Life Update & Mango, Pineapple and Coconut Yogurt Popsicles

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Hello my lovely readers! I’ve been having a little too much fun trying different popsicle combos. I quickly wanted to share a flavor combination that I really enjoyed. I won’t even make a recipe card, because it’s really that easy, and doesn’t require much explaining. Using a popsicle tray, fill each slot a quarter of the way with mango juice, and two quarters with coconut flavored yogurt (I used Activia brand). Then, simply pop in a piece of freshly cut pineapple, and place it in the freezer until frozen. 

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Hmmmm… my human is holding something strange… wait a minute, perhaps I recognize what that is… could it be? No… I doubt it… oh my goodness… I think it is… it DEFINITELY is! Popsicles!!! 

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As I was trying to take pictures of the popsicles, Luna must’ve seen what I was holding (she usually get’s part of my popsicle), because she got really excited and was desperate to have some! She started jumping, trying to reach for the popsicles, photobombing my pictures in the most adorable way! No worries, she definitely got some in the end! πŸ˜‰

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Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, all of Luna’s hair got chopped off! She looks so different with short hair! Needless to say, we were pretty amused by her look right after her hair cut. Especially since we were only used to her cute teddy bear look. It’s definitely nice and fresh for the summer though!

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I also wanted to update you a little on what’s going on at the Kampens these days. Kevin started tearing down our old deck on Saturday. It is in pretty poor shape, and needs replacing. The reason why we’re tearing it down now, is because my parents are coming for a visit (so exciting!), and my dad wanted to help us build a new one!

My last update, which might make some of you a little sad, is that I will be taking a break from blogging (this will be my last post for a while) for two reasons. First, I want to be fully available when my parents are visiting, as I don’t get to see them that often. Second, Kevin and I are travelling to Thailand!!! What!? Yes, it’s happening! We’re really looking forward to it, and I can’t wait to show/tell you all about it!

Now you know, and don’t have to wonder why I suddenly vanished from the face of the earth! I will miss sharing posts with you, but it is also important to disconnect sometimes. Plus, this only means I will have a lot of new content to share with you. 

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I want to thank each one of you for following me, encouraging me, and reading along. It means a lot to me! May this summer make you as happy as the popsicles make Luna happy. Here’s to summer! Cheers!!!!! -Erika

A Short Canoe Getaway

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Last weekend Kevin, Luna, and I went on a short canoe trip to Manitoba’s beautiful Whiteshell. It is always so nice to get away from the city for a while, and get a break from all the noise in our lives that comes in different shapes and sizes. It’s refreshing to put away our technological devices most of the time, and not being bound by time. For the most part, we didn’t even know what time it was.     

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We had almost reached our destination when we drove past something. I looked at Kevin and asked: Was that a…? And before I could finish my question he replied: I think it was! It turns out that we had just driven past a large turtle! We stopped the car, got out, and walked towards the turtle. After observing her for a short while, Kevin noticed that she was in the process of laying eggs. He even saw some of the eggs drop! The turtle seemed slightly unsettled by our presence, but didn’t seem afraid, as she never retreated into her shell. Perhaps she doesn’t have any predators to be worried about in her natural habitat?

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The turtle had dug a hole in the ground, right on the edge of the road. After laying many perfectly round white eggs in it, the turtle started covering them with the wet soil, slowly using her strong hind legs. When her job was completed, she made her way back to the stream, fell onto the runoff pipe with a plop and then fell right into the water.

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The butterflies seemed to have found something delicious to eat, as they were all gathering at the same place on the road. We thought it was probably another turtle nest, that had likely already hatched, and had left a tasty trail behind.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of wild flowers we got to see in the Whiteshell. Some of them were familiar ones that grow in gardens everywhere, like irises, roses, lilies, and even flowers that looked a lot like cosmos. They appeared to be wild flowers though, as they looked slightly different from the same varieties planted in gardens.

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We started our canoe trip in Lone Island Lake, portaged into Malloy Lake, and camped out on an Island for the night. After our first portage we saw a lot of birds flying above us in the sky. They looked like bald eagles, but they could have also been turkey vultures or osprey.

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Luna had the time of her life exploring. I was thinking maybe we should have named her Dora the Explorer instead of her current name!  

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We are particularly fond of watching sun sets, and got lucky to see a beautiful one from the island. 

Luna had to wear her life jacket the whole time (except while sleeping in the tent) because we were surrounded by water. This gave her some freedom to explore on her own, while we knew she’d be safe if she were to fall into the water. She didn’t seem to mind it too much though. I guess it was a small price to pay for some freedom in return!

