Exploring Cowichan is Fun Fun Fun

Exploring Cowichan!

Have you ever noticed just how quickly time flies? Especially when we are having so much fun out exploring Cowichan. Wow! It’s like it was 2015 only yesterday, but that is soooo 2 years ago.

Exploring Cowichan Mobile This I Love Cowichan blog post is going to be a tad all over the place. It’s been so long since I’ve written. Boy oh boy do I have pictures to share and stories to tell, but this post is about getting the words flowing again.

Been busy out and about taking pictures, visiting new businesses, celebrating community events, standing in support of community causes and exploring Cowichan.

If you’re new to www.ILoveCowichan.ca, you will notice that our Cowichan explorations are a tad different from others…hiking isn’t quite one of our family things. Sometimes, walking is not an option but we find a way to explore regardless.

We Love Exploring Cowichan Businesses

Visiting with and getting to know people is my thing. Supporting Cowichan businesses is a cause near and dear to my heart and has been since 2009. Sure, it’s a little bit selfish, I want the Cowichan Valley to thrive so that my children will make their lives in or around it, then my grandchildren after that.  I want my neighbours and friends to live comfortably while doing what they love locally.

Playing tourist in our valley is fun and there is always someplace beautiful to experience for the first time. So, I have fun visiting touristy spots and getting to know Cowichan entrepreneurs. As a family we attend as many community events as we possibly can.

2017 has been such a whirlwind, it’s hard to keep up. I can’t believe we’re more than half way done the year. Wow! So many things have happened this year. Some good, some not so good but through it all I have seen the citizens of the Cowichan Valley stand together in support of one another. That is exactly the kind of thing that makes me LOVE COWICHAN so much.

Please like & follow www.iLoveCowichan.ca and do share your comments, suggestions, pictures, videos and stories. If you have a Cowichan Valley business, please give us a shout so we can shout it out 😉

The plan is to get back to blogging weekly; but you know it’s SUMMER, right? Ahhh the sweet sweltering summertime season when there is so much happening and so much exploring to do in the Cowichan Valley it’ll make your head spin.

Hoping to get blog posts up to date with stories from 2015 & 2016 throughout the summer so that it’s all caught up by Fall.

In the meantime, we’re very active posting everything Cowichan Valley on social media.

Exploring Cowichan on Social Media

Follow us on social media….did I mention that I love socializing? Don’t care if this sounds corny but when people take the time to comment and share with our social media accounts it really does make my day.

Have a Cowichan Valley business, or know someone who does?  Shout it out to us so that we can help spread the word. If you use #iLoveCowichan in your posts we will find them, and repost them. Know about an upcoming Cowichan Valley event? Let us know about it and we’ll help get the word out. If you’re not sure how to do any of that social media tagging stuff, feel free to get in touch.

We support Cowichan Valley owned businesses and have a fun time shouting them on Social Media.

 

 

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Duncan Farmers Market Rocks

Forget Green Acres….The Duncan Farmers Market is the Place to be!

Duncan Farmers Market Stage
Live Entertainment at the Duncan Farmers Market

I absolutely enjoy our little excursions to the Saturday Duncan Farmers Market in the town square.

Of course I’m there to support local business and to buy safer healthier food for my family.

But, the big draw for me is….

Quite simply put, I LOVE to MINGLE. I take pleasure in meeting new people. Everyone has a story, and I’m always keen to listen.

The atmosphere at the Duncan Farmers Market is the perfect blend of excitement and entertainment. There’s always a crowd that’s just right. Not so many people that you can’t move but enough people to make it feel like a celebration of sorts.

Plus, as a bonus we get a little exercise walking around the market.Dogs of Duncan Socializing

If you’re a dog lover what more can I say except WOW! I get such a kick out of watching the dogs socialize while their people stand around talking.

Robert likes to stop for doggy kisses along the way 😉

There are three market sessions:

Winter – January to March (12 weeks) 10am-2pm Spring & Summer – April to October (30 weeks) 9am-2pm Fall – November to December (8 weeks) 10am-2pm

There is such an amazing cultural array at the Duncan Farmers Market. So many people with interesting stories to share about places I’ll more than likely never see. It’s almost as if they take me on a journey with them as they weave their tales. Bonus! There is a fun variety of cooked foods.

