Bandwagon Blogger says Follow Me on Instagram! Story time is just getting started…

I will admit it – I have been a bandwagon blogger. I started the blog when I had an abundance of free time on my hands. More than enough. Too much, if there is such a thing. I’m sure some reading that sentence might cringe, or disagree in some way. But I was adrift.

Today, I am happy to say, I don’t have that problem! Free time is once again something precious, to be hoarded, and treasured. I am a graduate student. So you see, it’s not that I have stopped writing.

To reinforce this lifestyle, my tried and tested Nikon D60 has finally gone caput after a lot of use, and from time to time, abuse, at my hands. My trigger finger is getting itchy: and so my love for Instagram has finally taken flight.

So Follow Me on Instagram! 

More travel photos from around the world, as well as a whole bunch from my home, Canada, as well. Photos from Home and Away! Food, travel, the great outdoors.

I’m hooked you guys. So I’m here to say that I haven’t given up on the blog, just put it on the back burner on a very gentle, slow cooking simmer. It makes me happy to see that people still come to the blog as it is through search engines and other external links! The most popular posts continue to be those that I had some sort of experience or story to share – factual or fictional.

There are a ton of travel bloggers out there to be sifted through online, but true storytellers among them seem few and far between. That is something I am trying to keep up with on Instagram by sharing my photographs. Instagram is like the Travel Years, just distilled and concentrated down. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

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Tasty Things on Thursday’s – Homemade Slow Cooker Chili!

Homemade Slow Cooker Chili

For any readers not coming from Canada or the United States…. we have snow. LOT’S OF IT. So in honor of that I decided to make my first ever chili. It’s the perfect comfort food on a cold day. The best part? It tastes even better the next day.

I have to say it turned out extremely well, and everyone went back for seconds. I didn’t measure anything, since it all went in the slow cooker! Everything here is adjustable to your own preferences. Many of the ingredients I used because they are what I had available in my fridge or cupboard at the time – my favorite way to cook!

Enjoy and please let me know what you think if you try it out! 🙂

Ingredients

Chili Ingredients

1 package ground venison

1 package ground beef (venison is lean so it’s nice to add in some fat)

1 package ground turkey

~2 cups of mixed beans. I used black, white, kidney and the spotted brown pinto kind. (Remember, the beans are going to double in size)

2 medium sized onions

5 cloves of garlic

1 can diced tomatoes (any kind of tomatoes, or tomato sauce will work)

1/2 can of tomato paste (leftover in my fridge)

Chili powder (lots)

Chili flakes

Cumin

Tumeric

Salt

Pepper

Water (enough to cover everything that you’ve loaded into your slow cooker!)

Directions

This is a nice and simple recipe!

Toss all of your ground meat, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper and other spices right into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Next, chop up your onions and garlic into small, even sized pieces and add to the slow cooker.

Give all of this concoction a big stir, mixing it well together and then add enough water to cover the contents. Make sure your beans are completely submerged!

Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn it to High and walk away! I cooked mine from about 11am-7pm. The longer the better as far as I am concerned, but as soon as your beans are cooked you are ready to rock!

Garnish with sour cream, green onions and grated cheddar cheese.

BST Gnocchi

Something tasty to think about heading into the weekend!! I guiltily admit that this re-blog has nothing to do with Vietnam, but it looks delicious, simple and quick. It has been rain, rain, raining here for the past few weeks so comfort food like this is looking extra good. Thank you, Katie!

The Rose Table

You guys, this gnocchi dish is the best thing I ever made. Creamy, lemony, bacon-y AND its ready in twenty minutes. Get ready to have your gnocchi world rocked!
IMG_1297.JPGBacon Spinach Tomato (BST) Gnocchi in a Lemon-Ricotta Sauce
1 package Italian gnocchi
6 strips bacon
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup ricotta
1 lemon
4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup tomatoes (preferably garden fresh), sliced in half
A sprinkling of cheese (I used Asiago) for garnish

1) Heat a Dutch oven to medium-high. Add bacon to pan.

2) While bacon is sizzling, fill a pot with water, add a dash of salt and bring to a boil.

3) When bacon is crisp, remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to drain. Drain half of bacon fat and turn down the heat. Add finely chopped garlic to the remaining bacon fat in your Dutch oven. Honestly, WHAT…

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Preserved Lemon Hummus

I wanted to re-blog this post on Year 24 for a number of reasons:

1 – It made my mouth water! I want this hummus.
2 – Beautiful photography paired with a good story.
3 – Clear, easy to follow recipe.

I also want to get into the habit of blogging about food, whether or not I am traveling! Travel, diving, photography, FOOD….

