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The Olympic Torch arrived on Salt Spring Island today via Harbour Air. The town of Ganges welcomed what seemed like thousands of people – all there to cheer on the torch bearers and be a part of this Olympic ceremony.

And – the best part – we had clear blue skies and mild weather for the day!

Here’s a couple of facts we learned from some people who had been following the torch since it’s arrival in Canada yesterday:

  • The torch bearers get to keep their Olympic outfits and the torch.
  • The clothes were given to them, but they had to buy the torch. The torch cost $400!
  • The flame travels in a safe container … a cylinder type thing… so when it’s flying on Harbour Air or traveling on the BC Ferries it’s not an open flame but the flame does in fact stay lit!
  • Hallowe’en makes for a very interesting day to have the torch come through town. There was a man dressed like a Greek God running around town with his own torch. There was a zombie riding a skate board. There were devils, pirates and witches wandering the town waiting for the torch to pass through and the evening to begin!

Olympic Torch Salt Spring Island

You can see more Olympic Torch video coverage on Salt Spring Island at the Salt Spring Community Website.

Education and Information

Education and Information

Giant Pumpkins
Giant Pumpkins
One of several baking sections
One of several baking sections
Youth Cake Decorating
Youth Cake Decorating

Although we were unable to spend the day at the fair, we did make time to at least stop by to take in the Sheep Dog Demonstration, eat perogies, tour the livestock barns and visit the food, fabric and craft displays.  I think a few pictures will give you an  idea.

Zucchini Racers and Parts

Zucchini Racers and Parts

Bread Basket

Bread Basket

Scotch Eggs

Scotch Eggs

These Scotch Eggs have a much larger sausage and crumb covering than mine.  Does that make me more Scotch for using less meat?

Plants

Plants

There were several manicured bonsai trees in this section as well as a selection of natural  decorating materials.

Bpuntiful Baking Tables

Bountiful Baking Tables

Getting very hungry! More Baking

Getting very hungry! More Baking

Demonstrations

Demonstrations

Every boy dream of red tractor! A peek at the past.

Every boy dreams of a red tractor! A peek at the past.

Well I hope you enjoyed a quick tour of the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures as I was too busy looking and enjoying our short time at the fair.
Dahlias

Dahlias

and of course many beautiful quilts .  There was so much to enjoy!
Hope you can join us next year.

They’re calling it a “Pilgrimage for Apple Lovers“. It’s the annual Salt Spring Island Apple Festival and it’s happening on October 4th. And, if our apple trees out front are any indication of the bountiful crop the local farmers are having, then it’s going to be a very large festival this year indeed!

The festival will also feature many of the same vendors you see at our Saturday market … showcasing and selling their jams, chutneys, soaps, and artwork. And all indoors at the Fulford Community Center you’ll be sheltered from the elements outside. But, of course, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining in Vancouver because we just don’t see half the rain the Vancouver residents do. I know… because when Julie calls us to complain about walking her dog in the rain yet again… we often smile and just say “well, it is overcast here but no rain!”.

Since we’re talking apples again this week (check out Anne’s Apple and Cheese Crepes) , it’s only fitting that we feature another great apple recipe. This recipe is a topping. I usually serve it on top of granola and yogurt. It would be lovely on top of Vanilla Ice cream as well.

apple recipesAnne’s Chunky Apple Topping

What you need:

  • 4 Apples cored, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup Apple Juice
  • 1/8 cup Maple Syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Dash of Cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Rum Flavoring (optional)

What you do:

  1. Cook over low heat for 15 to 25 minutes until apples are soft and become very tender (even mushy).Apple Topping Recipe
  2. Cool.Apple Topping small pot pic
  3. Use as a topping for  granola and yogurt for breakfast or vanilla ice cream for dessert.Chunky Apple Topping Recipe

What a grand day to celebrate Canada Day!  After our guests left we snuck out to do a quick tour of the cars at the Show and Shine held in Gnages.  What a treat.  Seems every year the number and quality of cars increases.  Also the entertainment and all day live  background music is very pleasant while we enjoyed the day.Salt Spring Island Canada Day Car Show

Bird fun. I saw this man standing by the motorcycles petting and talking to the bird.  Both seemed to be loving each others company. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see the bird up close. He was beautiful with a hint of peach mostly on his chest and his under tail feathers were a bright yellow.  I said “Hi” and in a very clear voice he said “Hi” back. I held my arm to his claws so he could step on and he promptly decided to gently ‘fluff’ my feathers’.   I had to give him back and move on but it was great to be his perch for a minute.

