Final Destination Shawnigan Lake

Exploring Vancouver Island #iLoveCowichan Shawnigan Lake Road Trip

We love supporting local businesses while exploring where we live. And, so that is what we did on a sunny Cowichan Valley Thursday when we headed out to Shawnigan Lake.

Face Carving Recreation Road Shawnigan Lake BC

Shawnigan Lake BC

Once upon a time on a sunshiny day in Duncan, we hopped into the I Love Cowichan mobile and headed to Shawnigan Lake. There were errands to run, some exploring to do, passengers wanting a swim and parents looking forward to some yummy treats.

Look Out Shawnigan Lake Here We Come

First stop a drop off at the lake and then a quick trip to the vet for some of Leo the Blogging Cur’s medicine.

Thank you Shawnigan Lake Veterinary Wellness Practice for caring so much about our pup.

Then the grown ups partook in some taco taste testing at Compass Mexican Bistro. I had the veggie taco which was fresh and super yummy. They didn’t have ice coffee on the menu, but they happily made me some using their house Canadiana blend, which really hit the spot.

Next Stop the Village Chippery in Shawnigan Lake

Village Chippery MenuI love everything about the Village Chippery in Shawnigan! The decor, the ambience, the friendly smiles and conversation. But most importantly, the incredible, mouth watering, perfect in every way fries.

Before heading back to the lake to do some exploring, we stopped to pick some up as a surprise. Well, plus, I wanted some too.

They have a house made vegan burger on the menu that I can’t wait to try. Here’s a snippet of their menu. Keep in mind it may have changed, so it’s best to check for the most up to date www.villagechippery.com

Old Mill Park Shawnigan Lake

When we got to Old Mill Park we started down the path and came to a fork. Right I went, and wrong I was.

I’d only been to the beach once before and followed someone in, so I didn’t know there were multiple walking trails in the park. What a wonderful accidental discovery. An easy walking pathway took me through the woods to a look out at the edge of the lake.

From there I could see the beach to my left, which is where I headed next. While taking a ton of pictures we ran into this little guy along the way.

I took so many great pictures that I’m hoping to share with you soon. Can’t wait to go and explore Old Mill Park in Shawnigan Lake, BC some more this summer.

Nanaimo Bound Early on a Saturday

Road tripping to VIU Nanaimo Campus

Leo the Blogging Cur Sleeping In
Leo took advantage by jumping into a warm bed

Early this morning we set out on a road trip to the Vancouver Island University Nanaimo campus.

VeeBeeArts needed a lift to her Bachelor of Arts program interview and the time had come for some grad shopping to be done.

A lot of yawning was going on as we got ready to head out around seven am. And, of course we did our best not to disturb Leo the sleeping brindle beauty.

When I stumbled out the door still half asleep, I was grateful I’d remembered to wear my sunglasses. It was surprisingly chilly but the sun was out in full force. The sky was cloudless and a pretty energising shade of blue.

After a few sips of coffee and soaking up some dazzling early morning rays, I was wide awake and ready to roll on down the highway.

Take a TON of Pictures In and Around Nanaimo

My plan was to walk around the campus taking pictures while we waited. But, it was so windy and cold that idea didn’t pan out so well. So, I headed back to the car where I enjoyed doing a little passenger seat photography instead.

After a positive interview, and some successful grad shopping it was still early, leaving us time to explore Nanaimo.

But first, we decided to seek out the Taco Revolution food truck.

You might be wondering why we’d be looking for them in that neck of the woods.  Well, that’s because I was taking taking side view mirror pictures and I spotted them behind us. So, VeeBeeArts checked their Instagram and ironically they were set up nearby at an Earth Day celebration.

I was able to take even more Nanaimo road trip pictures. Some of which I’ll share with you tomorrow on Instagram. Also, I’ll be adding more pictures and some videos to the blog over the next couple of days.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! And, remember…..when you shop locally owned you are supporting your neighbours, your friends and your community.

Shop Cowichan Challenge #ILoveCowichan

Duncan Farmers Market A Bustling With Activity

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 Duncan Farmers 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 Market vendors 

Roast Vegetables Are Yummy

Roast Vegetables Rock

I love veggies especially roast vegetables! There I said it, and I’m not ashamed 😏 It’s not just because they’re healthy, but they’re also delicious!

I didn’t make it to the Duncan Farmers Market this week so I’m running low on fresh veggies. Guess I’ll be heading to the Old Farm Market tomorrow morning to stock up. In the meantime for supper I had carrots, yams and white potatoes to work with. Perfect for roasting!

Roast Vegetables Recipe

4 yams
6 russet potatoes
4 large carrots

Spices
XXX Tex Mex
Holy Smokes
Lemon Pepper
Ground Cardamon
Salt
Fine White Pepper

Grape seed oil or other oil of your choosing
Grated Parmesan optional

Peel wash & dice the carrots, yams and potatoes.

The size I cut the vegetables into depends on how quickly I want them cooked. In this case I’m aiming for about 30 minutes, so I cut diced them on the smaller size. Same goes for the oven temperature. I want them super crispy fast so I’ve set it a 450. My preference is 350 for 60 minutes. The longer the veggies roast, the more flavour enriched they become.

If they don’t crisp to my liking, I switch to broil for the last 5 minutes. Every oven is different. Mine kind of sucks. Bottom line adjust temp and time to the crispness of your liking.

Time to Spice the Veggies

I tossed the vegetables in a large metal bowl with grape seed oil so that they were fully coated.

Before I go any further I feel I should warn you that unless I’m following a recipe I rarely measure spices. So you’ll only be getting pinches of this or a smatterings of that from me when I’m describing my vegetable cooking adventures.

