Exploring more Beautiful B.C.

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Our host had a special treat in store -- one that's not even in the tourist handbook -- the Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C. (this is where monks go to get schooled.)

Our host had a special treat in store — one that’s not even in the tourist handbook — the Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C. (this is where monks get schooled.)

Dazzling colors fill the huge prayer hall -- each minute provides a new light combination.

Dazzling colors fill the huge prayer hall — each minute provides a new light combination.

Outside the hall the grounds are filled with flowers and pathways -- this one leads to an overlook with a 'view to die for.' (That's Mariko and my host Leslie.)

Outside the hall, the grounds are filled with flowers and pathways — this one leads to an overlook with a view of the valley ‘to die for.’ (That’s Mariko and my host Leslie.)

We were so happy to get this 'killer view' at a table inside the Nordstrom restaurant (downtown Vancouver).

We were so happy to get this ‘killer view’ at a table inside the Nordstrom restaurant (downtown Vancouver).

Mariko's kale and apple salad was just beautiful -- and she said it tasted yummy. (Nordstrom restaurant.)

Mariko’s kale and apple salad was just beautiful — and she said it tasted yummy. (Nordstrom’s Bistro Verde restaurant.)

This is Vancouver's public library. Killer architecture, eh??

This is Vancouver’s public library. Killer architecture, eh??

This is on the walk from the public library to China Town.

This is on the walk from the public library to China Town.

Cool old building in China Town.

Cool old building in China Town.

 

Building brick path with intricate design

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(Clayburn Village Bed and Breakfast, Abbotsford, B.C.) -- The rain prevented us from working on the brick path today. (This image is from Friday, when we worked on finally setting some of the pavers in place to create the 'wavy, curvy pattern.'

(Clayburn Village Bed and Breakfast, Abbotsford, B.C.) — The rain prevented us from working on the brick path today. (This image is from Friday, when we worked on setting the first of the pavers for the ‘wavy, curvy pattern.’)

I'd like to take credit for the 'swirls' and 'waves,' but Mariko provided the vision for the design. (actually, we all admitted this project was above our experience, as we've had to consult a few 'how-to' sources. ('pebble mosaic' will go into the big gaps -- and at first, none of us were sure that would work over time...the thought was great, but how would it hold up in this climate??'

Mariko, my German work mate, had the vision for the design. (actually, we all admitted this project was a bit above our experience, and that we’ve learned a ton just dreaming big about what this can be.)

We had to research the kind of mortar we'll use to plug up the 'big gaps.' We'll be filling these with pebbles as well.

The big gaps will feature ‘pebble mosaic.’ (So you can see we played with how stones might fit with the mortar … but we are not sure how well it will hold up over time.)

The 'design' portion was a lot of 'let's lay them the way we would if we were going to place them,' pull them back out, and put them back down again. (This picture was taken first thing Monday morning -- just so we could get an idea of how many 'waves' could fill a particular section.

This image was taken at the start of the design part — so we could get an idea of how many pavers this particular section would hold …. The ‘design’ portion was a lot of: ‘Hey, let’s lay the pavers as if we are going to place them … then we’ll pull them out … and put them back down again more permanently.’

By mid-morning Friday we had that first section laid out -- we were feeling pretty confident :)

By mid-morning Friday we had the first section of pavers solidly in place — and were feeling pretty confident🙂 In fact, we celebrated over the weekend by treating ourselves to a nice day in the big city of Vancouver.

Cascade Falls Regional Park: A Canadian ‘swimmin hole’

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Cascade Falls Regional Park (in Beautiful B.C.)

Cascade Falls Regional Park (in Beautiful B.C.)

We worked very hard this morning so we decided we deserved a trip to the local swimming hole (about 32 minutes by car.)

It’s called Cascade Falls Regional Park (you just head north from the bed and breakfast in Clayburn).

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As far as swimming holes go, the scenery is beyond spectacular. For the locals I talked to, this is the spot among all others they choose.

There she is ...Mariko my German friend ... not afraid of frigid water.

There she is …Mariko my German friend … not afraid of frigid water.

By Texas standards, the water was frigid cold. But my German friend was not swayed, and was determined to jump from the many perches into the crystal blue water. (I told her she was crazy and belonged to the polar bear club.)

So I did not go diving off big boulders singing COWWWWAAAAABBBBBUNNNGGGGAAAA.

cascade_falls_sunshineIn fact, I hung out on the rocky shore, laying on my beach towel, soaking in the sun, and taking pictures. (After schlepping granite earlier in the day, this is exactly what I needed.)

So as I’m HANGING, I get to talking to a group of locals and they find out I’m from Texas and spending my last days in Vancouver before I fly back home. (They said for fish at Granville Island — the Sandbar restaurant does it just right.)

Then they said for a Vancouver institution …  it’s Joe Fortes. (I dare you to look at their website and refrain from walking to your fridge. ha!)

