Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 6

Our final day! It was very bitter-sweet waking up this day knowing it was our the last leg of our amazing family bike adventure.
Chambord to Alma. 54.7km.

Riding into Chambord the previous day we went up a hill, so mammoth, that it literally took about 10 minutes on the bike to climb it. Needless to say, leaving Chambord that morning, I was really looking forward to feeling the wind in my face and the speed of the bike going down that hill on our way to Alma, and it didn't disappoint. In hindsight, I was probably going a little too fast considering I had my only child attached to the back of me (we were going about 45km/hr) but it was FUN (even Gage was saying "weeeeeeee" in the back). We don't have any pictures of us going down the hill, as, well...that would have been really unsafe!
This is my favourite picture of our trip. I love my bike, and it looks awesome in this shot. Also, Gage and I look like bad-asses (minus the stuffed seal).

This is one of the dams we had to ride over.

This was the view to the left of the dam

This was the view to the right of the dam

Another dam we went over

After the dams and some killer hills we ended up at this. No more path, no road...nothing. Just water.

But don't worry!! We had a ferry ride across the lake. As you can see, Gage was quite excited to be on a boat. He kept saying "This is my first boat ride in forever in my life"! (I can assure you, it wasn't his first boat ride, but why burst the bubble?)

After the ferry ride there were more hills. And not just regular hills, these were gigantically steep hills that I had to walk some of them. I thought it would never end, until I came to this:
This is where we had STARTED our trip. We were DONE!!!
I was so excited...and sad...and proud...I literally started crying (just a little). I was so proud of my little family. Still am. It was a great trip and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Even all those pesky hills that made me get off my bike and walk - I'll own them next time).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chai Tea Concentrate (Take 1)

While creeping other blogs, I came across this recipe and stopped dead in my tracks. They have a point. Why pay $4 and change for cold chai tea concentrate to be heated with frothed milk when you can make it yourself for less than $2.80 (that's the exact price I paid, excluding the milk, for all the spices with plenty leftover to make more)?  I do have some trepadation as I am a bit of a tea snob when it comes to Chai and really only prefer one brand, but trying new things never hurt anyone right?
Here's the recipe (From A Crafty Lass): Note: This isn't the recipe I eluded to in my previous post. For whatever reason my browser wouldn't open that page when I wanted to make it so I went with this one instead.

For about 3 cups of concentrate:
  • 3½ cups water
  • ½ cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 star anise
  • ¼ teaspoon anise seeds
  • 8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced (there's no need to peel it)
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4 bags Darjeeling tea
Combine all the ingredients except the tea in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to strongly simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Add the teabags, cover the pan again, and steep for 20 minutes more.
Strain the concentrate into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for about a week.

It was super easy to make and did smell amazing. If you're not a huge anise fan, you may want to cut back on it as the anise scent was quite strong. The yield was about 2 cups but that was probably my fault. I was simmering it a little harder than I was supposed to (I blame the Dexter episode I was watching at the same time - oops).
As for the taste test? I just filled a mug a third of the way with the concentrate, topped off the rest with milk and threw it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I don't know why I'm so surprised, but it tastes pretty good. A little too anise-y for my liking but not so powerful that I won't finish it (I'll just know for next time) and it's pretty sweet, which isn't all bad but I won't add as much concentrate to my next mug full (and possibly reduce the amount of honey in the next batch).
I think I may just be converted...

Friday, August 26, 2011

My weekend (rather, Monday) project

This is what I plan to do on Monday at nap time. I'm super excited!
Spiced Chai Concentrate:
Anyone with me?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 5

St. Felicien to Chambord. 49 km.
It was a slow start to the day. Gager woke up feeling a bit better. Still feverish and vomitted the meds we gave him. We considered staying at the B&B for the day until we found out it was fully booked that night (and rightfully so, it was a beautiful B&B). So on the road we went. Gage was content to just sit back and enjoy the ride - but we did bring a little bucket with us just in case.
He's not looking so good, but full of energy

So far we had biked this many km's

The precautionary bucket

Even though he felt like poo, he still wanted to ride. It didn't last very long. Maybe 3km.

I was a little jealous

Guess what Eric's next bike will be?

The storm we were trying to outrun. (we succeded)

End of the day

Dinner time. Gage was all over the chicken wings.

Bedtime. We're reading '50 Below Zero' by Robert Munsch.

I found this day to be pretty tiring. Maybe I was over the honeymoon phase of cycling, but I had a hard time this day. We only biked for 49km, a pretty easy day but the wind was pushing against us. There were some really cute little towns that we passed through that I now wish we had stopped to explore. Oh well...maybe we'll just have to go and do it again?!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm A Guest Blogger?!

The ladies of The Harvest Kitchen Sisters asked me to write a guest blog on urban chicken keeping. I was very honoured (and nervous!) as I find both Amelia and Laura amazing and inspiring. Click on the link to see my  post and their lovely blog.
Thanks Amy for taking such great photos!