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The evening skies were so colorful and calming, birds chirping everywhere. The water was smooth, reflecting the moon like a mirror. 

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We hung up our backpacks high up on a tree branch. This kept the food out of reach in case of a bear visit. We knew that people had previously seen bears on this island, but fortunately we didn’t encounter any. Though I always have a strong desire to see bears, I preferably don’t want the encounter to be on the island that I’m sleeping on! 

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I got up earlier the next morning, because I really wanted to see and shoot the sunrise. It turns out I couldn’t actually see the sunrise from our campsite because the direction that it was rising from, was being covered by trees. After taking some videos and pictures I returned to the tent in the hopes of getting some more sleep. Before leaving the tent I had tucked Luna in with my sleeping bag. When I came back she was still enjoying the coziness, so I tucked her back in right beside me after crawling back into the sleeping bag myself. We ended up falling back asleep and were greeted by a warm tent when we woke up. 

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Cooking is always different when we go back-country camping. You have to think about how much stuff you can carry, or how many portage trips you are willing to make. Generally you try to pack fairly light. That means cooking food on a fire, or using a small camping stove, which is what we used. The pots that we use are thin and light, which means they get really hot, really quickly. It’s definitely more difficult to control the heat. While frying our bacon I realized that the fork I was using was melting, so I had to resource to using sticks that were lying on the ground to continue my frying job.  

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In the end we got to eat our breakfast burritos with bacon, which did their job of fueling us for the day ahead. Plus, I had the privilege of cooking in the most beautiful and open concept kitchen EVER! 

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Quick tip: if you want a nice picture of your pet, bribe them with some bacon. Hey look, we even got a smile! Haha! πŸ˜‰

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After eating, resting, and packing up our stuff, we continued canoeing. We canoed by some people that gave us directions to the portage that crosses over into Jessica lake. This portage was a long one. It was over 1 km long, which seems quite long when you’re carrying heavy things. We had to make two trips because we couldn’t carry everything at once. Let me tell you how thankful I was for mosquito repellent spray, as much as I hate wearing that stuff! They probably would’ve eaten us alive if only we would have let them!

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It was raining softly for the first while, but then stopped soon after JUST having put on all of our rain gear! We were thankful that it stopped though, and wearing my rain pants was actually quite nice for walking through the grassy areas on the portage. It probably made it hard for tics to hold on to me, because my pants were slippery.

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It turned out to be a beautiful day! Once we were in Jessica Lake we had to find our way to the Whiteshell River (which after about 10 km brought us back to the parking lot). It was a little complicated to find at first, because the marshy areas jutted in and out, appearing as potential openings to the river. When we did find the mouth of the river, I would have to say it was hands down my favorite part of our time spent canoeing. Both sides of the river were covered in reeds, and wild growing irises. The water was so calm, and we really took our time, slowly canoeing down the river, just enjoying our surroundings.   

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We saw a fair amount of wildlife on the river. We saw a mama duck with her ducklings. She quickly notified them that they were in danger when she saw us, as the little ones quickly tried to make their way to the reeds. She then tried to distract us from them, as she was playing a lame duck, attracting attention onto herself.

We encountered another duck with the same behavior, and to our surprise Luna’s instinct made her jump out of the canoe, into the water, for the first time. She seemed to regret her decision as soon as she hit the cold water, as she usually isn’t a big fan of water, and started swimming after us. I was slightly scared, but also SO proud of her for being so daring! Luckily she was wearing her life jacket. Did you know that not all dogs can swim and that a lot of dogs actually drown?

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We also saw a lot of turtles along the way that were sitting on rocks or logs, soaking up the afternoon sun. Most of the time they slid into the water one by one, as they saw our canoe approaching.

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We saw this old 1950’s truck that has been sitting in this marshy river for years. I can’t help but wonder how in the world it got there! It looked like the engine had sunken under the water. So mysterious! 

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We made it back to the parking lot with aching muscles, but feeling very accomplished, and refreshed by nature. We ate a quick snack-like supper and spent a couple of minutes fishing and then felt ready to go home. We had originally intended to stay for two nights, but the weather forecast did not look promising at all, so we decided that going home and sleeping in our own bed would be more enjoyable.

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Now let me inform you of the not so fun part of this trip. Tics. Tics everywhere! Ticks on Kevin, tics on Luna, and tics on me (I even had one crawling on my face in the morning in the tent!). Before driving home we checked ourselves and Luna for tics. We found SO many on her! When we got home, I gave her a bath and we found SO many more! We found at least ten or more just on her face! Imagine how paranoid I felt after! The following day, she got a really short hair cut, because her hair was terribly matted, and they didn’t find any more tics on her. What a relief! On the bright side, at least now I feel pretty educated on what tics look like!  