 

Ed's Soup Shack + One of my favourites is Ed’s Soup Shack. They hand mix a line of dry soups (no msg!) The mixes come with everything you need. All you add is the meat and liquid. Karen & Ed Graves are great people that produce an exemplary and healthy line of products. Bonus, at a buck a bowl (or less) it makes economic sense too. I’ve discovered that you can make a whole heck of a lot more than just soup using their mixes.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you drop in at the Saturday Duncan Farmers Market. You won’t regret it. Oh, and make sure you get there early enough so as to enjoy a sample of whatever soup Ed’s got cooking up.

Please share your market stories and pictures in the comments.

Take care, Shelley

PS- Thank you! With every dollar you spend at a #Cowichan independent business, you help make our local economy stronger. With every person you tell about it…you’re kicking it up a notch.

Click for a list of Duncan Farmers Market vendors 

Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

post it notes ideasToo Many Great Cowichan People to Blog About

You ever have so many ideas flying around inside your head that you just can’t grab onto one long enough to jot it down? Happens to me constantly, kind of like a bunch of pop ups going off when you’re visiting a website. It pops up, then poof it’s gone and replaced by a new one.  I suppose the idea isn’t really gone, it has joined all the others spiraling around in a whirlpool of incredible ideas, things to do and solutions to problems.

There’s this bunch of post its fluttering around, and I can’t quite grab onto one.

Well here goes, I’m picking one now…

Hats off to HATS Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store
Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Hats off to the volunteers of the Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store for all that they do out of the goodness of their hearts. Such lovely people, and such a lovely example of community supporting community.

Every season I buy a few of these for the kids.  They make great gift decorations at Christmas too. Perfect for sending one little “kiss”.

Anyway when we were at the cash I reached for the Easter Bunny kisses and commented about how cute they are. That I really enjoy how they have them decorated for each holiday/season.

HATS Thrift Store Duncan BC
Made by Linda

Just so happens that the lady who makes them was working the cash. It was such a pleasure finally meeting her.  I really enjoyed hearing the enthusiasm as she explained how she makes them. They’re a lot of work. One time they sold 1000 of them! Wow! Talk about supporting your local hospital.

Volunteers HATS
Linda & Marjorie

Was great to visit with the two of you. You both have Winningest Smiles for sure 😉

The Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store opened at 79 Station Street Duncan, BC in May 2008. Wow! Doesn’t seem like that long ago! It’s popularity and success has made it possible for the Auxiliary to purchase many more items for the hospital and Cairnsmore place. HATS was able to donate over $259,000.00 in their first four years of business.

This my friend, is yet another reason why #iLoveCowichan; the generosity of people in our community.

None of this would be possible without the hard work of volunteers and the generous donations from Cowichan Valley citizens.

To those of you that volunteer for and to those who make donations to the Cowichan Auxiliary Thrift Store thank you all so very much!

Take care,

Shelley

PS- Things will be settling back down into a bit of a routine…hope to be writing more frequently again.

Soup Soup n’ More Soup

Even more soup recipes

Russell Farms Market CowichanFall makes me want to make soup. On rainy days I want to eat it.

As the weather gets colder, and things become damp, there’s nothing quite like a big pot of hot n’ steamy potage simmering away on the stove.

Creamy soups are my favourite and these veggies are still available locally grown.

That’s a win win in my books, so let’s start with those…

Recipes for cream of cabbage soup, cream of carrot soup, cream of mushroom soup and cream of onion soup.

Would most definitely love to hear back from anybody that makes one, two, three or all of these soups!

Potage Creme aux Choux – Cream of Cabbage Soup

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced potatoes
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • paprika

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the potatoes, cab­bage and onions.

Cover and cook over low heat 10 min­utes, shaking the pan frequently. Add the broth, salt and pepper; cover again and cook 30 minutes.

Purée in an electric blender, or force through a sieve. Return to the saucepan; mix in the cream.

Heat and taste for seasoning. Serve sprinkled with paprika.

Serves 6-8.

Cream of Carrot Soup

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the carrots, salt, sugar and pepper. Cook over low heat 10 minutes, stir­ring frequently. Add the broth; cook over low heat 30 minutes.

Puree in an electric blender, or force through a sieve. Mix in the cream and taste for seasoning.

Serve hot or iced, sprinkled with the parsley and egg. Serves 4-6

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Wash and drain the mushrooms. Chop the stems and half the caps. Slice the remaining caps thin.

Melt the butter in a saucepan; sauté the chopped mushrooms and onion 5 minutes.

Blend in the flour; add the broth, stir­ring steadily to the boiling point. Add the sliced mush­rooms and pepper; cook over low heat 15 minutes.

