Our Road Trip

Tags

, , , , ,

Our trip began on a bit of a soggy note. We left early Saturday morning with the hopes of avoiding the long weekend traffic. The roads were relatively quiet but the heavy rain seemed to put a damper on the initial excitement of starting our journey. Nonetheless, the overcast and eerie fog that surrounded the mountains made for a beautiful and haunting landscape. But with the weather, it also meant that I was limited to taking photos in the car.

Once we left BC and approached the prairies, the landscape and weather drastically changed. Instead of dramatic mountain peaks and lush fir trees, we were surrounded by vast farm fields and open skies.

Sometimes you can literally see for miles on end.

We arrived in Regina for Canada Day where we watched prairie thunderstorms compete with fireworks.

My mother-in-law just retired and now the in-laws are moving out to BC to enjoy their retirement. J.’s aunt and uncle had a surprise party for them at their cottage on Katepwa Lake.


And of course, the family pup has to make an appearance here.

The rest of the trip was filled with other family get-togethers as well as a few shared meals and drinks with old friends. I also got to meet up with an old friend of mine who moved back to Regina. He’s a photography genius so I got the opportunity to pick his brain a bit.

On our way back, the geek in us had to make a pit stop at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, AB.

When I was a child, I had the opportunity to tag along with a group of paleontologists to observe the excavation of the fossilized remains of the largest-known marine reptile. This particular fossil is now housed at the museum and I never had a chance to see it until now. It was amazing to see a little bit of my childhood in this huge exhibit.

Then we stopped in Calgary to visit J.’s brother and fiancee. Fortunately, it was the Calgary Stampede so we spent a long and excruciatingly hot day eating fair food and playing the games.

We finally made our way back home yesterday, making a couple of stops for lunch and photo ops.



And we’re off!

Tags

Our journey begins early this morning and after 22 hours of driving (in total with a night spent in Calgary), we’ll arrive at our destination of Regina. I’m hoping that I’ll get some good shots with my new camera along the way and I’ll post those when I can. I also have a couple of great upcoming recipes that I’ve made in preparation for our long journey. So until then, Happy Canada Day or Happy Fourth of July to my Canadian and American friends! Cheers!

[Photo source: wild lion tumblr]

Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken

Tags

, , , , ,

One of my favourite movies is Amelie. Have you seen it? It’s incredibly endearing and sweet. One of my favourite parts of the story is when Amelie finds a box of childhood memorabilia and sets out to find the original owner. The original owner, Dominique Bretodeau, is estranged from his family and instead lives a very solitary, lonely life. Every Tuesday, Bretodeau likes to buy and roast a chicken and pick the meat off the bones with his fingers. But upon finding this box–after careful and strategic planning on the part of Amelie–he has an emotional epiphany and decides to reconcile with his daughter. Later on, we see Bretodeau carefully pulling off a piece of chicken and lovingly giving it to his grandson. A happy reunion.

Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Roast Chicken
Slightly adapted from Ina Garten
I say ‘slightly adapted’ because I only made very small changes to her recipe. Rosemary worked really well here, especially with the lemon and garlic. I also added potatoes so that I didn’t have to make another side dish. Adding the white wine really prevented the vegetables from drying out and made the chicken really juicy and tender. It almost steams the chicken for the first half of the cooking process. If there’s any of the white wine sauce leftover after roasting, it’s great to drizzle over the chicken when serving. Lastly, do not skip out on the fennel. It is absolutely essential here in my opinion. The pungent licorice aroma mellows out as it cooks and really produces a fragrant, light and sweet flavour to the dish. I’m not a fan of licorice whatsoever, but fennel is amazing when roasted.

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
1 large bunch of fresh rosemary
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
3-4 medium-size potatoes (Yukon gold or red-skin would be best), cut into wedges
1/2 c. white wine
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the rack on the second lowest position so that the top of the chicken doesn’t burn.

In a large roasting pan, place all the vegetables together and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and add 1/4 of the rosemary (but remove needles from stem) and toss together. Pour the white wine over the vegetables.

Remove the chicken giblets and rinse the inside and outside of the chicken with cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Season the cavity of the chicken quite liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff it with the remaining bunch of rosemary, lemon, and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body. Brush the outside of your chicken with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.

Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices between the leg and the thigh run clear. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes so that the juices can redistribute throughout the meat. Serve on a platter with the vegetables.

Weekend Snapshots

Tags

, ,

How was your weekend? Ours was a reminder of why I am not meant for physical labour. Saturday and Sunday were spent painting my parents’ coffee shop that they recently bought. It was a painstaking process because of the time constraint but it turned out beautifully. I realize I didn’t get any after shots so I’ll have to post them at a later date. But the walls were a dark mustard yellow with brown as an accent (nice, eh?) but we repainted it to a beige-y latte colour with a grey accent. My description doesn’t seem to do it justice but it’s much brighter and welcoming than the colours before.

Clockwise from top left: [1] DIY project is finally done and now we have faux gold etagere shelves [2] My mom’s been practicing her coffee art [3] Painting begins [4] Latest cookbook purchase: Jamie at Home. Highly recommended if you want to know more about gardening and cooking with seasonal foods [5] An elaborate caterpillar roll [6] My beast [7] Painting continues late into the evening.

We’re going on a road trip!

Tags

, , ,

In 1 week, we’re hitting the road, heading east for J.’s hometown of Regina, SK. I love everything that has to do with road trips. We always wake up before the sun rises, pack our car, and make it onto the highway before anyone else. The roads are so quiet and still, such a departure (ha, pun intended!) from the traffic of Vancouver that I’m use to. We usually like to prepare playlists, as well as a few recorded stand-up comedy shows to help pass the time (Dane Cook is a favourite). Unfortunately for J., I also like to belt out pop songs from the 90’s every once in awhile too. Think: Backstreet Boys, N Sync, Spice Girls, and S Club 7. Sometimes, I make him join and he’ll begrudgingly oblige. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

But more than anything, there are two particular reasons why I love going on road trips. First, I love just hanging out with J. without having to worry about checking emails or doing chores. We’ll sit there and just talk. Sometimes about silly things like, “what would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse right now?” to more serious topics like where we see ourselves in 10 years or reminiscing about how we met. And then there are those times when we don’t speak at all and those moments of silence are great too. Second, I love having the opportunity to see other parts of Canada that I don’t normally get to. Living in the city, it’s easy to forget that I’m surrounded by large, magnificent mountains and once we hit the prairies, I love seeing the vast, vibrant fields that go on for days (quite literally when we’re in Saskatchewan).

Like a kid going to Disneyland, I’m already thinking about what to pack and prepare for the trip. Part of that is figuring out what we’ll eat. Junk food and fast food is typically a tradition with road trips, which are fine but in moderation. Sweet Tarts are J.’s weakness while mine are Tim Horton’s Ice Caps. So I want to make a few healthier and lighter snacks that will hopefully prevent us from eating too many heavy foods. Below is a list of a few things I’ve seen around the web that I plan to make for the trip. Note that none of these images or recipes are mine but are the works of other awesome folks that I’ve linked to.

Hummus with Za'atar
Hummus to dip with veggies and pitas
from Monica Shaw of Smarter Fitter

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
from Spork or Foon


Sophisticated sandwiches
from wit + delight

a peck of peaches
Fresh peaches from a roadside stand
While I won’t be making these, I will take advantage of the fruit farms we visit!
from caroline la rousse


Naturally flavoured water with citrus, cucumbers, and herbs
from Martha Stewart