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Finally, I decided to play around with making a short video of our paddle trip as a keepsake for later, and of course to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it! Here it is:

Happy weekend!! πŸ™‚ – Erika

Glacier National Park, BC

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It’s travel Tuesday once again! Wait… except it’s not! Sorry for disappointing you with no new feed on Tuesday. I suppose Thursday will have to do. Aha! Wait a minute… Thursday also starts with a T! There you go. I’ve got it covered.

On the bright side, I get to write about Glacier National Park today. I’m excited because in terms of scenery this was one of my favorite places. I find it difficult to say that it was my absolute favorite, simply because there were so many great places in the West Coast. But it is definitely within my top 5!   

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What I loved about Glacier National Park was how green everything was. Driving on the highway, we were sandwiched between tall mountains, and they were covered in luscious vegetation. There is something about seeing all the green in nature that just makes me feel so good. Perhaps it’s because I truly appreciate the color green after long and white winters.  

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We stayed at Illecillewaet Campground. It was packed with green trees, had a flowing creek, and a hiking trail. The only downfall to this campground was that it didn’t have any showers. However, it was a small price to pay for the rewarding scenery.

After setting up our tent and settling in for the night, we enjoyed some s’mores over the stove. We were not allowed to make a fire, as there was a fire ban in Western Canada, because of the many forest fires that year. We warmed up in our tent with some hot tea, while watching our white water rafting videos, as it was a colder evening. 

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The next morning we went up a hiking trail close to the campground, which took about two hours. A grizzly bear warning had been issued because previously a grizzly bear had followed a group of people for fifteen minutes! And so, it was mandatory to walk in groups of at least four people.

We met up with some people from Holland and Switzerland, and it turns out that the language we all had in common was German. Even though we all had a slightly different dialect of German, it allowed us to communicate effectively with each other for the next two hours. And if you you’re wondering, no, we didn’t run into any grizzly bears. I would have LOVED to see one though, from a safe place, of course!

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When you go on a hike with other people, you have to decide together, how far you want to go. We were so glad we all chose to walk a little further when we arrived at the site pictured above. The grounds were covered in large charcoal grey rocks, many of the tall green pine trees were hiding behind the foggy skies, and further up ahead glacier run off created streams of water, running down the mountain. 

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Driving through glacier park was a treat indeed. Even if we had not stopped anywhere, the drive still would have been worth it. The dark green mountains, the wildflowers, the low hanging clouds, the glaciers and the waterfalls running down the sides of the mountains, were all so pleasing to the eye.

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Rock Garden Trail was our next short adventure. As the name might suggest, there were a lot of large rocks in this place, which I suppose makes it a rock garden? This is a short trail, about 30 minutes. 

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Blueberries? I didn’t risk finding out.

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The path led us through forest-like areas, plenty of rocky areas, covered in different shades of moss, and of course many small plants, covered in either flowers or little fruit-like things.

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Awww look who we ran into! Our little friend, whose name we don’t know! It could either be Alan or Steve! But isn’t this creature adorable!? It reminds me of this little buddy:

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Our last stop in Glacier National Park was Hemlock Grove Boardwalk Trail. We enjoyed a stroll through this temperate rain-forest while the birds were chirping their delightful songs. Huge old trees (some were more than 350 years old) had fallen, creating openings for the sunlight to come in, providing new trees with light to grow. The cycle of life is pretty amazing in forests.

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The ground of the forest was covered in these large green leaves. The last picture shows how large these leaves were in comparison to Kevin’s hand.

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In the above picture Kevin is standing on a large fallen tree. 

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Glacier National Park surely has a lot of magical places to visit. Thank you for reading along. Have a great Thursday you all! πŸ™‚

 

 

Self-Serve Strawberry “Cheesecake” Ice Cream

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Howdy! I hope you woke up bright and chirpy! Actually, I feel like I should still be sleeping, like my husband and my dog, Luna. I know I’m tired, and my body still needs more sleep, but for some reason my brain thought I should be done sleeping, thinking instead of possible bear attack stories, because Kevin and I have planned a short camping/canoeing trip. Haha, really brain!? Instead, I thought I would get up and start blogging. I don’t mind it though. It’s dark inside because it’s cloudy, and it’s pouring on and off. Along with some thunder, it feels like a good set-up for writing. 

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Who else is LOVING spring so far? It basically feels like summer, even though it’s technically still Spring. We have had some pretty warm weather already, and I’m loving it! When it gets almost too hot, I always try to remind myself that I’m not allowed to complain about it, since I know how long and cold the winter will be here, and that I would give anything to feel the heat of the sun on some of those days.