Mix in the cream; taste for seasoning.

Serve sprinkled with parsley, if desired. Serves 8-10.

Cream of Onion Soup

Cream of Onion Soup RecipeMelt the butter in a saucepan; sauté the onions over low heat about 20 minutes, until browned.

Mix in the flour and sauté another 5 minutes.

Add the water, salt and pepper. Cover loosely and cook over low heat 25 minutes.

Beat the egg yolks and cream in a bowl. Gradually add about 3 cups of the soup, stirring steadily to prevent curdling.

Return to balance of soup. Heat, mixing steadi­ly, but do not let boil.

Serve with a bowl of grated cheese.

Serves 6-8.

More Soup Recipes

Shop Cowichan Challenge

First a great big friendly shout out to some wonderful local businesses; then onto the Shop Cowichan Challenge…

These are your neighbours and your friends. They help ensure we have a strong local economy. They do their part, now let’s do ours! Please shop Cowichan.

Soulful Memories

Duncan Showroom

Russell Farms Market

The Tin Cup Coffee & Expresso Bar 277 Canada Avenue, Duncan BC 250-597-3738

The Tin Cup Canada Ave. Duncan BC CowichanshoplocalchallengeTheTinCup2

The list is just getting started, so keep an eye out. It will be updated regularly here on the blog.

Each time we add to our shop Cowichan list, we’ll do a shout out on Twitter and on Facebook.

Be sure to like & follow (one or the other or better even; both)

www.Twitter.com/ILoveCowichanCA                   www.facebook.com/ILoveCowichan

The Shop Cowichan Challenge

Shop Cowichan Challenge Part 1

Please drop into and drop a little cash at a #Cowichan place of business that you’ve never been to before. A locally owned store, food producer, coffee shop or restaurant. Hire a local service provider. Support a local artisan; check out a farm or farmer’s market. In other words shop someplace in the #CowichanValley that you’ve never shopped before. Try someplace new. Give a local business a shot at earning your loyalty.

Shop Cowichan Challenge Part 2

Now that you’ve had a wonderful customer experience someplace locally owned…tell two people about it. They’ve earned it, give them a shout out to people you know. It’s a great way to support business growth in your community AND help your friends start having some wonderful customer experiences of their own.

Shop Cowichan Bonus

Tell us about your great local customer experience(s) and we will shout it from the tallest mountain. Well, not really a mountain but we will shout it out on the World Wide Web which happens to be wayyyyy more effective anyway 😉

Shop Cowichan Challenge #ILoveCowichanThank you! With every nickel you spend when you shop Cowichan, you help make our local economy stronger. With every person you tell about it…you’re kicking it up another notch.

Take care, Shelley

PS- If you have a Cowichan business, project, cause, news whatever it may be please let me know so that I can check it out…then I’ll tell 2000 friends about it. I’m totally serious, I kid you not.

Community Supporting Community

Me thinking about what I want to do with my life ; aha moment communityA few years ago I started trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. After much deliberation I made my decision. I know this is going to sound cliché but I decided that I want to make a difference. There you go I said it! A difference…

A tad too tired these days to take on the world.  Besides, I brought my girls up so that they’ll take care of that. So I narrowed it down a bit.

I want to make a difference locally. I can make a difference in our Community!

First step was tweaking our family buying habits so that we were spending more in our community. Especially when it comes to our food, shopping local means eating fresh. Eating fresh is eating healthy. Buying local means supporting our local economy and that’s what I call an all around win. Done; check.

Next I started preaching what I was practicing to anybody and everybody in our community. Some people roll their eyes. Most people though, they get it.  That gives me hope, and so I share my opinion every chance that I get.

“It takes a community to support a strong local economy” tweets @shoplocally. One determined citizen can help make that happen. Talking just happens to be my forté.

I call it spreading some #BuyLocalLove. It’s simple really. Come together as a community; ensure a healthy local economy.

I’m studying Social Media so that I can shout it out to even more people. Why do I say studying instead of studied? It’s a never ending process. Social Media changes daily. There is ALWAYS something new to learn. Which, I just happen to love doing.

That brings me to my own personal mission statement…

Support Cowichan Valley Business Growth to help our community sustain a healthy local economy.

Support Cowichan Valley Business Growth to help our community sustain a healthy local economy.
#BuyLocalLove

Well, that’s it for now because I simply must get back to spreading the #BuyLocalLove. Then I’ll try to figure out the implications of the latest “potential” changes happening over on Facebook.

