Canada Part 1: Yoho National Park & Lake Louise

Our trip to Canada started off with a bang. Or perhaps a better word is ‘bust’. I woke up at 3:30 AM to an email alert from United that my 6:30 flight had been canceled and I needed to call to reschedule. My original flight was supposed to take me from Savannah to Chicago where I would meet Michelle, then Chicago to Calgary where we would arrive in time for lunch. The problem was the weather in Chicago, so the only option they could offer me was an even earlier flight (6:00 AM) to Newark, Newark to Houston (wrong direction!!) and finally Houston to Calgary where I would now be arriving around 5 PM. Poor Michelle got an even crazier re-route through San Francisco and didn’t get in til nearly 8! So much for exploring Banff on our way to Golden that first day. Disappointing but luckily we had built a free day into our itinerary just in case, and after all, we did both make it to Canada, with our bags! No small feat after all that rescheduled nonsense.

We stopped for a late dinner at the Cactus Club Cafe. Our waitress raved about the Prawn Ravioli which she said was the winning dish in a Canadian version of Iron Chef. We ordered the appetizer version and it was definitely delicious as was the rest of the meal.

Cactus Club
Cactus Club Cafe: Dark lighting<delicious food

Post dinner we stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few groceries and then hit the road for Golden, arriving just after 2 AM and immediately going to bed after 24 hours of travel.

We woke up the next morning to discover that our Air BnB was really adorable and incredibly well appointed. The owners had left us toiletries, coffee, candy, a bowl full of fruit and even a dozen eggs! So yes, the stereotypes are clearly true, Canadians are really nice.

After breakfast we packed our lunch and headed for Yoho, our first park of the trip. As we drove we got our first daylight glimpses of Golden, a cute and fairly quiet little ski town surrounded by huge snow capped mountains.

Here, I feel it’s appropriate to take a minute and get this out of the way, as I’m sure to be repeating it 8 million times throughout these posts: CANADA IS BEAUTIFUL! Like breathtakingly, mind blowingly beautiful in a way that only mountains and wilderness can be. If you want to see a piece of the world that still looks exactly as I believe God must have intended it, go to the Canadian Rockies. You won’t be disappointed.

Tiny Town

Ok, so back to Yoho. Our first stop was a short walk to the Natural Bridge.

Meesh at NB

The Natural Bridge is a natural span of rock over the Kicking Horse River that houses a small waterfall.

NB Other side
Kicking Horse River

The water, like most of the water we saw throughout the parks, was the most beautiful shade of green/blue due to mineral deposits that run off from the glaciers.

NB 5
Pool at the foot of the Natural Bridge

Our next stop was Emerald Lake, which just so happened to still be frozen solid. Continue reading

Oh Canada

Good day eh! My google search informs me that this is a common Canadian greeting, so I’m practicing. I realized that I got so wrapped up in beef tacos and Mexican food menus last week that I forgot to share that Michelle and I were no longer hypothetically going to Canada, we ARE going to Canada. Tomorrow!

I used that exclamation point after tomorrow to denote both excitement and panic. Excitement because of course, Canada! and poutine! and beautiful wilderness! Panic because if you’ve been reading for any length of time you know that I am quite the planner, and this trip has been particularly difficult to plan in great detail. And also bears. Always bears.

This trip came together quickly and I feel like I am as prepared as I can be, but not quite as prepared as I would like to be. The weather looks like it will be in the high 40’s low 50’s which is great, I certainly prefer cold to freezing. I did purchase these babies just in case..

aclk

So at least my feet will be warm.

Our rough itinerary is as follows:

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Beef Tacos with Radish and Avocado

I know Taco Tuesday is all the rage and I love alliterations more than the average bear but today it’s Taco Monday. Literally, we’re meeting friends out for Mexican food tonight.

Robert and I eat a lot of Mexican. It is hands down our go to when we want to eat out during the work week. It’s fast, cheap and delicious. Have you ever noticed how all cheap Mexican restaurants have the same menu. And I don’t just mean in the sense that the food is all the same, although that is pretty accurate too. I think most Mexican dishes are the same 10 ingredients just rearranged differently, but I mean they literally have the EXACT same menus. The dishes are called the same thing, the pictures are the same, they even have the same typos! The only change is the name of the restaurant on the front. I’ve noticed this in TN too but we frequent three Mexican restaurants in Hilton Head/Bluffton and they all have the exact same menu, this amuses me to no end every time we eat. Where do these menus come from? Is there a company who makes generic Mexican food menus and literally every restaurant at a certain price point uses them? When you open a Mexican restaurant do you just order the menus first and then decide your cooks will make whatever is on them? Such a mystery.