Anyways, I’ll stop rambling now. I have a delicious and almost embarrassingly easy recipe to share with you. Our friends encouraged me to post this a long time ago, because they really enjoyed it when we served it to them. So here you go friends, I’m finally posting it for other people to enjoy as well! You can be proud of me now. πŸ˜‰  

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I love serving this Strawberry “Cheesecake” Ice Cream as a dessert, especially when you didn’t have time to make anything in advance. It requires very little preparation, and since it is a self-serve dessert, it really is a breeze. You can totally get the toppings ready while you’re chatting with your friends. Well, except if you’re using a slap chop to crush the graham crackers, like I did. Things can get a little loud in the kitchen then. You might want to assure your guests that you’re not angry!

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I would recommend serving this dessert after a heavier meal. I find that ice cream usually makes for a lighter and refreshing dessert, especially when served with fruit. 

All that is required for prep work is to cut up some fresh strawberries, and crush some graham crackers. Place both ingredients in separate bowls, then set them out as toppings, along with some cinnamon, and of course the vanilla ice cream.

I didn’t include any quantities for the ingredients, since you really can’t go wrong here. If you didn’t make enough, you can simply go and make some more. If you have left over crushed graham crackers, simply store them in the freezer in an air-tight container, or in a zip-loc bag, ready to be used for either a cheesecake, or for the next time you decide to serve this ice cream. And of course, I wouldn’t categorize having left-over strawberries as a problem. They will be gone before you know it. But, if you really need ideas on how to get rid of them, throw them in with your next cereal bowl, add them to a smoothie, OR feed them to your dog. My pup loves strawberries, and it really helps improve her breath. Sorry Luna, you never have bad breath! πŸ˜‰

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I really hope you give this recipe a try, and that you will enjoy it! Feel free to like and share my posts, as it helps increase my traffic. πŸ™‚

Enjoy your weekend peeps! -Erika 

Self-Serve Strawberry "Cheesecake" Ice Cream
The simplest and yet very delicious way to quickly enhance a good traditional vanilla ice cream!
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Ingredients
  1. Fresh strawberries
  2. Crushed graham crackers
  3. Ground cinnamon
  4. Vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Wash, trim, and dice preferred amount of strawberries.
  2. Crush graham crackers in either a blender, food processor, ziploc bag with a rolling pin, or with a slap chop.
  3. Set these ingredients out in separate bowls as ice cream toppings along with some ground cinnamon. Allow guests to prepare and layer their own ice cream bowls.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Travel Tuesday: Yoho National Park, BC

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It’s Travel Tuesday once again! Let me take you down memory lane to Yoho National Park. Yoho National Park is a fairly small park, neighboring Banff. We drove through tall, rocky mountains, took in the sight of the never ending mass of tall pine trees, and witnessed powerful waterfalls.

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Kevin and I left our car behind in the parking area and started walking to Wapta Falls, which was our first stop in Yoho National Park. We started down an even gravel path, which turned into a rising and falling path, which eventually turned into a steep descending path, as we started hearing the rushing water of the waterfall.   

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The Wapta Falls captured our attention for its surprising width! It is known as the largest waterfall of the Kicking Horse River (the same river that we went white water rafting on), measuring 30 metres in height, and 150 metres in width.  

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While I was resting on a log, Kevin took his shoes and socks off, and decided to venture into the freezing cold water, and walked across the shallow part of the river to find a better angle to capture the falls. Unfortunately there was a hill that was partially covering the waterfall, but he still managed to get some shots in that showed the width of the falls a little better. 

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Along the hiking path, the trees stretched out their roots like stairs, and we were greeted by a variety of tiny and larger green plants, and by a bright butterfly! 

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On our way back to our car we saw a really strange tree with a big, big wart. I have no clue what the cause of this big bump was, but we found it pretty entertaining!

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Emerald lake drew us in with its emerald colours. We also visited this place in the summer of 2010 (some pictures are from then). We have never gone for a long hike or a canoe ride here, but it is definitely a possibility.

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I simply enjoyed sitting by the waters. The lake was so serene and peace giving, and sometimes as smooth as glass. This smoothness was interrupted by the ripples of a swimming loon.

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By the lake there was a small gift shop, and I was very excited to find some native Canadian flower seeds. We had seen wild growing Fireweed plants everywhere, and some Lupin as well, and I decided I would love to grow some on my own yard (I have yet to try them out).

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We made a very brief stop at the Natural Bridge. The waterfall here rushes under a rock, but only part of the rock has been eroded so far, forming an actual bridge, as shown in the picture above. 