Take care,

Shelley

www.ILoveCowichan.ca

Cowichan summer of 2015 pics…

PS- If you have a Cowichan business, project, cause, news whatever it may be please let me know so that I can share with our community

e-mail: shelley@ILoveCowichan.ca

Twitter: @ILoveCowichanCA

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ILoveCowichan

Newly launched…

Instagram: ILoveCowichanDotCA

Pinterest: ILoveCowichan

Mission Totally Possible

I am on a mission, well two actually.

I am on a mission. Well maybe it’s two actually.

As a citizen of our beautiful valley I have decided it’s a mission of mine to Support Cowichan Valley Business Growth. As a mother; an aunt; a wife I am on a mission to Support the Well Being of My Family.

Turns out my missions align perfectly. In fact, they might actually be one after all. To keep my family and my community happy, healthy and thriving. How you ask? Keep it local; keep it fresh.

Make if your mission to buy local; buy fresh
COWICHAN GREEN COMMUNITY BUY LOCAL! BUY FRESH! ONLINE MAP

Shopping locally; buying fresh ensures my family eats healthy. At the same time I’m supporting my community by spending money with local businesses, markets and farms.

I am introducing my daughters and my niece to our Valley’s many hidden treasures. They in turn are taking their friends. I am teaching this generation to support the Cowichan Valley’s economy by spending money here. To purchase from independently locally owned businesses whenever possible.

I buy the occasional treat but my focus is on food for the family. Teens are the ones with disposable income. They have money to spend. My daughters now routinely bring friends to Downtown Duncan to shop. They lunch and snack at local restaurants more frequently than fast food.

Silver lining is that when they eat locally, they’re usually eating healthier foods. Not saying that’s why they do it, but it just so happens to be true.

Even the candy they buy is healthier (www.rembrandtschocolates.com).


Don’t tell them this but they are also getting more exercise by walking to Downtown Duncan.

One of the ways I’m supporting Cowichan Valley business growth is through social media. I’m proud to tweet local  . I want a Twitter feed jam-packed with everything Cowichan Valley. To follow people from and to be followed by people of the valley.

I’ve hit a bit of a snag. There are not as many local businesses Tweeting as I’d hoped. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times…“Twitter? Oh we don’t need that. We’re local only.” If you have a business, yes; yes you do. Won’t let that slow me down. That’s my mission for another day 🙂

Yesterday we went and got a bunch of fresh, local produce. Today we’re having fun partaking in the 4th Annual Cowichan Eat Local Challenge. Thank you Transition Cowichan and Cowichan Green Community!

I am happy spreading the “shop local” message. I am happy helping Cowichan Valley businesses grow. I will continue to shout it out loud; I will continue to shout it over the Internet…

Shop local…make it YOUR MISSION to support your community, your neighbours & your friends! Pretty please 😉

Hope you’re getting out and about enjoying the incredible Valley weather (and all the nummy fresh produce). Take care!

Shelley

 

Cucumber; Did you know?

The cucumber did not originate in one particular place…

They were found in many parts of the world and as far back as prehistoric times. The Bible contains a very early cucumber reference.

Cucumber People by BreannaThere are Chinese writings dating back fifteen hundred years that reference the cucumber. The Romans had cucumbers, small and gnarled, but cucumbers nonetheless.

When explorers came to the New World they found cucumbers growing everywhere.

Many of the imperfections, the knobs and prickles, the spines and warts, that originally adorned cucumbers, have long been eliminated by selective horticulture. Most new cucumber varieties are quite straight rather than curved in the shape of a half-moon like their ancestors.

Hadn’t really intended on discussing cucumbers in particular 😉 Plan was to share two dressing or dip recipes and then let you know I’ve added a new page of salad recipes…

Cucumber Dressing or Dip

  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumbers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill (optional)
  • 1 cup sour cream

Drain the cucumbers very well. Mix with the salt, lemon juice and dill. Fold into the sour cream. Chill. Serve with sea food or vegetable salads. Makes about 2 cups.

Parsley Dressing or Dip

  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dill pickle
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Mix together the parsley, dill pickle, tomatoes and salt. Fold into the sour cream. Chill. Great served with sea food. Makes about 2 cups.

Veggies for dipping

Select a variety of crisp, chilled fresh vegetables such as cucumber slices, celery stalks, carrot sticks, cauliflower flowerets, Bel­gian endive, artichoke leaves, radish roses, green and red pepper sticks, tiny plum tomatoes and small mush­rooms. Arrange them attractively around the dip.

