Weekend Getaway

Sometimes we all need to getaway. I needed to get away from doing all the things: laundry, dishes, paid work, emails, blogging, social media.

Here’s my view of the “road”- looking through the sunroof: what do you see in that cloud? I see freedom or the cloud God of freedom waving at me 😉

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I was going to stay off all social media for 24 hours, but found myself checking in a few times, and responding to some comments. What can I say? SM, is a big part of my life. Perhaps, too much….. Wait I take that back. It’s never too much.

Took off to the mountains. The view is amazing. If you never been to Jasper, Alberta, Canada- I suggest going. There’s a lot to do. Unfortunately, I was only gone for a little over 24 hrs, and when the trip is 4 hrs one way give or take- that doesn’t leave a lot of time for exploring.

Have a look at some photo’s I took. Some may be blurry, but I was in a moving car. Also, if your wondering why there’s a lot of animal butts in one of the pic- now you know why…. Moving car

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The hotel we stayed at was pretty decent. And by decent, I mean it’s been one of the cleanest hotels I’ve stayed in and it was decently priced.

We had a loft. The staircase leading up to the sleeping area was narrow. I really don’t know how they got furniture up there. There was a window in the ceiling. Sorry, couldn’t see any stars. There was a fireplace and a balcony, and kitchenette. Even though I love cooking, I had a few places in mind that I wanted to try out. But more about that later.

I recommend you check out Best Western if you plan on staying in Jasper

Here’s some pictures of what I thought were interesting “things” to see:

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According to Happy Cow, there’s 3 places that offer vegan options.  I really wanted to go to Coco’s Cafe, but it was closed by the time we hit downtown. So we checked out a Korean restaurant- but the menu posted was too meat heavy that I personally didn’t trust that they knew what vegetarian was never mind a vegan. So, pizza it was. Even though I do like Famoso- I was not too happy about having pizza from here when they are in my city- kinda like going to Europe and eating Mcdonalds and Pizza Hut :/  I do realize why they are there though, people who have never had their pizza now get a chance to try it. So, this was my supper:

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yeah- I had a piece before I took a pic of it

I was able to get to Coco’s before I left, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it….. But you will need to wait  that’s another story, and I really want to showcase the quaint joint by itself.

Until next time Jasper, thank you for the relaxation that I was craving for 🙂

Have you been to Jasper? What’s your fav place to eat? Or what mountain trip do you recommend? I need to know- love getaways!

I had this post saved in my drafts, just waiting for the right time to post it. I went in April 2016. A lot has happened since then- I lost all my pics on my phone, thankfully I started this post so I could keep the memories alive. But I have lost my best friend that I went with. We were going to go back someday. I will go back, this time take the kids and share the experience with them. Maybe I will be able to get the loft we stayed at. You will forever be in my heart, you are missed by many- I love you!!

 

 

The SuperFun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, Candy Cane Fudge Cookies, giveaway

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Entertaining for absolutely EVERY occasion, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I was so stoked when I received this in the mail. Listen or read this: New Year’s, Super Bowl, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Oscars Party, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas.  She includes OSCARS party!!!!! The only other chapter that she might’ve been able to add would be Birthday parties, but if you can’t come up with a party menu from these amazing recipes, I don’t know what to say. Isa does though; she talks about other occasions and gives you suggestions. She’s thought of everything.

If you weren’t yet convinced on why you would need this book, I’m going to talk about the recipes now. Just thinking about them is making me hungry; I need to go grab a snack……. Ok, I’m back; cookies have been eaten and now time to share with you more details. Candy Cane Fudge Cookies,  Gingerbread People,  Eggnog Pancakes, Jelly Doughnuts,  Fried Pickles with ranch,  Pretty in pink applesauce, potato pancakes, Chocolate Pecan Pie,  Mummy Dogs, Elvis Cupcakes,  Truffled Almond Alfredo, Mexican Caesar Salad, Spicy, Tomato Rice, Sautéed  Radishes,  Irish Cream Whoopie Pies, Irish Stout Stew, Salted Caramel Corn with peanuts, Chipotle Mac and Cheese, Potato Skins. I haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg- so many good recipes, recipes that you can trust. If you have made anything by Isa, you know that they will be crowd pleasing.

When I opened The Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, it made me think of Isa Does it. It has the same feel. Well no wonder why, the photographer from Isa Does it, photographed for The Super Fun Times. Vanessa Rees along with Joshua Foo can be thanked or blamed 😉 for these mouth drooling, I want it now photo’s. Well done you two!! The Super Fun Times is also larger than Isa Does it. There’s three of her other books I love, but this has to be the best one EVER!!!!! I seriously don’t know how she’s going to top this one. I hope she’s still writing more….  but WOW Isa, congratulations on such a wonderful resourceful cookbook. I’ve seen other Holiday books, but NONE are as comprehensive as this power house!

Now, that I’ve teased you with  me eating cookies and all the wonderful recipe titles, I’m going to share with you a recipe with permission, so get your apron on,  make the cookies, you know quality control- you need to make sure they are perfect- then on Christmas Eve day make more as Santa is going to want a dozen or two!!

