Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Zuanich Point Park

Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham, Washington.
There are many parks and trails in Bellingham, Washington. During our stay in town over these pandemic months, we've taken advantage of several. And the good news, there are many more to explore.

We took my car to the Mazda dealer for it's first inspection. We were south of town, so on the way back we decided to visit Zuanich Point Park next to the Squalicum Harbor where we used to keep the Bayliner 2452 that is now in Powell River.

Looking across Bellingham Bay to the Fairhaven neighbourhood.

David checking out the kayaks during the 2011 Ski to Sea race.
Zuanich Point Park is well known as the launch point for the kayak portion of the annual (except this year) Ski to Sea race. We went one year with our good friend David who was visiting from California.

Zuanich Point Park's history is linked to the harbor's development. In the 60s, the Port of Bellingham acquired waterfront parcels for development. Squalicum Harbor was expanded to support industry, fishing and recreational boating. In 1990, an acre was set aside for a kite flying park.

The park was expanded and named Harbor Point Park in 1994. In 1995, it was renamed Zuanich Point Park in honor of retiring Port Commissioner Pete Zuanich, Sr.

The entrance to Squalicum Harbor and the Bellweather Hotel.

Today Zuanich Point Park covers 4.4 acres and includes free parking, the Squalicum Boathouse available to rent, grass for lounging and picnics, paved trails for walking between the recreational and commercial harbours, a nautical themed children's play area, a small dock for water access, and of course, room to fly a kite.

The Anchor Memorial to lost fishermen.
There are two memorials within Zuanich Point Park to honour the fishermen who went to sea and did not return.

The first is large anchor that was moved to the park on dedication day in 1995 as a memorial to fishermen lost at sea between 1943 and 1975. Names on the plaque were supplied by a society of widowed wives.

The park was redesigned and improved in 1998.

"Safe Return" Fishermen's Memorial.
The bronze Fishermen's Memorial statue “Safe Return” was installed and dedicated on Memorial Day in 1999. It overlooks the entrance to Squalicum Harbor.

We walked the park's paths and sat on a bench to enjoy the sun, relax and read. It was also a great spot to people watch. There were walkers, joggers, families on the grass and children playing nearby. It felt good, like we are starting to emerge into a new kind of normal.

You will find Zuanich Point Park at 2600 North Harbor Loop Drive on Bellingham’s waterfront.  Nearby are nautical stores, restaurants and the Bellingham Yacht Club. Dine with a harbour view and watch commercial fishermen tend to their boats.

What kinds of parks are you visiting these days? -- Margy

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine: Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

Growing rhubarb in a barrel at the float cabin.
Back at the float cabin I grow rhubarb in a large plastic barrel on the deck. My rhubarb never gets really large, but it was always tasty. My little put usually gave me enough fresh rhubarb for three crisps during the summer months.

Here in the city I had to buy my rhubarb at the store. I order online and do parking lot pickup so I didn't get to pick my stalks. One of the three I got was the largest I've ever seen, but it seemed tender.

Dave, our good friend in Powell River, is a master crisp maker. He gave me his recipe. That's a real friend. But my recipe file is back home so I went back to TasteofHome.com to find a one. Click here if you want to see the video that goes with it.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

Fruit mixture ingredients.

Fruit Mixture:

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed
2 cups sliced peeled apples or sliced strawberries

Crisp topping ingredients.

1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, optional


Clean and cut rhubarb into 1" pieces. Wash and cut strawberries in half. I also had some frozen leftover blueberries and blackberries that I also added to the fruit mixture.

Clean and cut the fruit ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add rhubarb and strawberries; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8-in. cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof skillet.

Cornstarch will thicken fruit juices during baking.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350° until crisp is bubbly and fruit is tender, about 45 minutes.

Add the topping then bake.

A sweet treat for dessert.
If desired, serve warm with ice cream. It also makes a good breakfast bowl, warm or cold, the following morning.

What have you been making to satisfy your sweet tooth to go with your home cooked meals? -- Margy

Monday, June 22, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Enjoying Local Parks While Social Distancing

Do you have favourite parks? Here in Bellingham ours is Marine Drive Park. It's small and cozy. We go there often to read and soak up the sun.

A reading "room" with a view.

