Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Moraine Lake

A few days, I shared photos and details from our visit to Lake Louise on our fourth day in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Although it was late in the day when we finished our 6.5-hour hike, we were determined to visit Moraine Lake before leaving the area.

It was about 6:00pm by the time we started the 30-minute drive up the narrow, windy road to Moraine Lake. There was no cell service and no turnarounds. When we were about one mile away from the lake, traffic came to a stand still.

We had spent our first few days in areas where there were not many tourists, so this was a shock to us. But Moraine Lake is arguably the most iconic spot in the Rocky Mountains (both in the U.S. and Canada and is often used as the "postcard picture" of the Rockies. So considering we were in Banff over what was expected to be one of the busiest weekends in years, it actually wasn't all that surprising.

We sat in traffic for another 30 minutes before we were able to secure a spot in the tiny parking lot. There are trails to hike at Moraine, but we elected to just enjoy the breathtaking view from on top of the giant rock pile next to the parking lot. It was one of Mr. Handsome's favorite views, and after we returned home he painted a beautiful picture of it.

That evening, we stayed at a beautiful cabin at Storm Mountain Lodge.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mango-Broccoli Salad Recipe

Many of you know that I love salad. When I'm in a hurry, you'll often find me chowing down on a heap of raw spinach leaves or romaine lettuce, drizzled with one of my many homemade salad dressings, but when I have the time, I enjoy being more creative.

This salad is a tasty way to enjoy broccoli. It's easy to make and is the perfect addition to a holiday spread or as part of a weekday meal.

Mango-Broccoli Salad
4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 or 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (or chives, if you have some handy)
3/4 cup buttermilk ranch salad dressing
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1-11 ounce can mandarin orange sections drained (or sliced, fresh clementines)

Combine broccoli, mango, cashews, and onion in a large bowl.

Combine ranch dressing, orange juice, and horseradish in a small bowl.

Add the dressing mixture to the broccoli mixture, and toss.

Top with orange sections, and serve.

*If the salad will be sitting for a bit before it is served, save the cashews and add them just before serving so that they stay nice and firm.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nashville Wife on TV

This morning, I was invited up to Bowling Green to appear on WBKO, the ABC-affiliated television station for South Central Kentucky. I was asked to share money saving tips for back-to-school shopping.

The segment was a blast, and the folks at WBKO were very welcoming. The video is embedded below.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Canadian Rockies Day 4

Our Rocky Mountain saga continues! If you missed my post about day three, click here to read it.

On day four of our trip, we ventured to two of the most iconic locations in the Canadian Rockies: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. We arrived fairly early in the morning, but it still wasn't early enough. Both parking lots were already full, so we ended up parking about a mile away from Lake Louise and walking.

The Lake Louise shore was teeming with tourists, but it was totally worth the walk. It truly is a spectacular place! There were quite a few people out canoeing on the far end of the lake. If you look closely, you can see the Upper and Lower Victoria Glaciers behind the lake.

One of the unique things about Lake Louise, aside from the beautiful blue color of the water, is that it offers two hikes to historic teahouses. We were hoping to do the 8.4-mile Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse Hike (teahouse built in 1927), but we heard from other tourists that the snow up on top of the glacier was quite deep, so we chose the Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike (a newer teahouse built to replace one built in 1905).

The first half hour of the hike was a steep incline, and the next half hour was steep switchbacks. We arrived at a medium-sized lake that can't even be seen from the start of the trail. We thought that was pretty incredible, but we were in for an even better surprise!

About 20 minutes further, and we made it up to the teahouse. The teahouse itself is a small, wooden structure, but it sits on a lake about 10 times as large as the first!

The views were splendid!

Both Lake Louise teahouses sit on top of mountains, so they are inaccessible by road and rely on horses and helicopters to bring supplies. 

The teahouse was quite busy with hikers enjoying refreshments before going back down the mountain. We took a short break and then decided to leave the crowds behind and continue on the Big Beehive trail.

The trail took us all the way around the lake and through a large patch of snow. Here is the view from the other side of the lake:

From there, we began the steepest, most harrowing trek of our entire trip, as we snaked up a rocky slope. Looking down was quite frightening! I had a few freak-out moments when I almost lost my balance.

It was rough, but once again, the view was totally worth it. There was hardly anyone up at the top, and we could see for miles.

We were directly above Lake Louise and the chateau. The people canoeing on the lake looked like ants. 

I nearly had a heart attack as Mr. Handsome sat near the edge to take a picture.

But then I saw another man go even further (while leaning out over the drop-off) and was grateful that my husband wasn't crazy enough to follow suit. The man's wife was watching him do this, and she just shook her head and said, "Sometimes I wonder how he's still alive."

