I love a trek to St. Mark’s Summit on a misty fall day.
Being surrounded by nature’s beauty makes my soul sing.
And, after a chilly excursion to the mountaintop, this dish helps to warm your soul and fill your belly:
Savoury Puff Pastry
- 2 ⅓ cups flour
- 14 tablespoons butter, frozen
- Pinch salt
- 8-10 tablespoons chilled water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Place your butter in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight.
In a jug mix together water and lemon juice and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together flour and salt. Everything should be cold so feel free to put the bowl of flour in the fridge to chill.
Grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mix. Stir the frozen butter into the flour with a knife in with a knife.
Add the liquid, holding a little back just in case you don’t need it all. Using your hand bring your pastry together gently. You want to add just enough water to bring the pastry together. Too much water will not yield you a flakey dough.
Bring the dough together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze to use at a later day.
Form your puff pastry into little boats. In the centre, add sliced cherry tomatoes and a layer of bocconcini and top with a fresh basil leaf.
Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour. Serve. Warm your heart.
I like to hike.
And on a long hiking trail, keeping my energy at an optimum level is important. I bring lots of water, in the summer I pack a hydrating watermelon smoothie and snacks. Lots of yummy snacks.
Here’s one packed full of carbohydrates for quick and easy energy. It also has hemp hearts for a clean protein, good-for-you omega 3 fats and a bit of dark chocolate for anti-oxidants and the yumminess factor.
Chocolate Hemp Energy Bites
2 cups of rolled oats – organic
1 cup organic peanut butter
1/2 cup 80% dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup raw organic honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup ground flax
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic pumpkin seeds
Combine ingredients in bowl. Let sit in fridge for 25 minutes. Roll into balls. Coat in hemp hearts.
A friend and I were trekking along a trail on Cypress Mountain yesterday and all of a sudden a blur of shiny black fur lept across the trail, about 25 feet away. “Is that a huge German Shepherd? Where are his owners?” I thought. Then I saw s cute, little, round beach ball of a baby black bear scurrying behind. My brain took a quick second to compute. Bears!!!
My friend and I looked at each other, then hung on to each other, then slowly backed up and finally turned and “calmly” walked away, with our hearts pounding almost out of our chests. We did not want to threaten Mama Bear in any way, shape or form.
Eventually mama and her baby went deep into the forest and we guardedly continued up the mountain. 15 minutes or so later we heard a splashing sound and peeked through the branches to see another big black bear hanging out in a stream. I didn’t stick around to get any photos but this was turning into a bear~y exciting, adrenaline rush of a hike.
I don’t have a lot of one on one experience with bears (we used to drive to the dump when I was growing up in Ontario to watch black bears go through the garbage and I saw a grizzly in Alberta but I was safely locked in my friend’s vehicle) but I remembered a hiker telling me about his close encounter with a grizzly in Alberta and how, after that solo experience, he would only go hiking in groups of six or more as bears won’t bother that many people grouped together. I don’t know if this is true but I believed him and when I spotted a family hiking on the trail just ahead of us. I called to them and we formed a bear-proof pack (there were 6 of us including my dog) and hiked safely together up to the view point and back.
There were no more bear sightings that day. Maybe our little group scared them off or maybe the bears had better things to do deeper in the forest. Either way, we had an awesome day in nature, made a few new hiking friends and walked off the mountain with a good story to tell.
Beautiful Pacific Spirit forest.
Our province is on fire with gorgeous forests like this one going up in flames and there’s no end in site. Forest fires are getting bigger and stronger the past few years because of global warming and this tragic situation is making me incredibly sad and anxious.
Humans are heading to the edge of a cliff and we need to decide now if we’re going to save ourselves or topple into the abyss.
What if we all shifted our priorities? Ego and greed could be the first to go. They don’t make anyone happy anyway. What if we made caring for our beautiful earth job one?
Here are a few ways we can do it:
1. Drive as little as possible. Walk (it’s amazing and good for you) or take transit (it’s not that bad. Really. I promise.) instead.
2. Stop eating meat (or eat as little as possible. The greenhouse gasses produced by animals raised for food are astronomical. A side bonus of this is that less animals will be treated cruelly and you’ll look and feel better too).
3. Stop buying a whole bunch of
crap oops, I mean stuff, you don’t need. Products made for retail are the 2nd biggest polluters in the world (oil and gas, you’re # 1). Forget retail therapy and get some nature therapy instead. Trust me, it’s way better for the soul.
Do these things and collectively we can all help our beautiful, little green planet re-balance itself and come back to health. As David Suzuki says “You may think that you’re only one drop in the bucket but if there are a million drops, things are going to change radically.” Remember your power in being able to make a positive change and we’ll have this gorgeous province to call home for many more moons.
I’ve been dreaming of sunshine lately and thinking about all of the hikes I’m planning to do this summer. Hikes like Joffre Lakes.
Joffre is situated a little north of Whistler and is home to the most beautiful emerald and aquamarine water I have ever seen.
Here are a few pics from my 1st hike to this extraordinarily beautiful destination. I can’t wait to get back.
Squamish, BC is less than an hour from Vancouver but, in many ways, it’s a world away. At first glance you’ll see a typical Canadian small town with strip malls, fast food joints and a bustling Tim Horton’s. But then you look up and see the stunning mountain range right beside the town and Squamish no longer seems anything close to typical. This hiker, rock climber, and snowshoer’s paradise is one of my favourite mini getaways. The mountain range is called “The Chief” and now has a gondola that takes you part way up the mountain to tree lined hiking trails with breathtaking vistas.
If you love the outdoors and are planning a trip to BC, definitely put this winter wonderland destination on your list.