Foodie Friday – Peach Bellini

Alberta

Last summer we bought a huge flat of bruised peaches for a great price. I cut up and froze over 30 of them. So all winter I have been using peaches in a lot of baking and cooking.

I had a hankering for a peach Bellini the other day, so decided to “cook” one up.

I found this recipe on the Food Network and then changed it a bit to suit what I had on hand and for what I was looking for in my Bellini. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/peach-bellini-recipe.html

20160820_154534Ingredients:
– 6 peaches, cut into quarters and pitted

-1/4 cup sugar (I used normal sugar)

-1/4 cup water

-1 Tbsp lemon juice

-Sugar-Free flavoured sparkling water

-White wine

 

Directions:

20160820_154715Place cut up peaches in the blender along with the water, sugar, and lemon juice.

Blend until pureed.

Place into fridge until ready to use.

Pour out into 6 glasses. Add in equal parts of flavoured sparkling water and wine. Mix together.

 

I decided to use the bubbly water to add in another flavour and to make it a bit lighter. I had lime bubbly water on-hand so used that the first time. I also have used strawberry or peach flavoured bubbly water.

I added the wine for the alcohol. I didn’t want to use Prosecco because that makes for a more expensive drink.

It is such a fun drink and pretty healthy too if there is basically an entire peach in each drink!!

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Houston Day 4

Travel, United States

Monday, May 8th

I start work later today, so we didn’t want to do anything too crazy today. We got all packed and organized, checked out of this hotel and checked into the other hotel before heading out for the day. We had some clothes on hold at Dress Barn, so went to quickly pick those up…and it ended up taking about 3 hours by the time we did more damage in Radio Shack and trying things on! We were planning on going to the Galleria, which is the best shopping mall in Houston with a cool waterfall and everything, but it just didn’t make sense to get all stressed about it. And, besides, we had both already done too much shopping for our little carry-ons!

We borrowed the B cycles again and cycled a bit on the other side of the bayou for a change. I am so impressed with all of the cycling and walking paths in this city. Definitely exceeded expectations.

Before work started we headed back to our great restaurant from our first night, Grotto in order to have a couple of happy hour belinis to get me started!

It was a great warm and relaxing weekend!!

Until next time!

-Allison

Houston Day 3

Travel, United States

Sunday, May 7

We decided we should go see an expo called Rain in the afternoon as well as rent bikes through the Houston B Cycle today and both activities exceeded our expectations!

We signed up for the B Cycle on-line for a monthly pass so that we could have unlimited rides of up to 60 minutes for free (well, for $9 each as the registration fee). The bikes were a bit heavy, but there were many places to replace the bikes along the downtown cycle path and along the bayou path. We had a bit of trouble renting the first bike, but apparently that was because some of the bikes get stuck in the dispenser-lock thing and then the card gets rejected. But after we solved that, it was all good. We headed out back towards the park and cycled along the bayou path for about an hour until we reached the Lost Lake and the Dunlavy restaurant. We parked the bikes an walked around, enjoying the heat and the wildflowers and the bridge where all the bats come out at night. (We could only hear them right now as they were all stuck up between the concrete crevices of the bridge)

The amount of greenery was stunning. It isn’t something I would expect to see in downtown Houston. It was warm and beautiful and very tropical. I guess I am too used to going to Arizona!

We searched again for the mysterious red button and finally found it. We found it on top of the bridge instead of along the cycle path. And we pushed it and “Burped the Bayou”. It was funny. Gotta love adult scavenger hunting for no reason. 🙂

After another couple of hours at the pool, we got all ready for dinner and for the art display. I managed to not get us too lost walking from the hotel over to the other side of the bayou to find the Buffalo Bayou Park cistern. The cistern in Houston covers more than 87,500 square feet of space and has over 200 columns. It had been used for water storage and purification back in the day and was repurposed for an art and public centre in 2016.

The art expo called Rain was an audio and image display created by Venezuelan artist, Magdalena Fernández. It is a video-projection piece that is displayed on the columns and is reflected on the small amount of water remaining on the cistern floor. The acoustics are impressive as the sounds echoes throughout the enclosed, dark space. The audio was actually created by a Slovenian choir where children snapped their fingers, clapped their hands and stomped their feet to emulate the rain and the audio track was then edited by Magdalena Fernández in order for it to fit her 2 minute visual display.