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These are the Takakkaw Falls, said to be the third largest in Canada. What an epic stop it was! First of all, we had to drive so, so high up into the mountains, and these mountains were so impressively enormous, and so very rocky!

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(The above two pictures were taken back in 2010).

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It was definitely cold up here, and there was so much mist in the air, which created a foggy and mysterious atmosphere. 

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Kevin, being the explorer he is, decided to climb the rocks all the way till where the rock wall begins. He definitely got really wet during the process. I decided to stay behind this time. It was cold, windy, and wet, even from where I was standing. If you look REALLY hard, you might be able to spot Kevin in a blue jacket, in the bottom left corner, standing on a bigger rock (in the above picture). It puts the size of the waterfall into perspective.

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Thank you for reading along!!! πŸ™‚

Refreshing Avocado Salad Dip

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Good gracious today is a warm day! It feels like summer never left us! It’s actually 29 degrees outside! Why am I sitting inside writing this when I should be at the beach!? πŸ˜‰

You are in luck though, because I have a super refreshing avocado-salad-dip recipe to share with you. I made this recipe a few times recently, and it’s perfect for those hot days when you don’t feel like eating anything warm.

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Lets talk about this beautiful, rich, and creamy green fruit, called the avocado. Not only is it seriously delicious, but it also has many health benefits.

According to Authority Nutrition, avocados are highly nutritious, as they contain 20 different vitamins and minerals. Avocados are high in “heart-healthy” monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as fiber, and contain more potassium than bananas. They can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels, are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can protect the eyes, and may help relieve symptoms of arthritis (in the form of extract). The fat in them can also aid the absorption of the nutrients found in plant foods.

To top it off, apparently one study showed that people who eat avocados are healthier than those people that don’t. Who knows if it’s true, but if eating a fruit that tastes darn delicious also makes me healthier, hey, I won’t complain! It pretty much sounds like a win-win situation to me!

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I grew up eating guacamole with warmed up tortillas whenever we would have a steak BBQ. If there ever wasn’t any guacamole, the meal felt incomplete to me. My love for avocados and guacamole is never ending. And now, of course, I have set myself up for craving my parents’ food (sigh).

This avocado dip is a twist on the Mexican Guacamole. Traditionally, guacamole only has a few ingredients: Avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and some lime juice.

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I added more spices to this dip, including smoked paprika, which gives it that delicious smoky flavor. I swapped the traditional tomatoes and jalapenos for crispy cucumbers and yellow bell peppers. But what really brings this dip to the next level is the mozzarella cheese, and of course, the bacon. BACON. I’ll just let you sit with this word for a while. Yum, bacon… bacon…

…you get the point! 

Serve this recipe with your favorite chips, rice crackers, or roll it up in a warm tortilla. I have also tried adding whole wheat pasta to the dip. This makes a great side dish for grilled chicken or steak, or makes a light pasta lunch on its own. 

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You really want some of this dip right now, don’t you? I can see your head nodding in agreement. Well, I’d suggest you go make some! It would be time well spent, I mean… you’re probably procrastinating while reading this right now anyways, right? πŸ˜‰ I am only allowing myself to say that, because I know ALL about procrastinating! The struggle is real, you guys! 

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Happy Friday! Let the weekend begin!

Cheers – Erika

Refreshing Avocado Salad Dip
Serves 4
This dip is so refreshing, and so flavorful, you won't want to stop eating it! Serve it with some chips for the perfect spring afternoon snack!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large avocados
  2. 1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
  3. 1/2 english cucumber, diced
  4. Handful of Cilantro, finely chopped
  5. 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  6. 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  7. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  8. 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
  10. black pepper to taste
  11. cayenne pepper to taste
  12. 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  13. 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  14. 1/4 cup bacon bits
Instructions
  1. Mash the avocados with a fork.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed.
  3. Serve with with chips or savory crackers.
Notes
  1. You may add whole wheat rotini noodles to turn it into a side dish salad.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Travel Tuesday: Golden, BC

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I am THRILLED about today’s post! I shall never forget Golden, BC, because it gave me one of the most memorable experiences ever! Kevin and I went white water rafting at Wet N’ Wild Adventures, on the Kicking Horse River. A few years earlier, I might have refused to go white water rafting (with my fear of deep water and all), but for some reason, this time I was OK with it. And boy am I ever glad that we went!  

 

Wet N’ Wild Adventures

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Pictured above is our whole tour group (Kevin and I are on the very left side), which fit into three rafts. We followed each other closely the whole time on the water. 