Now, where was I? Right…

Then I generously covered the veggies with XXX Tex Mex by triple smoke and mixed them well. Using spice shakers I added a very light dusting of Sutton Creek’s holy smokes, lemon pepper and dash of organic cardamon and fine white pepper. I mixed the vegetables and spices for a couple minutes and added the Parmesan.

I poured the vegetables onto a greased tray and popped it into my preheated 450 degree oven. At the 30 minute mark they were perfect, with no need to broil. The roasted vegetables were perfectly crisp. Just the way I like them.

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.

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.

Life has been such a whirlwind, it’s hard to keep up. Wow! So many things happening in the valley. 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.

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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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.

Random Chatter; I am all over the place

Randomly Speaking…

So busy, so many things to write about and yet here it is a month later. Wow! Where does the time go?

Guess I’ll try a quick recap of fall so far. Short n’ sweet…chuckle chuckle.

Random visit to SPCA leads to true loveBeen visiting the Duncan SPCA for cuddles. Fell in love with three little Boxer dogs Gizmo, Sonic & Edith. Was bittersweet watching Gizmo leave with her new family, the lucky girl. Edith has a forever home she’s going to…again I’m happy for her but man oh man am I going to miss snuggling with her.

A German Shephard arrived last week while I was there. He is really such a good boy. I watched him walking on a leash, he loved it. He was originally a rescue. He’s been well cared for. Hasn’t done anything wrong to be at the SPCA, he’s only there because of a change in family circumstances. Hope someone snatches him up soon. Wish I could take him home.

Princess saying adopt me please during my last random visit I play with the cats too. This is Princess. She lures you into the room, and then does her best to keep you from leaving. Well, from leaving without her that is. Such a sweetie!

I really appreciate the incredible effort that has gone into housing the cats and dogs as comfortably as possible. They may be waiting for their furever homes, but at least they get to be comfy in the meantime. Good luck Princess….cheers to never seeing you again. Hoping you’re all set with a new family the next time I pop in for a visit.

How’s this for a random? You know all those “how to” videos on youtube? Seems the people who post them, are experts at what they do. Well, at least that’s my take on the situation. I try, but to date nothing has been as easy to do as they show in the videos. Nothing until this that is! Turning tomatoes into a yummy simple sauce really works! I mean, ok so the guy in the original video did a better job than I did but it worked!

Have I mentioned that I simply adore #Tweeting? Well I do. I like having fun with it. Come to think of it, I really enjoy the randomness of tweets. They are all over the place, and that’s what makes tweeting fun. Here are a couple of random faves in the last few days….

If you’re on Twitter please follow us, we almost always follow back. There are a few rare exceptions, but ahem…I won’t get into that here 😉 Know what I love about rainy, damp, cold days? Making soup, taking pictures and baking. Recently Added more soup recipes…even more coming soon.

Here’s something random….how about participating in a simple soup poll just for fun? Comment with your answer….Chicken Noodle or Cream of Mushroom? Or click on the Twitter poll. So far (when I wrote this) it’s running 50/50. Not what I expected. Curious to see the end results.  

Hmmm guess this turned out to be a bunch of random things, rather than a recap. I like blogging random things, it’s more like a true to life conversation (remember those?) I suppose that’s enough rambling for now.

Take care! Shelley

PS- Don’t forget to Shop Local support your neighbours, your friends and your community.  Please partake in the Shop Local Challenge.

 

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 favorite 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, cream of carrot, cream of mushroom and cream of onion soup.

I 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.

Then mix in the cream; taste for seasoning.

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

Cream of Onion Soup

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

Then 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 the balance of soup. Heat, mixing steadi­ly, but do not let boil.

Serve with a bowl of grated cheese.

Serves 6-8.

 

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.

Business Social Media Oopsie

Business Social Media Info DO Put It on Your Card

Business Social Media Info on Card ILoveCowichan.caAfter a particularly pleasant experience as a customer you’ll see me standing at the cash picking up a business card. If you watch you’ll see me look at both sides of the card.

The reason I’m doing this is I’m active on social media, I’m looking for their business social media info so that I can give them a kudos online.

Side note: If they don’t have cards for the taking, I make a friendly suggestion that they rectify the situation. Always have business cards for the taking at the till.

Many times (too many) I have to ask for the business social media info because it isn’t anywhere on the card.

If you have business social media accounts then include the info on your cards. You wouldn’t leave off your phone number, e-mail or website, right?  Social media is another means, a very popular way for customers to communicate and publicly talk about your business.

After scanning their business card I hand them my card. I thank them for the amazing customer experience, take some pictures and explain what I do. I support my community by supporting Cowichan Valley Business Growth.

I let them know what made my customer experience a good one and that I will be telling others about it.

I explain that I’ll be mentioning them on my blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. That I may even create a board on Pinterest. If it is a restaurant I may do a review.

If there is no social media info on the card, rather than assuming (used to do that) I ask. Often they have a Facebook page (or are pretty sure they have one). I point out that it’s not on the business card, and they respond with “you can just search our name”.

Buzzzzzz wrong answer! I make another friendly suggestion. Don’t make it tough for people to track you down on social media. Don’t assume you’ll come up top those results either. If your business socializes…include the contact info on your card,

Take care!

Shelley

PS – I was curious so I just pulled out 10 random local business cards.

2 no business social media listed, they do not partake so that card is complete

5 have no business social media listed but do use at least one form of social media

1 has Facebook logo without link – that’s good but would be GREAT with the FB page link

2 include the business social media info – Kudos!!!

Business Social Media link to Sarah’s Soap Garden FB page

www.Facebook.com/islandjavabag

www.Twitter.com/jimgerbreadetc

www.Facebook.com/jimgerbreadetc