The whole time we were in the dark cistern was approximately 20 Minutes as the 2 minute track was replayed about 10 times or so as we walked along the upper pedestrian walkway. It was so peaceful and intriguing as the images and sounds seemed to change depending on where we were located in the cistern. It was a really cool experience and a unique way to preserve an old site.

We headed back to the downtown area and went to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen – which was crazy busy, but we did finally find a place to sit outside to enjoy the end of our day.

Later!

-Allison

 

Houston Day 2

Travel, United States

Saturday, May 6

We were able to “sleep in” until around 7 am this morning and enjoyed the waffles at the included hotel breakfast while reviewing options of things to do over the next three days. Unfortunately, it looked like we were on the wrong weekend for the downtown market and between seasons for all of the theatre productions at the numerous arts venues downtown.

Instead, I pulled out my map and we walked through the large legal district to get to the Buffalo Bayou and Allen’s Landing Park where there was a dragon boat festival happening today. There was a small market of sorts, so we looked at the booths of wood furniture and clothes before walking over to the bayou to see the teams of boaters prepping for their races. There were also a few cultural dances from the Korean groups present. It was a fun walking goal from the hotel and a fun local thing to take part in.

We decided then to follow the beginning of the 52 mile path that follows the bayou to see what else was happening in the centre of the 4th biggest city in the U.S. Apparently, not much. It is a really, really, quiet downtown. Not just on the weekends, but seemingly all the time. It was odd. We walked through the lobbies of a few of the theatre venues as they were all hosting grads and dance recitals. We tried to look for the mysterious red button on the path behind the theatre district and we went down to the underground tunnel system. We saw hardly anyone. It was lovely for this reason, but also a bit creepy.

There are several systems of underground tunnels, but because it was not a work day, none of the restaurants or shops were open. We did find a free health monitor machine and played on that calculating all of our health stats for a while. But it was sure quiet.

We were on our way back to the hotel when we discovered a mall! We were so excited….until we realized that nothing in the mall was open. And regardless, there were really only two stores in the mall anyway – RadioShack and Dress Barn. We did kill some time hanging out in these stores, but decided on waiting to make any purchases until later in the weekend. We were starving by this point, but when we walked up to Subway (the only fast food place that was open), they told us that actually, they were closed. Thankfully, the gentleman there told us to go down to the main level as there was a great grocery store across the street.

Baffled at the lack of resources available for all of the busy hotels, sporting venues, and conference centres, we crossed the street and discovered an awesome, local grocery store called Phoenicia Speciality Foods with great food! There was everything from wine to hummus to cakes to sandwiches and salad bar. It was amazing. It was also way over-air conditioned, so we hurriedly looked around, picked out some pitas and hummus for our pool picknic lunch and decided to come back later when we had more layers on.

We hit the pool for a couple of hours enjoying the great people watching and awesome heat that lacks in Calgary during the winter. Finally, we decided we should check out the Discovery Green and figure out what that is all about before finding a restaurant for dinner. We loved the park!! It is huge with lots of families settling in to watch movies outdoors, or playing in the spray park, or rolling down the grassy hills, or eating picknics on the ground. It seemed to be such a happy, family place. So much so that we decided we should explore Phoenicia more and find some food to take back to the park for a picknic for dinner. And I am so glad we did. It was wonderful. The prices of made-in-house wraps was fantastic and we had more food than we could handle and it was lovely to be part of such a positive atmosphere in the downtown park.

Until tomorrow!

-Allison

Houston Day 1

Travel, Uncategorized, United States

Friday, May 5

Mom and I arrived in Houston without any issues around 8pm on a direct flight from Calgary. This month is crazy busy with flights, so it is best if they are all issue-free as possible from the beginning.

Mom had a shuttle booked to drive us from the airport all the way downtown to our hotel, which was a good thing as it is really far. What was impressive was that downtown was a ghost town when we arrived. We could not believe how quiet the centre of the city was at 9 at night on a Friday, in what we Calgarians would consider to be really warm weather! There was an important basketball game happening, so our driver said that is why it was so quiet…but if there was a Hockey game in Calgary I know it wouldn’t have been as quiet as it was here!