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Our tour guide was hilarious! He most definitely enjoyed the sound of his own voice. The crazy thing was that before leaving, it was his job to tell us about ALL the possible things that could wrong, and what we should do in each situation (I mean REALLY!?). Well, let me tell you, it was fear inducing! Luckily he was able to put a funny spin on it all!  

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Fun fact: Everyone on our raft (except for one man, and our tour guide) ended up being from Manitoba! We thought that was pretty crazy!

We went down both, the middle and lower canyon of the Kicking Horse River (22 km), with class 2-4 rapids. The lower canyon is more intense, and is optional. We stopped in between the two of them, and had a ginger snap cookie and juice break. Everyone on our raft decided to continue on to the lower canyon. After all, we couldn’t break up team Manitoba!

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Kevin and I volunteered to sit in the front, because we have had some practice steering together from the times we have canoed, and because we thought it might be fun! This also meant we got splashed the most, with super cold water. We were wearing wet suits and booties though, which kept our bodies and feet warm. My hands on the other hand were freezing at times, but we had a blast! There’s no doubt that I screamed and laughed the most on our raft!  

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The pedaling was actually quite easy, because our guide was constantly instructing us on when and how to pedal. I was very relieved that our raft never tipped.

Closer to the end, there was an option to jump into the water, and experience being pulled under and thrown back out by one of the rapids. I believe no one from all the three rafts decided to do this. It was also a bit chilly, which might have influenced everyone’s decision. 

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Below is a video of the crazier parts of our white water rafting experience (Kevin and I are the two people at the very front).

 

Island Restaurant

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After all that hard work and tons of fun, we went to Island Restaurant. Our dinner was delicious, but I was blown away by their warm Bumbleberry Ravioli with Crabapple ConsommΓ© Dessert. It was to die for, and I would order it again in a heart beat!

Together  

McLaren Lodge Bed and Breakfast

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Kevin had meant to surprise me and book a night at the bed & breakfast, which can be included in the rafting package. Sadly, he was told that they were completely booked.

However, we ended up getting really lucky because they had a cancellation. If you get the Raft N’ Stay Package, you get a discount. Here’s the Wet N’ Wild Adventures link with all the information.

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I would HIGHLY recommend this place. It was incredibly cozy, kind of like a grandma’s house. When we walked in, someone was baking gingersnap cookies, and the smell was glorious! It was fairly simple, like a cabin, but so homey. There was a relaxing area, with warm tea, cozy blankets, dim lamp light, and a TV. All of this and a hot shower was perfect after all that cold splashing water! 

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In the morning we were greeted with a homemade breakfast. They even made a casserole dish for everyone! It almost felt like we were being hosted in someone’s home.

There were old fashioned decorations everywhere, and glass doors leading into the backyard garden. I will admit, I was sad to leave this place. It was definitely one of the biggest highlights of our trip!

Happy Travel Tuesday folks! 

Blueberry Ambrosia Sauce

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I’m SO excited about today’s recipe! This little household in Peg City really enjoys blueberry sauce. I decided to create my own and healthier version of it, and I ended up loving it so much that I was eating it with a spoon! It’s the coconut oil and vanilla extract that never fail me. They give this sauce such a soft and heavenly flavor, and then the lemon zest waltzes in and spices things up just enough to bring the senses back down to earth. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with this recipe?

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I have been making my new favorite oatmeal-pancakes recipe by Tastes Better Made from Scratch. These pancakes are so delicious, healthy, and packed with proteins. They are quite filling, and make an excellent choice for breakfast. I love how little effort it takes to make these pancakes. They are also easy to rewarm (I just pop them in the microwave), allowing you to make some extra in advance for a quick breakfast on a busy morning. If you want to make these pancakes exceptionally good, top them with some fresh banana slices, and my warm blueberry ambrosia sauce. Trust me, both of these recipes are to die for!

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I’m sure this blueberry sauce would also taste great on other desserts like waffles, crepes, and cheesecake. Did I hear someone say CHEESECAKE!? It has got to be my all time favorite dessert. Oh and lets not forget ice cream! This recipe would make an excellent vanilla ice cream topping. Can I hear a YES!? 

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Warning! Change of topic. Erika’s spaghetti noodle brain is at work. I just wanted to say how much I love spring blossoms. They are definitely a huge highlight for me when spring rolls around. What probably makes them even more special, is the fact that they don’t hang around for very long.

Now how did I get my hands on these gorgeous babies? Well, if you must know, I snagged them on our way to our car after our friends’ wedding. There it was, standing on the golf club yard, this gorgeous pink tree, calling out my name. I knew I had to have one branch for a food photo-shoot. I broke it off, thanking the tree (that was a lie), took it home and nurtured it with some fresh water, and went to bed.

