailhead parking for a variety of Chuckanut Mountain Trails. Some trails allow mountain bikes.
The Silo SciFi series.

Wayne is an avid science fiction reader and writer. I enjoy reading some of the first contact and post apocalyptic scifi books he buys for the Kindle. Hugh Howey is a successful author in the world of independent (self) publishing. We thoroughly enjoyed his trilogy of books including Wool, Shift, and Dust that come together to form the Silo Series.

Airport Camping on Orcas Island.

Orcas Island Airport (KORS) is one of our favourite airplane camping spots is in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. When we fly to Orcas, we like to walk the well marked trail to the village of Eastsound for dinner.

Tasty Chicken Tetrazzini.

Chicken Tetrazzini is a large casserole that you can share with family and friends. This pasta dish is easy and inexpensive. Have leftover chicken, it's even better.

Painter's Lodge Oceanfront View

Painter's Lodge in Campbell River, BC, is located right on Discovery Passage. It's well known for fine accommodations and dining. We were too lake for dinner, but had a wonderful breakfast in Legends. There's also the Tyee Pub for lunch, dinner and drinks with a view.

Parchment paper for baking.

Parchment paper saves the day. Perfection! The bread slid out of the pan without any cracking or breaking. And the paper peeled off leaving a nice flat surface for slicing.

Everest books and films.

Everest was a big thing for us this year in film and books. Wayne and I went to see the movie Everest when it was in town. It depicted the 1996 disaster for two guided climbing parties trying to summit the 29,029 foot peak.That led us to read a number of books by expedition participants.

Ste. Marie in Port Moody.

The Ste. Marie is Wayne's new sailboat. Wayne and Bill (the former owner) went for a sailing lesson at the Reed Pointe Marina in Port Moody, BC.

The Goodyear Blimp over USC.

The LA area Goodyear Blimp base is in Carson. When I lived in Torrance and drove to my teaching assignment in Bellflower, I passed the blimp twice a day. On rare occasions, I got to see a takeoff or landing. This is the 90th anniversary the Goodyear airship program.

I hope 2015 was as good to you as it was to us. -- Wayne and Margy

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crispy Sourdough Breadcrumb Topping

I made a batch of Mac 'n' Cheese for dinner last night, but I didn't have any potato chips to crumble on the top. Wayne and I really like it that way.

Rather than go without a topping, I decided to use what I had on hand. make a crispy sourdough breadcrumb topping. It would work for any casserole that calls for a crispy top.

Crispy Sourdough Breadcrumb Topping


1 1/2 large slices sourdough bread
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder to taste
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter


Tear fresh sourdough bread (including crusts) into small pieces into a bowl.

Blend in Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt.

Melt butter and drizzle over bread slowly, mixing as you go go coat the small pieces.

Bake at 250°F for 45 minutes or until crispy and golden. Stir every 15 minutes.

Use immediately as the crispy topping for you Mac 'n' Cheese or other favourite casserole.

Do you have any other crispy casserole toppings to share? -- Margy

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mushroom and Crab Casserole

Marg, my good friend in Powell River, is a great cook. She made a scrumptious casserole that really hit the spot on a cool fall evening. I asked if she would share the recipe and of course she said yes.

I made it recently to share a dinner with our good friends Helen and Ed. Now I would like to share it with you.

It's actually a lot easier than it looks.




1 small onion chopped
2 cups white mushrooms sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons spreadable cream cheese
2 cups imitation crab (or 50/50 with shrimp)
1/2 teaspoon chicken bullion crystals
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dill
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
sprinkle of ground pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg


2 1/3 cups small shell pasta
2 quarts boiling water
1 tablespoon oil (optional)
2 teaspoons salt


1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese grated
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese grated


Saute mushrooms, garlic, onion, and olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan for 7-8 minutes until liquid is evaporated. Add wine. Simmer about 1 minute until liquid is almost evaporated. Measure flour into a bowl. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Add to mushroom mixture, stirring constantly until boiling and thickened. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in next 8 ingredients. When heated through, remove the crab sauce from heat.

Cook pasta in boiling water, oil and second amount of salt in a large uncovered pot for 4 minutes. Stir frequently. Pasta will be slightly firm. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Add to crab sauce. Mix. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake at 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until hot and bubbling. The recipe says it serves 4, but I would say more like 8 unless they are really hungry lumberjacks.

Need a dish for a holiday potluck, this one is quick and easy and a crowd pleaser. - Margy

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Goodyear Blimp

I grew up in Southern California, and as far back as I can remember the Goodyear Blimp has been flying our skies. Last Saturday was no exception. The blimp circled the LA Coliseum throughout the USC vs. UCLA football game.

The Pilgrim was the first airship used for promotion in 1925. In the 50s, when I saw my first Goodyear Blimp, incandescent bulbs were used for nighttime text messages. They also started using them to film events. In the 60s, the signs expanded to four colours and movement.

Goodyear's fleet of blimps were soon used nationwide and internationally for filming and advertising. In the 90s, the signs went LED with lots of colours and bright enough to see in daylight. In the 2000s, computers have enabled high resolution.

The Goodyear Blimp over the LA Coliseum for USC vs. UCLA football.

The LA area Goodyear Blimp base is in Carson. When I lived in Torrance and drove to my teaching assignment in Bellflower, I passed the blimp twice a day. On rare occasions, I got to see a takeoff or landing. This is the 90th anniversary the Goodyear airship program.

Have you seen a Goodyear Blimp? Where and what did you think? -- Margy