As we talked about fish, I realized I hadn’t published my picture of fish from the grocery in Victoria.

This was seafood department inside the Thrifty Foods grocery store in Victoria, B.C. (Incredible!! That day I bought a six ounce piece of fab fish for like $4. It was to die for. And look at that pink, pink salmon. YUM!)

This is just part of the seafood department inside the Thrifty Foods grocery store in Victoria, B.C. (Incredible!! And look at that pink, pink salmon. YUM!)

This is the piece of fish that cost me only about $4 Canadian...so even 20% less, since I have American dollars.

This piece of fish cost me only about $4 (Canadian). Back in the states, it would have cost at least $7 — I’m thinking Whole Foods would be the only place close with such quality.

Now, on the way back from Cascade Falls today we had to stop to take a picture of Mount Baker — because it seems like such an imposing figure over everything in these parts.

Mount Baker as seen from Abbotsford, B.C.

Mount Baker as seen from Abbotsford, B.C. Just spectacular!!

This map gives you an idea of how close we are to the American border and Mount Baker.

This map gives you an idea of how close we are to the American border and Mount Baker.

Locking in a design for the brick path

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Mariko is a graduate of architecture school -- and lucky for me -- my partner in working on this brick path. (How fabulous is she -- putting together this sketch for our path design.)

Mariko is a graduate of architecture school in Germany — and lucky for me — my partner in working on this brick path at the B&B. (How fabulous is she — putting together this sketch for the design.)

We got super excited today because we can see the end of the beginning — that is — we’ve extracted almost 90% of the earth that needs to go. We even started on the ‘fun part’ — the design part — which was quite a boost!!

While we still have dirt to remove (on one part of the path) -- we are also beginning to spread granite as the very bottom base layer (at one of the entry points to the path).

While we still have dirt to remove (on one part) — we are also beginning to spread granite as the very base layer (at another part). (That’s Mariko at the end of the path.)

To give you an idea of how long this path is -- we counted 30 trips to dump the wheelbarrow that we loaded with excavated dirt. (That was just today. In total there have been about 60 trips.)

To give you an idea of how long this path is — we counted 30 trips to dump the wheelbarrow that we loaded with excavated dirt. (That was just today. In total, there have been about 60 trips. We figure we have 10 more trips tomorrow.)

This is my 'work on paper' today...I know, compared to Mariko's I clearly add no value lol!!!

This is my ‘work on paper’ today…I know, compared to Mariko’s, I clearly add no value lol!!! (And with the Perrier, you’d think I’d been on vacation in Ibiza lol!!)

Week ends with ‘Beautiful B.C.’ sunset

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Tonight there was a beautiful sunset best captured from the tree house at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, B.C.).

Tonight there was a beautiful sunset best captured from the tree house at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, B.C.).

There are so many interesting things going on every bit of the day -- you have the guests who come from all over Canada and the United States -- then you have the neighbors in the village stopping by to say hi and chat. (Plus, we usually eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together in the main house.)

The grounds of the Clayburn Village B&B where I’m staying (in THE COTTAGE). Every bit of the day something always going on — you have the guests who come from all over Canada and the United States — then you have the neighbors in the village stopping by to say hi and chat. (Plus, we usually eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together in the main house.)

I'm working on a brick path and in exchange I stay at The Cottage for FREE (meals included.) We've excavated about eight inches of earth and hauled 30 wheelbarrows full of dirt away from the site.

I’m working on a brick path and in exchange I stay at The Cottage for FREE (meals included). We’ve excavated about eight inches of earth — all which we hauled away.

We are reusing old historic bricks from the village -- and right now are trying to make sure we have enough pieces for our design.

We are reusing old historic bricks from the village — and right now are trying to make sure we have enough pieces for our design.

If I need a little snack while working I just walk over to the cherry tomatoes...oh goodness they are tasty!!

If I need a little snack while working I just walk over to the cherry tomatoes…oh goodness they are tasty!!

You gotta remember to 'stop and smell the roses.'

You gotta remember to ‘stop and smell the roses.’

We are all awaiting the harvest of this 'bad boy' watermelon. Oh this is gonna be tasty.

We are all awaiting the harvest of this ‘bad boy’ watermelon. Oh this is gonna be tasty.

The big problem here is what to do with the abundance of apples (so far, I've had the best apple crunch of my life -- and apple waldorf salad. (Our host even pulled out a crock pot recipe for apple butter ... next time I'll show you how that turned out. YUM!!)

The big problem here is what to do with the abundance of apples (so far, I’ve had the best apple crunch of my life — and Apple Waldorf. (Our host even pulled out a crock pot recipe for apple butter … next time I’ll show you how that turned out. YUM!!)

Clayburn Village B&B: In Fraser Valley, B.C.