Canada Day Car ShowMotorcycles at the Salt Spring Island Car Show

Salt Spring Island Car ShowCars, trucks and motorcycles for every age and every taste.  I don’t think I could pick a favorite as there wasn’t one that stole my heart, but many of them.   Of course the company I had to wander with helped with the memories.

Car ShowOne last car show photo:  One antique and one son-in-law smiling for an antique!

Yesterday was an absolutely stunning day on Salt Spring Island!! Despite spending a lot of time here – good weather always makes it feel like a vacation spot. Since it was Saturday – Dave (my husband) and I drove into Ganges to take in the Saturday Market. Here’s a few shots from the market and Ganges Village yesterday:

Saturday Salt Spring Island Market in the park in Ganges

Saturday Salt Spring Island Market in the park in Ganges

Salt Spring Market Gyozas - Best Gyoza Ever!

Salt Spring Market Potstickers - Seriously the Best Ever!

Our favourite place for coffee (and they have amazing soup and baked goods too!)

Our favourite place for coffee (and they have amazing soup and baked goods too!)

The Harbour in Ganges

The Harbour in Ganges

Another picture of Ganges Harbour - this one shot from the road driving out of Ganges

Another picture of Ganges Harbour - this one shot from the road driving out of Ganges

Visit Salt Spring Island and Save!! Annes Oceanfront Hideaway has great rate specials and package deals on right now.

– call Rick & Anne for details: 1-888-474-2663.

Just a few pictures from last week…

View from Anne's Oceanfront Hideaway on a Rainy Day

View from Anne's Oceanfront Hideaway on a Rainy Day

Even on a rainy day – the view from Anne’s Oceanfront Hideaway is very beautiful!

Lambs are everywhere on Salt Spring Island right now

Lambs are everywhere on Salt Spring Island right now

Running back to the barn for breakfast ... or maybe they were just running away from the dogs!

Running back to the barn for breakfast ... or maybe they were just running away from the dogs!

Bram and Chewy are curious about the lambs

Bram and Chewy are curious about the lambs

And the day ended with a beautiful sunset.

And the day ended with a beautiful sunset - this is a view from the Gary Oak Room at Anne's Oceanfront Hideaway

And the day ended with a beautiful sunset - this is a view from the Gary Oak Room at Anne's Oceanfront Hideaway

When our children were younger they would come to me and say “Mommy I am bored” to which I would reply “Boredom is a state of mind, find something to do and you will no longer be bored”. Lately that has been a test even for me. Not so much that I have been bored but feeling trapped. It is still a state of mind

Day after the first snow.

Day after the first snow.

What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

but at times I had to do some real self-talking to keep out of a slump. It started in December when we were snowed in for nearly two and a half weeks. There were days of brief sunshine which of course I inhaled with great joy, but it didn’t take away the snow, it just made it crispy and icy. It rained a couple of days, so on top of the snow it iced up the road, making it impossible to get in and out of our driveway.

It was relief to finally get out on New Years Eve. I don’t think I really appreciated ‘freedom’ until it wasn’t easily attained. I am usually quite a homebody and can stay at home for weeks without any thoughts of leaving. Those few weeks became quite a test!.

Midnight snowfall

Midnight snowfall

Next came the fog, thick peas soup fog which lasted for days!

Next came the fog.

Next came the fog.

Fog rolling in.

Are you wondering how everyone got in yet, I didn’t get out? Well had the need to exit been important we could have

Freighter coming out of the fog.

Freighter coming out of the fog.

Geese during snowfall

Geese during snowfall

worked at it. As a friend said “We did not have a burning desire to extricate ourselves from paradise!” After Christmas we were able to move our car to the end of the driveway, but the snow melted and froze the tires into the ice. We worked our way back to the house for another five days while Mother Nature melted it.

Jackfrost's artwork

Jackfrost's artwork

More of Jack's work

More of Jack's work

The photographic opportunities over the month were wonderful, such a variety of ever changing scenes. I hope you enjoy them! These two are my favorite.  I took them through the glass on the front deck.  Jack Frost’s artwork in the foreground!

Several great things happened during this month of strange weather that helped me re-focus on the bigger picture. First my mom and our daughter were able to get in and out before Christmas. Second we had a short day in Victoria so mom could have a visit with our son. Third and most important to me our son and daughter, their spouses and dogs made it in on Christmas Day. Through knee deep snow (no they were not barefoot in driving winds walking a mile!) they were able to carry their bags over their heads and no one slipped on the ice. Even our friends made it for dinner, although when they realized how bad the roads were they left shortly after dinner which meant we missed out on “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” Whew! Our kids would have cleaned up!!

