Every January we take a 1 week vacation to our lovely West Coast Gulf Island - Salt Spring Island, B.C. at a cabin on the lake. (next year we are planning 10 days!)
We arrived to a frozen tundra of 7 degrees below Celsius (very cold for our West Coast) This is a picture of the frozen lake with a fresh layer of snow.
We came prepared....oh yes we knew it would be cold, so we brought extra layers of warm clothing and were kept warm by the fireside each nite.
This was off of the deck of the cabin:
Despite the cold we had a wonderful time.  Each year, we end up in a different cabin.  Nothing fancy by any means, but cozy, warm, and as usual with the bare bones essentials.  As a result we always pack kitchen necessities from home:
I can not survive without a few of my favorite utensils and favorite pots too.  My sister bought me the "Copper Chef Pot" for Christmas.  Wow do I love this pot.  It is non stick, does not harm the environment, and you do not need any oil or butter in the pan for any cooking.  It can go from the stove top right into the oven - so handy.  Then, miraculously I found a Paderno Pot  (my favorite cook ware) - the perfect size for 2 at a second hand store for six bucks!  They both came with us to Salt Spring.
Now onto the food:
The first night on arrival we are always too hungry and end up forgetting to take any pictures.  We had lovely strip loin steaks, risotto, steamed veggies and had very happy tummies.
Can you believe we actually had Risotto from a box??  I can't...and it was delicious, gluten free, all natural with no preservatives or any other junk.  No sponsorship here, just sharing something we luv.
I also brought a small crock pot with me to make Katie's crock pot pork chops in a mushroom sauce. Please check out  Katie's blog Thyme For Cooking for the original recipe. I have made a number of Katie's recipes now...they never disappoint. It was delicious - again served with steamed vegetables and potatoes:
Day 3 was French Night.  Oh yes, we so indulge when it comes to food, wine and dessert when on vacation.  After all it is only once a year.  Plus there were enough leftovers on day 3 for the next days dinner - so good.
Next up:  Beef Bourguignon.  Now if you read my blog you will know I am a freak about vegetables of any kind in soup or stew and this meal was no exception.  Yes it began with shallots, mushrooms and of course red wine....this lovely French Wine:
Oh my goodness.  I always make a beef stew the same way:  brown the beef in small batches, add in sliced shallots, mushrooms sauteing until golden.  Then a good splash of wine.  For some reason, this was the best beef stew/bourguignon we have ever had.  Was it the wine?  Maybe.  I think if was my new Copper Chef Pot.  We will try this again once home to compare.
Here is the dessert we had many a night:  Organic English Toffee - the best ever and locally made on Salt Spring Island:
Day 5 we went out for dinner to our favorite local restaurant....and again forgot to take pictures - dang!  I had a lovely pesto prawn gluten free pasta dish with a most delicious Caesar Salad with Lemon Supreme (recipe for down the was seriously good - you will think you have died and gone to heaven)  Dh had the gluten free Fettuccine with a garden salad....we were stuffed.
Day 6 A simple roast organic chicken breast with more of the same Risotto and steamed vegetables.  We also had a salad as well, however, all we had was mixed greens with tomatoes.  Having roasted some yellow beets, they went on top of the salad - it was perfect.
Day 7, on our last day,  we headed out for gluten free pizza - such a treat.  DH had the Hawaiian, mine was the artichoke sun dried tomato - Yummmm!
Although this picture does not do justice, the full moon this night was amazing shining on the frozen lake: (now minus 9 degrees Celsius - brrrrr)
Now for a little confession.  At Christmas time I very naively bought my dear husband a puzzle.  The thought behind this so called brilliant idea was that we might have some fun putting together a lovely puzzle while on vacation.  Three of our favorite things:  a library, a black cat, sitting on a Persian rug (we recently bought a large Persian rug for the living room)
Ahhh haaaa...painful....just downright painful.  Not only was this a 1000 piece puzzle ( you so need the room to put this together ) but the pieces are really small - this is a very advanced puzzle.  We are novices here...yes simple novices.  So...I have made the decision we either:
1)  quietly pack this puzzle away and give it to someone who has the skill we so lack, or
2)  we painfully spend the next 10 years trying to put it together.  The vote is still out - it has yet to be decided.
Dear Salt Spring Island:  We loved our week away and can't wait to come back next year.  Maybe we will be brave enough to bring the cat in the library puzzle with us once again.  Wait...did I just say that?  Mercy, think I need to give my head a good shake!

Ina Gawne
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  1. What a wonderful vacation! Even though it was cold.... It looks like a lovely cozy cabin. Glad you liked the pork chops and too bad about the puzzle. I love them - but never more than 500 pieces. I know mu limitations lol
    Jealous of your new cookware!

  2. So happy that you had another amazing retreat, Ina! I always love reading about your annual trips to a cabin on the water. That dock that is no longer functional is kind of chilling and creepy, but I'm all for that amazing looking Beef Bourguignon, fire, and toffee. 🙂
    Puzzles like that are so disappointing. Very few enjoy those. I kept one that was a gift and completely impossible for years (and we didn't even like the image in that one) and I was so relieved when I did give it to our charity thrift shop. I'm sure it found a better home!

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January 12, 2017