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Claiborne Village B&B, Fraser Valley, B.C.

Clayburn Village B&B, Fraser Valley, B.C. (This is my lovely home for the next three weeks.)

The entrance to the cottage at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, Fraser Valley, B.C.)

The entrance to the cottage at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, Fraser Valley, B.C.)

So about a week ago I landed in Vancouver -- and just yesterday left for three weeks at the B&B here in Clayburn Village (right outside Abbotsford, B.C.)

About a week ago I landed in Vancouver — and just yesterday arrived at the B&B here in Clayburn Village (right outside Abbotsford, B.C.).

Right down the street from the B&B is a 'sweet shop.' (But they decided they would close up for Sept....so there you go.)

Right down the street from the B&B is a ‘sweet shop.’ (But they decided they would close up for Sept. … was super bummed about that.)

Too bad the sweet shop is closed. I imagined myself sitting there and drinking tea and reading a good book.

Too bad the ‘sweet shop’ is closed. I imagined myself sitting there drinking tea and reading a good book.

this is the side entrance to the 'sweet shop.' Too bad it's closed.

Side entrance to the ‘sweet shop.’

The 'old church,' which dates back to like 1908, I believe.

The ‘old church,’ which dates back to 1908, I believe.

How cute is this...take a fresh cut flower, or two, or three, and pay on the 'honour' system.

How cute is this…take a fresh cut flower, or two, or three, and pay on the ‘honour’ system.

Way cute house (neighbors to the B&B).

Way cute house (neighbors to the B&B).

I knew I would get an 'old red barn' in here somewhere :)

I knew I would get an ‘old red barn’ in here somewhere🙂

This village is old -- 1905 - 2005

This village is old — 1905 – 2005

This is a zen garden at the B&B, right next to THE COTTAGE where I'm 'hanging my hat.'

This is a zen garden at the B&B, right next to THE COTTAGE where I’m ‘hanging my hat.’

Foodie Paradise: Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C.

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Entrance to Granville Island and the gateway to the 'public market.'

Entrance to Granville Island and the gateway to the ‘public market.’

Our good friend Steve told me I had to go to the Granville Island Public Market. “It’s a ‘must’ for a foodie!!”

So today — after a five hour journey on public transport — including one fatal mistake that cost me an hour — I ARRIVED at THE MARKET — and salivated over the stalls.

(But little did I know, THEY CLOSE at 7 on Saturday.)

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I’m sad to report I didn’t buy a darn thing from the market. (And I ended up with a chicken salad from Starbucks with fake chili sauce. Ugh!!! (Well, tomorrow is a new day. Enjoy the pics of the Granville Island Public Market. That’s — literally — all I got!!)

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This is the house where I'm staying tonight -- a 'cosy room' with my little private entrance in the back. (life is good!!!)

This is the house where I’m staying tonight — a ‘cosy room’ with my little private entrance in the back. (life is good!!!)

Day Two in Victoria, B.C.: Magnificent Butchart Gardens

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purple_pinkVictoria is as lovely of a place as there is … and what I really wanted to see here are the famous Butchart Gardens.

It was rainy, but with umbrella in tow, I toured the grounds. And I gotta say, it left me a little teary-eyed at how beautiful the place is (and I wondered how you did it if you were one of the neighbors — who felt compelled to keep up with Joneses lol!!)

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There were roses of every kind.

There were roses of every kind.

This blue guy caught my eye...if you know what it is, please let me know.

This blue guy caught my eye…if you know what it is, please let me know.

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These colors!!

These colors!!

This is part of the English Garden.

This is part of the English Garden.

My fav was the Japanese Zen Garden.

My fav was the Japanese Zen Garden.

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This Texan in ‘Beautiful BC’

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This was my first full day being a tourist in Canada…

positive_vibesI put on my ‘positive vibes’ shirt this morning, hoping for a lot of them, and ended up with a day full….

I started out at an airbnb in Richmond, B.C. — and walked to the bus for the ‘Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.’

As I approached the bus stop I was captivated by an elaborate Buddhist Temple (and of course Jack Kornfield/Path With Heart comes to mind.)

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I can see a monk lighting candles out in front of the building — and conducting what appear to be his daily duties. I want to go over and light candles too, and go inside and meet the monks.

(But bummer!! I need to go! I’ve got to catch a ferry, plus I’m starving and need food before I get on the bus to the ferry terminal.)
store_bought_sushiSo I get on the bus that takes me to this major intersection/grocery shopping center and in the store I spot a quality-looking sushi/roll combo special priced around $7.

(for store-bought this is super quality and a great price. So this sets up the expectation of some sort of roll/sashimi for dinner.)

 

Today's lunch

Today’s lunch

I get out of the supermarket and take my groceries to the next door Starbucks…which I use to make up my lunch since I have no idea what I might get on the ferry (and looking back, this was probably the best choice).

