Food and drink

blender soups
Dec18

We always recommend bringing a blender when you travel to one of our vacation properties. That’s because there are so many recipes that can be made with this one simple tool. It’s easy to pack and endlessly diverse, whether you want to make dessert smoothies, creamy blender-made soups, or blended cocktails. An immersion blender is particularly easy to pack and works great for soups of all kinds.

As the weather dips in December, you and your family are probably craving something warm and rich to eat. Blenders are great for whipping together easy soups. Here are a few of our favourites:

1. Easy Carrot Soup

This uber-filling soup makes for a perfect winter dinner. Cut up 2-pounds of carrots and boil them with the other ingredients in full-fat coconut milk and water. After about 10-15 minutes of simmering, the carrots should be tender enough to blend. Poke them with a fork and insure the prongs go through easily before introducing the blender.

Curry paste and onion make up the base of this flavourful dish. Additionally, you can add in some cilantro, toasted almonds, or chile oil.

Get the full recipe here.

2. Tomato Basil Soup with Asiago

This twist on traditional tomato soup is a welcome chilly weather meal. You can use canned tomatoes for the base or boil and peel 3-pounds of fresh tomatoes for an even richer flavour. Though the recipe calls for chicken broth, you may substitute vegetable broth in order to make the recipe suitable for vegetarians.

The grated asiago cheese gives this dish some zest. Save a bit to sprinkle on top of each bowl directly before serving. You can also garnish with croutons if you choose!

Get the full recipe here.

3. Butternut Squash Soup

The most challenging part of this recipe is peeling the squash, removing the seeds, and quartering it all. If you don’t have time for this, you can use frozen or canned squash as a substitute. But fresh always tastes best! You will need 3 cups of squash and 1 peeled, decored, and cubed apple to make up the bulk of the soup.

You will want to saute some onion in butter while the squash and apple are steaming. Then, blend it all up with the rest of the ingredients and voila!

Get the full recipe here.

Stay Warm and Fill Up!

Hot, fresh, and quick blender-made soups are the perfect winter recipe. They are easy to make and can be adjusted to accommodate what you have on hand if you are in a rental suite and away from your kitchen.

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Winter activities
Dec04

You don’t need to be cooped up indoors during your stay at a Breakaway Vacation property in Parksville or Qualicum Beach from November through January. Vancouver Island, while renowned for its summertime affairs, has plenty to do even when the snow starts falling. Plus, you won’t have to fight the typical warm-weather crowds! Here are a few winter activities you can look forward to in the area.

  1. New Year’s Day Annual Polar Bear Splash

Don’t mind the chill? Want a challenge? Join the Parksville community on New Years Day as residents and visitors alike participate in the Polar Bear Splash. Dash into the winter-chilled ocean at Parkville Beach to brave the cold.

  1. Sports at Oceanside Place

Oceanside Place is a sports and ice area that is perfect for the whole family. They have an active skate schedule on their website if you want to pop by. You can also catch an Oceanside Generals game, if you want to watch the local hockey team.

  1. Winter Hiking

There are plenty of hiking areas that are open year-round, like Little Qualicum Falls, Top Bridge Park, Englishman River Falls, or Rathtrevor Beach. Most are empty during the winter months even though they are open, meaning you can have the trails and scenery all to yourselves!

  1. Take a Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tour

These are available year-round and offer trips suitable for families and seniors. You can pick the theme of your tour, ranging from nature tours to wine tours. The Salmon Spawning Tour is only available in October and November, making it a winter-exclusive activity!

  1. Horne Lake Caving, Winter Edition

We love caving year-round but winter caving tours tend to be less crowded and offer a different experience due to increased levels of moisture for the season. Horne Lake Caves offers October through January bookings with limited availability, so call ahead and save your spot.

  1. Visit Grotto Spa

The Tigh-Na-Mara Grotto Spa just outside of Parkville was named one of the top spas in Canada by Spas of America in 2018! Check out the large mineral pool, the relaxation lounge, various spa treatments, and finish your night with a meal from the attached Cedars Restaurant & Longue.

Vancouver Island has many, many things to do in the winter months. Want to hear more about where to stay to access these winter activities? Reach out to the Breakaway Vacation staff, we would be happy to help.