Salad Recipes

Hope you enjoy the recipes!

Take care,

Shelley

PS- Remember to shop local…support your community, your neighbours & your friends! Pretty please 😉

Support Local Farm Markets in your area

Hi Ho Hi Ho to Duncan Farmer’s Market I Did Go

A Perfect Day For a Trip to Duncan Farmer’s Market

Nothing beats a sunny May Saturday outing to the Duncan Farmer’s Market. So many people, so many goodies and so many smiles. Plus, I finally met Farmer Abe!

Bought those Providence Farm veggies (can’t remember what they are called anybody?). Used them in a stir fry as suggested and wow were they nummy. Speaking of nummy…see those baby potatoes from Katie Farm, they were darned nummy in our tummies too.  What a wonderful young lady selling healthy sweets…Robert says that the orange-cranberry loaf was amazing too!

Bought some Bacon from Henry & Jones Beef at the Duncan Farmer's Market
Where’s the Beef?

Guess what I did with the freshly made that morning corn tortillas? Stuffed them with tomatoes, Henry & Jones bacon and lettuce from Katie Farm.

My daughter said the BLTs were absolutely scrumptious.

When we lived in the Eastern Townships (Quebec) we only ate farm fresh meat. I had forgotten what a difference grass fed makes and that the only thing better than bacon, is fresh local bacon.

 

Fall 2014 Duncan Farmer's Market
Fall 2014 Duncan Farmer’s Market

Looking back I see my last trip to the Duncan Farmer’s Market that I wrote about was a rainy one. Going on a fall day is fun in a certain kind of way (especially holding a fresh brewed coffee) but going on a sunshine, flower filled spring day one ups it for sure 😉

Wasn’t even intentional, capturing two different seasons at the Duncan Farmer’s Market, just worked out that way. I’m sure glad that it did.  Spring flowers may beat out falling leaves, but look at the colourful fall produce.

Attending the Duncan Farmer’s Market is just like any other local shopping spree for me…I love to visit with the people as much as I love to look at (and buy) their goods. Have you ever noticed that everyone has interesting stories to tell? I have, and that’s why I like talking to every single vendor there. I sincerely like learning about the person and what they do.

In other words each stop at each booth takes quite a bit of time and I never seem to get as far as I hope to. I mean, sure I usually make it all the way through from one end and back, but I don’t get to stop for as many chats as I’d like and I run out of money sooner than I’d originally planned 😉

Speaking of running out of money, I did notice that more of the vendors now take Square as payment. Nice!

I’ve decided from now on I will alternate which end of the Duncan Farmer’s Market I start at each time.

 

 

 

 

Locally Owned

Shop Cowichan Challenge #ILoveCowichan

and Locally Made Bliss…

Wow! April is gone poof, just like that. Now we’re officially half way through May.

Ever notice how May in the Cowichan Valley looks more like mid summer across the rest of Canada? So happy we live in the warm land.

Container garden strawberries herbsMy Kale is growing, strawberry plant is budding and my roses are blooming.

Never underestimate the healing power of digging in the dirt with your hands or the joy of eating something that you’ve grown yourself from a seed.

This wasn’t exactly where I was originally headed, but come to think of it my sister’s flowers are most definitely a beautiful bounty of locally owned bliss. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking…

Anyway, where was I? Right, Wednesday and Friday after school the girls and I like to explore locally owned businesses.

We call it treasure hunting. Sometimes we hunt for hidden treasures that we’ve never found before, other times we head to a favourite spot for some locally made bliss.

Wednesday we visited a place that’s  near and dear to our hearts and tummies. We stopped to grab a treat at a cute little locally owned bakery in Duncan.  It’s almost torture following our own rule of one treat each. This visit we picked an eclair, a cream horn, a custard doughnut and a chocolate covered banana. I had fruit 😉 They all looked AMAZING!

  • Rated as to die for BLISSFUL: the eclair and cream horn
  • Rated as interesting the banana I liked it but didn’t love it
  • Rated as pretty good after brushing some of the sugar off the custard doughnut (was apparently a bit too sweet)

 

We’ve purchased many birthday cakes from Westfalian Bakery.  Every single one was rated as BLISSFUL.

Locally Owned…

Westfalian Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Take care!

Shelley

PS- Remember to shop local…support your community, your neighbours & your friends.