Taco Ingredients

As much as we love to go out for Mexican, I rarely make anything Mexican at home. That changed a few weeks ago when I discovered the unique and tasty pairing that is radish, avocado and ground beef. I know, I know, radishes? Sounds so weird but tastes oh so right, trust me. You may be wondering how I stumbled upon this deliciousness and of course I want to give credit where credit is due and the answer to that is Hello Fresh.

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Lemon Dill Chicken Orzo Soup

I am going through a soup season in life right now. I have always been partial to soup but lately I have really been craving warmth. Fuzzy slippers, flannel pants, seat heaters, you name it. I’ve never been big on hot tubs (aesthetically or hygienically) but I’ve recently found myself day dreaming about them on more than one occasion. This can maybe be attributed to the fact that after replacing our hot water heater upon moving in, our shower, much to my dismay, just doesn’t get very hot 😦 Is there anything worse than a ‘warm’ shower? The answer to this is of course yes, there are about a million worse things and this is a total first world problem…I know…. but when I’m standing under that less-than-hot spray, the burn your feet off jacuzzi day dreams come on STRONG.

Veggies

So, if I can’t have a hot shower, at least I can have hot soup, right? Or perhaps I can use the hot soup to bribe my husband into calling the plumber again. You reading this babe? I think I’m on to something.

This soup is loosely based on a recipe my mom clipped out of the newspaper and became obsessed with a few years back. Hers was delicious, but I think mine is heartier. If you aren’t into orzo you could use rice (or pearl cous cous) and it would still be equally as yummy. The feta is also optional but adds a little something something I would hate to see go.

Soup with Feta
Beautiful? No. Delicious? Yes.

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The Easiest Way to Shred Chicken EVER & Musings on Life

Happy Belated President’s Day! I celebrated the under appreciated holiday by attending a Professional Development Day at school. Sitting through seminars isn’t really much of a celebration at all so if you were lucky enough to be off I sure hope you enjoyed it!

Even though my holiday was less than, I have had a pretty enjoyable last couple of weeks. I got to catch up with my girlfriends from graduate school at a speech convention. Then Robert and I attended the lovely wedding of a family friend complete with an Elvis impersonator which was pretty entertaining to say the least.

After that I got to spend a few days in Charleston visiting and volunteering with my Aunt Vanessa. She is my decorating guru and we have very similar interests in cooking and healthy eating so time spent with her is always lots of fun (and tasty!). We shopped, enjoyed a lot of delicious meals out, a few delicious meals in (including these delectable overnight oats topped with agave, fresh fruit and freshly ground nutmeg…drool!)

oats

*Has anyone ever seen a nutmeg grinder? This was new to me and I think I need one…

AND last but not least, milkshakes from a magical milkshake machine!

You choose your flavor, pop the top off and the machine sucks your cup up and returns a perfectly thick milkshake to you. So. Good. Thankfully I don’t know where one of these exists in Hilton Head or otherwise I’d be in trouble.

We did do more than just eat (hard to believe, I know). We also spent Friday evening volunteering at an event at Vanessa’s church called Night to Shine. Night to Shine is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and is an amazing prom night experience for individuals with special needs. There’s dinner, dancing, a red carpet, limo rides, paparazzi photos, make up and shoe shines, literally everything you can imagine to make the attendees feel like Kings and Queens. Vanessa and I were food servers which was wonderful since we got to interact with many of the adults as we served them their meal. It was truly a magical night and I can’t wait to volunteer again next year. If you hear of this event taking place in your area and you have a heart for people with differing abilities I HIGHLY encourage you to find a way to help out. You will not regret it!

I came back from that trip to Charleston with a renewed desire to cook! I love to cook, but after a sad December and thus a few weeks feeling awful mentally and physically and doing minimal cooking, I really hadn’t had a huge drive to get back in the kitchen. It was exciting to finally be feeling like myself again. My immediate thoughts were, ‘Oh hello old friend! I’ve missed you! Let’s make something!’ But then the age old question, what exactly to make?

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