Healthy smoothies
Nov06

As the weather goes down, so does our body’s natural immunity. Wintertime tends to mean: being indoors more, where germs travel more easily; a lower body temperature, making you vulnerable; and germs get tougher as the weather gets chillier. That’s why you should try to incorporate vitamins and minerals into your diet that boost immunity and help keep you healthy! Smoothies are an easy way to do this. Here are a few nutrient-rich healthy smoothies to get you started:

  1. Citrus Immunity Boosting Smoothie Recipe

Citrus fruits have a ton of vitamin C so this recipe is a perfect, healthy smoothie choice. The vitamin C in citrus fruits are also proven to slow aging and prevent cancer. Oranges and mangoes are the primary ingredients, which is great because mandarin oranges are in season. Lime juice and coconut water finish this recipe off. With no yogurt or milk, it is also low calorie.

Full recipe here.

  1. C-Blast Smoothie

Pink grapefruit, pineapple, and strawberries are all packed with vitamin C. Because most fruit is out of season, feel free to sub in frozen or canned varieties where applicable. This blend included half-a-cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, too, which makes it more filling—perfect for breakfast or a midday snack to tide you over until dinner.

Full recipe here.

  1. Immune Boosting Winter Citrus Smoothie

Mangos, turmeric, ginger, a pinch of cayenne, oranges make the base of this rich, delicious wintertime favorite smoothie. Try swapping in blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, or mandarin oranges to change up the flavor a bit. You can even mix varieties in the same dish. This smoothie is perfect for winter blues, with plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Full recipe here.

  1. Superfood Power-Up Smoothie Cups

This smoothie cup contains coconut milk, oatmeal, raw honey, chia seeds, vanilla, quinoa, as well as an assortment of spices that you can modify based on what you have on hand. We suggest using turmeric, which is known to help control blood pressure and boost your body’s natural restorative properties.

Full recipe here.

What are your favourite healthy smoothies for wintertime? Let us know in the comments. Want to tap into some sweet, sweet Okanagan produce for your healthy smoothie recipes? Book your summer vacation plans with us now at Breakaway Vacations. We book up fast!

Stay fed, stay healthy.

 

BC Beer
Oct30

We talk a lot about wine on this blog. After all, B.C. is considered the “wine country” of Canada. Beer drinkers need not despair! We have plenty of craft breweries in the area, too. B.C. craft beer is rising in popularity, especially on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver proper. That means there is a ton our there for beer-lovers to try.

Autumn and winter come with their own flavours (think: dark beers, like stouts, and anything spiced). And B.C.-based breweries are more than accommodating to these seasonal tastes. Try any of these fall/winter season B.C. craft beers. You won’t regret it.

  1. Granville Island Lions Winter Ale

If you don’t already know, Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district in Vancouver, B.C. Granville Island Brewing was Canada’s first modern microbrewery. Their beers are ubiquitous across the province. You’ll have no problem finding the Lions Winter Ale, and more, at any local liquor store. The Lions Winter Ale has a vanilla-like flavour that pairs well with full-flavoured foods and cream-based sauces.

  1. Whistler Brewing Chestnut Ale

You can probably guess by the name, but Whistler Brewing is located in Whistler, British Columbia. This ski-resort-town is bustling with winter sports and year-round entertainment, including eateries and breweries. The chestnut ale is a spiced/herbed beer with a blend of caramel and crystal malts. It’s a “Warm you up from the inside out” kind of drink. The bold, nutty flavour will do well with any rich winter meal.

  1. Hoyne Dark Matter

Hoyne Brewing is located in Victoria, B.C., so if you are staying at one of our Parksville or Qualicum Beach vacation properties, a day trip for a tour is not out of the question. (It’s about a 2-hour drive away.) Dark Matter is a delicious stout-meets-brown-meets-porter. It’s a bit of an enigma, soft to sip with hints of chocolate. This is a beer for everyone, even those who tend to avoid darker brews.

  1. Nelson Brewing Co. Faceplant Winter Ale (Organic)

Nelson Brewing, located in, obviously, Nelson, has been a staple in the local community since 1991. They produce all nature, full-flavoured beers. They are certified organic, producing without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetic engineering. The Faceplant winter Ale has hints of brown sugar and molasses. It’s sweet, malty, dark, and smooth.

  1. Driftwood Satori Harvest Fresh Hop IPA

Driftwood Brewing is located in Victoria, B.C. The Satori Harvest Fresh Hop IPA can only be brewed once a year when fresh Centennial hops are collected from Satori Cedar Ranch near Chilliwack. This IPA is hoppy, floral, piney, smooth, and grassy. Everything we love in a fall and winter season beer. It has a 7% ABV, so enjoy responsibly.

Find something you like thanks to this guide? Let us know in the comments! Want to visit some B.C. breweries first-hand? Ask us about our British Columbian vacation rentals.