We sat up there for about 30 minutes, enjoying the views. The air was fresh, and the stillness brought a peacefulness unlike any I had ever experienced in nature.

While eating our protein bars, we befriended a curious chipmunk. (Don't worry, we didn't feed him.) Photos and videos of that coming later.

By the time we made it back to our car, we had hiked 8.6 miles/13.8km in 6.5 hours and gained an elevation of 1,770 feet/540 meters.

We were exhausted, but I still had to show Mr. Handsome beautiful Moraine Lake before we left the area. I'll share those photos in another post.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Turning 3 Under the Sea

Last year, I posted photos from my niece's "Turning Two with Winnie the Pooh" birthday party.

A few months ago, my sister-in-law Anne texted me and told me that she was planning a third birthday party for her daughter and needed a catchy theme. She was tickled with my Winnie the Pooh idea last year and was looking for another cute suggestion.

I mulled it over in my mind for about five minutes, thinking about words that rhyme with three, and came up with "Turning Three Under the Sea." Anne was thrilled, and she started planning immediately.

The party was a huge success, which didn't surprise me at all because Anne is Miss Party Planning Extraordinaire. Everyone met at the local family aquatic center to swim and then headed over to a park to eat. Here are some photos:

Sweet Sea Tea

 Ocean Snacks (chocolate covered pretzels) 

 Table decor

 Turning 3 Under the Sea welcome sign

 Anchor veggies

 Fish cupcakes

 Ocean Water

 Seaweed dip

 Fruit boat

Seashore pasta

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Simple Turkey Burgers

Have you ever tried a turkey burger? If you have, keep reading for a delicious, easy recipe that you're sure to love. If you haven't, keep reading to discover a tasty alternative to regular ole burgers.

You may be thinking that there's no way turkey burgers can be nearly as tasty as beef burgers. I completely understand where you're coming from, but I encourage you to take a risk and try the recipe. My husband had the same thought, but these delicious, simple turkey burgers changed his mind.

Nashville Wife's Turkey Burgers

1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
1/4 cup homemade BBQ sauce (click here to see my recipe)
4 Tablespoons minced onion
Burger buns or bread (use whole wheat for maximum healthiness)

Combine ground beef, BBQ sauce, and onion.

Form into patties. (I make 3 thick patties, but feel free to make them thinner.) Grill patties on George Foreman or fry pan. (The literature says that ground turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165F, but I usually just cut into it to determine if it's done.) Remove from heat, place on a bun or bread, add condiments, and enjoy!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Rocky Mountain Elk Encounter

I'm glad to hear that you all have been enjoying my Canadian Rocky Mountain posts. So far, I have shared photos and commentary from the first three days of our trip. I'm looking forward to posting details and pictures from day four of our adventure, but I thought I would take a break and tell you about our first wildlife encounter.

Growing up, I visited the Rockies several times and always saw at least one bear or moose. On this trip, we heard many residents talk about all the issues the park rangers have been having this year with grizzly bears approaching humans, but never once did we see one.

Towards the end of our trip, Mr. Handsome and I were driving north along Yellowhead Highway, discussing the pizza we had just enjoyed in the quaint town of Jasper, when all of a sudden, Mr. Handsome shouted, "Elk!" He quickly pulled the car onto the shoulder, where a male elk was grazing in a meadow just 20 feet from the side of the road.

It was 9:30pm, and the sun was starting to set and shining right in our eyes, so I was very impressed that Mr. Handsome was able to see the elk. We watched it walk around, sit down in the grass, put its head down, and then stand back up--all the while taking tons of pictures. (I think we played the role of tourists quite well.)

Just when we were about to drive away, a female elk with a baby began walking over from the other side of the meadow. Out of nowhere, the baby bolted across the road. Thankfully, the cars stopped just in time.

We decided to stay just a few minutes longer, and boy were we glad we did. About a dozen other elk appeared in the meadow.

By that point, other tourists had stopped behind us. A couple brave (and perhaps a little foolish) folks approached the elk, and when those around them saw that nothing bad was happening, they, too, walked closer.

I stayed beside the car, while Mr. Handsome joined one of the more conservative groups of people. Both of us were able to get within 10 feet of an elk.

The elk continued to eat, not paying any attention whatsoever to the humans, but I did manage to snap a few photos that look posed.

A mother and baby came near the car, so I readied my camera. I snapped this fantastic photo of the mother sticking her tongue out.

 The baby approached the mother and attempted to suckle her...

...And the mother proceeded to kick the baby in the face. The baby backed away and stumbled off into the meadow. Poor little thing!

Here's a short video I made from the car window. Stay tuned for photos of the unique wildlife we encountered on our last day in the mountains!