Strawberries in August

Okay, okay...I don't actually have fresh strawberries. I'm just late posting our 2011 strawberry picking, strawberry jam making experience.
This was the first year I took Gage with me picking. I wish you were there to see just how excited he was. I told him before we left that we weren't allowed to eat any of the strawberries until after we paid for them ( I know, I'm a cruel mother) - but in my defence, if I didn't say that he would have eaten all of them.
It was an overcast day which was perfect for picking. Especially with a young child. He was very proud to have picked the "most humongous strawberries" in the whole field.

This was our lot for the day. Plus Gage's bucket that he refused to let go of. All of these strawberries in the picture above went into making jam. We now have enough jam to last us until next winter I think, though that won't stop me from picking more next season and making more jam.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Local dinner for one

Just realized that outside of the bread and butter, my dinner tonight is quite local. 100 feet or less, local.
Cucumber and tomato (both from the garden) sandwich + a hard-boiled egg (The egg was laid by Pecker...incase you were wondering).
Sorry no pictures. One camera broken and the other is with my better half.

What's your favorite local meal?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 4

Dolbeau-Mistassini to St. Felicien. This was our longest day of cycling. 70km. The weather was beautiful, the ride was beautiful and we were all in great spirits. We stopped along the way to pick some wild blueberries that are scattered along the trail. Can you get more local than that? We also stopped at a cheese making shop. A 'fromagerie'. Fresh curds and more blueberries were a welcome snack near the end of our ride.
Gage says his favourite part of the day was stopping at the St. Felicien Zoo. 'Zoo Sauvage'. We arrived around 5:30pm. The cashier was nice enough to give us a 50% discount since we were entering so late in the day. The zoo was separated into 5 sections. The 'Parc Des Sentiers De La Nature' (Buffalo, Moose/Meese?, Deer), 'Montagnes' (Mountain goats, Lynx, Cougars, Grizzly Bears, Turkeys, Wolf), "Asie' (Tigers and Monkeys), 'Mongolie' (Camels, Wild Horse, some other mountain goat-looking animal) and the 'Foret Mixte' (Beavers, Seals, Fox, Racoon, Rabbit, Porcupine, Polar Bears).
Gage's favourite animals were the seals. They had an underwater observatory as well as an above ground. The seals just kept swimming in circles and showing their bellies to everyone. Needless to say, we purchased a stuffed seal animal in the gift shop before we left.
My favourite were the polar bears. One was laying in the sun while the other played with a huge traffic cone in the water. At one point the cone ended up on the bear's head and it wasn't quite sure how to get it off. You couldn't ask for better entertainment! Hilarious.
After the zoo (we basically Olympic speed-walked through the whole thing) we headed back to the bikes to go to our next B&B. We should have known something was up with Gager when he refused to eat any dinner. We just thought he was too excited to be at the zoo and wanted to get back out there. Were we ever wrong! After I put him in the trailer, he vomitted all the fresh cheese curds and blueberries he had had 4 hours earlier. The smell.....uck.
After another hour of waiting for him to vomit everything out enough to get back on the bike, and we were off. I don't think I've ever biked that fast in my life. It was getting dark, I didn't have any lights on my bike and I had a sick kid towing behind me. Lance Armstrong, move over.
The B&B owners, who we had called saying we were on our way just before Gage got sick came looking for us in their car. How sweet is that? They showed us the way and we got Gage to bed asap.
It was a long day but it was great day (even with the vomit).

Picking blueberries. Delicious!

This was our view most of the way. Beautiful rolling hills of green

This field is planted with Canola. It kinda smells like cauliflower and manure.

The beginning of the end. Cheese curds and blueberries!!

The underbelly

This was the Polar Bear after if figured out how to get the cone off it's head. I love how all the kids were cheering!

One of the bridges overlooking the monkey and tiger exhibits.

Eric pointing out the tiger.

Just before the vomit...

Just after the 2nd vomitting episode (see left corner - sorry), in fresh clothes and cleaned shoes. Gotta love the Crocs.

Day 3

St. Monique to Dolbeau-Mistassini. Total distance was 49.75Km. The second day of cycling was much better than the first, despite the rainy weather. The route was less hilly and the rain was light enough that it felt nice. We had the BEST lunch at a tiny restaurant in the back of a general store. Spaghetti and chicken noodle soup. Delicious and much appreciated when it's wet and rainy out.

Gage navigating the map

Me taking a break on Eric's trike

A museum we stopped at but didn't tour.

The museum's shop. They had an art installation of 'heaven and hell'. Heaven was this blue and white cloudy, puffy, comfy looking thing and hell was, well, exactly what Gage was drawn to.

Gage refused to bike past these cows because they were too close to the bike trail. He's scared of cows.

Enjoying the homemade apple pie with real cream after our amazing lunch.

Nap time

The Mistassini River. Don't worry, Gage was being yelled at to get off the fence.

Enjoying Daddy's dessert.
 A great day!