So, I make a salad with my avocado and spinach — and top it with some tofu (that I had baked earlier at the airbnb in Richmond.)

Once I’m at the ferry terminal I eat my salad and grab some coffee and one of my ‘protein balls,’ which are running in short supply…errrrrr.

This is the top deck of this massive ferry I took over to Vancouver Island (Victoria).

Top deck of this massive ferry/ship I took to Vancouver Island (Victoria). (I have no idea who that guy is.)

The ferry IS HUGE and I’m thinking ‘ferry’ is not quite the right name for this HUGE SHIP — I’m talking Titanic-like. It’s got an arcade, a shopping boutique, a restaurant, a cafeteria-like restaurant and six full decks…heck, they pulled semi trucks out of this thing (I am NOT kidding.)

The ferry gets me to Vancouver Island so I can take a bus to Victoria.

This bus ride is 45 minutes and is packed with tourists like me. Except right next to me is a woman from the area — and we get to talking. (She made the the time fly!!)

I check into my airbnb in Victoria … and start planning for dinner. (I know there’s a grocery store up the street.)

At the store, everything looks pretty appetizing.

And they have sushi rolls and good looking sashimi!!

So I grab that, some eggs, tofu, greens, avocado and I head out of the store, looking for a spot maybe in the park nearby to sit and enjoy my dinner.

Downtown Victoria is full of beautiful roses EVERYWHERE. Caught this tonight just walking around after dinner.

Downtown Victoria is full of beautiful roses EVERYWHERE. Caught this tonight just walking around after dinner.

I come past this wonderful community center with the most magnificent garden — and I can see there’s a bench to sit at…as I head for it this woman calls out to me and asks if I have the key to the center (so apparently I look in charge lol!!) I tell her no and that I was just looking for a place to rest and eat my sushi.

She asks me if I want to join her while I eat. She says she’s waiting for a toastmasters meeting to start. “Sure,” I say, “Why not?” (She turns out to be a long-time resident of Victoria and 84-years-old — and attending toastmasters meetings.)

I ended my day on a bench overlooking the bay, with a Peach Tranquility Tea and a chocolate chunk cookie.

I ended my day with a Peach Tranquility Tea and a chocolate chunk cookie — on a bench overlooking the Bay.

I’m not sure exactly what we discussed but it was lovely just sitting there and knowing that we hadn’t known each other the first few minutes before — but it was wonderful our paths had crossed, in front of this lovely garden, which, by the way, attracted a hummingbird while we were talking.

Choco ‘n Coco Protein Ball Treats

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Oh yeah -- added ye 'ole chocolate nibs and coconut this time.

Oh yeah — added ye ‘ole chocolate nibs and coconut this time.

Just finished up BATCH #2 of my protein bombs — and I gotta say, these turned out so much better than the last.

I’m having a hard time just eating one!

Well…they taste SWEETER than last time — and I added coconut flakes and cocoa nibs.

The one thing I didn’t change was using flax meal as the binder. So, again, totally VEGAN!!

And no nasty white sugar, just sweetened by nature with dates.

Date paste and almond butter processing -- the first step.

Date paste and almond butter processing — the first step.

But, my process was remarkably different this time…

On Friday I made a ‘date paste’ and worked it into almond butter in the food processor.

(It took all my energy not to spread that delectable goodness on a piece of toast. lol!!).

This wet mix was refrigerated overnight in a glass container.

On Saturday this ‘wet’ mix was transferred into a big mixing bowl — so it could sit to reach room temperature.

This is just combining the wet (almond butter and date paste) -- and dry ingredients.

This is just combining the wet (almond butter and date paste) — and dry ingredients.

Then I started adding scoopfuls of protein powder, the flax meal, the cocoa nibs and coconut.

Once I started mixing I realized I needed more moisture and added water by the tablespoon. (About 8 tablespoons will do the trick.)

I finally was able to get a ball of dough — like a big cookie dough ball. YES!!

I tasted a little and voila!! Yummy goodness.

As soon as the mixture turned into a big cookie dough bowl, I said 'BINGO! We've got a winner!

As soon as the mixture turned into a big cookie dough ball, I said ‘BINGO! We’ve got a winner!

And there are so many variations to think about for future experiments!!

Maybe next time we’ll just roll these all around in the nibs and coconut.

Here are the amounts and ingredients used:

  • 6 full scoops Sun Warrior Classic Protein Powder (natural flavor)
  • 4 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes (Trader Joes)
  • 4 tbsp fresh grind almond butter (Whole Foods)
  • 84 grams Deglet dates (made into a paste using water)
  • 8 tbsp water
  • (makes about 7.5 balls — approx. 2 ounces each)

Nutrition info. for each ball:

Calories: 175

Total Fat: 7.8g

Fiber: 2.8 g

Sugar: 7.7g

Protein: 15.2 g