 

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Candy Cane Cookie photo credit: Vanessa Rees

Candy Cane Fudge Cookies

Makes 36 Cookies

Total: 45 Minutes

Active: 25 Minutes

 

½ cup refined coconut oil, at room temperature

1¼ cups sugar

½ cup unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite nondairy milk), at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 (3-ounce) peppermint chocolate bars, chopped up

4 crushed-up candy canes (see Tip)

 Chocolate and minty chocolate with crushed candy canes. These cookies scream “CHRISTMAS” so loud that you might have to tell them to shut up! These are the cookies you bring to the office (or collective artspace) to share with everyone. They are going to be the best thing that happens to anyone this holiday season, even if they get that Cabbage Patch Kid they’ve been so desperately wanting.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two rimmed baking sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the applesauce and milk and mix gently; it might make the oil clump and firm up a bit, but that’s okay. Mix in the vanilla.
Add 1 cup of the flour, along with the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Mix in the peppermint chocolate chunks and then add the remaining

1 cup flour and mix until it firms up. You might need to use your hands to get it fully incorporated.
Place twelve 1½-tablespoon scoops of dough on each baking sheet, a few inches apart. Flatten slightly with your hand. Place a pinch of crushed candy cane in the center of each and press gently into the surface.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Tips:
You don’t have to find peppermint chocolate for these, but it’s pretty darn good. Chocolate chips or dark chocolate bars will work, too.

To crush candy canes, place them in a plastic zip-top bag and pound on them with something heavy (a hammer maybe?) until they are in pieces that are no bigger than ½ inch. 

Excerpted from the book THE SUPERFUN TIMES VEGAN HOLIDAY COOKBOOK by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Copyright © 2016 by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company.

I received a  review copy and Hachette Book Group will send out a copy to one lucky winner!!! Click here for more information.

 

Veggie Cabbage Rolls and Spicy Roasted Potato Fries

What’s for dinner?  Veggie Cabbage Rolls and Spicy Roasted Potato Fries!  I learned the ‘how-to’ method for the cabbage rolls here:  Cabbage Rolls – Easy to Follow, Step by Step Tutorial – Jenny Jones.  I stuffed mine with sauteed onions & garlic & mashed potatoes and smothered in a homemade Marinara sauce inspired by:  Jazzyvegetarian-Dad’s Marinara.   The ‘how-to’ for the Spicy Roasted Potato Fries came from:  Spicy Roasted Potato Fries Recipe – Laura Vitale.  Everything was simple, quick and so tasty, filling and healthy.  (After the first bite or two, requests were made for more!)

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Frozen ‘Hot Chocolate’ Smoothie!

The name of the smoothie grabbed my attention so I had to give it a try.  It is as delicious as it sounds and super easy to do.  This came from the cookbook Vegetarian Times Everything Vegan.   The book has 250+ easy, healthy recipes…many of which I plan on trying 🙂

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Cinnamon Bun Apple Pie

Cinnamon Bun Apple Pie


This beauty was a part of vegan snack down, such a delicious challenge. The dough is adapted from Isa’s Vegan Brunch. If you are making this; allow about 2 hours from start to finish because this will take about an hour and half to rise plus about a 20 min bake time. But trust me you will LOVE them. Of course if you don’t want to put apples in it, just make regular cinnamon buns.

For the dough you will need:

2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast

1/3 plus 1 teaspoon sugar

½ cup lukewarm water

¾ room temperature milk, I use Almond Milk

1/3 cup neutral oil like canola

¾ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

3 ½ cups of flour

For the filling:

¼ cup EACH brown and regular sugar

1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons flour

2 granny smith apples diced, add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon to it and a squeeze, say teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of lemon juice.

You will also need some butter, if it’s hard make sure it’s room temperature,  you’ll need about a ¼ cup, I don’t know, I don’t measure that part.

The method:

Take the yeast, water and 1 teaspoon of sugar and whisk it in the stand mixer bowl. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, then whisk in a large bowl). Let sit for about 5 mins.

Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl BUT start out with 2 cups of flour and slowly adding the rest. Mix on #2 for about 5 mins. Or need it for about 10 mines. If the dough is sticky, then add a little more flour. You don’t want it to be sticky.

Oil a large bowl, roll the dough around in it, and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for about an hour or until double in size. Now go wash your dishes, have a shower, enjoy a glass of wine, take your dog for a walk.

After it has doubled in size, punch the dough down, cover it back up and start making the filling.

Mix the sugars, flour and cinnamon together.  Roll out the dough, spread the butter, just cover every inch of it, it does not need to be perfect, I like little lumps here and there,  sprinkle with sugar mixture, apple the apple mixture at the bottom of the dough. Roll the dough as tight as you can. Then slice into pieces. I split the dough into 2; it’s easier to work with when you don’t have a lot of counter space. Also with the other half I just made regular buns.

Pre-heat oven to 375. You’ll need two round pie pans, spray with oil- or use parchment paper (I love easy clean up). Fit the buns into pie pans, loosely they need room to rise again. Cover with a clean towel, clean up your mess. After about ½ hr these babies are ready to be baked. Bake for 18-20 mins.

Let them cool off in pan for about 5 mins, then transfer to a cooling rack. Well the buns are cooling; it’s time to make the icing.

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk I use Almond

¼ teaspoon of vanilla powder or a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix together and drizzle over warm buns. Enjoy!!!

NOTE** to make this a pie, divide this dough in half, roll out one half, fit into pie plate, sprinkle with sugar mixture, add the apple and spread them around, roll out the other half of dough and put on it, and bake it, it may need about 5 more minutes added to baking time, just watch it. Also, I think a kick ass caramel sauce would be spot on with this dish!!