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Archive for the ‘Life List’ Category

I’d had this on my Life List for a while now and after a false start last year we finally managed to go this afternoon for an early Valentine’s Day outing. It was worth the wait. 🙂

king-edward

We arrived at the Omni King Edward hotel – took the train to downtown Toronto and walked a few blocks up to the hotel in the snow. We were greeted, shown to the coat check (complimentary), waited just a few minutes for the setup/room to be ready and were seated at a lovely table.

We were offered menus and tea boxes to sniff the various teas available. I selected the Rouge Provence (rooibos) and Chris took the Taj Spiced Chai Tea. We were each brought an amuse bouche – a yummy mushroom tartlet with tarragon creme fraiche, quickly followed by our respective teapots. Both the tartlet and the tea were delicious.

We each chose the Winter Tea which included sandwiches, scones and pastries. The sandwiches were brought first and everything was fresh and tasty:

img_20170212_145550

We each had our own plate with 5 finger sandwiches:

  • Peppered Beef with Watercress and Horseradish Cream
  • Free Range Egg Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill
  • Smoked Salmon & Mango with Pickled Vegetables
  • Toasted Sesame & Wasabi Mayonnaise Chickpea Hummus with Lightly Curried Carrot, Raisins & Almonds
  • Chicken Waldorf with Crisp Apple & Celery

Delicious.

Next came the scones and pastries. It looked so good – I forgot to take a pic before we ate the scones! The scones came on the bottom plate (we each had 2 kinds):

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  • Currant & Cinnamon Scone
  • Classic Cream Scone
  • Served with Devonshire Cream, House Made Ontario Strawberry Jam and Apple Brandy Butter

Again, everything was fresh and tasted amazing. But there was more!

The pastries were next:

  • Blood Orange Posset with Cranberry Oat Biscotti
  • Chocolate Mint Macaron
  • Vanilla Bean & Berry Cream Tartlet
  • Layered Chocolate Chestnut Slice

It was just the right amount of food and each item was carefully prepared. Our server was polite and friendly and we were well taken care of throughout. It was a beautiful room and a very relaxed atmosphere.

It was a very enjoyable experience, one we would do again.

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I’ve updated my Life List and now that we’ve decided what our trip will be for 2017 (Italia, here we come!), that helped identify which Life List items I’ll be crossing off the list this year – see below:

  • Travel to Italy
  • See the Sistine Chapel (Rome, Italy)
  • See the Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Tour Tuscany (planning on San Gimignano, Siena)
  • Train ride in Europe (we’re planning on taking a train between Rome and Florence)
  • Have gelato in Italy
  • Enjoy pasta and wine in Italy
  • Eat pizza in Naples (planning a day trip from Rome to Pompeii, Naples, Mt Vesuvius)

And the non-travel related items to tackle in 2017 are:

  • Grow a fruit tree
  • Picnic in a vineyard
  • Have a proper English tea
  • Make a craft for every season/holiday for 1 year
  • Cook a whole fish
  • Have a home emergency kit
  • Learn 5 homestead skills (in progress – will continue)
  • Read 30 books
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Watch 50 movies

Not too shabby 🙂 I better get moving!

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Another year has come and gone and it’s time to take a look back to see what I was able to accomplish on my Life List.

Below are the Life List Items I crossed off which brought my total to 290 completed of 441 items. The bulk of these got crossed off during our trip to the Maritimes (which was amazing btw):