Almond Berry Banana Bread

Almond Berry Banana Bread

Today’s the first day of winter…and what a winter day it is indeed! Here on Salt Spring Island we’re covered in a blanket of snow that just keeps on falling. Good thing we’ve nowhere to go today because we are not going to be able to get out of our driveway.

Tomorrow we’re sending out the final Christmas brunch recipe to our Breakfast with the Broads email recipe subscribers. They’ve now got everything they need to prepare an amazing five course brunch…and today I’m going to share with you how that brunch can be ready to go Christmas morning with less than an hour of work!

The Chrismas Brunch Menu

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beverage: Fruit Fantasy

Fresh Fruit Compote with Lemon Cream

Fresh Fruit Compote with Lemon Cream

Cereal Course: Apple Berry Crisp Delight with Yogurt

Fruit Dish: Fresh Fruit Compote with lemon cream

Bread Basket: Almond Berry Banana Bread and Cranberry Orange Muffins

Main Course: Smoked Salmon Strata served with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Fresh Parsley

Christmas Brunch Preparation Tips

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You don’t want to get up at 5am to serve brunch at 9am! But, with this menu, you won’t have to. Many of the items

Cranberry Orange Muffins (Milk & Egg Free!)

Cranberry Orange Muffins (Milk & Egg Free!)

should be made ahead of time! And you could even make the bread basket items up to a week in advance, store them in the freezer, then just pop them in the oven for a few minutes to warm them before serving!

If you do that… you can have brunch on the table in less than an hour, and have time to visit while things are cooking.

So here’s how we’d suggest you prepare this low fuss menu:

Salmon Strata

Salmon Strata


7 days before:

Bake the Almond Berry Bread and Orange Cranberry Muffins. Let them cool completely. Freeze the muffins in a large freezer bag or freezer friendly sealed container. You may actually find that the bread is either to slice frozen because it’s a bit crumbly, so freeze it whole if you’d like then slice it as it thaws the morning of brunch.

Day Before:

Make the Apple Berry Crisp and the Salmon Strata – but do not cook! Once they are ready to go in the oven, cover them and put them in the fridge until morning.

Make the fruit compote as per the instructions and put it in the fridge too!

If you really want to sleep in, set your brunch table the night before. That way you will have very little work to do in the morning.

1 Hour Before Brunch:

  1. Pop the crisp in the oven and start baking it. Since it takes about 35 minutes, and you’ll serve it about 15 – 20 minutes before the strata, you want it ready first.
  2. Take your bread basket items out of the freezer and leave them on the counter to let them thaw a bit. Slice the bread if you froze it whole.
  3. Get coffee and tea ready. You can also fill water glasses and get the table set (if you didn’t do that the night before).
  4. Prepare the compote (you will need to make the lemon cream). Put a compote and a juice drink at each table seating.
  5. Once the crisp is ready, pull it out of the oven and put the strata in.You want to let the crisp cool a little bit before serving.

Brunch Time:

  1. Pop the bread basket items into the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Pull them out and put them in a basket with a tea towel wrapped around and over top of them to keep them warm… now it’s time for brunch!
  2. Seat your guests around the table, serve them their coffee and tea. Allow them a few minutes to get settled and start enjoying their compote.
  3. Put out the fresh baked bread basket items 😉 – hey, they ARE hot out of the oven, aren’t they?
  4. If your strata still has more than 15 minutes to go in the oven, take time to sit down with your guests and enjoy the compote and bread basket items.
  5. Once your strata has less than 15 minutes left in the oven, scoop out the crisp into individual servings, add a small scoop of yogurt and a mint leaf. Serve these to your guests, and take 10 minutes to enjoy yours too!
  6. When the timer goes for your strata, take it out of the oven and dish it up right away. You want to serve this hot from the oven.

Brunch and Breakfast Recipes Weekly!

Brunch and Breakfast Recipes Weekly!

This post is sponsored by my Breakfast with the Broads Cookbook Website… head on over to sign up for our weekly email recipes AND you’ll get a fantastic Brunch Planner complete with menu ideas, shopping lists, and of course, recipes! Perfect in time for your holiday visitors!!

Sit down and enjoy the praise from your guests that you pulled off a 5 course brunch in less than an hour!!!

“I, Ruth-Anne Broad certify that I have the rights to use and publish this text and pictures and I give the rights to Help Beat Sarcoma to use it.”

