Stylin’ Salad

Salad is not a meal, it’s a style. (Fran Lebowitz, author & public speaker)

I have to say that Fran has a point. Salads are all about style and they can make or break a meal. I love “the look” of a salad, especially when there is colour involved… but nothing outranks taste and this salad delivers on all counts.

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Roasted pepper and pecan salad

Ingredients:  

Mixed greens (any type or style you like)

Red, yellow & orange peppers, roasted with salt, pepper & olive oil, until tender. Slice into strips.

1 cup roasted pecans

Goat cheese or feta cheese, depending on your preference

Avocado (optional)

Dressing: Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tsp. ground mustard & 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Pour over salad and toss.

Serve either as an appetizer or an accompaniment to your meal. Freshly warmed Focaccia bread is a nice side as well. Pour a glass of your favourite wine and enjoy!

Westholme Tea Farm

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“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

A visit to Westholme Tea Farm is a necessity if you happen to be on Vancouver Island and if you also love tea, hand-crafted pottery, and delightful baked treats. Owned by Victor Vesely & Margit Nellemann, this amazing little tea farm nestled in the Cowichan Valley is a must-see on your Island bucket list.

The cozy little shop also sells Margit’s pottery, an added bonus when visiting the farm. Our table featured an eclectic selection of pottery for afternoon tea! We also sampled a fantastic array of white, black & green teas, not to mention the tasty scones, Raw Brownie Bars, Cranberry Turtles, and Matcha Cheesecake! IMG_5077

It was great to meet Victor, who is a very attentive host in the tearoom and extremely knowledgable about the tea farming process. He was also kind enough to agree to a photo op!IMG_5084

I would highly recommend checking out this wonderful little farm in the Cowichan Valley – it’s well worth the visit. Be sure to stay for tea!

Check out this short video feature on Westholme Tea Farm.

Chocolate Decadence Cake

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Did anyone say chocolate?

Who can resist a chocolate cake that is filled with chocolate chips, drizzled with melted chocolate, and covered in bits and pieces of your favourite chocolate bars? Also known as “Death by chocolate” this easy-to-make chocolate cake won’t disappoint.

Ingredients:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake mix                1 – 3 oz (102 gr) pkg. vanilla instant pudding

1 cup sour cream                                     4 eggs

1/2 cup oil                                                  1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients together and beat for 2 minutes using an electric beater. Stir in 2 cups (12 oz) of chocolate chips. Bake in a greased bundt pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Once cake has cooled, remove from pan and drizzle melted chocolate over bake. Use chocolate chips (white & dark), Skor bits, pieces of any type of chocolate bar to embellish the cake. Use as many types of chocolate as you like until you reach the desired effect.

Call up your friends, put on the coffee, and enjoy! Prepare to be in “chocolate heaven”!

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Okanagan Spirits

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Blueberry Champagne cocktail – “Blue Sky”

During our recent visit to the Okanagan, we were able to tour Okanagan Spirits, an award-winning distillery producing wonderful liqueurs, brandies, and other spirits. The newly-built location in Vernon, B.C. is a great facility not only for production, but also for guests to visit, tour, and taste their amazing products.

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Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this distillery was founded by my high-school vice-principal, Tony Dyck! Way to go Mr. Dyck!

The tour was fascinating and the tasting bar was even more fun! Okanagan Spirits have crafted so many amazing fruit liqueurs, but my favourite purchase was the Blueberry Liqueur. We’ve experimented a bit at home and have enjoyed mixing this liqueur with either champagne or club soda. The result is a slightly sweet and refreshing drink that I like to call Blue Sky. I’ve also created an martini with this liqueur, mixing equal parts of Blueberry Liqueur with vodka and adding 2 parts of club soda.. also very tasty! Let’s call this one a Blueberry Bomb!

Check out their video to learn more about Okanagan Spirits.  And if you are heading to the Okanagan Valley, be sure to put this place on your itinerary. They have a location in Vernon as well as Kelowna.