After several hours of sleep they still looked beautiful, so in the morning I got busy making the blueberry sauce and setting up for a photo-shoot. Yes we eventually ate the pancakes. Of course when you shoot pictures of food, the food has often cooled off by the time you eat it and you have to re-warm it, or just eat it cold.

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This blueberry sauce brings me back to the summer of 2001. My family and I made a road trip all the way from Chihuahua, Mexico to British Columbia. Now for some background information, blueberries are not something that I grew up buying in Mexico. First of all, I don’t remember them being sold in many places, and if they were sold somewhere they would have cost a fortune (with a little exaggeration)! So when we visited BC that summer, we stayed with my uncle and aunt and their children. Behind their house was a chicken barn, and behind the barn was a blueberry field with rows of blueberry plants. I remember joining my aunt and together filling a whole ice cream bucket with small blueberries. They were SO very delicious! It’s amazing how much flavor and deliciousness are packed into our little blue friends! 

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I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do. Wishing everyone some down time this weekend. Try to do at least one thing that will make your heart feel full. Sometimes it’s the little things that re-energize and inspire us anew. Maybe it’s a short walk in nature, a coffee date with a friend, reading a chapter in the book that has been neglected for a few weeks, baking your favorite cookies, watching an inspirational movie, or anything else that fills your cup.

This week I had one day where I just felt so peopled-out after some frustrating incidents at work. We had planned to go to the gym in the evening, but we waited until it was kind of too late and not worth going anymore. I knew my body and mind were screaming for some down time. We decided to just stay in. I filled my bathtub with warm foaming water, asked Kevin to take the puppy and close the bathroom door, and watched a movie. I wanted to be completely by myself. If I leave the bathroom door open, I get frequent visits from my pup. It’s actually super cute, because she always stands up and peaks over the bathtub, waiting for me to come out. But this time, I needed it to be just me, to re-energize my body and mind. 

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HAPPY FRIDAY TO MY LOVELY READERS!

Cheers! -Erika

Blueberry Ambrosia Sauce
Serves 4
This delectable sauce is where blueberries, lemons, and coconuts meet to create a heavenly flavour. Pour it over dessert-like foods, such as pancakes, cheesecake, ice cream, crepes, and waffles.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups frozen blueberries
  2. 1/3 cup water
  3. 1 tsp lemon zest
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with some water
  7. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Add the first three ingredients to a small pot. Bring to a boil on medium high heat.
  2. Turn down to medium heat. Add the pure maple syrup, salt, and the cornstarch (mixed with a little bit of cold water). Stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  4. Serve over your favourite dessert-like dish.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Travel Tuesday: Kootenay National Park, BC

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Kootenay National Park is up next! Let me tell you, this park is a gem! Located in beautiful British Columbia, this park is home to some curious natural phenomena! 

Marble Canyon

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Let’s begin with Marble Canyon. Seriously people, nature is SO cool! This place was once entirely covered by a glacier. The heavy shifting ice cracked and carved the canyon. The deep canyon continues to be eroded by rushing waters.

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Fires of the past have damaged and killed many trees, leaving behind tall, mysterious looking dead trees. This is, however, a necessary part of the regenerating process of forests. 

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What makes this place look so unique is the mixture of dead trees, combined with plenty of small new trees, beautiful flowers, and the ever colorful rocks! We also loved that this place was low-key and way less busy after having just traveled through Jasper and Banff.

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The Marble Canyon hike is just under 2km, with a few bridge crossings, which provide a better look at the depth of the canyon. The above picture gives you a pretty good idea of how deep and narrow the canyon really is. What really puts it into perspective are the tiny people you see at the very top. 

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Pictured above are the colorful canyon walls, with the turquoise glacial waters, taken from one of the small bridges. 

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Aha! We found them Parks Canada red chairs! You will find these chairs in many of Canada’s parks. They are there to provide a relaxing moment in some of Canada’s most awe-inspiring places. Here is a list of the many locations where you can find these chairs! Find more red chair pictures at #sharethechair!

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The above picture was the view from the chairs. It is difficult to see the canyon in this picture. It is misleading, because the rocky area towards the center mainly looks like a valley. This is actually where the canyon drops far into the ground (like shown in the above pictures).

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At the end of the hike we were rewarded with a refreshing waterfall! Refreshing to the ears that is! You couldn’t pay me to jump in there!

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I decided to go for a short walk in the very shallow water, but OH BOY was it cold! The walk definitely didn’t last long. I literally had to take breaks on the higher rocks that weren’t touching the water, because my feet would start hurting! I’m going to assume that this was glacial water!