When we moved to the West Coast we sold our Cessna 182 airplane and decided to buy a sailboat. We joined the Power & Sail Squadron group to teach us navigation and boating safety.  “No more red port wine left”, but was it going or returning? Which side am I supposed to be on? Oh thank goodness he is a power boat and is supposed to yield to a sailboat. What do you mean a freighter can’t stop?  Okay he is bigger I will yield! And what was the buoy marker for again? Oh yes go around the rock you can’t see.

It was much easier to hope in the co-pilot seat in the airplane and let Rick do the work… but it was fun learning to be a sailor.

After several weeks of lessons we ventured off on our own. Yep land lubbers, prairie folk, stubble jumpers, hay seeds on the high seas. Well we were never far from land but it sounds adventurous!

My sister found a sailboat in Comox.  With great anticipation and the confidence from two courses we set sail in the Comox harbour pulling our blowup dinghy.  We hadn’t cleared the harbour when we realized the dinghy was underwater. We pulled it in and latched it to the deck but we couldn’t see, so we moved it to the side. Well that didn’t work either. We were going in circles in the middle of the harbour trying to deal with our damn dinghy. Finally we let some of the air out, latched it to deck and off we went. We had some nice wind for a little while then we had to run the motor as we headed for Nanaimo. Sailing is such fun.

Nanaimo didn’t happen as the sun was going down and we needed to stop. We found a bit of a bay and anchored.  We cooked a gourmet dinner of mac and cheese on our little propane bottle stove then snuggled into our berth for the night. It was a peaceful night bobbing up and down, rocking and rolling on the water, bracing our feet against the bow of the boat and hanging on to the post so we didn’t fall out of bed, laughing so hard we had tears running down our faces. You could tell when a cruise ship  went by as we almost ended up on the floor! We got an early start next morning, we had tepid coffee, bread and fruit by flashlight and we were off before the sun was up.

We made Nanaimo Harbour in time for a late lunch. We anchored  in the harbour and watched the many different boats coming in and anchoring for the night.  When we  went to sleep the harbour was full of at least three dozen boats. When we woke up there were about five left. We never heard a thing.

The short cut home is through Dodd Narrows, which pushes the water through the channel faster than our sailboat can go at top speed under full sail or motor.  We waited for slack tide which is about an hour window where the tide is changing direction. I was quite concerned about this narrow passage  as there are several eddies ( whirlpools) and big rocks that can cause problems.  Also there were fourteen boats waiting to go through. I tied everything down, put on my life jacket, waited and worried.  I noticed other boats had people hanging off the decks, walking around and generally enjoying the day while I watched every eddy and rock we passed with trepidation. There may be times when there are problems but the guide book seemed to have overstated the gravity for this run at least.

Well now we can hoist the sails and head for home!  Except there is no wind. We can put our tacking lessons to good use.  Two hours later we could still see the house on the point. Rick does not want another gourmet Coleman meal and he does not want to be a cork or a rocker for another night. Motor it is!

We pulled up to our mooring buoy at dusk, hooked the rope, tied off the bow line, blew up our dinghy and rowed into shore.  I enjoyed the day but no more overnighters because sailboats rock and rock and rock!

Note from Julie: Mom wrote this post before she set off on their trip to the Ukraine, France and Germany. Right about now they should be floating into Yalta en route to Odessa (from there they will be flying into Paris). The only thing I can say to make you less jealous is that it’s only 9 degrees in Odessa today (48oF).

Chewy, our black lab, and Rick head out every morning for their walk. When we used to get the Time Colonist newspaper, they would pick it up on their way in. Rick would pick it up and give it to Chewy to carry back to the house. She would proudly prance on home with the blue plastic wrapped paper. Sometimes though, they were out walking before the paper had been delivered so it wouldn’t be there to pick up.

One of the mornings the paper wasn’t there when they went by, Rick decided to train Chewy to go and pick up the newspaper for him. He started by walking part way then sending Chewy to retrieve it. Slowly he was able to send her from the house instead of walking part way with her. She would happily return with her head held high paper in her mouth.

One morning, after she was gone a l-o-n-g time, she returned without the paper. Rick tried to send her back but she wouldn’t go, so he walked out with her. The paper wasn’t there. He kept asking her where she left the paper – thinking she had lost her focus while bringing it back. Maybe she’d gone into the bush to chase a quail?

Later that day, we were coming back from our shopping in town, and we found the paper on our road! The delivery had been late!! We left it there and when we returned home we sent Chewy back for the paper which she proudly returned to Rick.

Paper Delivery Dog

When give a task, never doubt the Paper Delivery Dog.

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