  • Travel to New Brunswick (I had already been to Nova Scotia and PEI when I was younger so they got crossed off a long time ago)
  • Stay at a Bed and Breakfast (in Cape Breton)
  • Take a road trip (we drove from Nova Scotia, to New Brunswick, to PEI and back to Nova Scotia (Cape Breton loop) in about 12 days.
  • Eat lobster on the east coast (because how can you not??)
  • Go kayaking (see New Brunswick link above)
  • Visit 2 pioneer villages – we went to the Westfield Heritage village this summer so I was able to cross this one off.
  • Make a traditional yule log (it’s in my fridge as we speak!)
  • Continued this: Learn 5 Homestead Skills. Last year I wanted to get back to basics and learn some basic homesteading skills. I did well last year and continued this year mostly focused on expanding the self-sustained food situation:
    • I expended my square foot garden from one 4’ x 4’ box last year to the same 4’ x 4’ box PLUS a 2’ x 8’. I grew tons of cherry tomatoes (6 plants) and the largest basil bushes I’ve ever seen (see pics below). Also grew parsley, onions, lettuce, green beans, swiss chard, green peppers (but it was too hot this summer for much success – only got a couple of peppers). My strawberries fed the critters and we got zero. The marigolds kept the bugs out.
    • I turned the huge bushes of basil (genovese basil and lemon basil) into ten pesto containers for the freezer and we’re still enjoying them even though we’re well into winter.
    • I also decided to grow a cold winter garden and enjoyed more veggies through October and November: radishes, turnips, kale and swiss chard did great. The carrots, beets, spinach and lettuce didn’t take. I may have to start the seeds indoors, or start from seedlings next year. We shall see!

2016-garden-basil

The last fall harvest below before closing the garden until next spring:

2016-garden-fall

It was a great year! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for 2017 (see a future post for those plans). 🙂

With regards to my annual book, movie and cooking challenges, I did pretty good:

  • Watch 50 movies in 2016: I’m currently at 50 as of a couple of hours ago. Done!
  • Read 40 books in 2016: I’m currently reading #23 so better than last year but not quite close enough. I think I need to be more realistic next year. J
  • Cook 40 new recipes in 2015: I’m currently at 26 with a week to go – so it’s unlikely but I did better than last year. Plus, Ina’s new book was released and has inspired me.

That sums up 2016! Not too shabby!

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Life List Update

Following our recent trip to the Maritimes, I was able to cross off a few life list items:

  • Travel to New Brunswick (I had already been to Nova Scotia and PEI when I was younger)
  • Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
  • Take a road trip
  • Eat lobster on the east coast
  • Go kayaking

Not too shabby for 12 days!

 

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We opted to vacation in Canada this year because of the weak Canadian dollar (why sped money when you don’t need to right?) and decided on the Maritimes. We were torn between the Maritimes and Banff/Lake Louise and chose the Maritimes mainly because for the Alberta trip we want to take a ride on the Rocky Mountaineer and that would take our budget over what we were hoping to spend this year. Secondly, the idea of a road trip around the different Maritime provinces sounded like a lot of fun. So, once the decision was made, I got to planning all the details (aka my happy place).

We’ll be going for 13 days and will fly from TO to Halifax, pick up our rental car at the airport and tackle our awesome itinerary:

Day 1: Halifax, NS: Visit the Citadel, walk around downtown to scope out the area.

Day 2: Halifax, NS: Drive down to visit Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Peggy’s Cove.

Day 3: Halifax, NS: Sightseeing in Halifax.

Day 4: Drive to Moncton, NB (perhaps through Annapolis Valley – depends on the tides), visit Hopewell Rocks, possible hike in Bay of Fundy National Park.

Day 5: Alma, NB: Half day kayak tour, possible hike in Bay of Fundy National Park.

Day 6: Drive to Charlottetown, PEI: Walking tour (Heritage walk) of Old Charlottetown, Victoria Row, Victoria Park.

Day 7: Touring in PEI including Greenwich PEI National Park, Central Coast Drive, dinner at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers.

Day 8: Take ferry from Woods Island to Caribou and drive to Baddeck, NS.

Day 9: Explore the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton – Baddeck to Cape North. Hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. (Possible trails: Middle Head, Coastal).

Day 10: Explore the Cabot Trail – Cape North to Margaree Valley. Hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. (Skyline Trail).

Day 11: Drive to Sydney, NS: Cape Breton Miners’ Museum.

Day 12: Sydney, NS: Visit the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Day 13: Depart. Return rental car at Sydney airport, fly from Sydney to TO.

I’m looking forward to the seafood, the scenery, the hiking, exploring Cape Breton, pretty much everything.

We’ve flagged some restaurants to visit in each city if time and logistics fit. We should be able to get some good hiking in with lots of photo ops and lots of opportunities to relax, enjoy the scenery and eat all the seafood we can fit in our tummies. 🙂

Skyline Trail

Skyline Trail

All our accommodations are booked as well as the car rental, flights and ferry. All we have to do is show up and ENJOY! 🙂

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2015 in pictures

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