Other people do, too. They come in cars, on bikes and walking from neighbourhood homes.

Marine Drive Park is family and dog friendly.

There are picnic tables and benches and plenty of lawn to spread out on.

We bring our chairs to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine several times a week.

And an occasional freight train just adds to to the experience.

Burlington Northern-Santa Fe trains haul coal and freight to Vancouver BC.

Where is your favourite place to get outdoors? -- Margy

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine: Scalloped Potatoes

Hot cheesy scalloped potatoes.
The United States and Canada extended the border closure and quarantine requirement for an additional month. That means it's time for me to get back into the Bellingham condo kitchen and make some comforting food.

I had potatoes that were getting old, so I decided to use them for scalloped potatoes. I went to my favourite online cooking site, Taste of Home and selected their Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes recipe.

Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes


Organize the ingredients.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 cups peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced onion


Slice the potato and onion.
My modifications are in italics.

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. To keep them from browning while you work, place them in a bowl of cold water. Slice the onion. Set these ingredients aside until the sauce is made.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk to prevent lumps. Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Click here for a video.

Making the cheese sauce.

Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese until melted.

Layer the potatoes, onion and sauce.
I love cheese, so I increased the amount to 2 cups, reserving half a cup to melt over the top at the end.

Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Drain the potatoes. Place half of the potatoes in the dish and layer with 1/2 of the sliced onion and half of the cheese sauce.

Repeat the layers with the cheese sauce on top.

Bake covered at 350° for 50 minutes. My oven took 60 minutes for the potatoes to soften.

Uncover and continue to bake until the potatoes are tender and bubbly, about 10-15 minutes longer. I topped the dish with the reserved half cup of grated cheese at the end and continued to bake it uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

Make it a Meal:

I oven baked seasoned pork chops during the last 30-minutes the potatoes were in the oven. A chilled steamed artichoke with mayonnaise rounded out our comfort meal.

Comfort food centered around cheesy scalloped potatoes.

What have you been having for comfort food these days? -- Margy

Monday, June 15, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Jeckyl and Hyde BBQ and Ale House

It may have a split personality, but it's good eats day and night.
I was hungry for pizza, so Wayne and I went to our go-to spot for some. Whatcom County restaurants just reopened for sit-down dining, but we chose to order ahead and get parking lot takeout.

Tucked away in the corner of a commercial park you'll find a great little restaurant called the Jeckyl and Hyde BBQ and Ale House.

Don't let the modest exterior fool you, there are good drinks and great eats inside.

Outdoor seating is available.
The name hints at a split personality, day and night. No matter what time you choose, there's a welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff and a terrific menu.

In addition to soft drinks, there's beer and wine available. They have bottled beers and several craft brews on tap. My favourite is the Mac and Jacks Amber Ale.

There are plenty of tables inside, and a few outside for warm summer nights and people like us who prefer outdoor seating right now.

A large chalkboard displays their food and drink menu.

In addition to wood-fired pizza, the menu includes soup, salads, sandwiches, and custom made calzones. And that's not all. The BBQ is all stoked up for mouth watering pork and beef brisket. I've had the pulled pork sandwich topped with their homemade sauce, yum! If you have a hankering for a massive amount of good BBQ, check out the Aporkalypse sandwich with pork, bacon and Canadian bacon.

Jeckyl and Hyde BBQ and Ale House
709 Orchard Place
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360-715-9100

Open Monday-Saturday 10:00-9:00, Closed Sundays
Catering also available.

Stop on by for some really good eats. -- Margy

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine: Easy Semi-Homemade Pineapple Carrot Cake

Easy semi-homemade carrot cake.
In the past months, I've shared meals prepared while self-isolating in Washington State. Things are reopening, but our age group is still encouraged to stay home.

The Food Channel used to air Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. She combined store-bought items with fresh ingredients to make foods that tasted like they were from scratch.

I looked online for a carrot cake recipe that started with a boxed mix. I chose Easy Pineapple Carrot Cake from the Eat at Home Cooks website. 

Easy Pineapple Carrot Cake

The ingredients ready to go.

• 1 carrot cake mix
• 1-2 small carrots grated
• 8 oz crushed pineapple drained
• 3 eggs
• 2/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Fresh carrots and canned pineapple.

My modifications are in italics.

