Sunday, 29 July 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

We're back from the cottage and have had an amazing weekend.  The weather was perfect for both swimming and sleeping.  A very rare combination at the cottage... often on days when we have beach weather all of the heat from the day stays in the cottage and sleeping is difficult. But not this weekend!

We had 4 trips to the beach - Friday and Saturday the waves were huge and perfect for playing in.  Today the water was calm which meant Dan and I could sit on the beach while the girls played in the water.

I feel so well rested... enough to make it through until my real vacay : )  It was great to walk on the beach, play endless games of Uno and Yahtzee, do some light baking and just sit and think while listening to the waves.  Here are some snapshots of the weekend!

With the last minute change in plans, I didn't have the solitude I thought I would nor did I eat as healthy or exercise as much as I should... but the last two images sum up why this weekend was worth way more than any trip into the interior of Algonquin.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Change of Plans... off to the beach!

So like I mentioned earlier in the week, the interior trip in Algonquin is cancelled... but lucky for us... the family cottage was open!  This cottage is shared with Dan's whole family - Aunts and Uncle's included so its pretty awesome to have a weekend free! 

As much as I'll miss the Canadian shield, loons and solitude to the open lakes this weekend, I am thrilled at the thought of the big water in Lake Huron and the cozy surroundings at the cottage.  The first time I went to the cottage was with Dan and his parents, while I was there, Dan's mom commented that she had never seen me so relaxed.

I am absolutely going to do that this weekend... sun, sand, a good book.... after teaching 30 classes in 27 days its time to recharge.

After my last class with my semi private group this morning, the girls and I made this breakfast.

Its my pancake recipe with delicious blueberries. The perfect way to kick off the weekend!

I'll be posting pictures of the beach, special recipes and other fun stuff from this weekend next week.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Lemon Feta Pasta with Grilled Vegetables

Its summer people!  That means a few things on the food front.... salads, things on the barbecue and 'lighter' flavours all around.  But sometimes I miss pasta so I came up with a bit of a combination of summery cooking with the satisfaction of a bowl of spaghetti.  Grilled veggies, bright lemon and salty feta... the result a bowl of yumminess!

Feta Lemon Pasta with Grilled Veggies

by Denise Boyd Dunlop

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: grill entree vegetarian

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from a lemon divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • spaghetti for four people


Preheat grill or barbque and bring water to boil for spaghetti. Chop zucchini, pepper, mushrooms and onion. Toss vegeatables in olive oil and juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables in preheated grill, set aside when ready.

While vegetables are grilling, cook pasta until desired 'al dente-ness'. Once pasta is cooked, strain and return to pot. While pasta is still warm toss with feta and lemon juice. Add grilled vegatables. Serve with a sprinkling of chili peppers.

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On another sad note - for me anyway... I'm pretty sure the interior trip I had planned for this weekend is off.  Algonquin Park is under a complete fire ban - interior and car camping.  Not that the ability to have a fire determines my trip but its a nice to have.  I'm a bit disappointed as I was really looking forward to some isolation this weekend... but not to worry there is still a ton of fun to be had!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Riverboat Fantasy... in Bobcaygeon

Last weekend we rented a house boat and took the girls and my parents for a tour around the Trent Sevren waterway. I've never really been on a boat before, with the exception of my canoe - so this was an entirely different experience.

On the first night when we were anchored next to a marsh I could totally get the appeal of boating.  It was beautiful.

On Saturday morning we searched and searched for a sand bar to swim at.  After an hour of looking, we finally found it.  This was so cool - we were at least 2km from shore and swimming in gorgeous water.  We had the entire area to ourselves for over an hour.

After that, we headed off to Bobcaygeon and the locks.  I will say two things about our experience going through the locks... 1 - very stressful experience to manouvour around really expensive boats and 2 - the owners of the very expensive boats are very friendly and amazingly helpful.  And to add a third - the operators at the locks are also very helpful and patient.

Bobcaygeon was quite pretty, but there was no room to stay so we headed back out to anchor next to a rather remote island where the girls and my dad were able to fish while I hid inside the boat and tried not to think too hard about the fish being pulled out of the water by their mouths.