The bonus was that we had no issues checking in at our Hampton Inn and walking down past the Discovery Park area to find a restaurant called Grotto. They had heated outdoor dining, which is pretty much mandatory for us on holidays (the being outside, not the heated part!). Apart from having amazing food choices, they had the most amazing Belinis I have ever had. They were amazing.

Definitely a great way to end the evening and the work week!

 -AJ

Peachland and Kelowna

British Columbia, Travel

Kendra, Shawn and I flew out to Kelowna from Calgary bright and early on Saturday morning. We went to Kelowna to celebrate Grandpa’s 90th Birthday!

Even though Shawn and I flew out last September, I rarely have the luxury of flying to such close destinations and it was so refreshing to basically get on the plane and two seconds later get off the plane again! It was great.

We rented a car through Costco, which has great rates, and picked it up with no issues right at the airport before we headed out to Peachland. It was already so hot out at only 8:30 am in the morning. Impressive.

We arrived at the Okanagan Oasis B and B in Peachland where my parents were staying with a couple of other friends just as they were finishing their breakfasts. I haven’t met up with my parents on holidays for a number of years now, but it is fun to be able to connect in a place that is not home. We used to do it often when I was living in Edmonton, because clearly we weren’t leaving from the same place, but now it doesn’t happen as often.

We decided to head off to visit the Thornhill Winery. It was only about a 20 minute drive away from the B and B into Summerland, which was great because all three of us were crammed into the back seat of mom and dad’s car this time. Shawn’s brother was really good friends with the son of the owner, which is why we decided to hit up this specific winery during our limited time here. It was great, however, as they had some of their 2014 wines on sale and their tasting was really comprehensive…ie lots of free wine!

After we bought half a case, we actually opened one of the bottles and with our packed lunch brought by mom from the B and B, sat on their patio and enjoyed the wonderful weather and great wine.

Before heading back to the pool we went to a silversmith shop called the DeLong Studio. It is a shop outside of the couple’s house and is lovely work including lots of rocks and geodes. I used to love rock collecting when I was little, so I easily fell in love with this cool little geode earring set. Shawn had his wallet – I learned a while ago it works better if I don’t carry mine! 😉

The pool was beautiful, but too short, as we only had a couple of hours before heading into Kelowna to meet up with my Grandpa and Nana for birthday celebrations! They are in a condo-like setting now, which is nice because they don’t have to worry about as much cooking or cleaning as they used to in their house – which was across the street until they sold last year!

We went to a great restaurant called Basel and Mint located in the mission area, close to the water. They had a large menue and great food. They even let us bring in our own cake, which we ordered from a bakery. (It was incredible!)

Back at the B and B we enjoyed a hot tub while listening to the frogs go crazy in the pond below. It was spectacular and so relaxing.

On Sunday, we were treated to a wonderful breakfast including breakfast bruschetta and a rolled egg omelet. It was amazing. Of course the wonderful temperatures and spectacular views didn’t hurt either! 

Mom and Dad headed out because they were driving to Victoria, where as us kids had the whole day to relax in Kelowna before our flight at 8pm. We killed an hour or so at the pool until our check out time at 11am. Then we drove into downtown and found a park where we suntanned and watched the birds coming and going for another couple of hours. Thankfully we had the foresight to stop and buy sunscreen because it was hot out and we reapplied every 15 minutes or so!

 By 2pm we had had enough of the sun and decided to drive to Scandia Mini Golf for a round. I love that mini golf course as it is diverse and interesting. I remember it from the few times I visited Nana and Grandpa as a kid and we played there. Of course, being outside in the sun makes it more enjoyable as well. It was packed so the course took us a good two hours to get through, which was great.  

Despite all of our awesome activities of the day, we still had over four hours before our flight was going to depart back to Calgary, so we headed to Joey’s and found an amazing spot on their beautiful patio. The outdoor area made all of Calgary’s patios look lame. I guess summer is a good 6 months compared to Calgary’s almost 3.5 months, so it makes sense. We had a great server who understood we were killing time and was great at brining us drinks and leaving us alone! A good combo. It was a lovely end to the day. And was topped off by a walk to the Mission Creek Regional Park for a quick walk along the river before finally heading back to the airport to go home.

I can’t quite believe everything we fit into two days! We did so much that it really did feel like a full holiday in only two days. I think that we will have to do that again as it was so low stress and required no planning at all, really.

 Until next time!

 -Allison