Lake Life in Whistler

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the….

I find myself humming this song every time I visit this picturesque little town surrounded by unbelievable wild beauty.

A day trip to Lost Lake turns me into a carefree soul, happy to laze the day away beside the water while my little dog swims and fetches until he curls up, exhausted, beside me.

“Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way.” – Quentin Tarantino

A day spent here also takes me back to the best memories of my teenage years, growing up in lake country in Ontario. A sunny summer day meant putting your bikini on, getting on a rickety old bike, throwing the beach towel and PB and J sandwich in the basket and pedaling down a gravel road to the lake to meet up with friends. Our beach back in the day was a grassy patch beside a dirt road but it was sublime. Days were spent swimming, sun bathing orsometimes canoeing through the thick, beautiful lily pads. No smart phone or internet required.

It was simple and easy and fun and Lost Lake takes me right back to that place.

After an afternoon of lazing in the grass and dips in the lake, it’s cocktail hour.

This one is courtesy of Milestones Restaurant:

Ruby Red Mimosa

  • Half glass sparkling wine
  • Ruby red grapefruit juice
  • splash elderberry liqueur

Just the right ending to a slow, sweet summer day.

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. – Socrates

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Sooke Harbour House

With all of the political unrest south of the border dominating the news this week, I can’t think of a more soothing place to write about than Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island.

I was lucky enough to spend three nights there a few weeks ago and the whole experience was a blissful, back to nature retreat.

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Let me start with the view. Our room faced the ocean and we saw breathtaking vistas like this every day from our balcony.

sooke, british columbia

vancouver island

The hotel is quaint and luxurious at the same time, making a visit there feel like entering a warm haven from yesteryear. If I had to describe the visit in a metaphor, staying at Sooke Harbour House is like wrapping yourself in a fuzzy blanket with a good book beside you and a cup of delicious hot chocolate cupped in your hands. And, speaking of good books, the hallways of Harbour House are lined with shelves and shelves of books. There are also super comfy love seats nestled in the hallway, waiting for someone to sink into them and dive into one of those good books.

sooke harbour house

sooke harbour house

Leave your room for an afternoon and you’ll see that the grounds around the Inn are filled with an edible garden. Herbs, lettuces, root vegetables, fruit trees and lots of beautiful edible flowers make the garden a delight to walk through. And later at dinner, the unbelievable freshness of your meal is a foodie’s dream. This is due to so many food items being picked from their very own garden but also because they source almost all of the menu items from the Island. Sooke Harbour House is an example of the 100 Mile Diet at its best.

Then there’s room service. Here we have garden pomme frites, a chanterelle soup and garden salad topped with pretty edible flowers.

organic food

Everything tasted amazingly delicious, as did every other meal eaten in the two restaurants, The Copper Room and The Restaurant. If you’d like to make this rich and creamy soup at home, so you can cuddle up in a fuzzy blanket and forget about all of the worries of the world for a while, let me help you out…

Sooke Harbour House’s Chanterelle Walnut Soup

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups wild chanterelle mushrooms, brushed and chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, shelled
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
20 fennel seeds
10 coriander seeds
10 cumin seeds
2 Tbsp garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup whipping cream (or whole milk for a lighter version)
2 fresh or dried bay leaves

Place butter in large, stainless steel pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add mushrooms, walnuts, onion, carrot, celery, fennel, coriander, and cumin seeds, and saute until onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften (about 10 to 13 minutes). Add garlic and ginger, and saute for 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Add white wine and increase heat to high. Reduce wine until approximately 1/4 cup remains. Add stock, cream, and bay leaves, and bring to boil. Then, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat; remove and discard bay leaves. While soup cools, prepare garnish. Place whipping cream in medium-sized bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Once soup has cooled for 30 minutes, puree in blender at high speed in small batches for 2 minutes each, or until very smooth. Return puree’d soup to pot. Bring to boil and serve. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish each with a dollop of whipped nasturtium cream. Serves Six.

 

How To Not Gain Weight When Dining Out 24/7

Last week my cousins were in town and I feel like I spent every moment either eating or planning where we should go next to eat some more. It was all great fun until I couldn’t quite fit into my jeans one morning. That situation was a rude reminder that it was time to take a day off from gluttony and go for a run as well as skip a couple of meals before I resumed feasting with my family.

Oh, and did I mention that they were staying on the 20th floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim? This floor comes equipped with its very own lounge. A lounge that has magnificent views of the ocean and mountains and also serves free food morning, noon and night. Free food such as delicious eggs benny for breakfast, yummy sliders, creamy devilled eggs at lunch and items like Vancouver Island scallops in cream sauce and beef enchiladas in the evening. And there was always an assortment of smoked salmon, cold cuts, salads and chilled cucumber water available throughout the day. Burp. I fell quite in love with this lounge, its endless array of delicious edibles and its spectacular view. 

me & g

view

I started trying to figure out ways I could continue to have access to this foodie Nirvana after my cousins flew home to Ontario. One of my nieces suggested stealing a maid’s key, the other recommended hitching a ride in the elevator with a real guest and making myself at home in the free food lounge. Caught up in the midst of my feasting frenzy, both of these sounded like really good, reasonable ideas.

Then I came to my senses. My skinny jeans that couldn’t quite button up helped me get there. There’s got to be a better way, I thought. I must be able to eat out without going into full-on glutton mode, right? Right. On the third day, I decided to start making really good choices and as I went along, I felt my jeans, slowly but surely, begin to feel comfortable again.

Below are my smart and healthy eating tips when visitors or travelling have you dining out 24/7:

  • Avoid pre-meal bread and butter like the plague. Huge calories with not much nutrition and not that much satisfaction either. Avoid the fattening fillers and go for the good stuff!
  • Ask for your appy as soon as you sit down if you feel like you’re starving. Don’t worry about etiquette. If anyone gives you a dirty look, tell them you have low blood sugar and must eat now, thank you very much.
  • Order high protein, low fat appetizers. Raw oysters are perfect. Full of zinc (anti-aging) and protein that will fill you up. Low fat as well.
  • Pick entrees that don’t contain refined carbs or a super high fat content. Say no to creamy pasta and yest to fresh seafood or a vegan option. One of my nieces is vegan and she ate mouth-watering dishes like roasted portobello and fire-roasted red pepper quinoa. Yum. I found myself eating food from her plate more than my own.
  • Only have one glass of wine with dinner. Two max. If you drink more than that, you may lose your judgement and before you know it you’re ending your meal with a big slice of cheesecake topped with extra whipped cream and washed down with a Bailey’s (or at least that’s how I used to end mine).
  • Drink lots of lemon water. Thirst and/or slight dehydration throw our bodies satiation signals out of whack.

And there you have it. Follow these tips and you can dine out indefinitely without adding pounds to your beautiful body.