We also saw other wild life...

This was a really fun trip.  I love hearing loons in the evenings and mornings.  The boats are a great way to get around, but I was happy to not be driving.  Thankfully my husband and father both have their boating licenses and were happy to be behind the wheel. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Camping in Killbear

A couple of weekends ago we packed up the kids and headed north to Killbear Provincial Park.  We have camped a lot over the years, but have never been to Killbear, opting for Killarney instead.  This year, however, I am determined to see new things while travelling.  So all new camping locations of us this year!

Now back to Killbear - this park is huge and very popular.  Killbear is located on Georgian Bay, and is about 45 minutes outside of Parry Sound.  While not quite as rugged as Killarney, it has several beautiful sand beaches and at least two great hiking trails - that I can speak for.  

We booked a site that backed onto the beach.  It was a rock beach, but kept the girls occupied for hours.

We took in a beautiful sunset....

So aside from hiking, exploring and swimming while camping the next big thing to consider is FOOD.  I think its the fresh air combined with extra effort to do simple things - like getting water or trips to the bathroom that make everyone much more hungry than normal.

One of the meals we have on almost every camping trip is what we refer to as 'The Campfire Meal'.  This involves cooking our entire meal in the coals of our camp fire. (I know many people who camp cook all of their meals over the campfire, but we typically use a camp stove or mini bar-b-que.)

This meal was invented during a trip to Killarney when we were camping during a very bug infested summer... I don't know how it happened but we experienced - mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies in AUGUST!!!  As an effort to ward off the bugs, my husband built a campfire very early in the afternoon.  Not wanted to see the massive coal bed go to waste, I decided to cook our dinner in the coals - resulting in one of the best dinners ever!

We always cook potatoes for this meal.  I chop the potatoes into cubes, add onions and whatever other vegetables I have on hand,  season with salt and pepper, toss in oil.  Double wrap in tin foil and place in coals.  I flip and rotate the package frequently to ensure even cooking.

For vegetables - my daughter picked corn for this meal.  I coated each cob in butter, sprinkled with a bit of salt and again double wrapped with tin foil.  The corn was added to the coals and flipped and rotated as well. 

For the 'meat' - I had the girls help me roast pre-cooked sausage over the fire and I had a veggie sausage.

I've cooked all kinds of vegetables this way - carrots, zucchini, mushrooms - you name it. The best vegetable I cooked was during  an autumn camping trip where I roasted a turban squash - amazing.

We're planning a larger car camping trip later this summer.  I'll post more action shots of the process then.  I'm also planning an interior camping trip at the end of the month and still debating about taking the girls or not.  Either way I'll post about the trip and itinerary and food!


Monday, 2 July 2012

Canada Day in Elora

Canada Day or as some people in this village refer to it - Dominion Day was filled with tons of activities.  Our day began by getting decked out in festive gear....

Then we headed downtown to the town hall for pancakes.  Every year the fire department gets up very early - pre 5am to begin getting ready to flip pancakes.

Here's an action shot...

Posed shot....

And the results of their efforts. 

All procedes go to Muscular Dystrophy and these guys give up a lot of their long weekend to put on this event.. so thank you Elora Fire Department!

We also had some excitement at the pancake breakfast... one of the firefighters proposed to his girlfriend! I'll be posting the video soon!
In addition to the breakfast, there is also a race....

 There is a 5k and 10k race as well as kids races.  I volunteered at the water station for the 5k and 10k race.  This was so much easier than racing : )  Because of the heat - we ran out of cups and then water.  But all of the racers were super appreciative!

Then my little racer ran!

In addition to the pancake breakfast and race there is also a soap box derby, parade and duck race every year making for a fun filled day.

After my family participated in the morning and early afternoon events, we headed home for a bit of a break from the sun.  I love this glorious hot sunny weather, but rest and hydration are also important.  We headed out later in the afternoon for a barbeque at with the running group (sorry no photos) : (

After a jam packed day, we decided to head home early and not stay out for fireworks.  The girls and I did drift off to sleep listening to the cracks and pops. The perfect way to end a perfect day.