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The Painting Pots

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The Painting Pots were an unusual experience for us. We were so glad that we had decided to visit this place! The soil here was very high in iron, and had a yellow-red colour to it, like curry. 

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The First Nations people used this soil to create paint. They would take the soil, dry it, make patties out of it, bake the patties, and then crush the patties. The baked and crushed soil would then be mixed with oils, forming paint. 

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Some parts of the soil looked shimmery, like someone had spilled oil on it. This has got to be the most interesting soil I have ever encountered!   

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We saw a few holes or “pots”, filled with green beautiful water. The iron accumulates at the rim of the small pools and slowly builds a taller rim each time, causing the pots to gradually increase in depth.

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I should also mention that there were a crazy amount of flies at the Painting Pots! They made sure we didn’t overstay our welcome!

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The hike was pretty wet! Thankfully there was a board walk!

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Mountain Goats

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We saw a group of mountain goats grazing on the side of the road. It was quite the crazy show, as some of the goats were quite aggressive towards each other.  

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There were a few little kids! The little ones are always my favorite! πŸ™‚

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Olive Lake

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We briefly stopped at this small, peaceful lake. I will assume that it got named Olive Lake for its green waters. I was disappointed that the highway was built right next to this lake. It would have been even more peaceful, and the perfect place for meditation, had it not been for the noisy distraction of the highway. Sigh. Humans. The noise definitely wasn’t able to steal the beauty of this small, but beautiful lake though.

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Its shallow waters were so clear, and so smooth, creating a picture perfect reflection. 

Bighorn Sheep

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After setting up for the night, we spent some down time at Redstreak Campground, before leaving to Radium Hot Springs. Different aspects of this campground reminded us so much of my homeland (Chihuahua, Mexico): the pine trees, the dry soil, the heat, and the dry wind. We decided to relax on a blanket under the tall trees. Sometimes little things like these are so memorable.

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On our way to the hot springs we encountered bighorn sheep! These creatures are truly impressive. How they manage to carry those big horns around every day, I will never know! 

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The ram (male) has the big curled horns, while the ewe (female) has smaller horns, as illustrated in the first picture. Seeing animals in the wild is always such a highlight for me.

Radium Hot Springs

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You must stop at Radium Hot Springs if you ever drive through Kootenay National Park! That is, if you like spending some time relaxing in warm water in a gorgeous place, nestled in tall, rocky mountains.

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Here are some other points of interest, if you’re interested. And that ends our Kootenay National Park adventure. Happy Travel Tuesday!!

 

 

 

Two-Ingredient Peach Yogurt Popsicles

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Good morning my friends! After some rain this week, we’re having a cloudy and refreshing kind of morning here in Winnipeg. Everything is looking so green now! This fills my soul with so much joy. As much as I love sunny days, I love days like these where I can just open the window and have that fresh breeze come in, while hearing the birds chirping their hearts out with joyful morning songs.

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Now realistically speaking, the recipe I am sharing with you today is meant for one of those darn hot days where you would do anything to cool off just a little. So I’m just going to leave this recipe here and you can tuck it away for those warm days that are coming our way soon! But then again, who knows, perhaps you’re reading this from a place where it is hot today! If that is the case you may as well make these popsicles right now! Trust me, it’ll be worth it for three reasons: these are SO easy to make, they are mostly healthy, and so refreshing and delicious!   

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Any popsicle tray will work for this recipe. It might just change the amount of yogurt that you are going to need. The good thing is no yogurt will go to waste, because you’ll just eat whatever yogurt doesn’t get used. That is, if you love yogurt as much as I do! For those of you that need a good popsicle tray, I got my tray from here. I have used mine only once so far, but I really liked it. I’m sure I’ll use it many more times. 

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I will also share a quick tip that might be obvious to everyone else, which I totally didn’t think about. Don’t push the wooden sticks down all the way. We weren’t left with much to hold on to! Oops! There’s always next time!

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I hope you try this recipe out some time soon! Thank you for reading along and being my support buddies. Wishing you all a wonderful day! And finally, some wise words by spongebob: “Let go of what kills you and hold on to what keeps you breathing.” πŸ˜‰

Two-Ingredient Peach Yogurt Popsicles
Yields 10
A breeze to make and so refreshing! That's all.
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Ingredients
  1. 1L peach yogurt
  2. 20 slices of fresh or frozen peaches
Instructions
  1. Add two peach slices to each popsicle mold, then fill the rest of the way with peach yogurt, tapping the tray occasionally to avoid air pockets.
  2. Cover the tray with its lid, and pop it in freezer until the popsicles are frozen.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/