Thank you for sharing Kaela!

preserved-lemon-hummusStrange but true: I ate some of the best hummus in Brazil. Smack-dab in the middle of the Amazon jungle, to be exact, about 1000 miles from nowhere, otherwise known as Manaus. While I and my intrepid band of World Cup travelers endured a purgatorial stay at the Hotel Brasil (an establishment that made you wonder what heinous crime you committed in a previous life to get yourself stuck there) in advance of the second US match, we spent a lot of time in the one moderately bright spot of the hotel: the outdoor café.

Run by a proprietor we affectionately dubbed Angry Syrian Man – he of the flowing peach-hued linen blouses and foul-smelling cigarettes, chain-smoked each day from dawn to the wee hours – the tiny 4-by-4 lunch counter boasted a large sidewalk seating area, a scratchy corner TV showing soccer round the clock, and…

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Writing 101: A view of Prince Edward Island

In an effort to really get my hands dirty and actually write this year, I decided to take part in Writing 101, a 20 day class administered by the Daily Post designed for writers who want to develop their writing habit. Sign me up! Each day, a writing prompt is posted and we are to respond to it on our own blogs. Today’s assignment involves telling a story – the story of a view; a place that you either want to go back to, or maybe a place you wish you could be instead. If you could zoom through space at the speed of light, what place would you go to right nowFor an added twist or challenge, there is an option to organize the post around the description of the setting.

If I could literally zoom through space this very second, I would be in Prince Edward Island, Canada. That place is made for September. The small Island located off the coasts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is first-off a visual delight. You immediately are drawn to the iconic rusty red sand that the island is made of. Not just the cliffs, but the fields, the roads and the pavement. In September, the canola and the potatoes are readying for harvest and have turned a bright yellow, amplified in the autumn sunshine. The island soil is fertile, and so the grass is lush, lush and green. If you’re lucky and have timed you’re visit properly, the leaves are turning, adding shades of yellow, orange and red to the vibrant landscape already in seemingly full fall color. The blue ocean and sky only makes everything stand out more. Every hilltop or bay is truly like a painting, or a picture.

The proximity of the ocean at all times means that there is a constant briny, salty smell on the air. On the island, this mingles with the smell of fresh cut grass and cattle. Everything positively reeks of freshness. The weather in September can be all over the place, so it is nothing for a storm to roll over and leave behind a damp chill or humidity in the air. After a day on the water on a cool day, the chill will be in your bones. And so for me, Prince Edward Island also smells like camp fire smoke. On my first visit to the island, the camp fire was my only method of cooking food and staying warm as we tent-camped.

Besides being a beautiful place to look at and take pictures of, Prince Edward Island is also a great place to get to get out and do things. This is truly the best way to experience the sights and sounds of the island. We rented bicycles from MacQueen’s Bike Shop in Charlottetown and spot-toured many of the well-maintained trails the Island has to offer. The Confederation Trail offers good options and there are many parks to choose from, but our favorite spot to cycle was St. Peter’s Bay. The route toured us down by the shore so we could relax, listening only to the sounds of the seabirds crying to one another, the waves and wind on the shoreline and the heat bugs. It can be really peaceful out there.

Besides listening to the natural sounds of the island, there are also Ceilidhs that you can attend to hear local island music and see local dance. These are often held in churches and are usually easy to find in local advertisements, and tourists are welcome. The lively music and dance is a forceful reminder that you are on the east coast, if the scenery and genuine friendliness of the provinces’ people don’t do the trick.

To top this experience off, Island cuisine is a fabulous assault on the nose and on the tongue. Food on the Island is simple, but it is done well. Featured ingredients often include new potatoes, squash, carrots and other rooty-type vegetables. Fresh seafood including but not limited to lobster, mussels, scallops, shrimp and oysters. Fresh corn. Often these ingredients are thrown together in a giant pot and left to stew, creating a briny steamed seafood stew. Bakeries are not hard to find on the Island, and it seems as though all of their dairy comes from the Island. Living the 100 Mile Diet would not be impossibly living there. The wonderful farm-fresh produce and other products are one of my favorite aspects about life on PEI.

One afternoon we were driving along on the highway east of Charlottetown. At the crest of another hill in the rolling, green landscape that is Prince Edward Island we spot a farm on the left advertising pumpkins and new red potatoes for sale. There is no one around, but a sign lists prices above a box to hold money. Many of the road-side stalls operate on the honor system. September in general is harvest season, so it is not uncommon to see farms selling potatoes, squashes, pumpkins, garden vegetables, apples and other farm fresh produce at bargain prices. The quality is the best and the profit goes directly to the family that grew the food. Turning back to the vehicle, I see the view across the road that I missed when parking at the farm. A beautiful little bay at the bottom of the hill, framed by red sand cliffs, ocean sparkling in the sunlight. It was as beautiful as any I had seen so far on that trip, but there was something about that combination of events that really took my breath away.