Mix all of the cake ingredients together with an electric mixer until well blended. I read the directions on the Duncan Hines box and it only called for one and a half cups liquid so I reduced the oil from 2/3 to 1/2 half cup. I used a spoon rather than a mixer.

I used a spoon rather than a mixer.
Pour into two greased 8" round cake pans. I don't have round cake pans, so I used a 7x11-inch Pyrex pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Because my batter was deeper in one rectangular pan, it took about 50 minutes for the toothpick to come out clean. Towards the end, I checked every five minutes.

Cool completely before frosting.

Rather than making cream cheese frosting from scratch, I used Duncan Hines Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting.

This one cake gave us dessert for four nights. It made a nice, but not overly sweet, end to our warmed up freezer meal entrees.

Easy semi-homemade pineapple carrot cake hits the spot!

 What are you making to satisfy your sweet tooth? -- Margy

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Exploring Bellingham: Date Night at Marine Park and Burrito King

A warm evening to enjoy Marine Park in Bellingham, WA.
The last time we visited Marine Park it was back in March during the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. It was still technically winter, but there were hints of spring already in evidence.

This week we are well into spring and summer is approaching. Time seems to pass both slowly and extremely fast. Have you been experiencing that sensation?

A sign of the times.
To celebrate Whatcom County's entry into Phase 2 of Washington's Safe Start plan on June 5, Wayne and I decided an evening at the park, soaking up sunshine and reading books on our Kindles was perfect for a date night.

There was a new sign as we entered the grassy field. We set up our chairs with a good view of Bellingham Bay where a huge fishing boat was waiting to enter the harbour to unload its catch.

Several groups came to the park while we were there, but with lot of space distancing was easy. Unfortunately, a few passed a bit too close for comfort, but they kept moving.

Flowers in bloom kept the bees busy.

After an hour enjoying the view and quiet, we heard the whistle of an approaching train. Tracks run between the edge of the park and the bluffs rising from Bellingham Bay.

It was a Burlington Northern BNSF freight train heading south from Canada with a mixed load including telephone poles, boxcars, containers, tankers and ore cars. There were bundles of milled lumber with the Western Forest Products emblem, possibly from our Powell River.

The Burrito King food truck is a welcome addition to our community.

On the way home we decided to go out for dinner. Restaurants are now allowed to have dine-in to 50% capacity. We opted for burritos at the new Burrito King food truck that is parked at Bakerview Road and Eliza Avenue. They've added picnic tables so I hope they are here to stay.

What have you been doing as stay home orders are being relaxed? -- Margy

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Quarantine Cuisine: Creamy Tuna-Noodle Casserole

Saute the onions for better flavour.
Right now comfort foods hit the spot. What's more comforting than Tuna Noodle Casserole.

I can make it from memory, but decided to check online for some hints. After looking at a few recipes, I decided on Creamy Tuna-Noodle Casserole from Taste of Home. I've found other good recipes at this website, so check it out.

Creamy Tuna-Noodle Casserole


Organizing ingredients helps me cook better.
Tuna-Noodle Casserole:
5 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 cup frozen peas
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup fat-free sour cream
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 5-oz cans light tuna in water
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted


I used the noodle pot as my mixing bowl.
I made a few changes to the recipe. Those are denoted with italics.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook the noodles according to package directions for al dente, adding peas during the last minute of cooking. Drain. Instead of adding the peas to the boiling water, I thawed and mixed them into the sauce mixture.

In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, cheese, milk and salt. Stir in tuna, onion and pepper. Add noodles and peas.

Bake at 350°. I added the potato chip topping after 15 minutes.
Toss to combine. I used the noodle sauce pan instead of a bowl. I like using fewer utensils to make cleanup easier. I omitted the green pepper and sauteed the onion in a little margarine until it was translucent before adding it to the sauce mixture.

Transfer to an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, toss bread crumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle over top. Instead of using bread crumbs, I crushed potato chips for the topping.

Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

Dinner was served in bowls. First course was Caesar salad. When we were finished, I washed the bowls for the second course.

Caesar salad came first.

The second course was the Creamy Tuna-Noodle Casserole. When dinner was over, cleanup was very easy.

The washed bowls then held our comfort food entree.

What have you been making for comfort food? -- Margy